Category Archives: Japan

Tokyo Tower

The Tokyo Tower, built 1958, is ever since a symbol of Tokyo. Used as a broadcasting tower for radio and TV, it was now replaced (not sure if completely replaced or if it's still sending signals) by the Tokyo Sky Tree, with almost double the height of the Tokyo Tower.

Well, even if I don't climb up the Tokyo Tower that often anymore, I still like the view of it. A few days ago, I went to Roppongi Hills with a friend, where from the top of the Mori Tower you have quite a nice view of the Tokyo Tower. We even had a full moon that night!

20130920-IMG_1010

View of Tokyo from the Mori Tower.

20130920-IMG_1034

Same view a few minutes later. You can even see Mount Fuji on the left.

20130920-IMG_1059

Thats the new Tokyo Sky Tree, which I also like. Went up there last year, a few months after it was built, but it was still very crowded then. Maybe I'll go there again next year.

20130920-IMG_1060

The Tokyo Tower!

20130920-IMG_1069
20130920-IMG_1076
20130920-IMG_1125

This is the Zōjō-ji temple in front of the Tokyo Tower. I was there a bit too late, usually, it's lighten up in the evening.

Tsukiji Fish Market

The Tsukiji Fish Market is Japans biggest fish market and every tourist guide of Tokyo has at least one page mentioning it. Also, before the market starts, there is the tuna-auctioning, where big fat frozen tunas are auctioned to other stores, restaurants and all the shops in the fish market.

I went to the market before, but hadn't seen the auctioning yet, which is limited to 120 people per day (but is for free).
Since trains stop in Tokyo between 1 and 4 a.m., a friend and I went after some eating and drinking for a long walk down to the fish market (we could've stayed in some place near the fish market too, there are a lot of places in Tokyo to spend the night). Arriving around 2:30, the guard told us that we should come back around 3:30 to get into the auctioning. After some waiting at the river nearby, we went back at 3:20 to see already some tourists lining up.
Well, more tourists came, at 4 we were let inside, waited another hour and at 5:20, the first group of 60 people were let in to see the lined up tuna and some auctioning. I think, the small tunas were around 300kg and the big ones... well, no idea, but probably double or triple the weight. And prices start at 1500 Yen per kilo, and I have no idea how much they go up with the quality.

After the auctioning, we walked around the shops outside the main market hall, since tourists are allowed in there from 9 a.m.
Sleep derived, we ate some fishy breakfast, waited another hour and went into the main hall, where we were mostly trying to survive the small vehicles driving around everywhere.
Well, if you want to see a lot of fish, maybe even eat or buy some, this is a place worth to go. And if not, it's still a interesting place I would always return to.

20130912-IMG_0510
20130912-IMG_0533 copy

Tuna auctioning. This was before the auction, when the buyers walked around inspecting the fish.

20130912-IMG_0540
20130912-IMG_0551
20130912-IMG_0584

You can see here, that the tail is cut of and a part of the flesh is almost cut of. Thats the part where buyers look at the flesh to determine the quality of the fish. I have no idea though how exactly they do it.

20130912-IMG_0590

These vehicles transport all the goods around the market - and there are a lot of them. You have to watch out, because they don't slow down for you. As a tourist here, you are observing a busy work-place, so you should try your best not to disturb the sale.

20130912-IMG_0598 copy

A temple beside the market, where buyers/sellers come to pray, a guide-book said. On the right, you see Katsuobushi, which are bonito flakes, made from dried bonito fish.

20130912-IMG_0603

These are the dried bonito fish the Katsuobushi are shaved from.

20130912-IMG_0607

In the outer market, a lot of Tamagoyaki where made. Tourists can also enjoy the still warm, freshly made egg-rolls.

20130912-IMG_0611

Sold Tuna.

20130912-IMG_0612

Wasabi. I bet a lot of you didn't know what it looks like.

20130912-IMG_0615

In the outer market, there are also a lot of (sushi-)restaurants. A cook enjoying breakfast behind the shop.

20130912-IMG_0621 copy

Cooking.

20130912-IMG_0626

Oh, my breakfast. Kaisendon, which is a rice bowl with various raw fish on top.

20130912-IMG_0634

Inside the main market hall.

20130912-IMG_0637 copy
20130912-IMG_0638 copy
20130912-IMG_0643 copy
20130912-IMG_0650
20130912-IMG_0652 copy
20130912-IMG_0656
20130912-IMG_0662
20130912-IMG_0668 copy
20130912-IMG_0674
20130912-IMG_0675 copy
20130912-IMG_0683 copy
20130912-IMG_0686

This guy is cutting frozen fish (probably tuna) with an electric saw. You see these saws everywhere here, because the small shops buy the frozen tuna in the auctioning and cut those in smaller pieces for selling.

20130912-IMG_0687 copy

Climbing Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is Japans highest mountain. And since I've never been there yet, I thought I might try hiking it. Well, the main climbing season is through July to August, when the weather is mostly good. In this time though, there are a lot of people and the whole mountain seems to be crowded. September seems to be a good month, since the weather is still okay, and there are less people on the mountain. So - looking at the weather forecast, I decided to go there three days ago.

Right, there are 4 different routes. I took the easiest (not the shortest, but the one with most people and huts on the way) and decided to climb during the night, so I'd arrive at the top in the morning.
I took a bus from Shinjuku to the 5th station (halfway up the mountain, there are about 9 stations to the top). The bus was empty except one Japanese guy and two girls from America and Australia. I talked with the girls and we decided to climb the mountain together. We got to the 5th station around 10 p.m., and started walking with our headlights on.

First, it was really easy, but it got quite steep sooner than expected. And then it got foggy. And cold. Really cold.
All guides said that climbing this route took an average of 6 hours and thats exactly what it took for us to get up there. Physically, it was okay, but since we didn't sleep over in a mountain hut, so without adjusting to the thin air, I did notice the lack of oxygen and the last part was really tough on me. In addition, I did underestimate how cold it gets with all the wind, fog and rain. I was freezing when we arrived at the top, lining up to get into a warm hut where we just had time to get something warm to eat. The sun was coming up, and we took some pictures, but since we where all freezing like hell, we were just eager to get back into that warm hut.
As the sun came up, it was all foggy and rainy again, so the view was... well, non-existing. But I coincidently met a friend from Hamburg up there who decided to climb Mount Fuji on the same day.

Well, wet, freezing, surrounded by whiteness, we decided to climb down. The route down was different from the one we came up, and it took about 3-4 hours to get back down.
Yeah. At this point, I just wanted to crawl into bed. Well, arriving at the 5th station, we got some breakfast and jumped into the first bus back.

This was a bit fun, I can proudly say that I've been on Mount Fuji now and it was awesome to be standing above the clouds, which I've never done before.
Sad part is, I didn't see the mountain at all (I came in the dark and next day was just foggy) and the weather up there wasn't that nice (nothing to see, plus I was freezing so bad I wasn't really in the mood to try to get any pictures at all). There is a walk around the crater up there, which I also didn't do because of the weather.

Well, maybe I'll try it again. Definitely not that soon, but maybe somewhere in the future.

20130910-IMG_0380

The Yoshida Trail is the one we took. It was sometimes a bit difficult to find the right way in the dark.

20130911-IMG_0413 copy
20130911-IMG_0420
20130911-IMG_0421

A mountain hut around the 7th station.

20130911-IMG_0422

The menu. Some warm foods and drinks. Getting higher, the prices went up too.

20130911-IMG_0431

Around the 8th station, where we arrived around 2-3 a.m., all the people who climbed halfway up in the day and stayed in the huts were starting their last part of the climb.

20130911-IMG_0432

It got crowded suddenly and we were only able to walk very slow. Which was good for me though, because I was feeling the lack of oxygen.

20130911-IMG_0438

A few minutes before sunrise, when the sky was still clear.

20130911-IMG_0443

This was awesome, standing here with the clouds beneath you. Still, I just took some quick pictures and ran back into the hut, since I was freezing really bad.

20130911-IMG_0444
20130911-IMG_0449

The 'restaurant' up there.

20130911-IMG_0456

Aaaaand sunrise! Yes, everything went white and it stayed that way.

20130911-IMG_0468
20130911-IMG_0477

The path downwards was just a zig-zag course, which was quite fast, but also no fun at all.

20130911-IMG_0481
20130911-IMG_0492

After hours of descending, vegetation again!

20130911-IMG_0498
20130911-IMG_0504

Places I went lately – Japan

Hi. Maybe you've just seen my blog post about New Zealand. Japan was right after that. In fact, I was going to Japan (as I do almost every year) and booked the flight with a stop-over in New Zealand to visit a friend.

So this was also last year, end of September and a bit of October. This time, I was in Tokyo all the time and didn't go anywhere far away. I met a lot of friends, ate a lot and didn't take that many pictures - still, I've got some I'll post here.

20120924-IMG_5875 copy

A temple near where my mother lives.

20120924-IMG_5895 copy

Same temple including a grave-yard.

20120926-IMG_5977 copy

I think the left one is at the Meiji temple in Harajuku. Right picture I took in some park.

20120928-IMG_6065

This is part of the Sensoji. Big temple in Asakusa with a lot of tourists.

20120928-IMG_6053

Omikuji at the Sensoji temple. You draw a random one and it tells you your fortune.

20120928-IMG_6066 copy

Sensoji temple vs. Tokyu Plaza in Harajuku.

20120929-IMG_6093

Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower as seen from Odaiba.

20120929-IMG_6099

I think this is the Fuji TV-Station in Odaiba. Mainly, I just like the picture.

20121001-IMG_6116 copy

Tokyo Sky Tree. Open since May 2012 and replacing the Tokyo Tower as a broadcasting tower (I think). 634m high, has a whole shopping mall at the bottom and a lot of people wanting to get to the top. And the view from up there.

20121001-IMG_6162

People looking down.

20121001-IMG_6254

Again in Asakusa, this time in the evening. I like Asakusa in summer-evenings, when there are mostly only a few local people strolling around. Near the Sensoji is a street with a lot of small, traditional japanese Izakayas (pubs) where you can enjoy beer and food!

20121001-IMG_6264

An after-work stroll at the temple.

20121001-IMG_6266 copy

Yeah, still here.

20121001-IMG_6274 copy

And again. Sensoji. From here, you have also a quite good view on the Tokyo Sky Tree. But then, you can probably see the Sky Tree from anywhere in central Tokyo.

20121003-IMG_6319

Somewhere... I think this was in the Imperial Garden or somewhere around Tokyo Station.

20121009-IMG_6385

コロッケ! Japanese croquettes. They are sold in convenience stores and sometimes on the street as snacks. Yummy.

20121009-IMG_6391

This is the Buddha statue in Kamakura, a bit south of Tokyo.

20121009-IMG_6400 copy

Again. With my sister.

20121009-IMG_6419

Three different kinds of Soba! (buckwheat noodles)

20121009-IMG_6424

せんべい (Senbei), japanese rice crackers.

20121009-IMG_6466

Bamboo.

20121009-IMG_6467

Statues.

20121009-IMG_6476

Cute statues. This is all still in Kamakura, as the following pictures (until said otherwise). There are a lot of temples and shrines in Kamakura, plus Enoshima (small island connected with a bridge, a lot of visitors and nice for a day-trip) is nearby.

20121009-IMG_6478
20121009-IMG_6490
20121009-IMG_6531
20121009-IMG_6534
20121009-IMG_6537

Again, 'Korokke'. This time filled with black sesame paste, very tasty.

20121010-IMG_6541

Tokyo Disney Sea, with halloween decorations.

20121010-IMG_6543 copy

Sister.

Aftershocks

Fast 5 Monate ist es nun schon her, dass am 11. März vor der Küste Nordostjapans das große Beben stattfand, mit verheerenden Folgen durch Beben, Tsunami, aber auch dem beschädigtem Atomkraftwerk in Fukushima.
Mittlerweile ist Japan hier nicht mehr in aller Munde, aber die Aufbauarbeiten gehen immer noch voran, die Lage um die Kraftwerke in Fukushima ist weiterhin heikel, und in den japanischen Nachrichten sehe ich immer wieder Meldungen zu Nahrungsmitteln aus den betroffenen Gebieten, in denen höhere Dosen von Radioaktivität gemessen wurden.

In Japan gab es schon immer viele kleine Beben, so dass ein bisschen Schaukeln im Monat normal war. Seit dem großen Beben finden aber täglich Beben statt, in letzter Zeit auch weniger geworden, aber immer noch täglich, und alle paar Tage auch mal ein etwas größeres, mit Magnitude 5~6.
Über Twitter lese ich immer wieder, wie die Leute auf diese reagieren. Für viele scheint es auch schon ein Teil Normalität geworden zu sein, dennoch finde ich es beunruhigend, auch, wenn meine Mutter mir dann berichtet, dass zwischen den ganzen Beben nun auch vermehrt welche sind, die nicht zu den Nachbeben des am 11. März Stattgefundenen gezählt werden, und gerüchteweise wohl auch irgendwann ein starkes Erdbeben in Tokyo erwartet wird.

Direkt nach dem Beben im März, als in Zentraljapan zum Großteil die Telefon- und Funknetze ausfielen, wurde zum Internet gegriffen, Menschen vor Ort haben über Twitter und Facebook berichtet, Bilder gezeigt, Menschen wurden kontaktiert, gefragt, ob es ihnen gut gehe, über Twitter, Blogs, Foren wurde diskutiert, Medien kritisiert, kurzum, eine Informationsflut, wie ich sie bisher nicht wahrgenommen hatte.

Es gab nun Leute, die diese Informationen aufgegriffen, zusammengefasst und weiter veröffentlich haben. Aufgefallen unter diesen Projekten ist das Quakebook, welches Ourmaninabiko aufgestellt hat. In diesem hat er viele Berichte von größtenteils in Japan lebenden Nichtjapanern zum Zeitpunkt des Bebens gesammelt und in Bücherform veröffentlicht.

2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake

Dieses wurde recht früh als E-Book für das Kindle auf Amazon veröffentlicht, wobei die gesamten Einnahmen direkt an das Japanische Rote Kreuz weitergeleitet wurden.
Nun ist es auch endlich in gedruckter Fassung erhältlich, entweder über Amazon, oder auch bei jedem Buchhändler bestellbar.

Falls man also ein paar Euro übrig hat, ich finde, dieses Buch ist lesenswert und in nun gedruckter Form für viele wohl auch praktischer als auf dem Monitor zu lesen.
Einzig ist es für den Japanunkundigen vielleicht zu empfehlen, auf einer Karte nachzuschlagen, von wo aus der jeweilige Bericht geschrieben wurde, denn es sind zum Teil nur die Gebiete angegeben.

Japanischer Kulturtag

In Hamburg findet jedes Jahr das Kirschblütenfest statt. Mit einem großen Feuerwerk über der Außenalster. Dieses Jahr wurde das Feuerwerk auf Grund der jüngst in Japan geschehenden Ereignissen gestrichen, um das Geld lieber in Form von Spenden nach Japan zu schicken.

Stattdessen wurde am 20.5. ein Japanischer Kulturtag in der Japanologie der Universität Hamburg veranstaltet, dessen Studenten auch ein Tōrō nagashi im Japanischen Garten in Planten und Blomen organisierten.
Das Tōrō nagashi ist eine japanische Zeremonie, bei der die Seelen der Verstorbenen ins Jenseits geleitet werden sollen.

Danach fand um der Binnenalster herum eine Lichterkette statt, bei der dazu aufgerufen wurde, ein Licht in Gedenken an Japan anzuzünden.
Es waren recht viele Menschen mit Kerzen um der Alster unterwegs - viel mehr als ich erwartet hatte, was mich erfreute.

Naja, ich war da mit ein paar Freunden und der Kamera unterwegs.  Leider ohne Stativ, also mit hoher ISO und auf wackeligen Beinen.

Zur Flickr-Galerie.

Neulich in Japan…

Ich war neulich in Japan. Wer nun aber Unglückskram erwartet, der braucht nicht großartig weiterlesen. Denn zum Zeit des großen Erdbebens/Tsunamis war ich so weit weg, wie man noch in Japan hätte sein können, nämlich hier:

Ich habe vom Beben selbst nichts gespürt, es wurde natürlich wegen dem Tsunami Panik gemacht und da wir (meine Mutter, Schwester und ich) uns gerade auf einer langen Küstenstraße befanden, schaute ich etwas beunruhigt aufs Meer hinaus.
Letztendlich kam dann irgendwann eine 20cm hohe Tsunamiwelle an, die wir beim Essen im Fernsehen beobachteten.

Ich verfolge seitdem die Nachrichten im TV, Internet und Radio, wir sind zwei Tage darauf wieder nach Tokio geflogen und da mein Vater uns so schnell wie möglich wieder in Deutschland haben wollte, sind meine Schwester und ich tags darauf nach Osaka gefahren und nach einer Nacht dort wieder nach Deutschland geflogen.

Meine Mutter und Großeltern sind noch in Tokio, weitere Verwandten sind noch etwas nördlich, aber denen gehts bisher allen gut.

Aber davon sollte dieser Eintrag nicht handeln, denn Ihr seid ja bestimmt bestens darüber informiert, falls Euch das interessiert.
Dennoch, hier wird sich im Moment sehr auf das Kraftwerk konzentriert, bei dem die Lage schlimm zu sein scheint, aber im Norden Japans herrschen immer noch teilweise katastrophale Zustände, viele Menschen haben ihr Zuhause verloren und wohnen in Notunterkünften, müssen gegen die Kälte kämpfen, teilweise werden jetzt erst Verbindung zu entlegenen Dörfern hergestellt, die Zahl der gefundenen Leichen steigen immer noch täglich und es gibt immer noch täglich mehrere starke Nachbeben.
Will eigentlich nur eben noch drauf aufmerksam machen, weil mir das wichtig ist. Und falls Ihr etwas Kleingeld spenden wollt, es gibt viele Organisationen dafür, Ihr könnt per Überweisung/Bankeinzug oder auch Paypal spenden.

So. Was ich eigentlich wollte.
Ich war letztendlich nur knapp eine Woche dort und habe auch nicht wirklich viel dort gemacht. Bin u.a. das erste Mal in Japan Auto gefahren, auf der linken Straßenseite, was erstaunlich gut ging.
Dann war ich auf Okinawa, einer Insel südlich von Japan, die seit Ende des 19ten Jahrhunderts zu Japan gehört, nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg US-Stützpunkt wurde und seit einigen Jahren wieder zu Japan gehört.

Dort machte ich ein paar Fotos. Unter anderem viel zu viele im Aquarium,  die nur ein paar Fische zeigen, aber die gammeln nun seitdem auf der Platte herum, weswegen ich die hier eben loswerden möchte. Nach dem Erdbeben machte ich so gut wie keine mehr.

Hier die Flickr-Galerie, wo ich zu vielen Fotos noch eine Kleinigkeit druntergeschrieben habe:
Flickr-Galerie

Ansonsten, hier eine kleine Auswahl an Fotos von meinem Japanaufenthalt.