Throwback Thursday: Experiencing Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo!!

Just as geisha is synonymous with Japan so is sumo.  I was fortunate enough to be in Japan during one of their six Grand Sumo tournaments and wasn’t going to miss it.  My friends, Michael, Shaun and I headed of to The Sumo Hall at Ryogoku Kokugikan Station in Tokyo, early morning to be there in time for the cheap seats. By 11am all the cheaper seats were sold … Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Experiencing Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo!!

Yokohama’s China Town

Walking through Yokohama’s China Town

Yokohama’s Chinatown is the largest Chinatown not only in Japan but also in Asia and it is one of the largest in the world. There are roughly 250 Chinese-owned/themed shops and restaurants scattered throughout the district, with the highest concentration centered around a 300 square meter area. As I walked towards Chinatown from Yokohama train station it was easy to spot the colourful gate that … Continue reading Walking through Yokohama’s China Town

Becoming the "Local Foreigner" in Japan Sticky post

Becoming the “Local Foreigner” in Japan

To experience the cuisine of the country I love trying out the local places. It is here that you get a true taste of the culture as the dishes are not prepared for tourists or changed according to tourist expectations. While living in Japan I came across this very quaint and small restaurant slash bar in the neighbourhood where I lived. This little place became my … Continue reading Becoming the “Local Foreigner” in Japan

Fushimi Shrine

Throwback Thursday: Thousands of Red Torii in Kyoto

  Throwback Thursday, is a weekly reminiscent movement where you re-post past events or photos. They can be from years ago or from just a few days ago. Its a great way to look back fondly on some of your favorite memories……  I visited the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto a couple of years ago and it is still one of my favourite shrines up to date. Fushimi … Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Thousands of Red Torii in Kyoto

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh – Spring in Japan

The Freshness of Spring creates the perfect atmosphere for rejuvenation and well-being. Seeds sprout, flowers bloom, and the sun warms the earth. There is definitely a sense of renewal and new life all around. The appearance of the Cherry blossoms in Japan bring with it an energy of change and something new. The fragrance of the fresh blossoms drift throughout the city of Tokyo and fill the parks … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh – Spring in Japan

Bikes of Japan by Jacqueline Hadel

Bikes of Japan by Jacqueline Hadel

Bikes of Japan is the third book by my friend the photographer and blogger Jaqueline Hadel from TOKIDOKI. Her blog is a documentation of life in the different countries she travels through. Not only is it a “Street Art” lovers paradise, you also get to experience the “everyday” activities of strange cultures and interesting people. Jacqueline has been working and travelling through Japan for a while now and Bikes Of Japan is … Continue reading Bikes of Japan by Jacqueline Hadel

Dont Hurt Me For Your Pretty

Weekly Photo Challenge:Signs

From the street signs we see on our commute to work each day to the random signs we come across during our travels, signs are functional, but can also be decorative or entertaining. Signs can direct us where to go, but they can be very confusing when translated wrongly or with a sense of humour. I have come across a couple of different entertaining signs while travelling through Asia … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge:Signs

Kegon Waterfall, Japan

WPC: Japan’s Eerie and mist shrouded Kegon Waterfall hidden in Nikko’s mountains

While living in Tokyo I heard from many people that I couldn’t visit Nikko and not explore the mountain area around Nikko. The bus traveled up the winding road of Route 120 further into the mist covered mountains and I got peaks at waterfalls and rivers down below. It is not a ride I would recommend to anybody who gets car sick easily as the bus is constantly swerving … Continue reading WPC: Japan’s Eerie and mist shrouded Kegon Waterfall hidden in Nikko’s mountains

These little Good Luck Dharma dolls are so cute!!

A one eyed Japanese Good Luck Dharma

A Daruma or rather Dharma doll is a small Japanese paper-mache doll which is painted a bright colour according to the luck it represents. These little dolls that I came across while in Japan fascinated me and I just had to get myself one. There are seven different “Dharmas” of Good Luck so I had to choose carefully. Purple for Appreciation Yellow for Prosperity Blue … Continue reading A one eyed Japanese Good Luck Dharma

To dress up for Cosplay looks like so much fun!!

Anime Cosplay in Tokyo

Cosplay is the big Anime convention in Tokyo. Cosplay, short for “costume play”, is a type of performance art in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea from a work of fiction, in this case Japanese Anime. I would not be able to live in Japan and not attend one of these cosplay events. When I arrived at the venue I had to stand in line to … Continue reading Anime Cosplay in Tokyo

Their costumes were beautiful and very elegant

Summer festivals and evening parades in Japan

Japan is the Land of gods and they are the reason cities and towns pulse with festival excitement. The intense spectacle and traditions of these renowned matsuri draw millions of people each summer. Matsuri is the Japanese word for a festival or holiday. In Japan, festivals are usually sponsored by a local shrine or temple and the whole community takes part in the festivities. I lived in Higashi-Rinkan, a suburb of … Continue reading Summer festivals and evening parades in Japan

Their costumes were beautiful and very elegant

Travel theme – Japan’s Summer festival Costumes

This weeks travel theme is costumes and I immediately thought of the colourful costumes the dancers wore during the Japanese summer festivals. I lived in Higashi-Rinkan, a suburb of Tokyo, Japan for a while and was fortunate enough to be there for their summer festival. Matsuri is the Japanese word for a festival or holiday and draws millions of people each summer.  Japan is the Land of gods and they are the reason cities and … Continue reading Travel theme – Japan’s Summer festival Costumes

Just in case you were in a hurry, you could reach the rope way station in 7 minutes....if you run a little!!

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

This sign was along the path I walked through Miyajima Island while exploring some of its many shrines and temples. This shrine filled island is very peaceful and people were all strolling around and appreciating the peaceful atmosphere. I couldn’t imagine anybody being in a hurry while exploring this lovely island. But just in case you were, it was good to know that you could reach the rope … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

I was greeted by a huge iron spider as I arrived at the Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills

Foggy view of Tokyo from the 53rd floor!

Roppongi Hills in Tokyo is an expansive shopping and entertainment complex. It is very sleek and modern. I usually stay away from shopping centers but the Mori Art Museum is on the 52nd floor of the 54-story Mori Tower. Completed in 2003 and named for builder Minoru Mori, the tower is the centerpiece of the Roppongi Hills urban development. The building is primarily used for office space, but it also … Continue reading Foggy view of Tokyo from the 53rd floor!

The Prayer Wheels I got to turn all the way to the top!!

Fortune sticks and Prayer wheels in shrine filled Miyajima

Miyajima is a small island close to Hiroshima that I visited when things at the memorial service got to emotional; for me. This island’s real name is Itsukushima , and Miyajima is just a popular nickname meaning “Shrine Island”. While at the floating shrine, Itsukushima I really wanted to do the Chinese fortune telling sticks but unfortunately everything was in Japanese. Kau Chim or Chinese Fortune Sticks is a fortune … Continue reading Fortune sticks and Prayer wheels in shrine filled Miyajima

The giant torii gate which seems to float on the water.

Floating Torii and Tame Reindeer in shrine filled Miyajima island

I traveled to Hiroshima to attend the Atom bomb memorial service which turned out to be emotionally draining. I needed a break from the reminder of destruction and death so took the streetcar down to the ocean. From the port I took the ferry over to Miyajima Island for the day. In the past, women were not allowed on the island and old people were shipped elsewhere … Continue reading Floating Torii and Tame Reindeer in shrine filled Miyajima island

Peace candles packed around the A-Dome

Watching Thousands of lanterns floating down Hiroshima River

The whole world knows about the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 where as many as 140 000 people were killed. Since then, each year a memorial ceremony is held on 6 August for those who died and the few who still survive as well as pray for the realization of everlasting world peace. A big part of the memorial service is … Continue reading Watching Thousands of lanterns floating down Hiroshima River

A-Bomb Dome right at the centre of the bomb

My emotional exploration of the Peace Memorial Park of Hiroshima

The whole world knows about the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 where as many as 140 000 people were killed. Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to the radiation exposure of the bomb. Each year a memorial ceremony is held on 6 August for those who died and the few who still survive as well as … Continue reading My emotional exploration of the Peace Memorial Park of Hiroshima

Memorial statue at the entrance of the park

Meeting atom bomb survivors at the Hiroshima memorial service

A visit to Japan is not complete without visiting Hiroshima the horrific site of the first nuclear bomb and when better than on the anniversary of that horrific event. The whole world knows about the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 where as many as 140 000 people were killed. Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to the radiation exposure … Continue reading Meeting atom bomb survivors at the Hiroshima memorial service

Disneyland parade!!

Toon Town and Roller-coasters at Disneyland Tokyo!!!

I don’t normally like theme parks as roller coasters scare me but I was beyond excited about going to Disneyland in Tokyo!!  I felt like a little kid in a candy store. I could barely sleep the night before and made sure that we arrived at the gate just as the park opened. My friend Yvonne and I spent the whole day at Disney land … Continue reading Toon Town and Roller-coasters at Disneyland Tokyo!!!

Lake Ashi

Pirate ships and hot springs at Lake Ashi in Japan

My friend Yvonne and I left on the Romance train from Tokyo to Hakone. Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. Famous for hot springs, natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji across Lake Ashi. It was a lovely hot sunny day and we could make out the tip of the mountain in the distance. We took a bus … Continue reading Pirate ships and hot springs at Lake Ashi in Japan

Having a salmon sandwich before my Une sushi experience

Eating Sea Urchin sushi, an experience I don’t want to repeat

I LOVE sushi and while living in Japan I made a point of eating sushi at least once if not twice a week! My favourite sushi bar in Japan was a conveyor belt sushi restaurant in Machida named Daikokusan, a couple of metro stops from where I lived.  I love these places where you sit at the bar and just take sushi off the conveyor belt. All the … Continue reading Eating Sea Urchin sushi, an experience I don’t want to repeat

Great Buddha Statue was bigger that I expected

Great Buddha and thousands of Jizo statues

Kamakura was Japan’s capital for more than 100 years beginning in 1192 and is filled with shrines and temples. It is also here that the Great Buddha statue is found. My friend Yvonne and I walked around the Kamakura area one sunny Saturday and on our way to the Great Buddha we stopped of at Hase-Dera temple. Hase-dera is one of the great Buddhist temples in the … Continue reading Great Buddha and thousands of Jizo statues

Turning around to have a last look at the fireworks!

Stalking girls in Kimonos at Yokohama’s Firework festival

Grand-scale fireworks festivals are one of the most exciting events that represent summer in Japan, and are held in various locations across the country!! People get dressed up in their beautiful summer Kimonos and go to parks during the day and attend firework shows at night. These popular firework festivals generally attract from around 700,000 to 1.3 million people in one night, and can make … Continue reading Stalking girls in Kimonos at Yokohama’s Firework festival

The tea-house in the middle of the tidal pool!!

Drinking Japanese Green Tea at Hamarikyu Gardens

I actually planned on visiting the famous Tsukiji fish market but it turned out to be closed today for some or another reason. Not wanting the trip to be a waste I went to Hamarikyu Gardens just around the corner from the market. Hamarikyu means detached palace on the coast, I guess it got this name because it is on the Tokyo Bay waterfront. The … Continue reading Drinking Japanese Green Tea at Hamarikyu Gardens

The whole park was covered in sweet smelling blossoms

Cherry blossoms in Shinjuku Geyoen Park, Japan

I was lucky enough to move to Japan just before spring so had the chance to experience cherry blossom time in Tokyo!! Shinjuku Geyoen Park is one of the most beautiful cherry blossom sites that I visited while living in Japan. The streets and especially parks were all filled with these beautiful blossoms.  I loved walking around in the parks after work or on weekends when … Continue reading Cherry blossoms in Shinjuku Geyoen Park, Japan

Himeji Castle!!

Himeji, the oldest castle in Japan

While spending a weekend in Kyoto my friend Michael and I decided to visit Himeji Castle one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. Himeji is just under an hours travel on the train from Kyoto and quite easy to reach.  Himeji castle is the biggest and oldest castle in Japan and dates back to 1333. It is also widely considered to be Japan’s most beautiful … Continue reading Himeji, the oldest castle in Japan

The blessing circle in front of Hetsunomiya Shrine

Blessing circle on Japans’ Enoshima Island

  I loved living in Japan and exploring all the wonderful places it has to offer. One of my favourite weekend destinations outside of Tokyo was the small island of Enoshima. Enoshima is very small, about 4 km in circumference, linked to the mainland shore of Fujisawa city by two 600-meter bridges. As I cross one of these bridges onto Enoshima Island you enter onto the … Continue reading Blessing circle on Japans’ Enoshima Island

Fushimi Shrine

Walking through thousands of Red Torii in Kyoto

Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. This shrine ended up being my favourite one in Kyoto.  It had a very peaceful and spiritual atmosphere. Fushimi Inari Shrine is also famous for the countless torii gates, offerings by worshippers, which cover the hiking trails of Inarisan, the wooded mountain behind the shrine’s main buildings. These … Continue reading Walking through thousands of Red Torii in Kyoto

This temple is covered in Gold leaf

Temples of gold and singing floors in Kyoto

Kyoto is a shrine and temple filled city and it was quite difficult to decide which ones to see and which ones to skip. My friend Michael and my first site for the day, while exploring Kyoto was Nijo Castle. Trust me it sounds better than what it looks. It looked more like a stately home than a castle. It had peaceful gardens with small … Continue reading Temples of gold and singing floors in Kyoto