Category Archives: Japan

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From Output Rock Bar to Sakurazaka

I visited Output Rock Bar and Sakurazaka in Naha, Japan in September 2016

‘You know what’ the bartender says. ‘I close the bar, then we go to Sakurazaka. I can show you good bars. Real Okinawa nightlife’ He has been telling me of this great bar district in Naha, Sakurazaka, he compares it to Golden Gai in Tokyo. Now he apparently wants to show it to me. Never mind he is currently working. It is a slow night, closing the bar won’t make much of a difference.

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Awamori – A Drink From Okinawa

I visited Okinawa and tried Awamori in September 2016

The bartender fills the glass with ice cubes, then pours the spirit. Only half full. He tops of the glass with water. A quick stir, hands me the glass. I bring it to my lips, take a small sip. No strong flavours right away, a hint of tequila maybe, but very mellow. A little bit sweet. Not my favorite drink, but quite good. Very watery when mixed this way. I look up at the bartender, points to my awamori. Suki desu, I say. I like it. I take another sip, larger this time. I could drink this.

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An English Book Store in Hiroshima

I visited Outsider Global Lounge in Hiroshima in March 2014

I walked through the book store, looked at every book shelf, was quite impressed by their selection of English books, this being Japan. I have never found many books in English for sale in Japan. Here I found many interesting books, was tempted to buy a few.

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I am moving to Stockholm, Sweden

I moved to Stockholm, Sweden in January 2017.

When I put down the phone it started to dawn on me. Little by little. This was a big decision I had made, life-changing. And I had made it without really thinking it through. Things had happened so fast, no chance to think. I had been on holiday in Japan and Taiwan most of the time as well. Had I made the right decision?

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New Year’s Day in Japan

I celebrated New Year’s Day in Japan in 2015

The throng of people started already at the Harajuku train station. Everyone on the Yamanote Line was getting off here, long lines of people were forming at the ticket barriers. As we got out of the station, into the large open area in front of Meiji Park, it was not so packed anymore. But a steady stream of people were exiting the station, everyone heading in the same direction.

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New Year’s Eve in Japan

I celebrated New Year’s Eve in Japan in 2015.

As it got nearer to the New Year, only minutes away now, everyone gathered inside. All the staff from TOWA, the soba restaurant next door, owned by the same one who owned the bar, came as well. Not like Norway at all. In Norway we all go out at midnight to watch the fireworks and wish friends and strangers happy new year. Here there were no fireworks, we all stayed inside the bar, the sake was passed around.

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Sapporo TV Tower

I visited Sapporo TV Tower in December 2015

The view was perfect. You could see Odori Park running through the city, leading your gaze to, far in the distance, the ski jumping hill. The one used in the 1972 Winter Olympics. On a mountainside on the edge of the city it stood, in direct line of sight from the tower, no high rise in the way, only the trees of Odori Park.

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A Christmas Market in Sapporo

I visited the Christmas Market in Sapporo in December, 2015

I have been to many different christmas markets, I happen to travel a lot around christmas, but I had only been to markets in Europe. When I saw there was a christmas market in Sapporo while I was there, I knew I had to visit. I have been to christmas markets in Strasbourg and Berlin, Trondheim and Gdansk. They are usually very similar, but all with small differences.

It was the same in Sapporo, at first sight the market could have been anywhere. It looked like any christmas market, but at a closer look you could always spot the differences.

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The Icy Roads of Sapporo

I experienced the winter in Sapporo for four days during December 2015

Sapporo, despite actually lying just south of Nice, France, can be a a city of cold and snowy winters. With the Siberian High front developing over Eastern Russia and the Aleutian Low front developing north in the Pacific Ocean, a cold flow of air comes from the north and down to West Hokkaido. The result is usually cold and snowy winters, almost six meters of snow on average. In Niseko, a few hours by car from Sapporo this results in a ski resort with some of the best powder snow in the world. In Sapporo this means freezing winters, much trepidation, but also warm periods melting the snow to water which becomes ice due to the Heave, the cold ground. A problem also known in Norway.

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