For several years now, I have heard that foreign visitors to Japan have been saying that service areas on Japanese highways are fun or that they are like theme parks. Since nearly half of this blog is accessed from overseas, I thought I would introduce the service area (SA) I visited today.
I drive on the Kan-etsu Expressway every month when I go to Gunma for work. On the way there, …
This is Kamisato SA, located on the border of Saitama and Gunma prefectures, where I decided to take a break.
It was around 9:00 a.m. on a weekday, but it was quite crowded. I guessed there were about half commercial vehicles and half tourists.
Recently, I have seen Starbucks at many SAs. However, I passed by this place and went to the restroom first.
It seems that as dogs get older, they become more vulnerable to the cold. Konatsu has an undercoat, so she may be better than single-coated dogs, but she is already in her late twelfth year, so I guess she needs to be prepared for the cold.
Since the planned trip was cancelled, so, we decided to have a drinking party…
Beer, sake, and wine were lined up on the table, and this is when we finished the beer and moved on to the sake.
Konatsu said, “I want some too! I want some too!
Sashimi for Konatsu!
Konatsu had plenty more after that! The following is our meal.
Shimonita leeks, just grilled. When you peel off the skin and eat it, the inside is tender and delicious. It’s hard to describe the food from here on out, so you’ll just have to guess from the pictures.
I can eat more… Konatsu said.
Then, this is what happens in the end.
Konatsu looks satisfied after eating a lot.
Finally, Daifuku for dessert! Daifuku is a rice cake stuffed with red bean paste.
Konatsu, realizing that she would not get it, gave up and went to bed. It was a fun night.
Today is the day my wife goes to the dentist’s office in Motomachi for a routine checkup, so Konatsu and I decided to go with her to Motomachi and take a walk around the area while we wait for her to finish.
It was still before opening time in the shopping arcade. I dropped my wife off and headed for Harbor View Park.
I have previously presented the top countries with the most access to this blog, and today I will look at the countries with the least access. Two and a half years have passed since I started this blog (Ver. 3), and in that time I have had access from 97 countries. The 20 countries in the table below shows that only one person came to see this blog during these two and a half years.
By the way, I don’t know how many countries there are in the world today, so I looked it up… The number of countries approved by Japan at this time was 195. And there are three countries that Japan does not recognize: North Korea, Palestine, and Taiwan. According to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Japan has refrained from official government-to-government contacts out of consideration for China, but has been handling various business matters on the assumption that Taiwan is a recognized “state”.
“ I don’t know how difficult it is, but I just hope for a peaceful world ! ” Konatsu would say.
Around the beginning of the New Year, when I was cleaning up the room on the first floor where my parents used to live, I found an Ofuda from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. It was probably more than 10 years old, so it was dirty. ※Ofuda is supposed to ward off bad luck
We could not just throw it away, so we decided to return it to Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine.
I wondered how far dogs are allowed to go in the park, and found out that they are allowed to go as far as the stairs at the back of the park. Even so, it was a weekday today, but it was quite crowded, so we decided to take Konatsu as far as the arched bridge, and my wife and I would take turns going up to the end of the bridge.
Let’s go through the hoop to purify our body and soul and purify our health. So we are following the instructions and repeating the left turn and right turn.
When I come to a shrine, I really want to draw an omikuji. (Omikuji is a fortune slip.)
There are seven levels of fortune telling, from great blessing to great curse, and I was the third from the top, middle blessing. Not so bad. We finished our Hatsumode without incident and returned home.
It was the day of the seven herbs porridge. By eating the porridge on 7th, we believe that we can get rid of bad luck, and the custom has been passed down from generation to generation.
For all the fun I had been looking forward to, New Year’s Days passed by without me doing anything. It was a good thing that Konatsu seemed to be having more fun than usual, with friends coming to visit and my daughter coming to visit.
Yesterday, my daughter and I trimmed Konatsu’s hair. We couldn’t do it as well as a professional trimmer, but I think we got a reasonably clean cut. By the way, this New Year’s Day, we had a lot of GosetsusHI that we bought and my wife made, so there is still a lot of Osechi left after the three days of the New Year.
I ate the leftover sashimi by kombu-sandwiched flounder sashimi , which is also good because the flavor of the kombu soaks into the sashimi!
There are still a lot of simmered dishes.
This is not all…
It is not particularly New Year’s feeling, but oden
egg dishes, and chestnut kinton (sweetened sweetened chestnuts).
Since there are so many dishes besides the first day’s Osechi, it’s hard to finish all of them, isn’t it?
This is the railroad crossing in front of Kamakura High School Station, famous for the “Slam Dunk” movie. It usually takes me 5 minutes to get here, but today it took me more than 20 minutes.
R134 is not going any faster…
As sunrise time approached, I looked back and saw Mt. Fuji turning pink.
Many people can be seen on the beach waiting for the sunrise. The beach was full of people.
I was just in time to catch the sunrise, and was able to take this photo.
I was also able to take a photo of the first sunrise in the window of the train!
Then we moved to the usual park at Shichirigahama…
Anne, I wish you all the best this year!
Howl, you too!
Back at home, we had a New Year’s celebration breakfast “Osechi” “Osechi” are traditional foods which are eaten by a lot of Japanese on New Year’s Day. It includes many kinds of Japanese traditional foods, and they are packed together in “Jubako”, which is a special box that resembles bento boxes.
May this be a year of health and happiness for Konatsu and for us all!