Chibi playing outside

Chibi loves being outside as you have seen from many photos that I have taken. Here are couple of videos of her doing cat things outside ! She is so cute !

If you like chibi like my facebook page , photographer ari helminen

My 24th birthday in Japan

I was not expecting nothing from my birthday, I just thought it to be a normal day but that did not happen.

In the morning of my birthday my girlfriend was telling me that she wants to go to the Hirosaki center to do some shopping and she was insisting that I bring my camera, I had no idea why but I brought it with me.

When we arrived to Hirosaki we went around the shops a bit and ate in Mcdonnalds because I was a bit hungry and Hirosaki center does not have that huge restaurant selection. After we finished eating my girlfriend was watching the time and saying we have to go to the mall at the JR station to see something and I was not suspicious at all what would happen next.

When we arrived to the station we took the train to Aomori city but she told me in the begin that she wants to visit a some place near hirosaki in a train so I had no idea we were going to Aomori city until we arrived there.

Hirosaki to Aomori city is about 50 minutes in the train.

When we arrived to Aomori city we made a quick visit to the Aomori city fish market but we left from there in a hurry too because this was just a pit stop on her plan. We went back to the station and jumped to another local train to a small town called Asamushi that is about 30 minutes from Aomori city and I still had no idea what was going on.

When we arrived to Asamushi and we walked to place she was taking I knew what was going on. She reserved a room for a us in a beautiful old Japanese ryokan that had like 6 different Onsen (Japanese hot spring) and a traditional tatami room of course.

Surprises did not end here…

I was in shock of course and since I did not have anything else on me then my camera bag and wallet. I tolled her that and she took a plastic bag and in there was everything I needed, she packed things for me in secret the previous night.

One problem that I had was that my nikon battery was almost out and my Sony also was pretty much empty but some how I managed those two days and took amazing photos. Since everything was such a surprise I had no idea to recharge my camera batteries.

ps. now that I’m writing this it’s 6 in the morning and my girls’ cat called chibi just came to sit next to me and do that sound that cats do. She is so cute !

After we got settled to our room we went on a walk around the area to see if we could find a combine like family mart or something to get some snacks but in that town there was only and it was pretty far away but it did had this small store in which we could get beers and such.

When we arrived back to the ryokan it was almost the time for the dinner which was breathtaking! I could say that it was the most delicious meat I have ever eaten in my life… Famous Japanese steak which is not cheap and uffff it is soooo goooood.

Dinner ended and she gave me my other present which was a Zippo with a very cool dragon (only in Japan), I love dragons and my horoscope is a dragon.

We noticed that it was almost 8pm and her reservation to our private onsen was almost about, I quickly put on my Yukata and we went to have a private relaxing onsen.

I do LOVE onsen, it is my favorite place in this planet.
Going back to our room our beds have been made and everything else cleaned. ( I love the service in Japan)

And after 20 minutes of the first onsen we went to the next one that was an outside onsen facing the beach. Outside onsen is great because it was a bit cold so when you went in side the onsen you felt like you were in heaven!

The Private onsen was 500 yen for 50 minutes and all other onsen were free of course including the outside one that you could go in and lock the door so technically it was a private onsen but free 😀


Morning went well with a traditional Japanese breakfast, a beautiful walk in the beach and visit to the Asamushi aquarium.

That was the story of my 24th birthday and how amazing my girl is planning things !

but enough talk ! it’s time for photos am I right !!! 😀 Let’s start with the morning of my birthday.

Mcdonnalds in Japan is pretty much the same as any mcdonnalds in the world, as for price wise to me Mcdonnalds is cheap here but many people I have met from the states tolled me that mcdonnalds is very expensive.
Mcdonnalds food in Japan

We stayed 40 minutes in Aomori, mostly just near the station since it was my girls plan to just change trains there.
Aomori JR station
Aomori JR stationAomori JR station

the Next train we took from Aomori to Asamushi was like every other normal train in Japan.
Aomori JR stationIn a train at AomoriJapanese train

Soon as I step out from the train station in Asamushi I noticed that there was this very nice free foot onsen like 10 meters from the gate. 浅虫の足湯 JR駅
-100yen for a small towel if you needed one
浅虫の足湯 JR駅 Foot onsen

This was our Ryokan for the time we stayed there. It was normal traditional Japanese place, the way I like it!
Out side that place was a free foot onsen as well. Onsen town.
Traditional Japanese Onsen 温泉 ゆ浅虫の足湯Japanese ryokan in Asamushi 浅虫

After check-in one of the staff members takes you to your room and brings tea.
Japanese tea

She was intorducing us to all the onsen they had in the building and we talked about what time we want to have dinner and when should they make our beds and so on.
This is the list of the onsen they had in the building.
From up to down
– Wooden outside onsen on the top floor. It was free with a beautiful view of the Asamushi harbor and you could lock the door if you wanted some privacy and there was no time limit.
– Private inside onsen you could reserve for 525 yen 50minutes. We actually did book this as well and I took couple of photos for you to see.
– Private inside onsen you could reserve for 525 yen 50minutes
– This one is not an onsen per say but it is like a very hot stone floor where you lay down to and relax.
– The last one is the foot onsen on the side of the building which is free of course.
+ the place of course had the men and female separated free onsens as well.
Ryokan onsen list

Our nice traditional Japanese tatami room.
Traditional Tatami room in JapanTraditional Tatami room in JapanTraditional Tatami room in Japan

just needed one thing! First thing I did was to set up our wifi and all was good 😀
Traditional Tatami room in Japan

It was fairly big room, my girl is searching for our yukatas.
Traditional Tatami room in Japan

We also had a shower room but who uses those in a onsen place 😀
Traditional Tatami room in JapanTraditional Tatami room in Japan

I love Japanese maps ! like look at this, this is the map of Asamushi.
Map of asamushi 浅虫Map of asamushi 浅虫

There was no Combini (like family mart,sunkus or 7/11) in Asamushi center, the only thing they had was this small Mall thingy but we did get everything we needed.
Mall in Asamushi 浅虫Mall in Asamushi 浅虫

There is nothing like cold beer after a hot onsen.
Asahi Super dry

Dinner time !!! We had Very delicious dinner of tradtional Japanese food, show these photos to a Japanese person and I can assure you that he/she would get hungry 😀
This was my tray:
Traditional Japanese dinner
and my girls:
Traditional Japanese dinner

Traditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinner

Japanese meat is very expensive but with that high price you get the most delicious meat you ever eaten. This is what my fiance had and I was so jealous. Grill them and put some salt & wasabi on top URGHHHHHHH it was soo good !
Traditional Japanese dinner 焼き肉
There was so much different kinds of food that I went nuts 😀
Traditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinner

First put little bit butter on it and start “grilling”.
Traditional Japanese dinner
Nam nam nam nam nam nam nam nam nam nam
Traditional Japanese dinner

At this point I was a bit jealous because she had all that delicious meat and I didn’t have any meat, only fish and others.
Traditional Japanese dinner
Traditional Japanese dinner
But then I noticed that I had a fork & knive next to my chopsticks which is not normal so I thought hmm ok must be because I am a foreigner so they put them there just in case I would not know how to use chopsticks.
After a little wait it came !!
My SUper uber delicious Japanese steak !! NAM
Traditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinner

Some extra photos of the dinner.
Traditional Japanese dinner 焼き肉Traditional Japanese dinner
A big bucket of rice .. of course 😀
Traditional Japanese dinnerTraditional Japanese dinner

Surprises did not end here! After that delicious dinner the staff came to collect the dishes away from our room and brought us the desert which surprised me all together.
Japanese desert
My girl had made a special order for a birthday cake !
誕生日ケーキ My birthday cake誕生日ケーキ My birthday cake誕生日ケーキ My birthday cake
I could not eat more than one piece and the rest I ate after the onsen at night.
This moment I thought nothing could be better and then my girl handed me this:
Limited edition Japanese zippoLimited edition Japanese zippoLimited edition Japanese zippo
Way too much surprises for one day !!!

After everything we relaxed a bit because we were both full and then we changed in to our yukatas and left to the private onsen we had reserved.
Ari Helminen in Yukata

浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen

I have nothing to say about this next photo ! So don’t even bother to ask 😀
浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen

Gotta love how small the slippers are at these places always! I can hardly fit my foot in to it.
Japanese slippersJapanese slippers

After we came back from the onsen our beds were made ready in our room.
Japanese tatami roomJapanese tatami room

Later that evening we went to the private free onsen on the top floor. I loved it because it was so cold and the water was so hot.
浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen浅虫の温泉 Japanese Onsen

This was the view from our room
Asamushi coast

Next morning we had our breakfast in a different room and damn it was good.
Traditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはんTraditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはんTraditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはんTraditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはんTraditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはんTraditional Japanese breakfast 朝ごはん

When we came back from breakfast our beds were taken away
Japanese Tatami room

That morning we did some sightseeing around asamushi.
Asamushi harbor 浅虫Asamushi harbor 浅虫Asamushi harbor 浅虫

The view from the Asamushi harbor was beautiful with the Iwaki mountain on the background and Aomori city.
Aomori with Iwaki mountain
Love love love Photo
Happy happy

It was so hot outside so we needed some very nice icecream thingy 😀
flavored ice in Japanflavored ice in Japan

We went to the Asamushi aquarium and few others place from where you will see photos later since I took them with my Nikon.
At the Asamushi station starting our way back to Hirosaki via Aomori city.
Asamushi trian station 浅虫駅

When we arrived to Aomori city we went to this shop that sold a lot of things from foreign countries to do some shopping.
Had to buy some pringles 😀
Pringles in Japan

We still had time until our train to Hirosaki was leaving so we went to eat some italian food.
Italian restaurant in JapanItalian restaurant in JapanItalian restaurant in JapanItalian restaurant in Japan
things that I can’t life about.
Italian restaurant in Japan

Cub is a big super market chain in north Japan that we usually went in to.
NAM NAM NAM Green tea Pinno
Green tea Pinno
Rice pads and the sunset with the iwaki mountain in the background.
Sunset over the rice pads

What did you think about my birthday ? 🙂

does this look tasty to you ?
Traditional Japanese dinner 焼き肉Traditional Japanese dinner Yakiniku 焼き肉

Day to Day 二 Japan

I have just arrived back to Tokyo from Aomori last night, it was a long bus trip but very interesting!

In Aomori I started eating cornflakes a lot but the problem with the boxes here are that they are very “small” I can finish one box of cornflakes in two mornings (breakfast).
Cornflakes in Japan
Since I am little bit lactose intolerant it’s hard to find good milk for me but this milk seems to go well with me.
Cornflakes in Japan

I’m sure you all know the cute cat Chibi!
This is an activity she invented called “Gaijin climbing”
Every night soon as I had fallen a sleep she came on top my chest, stomach or back and just sat there or fell a sleep and made that cute voice cats do.
Chibi the conquerChibi the conquer

SHopping day ! Do you think I bought too much snacks ?
Shopping in Aomori

Since I know all of you love Chibi here are couple more photos of her trying to find that best tasting grass.
Chibi, grass huntingChibi, grass huntingChibi, grass hunting
This looks a little bit like furry T-Rex eating to me.
Chibi, grass hunting

Japanese radio station in Aomori. To be honest the main reason for me to take this photo was the super high tech computer you see on the table.
Radio station, Japan

Visited a nice Japanese park in Aomori where you could also be able to see a big dam.
Park in AomoriPark in AomoriPark in AomoriPark in Aomori
Here is the dam.
Dam in Aomori, Japan
As always.. Ice cream !! I got the apple one and my girl got the vanilla.
Summer Ice cream

I took some photos in a normal Japanese super market to you to see the prices and see how things are. (normally you can’t take photos there but I was fast and my camera is small)
Japanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in Aomori
NAM NAM NAM I love this cheese.
Japanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in AomoriJapanese Super market in Aomori

I went to Tsutaya which is a movie/music rental place, you can rent dvds blurays and so on. The funny thing I noticed there was that they sold empty dvds and blurays there as well hah it is like an invitation “please copy our movies” hahaha 😀
Tsutaya, movie rentalsTsutaya, movie rentals

Thanks for reading my post ! see ya next time.

Day to Day 一 Japan


I’m little bit pissed off… I just wrote a very nice blog post and when I tried to publish it, I got an error and it disappeared !

Let’s start again..

Normally everyday I wake up about 4am-6am and fire up my macbook pro, ipad and other gadgets to do my stuff and since I wake up so early, I eat breakfast early as well like 5am-6am. In Aomori as in most of Japan the grocery stores have these awesome bakeries inside them. Depends on my mood but I buy something from the local bakeries daily.
Like these things.
Breakfast panBreakfast pan
I will try later to capture couple of shots at the small bakery I like so you can see all the other tasty goodies they have.

Couple of weeks ago we visited in this old traditional Japanese house here in Aomori.
That tatami floor get’s me every time ! it feels so goooood !
Traditional Japanese house
(Kitchen/dining area)
Traditional Japanese house
(Shower/bath area)
Traditional Japanese house
(Traditional Japanese Toilet)
Sometimes I have problems using the Japanese toilet but most of the time I can manage with it to do my business. I do prefer a western toilet or ToTo “robot” toilet even more.
Old Japanese roomTraditional Japanese house

What do we learn from this photograph?
Foreigner in Japan

Later I will make bigger posts about stores in japan but here are few little info messages.

Book-Off — Probably the second best place to buy DVDs and Manga in Japan
For used DVDs I prefer Tsutayas DVD selling area, it’s cheaper and usually better condition
For Manga I like Enterking and Mandarake more.
Book-Off sells a lot of stuff like:
-Games for consoles
-Phones/PSPs and other devices
-Gaming cards
and more
Book-off in Aomori

100 yen Shop — One of my personal favorite store in Japan
What ever you need they have it, very cheap and stuff you buy from there don’t break so fast as you might think.
as the name goes 100yen store it means that about 90% of things in this store costs 100yen
In Aomori and other “Country sides” the stores are much bigger and that includes the 100 yen store. One 100 yen store here in Aomori is the size of 4-6 normal size 100 yen stores in Tokyo for example.
100-yen shop DAISO in Aomori

Bought a ice cream on a hot day from Lawson, it was not that good but it said “NEW” and I’m a sucker for new things.
Orange ice cream (not good)

What do you learn from this photo?
Do not wear a jacket that says “Bad Man” in Japan or you get in trouble.
Stop the bad man !

One day my girlfriend wanted to visit a Apple factory in Hirosaki which was a very nice place. In there I saw this bond full of Koi (鯉) the Japanese fish that you can find in pretty much every park in Japan almost. This place was a bit special because you could actually feed the koi with the food you could buy at the reception of the cafe near by.

I bought couple of bags of them (50yen a bag) to play with the fish a bit.
Feeding Koi 青森の鯉
I wanted to try what happens if I throw all the fish food from one bag in at the same time, all the fish went crazy as I expected! I have a video of it and I will upload it to you tube when I get back to Tokyo.
Feeding Koi 青森の鯉Feeding Koi 青森の鯉
This is me feeding the koi
Feeding Koi 青森の鯉

Soon as we ran out of fish food we went inside to do some pottery. I made a cup ( at least I tried to make it look like a cup) and my girlfriend made an ashtray.
Pottery in JapanPottery in JapanPottery in Japan

If you follow my twitter or facebook page you might have seen a lot of photos of a cat called Chibi which means “small” in Japanese. She is 18 years old (human years), one of the cutest cats in the world.
Journey of Chibi ちびちゃん!
When I take her outside she goes crazy with all the grass and tries to eat all of it like this.
Journey of Chibi ちびちゃん!
Journey of Chibi ちびちゃん!Journey of Chibi ちびちゃん!Journey of Chibi ちびちゃん!
One day when I was outside with her and it was time to go back inside, she pulled a cute but annoying stunt. She started laying down in the ground and not getting up.
Journey of Chibi ちびちゃん!Journey of Chibi ちびちゃん!Journey of Chibi ちびちゃん!
When she is not laying down on my chest she likes to sit near the window and watch outside.
Journey of Chibi ちびちゃん!
One last cute photo of her !
Journey of Chibi ちびちゃん!

In Japan you can see lots of interesting English everywhere. Sometimes the sentences don’t make any sense and other times you have to think a little.
Here are couple funny photos I found.
1st. Liquid – Like a hair … Liquid is a good name for a bar but my girlfriend said that the place was a hair saloon. That name for a hair saloon is just confusing.
2nd. don’t touch it… Why can’t I touch it !! I want to touch it ! what is it that I can’t touch!
English in JapanDon't Touch it !

Sometimes when we are bored at Hirosaki center, we go to this mall where we play this coin slot mario game. Excellent way to pass the time.
Mario coin slot game in Japan
You can play Mario game while dropping coins to the slots.
Mario coin slot game in Japan
Mario coin slot game in JapanMario coin slot game in Japan

Luckily Hirosaki center has Baskin Robins as well where we go from time to time to relax and eat some delicious ice creams. I usually have my shake because the Baskin robins shake is deeelicious !
My girlfriend usually has this one
Baskin Robins in Hirosaki, Japan
and I have the shake of course
Baskin Robins in Hirosaki, Japan
Baskin Robins in Hirosaki, JapanBaskin Robins in Hirosaki, Japan

Thank you for visiting my site again ! I’ll try to get more posts up here asp.
Our plan is to go to the city called Hakodate tomorrow that is located in Hokkaido but now a huge typhoon is closing in to this area and could be that our ship will not leave the harbor for safety reasons but we will see that tomorrow.

If you liked this post check out my twitter and facebook page Photographer ari helminen

tokyo to Hirosaki


Hellooooo my dear readers !

I arrived to Hirosaki about 2 weeks ago but I haven’t yet updated photos of the journey here!
This trip went well like most of my night buss travels.

Morning started nicely, drinking cold strawberry yugurt drink with my girl and talking to a cool Japanese guy who had this very cute doggy with him.
breakfast with a cute dog

As an early lunch we went to eat ramen to a very nice place that is in Asakusa main street near the ginza station.
My friend Sam was with us who never eaten “real” ramen other then cup ramen.

this is how you open the chopsticks 😀

His first ramen ever.
First real ramen in his life

My girlfriend had this tasty dish
Delicious Ramen
and I had my normal Curry ramen.
Curry ramen in Asakusa

If you are in Japan now you notice that these Dragon Ball cans are in most vending machines. they used to be just 100yen and you could only get that can that is in the photo but it changed couple of days ago that when you buy one you can get one of 7 different dragon ball cans but because of this the price went up 10yen (now it is 110yen).
Dragon ball juice

Watermelon & Sky tree ice cream
Summer icecream

You know how I have been telling you about the best Japanese fried chicken place (karaage) in Asakusa, well we went there again before our buss in the evening.
Japanese fried chickenJapanese fried chicken

This is us before starting our trip to the north.
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

Ginza line 🙂
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki
We were in a super hurry so we had to change for JR to get to Tokyo station more faster.
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki
My luggage! This time I don’t have that much to carry.
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

Night buss is the best way to travel in Japan, this buss cost me 3000 ish yen one way to Hirosaki.
Night buss from Tokyo to AomoriNight buss from Tokyo to Aomori

Highway stops are awesome, full of products from the area it is in and a lot of vending machines!
Highway stop

When we arrived to Hirosaki station at 8am we were both hungry so we stopped at Doutor.
JR Hirosaki statonBreakfast at Doutor

Sucks that I can’t use my Suica at the station tho 😦 but at least I can use them at the combini (family mart,sunkus etc.)
Can't use my Suica :(
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

The train was very small that we took from the Hirosaki station to the station that is near my girls home.
Trip from Tokyo to HirosakiTrip from Tokyo to HirosakiTrip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

Gotta love the station 😀 (nothing there)
Trip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

We took a taxi from the station to my girls place.
Japanese TaxiTrip from Tokyo to Hirosaki

That was our trip to the north where I still am. I have taken a lot of photos here that you will see soon!

Today we will have a Japanese style barbeque.