Friday, 7 November 2008
Summer is the season for matsuri in Japan, or literally, festival. One of the ways in having a festival in Japan is to fire truck-loads of fireworks onto the hot and humid sky.
Yokohama is known for holding one of the largest fireworks event in Japan every year. So, my Vietnamese friend Lam invited me to join the matsuri at Yokohama with his group of friends on July 20th, 2008.
Lam's friend went to preoccupy the space at the best fireworks observation field with a large canvas sheet during noon time on that day. In Japan, everybody does that during matsuri time.
However, we spent quite a fair bit of time looking for Lam's friends as the train station was as congested as a sardine can! Something that was even worse was that the by-pass bridge was closed to pedestrians and we had to make a big round turn to get to the observation field.
When we arrived at the observation field, we had problem locating Lam's friends again, because the whole field was filled with matsuri goers!
By the time we settled down, the fireworks were almost half way through. I quickly set up my camera on my flimsy tripod and started shooting. I didn't have a cable release and a sturdy tripod, so it was quite a challenge to take fireworks shots.
I depended on my instinct on timing and the camera's self-timer to capture the shots. It can be considered as partly depending on luck too.
It was just barely past 9 p.m. when the fireworks had ended, so we continued drinking, eating and chatting. It was another great night out with my Vietnamese friends in Japan.
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Monday, 3 November 2008
When I was in Japan, my Thai friend brought me to a restaurant nearby the Imperial Palace to have a taste of a really amazing Japanese meal.
This restaurant is inside a 5-star hotel, therefore the interior decor is a bit upmarket too. The ambiance was really nice for a quiet lunch.
All the items in the meal were served cold except the soup. Everything was presented so nicely in small dishes.
A Japanese meal is normally commenced with the soup as the chopsticks will be moisten to minimise the 'stickiness' of them to the food.
The main dishes in a Japanese meal are normally prepared in different ways; some preserved, some braised, some steamed, some boiled, and some grilled. However, they were chilled in this meal that I had.
This meal even came with some sashimi, which is my favourite Japanese food.
This tofu came with this meal too, but it tasted very different from the tofu I had before. It was silky smooth and it gave a cooling after-taste to my throat.
After I had finished with the main course, a chilled glass bowl was put in front of me.
It was actually the dessert of the day, mixed fruit served chilled.
I call this meal an amazing meal because it gave me the internal cooling that lasted for hours even when I was walking under the hot summer sun.
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