December 24, 2014

The Merry Afternoon Around Town

The other day I was walking from Ebisu to Aoyama.

I spotted a lot of holiday colors around town, although I guess that is to be expected during this season. But even regular things, like green buses and red leaves! It felt great to be walking outside in the sun (even if my fingers were frozen by the time I got home).

I also found a really great flower shop and couldn't resist buying a couple mini poinsettias to go with the holly I already had. Different shades of red and green here, too!

I hope your day is filled with joy and you have a wonderful holiday wherever you are! xx

Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2014

The Eureka Skydeck 88 in Melbourne

I almost forgot about these photos of Melbourne!

As much as I am afraid of heights, I've always been drawn to high places (with a secure floor and wall protecting me, of course) and I heard that Eureka Skydeck 88 had an amazing view of the city of Melbourne and beyond, so I had to go! According to the visitor information, this is the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemesphere.

So after a quick lunch, where I got to see the girls again, I took a walk around the city for a bit and headed towards Eureka Tower. I initially thought it was an office building but later learned that it is in fact a residential tower. I'm not sure how I would feel about living so high above the ground. But it does have an amazing view, that's for sure.

Isn't the city of Melbourne beautiful from above?

Here are some photos: 

By the end of this trip, I was almost an expert at taking selfies!
The tall building on the left is the Eureka Tower.
There were some binoculars that faced city landmarks...this was Flinders Street Station.
There was also a corner of the observation deck where you could step outdoors.

Before I knew it it was dark outside and the city was covered in lights!
The night view was gorgoues...and loved seeing the river we kayaked from above :)
Then it was back to the Southern Cross Station to head to the airport! x

December 20, 2014

The Top 5 Christmas Movies

It's almost Christmas! Have you been watching any holiday movies?

I feel like in Japan, where Christmas is more of a commercial event and weirdly a romantic holiday, Christmas movies are essential for getting into the holiday spirit. Which is why (just in case you haven't been watching already) I'm going to share my favorite Christmas movies with you today. And even if you aren't into Christmas, you can just consider this a list of educational material on a certain pagan festival ;)

Here are my favorites:

"Karen: So what's this big news, then?
Daisy: We've been given our parts in the nativity play. And I'm the lobster.
Karen: The lobster?
Daisy: Yeah!
Karen: In the nativity play?
Daisy: Yeah, FIRST lobster.
Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?
Daisy: Duh."
I love this movie for three reasons: (1) British English, (2) tons of merry humor, and (3) Colin Firth. Need I say more?

“Bah, humbug.”
I grew up watching the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol, long before I even knew of Charles Dickens. The ghost scenes always made me inch closer to my parents but it was always a holiday favorite for our family. I didn't realize there were so many versions though!

"Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends."
Yes, it is a wonderful life, especially when you're watching this! Can you believe that this classic holiday movie came out in 1946 but took over 20 years for it to become as popular as it is today? In Japanese the title is "Subarashiki-kana, Jinsei (素晴らしき哉、人生!)." I think this was my dad's favorite holiday movie and we used to watch this every year when it was on television. The angel-in-training is a dear and the last scene always makes me emotional.

"Keep the change, ya filthy animal."
After all these years, I still adore this movie. It is a beautiful Christmas movie set in Chicago (my favorite city!) and you will laugh and laugh over how smart this kid is. But my favorite part is the interaction he has with his next door neighbor. It always reminds me that people may not be what they seem. Also, all the crazy 90s outfits in the movie are just too fabulous.

" He would get these far-off looks in his eyes and he would say 'Life doesn't always turn out the way you plan'. I just wish I'd realized at the time, he was talking about MY life."
My favorite Christmas movie of all time!!! I know you've all seen it. It's so good I sometimes even watch it in the middle of the year and not just because this movie is also set in Chicago. Lucy and Jack are the lead characters but what makes this movie even more special is the fabulous cast they have surrounding these two. It's the most heartwarming story ever, that will make you laugh and cry, quite possibly at the same time. And I'd know, I've watched it twice already this year ;)

So there's my list! Happy holidays, everyone! xx

(images via here, here, here, here and here)

December 17, 2014

The Elephant Slide in Kagurazaka

Taking a break from my travel posts...I thought I'd introduce you to these elephants!

Kagurazaka is a great spot to just wander the streets. On this particular day, I was heading toward Akagi shrine when I heard a screeching noise that could only be a dying crow or a child having tons of fun. It ended up being the latter.

I was curious what was going on so I followed the voices down the narrowest path there ever was and suddenly it opened up into a tiny park in the middle of a residential area. I love how this park feels like a secret, only people who know of it can see the entrance!

Then my eyes fell on these elephants. I also discovered what all the shouting was about. The kids were playing an intricate game of tag on the two elephants, which consists of a long slide (the nose), climbing rocks and pegs (the ears), and a tunnel (again the nose).

Akagi Children's Park (赤城児童遊園) is a very narrow park and what land it has is a large slope, which this elephant slide utilizes to its full advantage. So creative! These elephants are gigantic and surprisingly not too friendly looking. But I like their droll expressions and more importantly, the kids don't seem to care at all. The screaming was still going on when I left the park :D

Aren't these two elephants darling?

This is a path that leads to the top of the park.
Those tusks!
The slide down is quite long...yes, I somehow slide down but my butt didn't fit at all!
What do you think of these elephants? x