Memories from my Tour to Three Countries of Northern Europe



Several years ago, I willingly took part in a tour of inspection, which was organized by a certain large company, to Northern Europe because I had long wanted to go there even once in my life. The tour of 42 members was very packed: 4 cities in 3 countries within 6 days; however, I still freely enjoyed some of the cultures peculiar to North Europe in a short period of time.


First, we visited Helsinki in Finland. The scenery seen from the window of the bus bound for the midtown area seemed very fresh to me: a little inorganic and unusual space with green trees and white buildings, different from any other foreign country. There weren’t any profound historical buildings like in London, Paris and Rome, and harmonious buildings of almost the same height stood regularly. The streets without any flashy advertisements or signboards in garish colors were quite clean, and the entire towns with fewer people and cars were quiet and peaceful. All of them made me very impressed.


One of the reasons why the streets looked orderly was the well-equipped cycling paths. I found the people of Finland had a high level of morality because I didn’t see any vending machines, stalls, illegally parked cars and bicycles, garbage or cigarette-butts on the streets when I was walking around. I could relax very much during the slowly passing time maybe because I thought it natural to live restlessly and busily in the crowded city.


At the University of Helsinki, we listened to the students’ speeches and I admired their fluent and witty deliveries despite their inexperience of studying in Japan. I thought the Finns were a very diligent and highly cultured people because they could naturally speak some foreign languages as well as English, even after considering their necessity of learning foreign languages because of historical and geographical reasons.


Next, we visited Oslo in Norway. We looked around the floor of City Hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony is held every year, and I learned that Alfred Nobel decided to hold only the Peace Prize award ceremony in Norway wishing for the reconciliation and peace between Sweden and Norway. I was surprised to know the history of the long conflict between the two neighboring countries even in Northern Europe.


At the entrance of City Hall, there were big wall paintings with the motif of Norse mythology, where the supreme god Odin and the goddess Freya with other gods and goddesses were painted in a narrative style. I had and have miniature schnauzers which were named after Norse mythology: Freya was a female dog which passed away 4 years ago at the age of 13, Odin is a 16-year-old male dog, Skuld and Ould are female dogs which are a little younger than 2 years old. My son named them after a god and goddesses of Norse mythology; therefore, I thought of my dogs when I was looking at the wall paintings. Later, I proudly talked about my dogs and their names, but unfortunately, they showed only a little interest in my story.


We left Oslo and moved along a zigzag railroad in the rough mountains by the Bergen Railway which ran through the southern tip of the Scandinavian mountains and the mountainous railway for Flam. The land was covered with deep snow even at the end of October and I could not forget the fantastic and beautiful scenery as if I had been in Norse mythology. The sightseeing guide on the LCD monitor in the vehicle was performed in English, French and Japanese, to my surprise. It showed that so many Japanese went there for a fjord and aurora tour.


We were supposed to transfer from the train to the fjord sightseeing boat at Flam Harbor, but no one in charge came out even after the boarding time. We were a little irritated to see the sailors smoking cigarettes relaxingly and leisurely. After about 1 hour, they announced that the boat was under repair because of engine trouble, and finally the boat left the harbor 2 hours behind schedule. It was almost evening when the boat put out to sea, so after a little while, the sun set, and we couldn’t see the superb view of the fjord any more in the total darkness. And what was worse, it became rainy and foggy, and we couldn’t do anything but stay in our cabin. Even so, I still enjoyed the fantastic and mysterious atmosphere of dim lights of scattered houses in the dark.


On the way back from Flam to Oslo by bus, we had a look around Borgund Stave Church, World Heritage Site. It was a wooden architecture of the Church of Norway, which was built using advanced architectural technology without any nails or metallic material in the 12th century. This church has been repeatedly repaired and preserved in very good condition since it was built. Later, I thought that I should have looked around the church more to learn that this church was the model of Elsa’s ice palace in the Disney movie, “Frozen” which was a big hit in Japan.


We went back to Oslo, and set sail for Copenhagen in Denmark, our next destination, on a large passenger ship. The ship left the harbor in the early evening and arrived the next morning. While I was on the board, I was deeply impressed by the beautiful morning glow in the eastern direction, the Sweden side, and Kronborg Castle towering solemnly on the small hill in the western direction, the Denmark side.


Unlike the fantastic and calm atmosphere which I experienced in this tour, Copenhagen was a busy city with many people and cars, and it was one of the biggest international trade cities in Europe. The time passed as quickly as I felt in Japan, and it made not only me but also some of other tour members feel comfortable.


The local tour guide gave us some information about a popular souvenir from Denmark to wealthy madams and ladies in Japan: an eco-bag sold at supermarket “Irma” for about JPY 500. Therefore, I left Tivoli a little earlier than the scheduled time and went to the supermarket. I laughed unconsciously to find other middle-aged and elderly male members of my tour were packing together and buying many eco-bags even though they all were presidents or directors of some of Japan’s best-known countries. (However, I also bought the eco-bag.)


In this tour, I stayed for a few days in each city and looked quickly and superficially around only famous sightseeing spots. If I have another chance to visit Northern Europe again, I want to spend a lot of time traveling by train around Sweden in addition to three countries I already visited, and I also want to experience local culture in rural towns which aren’t shown in tour guide books.






The Excursion to Yamagata



One summer weekend, I suddenly decided to take a trip to Yamagata Prefecture. A talk about Matsushima with my colleagues was the motivation for my trip. When I said to them, “Matsushima had such a marvelous view that even Basho, one of the best haiku masters, could not describe it”, I happened to realize that I had never seen the marvelous view about which Basho composed a haiku. It is a temple famous for his haiku:
“Shizukesa-yaiwa-ni shimiiru semi-no-koe” (“Such stillness The sound of cicadas Seeps into the rocks”)
(Haiku is a very short form of Japanese poetry in 3 lines of 5-7-5, only 17 syllables, with Kigo, a reference to the season word and Kireji, an evocative cut off phrase.)


Actually, I had been to hardly any places in Yamagata Prefecture except Zao. I had the image of Yamagata as follows: in spring they enjoy cherry blossoms, in summer they bear the intense heat, in autumn they enjoy imo-ni (a local specialty of Yamagata Prefecture: a type of soup made of taro, some other vegetables and thin slices of beef or pork) and in winter they survive the severe cold in onsens (hot-spring bathing). I thought it was not good to be lost in fantasies about the prefecture I had never been to as I lived in a neighboring prefecture. Moreover, I could take off from work on the Sunday of that weekend for the first time in 2 months. I could not miss the opportunity to take the trip; therefore, I hurriedly went back home to get ready for the trip and left for Yamagata.


As I had expected, Yamagata Prefecture was very close, and it took only one and half hours from Koriyama City to Yamagata City. First, I ate hiyashi-ramen (Chinese noodles in cold soup). It was delicious and refreshing, and the ice in the soup did not lessen the flavor.


After lunch, I went to the old Yamagata Prefectural Office. I was interested in this building because a certain movie was shot there. It was built in the Taisho era (1912-1926); however, it is still in a good state of preservation. It must be very difficult to maintain such a massive and modern building in the present day.


While all of this was going on, it became dark in the evening on the first day of the trip. After I had imo-ni and locally brewed sake, I went to bed.


On the next day, I got up early and first went to Yama-dera Temple to pray. The temple is known by many people by the name of Yama-dera, however, its official name is Hoshu-zan Risshaku-ji Temple. As its common name indicates, I had to climb up 1015 steps towards the top of the mountain.


Basho composed the haiku of summer there; therefore, I thought that summer was the best season to visit the temple. And this was the perfect choice. Cicadas were singing above the worshippers eagerly climbing stairs. It was far from silent because of many worshipers, and still I felt the atmosphere which had inspired Basho.


After I worshiped in the temple, I ate hiyashi-niku-soba (cold buckwheat noodles with beef) and drove to Zao.


I had been to Zao before, but it was perfect weather to visit it again and drive up the mountain to Okama which is often invisible because of the weather. Fortunately, I enjoyed the beautiful scenery just as I did the previous time I went there.

And then, I took a bath at the great open-air spa of Zao Onsen (Zao Hot Spring). I had a good soak in the 100% fresh-flowing hot-spring with the smell of sulfur surrounded by nature.


On the way to Yonezawa City, I dropped in at Inu-no-miya Shrine and Neko-no-miya Shrine (Dog & Cat Shrine) in Takahata Town to pray for my three beloved dogs. The dog and the cat which guarded the village were enshrined. Many people visit this shrine for their dogs and cats to have memorial services or pray for their health. I saw many photos of their pet dogs and cats.


In Yonezawa Ctiy, I went and prayed at Uesugi Shrine where Uesugi Kenshin, the God of War was enshrined. This shrine is also related to his retainer and general, Naoe Kanetsugu, who became popular by a Taiga Drama (A Taiga Drama is the annual, year-long serial TV drama of Japanese historical fiction broadcast by NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster).


Moreover, when speaking of Yonezawa, many people must think of Yonezawa Beef; therefore, I enjoyed a gorgeous dish of Yonezawa Beef for an early dinner at a restaurant called “Yonezawa-gyu-tei Good”. I was extremely satisfied with my 2-day and 1-night trip.


I bought some sweets as gifts at Sato-ya which is a long-established shop with a 190-year history and famous for noshi-ume. This shop developed new products such as sweets made from chocolate and yokan made of leaves of kuro-moji.


[1] 梅の果肉をすりつぶしたものに、砂糖と葛粉か寒天を混ぜる。
[2] とろ火で[1]を煮た後に乾かす。
[3] 竹の皮で挟む。

Noshi-ume is a jelly-like sweet made from the mashed flesh of Japanese apricots.
(Noshi-ume is a famous confection representing the Murayama region in Yamagata Prefecture and Mito City in Ibaraki Prefecture.)

How to Make Noshi-ume
[1] Mash the flesh of Japanese apricots and add sugar and kudzu flour or agar powder.
[2] Simmer [1] and dry it.
[3] Put [2] between bamboo leaves.


I did not have enough time to travel to the Shonai or Mogami Regions. I am sure that there are a lot of places and delicious foods that I do not know yet. I will definitely take a trip to Yamagata again.




Our Taiwan Travel Memory



I have been to Taiwan several times on business, but unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time for sightseeing on my business trips; therefore, I participated in a tour of sightseeing spots with my son during our summer vacation.
In spite of our anxiety about the typhoon in the sea near Taiwan, till just the previous day, we left Japan. Our flight from Kansai International Airport arrived at Taipei Songshan Airport almost on schedule. While we were waiting in line for an immigration check, my son said to me, “Here comes Arashi!” (literally meaning “storm”), so I thought he was talking about the weather and replied to him, “Probably because of the typhoon.” He whispered to me, “No. Look, they are Arashi!” and turned his eyes to the young men who were coming to the end of the line just next to ours. They looked like ordinary young boys, but as I looked closely at them, I recognized them as members of a Japanese boy pop group, Arashi. Their flight from Haneda Airport (Tokyo International Airport) was delayed and theirs and ours arrived almost at the same time, so we luckily could see popular artists up close. We passed the immigration check, picked up our luggage and went out to the arrival lobby. At that moment, my son and I were welcomed by innumerable camera flashes and a great cheer by female fans who covered the lobby. Actually, Arashi, walking just ahead of us, caused this turmoil. We had mixed feelings that we didn’t want to bother them or that we were under the illusion of being popular stars ourselves. The next day, big photos of Arashi in the arrival lobby were in local newspapers. If only we had walked several meters closer to them, we would have also been in the newspapers.


In this tour, everything was just new to me, and I fully enjoyed popular sightseeing spots. Besides the uproar in the airport, we had a very interesting experience during our free time of the tour thanks to one of my working companions. On the second day of the tour, after sightseeing during the daytime, we met him and had dinner. After dinner, he asked us if we would like to have a drive, so we took a taxi to the suburbs for about 30 minutes and went along the winding road up to the hill in the pitch-black darkness, where only lights of the vehicles were seen. I asked him where we were, and he answered we were in the tea plantation area (the Muzha District, Maokong) to drink tea. We went deeper into the mountains, got out of the taxi at the tea house with lights and a signboard, and entered the shop.


There was a counter like a reception in the tea house. We bought tea leaves and some sweets from shelves with tea cans and sweets on the wall, and made tea for ourselves at the place where boiled water and tea sets were equipped. We could choose seats wherever we liked to enjoy the self-made tea. The working companion, who graduated from a university in Taiwan, often came to this tea house since he was a university student; therefore, he seemed accustomed to making tea.


That was not a common tea house but had many tables with hundreds of chairs on the large terrace in the shape of 3 or 4-layer stairs on the huge site. It was already past 10 p.m., but a group of a dozen members who appeared to be students were loudly chatting, a couple were happily pouring tea for each other and many others were enjoying tea in a very good atmosphere. Tea houses like this were dotted in the Muzha District. Tourists rarely visited them, but many local people would relax there. The tea houses were in the mountain where it was cooler by some degrees, so especially at night in the hot season, many people came to the tea houses. Young people sometimes had an argument or chatted until dawn. We were much interested in how to choose tea leaves and tea sets among many variations; how to make tea and how to drink tea. This experience in which we came in touch with a part of Taiwanese life was left most vividly in our minds. These tea houses are introduced in travel guidebooks, however, not so many tourists went all the way to the tea plantation area, but they go to the tea houses in the downtown area. Therefore, I always recommend the tea houses in the Muzha District to those who plan to go to Taipei.




Koya-san: Temples in the Clouds


On a massive elevated superhighway, we scream past the city of Osaka at a height that gives the sensation of low altitude flying. The grey skies mirror the concrete sprawl below. We’d hoped for a sunny day to visit the mountain temples of Koya-san in Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture but it wasn’t to be. Our distance above the city hides the intricate details of Osaka, a place where, if you know where to look, you can find everything.

The occasional urban rice paddy lies between the housing blocks like a piece of the past someone forgot to clean up. Rivers very slowly flow between neat concrete river banks lest they step out of line and try to overflow. With the mass of humanity that is Japan, everything must be kept in order.

After paying tolls at an off-ramp, we exchange the highway for tiny lanes through residential areas until we find the right turnoff to Koya-san. The streets are narrow, so narrow in fact that as our car passes, I must only be a couple of metres from the people inside having lunch or watching TV. I can’t see anyone. Japan was once an insular nation and although it may have opened to the world, the Japanese live much of their lives behind closed doors. The shutters are always shut, the curtains are always drawn.

Soon the houses get larger, the roads smaller and the rice and vege fields more common -the spotless, gleaming fast food joints and convenience stores less frequent. Compared to the city behind us, the mountains rising ahead are dark and empty. Suddenly we are in forests of very old cedar and big bamboo with real streams free to take their own course. Once upon a time companies of Ninja hid and trained here.

The narrow, winding road to mountaintop Koya-san is busy but everyone’s coming down at the end of a public holiday. By the time we arrive in the late afternoon, the place is nearly empty. The Daimon gate guards the entrance to Koya-san township, a village with only one main street. The massive gate has been rebuilt several times, and the present edifice was completed in 1705. Hokyo Uncho, guardian deities on either side, protect the area beyond. In the tiny smoky tourist office next to it we pay for our accommodation for the night. Most visitors to Koya-san stay in one of the 53 temples which offer shukubo, traditional lodgings for pilgrims or travellers.

Koya-san is described as an ‘alpine basin’, a thousand metres above sea level and surrounded by eight holy peaks. Like the petals of a lotus flower, the village and temples are in the centre, and it is one of Japan’s most sacred places.

The Buddhist master Kukai (known as Kobo Daishi after his death) founded the Shingon school of Buddhism here after travelling to China in 803 to receive the teachings from masters in present day Xian. Shingon is more closely related to Tibetan Buddhism than to the better known, ego-snapping Zen most often associated with Japan. Under the exceptional guidance and influence of Kukai, the region flourished, and at one time there were 1500 monasteries, but today there are still an impressive 117. Over the centuries the peace of the mountains has been frequently broken by the usual overthrows and upheavals; however, Koya-san is still a very active centre for Buddhist study and is far from being just a tourist attraction, something that could be said of the more famous, urban based temples of Kyoto.

Up a steep driveway we arrive at our lodgings for the night, the temple of Fudo-in, consecrated in 1150. Getting out of the car, two young monks trimming a hedge with an electric prunner stop what they’re doing and address us with deep bows and polite greetings. The obo-san or head monk, a young man in grey robes, comes to show us to our traditional tatami room (room covered with rush mats) with sliding paper screens, low tables, scrolls of elegant calligraphy and a flat screen TV. After we are settled in, the monk tells us we can nominate anyone we wish him to pray for, for a fee which is adjusted according to the frequency and length of the prayers.

Given the fact that I’m staying in a religious institution, I ask the monk if there are any rules guests are expected to follow?
“Rules?” he looks somewhat puzzled by the question, “No, there are no rules here.”
As he stands to leave, he remembers to tell us that dinner will be served at six o’clock, “And would you like beer or Japanese sake with your meal?”

We are then left in peace to sip green tea. The sliding screen closes, his footfalls shuffle away. I look at my friend, something is very odd around us; “What’s that sound?” It is the sound of one hand clapping! Silence! A rarity in Japan, Koya-san must be the quietest place in the country and without realizing it from now on we tend to speak in whispers.

The temple of Okuno-in is Koya-san’s main site. It is reached by a long stone path through a forest of massive cedars hundreds of years old. The walk is actually through a cemetery containing the ashes and bone fragments of hundreds of thousands placed there over a thousand years. Covered in moss among the trees and lost in the undergrowth are acres of stone lantern-shaped monuments and granite memorials like giant chess pieces. Tiny and not so tiny stone Buddhas line the route, some so ancient the trees have begun to grow around them.

Small groups of Shingon pilgrims pass in white robes and round cone shaped straw hats. They are at the end of the 24 kilometre Choishimichi path described by the tourist brochure as ‘the journey and climbing of this path is a true test of faith and a gesture of worship’. On the path, they have counted 180 stone markers set 109 metres apart, and the walkers look tired but content.

Monuments in memory of different groups of the dead are found amidst the general deceased. From one dedicated to aborted babies to another that commemorates the lives lost in World War Two in Borneo; Japanese, local Borneans and Australian troops. Compassion is limited only to the number and variety of sentient beings, and is therefore limitless.

My earlier disappointment at the dismal weather turns out to be a perfect Koya-san day and far more atmospheric than if it had been sunny. Quiet and stillness pervade the trees, mist drifts around the graves and peaks beyond are thick in clouds. The rest of Japan below is blissfully cut off and the frantic city I woke up in that morning has no reality here. I feel disorientated and quite unsure of where I actually am with no static points to give myself a reference. All I can perceive is the place and time I am standing in right now, everything else seems momentarily irrelevant.

The pathway reaches the Toro-do, the Lantern Hall, lit with hundreds of lamps, two of which are said to have been burning continuously for nine hundred years. Behind the Toro-do is Kobo Daishi’s tomb, a small wooden structure covered in moss and reverently set away from the limits visitors can go. No one speaks in more than a hush, and photos are not allowed for the Great Master inside is said to be not dead at all but merely seated in a state of deep perpetual meditation for the last 1172 years. He waits for the coming of Matreiya, the future Buddha. So seriously is this belief held that breakfast and lunch has been offered in front of the tomb daily since his entrance.

Returning along the cemetery path, night is already falling. Japanese avoid the place during the dark hours. They may have created the most modern nation on Earth but old superstitions run deep and with the number of graves, this place must surely be haunted. Mist thickens with the quiet, only crows call in the treetops and somewhere unseen a deep gong tolls.

Early in the evening the monk takes us to another private tatami room where dinner awaits us. Over the centuries the temples of Koya-san developed a unique style of food preparation known as ‘shojun-ryori’. No meat of any kind, no animal products and no garlic or onion; these vegetables are said to hinder the development of meditative states. Trays are laid out with a dozen tiny dishes, none appear to be more than a mouthful but collectively they make a satisfying and non-excessive dinner, subtle and delicate tastes of sesame tofu and tiny wild mushrooms. And despite the auspicious surroundings there is a vending machine stocked with cans of beer in the hall.

Back in the room futons have been mysteriously unrolled and bedding prepared. The TV remains silent. Evenings are early here and mornings are even earlier. At 6am I am following the monk again to Fudo-in’s main temple for morning prayers. While not mandatory, attendance is a rare opportunity to experience the daily workings of a Japanese temple. Inside the dark ninth century temple I kneel on bare tatami. Buddhas shine from within the darkness surrounded by dozens of ritual symbols and objects. The monks chant rhythmic prayers and strike deep metal bowls, sounds that linger long after the syllables are completed. I burn incense and make prayers before returning to my knees. Western joints are not accustomed to such postures for long but the pain and resisting the desire to move are all part of the lesson.

Breakfast is laid out in our room when we return, intricate dishes of I’m not sure what prepared by the obo-san’s wife.
“I studied for two years,” the monk tells me “to get my license and then took over Fudo-in from my father, this temple has been in my family for…” he tries to work out the dates from the Meiji Era when Japan first began to open to the outside, “… a long time!”
I ask him about being married as in most other Buddhist states marriage or any kind of sexual contact is off limits for the ordained.
“Monks like me are lucky these days, and for a long time, we weren’t allowed to have a wife. At Koya-san, until 1872, women were forbidden from even coming here.”

On the drive back to Osaka, we take the back way around the mountain. Just beyond the town, we are the only vehicle on the road for the next few hours, something I wouldn’t have thought possible in Japan where the car is king. Somehow, we get lost and climb back into the hills of dense cedar forest, and soon the road is almost too narrow even for our tiny vehicle. Tree trunks crowd to the road’s edge with barely enough room to squeeze through, the canopies block out the sky, and it’s more like driving through a tunnel.

Oddly the landscape reminds me of Tibet, a land mostly devoid of greenery. In the darkness and quiet there is a primeval air, surprising in ultra-modern Japan. Perhaps it is the presence of holy Buddhist sites? Or perhaps it’s the fact that, like Tibet, Japanese culture was founded on shamanism? Trees, earth and water have a spirit and life force of their own and away from the panic-pace of the cities, the imps and elves still rule. Again, Japan has opened itself to the outside world but what is really Japan lies hidden somewhere, some would say this is the same as the Japanese psyche.

An hour later we are back on the superhighway and heading into Osaka under a hazy orange sun as the city settles down and starts up for the night. The temples of Koya-san I left that morning seemed impossibly distant, the darkness of the forests unreal, and in Okuno-in, Kobo Daishi meditates.










Renovation of Historic Buildings in Tainan



In recent years, the Tainan City government has been working on advocating the revitalization of the regional economy and tourism resources such as incorporating historical buildings with special products and the culture of each region in order to add value to those buildings, which has also brought a house renovation boom to Tainan. The very first department store in southern Taiwan, Hayashi Department Store, is one typical example.

ハヤシ百貨店は日本統治時代の1932年12月5日に開業しました。当時この建物は台南で最も高い5階建てで、五層樓仔(5階建てビルの意味)とも呼ばれ、日本人をはじめ現地の上流層の人々によく利用されていました。この建物には台湾南部で初めて「流れる籠」と呼ばれる商業用エレベーターが設置され人気を集めました。1945年の第二次世界大戦後、ハヤシ百貨店が閉店した後は、台塩実業や塩の密造を取り締まる塩務警察の事務所として使われました。しかし1997年以降は放置され、空きビルになっていました。2009年に市の史跡に指定され、歴史的建築物を生かした台南市の文化首都づくりの一環として再利用が決定し、2010年から台南市政府によって修復されました。高青時尚開発 が運営権を獲得し、「文化創造百貨店」のコンセプトで再びハヤシ百貨として2014年の再オープンが決定されました。

Hayashi Department Store opened on December 5, 1932 during the period of Japanese occupation. At that time, it was the highest five-floor building in Tainan, also called the Five-Stories House, and it was especially popular with Japanese in polite society. Besides, there was a lift called “The Flowing Basket” installed in the building, which was the first commercial lift in southern Taiwan as well. After WWII ended in 1945, Hayashi Department Store was transformed into offices of the Taiwan Salt Factory and the Salt Police. However, since 1997, it was left unused and became a vacant building. Only in 2009 Hayashi Department Store was classified as a Municipal Heritage Site, and then the repair by the Tainan City Government started in 2010. Then the ownership was transferred to the Koche Development Company, and after the renovation was completed, Hayashi Department Store reopened in 2014 as Tainan Cultural Creative Department, becoming a window towards a New Modern Age in Tainan.


The concept of Hayashi Department Store is divided into a different theme for each floor, “Tainan living room”, “Tainan design “, “Tainan good fashion”, “Tainan gourmet”, “Tainan culture” and “Tainan landscape”. In addition, the designer had saved some of the ancient floorboards from the traditional days and had them installed on the second and third floors. Moreover, on the outer wall over the sixth floor from the fifth floor, there were bullet holes from strafe from the time of World War II. On the sixth floor, there were the remains of a shrine called “Suehirosha” left from the period of the Japanese occupation.


According to the Mayor of Tainan city, Lai Ching-Te, more than 1.4 million people a year have visited this department store since it reopened, and it has also attracted a lot of foreign media. The Mayor additionally claimed that Hayashi Department Store has become an important window for local people and international visitors to learn the history and culture of Tainan, as well as a model of activation of the monuments and heritage to each local government. He also said that it is a landmark of the creative industry that received the most remarkable attention in the country in 2014 due to the management consignment to a private company and invited companies that were interested in the Conservation of Culture to join activating historical monuments.


台南市政府為了促進地方經濟及活用觀光資源, 近年來開始將歷史建築與各地方特色, 文化等作結合, 並帶起了一股老房子修復的風潮。台灣南部的首家百貨公司林百貨就是經典代表之一。
林百貨於日治時期1932年12月5日開幕, 在當時是最高的五層樓建築, 因此也被稱為“五層樓仔”(意指五層樓), 主要客層為上流層的日本人。當時的林百貨是南部唯一一間設置了“流籠”(意指電梯)等現代化設備的百貨, 因而大收歡迎。林百貨於1945年的太平洋戰爭結束後歇業, 後來由台灣製鹽總廠與, 鹽務警察共用林百貨作為辦公處。1997年因為鹽稅停徵而長期閒置成為空屋。到了2009年, 林百貨才被列為市定古蹟, 並於2010年基於台南市政府的 “打造台南文化首都”政策進行整體修復。2014年經由政府將經營權轉交給, 並以“文創百貨”為主題再度以林百貨的身份開幕營業。
林百貨的每一個樓層各由“台南好客廳”, “台南好設計”, “台南好時尚”, “台南好美味”, “台南好文化”, “台南好風景”等主題構成。此外,在建築風格上, 二樓及三樓保有了舊時的地板, 從五樓到六樓的外牆上則有二戰時留下的掃射彈孔, 在六樓頂樓則是日治時期留下的“末廣社”神社遺跡。現為台南的觀光新標地之一。據台南市長賴清德所說, 林百貨自從重新開幕以來年間訪客人數高達140萬人, 並廣受海外媒體關注。賴市長認為, 現在林百貨已成為國內外了解台南歷史文化的重要窗口之一, 希望各地方政府將林百貨作為古蹟活化的參考。另外, 藉由將經營權委託給民機機構,林百貨成為2014年最受矚目的象徵性創意產業, 希望對文化資產保存有興趣的企業也能積極參與古蹟活化的事業。




Welcome to Singapore



Singapore is small in size, but extremely rich in culture. We have immigrants from India, China and Europe, who brought their cultures and mixed them together with the Malay natives who were already present. In school and formal occasions, Singaporeans use English, but in their daily lives, Singlish is much more prevalent. As Singlish is a mix of Malay, Tamil, Mandarin, and Chinese dialects, it is usually difficult for foreigners to comprehend.


Due to Singapore’s cultural diversity, we have many different types of food as well. The tastes are similar to our neighboring country Malaysia, with slight differences to suit local taste buds. Rice and noodle cuisines make up half of our local dishes, with chicken rice and chili crab being internationally famous. I hope everyone who visits gets to try these dishes! However, like many Southeast Asian dishes, there are many dishes in Singapore that are spicy. Please do tell the hawker or chef if you are not able to handle spicy food! It is normal to see the hawkers add special chili sauces at the side of the dish; just don’t eat them if you don’t want to.


Singapore is a very interesting place for the Japanese to experience different foreign cultures, as Japan is a more or less homogenous society. One place that I would recommend would be Little India. It has the highest number of Indians living there, and thus there is a great variety of authentic Indian food. Traditional Indian costumes are also sold there. The Chinese version of Little India would be Chinatown, and Kampong Glam would be the Malay version of it. Visiting these places makes one feel like they are in India, China, and Indonesia. You may also enter the Tamil temples and Muslim Mosques, which would definitely be a unique experience for many.


There are also other places to visit other than the three spots mentioned above. If you want to focus on shopping, Orchard Road would be the place to visit. It is a high-end shopping district, with all the different brands offered there. Japanese people would feel a sense of familiarity as there are many Japanese brands such as Takashimaya, Isentan and Kinokuniya. If you are someone with an adventurous spirit, Sentosa has lots to offer! Other than Universal Studios, you may want to visit the Sentosa beach, and try the adventure park nearby. One of the biggest charms of Southeast Asia is being able to enjoy outdoor activities under the sun.











The Travel in Penang, Malaysia



Hi! My name is Tonari no Wang. Last summer, I teamed up with my international friends from Poland, Vietnam, Taiwan, China and Japan to travel to Penang, Malaysia. Through this 3-day/2-night trip, I am going to introduce you to some places to visit in Penang and some Malaysian culture.


Penang is an island located at the northern part of Malaysia. It only takes an hour if you fly from Kuala Lumpur. Even though it is possible to travel by train to Penang, with the time and effort spent on it, it would be better to just take the budget flights of Air Asia which are sometimes cheaper than the train.


午後4時頃にペナン到着。ペナンの繁華街までバスかタクシーで行くことができます。その時、私達はUber(アメリカ発の配車サービスアプリ)を利用してタクシーで移動しましたが、現地の人によると、今はGrabcar (マレーシアやシンガポール発の配車サービスアプリ)の方がもっと便利だそうです。ところで、今回の宿泊先はキンバリー通りにあるゲストハウスです。屋台が多く、有名なストリートアートも徒歩圏内にあります。この日、私達のほとんどは夕食後もまだまだ元気でしたので、日本では公開していない映画のレイトショーを見るため近くのデパートに行きました。マレーシアで上映している映画は映画管理委員会に検閲され、例えばキスシーンのようなシーンはカットされるのですが、料金は日本の4分の1なので、映画の1、2秒カットされても気にしてない方にはぜひマレーシアで映画をみてください。

Day 1: Hanging around the guesthouse on Kimberley Street
Our trip in Penang started at 4 p.m. when we reached the airport. You can either take the bus or grab a taxi to the downtown area of Penang. We chose Uber (the taxi allocation service app. originated in the USA) at that time but “Grab Car” (the taxi allocation service app. originated in Malaysia and Singapore) is more convenient now according to the locals. Our guesthouse was located at Kimberley Street. There are a lot of “hawker” stalls around and the famous mural was just a few blocks away. Most of us were quite energetic after dinner on this day so we decided to walk to the nearest cinema to watch the late-night show. Some scenes, especially the kissing scenes, were censored by the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia so it is better to watch it in your home country if you think the missing 1-or-2-second scenes are really important to you! Well, I guess most of you would not mind those details especially when the ticket price is as low as USD $2.50.

この多国籍軍団の中に実は初対面のメンバーもいます。ある旅行の主催者が友人を誘い、その友人は主催者が知らない人を連れて行くというのは、留学生あるあるの話です 。このパークを通して、一緒に汗を流した人とは心の壁を壊し、仲良くなれるということも検証できました。ジップラインのようなアトラクションは日本にも体験できるかもしれないのですが、熱帯雨林に囲まれる環境ではまた別な体験にもなると信じています。

Day 2: Escape Park (the adventure park)
Since it is quite often for the international students around me to invite their own friends to a trip hosted by another person, there are always people who meet each other for the first time on the trip. To overcome the awkwardness in this group, we “flew” around with the help of the zip line, overcame different obstacles and proved the saying “sports make friends” right with the help of this adventurous theme park. This was a special experience in the rain forests, which we didn’t have in similar parks in Japan.

「ここから遠いのよ!バスとか乗った方がいいよー!」 ゲストハウスからチュージェッティーまで徒歩12分しかない距離なのに、地元のおばさんに歩かないほうがいいアドバイスをもらいました。車で移動するのが基本のマレーシア人にとっては、5分以上歩くと遠いという認識のようです。話を戻して、チュージェッティーは周という苗字の移民が、19世紀より集まって住んでいる木造の水上集落です。周以外にも他の苗字で集まっている集落もあります。チュージェッティーの一部は観光地化されているのですが、このペナンの中国人の遺産はまだ漁村として一般の人が暮らしていて、それを味わうこともできるでしょう。近くには多くのカフェやペナンのもう一つの観光スポットのストリートアートもあり、インスタ映えができる場所が多くあります。 壁で何枚か集合写真を撮り、インスタグラムにアップして私達のペナン旅行は終わりとなりました。その夜、飛行機でクアラルンプールに戻らなければいけなかったので、ブルーマンションなどより歴史的な場所には行けなかったのはちょっと残念でした。しかし、限られている時間と場所で良い思い出ができたのは何よりでした。

Day 3: Chew Jetty and the famous wall paintings
“It’s far from here. It might be better to take the bus!” This is the advice that I received from a Penangite (Penang locals) when I was asking her for directions to the Chew Jetty which actually took us only 12 minutes to reach. I guess any walking distance more than 5 minutes would be considered far for a Malaysian. Chew Jetty, a settlement of wooden houses built on stilts, are houses for migrants from China and have had the family name “Chew” since the 19th century. There are some other settlements where migrants with the other same family name have lived. Parts of the Chew Jetty were commercialized to attract more tourists, but you can still feel the fisherman’s village in this Penang’s Chinese heritage. You can easily find great spots on your Instagram including many cafes and several wall paintings, which are also famous in Penang. After taking several group photos with the murals, we wrapped up our Penang trip by posting them on Instagram. That night, we were to fly back to Kuala Lumpur, so unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit another historical sight, the Blue Manision. Anyway, we had a great time even with the limited time and the few places we visited.



由于我们是在下午4点左右才抵达槟城而且也没有打算把行程排得很满所以第一天只打算在宿舍附近逛一逛就好。一到槟城,我们用了Uber叫了台车去旅馆。据当地人说,现在在槟城用马来西亚的叫车软件Grab会比较容易叫到车。这一次的住宿选择了一家位于金伯利街(Kimberley Street),步行10分钟左右就可到达槟城著名的壁画和旅游景点的青年旅馆。旅馆附近晚上会有很多小档口卖着各种槟城美食所以住在这一区就不需要烦要去哪里解决晚餐了。


第二天的行程:在Escape Park消耗热量
在日本,每当我们这群留学生举办些活动时,朋友们都会邀主办人不认识的朋友来参加。这一次的旅行也不例外。为了减少在槟城初次见面的人的距离,我们就去了一个叫Escape Park的户外冒险游乐园。我们用滑索探索了槟城的小热带雨林、也通过Monkey Business彻底考验了我们的平衡力。在这里,大部分的活动都需要大量体力,所以当我们这群运动不足的学生在荡秋千休息的时候,“贴心”的工作人员开始用椰水引诱我们挑战各种马来西亚传统游戏,最后还为了椰子爬了椰树呢!


槟城还有其它有趣的地方(The Blue Mansion 等)可以参观但由于时间上的关系也只能作罢。我们的槟城之旅就在狂拍团体照中画上句号。

Into the Taiga, a Journey in Siberia’s Heart


Siberia, the heart of the Great Russian Wilderness, is a place where one can travel through thousands upon thousands of miles of forest broken only by rivers and lakes. The Taiga forests, known to the locals as Taiga-a-a-a, they lengthen the word as if to emphasize the endlessness of the landscape. For Russians who remember the days of the Cold War and the reign of Stalin, Siberia was the stuff of nightmares, of gulags and wretched cold. Siberia was where you were sent to slave labor camps until you were worked to death, and for most, it was a sentence of just a few weeks. Even today the word is whispered, as if saying the name of the place aloud will bring its curse down upon you.

This is where I chose to spend the summer of 2016. Years before someone had told me of breeds of horses that live there in winters of minus 50 degrees or even colder, surviving by entering into a state of semi-hibernation to conserve their energy. Here there were reindeer herders who called the empty wasteland their home. There were also tribes who still worshiped the God of Fire, the God of the Hunt, tribes with names like Nenet, Yakut and Evenki. My plan was to rent or buy one of these legendary horses and ride alone into the Taiga. And despite having already made long solo horseback journeys in Mongolia, Tibet and Afghanistan, the thought of Siberia terrified me. In the other places I had ridden, I had always found people, possibly days apart, but always someone and somewhere, willing to take me in and provide me with food and shelter. In the Taiga there would be no one. However, two simple statistics drew me; its total land area was 3,083,523 square kilometers, almost the size of India, yet its population was a mere 950,000.

I flew into Yakutsk, the capital of the Yakutia, also known as the Republic of Sakha. For a few days I explored the pleasant little city with its mammoth exhibits and diamond museums, before heading north on a non-stop twenty-eight-hour drive to the village of Tomtor in the heart of the Taiga. In contrast to modern Yakutsk, Tomtor was a ramshackle dot on the map with wide mud streets and wonky houses. Here I slept only one exhausted night before taking a truck ride out of town along the Road of Bones, so named because the forced labour that built it were buried beneath their own handiwork when they expired, to where a horse was waiting for me.

“Katchula!” the man said and pointed to the white horse tethered to a post, “His name is Katchula, it means ‘money’ in Yakut language.” The man, a member of the ethnic Yakut minority who had migrated from regions around Mongolia a thousand years before, had Oriental features and spoke his own dialect. We settled on a price per day to rent Katchula and he lent me a saddle and bridle. I loaded my saddlebags onto the horse and climbed onto the animal’s back.
“Be careful of bears!” the man called after me as I headed back down the road and onto a muddy track that led straight into the Taiga.

Despite the cloudy and sunless sky, I soon realized I had a shadow. A white Yakut dog with a curled-up tail had followed me from the farm where I’d met Katchula. Along the road I’d tried several times to send him back home knowing that I hadn’t bought dog food to support him, but he kept coming. And as we entered the Taiga and the landscape’s vast emptiness had started to hit me, my attempts to send him away became weaker and weaker. That night, my first camp in the Siberian wilderness, I made a fire from dry larch wood and cooked rice in which I mixed in a tin of meat. I shared half my meal with the dog and our little expedition team of three was settled. Later I would find out the dog’s name was ‘Dogor’, a Yakut word meaning ‘Friend’, so now I had Money and a Friend, what else could I need?

Three mornings later that question would be answered in dramatic fashion; a shot gun! After a breakfast of hot tea, I saddled Katchula and started loading the saddlebags onto his back when a commotion broke out in the forest just above my camp. Dogor lit up with a frenzied barking, something was chasing him through the undergrowth growling, grunting and puffing; a bear! The two foes burst from the scrub with Dogor just inches ahead of the magnificent brown bear’s jaws. The bear, suddenly spooked in the open without cover, turned and fled back into the safety of the trees with brave Dogor snapping angrily at his heels.

I stood with shaking knees next to Katchula as he snorted with fear while Dogor and the Taiga’s largest and most feared predator sparred back and forth in the forest. I tried calling Dogor away but he had been trained as a hunting dog and in his mind was just doing his job - he was also probably wondering why no one was rushing to back him up with some serious firepower. After several minutes of combat without a clear winner, the bear seemed to give up and wandered off into the forest, still with Dogor yapping after him. I climbed, on wobbly legs, into the saddle and headed off in the opposite direction.

That day, which had begun with a bear in my camp, ended in the company of new friends, with good food in the safety of a warm log cabin. I reached Lake Lybunkur which stretches from north to south between two mountain ranges about eighty kilometres south of Tomtor village. The cabin, owned by a Yakut semi-hermit called Ruslan, was actually a rustic hunting and fishing lodge. His guests were a couple from Yakutsk, Alex and Sakhayana, who had flown in by helicopter a few days before to go fishing and duck shooting. The lodge was equipped with a wood-fired bathhouse and sauna, solar panels for electricity and, amazingly for such a remote location, wifi!

I spent three days at the cabin waiting for a storm to pass, eating, sleeping and enjoying simple conversations with my hosts. Ruslan was a true mountain man, he would spend ten months a year at the cabin where he supported himself with fish from the lake, game from the forest and bread from his own stove. Rifles hung on every wall of the cabin and traps were stacked in a corner waiting for winter when the region’s oldest profession, the fur trade, would begin again.

When I told the others of my bear encounter they warned me that further to the south, where I was heading, there were even more of the feared beasts. Ruslan told me that earlier in the year he had seen thirteen in a single day. I was worried about going on, not only about the bears but the fact that Ruslan’s cabin was the last human settlement for hundreds of miles. There were no towns anywhere else in the region, no camps, no roads, not even any proper trails, just the silence and solitude of the Taiga. I realized how vulnerable I was and how much I was at the mercy of the landscape. I had no satellite phone, no emergency beacon, no GPS, and no gun. If something went wrong no one would ever know. ‘In the Taiga’, as the locals say, ‘there are no witnesses’.

On the third morning the storm had passed. Ruslan restocked my supplies of rice, flour and sugar and I loaded Katchula ready to go. I knew if I stayed any longer I would lose my nerve and never leave the comfort and safety of the cabin. Ruslan told me that if I travelled south and then crossed the mountains to the east I would find the valley of the Khalkan River, here he told me, though I could tell he wasn’t completely sure, I would find camps of tipi dwelling Evenki reindeer herders. These mysterious tribes still lead a nomadic lifestyle with their reindeer supplying them with everything they need to survive in one of the harshest environments on the planet.

Handshakes from Ruslan and Alex and hugs from Sakhayana were my farewell. Riding off into the forest around the lake shore, I looked back to see my friends waving, they were the last people I would see for nearly three weeks.

The way ahead was even more rugged than that I had already passed through. Due to the permafrost, a meter or so below the ground, snowmelt and rainfall has little chance to drain away, and the result is a waterlogged landscape of bogs and swamps, inches thick layers of slippery mosses, fallen trees and thick scrub. Progress was slow and the terrain mostly too rough to ride on, so for days on end we picked our way through the shambles a few meters at a time.

A few days after leaving the cabin it started snowing heavily and didn’t let up for 48 hours. This added knee deep powder snow on top of the already soggy ground. So exhausting was the slog through this cold, wet nightmare that I was reduced to forcing myself to take 50 steps at a time counting each one, and then rest for 25 breaths before taking 50 more, but by this method we inched our way across Siberia.

The snowfall marked the end of the short Siberian summer and the beginning of the great cold that would soon blanket the land. Almost overnight the green needles on the larch trees turned to a stunning golden, beautiful to see but difficult to enjoy as the temperature dropped each day. Nights were painful; tormented by the cold, I would sleep in everything I had to wear with Dogor curled next to me and I’d still freeze. In the morning my boots, wet from the previous day, would be frozen solid, I would have to light a fire to thaw them out.

We finally made it into the valley of the Kalkhan River. Standing on top of a ridge, I scanned the vastness below desperately hoping to spot an Evenki camp, looking for the movement of a reindeer herd or rising smoke from cooking fires. But there was nothing. And even without visual confirmation, there was a strong sense of the absence of human life anywhere in the valley. I could just feel that there wasn’t a soul to be found, that apart from Dogor and Katchula, I was completely alone.

And yet the valley wasn’t empty. We twice more encountered bears, but thankfully these wanted nothing to do with our little caravan and fled into the forest leaving me with only a glimpse. I saw herds of wild reindeer, a young moose wandered past my camp one morning, I found wolf tracks in the snow, ducks and geese inhabited the many lakes we passed and turkeys and other game birds would burst from the undergrowth throughout the day. But there were no people, not even any sign that anyone had ever come this way, no tracks, no old camp sites, no garbage. Nothing.

Without finding the Evenki I was faced with another problem; I was almost out of food. My supply of rice and flour steadily dwindled and the chocolate bars I had brought in case of emergency were soon just a regular part of the menu. Often in the afternoon I would hit the wall, completely drained of energy, and I would find myself in a state of not even being able to take another step or climb onto Katchula’s back. The squashed and mangled bar of chocolate in the bottom of my bag was literally a life saver, giving me the strength to get through the rest of the day.

One evening we camped next to a small lake as the darkness of another freezing night fell. I made a fire and boiled water for tea with Dogor beside me waiting expectantly for his only meal of the day, half of my rice ration.
“I’m sorry boy, it’s all gone.” I told him. He kept sniffing my cup but finding nothing gave up and crawled into the tent. For the next four days we lived on throat lozenges raided from my medical kit and blue berries that grew in carpets on the hillsides. Dogor was so hungry that even he ate them, although at times he was able to catch small rodents which he would dig from the ground and swallow whole with a crunch.

Finally, one beautiful morning, we crossed the hills above Lybunkur Lake and the red tin roof of Ruslan’s cabin came into view. An hour later Dogor was wolfing a bowl of fatty reindeer meat and I was doing the same to a plate of pasta. We’d made it back to safety, warmth, good food and friendly company. After resting a few days, I said goodbye to Ruslan once more and we rode back to Tomtor to complete a journey of five weeks and 450 kilometers.

Saying goodbye to Katchula and Dogor was heartbreaking. They had both become friends, bravely enduring the hardships and never letting me down, and together we had made it through the toughest time of my life. Saying farewell to the Taiga was easier; I had found a beautiful but cruel environment, unspoilt but unforgiving, stunning in its vastness, silent and majestic but uncaring of those that wandered into it. The Taiga is nature at its rawest and indifferent, anything living that enters it or is born there, man or beast, is subject to the same laws and rules, whether one survives or not is not the Taiga’s concern.










Memories of the Trip to Sado Island



For 2 months, in January and March of 2016, I worked at a hospital surrounded by mountains in Niigata Prefecture (the northern part of Japan). My coworker and I went on a 1-night, 2-day trip to Sado Island in our spare time. The main purpose for the trip was to visit the famous Sado Gold Mine.


The Sado Gold Mine has been on Japan’s Tentative List of World Heritage Sites and it is one of the most famous sightseeing sites on Sado Island. The reserves of gold in Sado were said to be already known around the 11th century, yet the production of a large amount gold at this gold mine was begun by the leadership of the Edo shogunate (1603-1867) at the beginning of the 17th century. As much as 400 kg of gold was produced a year during the Edo period, and in the Meiji period, the gold mine was sold off to a private company and was mined until 1989 when it was closed because of a depletion of reserves. 300 m of mining tunnel out of a total of more than 400 km is open for sightseeing.


There are 2 courses of the mining tunnel, Sodayuu-ko(宗太夫坑)and Doyu-ko (道遊坑). Sodayuu-ko was a hand-dug tunnel in the Edo period, and it still has the profound atmosphere of those days. The digging site was reproduced with replica mechanical miners. As many students in Niigata Prefecture visit the Sado Gold Mine on school excursions, when speaking of Sado, they remember these miners. On the other hand, digging at Doyu-ko was begun in 1899 (Meiji 32nd yr) and was mined for gold until 1989 (Heisei 1st yr). Modernized equipment is now exhibited there.


After looking around the mining tunnels, we saw ‘Doyu-no-warito’ close up, which was the digging site of Roto-bori at the beginning of the Edo period. Seen from a distance, ‘Doyu-no-warito’ has a big crevice as if it was cut sharply in two, and some parts are connected to Doyu-ko. These connecting holes can also be seen from Doyu-ko. In the spring of 2017, the Mumyo-iko course was newly opened, which is an expedition through a dark mining tunnel only with a light in hand. This is an experience course in which people can realize their childhood dreams of cave exploration and allow explorers to experience a more efficiently real mining atmosphere at that time.


Moreover, near the Sado Gold Mine, there is the Kitazawa area where the facilities for refining gold from ore are located. Those facilities are now abandoned and this area is now striking ruins that remind us of Gunkan-jima (Battleship Island in Nagasaki Prefecture).


During this trip, besides the gold mining areas, we visited Shukunegi Village which became famous through a commercial film of one of Japan’s best-known actresses. We also visited Toki Forest Park where Toki (crested ibises) are raised and bred. Toki was registered as a special Japanese natural treasure and is an internationally protected bird. We saw Toki close up and were deeply moved by the valuable experience.


We fully enjoyed wonderful fresh seafood in Sado, especially Yari-ika (a spear squid) in the best season. There were also other local specialties such as Sake (Japanese rice wine) and Sado-wagyu (Japanese beef produced in Sado). Sado Island is also famous for many hot springs. This time, we stayed at an inn with a hot spring near Ryotsu Port and took an open-air bath looking at Kamo Lake and slowly unwound from our weariness.


As described earlier, Sado has many wonderful tourist spots to visit; on the other hand, this remote island had long been a famous place of banishment. Various noblemen and people of culture were deported to this island such as Retired Emperor Juntoku, High Priest Nichiren and Zeami (a Noh player and writer). Some historic sites in connection with those exiles still exist: Mano-no-misasagi is the cremation mound of Retired Emperor Juntoku, and Kompon Temple is deeply associated with the Priest Nichiren. The culture which those exiles introduced from Kyoto into Sado has uniquely developed. Various traditional performances including Noh and Sado-okesa (a folk song originated in Sado) are still deeply rooted in the region.


We visited Sado in the winter, so unfortunately, we had no chance to appreciate a traditional performance. We didn’t have enough time to see Hajiki-zaki Lighthouse and Oonogame (a 167m rock sticking out from the sea) though we had really wanted to see them. There are many other things left for us to do. We would like to visit Sado again in the near future.






Trips and Sightseeing

 Trips and Sightseeing
Into the Taiga, a Journey in Siberia’s Heart
By Ian D. Robinson
Across Mongolia Alone by Horse
By Ian D. Robinson
Mongolia’s Naadam, a Horses’ Biggest Day!
By Ian D. Robinson
The Eagle Huntress of the Altai
By Ian D. Robinson
Koya-san: Temples in the Clouds
By Ian D. Robinson
Mt. Daisen: Climbing with the Gods
By Ian D. Robinson
Our Taiwan Travel Memory
By Michael H.
Memories from my Tour to Three Countries of Northern Europe
By Michael H.
Fushimi Inari Taisha and the Japanese Perspective on Religion
By Yukiko Hayashi
Memories of a Trip to Sado Island
By Takamasa Hiraki
The Excursion to Yamagata
by Takamasa Hiraki
Welcome to Singapore
By Shirley Goh
Renovation of Historic Building in Tainan
By Emily W.
The Travel in Penang, Malaysia
By Xiao Wang
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