Page 2 of mr mink Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Japan » Ishikawa » Kanazawa June 4th 2013

On 4 June I was all set up with my return ticket on the jetfoil place from Ryotso to return to Niigata for onward transport. I had changed it from 11.20 to 9.25am to give myself a longer buffer to get to the station, exchange my JR rail voucher and get my actual 7 day pass. This ended giving me 2 hrs but as I had not had breakfast it was time to get something to eat as well. Which I did at 11.45am at a place on the 2ndfloor of a building (as they often are) with a sign board downstairs at street level. Pictographic menus work for me! Then the train for the 3h40m trip to Kanazawa for my next 2 nights. The English speaking staff at the info centre were really excellent, so ... read more
La Plage - the raw fish bits
panfried rockfish & squid
La Plage - the fugu roe creation

Asia » Japan » Niigata » Sadogashima » Ryotsu June 3rd 2013

On 3 June the all-day tour bus organized by the lady in Ryotsu picked me up from the hotel just after 8am, so which was the earliest start ever. A big bus so no issue to throw my bag under as it was dropping me off at the end of Ryotsu where I would stay the night. It seemed to travel all the way over to Ryotsu picking up people at various hotels and then we headed to the Toki no mori koen – which is a place dedicated to the breeding of the toki, the Japanese pink crested ibis. This is virtually one of the symbols of Sado as a result. The last one died in the wild in the 1970’s I think so they rely on the captive breeding program. It is obviously unique ... read more
Sado Ryotsu hotel tatami (what else?)
Sado @Ryotsu hotel his pompness in yutaka
Sado sake brewery sign

Asia » Japan » Niigata » Sadogashima » Aikawa June 2nd 2013

But backtracking to the beginning (Niigata). I got back there from Nagano via 2 shinkansen – Nagano to Takasaki where the Nagano line crosses with that to Niigata (the Joetsu line) then from Takasaki to Niigata – all this takes only 2 hrs or so – I only had a 7 min. wait there. In Niigata stayed at another Dormy Inn – I had stayed at one in Akita and thought it pretty good for around the $55 mark. However this was likely a recon job and was not as sparkly and new as the other one. It did however have a 10thfloor hot tub bath with a view (if you stood up – and it wasn’t night). It was quite nice – spoke to in the change room an English speaking guy from Kurgystan (sp.?) ... read more
Niigata -a red & white bar
Sado Ryotsu ferry terminal
Sado - electric bike meets electric car

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Nagano May 31st 2013

Day 2 in Nagano and not really even spent in Nagano but outside the city. The Rough Guide – which as usual picks the eyes out of the best things to do I must say (it may be 1999 edition but as they say only the prices have changed) – said best day trip was out to shrine at the alpine area of Togakushi. It may only be 20km but the 40kmh speed limit and the very twisty hairpin bends along the Bird-Line Driveway mean it takes an hour. Finding the bus was an exercise when all the time the best stop was just around the corner and I bought a return ticket from the travel agency right by the bus stop. To fire up (and later burn off on the walk) I had some cold ... read more
Togakushi Okusha shrine
Togakushi - a side shrine on the way
Togakushi Okusha crags

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Karuizawa May 30th 2013

This is written on a shinkansen away from Nagano (we’ll get there eventually) back to Niigata where I transited to get to Nagano. With a rail pass it is usually quicker to get 2 shinkansens – apart from the fact that there is likely only 2 direct (slow) trains a day anyway. Last post was in Akita I think. Not all that much there to see as the old castle has long gone. There was also a bit of rain about the day I left which surprised me so had to return to get my spray jacket. The only “sight” I saw was an old red brick bank building built in 1912 which has survived earthquakes etc. Apart from a couple of timber paneled VIP rooms what was of more interest was an exhibition of a ... read more
Tsuruoka barsigns
Tsuruoka cat's cafe?
Tsuroka police poster

Asia » Japan » Akita May 28th 2013

Be aware that I have added some more pix to the previous entry for Tokyo so you might want to look there. And as there are no snaps of Akita, there are some leftovers from Tokyo to complete the picture. I am now in Akita on the NW coast of Honshu arrived today on the Komachi 35 shinkansen from Tokyo – just over 4 hrs to do 660km odd. The train splits at Morioka – where I stayed a night on my last long trip here up to Hokkaido - the front bit goes on up to the end of Honshu to Aomori. This was covered by the 3 days (in 10 to use it) JR East rail pass I bought this morning for about 150$, which I will use for the major zooming around. Will ... read more
Ryoguku -sumos on the way home
inside the sumo stadium
how to tell a sumo outyago

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ueno May 27th 2013

Well, the start of another Japan trip with arrival from Sydney into Tokyo on 23 May. This was at usual 6.15am but I was in no rush to leave the airport into the morning rush hour later. Not to mention I had to access some local Japanese Yen. This was somewhat complicated by the fact that 1. (which I already knew) – the vast majority of Japanese banks will not touch overseas cards. In my last two flying visits of 1 or 2 nights to Tokyo on way to/back from Europe not really an issue as really only needed cash to get downtown and changed some Euros etc at airport. With a longer stay this time did need substantial amounts of cash. 7Bank (of 7-11 fame) seemed to be the way to go, but from mid-April ... read more
Ueno zoo - a PNG bird?
Ueno zoo - less than actionpacked panda
Ueno zoo shoebill stork

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Ryogoku May 24th 2013

this has to be posted on its own due to the file size - about 16mb to me but not sure what it will be on the sight. It is a LONG sumo bout - all of 9 secs (most were merely 3 or 4 secs!). I realised that as they were so short the best way to catch them was on video (not what I normally do at all) on my small Casio camera - which had both the zoom reach to do it from the bleachers so to speak and also one-button push for video. I did a number of them but this was really the only one that really worked in terms of showing you what the tussle is like and how a moment of being off-balance can mean the end of the ... read more

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Adelaide March 11th 2013

this is the end of Monday, which is a public holiday here (Adelaide Cup day) and I am doing this luxury style - on one of 3 big Imacs in the Internode free wifi test. So what happened yesterday Sunday? well late brekky of bacon and eggs and toast etc at local place near hostel which is quite reasonably priced. Got up to Womad to see the end of Vieux Farka Toure doing his geetar power trio thang. Then bit of a break then the Soweto Gospel Choir, who I actually paid money to see in Sydney once at Star Casino casino or summat. They were the expected rousing self. The a bit of the Correspondents, a local duo who fool around with sound clips and styles while one of them sorta dances on and off. ... read more

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Adelaide March 9th 2013

well time for a Womad update on evening of day 2. It started yesterday Friday but being a business day not until 6pm or so. There was a fairly long queue to get in with bag check etc. So my first musical experience was The Tallest Man on Earth, the somewhat confusingly named Swedish solo guy Kristian Mattson, mostly cos this was his only show. He maybe is going to Port Fairy folk fest which is very soon. Comparisons to Dylan as just one man and guitar, and he does sing in English natch but nothing too exciting or attractive. However the next thing was Big - Malian Basseyou Kouyate & Ngoni Bar. With his 2 sons and a cousin also on the ngoni - fretless Malian lute I guess - he is a master and ... read more

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