Located in the North of Japan is Sendai - the capital city of the Miyagi Prefecture. Sendai is the setting for anime titles like Kannagi and Sengoku Basara and was also the biggest city to be hardest hit by the 2011.03 earthquake.
The first photo is of daimyo Date Masamune who founded the city back in 1600 - his statue can be found at the Sendai Castle ruins on Mount Aoba.
We spent a few days in the city after covering the recovery efforts of the earthquake and tsunami - citizens were doing their best to bring back life into the region by celebrating the Tanabata Festival.
Before we proceed, just want to apologise for the exposure of these photos being too high ><
At our hotel. A bathroom that looks like this is called a "Unit Bathroom" - small and convenient for houses (yes they come in houses/mansions too) but everything in the unit gets damp - including towels and toilet paper ><
After hotel checkin, we head out to explore town. Some folks here preparing for the firework festivities that are to take place later on that night.
There are many establishments in Japan where you can spend time with ladies - and give them your monies.
Lots of small cozy restaurants in the area.
Smaller restaurants that have been around for a while tend to have much more character.
In the smaller places to eat, you can find a shelf of manga to read at no extra cost - just make sure to put them back in the slot that you found them.
Bacon veggie curry! Was still an iPhone user back then ^^
Partner in crime.
The Apple store in Sendai.
Loads of "Yatai" [屋台[やたい]] stalls out in about during festival time.
Folks reserving a spot for the fireworks - little do they know that they wont be able to see much from here ><
At the park nearest to the firework display - many gathering to reserve their spot.
Nobody can escape the lovely smells of nom nom from the surrounding yatai stalls.
If you ever attend the Sendai fireworks then dont wasting hours doing what everybody else is doing - trying to secure a spot in the park - because if you do then all you will see are bright lights behind trees ^^;
We escape from the park to a bridge with a clear view of the fireworks which you can see in the following episode of Culture Japan.
I love construction signs in Japan.
The Tanabata Festival is in full swing on the day after the fireworks.
Exploring the area around Sendai station. Uniqlo is everywhere! Do you have Uniqlo where you live?
Buying tickets for a ride on the subway.
Trains in Sendai are the same as Tokyo but there is something about them...
Japan is a bicycle culture and many folks have their own habits riding their 2 wheeler - not all folks are cultivated with good manners however and posters like this one try to remind folks that they can be a nuisance.
Arrival at Aoba Castle which is the same as Sendai Castle. Dont expect to see a fully fledged historical castle here though as there are only ruins.
The castle is not that easy to get to - you need to take a the Loople Sendai bus from Sendai station which takes about 20 mins. We got there by car though.
These are Omukuji fortunes - which did not turn out too fortunate which is why they are tied to this fence so that they dont come true - its understandable when a fortune says "You will be haunted by 9 spirits who will tear you apart and feed you to rabid rabbits."
This is an Ema plaque where one would write their wishes - some folks do some incredible artwork on them like this!
This person who is just about to graduate says...
Let me start by saying thanks - I got the job which means that I'm able to stand at the entrance to my dream. Please look after the people I meet and this world too. I will do my best!
If you had the opportunity to write on an Ema, what would you write?
On the grounds of the castle ruins are folks dressed up in traditional Japanese armor.
The founder of Sendai City - Date Masamune. In modern times he can be found on game consoles giving naughty people what they deserve in Sengoku Basara.
Nice view of the city from the top of the ridge.
This is just about whats left of the castle. Although I hear that some more was made inaccessible after the 2011.03 earthquake.
A closeup of what they once wore to battle.
At the castle shop before heading back to Tokyo.
We stop off at a service station to fill up on gas for the car and ourselves. They had a Taito Station arcade for folks who wanted to offload some cash.
Some Initial D arcade action.
Warning signs for folks who are using the carpark.
Sonic Blast Heroes - the best part of the game is that you get a very cute girl to come up to you to explain the rules - check out the video below.
Nom nom time - raw meat!
Mirai-chan cant wait to tuck in too.
The raw meat is actually cooked by ourselves on the grill - yakiniku style.
Purikura machines of late do a lot of enhancing - make your skin blemish free and eyes bigger.
The journey from Sendai is along 5 - 6 hour drive. We stop off at night at another service station for gas and noms.
Most service stations have one of these huge Death Star plan style screens. They let us know which areas are congested with traffic.
Service stations have everything that the traveller needs - including some Anpanman.
They also have magazines for drivers who like to keep one hand on the wheel and the other hand on the "gear stick."
Folks waiting for their freshly made ramen.
Black bean tea!
Vroooom! Time for some Ridge Racer music. Ridge Racer R4 for the original Playstation has some most incredible music which I still listen today when I drive.
Back to base. Left all the girls at home for this trip.