November 2013 - Vikingess Voyages

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

Related blogposts

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Traveling Japan: Mt. Fuji and its Vicinity

5:24:00 PM
Earlier this year Mt. Fuji was included in UNESCO's World Heritage List, making it Japan's 17th site on the list. As result the old volcano has experienced increased popularity, and not surprisingly the number of climbers who want to reach the top of Mt. Fuji is also on a rise. But although the view from Mt. Fuji is supposed to be very nice (when I climbed Mt. Fuji last year the weather was so bad we could not see much besides the heavy clouds), it is perhaps even better to climb one of the nearby mountain to take a look at Mt. Fuji from afar.
Mt. Fuji seen from the camping area by lake Motosuko
Last weekend I went on a trip to the lake area around Mt. Fuji along with my BF Yuma and his parents for a two-day hiking/onsen/tourist-trip. Our first goal was to climb some of the small mountains surrounding Mt. Fuji in order to get a good view of the mountain. The area around Mt. Fuji is quite mountainous, and there are many routes to choose from. We had first planned to climb Ryugatake (龍ヶ岳), and we started out by the camping area by lake Motosuko (本栖湖) on the west side of the famous volcano. It is easy to find the track from there, and once you get to the sign that marks the entrance to the mountain trail you can follow the path all the way to the top.

Be aware of bears at Mt. Ryuugatake
Mt. Fuji seen from Mt. Ryuugaktake 
At the summit of Mt. Ryuugatake
 Apparently there are some legends behind the name Ryuugatake (Dragon Mountain) too. They all are quite similar, and build around the story that a dragon protected a village from Mt. Fuji's lava during an eruption. For more information about hiking Ryuugatake, see this page (Japanese only).
After our day in the mountain we spent the evening at a traditional Japanese hotel (Ryokan) called Fuji Ginkei, situated by lake Kawaguchi (河口湖) with a nice view of Mt. Fuji. At the ryokan we were met with the utmost service, and after having gazed at Mt. Fuji from the hotel's outdoor hot bath (Rotenburo 露天風呂) it was time for Japanese style dinner. Traditional Japanese washoku (和食) food is another expected Japanese contribution to the World Heritage List, and unless you either can't stand raw fish or are generally skeptical to unusual food you're guaranteed to get a lot of satisfaction out of a full course washoku dinner. The staff really pay attention to the details, and every plate we got served looked like some sort of art.

The devil is in the detail.
Dinner time!
The view from our room. Unfortunately Mt. Fuji was all covered by clouds..
 The next day it was quite cloudy so we could not get a proper view of Mt. Fuji from the hotel.. I've added this picture from Fuji Ginkei's homepage, depicting their outdoor onsen and Mt. Fuji:
Mt Fuji seen from Fuji Ginkei's outdoor onsen
There are several interesting places to visit in the area as well. We visited the Ichiku Kubota Art Museum, where in addition to exquisite kimonos you can enjoy the beautiful garden and various treasures collected by the artist himself from all around the world. Ichiku Kuboto became famous after having rediscovered the Tsujigahana dying technique that had been lost since the 17th century. His museum featured a large number of kimonos he has made through his life, but unfortunately visitors are not allowed to take photographs inside the museum. I've only snapped a couple of pictures of the garden.
The entrance to Ichiku Kubota Art Museum
A red tree seen from the museum's gate. 
In the back of the museum there is a cafe where you can enjoy the view of the beautiful garden
A door inside the garden leading to.. 
Some of Ichiku Kubota's kimonos (take from the museums web page)
Another place that might be interesting to stop by for a short visit, is the small shrine called Tainai-jinja (胎内神社). From the outside it doesn't look like there is anything special about it, but when you enter you find that there is a hidden grotto in the back of the shrine's main building. The name Tainai actually means "interior of womb"... 
Although Tainai jinja looks like an ordinary shrine, that is not totally the case..
A hidden pathway in the back of the shrine
A statue inside the "womb" grotto
Be prepared to have minimal space to move..
No place to be if you have claustrophobia..
 I wouldn't recommend this place if you are afraid of being stuck underground.. But if you can cope with it, then this might be quite a unique experience to add to your list of adventures. It is not a very famous place, so there is not that information available. Place and description can however be found here.
My last picture from the trip. Mt. Fuji and the pretty red leaves..
All in all Mt. Fuji makes a great travel destination even if you don't intend to climb it. There are many places to visit in the area, and I personally think seeing Mt. Fuji from afar in itself is a must for anyone visiting Japan.

I would also like to add that I had a fantastic weekend with Yuma and his parents, and I'm lucky that I have such wonderful people in my life. Hopefully we'll get to spend some quality time together again in the near future.

Related blog posts

Recommended Hotels close to Mt. Fuji

Hotel Kaneyamaen
Hotel Kaneyamaen
Fuji Royal Hotel Kawaguchiko
Fuji Royal Hotel Kawaguchiko
Kawaguchiko Country Cottage Ban
Kawaguchiko Country Cottage Ban

This page contains affiliate links, and if you follow a link and make a hotel reservation through these links you help support this blog without any additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your kind support!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Press Conference with Hiroshi Mikitani (Rakuten CEO)

11:50:00 PM
Mikitani-san at FCCJ
A little while ago the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ) held a professional luncheon with Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO of Rakuten (and my future boss). I got the chance to ask him a question about how to improve the conditions for working women in Japan, and it seems like it was included in their video below (first question):

Related blogposts
Working at Rakuten - Introduction Training (研修) Summary!
The Rakuten Introduction Training
Rakuten Café in Shibuya
The Rakuten Café 
in Shibuya
The Rakuten Group Noukai
The Rakuten Group Noukai (納会)

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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