Japan · 17 Days · 44 Moments · July 2016

Justin Kemp

Japan and Bali work detox holiday

20 July 2016

Last meal in Seminyak and trip/ hotel in Ubud.

17 July 2016

We left at 7.30 to Telaga Waja river. We both nearly fell off the boat on occasion, but the scenery was breathtaking! Topped it off with lunch overlooking the river.

16 July 2016

After spending a whole afternoon trying and not succeeding, we were finally able to access the beach. Semyniak streets are very narrow and labyrinthic, and we had to consult the map a few times to make it work. On the floor and walls there are many offerings to gods and demons. They can become difficult to navigate and avoid!

15 July 2016

Bali day 1: we arrive at Seminyak, a very touristic, very loud town. We were a bit concerned about the party atmosphere of the place, but our hotel was lovely and, after going for a walk, we started seeing a little of the Balinese culture.

14 July 2016

Where we get on a plane to Bali via Malaysia to discover: Justin had been bitten more than 20 times, Durian is seemingly way too popular and versatile in Kuala Lumpur and rice is blue.

13 July 2016

Day 10 (last night in Japan): we have a last walk in Gion and Shimbashi, see Christopher again-who we saw twice in the space of two days, completely by chance and go to yet another Izayaka to get pissed on sake. We met two American ladies, one of which was a Portuguese adoptee!
Day 10 (evening): we went to Gion Corner yo get a taste of different types od Japanese artforms. There was a Chafo- Tea ceremony, a Maiko dance, Ikebana/Kado- flower arrangements, Koto (harp) playing, Bunraku puppets, a Gagaku band and a Kyogen comedy play.
Day 10 (afternoon): we went for a walk in the nearby shrines, where we got a bit rained on. Still lovely though. We then saw a man fondling pidgeons, a woman feeding crows and two hawks stealing bread. Some weird stuff.
Where we see "Leonardo Di Caprio" and join a long queue just because it was long. Turns out it was for delicious cheese tarts.
Day 10 (morning): we saw the preparations for the Gion Matsuri, with big floats being put together. Then, we walked around Nishiki Market. Lots of fun shops and strage sweets!

12 July 2016

Two happy pilgrims, one angry god, more yukatas and kimonos, a very green train and teenagers who are the same everywhere.
Very tired and sweaty, but we made it!! The closer we got to the top, the least people we saw, as most would give up somewhere on the way. Completely worth it! On our way down!
We start our ascent of mount Inari. 45 minutes of a very steep path, mostly made of steps, under very VERY humid, quite warm weather. Thankfully, the view was gorgeous, and every few minutes another old, mossy shrine would appear, punctuating our way to the top with fairy tale like places.
These wooden fox faces can be used to write a request to the gods on one side and draw a cute fox face on the other. However, some have missed the point...
Day 8: We got on the train to visit Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Temple on Inari Mountain. Beautiful Inari Shrine, full of fox statues and red gates, with a log walk to the top.

11 July 2016

Day 7 (afternoon): spent way too much money at the Kyoto handicraft centre.... Amazing books, outfits and crafts! Justin was a little too happy about his yukata.
Day 7 (night): Justin becomes "street" while eating Okonomiagi.
Day 7 (evening): after a lovely matcha tea, we went to a sword play performance. It was a really small theatre tucked away in a basement, but the performers were brilliant. However, a guy dressed as a ninja thoroughly freaked me out, hence the concerned look in the photos. Justin, however, geeked out nearly as much as non-freaked out me would have, as can be seen by his very smirky face.
Day 7 (early afternoon): continued exploring Myoshin-ji, including a beautiful garden which was divided into representations of the 4 seasons. Incredibly relaxing!
Day 7 (morning): spent the morning in a meditation class in Myoshin-ji, where the instructor was good, though a bit preachy about stereotypes. Second meditation time was very enjoyable and the temple and garden, beautiful.

10 July 2016

Wait, what? Loads of these "shells" on the edges and foliage. We'll wake up tomorrow to find that Japan has been taken over by bugs.
We visited Nijo-jo mae, a beautiful, relaxing shogun palace. The painted walls showed scenes of changing seasons and the gardens were carefully crafted so that waterfalls and areas were unveiled as we walked through it.

9 July 2016

Day 6: we make our way to Kyoto and walk through Gion and the beautiful Shimbashi street. Kyoto has temples and shrines in every corner and is a wonderful mix of old and new!
Temples, eel and don't touch the geisha!!!
Gion and Shimbashi part 2!

8 July 2016

A lovely evening with a beautiful, lovely lady! Mai Kawaida: it took 8 years, but it's like no time passed at all!
Hachiko: very famous dog. (Shibuya)
Day 5: trip to Edo-Tokyo Museum. Fantastic, huge exhibition on the transformations Tokyo has gone through the ages. The special exhibition featured illustrations of yokai, superstition demons, from olden times to modernity. Brilliant stuff! Also, lovely lunch at the museum restaurant.

7 July 2016

Went to a Izakaya where we were shown to our own private tiny, but cozy, room. So much delicious food and huge selection of drinks! We could just see the other groups through barely opened doors and hear the laughs through the thin walls. Really brilliant experience! Hoping to do that again. (And next time, we won't chicken out of the wasabi Russian roulette)
Near Shinjuku station, another small restaurant, out of the way, where we had delicious food! Japan has not disappointed in the culinary front so far.
Day 4: Justin valiantly battles a contact lens and loses. Thankfully the health system in Japan is fantastic. Thank you Tokyo University Hospital!

6 July 2016

Part 2 of the Onsen experience. This time with extra sushi.
Day 3: Full afternoon and evening spent at Oedo Onsen Monogatari. First experience at an Onsen for both of us. Started well with 3 different massages (Justin not so keen), had some lovely food, beer and soju and we both really enjoyed the baths. We'll definitely repeat the experience- minus massage for Justin.
Day 3: Best ramen ever right next to the hotel. Really hearty and meaty and yummy!!

5 July 2016

Day 2: strolling down Omote-sando and dining at a fried pork only restaurant. So much pork. Different kinds of pork. Definitely not kosher nor halal. In our quest to find the Golden Gai and the teeny tiny weird bars therein, Justin became fused to the guide book, never to be seen without it again.
Day 2: Akihabara (or Akiba, the centre of anime universe). 5-plus stories shops dedicated to anime and manga, not enough money and too many things to buy. A very excited Miz, and a very nonplused Justin.

4 July 2016

Shibuya by night.
Small hole in the wall, tiny descending stairs, octopus, horse meat tartare and the first sake of many!
Shibuya is bizarre and awesome and bizarre again.
Meiji-jingu shrine. Such a calming place.
Justin continues being too tall for Japan.
Into Tokyo! Managed to make our ways out of the airport and into the underground in the direction of Hatagaya. Learnt 3 things: Japan is a really quiet country (yay!), Japanese people are incredibly kind and helpful and Justin is too tall for their Tube.

3 July 2016

Good morning shanghai!
After a one hour trip -standing- to Shanghai, we finally start our holiday with a lovely dinner at Lost Heaven.