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.

バーガーの気分だったので、ファーストフードのマックやモスバーガーじゃなくて、ちょっとしたグルメバーガーが食べたかった。そこで青森駅の近くにある青森物産の店のA-Factoryの一階にある「オーシャンズ・ダイナー」に行きました。


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

「オーシャンズ・ダイナー」の席からの眺め。


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

これが鳴るのを待ってった。


My wife ordered the standard Ocean's Burger.

妻は定番のオーシャンズバーガーを注文。



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

僕はちょっと冒険しようと思って、期間限定のスペアリブバーガーを注文した。


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

最初はこのバーガーどうやって食べるべきかと思ったら、スペアリブの肉が柔らかくて、骨からすご落ちた。


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

それでこの骨しか残ってない。とっても美味しかった。


We also decided to have some gelato for dessert.

デザートはジェラートに決定。


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

妻は好きなカボチャをチョイス。


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

自分はアメリカで見たことない味のよもぎを頼みました。


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

オーシャンズダイナー周辺を歩き回ったら、こういう電車が近くに展示されてました。



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.

歩いてるときアメリカに居る妹からビデオ電話が来て、もしかして俺がかけたかも。とりあえず、うちの両親の家で、大勢の友達が集めてた。


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.

友達が僕や妹がいなくてもたまにうちの両親を会いに行くのが素敵と思う。まだアメリカに住んでた頃、やっぱりうちはみんなの溜まり場だったな。

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.

五所川原の芦野公園の桜を見たあと、青森に向かった。義理の母を迎えに行って、青森の花見の名所、三人で行く予定。青森県の花見と言えば、やっぱり一番有名は弘前城がある弘前公園。でも僕の妻が青森市に素敵な場所もあるよと教えてくれた。


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.

僕の義理の母はこの船に働いてます。受付の仕事とためにガイドもやってます。青森駅の近くにあるメモリアルシップ「八甲田丸」です。まだ仕事が終わってないため、船の周辺を歩いてみた。


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.

来週はゴールデンウィークで一つの祭日はこどもの日なので、船の上に鯉のぼりが見える。


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

個人的にパブリックアートが好きなので、ついいろんなオブジェや彫刻の写真を撮ります。

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


I guess I can kind of see the image.

なんとなく波と飛沫のイメージがする。


A large propeller on display nearby too.

大きなプロペラも展示されてる。


No wait, here's another propeller.

待て、もう一つのプロペラを発見。

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

義理の母が仕事終わって、自分も車に戻って、これから桜川を目指す。


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

なるほど、この辺は桜のトンネルが見える場所だ。


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

妻が昔歯科の受付の仕事をこの場所で働いてた。










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

道の片隅に車を駐車して、ちょっと歩き回りました。




















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

うちに帰る前にもう一箇所の桜を見に行った。それが合邦公園。


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

妻と義理の母が桜満開の木の下に立ってます。






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

花見の季節になると、合邦公園でいろんな屋台が出る。







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.

もちろん弘前公園の桜を見に行くんですが、それはゴールデンウィークの中。東京から友達が青森に来るから一緒に行く予定。

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.

青森に引っ越して初の東北春を過ごす。私たちは車を購入したあと、週末にドライブしながら、いろんな場所を回った。青森は妻の実家でもあり、隠れ名所もわかるはずだ。でも以外の知らない場所も多かったそうです。東北の桜満開は東京と違って、もっと遅い時期に咲く。大体ゴールデンウィークの間です。今年はちょっと早めに咲きました。桜を見ることを目的にして、五所川原にある芦野公園を目指した。この場所とこの時期は撮り鉄(鉄道の写真を撮るマニア)に超有名なスポットです。公園内に小さな駅があり、この時期なら桜のトンネルを走る電車が撮れそうなんです。


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.

ここでランチ食べようと思ったが、お客さんが一人も入ってないため諦めた。ただ、この建物の駐車所に車を置いた。


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.

僕は撮り鉄マニアほどではないが、鉄道は結構好き。こういう風に展示されてるものならつい写真を撮ります。この電車について書いたあったは、日本最初の森林鉄道。


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.

妻は支那そばを注文した。


I ordered the chashumen.

僕はチャーシュー麺を頼みました。

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.

ラーメンは普通に美味しかった。でもここに来た目的は電車と桜だ。








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.

電車が来た。ホームに何人ものの撮り鉄が居て、やっぱり桜のトンネルを通ってる電車の写真が収まりたいですね。
















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

駅と電車と桜が見たので、次は公園内の探索。


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.

写真を良く見ると木の間に僕の妻が写ってます。






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

この島になんか変わってると僕と妻も思った。浮いてるか、動いてるか。私たちの目が変になってるか?


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

謎が解いた。これは人工の島でした。やっぱり目が変ではなかった、島が実際に動いてた。


We decided to walk across this bridge over Ashino Lake.

この橋を渡ることにした。


This is actually a very large lake.

この湖は思ったより広い。






Dang, my face looks like an eggplant!

うわ!自分の顔がナスに見える。


The moving island.

動く人工の島。


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.

青森に引っ越して、良く言われたのは熊に注意。野生の熊は生存してますが、この公園でいつでも熊に会える。なぜと言えば、園内に小さな動物園みたいな場所がある。


There are rabbits.

うさぎもいるし。


There are birds.

鳥もいるし。


And of course there are the bears!

そして熊も居ます!


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.

良いタイミングでこの写真が撮れた。


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.

公園は三頭の熊を飼育してます。一番身体が大きのはモクちゃん。毛が白く見えるのがヨンちゃんと身体が小さいのはロクちゃん。


We spotted a small outdoor stage here.

この公園で小さな野外ステージが設置されてるのを発見。


The view from standing on the stage.

ステージ上からの眺め。






More cherry blossoms.

再びの桜。


There is a poem written on this stone.

岩になんかの俳句が書いてある。


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


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

津軽三味線発祥の地について。


Statue of Japanese novelist Osamu Dazai.

芦野公園は太宰治のゆかりの地でもあり、園内に彼の像が設置されてる。




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.

電車がまた駅にまもなく到着します。




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

走れメロスの電車。「走れメロス」は太宰治の有名なショートストーリー。






Snack time after walking around the park.

公園散歩のあとはアイスの時間だ。


Or maybe a shake.

それかシェイクを選ぶ。







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.

これから義理の母をむかいに行って、青森の桜の名所に行く予定。


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

五所川原から青森市に行く途中、岩木山が綺麗に見えた。


Mount Iwaki / 岩木山


Our cherry blossom viewing adventure will continue...

今年の花見はつづきます。。。