Japan’s weird food: Ryokan meals, Kaiseki

Last winter I went with Scott and my parents to a Ryokan in Kurokawa, Kagoshima. Kurokawa is a tourist town for mostly Japanese tourists, and is full of onsen, hot spring baths. It is very traditional and is every bit as picturesque as you would imagine a small town in the mountains of Japan would look like. Our ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel, had several onsen on it’s property, including one next to a waterfall and one in a cave.
At ryokan, they bring your meal to you in your room, and it’s at least 17 courses of traditional Japanese food. First came sashimi and some traditional appetizers.  Basashi, two hot pots, a grilled fish and some oden followed.
A chestnut, some ginger, shrimp, snail, red bean and a plum.

The food was absolutely amazing and so beautifully presented.

Sashimi, tempura, grilled fish, and a hot pot of beef and vegetables with cheese.

Of all the places we visited in Japan, Kurokawa in the winter is number one on my list of places to revisit. It was absolutely magical.

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Kangeroos!

We saw a lot of kangaroos in Australia, but the live ones were too fast to get a good picture of in the car, and the abundant dead ones were too sad. By far the most impressive one was this 20 foot animatronic kangaroo next to a gas station in Queensland. It moved its ears and eyes and Scott waited around for a long time to see if the pouch would open, but unfortunately we had no luck on that front.

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Australia is beautiful

Somewhere south of Townsville, we noticed a sign for a scenic lookout, and decided to stop. The scenic lookout was actually a 3 km dirt road drive up a mound in the middle of nowhere, but it was insanely beautiful. We had the place to ourselves as we walked around just amazed at how far you could see, and how wonderfully unique the landscape of Australia is. As far as we could see in any direction were red dirt and farmers fields, except back in the direction of Townsville where another dirt mound rose over the ocean. An absolutely gorgeous place.

 

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Gorgeous South Island

A view from our campsite near Te Anau. Absolutely stunning. 

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Paradise

While my recent posts may lead you to believe we are enjoying the beautiful west coast of New Zealand right now, we are actually relaxing on a beach in Malaysia.

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Malaysia was a last minute addition to our trip, added after a friend who lived here for two years gave us some excellent advice. We’re currently taking our scuba diving certification here and enjoying the sun, beach and abundant fruit shakes. We can’t believe how lucky we are.

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Monkey Time on Iki

We recently made a trip to Iki island, off the coast of Nagasaki prefecture. The whole island is covered with monkey statues and rocks shaped like monkeys, and other monkey paraphernalia.

Here are some of my friends at a monkey shrine on the north end of the island! There were hundreds of iterations of these hear, speak and see no evil monkeys at the shrine. Also, there was a giant mukade, a poisonous cockroach.

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