During my stay in Izu, I made time for the stunning Kawazu Seven Waterfalls (河津七滝). Located in the mountains above the onsen town Kawazu, the site was of natural scenic beauty. But this time it was more than a feast for the eyes; it was also one for the ears. I was taking a soundwalk along the 1 km long trail past the waterfalls.
A soundwalk is a walk one takes focusing on the sounds of the surroundings. As different from what we usually do, in a soundwalk we pay more attention to what we hear, experiencing the environment through sounds rather than sight. And how a scene sounds like is known as a soundscape. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also released standards on the measurement and management of soundscape. So this time, I was feeling the soundscape of the Kawazu Seven Waterfalls with what I heard. It was a nice and relaxing walk. When I closed my eyes and listened: it was a symphony of water splashing, gurgling, rushing, gliding through and hurtling against rocks.
Along the trail, we also came across statues from the story of The Izu Dancer by Kawabata Yasunari, Japanese sculptures, a suspension bridge… All made pleasant additions to the walk. If you visit Izu, the Kawazu Seven Waterfalls is a must-go!
平日我們習慣以視覺來感受外界，甚少依賴聽覺來感受，但視象與聲音都是組成我們記憶和感覺的部分，很難分割開來，聲音漫步讓我們專注聆聽周圍，以聲音感受環境。透過聲音來感受和描述的環境被稱為聲景（Soundscape），國際標準化組織（International Organization for Standardization）近年亦為量度和管理聲景訂立國際標準，可見聲景研究和設計漸趨重要。這次七滝中連接瀑布與瀑布間的小徑是很好的聲音步行路線，沿途有不同特色的聲景。把七滝風光盡收眼底，閉起眼，又是另一番感受︰一場水流的交響樂遠遠近近響起，是水或濺起，或潺潺流動，或穿過或激打石頭的聲音……
I am not a fan of driving, particularly overseas. However, if planning to visit the countryside with multiple stops, I find it more convenient to drive when travelling in Japan, in particular to the countryside when you have multiple stops. Driving in Japan is a pleasure. The toll roads are very nice with service areas and wider roads. The highways in Japan (國道) are equally good and there’s no need to pay tolls. What’s so good about the highways is that they have roadside stations (道の駅), where you can shop for local specialties. The bonus we got this time was the sunshine.
We were on our way to Izu – the onsen village. As there were so many things to see in Izu, I decided to stay in the middle of Izu, where I could decide which part or direction to go. The hotel I stayed in was Izu Marriott Hotel Shuzenji, located up in the hill. We could see Mount Fuji from the room and had in-room onsen. It was pretty chilly though…
I highly recommend this hotel if you look for a quiet night because there are not many restaurants in the neighbourhood. Just a reminder that the room service finishes at 10pm!
Before each business trip, I plan out the meetings and prepare for them with the support of my very nice colleagues. One of the biggest challenges is to select an appropriate gift for the host.
This is something I have to learn from my friends in Japan. They always come up with nice gift ideas with nice packages, among which I like most is this:
A delicately packed Japanese sweets box from “嘉ぎ”, which is located inside the Nakanoshima Festival Tower, opposite to Conrad Osaka. There are 6 Japanese flavours of the 嘉ぎ biscuits, namely matcha, roasted green tea, soy sauce, ginger, sake and roasted soybean. The sweets taste delicious and the Japanese style reminds me of my friends. That’s what makes it a good present: something that brings back the people and memories.
It is always a pleasure to visit Knowledge Capital (ナレッジキャピタル) in Osaka. Every time, there is something new going on. No exception this time – it is the 5th anniversary celebration, cum the launching of global education alliance.
The electronic arts performance, the exhibition and the seminars were all amazing. I particularly like the idea of rebuilding the historical study classrooms, some even with themed decoration such as green, for holding talks and seminars.
For those who are interested in visiting Knowledge Capital, it is situated in Grand Front Osaka, about 5-minute walk from Osaka Station. InterContinental Osaka is my all time favourite as it is actually part of the complex making it super convenient. But I did not stay there this time due to the need to commute to the north of Osaka. I stayed at Courtyard by Marriott Shinosaka Station, which turned out to be very nice for its close proximity to Shin-Osaka station, bigger rooms and a variety of restaurants nearby.
In fact, it was very nice meeting old friends and making new ones from Japan, Poland, Thailand and France. Once again, happy birthday! Kanpai (Cheers)!
Knowledge Capital位於Grand Front Osaka商廈內，在大阪站下車後走約五分鐘就到，十分方便。同樣位於Grand Front Osaka內的大阪洲際飯店是我最喜歡的酒店，加上又鄰近Knowledge Capital，這次本應入住，但此行我需要到大阪北部，所以就選了靠近新大阪站的新大阪拉弗雷飯店，除了交通便利外，酒店環境舒適，房間寛敞，附近還有林林總總的食肆，是個不錯的選擇。