Otaru This & That

Otaru's Sky Today

Banks of snow are shrinking, and the sky is getting brighter day after day.

Butterbur sprouts, amur adonises and crocuses are blooming.

Spring is surely coming near in Otaru.

The highlight of spring flowers is from early May to June.

We eagerly would like you to visit Otaru and enjoy the scenic beauty and good food of the season.

Opening of Ichihara Arinori Memorial Gallery

Ichihara Arinori was an outstanding printmaker whom Otaru boasts. He passed away in October last year at the age of 100.

To commemorate Mr. Ichihara’s glorious achievement, his permanent gallery was open on the 3rd floor of Otaru Museum of Art on April 2.

He started his career as a printmaker when he was 50 years old. Though a late starter, he produced numerous pieces of work during his lifetime, and his works that can be categorized contemporary are full of youthfulness of spirit.

He was also a mountain climber and a Haiku poet on amateur basis.

Beginning of Spring

The weather on the 1st of April in Otaru was fit for the beginning of the new school and business year.
It seemed to herald the brilliant spring.

I went to Sumiyoshi Shinto Shrine, Otaru's guardian deity on the spur of the moment as it was such a pleasant sunny day, and I remembered that I did not pay a visit to the shrine known as "Hatsumode" that is a custom many of the Japanese do on the New Year's Day to pray for their happiness and health for the year.

The visitors were sparse, and I enjoyed the tranquility at the grounds of the shrine very much.

I appreciated the deity what I

Spring is Near.

The temperatures are still low, but the sunlight is getting stronger little by little.
We feel spring is surely coming along.

They say the number of the overseas tourists to Japan has been decreasing since the massive earthquake hit eastern Japan.

I can understand part of the reason for it, but I would like the tourists not to give up your trip to Japan.

We Shall Overcome

Who could imagine such a disaster like no other hit Japan only in a few weeks while we were thinking of the heartbroken people and collecting donations for Christchurch?

We just do nothing but stunned watching unreal scenes of Tsunami on TV.

It is an irony that the people in undamaged areas could find what has really happened, what's going on, and how devastated areas are like as time goes by, but afflicted people themselves have no means to find out any information with no electricity, no telecommunications, no persons to contact.

I am thinking of tremendous number of the sufferers.

Charitable Doll Festival Party

Masa, the landlord of backpacker hostel "Morinoki" in Otaru gives Hinamatsuri or Doll Festival party for his friends and guests on the 3rd of March every year.

This year, the party was held a little belatedly on the 5th, and he treated us his proud handmade Soba or buckwheat noodles and assorted tempra including wild vegetables that are the delicacy in spring.

He usually offers food with no charge at his party, but only this time, he asked each participant ¥500 or more for the sufferers victimized by the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand last month.

Masa has a special feeling fo

Give me a break!

It has been heavily snowing since last night in Otaru.

The amount of snow we have had so far might be comparable to the amount that has melted until yesterday.

Spring is a long time coming....

Antique Hina Dolls

Tomorrow, March 3rd, is Doll Festival.

Hina Doll Visiting event to enjoy viewing beautiful Hina dolls is being held in many places in Otaru.

Many gorgeous Hina dolls displayed at each site must be pleasing viewers' eyes.

I was impressed with the large Hina dolls at Otaru Literature Museum.

Daylight Path

It's been two weeks since Otaru Snow Light Path was over.

Former Temiya Railway Line, one of the main sites of the festival is still buried in the deep snow.

Some old wooden buildings like this remain beside the track.

There used to be Ironai Station alongside of Otaru Museum of Art building when the railway was in use.

The image is the reproduction of the station that has been built recently.

Another Sakuramochi Season

It is another season for Sakuramochi and Uguisumochi
that are seasonal and popular Japanese confection.

I bought Sakuramochi, Uguisumochi and Mame-daifuku at "Minato-mochi", my favorite Mochi shop today.

The actual season for Sakura or cherry blossoms and Uguisu or Japanese bush warbler begins early May here in Hokkaido. I guess the reason Sakura-mochi and Unguis-mochi are made in this season is out of the feeling of the people who can hardly wait for warm and flowering spring after getting through a long and cold winter.

Sakura-mochi is wrapped with cherry leaf.

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