Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Visit to Hikone 彦根訪問

Nestled about 45 minutes to the east of Kyoto (90 minutes from Osaka) and adjacent to the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa, I paid a visit to Hikone City in Shiga Prefecture.  Having not been to Hikone in a few years, I visited the sightseeing landmark, Hikone Castle, located within walking distance from the station for the first time.  The three story castle, which is not yet recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built more than 400 years ago by the Ii clan.

A few years ago, Hikonyan (pictured above), Hikone Castle's Samurai cat mascot, was created as part of the city's promotion and branding.  A hit amongst all visitors to the castle, Hikonyan has placed Hikone city on the map and continues to live a busy life by making various cameo appearances at events nationwide.

Before returning to Osaka, I stopped by a local restaurant in Hikone to have some exquisite Omi beef for dinner.  Even though Omi beef is not well known outside of Japan such as Kobe beef, the quality and taste puts it on the same level and is highly sought after domestically.  Planning on having Omi beef is recommended for those of you planning to stop by the area in Shiga Prefecture.  




Friday, April 16, 2010

Heian Shrine 2010 Spring Concert        平安神宮 紅しだれコンサート2010

On April 11, I attended the Heian Shrine Spring Concert in the evening for the first time.  Even though rain was lightly falling, the shrine, which is located in Kyoto, was overflowing with people taking pictures such as the ones above of the cherry blossom "sakura" trees and the surrounding landscape.

As the cherry blossoms only are in bloom for about two weeks out of the entire year, Kyoto, especially on the weekends during this season, is a mad house with people coming from all over the country to enjoy the world and national heritage sites encompassed by cherry blossoms.

Whether viewing the cherry blossoms during the day or at night, they are such a beautiful sight to see.  If only they could be in bloom all year round.

411日夜、「平安神宮 紅しだれコンサート2010」に初めて参加してまいりました。雨がぱらついていましたが、京都にある平安神宮はこの上なく素晴らしい桜の木や周囲の風景をカメラに収める人々であふれかえっていました。



Monday, April 12, 2010

La Suite Kobe ラ・スイート神戸

On April 9, I had my first opportunity to experience one of the newest hotels in Kansai, La Suite Kobe.  Conveniently located along the oceanfront in Haborland, which is just a 15 minute walk from the center of Kobe, La Suite Kobe is what I would consider a boutique hotel.  The one element that stands out is the fact that all of the rooms at La Suite Kobe are as the hotel name mentions - suites.  One does not need to worry about being stuck in a cramped room while staying at the hotel.  Peace of mind and extravagance at its finest.

With exquisite views of the ocean and surrounding landscape, I definitely recommend all of you who are in the vicinity to experience living in the lap of luxury at one of the newest editions to the hotel industry in Kansai.  



Sunday, April 4, 2010

Darvish Gallery ダルビッシュ ギャラリー

On March 31, I paid a visit to the Hyatt Regency Osaka Hotel to meet up with Farsad Darvish, owner of the Darvish Gallery.  Farsad, who is a long-time Osaka resident, was born and raised in Iran and went to high school and university in the U.S. before settling here in Osaka.

After establishing the Darvish Gallery in Ashiya, the "Beverly Hills of Japan", Farsad decided to move the high-end Persian art and handicraft store to the basement floor of the Hyatt Regency Osaka. Although Persia is known for its luxury carpets, Farsad is focused on spreading the word about other valuable items such as Persian glass in his pursuit to educate the Japanese population and create more of a cultural bond between his homeland and Japan.  During our meeting, Farsad and I discussed about potential collaborative opportunities to promote his gallery.

Some of you may be familar with Farsad's son, Yu Darvish, who is the ace pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese professional baseball league, and was a part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic and 2009 World Baseball Classic teams.

331日に、Darvish Gallery(ダルビッシュ ギャラリー)のオーナーである、Farsad Darvish氏と合流するべくハイアット リージェンシー大阪を訪問しました。長期間、大阪の居住者であるFarsad氏は、生まれも育ちもイランであり、大阪に落ち着く前にアメリカの高校と大学を卒業しました。

芦屋Darvish Galleryを設立した後、Farsad氏は高品質のペルシア美術とペルシャの工芸品の店をハイアット リージェンシー大阪の地階に移転する決断をしました。ペルシアは豪華な絨毯で知られていますが、Farsad氏は日本人教育と、母国と日本間のさらなる文化的結びつきを追求するなかで、ペルシャガラスのようなほかの価値ある商品名を広げることに焦点をあてています。会合中、Farsad氏と私は、Farsad氏のギャラリーを促進するこれからの潜在的な共同制作の機会について話し合った。