The other day, I was handed a sheaf of papers by a longtime friend, saying "Do you want to read this?". In fact, the copy over 40 pages was a travel journal about when I went to London 26 years ago with her.


She likes writing and has literary talent. She wrote a very detailed journal about our entire trip of the time. Of course, I can remember I went to London, but I have only a vague memory of what the hotel was like and the detailed itinerary.


Back in those days, the Internet was not spread, so I have only guidebooks to rely on. The photos that I took were analog ones of course.


When I started to read it with my heart thumping a little, it brought back my dim memories and as if they are updated vividly and I was moved. I feel like having a treasure, cannot be replaced by anything. If I take a long trip one day, I would definitely like to write a travel journal.


She also wrote a novel that a girl travels back to a sword training yard of samurai in the end of the Edo Period in Kyoto. I read it before and it brought tears to my eyes. I want the novel to be turned into a book, but she has no interest in publication because she said she wrote it merely for her pleasure. (H.S)


The purpose of the trip to London was visiting here, where is the residence of Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991. In the film "Bohemian Rhapsody", there was a similar scene to the appearance of the house in this photo.


Messages from fans were written all over on the brick wall of Freddie's house. We visited here again two days later and left flowers and letters.


A page of the travel journal



There are three kinds of crabs caught in Fukui.



Echizen crab

The male Zuwai-gani (snow crab) caught around Echizen Coast in Fukui is called

"Echizen-gani". "Kani" or "gani" means crab in Japanese.


Fishing season for the Echizen-gani is from November 6th to March 20th.

It's well known as the most expensive and the largest one in Fukui.

It's a luxurious food, so even most of the people from Fukui, they hardly eat it.



the differences between seiko gani, the female snow crab and zuwai gani, the male one
the differences between sotoko, fertilized eggs and uchiko, the ovary
inside of seiko-gani


The female snow crab is called "Seiko-gani" which is smaller than

the Echizen-gani (the male ones). Typically, the female ones are 1/3 of

the size of the male ones. The fishing season for the female ones is

from November 6th to December 31st. The pregnant ones carry

"sotoko (fertilized eggs)". When you chew the fertilized eggs,

you get satisfying popping crunchy texture like sea grapes.

"uchiko (the ovary)" has a rich strong crab flavor. I like both.


The price of the Seiko-gani is much lower than the Echizen-gani,

so it's more likely for people in Fukui Prefecture to eat the Seiko-gani

than the Echizen-gani. In addition, at some schools in Fukui Prefecture,

the Seiko-gani is served for their school lunch and students learn how to eat it properly.


After enjoying the crab meat of Seiko-gani and or Echizen-gani,

it's even more enjoyable to pour sake into the shell and drink it directly from the shell.

The sake will take on a subtle flavor of the "kani-miso (the brown meat)".

It is the best way to complete the crab.




The freshly molted male snow crab is called "Mizu-gani".

It is young male crab and the word "young" is "waka" in Japanese,

so it is also called "Waka-gani". Also, the crab meat of Mizu-gani can

easily be taken out of the shell, so it's called "Zubo-gani".

"Zubo" is a Japanese word to show a sound of something is taken out of something easily.

The crab meat of Mizu-gani is as large as the Zuwai-gani but the price of the Mizu-gani is

one third of the Zuwai-gani. Therefore, Mizu-gani is popular as well.


A friend of mine from outside the prefecture visited Fukui Prefecture to have Mizu-gani.

He enjoyed it so much and he even bought some more crabs to take home.



I would like to share a video of "Fukui Prefectural Tourism Federation".
You can see the crab auction.

Last year and this year, there have been shortage of crabs,

so I haven't eaten them as much I usually would eat.

I hope that it'll be a good year for the crabs next year.


If you haven't tried having the amazing crabs from Fukui,

how about visiting Fukui Prefecture, enjoy the charms of the prefecture, and eating the crabs?




Random Thoughts


Last Friday, I was surprised to see that there was a heavy machinery moving on a landslide-like steep slope. The photograph was taken from a distance, so it's hard to see that there's a heavy machinery, though.


The heavy machinery was a power shovel. It was probably hung with a wire from the top of the slope. The slope might be as steep as 45 degrees, so even just sitting in the driver's seat must be scared.


I don't know if it's a kind of their usual work, but I was impressed by the skills and courage of those construction workers.


Life in Fukui

At the New Year's press conference, the governor said that he wanted to begin consideration of relocation of Fukui prefectural office building from next fiscal year.


Actually, there was a lot of criticism about the scenery that the office building is located in the Fukui Castle Ruins, where the beautiful stone walls remain, water birds rest in the moat surrounded the walls and cherry blossom trees bloom in spring.


Then, where should they relocate it? And, how should they use the site?


One of Fukui Chamber of Commerce and Industry's suggestion is that to renovate and reuse several existing buildings located in the center of Fukui City. In that case, the place would be separated for each section. But therefore, that might help to create new flow of people and make the town more lively.


And as for the site, they have a plan to create Fukui Castle Ruins Park. I hope that the park will be a resting place that people could know the history as well. Also, it would be nice if there were a small concert hall, a restaurant and a cafe. I think that the plan will be decided in four years later, before Hokuriku Shinkansen will be extended to Fukui Prefecture. I look forward to that day. (H.S)


The Fukui prefectural office building surrounded the moat (in the center of the photo)
(The photo is from Fukui Shimbun Newspaper ONLINE)



Many people love ramen noodles in Japan. Recently, I had a great one in Kyoto.

It was at Shinpuku-saikan which is located near the Takabashi (the Takakura Kosen Bridge)

in JR Kyoto Station area. It has more than 70 years of history.

The ramen noodles there were excellent, and I loved them!



a long line in front of the ramen noodle shop, Shinpuku Saikan


Last time when I visited there, there was a long line and I had to wait more than 30 minutes.

I had to catch a train on that day and I couldn't eat it. This time, there was no line luckily,

so I got into the restaurant without waiting and I was able to enjoy the ramen noodles.



Ramen noodles at the Shinpuku saikan in Kyoto

The noodles of the Shinpuku-saikan is known for the dark soy sauce base ramen.

It looks similar to the ramen noodles from Toyama called "Black ramen".

I ordered a bowl of the ramen noodles with extra chopped scallions

and a raw egg on the top, and a dish of fried rice.


On a Japanese TV show, I saw that people were talking about how people from Kyoto like eating anything with thick sauce and a strong flavor. The soup of the ramen noodles I had were lighter with less flavor than I expected.



the fried rice at Shinpuku-saikan

The fried rice was amazing too. I tasted the roasted soy sauce flavor and I liked it so much.


I heard that their ramen noodles and fried rice can be purchased online

and/or at convenience stores.


This was my first time eating at a restaurant where people wait in line just to eat there.

The ramen noodles and the fried rice at Shinpuku-saikan were amazing,

so I understand why people wait in to eat there.


If you have a chance to visit Kyoto and you like ramen noodles,

Shinpuku-saikan is a highly recemmended ramen noodle shop.


*If you don't like waiting in line,

I suggest you to visit there around 4 pm to 5 pm, before it gets very busy.




Random Thoughts


In the story of this week's morning drama, "Manpuku", which is based on the true story of Momofuku Ando, the founder of Nissin Food Products Co. Ltd. and the inventor of instant ramen noodles, the main character of the drama has successfully invented the instant ramen noodles. It looks like it is reaching a climax of the story.


When I go hiking, I often see people making the instant ramen noodles in the mountains.
A friend in the photograph above also dreamed of making one at the summit. She had even prepared a boiled egg and some vegetables as toppings for her ramen noodles.


I don't cook on mountains. I was just flying a drone around there while nibbling biscuits.


Beauty & Health

After watching NHK's morning show last year, I started to eat high percentage cacao chocolate. In the show that day, the theme was how to increase basal metabolism, and they introduced that in order to increase basal metabolism, it is important to improve liver function. According to a liver specialist who appeared in the show, unexpectedly, you should eat high percentage cacao chocolate to improve liver function. Because high percentage cacao chocolate contains remarkably more polyphenol than any other food, and its anti-oxidizing effect protects liver from active oxygen.


He recommended that you should eat 25 grams per day.


Also, high percentage cacao chocolate not only increases liver function but also increases good cholesterol and decreases bad cholesterol. Come to think of it, I have heard that cacao was useful as a medicine in the past. If you feel that your basal metabolism drops or have a high bad cholesterol level, it might be worth trying out. (H.S)


I eat 86 percent cacao chocolate but even 72 percent one is also effective.


For detailed information, read here by Meiji Co., Ltd.



February 5th, 2018

*The photograph above was taken on February 5th, 2018 in Fukui City.


In Fukui City, we usually have so much snow and it's very cold during winter, but it's nothing like the usual winter this year. As a person from Fukui City, I feel that it's strange not to have snow but to have the warm weather around this time of the year.



first snowfall of 2018 in Bhutan on December 18th

This is a photograph that the poster girl of Bhutan Museum Fukui, Ms. Sonam Choki sent to me. She told me that they had the first snow of the year in Bhutan, and she took the photograph.

In Bhutan, when they have the first snowfall of the year, it becomes the national holiday. Most of the public places such as schools, government offices, banks and so on are closed.

She thought that she was going to have a day off. On that day, it was a day of her Japanese lesson and she was supposed to go to the Japanese school. In the school, everything is scheduled based on Japanese calendar, so the school wasn't closed.


On February 5th, it was the Bhutanese New Year, Losar. The date of the New Year changes every year.


Sonam Choki in front of the poster of Bhutan Museum Fukui
Sonam Choki and the founder of Bhutan Museum Fukui, Genji Nosaka

*The 2 photographs above were taken when Ms. Sonam Choki stayed in Fukui City last year.


I asked Ms. Sonam Choki to send me photographs of what she was doing on the New Year.



bhutanese food
bhutanese food
bhutanese food
bhutanese food

She said that she enjoyed eating with her sister. She didn't go to her parents house this year because she was very busy with her school and she stayed in Thimphu where she goes to school. She said she would enjoy it more if she was in her hometown.


I wish everyone in Bhutan very Happy New Year 2019!




Random Thoughts


I found that the short animation that I made a long time ago was unable to play, so I converted the data format into a new one to see it again.


Pictures drawn on rocks can be seen after tens of thousands of years, paper or clothes may last for a thousand years, and phonograph records and pre-recorded tapes are good for several decades. The newer a media is, the shorter the life of it becomes.


Digital data can be seen only a few years. In terms of leaving a legacy for the future, the vast amount of the data that being accumulated every day might not be useful.


Charms of Japan

At the annual New Year's party with friends, a friend gave us New Year's gift money. In the envelope for money gift, there were two commemorative 100-yen clad coins of The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.


The friend who gave us the coins works for a bank, so she was able to get the coins early. Everyone there saw the coins for the first time and cheered. It is nice New Year's gift money because it will be a good memento.


For details of the 100-yen Clad Coins of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, please see the press release by Ministry of Finance, JAPAN. (H.S)


On the top side of the coin of Olympic Games, there is a picture of two fencers.
And on the top side of the coin of Paralympic Games, there is a picture of a
boccia player.


Each back side of the coins has a picture of the official emblem.