Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Oktoberfest, Chinatown and Golden Week

Well, first things first, long time no see everyone! I have been quite a busy bee!! Work is busy and good, and I am about to go back to week two since Golden Week ended. So I would like to talk about things I did during my holiday. ^_^

 First, I went to Oktoberfest in Yokohama. It's kind of funny that it is called Oktoberfest in April/May, but I just blame whatever person is in charge of the event. The festival is actually held twice a year in Yokohama, and I think they were supposed to change the name of it in the spring, but never got around to it. Haha. Anyway, I got to drink some great beer, eat some awesome sausage, and see lots of friends I hadn't seen in a while. It made me nostalgic for Wurstfest in New Braunfels that happens in November.

 The next day, after Oktoberfest, Aki and I went to Chinatown. It was really fun, but the highlight of the trip there was the Trick Museum. It takes up the 5th-8th floors of the Daska building in Chinatown, and consists of lots of trick art. In the picture above, for example, there were only two actual stairs haha. If you are in Yokohama, it is something I recommend you do. In addition, if you go to the website (daska.jp I believe) you can download coupons. There was one available for 100円 off, cutting the cost down to 900円. Just know that it is limited to one per party.

 ~~熊本市・Kumamoto City~~

So the big chunk of Golden Week consisted of a trip down to Kumamoto. It was the first time I'd been there since 2005, and the trip itself was amazing!! The first night, we went to Plaza del Sol, formerly Latinos. It is a basement TexMex restaurant that I used to go to in high school for the pretty authentic TexMex food. And the food did not disappoint!! Neither did the margaritas! None of that weak fake margarita crap. The bartender hand mixed them, and they were well worth the 700円. The food itself is quite cheap, and definitely satisfying. The staff speaks a mix of Japanese and Spanish there, so it was quite entertaining juggling the two. 

We stayed at a hostel called Nakashimaya, and it was only about a ten minute walk from the main area of the city. If you want an AWESOME hostel to stay at if you ever go to Kumamoto, stay there. The staff is very friendly, available 24 hours, the place is CLEAN and has tatami style rooms. It was pretty cheap too considering the holiday. 9900円 for two nights, with two people in a private room (cheaper if you bring your own bedding and share a room with other people).

 ~~熊本城・Kumamoto Castle~~

The second day we went to Kumamoto Castle, which was amazing and just as expected, and that evening we went to a local izakaya style place. Reasonably priced and a nice environment, we also got to eat some basashi! I have eaten it before, but it was a real treat. 1200円 for the plate in the picture (add two pieces to the plate. Aki ate two before I got the picture). Considering how expensive basashi is, I think we got a decent price. Drank beer, etc. of course.

 Finally, the last night we spend in Mt. Aso at Aso Farmland. The picture above shows the view we had from our 'pod.' We arrived around noon, checked in, dropped off our bags at the desk, and then went to the 元気の森 (genki no mori) which consisted of an obstacle course thing. It came with our package deal. We spent a few hours there, looking a shops, and bought some souvenirs etc., and at four finally went to our room. It was quite neat! A big dome and we had a private onsen as well. We were pretty tired from the 元気の森 so we just hung out until dinner. We ate some steak and then saw the lights before heading to bed.

Overall, Golden Week was awesome!! And I can't wait till the holiday in Obon haha. Thanks for reading!!


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