Shinjuku Gyoen

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the sovereign hill of japan

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Ferry from Miyajima-Guchi Port (Take the Iwakuni Train from Hiroshima Station)

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Samurai doing that thing that they do

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I don’t think anyone gave a shit about these gates, so long as they got their selfie

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I love myself

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The queue to take a selfie

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A valid use of a selfie stick

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Despite the ubiquity of selfie sticks and the leashed-kimono-wearing-monkey standing before an applauding audience, this place was actually quite beautiful. It did have a bit of a Sovereign Hill vibe, which kind of gave it a tacky touristy atmosphere (kind of like when you are forced to go on a sovereign hill excursion for the sixth time because your teachers don’t know what else to with you) Read about my previous experience here

xx

24 Hours in Naoshima

This being my fourth trip to Japan, I had to make it a priority to visit the incredible ‘art island’ of Naoshima. Had I the chance to redo this experience, I would have allotted at least 3 days of our trip to this incredible island.

The Journey 

Depart Tokyo Station at 7am

5 hour Bullet Train on the Hikari Line to Okayama

Local train from Okayama to Chayamachi– Transfer to Uno Line

Another Local train to Uno Station

Ferry from Uno to Miyanoura Port 

Hotel Bus to Benesse House to arrive at 2:30pm

In total, it took, well I don’t want to think about the duration, it is about the journey after all. Just look at this map for reference:

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I would highly suggest travelling to Okayama and Naoshima from Osaka or Kyoto, if you want to make the most of this Island.

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Amazing Mt. Fuji views from window of our Hikari bullet train. It fascinates me to see the amount of people who could not give a fuck about seeing Mt. Fuji from their window.

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On the Island, we were fortunate enough to be able to stay at ‘Oval’ at The Benesse House. (You can book a room here up to 6 months in advance and I would highly recommend spending at least one night here if you have a mum who can pay for you).

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Incredible sunset, looking out from Miyanoura Port.

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My mum and I were lame enough to preemptively hand sew matching outfits as an homage to my favourite Japanese Artists, Yayoi Kusama.

As you can imagine, photographs in a handful of the Island’s famous galleries prohibited photographs of any kind. I will have to throw it over to google images to help me out with this one.

 

Chichu Museum

Current Exhibiting Artists:

Walter de Maria, Claude Monet, James Turrell

Without giving too much away, I highly recommend this gallery. Be sure to fill up on food before going (the cafe offers the choice of a salmon pida or a ham and cheese bagel with portion sizes fit for a small mouse)

The Monet exhibition space is lit entirely in natural light, as were the Walter de Maria works. It was truly amazing to witness this rare lighting of Monet’s works. They also ask you to put slippers on before entering some of the exhibits, making them incredibly silent, without the thud of tourist’s rubber sneakers.

 

Lee Ufan Museum

Simply stunning. A minimal presentation of the South Korean-born artist, who has hugely impacted the contemporary art movement in Japan.

The perforated concrete walls of the Bennese house continues to adorn the walls of this museum. The continuity of this minimalist architecture is what made this Island so special. Being able to reflect in the meditation room of this museum was also a worthwhile experience.

 

Due to our short stay, we only successfully visited three galleries. We did agree that we valued quality over quantity, and didn’t want to get cray cray on Naoshimimi.

xx

P.S. Forgive me if I have weird English in my blog posts. Having to switch my brain between English and Japanese speaking mode takes its toll. Thinking of basic words such as ‘entertainment’ can be quite the brain workout. My brain hurts most nights, and I’ve been going to bed before 9pm each night. #earlybird #catchestheworm

P.P.S. I blame the constant language switch, but I secretly just wanted to reiterate the fact that I can speak Japanese. I assume that nobody reads post scriptum’s anyway and will just carry on thinking that I can’t really string together sentences. If my high school English teachers can ignore my terrible grammar, so can you!!! hahah ily 

Transport // Photo Series

This photographic series is all transport-related and captures the fast paced, hustling cities. One thing I really miss about Japan is that at any time of day, you know another train is only 2 minutes away. Obviously, what I associate most with Japan’s efficiency is their public transport system; including their ubiquitous, environmentally sustainable bicycle schemes. The narrow streets and tight parking spaces are mirrored by the small, boxy shapes of the cars on the streets. People riding bikes around, in cities where bike paths and bike parks are not hard to come by. Dear Australia, please take note. Our culture encourages drivers to scrutinise anyone riding their bikes on open roads. Melbourne’s idea of “efficiency” is to….nothing. Nothing is efficient. Except our drive through bottle shops, thank goodness some people have their heads screwed on properly.

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Bao Bao Bao Yippie Yo Yippie Yay

Issey Miyake, you are offish my fave human; my fuman.

The first time I laid eyes on these puppies, I think that my heart cried. I felt the tears trickle down into my digestive system via osmosis.

Just look at them. If you don’t like them, then I don’t like you which means that you have now lost two friends: myself and good taste. Which, I understand, is more than 2 people, but it’s a metaphor for how you should stop reading this post as it is of no interest to you.

Japanese Face Masks Vs. Clay Masks

Japanese Mask (Actually Korean, but I bought in Japan and this is a “Japan” blog so, for args sake, it’s Japanese)

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AMAZING AMAZING WINNER GO STRAIGHT TO GO COLLECT $200

Clay masks aren’t even competition for these puppies. They come in packets and you can put them straight onto your face, no mess, no fuss. 10/10 for efficiency. The masks come individually packaged and are only ¥105 (~$1.80AUD), so no burden on the wallet. The flavours all have a different purpose i.e. anti ageing, acne, Vitamin D etc… I got a delicious pumpkin flavoured one from Etude House. Yum yum. If you are planning on trying one of these, try the snail one, it looked so chat so I was reluctant to try, but give it a go, tell me your thoughts. We can skype about it, if you want to. No pressure.

What am I talking about? I’ve lost my train of thought.

Clay Masks Succkk

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Dry your face so you look like a sultana

Make you look like you have botox and you can’t smile

Gets stuck in your hair and ain’t nobody got time to re-wash their hair

I think the winner is clear, and was clear from the start for obvious reasons.

Jo Yori XX