2013 - Vikingess Voyages

Friday, December 27, 2013

Nippon TV: Zoom in Saturday ズームイン!!サタデー 年末SP

9:50:00 PM
Nippon Television's program "ZOOM-IN!! Saturday"'s year-end special with the title 「ズームイン!!サタデー 年末SP外国人&グルメな絶景まつり」features a number of interviews with gaijins living in Tokyo, and apparently the interview they did with me will be included in the show^^
It will be aired from 5:30-10:00 on Saturday. I guess I'll update this post once I've had the chance to see the program..! ;)

Edit: Here is the video! Pretty embarrassing to watch thanks to my 中途半端な Japanese. Anyway, promised to post it so here it is..

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Nordic Christmas Festival in Tokyo

11:52:00 AM
Prince Hotel and Grand Prince Hotel in Shinagawa are hosting an annual Nordic Festival which gives you the opportunity to experience a Nordic Christmas in the heart of Tokyo. From the end of November until the 25. December you can visit their Nordic Christmas Market, and they also arrange various event such as a St. Lucia day and visits from Santa himself invited all the way from Norway.
I've added som photos of a recent visit to the Nordic Christmas Festival below, and there is more information about the festival here (Japanese only).

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Japanese New Year Card (年賀状) Sumi-E Workshop

11:03:00 AM
Sumi-e (墨絵) is a traditional ink wash painting style introduced to Japan in the Muromachi-period (1338-1573) through Korea. Although sumi-e originally was developed in China during the Tang-dynasty (618-907) it gained its own characteristic style in Japan by masters like Sesshu Toyo and under the influence of Zen Buddhism.

Sumi-e is still popular in modern Japan, and I've been lucky to meet Mimi Wada who is an contemporary sumi-e artist. She arranges workshops for people interested in learning to make sumi-e paintings, and since the year is coming to an end she gathered a group of interested painters (an amateurs like me) for a New Year card workshop.

Next year we enter the year of the horse, making the animal a natural choice considering the design for this year's New Year cards.
How to make a sumi-e horse
We received handouts from Mimi-san showing how to paint the horse step by step. Still, it was quite hard to make the horse look as natural as Mimi-san's version of the horse. Seemed like the other participants also had a lot more experience than me, so I kinda was the only one making somewhat disproportionate horses with crooked legs.

At least I made some improvement throughout the lesson

Mimi-san demonstrating
Mimi-san and Yuki

This is what it looks like when you're a Sumi-e master. Work by Mimi.
...And this is what is looks like when you're an amateur. Still, not too bad though.
Again, Mimi-san's skills are "slightly" better then mine..
Le saint opera decorated with Mimi-san's sumi-e scroll
All in all it was a great chance to learn more about sumi-e and its painting techniques. And now I also have my own original New Year cards to send of to some friends! Just hope they'll ignore my lack of artistic skills.. Oh well, it's the thought that counts, isn't it?? ^^

Mimi's sumi-e scroll has been exhibited in Le saint opera since mid-November.
For more information about Mimi's Sumi-e art, check out her website Sumiracle

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sightseeing in Tokyo: Ueno Park (上野公園)

10:01:00 PM
One of the great things about Tokyo is that the green lungs of the metropolis never are too far away. Close to where I live there is a park called Ueno Koen (上野公園 - koen means park btw) where I often (or at least once a month or so..) go jogging in the afternoon after work. Right now the autumn season is coming to an end, but Yuma and I visited the park just in time to snap some photos of the park while the leaves still were red.

Ueno Koen is known among other things for its many museums, but we usually go to the area around the Shinobazu pond (不忍池). As you can see it is quite a romantic spot for couples, and if you're interested you can rent a boat here as well.
The Shinobazu pond (不忍池)
At the center of the pond lies the Bentendo (弁天堂) temple. The temple pagoda is always lit up in the evening, and this makes it a very nice place to pass by if you like to go jogging in the evening!

Bentendo's pagoda
The Shinobazu pond consist of three sections, and it is possible to walk right through the middle of the lake thanks to a bridge built in 1907.
The boat rental service on the Shinobazu pond
Birds on the lotus section of the pond
While we were walking on the bridge we saw an ojiisan feeding the birds with rice corns. When we
stopped to watch he asked me if I wanted to feed the birds too, and gave me a handful of rice.
Feeding the birds
One of the birds chased away almost all the other birds..
The Bentendo temple lies in the middle of the pond on Benten island (弁天島). This temple is devoted to the goddess of eloquence called Benzaiten. 

As the temple and the pond attracts many visitors, especially during the weekend, there is also a chance you'll find some small food stalls that sells Japanese food like takoyaki and okonomiyaki (we preferred kebab this time :P)
Japanese food stalls

Ueno Koen is also a nice place if you like doing pull-ups. When Yuma and I go jogging to the park, he always stops up to do some exercise here :)
Ueno Koen is also great for exercising, especially if you like doing pull-ups.
All in all, a nice place to visit for a lazy day..!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Introducing 50 Life Hacks to Simplify your World

8:51:00 PM
This post is just so full of brilliant ideas to make your life easier I could resist sharing it with you guys. I'm not going to write much about the content of the page - rather, I'll show you the 10 initial tips and tricks introduced on the page. At the end of the post I've included a how to do video of my favorite among them, the Ninja Fold.











...And finally, my personal favorite, the Ninja Fold (number 40)... It was somewhat hard to see how it was done by looking at the animation on the page, so I found a YouTube video to demonstrate it properly:

Anyway, that's all. And again, feel free to check out the rest of the life hacks on Twisted Sifter.!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Angora fur: Fashion to kill for!

11:30:00 AM
We say that clothes create people, and it is often thought that people who dress by the latest fashion are  among the more successful members of our society. The fashion police is always ready to judge the ones that have not understood that pink is the color of the season, or that gladiator sandals are so two-thousand and late. We often forget that there is an ethical aspect of following our passion for new and shiny at all (or rather less) costs.
I watched the video below, and could not hold back my tears. It is absolutely gruesome, but by sharing it I hope that I can help raise awareness and that maybe some of you out there also will start questioning the way we treat captivated animals for the sake of fashion and cash.

In a time where most people are living wealthier lives than at any other point in our collective history we have a shared responsibility to also care for those who don't have a voice in our society. Animals are not commodities, but living beings.

I would like to end this post with a famous quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi:
A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members

Thank you!
And remember, sharing is caring.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Japanese Freshness Burger's Liberation Wrapper: How to eat with an Ochobo

11:30:00 PM
Maybe you have already heard about the Japanese burger chain called "Freshness Burger" and their campaign to make women eat more of their burgers? If not, you should check out this video for a short introduction:

So, as introduced in the video it is apparently considered bad for Japanese women to open their mouth wide while they eat. Instead one is supposed to have a small cute mouth, referred to as an "ochobo". The Japanese burger chain tried to solve this issue by creating a "Liberation Wrapper" with the face of a pretty lady printed on it. As a gaijin living in Tokyo this was something I just had to see for myself.

Yesterday I went with my boyfriend Yuma to visit our closest Freshness Burger restaurant out of curiosity for their Liberation Wrapper, and of course to feel the "liberation" of being able to devour a huge hamburger without having to worry about appearance. To our big disappointment the lady behind the counter claimed that the Liberation Wrapper had only been a Halloween-gimmick, and that they didn't have any pretty burger wrappers left (I'm not sure if this is the case for all Freshness Burger restaurants, or just the one we visited).. Way to ruin my day, right?! So I had no choice but to draw my own pretty mouth on the wrapper to be able to really enjoy the taste of the hamburger without feeling ashamed of myself. The only minor problem is that I'm not really that good at drawing. Here is the result:

I created my own Liberation Wrapper to try and consume the hamburger with my dignity intact..
Ok, I have to admit that I'm not being totally serious here.. Who would have guessed.. Although it was a bit disappointing that I could not get my picture taken with the real Liberation Wrapper I have to admit that I don't see myself becoming a frequent customer at Freshness Burger either way. And I'm certainly not going to buy a burger just for the sake of a wrapper ever again.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kansai International Airport to Kyoto: Easy Access by Airport Shuttle

11:46:00 PM
Are you planning to visit Kyoto and worry about getting to the city from Kansai International Airport?
The definitely easiest way to get to Kyoto from the airport is to reserve a seat on the shared ride shuttle service called the Yasaka Kansai Airport Shuffle. I used their bus 3-4 times during the time I lived in Kyoto, and it always saves me the stress of getting to my destination in Kyoto (or finding lost family members who have arrived for a visit).
All you have to do is reserving a seat through their internet page. By providing the address you'll be staying at in Kyoto, the driver will take you all the way to your destination. You have to share the bus with other travelers as well (the limousine bus takes max 8 passengers), and might thus have to wait for a little while until the other passengers arrive at the designated area.

Note: The shuttle bus is only available to passengers on flights 
scheduled to arrive before 9:00 pm.

When you arrive at KIX, go to the Yasaka Information Desk on the 1st floor of Terminal 1.
Once the bus arrives in Kyoto the passengers get dropped off according to their destination. It might thus take some additional time if the other passengers are bound for a closer address.

The price for one person is 3500* yen (1750/children under 12), and you can also receive some handy discounts if you:
  • Reserve online (200 yen off)
  • Order a roundtrip (200 yen off)
  • Group - 3 or more people (200 yen off)
  • Family - One parent + up to two children (Half price for children up to elementary school age)
  • Student - Middle school and up (500 yen off. Remember to bring student ID)
  • Seniors - 70 and up (500 yen off)

*You can bring one large suitcase for free, but have to pay 1000 for each additional bag.

Note also that reservation online has to be done before 6:00 pm Japanese time the day before your flight.

For more information about the shuttle bus and reservation, click here.

Hotel Booking:

Hotels in Kyoto
Hotels in Osaka

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Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave me a comment or question below!

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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