Wow, I have noted that the last time I actually posted something here was 3 years back. Talk about overdue!! Over that time, my DSLR hasn't been quite as well used as I would like it to be and instead, I have relied mostly on my iPhone 4S for most of my travel photos.
This here is one of my most favorite photos of Bali, Indonesia at sunset:-
Today I thought I would try baking cookies with my son. First we don't have a proper oven for baking and second, I have not baked cookies before. However, with a lack of activites on a cloudy day, it's a really good time to give it a try.
It was suppose to be enough for 2 dozen cookies but instead I think I was a little to ambitious and made them a little too big and the results was; first burnt batch, second soft batch and a third huge cookie that was just too soft:-
It's check-out day. I got up bright and early to take a walk around the hotel grounds. Spent so much time outside the hotel that we never really got the chance to see what the hotel had to offer to guests.
Our view from the hotel room was the garden grounds of the hotel. Being winter, the grass was brown and the trees bare and devoid of colours. A good reason to shoot in Black and White. In the garden, there were traditional Japanese styled shelters and structures:
Here the bell in the garden is being rung by the 2 of the hotel staff which happens once every morning to mark the hotel chain's 10th anniversary:-
To keep track of the number of times the bell is rung, the staff make use of these pebbles:-
I have been debating the right term would to use to describing the job of this young lady. Is there such a term as Bellgirl (like a Bellboy)? She hails the cab, opens the car door, greets the guests and even carries the lugguage. Regardless, she was kind enough to pose for this shot:-
We had about 3 hours before the bus to the airport so we thought we would visit the Epson Aqua stadium which was a indoor sea park. Here there are shots of the tank with the various kinds of shark and mantas along with lots of other fishes.
Here is the view of the big pool for a dolphin shows but we didn't have the time to watch it:-
That concludes our 5 days in Tokyo, Japan. A great place to visit with some of the most friendly people I have come across. I had been told that 5 days would barely stratch the surface of the city and I totally agree. Japan is a place well worth a visit several times over.
Day 4 in Tokyo, Japan was taken up soaking up the sites of Asakusa, Akihabara and Ginza. This would be longest posting I have to date on the entire blog as we covered 3 of the biggest tourist areas in Tokyo in 1 day.
First stop was Asakusa and the Sensoji Buddhist temple. We were approached by an young lady asking if we were interested in a rickshaw ride around the area and we decided on a 20 minute ride around the area and stopping at the Sensji Temple entrance.
She introduced herself as Rei(ph) and she would be the one pulling our rickshaw:-
Here, Rei introduced us to Benten-yama or Bentendo Hall, where performers and artists come to pray for improved skills in their art. The bell here in the olden days was used to mark the time and would be rung every 2 hours but now only rings once at 6am each day. There used to be 12 of these bells all around the town but due to Japans involvement in WWII, only 2 of these bells remain while the rest were melted down for the metal:-
After the rickshaw ride, we walked back to some of the areas introduced to us by Rei and here here is the Waentei Kikko restaurant in Asakusa that has scheduled performances on the Japanese Tsugaru Shamisen:-
The Sensoji Temple is huge and very crowded but a must see place if you are in Tokyo:-
Here is one of the most famous gates in Tokyo, the Kaminari Gate(雷門)or "Thunder Gate":-
Here is a shot of under the huge lantern:-
After Asakusa, our next stop was to Akihabara, the electronics centre of Tokyo and home of the famous "maid cafes". Here are several shots of the cafe maid girls handing out flyers along the busy streets:-
Last stop was Ginza, the high end shopping district of Tokyo. A difference can be felt here from the other parts of Tokyo. The first thing you realise is that the people who come here are well dressed and that there is non of the hustle and bustle of the other area. People are alot calmer and relaxed here. It a Sunday here and the roads are closed to allow for shoppers to walk and enjoy in a much wider area:-
Day three was set aside for Tokyo Disney Resorts. It was nice that Tokyo Disney has got a free shuttle service from many of the hotels to Disney. Tokyo would be the 3rd Disney that I have gone to just 2 more left to go (Florida and Euro Disney) to complete the set.
Size wise, Toyko would be similar to that of California, USA with most of the same rides. Although it's winter, the crowds were out in full force with many of the rides having long queues so we spent most of the time in the various houses of Disney charaters like Goofy:-
Here is Toontown with it's crazy Dog Pound:-
What is a visit to Disney without seeing its parade:-
The familar sight of the Disney castle. This was taken as the sun was setting giving the castle a warm glow:-
At the end of the day we were pretty worn out and decided to try the pushcart Ramen stall near our hotel. The hot noodles in cold weather is is such a nice feeling:-
The rush of the previous day did not stop me from getting up in the cold morning of 6am to take a walk around the hotel neighbourhood.
The first thing I realised was that Japan was really the land of the rising sun. Even this early in a winter's morning, it was bright. My first stop was a little shrine I saw while on the train the day before. This is the Takanawa Shinto Shrine :-
These are the "Komainu" or Guardians that guard the entrance of the shrine. These Guardians are usually Lions, Dogs or Foxes and in this case, they look like lions to me :-
Along the streets, I noticed that they are quite visually impaired friendly with these guide markers to help people navigate the streets and train stations. Also, the street are really clean even before the cleaning crew got to it:-
On the other end the town, there is yet another Shinto Shrine call the Takayama Shrine which according to the plaque (in English), protects the residents and businesses in the area. Here, I managed to capture a shot of someone making a quiet prayer at the foot of the shrine:-
After breakfast, we were out of the hotel and headed to Odaiba. It is a man-made island that was originally a landfill site but now houses several theme parks, a beach, a hot spring and shopping malls galore.
This pink cat is the entrance to a huge cat store that everything you want for your pet including a restruant where you can dine with your cat:-
This is just a glimpse of the longest pedestrian bridge that I have ever crossed:-
Inside Pallet Town is the Venus Fort Mall, which reminds me of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas with it statues and painted sky. You would be right saying that this is a very classy mall and the stores they have there are towards the higher end of the scale:-