Archive | August 2014

Fuji Rock 2014 Day 1

The last weekend in July, I went to Fuji Rock – a 3-day music festival in Japan. The old me probably wouldn’t have been for it, but the new me is like, why not. I have pretty daggy taste in music so I’m usually not the best companion for music festivals.

Fuji Rock is held over 3-days on the ski slope mountains of Naeba. The proper experience is to camp there for the 3 days which we did. Although some friends stayed at lodgings instead.

Had read a lot of stuff online about the crowds and traffic to get there.
With the first day of the festival kicking off on Friday (took the day off work), we decided to leave on Thursday night after work. We got the bullet train to Echigo Yuzawa that left Tokyo after 8pm. And we were at Echigo before 9:30pm. We braced ourselves for the crowd outside Echigo Yuzawa station but it wasn’t so bad.

From Fuji Rock 2014

We lined up for the free shuttle bus that takes you to the Fuji Rock site. We only had to wait about 15 minutes. So far so good. Boarded the free bus. The bus ride was kinda long. About 45minutes.

Upon arrival at the site, we exchanged our tickets for wrist bands and got our camp wrist bands and set off in search for a spot to pitch our tents. Mind you, the campsite was on a ski slope so you were a little hardpressed to find flat ground, especially since a lot of people got there on Thursday during the day. It was now close to 11pm and we had to pitch up our tents. Our spot was on a slight slope, but it wasn’t too bad. Weren’t able to get a shady spot either. Highly recommend a spot under trees if possible. We ended up roasting every morning. By 7am it was a sauna in the tents in the blazing summer heat and humidity. We were literally smoked out of our tents come sunrise.

As we were traipsing around at night in search of a tent spot, I saw Mick Jagger!!! My only regret of the weekend was not getting a photo with him. I turned to my friend and said “I swear to God that looks like Mick Jagger”. Friend turned around and said “It sounds like Mick Jagger”. Holy crap, it is Mick Jagger. He was with another ageing rocker friend. He even spoke At me. Something to the effect of ” fark, look at her, she’s got a head torch”. Yes, ever so practical me was wearing a head torch. 11pm at a campsite trying to pitch a tent.
We were laden down with big packbacks, tents, bags etc wandering through a campsite. It was not the time for selfies for Mick Jagger. #bigregret. Oh well.

Tents assembled. Try to get some sleep.

I love my tent: Best 40 buks ever spent.

From Fuji Rock 2014

But I did have some tent envy:

From Fuji Rock 2014

Coolest tent ever:

From Fuji Rock 2014

This was probably the not-so-coolest tent ever:

From Fuji Rock 2014

I’d say it was pretty baaaad (see what I did there):

From Fuji Rock 2014

This tent on the other hand, had a more “homely” feel to it:

From Fuji Rock 2014

Tents galore on the Naeba ski slopes:

From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014

Friday – Day 1 of Fuji Rock, was looking to be a beautiful day. Fuji Rock is notorious for bad weather. Rain and downpour is the norm.

From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014

Free water and sink facilities:

From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014

Everything rocks. Even the lockers!

From Fuji Rock 2014

Fuji + Rocks = Fuji Rock!

From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014

There’s a helluva lot of people that attend Fuji Rock. Literally tens of thousands. But it was such a well-organised event with such a cool chilled vibe.

It’s a joke-free zone:

From Fuji Rock 2014

And perfect weather for it:

From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014

The men’s facilities:

From Fuji Rock 2014

There are several stages and it’s a bit of a hike between them. About 30min walk through forest and trail to get to some of them. A lot of walking was done that weekend.

Weather was so hot. But there was a beautiful stream river where people could cool off and chill out.

From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014

It got really crowded here over the day:

From Fuji Rock 2014

This guy totally had the right idea:

From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014

Highlight act of the day was….

From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014

The festival featured cool music and also some great food.

Paella:

From Fuji Rock 2014

Got to have me a meat pie: So good.

From Fuji Rock 2014

Butter chicken:

From Fuji Rock 2014

Pancakes:

From Fuji Rock 2014

(Note: this was consumed over the three days, not in one sitting).

Weiner lollipop, anyone?

From Fuji Rock 2014

Or perhaps, you prefer this:

From Fuji Rock 2014

(A mis-translation of “Dragon Tacos”)

All kinds of good imaginable – ramen, pizza, green curry, lamp chops, hamburgers, fish and chips, and beer, lots of beer.

And everyone BYO’s chairs. We missed that memo.

From Fuji Rock 2014

Complete with cup holder and canopy: The Rolls Royce of picnic chairs.

From Fuji Rock 2014

The Blue Mile:

From Fuji Rock 2014

Plenty of bad iPhone shots taken:

From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014
From Fuji Rock 2014

Day 1 of Fuji Rock was a lotta fun. But hella tiring. Feel like I had aged a hundred years. Hell of a lot of walking, and being around in the sun. And so much walking and being on your feet and then a few hours sleeping in a tent. Hadn’t had a shower in over 24 hours either so was feeling major skanky. Get to do this all over again the next day.

Naoshima Diary: Frame Art Tunnel

This is another art installation found on Teshima Island. In fact, handfuls of random properties have been converted into art installations.

This one was cool and yep, set us back another 300 yen.

From Teshima frame tunnel
From Teshima frame tunnel

A tunnel made of window frames.

From Teshima frame tunnel
From Teshima frame tunnel
From Teshima frame tunnel

The view at the other end:

From Teshima frame tunnel
From Teshima frame tunnel
From Teshima frame tunnel
From Teshima frame tunnel
From Teshima frame tunnel

Silhouette:

From Teshima frame tunnel
From Teshima frame tunnel
From Teshima frame tunnel

Naoshima Diary: Teshima Art Museum

One of the highlights of Teshima Island was the Teshima Art Museum.
It cost about 1500yen for entry, but totally worth it for the one and only art installation there.
Most people visit Teshima just for a half day and see this.

Photography of the installation is not allowed, so I’ve only got photos of the exterior, but definitely worth checking this out. Needs to be seen and experienced for yourself.

From Teshima art museum
From Teshima art museum
From Teshima art museum
From Teshima art museum
From Teshima art museum

This was the musuem shop and cafe:

From Teshima art museum
From Teshima art museum

View of the island countryside:

From Teshima art museum
From Teshima art museum
From Teshima art museum
From Teshima art museum
From Teshima art museum
From Teshima art museum

Naoshima Diary: Pumpkin galore

Travel Notes:
After spending a night on Teshima island, we then made our way onwards to Naoshima island.
Unfortunately, this meant going back via Uno port.
There are two boats that run to/from Uno and Teshima – the ferry and then the passenger boat.
We took the passenger boat from Teshima back to Uno. It only took about 20 minutes (half the time it to get to Teshima on the ferry). That meant we were back in time at Uno to take the ferry to Naoshima. We had to bolt for the ferry connection though. We thought the boat back to Uno was going to take about 40 minutes giving us an hour layover in Uno port. But thankfully we made the earlier ferry to Naoshima. Woo hoo. This meant we’d have more time on Naoshima.

Ferry to Naoshima was about 20 minutes and was pretty crowded. Naoshima is pretty popular and it was a summer long weekend.

Upon arrival at Naoshima, first thing in order was to dump our back at the cheap hostel/minshuku we were staying at. And then off to find some bike rentals for the day. We had to try a few places before we found a place with electric bikes. We got lucky and set off on our electric bikes. It was about 1000yen for a 7 hour rental (with a 3000yen deposit). Sweet. A full day of cycling around Naoshima.

I previously posted up photos of the yellow spotty pumpkin art installation from day 1 on Naoshima.

On day 2 we bussed and walked around the island.
Here are photos from day 2 on Naoshima. More pumpkin photos. Cannot. Go. Past. Giant. Pumpkins. Without. Taking. Photos. Of. It.

From Yellow pumpkin day 2
From Yellow pumpkin day 2
From Yellow pumpkin day 2
From Yellow pumpkin day 2
From Yellow pumpkin day 2
From Yellow pumpkin day 2
From Yellow pumpkin day 2

Not only did I get to take lots of photos of pumpkins, but I got to eat pumpkin ice-cream. Surprisingly, delicious. But quite rich and creamy. Just as well we shared one (although we had originally wanted to get one each, but they only had one left!). But pumpkin is a vegetable, so it’s healthy ice cream, right?

The pumpkin ice cream was served in an actual frozen pumpkin:

From Pumpkin icecream
From Pumpkin icecream
From Pumpkin icecream
From Pumpkin icecream

So creamy and delicious:

From Pumpkin icecream
From Pumpkin icecream
From Pumpkin icecream

Overnight on Teshima Island

Most people barely visit Teshima for a day let alone stay overnight there. It’s often seen as a day trip from Naoshima.
But we did Teshima first, stayed overnight there and then moved onto Naoshima.
We had a rental car for the day on Teshima and still didn’t get to see everything.
We had to return the car at 5pm and made our way back to the port where we got picked up by the hotel owners to take us to our accommodation for the night.

Accommodation on Teshima Island is very, very limited.
One of the few lodgings is Teshima Amore Resort – a really bizarre little place run by a Japanese couple. It is now basically a delapilated resort located right on a private beach, but I’m sure it was seen as luxury lodgings back in its heyday.

The private beach was nice for walking along at sunset. Didn’t get a chance to have a dip although it would have been nice to. Very secluded and quiet. There were only a few other guests staying there and the owners were quite friendly and accommodating for us.

It was a random little place to stay, but very peaceful.

Excellent waterfront views of the Seto inland sea:

From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore

The rather run-down rooms for the night:

From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore

Private beach:

From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore
From Teshima Amore

The rooms weren’t the Ritz, but the dinner was pretty special. An awesome BBQ feast out on the deck.

From Teshima Amore

An absolute feast, I tell you!

From Teshima Amore

For a little run down place, the accommodation price was definitely on the pricier side – but factor in that it was a night’s accommodation, BBQ dinner feast included, breakfast included, and to/from pick up/drop off to the port – it was not bad value.

Thoroughly enjoyed Teshima Island. And Naoshima Island was going to be even better!