In the indoor pond, you can see lots of nishikigoi swimming.
The staff were hanging a very large nishikigoi.
I left Nishikigoi no Sato, and returned to Sun Plaza. Before entering, I found this monument.
Ojiya Chijimi video on YouTube/YouTubeでの小千谷縮のビデオ
On the sales floor, I was amused to see kiriboshi daikon, wariboshi daikon, and dried enokitake sold together.
Kanzuri (spicy condiment):
How red peppers are exposed to snow/赤唐辛子を雪にさらす様子
to make kanzuri
When I got to Ojiya Station, I felt a little thirsty, so I decided to buy canned drink from a vending machine.
I bought this one: UCC BLACK muto (no sugar).
これを買いました： UCC BLACK無糖。
I enjoyed my short trip very much.
What a nice way to find a positive side of such unpleasant thing as a visit to a tax office ;-)
I loved so much the Japanese vending machines... I think I must have consumed 2 litres of green tea every day this way... It was so hot and I walked a lot.
I have never tasted UCC Black muto.
Lucky we can do all tax related duties by Internet - although the software is named after a bird know for his annoying behaviour to collect shiny and golden things by stealing. Some guys of the ministry of finance have some kind of strange humour. But you had a nice trip as I can see. Yes, I am also very curious about japanese vending machine. Will try some in autumn ;-)
What makes me wonder, Japan also suffers from a rapidly aging society. How can they rebuild official buildings (as a train station) this way. Here main entries have to provide an easy barriere-free access by law. Stairs, steps are not barriere-free. It takes an awful lot of money to make old buildings and transportation systems barriere-free but we still work on it.
Sissi and Kiki: Vending machines are everywhere in Japan, even in sleepy little villages. I was searching for a konbini on my way back to Ojiya Station, and I found none! I guess I should have entered the supermarket I found on my way. That was the first time I had UCC BLACK Muto. Those particular vending machines had several bito (微糖, slightly sweet) brands, but only one muto.
We have an equivalent system called e-Tax, but you have to purchase an IC card reader/writer at your own expense.
As for Shiozawa Station, I really don't know why it has been renovated that way.
Finally, why did I have to amend my tax returns? Because of the jido teate (child benefit), children under 16 are no longer eligible for tax exemption for dependents, and I was stupid to recognize that my daughter was not eligible.
Wonderful visit! The koi were exceptionally beautiful. I used to have several koi, carefully picked over the years. First they were inside a glass fish tank. Eventually I had to move them outside. Finally they became too big, and I donated them to the Fort Worth Japanese gardens.
muskratbyte: Yes, the koi were beautiful (and should be very expensive!). I visited the website of the gardens. What beautiful gardens!
Hiroyuki, when I discovered that I was able to buy drinks also with my transportation card, it was a pleasant surprise.
Kiki, it's hilarious! I know which bird you mean and when someone mentions it, everyone thinks about its stealing "tendencies" so naming the tax software after it is a big joke someone made indeed.
The thing I miss the most about Japan is.. the pure convenience of hot drinks from a vending machine! It's a luxury we don't have in Canada and the selection is always limited to a few soft drinks. Maybe juice if you are lucky.
Stacy: I, for one, prefer buying those at a conbini (convenience store) because it usually sells them at slightly lower prices.
I missed the Japanese vending machines! Is 無糖コーヒ sugarless coffee not popular in Japan?
I still want to get my hands on a jar of kanzuri but I think it will be hard to get this in North America.
okasan: I'm no expert on canned coffee, so I did some googling and found this:
A black (muto) brand ranks at the top of the list. Judging from the list, I think muto and bito (微糖) brands are now quite popular. When I tasted muto coffee for the first time about ten years ago, it tasted just awful.
As for kanzuri, you may or may not like it depending on whether you like the kome koji 米麹 (malted rice) flavor. I'm not a big fan of kanzuri, and yuzu kosho, which is cheaper and readily available at any supermarket, keeps me satisfied.
Thanks for the Kanzuri description, I think I can sort of imagine the taste of the kome kouji 米麹. You are probably right that I may not like it if the kome kouji taste is too strong. I can get yuzu koshou 柚子こしょうquite easily here．The brand is S&B, quite popular and reasonably priced. While in Seattle last summer I bought a more expensive bottle from Kyushuu 九州特産の柚子こしょう。
It is 4 times more than the S&B brand so I will have a taste test next time and see if there is any difference.
okasan: In Japan, shio koji (塩麹) has become very popular, but I have never tasted it. I can imagine how it will taste, and I don't think I can like it...
I also buy the S&B and House brands. They are good enough for me.
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