Education in Travel

There are quite a few things I have learned from my most recent trip to Japan.

One, just because a soft ice cream is green does not mean it is the regular green tea flavored one. I was too eager to get one and so I skipped reading the ad. The salesman was kind enough to point out its flavor: wasabi. It was so good.

Wasabi ice cream in Japan

Trains can have nice looking flooring such as this Sonic.

Sonic train in Japan

There was once gold mining in Japan. We visited the Taio Gold Mine near Hita in Northern Kyushu.

Taio Gold Mine in Japan

I know now the taste of Vegemite. I had to come all the way to Japan as a tourist to taste this at breakfast time at a Japanese friend’s home.

Another new taste was yokan (not to be confused with the Japanese sweet bean jelly). Yokan, the Japanese term for this vegetable, seems like a cross between potato and radish. I was told this is a fairly new vegetable from South America.

Daijoubu 大丈夫

The man and his dog, rescued after three days, replied to the question: 大丈夫ですか? (Are you okay?), with just a simple 大丈夫 (I’m okay).

[youtube 2zeroCZSrjo]

Not only did he come out with a smile on his face, but he also said: “Let’s rebuild!”

Some angst-stricken Germans panic more than the Japanese themselves.

Thanks, Yoshiko, for sending this link!

Kyushu’s Kappas

The book Kyushus Kappas, written in German by Anne Helene Albrecht, is about Kyushu’s most famous mythical creature – the river sprite Kappa. Japan is full of mythical tales and Kyushu seems to be full of Kappas.
The author describes their various origins, skills, personalities, as well as their importance held in Japanese folk tales and customs. Many tales, pictures and historic research by ethnologists make up the book. It is an interesting collection for readers of German with an interest in Japanese culture, ethnology, and lovers of mythical tales.

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