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 😀

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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.
Cub
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.

Aomori video clips

Here are 9 videos I took in Aomori, a little bit of everything from cats to castles I hope you like em!

1st. I took this video in the night buss when we were actually going to Aomori before the new year. I love that smoothing voice that you can hear.

2nd. Castle of Hirosaki! My hands were freezing when I took this! You can see a bit of the park as well and if the weather would have been better you could have seen a mountain in the background.

3rd and 4th. Two videos of the cutest cat ever called Chibi. My fiances family cat!

&

5th and 6th. Couple of small clips I took from the window of the car when we were driving in Aomori, the amount of snow is staggering.

&

7th. We went to a spot where people feed swans and other birds in the winter. Sadly it was snowing again so I could not take photos there but luckily I got this video taken 😀

8th. Driving in the mountain range of Akita.

9th. You saw photos from this shrine in the last post I did. When my girl was going to pray I took a video inside of it same time 😀

Like” my facebook page “Photographer Ari helminen” if you liked these videos.

Been listening Howard stern show all morning while editing photos and uploading things 🙂

青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori

And so the last day started in our wonderful trip in Aomori and we visited some beautiful shrines, ate tasty ramen and then finally we went to the shinkansen station to catch our bullet train back to Tokyo!

Like I said the day started with beautiful shrines we visited. The weather was again horrible so I could not use my nikon but I did get some good photos with my sony.

As breakfast/Lunch we ate ramen ! (you get the pattern right)

青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori Ramen青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori Ramen青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori Ramen

The shrines we visited were very beautiful as you will see in my photos! very slippery tho, many people including me fell down in the stairs and hill.
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
Very “wet” weather as well, luckily my new shoes did manage to keep the water out somehow.
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
When we were visiting the shrines I noticed that there was food stands like other Japanese events 😀
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori

This big shrine was beautiful even tho it was snowing more then ever !
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori

People were burning the old fortunes and talismans like in the other shrine photos.
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori

I also took a video or two here and I will upload them to you tube later today 🙂
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori

Here we were buying our fortunes for the new year. It costs 100 yen everywhere in Japan and in some places it is in english and in Japanese but in most places only in Japanese.
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
My girlfriend got fortune that was neutral (not bad not good) so she put it to those strings and it will give you better fortune.
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
I got the best fortune so I did not have to put it there, I put it in to my wallet and it will stay there until next year when I take it there and burn it.

I ate one of these things at that shrine, pancake and in the middle was sweetbeans 😀
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori

Then we returned home and finished packing and took off to the Shin-Aomori station (Shinkansen station). It was just remade and it looked awesome !
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
Those photos were taken in the souvenir area.
These are taken inside the gates.
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
My girl searching for the best Bentou (packed food) to take with her to the train since it does take about 3-4 hours to Tokyo from Aomori.
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
Some mix photos
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori

Panorama photo inside gates 😀
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori

And here are photos of the shinkansen trip from North Japan, Aomori to Tokyo. We made a stop in Sendai too and it looked fine to me heh 🙂
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
my bag fit just and just to the luggage area 😀
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
Is it just me that inside the Shinkansen (bullet train) it looks like inside an airplane but with more leg space.
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
Soon as we sat down we put the portable wifi on and started playing our favorite game called Dragon vale (apple device game). Sadly the battery lasted about 10 minutes since I forgot to recharge it 😀
a bit messy this part 😀
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
Panorama inside the train!
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori
This is my girls bentou that she ate ! looks good to me !
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori

When we arrived back to Tokyo, both of us were relieved to be back and sooo happy for many reasons ( you will see soon our happy faces)
Back in Tokyo babyy!

Here is my beautiful girl smiling happily and a bit tired from the trip back !
Back in Tokyo babyy!
and here is me !
Back in Tokyo babyy!
First thing we did when we arrived back was a smoke in the Tokyo station smoking area, one of the best smokes of a life time !
Here we are going back home with the luggage
Back in Tokyo babyy!

Thank you for reading about my trip in Aomori (it’s not over yet ! uploading videos in a sec ! )
I hope you liked the photos and place visit my page again ! If you like this last photo “Like” my facebook page “Photographer Ari Helminen
青森での最後の日 Last day in Aomori

ちび..。ラメンとおにぎり 

These photos I took on that same day we went to the lake Towada but these I took with my sony. I was going to put these on the same post but kinda forgot about these photos.

We ate ramen this day like pretty much everyday we did ! Our lovely routine in Aomori was a delicious ramen and Onsen (I personally wished that everyday could be like that).

I like to sit on tatami in the restaurants I go in Japan!
Roadtrip and Ramen in AomoriRoadtrip and Ramen in Aomori

The ramen was delicious!
I had a extra meat ramen
Ramen in Aomori 青森のラメン
and my girl had miso ramen
Ramen in Aomori 青森のラメンRoadtrip and Ramen in Aomori

In the evening I took couple of shots in the store.
Roadtrip and Ramen in AomoriRoadtrip and Ramen in Aomori

Couple of Cute photos of my girlfriends family cat called Chibi (which means small)
Beautiful ChibiBeautiful Chibi

I’m sorry for posting so much today, in the mood I guess and I want to get the photos from Aomori done already so I can get back up to date!

If you like Onigiri (rice ball) Like my Facebook page “Photographer Ari Helminen”
おにぎり Onigiri

Thank you for reading my blog !

Shrines,Cat and Mountain

1st day of the new year. Bit tired after the new years party that I thought would have ended after the year changed but it continued three days after which was great !
It is a tradition to go to visit your shrines in the first few days as well and check your fortune for the new year so we visited some.

In the morning when we woke up I was playing with the cute cat that lived there called Charo whose photos you have seen before in my site !
朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo
In this photo he is eating my girlfriends hand !
朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo
I saw that there was a good weather outside so I quickly went out with my camera to take photos of one of the mountains that surrounds the Aomori area.
This mountain is called Iwate-san. I love mountains since in Finland we don’t have any so it is always a big thing for me to see one.
岩手山 Mount Iwate岩手山 Mount Iwate岩手山 Mount Iwate岩手山 Mount Iwate岩手山 Mount Iwate

After my time with Charo ended and I took enough photos of the mountain, we left to see some of the beautiful shrines of the area near by. One of the shrines we visited had a great looking dragon ice statue and since I love dragons I was amazed of it!
2012 is the year of the Dragon if you haven’t yet heard and also my sign is dragon so this will be my year !
Ice dragon statue in AomoriIce dragon statue in AomoriIce dragon statue in AomoriIce dragon statue in Aomori

Now all the fortune things that were a bunny/rabbit last year 2011 has changed in to dragons which is wicked heh 😀
Year of the dragon 2012! my year

Shrines in AomoriShrines in AomoriShrines in Aomori

The first days of the year you go to your shrine and burn your last years fortunes and talismans and get a new one for the new year.
Shrines in AomoriShrines in Aomori

if you like cute cat paws like this … Like my facebook page Photographer Ari Helminen
朝猫 ちゃろ Morning with Charo

弘前市、弘前城 First day in Hirosaki city

These photos were taken at 28.12.2011 so just few days before the new year. At this time we were in the beautiful country side of Aomori in a city called Hirosaki.

This was the first day I could go out with my camera and take photos since it was snowing so much everyday. To be honest there was only 3 days where I could go out and take photos with my nikon but luckily I have my sony pocket cam to take photos no matter what the weather is.

In the morning we went to Hirosaki JR station and from there we walked to the beautiful park in the middle of the city which has the amazing 弘前城 (Hirosaki castle), still the weather was not the best and the amount of snow was a bit problematic but in my opinion I did get some great shots !

Maybe next spring I will go there in the time of the cherry blossoms and take photos of the castle and the flowers.
弘前市 Hirosaki City弘前市 Hirosaki City弘前市 Hirosaki City

As you see Hirosaki is a bit different then Kyoto for example 🙂
弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle

Japanese architecture is so fascinating ! Such a beauty that you don’t see anywhere in the world.
弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle

Also saw this guy with his ipad2 and rain cover talking to someone and showing the castle 🙂 I will try to do that this spring through Ustream or something for you 🙂
弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle

Men taking snowing away from the trees near the castle. The funny thing was that one of them was actually my girls’ old old friend from school.
_DSC2947弘前市 Hirosaki City弘前市 Hirosaki City

These “cookies” are famous from Aomori, very tasty !
弘前市 Hirosaki City弘前市 Hirosaki City弘前市 Hirosaki City

Look what we found when we were walking in Hirosaki city, Like I have said before Aomori is famous for it’s delicious apples and we found these frozen apples. Probably they just left them for the tourists tho.
弘前市 Hirosaki City, Frozen apples弘前市 Hirosaki City, Frozen apples弘前市 Hirosaki City, Frozen apples弘前市 Hirosaki City弘前市 Hirosaki City, Frozen apples

Found a wicked looking natural ice art as well !
弘前市 Hirosaki City

People are taking away the snow from the streets by dropping the snow to the underground water system so it melts fast and it won’t be in the way.
弘前市 Hirosaki City
Few Hirosaki photos again.
弘前市 Hirosaki City弘前市 Hirosaki City弘前市 Hirosaki City

I recommend everyone to visit Hirosaki city in Aomori, such a beautiful place and easy to go with a shinkansen or night buss from Tokyo.
弘前城、青森 Hirosaki Castle
Today I will upload all the photos that I have left from Aomori to my flickr and upload my flickr as well ! So sorry about the delay 🙂