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Seven Things I love doing in Japan...

#5

This mount needs no introduction...


T
his next one needs no introduction. I love the majestic Mount Fuji. Standing magnificent and proud, Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan. Along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku, it is one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains". Mount Fuji is an active volcano, lies just west of Tokyo, and if you're really lucky you can actually see it on a clear day. Mount Fuji's exceptionally symmetrical cone is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art. Here is my shot of it.

 

#6

No jostling please...

I like the no jostling practice that the Japanese try as much as possible to adopt. I once went to Japan's Disney world on a local public holiday. The place was packed. However, the one thing that I noticed was that no matter how packed or long the queues were, nobody in front of you or behind you "accidentally" stepped on your toes or jostled you. Even during the watching of the parade, the Japanese sit and wait in an orderly fashion. They are really polite about respecting personal space. Somehow even for an area as huge as Disney world, with so many people milling about, I always feel that parents with children can have peace of mind that their children will be safe here, because of the fantastic security system.

 

#7

A celebration devoted to girls...

I love the Hina Matsuri celebration held on the 3rd of March because I am a girl and once it was explained to me, I thought it was a great celebration and one that even Malaysians should adopt. It is the festival dedicated to Japanese girls. Dolls representing an ancient Imperial couple, are displayed in houses of unmarried girls, to bring good fortune to them. Superstition has it that if the dolls are not put back into their boxes before midnight, the girls in that house will never marry. What an easy way to ensure that all the single, eligible girls find a suitable spouse. If only real life were so easy...

P.S. Of course, there are heaps of other things I love about Japan but these are just the seven that came to me first. If you are wondering why the Cherry Blossom Festival that is Number One on almost every traveler's list is not on mine, that's because in the 17 trips I have made to Japan, the trips have never coincided with the Hanami. Imagine that. Sad but true!

Also, if you are wondering why the Onsen (public baths) are not listed on my top seven things, it's not because I haven't experienced them and loved them, but rather because I was not allowed to bring my camera into the baths for obvious reasons.

Editors Note: You can read Mei's Cumi & Ciki Malaysian food and travel blog here. You can follow her on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/agentcikay


Japanese Taste Treats to Explore...

Basic types: Chinese Take Out

  • Ramen -- wheat; most commonly sold pre-cooked with packets of broth
  • Soba -- buckwheat
  • Somen -- wheat, served cold
  • Udon -- wheat; a square-edged, thick, chewy noodle

What to Order in Japanese Restaurants:

  • Yakisoba are Japanese stir-fried noodles.
  • Tempura Soba is a noodle soup topped with deep fried vegetables and shrimp.
  • Nabeyaki Udon is udon noodles in stock topped with chicken, seafood, fish and vegetables.

 

Her Thoughts on Food and Culture...

All food starting with P is comfort food...pasta, pizza, pan stickers, Pad Thai...Noodles are not only amusing but delicious.
(Julia Child, Julia Child & Company 1978)

"May your rice never burn," is the New Year's Greeting of the Chinese. "May it never be gummy," is ours.
(Irma and Marion Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking, 1931)

If you're interested in cooking, you're also just naturally interested in art, in love and in culture.
(Madame Jehane Benoit, The Canadian, 1974)

Japanese food is very pretty and undoubtedly a suitable cuisine in Japan...Hostesses hellbent on serving such food to occidentals would be well advised to supplement it with something more substantial and to keep in mind that almost everybody likes french fries. (Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life, 1978)

(Source: The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women -- Rosalie Maggio)

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