Archive | October 2013

Tanigawadake Hike and Takaragawa Mixed Onsen

One of the things I told myself I would do more of last year was do more hiking. Autumn is the best season for hiking in Japan because the weather is a lot cooler and the colours of the leaves are pretty at that time of year.

I don’t hike a lot, so this one was quite a tough one for me. It was a long, steep, rocky hike, but the view and landscape was pretty spectacular. Didn’t start off that way though.

From Tanigawadake hike

This was the Tanigawadake hike that I did last October (yes, a little overdue, I know).
It first required taking the cable car:

From Tanigawadake hike

The leaves were just starting to change colour:

From Tanigawadake hike

Conditions at the hiking start point did not look good. Not good at all. How is this for visibility:

From Tanigawadake hike

Trail was a bit muddy and wet too:

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

The fog cleared a bit and we were on our way:

From Tanigawadake hike

Once we got closer to the top it was very picturesque. When I wasn’t sweating and panting away, I managed to get in a few photos. Ok, so more than a few photos.

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

It got steeper and steeper. Not entirely sure if this was meant to be a hike or a rock climb!

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

In amongst the clouds:

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

You would have thought we were climbing Fuji!

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

We were up pretty high:

From Tanigawadake hike

There were even some small patches of snow. And this was October!

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

More climbing. Still not yet at the summit:

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

Stunning scenery:

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

I finally reached one of the lower peaks (there was still the upper peak as well):

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

I think I’m in heaven:

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

The trail of people:

From Tanigawadake hike

What goes up, must come down. Coming back down is worse than going up. And going up was no picnic.

From Tanigawadake hike

A beast of a mountain:

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

After a hardcore hike, we totally deserved an onsen. And we went to a really awesome. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this onsen. It’s a mixed outdoor onsen. There’s about 4 outdoor baths and all are mixed (there is one female-only onsen). This is one of the very rare mixed public onsens in Japan (no cossies allowed). You are allowed to rent a towel to wear into the hot springs though. Most of the ladies covered up with a towel (as I did), but be warned, that a lot of the men there won’t be so modest. The hot spring is a secluded location built across a river and there’s also a really nice ryokan you can stay at there.

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

A very cool onsen:

From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike
From Tanigawadake hike

This is Takaragawa onsen for the record. Definitely want to come back to this place. Lots of different rotemburos to enjoy so long as you don’t mind being surrounded by naked people (towels are optional. Although I am glad I am not too much fatter than what I am because they towels on offer wouldn’t have covered all of me! Just something to keep in mind, if you’re on the bigger side).

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I’m Back!

I’m back. And so are the Backstreet Boys! I went along to their concert, like all the cool kids do.

In all seriousness, if you’ve missed my blog ramblings, it’s because I haven’t had Internet connection at home. I have moved apartments so was without Internet for the last couple of weeks. Got lots of stuff to catch up on here, so feel free to clear your calendar.

I fulfilled a life-long childhood dream to go see the Backstreet Boys. Yep, they’re back and they’ve still got all the moves!
Please no judgement on my music preferences. Remember you are friends with me for my awesome personality and not my taste in music.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ssgrBvuamu_9rvbkhXf4g3VPuYTzod4QOXZenJG8k3M?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-9z1_1MhZezQ/UmsgM9HpRAI/AAAAAAACZRo/12TTaDOUysA/s640/IMG_5478.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/BBoys?authuser=0&amp;authkey=Gv1sRgCLHJ5YrhtOD9fQ&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>B-Boys</a></td></tr></table&gt;
And it was a sell-out crowd:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/vh2IqXyfeVKXg77Ghr1dAXVPuYTzod4QOXZenJG8k3M?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-N51XTVh4pvk/UmsgM-lwjNI/AAAAAAACZRo/Jz1yaOZZlyw/s640/IMG_5480.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/BBoys?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>B-Boys</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/HkEcU19X3dh6SuwpIS0fd3VPuYTzod4QOXZenJG8k3M?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SoXSZPdtAVc/UmsgOPPjT4I/AAAAAAACZRo/YqKN8uxxSoA/s640/IMG_5481.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/BBoys?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>B-Boys</a></td></tr></table&gt;

I was suffering from glow-stick envy! Seriously, where did everyone get these glow sticks from?

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/IcqjyRlOndQjADT3-NAkuXVPuYTzod4QOXZenJG8k3M?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-hvhnE4cfBWA/UmsgP-M5cHI/AAAAAAACZRo/Cg_RacLJgu0/s640/IMG_5487.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/BBoys?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>B-Boys</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/DBDWlCHA3ZWbkeGQOmecTnVPuYTzod4QOXZenJG8k3M?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GfmRHM73F0E/UmsgRpONPOI/AAAAAAACZRo/G9hZtKSKrBs/s640/IMG_5491.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/BBoys?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>B-Boys</a></td></tr></table&gt;
The concert started really early. At 4pm. And it was over by about 6-6:30pm. All the young teeny boppers. Bless.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/s-1RNti0daskE3nW2bT5N3VPuYTzod4QOXZenJG8k3M?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-XO79UXNHA2o/UmsgYBmqtjI/AAAAAAACZRo/4RUuk1fubFY/s640/IMG_5496.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/BBoys?authuser=0&amp;authkey=Gv1sRgCLHJ5YrhtOD9fQ&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>B-Boys</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/FPivKc4cKO2du5MN4aOei3VPuYTzod4QOXZenJG8k3M?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-678OM5P6Nq8/UmsgYBR4MPI/AAAAAAACZRo/U1Q0mn5scoU/s640/IMG_5499.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/BBoys?authuser=0&amp;authkey=Gv1sRgCLHJ5YrhtOD9fQ&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>B-Boys</a></td></tr></table&gt;

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/kjhFXp4VsMBW1AVDfR6Y13VPuYTzod4QOXZenJG8k3M?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-WmTh0QDA4vQ/UmsgZvSwW9I/AAAAAAACZRo/WrYPpWgQR9c/s640/IMG_5505.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/BBoys?authuser=0&amp;authkey=Gv1sRgCLHJ5YrhtOD9fQ&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>B-Boys</a></td></tr></table&gt;

SUPING SYDNEY

I had been wanting to try out SUPing for ages, so when I was back home for Christmas last year, my dad gave me an IOU voucher as part of my Christmas present, thinking I’d get a chance to try out whilst back home for the summer last year. I never got around to using that voucher and lo and behold I actually tried out SUPing this summer in Japan and got hooked.

During my most recent trip home, I redeemed my voucher. Check out my dad’s mad computer skills (Word and google image search).

From SUP Balmoral

My dad took me to Balmoral where I SUPed and he kayaked. I got to have my own photographer for the day. He took heaps of photos of me in action. It was crazy windy on that particular day which made SUPing really difficult, and had to weave through all the moored boats. Was not so fun paddling with the wind.

When it’s not windy, Balmoral is incredibly flat. It’s more like a bay. It’s not a surf beach. It’s actually home to a sailing club.

From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral

Sydney water is so clean and clear. So beautiful and refreshing.

From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral

Lots of action SUP shots:

From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral

All that paddling is hard work. Taking a break:

From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral

Sydney, Sunshine and Smiles:

From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral

On the other side, is the leisure swimming area. Just so happened to be school holidays back home so the place was pretty crowded for a Thursday daytime.

From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral

White sand. Blue water. Sunshine. Seriously, get yo arse to Down Under.

From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral

Aussies: we’re a hardworking bunch:

From SUP Balmoral
From SUP Balmoral

SUPing in Sydney is pretty SUPer.

Art n About

I love me some giant things. And by giant, I mean just oversized stuff in general.
Whilst out and about in Sydney last week, I was able to catch some <a href=”http://www.artandabout.com.au/”>Art n About</a>.
I love installation art. This kind of stuff is totally my thing.
Saw me some giant snails around the CBD.
Snails are cool.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/UiFxQ4Nr0ZjyMiv13WdG6HaHJIxaMCaqwp6yCCjJIfU?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-AH7Mu6vzIWw/Ukym9ce0K5I/AAAAAAACZCo/qmE6IBDEjL4/s640/IMG_5385.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/ArtNAbout?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Art n About</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/PN5FDUR2zQPtPzCx3v1RpnaHJIxaMCaqwp6yCCjJIfU?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-wLRBH5X33a0/Ukym9a74aOI/AAAAAAACZCg/EpY8Fyad6dY/s640/IMG_5386.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”480″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/ArtNAbout?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Art n About</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/8SHZgGyElwEPpIjOBIlrSXaHJIxaMCaqwp6yCCjJIfU?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-OkgUF11LM_o/Ukym-SpbQrI/AAAAAAACZC4/qCoD_1ra6xs/s640/IMG_5388.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/ArtNAbout?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Art n About</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/FmUeFcScAllwLxBZHv6GIXaHJIxaMCaqwp6yCCjJIfU?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-DZVqn-4ybwo/UkynApYi7yI/AAAAAAACZDc/aN-qrMS5PvQ/s640/IMG_5396.JPG&#8221; height=”640″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/ArtNAbout?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Art n About</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/e0VE5aXSwkXdrnVHTY7JUXaHJIxaMCaqwp6yCCjJIfU?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-J8XtdyaZmVs/Ukym_o1ub-I/AAAAAAACZDY/OO4YVpxhVy0/s640/IMG_5392.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/ArtNAbout?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Art n About</a></td></tr></table>

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/NhfC8HKJqLFukCTT9PrEZHaHJIxaMCaqwp6yCCjJIfU?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-kQbTwDiDRGE/UkynAmo_FJI/AAAAAAACZDU/sBFU5KrF0rk/s640/IMG_5393.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/ArtNAbout?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Art n About</a></td></tr></table>

QVB:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/DAHGDT6U8olRXZj-CkhpJHaHJIxaMCaqwp6yCCjJIfU?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-8c_NU64RLI4/Ukym-OyJnyI/AAAAAAACZCw/iGkIRy2ODNg/s640/IMG_5387.JPG&#8221; height=”480″ width=”640″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/ArtNAbout?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Art n About</a></td></tr></table>

The Strand Arcade:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/s3xQ4D_2ZAlYFLAJiI-oOXaHJIxaMCaqwp6yCCjJIfU?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-sg3qDaeD9M0/Ukym-0hmW9I/AAAAAAACZDE/7kUT4sbUu4s/s640/IMG_5390.jpg&#8221; height=”640″ width=”480″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/ArtNAbout?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Art n About</a></td></tr></table>

Life’s short: You OTTO eat good food

A tradition whenever I visit home is to catch up with my foodie friend, Jess.
We always eat somewhere fancy. And she loves her food as much as I do. And talk about dedication, she flew up from Melbourne for 24 hours to meet me. (I have awesome friends).
We narrowed down our options and settled on lunch at Otto down at Woolloomooloo (such a fun word to spell even though I know I’ve just spelled it incorrectly. Autocorrect goes nuts).

From Otto

The weather was perfect. Welcome to spring in Sydney. Can’t beat Aussie weather.

From Otto
From Otto
From Otto
From Otto

Truer words have never been spoken: inscribed inside Otto’s menu:

From Otto

They take their olive bread seriously here. Chunks of olive in bread:

From Otto

A little shared entree to start –

From Otto
From Otto
From Otto

For entree, we both ordered the scallops. Kinda hard to resist:

From Otto
From Otto

I opted lamb for the main. Can’t get good lamb like this Japan. Gotta get my fix when I’m in Oz.

From Otto
From Otto

Alfresco dining:

From Otto

The piece de resistance of the day was the tiramisu dessert. It was practically bigger than the main meal and absolutely divine. Absolutely hands down best tiramisu EVER.

From Otto
From Otto
From Otto

A caloric orgy of cream, cake, coffee, and chocolate:

From Otto
From Otto

Restaurant review in a nutshell: decent food, busy atmosphere, service mediocre, slow service between dishes, pricey for what it is was (not the best value). It’s redeeming quality – the tiramisu.

Power Ranger Litter Patrol

So I was on my way to work this morning, because you know, some of us have to work for a living.
And lo and behold, I saw this:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/DqzJPTFFtG8klFE0rKrzEyerwD5wZOY1-jhDSqtRB7s?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/–E8yEBXXcBs/Uk1KI65wb1I/AAAAAAACZKw/zhx9ZT-bHEw/s640/photo%25282%2529.JPG&#8221; height=”640″ width=”480″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/PowerRanger?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Power Ranger</a></td></tr></table>

Yes, a Power Ranger picking up rubbish off the streets.
I couldn’t resist taking a photo.

But I couldn’t help shake the feeling that people thought <em>I </em> was the weird one for taking a photo of the Power Ranger picking up rubbish at 9am on a Thursday morning!

He then went on his merry way with his bag full of rubbish:

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/OAy9FKSTrisDBpoIVMppsSerwD5wZOY1-jhDSqtRB7s?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Kgjv7KDmPTg/Uk1KJOoKlVI/AAAAAAACZK4/JMpl3EUbzVY/s640/photo%25283%2529.JPG&#8221; height=”640″ width=”480″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/PowerRanger?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Power Ranger</a></td></tr></table>

Wow. Superheroes do exist. And they care about the environment.

You know it’s gonna be a good day ahead when you see a Power Ranger on your way to work.

<table style=”width:auto”><tr><td><a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/XtVLu166Km7vGCISxhdXsCerwD5wZOY1-jhDSqtRB7s?feat=embedwebsite”><img src=”https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-Dg5iCVZGXa8/Uk1KI2K1s7I/AAAAAAACZKo/6Cn33JeJ0JI/s400/photo%25281%2529.JPG&#8221; height=”400″ width=”400″ /></a></td></tr><tr><td style=”font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:11px;text-align:right”>From <a href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/116032719585350311356/PowerRanger?authuser=0&amp;feat=embedwebsite”>Power Ranger</a></td></tr></table>

Go Go Power Rangers!

Wifi Romance

Gone are the days of a ring in a champagne glass to pop the big question.

There are many novel and interesting ways to propose, but wowzers, I saw one that took me by surprise the other day.
Welcome to the 21st century! Digital proposal – via a wifi network!

From Wifi proposal

I think that takes the cake for romance killer.

People always talk about looking for a “connection” when it comes to relationships, but a “wifi” connection is not the kind of connection that came to mind.

So yes, I saw this for real on my iPhone! Whilst in Sydney. I took a screenshot on my iPhone.
I captured this at Sydney airport, of all places, as I was boarding my flight back to Japan.

I wonder if the password for the wifi access was “Yes”??!!
Sadly, I didn’t try entering that in.
But most likely “Access Denied” — which sums up my lovelife (or lack thereof) in general.
Well, at least I got broadband!