Sunday, April 26, 2009

A classical ryokan(Japanese style hotel) in Izu

After a 4-hour train journey, I visited a classical ryokan (Japanese style hotel) with my friends. This ryokan, Ochiairou-Murakami is not appropriate for me, ordinary people. This was constructed by skillful carpenters who were ordered to by a millionaire. He asked them to make a ryokan as you like, no matter how much it costs. So the construction and art of this ryokan is extraordinary fine, of course the accommodation fee is so expensive. However, one of my friends knows the ryokan owner so we were able to stay there for a reduced cost. Therefore we could stay there in other world.

constructed in 1933 to 1937.

Entrance. Japanese younger people sometimes feel classical Japanese design is tired and old-fashioned, not beautiful. However, I feel this design as modern, simple and beautiful.

The room we stayed. This suite room contains other one small room and one classical western style room with a table and chairs. May I stay in such a luxurious suite?

Small lighting window made with wood and paper. This design is also modern, simple and beautiful. All of the rooms window designs are different.

Library room. One of my traveling dreams was to stay at a hotel which has a library room since I had read Haruki Murakami's short novel whose story was set in a library room of a hotel. My little dream has come true.

Hot spring bathes are also marvelous. There are outside natural bath and a private bath which you can reserve. Both bathes are popular Japanese style Roten-buro, which is located outside of the building (Of course there are shade screens surrounding the bathes, but sometimes in men's bath there aren't any so as to enjoy the good scenery).

Dinner was perfect for its taste, amount and looks. This is an hors d'oeuvre.

Serving eleven dishes, I was satisfied with all of those. The best one was this raw fish on the bamboo dish. I think the chef choose the best fish at the marketplace.

After dinner, we talked about our favorite music with iPod+spealers till 3:00 am.

Breakfast was also such a lot!! We had enough.

A ryokan staff opened our room window for receiving April's confort breeze. Pleasant breeze and neat Japanese garden made us calm and happy.

My friend and me participated in a tour of this ryokan building at 10:00.

Partition slide between rooms and corridors. As usual, those designs are all different.
A tour guide explained to us that carpenters of this building used precious materials. For instance, a wood board was made of a log which had been treated for becoming a perfectly flat board for thirty years.

I was impressed with this design because of the designer's playful spirit – normal designers would have never thought of such a design for a classic Japanese lighting window. It was based on a legend of a female spider in the area.

Going out of this ryokan, we went to Jyoren Falls by a rent-a-car. The falls fed us a cool and comfortable atmosphere.

For lunch, we had Japanese noodle soba with wild boars soup. I'm a big fan of soba so I visited many soba restaurants, this was one of the best dishes.

We separated at 15:00. The stay was full of delicious dishes, relaxing bath and delightful conversations.

Ochiairou-Murakami seems to be the best hotel that I have stayed at. I have traveled to fourteen nations in the world and received good accommodation at almost every location, for aspect of building's beauty, cleanness, design, dinner and bath. Of course rack rate is also No.1... Anyway, I would like to stay this in ryokan again, after I grow up more and become the man who is appropriate for this ryokan (be more gentleman).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Honesty is such a lonely word, but...

With my wife, son and friends, I enjoyed Tokyo Disney Resort. It was a wonderful holiday, but it isn't the main topic of this entry. An accident happened when we got on the Shinkansen (superexpress) from Tokyo station and took a trip for three hours to my home. A few minutes before the Shinkansen was due to leave, I bought lunch boxes. As soon as I got them, I put my wallet and pass holder into my jacket's pocket and ran up the escalator to platform 21. I could ride in the reserved Shinkansen. When I was about to breathe a sigh of relief, I found that I had dropped my wallet and pass holder.

I thought I was stupid because not only were there many important things (ex. My ID card) in them but also was much money. I was the organizer for this Tokyo Disney Resort trip among my friends, so I had received much money entrance passes and friend's dinner fee, because I paid it for everything on my credit card. My wallet had 70,000yen ($700 / 530Euro / 475pounds) in it.

I rang the lost property section of Tokyo station again and again, but I heard only the busy tone. So I explained my situation to an express conductor and asked him to call Tokyo station. Several minutes later, he came back and said, "Set your heart at ease, your property was found in the same condition as when you dropped them."

Three days later, my wallet and pass holder was sent to my home in the same condition as when I dropped them. Not only money of 70,000yen but also my ID card, credit cards, and so on. Billy Joel sings "Honesty is such a lonely word." However it surely existed at the platform 21, of Tokyo station on 17:50 5th April in 2009.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Top tunes on my iPod in March, 2009

1. Ryuichi Sakamoto / to stanford
2. Ryuichi Sakamoto / ice
3. Ryuichi Sakamoto / hwit
4. Ryuichi Sakamoto / still life
5. Ryuichi Sakamoto / glacier
6. Ryuichi Sakamoto / in the red
7. Ryuichi Sakamoto / hibari
8. Ryuichi Sakamoto / tama
9. Ryuichi Sakamoto / nostalgia
10. Ryuichi Sakamoto / firewater
11. The Beatles / When I'm Sixty-four
12. The Beatles / Lovely Rita
13. The Beatles / Octopus's Garden
14. J.S. Bach / Inventions No.8(Takahiro Sonoda)
15. The Bangles / Be With You
16. The Beach Boys / Vegetables

The top 10 are all works from Ryuichi Sakamoto's new album "out of noise". I listend to only 1., 3., and7. as music and enjoyed others as sound (others are composed of north poll area environment sound. For example, waterdrops of melting glaciers.) 11.-13. are the results of reading "Here, There and Everywhere" 14. is one of the tunes that never bores me even if I listen to it again and again, it is less than one minute long. 15. is my third favorite song by them after "manic Monday" and "Etrenal Flame".