Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Postcard from the Kinkaku-ji Temple

Current City:  Kyoto

Another day, another Shinkansen ride.

We've touched down in Kyoto.

We decided to check out the Kinkaku-ji Temple first, as it was one of our major MUST SEE things in KYOTO.

Though it was rather crowded, it was a serene walk around the Kinkaku-Ji Temple and grounds.  The gardens were beautiful.  If I had the talent, I could see myself sitting down during Ancient Japan, calligraphy brush in hand, paint pot at my side, a scroll on my knees, and painting the scene in front of me.

I thought it was so endearing to see this woman using her tablet to catch the image of this waterfall!  She was literally trying to line-up this shot for 3 minutes!  There was a back-up to the left of this image because people were letting her take photos.  It's a nice gesture to allow someone to take their pictures without a drove of people interfering or photo-bombing.

I thought it would be nice to show the droves of people who were so considerate (below):

Something really beautiful, which I have been noticing recently, are all the flowers.  Every petal and every bud seem to be glowing.  Spring is such a wonderful time to experience.

Neon colored flowers!

Neon colored sakura trees!

Luminous sakura!
Though the flowers might not actually be glowing, they appear to be!  The Kinkaku-Ji Temple was definitely a great choice to start our sightseeing tour of Kyoto!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Postcard from Miyajima

Current City:  Miyajima

Miyajima was a lovely half an hour tram ride from Hiroshima and a quick ferry ride from the mainland. This was such a great island to explore.  Though most people were there to view the O Torii Gate and Itsukushima Shrine, there were a lot of other things to do:  visit the other shrines, temples, and monuments; take photos of the cherry blossoms, deer, and shopping arcade; try the amazing variety of food offered; shop for souvenirs and hike around.

When low tide finally came around, people started walking out to the O Torii Gate.  This was amazing to see in person.

View from the ferry

O Torii Gate

One of the many deers that live on the island
Shopping Arcade

The O Torii Gate up-close

The O Torii Gate up-close

Itsukushima Shrine
Itsukushima Shrine

Performance at the Itsukushima Shrine

Miyajima was such a romantic place to explore!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Postcard from Hiroshima

Current City:  Hiroshima

Hiroshima made me feel so reflective.  I'm from Hawaii originally and had heard a number of stories about life on the Islands during WWII.  My grandpa was really young at the time and told us that he was once held at gunpoint.  He was out past curfew.  An officer had thought he was Japanese.  My grandpa couldn't speak really great English at the time, but was saved by one of the friends he had made at the next-door fire station.

All of my grandparents would tell us stories about the blackouts.  They would cover their windows and light candles so that all the Islands were invisible to attacking bombers.

This trip to Hiroshima truly gave me the other perspective.

Peace Park

Atomic Bomb Dome

Bell of Peace

Origami Cranes

Clothing, found after the A-bomb, displayed at the Peace Memorial Museum

A watch capturing the time the A-bomb hit

Hiroshima before the A-bomb

Hiroshima after the A-bomb

Feeling very reflective...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Amazing Finds: Japanese Sweet Shop

Current City:  Hiroshima

We had a lovely experience riding the Shinkansen over to Hiroshima.  I can understand why kids love the bullet train so much.  It is the excitement of riding such an amazingly fast train!  It is the excitement of entering an exclusive train platform!  It is the excitement of watching Japan fly by in minutes rather than hours!  I can also see why parents buy Shinkansen paraphernalia for their is so incredibly cute to own a "cute-ified" plushy keychain.  

When we first touched down in Hiroshima, we did some exploring of the streets and stumbled upon an amazing Japanese sweet shop!

Memories of Honolulu came back to me!  I remember going into Daiei or the Holiday Mart and hanging out in the candy section.  The most fun candies were from Japan.  It was mind boggling to discover that some of these candies still existed!  

Such a nostalgic moment for me.  

Does anyone else remember these sweet?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Osaka-Hiroshima-Kyoto Bound

My heart is palpitating with excitement...

My nerves are tangled in a web of joy...

...and my mood is H.A.P.P.Y.

Our much anticipated holiday is finally here.  

We'll be flying into the Kansai airport and trekking to Osaka, Hiroshima, and Kyoto.  Our goals for this trip:

1.  Walk in the footsteps of history

2.  Look in awe at the temples

3.  Try something new every day

4.  Eat something interesting every day

5.  Take in the beauty of the cherry blossoms

6.  Get in some R&R

7.  Enjoy the time together

I am excited!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

BBQ @ Kam Tin Country Club

The weather is becoming so lovely and warm!

Out in Kam Tin, there sits the Kam Tin Country Club.  It is a huge bit of land, where you can find lots of activities for families to do together.  The best part is that you can have a BBQ out here at the same time.

"Stable" for riding animals!  I haven't seen this since I lived in Guizhou!

There are goats out in the field area and goats in the petting zoo area

Bunnies in the petting zoo area

Kids riding on motorized PLUSHIES...again, I haven't seen it since China!  It's a riot to see!  But, the kids seem to enjoy it!

The "motorcycle" derby!

A HUGE inflatable castle for the kids to play on

Goldfish fishing

The entire area is surrounded by fruit trees and vegetables 

Little turtle pond

BBQ pit and HK-style BBQ

This place is pretty fun to wander around, but the best part is definitely kicking back with family and friends at the BBQ pits.  The Hong Kong culture is very my eyes.  We are always invited to have hot pot, dim sum, or barbecues, all of which involve sitting around one communal area of food and hanging out.  It's something that I really love about the local culture!  It's a far cry from the times when everyone is in work-mode.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dim Sum @ Tam's Dynasty

Kowloon City is wonderfully filled with food.  A new place of discovery was Tam's Dynasty, which we went to for dim sum.  This place was highly recommended by Uncle Man, whom we met in the Kowloon Walled City Park.

Tam's Dynasty

Location:  G/F, 29 Nam Kok Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon

Opening Days:  Daily

Opening Hours:  9 am - 10 pm

Uncle Man's paper tearing of a rabbit, in honor of Easter.

Marshmallow Rabbits

Steamed Dumpling in Chiu Chow Style

Steamed Minced Beef Balls

Steamed Pork Stomach Dumpling with Pepper

Steamed Rice Roll with Crispy Spring Roll

Baked Chicken Tart in Portuguese Sauce

Fish-Cured Rolls with Honey Mustard Sauce

Deep Fried Glutinous Dumpling with Salted Meat
This place was pretty good.  It had traditional dim sums and also creative dim sums.  It was a fun place to go to!