Category Archives: Travel

Modesty, kids and humility

Liu Qingyun was quite a hit with households across south-east asia in comedies from the 90s. As a well-known Hong Kong actor, he takes frequent roles in movies, though I haven’t been following the Asian movie industry for quite a while, hence I wouldn’t be able to tell you what exactly he’s been up to recently.

So… I was having dinner with the family in a small tucked away Japanese restaurant tonight in Sai Kung, Hong Kong, and Mr Liu was sitting at a table across us with his cronies. It wasn’t unusual to see celebrities as many live around Sai Kung, so it really wasn’t cool to stare. Their table was less rowdy than we expected, presumably they were on good public behaviour. A couple with their young son was leaving, and wanted to meet and greet Liu, who modestly and warmly reciprocated. The father tried to make the young son say a fond farewell, but in the guileless innocence only a young boy can pull off, his high voice rang clearly through the restaurant, “But I DON’T KNOW this guy!!”

There is nothing like having a child bring one back to earth.

It’s ok, Mr Liu, we Gen X-ers still love you, even if the i-Gen kiddos don’t know you.

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Pet Salons in Japan

The whole world knows that there are hair and beauty salons galore in Japan. Walk a street and you see at least five salons, turn the corner and there’s another ten of them. A close second to hair and beauty salons are pet salons. This salon had such a cool setting and was so engagingly open to the public that one couldn’t help but stop and stare. The patience of these little dogs are something to marvel at… being churned out by the salon are manicured little dogs that look very much like little well-dressed toy models.

The manicured puppy is the 21st century adult’s Barbie indeed.

This little dog was the absolute model of patience. He was there for an hour!

One of the very manicured products of the salon. Warning: This is NOT a toy.

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Baden Baden

Hidden away in the suburban streets of Meguro, is a little shop  Baden Baden. They specialise in showcasing products made from young unknown Japanese designers, and the prices are pretty reasonable. I first found out about the shop on a beautiful blog Spoon & Tamago, and set out determined to visit this place. The lovely products we found there did not fail to disappoint!

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Star Jewellery Tokyo

In the Roppongi Hills shopping centre development we came across an interesting jewellery store and workshop fitout. The jewellery they produce is typical of Japanese designs – fine thread thin necklaces, little trinkets, some diamonds. It is studio that is most interesting. Most jewellers will know how hard it is to keep a workshop to such a clean extent as to want to show it off to the public. Once again the meticulous cleanliness and tidiness of the Japanese must be applauded! Many gazed unabashedly at the man working in it.

The fixed glazing to the workshop is also interesting in that they have somehow domed the glass (refer last photo), quite a feat and not a cheap exercise in glass moulding as one can only imagine…

notice the doming of the glass??

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cafe by the sakuras

Recently in Tokyo we went to a cafe with a cosy contemporary setting. A row of art books lined the wall, it made a fine background together with jazzy music to a hot meal. Just a few shots to show how lovely it was, amplified by the pink sakuras blooming by the laneway.

Entry via a laneway by the creek

Two funky middle-aged ladies having a cozy coffee/chat session!

Mother’s group!

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My Yellow Pumpkin & Me

One of the best known Yayoi Kusama’s art works is this Giant Yellow Pumpkin located in Naoshima, near to Park Hotel of the Benesse House. This strong, iconic, cheery sculpture sits contemplating the sea and the freight ships that pass it by. We had a great time playing (no other word for this frivolous behaviour!) around the pumpkin, dancing around it, taking photos, kneeling, trying to jump on it and sliding back, touching the grooves, and finally just sitting contentedly and quietly next to it, watching the ships go between the islands. Inexplicably, I love this pumpkin.

The pumpkin in its lovely context.

The picture perfect view of the pumpkin.

Danny trying to set the camera up on the ground (without a tripod) to take a photo of us. Thought to show our friends a side of the man they wouldn’t usually observe. 🙂

I feel very close to this pumpkin.

HAD to buy this. Is my favourite momento from Japan. But not cheap either at 35oo yen for the little mite!

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Dinner at Naoshima

Our 5* dinner at the western restaurant in the Park Hotel at Naoshima. An amazingly well prepared meal, reminiscing over the photographs is enough to make one drool… 😛 One of our most memorable meals!

Chilled green pea soup palette cleanser

White asparagus starter

Lobster entree! (err, and some kind of froth that the fancy chefs like to use)

Fish with butter and herb sauce (and more froth)

Danny’s fancy piece of veal

Palette cleanser before desert – sorbet & seasonal mandarin (+ purple flower that Danny promptly ate)

My fab chocolate mousse and vanilla gelato

drool~

Apple brioche, berries with vanilla sorbet

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