December 27, 2014

I needed a snack break after braving the crowd in Asakusa. Inside the temple, we spotted food vendors and immediately gravitated toward the takoyaki stand. If you've never had it before, it's basically octopus with batter and cooked in a special pan to form it into a ball. You can top it with bonito flakes and sauce. It's super yummy!

I hope you all had a good and relaxing Christmas holidays. I've been vegging out on food. Thankfully I got a fitbit zip for Christmas so I can count my steps and improve! 

A year in review: 2014

December 23, 2014

Looking back at 2014, I can definitely say that is (was) a happy year for me. It started off a bit rocky..as always, I get very anxious about the year starting and the unknown possibilities. Thankfully, I gave myself some time to reflect and let go with a lot of anxiety. I had to really learn to let go and relax more.
I went to Costa Rica in February. Got to explore San Jose. and then took a road trip to La Fortuna. Saw the Arenal volcano, went on a hike in the jungle, chased waterfalls, and enjoyed soaking in a hot spring.

We also ate our hearts out.

We drove down to Quepos and stayed in a rented airbnb. I spent my birthday in Manuel Antonio National Park! It was the best!
Took our annual spring trip to Michigan! We specifically went to Holland, Michigan to see the Tulip Festival. We also went to Windmill Island and it was beautiful!
I also spent a quick trip to a friend's cottage in the summer.
and a weekend road trip to St. Jacob's County.

After a stressful few months, I took a long vacation to Asia. I went to Japan and South Korea. Enjoyed every minute of it! I went to visit cities specifically Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, and Seoul. Ate everything I could and shopped as much as I could stuff inside my suitcase. More posts of my trip to come!

2014 was sooo good to me and I am so grateful for the new experiences and adventures I encountered.  I was really happy to see my friends again from Japan and Korea. Hi Keiko and Jess!!! It was the highlight of my trips!

I wish you all a very special, happy, relaxing, full of food holidays!!! And a very JOYOUS NEW YEAR!!


Shibuya crossing

December 20, 2014

If you watched the movie "lost in translation" then you would know this crossing. It was very  surreal being here just like when I was in Time's Square in NYC. It's so different when you see a landmark in a movie and seeing it in person. I expected it to be bigger. It was not very busy when we got there early afternoon but a lot of people were filming and taking photos with the crowd crossing. I got shy to do so.

I went to Uniglo instead to stocked up on heat tech clothing ;).

Temple cleanse

December 17, 2014

There are many rules on how to properly conduct yourself when visiting a temple or shrine. I'm going to let this link explain it to you in detail.

I tried my very best to abide by the rules and customs when I visited temples/shrines. This is me in Asakusa trying the purification fountain. You can find different types of fountains in each temples. I tried my best to photograph most of them which I will show you in another post.
At the purification fountain near the shrine's entrance, take one of the ladles provided, fill it with fresh water and rinse both hands. Then transfer some water into your cupped hand, rinse your mouth and spit the water beside the fountain. You are not supposed to transfer the water directly from the ladle into your mouth or swallow the water. You will notice that quite a few visitors skip the mouth rinsing part or the purification ritual altogether.
Pictures are also shown so you can follow along.  I loved the whole experience!

P.S. I washed my hands but I did not drink the water ;)

The annual Distillery District Christmas Market

December 15, 2014

The annual Distillery District Christmas Market opened in 2011. You can read my post about it here. Every year, it's getting bigger and bigger. It's becoming a tourist draw and I can see why it's been attracting crowds every year. The venue of course is historic and it has a lot of old world charm inside the Distillery District.  It's full of christmas vendors selling food, christmas gifts, and treats. Not to mention the permanent shops in the Distillery that sells clothing, beauty products, houseware, art, chocolates, etc. 

We went on a Tuesday night to avoid the weekend rush. It was raining slightly. It was not crowded so we had a lot of space to roam around. The restaurants were full though and the choices are boundless but we already had dinner so we just poked around to see what's going on. You can also enjoy drinks outside the beer garden. 

We visited Soma Chocolatier.  I ended up purchasing the dark peruvian chocolate with sea salt and the Grenada Chocolate Company chocolate. I'm usually a milk chocolate girl but lately, I've been eating more and more dark chocolates. Both were yummy btw. 

One of the biggest draw is of course the giant Christmas tree that greets you when you enter the district. It's roughly 40 feet tall! 

I can't believe it's only 10 days to go before Christmas. I hope you got your shopping done! I can't wait for the holidays!

Tokyo: Asakusa part II

December 11, 2014

Toronto is currently getting a whole lot of snow today. My commute was long this morning. It's looks so pretty with the snow but hell for any commuters today. I was in my own world during my commute - I listened to music and thought about Japan. I've been thinking of Japan all the time lately so it's only fitting that I post more of my trip. 

Part I of Asakusa can be found here. We found a quieter part of Asakusa just by walking a couple of meters off the main temple. The smaller temples are less crowded and more peaceful. The garden was so pretty! Definitely my favourite part!

Tokyo: Asakusa Part I

December 7, 2014

Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate)
Nakamise Shopping Street - lots of souvenirs for sale
Sensoji Temple
We woke up bright and early on a Saturday to go to Asakusa. I was excited! But I was not prepared for the surge of crowd there. We should have went Friday instead of the weekend but we had no choice. We were leaving Tokyo the next day. 

We braved the crowd in Asakusa. It was packed! And instead of walking in the middle of the busy street full of stores and tourists - we used the side streets. It was much easier and less crowded.

We visited several temples and it was crazy packed. I barely managed to escape the throngs of people while throwing coins in front of the shrine. It was worth it! 

Maybe next time, I will try to come here on a weekday and hopefully it won't be as busy.

Tokyo: Meiji Jingū Shrine - A wedding!

December 3, 2014

Aww wedding!! We were lucky enough to have witnessed a wedding party taking photos in Meiji shrine. The bride looked amazing!And the whole wedding party too! I'm not really familiar on how Japanese wedding works but this was absolutely beautiful.

Harajuku Takeshita Street

December 1, 2014

Happy Monday and Happy December! Time is just ticking away and it's almost Christmas again. It's going to be a very busy time but I will try my best to still post about my trip. I hope you are having a wonderful day!

After visiting Meiji Shrine, we wanted to walk around Tokyo. I find that it's always best to explore a city by foot.

We walked around the Takeshita/Harajuku area. Lot of shops for clothing and shoes. All kawaii! and girls walking around dressed up. Not really my style but it was good to see and experienced it. 

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