Tag: animals

Hiroshima, Miyajima, Okunoshima

Three weekends ago, ya girl went to Hiroshima.

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Hiroshima had been on my Japan travel bucket list for several reasons, chief among them history, okonomiyaki, and bunnies, but squeezing in trips outside of Tokyo within a 2-day timeframe was a challenge like any other.

Saturday brought about too much rain for my flimsy $2 drugstore umbrella to handle. Between visiting Miyajima Island versus Okunoshima Island (Rabbit Island), the latter seemed like a better option in the rain.

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The train station at Tadanoumi — a far cry from the city life in Tokyo and Hiroshima

I took the Shinkansen from the Hiroshima station to Mihara, switched to the JR Kure line from Mihara to Tadanoumi, walked a few minutes to the terminal at Tadanoumi Port, and then boarded the ferry for a 15-minute boat ride to Okunoshima. If I choose not to include the amount of time waiting for the hourly trains during the transfers, it took a little over an hour. However, door-to-door, I’m looking at over two hours of long transfers and hoping that my phone and external battery would last me the better part of the day (thankfully, it did). But hey, I used to commute 90 minutes each way to-and-from work, so I should have been used to it, right?

Anyway, work may have given me many perks and benefits, but work has never graced me with the presence of hundreds of cute bunnies.

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Okunoshima Island is a small island off the coast of Hiroshima that is host to hundreds of feral rabbits. (Mind you, these cuties are absolutely tame and the exact opposite of what feral implies.) The exact origin story of how the bunnies populated the island is shrouded in vagueness, but either way, bunnies have taken over Okunoshima so much so that one step onto the island and you will be approached by a colony of rabbits.

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After feeling peckish, I ventured back into Hiroshima before the sunset. Dinner that night was at Koshida, where they serve my favorite food: okonomiyaki.

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Okonomiyaki — besides having the incredibly distinct honor of being MY FAVORITE FOOD — is a savory pancake, often made of eggs, flour, cabbage, and meat, and topped liberally with bonito flakes, an okonomiyaki sauce not unlike Worcestershire sauce, seaweed flakes, and Japanese mayonnaise. Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, however, is a slightly different beast, as:

(1) the ingredients are mixed
(2) there are more layers of cabbage that uncooked okonomiyaki resembles a literal cabbage patch
and
(3) they cook it with noodles

THEY. COOK IT. WITH. NOODLES. The only thing that could make a savory pancake even better? MORE CARBS!

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It goes without saying that I scarfed this bad boy down within minutes.

While it may seem that my culinary adventures in Hiroshima would be over after having peaked at okonomiyaki, Hiroshima is actually rife with really good food options. The next day had a pretty decent weather forecast, so I finally made it to Miyajima Island, an island known for its forests, temples, and Great Torii Gate. While I witnessed and appreciated all three things, the first thing I did as soon as I got off the ferry was eat oysters.

Protip #1-#1.5: Hiroshima is well-known for their oysters. So much so that Glico makes Hiroshima-oyster-flavored Pretz, which is good, but I’d still recommend eating the real thing over the Pretzed-up version.

Protip #2: Kakiya grills some damn good oysters.

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Hiroshima, or rather Miyajima Island, is known for momiji manju, a red bean cake shaped like a maple-leaf. In fact, these cute little cakes are so well known and synonymous with Hiroshima that the Kit-Kat regional flavor is a momiji manju.

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While tourists (and deer — see above) normally overpopulate the main street of Miyajima, the number of people dwindled by the time I hiked the upward ascent to Miyajima’s peaks. You’ll find that the island itself is a juxtaposition of verdant forest and the blue ocean tides that surround it, should you choose to venture ahigh.

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The rest of the day was a quiet afternoon spent at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. A sobering testament to the city’s past, the park is home to the two Peace Bridges, the Peace Memorial Museum, the Memorial Cenotaph, and the ruins of the former Hiroshima Prefecture Industrial Promotion Hall.

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Out of Africa

Honestly, I think I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I tend to be a seasonal blogger. Alas, in true Cindy-fashion, here’s what I’ve been up to this summer:

  • In May, I went home for two weeks and managed to get myself sick with a fever.
  • I worked for most of the summer doing webdesign for my school’s IT department.
  • I went absolutely crazy over the World Cup. We installed a huge projector at work so we could watch all the games live, and during the weekends, my friends and I would go out to different bars/pubs in NY to cheer for our favorite teams (DEUTSCHLAND ♥!). Fun and merriment (and beer) were had by all!

Overall, my summer (June and July) was pretty low-key — pretty much just chilling out in New York. And studying for LSATs, but let’s think happy thoughts here! August was pretty exciting though, because I went to Kenya with my family! Out of all the places I’ve been, Kenya ranks pretty high up there on my All Time Favorite Places list. The people are genuinely welcoming, the weather is nice and breezy, the landscape is too gorgeous for words, and the animals, oh my god. I’m talking lions, zebras, gazelles, elephants, buffalo, giraffes, flamingos, hippos, monkeys, etc etc. It’s one thing to see them on the Discovery Channel or in a zoo, but it’s a whole different experience to stand right in front of a herd of zebras or walk balk to your tent only to find a monkey sitting right outside the door.

During the late summer, all the animals in the Serengeti of Tanzania migrate northwards to Kenya, so we came at a good time. We went on a safari through the major parks in Kenya: Aberdare for elephants, Lake Nakuru for flamingos and monkeys, Hell’s Gate for hippos and giraffes, and Masai Mara for everything else and then some. I posted all my photos in my Flickr set, if you’d like to take a look! Or you could just scroll down (click to view larger!). 🙂

I already miss it so much.

you better run, you better take cover

schooling reef

fishswarmed highlyeducated fished

three stark deep

motion bluefish

DAY V (12/29): Okay, I’m going to bite the firewalled bullet and finish posting the Australia photos. Clicking on the thumbnails will take you directly to the Flickr page.

These photos were taken at Green Island at the Great Barrier Reef! I was in a submarine when I took these photos, but I also got to do some snorkeling and underwater-walking. I saw some clownfish and immediately thought of Nemo, haha. I’ll post pictures of the actual island later, but it’s amazing how blue and clear the water is.