Backpackers Hostel "J-Hoppers" & "Hana Hostel"

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!!

New year's Eve count down party (December 31st)!!

how was your Christmas ??
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!!!!!

J-hoppers Hiroshima had a great fun Christmas party with the guest here :)








Attention!!!

We will have a New year's Eve count down party on the 31 st of December.
We will serve some drinks , food and snacks.

Why don't you join us ??????

NHK (Japanese National TV/Radio company) is coming at J-hoppers Hiroshima for a radio broad casting of our count down party!!

Come here for an awesome time!!!!!

The Fairy Tale of J-Hoppers Osaka's Christmas Party


Something terrible happened last night at J-Hoppers Osaka ! Some try to spread the rumor that Christmas doesn't happen in Japan. We shouldn't have listen to these tricky voices and be more careful when a very strange guy show up at the reception, introducing himself as a sushi eraser representative.





He came with two cute assistants who immediately started to prepare mountains of delicacy : teriyaki, chirashizushi, ice creams, ...











We then should have remembered of Hansel and Gretel, but fool we were !








The smell was so attractive, there even was tons of chocolate candy ! The french receptionist couldn't control his stomach any more (some would said 'as usual').







He gathered all the customers in the common room and launched the party !








Followed funny games until late at night. Customers won the Polish golden boomerang as prize for their efforts to draw japanese places and culture, Fumi-san went on the moon,







Manabe-san got children before mariage (shocking !), Yamaguchi-san abused a poor foreigner to accumulate wealth... But in the same time, in the floors upstair...








... the little fairy creature sent by Santa Claus himself was fluttering from beds to beds to hang out his laundry of old socks.








You may think "What a smelly joke !", but as always in fairy tales, particularly those occurring on Christmas Night,








it ended up with lot of smiles and 'Hurrah Santa Hoppers !" when each customer opened the magic socks and discovered a selection of the finest 7/Eleven candies ...








(-:
~~
We hope that you too had a wonderful merry fairy Christmas !
~~
:-)

Closed/Opened on New Year in Osaka

To complete my previous article about New Year in Osaka I thought useful to look for what will be opened or closed during this National Holidays. Indeed on the 1st of January (or around) most of shops and attractions have a break. Tourists who plan to do something else than going to the temples and shrines to see the crowd of Japanese doing Hatsumode (the first prayer of the year) may be disappointed as "everything" else seem to be closed.

* The Aquarium of Osaka stay opened.
* The Castle is closed from the 28th to the 2nd.
* Universal Studio Japan stay opened.
* Tennoji zoo is closed from the 29th to the 1st.
* The Tourist Information Centers stay opened.
* The Umeda Sky Building is closed on the 1st.
* Namba Parks is closed on the 1st.
* National Museum of Art is closed from the 28th to the 5th
* Municipal Museum of Art is closed from the 28th to the 5th
* The Tsutenkaku Tower stays opened.
* Most of the restaurants are closed. It's better going to chains like (near J-Hoppers Osaka) Machikadouya, Yoshinoya, Cocoichiban, ... (Traditionnally Japanese eat at home a dish called Osechi, cooked or ordered in advance)
* Convenient stores stay opened.
* Department stores around Osaka Station : HEP Five is closed from the 31st to the 1st, Hankyu Dept Store is closed on the 1st, Hanshin Dept Store is closed on the 1st, Yodobashi Camera stay opened, ...
* Transportations keep running, but with lower frequency.

It's off course not exhaustive but I hope it will be helpful !

Samurai & Geisha Wig

Do you want to disguise yourself as Samurai & Geisha Wigs?
We J-Hoppers Osaka have a Samurai and Geisha wigs.

Do you know why Samurai shave their head?
According to one estimate, Samurai has to wear Kabuto (Kabuto is a helmet used with traditional Japanese armour as worn by samurai), their head goes humid when they wear it for long time.
But if they shave their head, they can avoid humid feeling, and moving over a Kabuto.

We are asking our guest to wear those wigs and wanna see who suit it the most.
Once we could find the most suitable person, we will show the photo on the website.
Looking forward to seeing!!

How to enjoy New Year in Osaka

The end of the year is approaching so quickly ! Have you already plan your New Year's night ?? If not yet here comes some recommendations of events in Osaka ...

* At Kitamido Temple, a count down with fireworks and music will start around 23:00. It's free and it's here.

* At Minamimido Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones, but groups can ring the bell all together at once). The first 200 persons will also receive free soba noodles. It's free and it's here.

* At Tenmangu Temple, drink the Gods' Sake from 0:00. It's free and it's here.

* At Aizendo Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones) and receive the Ema (sacred painting on a wooden tablet) of this temple. It's free and it's here.

* At Sky Building, big count down with light, sound, fireworks and ... 10.000 spectators expected !! From around 23:45. The 40th floor will be open too for few happy ones. It's free (expect for the 40th floor, 700Y) and it's here.

* At Shitennoji Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones) and drink Amazake (sweet sake, only for first 1.000 ones). It's free and it's here.

* At Dainenbutsuji Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones) and eat Zenzai and Mochi (sweet red beans soup and sticky ball of rice, only for the first 500 ones) . It's free and it's here.

* At Universal Studio Japan, enjoy a very special party from 19:00 to 2:00 with a count down of course and huge fireworks. The pass for this event cost 7.900 yen. Universal Studio official website -> here.

* At Mount Kongo, climb to the summit to see the first sunrise of the year. The ropeway will be exceptionnally open from 5:00 (1300 yen). Free Sake will be offer to the first 200 ones, and free Zenzai to the first 1.000 ones. To go there : From Abenobashi st. to Shakudo St. and then to Gose st. by Kintetsu train (around 40mn, departure from Abenobashi st. at 3:36 arrival at Gose at 4:39), then 3km to the ropeway by foot, then 6mn by Ropeway (departure at 5:40), and finally 30mn of hiking to the top. The sun rises at around 7:05.

* At Intex Osaka, 'Countdown Japan 0809'. A 3 days concerts with full of japanese artists, starting on the 29th. On the 31st the concert start at 12:00 and last until next morning ! One day ticket at 9.000 yen, and they are almost all sold out ! Offical website is here (japanese only, sorry)

* All the most famous clubs and bars of Osaka will hold their own Countdown party of course, refer to the Kansai Scene Website for more details about clubs and lives.

Inside Osaka, be aware that everything will be crowded. If you hope to ring the bell or receive some of the free foods, go there early and with enough patience to stay in the queue for few hours in the chilly night ! To ring the bell you usually need to get a ticket which are distributed few hours before the start of the ringing. Buy tickets to events as soon as possible !

Dremination in Hiroshima


By this time, you must have noticed that Christmas is huge in Japan!
You can see lot's of decoration for it wherever you go.

Some of you are maybe wondering about if Japanese people are Christian.
Of course, there are Christians in Japan , however it's actually nothing much about Christianity.
Usually we do Christmas just for a fun event.

I think Christmas in the west is more for family. On the other hand, Christmas in Japan is more for lovers. Christmas is seen to be a romantic thing.
In department stores, there are sections for Christmas gifts for lovers.

In Hiroshima, there is a great place for feeling this romantic atmosphere of Japanese Christmas!
The Peace Boulevard is having a great Christmas illuminations!!
It is held by the 3rd of Jan. from 17:30-23:00.
Don't miss it:)

Bullpen for bikes

In big cities of Japan, please be careful when you park your (rental) bike.
There cities have some no-parking zones in the downtown, near the station and on some of the big streets.
Foe example, Hiroshima city specifies the no-parking zones like this:
http://www.city.hiroshima.jp/www/contents/1206678678938/files/mannerup-jpn.pdf



No-Parking sign in Hiroshima city










No-Parking sign in Kyoto city







No-Parking sign in Osaka city




Normally there is a official sign to worn no-parking in those areas.
Please keep this in mind when you ride a bike in the city.
The city has crackdowns quite often and if they find bikes of illegal parking, they take them away with the truck.
In case of Hiroshima city, you have to pay 2100 yen to get your bike back.



One day I went to a place where illegally-parked bikes are temporally kept.
Two of our hostel guests became the victims and I went there to receive the rental bikes.
Too many bikes and motorcycles....

Sushi Erasers


Each Eraser is Shaped like a piece of Sushi.
Off course it's not real sushi, but works as a eraser.
J-Hoppers Osaka has just started to sell this Sushi Erasers at 100JPY per a piece.

There are 6 types of Sushi.
Maguro (Tuna), Ebi(Shrimp), Ikura(salmon caviar), Ika(squid), Tamago(egg),Uni(sea egg)

Why don't you buy one for your souvenir?
But don't eat it(~~).



Shared Guest House in TOKYO !

Please allow me to introduce a newly open share house in Toyko, Fukagawa Koto-ku.

The area remains Tokyo of the past, and traditional lives of local Japanese peoples. Tokyo F&F Fukagawa GuestHouse is open on the 7th December !


It's a 3 stories house that has 10 private rooms, minimum stay is 15 days (43,000 yen ~). All rooms are fully furnished. It's an ideal accommodation for foreign travelers and foreigners who study or work in Japan. Of course Japanese peoples are able to stay, too.

To Tokyo station, only 2 stations away from Etchujima station by JR Keiyou Line.

http://www.j-stay.jp/

Please see the link for further information.


Just Another Kyoto Temple

There is just so many beautiful temples and shrines in Kyoto, it's always difficult for me to advice only few for travelers in the rush. Basically I recommend the area from Kiyomizudera to Ginkakuji, plus Fushimi Inari in the south and Kinkakuji in the west, as a classic minimum to see. However, when a customer has little more time or want to go away from crowd, I really enjoy introducing more private, quiet and unknown places.One of those I went for the first time few days ago is the 大覚寺 (daikakuji). The Wikipedia webpage is here and the official webpage there. It is located in north of Kyoto and can be access with city bus number 28 or 91 (get out at Daikakuji st.). You can find it on Google map here.


As soon as I entered I've been impressed with how spacious were the temple and gardens. On the front side a stone garden fill the space between the temple and the gates. On the rear side this is a green garden, and there is a fairly big pond on the east side too. Inside the temple, the fusuma (traditional sliding door) are enhanced with beautifull paintings. Looking at them it remembered me those of the Imperial Palace of Kyoto. I was a little bit puzzled by such gorgeousness in a buddhist temple.

I had the explanation later : this temple was one were Emperors came on retreat. It was called 門跡 (monzeki). At first it was really an act of faith which took is roots in the past century (Nara period) and the rising of Buddhism in Japan. But later, during Heian period it became for top aristocratic family, like Fujiwara family, a good excuse to move away the Emperor from the court and take effective control of political life with no clash. It thus took part in the evolution of japanese political system toward shogunate. You understand then how this place is deeply linked with Japan history !

At first the Daikakuji was a imperial villa for the Emperor Saga and was called Saga-rikyu. In 818, the Emperor performed here Shakyo (the copy of a buddhist sutra) to save Japan from a plague epidemic. The copied scroll is still enshrined in one of the buidling of the temple. In 876, the daughter of the Emperor decided to change the villa into a shrine to honour the faith of her departed father. Even now people who come to this temple can copy the sutra has Emperor Saga did and offer it to the temple.

The Emperor Saga was also renowned for cultural matters. He founded a Ikebana (flower arrangement) school, and exhibition of his favourite flower, the chrysanthemums, are still hold in the garden. The Emperor Gouda, who also retreat at Daikokuji, also promote the japanese culture here, for example painting schools which production are displayed in some rooms.

For this year, this will be my personal recommendation to go to see red leaves. What about your, other J-hoppies ?








A big unit


I saw a very big cat in a small builder's office near J-Hoppers Hiroshima Hostel.
The boss of the office told me the story about the cat....

For the first place, he met the cat in a pet shop 4 years ago.
As he says, the cat had been already fat, but it was not too giant like now.
He felt sorry for the cat. The cat was confined in a small cage and he couldn't have a chance for exercise. That must be the reason the cat was so fat....
He decided to take the cat out of the cage and give the cat better circumstances with him deep benevolence. Then the cat will get slim more !
The cat must be happy to escape from the pet shop by him and move into his office.

Therefore...
Four years later ....


The cat became ultra-bigger despite his expectation.
He is very disappointed that his love took him to the wrong way.
What was wrong ??

Maybe the cat was given a better cercumstances, got unstressed, got better food, and had much appetitte.
Now Obviously the cat is over a critical point as a cat and it is something different.
Owl? Tsuchinoko?
Which way is he heading for ?

The sequel of Okonomiyaki Lesson

Ken wrote about Okonomiyaki Lesson last month, but Fumi taught how to cook Okonomiyaki to some guests before that lesson.
One of them is from Neloson, New Zealand, and she is a chef and nutrition consultant.

She was sitting in the kitchen when Fumi started cooking, and she was very curious about her cooking and asked a lot.
Then she started making a memo of Fumi's cooking in extensive detail. She also tried to cook and she did very well because of professional, of course!

After she went back home, she put this Fumi's recipe on her homepage.
http://nicolagalloway.com/okonomiyaki-japanese-pizza.htm

Please check and we're happy to share with you.
Then please contact us when you feel like joining this lesson !


ASAHI Breweries


This is the vending machine in JH Osaka's kitchen.
I have no doubt that ASAHI is very popular and our guests especially loves ASAHI SUPER "DRY", as it is sold out very quickly.

I went to the ASAHI Breweries with one of our staff because we heard we could drink beer when we joined the factory tour, and it's FREE !
Actually, I'm not a good drinker at all, but .. so what?!

The tour takes about 90 minutes include tasting time.
It has been more than 100 years since ASAHI Suita factory established.
It's so huge and clean, and surrounded by greenery.

The guide explained about the history of ASAHI breweries, how to make Delicious beers, and environmental conservation at Breweries etc.
At the end of the tour, we finally tasted beer. They served three flavours of beer and some snacks. We could drink one pint of each flavour beer, so up to three pints for one person.

But the tasting time is only 20 minutes.
It's so hard to drink for me to drink up three pints, and I had only one and a half.
But some other persons tried to drink as much as possible and got drunk easily.

I thought there would be just a few customers, but the tour was almost fully booked.
They have English guides but you need to ask and book in advance when you want to join it.
It's highly recommended.
http://www.asahibeer.co.jp/english/

Kan-pai !

For job-hunters


One of our guests Colm Downes wrote a book for job-hunters.
The title is “Job-hunting”.
He wrote the book for job-hunters who are not native English speakers.
He said there was no job-hunting book written in this perspective.
The market is very big because there are a lot of intermediate English speakers in the world.
It is released in England today.

Why don’t you get it if you want a international job !
Amazon Online Store





Okonomiyaki Lesson!!

We J-Hoppers Osaka had a Okonomiyaki Lesson these day.
One of our staff Fumi gave our guests lecture how to cook Okonomiyaki.
She prepared a recipe and gave it to them.
One of a Singaporean earnestly made a note and said she will cook in her country.
We will regularly do this event.


How to make Okononiyaki
Make the batter: Serves 4
·100 g flower, 5g baking powder, a bit salt, a bit starch
·1 tablespoon yamaimo (powdered yam)*
·2 eggs
·Approx 2 cups iced water
·2 tablespoons sake (optional)

1. Put the flour and yamaimo in a large bowl. Make a well and add the eggs, water and sake. Fold together so to just combine. The mixture should be like a thick pancake batter. Set aside to rest while preparing the remaining ingredients.
·6 eggs
·1 cabbage, finely shredded * 150g for 3 pcs
·400g thinly sliced pork strips (or streaky bacon)
·Bunch of spring onions, chopped
·pickled ginger, diced
·Vegetable sauce (combine half oyster sauce with half tomato sauce)
·Seaweed and bonito (dried fish flakes) to serve

2. In a separate bowl combine 1 scoop batter, 1 egg, 1 cup shredded cabbage, handful spring onions and 1 teaspoon picked ginger.

3. Heat a frying-pan over a moderate heat(180-200°/the hot plate should be preheated, otherwise sticky.) and sauté the pork until coloured. Push the pork to the side and spoon 3/4 of the batter on to the hot plate. Use chop sticks to arrange the pork onto the fritter and spoon over the remaining batter. Cook until golden around the edges, carefully flip using two spatulas. Continue cooking until golden on both sides.

4. Remove onto a plate, spread with vegetable sauce and sprinkle with seaweed and bonito flakes. Okonomiyaki is traditionally served with Japanese beer and eaten with chop sticks. Good luck!

*Used to make the batter lighter, Yamaimo is available from Asian food stores. If you don't have it on hand use tapioca or corn flour.
*Option inside : squid, shrimps and whatever you may want
*Option on the top : mayonnaise, mustard and green laver in addition to the sauce
ketchup(some Japanese use it, but I have never)



Kendo at Midnight

A few days ago, we have a farewell nabe (a hot-pot) party with one of our guests. He is French who came to Kyoto for further training of kendo. He felt in love with kendo and started four years ago in France. In this year, he met a Japanese master of kendo who went France to give lectures of kendo. He was impressed by the thoughts of the master holds and follow the master's destinations by himself. After the master came back to Japan, he sent a letter in hiragana to the master to ask if he could practice with the master in Japan. The master was moved by his eagerness and allowed him to come to Japan.

He stayed our place for 27 days, this could be a longest stay since J-Hoppers Kyoto started in 2002. I hope one day he lives in Japan aimez pour kendo.



au revoir

NAOSHIMA TRIP!!

Hi there!
It has been getting colder recently,please protect yourself from catching a cold!!

Be that as it may,a short time ago, I went to Naoshima with my friend.
Naoshima has beeb entered into the Lonely Planet.
It takes about 40min by Shinkansen from Hiroshima to Okayama,and takes about 30min by local train to Uno JR station (It is close to the ferry landing) and 20min by ferry .
Even if you use shinkansen,It is about 6000yen in total(including the ferry rate),I recommend this trip as a !day trip from Hiroshima because it is near Hiroshima and cheap.



I stayed at 「Dormitory in Kowloon」. I recommended this hostel for the guests who go to Naoshima after Hiroshima .So this hostel is the one of the hostels I wanted to go to.
The staff is very friendly and helpful.I had dinner with him and the guest who was staying in the same room.
That day,I came to this Island from Himeji so I was really tired so I stayed in instead of going out.

Next day......

It the ferry port where I informed about the hostel where we stayed,we rented a bicycle (500yen) for going around the Island.



First ,we went to 「HAISHA (dentist)」 .It is the one of the buildings called 「IE PROJECT」.「IE PROJECT」 is a project by artists and architects to renovate old buildings of Motonura ward , into works of art.

To my consternation, there was a big statue of livery in the house!!



Then we cycled to all the buildings of the 「IE PROJECT」,and went to the cafe 「AI SUNAO」for resting . We want there because the person whom I met on the way recommended this cafe.The atomosphere and food added to in the mood of Naoshima.
I am glad that I went there.
Thanks,passing stranger!!!





Well.we could take a rest , we went to our destinations 「chichu museum」 but unfortunately,the museum had been closed for maintenance....what a pity!!!
no wounder there are few tourists...
It is OK: because of that we could have a relaxed time:)



When we were cycling, we found a big big yellow pumpkin!!





So I tried to nibble :)





Then we were cycling again,we found the second big red pumpkin!!




So why don't I try to nibble it??????



Naoshima is not a big Island , you can go around it is only 1 day.But I recommend you stay over night if you have enough time.
Local people told me sometimes some famous entertainers visit Naoshima,If you are lucky ,You may see them:)

If you are interested in Naoshima,ask me!! I will give good information :)

Piano Bar Uno

2 min walk from J-Hoppers Hiroshima Hostel

About restaurants in Hiroshima, I have found something else than okonomiyaki ! 

There is a nice small Italian restaurant near J-Hoppers Hiroshima Hostel. The name is "Italian Bar Uno". A young charming couple runs the restaurant. The inside is clean and has nice open atmosphere. You can enjoy reasonable and tasty dishes casually.

Despite the name of “Italian bar”, there are some Spanish tapas and pintxops, which are also very good. 


Pintxos - Similar to yakitori 


A variety of dishes


Something like German restaurant, though ...


Tapas: 500-1000 yen

Pasta: 900-1300yen 

Pizza: 900-1300yen

Open Hours:  11:30-15:00 (Mon-Fri),  18:00-23:30 (Mon-Sat)