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.
This Coconut Pecan Bar was divine. It came from a The Bake Shop in Moose Pass on the way to Seward, Alaska. The photo accidentally posted to the top, but it was good enough that I’ll just leave it.
I have wanted to visit Alaska since I was just a little boy. Several years ago I met an amazing woman named Cullen on the streets of Seattle while she was visiting from Anchorage. For ages and ages she would suggest I visit and I could never make it happen…until now. I am presently on day 3 and have experienced so much astounding beauty.
Not long after landing in Anchorage my friend shuttled me right to the gorgeous and easy-to-hike Thunderbird Falls, just north of the city.
Heaven on Earth at the top of Little O’Malley peak.
LOWELL POINT beach (below) was spectacular and filled with flat, jet black rocks tailor-made for skipping.
The Seward Van Gilder is the oldest hotel in Alaska, believed by many to be haunted by the ghost of Fannie Guthrie-Baehm, murdered in room 2o1 in 1947.
The rapidly shrinking, but breath-taking Exit Glacier.
The Pit Bar on the Seward Highway
And now for the outtakes: