Friday, 31 August 2012

T.G.I.F.: Owara Kaze-no-Bon Festival, Toyama

September 1st~3rd celebrates the Toyama Bon festival, Owara Kaze-no-Bon Matsuri. This traditional folk festival welcomes the harvest season while 'appeasing the wind' and honouring ancestors. Much dancing and traditional folk-singing is involved. You can also see festival participants in traditional garbs and headdresses. Click the image below for more information...

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Travel Log: Roaming in Southeast Asia (Part 2)

Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed; 5am found us stuffed into a mini-van for a 15 minute ride in the pitch black to the famous temples of Angkor Wat. The early hour was necessary for us to watch the sunrise over the main temple. First, we stopped off at a tourist information centre to obtain our temple passes. Passes procured (part of which required peering blearily into the camera for a passport-style photo on the pass) we headed off to Angkor Wat.

To my surprise, no jungle trekking was necessary to hit out first location for the day. The filming location for the Tomb Raider movie was actually accessible by paved main road, a short ride from central Siem Reap. Crossing the large moat on a stone bridge layed unevenly in the pitch black was trecherous enough, then there was the tourists to deal with! Hundreds of them vied for the best position around a small pond to snap the sun as it rose over the monolithic temple, casting a reflection in the water as it did so. My Australian friend and I decided to avoid the crowds and chose an elevated position on the steps of one of the temple's outer buildings (which we later found out was originally the library) to watch our sunrise. Peaceful, the colours absolutely stunning, my camera does not do it justice...

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Tops Tuesdays!

Hot to trot! This limited edition Pikachu Yellow 3DS LL sold out seconds after going on sale so you know its good! 

People reportedly lined up for 4 hours to get their hot little hands on this baby...

All that for a yellow rodent-like fictional character from Japan! Happy Tuesday!

Friday, 24 August 2012

T.G.I.F.: Hi Matsuri, Fujiyoshida (August 26th~27th)

Pronounced "hee" (not "hai"), the Hi Matsuri ("Fire Festival") of Fujiyoshida near Mt. Fuji promises to be a memorable occasion. From the official website...
"The Yoshida Fire Festival or “Yoshida no Himatsuri” is held every year on August 26th to appease the goddess of Mt. Fuji and to keep the volcano from erupting for another year. Yoshida no Himatsuri also serves as the closing ceremony of the Fuji climbing season. For this lively two day festival, named one of Japan’s three most unique festivals and celebrated for over 500 years, the entire community comes out to watch the burning of large “taimatsu” torches and the parade of two large Omikoshi (portableshrines) through the streets. The Fire Festival is one of Fujiyoshida’s most prized cultural possessions, and this year’s festival promises to live up to its reputation."
Click the image below for more details...


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Travel Log: Roaming in Southeast Asia (Part 1)

I arrived at Bangkok's international airport at 9pm, already braced for the intense humidity and dangers of Thailand's capital city's streets. After being waived through customs without being stopped at all, I located the taxi rank on the lower level of the airport having successfully navigated the barrage of taxi touts at the arrival lobby. Stepping outside, the humidity hit me like a wall of heat. A sign blinked at me: 'Welcome to Thailand.' I greeted the lady sitting at the registration desk for the taxi but had to wait a minute or two before she acknowledged my presence: I wasn't in Japan any more. The taxi driver guided me to his vehicle and, once seated inside, asked me a question in Thai (I knew it was a question because he was looking at me expectantly). "Uh, no Thai," I told him. He nodded. The lady at the desk had given him my hotel's address so off we went.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Tops Tuesdays!

I'm back from my travels and it was amazing! Stay tuned because I'll be making some posts soon about my adventures in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. 

For now, please join me for another edition of Tops Tuesdays.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Tops Tuesdays

Are you a huge Gundam or Evangelion fan? Do the following images get you pumped for a Japanese robot fight of epic proportions?
Gundam in #Odaiba #Tokyo. In 2011 a 1/1 scale Gundam Rx-87 was built. This mobile suit was 18m tall!     Evangelion

Well, look no further because the people at Suidobashi Heavy Industry have created a real-life battle mech called the Kuratas Mecha robot...

Friday, 3 August 2012

A bit of site news...

This Saturday, I'm hitting the airways for a two-week trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam! So this blog will be on vacation over the next couple of weeks. My access to the Internet will be sporadic throughout my trip so I will try to keep my Twitter and Tumblr pages updated if I can. I have a few scheduled posts set for the next two-week period but other than that I am MIA. I'll be sure to update you on my activities when I get back. See you in two weeks!

T.G.I.F.: Aomori Nebuta Festival

From August 1st through 7th, the streets of Aomori City in Aomori Prefecture come alive with the infamous lantern floats of the annual Aomori Nebuta Festival...

These stunning floats depicting traditional Japanese characters, warriors and celestial beings are paraded through town and have made this festival one of the most popular events in Japan. Every year, this festival attracts more tourists than any other nebuta festival in Japan. This festival truly is mind-blowing to see and a definite must on anyone's travel itinerary if you are heading to Japan during the summer. If you are not going this year but  are thinking of going next year, it is important to book your hotels and other travel arrangements well in advance (at least a year) to confirm your attendance as I can't stress enough how exceedingly popular this event is. Participation in the festival as a float carrier is possible; contact the organizers for more details (click the image below)...

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