Thursday, December 29, 2011

CHI-BA+KUN Ambassadors in Sakae and Narita.

So Chiba Prefecture has this really cool project called the "CHI-BA+KUN Ambassadors" going on right now. Well...the project has a much longer name, but we usually refer to it as 「チーバくん大使」or even  just「大使」.

The CHI-BA+KUN Ambassadors are exchange students and other foreign residents living in Chiba Prefecture who have been appointed to promote Chiba Prefecture!! Specifically, they do this by writing Chiba-related articles in their personal blogs, facebook, etc. This year's ambassadors hail from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, U.S., Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Hungary!

English page about the CHI-BA+KUN Ambassadors on the Chiba Prefecture website:

Anyway.... as a part of the project, the CHI-BA+KUN Ambassadors can participate in specially organized regional tours of Chiba Prefecture! So this post is actually about their first tour, which I had the pleasure of tagging along on :D (Please conveniently disregard the fact that this post is about three months late.)

We went to Boso-no-Mura in Sakae Town and then Narita Shinshoji Temple and its surrounding area.
That might sound a bit familiar...but that's because I took my parents on the same route when they visited in October - I actually mimicked this tour because it was such a perfect day trip! goes a photo summary of the tour:

This place is full of subjects for awesome photos!
We kicked off the first leg of the tour by looking around Boso-no-Mura, an open air museum that recreates the scenery of what businesses, farmers' houses, etc used to look like in Chiba about 150 years ago.

Even the insides of the buildings were made down to the finest details to reflect their history.
Hunting for the fine details.
 We were all really curious about these random objects, which turned out to be talismans to ward off bad spirits. They took the shapes of something that looked like a cross, an octopus...even dice!

"Rakkasei" peanut harvesting, one of Chiba's most famous products!
After looking around, everyone branched off into groups to do some hands-on stuff. The variety of activities they have at Boso-no-Mura is pretty amazing!

Weaving a coaster the old school way.
After I trekked back from watching the weaving, some people had already gathered a giant harvest of peanuts!

The peanuts are of course raw though, so no one could actually taste them there tho....haha.
Shortly after, Mi-san had just finished her coaster too!
After all of the frolicking though, everyone was just about ready for lunch - so we were off to Narita!

Down what looked like a very random alleyway...
But actually, the (tiny) entrance to the annex of a very lovely Japanese restaurant was hidden here!

Lunch was at the Kikuya ("Chrysanthemum House"), a local and very nice restaurant famous for a Narita area speciality, unagi (eel)!

I snuck a picture of someone else's food. I don't think the unagi had actually been served yet though. ^^;
I am actually not a big fan of unagi because while it doesn't bother most people, I am really conscious of the tiny fish bones so I can't actually concentrate on the delicious flavor...*sigh* I did had tempura and it was amazing!!

After lunch, we were off to Narita Shinshoji Temple, one of the best known temples in the Kanto Region!

This is a zoom-in of one of the sculptures within the Somon gate (pictured in the previous photo). If you find your zodiac animal and walk under it, it will bring you good luck!

On the way up to the main hall of the temple, we were all super amazed by this! I couldn't get the lighting down very well, but the rock around the center of the photo is shaped like a TURTLE! And it is covered it turtles (that just look kinda like oval rocks...)!!!  So cute <3

I totally forgot to take a picture of the main I was wandering around the back of the main hall, I found this! If you look closely, there are little green statues all over the place - it actually stretches way further off to the right...I wonder how many statues there are in total??? I love discovering random things like this!

Pagoda!! This is a National Important Cultural Property, as are many of the other structures at Narita Shinshoji Temple. was a really hot day! And after this we went to Tokyo Game Show too.
Anyway, it was a really awesome first tour!

I am actually hoping to go back to both of these areas sometime over the next few weeks and do some further exploration. Particularly, I can bet that Narita will be swarming with worshippers going for hatsumode, or their first temple visit of the New Year - but it will be fun nonetheless! I STILL need to eat that mochi waffle at one of the cafes nearby the temple. :D

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!

1 comment:

  1. We'd missed out on that waffle didn't we lol!

    By the way, I didn't notice about those green statues until you mentioned it here (^.^;b