2016年08月19日

'Amarube' railway bridge, upper Hyogo Prefecture, is a notorious feature of JR 'San-in Honsen' main line running along the Sea of Japan as it is one of the longest railway bridges in Japan.

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Former Amarube railway bridge was completed with iron materials from the U.S. in 1912. This engineering work connected two places, Kyoto and Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, by one railway, which had made a great contribution to the popularity of this historical and prestigious shrine. As this area has a strong prevailing wind from the sea in winter, the steel materials of the bridge had long been elaborately maintained against the rust since its completion until 2010. In December 1986, an accident happened causing 6 fatalities. An out-of-service train passing on this railway bridge fell down onto a small factory due to an unusually strong wind, and this accident stimulated the locals into rebuilding movement of this bridge. The dark brown iron bridge in the picture is an old one which is partially preserved, and the concrete one is a new bridge completed in 2010. An observatory is set up on the top of the old one.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 15:59 | Japanese food and drink | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2013年07月30日

There still remains a food culture of eating whale meat in Japan, so a few restaurants serving whale meat dishes can be found throughout the country.

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Like some Western countries, whale meat eating custom has taken root in Japan since time immemorial. As whale was regarded as the largest fish, even in the days when eating four-footed animal meat was prohibited because of religious reason, eating whale had been prevailing around Japan. Buddhism, that was introduced into Japan in the 6th century, had long prohibited eating four-feeted animal meat.
Compared with fish, since whale can be kept for a long time, it was eaten even in cities far from the coast.
This also is a reason why the tradition of eating whale gets fixed as a characteristic food culture in Japan.
After a worldwide ban on whaling in 1987, the opportunity to eat whale meat has gradually fallen, however, various species and parts of whale, as shown in the picture, are found at many fish markets such as Tsukiji around the country.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 15:36 | Japanese food and drink | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2013年04月25日

A "mochi" rice cake is made through "mochitsuki" and forming pounded steamed "mochigome" glutinous rice into a palm-sized round or square shape.

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Since Japan's farming has been focused on rice cultivation, paddies can be seen anywhere in the countryside. "Ina-wara" rice straw, which is a by-product of rice cultivation, is used for various kinds of daily commodities such as "tatami" mats or straw rope festoons. A "mochi" rice cake is also indispensable preserved food for sacred days like "shogatsu" New Year's holiday or festivals.
In these days, a mass produced "mochi" is sold at supermarkets, however it originally is made through "mochitsuki" as shown in the picture.
This performance had been often found even in urban areas untill 1960's, but it has become to be performed as an attraction of a program of entertainments today.
*Mochitsuki: Two men alternately pound steamed rice in a mortar with a pestle.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 12:46 | Japanese food and drink | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする