May 19, 2009

The Hikawa maru in Yokohama

Back when I was living in Yokohama, I often passed by the Hikawa maru, and I didn't know a thing about the ship until I decided to do a bit of research today.

The Hikawa maru was built by the Yokohama Dock company and was launched in 1929. Her first voyage was 5/13/1930 to Seattle, US from Kobe Japan as a cruise ship. Because of her lavish art deco interior she was referred to as the "Queen of the Pacific" and various celebrities of the day were among her passengers. All in all the Hikawa maru crossed the pacific about 254 times. During the war she was repainted and used at as a hospital ship, and used by the US army after.


She was returned to Japan in 1947 and was refitted to once again carry passengers across the Pacific. However the convinience of the airplane cause the Hikawa maru to loose a large amount of travelers and service was terminated in 1960. In 1961 she was permanently berthed at Yokohama and became a floating youth hostel and meusem. The hostel closed in 1973, and the mesuem followed in 2006, despite being declared a "cultural asset" of Yokohama in 2003.

A few years of uncertainty followed, but ultimately Hikawa maru was refurbished and the museum re-opened to the public in the spring of 2008.

I wasn't able to visit the museum in the Hikawa maru because it was being restored during the time I was there, but the outside is very grand so I can only imagine how interesting it is on the inside. Please check her out if you get the chance!

Access: The Hikawa maru is berthed in the harbor along Yamashita Park and can be accessed by taking the Minato Mirai line and getting off at Motomachi Chuka-gai station.

May 15, 2009

Snack Review: Meiji Meltyblend

Today I am snacking on Meiji's Meltyblend Fruity Strawberry メルテイーブレンドフルーテイーいちご flavor. I had heard about this chocolate on various Japan related blogs, and decided to try it out when I saw it on the shelves at Mitsuwa. This is a seasonal item, for the winter as evidenced by the snowflakes adorning the package. I got this awhile back so I can't say for sure if it's around anywhere now.

There was a just chocolate version, but I love strawberry and I think it's a little more fun to have some flavor combination going on. As promised by the package, this chocolate is a melty chocolate. It dissolves slowly on your tongue if you're not greedy and chomp into it right off the bat like me. But it does maintain it's petite cube shape well when handled, and is cover with bitter chocolate powder.

The strawberry inside melts just as well as the chocolate shell, but it's true charm point is it's bright bold, fruity flavor! The strawberry is not much more sweet than it is when in berry form, so it's a great balance for the creamy chocolate. This sweet is not cloying like American sweets, but it's got enough sugar to keep you satisfied. And it's small size will not ruin your diet or next meal!
Review Quick Facts
Name: Meltyblend fruit strawberry flavor
Source: Mitsuwa Market