2010 - Vikingess Voyages

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 21th

9:39:00 AM

On the 21st it was time for another nabe-party, this time to celebrate Mika´s birthday!
Pay attention to the table; it is a so called kotatsu (炬燵) which is special for Japan. There is a small electric oven built into the table itself, and with a blanket covering the sides of the table you can warm your feet under the table.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 20th

10:31:00 PM

There is a so-called Kaitensushi-restaurant near Ritsumeikan University where the normal plates only costs around 100 yen each. Me and Ericka went there today and ate sushi for dinner!
For those who aren´t acquainted with Kaitensushi restaurants, the special feature of this kind of restaurant is that they have conveyor belts running through the restaurant so that the customers can pick the plates they want themselves. So either you can sit there and wait for the right plate to pass by, or you can order via a touchscreen at the table and the plate will be delivered to your table by the conveyor belt. Easy, cheap and oishii!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 15th

2:58:00 PM
This is the so-called "Randen" that runs between Kita no hakubaichou (北野白梅町) and Arashiyama (嵐山).
As you can see it is still not too cold here in Kyoto. But the last couple of days the temperature has dropped drastically, so I guess the last flowers won´t be there for that much longer..

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 11th

9:00:00 AM
Close to our dorm there is a shop that is called Book Off, where they among others sell used books. It´s really cheap, for instance they have a big section in the store where they sell manga for 105 yen each. Besides mangas they also have a wide selection of novels and so on too, and this picture is taken from the section with books written by foreign authors.
For those who can´t read the title, this is the book Sophie´s World by Jostein Gaarder, one of my favorite norwegian authors.
So now I just have to finish the 2-3 other books I´m reading at the moment, so that I can go back to Book Off and by some more..! Haha..

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 9th

4:34:00 PM
On the 9th of December it was Silke´s birthday, and we decided to throw a surprise birthday party for her. The only problem was that she was on a day trip to Osaka, and we didn´t know when she would get back home.
She sent me a message saying she would be back at latest around 24:00, but around one o'clock she was still not at home and we didn´t get any contact with her. In the end we decided to start the party without her, but we only got the chance to take some sips of the wine before somebody suddenly knocked at the door. I´m not sure who was most surprised; us or Silke.. Haha..
Surprise birthday party @ I-House

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 8th

12:55:00 AM


The local dance studio where me, Erica and Adaora goes for samba-classes on Wednesdays! It is a nice place, and I think they like having us foreigners in their classes. I guess we are an interesting group:p..
Anyway, the place is situated between I-House 1 and the local supermarket, so it is quite easy to get there.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 7th

12:22:00 AM
Today I went with Yuma to Kobe after class for the so-called Luminaire Festival, which actually is an annual memorial to the losses due to the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.
Every year the arches has a new design, and I´m pretty sure there must be a lot of work involved in making and putting up these gates every year.. Really impressive:)!
There was a lot of people there, so I´m glad we didn´t go in the weekend.
This year the event last from the second till the thirteenth of December, so for those who are in the area I really recommend stoping by Kyoto to see this.
Luminaire 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 6th

12:27:00 AM
Today´s picture is taken in a restaurant called Sweets Paradise, where you after paying 1480 yen can eat as much cake as you want for around 70-80 minutes depending on the day. This restaurant is located in the 6th floor of the Koto Cross Hankyu Kawaramachi building, which makes it quite easy to find. Me and Eki went there today, and I´m pretty certain I´ll go there again..! The price is a bit high perhaps, but then again cakes are expensive in Japan. :P
Besides cakes they also have normal food, so if you want a break from the sweet stuff thats fine; they have pizza, salad, pasta and so on as well.

Sweets Paradise! Yumm...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 5th

12:27:00 AM
For some reason it seems that todays picture also ended up showing a fish. Isn´t it cute? Haha..
This is a hashioki (箸置き), which is used to put your chopsticks on when you´re finished eating (or whenever it´s not in use). The picture is taken in a restaurant close to Fushimi Inari Taisha, where we had dinner (ramen!) today.
A hashioki shaped as a fish

Sunday, December 5, 2010

JLPT and Sightseeing at the Fushimi Inari Jinja (伏見稲荷大社)

11:06:00 PM
Today me and some of the other exchange students from Ritsumeikan went to Fushimi, right outside of Kyoto, to take the JLPT 2 (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) there.
Though it lasted until nearly 16:30, some of us decided to go sightseeing after the test, since the place called Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) is right next to the Fushimi train station. 
It took only about 30 minutes to get there from Nijyou station, but somehow it really felt like being in the countryside.

Inari Jinja is known for its many gates, or torii

The red gates
At first glance the gates seems to be all red, but if you turn around you'll see that all of them has got Japanese inscriptions.
A lamp lighting up the kanjis on one of the gates
Inari Jinja is devoted to the fox-kami, and therefore you can see a lot of fox statues here. Besides this, people who want to worship for wealth and so on also has the opportunity to draw their own image of the fox and then write their wishes on the backside.
Cute foxes with wishes written on the backside
In front of one of the gateways
These gateways goes all the way up the mountain side. But since we came there a bit late, it was already starting to get dark so we decided not go that far. Then again, that is a good reason to go there on another occasion:)

One of the Inari-foxes.

Shadows of the torii


After our visit to Inari Jinja, we went to have dinner together in a small restaurant we found along the way. Even though we all were tired after the long day, it was nice to spend the afternoon together doing sightseeing together in Kyoto.
Kathleen ready for dinner!
Part of the dinner menu..

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 4th

7:45:00 PM
Today on my way home from my last ceramic class I stopped by a store called Fresco to buy some groceries, and I happened to find this package of fish.. I thought it was kinda funny that that it had the "Kingdom of Norway" label on it, while advertisements like this usually just tells you that the fish comes from a Nordic country.
So in the end this ended up as the pic of the day. A bit random perhaps, but.. Haha.. :)


Christmas Calendar: December 3rd

3:16:00 AM
Kyoto is a really nice place for sightseeing. No matter where you go you can always find some interesting temples, houses and so on.
On my way home from a club near Kamogawa this evening I passed by this place, and thought it looked really nice with the lights and so on..! So without further redo, here is todays picture.

Well, it is late now so I should get to bed fast. I´ve got class tomorrow (which actually is today now..). Oyasumi!
A shrine I passed by on my way home from Kamogawa


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Calendar: December 2nd

11:10:00 PM
Today´s picture shows the so-called "gaikokujinbenchi" (外国人ベンチ). This place is usually shortened to "gaiben" (外ベン), and as the name indicates it is the place where the international students usually spend their lunch or in general hang out when at school.
The last couple of weeks it was so cold that almost nobody spent their lunch-break there, but today we had 16 degrees and sun.! Can´t really believe it is December.. xD
Ritsumeikan's Gaiben

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Calendar: 1st of Desember

11:47:00 PM
So, it´s December again..! This will be my first Christmas being celebrated without my family, and I guess that will be a bit strange for me.
The Japanese christmas is quite different from the one being celebrated in western countries; it´s more like a valentines day than a family day really. That´s not that strange though, while Christmas isn´t a tradition in Japan and the large majority of people in Japan has no interest in christianity.
Anyway, since I don´t have any Christmas calendar this year I´ve decided to post a picture on my blog everyday, hopefully something that can show both the beauty of Kyoto and also perhaps some interesting moments of my days here.
Todays picture is taken by the entrance to iHouse, the dorm I´m living in. Our dorm manager has already made the dorm ready for Christmas, as you can see. A bit early perhaps, but on the other hand they put up the christmas-tree at Kyoto Station a couple of weeks ago..


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Autumn view of Arashiyama & Iwatayama Monkey Park (嵐山モンキーパーク)

4:44:00 PM
Here comes another little update from Kyoto..!

Not much to say about the past week, the days are disappearing before I even notice it. Mostly I´ve spent my days in the library studying, and besides this I´m just going to the usual club meetings or hanging out with friends.
Yesterday was different than usual though: normally I´ve got my ceramics classes on Saturdays, but this time we had the day of, which meant I could do some sightseeing instead. This time me and Yuma went to Arashiyama, which is the name of a district in the western part of Kyoto, close to the mountains (besides being the name of one of the mountains there as well).
It is known among others for the beautiful sceneries, and it was not a surprise that a lot of other tourists had decided to spend their Saturday there as well.


Arashiyama. As you can see some of the trees had already lost their leaves, but the scenery is still very pretty.


After crossing the Togetsukyo brigde we decided to check out the monkey park at the top of Iwatayama. Luckily it didn´t seem like that many tourists went to the monkey park though, since most of Arashiyama was packed with people it was nice to avoid the crowds for a while.

A sign we saw in the monkey park. Nice Engrish, huh? ;)

Iwatayama has still got quite some red leaved trees left.

Kyoto seen from the top of Iwatayama, where the monkey park is situated.

Arriving at the summit of Iwatayama we had the chance to take a look at the view of Kyoto. The weather was great, and it was relaxing to spend the time there looking at the monkeys playing around.

Those who wanted to feed the monkeys had to enter a fenced enclosure, where they could fed the monkeys from the inside.


Another picture of the lake at Arashiyama taken from Togetsukyo bridge.

When going by the Randen-train leaving from Arashiyama station, one has the opportunity to check out the many different souvenir shops in the street right outside the station. Since it´s still kouyou-season it is certainly crowded though..!

After our visit to the monkey park we walked around the area for a while checking out some of the temples, the souvenir shops and so on. Seems there is a lot of different things to see there, so I guess this is one of the places I might want to visit again during my year in Japan.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sightseeing in Kyoto! Red leaves, 東寺、東福寺、清水寺 ++

9:37:00 PM
This weekend I´ve really had the chance to see a lot of Kyoto.
The sightseeing started already on Friday afternoon when Silke, Ericka and I decided to take a trip down to Kyoto Station to check out the Kyoto Tower.
The tower can be seen in most parts of Kyoto, but for us it was the first time to check it out.
Silke and Ericka in front of Kyoto tower

The Kyoto Tower was build in 1964, and its hight is 131 m. Since the buildings in Kyoto aren´t that high, it is possible to see the tower in most of Kyoto, and apparently a lot of citizens complained when the building of the tower was decided (it is not really that nice to look at, so I really understand that they disliked the decision.. :p)
View from Kyoto tower
Seeing the view of the city was really nice, but it was not as impressive as I had hoped. I guess most of the other towers in Japan probably are more interesting to check out, so if I were to check out only one of them Kyoto Tower would not be my first choice.

Me, Ericka and Silke.


Today (Sunday) I´ve spent the whole day sightseeing, and we started out by going to Toji (東寺) (South of Kyoto Station) along with Eki´s host mother and a couple of other exchange students from some other schools and/or study programs.
Arriving at Toji we soon discovered that apparently they were having some flea markets going on there today; it was pretty crowded and a lot of stands selling traditional Japanese stuff and food. It was quite interesting to walk around there though; the food was good and the area was really pretty. Unfortunately it isn´t allowed to take pictures inside the temples though..

One of the temple buildings, side by side with the flea market.
The Toji-tower
After our visit to Toji we went by bike to another temple area called Tofukuji (東福寺). It seemed a lot of people had decided to spend their Saturday here though, it was so crowded that it was hard to move at certain areas. Still, I think I somehow managed to get some good pictures there.

The color of leaves were really pretty..
「あれ、みて!」

Nice red leaves, and a swarm of people..
And some more red leaves. It is Kouyou(紅葉)-season , after all.. :)
After our trip to Tofukuji the others went back home, and me and Eki decided to continue the sightseeing on our own.

While waiting for the evening to come, we went a short trip to Gion (祇園) too. Our final goal was the light-up event at Kiyomizudera (清水寺) in the evening, so that meant we had a lot of time to kill.
Eki washing her hands inside the Gion temple-area.

If one wants to go shopping after a visit to the temple it´s certainly not far.
When it started to get late we left Gion and went further south to Kiyomizudera. Again, a lot of people, and mostly Japanese tourist for some reason. It was really pretty though, specially because of the red leaves. In the summertime it seems they have light up events too, so that people can see the Sakura flowers lit up as well. I guess the foreign tourist prefer coming during that season instead, since Sakura is more "typical" Japanese then the red autumn leaves.
Kiyomizudera by night

Kyoto seen from Kiomizudera. You can even see Kyoto tower here.
Another picture of Kiyomizudera
Temple lanterns
The sakura forest behind Kiyomizudera

About Me

Adventures ofAnette


A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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