Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ocean's Diner and surroundings / オーシャンズ・ダイナーとその周辺

I was craving a burger again and I didn't want to go to a fast food joint like McDonald's or Mos Burger, so we went to a place called [Ocean's Diner] which is located in the A-Factory building near Aomori Station.


The view from our table at [Ocean's Diner].


Just waiting for this beeper to go off to let us know our burgers are ready.


My wife ordered the standard Ocean's Burger.


I was feeling a bit adventurous and ordered their spare rib burger which was available for a limited time.


I was wondering how I was going to eat this, but the meat was so tender, it just slid off the bones.


And this was all that was left. It was so good!


We also decided to have some gelato for dessert.


My wife ordered the pumpkin, one of her favorite flavors, on a cone.


I chose a flavor you don't normally find in the U.S. This is a mugwort flavored gelato.


Walking around the area, you will find this old train on display.


While we were walking around, my sister video called me, or maybe I video called her because there was a big get together at my parent's house.


Every month my sister gets together with my friends, which she calls her "other brothers" for a supper club. This particular evening, everybody gathered at my parents house.

毎月自分の妹が僕の友達と食事会をやってる。妹は彼らは"Other Brothers"という。今回はなんと自分の両親の家で開かれたみたい。

I think it's great that my friends feel comfortable enough to visit my parents even though my sister nor I no longer live with them. Sometimes they would visit when neither one of are present.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Cherry Blossom Viewing 2017 / 花見 2017年

After checking out the cherry blossoms at Ashino Park in Goshogawara, we then headed back to Aomori to pick up my mother-in-law from her place of employ. The three of us would check out the cherry blossoms in an area called Sakuragawa. Hirosaki Park may be the most famous and most popular place for cherry blossom viewing, but my wife had told me Sakuragawa is beautiful in its own way too.


This is where my mother-in-law works. She works at the reception desk and sometimes gives a guide tour as well. This is the Memorial Ship Hakkoda Maru. It was a ferry that was used between Aomori and Hakodate. As she wasn't quite finished, I decided to walk around the area.


As the following week would be Golden Week and one of the holidays is Children's Day, you could see the display of koi nobori known in English as carp streamers.


I'm a big fan of public art, so I find myself taking pictures of all sorts of objects and art pieces.


This sign says the clock tower was made with the image of a splashing wave.

I guess I can kind of see the image.


A large propeller on display nearby too.


No wait, here's another propeller.


As I was wandering around, my mother-in-law finished work so I went back to the car and we drove to Sakuragawa.


Ah, you can see a cherry blossom tunnel in this area.


My wife also told me she used to work near here at a dentist's office working as a receptionist.


We stopped and parked along the street somewhere and walked around for a little bit.


We decided to check out the cherry blossoms at one more spot before heading home. We made a short detour to Gappo Park.


That's my wife and mother-in-law underneath the cherry blossom tree.


Lots of food booths set up for the cherry blossom season.


Of course we will be checking out the cherry blossoms at Hirosaki Park but we're going to do that during Golden Week when a couple of our friends would be coming up to visit from Tokyo.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Ashino Park in Goshogawara / 芦野公園 五所川原

Going back to our first year of living in Aomori, we would spend our weekends going on drives exploring different places. Some, my wife was already familiar with as Aomori City is her hometown. The cherry blossoms bloom late in the Tohoku area. Usually around Golden Week which is the first week of May. Our first spring in Aomori was 2017, as we had moved from Tokyo in November the previous year. I was told that there was a small train station in Goshogawara at Ashino Park. This spot was very popular with train enthusiasts as they would be able to take pictures of a train with cherry blossoms as a backdrop.


We debated eating lunch here, but there didn't seem to be any customers so we passed on this place, although we parked our car in their parking lot.


I'm not a steam locomotive fanatic as mentioned above but they do interest me. I do not go out of my way in taking pictures of them, but if they are displayed and I have easy access to them, then of course I'm going to take a picture of it. There was a sign that said this the first forest railway.


This is the station at the park. The sign says "Sakura no Eki - Ashino Koen", which translates to "Cherry Blossom Station - Ashino Park". We decided to have lunch in the station.

ここが公園内にある駅。看板に大き書いてるある「桜の駅 あしの公園」。この駅の中でランチを食べることにした。

My wife ordered the Chinese style noodles.


I ordered the chashumen.


The ramen wasn't anything to write home about but it was decent. But we were here to see the train and the cherry blossoms.


Here comes the train. You can see the toritetsu fans standing on the platform. They want to capture a picture of the train as it passes through the cherry blossom tunnel.


Now that we've seen the train and the cherry blossoms, it was time to explore the park.


Ashino Lake / 芦ノ湖

Cherry blossoms / 桜

Cherry blossom trees / 桜の木

If you look closely, you can see my wife between the trees.


We thought there was something strange about this island. Was it floating? Was it moving? Were our eyes playing tricks on us?


We finally discovered that, yes, it's moving. It was a man-made island.


We decided to walk across this bridge over Ashino Lake.


This is actually a very large lake.


Dang, my face looks like an eggplant!


The moving island.


When we moved to Aomori, we were also warned about seeing bears. But we could see bears anytime we wanted to if we come to this park. As this park also features a miniature zoo.


There are rabbits.


There are birds.


And of course there are the bears!


Yong-chan is the bear at the top left / ヨンちゃんは左上の熊

Roku-chan / ロクちゃん

Mok-chan / モクちゃん

I think I just had good timing on this picture.


When we went, the park takes care of three brown bears. The names of the bears are Mok-chan which is the largest of the three, Yong-chan which hair looks white, and "Roku-chan" which is the smallest bear.


We spotted a small outdoor stage here.


The view from standing on the stage.


More cherry blossoms.


There is a poem written on this stone.


This says this area is the birthplace of the Tsugaru-jamisen.

A little more detailed explanation on the birthplace of the Tsugaru-jamisen.


Statue of Japanese novelist Osamu Dazai.


A little history about novelist Osamu Dazai.

Monument of Literature to Osamu Dazai / 太宰文学碑

Another train was about to arrive at the station.


This is the Melos train. The name derives from a short story written by Osamu Dazai - "Run, Melos".


Snack time after walking around the park.


Or maybe a shake.


We decided to pick up my mother-in-law from her place of employ then would check out the cherry blossoms in another part of town.


On our way to Aomori City from Goshogawara, we had a nice view of Mount Iwaki.


Mount Iwaki / 岩木山

Our cherry blossom viewing adventure will continue...