Wednesday, November 08, 2006

#189 Day 8: Sendai to Morioka

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The Road to Hokkaido Tour 2006
Day 8: Sendai to Morioka
Distance: 199 kms

We stayed at the same hotel in Sendai last night. This is the view from the window.
Today we drove from Sendai to Morioka.

On the way, we got the car washed. It cost 200 yen. It didn’t come out very clean. Oh well. I saw another car mat cleaner called beauty mat.

We made a great discovery on yongosen (this is the name of a road) just before Kurihara in Miyagi ken. This drive through coffee shop called Fullsail Espresso Coffee. The coffee was great, and cheap. And the service was excellent. I definitely recommended it if you’re ever driving along that road and you feel like a coffee.

We had soba at this restaurant called Kyougasaki. I thought the building was a really nice design. The staff were friendly too. Especially the man who asked us where we were from and ran after us with some sweets when we were leaving.

We stopped at a few shops in Kurihara. I wanted to buy something in Kurihara because that’s where I lived in Tokyo. Actually I didn’t really live in Tokyo at all … the closest station to my house was in Tokyo though. But my house was actually in Saitama – Saitama-ken, Niiza-shi, Kurihara 6 chome.

We saw a black bus belonging to a group called Nippongoushidoumei.
They drive around in this bus and tell people their opinions over a loud speaker.
For example Yasukuni Shrine should continue to be owned by the government.

I like this sign: welcome nicest people on a Honda.
We bought some mandarins from this guy on the side of the road.
We drove past Hanamaki airport.
And saw some electric pine trees outside a pachinko parlour.

We arrived in Morioka just after 5. Might have to see if there are any good bars in Morioka tonight.

#188 Day 7: Sendai to Matsushima to Sendai

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The Road to Hokkaido Tour 2006
Day 7: Sendai to Matsushima to Sendai
Distance: 60 kms

Last night we stayed at Toyoko Inn in Sendai. The room looks almost exactly the same as the room in the other hotels. But I think the picture on the wall might be slightly different.

We decided to go on a bit of a bar crawl. All three bars we went to were really good.
I don’t know if we were just lucky, or if Sendai is an awesome place. Maybe both.

First we drank Stella at nmc. The owner’s (nick)name was Nemochan. He was really nice and gave us a lighter each.

Then we went upstairs to a bar called Fed 16’s bar. When he was 16, the owner decided to open a bar. That’s where the 16 in the name comes from.
I can’t remember all the drinks we had here. This one was Balalaika: Cointreau, vodka and lemon juice.
Both the guys behind the bar were really friendly and the drinks tasted good.
We played darts. I’m pretty useless at darts. Sometimes the darts happen to land in a good place. And sometimes they don’t. The owner said I could have a free drink if I got a score of 450. One game I got 443. So close!

The last bar we went to was excellent too. We ate olives and pickles and I can’t remember what we drank. We thought about living in Sendai and asked the bartenders about the cost of renting apartments. Sendai is reasonably close to both the surf and the snow and there are at least three good bars. Mmm I’m pretty impressed with Sendai so far.

Today we went to Matsushima. Matsushima is “nihonsankei” which means it’s one of the top three most beautiful places in Japan. I don’t know what the other two are.

Matsu means pine tree and shima means island. In Matsushima there are a lot of small islands covered with pine trees. It was a beautiful place. Especially since it was a Monday and there weren’t very many people there. I don’t think I would’ve found it quite so beautiful on a weekend or a public holiday.

We had a cup of coffee at this café. The door and passage leading to the toilet were so small that I had to go in sideways.

It was raining when we got there and then it stopped raining all of a sudden and the sun came out.

I saw an interesting seat, some jelly fish, and a strange owl.

I drank tea in a souvenir shop and bought a souvenir. This is a keitai strap. It’s supposed to be piece of rice.