Looking Back | On Trains

IMG_3409aHappy New Year! 

I was thinking of updating this blog before the holidays, but there were tons of things to do for Christmas and New Year that I never got around to writing any new entries. (Heck, is there even anyone reading this? Heh.)

In any case, I thought I’d start the year by looking back and re-posting this entry I wrote in my old blog. Getting to places by train is just an awesome thing to write about and this post made me quite wistful about the whole experience! Continue reading “Looking Back | On Trains”

Going North | Tromsø

3Snow fascinates me. Where I grew up, we only had two seasons: the summer and the rainy season. If it didn’t rain, it was perpetually hot, and if it did rain, then the coldest it would ever allow was up to twenty degrees Celsius. My country is just above the equator, so we get a lot of sunlight and our yearly temperatures don’t change too much and too often.

Growing up, I was accustomed to more than ten typhoons a year coming into my country, anticipating suspension of classes due to signal number three typhoon warnings and the risk of strong winds and flooding. In the summer, we’d have an abundance of beaches and islands to choose from to spend the vacation. In the rainy season we’d be stuck at home or in school, with the possibility of cancelled classes and brownouts (blackouts, really, but back home we call them brownouts, heh).

So while some people consider coconuts and island hopping and napping in the shade by the sea exotic, I consider snow – and lots of it – exotic. It’s one of the most interesting things I’ve ever come across, by virtue of the fact that I’m not used to it. The sound of crisp, fresh snow crunching beneath my boots is exciting. Lying on it is weird and comfortable, and how do you even play with snow? I don’t even know.

I’m a fairly normal tropical girl (I think I need a yearly dose of vitamin sea to function properly for twelve months), but I can’t get enough of the cold. I love the cold. I love being cold. I love cold places and the thin line between knowing how it is to be freezing and knowing the minimum amount of warmth to get by.

Somehow I ended up going further north than I’d ever planned to go in my entire life, in order to chase some astronomical phenomenon of lights in the sky. Obviously, it came with a lot more snow than I could ever imagine.

Continue reading “Going North | Tromsø”

Andon Ryokan | Tokyo

18My default choice for accommodations during a trip is almost always a hostel. Hostels are cheaper, they usually come with free breakfast and whether you want to or not, you get to meet people from all around the world. If you’re lucky, the hostel you choose is sooooo cool and wonderfully designed that it’s forever branded as awesome in your memory (case in point: Hostel 64 Osaka).

With that said, the same principle applied to my 2015 trip in Japan. I was set to spend four nights in RetroMetro Backpackers. Unfortunately, they had emailed back to me and told me they’d be closed for two weeks starting on the day that I would arrive. So the search for accommodations continued, and I ended up choosing this wonderful budget ’boutique’ ryokan in Taito-ku.

Continue reading “Andon Ryokan | Tokyo”

Little Edo | Kawagoe

There are many day trips to take from Tokyo, the most popular of which, in my opinion, is a visit to one of the nearby prefectures to view Mount Fuji (e.g. day trips to Hakone or Kawaguchiko). And for good reason – it’s a sight to behold, especially on a crisp, sunny day.

But this post is dedicated to Kawagoe, one of the ‘roads less taken’, so to speak, when visiting Tokyo.

Continue reading “Little Edo | Kawagoe”