• Shrine of the Times!

    Tokyo, Japan…Today Japan awed and inspired me at the Meiji Shrine (明治神宮 Meiji Jingū), located in Shibuya. This is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.

    A peaceful oasis in the heart of modern Tokyo, Meiji Shrine is sheltered by a 700,000 square-meter forest of 120,000 evergreen trees, donated from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established.

    The shrine grounds are entered through two of Japan’s largest torii (shrine gates), made of beautiful cypress wood more than 1,700 years old.

    The shrine was rebuilt in the 1950’s after being destroyed in World War II…this is the most visited shrine in Tokyo.

    In part of the compound, you can write a wish and place at the altar and shake a cylinder of thin sticks till one pops out revealing a wisdom or poem relating to your life! Mine was great!

    This was an amazing yet solemn place that just evokes a true sense of Japan’s long history and proud people! The design is a hallmark of Japanese beauty!









  • A Cultural Ceremony!

    Tokyo, Japan…a short walk from the hotel in Shinjuku and a world away we found the Meiji Shrine.

    Tucked away in a wooded and peaceful park, this sight is the spot for traditional Shinto weddings!

    As we walked around, one wedding procession after another made their way through the grounds…a dull drum beat and the slow walk of the bridal party was shaded by traditional red Japanese umbrellas!

    Each bride was resplendent in different kimonos and unique by wearing different styles of tsunokakushi (head piece).

    Absolutely beautiful, this ancient tradition and ceremony was so cool to witness!






  • Kimono Kids!

    Tokyo, Japan…a Sunday walk in the park was one of the best moments of my visit to Tokyo!

    Yoyogi Park was filled with parents bringing their adorable children dressed in their traditional Japanese costumes to Meiji Shrine! These children were so cute I could hardly stand it!

    They were excited to have their pictures taken and I snapped away, one after another!20121104-161727.jpg20121104-161750.jpg20121104-161803.jpg20121104-161817.jpg20121104-161841.jpg20121104-161904.jpg20121104-161921.jpg


  • Hollaback Girl!

    Tokyo, Japan…love Gwen Stefani and the Harujuka Girls she made famous! Today was shopping day in the Harajuka area and the adjoining Omotesando area…

    Colorful fashion, platform sneakers, sparkly accessories and cartoon graphics galore! This area mixes this Japanese love of “cute” fashion through the winding side streets and brand name designer fashion on the major avenues…These young fashion girls are colorful pop culture icons in Japan and they are visible working in as well as shopping in the shops all along this area! They are the real life version of the colorful Japanese drawings…

    Funny enough, fashion wasn’t what inspired me today! It was a great shop of unique handmade stickers that I loved! These digitally rendered stickers at “B-Side Label” looked great used all together on a wall or on a bike…so many cool ways to make a statement!

    I got a feel for young Tokyo today and it was a cool peek into this colorful world!





  • Luxury Overload!

    Tokyo, Japan…this morning’s view was of a snow capped Mount Fuji in the distance! What a beautiful sight looming far beyond Tokyo’s urban sprawl!

    Today is fashion time! We braved navigating the city’s subway system to get us to the shopping mecca of Ginza! We managed to get there without getting lost and once we arrived we were struck with the amount of mega luxury brands jammed into one area! Luxury after luxury with one being more expensive than the next…it’s mind blowing to even think who is buying all this! I admit my head was spinning and needed to stop for directions a few times as some stores are down alleyways that you would never expect!

    I thought the buildings themselves were interesting…the bland modernity was transformed with custom facades to set each brand apart!

    Dover Street Market by Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garcons is a curated collection of fashion cool…this bazaar of sorts is meant to give off a vibe of “beautiful chaos”…but to me, the sales people stole the limelight from the store itself! Each Japanese associate had such amazing style that was unique and so distinctly Japanese! It’s this kind of “out-there” fashion mixing that is totally chic yet interestingly new that you rarely see elsewhere! Very inspiring!

    The day flew by as we walked the streets going store to store and the sun sets early now and the day darkened very fast! As we wrapped up this day of fashion mega brand overload, we headed back to the hotel admiring the city’s lights all around us!







  • Taking on New Shapes!

    Singapore…This modern Asian city is bursting with state of the art architecture! The skyline is starting to take on a space age look with a futuristic sensibility!

    Marina Bay Sands is the new icon of the waterfront…it’s spaceship top high in the sky holds an incredible cantilevered pool over the city with a disappearing infinity edge!

    All around the Marina Bay you can spot cool new marvels of architectural engineering!

    Standing at the water’s edge feels as if you are looking at a glossy magazine featuring creativity with an eye to the future! It is great to see a city working so hard to remain current and evolve with the times! Singapore is rapidly growing and evolving to reflect what a modern day metropolis should look like!20121030-191204.jpg20121030-191240.jpg20121030-191505.jpg


  • A Grand Hotel!

    Singapore…One of the most famous hotels in history is located right here in Singapore: The Raffles Hotel!

    This colonial gem opened in the late 1800’s and was the first modern building with electricity in Singapore at the time. Originally only 10 rooms, the hotel was named after Singapore’s founder Sir Stamford Raffles and has expanded throughout the years, surviving several wars and even The Great Depression!

    The hotel is located at the corner of Beach Road and Bras Basah Road and has hosted celebrities and dignitaries for over a century. The famous Long Bar is the home of the “Singapore Sling” cocktail and is more than just a British Colonial bar, it’s truly an institution! The decor of dark wood and palm frond fans have set the scene for literary legends Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, and Joseph Conrad as they indulged in the famous “long” drinks and shelled peanuts back in the day!

    I attempted to enter the lobby but the doormen are known for their strict policy of restricting entrance to only residents and I was swiftly turned away in my shorts and flip flops!

    This is a real slice of history and one of the best displays of iconic British Colonial style with its grand porches, sprawling arcade, and incredible fanlike palm trees. This hotel really is a cool piece of history and the definition of Singapore!






  • Singapore Fling!

    Singapore…Usually the skyscrapers and mega malls define this modern yet tiny Asian country. But as a melting pot of numerous Asian ethnicities; Singapore marries Indian, Malay, and Chinese cultures that have had an extreme impact on this city’s food, architecture, and vibe!

    The modern airport of Chiangi is the welcoming point for most Singapore visitors and its status as the world’s best gives visitors the first glimpse at how Singapore works…well organized and very user friendly!

    The shopping and high rise mania doesn’t excite me, so I wanted to experience the more ethnic and historical heart of Singapore! A walk to the Kamplung Glam introduced me to Arab Street and area surrounding the Sultan Mosque. This Malay area dates back to the turn of the century and is beautifully lined with multi color historical buildings!

    I loved the color combos of the buildings and especially how each shuttered facade is painted in a different unique color combo!

    My first sampling of Singapore revealed a different side of this city and the cultural diversity that this city holds!





  • Monkey See, Monkey Do!

    Bali, Indonesia…Ubud has an aura…the spirituality and respect for nature is evident everywhere you go here! Animals feature predominantly in Hindu beliefs and statues abound of every kind of animal…

    I love Monkeys! The Balinese do too and there is a Monkey Temple inside Ubud’s famous Monkey Forest! I had to visit these mischievous cuties in their habitat…

    The Monkey Forest is swarming with a huge population of monkeys and they are smart enough to know that visitors come bearing gifts…BANANAS!

    They are relentless and will stop at nothing to get a banana…jumping on you, trying to steal your bag, go in your pocket, you name it…all in the name of scoring a tasty banana! You can’t outsmart these feisty animals!

    I think they are too cute, others are scared to death! I had them crawling on me, jumping at me, hissing at me, and following me to get one of the bananas I kept in my bag! They really can jump like no body’s business! I almost got bit by playing too hard to get…

    I am a Monkey in Chinese astrology and have always had a kinship to these animals and they never cease to fascinate me!

    This place is their sanctuary and they get what they want! I was playing by the monkey’s rules today!