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Photography

Another trip to work

Another trip to work. Photo shows a Japanese male pushing his bike. Judging from the time of the photo, he is likely on the way to work!

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Photography

Konnichiwa

I’ve been uncovering a lot more of gems after figuring out how to edit street photos!

The photo above taken while I was walking around in the morning shows a lady waving to me. I assume so!

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Photography

Crossroads

Crossroads.. bike vs man….

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Photography

Smoking By The Roadside

Photo taken in Tokyo. Shows a guy smoking by the roadside along the bicycle parking.

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Photography

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is probably the most captured mountain in Asia. Whenever anybody goes to Japan, they will try to capture the photo of Fuji. And of course, it is beautiful. Here is my Black and White rendition of Mount Fuji. Taken during my morning walk.

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Photography

Day 2 – Full Day at Lake Toya

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!

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Photography

Day 1 : Noboribetsu Jigokudani and Lake Toya

Noboribetsu Jigokudani or the hell valley is the first stop that I went to after getting out of the plane.

Thank god that I managed to get a good sleep in the plane, the drive was not so bad. Though I was slightly grumpy at the airport because the wait for the car rental took so long. Initially the person mentioned that it’ll be 15 mins, but actually it took 30 mins. I realised that the rental place is really far!

Similar to Owakudani, coming over here smells the same. Rotten egg all over. Strange enough, they don’t have the black eggs in Jigokudani.

This place is living truly to the hell valley where they somewhat use the “hell” icon pretty much everywhere. As per the photo above, can see the “satan” logo as the indicator on the toilet!

After Jigokudani, I drove up slightly higher and rich Omuya Pond. Its a pond with a large pool of hot water!

The colour of the water is somewhat turqoise-ish! Perhaps a bit exaggerated from my processing of the photos!

After finishing at Omuya Pond, I continued driving upwards towards the Lake Kuttara lookout point.

The view is ok, wish there were no trees blocking it!

Clearly – there are not a lot of people coming to this part of the world as it was only my car at the parking lot.

After checked in to my hotel, had dinner in town – Aigawa Sushi. It was pretty decent.

Aigawa Sushi – http://www8.plala.or.jp/aikawa_toya/

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Photography

Ginza Backstreet

When I was in Tokyo last year on my solo trip, I stayed in Tokyu Stay. Not far from the main Ginza street. This has been my favourite place to stay. It is smacked between Tsukiji Market and Ginza. Was easy for me to walk to Tsukiji for breakfast, and back in hotel in 5 mins (for those usual morning “runs” in the toilet).

The photo that I am showing below, I think taken from my hotel room. I think! Not particularly sure because I cannot remember and there weren’t any gps tagging as I was indoor! But anyway, I suspect, its not far from the hotel as I don’t remember being on any observation tower in Ginza. The best was on top of Matsuya Ginza (I think!).

Ginza Backstreets
Ginza Backstreets

The other good part of staying in Ginza is that, when you wake up in the morning and do my street shoot, there are always an abundance of subject to capture. I don’t need to travel far to start utilising my rangefinder.
Ginza Street
Ginza Street

I remember back in 2016, I stayed in Minato. Yes it was much cheaper, but the access to public transport was a bit far, and there weren’t much subjects to shoot around there. But then again, I might be wrong as I have not gotten back to rangefinder and hard core street shooting back then. In fact, that trip, I just used my iPhone if I am not mistaken!

Anyhow, I always enjoy my time in Japan. Looking forward for my next trip, but I am telling myself that I need to diversify the places that I go to! Let’s see…

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Photography

Looking forward for my holiday break

I still remember back when I was extremely active in photography. Every single weekend, I will be going out to the streets to shoot photo. Be it landscape, architecture or even street. Over time, I improved my skills and now, to me I can say that I am generally good in comparison to other amateurs.

Years passed by, my priorities changed. I have picked up many other hobbies like drawings and motorcycling. Recently – I gave up motorcycling because I didn’t have enough time to ride. I guess, there was a bit of fear in me and that kind of prevented me from riding every weekend. Yes – it was a very expensive hobby, but sometimes, we grew over it and change our priorities. Now – I am back at doing photography, but not as active as before.

The focus of my photography now, is more to do it during my holidays. This year, I’ve been going on holidays for quite often. In fact, to my count – I have been to the following places:
1. Chiang Mai in January
2. Yangon in February
3. Japan in March/April
4. Bangkok in April (slightly extended from my work trip)

In May – I was supposed to go to Manado for a colleague wedding, but due to work commitment, I had to change my plan. I regretted that to be honest, but I guess we need to focus on work. Holidays need money!

My next trip will be in 2 weeks time where I will be heading over to Hokkaido for 2 weeks break. In fact, it’ll be driving trip. First time ever. I have not done a driving trip before so I guess this is the time to try. It’s during summer thus it’ll be quite fun!

The following shows the video of my trip. This is the plan. All hotels has been booked and I am looking forward for the trip.

In preparation for the trip, I have started imagining what kind of photograph that I want to shoot. It is extremely important as in my previous holidays, I was not prepared for the photography aspect and felt that my gear was not good enough to enjoy the holiday. This time around, I went to a crazy extend where I bought a new camera! My Leica M10, though its very good, it is not suited to do landscape. I have not decided whether I will bring it along as it’ll add more weight! Still thinking about it. Let’s see.

In addition to the camera, I also gotten myself a set of square filters to help shoot landscape. Its an expensive investment I must say, but I guess square filters are things that you will buy once, and you will use if forever. One of these days, I should blog about it. I have not gotten the chance to fully try it. The weather has been very demotivating. Sigh. I have 2 weeks to go and I do intend to try it out!

Lee Filters!
Lee Filters!

I have a lot of expectation for my trip, especially on the photos. I hope I don’t disappoint myself!

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Travel

Cafe Hunting – Blue Bottle Aoyama

One of the joy in life is to go cafe hunting whenever you are on holiday. This morning I woke up quite late – as I was extremely tired from the major flight screw up on Sunday. I lost a whole day of walking and a seat in first class. So this morning, instead of having coffee around my hotel, I decided to go and have coffee in one of the nice cafes. I do have a list from my friend but it seems to that the place that I wanted to go was closed!

So – googling around and found Blue Bottle not too far. Quick walk and wow, managed to find the place. Pretty nice looking place indeed. Didn’t expect the coffee shop to be this nice. I’ve been to blue bottle before and bought a whole bunch of coffee beans and latte. It was awesome. And the queue was pretty looooong indeed. This morning – it was great.

So this morning I had a small lot Guatemalan coffee – single origin drip. Pretty nice flavour. Not too strong, not too sour. Just nice and clean! Love it. Now I am deciding whether I want to bring any coffee beans back today or not. Maybe I’ll buy a bag or two or three. So that in case I don’t have time – I still have some coffee!

Also – to pair with my coffee is toast with poach egg. Something simple. Didn’t bother to eat anything fancy. But one thing for sure in Japan – their toast are just awesome. In my mind – I always think if I should just get my bread supplies from Japanese bakery like Sun Moulin. Then again – I should be cutting in carbs and not be consuming too much bread.

Ok then… to end this post. Just a view of of my sloppy travel look…

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Fun Posts Travel

Cremia – The Best Soft Serve in The World

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.

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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!

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Fun Posts Travel

Blue Bottle Coffee@Tokyo

I am definitely a coffee addict and I have 3 types espresso machine from this site at home to prove it. Looking at the amount coffee that I consume – I do spend a lot of money on coffee. When I was in Japan – I did go to Starbucks almost every single morning because they do have very good brewed coffee – or Coffee Of The Day. Same goes when I got back to Malaysia – I continue to have brewed coffee whenever I have time to get a cup of Joe early in the morning. As I am an early bird – most definitely it is almost like a daily affair. One thing about brewed coffee, it gotta be fresh off the brew otherwise it will taste like shit.

Now back to blue bottle. I have never heard of them before, but on the last day, while chilling by the roadside waiting for the time when I need to go to take my train to Narita, I saw this coffee shop near Shinjuku. So many people were queueing up for it. So I could not help it but to google for the brand – Blue Bottle. I couldn’t help it but to see this article.

Untitled-1.jpg

So – I quickly pack up and rush. Thank god – the queue was not so bad then (so I think). What I did not know what that the queue was just for the order, and then you had to wait while they make your coffee. It was a good 15 mins before I had my coffee. Anyway – the coffee was really good I must say. One of the best that I’ve tasted in Japan. I will definitely come here again. I also got a chocolate saffron cookie. Oh emmm geee. It was so good.

Here are some of the photos that I took while waiting for my coffee.

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