Explore Tokyo: Harajuku and Omotesando Shopping Areas

Harajuku is colourful and crazy.  It’s Takeshita-dori and its side streets is the epitome of Japanese teenage culture and lined with trendy shops and restaurants just waiting to be discovered.  Omotesando caters for more adult clientele with luxury brand shops sitting along the broad tree-lined street.  I did a (shopping) walk from Harajuku to Omotesando to Shibuya and this was one of my favourite excursions in Tokyo.  There are so many side streets and small boutique shops to discover.

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Exploring Tokyo: Meiji Shrine

The Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu) in Tokyo was built as a dedication to Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of modern Japan and his wife, Empress Shoken.  I found this shinto shrine situated next to Harajuku station, a busy shopping area, with its 100000 trees and huge torii gates, oozing with tranquility.  This was just what I was looking for before starting off my shopping extravaganza in Harajuku, Omotesando down Cat Street straight to Shibuya.

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Croatian Adventure: The Lovely Rovinj

Rovinj is a picturesque town in the North of Croatia on the Istrian peninsula.  Rovinj made quite an impression on me with its beautiful colorful old town and the huge stone tower looming over the city from a top the hill.  It reminds me strongly of Venice but with a flavor of its own.  I had the best time walking round this ancient port city and would recommend it for anyone traveling to Croatia.

A walk around the old town and the Grisia neighborhood

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Exploring Tokyo: Asakusa Guide

Tokyo is a big city with many layers to it.  It’s impossible to try to reveal all the layers during a five-day stay, but I certainly tried my best.  Asakusa falls under Eastern Tokyo in the Taito ward and it is separated from the more industrial Oshiage area, where you find the Tokyo Skytree, by the Sumida River.  So what is there to see in this old entertainment district?

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Mindfulness on the Road – How to experience more

Have you ever been in a place or situation where there is just too much to take in? It feels as if every pore in your body is over saturated with stimuli.  It’s just too much and you can feel your brain cutting out.  The worst that has happened to me is when I think back to some great over-stimulating experience and find myself not remembering anything of it.  The thought of it is shocking, but it happens. All the time.

This is where mindfulness comes in.  I’ve always practiced some form of meditation throughout the years to help lessen anxiety and everyday stress.  Truthfully, I haven’t been consistent in any of these practices.  I usually end up disappointed in myself and looking for quick fixes.  I found that practicing mindfulness and incorporating it into my daily life, I am calmer, more focused and experience things clearer.  Mindfulness is described by a Perspectives on Psychological Science study as “the non-judgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment.”

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A walk through Avignon

Sometimes I wish the South of France was less crowded with tourists.  Which is not the best thing to say, as I am one myself.  Okay, not really.  There must be some difference between a traveller and a tourist, as I see myself as a traveller wanting to experience the essence of my destination rather than snapping pictures of big sights only to say that I was there.  This is why I love walking, wandering and exploring my destination on foot.  Avignon’s old town, in Provence, makes for a lovely walk to see the city’s rustic beauty at a slow pace.
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Travel at a slow pace in the border town of Perpignan

Have you ever heard of the French town of Perpignan?  Well, I haven’t.  When the lady I took French conversation from mentioned it in one of our Friday afternoon sessions I was intrigued.  She even suggested that I go there if I’m in the area.  So that I did.  En route from Barcelona to Provence, I spent a day and two nights in Perpignan.

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Down Town Ramen

 

During my preparations for my trip to Japan in next week I’ve looked at many, many websites and blogs stating where to find the best Japanese cuisine.  This includes sushi, ramen, oden, udon, okonomiyaki, hot pot, izakaya (bar) snacks, kaiseki, tofu, street food, wagashi, desserts and many more.  With each new review I read an increasing crave for all these delicious dishes started to appear as I scrolled through my notebook screen.  One particular dish that I plan to eat bowls of in Japan is…RAMEN.  Finding a place to inhibit my craving until April proved difficult, until I came across the hip and somewhat secretive little joint, Downtown Ramen, in the Cape Town Fringe District.

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