Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas & Boxing Day

How did you spend your Christmas 2015 Holidays?
I was sober and around in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate
my father's birthday on the eve. He is a Christmas baby
and I always got to eat yummy food on Christmas Eve
all my life.

 My mum had gone to heavens, so my sister took over 
the cooking this year. We had all the English Christmas menu trimmings
that consisted of the Honey Hams, Cheese Macaroni, Steaks,
Meat Balls, Roast Chicken, Grilled Potatoes and
sweet Apple Curmble & Birthday Cake as desserts.
My brother lamely asked where was the Traditional Roast Turkey?
The lady chef snapped to correct him that Turkeys are only
for Americans during their Thanksgiving Dinners.
English folks would eat Ham and Chicken while the
Swedish would roast the Moose!!! Moooo!

This year, my dad's maid returned home for Chrsitmas
and we got him a Pinoy male-nurse as caregiver.
Guess how much it costs for just a month?

After too much of overeating the Christmas dinner, the next day
was Boxing Day. I really headed to gym for 2 days of non stop 
boxing. It was a great relief to kick and punch the boxing bag for
an hour. Have you ever wondered why they call it Boxing Day
the day after Christmas??

From the GOOGLE - 
Some historians say the holiday developed because servants 
were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following 
day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, 
their employers would present them with gift boxes.

It was back to eating sweets and pampering myself after
buring over 1000 calories. I headed to the pop corn stall
and spent RM61.00 to savour the chocolate and almond
caramel flavours. Yums!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Tokyo National Museum

 Whenever I made plans to visit any new country, 
I never failed to check out their museums!
The more is the merrier and that was why
I loved Xian - China. Never had enough of it.
I know most ladies would seek the shopping streets
but not me. I would be hungry to see their
historical sites, buildings and museums in order to
understand their country better.

 01. We headed to Ueno Park where all the museums are.
Our Japanese blogger friend Minoru Saito-san
so kindly guided us all the way from Akasaka to
Ueno's Park before leaving us to wander on our own.
I really respect the culture and hospitality of all
the Japanese who often play very good hosts to
all their guests. I can never thank them enough.

 02. This is the prominent statue to commemorate
the Imperial Prince Komatsumiya Akihito who was
the first President of the First Red Cross Society
of Japan.

 03. The crow just landed on the hat of the Prince's feather.

 04. The long beautiful pool of fountains flanked by pretty blooms
of flowers outside the Tokyo National Museum.

05. There are several buildings in the museum's complex and visitors
have to decide before paying the entrance fees. This lovely ancient building
was holding the displays of BVLGARI's antique jewels.
It was packed with the local Japanese visitors who are really
art and jewellery lovers!

 06. This building is the main Tokyo National Museum
which was my interest that day. It was first built in 1872.


 07. Nobody would like to follow me into museums as I could take
3-4 hours walking and admiring every single piece alone.
My wife was at Starbucks relaxing while I was browsing inside.

 08. This museum was so spacious inside, similarly to the
Ayala Museum in Makati - Manila.

 09. This huge antique vase caught my attention for its
size and unique patterns details of ancient motifs.
It was a metal caster from Takaoka and belonged
to Yokoyama Takashige who once displayed in
Vienna World Exposition during the year 1872.

 10. There is a lovely landscaped garden with a tranquil lake
behind the Museum's complex. It is a thoughtful place for
visitors to rest and relax before they could continue their
tour inside the museums.

 11. When I am old, I wish to sit on benches too.

12. This is an ancient Japanese hut which was being
relocated from the isolated mountains for display in Tokyo.

 13. I will visit this area again in near future and tour the
other museum buildings.

Address: 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito, Tokyo 110-8712, Japan
Phone:  +81 3-3822-1111
Public Train Transit: UENO Station

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sugamo Shopping Haven

This place is also known as The Harajuku Of The Old Ladies!
My wifey absolutely loved this place with the highest ranking.
Hear me?? Top most favourite ranking place visited by her
in Tokyo!

01. This 800 meter long Jizo Dori shopping street
has so many Red Underwear shops
which is their signature products.

02. The whole area is very popular with the older generations
who are fondly called Obasang & Ojisang!
It means Old Aunties & Old Uncles.

 03. I really lost count on the number of red underwear shops!

  04. The Obasangs and Ojisangs were busy fussing away
at all the stuffs like tonics, supplements, fruits, warm clothings
 walking sticks and rocking chairs!
Suddenly I missed my 4 Grandmothers.

05. Voila! These signature red underwears, 
which comes in a variety of styles 
and is thought to bring abundance luck to the wearer.

 06. My wifey insisted many times that I should buy one
red underwear too!!

 07. I was amused by the activities and shoppers there.
I foresee that I would retire someday and join ranks
in the slow paced lifestyle.

 08. The man played the top many times to attract the
Obasangs. I had no idea what was that shop trading inside.

 09. She found a black sesame ice cream.
That is her all time favourite.

 10. I took a good look at the red underwear and picked nothing!
Do I need a red underwear??

 11. I spotted many lanterns and that must be a temple.

12. This Koganji Temple is halfway down the
shopping street. This neat small temple is home to the highly 
popular Togenuki Jizo deity.

 13. Too much red underwears seen. 
So I washed my eyes & mouth!

 14. This shrine has the popular Jizo Bodhisattva 
and is thought to help heal ailments. No wonder many
obasangs and ojisangs frequent this place
for blessings!

 15. After their prayers, they would proceed outside to bathe
the statue of Kannon Bodhisattva.

16. It was interesting to see the chatty oldies sitting in a circle
staring at the pretty flowers for many hours.

 17. I promptly sat there too and stared at the flowers.

 18. It was getting late and very cold. 
So we went inside a chic cafe to get coffee.

 19. We sat outside the cafe and wrote all our postcards.
Oh boy, it was chilly and my fingers were frozen.

 20. I quickly mailed all the postcards from this post office.
Next postcards will probably arrive from Yogjakarta.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Big Bad Wolf's Book Fair 2015

I was very happy that I managed to visit this 
World's Biggest Book Fair 2015 this year. 
I went twice and felt contented that we managed to get 
some good reads that would last me at least several months. 
Last year, I was quite mad that I drove to The Mines 3 times 
and the horrendous traffic jams made me turn back home. 
I bought nothing in 2014.

This was taken early in the morning but the whole place 
became crowded by lunch hour onwards.

So happy that I must share our small loots below.

 My wife's books for intellectuals.

My books show how hungry I am for China's history.
I bought them for my coming plans to visit the
historical sites of China again.

Datong - Dunhuang - Bhutan - Tibet


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Rikugien Gardens @ Bunkyo-ku Tokyo

We always adore the Japanese who often practice Art as a graceful way of Living.
They would take great pains and planning to beautify & perfect 
their environmental areas from the gardens, landscapes, buildings'
ambiance and even the correct postures to eat or sip the green tea. 
That's beautiful and amazing Art to me.

We headed to Rikugien Gardens as it was often lauded for the best
place to appreciate the foliage of Autumn's myriad colours.
This gardens at Bunkyo-Ku was built around 1700s.

1. We took the JR Yamanote Line train from Akasaka to 
Komagome Station and walked some 30 minutes to the gardens
instead of just 10 minutes as we were lost in circles.
I enjoyed getting lost as I could admire the neat houses
with trees growing abundance of orange and peach fruits!
It was a sight to behold.

 2. My wifey who was my trip's banker & navigator paid
300 Yen each for entrance fees.

3. They even placed a pretty bonsai with beautiful blooms
on the table next to the brochures.

4. The older generations sat to relax and chat after a good
stroll around the Rikugien Gardens.

5. There are many similar pots of full blooming flowers around
Tokyo's temples and gardens.

6. Their chrysanthemums are so huge like my face!

7. The arched entrance with me greeting everyone

8. There is a huge lake in the middle of the gardens.

9. The Autumn's colourful trees have not reached its peak yet
as we visited too early.

10. The Japanese folks are always excited to watch the colourful 
Autumn's trees as well as the Spring's Cherry Blossoms by 
monitoring the daily seasonal reports over the internet.

 11. It was my first sighting of wild Mandarin Ducks!

12. A view of the lake through the pines.

13. The lake of Rikugien Gardens.

14. The folks came in proper Japanese Kimono attires to
enjoy the scenic gardens.

15. Many pine trees were neatly wrapped with straw mats
and tied into a sakura flower's end knots.
Do you know the reason they are tied just before Winter?

16. Here the notice board shared its reasons - When the winter comes,
they will try to catch all the harmful insects by wrapping the trunks with
the "Komo-Maki" method of using straw mats. They would tie 2 lines
with the looser line above so that the insects would crawl inside
and stay warm throughout the winter, as the 2nd lower line
would be tied very tightly to prevent them from crawling down.
By Spring, the would remove the straw mats and burn them
together with all the insects.

17. My Japanese doll.

18. We would have enjoyed this exact scenery if we have visited
Rikugien Gardens during the end of Autumn in December. 
This shot was taken from HERE

19. Am I too tall for the Arch or the Arch is too short?
.... "SAYONARA"....


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