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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:20 am 
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Well, folks, time again to grab your favorite Momoko and show her the sights of her native homeland!

This is a little town (Shibu Onsen) in Nagano Prefecture that is famous for its hot spring resort hotels, jam packed together. It has a very traditional, old-fashioned feel. I did not feel like I was in the US in this town!

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This is the entrance to the entire hotel. Notice you take your shoes off and use guest slippers. In your hotel room, you even take off the slippers at the room entrance so you can be totally comfy in your socks/feet on the tatami mats.
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The hotel rooms are traditionally styled. The Western-style chairs in back are actually pretty darn short by American standards.

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The deluxe dinner was a multi-course meal that STARTED out looking like this, but you can see the menu list on the slip of paper. Each item came out individually on its own little plate as the earlier plates were cleared. This is a dinner that keeps going, and going, and going....
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This is the end, finally ... there are a lot of things in between I didn't include. Notice the miso soup is at the END, not the beginning (unlike how Americanized Japanese restaurants serve it!)....
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While guests dine (and you dine a looong time with that much food), the hotel staff puts away the furniture in your hotel room, and brings out the futon beds:

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Nope, no photos of the hot spring baths, but you can check out the hotel's website for some. Basically you wander around the hotel in the hotel's own yukata (lightweight kimono) and haori (jacket), going to the onsen (hot spring baths) whenever you feel like it. Yes, men's and women's are separate.
http://www.shibuhotel.com/english/
http://www.shibuhotel.com/english/room.html (oh look 2 Western-style rooms!)

An alleyway in town:
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Giftshop next door:
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They sell bee larvae/pupae :shock: :shock:
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There are lots of tiny little shrines nearby like this one:
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Here's a shrine/temple bell:
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There's a bunch more shrine stuff I am going to skip over as you will be totally bored with shrines and temples by the time I have done a couple more posts, because I have gazillions of photos of ancient temples.


Well, it's not Momoko, but I figured I would end on a dolly note!!
The local train station (of all places) had this gorgeous traditional hina-matsuri display of dolls. These are used in celebrating Girls' Day in March. The emperor and empress/princess ("hina") are at the top.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:22 am 
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Ahhhh Mikan, your photos are in the angle of a person who watch Anime/Manga (I am). They're so nice!!! I can't wait to go to Japan one day! Thank you so much for sharing!! :kissy:

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:31 am 
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I love the traditionally styled Japanese room, not much furniture and served multiple purposes. The scenes of the ancient temples are very inspiring. I remembered seeing some of the traditional hina-matsuri display dolls kept in a glasses container of their own in my grandparent’s house. (My grandparent wouldn't let us play with the dolls.) Do you still celebrate the Hinamatsuri? For some reason I have seen a photo of me in kimono from our family album, but I don’t remember anything about it. ):

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:25 pm 
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I love seeing these photos. Especially since you narate them so I know what I'm looking at. I have not traveled anywhere really. This is an amazing treat. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:05 pm 
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Thank you, bluesime, teddybear4me2, and melissa!

I really want people to be able to see each others' cultures and get to know them. Every culture has its strengths and weaknesses (weaknesses are really just the mis-application of strengths, and strengths always have their shadow-side weakness).

The more we understand each other - I mean really understand - the less strife and war we will have!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:23 pm 
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Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful pics! I find this very interesting-and as Melissa said the narration is a bonus!

Quote:
They sell bee larvae/pupae
and then what does one do? eat them? :shock: :? Yikes!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:28 pm 
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Novapony wrote:
Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful pics! I find this very interesting-and as Melissa said the narration is a bonus!

Quote:
They sell bee larvae/pupae
and then what does one do? eat them? :shock: :? Yikes!


I definitely WANT people to get to know the culture! Not that I know that much (still have trouble telling shrines from temples), but there are some things that I really would like to share! :D

As for the larvae/pupae/whatever ... yes, those are in jars for eating....
:shock: I have never seen them before.... Off-topic, but that reminds me of a place in Texas(?) that apparently sells killer bee honey....


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:46 pm 
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Mikan wrote:
Well, folks, time again to grab your favorite Momoko and show her the sights of her native homeland!

with pleasure!

My favorite photo is surprisingly the one of the alleyway. Why? It's an alleyway and it still looks distinctively Japan! Of course I love the hotel furnishings too. I have this thing about not minding how uncomfortable some furniture are, as long as they're pleasing to the eye. :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:02 pm 
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I love the hotel room shots the most. Well, ok and the alley.
But most of all I love how you narrate your photos. It's not too plain but not full of itself.

Though I have to admit, the more I see of Japan the less I think I want to go there. Maybe it'll change when my life calms down and I'm not so desperate for stability, but right now I'm tremendously happy that someone else goes somewhere and has the photos and interesting stories to tell. Because, even though I'm really curious about the different cultures, and traditions, and everyday lives, and tidbits, and I used to really enjoy going to Paris and Hong Kong (for business), right now all I can think about, "OMG, I'm so going to starve there... and be constantly stressed about my lack of language skills."


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:36 pm 
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funny, the more i see it, the more i want to go... but i wish i knew some japanese person to go with. taiwan was wonderful with taiwanese friends... how would it have been without them?! and with only about 50 words of mandarin inside my head?!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:30 am 
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yoof san: Yes, the alleyway looks very Japanese. The low chairs are great if you are short, actually :) Sitting on the floor, though, does get a mite tiring....

elfinity: You can also get Western-style food if you prefer! But I totally understand about not wanting to travel. I've had an entire decade where I just wanted to settle down and not go anywhere!

nataluna: There has got to be some friendly personalized tour service that does that ... lol. But it would be best with a friend! I would not mind going to Japan with a friend, rather than family. I have really not gotten to see the Japan of the younger generations, because the family I am with are usually of the older generations (not that I am complaining! My relatives are awesome). Of course, at this point I don't fit in with a young crowd, either :V


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:16 am 
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really beautiful!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:41 am 
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bluehaiku wrote:
really beautiful!


Thanks! :D
I guess I never did post the follow-up photos.... :oops:


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:43 am 
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What a peaceful calm place! It's Japan as I imagine it.

I dream of visiting Japan one day!

Smiles :) Zoila

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:09 pm 
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I'm so happy this came up, there are so many posts I haven't gotten around to reading yet! Thanks Mikan for this wonderful view into a part of life in Japan! There is a peace in the simplicity of Japanese rooms. I would like to visit one day too, my husband lived there for several years, his Dad served in the military (civillian). Of course now I would want to time my visit with a certain dolly show :wink:


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