Tag Archives: Japan

Summer still alive and kicking in Japan…

Thinking about cooling down from the blistering heat and escaping Tokyo’s concrete jungle?  Think no more and head over to Moriya Beach.

This little chunk of Japan’s Pacific Coast is located in Katsuura, Chiba Prefecture, approximately 110 km from Tokyo and accessible either by car or by train (final destination is JR Katusaokitsu Station).  It is a great spot for sunbathing, hanging out with friends, and cooling down  with a swim around the reefs.

If snorkelling is your thing, Moriya’s waters do not disappoint and you can catch a wide array of marine life, including some speedy squid and beautiful jelly fish (careful with those stingers).

So wait no more and don’t let the hot weather get to you.   Moriya awaits!

 

Feeling at peace on the coast of Chiba, Japan.

ChibaCoast1

If you are in Japan and haven’t made it to the beach yet…no worries! With temperature hovering around the 36 degrees (celcius) the summer is still on and the conditions are perfect for a visit to the Pacific coast of Chiba. Here’s a little taste of Moriya Beach at sunset!

Tokyo’s architecture, a seamless fusion of beauty, simplicity and attention for detail

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Strolling along the streets of Tokyo, it becomes clear that this city is all about the details.  The details in its food, the details of an organized transportation system, the details of its history, and the details in its architecture.  It was Tokyo’s architecture and its seamless fusion of beauty and simplicity what capture my admiration and provided the biggest joy while exploring this unforgettable city.  I enjoyed the harmony of irregular shapes, the uniformity obtained from the combination of unique designs, as well as the modernity of the construction while maintaining a calming balance with the buildings’ surroundings.  Here’s is a small sample of one of Tokyo’s greatest virtues.

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Paseando por las calles de Tokio, se hace evidente que esta ciudad tiene mucho que ver con los detalles. Los detalles en su comida, los detalles de un sistema organizado de transporte, los detalles de su historia, y los detalles en su arquitectura. Fue precisamente la arquitectura y su perfecta fusión de la belleza y la simplicidad lo que capturó mi admiración y me brindó la mayor alegría, mientras exploraba esta ciudad inolvidable. Disfruté de la armonía de las formas irregulares, la uniformidad obtenida de la combinación de diseños únicos, así como la modernidad de la construcción de sus edificios sin olvidar un equilibrio con el entorno urbano. Aquí les comparto una pequeña muestra de una de las mayores virtudes de la hermosa capital Nipona.

A bit of Paris in Tokyo at Quatre Café.

If you happen to be in the beautiful and mind blowing Tokyo, are feeling overwhelmed with the crowds, dazed from the culture shock, and in need of a delicious cup of coffee, then take a breather and head over to the welcoming  and intimate Quatre Café.  This jewel is tucked into the 4th (hence the name) floor of a not so attractive business building.  The atmosphere alone will make you want to spend the whole afternoon chatting up with someone special as you try the many delicacies on offer.  From Shibuya station, head up the Miyamasuzaka about three blocks.  On the left hand you will find Quatre…and you’ll be glad you did.

Address: 〒150-0002 東京都渋谷区渋谷1丁目8−5

For more information on Quatre Café you can visit their website:

http://ctn139.com/shopmap.html

Other links:

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1303/A130301/13024336/

Si de casualidad te encuentras en la hermosa y alucinante ciudad de Tokio, te sientes abrumado con las multitudes, aturdido por el choque cultural, y con el deseo de beber una buena taza de café, toma un descanso y  prueba el acogedor e íntimo Quatre Café.  Esta joya está escondida en el cuarto piso (de ahí el nombre) de un no muy atractivo edificio de negocios. El ambiente solo hará que desees  pasar toda la tarde conversando con  alguien especial en compañía de las muchas delicias que aquí se ofrecen. Desde la estación de Shibuya, sube unas tres cuadras por  el Miyamasuzaka. A mano izquierda se encuentra Quatre … y sin duda alguna haberlo encontrado te hará muy feliz.

Dirección: 〒150-0002 東京都渋谷区渋谷1丁目8−5

Para mas información puedes visitar la página web de Quatre Café:

http://ctn139.com/shopmap.html

Otros enlaces:

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1303/A130301/13024336/

Connecting spiritually with Japan at Ise Jingu

Welcome to the Ise Grand Shrine, also know as Jingu.  Without planning it, the visit to this very spiritual place ended up being one of the best highlights of a recent trip to Japan.

Jingu is located in the city of Ise, in Mie prefecture.  This is a massive complex of shrines spread out over 5500 hectares of land filled with the calming greenery of ancient forests.  Geku and Naiku are the two main shrines and the principal reason thousands of japanese make the pilgrimage to Ise.

I was fortunate to visit during the Shikinen Sengu (Year of Renewal) ceremony which occurs every 20 years and in which the old shrine is dismantled only to be build on an adjacent site.  It was wonderful to see the simpleness and humbleness of the japanese devotion to Shinto.  No matter what religious belief one might have, Ise Jingu is the perfect place to connect with your spiritual side while getting in touch with nature and its greatness.

If you are planning a visit to Japan please add this to your list…I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

For more information on the Shinto religion and Ise Jingu please visit http://www.isejingu.or.jp/shosai/english/index.htm

Mata ne!

Happy 2014 in Japan – A new year for the soul and the senses

Many around the world celebrated the new year with bells and whistles, champagne, and fireworks.  In Japan on the other hand, the New Year’s festivities are more about connecting with nature, getting in touch with the past, preserving tradition, eating meaningful food, and enjoy the majesty of nature.  It is a serene and discrete way to welcome the year ahead and an experience  I am fortunate to have live through.  Visiting the shrines at Fujinomiya and Ise, eating a delightful Osechi-Ryori with loved ones, and witnessing the first sunrise of the year over the Pacific Ocean, are all unforgettable experiences that can only be a great sign of things to come in the year that begins.  So in the words of the japanese “Akimashite Omedetou Gozaimasu”.

http://www.ise-kanko.jp/english/

http://www.city.fujinomiya.shizuoka.jp/kokusai/english.htm

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2013/01/03/【japanese-culture】the-meaning-behind-osechi-ryori-traditional-new-years-food-in-japan/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirako,_Chiba

Ramen Delight in New York City

I don’t know what it is but I’m definitely hooked on Ramen.  It could be the freshness of the ingredients, the perfect combination of pork (such a weakness), noodles and broth, or simply the whole experience of sitting right in front of the chef and following step-by-step the hypnotizing process of preparation.  Whatever it is, I’ve decided to go on a quest and try out the different varieties and styles of Ramen that I can find, be it here in Toronto, New York, Tokyo, or anywhere my travels may take me.

I recently got the chance to try out Totto Ramen;  a highly reviewed and visited Ramen Shop in Midtown Manhattan (366 W 52nd Street, NY).  Although I have never been to Japan, this is very close to what I imagine of a dining experience there.  A rustic small shop, with a lively atmosphere, sitting at the counter watching the chef (of course wearing a head scarve) tossing up noodles and stirring up the broth as if that was all he was meant to do in life. And of course…delicious food.  I highly recommend the Chicken Paitan Ramen: straight homemade noodles cooked al dente style in a whole chicken and premium soy sauce based soup topped with scallion, onion, char siu pork, and a nori.  For US$11, this is a very accessible delicacy that your taste buds will thank you for.  If you can overcome the long waiting time at the door (no reservations), then you are in for a treat.  Check out the menu (http://tottoramen.com/?page_id=50) for  more delicious treats available at Totto Ramen.

If you are visiting the Big Apple please follow my advise and go to Totto Ramen.  You will not be disappointed !

ITADAKIMASU!