WorldSkills – Numazu

8 11 2007

There it is just 6 more days until the start of the WorldSkills competition, held in Numazu. This event will pit country against country in test of Trade skills.

The four day event will commence on the 14th November with an opening ceromony. Competitions will follow from the 15th November, running over 4 days.

The competition starts at 9:00am and closes to the public at 4:00pm over the 4 days. All events run over the entire time of the competition. There is no chance you will miss out on seeing your favourite skill in action. Events are open to the public and are absolutely free.

A shuttle bus service will run from the station to the competition site by Kadoike Pond during the competition.

 For more information on the event check out the below links.

 www.worldskills.org

http://www.skillsfestival2007.or.jp/en/index.html

Press Release: http://www.skillsfestival2007.or.jp/en/news/pressrelease0827.pdf

http://www.gokigen-numazu.com/

Cheers

Scott Garbie.

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November Events – Numazu

7 11 2007

There is a lot going on this month. Apart from the usual celebrations, this year Numazu is coming out in high form to show the WorldSkill Competitors and Visitors are good time. For the rest of us this makes for a prime time to visit Numazu.

From the 14th of November to the 21st you can visit the WorldSkills competitions around Kadoike pond. Competetors from all around the road pit their trade skills against each other in such things as computer skills, metal work, cooking and even hair dressing. This has been pitted as a big event for Numazu and certainly worth a visit.

Numazu’s famous street dancing, Yosakoi Tokaido 2007, will also be held this weekend in downtown Numazu (South side). This event was big last year, with many people coming down from all over Japan. I remember sipping a beer and enjoying the dancing and music from my window sill. Yep lording over the masses.

Winter Stage will also be held this month on the 17 November. From what I understand, this event will be held on the Kano River, south Numazu. This looks to be a great night of fireworks, music and fun.

There is a lot more going on this month, but I don’t want to steal too much of the glory from the Numazu Newsletter-English Edition. You will just have to click here and see for yourself.

Check out my map link for locations. MyMaps at MapBuilder.net





A spot of Calm – Numazu

6 11 2007

Nobody knows what’s going on. One minute I’m riding and the next I’m being picked up. Timings from two different sources are conflicting. And I’m hungry. But somehow everything always works out perfectly. There is a lot to be said of the ways seemingly chaotic fractals form complex well maintained structures. Perhaps our little groups organizational skills have adapted in the same fashion. In any result, the stresses of the preparation were immediately soothed by Calm (pats himself on the back for excellent corny segue).

Situated about 15 minutes drive south east from the heart of Numazu city, Calm proved to be a side of Numazu’s dining experience I hadn’t seen before. Calm rests right by the waters of Enoura Bay, a child of the greater Suruga Bay. While Calm’s frontage features little more than a car park and a modest sign, the interior of the restaurant and the open air seating by the rocky shore depicted a sleek combination of Japanese and Mediterranean seaside style.

My friends and I move around the back to the out door dining area to enjoy the fresh sea air and, it seems, to allow the ladies of our little group a good view of the diving class next door as their healthy members peeled their wet suits on and off.

Calm from the back -Numazu

Tearing my gaze away from the postcard bay, I perused the menu. Although in Japanese, the majority of the Menu was is Katakana and Hiragana making it easy enough to read and the little extra help from my Japanese friend who introduced us to this place, took the dreariness out of the translating.

Calm on the water - Numazu Calm again - Numazu

The wine menu featured a reasonable array of whites and reds with a standard of beers and spirits. The food menu began with a range of Italian style starters followed by a choice of cream, tomato or cream tomato pastas with various choices of meats. Next were the mouth watering gratin’s and finally the curries with rice. While the menu didn’t feature anything that seemed cutting edge, it seemed the smell coming from the kitchen and our neighboring diners plates were a testament of simple food done well. Something I later found to be true in the taste.

Calm deck - Numazu Shizuoka

Drifting off into conversation with my friends and gazing at the sea I was surprised to find the hull of a pearly white ocean liner approaching me from the hands of a struggling waiter. The ships hull was filled with steaming rice and chocolate brown curry. If this was an indication of what was to come, I was in for a very filling treat.

Curry and Rice, Numazu

Although I didn’t get to have a taste of the curry, even after claiming it was my job as an amateur food and leisure blogger, the groans of delight coming from the two who ordered it were enough to give it a thumbs up. My wife would not get away so easily. Quickly calling “halvesies” I dug into my plate of baby clams in tomato and cream sauce with spaghetti.

One of the problems I have found in my own cooking is getting just the right amount of flavor from the sauce without hiding the taste of the meat. This is particularly important with most seafood. In the case of my meal this was done perfectly. Though, I would have like the sauce to be a little thicker.

creamy tomato pasta Calm Numazu

After finishing my half of the clam pasta, I waited impatiently for my wife’s creamy salmon pasta with parmesan. It is no wonder I was getting some reluctant glances from my wife as she was handing this one over. The salmons flaky rich saltiness melted into the delicate cream sauce with each bite. The added texture of the pasta and richness of the parmesan was the final cap to an excellent dish. When I think of Calm, the memories of the taste of this meal are the first thing that comes to mind. Simple, delicious pasta, done well.

Creamy Pasta Calm - Numazu

The combination of the beautiful bay, tasty meals and wonderful company made the day well worth the disorganization.

Location: Follow the south eastern coastal road towards Heda. Its about a 15 minute drive from Numazu Station and 25 minutes easy riding. Check out the map for further details.MyMaps at MapBuilder.net

Style: Pasta, Gratin and Curry in big portion by the bay. Perfect for a weekend lunch.

English menu: No, but if most of it is in Katakana and some Hiragana.

Picture menu: No sorry.

Gaijin Friendly: Sure is.

Phone:055 933 4481

Hours: Weekdays; 11:30 am-3:00pm and 5:30pm – 10:00pm. Weekends 11:30am-4:00pm and 5:00pm-10:00pm

Cost: From about 800yen to 1000yen for mains.





The Hara-Ashitaka circuit – Part 1

1 11 2007

Welcome to Part 1 of a two part series on sites in the greater Numazu area. Part 2 will be along soon. Enjoy.  

It seems that September is the time that I hear the call of the mountains and I clean my mountain bike and prepare for a big ride. Well it could be that or the fact that after returning from an expensive summer vacation the only thing I had left to spend was time.

After locating one of my many Numauz Tourist Guide Books: English (Engrish), I set to planning an expedition. However, after ten minutes I was yet again lost in the priceless text. For example “The left side of the river is provided with walking road for pedestrians…” or “The Kano River has stairs.” While not the most amusing text of Japanese English I have read, the Numazu Tourist Guide Book certainly lightens your mood. I really don’t understand why so many English speaking expats and tourists get so worked up over these grammar mistakes. Really little things like this are an essential part of enjoying another country. We also seem to forget that our attempts at Japanese may be equally amusing for our indigenous friends. When it comes to my attempts at Japanese I am almost certain of it. But I digress.

The guidebook suggested that there are a great many sights in the Hara and Mt Ashitaka areas to the west and north of Numazu city, respectively. It seemed like a good enough plan for me so I set off on my mountain bike and guide in my back pocket to find out.

I first set off for Hara loosely following the route Tokaido Road once took. In the Edo Period, the Tokaido Road was a famous road connecting the old capitals in the Nara, Osaka, Kyoto triangle and the newly formed capital Edo; modern day Tokyo. Later the route was travelled artist Utagawa Hiroshige who crafted the 53 stations of Tokaido (Wikipedia 2007)

The trip to Hara was somewhat uneventful. I chose to take the inland route following the railway line rather than the far more picturesque Senbon Beach path. Most of this area is a combination of low level industrial and housing. It is interesting to find see how the locals blend their hand toiled community and private vegetable gardens with their modern homes. The lack of land in the area means that everything is right on top of each other. Very different to the towns in Australia I have lived in.

Hara vegetable gardens

My first stop was a quick ride around Syoinji Temple before a even quicker look in. This temple has been tastefully modernized, though there is really not very much to see here. I managed to lose my way searching for the Tourist Guide’s recommendation and stumbled across some funky little hand powered water pumps in a small park near Syoinji Temple. These were very cool and I had to play with them. Well, until some old ladies started to stare at me like I was the town idiot (very intuitive old ladies).

pump it up Hara

After a few more minutes I found my Tourist Guide checkpoint, Hakuin Zenji. Apparently an anonymous poem, by a possible member of this particular temple, declaired this temple and Mt Fuji are the two most excellent points of this area. Well, Hakuin Zenji wasn’t too bad. That is of course, depending on whether or not I had found said grounds and not some anonymous temple. The picture in the guide made it look a lot bigger than what it was so I am not too certain. Anyway, this proud little grounds featured below had some excellent example of stone work dragons and the gardens tall trees created a cool and mysterous mood to this place.

Possibly Hakuin Zenji

Stay tuned for part two of “The Hara-Ashitaka circuit.” Meanwhile check out my maps for some directions from my journey.  

References

Hiroshige. (2007, October 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:04, October 31, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hiroshige&oldid=165124153

Numazu Tourist Association (publish date unknown) Numazu Tourist Gide Book; English; Numazu Tourist Association.