For 5 visits to Tokyo now my closest friend Kelly has been gently suggesting a day trip to Kamakura. Every other time I brush the suggestion off and find a way to stay in Tokyo. Part laziness, part there are so many things to do I almost have a panic attack thinking about missing out on something. This time, though, and with the help of Gabrizelle – we made it happen. It was glorious.
This sexy little camel adorned a tiny restaurant on a narrow street filled with gorgeous, but quaint shops and dining spots.
Hase-dera is set on the hillside and is a glorious spot with many things to gaze at and a view to die for.
Blossoms just outside Hase-dera caught my eye.
DAIBATSU – the big Buddha. He survived a tsunami that washed away the temple around him. You can actually walk inside him – avoid this if you hate the heat and are claustrophobic. I survived, only just, but it was awe-inspiring to see the work done to make such an awe-inspiring Buddha.
Lone giant crow surverys the crowds at Hase-dera. Children dropping ice cream ensure that he will eat like a king in no time.
Watch out for kites wanting to rip into your tender flesh! Seriously though, seeing these majestic beauties soaring above us at Hase-dera was a bit of a thrill for me as I’m a bird guy.
The view from the top at Hase-dera convinces me that I must see it again when I return. I also said some really intense prayers both here and at Fushimi Inari (more on that later) and when those prayers are answered I HAVE to go back to humbly give thanks.
When we left Hase-dera I hydrated with one of these babies. Words cannot convey the tart apple punch to the face. This was my only Vivit’s sparkling apple juice I enjoyed in Japan and I will be counting the days until I can shove guzzle another. After a slow, beautiful walk through Kamakura and back to the train station we made one last stop for a bowl of noodles that made me weep. The flavour. The pride noodle man should have. Oh man. I’ll either speak on Inari and Kyoto or Team Lab in my next post. Stay tuned!
I saw so so much yesterday with my friends Maiko and Gabrielle and wanted to write it all down before my brain losesa the detail and order of things.
First up was Fuji Sun at Gallery 5610 by photographer Taishi Hirokawa. The show wowed me as I have great respect for Fuji and a love for all mountains, but I had the privilege of seeing Maiko’s baby Skye stand for the very first time.
My favourite piece at Fuji Sun
“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.”
On the way to our second gallery in Omotesando we spotted my dream home.
This Shiba and Saru Painting was a gift for Maiko and Skye Chan as it represents their Astrological Signs.
Skye Chan is so photogenic. I took this little beauty at 246 Commune, an amazing little food cart space.
We also stopped off at Tokyo Cultuart by Beams to see Yugo’s “Girls”, but I didn’t get a picture. Afterwards we scooted over to one of my favourite spots, B-Side Label to snag some more stickers!!!! Once again, the shop girls were filled with exuberance and joy and kindness and left me wondering how they always maintain it at that level.
Tokyo Cultuart by Beams mural in Harajuku.
Gabrielle and I said farewell to Maiko and began our walk to my favourite coffee shop, but opted instead to check out an incredible garden cafe just next door. We had homemade ginger lemonade and ginger ale and a dessert that neither of us can recall the name of.
When I was last in Tokyo (this Spring) I had a half day all alone and I walked from Shinjuku through Yoyogi to Harajuku. It instantly became my favorite walk. I re-created it with Gabrielle in reverse yesterday. The walk takes you over a huge curved overpass, up a winding street littered with beautiful apartment buildings and fancy department stores. It curves under traintracks and through Yoyogi Park to Meiji Shrine. (Torii gate pictured above) We doubled back through Yoyogi Park to the winding road past a really cool Loréal corporate office building and Yoyogi station. And then we came to Shinjuku and my favourite hotel…
At this point my friend and I had barking dog feet, so we took a breather in the lobby of Century New Southern Hotel. This is the panoramic view from the 20th floor lobby.
After our refresher we jetted off in search of Hanazono Shrine because I remembered enjoying the summer festivals there last summer. The party was in full swing with Taiko drumming and everyone dancing. We stood mesmerized, especially…
When this amazing woman above started drumming. She seemed so powerful and fearless and I liked her Taiko skills best. After the drumming and dancing we hit the food stands and got bacon wrapped herbed cheese and giant mushrooms on sticks, but the food party was just beginning.
As I like to use Yoyogi station instead of Shinjuku we walked back towards that stop. On the way we spotted a couple packed curry and noodle houses, but down one alley stood this beautiful beacon and we did’nt even need to look at the menu to realize we found Nirvana. I had the best bowl of udon in my life filled with things I did and didn’t recognize. The noodle boss was sweet and handsome and Gabby got a free upgrade in size and her noodle bowl was the size of a German Sheppard. And we headed back to Bukuro with full hearts and bellies. The end.
I first moved to Portland, Oregon after a messy breakup almost ten years ago. I healed, but I was not dialed in and did not enjoy the city as much as I should have. I settled in stumptown for good 6 years ago after a brief re-visit of NYC. This time around I fell in love, with a man and with this fair city. One of the biggest reasons I love it here is because I have hiking buddies and I get to see beautiful waterfalls regularly like Wahkeena, Wahclella, Multnomah, and Latourell.
I also like the look of my current hometown, with gorgeous glass and concrete structures against the backdrop of lush Forest Park and alive with beautiful bridges like Fremont, Steel, and my favorite – St Johns. And welcoming you to this wonderland is the famous Portland, Oregon White Stag sign! Such a beauty.
Another reason to celebrate living in the Pacific Northwest is the birds! I see them in the city, floating above me, crows cawing, chickens clucking in neighboring yards, I see them in Forest Park at the Audobon Society, I see owls and auks and gulls and eagles and osprey and hawks on my hikes, and I see them as paintings and earrings and cuffs in my workstation at least once a week. That vile show that has contributed to messing with the vibe here in Portland joked about putting birds on things and I willingly live up to the silly stereotype.
I would be a fool if I didn’t mention the crown jewel of Portland, Mt Hood! The mountain is ever-present looming behind the city to the east, inspiring and beckoning all who see it’s granduer. One of my favorite views of the mountain is from Mirror Lake, a popular hike in my area.
Honorable mention goes out to the vibrant bike culture of Portland. And also the trees. My two favorite trees here are the Douglas Fir and the Ponderosa Pine! These things I have mentioned and many, many more keep me inspired and creations based on them take up permanent residence in my Etsy shop.
Who knows where my adventures will take me this year? I know the area still has gems to reveal and with my new hiking buddies and my dearest, frequent hiking companion Seasons ready to discover them with me I am sure to be inspired to create all year long. Stay tuned!