Thursday, July 31, 2008

Birthday suit

I like your suit. You should wear it more often.

Happy Birthday to you. xoxoxo

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Anniversary ♥

Is it possible to fall more in love with someone every day?
I think so. Happy day, Love. xoxoxo

[Please substitute Leo Sayer's name with J's during the intro. by Captain & Tennille]

Friday, July 25, 2008

We're back

This is how I've felt the past few days. Our sleep schedules have been so crazy since we got back and my head feels like it's floating in front of my body.

Hope you're all well and having a happy summer! Talk to you soon...

[Sigh. I'm already missing the sophisticated toilets of Japan. Is a heated seat with simulated flushing noises too much to ask for??] ;)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mount Koya

We went to Mount Kōya in the Wakayama prefecture yesterday. It was truly a special and memorable time and I feel so lucky that I had a chance to visit this magical place.

I took hundreds of pictures while I was there that I`ll upload soon (I don`t have my computer with me at the moment). It was the kind of place that was not only beautiful but also incredibly inspiring. From the scenic drive to the top of Mount Kōya to Kongobuji temple and from the gorgeous Okunoin cemetary to the Tokugawa Mausoleum. It was all so magnificent. I think the highlight of our excursion was staying in a Buddhist temple overnight where we were treated to delicious vegetarian meals and invited to a morning ceremony. It was all so amazing. Can`t wait to share my photos and more detailed experiences with you. For now, sleep tight and have a wonderful day tomorrow.

Monday, July 14, 2008


We're back in Osaka and spent the day in Umeda. J took us to this mega-mall called Hep 5 - Hankyu Entertainment Palace. It was floor upon floor of different ways to spend your money but consisted mainly of clothing stores. It was exhausting and packed to the giblets. It wasn't really to my liking. The stores catered to a different crowd, particularly those that were clad in high heels and daisy dukes with their hair overly coiffed and their faces overdone. I felt like I was in an episode of a Japanese version of Electric Circus and it wasn't just a handful of people in this garb - it was more like 75% of the female patrons. Every store was jam-packed. It's almost shocking how much consumerism goes on in this country. Seriously, I've never seen so many shops and monetary transactions going on. It's a bit frightening.

To be honest, the best place we ended up today was a teeny tiny shop called Tools located just off the train station. They had the loveliest papers, pens, folders and books. Japan has the best stationery and supplies I've ever seen.

Tomorrow, we are going to spend the day doing the exact opposite - we'll be spending the day at Koyasan which is the site of the largest and one of the oldest graveyards in Japan. It's also the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. We'll be spending the night in a Buddhist temple which should be a really wonderful experience.

Now, we're heading back home to relax and soak in the tub. Hope you're all well and having a nice week. Talk to you soon. :)


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Free English lessons

We're in Nagoya now visiting J's friend, Kenji, and having a great time!

J met Kenji through his best friend, St, who met Kenji through a record shop he used to frequent when he was living in Japan. While Kenji first learned English through school (similar to the way Canadians learn French), his real education came from listening to hip-hop!

Last night, we went around downtown and had dinner at an izakaya. An izakaya is basically a restaurant/watering hole composed entirely of separate rooms and long corridors. I absolutely love the atmosphere - it's loud, busy and there's lots of energy. The one we went to last night had amazing food! Nagoya's signature dish is unagi (eel) which Kenji ordered for us. It was absolutely delicious and a bonus since unagi is one of my favorites!

Today, K is taking us on a drive today of the Nagoya countryside and also to see a castle. Can't wait!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Leaving Kyoto

Yesterday, we went up Hiei via funicular and cable car to see the Garden Museum. What a lovely place! J called it the 'Impressionismland' (y'know, like Disneyland only Mickey was a robotic Monet - I kid you not). It was a massive garden and throughout were oversized paintings on easels by different Impressionists. Re-creations of some of the scenes in the paintings were attempted through meticulous landscaping and a French cafe provided a nice touch of ambiance to the beautiful surroundings (the spaghetti ratatouille wasn't half bad, either). The view of Kyoto from the top of Hiei was also incredible!

Sadly, we missed the opportunity to see the temples as they were closing early (4:30 pm). We went back to XIV and explored the resort seeing what else they had to offer. We made a pit-stop at the arcade and then got ready to head downtown for dinner.

J took us to see the JR Kyoto Station. Wow, what a work of art! Designed by architect Hiroshi Hara, it is 70 meters high and 470 meters from east to west, with a total floor area of 238,000 square meters. (MASSIVE!) It is the second largest train station in Japan (Nagoya is the first) and houses a shopping mall, hotel, movie theater, Isetan department store, and several local government facilities under one 15-story roof. I tried to take pictures of it but it's one of those things that has to be experienced to fully appreciate it. Visible from the front of the station is the Kyoto Tower which closely resembles the CN Tower. There's also a statue of Astro Boy on top of one of the signs in front of the station and a museum celebrating Tezuka Osamu's art. After a nice dinner, we went back home to watch SYTYCD but fell asleep.

H & I got up early this morning to go to the onsen. It was just bustlin' (pardon the pun - I know, terrible). What a great way to start the day and to end our time here at XIV. I wish we were staying longer. I feel like we just got here and we're already leaving. (Sigh) Next time we come to Japan, we'll definitely have to make a plan to stay longer in Kyoto!