May 2016
  • Day53

    Izakaya

    June 30, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    The last full day! :-( It's hard to believe that more than 7 weeks have already passed since I touched down in Sapporo. Oh well better make this day count then.
    First up was Seifa Utaki. The Ryukyu islands had their own religion and Sefa Utaki was one of the most important sites for rituals and ceremonies. Located about an hour busride from central Naha, Seifa Utaki lies in the southwestern part of Okinawa, close to the shore. I had gotten more experienced in the bus system and so bus 38 was quickly found. Halfway through the ride there was a transfer. Not to a different busline, just a smaller bus. When i got off the bus, the friendly busdriver pointed me to the sites ticket counter and where to catch the bus back to Naha. I quickly got a ticket from a vending machine (yes) and walked to the entrance of the site. Seifa Utaki consists of three different spots were the various rituals were performed. The water seeping through the rocks was collected in pots and considered holy water. The site, although not very big, is a beautiful one with lots of great picture opportunities. The spots have information boards explaining the various spots and informing you about their significance in the Ryukyan kingdom. I walked back from the site to the bus stop to find i had about a half an hour before the next bus would come and i went and made good use of it by eating supper on the waterfront.
    The busride had a gain this peculiar transfer but went very smoothly, apart from a small discussion with the driver about the amount of inserted money in the machine. He was convinced (but wrong) that i hadn't payed enough but decided to give up after a minute or so.
    Back on the monorail to get to Shurijo. I had seen plenty castles on my trip but this was a totally different castle than the traditional ones here. It has bot Japanese and Chinese influences and so had its own style, a bit more lavish than most traditional Japanese castles. The entrance was a bit hard to find but once insided all went well. A guided tour leads you around the castle with information about it's rulers and the history of Okinawa.
    I had one more shopping thing to do and that was to look for tshirts with kanji prints on them. I went back to the same. I had to make my own design so it was kind of a challenge to tell her how i wanted it to be but a lot of pointing and hand gestures later and i have this really cool one-off shirt.
    I got back to the hostel for a refreshing you know what. ;-) I met Junpei from Kyoto who is here on vacation and after talking for a while he joined me to the Izakaya i was yesterday for again a bowl of Soki Soba and some Orion beers. We had a really fun time with the staff of the bar and one of the girls, Sakura, from HongKong joined us to the karaoke. I hadn't been doing karaoke as much as i originally wanted too but it was so cool to do this again at the last full day of my vacation. I am not going to give you the list of titles of the songs but you can probably make an educated guess. It atleast involved a song about a boat that hit an iceberg haha. We completely forgot the time and so ended up singing until half past two, which meant i was going to have 3 hours of sleep max. Yikes! I said goodbye to my newly made friend and went to bed, hoping for at least some sleep.
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  • Day52

    Aquarium

    June 29, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Up until now I had spent most of my time in the southern part of Okinawa but today I was going up north. I had heard about the Ocean Expo Park that was on a peninsula just above Nago. Its main attraction is the Churaumi Aquarium but there are several other attractions of which the traditional Okinawan village attracted my attention. It would be quite a long ride but i figured that if I started early i could easily make it in time and maybe even had some time left for a nearby waterfall. There was a highway bus line that had a stop near Furuja station on the Yui monorail line. It took me a while to find it but was pleasantly surprised to see that the bus would arrive in about ten minutes. I was sweating heavily already and was happy with the idea of sitting in a nice airconditioned bus for a couple of hours. The bus was right on time but only one passenger was allowed to board because the bus was full. He shut the doors of the bus and drove off. There i was, knowing that the next bus would only arrive in about two hours and the risk of it also being full i went back on the monorail to go to the starting point of the bus line, Naha airport. I grabbed some food on the way and i arrived at the airport with time to spare. Eventually the bus came and i had to hurry a little bit to get the correct change before entering the bus. I got in and the airconditioning was on at full power. So cold and so good. I found a seat and slept for most of the ride. I woke up just a couple of minutes before we reached the expo and after getting of the bus, looked for a konbini to get some lunch. I walked back to the expo and quickly found the aquarium. This one is famous for having one of the largest fish tanks in the world, with a really big glass pane so you can see the entire aquarium in one beautiful view. Unfortunately upon entering I saw so many people entering the aquarium and inside it was hard to get a nice spot to view the different basins. There were just so many people crammed together that quietly enjoying the aquarium was not possible. The aquarium itself is setup nicely with nice explanations of the various fish and marine creatures. The big tank is really a spectacular sight and the schools of fish are exceptionally beautiful to watch. I did have some mixed feelings about some of the bigger fish, mainly the whale sharks. Yes they are beautiful creatures to watch but they are a migrating species that travel thousands of kilometers every year. I am no expert but i am not sure if a tank in an aquarium, however big it is, would be a good substitution. On the other hand the animals seem to be taken care of and the folks of the aquarium study their behaviour to help understand and treat them in the wild.
    I had enough of all the crowds and went outside past the tanks with manatees and turtles to go and find the Okinawan village. I was only a short walk but the crowds were completely gone so i had a great view of the village itself. Each building had nice information about it's history and the style of building. It was a very pleasant sight after the aquarium. It had gotten past 4pm and i realized i wouldn't be able to make it to the waterfall anymore so i got back on the bus and took another nice cold nap. The last bit of the ride i noticed how deadlocked this city is. Traffic jams are truly everywhere and this road was no exception. It took us a good half an hour longer to get back to the monorail station but from there everything went smooth. I figured it was time for a quick shower and to see if Jack was back from the north as well so we could go out for some food and drinks. He texted me he was back in Naha and that he would soon be back at the hostel. Meanwhile i had taken a shower and got some beers from the Union supermarket. (even this smaller supermarket has it's own repeating commercial blasting through the speakers.) Jack arrived and we went out to an Izakaya that was recommended by the staff. An Izakaya is both a restaurant and a bar and it usually holds no more than ten people at the same time. Not that there is a door policy, more people just don't fit in. This one, named Ryuen, was renowned for it's Soki Soba, a noodle dish with spare ribs instead of pork belly. Very different but not less yummy! Of course washed down with a couple of Orion beers and it made for a great time and meal.
    We got some more beers on the way back to the hostel. When we got there it was way after closing time of the hostel so we went straight to our dormitory and to bed.
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  • Day51

    Memorial

    June 28, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    As you may know, Okinawa has been the scene of one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific in WWII. As a testament to that there are several monuments to commemorate the event spread across the island. The majority of them in the south part of the island where the fighting was the fiercest. I went to see the biggest one which also hosts a museum. It took me a while to find the right bus stop with al the timetables being written in Japanese. Luckily there is always the internet to help you on your way a little bit. I tried to ask some people but a lot of people on Okinawa don't speak English, something that surprised me seeing as there are so many American bases on the island.
    I had to transfer at Itoman busstop where the connecting bus had already departed because my bus was 4 minutes late. A smiling taxidriver offered to bring me to the monument because he already knew that the next bus would not leave for another two hours. I accepted because the ride was fairly reasonably priced and there was no way i was going to wait 2 hours in the blistering heat. The ride itself was pretty exciting as the driver did not care about traffic laws that much and he actually seemed to enjoy it. Again getting a good conversation going was impossible since he only knew as many English words as i knew Japanese. So i kept him and myself entertained by just saying al the Japanes words i know. That is, until i said Matteyoo. He slammed the breaks and was about to pull the car to the side as i tried to let him know everything was ok. Apparantly saying "Wait!" in a taxi is not a very wise thing to do. :-P
    The driver pulled over at the taxistand. I payed him and got out of the taxi. He was about to drive off as i noticed i left my phone in the taxi. A quick tap on the window got his attention and he had to laugh out loud as i grabbed my phone of the backseat.
    The museum was very impressive with a first space devoted to the history and how Okinawa got involved in the fighting. The second part is mostly about personal tragedy and people losing familymembers or friends. I won't get much into details but the thing that horrified me the most is that the local people were caught in between the fighting with nowhere to go. Some of that had to hide in the small tombs of their ancesters. Sometimes being sent away by the Japanese soldiers trying to hide themselves. Whole families have died this way and the estimated deathtoll under civillians was over 100.000, a bone chilling number. The facts and events were told without sugarcoating it and that's a good thing.
    Just outside the museum are rows and rows of marble walls, with all the names of the people who died during the battle on it. Be it Japanese soldiers, American soldiers or Okinawans. More impressive than any number you read. There was also a monument specifically for the fallen Koreans, people who treated as 3rd rate civilians and forced to do horrible things just to survive. Something
    acknowledged by the Japanese government.
    Luckily the bus back to Naha was quick to arrive and a friendly older man, Megumisan, helped me on my way and we had a nice chat in the bus.
    I had seen posters around town the last couple of days that two baseball teams were about to play against eachother in the baseball stadium and decided to check it out. I am not a big baseball fan myself as it is mainly a tactical game. But the atmosphere here totally makes up for that. The girls walking around with their beer backpacks and the singing crowds that go at it for as long as the game is not finished. I walked around at first and got some pictures with one team's mascottes before buying the cheapest seats in the back of the field. It's only a grassy hill that you could sit or stand on but my guess was that this was also the place where most of the singing would take place. I was right. Pretty soon the first people with drums and trumpets joined me there and they started singing right away. Even before the game had started. Meanwhile a 4 year old kid had arrived on the stands with his father and he was soon challenging me to chase him. Which i did of course. Eventually I ended up running through the croud with him for half the game and he kept screaming "muikai" which means "again". :-) The game ended and i took the monorail back to the hostel and straight in to bed.
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  • Day50

    Kanji

    June 27, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    With all this diving the past three days i had become pretty tired physically. I therefore set the alarm a bit later to catch up on some sleep and snoozed it multiple times to get even some more quality nap time. As the diving had ended it was time for me to pack my stuff in the backpack and head on down south to Naha. The capital of both Okinawa island and the prefecture with the same name. Isesan, the very friendly and helpful owner of Oyado hostel looked up the busschedule for me and offered me to bring me to the busstop, something I gladly accepted with the temperatures outside already reaching 30+ degrees. We arrived at the busstop and as i got out the car the bus was already there. I said a quick thank you and goodbye to Isesan and rushed to get on the bus. Today was gonna be another day of strolling around the downtown area. After about an hour i pressed the button to get off the bus. The Japanese have their own system of paying for the bus. It's not very complicated but it requires throwing the exact fare in cash into a machine when one exits the bus. It took me some time to get the right amount of money as i was fiddling around with the wrong bills, apparantly to the dismay of the driver as he started commanding me to hurry up. (well i am guessing that's what he was saying, based on the non-verbal communication). I finally got the right amount and tossed it in the machine, shutting up the driver. I exited the bus and went looking for a big electronics store called Yamada Denki. I was not really looking to buy stuff but i always enjoy walking around in these to shops to see al the cool stuff they sell. For a while i stood at the toilet seat section, seriously thinking about buying one. I know a lot of you have serious second thoughts about these toilet but once you've tried one there's no going back. The only thing that stopped me from buying one was the fact that i would have to rebuild half my toilet. But still...
    Next i headed for Kokusai street, the main shopping street/area of Naha. Although it's a big shopping street you don't see a lot of the bigger chain stores but instead a lot of local shops. I promised one of my friends to get him a tshirt with big kanji signs on it. I have been frantically searching all over Japan but it was really hard to find a one that i liked. There would always be something in the design to put me off. Apparantly a shirt with just straight kanji is very difficult to find. My last hope was that somewhere in this shopping street I would find a tshirt that would match my criteria. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were so many tshirt shops that let you design your own tshirt, with or without pictures, kanji, smileys and whatnot. I got a brochure from one of the shops and decided to study it before choosing a design. I still had three days to make up my mind. From Kokusai street i walked to the seaside to cool down a bit and watch some kids play at a small beach before heading to the hostel as I was really in need of a refreshing shower. I passed an Aeon supermarket and went inside to get some cold brewskis and some snacks. Great was my surprise when i saw a small real baguette lying in the bread section. They have a lot of different breads here but they are all soggy and very sweet with no real crust. I had been craving "real" bread for a while and would not let this opportunity pass me by. I put it in my basket together with some local Orion beers. (an excellent beer to drink in the warm sunny climate of Okinawa) As soon as i got outside i got the bread out of the bag and took a first big bite. It's hard to describe the feeling but suffice it to say it was pretty darn delicious. I was still enjoying this great find as a i arrived at the hoste. The check-in was easy and pleasant with a giggly girl at the reception who laughed at almost everything i said.
    I went to my dormitory and met Jack from England. He won a trip in a competition from his university and chose to go to Japan. After giving him my condolances on Brexit and talking about the Euro Championship footbal we went out for some food and found a nice smal streetvendor that sold fried noodles. We grabbed a couple of drinks and had a lot of fun quoting various classic comedies like Naked Gun, Police Squad and Monty Pything. Pretty impressive since he was only 19 years old. :-)
    At midnight it was lights out in the hostel and i quickly fell asleep. I guess my body is getting tired from all this running around. ;-)
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  • Day49

    Maeda point

    June 26, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Today was going to be a different location, but not less special. Andrea picked me up a little bit later than yesterday we had to take a short ride over the islands only highway to get to Maeda point. I was again the only client for today and so that promised some more great dives. I was not dissapointed. Although the dives at this site are somewhat more sandy, in my experience that doesn't have to mean there is less life to be found. To the contrary. Andrea and I always made sure to be among the first to go in the water so there won't be to much sand kicked up by all the divers. And there were a lot today. Three boats with in total over 40 divers would make for a crowded dive spot. Luckily we managed to avoid the crowded spaces and went our own way. No sharks today unfortunately but a lot of different nudibranches and really hard to spot shrimps and triggerfishes. Andrea had told me about a dragon moth, a rare fish of which three specimens lived in the sand at the first divesite. They don't have one place they stay like seahorses but they would lie somewhere in the sand. She toold me that probably a lot of divers would be looking for it so we had to have luck on our side. Somehow halfway through the dive i saw something moving in the sand and i decided to follow it. I quickly realised it was the dragonmouth Andrea talked about and I just took lot of shots of this creature, hoping that one or two would be good. ;-) After taking about a hundred pictures i decided i would leave the poor creature alone, only to see myself surrounded by all the other divers who had seen mee chasing this fish across the sandy bottom. I have to admit though that they neatly awaited their turn and did not get in my way. Again i'll let the pictures speak for themselves. We didn't have lunch on the boat as they would return to the harbour after every dive so we got some famous Okinawa soba from a local restaurant. The line of people in front of the entrance usually is a sign of great food and this restaurant was no exception. We got a nice table outside in the shade and the food was brought to our table. Incredibly good soba noodles with pieces of spare rib that just drop off the bone if you pick it up. Utterly delicious! It was time for the last dive and after the usual routine of building up and getting in the water we quickly went on our way. We saw one of the Japanese divemasters point out something but as i got closer to get a look i was waved away. I was not in the way and just tried to hold still as not to stir up too much sand that could ruin the pictures the other divers were trying to make. But that wasn't enough, she signed me to move. Which I reluctantly did while unintentionally kicking up some sand from the bottom. We quickly found our own way again and the rest of the dive was great. As we got back to the harbour we got our stuff in the car before taking a quick rinse and getting dressed in our normal attire. The ride back took some time as there was a big sunday(?) traffic jam. We got to the hostel and i thanked her for all the great dives and the fun we had al these three days. Back in the hostel after taking a shower i set off to the konbini to get some cash and dinner. On the way back it started to rain really heavy and i had to take shelter in the nearest McDonalds, only a 10 minute ride through the rain. As i finished my meal the rain had gotten a little bit less and i decided to make a run for the hostel. I arrived soaking wet but quickly dried up while watching a Japanese TV show and drinking some local Orion beers. I finally crashed at half past nine. Tomorrow I will move to Naha but it will be a slow day...Read more

  • Day48

    Tokashiki

    June 25, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    New day new dives. Andrea picked me up from the new hostel and i was really rested because i had the comfort of a working A/C in my room. She told me there were no other divers in her group today and we would dive with just the two of us. A personal dive master how awesome. And as i had already experienced her way of leading the dive i was even more enthousiastic. In my experience a lot of divemasters drag you through the water and point out some of the more obvious and bigger sea life. That is understandable if you have a bigger group but it's not how i like to dive. Andrea has a relaxed pace and actively looks for those things that make a dive really special. Like i said yesterday a lot of the Japanese divemasters race their customers to some well known spots and that's that. Andrea was looking under overhangs, in crevices and whatnot to find the smallest of nudibranches, juvenile cuttlefish and dragonmoths. Either which one of them is hard to find just in itself. We got to the same group of islands as yesterday but there are several divespots to choose from and we didn't repeat one of yesterdays dives. I will not go into detail of every single dive. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. But rest assured all three of them were pretty friggin' awesome. Add to that the nice and fun talks with Andrea inbetween dives and the passion we share for diving and it was another excellent day of diving. I slept all the way back to the harbor on the top deck of the boat. We rinsed our gear again at the diveshop and after she brought me back to the hostel it was for a quick and easy dinner and off to bed again. Diving is really hard you know! :-)Read more

  • Day47

    Maejima

    June 24, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    I got picked up from the hostel at 7.15am by Doug, the owner of the reef encounters dive shop. He brought me to the dive shop and after financials were taken care of i was introduced to Andrea, who would be the divemaster for today, Mick from Australia and Tyle and Tucker, brothers from Arkansas. We loaded up our gear into the car and while driving to the harbour, Andrea explained to us how the preparation and diving itself would go. Today's diving would be in the Keramas island group, about an hour by boat from Chatan on Okinawa island. I bought some extra sunlotion and that turned out to be a good idead as the sun was schorching hot. The captain of the boat was responsible for choosing the dive sites so all we had to do is get ready and get wet. ;-) Mick was to be my buddy for today and he turned out to be a very relaxed and experienced diver. Contrary to the Japanese divers on the boat,, which were racing from spot to spot, Andrea kept a nice pace and showed us all the cool small and special things hidden in the coral. I was hoping to see a reef shark and i was not dissapointed. Even though i could see it for only a short while the sight was just spectacular!
    The dives weren't very deep and even though i had plenty of air left, the regulations of the boat were that dives could last a maximum of 45 minutes. Back on the boat we got our gear ready for the next dive as the captain steered the boat to the next spot. I will not go into the depths (pun intended) of every dive but suffice it to say they were al great. The water was extremely clear and there were so many new and different things to see, it was unbelievable. I did not rent a camera this day as i wanted to check out the underwaterlife first, a choice i deeply regret. But i was sure the next two days were going to make up for that. :-)
    As the boat sailed back to Chatan harbour, most of the people were sleeping because of the intense day. We got our gear back to the shop to rinse all the salty water off. Maggie from the shop told me that the hostel they booked for me made a double booking and so they had to transfer me to another hostel a little bit further away from the shop and the harbour. But since i would be picked up in the morning and brought back after the dives that was not really a problem. I was actually relieved and hoping that this hostel would have normal A/C in the room instead of a coin operated one. Luckily it had and after a salad and hot meal with some bears i nearly litteraly crashed in my bed. Awesome aswesome day!!
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  • Day46

    Sweat

    June 23, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    When i said i had to wake up early yesterday, I wasn't exaggerating. Although the flight to Okinawa would depart at 10.30 i had to catch a local train from Nagasaki to Fukuoka. A ride that would take over 2 hours. And with check-in time and the extra buffer i always like to build in it meant i had to get up at 5 am. Thankfully i had already packed my backpack and so the departure from the hostel went quiet and smoothly.
    I got a quick breakfast and went to Nagasaki station to catch the early train to Fukuoka. At the platform i realised i had forgotten my umbrella and i went back to the konbini to pick it up before returningto the platform. Of course as always at these times and despite the punctuality of the Japanese Railways the train got cancelled and i had to wait half an hour for the next train to depart from the station. Luckily this train departed as scheduled and there was still no reason to panic. I always easily fall asleep in the train and this one was no exception. I put my seat all the way back and got some extra well needed sleep. After a while i woke up only to realise that the train was moving really slowly and occasionally stopping. I couldn't really figure out what was going on but figured it had to do with the morning rush. Still no reason to panic but this shouldn't take too long. Luckily the train picked up speed and on transfer and a 5 minute trip later i was at the aiport. After looking and asking around i found my way to the right terminal and check-in desk and found myself in the waiting room. It was time to check in and of course the Japanese wouldn't be the Japanese if they had not found a way to streamline the boarding process. Not aware of this system, i got refused at the gate entrance since first seats A and F were to board, followed by B and D, before finally allowing rows C and D to board. And as always, how unfamiliar it may seem at first glance, it does work!
    The flight itself was nothing worth mentioning, albeit calmly and comfortably.
    The plane landed smoothly at Naha airport and as soon as i disembarked the plane I could feel the intense heat and humidity. I started sweating and haven't stopped since. The inland flight did not require any immigration or customs hassle and soon a bus took me to the terminal building. It took me a while to figure out which bus to take to my destination but the friendly lady from the bus counter helped me on my way. Bus 120 at bus stop number 3 end leave the bus at Ihei bus stop. Thankfully the stops are pronounced in multiple languages and English being one of them it was easy to find the right place to exit the bus. As soon as i left the airconditioned bus i started sweating profusely. The walk to the Churahama hostel was still a quite long one and i arrived dripping in sweat, only to find the hostel was still closed, kind of. I somehow managed to find the "owner" who showed me my room but got confused as i asked him for a key to the lockers and had to check everyting i asked him over the phone. I nevertheless settled into my room and after asking for a larger bed since the bed/couch was too small i made myself home. I got a nasty surprise as i tried to turn on the A/C as it was coin operated. 100 yen would buy me 2 hours of cold air. I will not repeat the words i said there and then but i can tell you they weren't very nice. ;-)
    I noticed the tsunami wall as i walked to the hostel and it had a nice boardwalk. I got some beers to go as i figured it would be a great place to watch the sunset. It was. I've seen many sunsets around the world and every place seems to have it's own stunning version of it. The fact that i wasn't alone in enjoying it proved me right. As the sun had set i went back to the Transit cafe for some exellent fondue(!) and local Orion beer before returning to bed. Tomorrow i would have to rise early again.

    Normally this is where my blog ends but the coin operated airconditioning woke me up every two hours as it ceased operationg. I had just enough coins to make it until 5 o'clock and so the last hour and a half were spent cursing and sweating in my room...
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  • Day45

    Strolling

    June 22, 2016 in Japan ⋅ 🌬 25 °C

    No big plans today. I had seen most things i wanted to see. I had some tshirt hunting to do and this combined with the heavy rain made me go out into the nearby shopping arcade. Shopping arcades are basically shopping streets but the street has a roof so no matter what the weather is, it's always comfortable. Add to that that the backstreets of these shopping arcades are usually a pretty good place to find cool shops and some people watchin and you have a good activity to spend the day. The arce was filled with people even though it was just another weekday and i quickly found myself browsing through the many tax free shops that line the arcade. After going to the MacDonalds for a homely snack i found myself strolling through the backstreets of Nagasaki. Unfortunately there weren't many shops of interest for me and after walking about for roughly two hours I returned to the hostel where i spend the rest of the afternoon talking with a guy from Britain about his biking and camping adventures in Japan. Really cool to see the way he traversed Japan on his Koga-Miyata, a Dutch-Japanase bike brand, how funny. :-)
    I went to bed early as i had to get up really early to catch the first train to Fukuoka and then a flight to Okinawa.
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  • Day44

    Doko?

    June 21, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Time to go Dutch! This was also something i couldn't find time for when i was here for the first time in 2014. I don't know why i decided to skip it two years ago but I have been regretting it ever since. I mean how often can you see a part of your country in a place halfway around the globe. So i decided that no matter what I want to visit Huis ten Bosch. This is a theme park/open air museum put here by a local businessmen who apparantly was really fond of the Netherlands (really, who isn't?). He made every effort to make this theme park look as realistically as possible. Even the bricks that make up the houses were imported by ship from Dutchie land. And it shows. Even before entering you are greeted by the sight of Amsterdam Central station. And when you enter the park itself it's at some points hard to distinguish this place from the real thing. Although is pretty awkward to see the Dom tower (which stands in Utrecht) from Amsterdam Dam square. And places where it was not allowed to ride a bike. Not very Dutch. :-P. A lot of attractions have a Dutch theme like cheese, although there are also a lot of other attractions to attract more people i suppose. After walking around and convincing myself i was not back home, I stumbled upon a plaza with a beerfest. They served various German beers and sausages. (now where have i seen this before? ;-) Only thing was it was not as crowded yet, i guess it was too early in the day. But the bar was open and i couldn't resist getting a nice cold Warsteiner and Paulaner beers just to quench the thirst. I anxiously awaited the band to start playing and the place to fill up but that didn't really happen. The band was a one man guitar player who did 4 George Michael covers and then quit and the place was still not very crowded. I had seen enought and got on my way back to the trainstation, passing through the Schiphol gate (how fitting! :-)) The train took me back along the inner sea that lies between Nagasaki and Sasebo. (it's actually featured in one of the Rail Away episodes)Read more