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  • Writer's pictureNigel

Who is the fairest of them all? 誰が一番美しいですか


2024 年 4 月 6日



Hello and welcome to the Miss Tokyo Beauty Contest (for Carps)......here are some of the hopefuls.....

鯉美人コンテスト



But what's this? here comes competition.....

しかし、これは誰ですか



I'm the star of the show you know.....

勝者



Well, now we've got that out of the way it's time to turn our attention to more local sights. I don't know who this guy was, but he looked like he had just stepped out of an Edo-era costume drama.....

これは誰ですか



And as for this.....well maybe this is somehow Harry Potter inspired (?). I first noticed it in 2018, and it hasn't moved since......

古い自転車. 2018年からずっとここにあります!



However, things have advanced since then. Whilst shopping in Yokohama you might meet one of these.....





In Germany we hikers are often annoyed when they sometimes block off footpaths for fear of falling branches (well, for fear of insurance claims actually). Here they protect you from falling fruit......splat!

危険。 落ちる果実

!



But all is well in Hoshikawa. They are even building a new promenade at the river......

彼らはここで何をしているのですか



I pass this corner every time I walk to the station. I just clicked my camera here because I liked the light....

光が気に入ったので撮りました





 


I'm getting better at it now, but I still find parts of Yokohama Station confusing. This is because you can't stand back and say: Look. over there is the station, like you could at Frankfurt or Victoria station in London. Those stations have a clear front facade. Here the station is integrated with at least three huge shopping malls, and the trains come in at different levels. Then there are all the waterways which cut up the streets. So one day last week I determined to get my bearings. Here is a picturesque view behind the station.....

横浜駅で未だに迷ってしまう



Where there is a veritable Clapham Junction - like activity......



....and you don't walk on pavements, rather on raised walkways.....either across the harbour....




or across the streets....




Water is never very far away.....

横浜の鉄橋



Ever seen the film Shoplifters by Hirokazu Kore-eda 万引き家族 ?

Well this house reminded me of that film.

映画”万引き家族  (Manbiki Kazoku)”を見ましたか?




But whatever lies behind Yokohama station......(murals)......





.......there is always somewhere to eat. And I found this snug little restaurant serving Okonomiyaki - a delicious type of Japanese pancake which includes bacon, crispy cabbage and lots more. It cooks in front of you on the integrated hot plate in the table....

駅裏には小さな飲食店がたくさんあります


The Procedure...(the guy serving me found a translated menu behind the cooker.......)




  1. Order beer ビールを一杯ください


2. Let the bacon sizzle 豚肉が焼けるのを待ちます



3. Five mins one side 五分



4. Five mins the other side 五分



5. Enjoy with sauce. Absolutely YUMMY! 😋 楽しんでください




6. Pay the very reasonable bill...

お勘定を支払う




 


He`s not looking very happy is he? That's because it's Prime Minister's question time, and the topic is Deflation.....

デフレ - Kishida san は幸せではありません



But who is worrying when at last spring has arrived? All over town little splashes of colour are appearing......

Cherry.....either on a young sapling....

天気は変わりやすいですが、春が近づいてきましたね



...or on a venerable old hulk of a tree.....




Peach...a whole bush in Hoshikawa

もも 桃



.....single buds flowering near the station..a nice sight for those commuting to work



The city magnolias were also nice whilst they lasted..........



....and up on the hill.......in the grounds of the temple.....

Hoshigawaにお寺があります。



peace reigns....平和



....and it seems that the monks always have the earliest blossoms - maybe because they are that much holier than us.....さくら




 


I'm trying to make it look like I'm studying hard, but.....

私はがんばって勉強しようとしています。



....a cat always needs stroking somewhere or other.........

でもいつも猫がいる




 

Coming home from a Sunday morning concert I thought: Why don't I just hop off the train in the middle of Tokyo and have a stroll in a nice park?

As soon as I got off at Shinjuku station I realised that this could be a BIG mistake. From this station to the park it was a mere 1.5km. The only problem was that about 500.000 people seem to have the same idea as me. But I was stubborn and ploughed on through the crowds - surely there would be room in the park? 🌳The answer was NO.

I had better things to do than stand in a long queue that day. So back I turned, getting mixed up with a Free Gaza demo on the way.......though thank goodness the Japanese are demonstrating too. And thank goodness for the initiatives of Ireland and South Africa compared to other spineless governments.

新宿駅近く



Now why was this concert so early on a Sunday morning? Because it was a concert for children. And here is little madam to prove it.

所沢のこどもコンサートに行ってきました



It was amazing. There must have been about 100 in the audience - parents and children 50:50. We were in the municipal hall of Tokorozawa, which is just over the border in Saitama. And instead of being lulled by some kitschy sound track, the children were treated to a quality live performance...




The stage is set and there is expectation in the air.....



Then in comes Soprano Yuka Tai , catching the children's attention immediately with her children's songs - you could see them starting to clap.



She was joined by baritone Yuki Kuroda, (ex. Karlsruhe Musikhochschule) who sang one of those hauntingly beautiful Japanese songs - This Road, この道 by Kosaku Yamada. Here is a Karaoke version..(because I can't find a decent recording with voice!)

We were also treated to some opera classics - here we have Papagena and Papageno from the Magic Flute....



And all the while accompanied by Emi Ikeyama at the piano, who looked like she was having as much fun as everyone else 😊. The children loved it. So did I. 子どもたちはこのコンサートが大好きでした。 私も。




It was when everybody started to sing one particular song at the very end that I suddenly felt very much like the outsider. I thought it might be the national anthem, but I was wrong. It is called Furusato "My home town". Apparently all children are taught it in school. Like a cross between an Irish balad and a hymn. Unashamedly sentimental, and yet another little nugget of Japanese culture. It's one of those songs that you have to sing live, in the moment. If you record it it sounds kitschy.

Kondo wa Kondo. Ima wa Ima "Next time is next time. Now is now". A quote from the film Perfect Days. 最後はみんなでこの歌を歌いました


Meiko-chan investigates "The Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. I had brought the original English language version, so she can be fluent in English before her 2nd birthday.....😂





 

So you've probably guessed by now that I'm the sort of guy who loathes tourist hot spots. You will not see me gawping at that pedestrian crossing in Shibuya, or being silly in a maid café, or leafing through some second-hand Manga shop. How boring I must be! 😪

Yes, If I stayed at home.

But I don't.


Last week I decided to explore the Miura peninsular south of Yokohama.

私は田舎を探索するのが好きです



Gale force winds, coupled with an unexpected 22°c, added to the fun. The oh-so-efficient train and subsequent bus dropped Tomoko さん and myself at Jogashima Island late in the morning.........


The Pacific has been eroding the volcanic rock here into very strange shapes.....

城ヶ島



a sort of Dorset Durdle Door effect....



leaving spaces for humans at low tide......干潮



(I've found another fishing float....)



There are some deep nooks and crannies where you can hide.....貝殻をたくさん見つけました。



And the ground is littered with these barnacles (Thank you to my personal Marine Biology Service for confirming this....). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnacle



Life springs eternal just above the high tide mark....



And there are of course some more obvious scenic spots for the not-so-fit......

"古典的な" 写真




On the sheltered side of the island there is a fishing port. And there is a lighthouse at each headline - this one is the Awasaki Lighthouse, newly built in 2020.....It's hardly surprising you need one - the seas look treacherous, and big ships have to reach the harbour.....(see on)....

灯台



And the wind! Good heavens! It was fabulous down by the sea, but after a few hours we were glad to board the bus back into the port....

私たちは港に戻ります



Misaki-guchi.....The slipways are right in the middle of the town......



It is a simple place with a fish market......魚市場



some old houses......古い家



and lots of evidence of the life blood of the town : fishing.......



There are some small back streets where you smell grilled fish. Here we found a sort of street restaurant which could serve you fresh sashimi, as well as grilled tuna and flounder in a delicious soy sauce.......I tried to order myself, but the burly fisherman simply laughed merrily and turned to my companion....まぐろ と ひらめ😋 



That's what you need after being buffeted by all those winds.


A harbour scene.....

Misaki-guchi 三崎口




 


Thank you for reading "..Who is the fairest of them all ?.."

🐟  "...誰が一番美しいですか.."を読んでくれてありがとう



  Feel free to share the blog with friends.

🐟 よろしければ、リンクを友達と共有してください



 🐟 And and I enjoy hearing from you...!

コメントすると楽しいです!



THE END

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