Posts Tagged: holiday

Happy New Year! Our artisan pottery arrived!

Does the new year start in February? Well, close enough, I obviously was accounting for Lunar New Year as well. It seems that I’ve had some pretty lazy holiday period as I have not even set foot near this site since my last post about Japan.

Finished pottery

Finished pottery

Well, not much to say here, we’ve just been doing the regular old domestic thing, going to the beach on nice, sunny days, and painting a room over the xmas break, and having my birthday. And it just so happened that our semi-artisan finished pottery arrived just in time. So it turned into a birthday present for Emmy as well as myself.

I said in the post about the actual pottery class, that he may only have sent 3-4 items, but he managed to fit the whole set into the box, which was great. Unfortunately, once of the bowls (Emmy’s middle bowl) had a crack at the top and I had to super glue it back on (imperfectly) but that just added to the wabi sabi nature of the bowls.

We’ve put them in our room and it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll be using them for anything other than display, but you never know. The finish on Emmy’s big bowl (the rough one) is definitely my favourite, and of the remaining ones, my little tea/sake cup has a similar finish which is good, and Emmy’s third bowl (the glossy green bowl) are my other favourites.

The bowls themselves are pretty ordinary but they’re really nice to have and bring back good memories just looking at them. I mean apart from the shape being all wonky (mine are anyway), we can safely call these artisan pieces, since Shigeru Sensei finished the bottom as well as the coating (or maybe he outsourced it to a student?) and he’s definitely no novice. Here’s the complete set from a few different angles.

  • Finished pottery
    Finished pottery
  • Finished pottery
    Finished pottery
  • Finished pottery
    Finished pottery
  • Finished pottery
    Finished pottery

That’s all for now, hmm, this might be shaping up to be a slow year on the dtraCorp front, let’s try and get things moving a bit, although my neck/back is pretty crook at the moment so not sure anything’s going to be happening in the short term.

 

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Back from Japan 2016

Japan route

Japan route

Hello all, and we’re back, back from the wonderful land of Japan, which means that I’ve got a lot more content for the next couple months taking us into the new year, most likely, YAY! I got lots of pictures to sort through, not sure if I got anything that I’m really proud of but we’ll see, and we also spent some time doing some interesting not sight-seeing things which I’ll try to go through in more detail than my usual overview stuff.

So following the route, we arrived at Narita and jumped straight on the train headed for Hiroshima, in hindsight, this was a bad plan (as we only spent one night there) as we weren’t there long enough for the amount of travel to be worth it. I think next time we may visit Kyushu and go to Hiroshima/Miyajima from there spending a bit more time at Miyajima. From there we moved on to Kyoto for a big chunk (five nights) looking for Koyo (Autumn colours), we tried to vary our itinerary in Kyoto to avoid just visiting shrines and temples which I think we did pretty well.

Mount Fuji Koyo: Japan

Mount Fuji Koyo

On to Kawaguchi-Ko and Mount Fuji from there where some very clear weather treated us to some great views of the great volcano for our last two days (we stayed three). I don’t think we got 36 views of Mount Fuji, but we certainly covered quite a few angles from around Kawaguchi-Ko. After that it was on to Tokyo for some “relaxing” time, we usually just end up in Tokyo shopping and eating, that’s mostly what we did, I did actually manage to visit Shinjuku Gyoen for some chill out time (although even that was not too relaxing as I arrived late and had to rush around a bit). I don’t have many photos from Tokyo mostly because eating (mostly relatively boring stuff) and shopping aren’t the most photogenic of things. But we’ll get to all of that in the coming weeks with enough pictures to keep things interesting.

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November Holiday Time: Japan

Hi again, I stopped procrastinating and decided to post this otherwise it would be another two weeks at least before anything went up, so yes, we are visiting Japan again for our annual-ish holiday. This time, we are re-visiting a bunch of places from our first visit but at a slightly later time of year, hoping for that koyo (Autumn colours).

Sleeping caterpillars

Sleeping caterpillars

We’ll be stopping at Hiroshima (just for a very brief one night stopover), then Kyoto, Kawaguchi-ko, and finally Tokyo. I already sort of regret going to Hiroshima as it just doesn’t seem long enough to see Miyajima, Shukkeien Garden, and the peace memorial, among other things, but we booked the accommodation already so no going back. We’ll be doing some different things in Kyoto and Tokyo this time, less temples and more just taking in the culture, hopefully seeing Himeji which we missed last time due to renovations.

Emmy will be celebrating her birthday over there so hopefully it will be one that she can remember for a long, long time, if not, then I’ll probably be in hiding for a while. This time I will definitely be posting more content (not hard since I barely posted anything last time we did this trip) as I could barely find any references for this trip from my previous post. We’re also taking our parents, so this could very well be the greatest disaster ever known to man, wish us well!

You may wonder what the picture has to do with this trip, well, this is some kind of fern (in our garden, native I’m guessing), I think it has a very zen feel to it and is very Japanese in its simplicity and shape. But really, I took this picture a couple months ago and never bothered to upload it, so now that I have a chance, there it is ;).

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TKO’d

We were supposed to be on holiday this week, somewhere in South Australia by now I think, but having played basketball the night before we were to head off, I experienced something that has never happened to me before. I was on the wrong end of a concussion and forgot pretty much everything that happened from Sunday afternoon until the middle of Sunday night, and Monday morning while I remember it is also a bit vague.

Approximate state of myself on Sunday night

Approximate state of myself on Sunday night

Apparently, as far as I can recall, I was fighting for a loose ball, fell, and hit my head on the floor. I don’t think that I ever lost consciousness, but I was probably quite confused and running in circles. I remember lying in bed on Sunday night having random conversations but don’t remember what they were about (my short-term memory was resetting every two minutes I am told), and it was probably only when I woke up on Monday morning that I realised that I had suffered a concussion., but my memory had not recovered and everything that I could remember was a bit vague and seemed like ages ago. In the afternoon I was making phone calls to the hotels to see if we could re-schedule our holiday to a week later (which we could fortunately), but I did call a couple of them twice, not remembering that I’d already called them. That’s all for now, we’re leaving on Monday again, no basketball this Sunday (we lost), I’m done for the year, so hopefully nothing gets in the way of us departing then. There should be video of the game, so when it comes up I will update this post if they captured what happened, I need to watch the game to see how it went anyway because I can’t remember playing at all.

Okay, so here is the video (I’ve moved it straight to when it happened, but it’s within the first 40 seconds of the game, I think I started showing signs of confusion a couple minutes before half time, and they took me off with just under 14 minutes to play in the game (we were up two at the time, but eventually lost):

Should have been a charge, am I right?

Picture taken from simpsons wikia.

 

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Long Time No Post

Well, it has been a while hasn’t it, I guess I’ve been pretty busy lately, what with a crying (and now quite talkative) baby and all. I suppose we haven’t been going out much and I haven’t been doing a lot other than changing nappies and washing baby clothes which hasn’t left much time for any adventures (apart from the one we’re on). Thanks to Emmy for posting some nice recipes lately to keep the site afloat, I may end up re-posting some old stuff from the original Spider Lair just to get some more content on here.

Celebration Time

Celebration Time

A lot of things have happened that weren’t directly related to me, but that did affect me in some way, like, the Spurs winning the NBA championship again, yay!! This screenshot was only taken during the Portland second round series but I think it says everything, I mean Walter White is supporting the Spurs, how could they lose? And now they’ve re-signed everyone (except Baynes currently) and are ready for another crack at back to back titles for the first time, let’s hope everything goes well for 2015.

There was the World Cup which ended the way that most people thought it would (I think, I’m not that much into soccer), I was going for Argentina but too bad they couldn’t pull it off. And now most of Australia goes back to not caring about soccer and moves back to AFL, although I haven’t been paying much attention and well, Melbourne is still pretty crap, so not much to care about really.

I haven’t been on a proper holiday since Europe last September and am really itching to get away somewhere, right now I’m just combing ozbargain checking out all of the discounted airfares that pop up and the destinations hoping that something will fit into our price range and time frame, I’m sure it would be quite a bit more difficult travelling with such a little one, but even he would like to get away I’m sure :D. Right now, I’m thinking New Zealand, Japan, or USA, but it’s going to take some very discounted fares to get the job done, especially considering the extra baggage and logistics of getting around with Oscar the Monster :D.

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Lakes Entrance

It seems like I start every post with how lazy I’ve been in not posting anything, any way, spent Valentines Day weekend in Lakes Entrance hoping for some sun and surf. Well, we didn’t really get any of that, there was a bit of sun on the Saturday morning, but fog on Friday, and smoke haze the rest of the time made the trip a bit disappointing. With em’s big pregnant belly we weren’t able to do any significant walks, mostly just along the beach and along the esplanade. So while I was hoping to get a bunch of starry night shots the weather decided that I had to settle for a bunch of random photos and work on my portrait photography. Oh well, maybe another time we can head back and the weather will be nicer, or go somewhere else, I’m desperate to go somewhere and take some landscape photos.
We did at least eat well, and I can whole-heartedly recommend the places that we ate at:
  • In Bairnsdale, we stopped for lunch and ate at the Wooden Squirrel, I had a very nice lamb and rosemary burger.
  • Had a dinner at the Boathouse Restaurant at the Bellevue Hotel, some nice fish, etc.
  • We had lunch in Metung the next day at Bancroft Bites, I had a steak sandwich, dare I say the best I’ve ever had (I don’t normally like steak sandwiches, but this one was a good one). Em had some coconut crumbed prawns, very nice.
  • Finally, we had fish and chips at Footbridge Fish and Chips on Myer Street in Lakes Entrance, good fish (blue grenadier), fresh, real fresh, it seems, and a lot of chips for what you pay, definitely the fish and chips for two was a big meal, we went there twice we were so happy with it.

Well, any way, that’s pretty much it, not sure when I will post next, or what, maybe just some random thing with some photos, White Night maybe.

  • Parrot at the Goat and Goose
    Parrot at the Goat and Goose
  • Pier at Metung
    Pier at Metung
  • Lakes Entrance
    Lakes Entrance
  • Lakes Entrance
    Lakes Entrance

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Back from Europe

Hey there loyal followers, all none of you I suppose. I’ve just got back from Europe a couple nights ago and am now getting on top of everything not work-related at home, in terms of stuff that happened while we were away any way, so I thought I’d post an update here.

Fine weather in Paris

Fine weather in Paris

Nothing much in this post, just that I will be adding my summaries of what we did over there as well as reviews of the transport, accommodation, and attractions, food (!), etc, etc, as well as some photos of course. I’m currently in the process of uploading photos to facebook, but that should be done in a day or two, and then I can start concentrating on uploading photos to flickr as well as adding stuff to here. We were only over there for two and a half weeks really, so there aren’t that many pictures to upload, but I hope that the ones that I did get are pretty high quality, it’s also Em’s birthday in a bit more than a month so I have to start organising that, as well as some other things, all in all, it’s going to be quite a busy end of the year for me, let’s hope everything works out well, and that 2014 is going to be something special. I’ll leave it at that for now, and hopefully upload something about Paris in the next week.

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Vietnam for Tet

Because I hate WordPress so much, I won’t even bother typing all the stuff we did cos I know that I’ll find a way to accidentally press back in the browser and everything will be gone again:

  • Halong Bay is beautiful but needs to be explored on a luxury boat on a 3 day, 2 night tour (including kayaking which is super fun).
  • Hoan Kiem Lake is beautiful at night, as opposed to quite dull during the day.
  • Bun Bo Hue in Hue is not as good as Bun Bo Hue in Melbourne.
  • The old palace in Hue is not great, but worth visiting.
  • Paradise Cave (Dong Thien Duong) is definitely worth visiting although a long drive from Hue (four hours).
  • Tet in Vietnam (or at least before new year passes) is awesome, wish I took more pictures.

I wish the pictures didn’t load so badly (I mean it doesn’t even rotate iphone pictures properly >:(), but WordPress is really not working for me lately, any way, this is a bit of a preview, I will start uploading pictures from Vietnam to flickr next week while they are still reasonably fresh and in context, and catch up on the Japan photos after that.

  • Mammoth Peach Blossom, Hoan Kiem Lake
    Mammoth Peach Blossom, Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Van Mieu Rooftop
    Van Mieu Rooftop
  • Turtle Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake
    Turtle Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Roof of some building at the Imperial Palace, Hue
    Roof of some building at the Imperial Palace, Hue
  • A gate at the Imperial Palace, Hue
    A gate at the Imperial Palace, Hue
  • Dong Thien Duong (Paradise Cave)
    Dong Thien Duong (Paradise Cave)
  • Road to Dong Thien Duong
    Road to Dong Thien Duong
  • Vincom Center behind a government building, Saigon
    Vincom Center behind a government building, Saigon
  • Tet Fireworks, Stark Tower on the right
    Tet Fireworks, Stark Tower on the right
  • Little Flowers
    Little Flowers
  • Bo, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and me
    Bo, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and me

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Back from Japan

Bleh, just got back last Sunday and we’re already missing it, the udon noodles, the cute and weird and crazy and funny Japanese, all the other yummy food, the toilets, the showers, the everything-is-so-neat and tidy gardens, the millions of slightly different options for everything. Oh well, it had to end some time, now we just have to work out how we can get back there and see more of this beautiful country. I’ll be updating the site with plenty of pictures and more stuff about the trip, what we saw, what we didn’t see (and wished we did), what we ate (hehe), but for now I’ll just leave you with a quick shot of Shibuya Crossing (not the full tide of people version, just one with some Japanese ladies :D), this one doesn’t have so few people because it was raining just because the lights had already changed red.

Japanese Ladies at Shibuya Crossing

Japanese Ladies at Shibuya Crossing

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Hobart for three days

We went to Hobart over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend last week, we had a rough itinerary planned, we arrived on a Saturday, so the plan was to hit the Salamanca Market in the morning, and then head up to Mount Field National Park in the afternoon to see some waterfalls. Day two was our only full day so we would spend it at Port Arthur Historical Site (about 95km from Hobart), and day three we would drive up to Mount Wellington to get a view of Hobart. We arrived a bit before 9am and got into our rented car and headed for Hobart city centre.

Mount Field National Park

Mount Field National Park

I’m not sure if it was because it was a public holiday weekend, but there was no traffic heading into Hobart, and none really to speak of in town either. We hit the market but didn’t buy anything, it was quite good but souvenirs in Australia are just as tacky as they are anywhere around the world, maybe the local gourmet foods and condiments might have been good to buy, but we decided against it. After that we headed up to Mount Field National Park, mainly to see Russell Falls, but I guess also to see what else was in the national park. About two-thirds of the way there (65km drive) we noticed this most beautiful of hills, it was green with deciduous trees lining half of it, the sun was shining and clouds were hovering, the scenery was fantastic, too bad we couldn’t find anywhere to stop and take a picture. At the park we found a nice 2.5 hour walk around that would take in three waterfalls, Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and Lady Barron Falls, as well as some comfortable walking through lush forest.

Mount Field National Park

Mount Field National Park

Russell Falls seemed a bit dry, whereas Horseshoe Falls and Lady Barron Falls looked really good to me. After that we headed back to Hobart for dinner, we went to Blue Eyes where we both had fish, which was yummy.

Russell Falls, Mount Field National Park

Russell Falls, Mount Field National Park

Lady Barron Falls, Mount Field National Park
Lady Barron Falls, Mount Field National Park

Day two consisted of the 95km drive to Port Arthur, taking in the Tessellated Pavement, Tasman Arch, the Devil’s Kitchen, and the Blowhole, three naturally occurring geological formations of similar descriptions, basically they all were caves that eroded away and now ocean water smashes through into a small enclosed area. They were a little underwhelming to be honest, but perhaps it was low tide, one of them (I think it was Tasman Arch) had a really nice lookout next to it where you could see the pretty coastline with high cliffs. I thought the Tessellated Pavement was quite nice, the weather was quite dreary all day with periods of drizzle and some very short bursts of sunshine.

dtra at the Tessellated Pavement

dtra at the Tessellated Pavement 

Coastline at the Tessellated Pavement
Coastline at the Tessellated Pavement

Port Arthur Historical Site
Port Arthur Historical Site

Port Arthur is obviously a significant historical site but if you know me, you probably know I found it a little boring, nothing especially photogenic there. Again, we went back to Hobart for dinner, this time at the Customs House Hotel, which just seemed like a standard pub in terms of the seafood.

Our final day in which we were to drive up to (the peak of) Mount Wellington, and also have some fresh oysters for lunch at Barilla Oyster Farm, and fit in whatever else we could be bothered doing. First we went to the oyster farm for lunch where we shared a 30 oyster platter which was yummy (except there were too many cooked cheesy oysters and not enough uncooked pear ones). After that we went back to Hobart to pick up a couple things before heading up to Mount Wellington. it was a bit of an overcast day and driving up I don’t think either of us held out much hope for a nice clear view at the top. By about midway the mist started creeping in and by the time we were pretty much at the top it was clear (not!) that the cloud cover was well and truly in and we would not be seeing anything. Visibility was about ten metres and the temperature was about three degrees, we didn’t hang around for long and headed back down and looked for any other lookout points of note, not really finding anything in the grey afternoon. After that we headed back to Barilla Oyster Farm to get some fresh oysters to take back to Melbourne. And that ends our three day trip to Hobart, we fit in quite a bit, saw the main things to see in (and around) Hobart, although we didn’t really wander around the CBD at all (not that there seemed to be much to see from what we saw driving through there), and didn’t stay out at night, neither of us can drink much so not much point by ourselves. I didn’t take any photos of it, but I did notice that there is a lot of road kill on the Tasmanian highways, not just small possums either, I reckon there were just as many wallabies and bigger animals on the side of the road too.

A rainbow at Rosny Park Lookout

A rainbow at Rosny Park Lookout

Good thing for me we didn’t hit any, the excess on the car was a whopping $3K. Overall happy with what we did, but we had hoped for a bit better weather (out of pure luck I guess) but it was not to be, it was the start of Winter I guess, amazing scenery down there, similar to New Zealand I would think, on a smaller scale, but would be amazing in any other season although you’d have to deal with a lot more people like me (tourists) then. I was actually surprised, I’d heard a lot about the two-headed Tasmanians expecting to see them around every corner, but in the end I only saw a couple, I guess they’re not as numerous as the sayings say they are.

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