Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary November 2012; Day 4 Part 3

 The 4th day in Japan, after visiting the historical temple “Zenkoji temple”, we have headed back to the home in Aichi prefecture.

On the way back to home, I was looking outside and enjoyed beautiful scenery Nagano prefecture can offer.

It was good that it was sunny day,not rainy day,even though it was a little chilly day there.

Beautiful mountains under the sunny sky..

Then,we had 2 long tunnels we drove through..

Long tunnel..

When me and my husband went to New York to be an audience at Rachael Ray’s Pilot TV Talk show program, we drove through tunnels to get to the destination,but I think the ones we drove in Japan was much longer.

If you travel Japan,you would notice right away that we have many tunnels in Japan.

We are out from tunnel #1,and see the beautiful mountains again…

You will also notice that since our diet is based around rice, we have many rice paddy,what we call “Ta-n-bo” in Japanese.

Rice paddy..

There is a tanbo art started by an artist to revitalize the Inakadate village in Aomori prefecture located in northern part of Japan back in 1993,and made the “Inakadate village” famous.

You can find the Japan map at about.com website here. Look for number 2. That is Aomori prefecture,where many people go see famous Tanbo art.

How Tanbo work is that,they will come up with the design,transfer the design onto the grid, and recreate the design by planting several different variety of rice,which will gives different colors of leaves, and wait for it to grow. They are amazing.

Apparently, CBS news picked up the story as world news and aired on TV.

Here is the youtube video clip from the news program on Rice paddy art.

How rice paddy art works..

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Here is 2009 theme: Warlord and Napoleon.Isn’t it amazing?

Warlord and Napoleon Tanbo art 2009

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Since the success of Tanbo art in Inakadate village in Aomori prefecture, another area which is famous for producing rice has also started participating the Tanbo art.

You can enjoy Tanbo art in Yonezawa city in Yamagata prefecture as well.

Yamagata prefecture is also located in northern part of Japan. In the Japan map, Yamagata prefecture is #5.

Here is Yonezawa city’s Tanbo art: Naoe Kanetsugu.He was a samurai in 16th-17th centuries.

Naoe Kanetsugu Tanbo art..

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After the rice paddy area, we started seeing more tunnel.

More tunnel coming close..

This one was also long one..

Long tunnel coming to ends..

After a bit of drive, we decided to go to service area (rest area),and from there, we still could see beautiful mountain views.

View from service area..

At one of the service area, we decided to have a dinner,and spend some time until we will have less traffic on the highway.

At America’s “plaza”,which I think is equivalent to our Japanese service area on the highways,you will most likely have fast food chain stores with the choice of sub, pizza, burger and Starbucks coffee.

So far,I have not found “plaza” that offer hearty homemade food made from something the area is famous for.

In Japan, the service area often focuses on selling cookies,snacks,crafts, or things they are famous for such as noodle,and also cafeteria area offer menu using the ingredients they are famous for,in addition to popular curry dish etc…

Incidentally, the area we decided to have a dinner at was famous for beef,and my husband enjoyed steak there.He loved them very much.

It was getting late and,when we finally came to our local area, it was already dark. It was almost the time for the stors to close.

Before heading back to home, we decided to stop by one of local grocery stores to pick up bread because we were low on the bread when we left for Nagano prefecture.

We did not find the bread we were looking for,but I found my favorite bread I can have only in Japan,called “Me-lo-n Pa-n” (“me-lo-n” means “cantaloupe”,”Pa-n” means “bread” in Japanese.).

It is a round shaped bread with crisp cookie dough on top.

Under the crisp cookie dough,there is enriched dough.It is one of my favorite bread and my husband loves “Me-lo-n Pa-n” too!

The next day, I had it for the breakfast.It was tasty

The “Me-lon Pa-n” looks like this.

Melon pan..

Long,long time ago, I was really craving for “melon pan” here in the states and I once made it from scratch.

It is time consuming because it is made from 2 different dough, but it was tasty.

You may find it odd,but despite the name of the bread “melon” (cantaloupe), it has no melon (cantaloupe) in the bread.The bread is called that way just because the shape is resembled to the melon (cantaloupe).

There are several varieties on this, and some melon pan have chocolate chips or milk chocolate filling and,you can now find melon pan with cantaloupe flavored filling,too.

If you visit Japan,pick up the “melon pan” at grocery store,and see if you like them.

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Apr 23, 2013 | Comments are off | Japan

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