Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Parm ice cream bars


I now would like to highlight  an ice cream bar so delectable I thought it should  be featured in this blog.

I saw a commercial for Parm on Japanese television and decided to try it when I came upon it while browsing Universe supermarket. It is smaller than your average American ice cream bar, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. (calories, people!). The most common flavor has vanilla ice cream with a chocolate coating. All of the coatings are a little more on the fudgy side (they aren’t crisp like Dove bars so pieces of chocolate don’t break off).


Currently there are four flavors, chocolate, espresso latte, vanilla white chocolate, and the newest one and my new favorite, almond. I think they may have other flavors that come out for a limited time. It’s a delicious ice cream bar with a strange name so why not try it out and discover your favorite flavor?!

Sunday, September 25, 2011






After visiting Asamushi Aquarium and Aomori Art Museum we were pretty famished so we looked for a place to eat and Hachi-ya (literally 8 shop) looked good, and it was!DSC_2346DSC_2352

This place is great for non-native speakers because they have a picture of every menu item and then you just use the vending machine to buy the ticket for your order.


You can sit at the bar, at a table or take your shoes off and try it Japanese stlye! And if you’re bored, they have an entire library of mangas to look through!

DSC_2349DSC_2348DSC_2355 In addition to ramen, they have three different rice bowls (I think it is more of a side order/ appetizer but I’m sure 2 of them could count as a meal) which are ¥250 each)

Asamushi Aquarium



Asamushi  Aquarium is located in Asamushi right outside of Aomori city. Outside of the museum there is a small pool with a blue chain-link fence (you can see it in the picture above under the yellow sign that says Asamushi Aquarium) and inside are a few large sea turtles!

Within the aquarium they have a gift shop, a restaurant, a large marine tunnel tank, exhibits fo cold sea and warm sea marine life, marine animals, a rainforest corner, a touching corner where children can hold sea stars and shellfish, and showroom for the dolphins and a room where they feed the dolphins.

We were lucky enough to be there in time for not only the dolphin show but the feeding of the otters, dolphins, sea lions, and penguins!


Click on the album to see some of the best shots from the Aquarium!


Hours:  0900-1700(Entrance is closed 30 minutes prior to closing) Open throughout the year including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day

Free Parking

Tickets can be purchased at the machine

Admission costs:

¥1,000 for adults and high school students

¥500 for elementary and jr. high school students

Free for children under 7

Dolphin Shows

Weekdays                  Weekends and National Holidays

1000                                                  1000

1130                                                   1130

1330                                                  1300

1530                                                  1430



Directions (Toll Road)

Go out the main gate, turn right at the second traffic light.

Turn right onto green pole road by Nagasakiya Department Store.

Turn left at the next traffic light, route 8

Follow route 8 for 17.4 km to the traffic light, turn left.

Proceed over the bridge and up the road for .7 km, turn right.

Continue straight on this road, at 5.7 km you will cross route 4. In 20 km

you come upon the toll gate. The rest area is just before the toll gate.

After the toll gate begins route 123. In 10 km route 123 ends in a t-intersection.

Turn right at the t-intersection.

At the third traffic light will be route 4, turn right.

Proceed 7 km on route 4, turn right, across from the amusement park.

Follow this road to the left and then back around to the right for .7 km.

the aquarium will be on the left. Parking is free in the lot on the right. Just proceed forward and around the corner to the right to enter the parking lot.

Home Café



Last Friday I tried Home Café for the first time.  We were with a lot of our friends and no one was hungry so we stopped by.



The drinks at Home Café aren’t cheap (about ¥300-¥400) but it IS basically a bar and a nice and cozy place to chat with friends. They do have a few snack items on the menu like french fries.



If you feel the need to wet your whistle, check out Home Café located on White pole road. Home Café is on the second floor, the main entrance has a staircase leading to the café. Hours are 1700-2400 during the week and 1700-0300 during the weekends.



Monday, September 12, 2011




Porushu is a bar in Misawa that actually serves food if you are hungry (rather than just snacks or izakaya.) We had the ginger pork and yakisoba. They also serve ramen, pasta, sandwiches, and other dishes. The chairs at the bar and tables are covered in a maroon velvet so the feel is pretty swanky.


hours: 1900-0400

tel: 0176-52-3881


  • Main gate
  • take a right at the first street
  • go down the street and keep going straight after the first intersection
  • Porushu is at the end of this street on your right.

Nico Cakes



We passed by Nico cakes a few times on our way to Towada and decided to stop in. If you’ve lived in the area for a while you know that pâtisseries are popular and Japanese love French desserts!

Nico cakes offers the standard packaged cookies, cakes and pies as well as jelly roll cakes and strawberry cakes.



But what makes Nico cakes blog worthy and their pièce de résistance is their cream puffs! Now let me explain, I am not a huge fan of cream puffs, I can take them or leave them, but these are different! The sweet crusty outer layer is perfect and they aren’t just filled with any old whipped cream, they are filled with homemade vanilla pudding. I highly recommend them!


Nico cakes also offers a “point card” and they will give you one with your first purchase. I’m not sure what you get after they are all stamped but I’ll let you know when I find out!


Directions to nico cakes:

  • Main gate
  • take the second right after the light
  • go straight and pass the first light
  • at the stop sight take a right (Phada's should be across from you).
  • Go straight through the light near Cafe Omiya.
  • Follow this road and take a left at the train tracks.
  • Keep going straight for a while (about a mile from Misawa Station)
  • Nico Cakes is on the right.

telephone: 0176-51-0717



Shotokukan and Komakko Land


When it rains it pours in Misawa, so having options for indoor excursions such as museums keeps boredom at bay.



Shotokukan is located on the grounds of Komakko Land in Towada. It opened in June 2000 and contains almost 5,000 items and artwork relating to horses and their historic and cultural significance in Japan.

The museum consists of 8 sections or “houses” within the building.  The first house is the Kihoku house which contains colored woodblock prints, a Nebuta Festival Float, sacred horses, historical records from the Michinoku region and other relics.



The Harness House displays a Muromachi Era saddle, Momoyama Era horse masks, bits, horse shoes and saddles.



The toy house has horse toys and stamps from Japan and other places worldwide. This was one of my favorite displays!


The Ex-Vote gallery displays votive tablets (the wooden ones found at Shinto Shrines) withhorses. There is a vending machine here which you can purchase souvenir tablets but it was empty when we went.


The Horse-Religion House displays horse deities, straw horses, stable monkeys, and paper offerings.


Special Exhibit house (1F) displays local historical materials, a horse riding and other simulators.


The museum also has a historical records house, another special exhibit house on the second floor and a folk-story house which boasts 3-D movies and storytelling in a farm house setting. It also has tea rooms and resting areas on the first and second floor. The one on the second floor has a fireplace and gives a great view of Komakko Land.


DSC_1946 When you get to the parking lot at Komakko Land you will notice an outdoor amphitheater with a stage in the middle. I don’t know what kind of events are held here or when they are but it looks like it would be really nice. There is also another building (pictured) which has a ramen shop inside. DSC_1941On the opposite end of the amphitheater are these steps, you need to go up them to get to the museum. It’s also handicap accessible. DSC_1947Once inside the museum, there is a machine on your right where you can purchase tickets. 

Further on the grounds is a big playground featuring a slide in the shape of a horse. These are just a few pictures of the park area. Use of this area is free to the public. DSC_1942DSC_1944

They also have horse rides for children here as well.

Directions to Komakko Land/ Shotokukan museum:

  • Go out the POL gate
  • stay on this road (straight) it is route 10 to Towada City
  • This parallels the railroad tracks, turn right at the Y
  • Go through 4 lights (this takes a while)
  • Turn right at the first street after the 4th light.
  • Go 1.4 km (7 streets) and turn left (you’ll see a brown sign with a golden horseshoe above white kanji.
  • Go past a house with lots of apple trees at a strange intersection.
  • Continue straight up the hill until you see the sign for the Towada Horse Museum on your left.

Shotokukan Hours:

9:00am to 4:30pm. Museum guests are asked to enter the museum before 4pm. Closed on Mondays. If Monday is a national holiday, the museum will be open on that Monday and closed Tuesday.

Show Times of 3-D Hi-Definition Movie and Storytelling:

3D-movies are shown on weekdays, Sundays and holidays 10-1015,11-1115,12-1215,1330-1345,1430-1445 and 1530-1545.

Story telling (15 minutes)is available only on Sundays and holidays at 1115 and 1345. Storytelling on weekdays (groups only) can be made by appointment.

Admission Fees:

Adults ¥300

High School and University students ¥100

Elementary  and Middle School students as well as children under 6 are free.

Group rates (20+ people): please buy your tickets at the ticket counter. Adults are ¥240 and University/High School students are ¥80.


0176-20-6022(Komakko Land)


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Towada Fall Festival 2011


Towada Fall Festival was located near Towada Art Museum  and hospital. If you are like me, you know not all festivals are equal. I really enjoyed the Towada Fall Festival because it had all the beautiful floats and festive music (like Sansha Taisai) without the overwhelming crowds and heat. (Don’t get me wrong, there was a big crowd but nothing compared to the Nebuta Festival in Aomori!)