Archive for the ‘ASIA’ Category

It was a rainy day, but we decided that we had to go to Kanazawa no matter what. We needed our shopping in Costco.

After 5 rounds of chocolate testing and 3 rounds of saying hello to clam chowder, we bought what we wanted and headed to the place I had been wanting to go: Myoryuji templein 1-2-12 Nomachi, Kanazawa, which is famous as Ninja Temple (Ninja dera). It’s not actually made for ninjas, but it’s full of tricks just like a ninja house. We went through the back gate as we walked along Nishi Chaya, a former geisha district, first.

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Nishi Chaya. There’s a writer’s museum you can visit for free, and this district is famous with its very delicious (yet very expensive) golden chocolate or something like that

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Myoryuji back gate

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Myoryuji front gate

Sorry taking pictures is not allowed inside the temple. It costs 800 yen to enter, please make a booking beforehand (click the link to the website above). Surprisingly the temple provided guide books in so many languages!

Then we proceed to Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of History. I really love this museum because it costs only 300 yen but they provides audio guide in several languages for free. Here I could understand more about Japanese history, which impressed some of my Japanese friends because they didn’t even know some of it.

Bonus for me, it was raining and there were barely anyone but us, so I got to try a beautiful kimono (Japanese women clothing) worn by princesses in the old times. There are several other costumes people can try, BUT they suppose to be for children only. Glad that I knew that later after I took the kimono off.

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Became a Japanese princess. Photo by Suemasa Kyohei.

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My Loco Moco set

We had late lunch at Nanea Hawaiian cafe, where another friend works.

Here’s another recommendation for you if you love food:

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Dai Nana Gyoza no Mise (Dumpling Shop Number 7), 7-120 Onebu, Uchinada-cho, Kahoku-gun, Ishikawa-ken. Anyways it’s not exactly in Kanazawa but pretty close.

I love gyoza so much I ate 17 pieces of them. They have pan fried dumplings (yaki gyoza), deep friend dumplings (howaito gyoza), and steamed dumplings. Just point at the picture! 😛

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Mikuni Minato Station is the last station of Mikuni-Awara line of Echizen Train / Echi-tetsu. It’s the closest to Mikuni Sunset Beach, where you can go fishing or surfing as well as watching the beautiful sunset. If you come on August, you can see Fireworks Festival too. Nearby, there’s Yuaport Onsen (hotspring) to experience the Japanese public bath for only 500 yen.

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The classic Mikuni-Minato Station

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kite surfing / kite boarding at Mikuni sunset beach

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Near sunset at Mikuni sunset beach (please pardon my phone camera – the color is uneven because of the lighting)

Walk along the beach (heading northwest) about 300m, you will find stairs going down to Tojinbo Nature Forest walking trail. Follow this path to Tojinbo Cliffs, one of the world’s most beautiful natural cliffs. The sad thing is that so many people come here to commit suicide. Thankfully there are volunteers who always patrol to rescue these people. Their basecamp is a Japanese rice cake /mochi shop near Tojinbo Tower. Then you can walk to Oshima Island, which is famous with its vermilion bridge and as a sacred place.

Other attractions of Mikuni are Echizen Matsushima Aquarium and Mikuni Museum. Mikuni also has beautiful parks with cherry blossoms (sakura) if you come on spring time. Check HERE for events information.

 

Around Mikuni Sunset Beach (Komegawaki area, where I lived)

Mille Graines. It’s a petite cake shop but has really pretty and yummy cakes. My suggestion: ask for seasonal cake or go for the cheese cake. The owner speaks English and a bit French. Open at 11.00 – 19.00. Closed on Sunday – Tuesday.

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One Touch Café. It was a church established by Norwegian missionaries, now run by church staffs (they speak English and some speak Chinese/Mandarin), open on Saturdays 12.00 – 15.00. One set of fine meal and free flow coffee/tea for only 500 yen. Serve limited number of people, so please make reservation. (I’m trying to get the phone number for you. I’ll update this A.S.A.P)

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Meal set example – salad, meatloaf, garlic bun, cake

Port Dijk Coffee. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset. Just up the hill behind One Touch Café. Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Open at 10.00 – 17.00 (or sometimes 18.00). The owner is learning English and really loves talking to new people. The price is quite high though.

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L.A. Surf. Learn surfing or kite surfing/boarding while you’re here. This store is across Port Dijk. The owner speaks English and very active surfer. If he closed the store then he might be at the beach surfing! Best time to surf is autumn to beginning of winter (September-early December).

Tentsuru Noodle Shop. If you go up (heading east) from One Touch Café, then turn right and walk around 100m, you will see “てんつる” sign board. It’s classic Japanese noodle shop which is run by a family. Their katsudon (rice with deep fried pork cutlet and egg) was on the newspaper. There are 3 kinds of Japanese noodles: ramen (Chinese egg noodles), udon (chewy big noodles), and soba (buckwheat noodles). If you’re mainstream, just pick ramen. Otherwise, chikara udon (udon soup with mochi) or tempura soba (soba soup with deep fried seafood/veggies) will be good 🙂 PS. They barely speak English. Closed on Mondays. Open at 17.00 – evening (maybe 22.00 or 23.00).

 

Must Try

Echizen Crab. Get it with other fresh seafood around Mikuni Fish Market (across Mikuni Minato Station) or Tojinbo Cliffs shopping street. Best time to get it is October, when the crab hunting season is on. Usually there’s crab festival on the beach around 2nd week of October.

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Sakka Manjyu. It’s a traditional Japanese bun with sweet and soft mashed red bean inside and hint of sake (Japanese rice wine). The best shop to get it is Nishisaka: walk on the road across Mikuni Station (not Mikuni Minato) – heading southwest- about 200m, it’s on the left side.

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Sakka manjyu from Nishisaka – the mark on the bun shows it

Church / Sunday Service: Sundays 16.00 at The Lighthouse 749, 5-8-3 Komegawaki, next to One Touch Café. For now the 1st to 3rd Sunday service is at a church nearby Mikuni station. They also have a lot of other events like parents-children event, oil painting class, baking class, pizza party, etc. Please ask the church staffs on One Touch Café for more information.

September 2014

I took three off days to go around Kaohsiung. But believe me, it’s not enough! You need at least a week here to enjoy things properly.

Tips: Bring notebook, because a lot of tourist places have special stamp pads.

FIRST DAY TRIP

Train/Railway Museum. If you like vintage, you should have a look. It’s free and nearby a huge park at the back.

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Went a bit further and saw a ferry crossing to another island. I thought I would cross another day. So I walked across the bridge.

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I followed a path to the Former British Consulate Residence. On the way there, I found interesting gazebo with awesome view. It led me to another places I loved to see.

The beginning of the path

The path

The gazebo

The gazebo

The view... if you look more to the right (it's not on this picture), you'll see a famous university

The view… if you look more to the right (it’s not on this picture), you’ll see a famous national university

Former British Consulate Residence. Didn't get in because there's entrance fee.

Former British Consulate Residence. Didn’t get in because there’s entrance fee.

Then I walked down to that university I saw from above. It looks like Meteor Garden movie series set. I thought so, but I was wrong. Anyways… that was an interesting walking tour.

I walked along the bay and bought tea egg in 7 Eleven. Tea egg is my favorite food in Taiwan.

I sat here and ate my tea eggs when I saw that lighthouse in the other island

I sat here and ate my tea eggs when I saw that lighthouse on the hill on the other island

I stayed in Takaobay hostel. The dorm room is clean and nice. It cost 500 TWD per night (double check again. It was a year ago). The owner wasn’t around, but the brother was taking care of the administration. He was nice too. There were 3 of us in the dorm and we had a good time chatting until late with him. They have weekend waterfall tour. Better go with others to share the cost.

SECOND DAY TRIP

i went around together with my new friend from the hostel. First thing we did was having the famous beef noodle nearby Takaobay hostel.

Formosa Boulevard KMRT Station. The most beautiful subway station in Taiwan. We saw a promotion for tourists/students in the tourist information center. You can buy a youth card and get discount in museums and some other places.

Tiger and Dragon Pagoda. Yep. Literally Tiger and Dragon. My friend told me, you should go through the dragon and out from the tiger. Otherwise, you’ll get bad luck. Well… I don’t believe it but I automatically went to the left before she even told me. Hahaha…

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There are temples along the way.

Confusius Temple. You know who he is, right? He’s a very wise man who has so many followers until today. You can see historical stuff there and some of his wisdom.

The gate

The gate

Miniature of the Forbidden Palace (China)

Miniature of the Forbidden Palace (China)

Lotus Pond. It’s just in front of Confusius Temple. I heard that it’s beautiful near dark. It should have fogs floating on the surface of the pond. However, we only saw bats flying around.

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THIRD DAY TRIP

Cijin Island. The lighthouse I saw is here: Cihou Lighthouse. There’s also Cihou Fort, connected by a path which kinda creepy if you walk by yourself. I walked around there and found a Shell Museum. I wanted to go further to the Wind Farm, but it’s too far.

Pier 2 and Banana Pier. Full of art and place to have a drink (especially in the evening). There’s also a big souvenir shop.

The cafes in Banana Pier area. And that's my ship :)

The cafes in Banana Pier area. And that’s my ship 🙂

PS. Sorry, I don’t really remember what happened, but I can’t find my complete pictures of Kaohsiung.

August 2014

This geological park provides a natural phenomenon of rock shape after hundreds (or even thousands) years. They became “mushroom rocks”, “gorilla rocks”, “tofu rocks”, and other kinds of rocks named after their natural shape.

The most famous one is the Queen Head’s rock. Not the one in the front, yeah. That one is Big Cuesta. The Queen’s Head is inside, among the other rocks. You can also find some natural fossil on the ground 🙂

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The Queen’s Head rock

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part of the view there

PS. I don’t know where I lost my other pictures, but if you like exploring nature, I would recommend you to go there. The pictures above are from my instagram.

September 2014

A one day trip with my friends.

On the way to Golden Waterfall

On the way to my holiday

Bitou Cape / Bitoujiao. There’s a really really nice hiking trail with breath-taking view. Loved it so much! It’s also nearby the traditional fisherman village. All pictures posted without filter 🙂

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Golden Waterfall / Jinguashi. It’s nearby the Gold Ecological Park which was the old Japanese gold mine.

Usually more water in spring time. It was summer :D

Usually there’s more water in spring time. It was summer 😀

The Japanese old government house in the old gold mine area

The Japanese old government house in the old gold mine area

Can you see the shining thingy? It's gold!

Can you see the shining thingy? It’s gold!

Taiwanese traditional peanut ice cream. That huge block is made of peanut. The seller will shave it, add a scop of coconut ice cream on top, then roll it in a thin pancake

Taiwanese traditional peanut ice cream. That huge block is made of peanut. The seller will shave it, put it on a think pancake, add a scoop of coconut ice cream, then roll the pancake.

Jiufen Old street. It’s very famous because of a Japanese animation Spirited Away (by Studio Ghibli) took a scene based on a part of this area. It looks very traditional  and has great view. You’ll find lots of food an souvenirs as well here.

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the view from a tea house

The view from a tea house. Don’t worry if you don’t want to spend so much on a tea house (yes, it’s expensive!), Jiufen has a spot that you can see the view clearly and take pictures

black meatballs. yumm..

black meatballs. yumm..

This is the famous stinky tofu (boiled. I like the fried one better). Some people almost died smelling it, but it actually tastes much better than it smells.

This is the famous stinky tofu (boiled. I like the fried one better). Some people almost died smelling it, but it actually tastes much better than it smells.

I don't remember the name. It's glutinous pancake with something tasted like pork char siu inside

I don’t remember the name. It’s glutinous pancake with something tasted like pork char siu inside

Must try drink with colorful glutinous balls. Very traditional one, I heard. Even the shop looked very old. They never moved

Must try drink with colorful glutinous balls. Very traditional one, I heard. Even the shop looked very old. They never moved

August 2014

Taiwan is famous with night markets. They usually start to open around 5 or 6 PM. You will find lots of different kind of food with reasonable price here. The famous food you need to try: star fried chicken, oyster omelet, roasted boar, stinky tofu, chicken feet, fried mushroom, fried dumplings, papaya milk, mango shaved ice, bubble tea, and so on and so on… so bring your friends to share that you can eat more!

Welcome to Miaokou night market!

Welcome to Miaokou night market!

Oyster omelet

Oyster omelet

giant fried dumplings

Giant fried dumplings

July-August 2014

Maybe most of you didn’t realize that the biggest airport in Korea (one of the largest in the world too) is not in Seoul, but in Incheon. Incheon is around 1 hour away from Seoul.

I walked to Chinatown and explored Jayu Park area. There is a mixture of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean in this area. You can also find a road with walls on its side that has history painted on it.

Japanese atmosphere in this area

Japanese atmosphere in this area

Missionary monument in Jayu park

Missionary monument in Jayu park

Main gate of Chinatown

Main gate of Chinatown

The history road

The history road

What to eat?

Jajangmyun. This is Chinese noodle with black sauce. It's somehow Korean, but brought by Chinese

Jajangmyun. This is Chinese noodle with black sauce. It’s somehow Korean, but brought by Chinese

Mango bingsoo. Bingsoo is shaved ice. Lots of Koreans like mango bingsoo as it's really refreshing in summer time

Mango bingsoo. Bingsoo is shaved ice. Lots of Koreans like mango bingsoo as it’s really refreshing in summer time

Original patbingsoo. Shaved ice with red beans and red beans. I like this one better than the mango bingsoo. Maybe because it tastes original :D

Original patbingsoo. Shaved ice with red beans and rice cake. I like this one better than the mango bingsoo. Maybe because it tastes original 😀

Live octopus. Do you see what the auntie is holding? Yes. She will chop that baby octopus and you will eat it while it's still wriggling

Live octopus. Do you see what the auntie is holding? Yes. She will chop that baby octopus into small pieces and you will eat it while it’s still wriggling around

Another thing I did like a Korean was an overnight in jimjilbang. Jimjilbang is Korean style public bath. Normally it costs around KRW 6,000 – 8,000. Take a shower, bath, relax in sauna, eat some charcoal baked eggs, drink black soy milk, then sleep on a mattress provided there. Hmmm….