~ First in one Japan’s less busy cities – 03.24.2016
After my Manila misadventure which led to spending the night in Taipei Airport, it was finally Okinawa early the following morning. Trying to make most of an already shortened trip, I was out as soon as I checked in bag in my capsule hotel. My day then mostly spent walking around shopping strip KOKUSAI DORI (also called International Road) until that discovery of a monument of a GIANT ROPE used during the city’s yearly tug-of-war event. Unhappy with a cancelled ferry ride to Zamami, I pushed for a quick trip to the nearest beach in the city called NAMINOUE.
Continue reading [Okinawa] ~ Discoveries within Naha City
An odd combination of to-do’s but still of worth – 10.05.15
Right after my DIY Murakami tour in Hyogo is a side trip to nearby Kobe. An extension to my purpose in the former, I intended to see the bar which served as location shoot for a film adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s first work Hear the Wind Sing. Since I was in the area anyway, I sobered up with a rather pricey but signature meat in area.
Continue reading [Kobe, Japan] ~ An Evening of Murakami and Beef
Most often to read his words and be in places; this rare time to be in places that inspired his words. – 10.05.15
What followed my long day in Kyoto is a free one with no particular destination in mind. With some strong of luck the previous night, I came across an article on a town nearby with destinations related to my only and favorite author Haruki Murakami.
On my bucket list are visits to locations mentioned in his novels (which are mostly in Tokyo so clearly not to be a check in my to-do’s for this particular trip). Yet this surprised me with something better – a visit to place where he spent his earlier years.
With a Hanshin tourist pass and maps on hand, I visited a NISHINOMIYA EBISU – a shrine said to inspire one of his best novels (Kafka on the Shore), KOROEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL where he spent his early student days, HANSHIN KOSHIEN STADIUM where he was said to bike to watch high school tournaments and ASHIYA – UCHIDE PARK (also called Monkey Park) as this used to have a monkey cage as he mentioned in his novella and first work Hear the Wind Sing.
Bonuses to this include seeing the clock with time set forever at around 5:46PM — stopped right before this earthquake that destroyed town, cheap shot of sake at noon, ending with these adorable kids at the park who proved that words may be off and hazy but gestures speak.
Continue reading [HYOGO, JAPAN] ~ Where he lived
Like a lost kid, I walked somewhere unplanned in Kyoto. – 10.04.15
Planned to cover Kyoto in all compass points but reality (and acceptance that I can get away with train systems but not with buses) kicked in that I had to narrow it down to eastern after FUSHIMI INARI.
This entry about snapshots from an aimless afternoon walking around the shopping hill to KIYOMIZU-DERA and nearby alleys and then unknown temples until day-end waiting for geishas around GION DISTRICT and window-shopping in SHIJO.
Continue reading [Kyoto, Japan] ~ Temples and Alleys
It’s happy when everything works out as planned. But that doesn’t make it not possible otherwise. -10.05.15
Kyoto was a fail for I never anticipated the bus rides which apparently are the only best for me to get around the places I have marked to see. It was a day of wrong decisions – from the wrong choice of transport card to chaos at the FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE with peak I failed to reach because I spent extra energy someplace I wrongly thought was a shortcut. Yet despite failure to pass through all thousands of toriis or gates, the idea of each being built as sign of gratefulness for wishes granted was enough to compensate for all the burned calories worth it – not just from all the walking but also from the mental ‘strategy’ needed to get a capture of bunch of toriis with no single soul in sight (which I luckily was able to do once).
Continue reading Kyoto, Japan : Chaos in Orange at Fushimi Inari Shrine
A view of the bay area from side to bottom up a transparent gondola – 10.03.15
After this make-believe underwater in OSAKA AQUARIUM KAIYUKAN is this ride up in the air on a ferris wheel with lights that predict the weather the following day –which that night was red orange, a sign of a sun the next day.
Continue reading [Osaka, Japan] Meters up in a Giant Ferris Wheel by the bay
When you can’t go around the world, go (up) around an aquarium first – 10.03.15
Closest I could get to sea during this trip was at the bay area where encountered many kinds of fish in an aquarium as big as a building best enjoyed by spiraling down eight floors of giant tanks. Though I wish one day I could swim with you in the open sea, sight between you and who-knows-how-thick glass was enough to make me all this panicky taking as many pictures as I could, my favorites shared as you click more.
Continue reading [Osaka, Japan] ~ Meters down at Kaiyukan
After learning about instant ramen is this instant connection with some parts of town – 10.03.15
It was only MOMOFUKU ANDO INSTANT RAMEN MUSEUM that I was after in Ikeda but town ended up to be an instant favorite that I ended up killing extra time eating at AZUMA, one of the oldest udon restaurants in Osaka – my way to which I found with help of a woman who after realizing I could not understand a single Japanese walked with me to what I was looking for. Just when I was about to go back to the station was this surprise of a UNNAMED PEDESTRIAN STREET with all kinds of food stalls, some ‘fishing’ (from fish to balls) games for kids and magic even! A refresher slow-paced walk since my first two days of tourist spot-hopping during my first two days.
Continue reading ~ Instant Love for Ikeda
It was one of my favorite discoveries during this trip -a showcase of chicken ramen instant noodles in this place MOMOFUKU ANDO INSTANT RAMEN MUSEUM (named such after one of instant noodles inventor). Unlike other museums that tend to drown with its many displays, this one in the simplest yet fun manner lays out the history and the making of this food for immediate hunger pangs.
Because this is one kind of my favorite places- 10.02.15
When I decide where to stay in every place away from home, I always look for its proximity to places that live up to when it’s night. Chances are because when it is day, I can do all visits to ‘the destinations’ but I always long to have this place where I can walk aimlessly when all those are ‘sleeping’. There’s Hongdae in Seoul, Pub Street in Siem Reap, Beer Street in Ho Chi Minh and Khao San in Bangkok and then there’s DOTONBORI in Osaka.
Continue reading [Osaka, Japan] ~ Dotonbori in Sundown