Day 2 – Full Day at Lake Toya

Photography

This is day 2 of a 14 day trip to Hokkaido. Going thru the west side of Hokkaido island starting from Chitose where I landed, and then headed over to Lake Toya for a quick over night before I head over to Hakodate.

In Lake Toya – it is a quick lay over on the way to Hakodate.

Ukimido Park

The photo above is Ukimido Park – which is a shrine at the end of the “small cape”. Initially – I wanted to take the photo much earlier during the day, but I was scared away from a goose, or maybe a swan. Memories of being chased by a goose when I was young still fresh in my mind!

Silo Observation Deck

After visiting the park, I then headed over to Silo Observation Deck. Its somewhere about 5 mins away by car. Ample parking space and it has a nice shopping area for those who wants to buy souvenirs. Note that there are a lot of tourist.

Because the weather is shit, there’s nothing much to see. I just took a picture and went to the cafe nearby.

Cafe Bahler
Cafe Bahler
Pulling out the soft serve.
Pulling out the soft serve.

At the viewing platform, there’s a cafe named Cafe Balher. Serving coffee and soft serve. I didn’t try any.

Mount Usu Memorial Park

As I was driving out of Silo Observation point, I remember a park that I came across while going for dinner the day before. It’s Mount Usu Memorial Park. It has some of the fun art sculptures . One of it is the picture of the face.

Surfing Beach

Distance between Hakodate and Lake Toya is not very far but I decided to take the long way round thru the coastal road because… I can. The coastal side of Hokkaido island is very pretty, it’s facing the northern Pacific Ocean. Well – right across is California (not swimmable of course).

I was trying hard to find a place to stop, despite having to have pinpoint place to stop, I couldn’t find the entry(perhaps driving too fast) but of course the entrance was very small. And I can’t stop from enjoying the beautiful view of the coastal lines. Weather was cloudy making it more dramatic than ever.

The photo below is the picturesque view of the coastal lines. As you can see the rocks on the left is wave barriers.

Cape Esan Light House

Just before I reached Mount Esan, I could not help but noticed a light house. Probably won’t be seen by the roadside thus you would need to map it out. It looks pretty abandon as the offices are not opened. There’s a small road that leads to the lighthouse and there you would see the lighthouse. It’s pretty serene indeed. If I am not in a rush, I wouldn’t mind having a picnic here, rolling on the grass with the daisies.

View of the lighthouse
View of the lighthouse
Rolling daisies
Rolling daisies
The lighthouse sign
The lighthouse sign

Mount Esan

Mount Esan is an active stratovolcano of the Kameda peninsula. It is located in Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. Mount E is part of Esan Prefectural Natural Park.

Driving to Mount Esan was not difficult at all. Just need to be a bit careful as the road up is pretty narrow and have sharp corners. Would have been great if I am on the bike! Driving a Prius is not the best, but I for cost purposes, this is the best option.

View from the observatory
View from the observatory
Site view of the observatory
Site view of the observatory
Selfie
Selfie
That’s Mount Esan
That’s Mount Esan
Some shrine. Scary indeed
Some shrine. Scary indeed
Mountain vegetation
Mountain vegetation
More mountain vegetation
More mountain vegetation

Uni Murakami

After checking in to the hotel, I went to have Uni don at Uni Murakami. Supposedly the place for Uni. The Uni itself is good but the rice is normal rice. Perhaps it’s the normal Hakodate style. It was really expensive. JPY4860.

That’s it for day 2!

Bun Dau Shop – Fermented Shrimp Noodle

Photography

Another throwback weekend – where I am looking at my crossing bridges photo from back in 2006!

The photo above is a shot from the road side where I took a photo of Bun Dau shop, which means (based on google as fermented shrimp noodle!).

I never tried this dish, but what intrigues me is that I managed to take this photo despite not having an eye for street photography. In fact, during this period, I am more interested in shooting portraits and as what I’ve mentioned earlier, my trip was some what wasted because I am just focused on shooting headshots, rather than shooting a “story-like” photo.

This photo is probably one my first few photo that I start indulge in street photography. Yes – I’ve been doing a lot of street shoots but to be honest, I am not good at it until Eddie (friend from Singapore) said that I need to have a story. Which is then how I started thinking on how I should be shooting street.

Things has changed, and now I am a far better photographer (and picky one too!).In fact there are times when I go out for a walk and not shoot anything (lol). But I guess, that’s part and parcel of street shoot.

Chiang Mai – The Big Gallery

Photography

Going to Chiang Mai was an impulsive action where I wanted to take a break from all the craziness at work (not that crazy). I do believe that taking little breaks every now and then does give me some recharge (or not).

Also – this year is where I am taking a strategy to do more shooting and getting more holidays. In fact, I am trying to get into holiday once every month. Which means that I will be shooting more.. and spending hell a lot more money.

The following are the gallery of photos that I’ve taken in the 3 days 2 nights in Chiang Mai. In short – I must say, I like the place. Very nice indeed and I do plan to come here more often for my quick little breaks. The coffee is great indeed. And lets not bring up about, just absolutely awesome.

Cremia – The Best Soft Serve in The World

Fun Posts, Travel

I have eaten many types of ice cream in the past – this is despite family history of diabetes. Not that I could not care less, but sometimes in life we need to have some indulgence. In fact – I have been cutting down my sugar tremendously because of family history. I don’t take sugar with my coffee nor I take any sodas or desserts unless its a cheat meal. My sugar intake is down to the milk in my coffee.

Back to the topic of the blog, Cremia. If anybody were to go to Japan. I will always recommend them to have Cremia. Creamia is a soft serve that is sold by this company called Nissin. The soft serve is result of many years of research (I assume) to find what is the best balance of creaminess and taste. It is something that I will eat over and over and over again.

In my last trip to Japan – which was a month long trip, I did pace myself because I didn’t want to get myself overloaded with sugar. I probably had about 5-6 of the ice cream. And I must say – I did enjoy each and every piece of the ice cream. The creaminess and texture – combined with the eloquent taste, just reminds you of what are the best things in life that you can indulge on.

I would fully recommend anybody to go and have this ice cream. Its just amazing.

IMG_0850.jpg

In fact, Business Insider almost made a feature on Creamia. It has landed in LA. What I heard is that the ice cream also is now available in Bangkok! Time to spend some time in Bangkok!

Oh yeah – one thing that I need to say is that even the cone is different. It is one of those butter wafer type that is heavenly. Goes extremely well with the ice cream!

cremia.jpg

You can read more about it here!

Nara – Mochi Making at Nakatanidou

Travel

After spending time in Hiroshima – I then head to Osaka to revisit places where I used to eat – like Kuromon Market. One of the main thing that I wanted to do in Osaka is to take a day trip to Nara, which is not so far from Osaka. Apart from looking at deers (yes there were a lot of deers), and there were instances in which the deers were harassing me because I was holding some food. They were very smart I must say!

But the cool part about Nara in which I have seen many videos were the mochi making. I am definitely fascinated and I must say taking the photo below really made my trip to Nara worth it!

Timing for this was extremely perfect! The action, the faces – its just amazing. I love it. In fact to add to that, here is the video!

I must say – I did hogged the whole show, because I was sitting and observing the guys inside the window, and suddenly they decided to open the sliding door and start their show!

This was the result. It was warm and soft. Really awesome. Note that the warmness is due to the massive pounding. The taste was really brought up by the … sweat? no? who cares. It was damn good. One of the best mochi I ever had. Honestly 🙂

I also took the opportunity to eat some local Nara food in this quaint restaurant. Not sure the name, but the food was good.

I would totally recommend people to go to Nara. But to choose the right time because there were so many of Chinese tourist at that time. Note that when I was in Nara, it was a week leading to Chinese New Year, thus  mainland China was about to start their long holiday! No choice “lah”, had to face the crowd. But honestly, they were so much more behaved compared to previous years.