Random Thoughts



It's a working stone crushing plant I saw recently in the mountain area of Ono City, Fukui prefecture.
Of course, it's nice to see a landscape of beautiful modern factories, but I also feel charm in the atmosphere of such rugged structures of rusty iron materials, which are almost unrelated to the word "precision" or "smart". They look like Tinguely's sculptures, but they are absolutely anonymous.
Although I'm only saying about their lookings.



outside shot of the restaurant

A friend of mine and I had lunch at “Echizen-Bar Radicare” in Fukui City. It’s a restaurant which serves dishes prepared with fresh local products in Fukui Prefecture. I arrived at the restaurant at around noon, but the place was almost completely full. Luckily there was one table for us.



menu for lunch, it's a sign board outside

They serve 5 different kinds of lunch combos and it’s 1000yen for each one.
Of course, lunch combos are prepared with fresh local products in Fukui Prefecture as well as any other meals at the restaurant. They make the meals as customers order, so the customers can have freshly cooked hot ones.



a photograph in the menu of hamburger steak served with the specail sauce

The photograph above is a hamburger steak combo. The hamburger steak is served with the special sauce which is made with grated daikon radish and ponzu sauce (soy sauce containing citrus juice). A friend of mine had this combo and she said that the special sauce was refreshing and good to eat with the hamburger steak. The special sauce made a heavy and rich hamburger steak light and even tastier.



a photograph in the menu of hamburger steak served with demi-glace sauce, brown sauce

I had a hamburger steak combo which was served with demi-glace sauce (brown sauce) on the hamburger steak. The salad which was prepared with fresh vegetables was good as same as the miso soup which was prepared with amazing broth.
The hamburger steak was great. The demi-glace sauce (brown sauce) and a medium sunny side up make a perfect combination with the juicy hamburger steak.


The atmosphere of the restaurant is stylish and relaxing.
Because the restaurant is located in the middle of a business district in Fukui City and it was during the day on weekdays when I visited, there were many business people.




As the name of the restaurant is “Echizen-Bar Radicare” (Echizen Province was an old part of Fukui Prefecture), they make many dishes using the local products from Fukui Prefecture. You can see them in the menu on the wall.


They open for dinner as well.



sake of Kokuryu

I saw a bottle of my favorite sake from Fukui. I’m sure the sake and the dishes at the restaurant would make a perfect combination.




Location : 3-8-10 Ote, Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture

Phone: 0776-28-3033

Opening hours:

Lunch 11:00-14:00

Dinner 17:00-22:00

Closed for lunch on Saturdays

Closed (for both lunch and dinner) on Sundays



The film is based on a novel by Ms. Natsu Miyashita, who was born in Fukui City.
Also, the novel received “Honya Taisho Prize” (chosen by bookstore staff nationwide) in 2016. I read the novel, and I had been looking forward to see the film since I heard the novel was made into a film, so I went to see the film.


From TOHO website


Then, when I got the theater, surprisingly I met Ms. Miyashita in person at the lobby.
Of course, I had no personal acquaintance with her, but I automatically said to her “It’s a pleasant surprise to see you here! I am looking forward to seeing the film.” and she smilingly replied, “I will see it now.” Although she must have seen the film at a preview, she may have a new impression to see the film at a local theater with audiences. I sometimes see Ms. Miyashita on local TV programs. She looks gentle and elegant, talks modestly, and has a maidenly transparent feeling. I always thought she is a wonderful person and actually Ms. Miyashita was exactly what I had imagined.


The film has a lot of beautiful picturesque scenes and the actors’ performance didn’t disturb the atmosphere. Their performances as a tuner were very good as if they were real ones, from which I could guess that they prepared the roles well. I like Ken Mitsuishi’s performance, and in this film as well, he had a presence, though he didn’t have many lines. I think that he is really a clever actor. Also, you can enjoy piano performance at the same time in the film. Especially, piano performance by Mone and Moka Kamishiraishi sisters was impressive.


The main character thinks that he isn't capable of a tuner and his senior tuner
said to him. “Capability is a feeling of love something.”
I think that the phrase is an axiom which I want to share with everyone.
If you like something very much and if you can master it, it is an excellent capability.


And, the ending theme (written by Jo Hisaishi, played by Nobuyuki Tsujii) was so beautiful that it made me want to cry as if the world of the film would continue. By seeing such a good film, I could re-examine my daily life and make a course correction a little. (H.S)



Places to visit

On June 7th and 10th, I went to the Daian-zenji temple to see the iris flowers. On the morning of the 7th, the flowers were in bloom partially, but they became to bloom much more in recent 3 days. Actually, the half of the iris flowers were in bloom, and they might bloom fully in a few days.


June 7, 2018 (Thursday)


June 10, 2018 (Sunday)


By the way, we can also see the inside of the 350-year-old temple with this iris festival admission ticket, but it may become impossible to see that familiar old cathedral soon.
Big restoration works of the temple that will take ten years will begin next year.




Kokuryu Adoso

On May 30th, 2018 “Kokuryu Adoso” of this year has been released. Kokuryu Adoso is the official name of a sake from Kokuryu brewery, and it is also known as “Arigato Sake”. Arigato means “thank you” in Japanese. This is the perfect gift for thanking someone special such as family members, friends, wives, husbands and so on.


Kokuryu Adoso is the sake which has been brewed with the rice planted and harvested during Arigato Project.



Rice planting

Arigato Project is the project in which the participants plant and harvest rice, and learn about more detail of the quality of sake. The participants also watch fireflies as well. Since fireflies can only live in the area which has clean water and air, the participants learn that rich nature is necessary for making sake rice. They learn not only about Japanese sake, but they also learn about the value of connection with others and the charms of Japan and Fukui.



Rice harvesting
An American man is rice harvesting

And at the end of the Arigato Project, they receive finished sake and give the sake to people whom they want to thank to.


The taste of the Kokuryu Adoso for this years is very smooth and mellow with refresh and sweet aftertaste.


How about giving Kokuryu Adoso to people who are special in your life and you want to thank them?



For more information about Kokuryu

Kokuryu Sake Brewing Corporation Official Site



Recently, at the 71st Cannes Film Festival, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” won the Palme d’Or. In Fukui, its advance screening was held last weekend and I went to see the film.


On the surface, modern Japan is thought to be affluent.
But it has problems piled up that we should discuss more seriously.
Seeing the film, various keywords related to the problems crossed my mind one after another. And, Kore-eda’s screenplay and direction reflects the problems without feelings and messages. In addition, all the cast members’ performance beyond acting creates the overwhelming reality. The two child actors are also really great.
Gradually, I didn’t feel that I was watching a film any more.
And, maybe the reason there were many eating scenes is that we cannot live without eating.


Director Kore-eda doesn’t make us cry easily and see things in black and white.
He purposely avoids them. I felt that his pride that he would not make a shallow film such people could cry easily and this is a right answer.


I don’t think that this film should not be criticized posing as a critic.
Nobody could say anything in a know-it-all attitude.
Even after you see the film, probably you don’t have the answer.
However, the film will give you a chance to think deeply once again about poverty, good and bad, life and death, love of family. (H.S)



Nature Plants and Animals



Last Saturday (June 2, 2018), as soon as I found a small animal near my foot by chance, I focused the video camera on it.
I was climbing Mt. Genanpo of Ono City, Fukui Prefecture, with Ms. J who started mountaineering this year. And I thought that small and round one might be a Japanese grass vole. I was so excited to see the cute animal for the first time.



I had Kokuryu Kijoshu sake which was just released at the end of May of this year.


kokuryu kijoshu 

A 150ml glass bottle fits in the palm of an adult hand. The color of the bottle is black, and it has a red label with a printed metallic design. I like the stylish bottle. Since some of sake breweries in Japan such as Kokuryu brewery take so much time and effort for making nice labels and bottles, you can enjoy looking at the bottles as much as you enjoy sake.


The Kokuryu Kijoshu has lusciously sweet and fruity flavor. It leaves a clean and refreshing aftertaste. The kijoshu reminds me of a sherry or port with a honey/nutty aroma.


For the 5th anniversary party of “Arigato Project” (The project of making sake and learn about it.) which I visited on May 27th, 2018, I saw the nice Kokuryu Kijosh lined up on tables. Since the kijoshu is very sweet, I thought that it would be popular among women, but I saw many men pick bottles, look at the design and enjoy drinking it.

I asked them how the sake was. They said that even thought the taste of the sake is very sweet but the after taste of it is very refreshing, so they liked it very much.


If you have a chance to try Kokuryu Kijoshu, enjoy it!





What is Kijoshu?

Kijoshu is a type of sake which is brewed by using sake instead of water.



What is "Arigato Project"?

Arigato project participants in front of Kokuryu brewery

A project to pass on Japanese sake to the next generation. In this project, young people who are age of 20 to 30, residents of Fukui prefecture or employees or students in Fukui take one year to make their own sake.

Arigato project 2017 rice planting

Arigato project 2017 rice planting

They make the sake from rice planting and after one year, they give the sake to the people whom they want to give thanks to.


You can enjoy our previous blogs about the "Arigato Project" from a previous year.


                      Passing on Japanese Sake to the Next Generation

                      Learning about Sake

                      Brewery Tour

                      Passion for Japanese Sake at Kokuryu

                      Young Residents of Fukui

                      Overwhelming Moment

                      Overwhelming Moment

                      Great Enthusiasm


For more information about Kokuryu

Kokuryu Sake Brewing Corporation Official Site


Festivals & Events

I went to the Musikfest NARA again. This year, it is being held from May 7th to June 3rd, a month earlier than last year. Of course, my aim was seeing “Songs and laughter of Okinawa” concerts, which were held on May 26th and 27th.


Because it was held one month earlier, I was able to enjoy the concerts in the refreshing air before the rainy season. In the daytime, drinking Orion Beer in the open air was great! (H.S)


On the first day, it began with Okinawan classical dance


They are a really nice duo, of whom I am a fan.
Yukito Ara from Ishigaki Island
Isamu Shimoji from Miyako Island
It is called Sakishima combining Ishigaki Island and Miyako Island.


Members of ”Ryukyu-koku Matsuri Daiko" Nara branch
They always perform powerful Eisa (Okinawan traditional performance).


”Yui Yui Sisters"
Although the group name is ’sisters’, actually the two members facing the observers’ right are mother and daughter.
In Okinawa, it seems like there are many groups who perform with family.


The last performer was ”DIAMANTES".
They were just perfect for summer and so exciting.


It was held in Kasugano-enchi, where is located in the back of Nara Park and has view of Mt. Wakakusa behind it. The performers were impressed with such a beautiful location.


A deer was alone near Sarusawa-Ike Pond.
It was standing frozen, because a big dog on a walk was coming this way.
Of course, the dog was on the lead, but I could feel the tension of the deer.
Animals usually look relaxed and easy, but they may have many cares.


The Great Buddha of Nara.
I saw it this year again.


Random Thoughts

Because the city of Fukui was destroyed thoroughly twice, with the bombing by the American air force in 1945 and the big earthquake three years later, there are few historic buildings left.


However, after 70 years from the disasters, I may sometimes find a scene that makes feeling of history.


When I see the landscape where new buildings recently made and those old buildings coexist, I think this is so good because I'm relieved to see it.



An old-fashioned but neat wooden house standing against a new building of various administrative agencies in the center of the city.



"Happiring" a complex that is a symbol of the redevelopment around the Fukui Station, and "Shin-sakae Terrace" at a corner of Shin-sakae shopping street.


There are stores such as an Indonesian restaurant, a cafe, a cheese specialty store, etc. surrounding a square made by laying a wood deck in the space which was once a parking lot.


It seems like the street corners of a foreign country somewhere and I like that appearance of the stores reusing old buildings pretty much.