Shirakawa Go Bike Trip


09:30: We started our trip from Azabu-Juban (as usual, in front of Pierre’s flat) after a quick coffee. Obsiously, we are not following the japanese way of touring, waking up at 6am. After joining Sylvain around Shinjuku, the first challenge was to find the Chuo Expressway entrance. Anybody has an idea if there is a real entrance to the Chuo?? After looking around for 30 min, asking the police, we could not find any. We guessed the only way to reach it is through the Shuto, and it’s another trick to have the drivers to pay the 700 Yens to enter the Shuto.


Takayama is at around 300 kms from Tokyo, we had quite a long time to re-think our lifes on the way. By the way, I could reach for the first time 180km/h for the record. Pierre was testing his brand new Fazer 1000 on a long trip, and I guess Sylvain customized his engine to release that much power with his old CB400. So finally, after a few stops and the horrible route 158 full a tourist bus, we reached Takayama for another 100 kms to arrive to Shirakawa-Go. It was not the first time for me to visit this authentic village (Takayama & Shirakawa-Go during winter). We enjoyed a lot the kanja ryokan where we stayed for one night.


Next day was a little bit of sightseeing. As you can see on the pictures, weather was quite nice. Shirakawa-Go is a popular place for photographers, we were part of them. Have a look at the gallery of pictures below. Far from being professional of course….. Sightseeing is nice but, now is time for some pro-biking through the montain roads. We joined Iku chan (Miss VMAX) and Satomi chan, for part of our way back to Matsumoto, through the highly recommeded Route 87. Have a look at the view we got sometime from the top of the montains, kind of lost. At that time, I realised how nice it is to escape from Tokyo from time to time. The way back from Matsumoto was not that fun with the usual Traffic Jam entering Tokyo (17kms without any reasons…). The first touring expedition of this year was fun. Looking forward to leave again for the countryside…

Over 800 kms

We are just back from Shirakawa-Go. I’m so tired, I can’t hardly type anything on my keyboard. The region of Takayama is great for biking and not so crowded. I would say it was pro-biking this time, and will dream of montain curves this night. I’ll post the pictures later on, probably tomorrow. ‘night.

Bike Trip this week end

kanja_outside.jpgHere we go… Weather is getting cool enough to hit the road. First bike touring this year, we decided (with Pierre and Sylvain) to spend the week end in Gifu Ken around Takayama and Shirakawa-go. We will most probably spend the night in Shirakawa-go in one of the typical ryokan. Actually we already reserved the one named Kanja (cf picture). Hope everything will be fine with the bikes….

Search for Japanese Inns (in English)
Info on Shirakawa-Go and list of ryokan

Rafting with Santa Belgica (May 10th & 11th)

Raft1.JPGWeek end with Santa Belgica, in Gunma Ken, around Minakami… As usual, week end was perfectly organized by Bernard and Jan. The Montain Bike and Rafting week end is one of the activity I enjoyed the most 2 years ago, and I was quite excited to experience it once more. First day was the Montain Bike trip, unfortunatly too much japanized. The trip was a bit too short, and the instructor was spending his time showing how to turn right and left and so on … We enjoyed the short moments anyway. The next day, Rafting was just great, much better than 2 years ago. The trip was long and a bit risky ( remenber we almost die, falling in the 6degrees water, when we flipped the raft.;-)).

If you happen to go there, don’t miss the rafting of course, but also a really nice (probably the best I went to) onsen: Takaragawa Onsen. It’s a mixte one, composed of 2 parts splited by the river. Like other people here, I am sure I could spend the whole day there, admiring the flow of the river and the surronding montains. Also, It’s the first time I could touch and play with baby bears.

First online Message

Hello World, this is the first message on my Weblog… Browsing the web for Japan related websites, I discovered the webloggers community (,, …), exchanging ideas about their life in Japan, things they discover on the Net, and so on and so on… So here I am as well, I am starting my weblog… Don’t know yet if I will find interesting things to say, or if I will have enough time to make regular updates, but let’s see…

The previous pages are the old messages created before the weblog on my News page or old website photo pages.

Update of 19 May 2003

I have mainly been concentrating on the updates of my Links page lately. You will find new interesting links in all sections. Please have a look and don’t hesitate to send me interesting ones of the same topics. I have also added a new page in the Music part, a playlist of the music I like the most. This is my best selection. I’ve been listening a lot of good things lately, I’m in discovering new things as some time before when I was younger. Coming back to the links, don’t miss the Quirky Japan Homepage, I’ve learned a lot of interesting things. It’s funny to find answers to things I’ve always been wondering without finding an answers (like why japanese see the green Traffic light as a blue light). Mostly for people living in Japan though. I really wish to add a lot more links to the culture and Japan parts in the future, maybe thinking to write a little more on this website about living here and stuff… when I can get some time for it. Anyway, just thinking how this website would evolve.

Update of 16 April 2003

It has been some time already without any updates. Well, I moved to a new server, as my previous host is stopping his service. I moved to, following Eddie’s recommendation. It’s fast, it offers some useful functionalities such as the guestbook I am now using. I took the oportunity to work on some of my pages, especially the links ones which were not Mozilla compatible (they are now). I updated the party2002 page as well with some comments.

Update of 7 December 2002: Party At Home: Happy Birthday Party


Third party at home/First one in my new apartment at Minami Azabu/About 30 people coming as usual/exceptional event as 5 birthdays celebrated the same day: naoko&natsuko&pierre&laurent &fred/Mine was four months before/Pierre’s was 3 months before/ Most of the pictures taken by Eddie as usual (sounds like an official photographer)/One of the last days of Cyril in Japan/uncountable number of beer cans (last minute contribution of Ricardo)/First glass of wine on the floor by Natsuko (yappari?)/Naoko’s ketai email address is impossible to understand/Police came twice, 1 phone call/Refused to join us/one bottle of organic wine still in my kitchen/No subrowska for Pierre/headhache from 4AM/Video clip on-line available/I was 26 by the way, Laurent 25/Disaster well managed the next day/wine marks hidden under the sofa/Martin was in the house/Thierry as well/Were here: ayumi(x2), cyril, natsuko, miho, thierryl, naoko(2), satoshi, tomoko, masa, sylvain and freddo senpai, sumie, eiko, laurent, eddie kun, pierre-U, guillaume, yoshiko, miyoko, aki, mamiko, chihiro, ricardo, dj norio, james, aihara keiko & tomoko & co, soccer pro tomoki, martin chan sans sa planche a neige, noriko and co, chikako, … if I’m not missing anybody/bikes were not allowed/James can play guitar/Sorry for the neighboors/There no snakes right by my house/About ten people at 5AM to catch the first train/RIP to Honda chan/Guillaume without the french football team t-shirt/oishikatta/Cyril left too early/….

Update of 6 October 2002: Oli Oli no sayonara

Just got a new lens for my camera, a wide angle bought from Eddie. You’ll see the first pictures on the Bike and Outside-2 pages. Also, new pictures page added for Olivier’s sayonara to Japan at Shimo Kitazawa.

Wednesday October 2nd October 2002. Olivier’s last day in Japan (before his come back). We gathered at Martin’s place, initially to play cards, around good champagne. With Martin, Ayumi, Olivier, Laurent, Ayumi, Pierre, Cyril, Seiko, Yoshiko, Guillaume and myself.

Update of 6 September 2002: Hokkaido & Tohoku (Août 2002)

De retour d’une semaine de voyage à moto avec Pierre à Hokkaido et tohoku. Beaucoup de photos à montrer dans les deux galeries ci-dessous. En bonus quelques photos de mon fidèle destrier.

Hokkaido: Bike Touring Part 1: A la Decouverte de Hokkaido, region Ouest. De Sapporo jusqu’à la pointe de Wakkanai, en revenant vers Otaru et la region de Nisseko.


Tohoku: De Niigata vers Tokyo: Bike Touring Part 2: Le retour vers Tokyo. De Niigata en passant par Fukushima Ken, Aizu-Wakamatsu …


My bike BMW R1150R:

Update of 22 April 2002

Just a small change in the Links page with a new picture and new layout. That’s all.

Update of 12 March 2002

Version 2.0 … done, or almost done. I still need to find a good and easy way to navigate between pages. The website is maybe a bit heavy to load, but let’s consider everybody is accessing this site through ADSL, or using the office connection (not recommended). Let me know your feeling through the guestbook or mail… Mainly, for those who are too lazy to go through all pages, you can concentrate on the Pictures pages, page 4 is brand new, and the Special page with a new present on page 3 from my cousin Mickael.

Update of 26 January 2002: Kao&Noriko no tanjoubi party

Kao san and Noriko san’s birthday party at home … January 26th 2002 from 7PM to 8AM!!! Don’t ask my it was at home, I don’t really know myself. Once again, it was a lot of fun… but a disaster to clean the next day. Thanks to Eddie for taking almost all the pictures here.

Update of 10 November 2001

Here is the version 2.0 of the website, in line with the others pages I created previously. The pages may be long to download depending on your Internet connection… Apart from that, I finally got my motorbike license and got my bike (Honda CB400) which I enjoy riding on the storm.

Update of 31 August 2001: Pierre & Fred no tanjoubi Party

Pierre and I celebrating our birthday, End of August 2001: 33h for Pierre, 25th for me. Very nice party I enjoyed a lot, with a lot of wine (on the floor), lot of people coming, lot of iota cakes, lot of heat, … Thanks All for coming and Special thanks to Eddie for the pictures.

Update of 08 July 2001

I’m trying to give a new style to this website, so you will find new layouts for the Links and Music pages. Also, I’m getting rid of the DVDs page which is really hard to update, and the site Map.

Update of 13 April 2001

I added one more page on the photos from Tokyo section. Since I have this Canon Power Shot G1 digicam, I’m taking quite a lot of (crazy?!) pictures. The last ones are from the Motorbike Show at Odaiba International Exhibition Hall (named Big Sight). I’m actually thinking of getting a motorbike license (400cc). No, I don’t want to die soon. Yes, I’m a very safe driver… I hope I will be able to frequently add new pages of pictures, so that nobody complains about the lack of updates (cf. Xavi).

Update of 30 March 2001

Added a new page on the Photos section. Some pictures of Nagatoro where Seb, Maya and I went hiking. I also changed a bit the part of my homepage dedicated to my sister, added some new pages. I’m now using some predifined functions of Dreamweaver 4 to create Flash buttons, you’ll see on those new pages. I kind of like it a lot.

Update of 11 February 2001

Added a new page on special. It’s a christmas present from Mickael.

Update of 24 October 2000

I’m continuing the Music section adding Lyrics pages on some of my favorites bands i.e. for now, Radiohead Kid A (2000) and Massive Attack Mezzanine (1998). There will be more to come. Stay wired…

Update of 19 October 2000

I modified the « photos of Tokyo » page to make it looks like a diapo gallery. Everything is done with Photoshop, it’s incredible how this software is strong. I also added a new page on my last Golden Week in Nagasaki. It’s quite a long time ago, I’m a bit late. Also, added a few things on the Links page: some links to fantastic Flash-made websites and direct links to the search engines google and metacrawler. That’s all, Folks !! Still waiting for Ranko to sign my guestbook, when she comes back from S’pore.

Update of 30 September 2000

I rebuild this website using frames. I realized that it’s a lot more convenient to update the whole site like that. I also made some changes on the cover page using the same layers as before, but making them appears thanks to a Time Line. I added a guestbook, feel free to sign it and give your comments and (finally) my mailer.

Update of 14 September 2000

It’s a long time this website hasn’t been updated, don’t you think. Well, I’ve been working a lot on another website for my belgian friends association called Santa belgica. Please check it Santa Belgica. I should say that I love this site, it was nice to work with Seb on this project. Long life to Santa belgica !! As for this site, I standardized the fonts I use so that it’s not dependent on the browser default settings (Times New roman font with Size 2). The whole site should look better now.

I should get some rest now, it’s already 02:26 and I spent such a hard week. Oyasumi …

Update of 26 July 2000

Big change on the cover page (you may have noticed already). I realized a problem with Internet Explorer: Never use the Keyword links for your objects just like layers ( Div Tag) or images. Some kind of conflict occurs and the image or layer can not be displayed. If it can save some time to somebody, I would be very happy.The banner now has the new style on almost all the pages except the « Tokyo’s pictures » internal pages, this last thing is quite painfull to do, Mama mia it will take some time.

An old japanese song I have got in my head since this morning, I only know one word: Yappari … (!?!?!?)

Update of 18 July 2000

I come back to this web site with some modifications as we may have already seen on some pages (the banner at the top, look). I also added some links on the dedicated page.


L’orchidee sauvage.

Update of 06 May 2000

Some new english translations have been added on the Tokyo Pictures pages. I changed a bit the jpop page (again) adding some new pictures of the albums I know. There’s now a small part dedicated to Spitz (I could find a picture of the band). Still have to find an idea for the REAL cover page of this site.

I come back from Nagasaki with a fresh mind and some pictures.

Update of 22 April 2000

I fixed the problems which occured using Netscape. Now, everything should work fine, except the mail (should be ready soon, though). I added a Flash file on the jpop page (the one which never worked on my old site, hope it’s not the same with this one). On the cover page, you can now use the right click to get a new menu. This feature is unfortunatly not working with Netscape 4.7 or below, but only with IE5 (DHTML dakara). But, there is still a small problem with layers i.e. the menu is always under all the other layers on the page (?!?).

I am about to go to Nagasaki for a one-week vacation. I’ll maybe take time to think of new updates. I can’t help wanting to add new things.

Update of 15 April 2000

Brand new Web Site. For this new site, I kept most of the pages and pictures I had in the old one but I strongly modified the way it’s built (no more frames). I’m planning to build a 100% english version (some parts are still in french), or try to make the pages bilingual (Emilie’s page). I’d like to add a Flash introduction too. It’s on the way …

Update of 22 January 2000

It’s quite a long time I haven’t updated this website. So, I come back this time with some new pictures from the fish market and Odaiba. I deleted the MP3 on the JPOP part (I know someone who can breathe now ;-).

Update of 28 November 1999

Added some pages of pictures from Nikko.

Update of 05 November 1999

I am back from France (short holidays dakara). It was just great …

Update of 12 October 1999

An Update. Big thing added: a page on the music people listen here: J-POP. There are no MP3 extracts yet, but thanks to some pictures and words, you can from now discover the main faces who are making Music in Japan (modern music, I mean).

Sheena Ringo
The last album of Sheena Ringo has just been released (2000/03/31) and it’s maybe the most exciting thing I have ever heard here. It’s inventive and crazy, just like her, as I have been told. I think she is getting more and more popular these days thanks to a few outstanding singles (I can’t tell the names, it’s all in kanji). She has an interesting voice (especially, the way she prononces the « R » sounds, like spanish could do). I like the fact that such a music (quite experimental sometimes) can become popular here, whereas it’s far from being the case in France.
 Albums I know: Two albums were released. The first one is Muzai Moratoriamu containing her first hit single (koko de kisu shite), it’s just great. The other one is the one I talked about earlier.

Luna Sea
Luna Sea are Ryuichi (vocal) Sugizo (guitar+violin) Inoran (guitar) J (bass) Shinya (drums+percussions). On tape dans du plus gros calibre. Plus de guitares, plus de puissance, … C’est le premier groupe que j’ai decouvert a Nagasaki, l’annee derniere (1998). Le groupe degage un certain romantisme, le voix de Ryuichi Kawamura y est pour beaucoup, evoluant dans un univers brut et sombre: le noir predomine. Le dit Ryuichi est parait il (je l’ai oui dire dans les millieux autorises) tres narcissique comme le prouverait la photo ci-contre. N’oublions pas que Luna Sea est a part entiere dans le mouvement Visual Rock. Ce sont des groupes qui accorde une grande importance a la mise en scene qui les entoure, sans pour autant en affecter la qualite de leurs compositions, a mon humble avis. Cote Extravagance, Luna Sea reste tout de meme beaucoup plus sobre qu’un X-Japan par exemple. Albums I know: Shine (1998): Single « Storm », « Shine », « I for You ». « Breathe »: B.O. de Mulan au Japon (Et oui …). Singles (1999): Compil de tous leurs singles (comme le nom l’indique): Mother, In silence, … Love: Album solo de Ryuichi Kawamura, pour le cote romantisme. Gravity, le dernier excellent single de Luna Sea.

L’arc~en~ciel are Hyde (vocal) ken (guitars) tetsu (bass) yukihiro (drums). C’est un de mes groupes japonais preferes. C’est imaginatif et tres prenant. C’est du Rock, avec tout ce que ca comprend d’electricite. Le chanteur, Hyde, a une gamme vocale etendue (gros plus): il peut passer d’une ballade envolee a un rock violent et puissant avec une facilite deconcertante. Le groupe melange d’ailleurs les style et multiplie les touches d’originalites (cette petite chanson en francais). Bref, ca bouge, ca plane, ca pique, … on ne s’ennuie pas quoi.
 Albums I know: Ray et Ark (1999): les albums couples sortis en meme temps. Ce sont a mon avis leurs meilleurs. On retrouve de gros singles comme Dive to Blue, Honey, Heaven’s Drive, … C’est vraiment chouette. Heart (1998): excellentes chansons telles que Winterfall et Fate. True (1996): preferee, Lies And Truth, …
Dragon Ash
Dragon Ash are Kenji Furuya (vocal+guitar) Ikuzo Baba (bass) Makoto Sakurai (drums) DJ Bots (turntables). Le Hip Hop a la japonaise, ca existe aussi, avec une petite pointe de Beastie Boys. Ca donne un mix vraiment grand, a mi chemin entre le rap americain et le rock. Ils font un carton en ce moment avec leur dernier album Viva la Revolution. Je pense qu’ils s’inscrivent bien dans la mouvance actuelle de la jeunesse japonaise. Albums I know: (en l’occurence des MD). Viva la Revolution (evidemment) (1999): avec le mega single « Gratefull Days » (sample sur Today des Smashing). Moi personnellement, j’adore « communication », « let yourself go, Let myself go », « Fool Around », … Buzz Songs: Premier albums du groupe. La chanson qui plane: « under age’s song » et bien d’autres.
Utada Hikaru
Utada Hikaru doit etre la chanteuse la plus connue de tout le Japon en ce moment. Je pense qu’il n’y a pas un japonais qui ne sache pas chanter « It’s automatic » (premier single officiel). Moi, j’avoue que j’avais longuement hesite a acheter le disque et finalement j’aurais ete con de ne pas plonger dans son univers musical. Le style est Soul Pop.Elle a un petit quelque chose dans la voix qui marque l’auditeur (je pense). 
Album I know: Unique Album (pour l’instant) First Love. Singles: « Automatic », Movin’ on without you, First Love, …
Spitz are Masamune Tetsuya Tamura and Sakichan. Ce sont les quatre larons sur la photo a cote. Oui, je sais, ils ont des tetes de cartoons. Ca doit pas etre facile tous les jours. J’ai adore leur disque a la premiere ecoute au HMV de Shibuya. C’est du Rock tres chantant (la preuve en est qu’on a envie de chanter apres) et ca met de bonne humeur (ca rattraperait meme une journee qui commence mal). Bref, je vous conseille vivement le dernier album Recycle (best of) et le precedent kachoufuugetsu (pas sur, le titre).

Another crazy band (I mean really crazy). Puffy are in the real life Yumi Yoshimura and Ami Ohnuki. So, they are singing, having their own TV program, playing in commercials. The only album I know is Jet CD but I think all the most famous songs are there. You can feel the 70’s influence (in the music only). Very different from all the other bands here, but definitly more funny. SeB and I are currently trying to write a song for them (hope they’ll hear it sometime !).

Ayumi Hamasaki
Hamasaki Ayumi represente la POP japonaise par excellence. Chacune de ses nouvelles chansons marche toujours tres fort. Elles semblent egalement influencer la jeunesse, celle de Shibuya surtout. Ces chansons sont d’un rhythme dance, style pour lequel je n’ai pas d’attirance particuliere. Cependant (retournement de situation), la version acoustique et orchestrale de ses titres les plus recents est vraiment tres belle. Sa voix haut perchee sur une musique « classique » touchante donne un ensemble qui s’accorde bien. Agreable et reposant.

Mr Children
One of my favorite band. They write sensitive songs. What could I say more. Yes, I forgot to say that it’s a Rock band (means guitar based). They make me think to radiohead on some of their songs (maybe just one in Discovery, their latest album). Recommended. 
Albums I know: Well, they released quite a lot of albums. I only know the last two ones: Bolero and Discovery.

At this list, I can add the first album of Bird (Pure soul – cf Toyota Celica Commercial directed by Vincent Gallo), Triceratops (Rock ‘N’ Roll Band), another funny japanese band called 19, and many more…

Update of 03 October 1999

Here is my new flat, at Nishi Azabu, nice and calm neighborhood not far from Roppongi and Omotesando. Here we go for a quick visit (waiting for you to come for real).



(above) So, I live at the second floor (we would say first floor if we were in France), the two windows on the left. Please come in …



(above) Okaeri. Inside. It’s the main room, i.e. living room. Not so clean to welcome visitors, I’m sorry… You came from the door on the right, the one near the interphone (just a reminder). The other door, the one which is closed leads to the kitchen. So, now, turn around (a 180 degrees turn).



(above) Here is the dining room, on the left, you can imagine my bedroom (we’ll go there together later). But at first, we gonna move near the window. Be careful of the TV cable, I don’t want you to fall. No, really, it’s dangerous and I would spend so much time to plug it back.


(above) Like I said, it’s a calm street with a sushi restaurant on the left, too expensive. In the background, you can use your imagination to find the Roppongi Dori (Actually, we don’t see it so well). Beautiful, isn’t it. But, there’s something typically Japanese which spoils the view, raise your head, just a bit.


(above) Electrical Cables. Japanese have the bad habit not to hide all that stuff. Let’s say it’s modern art.


(above) We come back now (beware of the TV cable, please) and head to the bedroom. With the Pulp Fiction poster, as usual.

Hope you enjoyed.

Update of 28 Sep 1999

Mickael, a message for you: Here is the MD player-recorder I bought 3 weeks ago (with exactly the same color). All this for only 28000 Yens. There are all the functions such as optical link for recording. This tiny machine automatically recognize the Source type (digital or analog). You can record all kinds of sounds coming from CD, Computer (mp3 for ex.), radio, TV, yourself (with a MIC), …


Update of 26 Sep 1999

I added some new pictures on the Fuji San page, same thing for Nagasaki. Still regarding pictures, go and see my Home Sweet Home (asked by Mickael). Ah, I forgot to mention the creation of this page (the one you are reading right now).

I finally saw the Matrix (reason is it was released 15 days ago in Japan, a bit late). So, it’s not a scoop, I will say that the movie is great. The atmosphere is a bit similar to the one of the Ghost in The Shell.