Blogs from Mito, Ibaraki, Japan, Asia


Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito May 28th 2019

(SC writes)Yesterday we woke to grey skies and heavy rain. Luckily it was time to move and we only got a little damp on the short walk to the station. Our luggage has expanded somewhat over the past three weeks but we coped! It’s going to get worse, as we have plans for final shopping in Tokyo. Before that, though we had one last Garden to do, as Cathy explains below. So we travelling back eastward through Tokyo and onwards to the town of Mito, over 4 hours in all. (Cj writes) We came to Mito specially to see the third of Japan’s three best gardens. The Kairoku-en Garden is planted with 3,000 cherry and plum trees, in a couple of hundred or so different varieties, and from late February through to April or early May ... read more
A very fine Acer at Kairakuen
Kairakuen view from the house
Kairakuen view from the house

Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito October 20th 2015

And we are off to Mito city in Ibraraki prefecture to meet my friend Mika and the wonderfully hospitable Masaki family. I've been the best of friends with Mika since she stayed with my family for 8 months on student exchange in year 12. Since then she and her family and friends ave been to Australia numerous times and I have visited her once in 2005 for 2 weeks. So after 10 years we we are back in Mito! We were greeted at the train station by Mika, her parents and her gorgeous 7 year old son Yotsuha. He has grown so much since I last saw him! We was keen to show off his big boy muscles and drag Bill's big bag to the car! At home we were quick to discover his love of ... read more
Yoshida Shrine Autumn festival,  Mito
Nat-chan and Mika-chan!
Me and my Thai friend  Jhum

Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito April 18th 2011

We drive up to the entrance to the car park to Hitachi Seaside Park, Kaihinkoen. I’d met Hanako-san at the ticket barrier at Katsuta Station, and Suzuki-san had picked us up outside in her car. There is a woman in the car park booth and she waves us on. ‘It’s free’, says Suzuki-san, ‘and so’s the entrance. It’s to encourage everyone’. At the entrance to the park the Japanese flag is flying at half mast. As we go in, staff are handing out maps and smiling at everyone. I’ve never seen the park this busy before. I’ve come here several times with friends over the past years during the week, and it’s always been pretty quiet, but now there are people everywhere – a lot of elderly people complete with hats, but younger families and groups ... read more

Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito April 17th 2011

I wave goodbye to Neil as he drives off on his way to Narita before flying to China. I’m on my own now if there’s another big aftershock. No, I’m not, I realise, my friends are here. Gambarou, I tell myself. I’m in Mito station omiyage shop. It’s a very big tradition in Japan to buy omiyage – souvenirs – for your family, friends and colleagues, either when you travel away or when you’re going back home. Every station has at least one omiyage shop, and you see people laden with bags getting on the trains. First of all I look at the section with the charms and pens. I spot just what I need as an omiyage for my son-in-law who is rather partial to football - a Hello Kitty mobile phone charm showing Kitty ... read more

Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito April 16th 2011

‘It’s been very quiet with the aftershocks these last two days,’ I say to Neil, ‘maybe they’re dying down’. ‘Either that,’ says Neil, ‘or the pressure’s building up for another one’. That’s the problem – you can’t even relax fully when there aren’t any aftershocks. I remember only too well the article in the Japan Times from Thursday this week, which said that the Meteorological Agency warned that the likelihood of an aftershock of magnitude 7.0 or higher is 10 % within three days of 3 pm Tuesday this week, and also the same percentage within three days of 3 pm Friday this week. 10% seems too high a percentage to feel comfortable. Is the beast quiet now, or merely getting enough strength for the next pounce? Neil slows down to go over the bump before ... read more

Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito April 15th 2011

As far as I can make out, there were no vibrations or shakings in the night. My phone rings. It’s Hanako-san to make arrangements for meeting on Monday. I should take the train to Katsuta, and she and Kimura-san will pick me up then by car. We’ll go to Hitachi Seaside Park. If it rains, we’ll go somewhere else in Oarai. If there is an earthquake and the trains are cancelled, then we’ll phone. I smile to myself. Times have really changed when you don’t only have to allow for rain in making plans but also for earthquakes. I go out the hotel entrance and past all the construction workers relaying the pavement slabs which must have been tossed around by the earthquake. I spot Michiko-san’s yellow car waiting for me in the street. ‘Ohisashiburi desu ... read more

Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito April 14th 2011

Neil’s getting up to go to Tsukuba for a meeting and I’m still in bed, thinking I should be getting up. I feel the vibrations, and this time they increase, rather than easing off. As I lie there I can feel the building start to sway and as it sways it creaks, backwards and forwards it goes. Should I be jumping out of bed? The swaying and the creaking die down and then fade away. I’m going for a run round Senba Lake, the only reminder of the earthquake is dodging the broken bits of tarmac. It’s a perfect blue sky and the cherry blossom trees which encircle the lake are still in full bloom. There are people out walking round the lake, most of them exercising in a serious way, often wearing white gloves which ... read more

Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito April 12th 2011

Several times during the night I surface from the fog of sleep wondering whether that is the rumble of a start of an aftershock, but drift off again. I think I may be hearing trains again after they were stopped last night and I’m pleased as it will mean Sakamoto-san will be able to travel up from Tokyo for the MESA meeting. Now the rumbling is becoming more pronounced, it seems as if the building is creaking and now it’s definitely swaying, to and fro. I glance at the clock and see it’s 8.15 am. After breakfast we check the Asahi website, looking to see how many aftershocks there have been. There were a series of Japanese scale shindo 3 level earthquakes in Fukushima prefecture during the night – the shindo level is lower than the ... read more

Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito April 11th 2011

I’m in that cosy warm dream of a state between sleeping and waking, when I become aware of some vibrations. The shoji (paper screen windows) start rattling in their wooden frames and the whole building starts creaking. It must be an aftershock. You can always feel an earthquake more when you’re lying down. I think of what Lian and Mika said about going into the bathroom during the big earthquake, as the smallest room is the strongest. There are so many earthquakes in Japan that you can’t go into shelter every time, and I lie and wait to see if the earthquake will increase or die down. It dies down, and the rattling and the creaking subside. I look at the clock – it’s 6.45 am. The waitress leads us to our table. It’s the only ... read more

Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito January 13th 2009

Well, I most likely won't be updating for a week or so since this is the last week I have here in Japan. I am already sad. I have just finished 1 of 3 tests today and tomorrow. This afternoon is the religion final, and tomorrow I have the speaking test for Japanese. I also have to type up my last paper. Then this weekend will be nothing but lasts... Friday I am going to dinner with Marie and her aunt. That will be a lot of fun. Then Saturday, hopefully Eri will come from Tokyo to see me! Sunday I am going to Tokyo with Natalie. We are going to try and get tickets to see Takarazuka and go to Jackson Burger from Nana!! Monday will be packing. Monday night, Jie Jie (Eina) and I ... read more

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