La Kitsune

On June 16, 2015, in Italiano, by 06. Martina
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Le volpi sono un soggetto ricorrente ed importante nella mitologia giapponese, secondo cui sono dotate di grande intelligenza, longevità e poteri sovrannaturali, tra i quali quello di assumere sembianze umane. Più una volpe è potente maggiore sarà il numero delle sue code, fino a un massimo di nove.

Fra tutte le storie sulle kitsune vi è un’altra delle mie leggende preferite, una dove, sebbene possa acquisire sembianze di bellissima donna, non usa questa sua capacità per ingannare il prossimo.

Un giorno, un giovane uomo di nome Ono, incontrò una magnifica signora. I due in poco tempo si innamorarono e si sposarono. Insieme erano molto felici, e dopo qualche anno la donna rimase incinta e mise al mondo uno splendido bambino. Nello stesso periodo anche il loro cane partorì un cucciolo, costui tuttavia ogni volta che vedeva la signora le ringhiava contro. Una volta cresciuto accadde che il cane aggredì la donna, la quale messa alle strette si trasformò in una volpe, svelando il suo vero aspetto e spaventando l’animale. Purtroppo il marito assistì alla scena, e quando lei se ne accorse si spaventò e fuggì. Mentre stava scappando Ono le urlò che non gli importava niente di quale fosse la sua reale natura, che l’avrebbe comunque amata per sempre e la pregò di tornare a casa. Quella stessa notte la volpe andò a trovare il figlio e il marito, dormendo fra le braccia di quest’ultimo, e così fece per tutte le notti sino alla fine dei suoi giorni.

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keep-calm-and-get-a-haircut

You have probably heard it before and it is true: Japanese hair stylists are artists. They are recognized worldwide for their skills and here are the reasons why:

  1. They are perfectionists. Book at least 1 hour on your agenda, because you are not getting out of the salon without a perfect finish. Boy or girl. It does not matter.
  2. They follow directions. How many times, have you asked for 2cm and got 3,4 or 5? Japanese stylists know the difference, and will rather cut too little than too much. Incredible.
  3. They don’t inflict pain. This is for the ladies. While getting a blowout or a hairdo you’ll find yourself checking in the mirror whether they are actually doing something. They are. They just don’t pull your head with every brush stroke.
  4. They make it a pleasant experience. They are so many enjoyable extras. Beverage of choice. Head massage, shoulder massage, neck massage. Option to choose among lovely shampoos and creams (included in the original price).

Plus…

First-time customers get a discount. Tokyo is a competitive market so it is not hard to find salons that give discounts to first-time clients. We all love to be loved.

As for personal recommendations, I really enjoyed getting haircut at Ridicule in Jingumae. If you aim for a natural and effortless look, this is the perfect salon for you. Book ahead, and get your GPS going because it is a small place, and it blends in perfectly with the residential properties in the area. The atmosphere is relaxing and the staff is very friendly. Don’t be fooled by the name, you won’t be disappointed!

Ridicule

Address: 3-31-13 Jingumae, Shibuya

Closest train station: Harajuku (JR)

Phone: 03-3478-7332

 ridicule_hana_2

Laters,

Hana

 

Wagyu: The Best Beef You’ll Ever Have

On June 11, 2015, in Uncategorized, by 02. Hana
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I have travelled the world and tried some of the finest American, Argentinean, French and Spanish beef… and while they all posses their own taste and greatness, let me tell you: nothing gets as good as Japanese beef.

“Wagyu Beef” is the beef that comes from distinctive Japanese cow breeds. What makes it so special? Its unique melt-in-the mouth texture and taste derived from the abundance of fat. Think of buttery beef. DAYUM.

This is possible because Wagyu cows are:

  1. Genetically predisposed to develop a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat.
  2. Raised very carefully.

Wagyu cows are fed well, very very well. They even receive beer and/or sake during summer months to increase their appetite. Their exercise is limited, and they receive brushing and massages to improve blood circulation and prevent stress.

The reason why some people think this kind of beef is called Kobe beef is because, in several areas of Japan, Wagyu is shipped carrying the name of the area where it comes from. However, the actual breeds are Japanese Black, Brown, Polled and Shorthorn, being Japanese Black the most popular.

Some ways to enjoy this delicacy are sukiyaki, shabu-shabu, steak, hamburger and sashimi. Beef lovers will enjoy them all, but probably fall in love with the steak cooked teppanyaki style and the thin sliced sashimi (especially, if these beef lovers happen to be fatty tuna sashimi lovers too).

I think it is time I wrap up this post with a couple of recommendations for you to enjoy. Don’t forget to share your thoughts on my picks or your personal ones :)

 

Wagyu Restaurant Picks:

For steak over bed of garlic and sashimi:

ステーキ とみい (Sutekitomii) @Asakusa

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1311/A131102/13016841/

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For the best custom made hamburger:

サカナの中勢以 (Sakananonakasei) @Nihonbashi

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1302/A130202/13166591/

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 11.55.04 AM

Laters,

Hana

 

Where is it? 

Kamakura (鎌倉) is a city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, 50km or 31m SW of Tokyo.

What is it famous for?

  1. For being the formal de facto capital of Japan during the Kamakura Period (1192 to 1333)
  2. For having numerous temples, shrines and historical monuments (reason why it is known as The Kyoto of Eastern Japan)
  3. For its beaches, which attract large crowds in the summer.

How do I get there? (Fastest way)

  1. From Shinjuku Station: 1-hour direct trip on the 湘南新宿ライン or JR ShounanShinjuku Line. Cost: <1000 yen
  2. From Tokyo Station: 1-hour direct trip on the 成田エクスプレス横須賀線 or Narita Express YokosukaSen. Cost: <1000 yen

What to do there?

The culture bit:

Note: If you want to see everything you’ll need more than a day.

For a first taster I would recommend visiting Kamakura’s must-see: the Great Buddha (or Daibutsu) in Kotokuin Temple. It is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan after the one in Nara’s Todaiji Temple.

Not far from Kotokuin, you can find Hasedera Temple. It is famous for its great Kannon (the goddess of mercy). The statue has eleven heads, it’s almost 10 meters tall, and it similar to the tall Kannon worshipped at the Hasedera Temple in Nara. The temple also offers wonderful views over Kamakura and a beautiful garden.

Benten-do is also a few steps away, just down the slope. It is a small hall that contains a figure of Benten (goddess of feminine beauty and wealth). Don’t miss Benten-kutsu, the small cave with sculptures of Benten and other minor gods (you might want to miss it if you suffer claustrophobia, though).

Culture_Kamakura_Hana

The nature bit:

Beaching and hiking. If you love those two I am sure you’ll also have a good time in Kamakura.

This time I did not have enough time to hike but there are some very interesting hiking trails you can combine with temple hopping. Apparently the three main trails go from 1 hour to 90 minutes. If you feel specially adventurous I heard the Western Hills trail (or Tenen Hiking Course) incorporates tomb caves (yagura) along its way.

In regards to visiting Kamakura’s beaches you must know ahead that they are not especially picturesque – Okinawan style. However, they are conveniently close and fun. I went on a cloudy day and didn’t find many people, but in summer Kamakura’s beaches become very lively.

Nature_Kamakura_Hana

The foodie bit:

There are many American style cafes in Kamakura. Think of Santa Monica meets Japan. I went to try the recently opened Farm to You and had an amazing lunch experience. The restaurant’s décor is warm, American country house style. The food is as local and fresh as it gets and it can be enjoyed outside (in a warm and wide terrace) or inside, in a table commune if you like. Dairy products, juices and bread are the specialty of the house. Don’t miss its delicious Caprese salad.

If you enjoy Starbucks, you should not miss Kamakura’s Starbucks either. Why? Well first, it has a lovely wisteria terrace with a reflecting pool and second it sits on land that was once the studio of famous cartoonist Ryuichi Yokoyama.

Foodie_Kamakura_Hana

Back here soon!

Laters,

Hana

 

 

500 statues Rakan,
disciples de Bouddha

Salut tout le monde, 皆さん!!こんにちは!!!

J’organise avec mon groupe Franponais une petite excursion avec des francophones et des japonais à Kawagoe (Saitama). Ce sera une occasion de découvrir une petite sympathique tout en se promenant. Vous aurez l’occasion d’échanger avec des Japonais en français ou en japonais, Une occasion de plus de s’entraîner et pratiquer!! C’est une visite bon marché car on ne demande que 200 yens pour l’organisation. Les frais d’entrée au temple sont de 400 yens et le transport est à votre charge jusqu’à Kawagoe. C’est mon mari et moi-même qui vous guideront dans cette petite ville que j’apprécie particulièrement.

Pour plus de détail et pour l’inscription (c’est gratuit!), rendez-vous sur le site: http://www.meetup.com/fr/franponais/events/222269761/

Et pour en savoir plus sur Kawagoe, voici le lien de mon article qui date de 2012: http://www.kaij.jp/gambalog/?p=7142

J‘organise aussi régulièrement des rencontres entre francophone et japonais, alors même si vous ne pouvez pas venir à Kawagoe, venez jeter un oeil sur le site Meetup.com/franponais. よろしく な!

Le groupe Franponais

500 Rakan du Kita-in

Et parfois on tombe sur de belles surprises… ^^

 

J’espère à bientôt!
Votre Scilla chan

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