Hirosaki city in Aomori prefecture is boss.
When we first found out we’d be here, all the info we could find was about being in the countryside, having no one speak English, not having much to do, etc. I just wanna set the record straight, this place is amazing. A lot of people don’t realize how awesome this city of 184,000 actually is. A lot of you guys keep asking me about the town I live in. First, I just wanna say, if you are curious… just buck up, buy a ticket, and come see us. But for those of you dummies who never will, I’ll do my best to give you a little sliver of an idea about where we live… (these are in no particular order of importance)
THINGS TO DO…
We’ve got a lot of things to do in this town, here are just a few of the options…
Live Music. Orange County, Kami house, Mag-Net. All are great places to watch local artists and big bands perform live just for you! We frequent Mag-Net quite a bit, watching Kyle's band and our friends play some sweet tunes.
Go to the park. This is the most common thing people do here. People come from all over the place every weekend to look at this park. BUT a lot of people think it's the ONLY thing to do here. And it's not. Although awesome, there is much more fun to be had. This place is beautiful, big, and often has events happening in and around it.
Art Shows. Local artists often have shows for people to check out throughout the town. This one is at Space Denega (where they do lots of different kinds of shows) Featuring our friend Asuka's paintings. This city is pretty rich in art culture if you just look for it. There is always something goin on in regards to that realm.
Cafes galore. There are SO MANY cafes in town, I can't tell you enough how awesome it is to explore as many as you can! If your hobbie is sittin at coffee shops reading books, this is the place for you. There are all types of places to go around the city. This one just so happens to be on Dotemachi Street, which is the main shopping/tourist strip of the city. Just to the left is a little open square where all sorts of performers come to do their thing. This street is where our big festivals are usually held throughout the year. EXCELLENT COFFEE at this place.
Bboy battles. Hirosaki is down with the dance scene. They have a pretty good hip-hop/dance/Bboy scene if you like that kinda thing. Bboy battles and dance battles happen almost every month. Anyone can go pay and check em out at a few of the local clubs around town. This one was the Red Bull Battle held this year. In addition to the performances, there are two dance studios in town called Funky Stadium. Here, you can learn any style of hip-hop you've ever wanted to learn. Kimberly and I are currently taking Tahitian dance, and although it isn't offered at Funky Stadium, the owner's lady friend teaches our class.
Another one from the Bboy show. This year we had some famous dudes come through town. They are performing outside at this big open square near Nakasan (one of our main malls) We have a lot of performers roll through to do stuff.
Clubbing. We've got two main clubs that are pretty poppin on Saturday nights. Club OPod and Club Quadra. This one pictured is Quadra during the Halloween party this year. They have events every Saturday night. We usually go during the 4th Saturday of each month to shake our booties when they've got a pretty sick line of DJ's, and when most of my friends are out. So if you feel like grindin on some fools, Quadra's the place to go. Oddly enough, the chicks are SUPER NICE to you here, always super friendly.
Dessert Shops. More cake to stuff your face! Seriously, just like the coffee shops, this city has SO MANY DESSERT SHOPS. Anything form patisseries to traditional Japanese sweet shops. Your sweet tooth will ALWAYS be satisfied. This is Le Chocolat. It is amazing. By far my favorite place. Here you can get a little cake set which includes coffee or tea and your choice of dessert. It's pretty sweet. (no pun intended)
Arcades. There are a lot of arcades in town for the gamer and purikura taker. Even businessmen like to frequent these little gems after work.
Get Tattoos. We've got two MAIN tattoo parlors in town. This one is Eternal Crest, which is an amazing Shop run and owned by our good friend Hayakawa Taketoshi. This is Sho enjoying a nice fall day, and Stacy, doing what she does best (falling asleep anywhere)
Farmer's Market. This is one of the 'in between streets' as I like to call them. Basically, streets between other major areas of town that have random stuff going on. This one in particular is one that features a farmer's market every weekend during the summer/fall months. You can buy all kinds of local goodies.
Fashion Shows. There is always some kind of fashion show or another going on here. This one was put on my Eri. she handmakes kimonos and cute fuzzy earrings/accessories/shirts. But there are many more to be found where this comes from!
Cultural crap. If you are into watching traditional music shows, plays, symphonies, and stage performances, we got you covered! Located in the big Hirosaki park is a concert hall just for these kind of performances and activities. It's pretty sweet.
A Cat Cafe. Yeah, you heard me. A CAT CAFE. It's a cafe where you go and pay money to go play with cats. You get toys and stuff and pay by the hour. Here you get a drink with your stay so you can relax and just hangout with cats.
THINGS YOU’LL SEE…
And no worries. If you’re the boring introverted observer type (like I am sometimes) then there is some stuff you can just SEE while you’re here too. Here are a few of my favorite every day things:
Apples. Everywhere. These are two boxes left at my school by a parent. It was her way of saying 'Thanks for helping my kid' to all the teachers. This prefecture is famous for apples. Not a day goes by where I don't eat or receive at least one.
Holiday decorations. Although this is the ONLY picture I took that isn't actually in Hirosaki, it was the best one I could find that showed the Christmas decorations. My good friend Kyle Helm and myself. In this town though, we are one of the few cities who have an 'electrical display' or whatever they want to call it, during the winter time. It really feels like the holiday season around here. So many shops are decorated. All around the park and shopping area are lights that shine during the night time. It's pretty awesome.
Crows. F-ing crows. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. They remind me of those nasty little clouds of gnats that plague the parks in the summer time back in the states. You cheerfully are skipping through the park enjoying a beautiful summer's day, when WHAM IN THA FACE!! A swarm of nasty gnats hit you. Crows are Japan's own personal gnat. And they scream here, like babies. And they are gigantic.
More crows. (I guess they're for the bird lover)
Mt. Iwaki. Our famous mountain. You can always see this giant thing on a clear day. This is during the winter. There are apple orchards for miles around our town. There is some really great scenery out here to check out. In the winter, we board this bad boy.
Old dudes. In forms I have never seen them! This guy, out of his own free will, does crosswalk patrol every morning at this intersection. I seem him every day I ride my bike. Old people here do incredible things. They are still farming, still shoveling snow, still riding their bikes in the winter, walking around, just all sorts of stuff!! It's like age is no excuse for manual anything:)
Japanese style landscaping. They really do love their bonsai trees here. This guy is a little overboard, but not by much. You can find all sorts of beautiful gardens outside peoples' houses. It's worth walking around town to check it out.
So, anyway, I hope this little photo blog gave you a better idea of how cool Hirosaki is. We love living here, and are always looking for some new discovery. Any questions? Feel free to email us and ask! We love where we live.