Monday, December 23, 2013

Cologne Christmas Market

Hello my lovely mauw-mauws,

do you remember Yui, the young japanese woman Don and I had met in Vienna?
She is currently still on her big europe trip and after visiting Vienna she went first towards south and thereafter to Belgium and the Netherlands. Since our meeting in Vienna we kept in touch via email and on December 13th, she arrived in Cologne and we met up at central station to visit the christmas market together.

It was pretty cold that day, colder than I expected but we were nevertheless pretty lucky with the weather (NO RAIN! ^o^). After Yui stored her luggage at the central station we went to the christmas market. Cologne offers in total 7(!) different christmas markets - Yui and I went to the christmas market which is next to Cologne Cathredale (Kölner Dom).

Yui and me with Santa Claus

honey candles - they always remind me of my childhood

Yui in front of the christmas market stage and the cathredale

After we trudged round all the wooden pavilions we went inside the Cologne Cathredale. Inside the cathredale it turns out to be a bit more warm but it was still freezy.

Although I am living nearby Cologne, I must admit that I do not visit Cologen that often - I don't know why - maybe it's because Duesseldorf seems far more attractive due to its japanese hot spots. Well, back to topic, next we wanted to drink a cup of Glühwein but we wanted to do this inside because we felt pretty frozen now. We thought that wouldn't be such a tricky deal but we had to look for a cafe which offer Glühwein for a way longer time than we actually thought. I was delighted as we finally had a seat in a cafe nearby and could enjoy a hot Glühwein. <33 We chatted a lot about anything and everything as we then "suddenly" noticed that it was already getting dark.

lucky (tired) Usai and Yui with Glühwein
Before Yui had to leave to meet-up with her host, we went to the christmas market again to enjoy all the lights. A christmas market simply is more beautiful when it is already dark, don't you think?

Yui, thank you very much for the great day in Cologne. Im glad that I had the chance to get to know you. Enjoy your remaining journey through europe. ^__^

And to all of you: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Enjoy the christmas days with your family, friends & besties! <3

Monday, December 16, 2013

Usai in Japan 2013 - Deers of Nara & Kōfuku-ji

Hello my cute mauw-mauws,

a pretty long time (or better: years) ago, Kuraude sent me a video link. "Usai, you have to watch this! There are deers everywhere in Nara and they're tame!". I did not heared of such tame deers in Nara before and to be honest I thought that Kuraude is probably overboarding with such "tame deers" but the video made me kinda speechless. Kuraude was perfectly right. From that point I decided that, if I should ever travel to Japan, I want to see those damn great deers!!!

During our vacation in Japan we decided to make a stop in Nara as we were on passage from Osaka to Kyoto. Our navigation system routed us without any detours or mistakes directly to Nara en (Nara Park). We saw the park but we first had to look for a parking area. Short time after we found a parking area although we four weren't dead certain that we can leave our car there, of which more later. That day was really, really hot and we, as mid-european people, are just not that used to such a (humid) heat, so I started complaining that it would take us probably half an hour til we would see the first deer if we would see any deer at all. Mochi and Don were stressed out and told me to stop bitchin' around - and they were so damn right by doing that - as we spotted a deer crossing the street by using the crosswalk (Like A Boss 8-) ). We were stunned and thrilled. Deers! Deers! They are right here!

Deer: "Pff, tourists again.."

Kuraude and Mochi bought several packages of deer-crackers (Shika-senbei) to feed the deers. One "package" of 10 crackers costed 350 Yen.  

Kuraudes popularity was increasing a lot while she stood at the lil cracker store. X'D
they just can't get enough!

Kuraude totally surrounded by deers

After feeding the deers we spotted a pagoda and decided that we should walk in this direction. It turns out that we spotted the pagoda at Kōfuku-ji. Kōfuku-ji is a buddhist temple and is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. On the area of Kōfuku-ji we have seen f. e. the following buildings:

Hokuendō - one of the three golden halls
close up - Hokuendō
The whole area was quite impressing - from one moment to another we "entered" old japan in a way. So this was quite a nice surprise that we came across this area. ^___^

Then the time had come to drive on to Kyoto. When arriving at our car we noticed that we had a sort of sheet on the front window. Was it a traffic ticket? We didn't know it - the ticket, was of course, written in japanese, or better in Kanji letters. Moreover, four pylons stood around our car. We were confused. Seems like we did something wrong and so we looked around if we could see someone who could may help us solving this issue. After a few seconds only then a japanese guy came to us. We do not understood a single word  he was actually talking about but we got that we shouldn't left our car at this place and so we had to pay around 700 Yen. Mercifully, the japanese people are such friendly guys and so it wasn't such a big deal at all. ^__^6