September 2015 - Vikingess Voyages

Monday, September 28, 2015

"Moomin Story" Scandinavian Fair at Matsuya Ginza 松屋銀座北欧フェア

11:50:00 PM
Matsuya Ginza has a history going back to 1869, and as well as being the first department store in Ginza it is one of the leading department stores in Tokyo.
今年も松屋銀座で北欧フェアが開催されましたので、友達と一緒に見に行きました。北欧各国のキャラクターやグッズもあり、北欧出身の私にとっても楽しいイベントでした。
Moon Story & Scandinavia Fair at Matsuya Ginza
A couple of times a year Matsuya Ginza is having a Scandinavian Fair (北欧フェア) where people can come to the exhibition area on the 7th floor and check out various Scandinavian design and products. This time the main character of the fair was the Finnish character Moomin, and the fair was held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first Moomin publication. The fair included a Moomin exhibition titled "Moomin! Moomin Story". For those who aren't familiar with this character it is a white troll from the books by Finnish-Swedish author Tove Jansson, and this character is extremely popular in Japan.
A Moomin cafe at the Scandinavian Fair
今回はフィンランドの有名なキャラクターであるムーミンの誕生70周年を記念してこのイベントは開催され、ムーミンの商品や芸術が沢山ありました。日本ではムーミンがフィンランドの作品として知られていますが、ムーミンを作成した作家のご両親は二人ともスウェーデン出身であることをご存知ですか。トーベ・ヤンソン自身はフィンランドで生まれましたが、ムーミンの原本はフィンランド語ではなく、スェーデン語で書かれています。北欧の言語はノルウェー語、スウェーデン語、デンマーク語、フィンランド語があります。フィンランド語のみ他の北欧の言語と全く異なる言語ですが、その他の北欧の言語は
ひとつの言語の方言のようにどれも非常に似ており共通点も多くあります。そのおかげでスウェーデン語で書かれた原本をノルウェー人の私でもそのまま読むことができます。
Mugs with Moomin drawings
The Norwegian cartoon character "Kubbe" (which means "log" in Norwegian) was also represented at the Scandinavian Fair along with other characters from the Scandinavian countries. As I have written about before a lot of Japanese people seem to enjoy so-called yurukyara (ゆるキャラ) mascots, and for the moment it seems that Kubbe is the character that best represents Norway in the Japanese market.
今回の北欧フェアではノルウェーの可愛いキャラクター「キュッパ」も見かけました。「キュッパ」はノルウェー語で「丸太」の意味があります。最近は日本でも少し人気を集めているようですね。
Kubbe in Tokyo
A lot of different sellers were showing of their products at the Scandinavian Fair. My friends Chiaki and Mayumi also had a booth at the fair with their store Blancway, and as usual they participated with various products from Scandinavia with the main focus on Swedish tea.

北欧フェアで様々なお店が出店されていたのですが、そのなかで普段は代官山でBlancwayというお店を運営している友人のブースもありました。Blancwayは様々な北欧商品を販売していますが、メインとして高級のスウェーデン紅茶で参加されています。
Booth at the Scandinavian Fair
 We are also having a small collaborating with my small project selling safety reflectors with traditional Norwegian design under the brand name Nordlys, which means Northern Lights in Norwegian. Safety reflectors increase visibility in the dark, and make it possible for a car driver to spot you at 300 meters distance and even more, while the distance is only maximum 100 meters.
そこで自分がプロデュースしている交通安全の反射板リフレクターもBlancwayとのコラボで販売しています。まだ規模が小さいですが、おしゃれなノルウェーデザインで暗いところで歩いてても300メートル先から車に認識されるように作られています。そのブランド名Nordlysはノルウェー語やデンマーク語でオーロラ(直訳で「北の光」)の意味で、ロゴも実際にオーロラの形の模様で描かれています。
At Blancway's booth
The project is still very small, but I hope that we’ll be able to increase pedestrian safety at the same time as promoting Norwegian design in Japan.
規模はまだ小さいですが、おしゃれな北欧デザインと共にみんなさんの交通安全をアップさせることができれば幸いです。

The first part of the Scandinavian Fair was held from 17. September until the 23. September. While the Moomin Exhibition is over the general Scandinavian Fair is still going on until 5th October. For the latter part of the Scandinavian Fair my friends are running a cafe called Stockholm Cafe where they also are displaying their items, so for people who might be interested please feel free to check it out.
ムーミンの展覧会は9月17日から9月23日まで開催されましたが、北欧フェアは10月5日まで開催されています。北欧フェア後半にはBlancwayが「ストックホルム・カフェ」を運営していますので、興味がある方は是非お越しください。



Other pages:

リンク(日本語)




オシャレな北欧ザインの反射板リフレクター「ノールリス」のご紹介

「ノールリス」とはノルウェー語とデンマーク語で「オーロラ」の意味です。      
   「Nordlys」 
 ・*北の光*・
オーロラの様に暗い夜でも光り、夜の歩行者の交通安全をアップさせるリフレクター(反射板)です。現在ノルウェーで活動する若手ノルウェー人アーティストによる北欧の伝統的なデザイン。







Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dining out in Sendai: Ruriza (瑠璃座) in Kokubuncho (国分町)

5:45:00 PM

If you're spending an evening in Sendai and want to experience the nightlife here you might want to go and check out the down town area called Kokubuncho (国分町). Here you can find a lot of the typical things Japanese nightlife has to offer, such as karaoke, traditional izakaya bars and restaurants. During my recent trip to Sendai my friend Amee and I ended up at a small Japanese restaurant in this area called Ruriza (瑠璃座). Here are some pictures for those who might be interested in checking the place out:
Entrance to the Kokubuncho area
Entrance to Ruriza
Details from the interior
Details from the interior
If you sit by the counter you can watch as the food is being prepared
Sushi ready to be served
Otoshi (お通し)
At a lot of Japanese izakaya-style restaurants it is common to get served an otoushi (お通し), which is a small appetizer that you pay for in lieu of a cover charge. This restaurant served us a couple of pieces of sushi with our drinks (picture above), and the cover charge was 432 yen incl. tax.
Sashimi (raw fish)
All in all it was a nice place. We payed around 2500 yen each in total for our food and drinks there, but the food came in relatively small portions so if you don't mind spending more on a dinner you might want to order more than we did. For those interested in trying the Sendai speciality Beef tongue gyuutan (牛タン) you can also get it here.
Either way the atmosphere was good, and an evening here will definitely be a nice dining experience in Sendai.

Recommended Hotels in Sendai

Sendai Washington Hotel
Sendai Washington Hotel
The Westin Sendai Hotel
The Westin Sendai Hotel
Mitsui Garden Hotel Sendai
Mitsui Garden Hotel Sendai
Sendai Royal Park Hotel
Sendai Royal Park Hotel


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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Japan: Foxes, Foxes and more Foxes!! A visit to the Zao Fox Village

8:32:00 PM


Sleepy fox 
In Miyagi there is a special place called the Zao Fox Village where you have the opportunity to get close to foxes in their natural environment (or at least as natural as it can get in a human-made village).
The fox (キツネ ・ 狐) has a very special place in Japanese mythology where it has made its appearance in a number of stories, and among its many roles it is known as the messenger of the rice god Inari. With their cat-like appearance it is no wonder that these furry creatures are adored by a lot of people.
The entrance to the fox village
Amee and I visited the fox village as a part of our two day trip to Miyagi. The previous day we had explored Sendai, so in order to get to the fox village we had to take a local train to Shiroishi (白石) station. There is a bus that passes by the place where the fox village is located, but unfortunately the bus only runs on Tuesdays and Fridays once in the morning so the easiest way is to get there by taxi. It costs about 4000 yen one way, and entrance to the fox village is 1000 yen/person.

The platina fox Haa-chan
When we first entered we were approached by one of the staff members who asked us about our nationalities and whether we would want to touch the foxes. He brought us a white fox (platina fox - プラチナキツネ) called Haa-chan and a red fox called Sakura. 

One of the fox village's staff let us cuddle the fox

Sakura-chan

Probably supposed to mean something like 遠い所までようこそ. 
Before we entered the area where the foxes roam freely around village we got a short instruction about how to behave around them. Apparently the foxes might chase after you if they notice you have food, so you have to keep edible things out of the foxes' sight. They are also likely to bite you if you reach out your hand to them, thinking it is food, and according to one of the staff they might also come up from behind and bite you in the but if you're squatting down. Although the foxes are used to having people around they're still wild animals, so keep that in mind if you get the chance to go visiting them.
One of the cages displaying various types of foxes
The fox might mistakenly think you have food for it and bite if you try to touch it
Inside the area where the foxes roam freely there is a small feeding space where visitors can give snack to the foxes. A lot of foxes were gathered around and waiting for goodies. 

The foxes seem to be quite relaxed, some of them were playing around but most of most of them were just relaxing peacefully in the sun. Some of them would however start fighting over the snack that visitors fed them, so they also had some cages for injured foxes. It seems like the foxes are taken well care of, but the share number of them make it more likely that they end up hurting each other. If anything there were a bit too many foxes for the small area. With that said, I got the impression that the staff was doing a good job taking care of them, and they did have a certain degree of freedom within the village with visitors' movement being restricted to the main trails making sure that people wouldn't get too close to them.
A fox in front of the feeding area
Beautiful fox 
White fox
Foxes waiting for food
Foxes waiting for food

Hi there little foxy!








If you ever wondered about fox age in human years this chart could be useful.
 (キツネ = fox, 人間 = human 月 = months 才 = years old (human) 年 = years)



 There are also other animals living in the Fox Village (of course having their own areas within the village). Here are some of the rabbits we saw, and we also had the chance to pet some goats and ponies.
In the souvenir shop you can buy a cute souvenir while you wait for your taxi

If you're going directly back to Tokyo after a visit to the fox village you might want to travel to Shiroishi Zaō station (白石蔵王) rather than Shiroishi station, as you can catch the Shinkansen directly from there. A train ride to Tokyo from Shiroishi Zao costs 8550 yen and takes approximately 1:25 hours to Omiya.

A map of the Zao area.
A map of the Zao area. The Shiroishi station and Shiroishizao (shinkansen) station marked in read. People interested in a stay at a Japanese hot spring might also want to check out the Kamasaki Hot Spring.


Recommended Hotels in Sendai

Sendai Washington Hotel
Sendai Washington Hotel
The Westin Sendai Hotel
The Westin Sendai Hotel
Mitsui Garden Hotel Sendai
Mitsui Garden Hotel Sendai
Sendai Royal Park Hotel
Sendai Royal Park Hotel


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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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