Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tokyo - Studio Ghibli

Ghibli Museum - Tokyo by girl from finito
Ghibli Museum - Tokyo, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
One major thing on my list for Tokyo was a visit to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka.
If you don't not know Studio Ghibli by name you might recognize a few of the movies it has made: My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, Arrietty (the Borrowers)... etc.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tokyo Fashion's Night Out

Tokyo was my last stop in Japan and I had a fabulous time there. That was in no small part due to these two people. They are John and LP whose room I rented while I was in Tokyo. They were the nicest hosts... taking me out the first night I arrived to Japan Fashion's Night Out. I had no clue this was going on - and amazingly it was down the road from the apartment.
That night I hung out with LP and John and their friends, some Korean musicians and a British guy. It was loads of fun. There was too much going on to whittle it down to a few shots so expand the post for a slideshow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Osaka part 2

Night time - Osaka by girl from finito
Night time - Osaka, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
Osaka is a fun town, but it was here I felt keenly that traveling alone has it's downsides. Osaka is a town best experienced at night - wandering though it's small busy streets, buying takoyaki and going to karaoke with friends.
I still had a fab time and next time I will bring along some company.
Glico man - Osaka by girl from finito
Glico man - Osaka, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Hiroshima as whole was not the city I was expecting. It was so much fun. The people are friendly and talkative and very welcoming. In the peace park I was mobbed by adorable children in the peace park and asked some pretty difficult questions on world peace (in English) by them. [side note: I am now well prepped for the Miss Universe question round.] When I went out to have Hiroshima style okonomiyaki I was chatted to (in Japanese) by two locals who bought me whiskey and laughed at my appetite (at least I think that's what they were laughing at). 
I spent two day here wandering the city, getting lost and taking everything in.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On our way... again

Shinkansen to Tokyo by girl from finito
Shinkansen to Tokyo, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
Gah! I've had a bit of an absence.. but I promise to get most of these last posts (Osaka, Hiroshima and Tokyo) done before I leave for my next adventure (August).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Miyajima: part 2

Itsukushima Shrine by girl from finito
Itsukushima Shrine, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.

My second day in Miyajima was glorious - sunshine and a very relaxed day exploring the side streets and temples.  The tide was high at noon and I got some amazing views of the "floating" temple and otorii

Miyajima's Otorii by girl from finito
Miyajima's Otorii, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Miyajima: part 1

I will attempt to not be too fanatical when I talk about Miyajima. I must admit though it is one of the prettiest places in Japan (actually voted as one of 3 most scenic places in Japan). Miyajima is actually an island located just outside of Hiroshima.
The whole island is considered sacred so Itsukushima Shrine and it's torii gate were built over the water. When I first arrived it was low tide and everyone had wandered out onto the mud flats to take pictures.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hirakata-shi: relaxushimasu

Hirakata-shi by girl from finito
Hirakata-shi, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
My friend Virginia, who joined me for Jidai-Matsuri and Kurama no Hi Matsuri, teaches English at a university in Hirakata-shi just outside of Osaka. Actually it's a ways outside of Osaka, you have to travel there by bus from Hontoni, the closest suburb (note this is fairly rare - most places have a train station).
Let me just put in a plug for Japanese transportation. Not only the trains but the busses all run to the minute - so much so that you can tell you are at the correct track by the departure time. It is a marvel to behold.
I spent all day in Kyoto on Friday as Virginia was teaching and the plan was to hang out Saturday and go hiking in the mountains. This plan fell though as she had to work. It turned out to be a really enjoyable day for me though - I caught up on dumping my photos off of my camera, postcard writing and sketching.
Hirakata-shi consists of a Lawsons, 7/11, small shrine and a post office. I wandered away from the "shopping" and ended up at this pond/reservoir. They were burning fields which accounts for the haze in the photos. It was a really lovely place to stop and recharge.
Hirakata-shi by girl from finito
Hirakata-shi, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kyoto: Tennin-ji and Yasui-Konpiragu

I saw a picture of this roof on pintrest and put it on my list of places to see. This gorgeous roof of the Kennin-ji was done for it's 500th anniversary by the artist Junsaku Koizumi. It was inspired by the air dragons that are found on screens in the temple complex.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kyoto: Fushimi Inari-taisha

Fushimi Inari-taisha by girl from finito
Fushimi Inari-taisha, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
One of the most iconic images from Kyoto are the torii gates of Fushimi Inari-taisha.

On my last day in Kyoto I packed my bags, put them in a station locker and hopped on a short train to Mt. Inari. Now I'm going to let you in on a secret - I had no clue that Fushimi Inari-taisha was a mountain. So when I set out I was wearing heels.

Fushimi Inari-taisha is most definitely on a mountain and for a good 2 hours I climbed up and down it - making it all the way to the summit and getting some sympathetic and curious looks from passers-by. The visitors to Mt. Inari were by far the friendliest and most willing to chat or throw out a happy Ohaiyo! (good morning). There are no roads up so all the little stops and shrines and vending machines are stocked by the priests there - packing the supplies up the mountain themselves. (look for the photo near the end of the slide show).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kyoto: Kiyomizudera

Kiyomizudera - Kyoto by girl from finito
Kiyomizudera - Kyoto, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
There is a good reason that Kiyomizudera is a world heritage site - it's massive, if plain, main building hangs over a small gorge almost weightlessly. It's hard to tell when you first enter the temple, but it takes on a beauty and significane when viewed from afar - with the cypress and maple trees dusting the bottom of their viewing platforms.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Remembering the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake

I had already decided to go to Japan by the time the earthquake and tsunami struck this day last year.  My friend, who I was meant to travel with, expressed doubts about our trip and ultimately pulled out. And so I went alone, and I am so glad I did. The people I met and the friendships I started mean a lot to me. I am inspired by the resiliency and hope that I found in the stories that emerged from the tragedy and the people I was able to talk to while there.

Below is a beautiful and poignant BBC documentary about the tsunami and nuclear evacuation as experienced by children of the area.

 via Hello Sandwich

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kyoto: Without a (live) tour guide

I had been in Kyoto for 5 days by now and was fairly comfortable getting around. It's a surprisingly easy city to navigate.
For day 6 I wanted to keep fairly close to my home base so I could do a little shopping in the morning. I ended up finding a route in this book that ended on the street my apartment was off of. I had no clue that was a route that took in the Kiyomizudera temple complex which was on my mental list of places to go to (which I will blame jetleg for forgetting).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kyoto: Walking tour day 2

Nijo Castle - Kyoto by girl from finito
Nijo Castle - Kyoto, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
Our second day starts with a bit of hiccup. I was supposed to meet Jane and Greg Hunt (one of the Aussie couples from the previous day) in morning but was so worried that I was late - I just hopped in a cab to Nijo castle by myself leaving them behind. I don't know if I'll ever get used to Japanese cabs - the door is closed by the diver with a button - I made the mistake more than once on my trip. Anyways, The Hunts were more than gracious about my flub and we continued on.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Kyoto: Walking tour day 1

So I got a little distracted and didn't finish all my Japan posts - I want to rectify that so I set myself a goal of two blog posts a week for the month of March. Lets hope I can do it (がんばりますよ!)

For my birthday I was given some money to sign up for a walking tour of Kyoto. In a city of literally thousands of shrines and equally as much history I thought this would be the best way of seeing and learning about the highlights. I also though it would be nice to sightsee with some people instead of heading out on my own. It was such a delightful experience. The tour consisted of two Aussie couples, myself and our guide Greg (another Canadian).