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!!

Japanese Barber

There are some activities you will never find in a tourist guide but should definitely be experienced during your stay in Japan. The one I'm thinking about today is the japanese barber.
I thought during a long time I would save money going to the "1000yen cut" and though always went there. As it's named it costs 1000 yen, and takes only 10 minutes to be disfigured. In Kyoto I knew one with a competent guy who could make the job but he flew away. The only fun that lasts is the vacuum cleaner used at the end to clean you up the head and sometimes snatch one ear.
Recently, after hearing a lot of good comments from customers who experienced it, I finally decided to go to a real barber shop. I also wanted to change of hair-style and try a more 'monky' (monkey ? ;-) ) head with a 'marubouzu' cut.
Find one is quite simple, there is one at every street corner. If you don't know what it looks like just look for the red-white-blue twist turning at the entrance door and you cannot mistake. The barber is only for men, and there is also hair-salons which are supposed to be for women but as young japanese boys enjoy airy-fairy hairstyles you will find both boys and girls there. In response for fashion hair-style, opening a hair-salon is trendy and they are completely outnumbered, with their staff spending their day doing nothing in a space sized to welcome a full baseball team at once ... Actually it's surely another interesting experience to go there, but I'm not enough devoted to my dear customers to give it a try, sorry. Another consequence of current air fashion, the barber shops are quite deserted, and the old barber just keeps busy with his old regulars. That's a good point for you : you won't have to wait.
So, how to choose one amongst them ? Well they all seem to be as efficient so the only criterion I could suggest would be the interior decoration. By itself it’s quite an attraction. It looks like you enter 'candyland', it's colorful, cute, shiny, adorned with mountains landscape paints and lot of small porcelain stuff, of course ultra-clean. It makes me think of south of France, of Switzerland, of America in the 70's, ... everywhere except Japan !
Inside the old barber in his uniform is waiting for you while reading newspaper. He welcomes you with a warm smile and shows you the nearest leather seat. Then come the only (maybe) unpleasant moment as you will have to explain him in japanese what you want. Come with a photo or translated instructions and it will be simpler than it was for me : he kindfully tried to quickly draw my portrait to be sure we were understanding each other correctly, but he had a good idea in becoming barber instead of mangaka.
After that, just relax and enjoy. He starts by wetting your hairs with a warm, soft and perfumed towel. One century lead on everything ever experienced so far. He was juggling with the position of the seat and full of different kinds of scissors and rasors, transforming step by step a jungle into a golf green, ending with a one by one hair check with mini-scissors. To be sure to forget nothing he put talc on your hair before last steps. The scissors make the talc fall down and it’s easy to see where it’s done and where not yet. I called this the ‘zebra trick’.
Another delightful moment is the cut of the borders. He first prepares in front of you a lotion in a cloud shaped porcelain, and with a fang-shaped brush applies it on all the border of your hair. Like the towel at the beginning it’s warm, soft, perfumed. More, it certainly contains some products to prepare the skin to the rasor blade as the result was perfect and I felt not even one time the blade. I just remember looking quietly at the vapour going out from the little cloud.
During all the process a big smile didn’t left the barber’s face and we kept talking all along, what was another real pleasure. Finally it took a little less than one hour and cost me only 1500 yen !
I wish you too to enjoy it one day !


Do you know Awabi?

Awabi sashimi


Wife’s sister is very very kind to have sent us a big awabi (abalone in English).

In Japan, awabi is one of the most expensive seafoods.When we go to sushi restaurants, in most time, or always, I could only watch this over the counter.

Tonight we had a deluxe AWABI night at Hana Hostel.

The flesh is resilient and tastes eryngii mashroom a little.

Of course Japanese eat awabi as sashimi.

The guts are mashed, mixed with soy sauce and we eat awabi with the special sauce.

Gooood !


Awabi belly



Awabi shell

The new baseball stadium in construction.


Hiroshima new park as of Aug 31
(a 5 minute walk from Hana Hostel and  
a 30 minutes by tram from H-Hoppers Hiroshima hostel)


This is a new beseball stadium near Hiroshima station.
The construction is looking proceeding at a rapid pace.
This is the replacement of the present old stadium in front of A-Bomb dome.
Actually I like the current old stadium.  It is in the middle of the down town and has a very convenient access. It is also be a very unique contrast to the World Heritage of A-Bomb Dome across the street. Its home team Hiroshima Carp could be a symbolic baseball team for "Love and Peace"... Basiccally I feel sorry that Hiroshima City decided to replace the stadium.


New stadium near Hiroshima Park will be open next spring

However, It is no use crying over spilled milk.
Let's hope the replacement brings good luck on Carp and Hiroshima.



One thing I am interested in the new stadium is its asymmetric field like Fenway Park for Red Sox.
This is the first attempt for Japanese Professional baseball.
I hope Carp baseball also turns to be more powerful like Red Sox ....

Korea Trip!





It's been already more than 1 month ago, but I went to Korea for 10 days!

From Japan,the cheapest way to get to Korea is by taking a ferry.
From Hiroshima, I went to Hakata first then took a beetle ferry. It took only 3 hours to Busan!
http://www.jrbeetle.co.jp/english/index.html

There's another ferry to get there from Shimonoseki. But this one is very slow...takes about 12 hours, but of course it's cheaper than beetle ferry!



Korea is known for its cousin. Korean spicy pickles Kim-chi are always served with any dish!
If you like spicy food, Korea is like a heaven for you...
Of course they have non-spicy foods as well like Samgyetang. And it's very tasty too.

I like Korean food a lot, so I was always excited about having meals.

Other than food, Korea is known for its technology. I've seen so many cool things but what I was surprised the most was the small cell phone charms.
It can charge money and use it when you get on subway!

For the transportation for long distance, highway bus is the best way. Cheap, frequent and nice.

I visited 3 cities, Busan, Seoul and Gyeongju.


In Busan, there is an old fish market where you can find a lot of seafood. Some are familiar to you, but so are not!!! It was very interesting to just walk around.
And I went to a temple in the mountain. There was a river and even though there were many people, it was very refreshing.




Seoul is a very big city! Nice restaurants, cool shops, many things to see.Palace was very impressive!
I liked a food court in Lotte department store. Their serving system is very high-tech!



Gyeongju has 2 world heritage sites! Tombs are every where. In the town, you can hire bikes, but don't hire it! Things to see are all widely spread and you will never be able to reach them...






Korea is very technological country but still it has the Asian lively atmosphere. People don't hesitate to express their feelings. You will have interesting experiences!

Hana Staff




This is Hana Hostel's workfellows.
Our staff is composed of Receptionists, cleaning staff and night-watch staff.
(From left) Yasu, Yukorin, Rie, Miyoung, Yaoko, Tabi, aki.

Even receptionists have cleaning work. Every staff take care of cleanliness of the hostel.
We all looke forward to seeing you in Peace town Hiroshima !

We also started another blog about Hana Hostel.
Hana Journal

See you in Hiroshima ~

Hiking in Kyoto

There so many temples and shrines in Kyoto as you can easily see once you get out of the hostel. BUT, Kyoto is not the only place for the temples & shrines but also rich nature.

I went to Mt. Yoshida the other day for exercise. It's named the mountain, but the altitude at it's top is only 121m. It doesn't take 30 minutes to get to the peak. Actually, I was on my bike all the way up there. The mountain you see is Mt. Daimonji.



Have been seeing Mt. Daimonji, I had a sudden impulse to hike that mountain too. It takes about 10 minutes to get to the foot of Daimonji where is beside Silver pavillion. This is higher than Mt. Yoshida, but it's like a hill, the height is 465m. It was a hot day and I walked very slow, it took about an hour to the peak. It thanks to good weather, I had a fine view.



(top) The top point of Japanese kanji's "DAI". (bottom) View from the peak, wood of Imperial Palace is the farest green area.