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!!

The kingdom of cartoon


I have read a lot of cartoons in my childhood.
I used to think cartoon was only a comic book that only children read but I was so happy when I found the cartoon series that was continuing at the Hiroshima cartoon library.
However I was surprised by the fact that the cartoons haven't ended yet.
Even though I know that there have been cartoons serialized for years .
But 25years is too long.
It made me worry that the writer getting old and I was not able to read the end.
Reading Manga does not only help my Japanese but it also helps me to understand Japan it self.

There are numerous mangas in Japan.
You could find some interesting stories.
Especially manga has a high addictive potential. It will be interesting to read how this story develops.
Also this is an easy way to spend hot and humid Japanese sleepless summers.

It is a huge entertainment industry. At the same time, it is also part of Japanese culture which exported abroad.
You can see it anywhere nowadays. Old, young, men and women, everybody has read it. Actually,Japanese manga and animation have already been broadcasted abroad.

Manga is a very well known thing it represents.
There is a cartoon library in Hiroshima.
You can read manga for free there and when your eyes strain from reading Japanese, you can stop over at Hiroshima contemporary art museum. It is located just next to the manga library.

Hiroshima Castle










Hiroshima castle was established by Mori Terumoto,one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's council of 'Five Great Elders.' It is representive of a flatland castle.


The castle has a lot of histories.An unexpected occurrence of hiroshima castle was the atomic bomb in 1945.The present tower was resconstructed in 1958 and is now used to exhibit historical artifacts.


Recently,I had a chance to visit the castle.I have not been into the castle for ages.Maybe over 10 years!! So I was quite shocked that all of display had changed immensely.
There is a big monitor which shows a simple history of Hiroshima and the castle.
My friend and I really enjoyed dressing up as a samurai and a princess.(I was the princess!!)
We tried on a kimono and a kabuto(hat of a general) then took pictures for free!


You should try it,if you want to be a one of the 'Last samurai.' :)







Kamogawa Odori Dance(Maiko and Geisha)







Kamogawa-odori is for it’s famous Maiko and Geisha Spring dance.

Miyako-odori, Kyo-odori, Kitano-odori and Kamogawa-odori,

those 4 geisha dances in Kyoto held only in spring to early summer time.

Today was a last day for one of the last Geisha dance show.

They often perform comical stories and also sad old stories.

When the show was about to over, all the lights been turned off .

Then suddenly, more than 20 Maiko and Geisha girls flushed on to the stage .

How gorgeous it was.

This dance signifies me the end of spring.

Cherry blossom is over and summer is coming.

Season changes, summer comes after the spring. Spring comes because winter comes.

I’m looking forward to see their dance again next year.

In the mean time,

I will gaze how seasons come and go. Reina

OKINAWA TRIP!!

Hi .How are you?

The rainy season is coming soon...What a bummer!!!



Be that as it may , I came back from okinawa 5 days ago .
Have you heard of it?
Okinawa is the most popular resort area of Japan/
I lived in Okinawa for 1 year ,about a year and a half ago.Now I go there once a year,but always return to Hiroshima.
Okinawa has a unique culture,music and dialect.So you can enjoy a different kind of fun from any other place in Japan if you go there.




The picture at the top is Kouri-island.
It is north of Okinawa Island and takes about 1 and a half hours to get there by car from NAHA city.
On the way to the island on Route 58,you see a spectacular ocean on your left,it is breathtaking!!!



I stayed at the FUKURUBI Guest House for 2nights.
This picture was taken at FUKURUBI.
A holiday atmosphere,good staff and lovely cafe make this guest house highly recommendable!!!!

For those who want to eat sushi !

We've translated the menu of the sushi restaurant in front of J-Hoppers, Netaichi, to help our guests communicate with the restaurant staff and enjoy a delicious typical japanese meal. This little dictionary will probably help others, at least we hope so, and that's why we put it here. Please use it freely !
(First column is the japanese writing, second column is the reading of the first column, third column is english translation)

とびっこ

Tobikko

Flying fish roe

ほっき貝

Hokkikai

Sakhalin surf clam

かいわれ

Kaiware

Radish sprouts

あぶりサーモン

Aburisamon

Roasted salmon

サーモン

Samon

Salmon

岩のり

Iwanori

Wild porphyra

なす

Nasu

Eggplant

なっとう

Nattou

Fermented soybeans

ツナ

Tsuna

Tuna

コーン

Con

Corn

もろきゅう

Morokyu

Cucumber and miso

めねぎ

Menegi

Menegi (Japanese vegetable, kind of onion)

うなぎ

Unagi

Eel

えびチーズ

Ebichizu

Shrimp and cheese

とろサーモン

Torosamon

Fatty salmon

サーモンチーズ

Samonchizu

Salmon and cheese

たい梅しそ

Taiumeshiso

Bream and plum and labiate

たいちり

Taichiri

Spicy bream

あまたこ

Amataco

Sweet octopus

びんとろ

Bintoro

Fatty tuna

活はまち

Katsuhamachi

Fresh young yellowtail

活たい

Katsutai

Fresh bream

明太子

Mentaiko

Roe of Pollock

かにみそ

Kanimiso

Crab entrails

たい皮

Taikawa

Bream skin

ほたて

Hotate

Scallop

活たこ

Katsutako

Fresh octopus

しもふりたこ

Shimofuritako

Marbled octopus

活かんぱち

Katsukanpachi

Fresh amberjack

活ひらめ

Katsuhirame

Fresh halibut

子持ちこんぶ

Komochiconbu

Fish egg with kelp

大えび

Daiebi

Lobster

あなご

Anago

Conger

けんいか

Kenika

Loliginid squids

アボカド

Abokado

Avocado

しめさば

Shimesaba

Marinate macquerel

あぶりいか

Aburiika

Roasted squid

本まぐろ

Honmaguro

Tuna

ひらめちり

Hiramechiri

Spicy halibut

ホタテチーズ

Hotatechizu

Scallop and cheese

とり貝

Torigai

Bivalvia

ひらめ梅しそ

Hirameumeshiso

Halibut with plum and labiate

ぼたんえび

Botanebi

Shrimp

あぶりとろ

Aburitoro

Roasted tuna

ずわいかにみ

Zuwaikanimi

Crab flesh

あわび

Awabi

Ear shell

中とろ

Chuutoro

Less fatty part of tuna

焼うに

Yakiuni

Fried urchin

いくら

Ikura

Salmon roe

とろ

Toro

Tuna

うに

Uni

Urchin

大とろ

Ootoro

More fatty part of tuna

しんこ

Shinko

Pacific sandeel

きゅうり

Kyuri

Cucumber

うめしそ

Umeshiso

Plum and labiate

かんぴょう

Kanpyo

dried gourd shavings

いかきゅう

Ikakyu

Squid and cucumber

うなきゅう

Unakyu

Eel and cucumber

あなきゅう

Anakyu

Conger and cucumber

やまごぼう

Yamagobo

Fern

ねぎさもん

Negisamon

Salmon and leek

さーもんさらだ

Samonsarada

Salmon and salad

えびさらだ

Ebisarada

Shrimp and salad

てっか

Tekka

Red tuna roll

ねぎとろ

Negitoro

Pasted tuna with leek

とろてっか

Torotekka

Red fatty tuna roll

とろたく

Torotaku

Pasted tuna with leek and pickled Japanese radish

カリフォルニアロールえび

Califoruniaroru ebi

California roll with shrimp

カリフォルニアロールさーもん

Califoruniaroru samon

California roll with salmon

カリフォルニアロールまぐろ

Califoruniaroru maguro

California roll with tuna

Bon Appetit ! ;-)


Umbrelas that bloom on the Sunny day





You can see these umbrellas on sunny days only.

Not rainny days…I think they don’t like rainy days(?).

@Hokyoji-Temple (宝鏡寺) 2008.5/16

Ukiyo-e wave



We’ve been thinking if we could offer something more to our guest, something unique, traditional but modern.

I thought about my friend’s wood block printing gallery near to the philosopher’s path.

They have loads of selection of beautiful wood block printings and they are very good at finding wood block printings of anonymous artists.

Some of them are very old but looks so modern somehow.

I especially love their Ukiyo-e selections from Edo period(1603-1867)

Ukiyo-e is pictures of everyday life in Edo period..

The Ukiyo-e tradition influenced Manga Anime which is popular in all over the world these days.It said that the Ukiyoe art of drawing had a strong inf;uence on usch postimapressionists as Van Gogh and Gauguin, abd resulted in the development of the newtechni8ques of realism..

The wood block printings are so colorful and fun to look at .

One of the unique way to explore old Japan! Reina

Aoi masturi festival






On sunny beautiful day of early summer, one of the biggest festival in Kyoto"Aoi matsuri festival was held .

The AOI-matsuri-festival. Those Heian costume is so gorgeous and impressed many people on the street. I was moved by horse riding ceremony in Kamigamo-shrine .

Green Green May! The Iris Laevigata”Kakitsubata” is fully blooming silently at Ota shrine near the Kamigamo-shrine. Reina

Yokai street


There is a unique street near Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.
The name of the street is Ichijo Street.
The people in this area have nicknamed “Yokai Street” on the street.
(I have sometimes mentioned about yokai in this blog. See the link below)
http://j-hoppers.japanhostel.net/2007/08/goblins-yokai.html

I went to the street with my family the other day.
It is a small local shopping street and most shops along the street have their own Yokais at their storefronts.
Very interesting.

There is a website of the street (Japanese only though …)
http://www.kyotohyakki.com/

You know,
The concept of Yokai street ultimately leads to ecological thought.
I will write about it next time.

Anyway, please drop in the funny street when you visit the famous Kitano Tenmangu Shirine.
The street running east and west, one block south of Kitano temnangu shrine 
Map
From J-Hoppers Kyoto Hostel, please take city bus #205 at Kujo Shako bus stop and get of at Kitano Hakubaicho Bus stop. It take about 30-40 minutes by bus.


Kasa (umbrella) Yokai









Shokupan (bread) Yokai









Rabbit (?) Yokai









One-eyed student Yokai









Hyotan (calabash) Yokai

Crepe/Gyoza Party at Osaka

Finally we did it ! The Crepe/Gyoza Party of J-Hoppers Osaka has been enjoyed by a small band of twenty merry fellows from the afternoon to late at night. Guests, staff, family and relatives cleaned up all together the 200 gyozas, crepes, ice creams, chocolates, appetizers, ... with some fresh beers and fruits juices.



Hand made by the staff's gyoza, and special "Kimchi-gyoza"


Crepe Versus Gyoza. Which one will be finished first ?



Guests from all over the world swapping their experience.
"Do you know in my country Crepes are blue and Gyoza filled with chocolate ???"
"Stop kidding me ...!"



Noriko looks strange, was the beer too strong or the Kimchi-gyoza too spicy ??? ;-p



The crepe maestrio at work. The most difficult is to keep on eating gyoza with one hand, drinking beer with the second one, while cooking crepe without burning them (with a third hand ??).



The Super-Gyoza-Team on duty.



Kurosan in his famous role of Masked Gyoza-Devourator



Ken leaves the command of J-Hoppers to his young son and try to seduce the french chief with cuty tearful eyes to receive some extra crepes.



Cheers !
We can't wait for next party !!
If you have suggestions of food to cook next time send us an email !!

Mother's day



The second Sunday in May is Mother's day in Japan - Yes, it's tomorrow.
I wonder who came up with Mother's day, but I think it's good day to say "Thank you" for our mother as you might know, Japanese are not really good at showing their emotion.

I went to Hankyu department (one of famous department store in Osaka) on the other day to buy a present and the mother's day gift sections were decorated with carnations (It's the symbol for mother's day in Japan) and are very crowded with girls, boys, children with their mother..
I stood in the LONG checkout line and of course I hate it.
But I thought while I was waiting,
"There are so many people come to buy presents for their mother.
That means they LOVE their mother. Filled with love!
Then I felt very happy to being there.


By the way, we are going to have a party tomorrow

We serve French style Crepe and Gyoza(Dumpling)!
Who cook French style Crepe? Pascal, of course!
Gyoza? We Japanese staff!
Who would like to join us? We still have a few vacancies for tomorrow and Anybody welcome!
Will you come with your mother??






Blooming time
















































Cherry blossom
just ended their magical show and now it's time for the other flowers to show their beauty.
There are so many flowers are blooming in every temples and shrines in Kyoto .
Also the fresh green of Momiji leaves are so bright to our eyes.
I went to Honnen-in temple, one of my favorite temple in Kyoto .
When I'm gazing the moss, I almost find the wide universe within small world .
Blooming time! A lot of people might think there is not much to do or see for this moment in Kyoto.
no way no way, I think this is one of the best time of the year to visit Kyoto.
The weather is so mild and easy to chill out.
I wish I could show you how colorful they are and send you the gorgeous scent of those flowers.
Reina

Flower Festival in Hiroshima



Hi, How are you?

It has been quite humid recently,hasn't it?





Between the 3rd to 5th of May the flower festival is held in Hiroshima.
This festival is one of the biggest events in Hiroshima and is always bustiling with spectators.
Cars,beautifully decorated with flowers parade Heiwa-Odori street.
It is about 5 min walk from J-hoppers Hiroshima.
It was so busy this year that I didn't go, just to avoid the crows!
But ,if you're in Hiroshima visiting,you should check it out!
It is simply beautiful,and there is loads to see!!

Otaku Dancer?

The other day I hanged around the central down town of Osaka, and I found a Otaku dancer (Otaku : In modern Japanese slang, the term otaku refers to fan of, or is specialized in any particular theme, topic, or hobby. Common uses are anime otaku (a fan of anime ) and manga otaku (a fan of comic books or manga), Otaku's fashion is very unique, and they wear a frumpy cloth, because their interest is focused on the only anime or manga.).

He was dancing in front of the passer-by audiences. He is challenging to get a high score of Dancing Game at penny arcade.

His dancing is very sophisticated. I guess that he practiced and more practice.
It was very funny to see a gap in between his businesslike aspect and dancing skill like a professional dancer.

Dagashi 駄菓子

Have you had "Dagashi"in Japan?
The dictionary says that it is "molded confection" ,but
I would just say "cheapie and childish sweets".
I guess there are same things in all over the world, but there are soooooo many kinds of Dagashi in Japan,and children LOVE them.

Normally, Dagashi shops are near elementary schools, and school kids get together there after their school and spend a lot of time.
The prices are getting higher,but still really cheap - from 5 yen to less than 200 yen. That's why it's possible to buy for kids.

However, we adults also miss Dagashi sometimes(often?),remembering our childhood...
To our joy, we can buy Dagashi at the supermarket and even convenience store now!

I don't buy sweets so often, but I always get hungry before I finish my work here at the evening.
So I go to 7 ELEVEN which is located on the corner of JH Osaka.
I found there is the small Dagashi space recently, and I buy some quite often since then.
Now my favorite Dagashi is "BIG THUNDERS"!

It's Big, and Yummy, and Cheap! It's only 53yen and worth to pay!

You would find more Dagashi in Japan..
Why don't you buy for souvenir before you go back to your country?

Green Momiji



Usually we enjoy viewing momiji leaves in autumn, when their colour turns red and yellow.
However green momiji leaves are also fresh and nice.


By the way, I took this picture in Jinko-in Temple, which is in the north of Kyoto City.
Google map
It is not a very famous temple and is off the major sightseeing course.
Actually, it is pretty cool.


The small temple is well maintained and has many kind of flowers and trees.
These flowers seems to open up one after another every season and delight visitors' eyes.

Jinkoin in each seasons

It is said the temple was founded in the 13th century (Kamakura Period).
Free entrance.


You can get there by City Bus
Please take #9 from Kyoto Station Bus Terminal and get off at Jinko-in Busstop.