Japan in December 2013 + January 2014

On the seventh of December I visited Yabitsu Pass in Kanagawa prefecture to see the sun go down. It was a really nice experience; the sunset was one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

This first scene reminded me of Lords of the Rings. I’m not quite sure why, but it did.

Misty Mountains

As the sun set, the colours changed a lot and made for beautiful pictures.

Road to nowhere

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Red ball

After seeing the sunset, we went to Yokohama and rode the Cosmo World Ferris wheel. Seeing the city at night with all the tiny lights gave me a magical feeling.

Yokohama

Yokohama Cosmos World

In the next few days, I saw some more magnificent sunsets from the apartment.

Sunset

Sunset

On the fifteenth of December, I checked out a Belgian fries place I found on the internet. Located in Hirao, the eatery seemed a very popular spot. The line that was waiting outside was huge, I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Waiting for Belgian fries

Because of the very long line (and the cold) I decided try out their fries at a different time. So about two weeks later I went with a Japanese friend. When I entered, I noticed no white person was working there, so I wondered why they made Belgian fries then. Apparently the owner had studied in Belgium and loved our fries so much he wanted to sell them in Japan. The potatoes were Belgian (Bintje potatoes) and the way the fries were prepared was okay but they didn’t quite taste like home. Recently I found out a real place selling Belgian fries opened in Tokyo. This time the owners are really Belgian, so I’m definitely going to check this place out when I go back to Tokyo!

My friend wanted to show me the Christmas illuminations in Ebisu, so until it got dark we chatted at a nearby coffee shop. There’s a scene from a famous Japanese drama (Boys Over Flowers I believe) which was filmed here.

Christmas lights at Ebisu, Tokyo

Some time ago I wrote about my bad experiences with a language school in Seoul, and it turned out they found my blog a year after. As a compensation, the school offered me a month of free classes and accommodation, even a certain hours of Japanese classes for free. Of course, I couldn’t really say no (although I think I should have asked for money as a compensation instead) so around 10 January I went to Seoul again. But before that, I visited the zoo in Ueno and the Tokyo National Museum.

Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum

Old train in Tokyo

In my opinion, the animals at Ueno Zoo were being treated very badly. The cages were really small and the animals seemed anything but happy. It could be that I compare too much to zoos in Belgium, where the animals usually have lots of space and don’t seem like they’re treated badly at all, but I felt horrible watching the animals.

Look at the face of this bear, for example:

Sad bear at Ueno Zoo

Doesn’t it look sad?

Or this bear, who was just walking in circles in front of the exit the whole time:

And these small cages:

Tiny cages at Ueno Zoo

I may just be complaining too much, but the animals certainly gave off a sad vibe.

Next week I’ll tell you more about my month in Seoul!

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