Yanagawa (柳川) is known for its hundreds of kilometers of canals and hence its name “city of water” in Japan. Guided cruise along its canals is one of the top tourist activity when visiting this city in Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu. A photo (1st one below) was taken outside the ruins of the Yanagawa Castle built in Eiroku Period (1558-1570).
The cruise is roughly an hour so like me you may become very hungry … not to worry! Unagi no Seiro-mushi (eel rice steamed in a basket) is one of the specialties of Yanagawa. In fact there’re a few eel rice restaurants once you alight the canal cruise. Below 👇🏻 is the city’s website where you’ll find lots of information on the canal cruise and list of eel rice restaurants. Enjoy 😉
I took these from the second floor looking down. These beautiful pieces of stained glass (I cut into 4 pictures to fit the square theme😊) are at Standard Chartered Bank in Central Hongkong. Famous icons of the city are included – colorful neon signs suspended above crowded streets, junk boats, tram and metro.
Come visit us at Rokkosan Pasture in Kobe Japan. This hilly pasture is home to sheep 🐑, big and small and they roam freely. Yes! And so for sheep lovers this is the place to go if you’re visiting Japan.
Sharing some of my photos from 2 years ago. And if you like soft serve ice cream 🍦, they have really smooth and creamy ones on sale at outdoor stalls where you can sit down on the grass and mingle with our sheep friends.
Here is their official website available in various languages. Enjoy 😉
While at a really nice bookstore a few days ago (I posted a picture of it), a book’s front cover had “Unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem and other things that happened”.
With so much that’s happened and ongoing – raging fires, protests, escalating war tensions I finished the book in 2 hours. Not because I could read fast but almost every page contained 2 or 3 drawings. Almost like a comic kind of book.
My review: As an adult reader, I felt she did a wonderful job with the drawings and sometimes true sometimes exaggerated (hence the title?), witty depictions of human emotions in situations such as – depression, motivation, lying about something you don’t actually like etc etc.
We’re all different after all when it comes to dealing with situations. But flawed coping mechanisms shaped from norms and expectations make matters worse. Do you agree?
This little pot is absolutely indispensable for me!My makeup routine is no makeup unless you count tinted moisturizer and tinted lip gloss. Hence I’m always on the lookout for affordable “tints”! I live in Asia and there’re plenty to choose from…affordable, versatile, just cute …
And since they’re relatively affordable and cuteness is hard to resist (for me😊) I tend to buy and try . No matter what, rosy lips from Vaseline is something I keep going back.
Use it on my lips, under eyes lines, as a clear mascara and cheek highlighter.
Do you have a lip gloss you really like too? (Note I’m not doing a paid review for Vaseline!)
Since I was a kid I loved this dessert. It was a snack after piano lessons I looked forward to.
Called Taiyaki 鯛焼き, (lit. ‘baked sea bream’) is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans.
It is a classic street vendor snack in Japan and that warmth you hold in your hands of freshly baked taiyaki is indescribable!
Although traditionally eaten freshly baked, if you’re in Japan and feel like a cold dessert, head to the nearest 711 to find the cold version. It tastes super good. The white dough is slightly chewy and the custard inside is just super! Each are sold individually wrapped. I’ve attached the screenshot from 711 Japan for you.
Delight(s) – word ending in light by The Light of B photo challenge. Yes Taiyakis delights me!
Explore more, play more, snack more, sleep more! These are totally realistic and achievable for a cat 🐱 lol!
As some of you already know by now that I love our furrry friends and sometimes take inspiration from pusheen videos. Here is another good one reminding us, their human friends to set realistic resolutions.
Often we see these
15 books to read in 2020 that will change your life
20 ways to make yourself happier and healthier
10 things to do now if you’re job hunting
And the list goes on…We try to write ambitious resolutions and when resolutions don’t work, they are inherently depressing😿.
My own experience has been to set short term goals and the tasks needed to achieve the goals. When I started I set only 1 most pressing goal and broke down the tasks into doable steps so I had no excuse to fail. It worked for me. Some goals seem to last forever. For me it’s de-cluttering. But I don’t feel bad about it because I am making progress.
I’ve not visited, and like many of you have caught glimpses of this magnificent place from the movie The Last Emperor. Well would 2020 be a year to visit? As it marks the 600th and 95th anniversary of the Forbidden City and the Palace Museum (故宫博物馆, Gùgōng Bówùguǎn) respectively.
The Forbidden City is one of China’s foremost-protected cultural heritage sites, and in 1987 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
2019 visitor numbers exceeded 19 million for the first time👇🏻
To commemorate the double anniversaries, you can look forward to seminars and exhibitions covering ancient architecture, calligraphy, paintings as well and Chinese and foreign civilizations. And also a series of film and television works! A busy year for the museum and would be visitors indeed!
The official website (link below) where you’ll find useful museum information such as – opening hours, special exhibitions, virtual tours (I just love these tours☺️), ticket prices, how to go etc.
Or like me, you can also follow them on Weibo (Chinese microblogging website, link enclosed below) for interesting facts and information as well as browse photos posted by visitors. Seasonal facts such as “where to find the most/ best spots for ginkgo in the palace” are also posted there (I’ve enclosed the link below). Plus many many photos from their official Weibo site. Enjoy!
These are the 3 cities in which I live in a year. 2019 was no exception. I’m neither a Chinese national nor from Hongkong. But I’ve lived in the latter for more than a decade. There were no new year fireworks 🎇 to welcome 2020 in Hongkong. A first in more than a decade.
Since June 2019, before leaving home I have to check for any protests that day, which metro stations were under repair or would be closed earlier, traffic lights broken, atm machines, banks and retail shops vandalized or severely burnt. Where rioters use petrol bombs, sharp weapons, guns …
And when you’re out, you’ve to be careful not to speak out that you condemn violence for fear someone next to you is a radical and beat you up. Or worse, set you on fire 🔥 as they did to an elderly man.
If you’re thinking I’m making this up, there’re plenty of news on YouTube from CGTN, RT and Channel News Asia (CNA) for English speakers. If you’re thinking “oh CGTN is a Chinese controlled media hence it is bias”, then you’re saying that these 7 months the streets of Hong Kong is a Hollywood movie violence scene played over and over…
As I write this on New Year’s Day, they’re out again…blocking roads, breaking traffic lights, damaging shops, atms, even burning the iconic bronze lion outside Hsbc bank in Central.
Fake news, fake journalists, double standards from some western media who have repeatedly gone online that the HK protests are peaceful have cleverly used fear and rumor mongering to stir these riots and used democracy and freedom as sacred goals.
They say democracy and freedom are core values. But aren’t non violence and respect of rule of law core values too? Real people live here. Children as young as 12 years old have been pushed out to the streets as freedom fighters. What do they know. Do you want the next generation to believe violence and lies can solve your problems.
Albeit the city has its problems like income gaps, housing. But the last 7 months, the rioters and their supporters are telling us violence, triad behaviors and lies are acceptable to achieve the goals of freedom and democracy and to “silence” anyone, business and even judges that don’t accept their behaviors through terrorizing, doxxing, beating, burning. A video which summarizes how their violence has escalated since June and a press conference by the police on 2 January 2020 are enclosed below.
Enough is enough. I used to take photos and videos from live tv news. But now I avoid the news if possible because the same scenes of violence and riots play out after each “peaceful” protest. How radicals and their supporters rationalize their crimes. Cover up with more lies and fake news. It’s sickening.
Happy new year to everyone. My wish for 2020 is for peace and the world to be a better place to live for all – including all the animals and nature that share this place we call home.
photo source: urban redevelopment authority SINGAPORE, Scmp, Nhk world
It was a spur of the moment decision when I signed up for premium. I didn’t research enough and I didn’t consider my own time commitment. With this in mind and having officially reached 3 months of membership today, here are my thoughts 💭
Just before this post, I shared how I journeyed from journaling to blogging.
Writings by the 15 emperors of China Just 12 days to Chinese New Year! For those celebrating, I’m sure you’ve started planning, preparing and perhaps becoming a bit stressed too😱?! 福 means blessings, good fortune and luck. This chinese character is found on a lot of Chinese New Year decorations. The Chinese have a saying … Read more
This was an important step for me for 2 reasons:-
Ready myself – read extensively and write better
Build style and confidence
Begin with the personal plan, familiarizeyourself with WordPress then upgrade.
If you want your own domain name from day 1, my advice is start with the personal plan first. Then upgrade. After all, credit for the remaining time on your existing subscription will be applied to your upgrade.
I have decent computer skills, and found it confusing and frustrating at first even just flipping between the desktop and app version. And even after 3 months I’m still learning 😬.
Therefore my suggestion is to use the personal plan to get onboard with how WordPress works. What works, what doesn’t. So that you don’t waste money and feel pressured while learning, connecting, planning, writing all at the same time!
Storage space and additional monetizing capabilities are the main differences between the personal and premium plans. I now know from hindsight that I don’t need all of these features at the outset.
Both plans offer email and live chat and so far the customer service team at WordPress has been quick to respond and with solutions I needed.
Be prepared to work if you want views …
My own experience is that if I didn’t publish a post, I had no views nor visitors. This is to be expected with a small followers base. And lots of news and information already out there competing for our daily reading bandwidth. Did you know… WordAds count views from non WordPress users. I confirmed this with WordPress customer service. They can subscribe to your posts too via email but they cannot like your posts.
Conclusion … for now
It’s been only 3 months after all 😊. I want to thank all my followers and readers for your time. You’re a key motivation for me to continue!
Thank you for reading and a very happy new year to you🥰
Sometime ago I read about the benefits of daily journaling such as
improve one’s clarity and focus
help form habits
That it is one of the most life changing habit you can acquire. But it is also one that most people have tried and failed … several times.
I was never one to write about anything … I mean I reply to messages, emails … but these are not the same as writing.
As I write this post, and with the title “journaling to blogging” I’m happy 😃 that I’ve made the first small step 👣.
2 things that really worked for me
1: Use electronic medium such as Post-it, sticky note apps available. Why? As I mentioned I’ve never kept a diary or had the habit of writing. But I use my iPhone everyday to text … WhatsApp, emails and now even for WordPress.
My takeaway therefore is don’t buy a notebook or use a notebook when starting out. Because it’s intimidating to see empty pages. And I’m not used to handwriting now … on the other hand texting is something I am comfortable, I can delete what I don’t like, use emojis 👈🏻 this is important!
2: Don’t fret about what to write, if it’s too mundane, it’s not worth writing.
Again because I’m using a digital journal, I can capture photos and use them in my writing. Photos help fill up empty space and are catalysts for writing ideas 💡
And so as I made traction in journaling, I also started my blogging journey.
To all those who’ve followed or liked, I want to say thank you 😊, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
This is not a paid review for post-it or any sticky notes!
I grew up in the city. Therefore taking forest walks like this was impossible except on travels. I love forest and nature sounds, birds singing, water flowing. It is feeling of being alive and that mother nature is beautiful and wonderful.
Every bit in our efforts to fight climate change and save the earth counts.
Instead of buying sandwich or snack bags, I’ve been reusing these. Good quality bags used by manufacturers to keep our biscuits, sweets and chocolates. Double lock resealable, aluminum foil lined and some with bases too. Not to mention they look good 😊. I always have 1 in my bag for unexpected takeout needs.
Impossibly cute and adorable…Happy winter Solstice 冬至快乐!
On 22 December, many Chinese celebrate the Winter solstice. According to the Chinese astrology, Yang symbolizes light and warmth while Yin is the opposite. It is believed that on winter solstice, the Yin is at its peak and will disappear gradually while the Yang becomes stronger. Therefore to celebrate the coming of warmth and optimism, we eat with our families. Similar to Chinese New Year. One of my favorite is the dessert! Glutinous rice balls (汤圆）symbolizing reunion served in sweet soup.
Nowadays there’re ready to serve glutinous rice balls sold in supermarkets all year round 😊.
Wishing everyone a Happy winter solstice and good times with your family and friends.
Lithops are also called living stones or pebble plants, since they very much resemble stones and pebbles!
Lithops care in winter through to spring (depends on where you live) is usually a time when littler no watering is recommended. And especially when the old leaf pair is drying out and the new pair develop (as you see in my plant). If water is given too soon, the old “leaves” will try to continue to grow and the plant will not develop properly.
I’ll update this post with new pictures of my plant’s growth. Hopefully it continues to grow well … 🤞🏻
Thanks for dropping by to read this post and please share your experience with Lithops too!
I’m not strong in the area of art and craft. I mean I need instructions 😉. As an example, other than making occasional origami, cross stitch is the only other craft I can do reasonably well.
Origami helps boost my mindfulness, patience and attention to details. Miss or skip a step and the final product will either be impossible to make or look “different”.
Do you know that 2020 celebrates the year of the rat based on the Chinese zodiac calendar? According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the first day of the rat year is January 25 2020.
For the Japanese, it’s also the rat year though it begins January 1 2020.
So why not surprise your friends with hand made new year cards or crafts with origami mouse 🐭? You can mount the origami on recycle cardboard/ paper or simply as table decorations. Check out my slideshow of the steps here!
Thanks for dropping by to read this post and hope you’ll enjoy origami too 😊
If you are in Japan in autumn, it’s hard to miss this bright orange fruit – persimmon, known to the Japanese as kaki or 柿 in kanji (written the same in Chinese). This picture was taken at Nara park last week, famous for its sacred deer sanctuary (in fact there is a deer right beside the persimmon tree☺️)
Persimmons are packed with Vitamin A and C. And they’re loved for their sweetness and versatility as a fruit or dessert. As a fruit, I like them slightly hard, almost like a crunchy apple texture. I also like them as desserts and snacks. What about you?
I took a walk today around Arashiyama 嵐山. It is a place I go wherever I have the time. Today was a beautiful late autumn day. Blue skies and cold crisp air. I stood for a long time at one of my favorite spots of this very popular tourist attraction in Kyoto, famed for its majestic bamboo grove (though today I didn’t take photos).
My video doesn’t do justice to the scenic mountainous area and the rivers flowing (When I left… I thought why didn’t I take a landscape video instead 😅).
I grew up with either the blue or yellow cabs but now there’re 6 taxi operators and several private ride hailing such as Uber, Grab. With a population of approximately 5.7 million people and an island city, we do have choices when it comes to what cab to take!
With choices come decisions. And usually price and service shape our decisions on public transportation. Even within the same operator, different car models command different fares…so we really need a good chart to help us decide!
👆🏻I found this article to be concise yet informative. It covered essential information on
fare comparisons – flag down fares, booking fees, cancellations, peak vs off peak
types of payments accepted
Do your homework too. Now that you know the names of the cab operators, it is worthwhile to download their apps or check their websites. Where you’ll find up to date information on latest promotions, promo codes 😊 and in-app cashless payments.
A book by a Japanese doctor, Dr Yoshiharu Shindo recently caught my eye while I was at the bookstore. The front cover showed a sock 🧦 and the back cover said “put on more socks 🧦” as one of 4 steps to “dispel the cold” from our bodies. Called the Hietori Method (Hie means “cold” and Tori stands for “removing something away” in Japanese). My notes 📝 …
Why is it important to “dispel the cold” The Chinese translation of this book has 排寒 on the cover. 排 means expel, remove and 寒 means winter or cold. Cold isn’t just temperature cold but accumulation of “cold” in our body. A concept in traditional Chinese medicine. When you’re cold, your blood vessels constrict which affects blood circulation. Poor blood circulation not only affects proper distribution of oxygen and nutrients, it also inhibits the discharge of toxins from our bodies.
Why wear socks with 5 toes and why at least 4 pairs? Having the most concentration of sweat glands, the soles of our feet are the best place to remove these toxins. Through socks layering.
#1🧦 – 5 toes socks. The first pair closest to our skin has to be highly absorbent to absorb and then expel the toxins. Silk is recommended. The reason for 5 toes allows each toe to be closest to the cloth
#2🧦 – 5 toe socks. Cotton or wool. For their absorptive and breathability qualities to absorb the toxins from #1🧦
#3🧦 – round toe socks. Silk. To absorb toxins from #2🧦 and expel
#4🧦 – round toe socks. Cotton or wool. To absorb toxins from #3🧦 and expel
I’ve tried for a few nights now to layer the socks as suggested. Some dampness especially the first 2 layers is expected since they’re closest to the toes. Which means I’m removing toxins from my body naturally too😊
I’ll be posting the next 3 steps as suggested by Dr Yoshiharu Shindo. Stay tuned!
Welcome to my guest post! I’m Didarlin from Henan province, China and I’m currently studying in Singapore. Follow me as I share lifestyle and travel blogs of China and Singapore. Check out my recent visit to a Christmas market organized by Etsy SG!
Most have been with me for a long time. And each ornament has at least a story to tell. When, where, how we got them. For example the 101 Dalmatian dog was a happy meal toy from McDonald’s SINGAPORE, when the movie was released in 1996. I’ve kept it well, albeit some yellowing. It used to light up if you pressed the button on top of the red bow. Something I did every day in the run up to Christmas each year until the battery went flat. The second photo of a pair of Christmas bells were handmade by my grandma more than 5 years ago.
I still go window shopping for new ornaments every year. Though mostly just browsing. It’s the best way to soak in the festive atmosphere and get decorating tips from shops filled with Christmas trees, advent calendars, bells, angels, snow globes, etc …and merry Christmas songs. It’s a truly magical feeling!
Goals. No matter which stage you’re at in achieving your goals, this 1 minute video is for everyone. Simple, no fuss yet gentle reminder from our animal friends that it pays to be flexible and patient.
A time of the year where flexibility and patience are also needed as we juggle multiple year end family and social get togethers, travel plans, shopping, deadlines…
I’m one of those people who have to consume more fiber foods to maintain regular bowel movement. For us with digestive problems, these “good” bacteria help to keep our guts healthy. And with a rich chocolate taste, what not to like😉.
Probiotic lactic acid bacteria （乳酸菌）in foods and supplements are thought to be safe for most people, though some people with immune system problems or other serious health conditions and allergies shouldn’t take them. Check with your doctor if you’re unsure and always eat in moderation!
Disclosure: This is NOT a paid review. I travel frequently to Japan, Singapore and Hongkong where I call all home😊 This brand and it’s vast range of products are widely available in these countries.
Else, they’re also available on Amazon (link below👇🏻) and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
A softie for bread, whether it’s the whiff from a cafe bakery or photos from a magazine or internet, I can’t resist! Over a cup of coffee at home or in a cozy cafe… it’s just perfect 😋 whether for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.
I’ll be posting bread photos, bakeries and cafes from my visits. And also interesting cafe stories. How about sharing your bread photos or favorite bread+coffee spots with the community? (Just add a link to your post in my comments section) Looking forward!