Month: July 2014

Mt Fuji + Hakone

Today’s post is about Mt. Fuji and Hakone! ^-^ The Mount Fuji–also known as 富士山–is easily the most famous mountain in Japan. Some foreigners call it Fuji-yama because of the kanji 山, but honestly it is just “san”, haha. Anyway, at 3776m tall, Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan. It also looks perfect from most angle, like a pretty lady peaking out of the blue curtains on clear days. ^.^ I think one of the most precious parts about travelling is also reminiscing your travels, and looking back at your growth. I was looking through my past visits to Mt. Fuji, and was pretty awed by the photos. I had actually been to Mt. Fuji + Hakone area three times, but all experiences for the three times are different. Here are some of the photos: There are tons of stops on the way up to Mount Fuji. Here’s one of them. Totally gorgeous scenery. There are really adorable and curious Japanese cats too! We actually stayed at the YMCA Tozano, a really cozy international …

Himeji + Kobe

Hi folks! Today’s feature will be on two really lovely cities in Japan–Himeji and Kobe. I visited both places around 6 years ago! I really don’t know why I’m missing Japan so much recently–it always happens when Autumn is approaching. Autumn is my favorite month–with lovely momiji, or maple leaves and I saw a lot today! Nothing beats watching leaves turn yellow and then red slowly. –xoxo In particular, I’m missing Kobe a lot, so I’d be writing a little about Himeji Castle and Mount Rokko. Basically, you can explore both Himeji and Kobe in just one day! The Express Train JR TOKYUU operates on a 15 minute interval, and the duration from Kobe Station to Himeji station is only 50minutes. You can buy the 1 day JR Kansai Area Pass at 2,000yen. Himeiji Castle is actually one of the Seikai Yisan–or crowned the world cultural heritage by UNESCO. It deserves all praises out of its title, not only because of its architectural structure, but also because it is super well preserved. Last year it underwent a construction …

Marina Bay Sands

Heehee I’m going to blog more about Singapore today! I have no idea why–perhaps it’s the PATRIOT in me talking? National Day’s coming soon, and Singapore is turning 49 woohoo! Today’s post will feature Marina Bay Sands Hotel.  I’d been to the hotel three times and stayed over once. 90% of the photos here are taken by The Boyfriend, whereas the remaining 10% are taken by me. The unique selling point of this hotel is its super duper awesome sky garden, infinity pool and THE CLUB on level 57. Imagine celebrating Singapore’s birthday on August 9 at level 57th!!! Imagine admiring the spectacular  fireworks 200m high with a glass of quality champagne in your hand!!!!!!! ZOMGGGG!!!!! I’d gotten some curious questions about this mad-amazing hotel, so here are some pictures: Anyway: the view up there is really spectacular, so it’s really worth every dollar spent. You should stay there at least once in Singapore! The Marina Bay Sands club and restaurant/club Ku De Ta are also on the 57th floor, and offer a top-quality dining experience coupled with a 360degrees …

Kumano: History, Beauty and Community.

Today’s feature is on a quaint, green Japanese town– Kumano. Unlike big Japanese cities–Tokyo, Hokkaido, Kyoto and Osaka–Kumano (in Hiroshima) is off the mass-tourism radar. Yet, beauty junkies globally know that Kumano is home to the highly raved Hakuhodo make-up brushes. In 2008, I did a home-stay in Kumano. As the birthplace of the influential global organization Mayors for Peace, Kumano too advocates peace via community-based tourism. Compared to mass-tourism, community-based tourism is definitely more sustainable, environmentally-friendly and provides more opportunities for conversation with locals. A hotel stay for instance, can never give you the privilege of exchanging world views with locals who have opened their houses and hearts to you. Those sharing over sake are priceless. We visited the Kumano Brush Museum: During the start of Showa period, demand for writing brushes increased. The Kumano village decided to specialize in the production of these brushes, which gradually expanded to cosmetics brushes. Today, 15 million high-quality Kumano brushes are produced annually. A Kumano brush is always special because each premium brush is handmade by skilled craft-men. More photos: After the museum, we went farming: The Kumano City Organization actively plans and runs small guided tours. Tourism revenues go entirely to local communities. Sixty years ago during World …

R.I.P

I felt compelled to type this, first and foremost as a human being, next as a previous Japan Airlines Scholar and finally as a friend to many Malaysians. I know unfortunate things happen everyday–but this really hits too close to home, too close to Hari Raya. I’m always very personally affected by airline catastrophes because I have many pilots and cabin crew friends with Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines, and I do know some Singaporeans who work with Finnair too. My heart goes all out to the families and loved ones of the passengers who were on the MH17 which was mistakenly shot down in Ukraine by rebels. 😦 My heart especially goes out to the 28 Aussies who were on board, because I know how much you had wanted to get home. I also know how exhausting it is to take the route you take– from Amsterdam to Malaysia to Australia. For at least four times already I’d flown on the Helsinki-Singapore route and I’d consistently sat next to one of your fellow Aussie mates. We always had delightful long chats with …

Singapore Loves Finland!

Today I’m going to pen my thoughts about the most requested post on this blog– Where and what is Singapore? I write this post with a mixed sense of irony and excitement: Irony, because I always assumed that Singapore is so well-known in the world that I’d never have to write such an informational post about my own country; Excitement, because I don’t have to repeat anything to curious Finns anymore! The next time someone asks me this question, I can just refer them to this blog post ^_^. Saves a lot of time. Anyway, this piece is what I think of Singapore. So without further ado, here’s the informational piece from my perspective: :: Introduction to Singapore. :: Singapore is a sovereign city-state in Southeast Asia. We are neither part of China nor Africa. We are famous for these things: Racial harmony, or at least racial tolerance. Different races–Malay, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians, “others”– stay in one small country. Just for comparison, Singapore is only slightly smaller the than Helsinki Region (up to Ring III). Singapore …

Sneak Peak ;)

Here’s a sneak peak of our photoshoot in preparation of Moi!  They are two different photoshoots, so the natural lighting is completely different. In all honesty, the easiest thing about writing a book is…well, the writing. There are so many aspects to consider when you’re writing a book! For instance: marketing, distribution, target audience, to name just a few. And who would be publishing the book? Chinese publisher? Japanese publisher? Finnish publisher? American? Singaporean? Haha. But my goal is simple–It is to share my love for Helsinki with everyone! I believe this simple, little dream of mine would lead to a really good book being published! Oh here’s a last picture of response of the first draft of my book cover on my (very private) facebook. I look forward to revising this cover until I’m fully satisfied. So if you have any comments, drop me an email! 🙂 Helsinki is really a cool place, and I do hope I find an awesome Finnish publisher soon! 🙂 I intend to start pitching next week.