Blogs from Ehime, Japan, Asia


Asia » Japan » Ehime December 8th 2020

Continuing my little blog series about the five biggest islands of Japan (because coronavirus means I haven’t been able to go anywhere else for ages), here is Shikoku. Is Shikoku deserving of its own blog seeing as I only visited twice during the 13 months of living in Japan? Yes, because it’s really nice and most tourists apparently skip it. My favourite means of travel around the Japanese archipelago, and indeed around most places, is by ship. True, I still get a thrill from travelling at 285 km/h on the Shinkansen, which, while looking futuristic, is actually more than 50 years old (the rest of the world may one day catch up). But the Shinkansen is really expensive if you are a resident – rail passes are only available to those on a tourist visa. Despite ... read more
The chains on Mt Ishizuchi
Marugame from Konpira Shrine
Omogokei Gorge

Asia » Japan » Ehime » Matsuyama September 24th 2019

We joined the Shinkensan - Hikari 465 - at Kyoto, bound for Okayama which took just over one and a half hours following which the local train - Shiokaze - took just over three hours to reach Matsuyama. As we stepped off the train we were welcomed by our lovely Japanese friends Sappi and her mum Masako waving madly; it was lovely to see them both again. The last time we were at Matsuyama was when, together with Ross, we attended the wedding of Sappi and Takaya. Since then their son Kento has joined the family however he was in a Nursery School Child Care at the time so we didn't meet him until a little later. Masako took us to Sappi and Takaya's new house which had been built on the site of ... read more
Sappi, Kev and the box of goodies to cook
Someone's not too happy!
Masako and Kento

Asia » Japan » Ehime » Matsuyama July 31st 2018

Dear All Greetings from a small city called Matsuyama (half-a-million people, about the same size as Sheffield!), on the island of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. I am so happy to be here for a number of reasons. Firstly, and mainly, as I indeed made it safely here on Sunday evening, following a night of Typhoon Jongdari passing directly overhead back in Kyoto. Secondly, as after the tourist-hotspot of Kyoto, it is a great relief to be off-the-beaten track here, with the only other (few) tourists around being the polite, gracious and wonderful Japanese people! And finally, as it’s just a fantastic place and I have had a very enjoyable few days here indeed. I believe I last wrote after being a bit concerned about my travel plans on Sunday, with Typhoon Jongdari ... read more
Dogo Onsen
Ishite-ji Buddhist Temple

Asia » Japan » Ehime » Matsuyama March 30th 2018

Haïku du jour Ce monde de rosée est un monde de rosée Pourtant et pourtant (Kobayashi Issa) Hanami et yakuta Au printemps, certains parcs, sanctuaires ou temples s'illuminent jusque tard dans la nuit. De jour comme de nuit, les japonais (es) revêtent un kimono pour pique-niquer en famille, entre amis ou entre collègues de travail, sur des toiles bleues sous les cerisiers (sakura) en fleur. C'est hanami. A Matsuyama, les touristes venus se baigner au Dogo Onsen, la plus ancienne station thermale du Japon où même la famille impériale avait ses habitudes, enfilent leur yakuta pour les rejoindre. Expérience unique, le port du yakuta ne s'improvise pas. Sur des vêtements de ville, enfiler ce genre de kimono en coton imprimé de couleurs claires et à larges manches, en veillant bien à couvrir le côté droit par ... read more

Asia » Japan » Ehime » Matsuyama March 29th 2018

Haïku du jour Le grand bouddha somnole, somnole journée de printemps (Masaoka Shiki) L’auteur du haïku du jour, Masaoka Shiki est né à Matsuyama en 1867. Théoricien rénovateur et innovateur de ce genre poétique traditionnel, il a composé environ 25000 haïkus. Il a relancé le genre en insistant sur l’objectivité du croquis sur le vif d’après nature (shasei) et la liberté. Au fait, c’est quoi un haïku exactement ? Ce petit poème « pas plus long qu’une respiration », en 3 segments de 5-7-5 syllabes doit donner une notion de saison (la kigo) et comporter une césure (le kireji) Voici un exemple du plus célèbre auteur au Japon : Bashô Un vieil étan... read more

Asia » Japan » Ehime » Matsuyama March 28th 2018

Haïku du jour Le parfum des pruniers monté là-haut le halo de la lune (Buson) De Hiroshima à Matsuyama, en passant par Koré, agréable traversée de la mer intérieure, très calme, en longeant des archipels ourlés de petites plages tranquilles sur le ferry Ishitegawa. 2h30 de pure détente par un temps radieux. Ce soir, spectacle de Kabuki puis c'est Hanami : pic nic sous les cerisiers en fleurs comme des millions de japonais à travers le pays.... read more

Asia » Japan » Ehime April 24th 2017

Day 11 Ashizura to Ainan 93km. 950m ascent. Chris summed up today spot on when he declared it "Stunning". It was one of the best touring days ever with 29 degrees of wall to wall sunshine, as predicted. The coast was followed closely for most of the day and the first piece took us about half way up the hillside so that the rocky, island strewn coast could be seen in all its glory. Most of the villages were occupied by fishermen, fish factories and fish markets. Going around one bay we noticed some smoke, or dust, coming out of a tall building. When we got closer we could smell wood smoke and fish, only to find it was a fish smoking factory working on a Sunday. Luckily they allowed us to photograph and film them ... read more
Savoury pancake time
The two stooges
Super clogs

Asia » Japan » Ehime April 22nd 2017

Day 10. Shimanto Town to Ashizura 91km. 800m ascent. 21kph. Typical breakfast today of fish, rice, green vegetable of unknown provenance, soup and mashed turnip? Off we went following the Shimanto River again down to the sea. This was a very pleasant ride in 15-20 degrees with the odd patch of sun along mostly very quiet narrow road ads close to the river bank and occasionally going over the low concrete bridges with no side rails. It was good to see a small machine planting rice with is wife watching in her straw hat. The Azaleas are looking good and give some really good colour to the countryside. We also encountered a large quarry and tarmacadam plant with all its crushers and separators rattling away. Further downstream we saw a dog agility competition one one river ... read more
Our sea view
Washing drying machine

Asia » Japan » Ehime » Matsuyama September 10th 2016

After Kev, Ross and I glammed up, Sappy and Takuya's wedding day started for us when 'Sappy's Wedding Ceremony' coach arrived outside our hotel. We were the only three passengers in the coach and by 8.45am were on our way to Bayside Geihinkan where it was all to take place. We were greeted by Sappy's mum Masako and, along with other guests, looked after by the many very attentive staff. There was a beautifully set up entrance space where guest books were signed which was soon filled by the eighty guests. This including three bridesmaids who, it turned out, weren't actually part of the wedding ceremony itself. The entrance hall lead to stairs at the top of which was the chapel, the central aisle strewn with pink rose petals. With the ceremony due to start at ... read more
Kev, Michelle & Ross are going to a wedding!
Masako is there to greet us.
Ross, Michelle, Masako & Kev

Asia » Japan » Ehime » Matsuyama September 9th 2016

This time, as well as staying with Ross in Tokyo, we've travelled to Matsuyama for a wedding of Saeko Hino; always known to us as Sappy. But more of that later. On Wednesday 7 September we flew from Sydney to Narita, via Cairns, arriving just after 7pm. As on all our travels to Japan we gave Jetstar the job of getting us from A to B as they've always offered such great deals so they're too good to knock back! Because we had a morning flight the following day we spent our first night at the Excel airport hotel which offered a free shuttle bus both there and back. So bright and early on Thursday we were back at Narita's Terminal Three for our flight to Matsuyam, once again with Jetstar. With the tail end of ... read more
Kev at Narita ready to join the 'City in the Sky'.
Michelle with a few robots at Narita's Terminal Three
Masako meets us off the plane at Matsuyama.

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