February 25, 2009


M-14 rifleReceiver of M-14 riflebolt is locked and ready to load

This M-14 rifle is my first no-firing model gun from Hudson. I bought it around 6 years ago when I had a chance to get a good discount. Or I will never have it on my hand. Thanks to the store owner Allan!

M-14 is one of the major rifles in western countries after WW II; the other 2 are FN FAL and HK G3. M-14 has the worst performance among these 3 rifles, so it had a very short service life in US Army and replaced by M-16 assault rifle. But recently, US Army brought them back to battle field as sniper rifles after some modifications.

In 1967, US sold the production line to Taiwan to mass-produce the M14 for replacing the M1 Grand rifle and others. This local produced M14 was called Type 57, because the year for the first production was in 1968 which was year 57 in ROC calendar.

I love M-14 so much, because it was my best friend when I took military training at Cheng Kung Hill (成功嶺) and when I served in army in Matsu Islands (馬祖). M-14 is long and heavy, even kicks a lot when you fire it. But it is still a reliable friend.

Today Type 57 rifle was decommissioned from Taiwanese military forces and replace by various local produced rifles (T65, T86 and T91), but it is still popular on survival games' battle fields.

M-14 EBR真重....

a M-14 EBR airsoft BB gun, M-14 EBR is an enhanced M-14

February 12, 2009


BBQ dinner at 梅しん(Umeshin)

Yakiniku at Umeshin (梅しん)
かに道楽 at at Doutonbori
crab nigiri shushi
crab meat over rice
Crab meal at Kani Doraku (かに道楽)
Tasting the local food is one of the excitement during the trip. For traveling in Japan, there are 3 major excitements: sightseeing, food and shopping. Because the Japanese Yen is so strong on the money exchange market, so we did not do much shopping, but still testing some great food; including Udon (Japanese noodle), green tea desserts, grilled eel, sashimi (raw fish), Osaka Yaki (Japanese style pizza), Tonkatsu (Japanese fried pork), and others.

For my favorites during this trip, I will recommend 2 restaurants; one for Japanese BBQ (燒肉), and one for crab cuisine.

We had the Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) for dinner in Kyoto at Umeshin (梅しん) . We visited Umeshin totally by accident. It was late and we were tired and hungry when passing by Umeshin, so we decided to give it a try. I think we were quite lucky to do so. We had tasty Japanese beef and pork for BBQ with a serve of kimgi (Korean spicy pickled vegetables) and a glass of cold Japanese beer. What else could I ask more? It was such a nice combination!

Another restaurant is for crab lovers, the Kani Doraku (かに道樂) in Osaka. The one we visited is located at Doutonbori (道頓堀) which is a major shopping and restaurant area. The big crab signage of Kani Doraku also became a symbol of Doutonbori. We had the crab meal as lunch before we left for airport on the last day of our trip as a wonderful ending. We ordered a serve of crab nigiri shushi and a serve of crab sushi rice, plus a glass of beer. It cost us almost JPY4,000 and did make a perfect ending of the trip.
Of course, we also enjoyed other food, but not so unforgettable.

Photos of other food

February 8, 2009


Himeji Castle 姬路城
Himeji Castle 姬路城
weapons(rifles and spears) in the Himeji Castle

There are four castles designated as National treasures in Japan. They are Himeji Castle(姬路城), Hikone Castle (彥根城), Inuyama Castle(犬山城), and Matsumoto Castle(松本城).

I have been to Matsumoto Castle in 2006, so I took this opportunity to visit Himeji Castle which is about 90 min. away from Osaka by train.

Compared with most castles and temples in Japan, Himeji Castle is so lucky to survive and keep in a good condition after bombing in WW II. The construction of Himeji temple was completed in 1618 and some restoration work began in 1956.

Currently, most parts of the castle remain the original condition and opened to tourists. So it is a very nice place to learn how ancient Japanese utilized the castle. Though Himeji Castle looks fancy in its appearance, it was built for military purpose. So you will find weapon storage space everywhere in the castle. It is really a fortress!

If you go to Osaka City, please don't miss this wonderful attraction which the castle you will not see at any other place in Japan.

Photos of Himeji Castle


Kinki Nippon RailwaySanyo Electric Railway
Speed up! the Sanyo Electric Railway
Speed up! the Sanyo Electric Railway

During the 6 day trip in Kansai region of Japan, we quite fully utilized the rail/subway system for traveling. The rail and subway systems in most cities of Japan are will organized and well managed. They are quite friendly for tourists, tourists can easily find the way through multi-language instructions.

If you are going to travel in Kansai region, I will recommend you to purchase a 3-day Kansai Thru Pass, it allows you to access most trains and subways in the major cities in Kansai region. The convenient transportation system will make your travel more comfortable and efficient.

February 7, 2009


a lot of deers in the Nara ParkTodai-Ji  東大寺
Big Buddha at Todai-Ji  東大寺

Just 40 min. away from Osaka City by train, we went to Nara (奈良市) to visit the Nara Park and Todai-Ji (東大寺) .

Nara Park is very near Kintetsu Nara station (近鐵奈良駅), and it is famous of a bunch of free deers. Yes, I say "a bunch of" free deers; there are around 1200 deers. You can touch and feed them and get along with them peacefully, unless you do something dangerous, such as attacking them or trying to take the baby deer aways from mother deer. These lovely deers make Nara Park a great attraction for tourists.

Another attraction site in Nara City is
Todai-Ji, a temple original built in the Nara period (710-794 AD). And the big Buddha in Todai-Ji makes this temple important and so different from other temples in Japan. As other many temples in Japan, Todai-Ji was also damaged and rebuilt several times. The Great Buddha Hall was burned in the fire of war in 1180 and 1567. Current building we see today is the third generation building which is approximately 33% smaller the the original one, but it is still the largest wooden structure in the world.

Photos of Nara

February 5, 2009


Osaka CastleOsaka CastleOsaka Castle

If you don't like shopping as me, Osaka Castle will be the most attractive spot for you. Osaka Castle played an important role in Japanese history. If you are familiar with Japanese history, drama or event computer games, you will know a lot stories happened in Osaka Castle.

Original Osaka Castle was built in 1598, but was burned down in 1615 during the battle. In 1928, the main tower was restored, but destroyed by bombing in 1945. Current Osaka Castle was built 1997, and organized as a museum to for Osaka Castle history related display.

Osaka Castle is not only a nice place to learn about Japanese history, you also can enjoy walking in the Osaka Castle Park. If you visit there at a good timing, you may see plum flower and cherry flower blossoms.

Photos of Osaka

February 2, 2009


Japan's tallest temple pagoda in Tō-ji

Japan's tallest temple pagoda in Tō-ji (東寺)
The Golden Pavilion

The Golden Pavilion, Rokuon-Ji (金閣寺)
Kiyomizu Temple 清水寺
Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺)

I think Kyoto is the first choice to learn the beauty of traditional Japanese culture. Also, Kyoto is a city of temples; you can see a lot of old temples and new temples everywhere. Since I am not so familiar with Japanese history and can not tell the difference between temples too much. We decided to visit just few major temples; Toji, Rokuon-Ji, and Kiyomizu-dera.

These temples are all well maintained and clean. It is very joyful just walking around the temples even you don't know the history and background of them. Among those temples, I love Rokuon-ji best, because its shining golden pavilion and nice garden.

let the photos tell stories.