Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Samurai's Residence

We have been watching so many Ninja and Samurai programs on TVs and the movies over the years. It has been my lifetime dream to visit a real Warlord Samurai's house someday to observe and appreciate the way they lived.




1. We visited the Kumamoto Castle earlier in the morning and took a short slow walk to see a Samurai's residence which was located just outside the castle's grounds.





2. The Spring's weather was cold and perfect for a lovely stroll, passing all the pretty Japanese styled landscapes. The Spring's air was so fresh and clean too.





3. We reached the entrance to the beautiful gardens of the Hosokawa's Residence. This Hosokawa Clans were powerful samurai descendants who ruled Kumamoto from the early 17th Century until the Meiji Period of Japan.




4. My wife is always flexible like a rubber band and there is nothing she could not do on earth! She has finally won my approval to climb the base camps of Mount Everest. God knows when I will embark. My poor legs! Help!



5. Welcome to the main gate of the fantastic Hosokawa Residence. 
The entrance fee is 300 Yen per person.
The address is: 3-1 Furukyou-machi, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto, Japan.



6. I found a broom and decided to help sweep the garden of pebbles! 
Pat my head please!





7. The Zen gardens of Japan are always very neat and beautiful. 
Do you like my sweeping designs? Ahem!



8. Sorry I lied to you. I didn't sweep those lovely neat lines.
I decided to fly with the broom like a witch.



9. Some called it Hosokawa's Mansion because they have so many rooms inside but
I will only post half of the numbers. This historical place was built in the 1870s.



10. The first room looks like a Guest Receiving Area.





11. All the rooms have typical sliding doors that could open up into huge halls for ceremonies.




12. I believe the last tenants who resided this fabulous place was Hosokawa Tadotoshi as the history recorded his great contributions to the garden landscapes which survived to this day.




13. If you are fat and enormous, you can forget about crossing the many corridors! 
It is so narrow and I had to walk side ways.




14. They have several courtyards inside which helps to ventilate the many rooms.
The architects have been smart since the ancient times.






15. This is the reading room of the Samurais.





16. There is a small cottage by itself which could be a guest house.




17. The pretty water container with a fresh flower from their gardens. So avant garde!



18. Another long & narrow corridor with low ceilings for the petite occupants. 
I believe the samurais must be very thin and muscular people.




19. This is the kitchen area which has neat boxes and trays everywhere.





20. This is the bathroom for the Samurai to shower. 
They barricaded all the doors, so I had to stand outside.




21. We spent over an hour walking inside the samurai's mansion. 
Look at the length of its garden walls!



 

22. This is back door of the Hosokawa Residence. My next blog post will cover the impressive Kumamoto Castle nearby.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Visit To Hashima Island @ Nagasaki - Japan

The weather was cold & gloomy during our visit to Japan in Spring as it was under 10 degrees on most days. However, it was a perfect weather when we made our way to Nagasaki to catch a boat to tour the famous ghost island - Hashima Island. So many movies have been filmed there including the current Thai horror movie - "Project Hashima" and also the James Bond's.



 1. We took a 2 hour fast train from Fukuoka City in the morning and jumped onto a tram to reach this part of Nagasaki's town. This quaint town has been beautifully rebuilt from ashes and everyone here lives in a peace loving community.





2. We had to book our boat tickets online before leaving Kuala Lumpur and signed after reading their long list of "Do's & Don'ts" as they fully protect this heritage island which has a rich history. We walked to their sales counters to collect our actual tickets and paid 3,600 Yen each. This lovely harbour lies along the port of Nagasaki.




3. Our cruise boat arrived at last and so many local Japanese from other towns boarded too. 




4. The double decker boat sped off very fast and the cold wind was nice! Far behind are the luxury homes that line the rolling hills of Nagasaki with their windows overlooking the ocean.





5. My wifey posed confidently like a Royal Princess of Nagasaki at the East of China sea. There are 505 uninhabited islands in Nagasaki Prefecture alone!



6. Most of the visitors remained on the upper deck to enjoy the sea breeze and panoramic view. 
They looked like penguins as they could stand the extremes of cold wind!
We both humanoid mammals had to retire inside the cabin below as we were frozen like ice cubes.



7. They had 2 young hotties taking turns to explain the whole journey to the visitors in Japanese language. Mitsubishi bought this island in 1890 and started to conduct undersea mines at the surrounding areas for coal until the 1960s when petroleum overtook the coal industry.



8. This lady was bored to death and went to sleep.



9. We finally arrived the Hashima Island after 30 minutes across the blue seas.It is also called Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) due to its shape. This island's peak population reached a total of 5,259 people and they consisted of Japanese and forced labourers from China & Korea.




10. This very young guy with a hat is a friendly Japanese who kindly offered to take our photographs with our camera!




11. The boat lowered its ramp for us to walk around the ghost island.





12. They barricaded many areas off for the safety of tourists.



 

13. This crew gentleman was so kind and helpful to explain to us by pointing at the photos using sign languages. I really love the Japanese people as they have the best customer services in the world!




14. Their tour guides conducted several stops and briefings to share about the island's history.
There were apartment blocks, school, canteens, look out towers and even a swimming pool before the island was deserted. Everything started to fall apart on its own from the serious damages of typhoons and sea erosion.




15. I thought no dogs or pets were allowed to visit.




  


16. This is a friendly couple from United Kingdom who are both deaf & mute using sign languages & lip reading. When she "heard" that I am from Malaysia, she replied me with flying hands - "Oh that missing aeroplane!!!!!!" OMG!




17. It was an amazing sight to see how the nature's wind and water could inflict so much damages to rip the walls and pillars apart.




18. This lady was funny and took so many long zoom shots. 
She was sure she saw a UFO!






19. For the first time, I saw so many birds that looked like eagles or hawks hovering above.





20, You can see the thick concrete walls that were built to protect the buildings. Nothing can ever beat the powers of natures lashing storms and disasters. The buildings and its floors still dropped down mysteriously.






21. Now she claimed that Ultra Man flew past Hashima Island too!





22. There is a new light house that sits atop to guide passing ships at night.





23. We had a really great time to explore all the cracks and history of Nagasaki. It's truly a wonderful country with the most polite and gentle people on earth that makes their country even more beautiful.




24. Do you agree that it looks like a Battleship Island? Hope you enjoyed this simple post.



I am in the midst of preparing to blog the following:

1. Kumamoto Castle   2. Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum   
3. Samurai Hosogawa's Mansion   4. Ohori Park's Night Sakura
5. Tenjin's Underground City   6. Hakata Station
7. Hotel's Onsen Bath   8. Nagasaki Peace Park
9. Japanese Wedding   10. Temples in Gion
11. Japanese Doll Making & Folks Stage Play
12. Sofukuji Temple Nagasaki
13. Others





Congratulations To The Winners

I have decided to announce earlier for My Next Holiday Destination as no one has commented further. Although it was supposed to be just prizes for the first 3 correct guesses, I decided to be generous to give my small token to all the 7 winners. The comments were so fun and hilarious to make me crack up. Thank you very much for participating. I bought these special Sakura Season Hand Towels from Fukuoka, Japan and will send them out to the winners by registered mails. 



The correct answer is (D) Cruise To Thailand.
We will join the 3 nights cruise to Phuket and Krabi.

Congratulations to the lucky 7 blogger winners:

1. mNhL**
2. SK
3. Lina
4. Small Kucing
5. Will I Am**
6. Reana Claire
7. Princess Ribbon**

Will the above 3 names with ** please kindly send your name and mailing address to me at
twilightzone518@gmail.com

Monday, April 7, 2014

4 Countries in One Day

I am back home now after enjoying 6 eventful days away from Malaysia. Now matter how beautiful and advanced another foreign country may be, I still love my own Boleh Land - Malaysia. We boarded CX from Japan to Malaysia with stop overs at Taipei & Hong Kong - making it 4 countries in total.




Look at all the lovely flowers and landscapes all over Fukuoka and Kyushu Island. The lovely sights would put a smile on everyone. We can plant more flowers in Kuala Lumpur too but I have seen some idiots driving off with the potted plants at night. Wakakakaka





It was really very tough to find postcards in the whole of Fukuoka and Kyushu Island if compared with Osaka, Kyoto or Nara which would spoil tourists with so many lovelier postcards. I manage to grab some 20 simple cards and made a mistake! The posts offices close on weekends! A kind passing old man stopped and offered me help. He spoke in thick Hakata's Nihon-go with some simple sign languages which saved my day. He told me to buy stamps from the "Family Mart" convenience store and post them in any mail box. Yippee!





We stayed at Nishitetsu Hakata Inn and it is highly recommended as the hotel is located right opposite the Hakata Station which houses all the subway lines and trains to Airport & around Kyushu Island. You can also jump into JR lines that connect to Tokyo or Osaka. I will stay there again when I return someday as Hakata Station has so many shopping malls and restaurants inside too. Here, I posed with the above mural drawings at the hotel's entrance.





This hotel has got an in-house Onsen with 3 pools of water from the Hot Springs. Kyushu Island is famous for pools of Hot Springs as the active Mount Aso is still raging there. The hotel guests enjoyed complimentary dips and I myself had a relaxing 5 nights bliss there. It was an eye opener to see several Japanese men flocking inside red & drunk like retarded clowns! Muahahahaha





My flight home to Kuala Lumpur was crazy and so rush! We were the only 2 Malaysians who boarded CX from Fukuoka to Kuala Lumpur and had to board the connecting flight at the Hong Kong International Airport in just 15 minutes. I ran faster than Usain Bolt and was panting like a sick dog!! When we reached KLIA, our 2 baggage were still at Lantau Island! CB! CB! The other 2 Malaysians in the above photo also lodged complaints and tempers flared! They left their house keys inside the luggage! Please learn from their mistake!




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