Larsblog

Lithuanian beer, again

I've written before about how Lithuania has a beer tradition of its own, different from any other country on earth, but back then I didn't really know very much about it. I'm still far from an expert on Lithuanian beer, but by now I've learned a bit more, which I want to share. One reason is that I find that although Lithuania is just a short (and cheap) plane ride away, people don't seem to have any interest in exploring this world of beer unknown to just about everyone. ...

Read | 2012-11-18 20:36 | 17 comment(s)

Shiogama, sushi city

We really came to Shiogama because we happened to be passing by on our way from Matsushima Bay to Sendai. But once there, Naito-san wanted to see Shiogama Jinja, one of the most important temples in Tohoku. And, he told me, we had to have sushi, since Shiogama was famous for its sushi. That's no exaggeration. The port unloads more fresh tuna than anywhere else in Japan, and it has the highest density of sushi restaurants on earth. Arriving into Shiogama by boat from Matsushima Bay, I noticed a huge hulking concrete building towering over the harbour. That, the guide told us, was the fish market. ...

Read | 2012-11-09 16:17 | 0 comment(s)

Ah, Matsushima

On the face of it, Matsushima is just a small Japanese port. However, it's also home to a famous temple, and Basho considered the islands in the bay outside one of the three great views of Japan. In fact, "a vision of the moon at Matsushima" was one of the things that convinced him to set out on his great journey. ...

Read | 2012-11-03 10:49 | 0 comment(s)

Ichinoseki - sake and beer

Basho passed through Ichinoseki on his journey, but failed to mention it, focusing instead on Hiraizumi. Today Ichinoseki is much the bigger of the two towns, even if Hiraizumi is culturally more important. To us, however, Ichinoseki held an important attraction: the Sekinoichi Shuzo sake brewery, which also makes the Iwate Kura beers. ...

Read | 2012-10-28 10:11 | 0 comment(s)

Ringnes Imperial Polaris

For years now everyone's been wondering when Ringnes was going to wake up and realize that the old days of selling cheap industrial beers were over. Overall beer sales have been down consistently year after year for many years, while craft beer sales have boomed. Surely the biggest brewery in Norway had to sit up and notice at some point? Particularly when their owners, Danish Carlsberg, have already started two craft beer brands in Denmark (Kongens Bryghus and Jacobsen). ...

Read | 2012-10-04 20:25 | 3 comment(s)

Ryokan

In Japanese language, no articles. In Japanese hotel room, not many articles, either. Actually, that's not quite true. Japanese hotel rooms are much like their western counterparts, but the traditional Japanese inns are something else entirely. There's two main kinds: the expensive ryokan, and the cheaper minshukus. ...

Read | 2012-09-28 20:53 | 2 comment(s)

RDF triple stores — an overview

There's a huge range of triple stores out there, and it's not trivial to find the one most suited for your exact needs. I reviewed all those I could find earlier this year for a project, and here is the result. I've evaluated the stores against the requirements that mattered for that particular project. I haven't summarized the scores, as everyone's weights for these requirements will be different. ...

Read | 2012-09-17 19:56 | 41 comment(s)

History, history everywhere

One thing that's struck me about Japan is how amazingly rich their history is, and how you could spend your entire life digging into it, without ever running out of things to learn. That history is still very much alive to the Japanese themselves, and everywhere you turn you are reminded of it. ...

Read | 2012-09-14 17:41 | 1 comment(s)

Hiraizumi — the Kyoto of the north

In 1100, the Fujiwara clan made Hiraizumi their capital, and ruled almost a third of Japan from here. The city grew to a metropolis of at least 50,000 people, a shining example of Heian Era architecture and culture, to rival even Kyoto the capital. After the fall of the Fujiwaras, however, the town shrunk, and today it has only 8000 people. ...

Read | 2012-09-02 20:48 | 0 comment(s)

The narrow road to the deep north

Once I'd bought the tickets, the next question arose: where to go? I had one week in Japan, but where to spend it? The last time I was in Japan I'd travelled south from Tokyo, so I figured this time I would go north. I'd really love to see Hokkaido, but with only one week I would have spent most of my time travelling, so I decided to not travel that far. Basically, that meant going to the Tohoku region. ...

Read | 2012-08-05 09:50 | 2 comment(s)

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