Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nekketsu BO-SO TV - A Story Of A Bike Racer And His Curry

"Curry does not necessarily have to be spicy"

Saman Pereira
Seynaani Curry Restaurant


I made my third-time appearance in the Nekketsu BO-SO TV a fortnight ago. This time I got a new partner to join me in the show. Yup, you can call me a playboy since I change partner every month lol! Anyway, Bado-chan is one of the twenty Chiba Kun Ambassadors this year and she hails from Mongolia.

When I told my aunt about this, her first response was, "Ohhh, this girls must be a friend of Altantuyaa!" haha wtf!

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Her full name is Munkhtsetseg Batchuluun. I don't think anyone is able to pronounce it correctly.

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This is Calvin. No prize for anyone who can pronounce my name correctly lol!

The first corner of the day was the "Nekketsu BO-SO Person" (熱血BO-SO人), in which it introduces wonderful individuals coming from Chiba Prefecture. This week, it was Mr Saman Pereira, who hails from Indiana in US and happily married to a Sinhalese wife. Although he now owns a curry restaurant in a humble town of Sanmu in Chiba, there is a story behind his journey to Japan.

Prior to opening a restaurant, he was a bike racer who had competed in various GP races in Japan and also in international level. Doing what he loves, he also managed to win races and gain lots of medals along the way. Unfortunately, during one of the races, he met with an accident and the injury was too serious for him to return to the track again. 

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Introducing Mr Saman Pereira (サマンペレラ), the owner of Seynaani Curry Restaurant in Sanmu City (山武市) in Chiba Prefecture
I feel he should have been a policeman so that he can simply saman people lol!

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This is the little restaurant that he currently owns.

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Working in his kitchen. He has previously worked as a chef in prestigious hotels such as the Prince Okura Hotel in Tokyo.

The fatal accident caused him to be hospitalised and it was only after several months that he managed to walk after undergoing an orthopedic surgery on his leg in Chiba. That was what that made him fall in love with the place instantly and he decided to settle down there after he'd recovered. The rest, like they say, is history.

He now owns a curry restaurant - Seynaani in Sanmu City in the northeast of Chiba Prefecture. However, since the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, his restaurant suffered some damages and ever since then, the number of customers has decreased dramatically.

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Kuro-chan went to visit his restaurant to find out more about Saman and his curry story.

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A proud man standing alongside his trophies and bike in his racing days.

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He is now currently building a bigger restaurant and it is scheduled to be completed next year.

We were super lucky to be able to try on Mr Saman's curry in the studio. I am not exaggerating but believe me, for all the curry that I have tasted in various Indian, Pakistan, Turkish, etc restaurant here in Japan, this is by far, one of the best, if not the best.

Like he has mentioned to us, each and every spices used in his curry is carefully handpicked. That is probably the reason why his curry taste so much like a home-cooked curry, where you get to enjoy the fragrance of the spices inside the curry. The spiciness is also well-adjusted, and it was just alright; not too spicy nor the otherwise.

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A plate of lunch set which comes with salad is only 600yen!

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To those of you who are interested to try on this curry restaurant, here are the information.

The next segment was called the No Apology Sumimasen (Noapo-de sumimasen, ノーアポでスミマセン), where the hosts will make spontaneous visits to random restaurants and shops without any pre-arrangements. Most of the time, they will be welcomed, but sometimes, if they are unlucky, the shop owner might chases them away lol!

This time, they paid a visit to Namiki Ice Workshop & Hashimoto Snacks Store (ナミキアイス工房橋本菓子舗), also in Sanmu, Chiba.

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The cute little hut where the icre cream workshop is located.

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There are more than ten flavours produced every single day here!

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Milk flavour ice cream for 200 yen each.

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The home-made ice cream is rich and concentrated which enhances the milk flavour in the ice cream.

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Here are the information about Namiki Ice Workshop.

The next food brought to the studio was some cake called the "Okashi tofu" (お菓子とうふ). Although it is called tofu, it does not taste or look like tofu at all. I have no idea why they named it with such name. Perhaps it is to give the cake a catchy name to attract people's attention.

Anyway, it is actually a soft cake (something like chiffon cake) and in between, they put in strawberry-flavoured red bean paste and sesame-flavoured red bean paste. The two Chiba Kun Ambassadors got the chance to try this interesting cake and I guess it is not bad. I prefer the strawberry one compared to the sesame tofu.

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Strawberry (left) and sesame (right) tofu by Hashimoto Snacks Store.

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Funny reaction by the two of us after taking a bite on the tofu lol!

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Mr Happa Ikki getting our feedback after we tasted the tofu.

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And finally, the information you need if you wanna get this interesting tofu.

The final segment was the Nekketsu BO-SO Spot (熱血BO-SOスポット). This week, the Takeuchi Siblings (竹内兄弟) visited a hidden gem in the city of Choshi. The location they went was a unique camera museum.

This museum was started by the predecessors of Yamaguchi Confectionery (山口製菓), who had a collection of cameras from various generations. They then used the building of the factory to turn it into a camera museum and it remains there until today.

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Choshi Camera Museum (銚子カメラ博物館).

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The collection in this museum is approximately 3,000 cameras!

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A rare lighter-shaped camera. Imagine how a smoker who wanted to light his cigarette could end up taking a photo of himself when he press on the shutter lol!

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An antique camera magazine, where the words were printed from the right to the left.

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A camera that looks more like a machine gun, from England.

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And at the end of the show, everyone gathered at the set for one last hurray!

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As usual, the group photo after the shooting.

Thank you for reading.

Link of the show (14 July 2012) on the official site.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Day In The Life Of A TV Star

"Congrats on your one-year contract with Chiba TV!"

the first line I was told 
when I picked up a call from my senior



First of all, I am still wondering who was the culprit who spread this news around haha! I don't remember telling anyone about this one-year contract thingy, so to that person who spread the news around, you better come out and mengaku before I tangkap you basah-basah haha! 

Apparently, there is this 'rumour' going around that the producer of Nekketsu BO-SO TV has signed me up for a year to appear in the show. Now that when I meet up with my friends, they would tease me with questions such as, "So free today-arh? No show-meh today?" And whenever I look into my phone or reply messages, they will come out with statements like, "Seems busy huh? Having some appointment after this?" lol!

Usually, I'll reply by saying, "Yeah, gotta return to the studio immediately after this."

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 ① 13:57 - Takes the train from Shinkoiwa Station, which is bound for Chiba.

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② 14:04 - On weekends like Saturday, the train usually won't get as packed as weekdays' morning.

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③ 14:29 - Arrives in Chiba Station and take the east exit to the bus platform.

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④ 14:30 - This is Chiba Station, in which the Chiba Urban Monorail runs through the station as well.

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⑤ 14:31 - The bus that is bound for Chiba TV station is on the #9 platform.

Anyway, I was Skyping with Mom last night and I asked her how was the show. Unfortunate, she didn't look as excited as I had thought, because she was kinda complaining that there's no subtitle for her to understand what the host and guests were talking about haha!

But after that, she made a request to me. She told me to try and ask the producer if they are hiring any more foreigners to appear in the show because Mom is interested in joining the show as well. But she has set a condition, whereby while she will be the food taster in the show, her comments all will be done in Bahasa Melayu (Malay language) haha wtf!

I told her no no, you gotta tell what you think in Japanese. And so, she said no problem because all she's gonna say is, "moshi moshi" =.=||

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⑥ 14:50 - After a 10-minute bus ride, we gets down from the bus and the Chiba TV station is just five minutes away on foot.

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⑦ 15:00 - The schedule for the day, which is pasted on the wall to make sure we keep a close watch on the time.

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⑧ 15:05 - We both will be given a copy of the script of the show. The time, the person-in-charge, the script; 
every single details that are related to the show are written in this script.

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⑨ 15:07 - Mr Kimura Akihide, the show's producer will then have a short briefing session with us, by describing the flow of the day's show in general.

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⑩ 15:12 - We will then be guided to our waiting-cum-changing room.

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⑪ 15:15 - The basic seating for the host and the rest of the guest for the show. This was done during an earlier meeting between the show's producer, director, etc.

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⑫ 15:24 - Our waiting room, and there are bento lunch boxes for each of us, several bottles of drinks and some snacks for us on the table.

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⑬ 15:26 - My new partner in the show - Bado-chan from Mongolia.

I got a new Chiba Kun Ambassador to be my partner for July. It is the lovely Bado-chan who comes from Ulan Bator, Mongolia, who replaced Mi-chan from Shanghai who has appeared in the show for the past two months. Basically, each hand-picked Chiba Kun Ambassador is given the chance to appear every fortnight in the show for two months, which means four times in total. When I told my aunt that Bado-chan is from Mongolia, guess what was her first response? 

"Oooo, ini mesti kawan Altantuya!" hahaha wtf!

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⑭ 15:30 - Both of us planned to wear traditional outfits to the show, but we never thought that the colour would match each other. This week, my costume was sponsored by Abang Fadhil.

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⑮ 16:12 - Ready to take on the set for the rehearsal session.
 
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⑯ 16:24 - The director will carefully adjust our seats to make sure that it will be in the best position for the cameramen.

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⑰ 16:31 - Watching the VTR during the rehearsal session. However, the full version will not be played during this session.

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⑱ 17:06 - Gotta maintain our position and facial expression all the time because there are three cameras in total and we will never know 
when our faces will appear in the show.

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⑲ 17:08 - Heading towards the end of the show, and we would gather in the center for the closing segment.

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⑳ 15:19 - Depending on how busy the make-up room is, we would usually apply our make-up after the rehearsal session. 
Although this is done just minutes before the live show kicks off, nobody, especially the make-up artists seems to be panic at all.

The show starts at 5:30 p.m. sharp. However, most of us will only get into the set like ninety seconds before the camera starts rolling. And since this show is a live recording, no mistake is allowable. Despite the fact that everyone seems to be under-prepared during the rehearsal session, everything usually goes smoothly during the real thing. 

And most importantly, we all had great fun especially during the live recording by sharing jokes and funny moments between the host, guests and the rest of the crew members during the show and also during the commercial break.

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㉑ 18:24 - Minutes after the end of the show. Bado-chan and me have a photo together. Mr Happa Ikki asked us if we are an item lol!

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㉒ 18:26 - The noisy but always full of laughter trio of Takeuchi siblings (竹内兄弟). They hail from Ichikawa City, the neighbourhood just next to mine.

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㉓ 18:30 - The lovely Miss Kimura Kanako, the announcer for the show.

Let me reveal something here. After three episodes of this show, I have actually yet to watch myself on the TV. Well, one reason is because it is a live show and I can't be watching it while being in the show, right? Secondly, I just feel awkward and a bit weird to see myself on a show haha! So to those who has seen me on the show, how well do you think I fared? Got talent to be a permanent tv star or not hahaha!

Lastly before I forget, I will be making most probably my last appearance on the show this coming Saturday (July 28th), same time at 5:30 p.m. on Chiba TV. So, if you have access to the show, you might wanna catch me for my finale show lol!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Inubosaki Lighthouse Of Choshi

"This lighthouse is the symbol of Choshi"

Inubosaki Lighthouse,
built in 1874



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The entrance to Inubosaki Lighthouse.

Our tour in Choshi continued with a visit to one of Choshi's most popular tourist attraction - Inubosaki Lighthouse on Cape Inubo, in the city of Choshi. This lighthouse is well-known across the country and receives the most visitors among all the lighthouses in Japan. It is registered with the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities as one of the "One Hundred Most Important Lighthouses in the World".

Designed and constructed by British architect-cum-engineer Richard Henry Brunton, who had constructed another 25 lighthouses from far northern Hokkaido to southern Kyushu during his career in Japan, this lighthouse was first lit on November 15, 1874. The structure consisted of a cylindrical tower made from the first domestically produced red bricks in Japan. As Brunton was uncertain of the mechanical strength of the Japanese bricks, he constructed the tower using a double thickness for the walls.

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Our volunteer guides giving us a brief introduction about the lighthouse.

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Got our entrance ticket and it's time to climb up the tower.

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At the entrance to the tower.

Repairs for historical preservation and improvements in earthquake safety were made in 1977. This lighthouse miraculously survive a few major earthquakes that hit this area, including the M9.0 Tohoku earthquake that occured on March 11, 2011.

Standing proudly at the height of 31.57 meters, it emits a light strength of 1.1 million candelas and can be sighted from a distance of 35 kilometers away from the lighthouse. By the way, just in case you wonder what does candela mean, it's the SI base unit for luminous intensity and one candela is approximately the brightness emitted by a candle.

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This is the first of several signs on the staircase. This one tells you that there are 99 steps to go until you reach the summit.

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"I guess you are beginning to tire by now. Do not give up! A bit more to go!" says the sign. Sometimes, they can be encouraging but after a while, 
you may find them torturing haha!

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Despite struggling to catch our breathe, Emily and Mi still managed to carve a sweet smile for the camera lol!

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Nearly half of the sign has faded away, but this is the sign that congratulates you upon reaching the 99th and final step!

After we worked hard climbing up the 99-step corkscrew staircase within the tower, we were treated to a spectacular panoramic view of Choshi. And if the weather is good, you might be lucky to see more beyond the city itself. We were lucky that the weather was clear on that day and we managed to see places separated quite some distance away, and that includes Malaysia.

And I'm sure you should know that I just tried to make a cold lie lol!

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The blue sea facing the Pacific Ocean.

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With such fantastic view, you wouldn't feel like going down but to spend the rest of the time here, right at the top of the tower.

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The tip of the tower of Inubosaki Lighthouse.

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Emily and Laura, at the observatory deck of the tower.

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Kimigahama beach (君ケ浜海岸), which attracts tens of thousands of visitors on New Year's day.

With the exception of remote islands and mountain summits, this area is well-known across the country as the first place in the whole Japan to welcome the first sunrise of the New Year. That explains why this place is always crowded with visitors on New Year's Day as it is believed to be very auspicious to witness the first sunrise of the year, which can be seen only once a year.

There is a small museum at the base of the lighthouse. However, I somehow lost my way after coming down from the tower and missed out going into this interesting museum. Now I know why everyone went missing when I came down as I tried to look around for them. Rupa-rupanya they were inside the museum lol!

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This is the first lense that was used for the lighthouse, now being well-kept in the museum (photo credit: Kase Fumihiko).

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Mr Richard Henry Burton, the person behind this marvelous lighthouse.

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A sun clock at the base of the tower.

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This is the first and only white postbox in Japan. Normally, the postboxes in Japan are bright red.

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This unique postbox was installed early this year in March, to coincide with White Day on March 14. There was a special stamp 
for all letters and postcards posted on that day.

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Some of the Chiba Kun Ambassadors got some postcards to be sent home from Inubosaki Lighthouse.

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One shot with the bright white lighthouse at the background.

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Hopefully one day, I will be able to watch the first sunrise of the year at this beach.

Inobusaki Lighthouse (犬吠埼灯台)
Access: 7-minute walk from Inubo Station (犬吠駅) on Choshi Electric Railway Line (Choshi Dentetsu-sen, 銚子電鉄線)
Address: Chiba-ken, Choshi-shi, Araoi-cho 2-297 (〒288-0056 銚子市新生町2-297)
Tel: 0479-22-0316; Fax: 0479-25-2865


Our last stop of the day was an interesting place called the "Chikyu-no Maruku Mieru Oka Tenbokan" (地球の丸く見える丘展望館). Literally, it means an "observatory building where you get to see the Earth is round". It is a large observatory deck of a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding area, which has not tall building around and provide a great view. Besides enjoying a breathtaking view during the day time, visitors will also get a rare treat of a wonderful sunset view at dawn.

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Here we are, at the last destination of the day!

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The light hike to the top of the hill, with beautiful hydrangea welcoming the visitors.

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This deck is the highest point of the building, as you can see the round-ish horizon from here.

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My favorite shot of the day. Sixteen Chiba Kun Ambassadors, from ten different countries, with one common mission!

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These plates are placed to indicate important and famous landmarks in each direction. Tokyo (東京) is far in the background. 
By the way, can you spot Mount Fuji (富士山)?

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Wind power is actively being developed off the rugged coast of Chōshi for use in the city and the greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area.

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 Here is a closer shot of the windmills (photo credit: Laura Jacob).

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The Earth may not look so round here, but with the lovely weather, it is still gorgeous nevertheless.

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From what we were told, if you are a good kid, you might be able to see Hawaii from this direction? Can you see it? I just saw it haha!

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Our lovely Miss Laura being bullied by the five guys haha! (photo credit: Kase Fumihiko)

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Locally produced melons were made into fresh juice. They were super sweet and delicious!

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We were each given a souvenir magnet from the tour guides. How lovely! (photo credit: Ishizaki Masataka)

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Bidding farewell to our guides. Thanks a lot!


Chikyu-no Maruku Mieru Oka Tenbokan (地球の丸く見える丘展望館) 
Access: 15-minute walk from Inubo Station (犬吠駅) on Choshi Electric Railway Line (Choshi Dentetsu-sen, 銚子電鉄線)
Tel: 0479-25-0930 

This was my first time in Choshi and I can say it is really a lovely place. It was even more fun with great company of the other Chiba Kun Ambassadors and the staffs from the International Division Office. Our next tour will come at the end of the summer and we just can't wait for it to come!

Lastly, thanks for reading!