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!!

Lounge at Kansai International Airport

Last week, I went to Kansai Airport and I found a 24 hours open lounge at 2nd floor!! You can take a shower (300yen-500 yen), Internet access there are a 0 comics and some of them are written in English and you can rent a DVD with 500 yen. In addition, several types of drink are available! The fee is 300 yen per 30 min and There's a discount for a long stay, for example, 1500 yen for 3 hours, 3200 yen for 9 hours.
If you need to spend some time to take planes at Kansai Airport, this lounge might be an ideal place to go!!
For details, please refer to the site bellow;

Typical sightseeing spots in Osaka

What do you come to your mind as sightseeing spots in Osaka?
We J-Hoppers Osaka Staff has been starting to pick up typical spots which can be introduced to our guest. We have been listing them up in each area.
Hope these information helps you.

Kita Area (Umeda)
1.Umeda Sky Building
Skyscrapers connected in midair. An architectural form rarely seen in the world
2.Yodobashi Camera
A huge electronics shop
3.Hep Navio
A commercial and amusement park crowned with a huge red Ferris wheel

Minami Area (Namba, Shinsaibashi and Nipponbashi)
1.America Mura
Fashionable shopping area (Used clothing shop, Brand shops etc.)
2.Dotonbori
Famous district glittering with colorful neon signs and funny billboards such as a huge crab.
3.Shinsaibashi-suji
A long shopping street including a major department store Daimaru
4.The National Bunraku Theatre
National puppet theater where traditional plays are performed
5.Hozenji-Yokocho
A district known for the quaint restaurants.
6.Kuromon-Ishiba
A long market for fish, fruit and vegetables. It is called Osaka's kitchen.
7.Den-Den Town
A shopping area specializing in electrical goods. Some of them are Tax Free stores.

Minamimori-Machi area
1.Osaka Temmangu Shrine
One of the most popular shrine in Osaka. Tenjin Festival is the largest festival in Osaka which is held on Jul.
2.Tenjinbashi-suji Shotengai
It is the most longest shopping street in Japan
3.Oimatsu street
An antique art shops lined on this street

Tennoji and Tsuruhashi area
1.Shitennoji Temple
A Buddhist temple founded by Shotoku.
2.Tsutenkaku Tower
A kind of symbol for Osaka, known as the splendid view of downtown Osaka.
3.Spa World
Onsen from around the world.
4.Tennoji Zoo
A zoo located in Tennoji Park with 300 animal species including koalas and lessor pandas.
5.Keitakuen Garden
A garden in Tennoji Park with a large landscape garden, combining the quiet harmony of water and greenery.
6.Tsuruhashi area
It's deeply related to Korea historically and is called Korean Town. You can find all kinds of things Korea here.

Osaka Castle Area
1.Osaka castle
It is one of Japan's most famous castles, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi Momoyama period by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
2.Mint Bureau
A part of its garden is open to the public during the cherry blossom season.
3.Osaka International Peace Center
A facility for teaching future generations about war tragedies and the importance of peace.
4.Osaka Museum of History
You can learn the history of Osaka.
5.Osaka Business Park
It's office building including a hotel and Osaka-jo halls where is held sports events, modern ballet and performances by well-known singers.

Bay Area
1.Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
It is one of the largest aquariums in the world.
2.Suntory Museum
This cultural complex features a Gallery for exhibitions and an IMAX Theater with a gigantic 3-D screen, incorporated with a Museum Shop, café, and lounge.
3.Tempozan Market Place
A building featuring a variety of shops and restaurants. There is the Tempozan Giant Wheel where you can view Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Kansai International Airport, the Mt.Rokko
4.Universal Studios Japan
America's movie theme park.

Onsen

It's been very cold recently, and I feel like saying
"I'd love to go to Onsen(Japanese Hot springs).." almost every day.

When I took a bath yesterday, I was very surprised
because I found a chilblain on middle finger of my foot!
I used to have it heaps when I was a child, but I haven't had in ages.
"..Now I should go to Onsen..."

Anyway, I always feel happy as a Japanese when I take a nice Japanese hot spring.
I went to Kinosaki Onsen last year, one of famouse Hot springs spot in Hyogo(next to Osaka).
It's a small,but very histrical and artistic town,and there are a lot of hot springs there.
So we can enjoy many places with Yukata style.

It's also reknowen for fresh seafood, especially crab in winter.
Of course I had. We ordered one of course memu of crab,
and they served about 8 types crab dishes, sashimi,Kani miso,boil,steam,Tempura, and so on.
They were all very tasty, but every dishes were more bigger than we expected.
We're completely full and hadn't even though looking at crabs for months since then..

However,I'd love to visit there again.
I recommend you to stay a night and relax if you're interested in there.
(It's 2.5hours by train from Osaka.)
http://www.kinosaki-hotsprings.com/index.php

Manga cafe




Have you ever been to Manga (Comic) cafe?

The other day, I went there almost for the first time!
I am not a big fan of Manga but it was pretty amazing.

Manga cafe is where you can read manga of course, use internet,watch TV and DVDs and play games. You pay per hour or per minutes and usually they have package deal.
It's divided into open space and booths which you can choose where to sit.

The place where I went to serve foods and it has all you can drink with lots of kinds of drinks (except alcohol...hahaha), pillows and blankets. Moreover it has Karaoke, pool tables,theater room...

If you are tired of traveling and want just to be lazy...
you can spend all day long at there;-)


Hello Kimchi !

Kimchi is the most popular Korean pickle.
It is also popular in Japan.
I love kimchi very much, too.

However, not many Japanese know how to make kimchi.
I want to learn how to make …
So I tried making kimchi with my wife and the hostel staff members.

Under the supervision of Miyoung, we challenged to make kimchi at the hostel the other day.

One day before, we had bought 5 heads of Chinese cabbage, some bunches of garlic, plenty of red chilli powder, some ginger, a bottle of fish sauce, some fermented small mysid shrimps (Ami-no-Shiokara) and some other kind of vegetables.

Firstly we cut the Chinese cabbage and preserve it in salt in two big plastic bags overnight.

The next day, we took the Chinese cabbage from the plastic bags and squeeze it patiently.
A lot of water came out from the Chinese cabbage

On the other hand, we made kimchi paste (Yam-nyom). This is the most important part of making kimchi.
The red chilli, grated garlic, grated ginger, fish sauce, shiokara, spring onion, radish strips, carrot strips, sugar, salt and some other spices were mixed with boiled starch glue made from sticky rice. They should be stirred in combine.

Then the Yam-nyom and the Chinese cabbage were mixed and stirred again in combine.

Done!

You can eat kimchi immediately.
You can eat kimchi tomorrow, too.
You can kimchi even one month later.
Kimchi has various tastes of each time.

It is hot!

That’s kimchi.
The hotter, the better.
I am eating the kimchi every day and I sometimes have stomachache when I eat it too much.
But I don’t care.

Cause I like kimchi.
I feel the kimchi more tasty cause it is kimch we ourselves made.
Bye~~

Hello Kitty!!

Last week, I went to Osaka to visit Sanrio Gallery. Do you like Hello Kitty? At this gallery, you can buy many many Kitty goods that you don't usually find at stores. For example, I found a digital camera of Hello Kitty. It was so cute and I couldn't take my eyes off from it. I nearly decided to buy it but I didn't buy it because of my tiny baby little financial problem.

What amazed me most was about 200 kinds of the key chains of Hello Kitty and each Kitty is in a special costume of Japanese cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama etc. They're absolutely pretty and some of them made me laugh a lot. Can you imagine drunken Kitty like office workers in Tokyo?
Please visit Sanrio Gallery close to Daimaru Shinsaibashi Store when you visit J-Hoppers Osaka!! I'm sure you'll like there!

Bureaucratic

J-Hoppers Osaka hostel is now in the very final stage to the opening.

In the first place, we were going to open the hotel within the last year.
However, some of unexpected matters about licensing procedure and remodelling schedule have blocked the smooth progress to the opening.
What is most frustrating is the unclear attitude of the officials in charge of hostel license.
They are always equivocal and irresponsible to what hasn't been done before.

".... need to talk to my boss ..."
" ... might be all right but I am not authorised to make the decision .... "
They are unconscious as public servant.
Well, that is the bureaucrat way of all ages and countries and I know it is no use complaining, though ...


Anyhow, please wait just for a little longer.
We might be able to start it by the end of this month.
Well, just in case, I have to ask the manager in charge ...

Uh, oh.
I myself am getting bureaucratic, too !!

Stop Global Warming


Last weekend I went to Nagano for snowboarding.

Nagano is the site of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games.

Ten years have already passed…At that time, I was a high school student.

I was yearning to American mogul skier Jonney Moseley. And do you remember a so cute Japanese mogul girl Aiko Uemura? I liked her so much.

Then I really really wanted to be a great skier like Them.

After ten years , even now, I believe that Jonney Moseley is the best and grand free style skier in the world.

But I stood at snow park in Nagano as a snowboarder(not a skier). Because few years ago I had changed my mind. So now I want to be a great snowboarder like a Shaun White.

However Aiko Uemura is still cute (and I still like her). That will be invariable.

There was not so much new snow in snow park, most of eisbahn… ’Where are my epic powder snow?’... I think that is an influence of Global warming. And about my riding…I have not progressed at all. I think that is an influence of Global warming,too.

Onoimichi

When I stayed at J-Hoppers Hiroshima during the New Year's holidays. I went to Onomichi with Hiroshima staff Tomoko. Onomichi is a small port city in Hiroshima prefecture between the cities of Hiroshima and Okayama and famous as the city of slopes or the city of the cinema.

We went to Senkoji Park located on the top of the small hill by the ropeway. The scenery from the observation platform is outstandingly beautiful. The mountains that spread across the sea are small islands lead to Shikoku.

On the way back to the city going downhill, you will see old houses along the alleys that attract a number of Japan's more famous authors and movie directors. There is also a movie museum in the city. Although there is no English guidances in the museum as well as all over the city. It might be a unexpected fun to travel a very local place in Japan.

I was about to forget an important thing of Onomichi. Onomichi ramen (noodle) is well-known among us Japanese. The taste is between Kyusyu's one and Tokyo's one, plus fish paste. Why don't you try it for lunch ?

Kit Kat!!

Hello! I copy my boss and I'd like to introduce you another tasty Japanese sweet. I guess almost all of you know Kit Kat but do you know Kit Kat 'YUKIMIZAKURA'? Cherry blossoms are designed on the package. This Kit Kat is made to cheer up the students who study a lot to pass the entrance exams of high school, university etc. It's maybe because they can image happy spring with cherry blossoms by eating it and they can make much effort to enjoy spring. I've got nothing to do with entrance exams anymore, but I do like this flavour of Kit Kat!! It's pink & White marble and tastes like cherry. It smells good and and..anyway it's so nice. There used to be (or still?) Kit Kat Green Tea and it was also tasty and original in Japan. However, Kit Kat Yukimizakura is far more tasty!! Please try it and come to Kyoto to enjoy your spring with many beautiful cherry blossoms!

HATSUMOUDE




Hi! How are you?

I have been in poor health because of a cold since the end of December.
I didn't catch any colds at this time last year but I have had it two already this year.
January and February is the coldest months in Japan.
Please take good care of yourself!!

I went to Miyajima Island for Hatsumoude on the 3rd of January with my close friends in Kimono.
Miyajima is one of the most popular hatsumoude spots in Japan.More than 400 thousand visitors come to Miyajima during the New Year season.
Hatsumoude means New Year's visits to shrines.During the New Year's vacation.Japanese people make their first visits to shrines,where they pray for happiness and good health for the year.
We also buy lucky charms and draw sacred lots to tell our fortunes for the year.
on the day,my friends and I received my fortune there.the fortune said that I'll have excellent luck!
I think a lot of good things are coming this year.Lucky me!!
Please try fortune when you visit to a shine.There is a shrine where you can try English fortune (100yen) around J-hoppers Hiroshima .
Good luck to you!!!

J-snacks

Konbanwa~~


Today, let me introduce some Japanese snacks I recommend. I like snacks.
These are all long-selling products and most Japanese are familiar with the flavors


Kappa Ebisen (Calbee Cooperation)


One of the oldest Japanese snacks since 1950’s.

Shrimps are kneaded into flour based dough.
The catchphrase of “Yamerarenai Tomaranai” = “Cannot be stopped, Can’t stop” is not a overloaded phrase.




Karl (Meiji Seika Cooperation)


Karl was released in 1960’s.
The puffy pieces are non-fried and look like a beetle larva.
There are many kinds of Flavours. The Cheese flavour and the usuaji flavour are popular.






Happy Turn (Kameda Seika Cooperation)


Released in 1970’s.
Happy turn is a rice cracker with sweet salty special powder sprinkled.
Many Japanese get addicted to the snack for the powder. Some people say this is a sort of “legal drug”.



Please try some of these snacks when you drink beer at the hostel. You can easily get them at the convenience store or the supermarket. The lovely J-snacks must let you go to another can of beer !

People!!

Yesterday, one of our guests showed me a nice photo and what she bought. I saw many many man-like-shape things on the wall in the photos. She told me they were all pencil cases!! She also told me a person, Bruce, makes them in Arashiyama, Kyoto. At that moment, I didn't know Bruce is Japanese!! Bruce is Japanese and he makes a lot of interesting pencil cases and sells them at his store in talking with the visitors. The pencil cases are called 'People' and there are more or less 500 people made with different textiles. She said that she had bought one of them before and it lasts for more than 10 years!! The price is 3000 yen and I don't think it's very cheap, but it's so special and cute.
If you come to Kyoto and visit Arashiyama area, there are not only Tenryuji-Temple and Bamboo forest, but also there's Bruce's shop!! Why don't you pop in his shop and enjoy his amazing 'People'?

Update of our Website

Hi everybody !

As part of the ending process of opening J-Hoppers Osaka we've updated its webpage. Enjoy discovering it by clicking HERE. Reservations aren't open yet but we're working hard to make it available very very soon !



A private room at J-Hoppers Osaka

View of the downtown from the rooftop terrace

Oh, and by the way we also translated all of our website in french language, for the best confort of our dear customers from France, Quebec, Switzerland, Belgium, ... We hope we will be able to add more languages in the future.

See you soon !!

Who would be the happiest person of this year?


Who would be the happiest person of this year?

There is Nishinomiya Shrine in Nishinomiya city, Hyogo Prefecture where I live. This shrine is the head shrine of Ebisu sect of Shinto, under which it is said that there are about 3500 shrines. Locals call the shrine, by a nick name of 'Ebessan' of Nishinomiya.
People visiting here wish for the safety of their families and success in business.

The most biggest event of this shrine is "Toka Ebisu" which is held on 9th, 10th and 11th of January.
In the morning of 10th, "Fukuotoko Erabi" is held to choose the happiest person of the year.

You want to be the happiest person this year?
By 6:00am on 10th of January, you have to line up in front of the main gate of Nishinomiya shrine.
Almost 200 persons should be already lining up for hours.
At 6:00, the gate is open with the cue of drum. And all persons start running all at once to arrive the inner shrine. The most first 3 persons can be "Fukuotoko", which means the happiest persons.
I am going to visit and wish to prosper J-Hoppers Osaka which will be opening shortly!


This is a dedicated huge tuna. Everybody paste up coins to celebrate.


He is Ebisu called Ebessan.

Homepage for Nishinomiya Shrine;
http://www.decca-japan.com/nishinomiya_ebisu/index.html

Kemaring

Happy New Year!

Please look at this photograph firmly. I changed color of my hair from black into brown for recreation. I will wait for your nice opinions and impression and wait for your reservation request by e-mail, by phone by skype... :-)

Yesterday, I went to watching the first football game at Shimogamo shrine.
Okada Japan’s game? …No. Sanga’s game?... No!!

That game was more elegant and more solemnly than Sanga’s game.

It is called ‘Kemari’’. Kemari is played by men in Heian Period court costumes.

Umaine !!

Best wishes for 2008 !!

Osechi -traditional New Year dishes -


Happy new year 2008!!

How did you spend your new year's?

I guess some people found Japanese new year's is quiet.
Shops are closed, no traffic jam, not many people are on street.
It's just because new year's is more for families than friends. It's just like Christmas in the west, I think.
Family get together once a year, don't do too much and have relaxing time.

At this time of year, most
Japanese people enjoy traditional New Years Osechi dishes. Osechi includes a lot of food that can be kept for a long time and they are all prepared before NewYear's Day.

--
The dishes that make up osechi each have a special meaning celebrating the New Year.
Some examples are:


Datemaki (伊達巻 or 伊達巻き), sweet rolled omelette mixed with fish paste or mashed shrimp. They symbolize a wish for many auspicious days. On auspicious days (晴れの日, hare-no-hi), Japanese people traditionally wore fine clothing as a part of enjoying themselves. One of the meanings associated with the second kanji includes "fashionability," derived from the illustrious dress of the samurai from Date Han.

Kamaboko (蒲鉾), broiled fish paste. Traditionally, slices of red and white kamaboko are alternated in rows or arranged in a pattern. The color and shape are reminiscent of the rising sun, and have a celebratory, festive meaning.

Kazunoko (数の子), herring roe. Kazu means "number" and ko means "child". It symbolizes a wish to be gifted with numerous children in the New Year.

Konbu (昆布), a kind of seaweed. It is associated with the word yorokobu, meaning "joy".

Kuro-mame (黒豆), black soybeans. Mame also means "health," symbolizing a wish for health in the New Year.

Tai (鯛), red sea-bream. Tai is associated with the Japanese word medetai, symbolizing an auspicious event.

Tazukuri (田作り), dried sardines cooked in soy sauce. The literal meaning of the kanji in tazukuri is "rice paddy maker", as the fish were used historically to fertilize rice fields. The symbolism is of an abundant harvest.
-wikipedia

It doesn't matter whether it's tasty or not (lol), when I eat it, I do feel like the new year has come!

If you are interested in, you can buy it at the department store ;-)





Happy new year !

Dear all, I wish you a 2008 year filled by Peace, Love and of course travel in Japan !

Have you ever celebrated new year's eve in Japan ? That's something wonderfull, that's so vivid and colourfull ! I wish you can experience it at least once in your life.

There is actually a lot to do and see before and after midnigth if you're here for the new year which is called "oshogatsu" in japanese. Let me introduce what I know about them (which is certainly extremely few compared to all the traditional things that occurs this night).




To endure the coldness of the night it's better to start with a very hot and consistent dish. There is a dedicated one, called toshikoshisoba. That's noodle with mochi and various others things. Take care to the mochi. It'so sticky that every year some people died by choking on it !!!





Another typical dishes is ozouni. The recipie change in each area of Japan, but basically I would say that's a soup of seaweed and potatoes. If you look for the recipie of each of them have a look a this very interesting page (in japanese only).

I've cooked this one myself with a friend eh eh ! :-)
The white ball are satoimo, a kind of potato, cut in shape of a turtle shell to bring luck.

There is so many typical dishes for the new year in Japan ! Try also the nanakusagayu if you can ...







Ring the bell. It's called Joyanokane and that's the most impressive part of the buddhist ritual for the new year. In some temple you can ring it yourself freely, in some others you have to buy a ticket in the afternoon. Normally the bell is stroken 108 times to protect people who listen to it from the 108 buddhist sins.




The first fire of the year. There is no use for it in our modern time but people keep on doing it. When there was no electricity in the house, fire was of extremely great importance and every house had his small hearth which was well protected. The fire was something sacred and though needed to be purify at a shrine. That's why every year's eve people came to the shrine to light up a little rope and brang it back home to light up the first fire of the year.






Gomiki, the sake of the Gods. You can drink in some sanctuary and sometime they even offer you the small cup to drink it.

Another typical beverage for new year's eve is called amazake. This is also sake but without alcohol, very sweet, and usually served with ginger. You can also drink it for free in many shrine and temples.










Omikuji. This is an oracle for the year coming. There is serveral way to receive it. My favourite one is to shake a big wooden box until a little rod get out. Then you tell to the priest with number was written on it and he gives you this little piece of paper with your future written on it. Once read, you tie it somewhere in the shrine to let the wind bring away the bad news. If everything was perfect you can keep it with you. I've seen small trees completely covered by omikuji just like it was snow on the 1st of january.




Another thing you have to throw away are the omamori of the past year. Omamori are amulet protecting you from the bad things. After one year they are supposed to be burdened with all the diseases, disasters, bad luck and so on, instead of you. So it's time to let the shrine burn all of that. Actually the fire is set up few weeks after ...












And of course you have to buy new omamori to protect you all along the next year !
As next year's zodiacal animal will be the mouse, I've choosen omamori having shape of this animal ...




And finally you should try to reach the top of a mountain to look at the first sunrise of the year. Then, it will be time to go to bed ... and start again celebration on the first of january with what it's called hatsumode. No time to lose !!



A Happy New Year!!

How's your 2008 going? Mine is not too bad even though it's finally very cold here in Kyoto. Yesterday, I did Hatsumode ( first visit to shine). I went to Heian Jingu and I found many people there. I found many Omikuji were tied on the ropes, but I was not feel like taking it...because I took the worst one 2 years in train...This year, I couldn't be bothered to feel a bit sad again. Some people say it's really difficult(nearly impossible) to pick the worst one on the New Year's days, so I was kind of lucky to choose it, though. 2008 will be what it should be!! To be perfectly honest, I went to this shrine not to pray for the happiness of 2008, but for buying sweet potatoes that were selling outside the shrine... I had found the street shop of the potatoes on the 31st Dec and I had already decided to eat it the next day!! It was very cold outside and I had to wait a bit for buying fried sweet potates, however, I was really content. Anyway, please please visit us also this year, 2008!! I do hope year 2008 will be another lovely year for all of you.

Let's go Hatsumode

Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu !(Happy new year)

Now we have happy 2008.

As the first outing of the year, many Japanese visit shrines or temples on one of new year days and pray for our health and good luck.

Some of the famous and popular places have full of visitors and sometimes we have difficulty going forward. No problem, there are a lot of gods in Japan and you can go to any small shrine.


This morning I went to one of the nearest shrines from the hostel with my family.

There is a washplace after the entrance. We wash hands and rinse mouth there before prayer.

Then going to the main shrine.

Shake a bell.

Throw some money for contribution (saisen) into a wooden box (saisen-bako)

Then we pray at the shrine.

There is a formal manner for a prayer:

Bow twice à Clap twice à bow once

After the prayer, some draw paper oracle (omikuji).

If you like, you can also buy a charm (omamori) or write your wish on a wooden plaque.

Some shrine may serve free sake.

This is the way of Hatsu-mode.

Don’t worry, Let’s go to Hatsu-mode