Apr 032017
 

In Japan, the best seasons are the fall and spring. These are the times of the year when you can be outside and enjoy all that the flora can offer around town. Or, many people take special trips around this time. 

The spring offers views of the famous cherry blossoms where you can see people sitting under trees having picnics or drinking parties. This is known as hanami – looking at flowers. While there are many flowers to look at, THE flower is sakura or cherry blossoms

My hope this year was to get the timing right for the sakura, but due to the lingering cooler temperatures, they aren’t quite in full bloom yet. 

As today is my last full day of my visit, I made sure to take some photos where I could. 


Here are some from the weekend as well. 



Will keep these handy as I return to the beige desert sands – though the warmth will be nice. ๐Ÿ˜‰

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Mar 312017
 

Our last half-day in Kyoto was a cold and wet one. We put on our Oregonian minds and endured the rain drops enough to do the short walk along the Philosophers’ Path (ๅ“ฒๅญฆใฎ้“ๅ“ฒๅญฆใฎ้“) where we reminisced about the old days when J and I created our own pronunciation of philosophize to philoSOPHisize because we had trouble saying it correctly. Now, it will never be said properly…. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚

The Path leads to the Silver Pavilion (้Š€้–ฃๅฏบ) which is J’s favorite place. I think I had a new appreciation for it this time around, perhaps because the rain enhanced the “silver-ness” of the place.

Normally, it is meant to be a place of calm and zen. When I visited the first time as an exchange student I remember being told it was a place for contemplation and to be respectful to other visitors by keeping ย as quiet as possible. Well…the tourists of today no longer have received this message or perhaps do not care. We had a few moments with some of the other Asian country tourists, but worked hard not to let it ruin our mood and enjoyment of what the historical space offers. ๐Ÿ˜

Overall, it was a lovely way to end our visit, though it was not quite a long enough trip. Next time, we will try to make it a longer one especially since I also did not have the chance to catch up with friends there….๐Ÿ˜ช๐Ÿ˜“

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

 

kkk

 

 

Mar 302017
 

Nearly another 20,000 steps saw us with a “lighter” touristy day…. We decided to head out to Arashiyama since J had never been out there and it had been quite a while since I went out that way. It is not far outside of the downtown area and E was super excited about the train as it is some kind of special one – afraid it was lost on me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Arashiyama is more popular during the fall season for the changing colors of the leaves, but it was still rather popular and busy. The highlight definitely had to be the gardens of Tenryu-ji Zen Temple. We also hit a couple of the coffee shops that were listed in our guidebook at the hotel and were definitely not disappointed.

The first was % Arabica Coffee, which has a Hawaiian blend, but was started in Kyoto. We were surprised to find that it has become a chain in countries around the world. The simple branding of it makes sense why it was so popular that lines were consistently formed outside of it throughout the time we were there and probably the whole open hours. We were satisfied with our wait for it too.

The second coffee stop was at Togetsu Cafe on the other side of the bridge. It was less crowded and had a nice modern feel to it. The coffee was also nice, though probably average in taste. Still, coffee breaks are always wonderful.

Our other main pastime aside from cafes and walking to enjoy the scenery is eating. For two nights in a row we have managed to wait in line for dinner. Last night’s was a bit over the top with a nearly two-hour wait at a ramen shop – run by a cute older couple who are making a killing thanks to TripAdvisor. Tonight was just under an hour. Of the two, tonight’s was definitely more worth the wait – though both delicious.

So, aside from putting on about 5kilos this mini trip alone, we have definitely been enjoying our time! ๐Ÿ˜€

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

 

Mar 292017
 

It’s been many years since I made a visit to Kyoto again after living there for three years in 2001-2004. 

Sometime ago I made a short visit as my first time back since my divorce. I wanted to remember my love for the city outside of the time being unhappily married during those years. 

Now, I am back again wishing my new hubby was with us, but loving the trip down memory lane with my BFF and godson – who is experiencing it for the first time at 11 years old. 

Our first day was pretty full on especially since we were all up at 4:30am to get ready to leave and catch our 6:50am bullet train from Tokyo station. 

Twenty-three thousand plus steps later, we had toured my favorite part of the city:  Chionin Temple to Yasaka Shrine Park to Kodaiji along the Sannenzaka path which leads up to Kiyomizu Temple. Sadly, Kiyomizu was under construction so we did not go in, but we thoroughly enjoyed our walk stopping in the shops, eating and remarking on the new “kimono experience” craze by so many tourists. 

Overall, despite being exhausted we had a great first day in the old capital city of  Japan ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต! 

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Mar 282017
 

Today was a day with my godson since J had to work. So, beforehand I gave him a task to organize something to do for us.

He had a good plan that we set into action. We headed to Roppongi to start our adventure at the Hedgehog Cafe. 






Only in Japan would there be a place that they charge people to come in and pet hedgehogs with a time limit even…. It was an interesting experience and we were both glad we went though it was a little boring given that hedgehogs tend to sleep 80% of the day!

Afterwards E had found a ramen place nearby that has history going back to 1975. It was a large portion and though we could not share our usual gyoza plate, we both walked away with very full bellies.



We made our way back and are bonding over some TV/computer time. Overall I’d say it has been a successful Ethan day! <3

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Mar 272017
 

The warmth of Abu Dhabi is starting to be a little missed, but for the past few days the desert has been full of thunderstorms, lightning and rain. The only difference is the temperature. ๐Ÿ™‚

While I miss my big teddy bear warmer known as my hubby, I am staying warm with the company and spoiling of my BFF and family. <3

So, not too much to say at the moment as it has been a nice quiet few days. The weekend went quickly and I was not good at taking pictures, but it was lovely. A new week has started so will be updating on more activities soon enough.

For today – I am warm in heart and spirit if not physicall! ๐Ÿ˜›

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

Mar 252017
 

Missed posting yesterday because J and I took a girls’ trip out to higher elevations, colder temps and warm hot springs in Gunma’s Ikaho Onsen area. 

It was a short trip out of Tokyo (about 1.5hrs from Ueno Station to Shibukawa). We did the famous 365 steps up and down from the shrine to the bottom and back. It is a popular tourist location in the fall, but it was still a lovely trip – even more so because it was a free stay due to J’s hubby’s family. (ใ‚ใ‚ŠใŒใจใ†ใ”ใ–ใ„ใพใ—ใŸใ€‚) 

Pictures probably say more than I can, so will let the pictures speak for themselves! 

~T ๐Ÿ˜€

โ€‹โ€‹b

Apr 092014
 

It was back to the real world for the Suzuki household yesterday, so I took the time to actually get some PhD work done. Yep, you heard that right, I worked on my PhD!!! The morning was fairly quiet with that. Then, I headed out to meet J for lunch as our last lunch date for my visit. Of course, before I got on the train I needed to indulge in a little treat….

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08-Apr-2014 12:31, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.4, 2.15mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 50
 

Then, we met near E’s school for an organic lunch, which was really tasty and I got to satisfy my curry craving. I think I’ve eaten nearly everything I possibly could here!

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08-Apr-2014 13:23, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 32
 
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08-Apr-2014 13:22, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 40
 

After that, I headed in to Shinjuku, which was not exactly planned before, but as I was meeting a grad school mate and former colleague in Yoyogi, it seemed worthwhile to make a stop. I had waaaaaay too much fun shopping at BicQlo (Bic Camer and Uni Qlo). I got to see the weirdness of Tokyo (see dog pic) Plus, then I went to Isetan’s B2 Beauty Apothecary for the organic health and body care products – wow!

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08-Apr-2014 15:52, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 40
 
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08-Apr-2014 15:56, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 32
 

So, I came back with quite a bit of loot and all caught up with Ro, which was really nice. Overall, a pretty good day survived in the pits of Tokyo central! ๐Ÿ˜›

Sadly, just one more day left and then it’s back to the Dhabs….

-T ๐Ÿ˜€

 

Apr 082014
 

From Days 9~11 we made a trip to Okinawa. It was mine and J’s second time to visit and E’s first. J found a really nice package that included a car rental, hotel with breakfasts + 1 lunch and a dolphin experience. Although it was still a little chilly for my liking, it was a great time and good to get away from the buzz of Tokyo life for a few days.

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05-Apr-2014 06:36, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 64
 
 
 
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05-Apr-2014 13:47, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
 
 
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05-Apr-2014 15:23, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.4, 2.15mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
 
 
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05-Apr-2014 19:32, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 250
 
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06-Apr-2014 13:31, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100
 
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06-Apr-2014 13:33, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 8.4, 18.9mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100
 
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06-Apr-2014 14:29, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.25 sec, ISO 400
 
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06-Apr-2014 14:19, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.5 sec, ISO 400
 
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06-Apr-2014 13:10, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, ISO 40
 
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06-Apr-2014 13:27, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, ISO 40
 
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06-Apr-2014 13:43, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, ISO 40
 
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06-Apr-2014 13:44, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.4, 2.15mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 50
 
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06-Apr-2014 13:50, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
 
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06-Apr-2014 13:50, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 32
 

Now we are back in the cooler Tokyo temps with just a couple more days left before I have to return to reality. ๐Ÿ˜€

-T

Apr 072014
 

It has been a busy few days!

Friday (Day 8) was spent chillaxing at home for a few hours and then heading out for lunch with J.

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04-Apr-2014 12:39, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 40
 
 

We walked around in Tokyo (Omotesando) a bit, reminiscing of the old days when we would go out for a massage or drinks. We had a shocking experience at a Japanese souvenir shop, which rendered J miraculously speechless! Finally, we headed to pick up E from school.

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04-Apr-2014 14:17, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
 
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04-Apr-2014 15:39, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 200
 
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04-Apr-2014 15:40, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 40
 

We had a relaxing afternoon with a surprise delivery of a tasty beverage before my former Kanda student came over for dinner. It was so nice to catch up with her and surprise her with the fact that I speak Japanese. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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04-Apr-2014 16:38, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 250
 
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04-Apr-2014 16:39, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.03 sec, ISO 320
 
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04-Apr-2014 16:40, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.03 sec, ISO 320
 
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04-Apr-2014 19:24, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 320
 
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04-Apr-2014 20:09, Apple iPhone 5s, 2.2, 4.12mm, 0.059 sec, ISO 320
 
 

-T ๐Ÿ˜€