Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Geishas & Maikos @ Kyoto - Japan

We visited Kyoto again and told ourselves that we must explore
Fushimi Inari-Taisha. Their famous Torii paths and bright orange 
arches are too good to miss! Over hundreds of thousands of 
visitors have snapped beautiful photos there. 

 1. This is the illustrated map of the entire Fushimi Inari.
The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari 
which is 233 metres above sea level.
The entire trails cover up to 4 kilometers & you will see
many smaller shrines along the way. It will take some 2 hours
to cover the whole mountain trails alone as that popular place
would be congested with hundreds of tourists like
you and me!

 2. The main entrance of Fushimi Inari Shrine.

 3. There are many foxes here which are divine messengers to the local beliefs.
In China, their locals actually pray to the divine foxes which are 
believed to bless and enhance their love life.

 4. I did not climb up the entire mountains as I could not
spare another 3 hours. I walked around the base of the mountain
in the lovely cold winter weather.

5. In Kyoto, it is very easy to spot many pretty Maikos
or ladies in their traditional kimono attire.

 6. You could easily spot the real Japanese Maiko and not tourists
from Hong Kong or Malaysia by observing their walking manners.
Aha! Once they opened their mouths to utter their native tongues,
it confirmed their origins!

 7. I only snapped photos of the real Japanese ladies who
are natural, graceful and not camera shy. The other nationalities
would often burst out laughing or ran away. I even spotted
2 African ladies in Kimono but I was too stunned to remember
my camera.

 8. My wife captured these Japanese ladies having their tea.
They were so soft spoken and constantly bowed to each other.
 They are so unbelievably polite!

 9. I am sharing my old photos of real Geishas reporting for work
at the Gion areas of Kyoto during my visit in year 2012.

10. All the Geishas in Gion would normally be accompanied
by a chaperone who would guide & usher them to the
private tea houses to entertain the special clients. The best time
to look out for them are during the evenings till night when
the businessmen would flock to that area for sake drinks,
private instrumental music and dance performance by them.

 11. This was captured by my wife's compact DSLR which zoomed in
the photography shoot of a Geisha inside the Arashiyama Bamboo
Groves recently in late February 2016.

 12. You may think she dressed funny but I believed that attire was
a modern design for some festive posters or fashion magazines.

 13. I found more Gesiha shots taken in 2012 at the famous
Kiyomizudera Temple which is close by to the Gion in Kyoto.
 They would always excite tourists and make heads turn
with their graceful presence.

That's all folks. Hope you enjoyed their beauty.


Monday, March 28, 2016

The Best Okonomiyaki In Hiroshima

When we google search for Okonomiyaki, it would show
that this famous omelette or pancake is associated with
the areas of Kansai or Hiroshima in Japan.

The word okonomi means "what you like" or "what you want"
while the word yaki means "grilled" or "cooked"

1. We found a famous restaurant nearby the Hotel Hokke Club
where we stayed. We just walked a few blocks away.
You can see all the memorabilia of the famous
baseball teams of Japan with the actual photos
of the players dining there.

2. It is a family run business where the son helped to
cook our orders. They were so polite, warm and friendly!

3. The matriarch of the family also did her finest roles
to prepare the precise portion of ingredients. It looks easy
to make the Okonomiyaki but I have no interest to cook.
I just love to eat and be served.

4. This was the best Okonomiyaki I have ever eaten in my life.
Thanks to my wife who has very good knowledge for famous food
and places to hang out in overseas.

5. We ordered 2 plates of different styles.

6. We sapu and cleaned the plates in 10 minutes.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Romantic Nights @ Kyoto - Japan

My best friend lives in Korea & he visits Kyoto & Okinawa every year!
He told me that these cities are the Best 2 places in Japan.
Later I heard more friends voted Kyoto as the best place
for vacation on earth! Wow!

Now my wifey got a Japan's Govt. Scholarship to pursue
her Phd in Education in any university in Japan.
We found that Kyoto University is the best varsity for
Doctorate in Education. So I planned to stay more nights
to discover the lifestyle and living costs there.

1. Kyoto was the old capital of Japan. It still holds the charms
of narrow lanes and beautiful buildings at night.
There are lots of Geishas in pretty Kimono in Gion areas.

 2. The European architecture and designs are fabulous to admire.

 3. They have rows and rows of tiny pubs, cafes and restaurants!

4. The narrow side corridor is so neat and well lit.

 5. The Japanese are very detailed in their ambiance and design concepts.
So avant garde!

6. I fell in love again with all the chic restaurants and trendy cafes by the long canals.
This place is very romantic to propose to your lover!

 7. It was freezing cold and we could not decide where to have dinner.

8. We kept walking endlessly while admiring the shops and retail outlets.

 9. Another Zen looking corridor! Simply beautiful and neat.

10. Aha! I found a very tiny shop selling Ramen!

 11. It is so narrow and could seat only 8 persons maximum!
We had to wait outside for 30 minutes in the winter chills.

 12. Look! Only 1 man show to cook, serve and wash everything.
He is clever to make diners pre-order and pay first onto the
vending machine outside. Saves Time & Labour costs!

13. This is the cheapest Pork Ramen I have eaten in Japan.
Only 480 YEN for such a big bowl!!! Slurps!

 14. We ordered 2 plates of mixed Dumplings.
I forgot the prices but it was cheap too!
Yummy! Yum Yum!

15. My wifey will survive in Kyoto if she takes up the
scholarship offer.

16. We walked again after dinner. It was a good exercise after meal.

 17. The temperature dropped to -1 Degrees C.

 18. If my wifey ever comes to study in Kyoto, I will swim
in this canal.



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Arashiyama Bamboo Groves @ Kyoto - Japan

We arrived at Kyoto after visiting Himeji and Hiroshima regions.
This is our 2nd time visiting Kyoto as we could not finish seeing
all the interesting places 2 years ago.

This trip, we headed to Arashiyama area where you will be able
to have long pleasant walks in the Winter chills, along
the winding bamboo paths, uphills and down hills
till the river banks of the tranquil Oi River.

 1. This is the famous Togetsukyo Bridge over the Oi River.

2. It is lovely to sit by the river banks of Oi River
with your loved ones to cherish the happiest days.
We must learn to forgive & forget everything.
Let our anger & sorrows flow down the river.

 3. Many people are not aware that the China's 
ex Premier Zhou En Lai was educated in Japan during
his younger days.

 4. This talented Chinese premier had written famous poems
which has been engraved on the stones.

 5. A close up of his famous poem. What did he say?

6. I saw some colourful posters of the Japanese ritual ceremony.
Japan's culture is always steeped in Confucianism with very rich 
& traditional festivals alongside many religious ceremonies.

7. You can walk around the Bamboo Groves and smell the fresh greens.
You can also get the muscular men to carry you on rickshaws!

 8. This is the long path at the bamboo grove. It is always packed
with hundreds of tourists & China comrades.
How come it was quiet?

 9. On our way out to catch the train to another spot, we stopped
to eat our lunch. Ultra Man dined at this Curry restaurant before.

10. We had Chicken Fillet Curry Rice. It was delicious & spicy hot.

 11. The best new dish we ate was the Vegetarian Curry Rice
with sprinkled cheese & sun dried tomatoes, brinjal and potatoes!
Very Sedap!


This is the very brand new hotel we stayed at Kyoto -
Urban Nijo Premium Hotel which is very near the JR Line station.
The whole place smelled so new and crisp with modern decors.
We got the special price about RM300 a night.
Their Onsen Hotspring is so popular with the guests making
this hotel fully booked until December 2016..
Just 3 available dates available in November with exorbitant rates
at between RM800 - 900 a night.

12. This room was very "BIG" compared to others we stayed in Japan.
My Tips - always book "Double Twin Beds" in Japan so that the room 
will be slightly bigger with extra space in between the 2 beds.

 13. They have smart designs like round table with fridge
and kettle beneath.

 14. The whole tiny bathroom has got see-through glass without
privacy to shower or poop. That way will make the user feel
that it is luxuriously spacious inside.

 15. The breakfast was fabulous but not so cheap lah. The guests
packed and ate non stop. The waiters had to continously refill all
the empty trays on the 3 long buffet tables.

16. I had to play with my food sometimes and drew
my wife's face that morning!


The Day My World Ended

At sunrise of 3rd August, my wife came to fetch me in her brand new car. She sped all the way through the morning traffic to Shah Alam. It w...