Jul 20, 2014

Japan: Fushimi-Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

Fushimi Inari shrine is the main shrine in Kyoto and sits at the base of a mountain (Mount Inari). You can walk up the mountain to smaller shrines. 

The earliest structures were built in 711 A.D at a smaller hill but later relocated in 816 A.D. It was built in dedication to the god of rice and sake. 

Jul 12, 2014

Japan: Takasaki

Takasaki, Japan was added to our trip itinerary at the last minute. Takasaki has a population of approximately 379,000 people and is considerably more "small town" than Tokyo, Japan. It's a city in the Gunma prefecture famous for being the origin of the Japanese Daruma Dolls.

Jul 8, 2014

Rabbit Cafe R.A.A.G.F. in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

Today we left for Harajuku to go to a rabbit cafe. It's tucked away on a smaller street near the station so after asking a few locals we made it! I had heard about puppy and kitten cafés, and I'm sure I've come across rabbit cafés while perusing the Internet. This was a big "to see" on my list.

Jul 7, 2014

Mount Fuji, Japan

When I first got to Japan, I ended up sleeping 13 hours because I was so jet legged. We had breakfast together in Tokyo before heading off for the day.

Gotemba Premium Outlet Mall (御殿場プレミアム・アウトレット)

Our first destination was towards Mount Fuji was Gotemba Premium Outlet Mall located in Shizuoka, Japan. There were many famous brands I recognized: Yves Saint Laurent, Michael Kors, Gap, Nike, Coach as well as quite a few that I did not recognize. I didn't end up purchasing anything there. We did stop by and have a Crepe, Iced Coffee and Iced Peach Tea (yum!)

Jul 5, 2014

Vietnam: Cần Thơ, Mekong Delta

Cần Thơ

The trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho
is a 2 hour drive.
Can Tho is the fourth largest city in Vietnam, and the largest in the Mekong Delta.. boasting a population of 1.2 million.

It is part of the Mekong Delta, which is southwest part of Vietnam that is considered the "rice basket" of the region, contributing to half the nation's rice supply. The Mekong river and its subsidaries empty into the ocean through this land. Its considered a "biological treasure trove" with a large diversity of species and plant life. -Wk

The Mekong Delta

There are a lot of tourist attractions and the markets offer lots of fresh fruits including Pomelo and Durian (hmm.. not a huge fan of this smelly fruit to be honest).

Here are some of my photographs from the two day tour:

Can Tho Riverside

Vietnam: Cần Thơ Fruit Farm

I had the opportunity to visit a fruit garden in Vietnam. My dad befriended the farmer and got a personal tour! This particular fruit farm is located in the Mekong Delta (Can Tho, Vietnam).

I love taking macro photography, any time I can add bokeh in a picture leaves me with a deep sense of satisfaction (whether or not thats good photography.. well.. who knows). We went to a fruit farm, which grows a lot of fruit.

Pitaya, aka Dragonfruit

It looks a lot like kiwi fruit once you cut it open and expose the flesh - its white with many seeds inside. These flowers look soo exotic! The blooms eventually fall off and the stem starts to plump and turns into the red dragonfruit.

An orchard of dragonfruit plants. These resembled Christmas Cactus that I used to grow as a child. Its

Jul 1, 2014

Vietnam: Qui Nhon Part II; 2 Fishing Villages & a temple

I begin each day at 6 am (for some reason I can't sleep in), and get up to go drink Vietnamese coffee with my family at the nearest cafe. We go to eat breakfast, head out to see a tourist destination then between 12 pm to 4 pm its far too hot to go outside. So my dad comes home to nap, while I sit up and read, relax, nap as well (or blog). 

Day and Night at the Nhon Nson Hoi bridge

My cousin took me on a joy ride on the motorbike throughout the city, which included seeing Nhon Nson Hoi bridge at night! Its empty here, so I got a chance to learn how to ride a motor bike - which is a LOT heavier than it looks. Luckily I didn't go flying off the bridge :P We also saw some young people drag racing their motorbikes on this bridge (at around 9 pm). 

I also got a chance to practice to practice my photography with all of these scenic views. 

A small fishing boat casting their net:

Jun 29, 2014

Vietnam: Qui Nhon: Part I; City of tragedy, worship & poetry

Qui Nhơn 

1 hour flight to Quy Nhon from
Ho Chi Minh City
Qui Nhon is the costal city in Vietnam of the Binh Dinh province. The economy runs on importing/exporting, fish farming (as I learned recently this is called "pisciculture"), agriculture and forestry. Thanks to tourists like me, they have a growing tourism industry as well.

This area is plush with mountains and forests, hills, fields, salt marshes, plains, lagoons, lakes, rivers, shorelines, peninsulas and islands.

The city boasts a population of approximately 1 million. What I immediately notice is how much less traffic there is compared to Saigon .

Peace in Qui Nhon

When driving to my grandfather's grave, we passed many rice paddies, farms, cows, mountains.

We visited my grandfather's grave site, which my relatives visit once per year. This area of land is dedicated to the family. They come and clean the site, removing weeds and dusting. We placed fresh flowers and placed burning incense sticks nearby. My dad says that when our ancestors smell the incense it beckons them to come to our realm.

Another tradition I wasn't aware of was the burning of money by the grave site. This isn't real money, and is made specifically for this tradition. Burning the money allows our loved ones to spend it on the other side.

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