Category Archives: Abroad

Straight from hell to Beppu

Straight from hell to Beppu
Hey there cutie pies! :omnom:
The cold weather that has been prevailing during the last few days is probably appropriate for early February but due to the lack of snow in the city, it still doesn’t really look like winter but it sure does feel like it. It’s hardly surprising that I’m longing for turquoise ponds with boiling hot water and subtropical vegetation.

bozuji1
bozuji2

When we arrived in Beppu with the car, there was steam coming out of drain covers and the air was filled with sulphur so that I instinctively put my face mask on. It was scary and fascinating at the same time and totally what I was looking for. Beppu is famous for its numerous hot springs – onsen – which are found all around town but also in the nearby volcanic mountains.

bozuyon
bozujigo

The first hell we stumbled into is named after the mud bubbles, which emerge from boiling mud pools and look like the shaven heads of monks. We were pretty much the only visitors and we enjoyed the beautiful and warm November weather while looking at the fuming ground and carefully arranged garden.

bozujineko

There are eight major hot spots which are often referred to as the Beppu Hatto, the eight hells of Beppu. Geography, especially volcanoes and geology was one of my all time favourite subjects during school so I was really glad I actually got to see so many hot spots.

toriiumiji
redpond

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The spooky campground episode

The spooky campground episode
Hey there sweet peas! :twinkles:
By now you might got the impression that my journey through Japan only consisted of food and shopping so let me get things straight with an ode to campground living and hot springs!
Going to Kyushu was probably the best decision because I had never seen anything like it before. We got there with the ferry which took us twelve hours from Osaka and since the ferry goes only by night we weren’t even able to look outside and see the coast lines of Honshu and Shikoku. Twelve hours later after a night on the floor with a two centimeters futon (~ 0.8 inches) and in a room with twenty people we arrived safe and sound but dead tired in Kitakyushu, the most northern area of Kyushu.


The first thing we did, was going to the tourist info stand in the train station but the ladies there were all bewildered by our question for camping places and told us that there were only very few camp grounds on Kyushu and especially not in this area and season of the year. I remember getting kind of angry at them because they were really unhelpful and I hadn’t slept (enough) that night. :bang:
So as usual we didn’t know where we would spend the night but thought that with a car, everything would look better. Getting a car wasn’t easy. First of all you need a translation for your licence and clever as we are, we did that just when we arrived in Tokyo at the beginning of our stay. Then the car rental will ask you tons of questions that we didn’t completely understand but after several attempts he finally understood that we wanted the cheapest car for the longest timespan available. Since there was some kind of holiday going on that day, it wasn’t easy to find one but he really did his best and we were able to get a car for ten days.


We spent three nights on this scenic camp site amidst volcanic cones and mesmerizing trees and after the first night I was scared to death. Around 1am I woke up hearing the strangest and most terrifying noises as if animals were tearing each others apart. As if that wasn’t enough the sound got interrupted by hysterical screaming of people. My body was all tense and I was trying to perceive whether the noise was coming closer or not but there were short breaks in between the episodes so it was difficult to tell.


Anyway, my bf had obviously heard it too and now we were both sitting there in our sleeping bags and didn’t know what to do. Eventually the voices of people coming closer with occasional giggling of girls convinced me, that is must have been a group of teenagers lurking around in the woods.
I looked outside the tent and saw them going into the building where the toilets are but was still way too afraid to go outside. Some time later they were gone but a car arrived and stopped in front of that building. I plucked up all my courage and went out, determined to confront them with what happened but it was only two women who were camping and they told me that they too had heard the screaming and were scared to death. :ohnoo:
The next day I told Silvan that I had never been as afraid as last night and that I had clearly seen a parade of nocturnal demons in front of my eyes. No, I don’t believe in ghosts and I’m one of the people who thinks that there’s a logical explanation for everything so I was really surprised to hear the same from him. Just hearing the noise without seeing its origin made me imagine the weirdest and most grotesque sceneries of demons and monsters I had seen in Japanese art and movies. A terrifying yet unique experience I will never forget.


Besides that episode I enjoyed staying in a tent a lot. The mornings were freezing and there weren’t any showers because guests could easily go bathing in one of the countless hot springs of Beppu. Except for the women we saw on the first night and two bikers, there was nobody else on the camp ground but during the day there were kids and older people enjoying the lake with pedaloes and eating ice cream.

Dangojiru Teishoku (団子汁定食)

The camping site wasn’t located in Beppu and there weren’t any supermarkets or restaurants where we stayed. We were lucky to have a small shop selling different noodles and sets with delicious broth, fish and pickles nearby.
I’ll leave you with this pic of the fuming grounds and constructions as a prelude for the next entry about Kyushu.

With Maetel (メーテル) and the conductor (車掌) of Galaxy Express 999

Ten days were quite short to travel around Kyushu but with the car I got to see random places I wouldn’t have seen by train and we managed to go round the whole island. Especially after the city life in Osaka it was nice to be surrounded by nature again.
I hope you enjoyed the autumnal colors and have a great sunday everyone!

byebye,

Osaka, city of Neon

Osaka, city of Neon
Hi there cutie pies! :ichikeki:
Going through the pictures I took in Osaka was quite enjoyable because they’re all colorful with lots of illuminations and funky things to discover while in Zurich it’s raining cats and dogs right now. It’s not even winter and I’m so upset that there isn’t any snow!!!
Anyway, it’s a good day for blogging so here I am telling you about how amazing Osaka is.


There are many reasons why to love Osaka but the flashy neon signs and people and the irresistible food at every corner, is why I personally like to hang around in this city. In comparison to other cities the hotels and food are reasonable and it’s so funny and interesting how different the people in Osaka dress and behave from the people in Tokyo. It didn’t took me one day to adapt to the different style and company and before I even noticed, I was saying maido when entering a store and wearing sun glasses – at night!


Food is omnipresent in Osaka city and you can see people indulging in tasty street food, typically takoyaki (with octopus, hence the huge octopi signs) and okonomiyaki everywhere, especially in the Dotonbori. The people are less reserved and quite talkative and it’s easy to get involved in an interview by university students or even in a nice chat with old ladies and friendly workers who will offer you to drink beer with them. Of course the food is delicious but still, my favourite takoyaki place is in Tokyo! What I couldn’t get enough of though, is hot choux pastry and oden, that’s basically daikon radish, (fish-)tofu, fried tofu pouches filled with cabbage and rice cake, sausages, eggs and other things that are simmered in broth and you can choose what you like out of a hot pot.


We went eating Yakiniku twice and I already miss it so much here in Switzerland! Everyone who’s been in Japan knows that Japanese meat is unbeatable and I would do anything to have a little piece of wagyu in my mouth right now. You get your own table with a grill in it and get to choose many different sorts of meat and veggies. I love meat like seriously so much that this was paradise for me.

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