Palau: clam city

There’s a famous snorkeling spot in the Palau islands called clam city, where you’ll find the some of the biggest clam shells around. Most snorkeling day tours will stop here for about half hour to have a look at the giant clam shells. If they closed, you tap on them and they open up. Also some fish around too. Snorkeling is one of my favourite things to do. Could do it all day long. Basically, I love anything that involves water, really.

And the water in Palau is truly incredible. Seeing and being out on the water every day during my week there was the best thing ever.

Pics from clam city.

From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau

Giant clam shells

From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
From Day 2 – Clam city Palau
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Underwater freediving in Palau

Some gratuitous photos of me underwater freediving in Palau. Met a photographer there whom I spent some time hanging out with. He took these cool pics of me. I am pretty sure I was a mermaid in another life.

From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau
From Underwater in Palau

Palau: Long beach island

Palau was an amazing country. Unbelievable pristine waters. A water lover’s paradise. I had such a wonderful time there. Was totally in my element and was in the water every single day.

This is long beach island, where at low tide, it’s a long stretch of beach and white sand that reaches an island.

The water clarity is truly incredible.

From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island
From Day 2 Palau – Long Island

Naoshima Diary: At Uno Station

The Cliff notes of my long weekend trip to Naoshima:

Friday night: Depart Tokyo station after work. Board 7:30pm shinkansen to Okayama station. Arrive Okayama station at 11pm. Check into hotel for the night and crash out into bed.

Saturday morning: Early breakfast. Check out of hotel at about 8:10am. Board the 8:24am train departing Okayama bound for Uno station. (Change at Chayamachi enroute to Uno). Alight at Uno station about an hour later.

Destination Uno reached. A most awesome name for a train station and a small port town.
I was quite excited to be at a place named after a card game.

From Uno station
From Uno station
From Uno station
From Uno station

At Uno with numero uno!

From Uno station
From Uno station

Okay, let’s try that again and let’s try to not get hair obscuring the face.

From Uno station

That’s more like it.

Outside Uno station are two giant monuments. This one….

From Uno station

And this one: the Goddess of the Sea:

From Uno station

And now it’s time to smell the cheese:

From Uno station

And incidentally, ticked off another prefecture – Okayama prefecture done. Only another 8 (?) to go!

Hello Kitty dim sum

I was in Hong Kong in May for a work trip. Whilst there, I had to visit the Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant.

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Little dumplings that were too cute to eat.

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If you’re a hard core kitty fan, this is the place to eat at.

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And if that is too much  food, you can the leftovers home in not a doggy bag, but a kitty bag!

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Simply purrfect.

Naoshima red pumpkin

Ugh, I have a huge backlog of blog posts, or rather photos to upload.

Here are some from about 9 months ago. I never finished that Naoshima diary.

In addition to the giant yellow pumpkin found near the Benesse art park, there is also a red pumpkin sculpture by the ferry port, the main arrival point onto the island.

From Naoshima red pumpkin
From Naoshima red pumpkin
From Naoshima red pumpkin
From Naoshima red pumpkin
From Naoshima red pumpkin
From Naoshima red pumpkin
From Naoshima red pumpkin
From Naoshima red pumpkin
From Naoshima red pumpkin
From Naoshima red pumpkin
From Naoshima red pumpkin

I framed Roger Rabbit (a visit to Okunoshima)

Kicked off another item on the Japan bucketlist and went to Rabbit Island (formally known as Okunoshima).

From Rabbit island

Last weekend, took an early flight to Hiroshima and then from there a bus to Takehara station and then a train to Tadanoumi and then a port to Okunoshima island. A plane, bus, train and a boat hop away from Tokyo and I was finally on Okunoshima.

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

Okunoshima is a tiny tiny island within the Seto inland sea, inhabited by rabbits. The island is pretty much uninhabited, but is a popular tourist destination. There is only one large hotel on the island which is usually always booked out, so we went “glamping” instead. (Glamping = glamour camping).
All accommodation on the island was booked out, so we got a special package from the hotel’s campsite area. The package was amazing value. 7000yen got us a tent (already set up), ground mats, a tarp and table set, buffet dinner at the hotel, buffet breakfast at the hotel and use of the hotel onsen. You can also BYO tent and set up on the campsite, but it was so nice that they set up our campsite and got to use the hotel facilities.

Prior to arriving on the island, at Tadanoumi ferry port, you should be sure to buy the rabbit pellets. You can buy 6 packets for 500yen. There is no food on the island for sale for the rabbits (or humans for that matter). The island has no shops and we struggled the first day when we discovered there were no shops, restaurants, conbinis etc, and only a couple of vending machines). Be prepared to bring your own food and be sure to buy the rabbit food when you buy the boat tickets.

From Rabbit island

The only facilities are at the hotel where there is a shop and restaurant to get food. Apart from that, there is not much on the island, apart from a lot of rabbits. There are also a bunch of military remnants and the poison gas museum. Okunoshima was used as military island during the war, and was the base for a poison gas manufacturing facility. The island has quite the sinister history. Very fascinating though. But a lot of people died as a result of the poisonous gas effects.

We arrived on the island at about 1pm. It was a beautiful day so we pretty much walked around the whole island (which has an approx. circumference of 4km). There are a lot of military ruins and remnants to see as you walk around chasing and feeding the rabbits. The island also has a bunch of really nice beaches, the water looked so clear and clean. Would be great in summer for a spot of camping and swimming.

Brace yourself for cuteness.
Who framed Roger Rabbit?
I did!

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

Eating cabbage – Lady and the Tramp-style

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

Tiny bunny:

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

The rabbits eat right out of your hand

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

The bunnies are so adorable:

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

And here’s a gif:

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

Also no cars on are allowed on the island without a permit and there are no residents on the island, only the people working at the hotel:

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

Military remains:

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

Seto Inland Sea:

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

A photo of a photo in the hotel lobby:

From Rabbit island

Quite a few of the rabbits have mangy or scratched out eyes. They get into fights with each other.

From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island
From Rabbit island

Staying classy, Sydney

Haven’t blogged for a while. Work takes up way too much of my time. Also went back home for a holiday which was long overdue. Had been nearly 18 months since I went home, so I really enjoyed being back, but it was way too short. Took way too many photos and ate way too much good food.

Before I showcase Sydney in all its glory in upcoming posts, here are couple to keep Sydney grounded.

Because nothing says fresh breath better than One Direction toothpaste:

From Classy Sydney
From Classy Sydney

And Sydney has always been a fashion trendsetter. I had heard of leggings and jeggings, but had never heard of treggings. I found myself having to google what the hell they were. Apparently treggings are a portmanteau of trousers and leggings.

From Classy Sydney

#stayingclassySydney

Jogasaki trail and snorkeling

A spot I need to revisit this year is the Jogasaki trail. I went there last year as a day trip to check it out. It was pretty good for a recon trip, so definitely need to go back there this year. The housemate, his friend and I rented a car for the day to head down to the Izu peninsula. So much traffic. Got there a lot later than we wanted to.

The Jogasaki trail is about 10km through a bush track right along the coastline. We didn’t hike along the whole track, just small sections of it as we drove to different parts of it. We also did some swimming and snorkeling at different points. It’s a geopark so there’s a lot of diversity of flora and sealife as well.

We started at Izu Kogen.

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

The coastline is really cool. Sometimes I forget I’m in Japan.

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

The trail is also somewhat famous for its suspension bridges.

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Who knew these rocks were a popular swimming spot:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Not quite a sandy beach, but rock pools are cool:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Kids were jumping from the high rocks into the ocean below:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Taking the plunge:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Family picnickers:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

The fish was this big:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling

A waterfall:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

We then drove up to another section of the trail where there was a lighthouse and a seaside park. It was more crowded.

From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Scenery was great though:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

And this was the lighthouse:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

We didn’t stay too long. We didn’t want to pay for parking so we had to be in and out in about 30 minutes or less to avoid the parking fee.

We drove up to Futo where we had read it was supposed to be good for snorkeling.
It was a small marina:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Supposedly a range of marinelife, including humans!

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

I like that someone has a sense of humour at the Izu tourism association.

Time to hit the water and snorkel!

From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Lots of clownfish:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Even spotted me a human!

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

The water was a bit murky and dirty. There was a debris and stuff. Not sure whether it was just the location, or due to the weather (there had been rain during the week).

It wasn’t the most picturesque swimming spot but there seemed to be enough marinelife. I think it’s probably a better diving spot given the number of divers there. Must be pretty amazing the deeper you get.

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

And there were jellyfish!

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Some divers:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

Yeah, popular with divers:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling
From Jogasaki and snorkeling

And there’s a boat onsen to relax in post-snorkeling:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling

The endless ocean:

From Jogasaki and snorkeling

I’ll definitely be back to Jogasaki this summer to do the proper 10km trail.