Enjoy international exchange!!

We J-Hoppers Hostels are always happy to welcome Japanese customers with open arms as well as foreigners customers. Please enjoy international exchange!!

Enjoy international exchange!!

We J-Hoppers Hostels are always happy to welcome Japanese customers with open arms as well as foreigners customers. Please enjoy international exchange!!

Enjoy international exchange!!

We J-Hoppers Hostels are always happy to welcome Japanese customers with open arms as well as foreigners customers. Please enjoy international exchange!!

Enjoy international exchange!!

We J-Hoppers Hostels are always happy to welcome Japanese customers with open arms as well as foreigners customers. Please enjoy international exchange!!

Enjoy international exchange!!

We J-Hoppers Hostels are always happy to welcome Japanese customers with open arms as well as foreigners customers. Please enjoy international exchange!!

Port Island and Kitano area in Kobe

Hello, this is Yoshi! How was your New Year's Day?

I recently visited Kobe. This town is so fascinating as there are so many shopping areas and restaurants together with the beautiful harbor and the airport in the town!!

Port Island
You can see airplanes flying in the sky from the harbor.
We found the ship. Luminou Kobe 2,  here!!
I took JR train from Kyoto Station to Sannomiya. I guess it takes about 1 hour to get there by JR.
In the north area of Sannomiya Station, there is a beautiful area called "Kitano-ijinkan"area (北野異人館) where there are western style residences mostly for early foreign settlers built during the end of the Shogunate and the Meiji era.

In that area, there is also an interesting museum of the famous Japanese baseball player,  Yu Darvish who is now belonging to Texas Rangers. You can play some game with "this player" there!

In the south area, there is a harbor called "Port Island." In this area, you can go for shopping in the male, MOSAIC. I recommend you to go there especially at night as we can see some night illuminations there!!
Why do not you visit Kobe??

MOSAIC



Yummy egg sandwich!

One day,I found egg sandwich which looks really nice on TV. That is a specialty of an old cafe Nippori Area in Tokyo according the information in the TV show. Some other menu from other cafe and restaurants were introduced as well at the time but the egg sand in the cafe sounded the best! I imagined how I can cook it by myself as I remember what I watched and heard. It looked really simple as the ingredients is only egg. No vegetables,meet and seafood. The taste should be simple as well so,I thought. Talked about it to coworkers to make it by myself and I told them that I will cook it with the recipe which we thought out. However something happened by chance. The recipe was found in a cooking book which my coworker borrowed at a library. What a lovely accident it was! I and the coworker talked that it happened because we wished that want to cook delicious sandwich from our bottom of heart:)). It is made with egg,bread,butter,mayonnaise,mustard and a bit salt according to the recipe. The point is using a lot of butter to make stumbled egg much fluffy. I finally made it then and it was really yummy! Only one thing what I should improve for the next time is my skill to make eggs more fluffy. It was enough delicious for the first time one though. You can try cooking it with the recipe and will love it if you are a big fan of egg!

Predicting the Year Ahead

In Japan, we visit a shrine (some people visit a temple) usually in the first three days of January.
Generally, we wish for the new year,  get new omamori(charms) and draw omikuji(a written fortune).
I visited the shrine in my hometown but I couldn't draw omikuji because many people were lining up at that time.

So I went to Fushimi Inari Shrine on the other day to predict this year.
There are two stones called omo-karu ishi (heavy-light stone).  You lift the stone after making a wish. It is said that if you feel that the stone is lighter than you expected, your wish will come true.
I tried that instead of omikuji and I felt that the stone was heavier...

The next day I visited Kifune Shrine and drew omikuji hoping to get a good one.
Their omikuji is different from a typical omikuji. You float a paper on the water, so that the letters will be appeared.
I got 末吉(Ending blessing) and these things were written,

願事 (wish or desire) – may be bothered by someone
恋愛 (romantic relationships) – may be bothered by someone you haven't expected,                                                             should refrain from everything
旅行 (travel) – shouldn't travel

...well, 
it's up to me whether believe or not, right?;P

Cute monkeys reveling in the luxury of mountain hot springs

I almost never come in first in any kind of tests, examinations or competitions due to my very average ability, but there is one but sadly the only one thing that I am confident in grabbing the number one seat. Don't boo me, but my special talent lies in getting up really early and being the very first one to arrive somewhere. In a world where very few people respect punctuality, and where many people regard waking up early as a kind of torture, I see this as a precious virtue. As the common saying goes, the early bird gets the worm, and this time round I congratulated myself for being the first person that morning to arrive at the snow monkey park in Nagano prefecture, thereby enabling me to enjoy some quality time alone with these hotspring blessed monkeys.

You actually have to venture quite deep inside the mountains if you want to pay a visit to this monkey paradise. You have to walk around 25 minutes, mostly on the snow, from the nearest bus stop. Apart from being an early riser, it also helps that I walk really fast. As expected, I was the first visitor arriving there, and it was breakfast time for the monkeys. It was interesting seeing monkey babies riding on the back of their parents, all heading to the 'breakfast table'. After breakfast, some monkeys began to dip themselves inside the hotspring to keep themselves warm.








What is so amazing and special about these monkeys is that they are completely unafraid of humans. Some will simply walk right past you without a slight bit of hesitation, and some monkey kids will fool around, chasing after one another, right before your eyes. Those hanging around the edge of the hotspring pool are even more unperturbed by the presence of human beings, likely because they are simply feeling too comfortable inside the hotspring. I literally saw one monkey dozing off inside the pool, with a facial expression appearing to say 'I am now in paradise'.

It amazes me to see such familial and communal spirit displayed within this small monkey community. There were one monkey family apparently enjoying the hotspring together, with the dad and mum on either side of the kid, and from time to time, the kid would demand attention and a hug from his or her parents . Some playful kids would take a big jump from the side, trying to land on the back of their parents. 

I think I do not have to say any much more, as the photos pretty much speak for themselves. They are just so cute. That is all I have to say. Enjoy the photos, and do pay them a visit if you have a chance. And remember to be early!



Himono Onna 干物女

January… I don’t know what you usually do when it is freezing outside like these weeks, but I buy as much food as I can carry, in particular pastry, ice-cream and chocolate. Turn on heater, make cocoa, hide myself under the blanket and watch films.
It sometimes happens when you read a book or watch some film and recognize yourself being very similar to a main character. It is nice when you have something in common with a brave or beautiful hero. In my case, it is a little bit different. I saw myself in Japanese series called干物女 (Himono Onna). This combination is a mix of two words: dried fish and woman.  I didn't even know that this type of woman like me existed. But that Japanese dorama just showed things as they were in my life. It will take ages to retell the plot of the series. In few word, HimonoOnna(main character) is young and good-looking woman who is very busy with her work. So that when she is back home, she eats some bento from super market, drinks beer and falls asleep at her terrace covering her body with newspaper like homeless. She is not interested in wasting time on men. Weekends she spends eating in bed and drinking beer.



This is what wikipedia says how to recognize Himono Onna:
  • replies messages in a very short way and with a delay
  • eats standing at the kitchen
  • does no makeup and wears no bra at weekends
  • doesn't visit hair salon more than once or twice a year
  • doesn't shave her legs in winter time
  • goes to bars on her own
  • doesn't fall in love
  • has a terribly messy room
In the end, of course, Himono Onna met her Prince Charming who accepted her as she was. I just wonder if there is any possibility to end up like that???
Reality is very cruel though. So my New Year Resolution was to keep my place clean and make an effort to get out of the bed at weekends. Today is 16th of January and I am doing well so far, spending yesterday day-off at home eating pizza in bed and reading books doesn't count. 
Wish me good luck!
PS I hope it won’t be too much of a shock for me when time to wear bikini comes.

Christmas party @ Osaka Hana Hostel 2014 !!!

Happy New Year 2015 to everyone !!!!

Hello from Osaka, its Hideko : )

Hope everyone had nice Christmas and Happy new year 2014-2015.

We hosted a Christmas Party on the holy 25th of December at Osaka Hana Hostel.

As you all know that Japan is not the biggest Christian country and we celeblate our Christmas with out too much of religious reason. (more controlled by commercial side.....)

Unlike Christian county, In Japan  we spend Christmas more with friends and boy/girl friend  and spend more time with Family for New year/ New years eve.
 

However, our Osaka Hana Hostel's Christmas Party was more like Family occasion as all our guests and staffs are like our family !!!!

Thank you so much for joining our Christmas party, we had Santa-clouse and Santa-clusette  visiting Osaka Hana Hostel and brought us much happy time !

hohoho.......


Hope to celebrate together this year again !!!!


Picture with Hana Staff and edible Christmas tree !!!




2015 mo  yoroshiku onegai shimasu!!!
 

The Ise Jingu pilgrimage!!

I went to Ise Shrine last week to say thank you for gods!

Among the thousands of Shinto shrines in Japan,

Ise Shrine is treated as one of the most sacred.
Actually Ise Shrine refer to a group of 125 different shrines in Ise city.

The official name of"Ise Shrine" is simply "Shrine"  (Jingu) only.
Ise Shrine is dedicated to the goddess of the sun, Amaterasu-omikami.

She is the major deity of the Shinto religion.
I visited "Meotoiwa (Wedded Rocks) " first to purify my soul.

If you touch your body with the circle is made of straw,
your body and soul will be clean!!!

Then, I went to "Geku (Outer Shrine)"and "Naiku (Inner Shrine)"

I could see beautiful sun shine everywhere!!




















2014 was special year for Ise shrine, because it has held "Sengu" this year.

It is held to keep the holy environment pure and clean,

representing the everlasting power of the god.

People renovate the old shrine or build a new one to preserve

the god’s power. Ise Shrine has "Sengu" every 20 years.






To book rooms in Osaka Hana Hostel

Hello, everybody!

Our HP is renewed!! You can book rooms on our HP!
It is very easy to do it!

Check vacancy and click "Reserve".
You just fill your information... that's all!!
You do not need to pay any deposit.

In addition, our HP shows a lot of important things.
Please read them carefully.

If you have any question, please feel easy to call us!



















                     



Thank you very much! Happy new year!!!

snowboarding

Hi there! Do you enjoy winter?

I used to dislike winter because it's so cold and make me so lazy.
But now I started winter sports, snowboarding so I enjoy winter a lot!!

I went to Hakuba valley which is world famous and known as the place used for winter Olympics in 1998.

 I really recommend this place!

 The valley incorporates 10 ski resorts, over 200 runs, 139 lifts, huge towering peaks, a local village, ski /snowboard shops, a combination of traditional or western dining and Apres entertainment.

If you are really ski /snowboard freak, you can work there at restaurant or bar or gear rental shop and enjoy snowboarding anytime when you have free time!!











Time fries as arrow 歳月不人待 My review YEAR 2014

Hi! This is Kimie From J-Stay

It's Only remaining less than two weeks! 
We call December as rush month because even though monk needs to rush. At the same time it is the time for reviewing year.
So I want to follow this custom with pictures I took.


January:
New family member joined us. My brother got married so I got sister in law. It was one of my dreams.

Ise trip with my dad
Home made food for New year 
 













February: big my birth day party 


Inmemorable birthday party ever!


March:
Change to vegitarian !?

Joine Relay race with boss 


April:
Ise trip with guest of shareouse I managed. 

May: Found rainbow circle by coincidence 




July:
Guion Festival & BBQ party by J-Stay




AUGUST:
TRECKING in Kyoto with my trecking partners


SEPEMBER:
Set up Work Shop about stained glass artist from Kyoto and Spain September and Octorber 

OPENING Three sharehouse 

OCTOBER:
My first lecture about Guest House and Sharehouse in Osaka 





NOVEMBER:
Trip to Nagano with my previous roommate in Mexico city on November 
First harvest Kaki in my farm 



DECEMBER:
My first Futsal Experience on December 


Thank you for every meeting I had this year, people, books, movies, art and time.

"All of us every single year, we're a different person. I don't think we're the same person all our lives." by Steven Speilberg

FIND new person next year. LET'S start cleaning UP, OSOJI

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_newyears.html#o68YyfhJljlQtbio.99




FIN 


Heavy snow

It snowed a lot  across Japan this week.

It is very unusual this time!!

Takayama got 150cm of snow within this 3 days.

Trains stopped running and people got stacked.Many our guests could not come to Takayama due to snow.

I feel very sorry for them.







2014 - 2015


2014 is going to finish already...

New Year is the most important day for Japanese people and we pray to have a healthy and happy new year in a shrine. Even the shrine is packed, This is the peaceful moment.



What have you done in 2014?
And what do you want to do in 2015?



I try something new every year.




2012 : Traveling to India for 7 weeks and also singing "Beethoven Symphony No.9" with 10000 Choirs in Osaka.










2013 : Vippasana meditation for 10 days in 2013.


 
2014 : 8hrs climbing to Yakushima and also walking "El camino de Santiago" for 114km in 2014.
Now I'm thinking what I try for the year coming...



I really hope that you will have a happy Christmas and New Year!!!








 

New year in Japan

Konnichiwa!! This is Tomomi from Hiroshima.

It's already Dec 18th!!
We will have Christmas and New Year's soon!!! Time flies so fast...

New Year's is one of Japan's most important festivals.
Japanese people go to visit shrines for the first time of the new year, which is called Hatsumode(初詣).

On Miyajima Island, there are a lot of events around the new year and into the first weeks of January.

They will have Chinkasai Fire Festival on Dec 31st from 6PM. Groups of locals carrying huge flaming torches parade between the large stone torii gate at the end of the entrance of Itsukushima Shrine. 

The heat is so strong, you will forget the cold.

Itsukushima Shrine will open from midnight to 8pm on Jan 1st. Because it's SOOOOOOO crowded every year, the ferry runs every 10-15 minutes.


So, I recommend you go there around 1am to around 6am if you don't want to wait in the long line to Itsukushima shrine.

But it will be worth the visit!! Hatsuhinode(初日の出), which is the first sunrise of the new year, will be absolutely amazing.

初日の出

Why don't you celebrate New Year's in Japan and go Hatsumode!?
You will have an unforgettable experience.

Nice Okonomiyaki Shop in Shinsaibashi, Namba area

Hello! This is Masae from Osaka Hana Hostel!

Have you had Okonomiyaki before? It's a savory pancake which is very popular food in Osaka.

My friend visited me from Okinawa, and her favorite food is Okonomiyaki, so I really want to take her to my favorite restaurant "Fukutaro" 福太郎.
There are 2restaurants around in Shinsaibashi, Namba area.
I took her the one in Takashimaya department (高島屋) store in Namba. 


They open from 11am to 11pm.(Last order is 10:30pm)

They have an iron plate (鉄板)in front of you and the end of the table is the place where chef cook.
So if you are seated in front of the chef, you will enjoy seeing chef cooking. 

If you go there please try their special menu  "Negi-yaki".
It is similar to Okonomiyaki, but it has more spring onion (negi) and it's very fluffy.
Okonomiyaki has got Okonomiyaki Sause (thick sweet sause) on the top, 
but Negi-yaki has got soy sause (their special blended sause).

My friend was so impressed with Negi-yaki and we ordered 2 Negiyaki and 1 Okonomiyaki.
I don't mind to eat it everyday.

Food is delicious and staff were friendly.
Chef seems enjoying his work and every time he brought the food to us, he offered us to cut our Okonomiyaki in half. It was so nice of him.
He cut 2 okonomiyaki in half and make half and half Okonomiyaki!
After we left, we walked toward to Kuromon Market (黒門市場).
We saw the main restaurant on the way. They open only for dinner.
Open hour is 5pm to 12pm (11:30pm)

I remember last time I came to this restaurant I had to wait for 30minutes to get in.
They are so popular!
http://2951.jp/en/
Main restaurant in Namba
If you come to Osaka, please try Okonomiyaki!

There are so many Okonomiyaki restaurants and each one has a different specialty.

We hope you enjoy them in Osaka:)

Mt. Hiei

Hello, this is Asuka from Kyoto Hana Hostel.

It is getting colder and colder outside.
But I am active and I climbed Mt. Hiei last week :)

Mt. Hiel is very beautiful mountain and Enryaku Tepmle is adorable.
Winter is not good season for climbing mountain but still enjoyable :)

It took around 3 hours to reach the top of mountain.
However, we got the beautiful land scape and that was worth it !

Be active and go out side to get small happiness ;) haha

See you next time !