Thursday, July 30, 2015

TRAVEL | tokyo misc ii

Ironic that I'm thinking about my next trip as I'm editing and posting photos of Tokyo. I've still got a bit of work to do in terms of my personal project before I leave. I'm hoping to get it done in two weeks so I can sort out the kinks from the printing process during the last.

In the meantime I've been taking a break from photography. I realised I put aside illustrating and painting for so long, my skills have gotten weak. So along with the photography personal project the next few weeks are strictly dedicated to brushing up my drawing skills again!

In the meantime, here are the last of the photographs from Tokyo I plan to post online. I really liked these miscellaneous moments.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

TRAVEL | tsukiji 築地市場

Tsukiji market is just one of those places you have to visit when you're in Tokyo. You don't really have to go to Tokyo Tower, don't really have to visit all the temples..but Tsukiji is definitely worth the trip. The market is famously known for its tuna auctions, which take place in the early hours of the morning (5-6am). It's a once in a lifetime sort of experience–once you've seen it, there is no need to go again. I've visited the tuna auctions the first time I visited Tokyo. Here's the original post from tumblr (2013) & I've included a few pictures (5, 6, & 7) I took from last time.

"Woke up at 3am to catch the tuna auctions at Tsukiji Fish Market. We decided the previous day to group up with a fellow hostel roommate since Kelly and I were still quite unfamiliar with the city. Turns out, waking up at 3am was still considered late, and we ended up being put in group B. This means we didn’t get to see the tuna auction until 5:50-6 in the morning. Tip for any future Tokyo travelers: [1] Go early in your trip (so you’re still jet lagged), [2] bring a book & snackfoods (you will be waiting)."

This time my sole mission was to find awesome sushi at Tsukiji. According to yelp and many other travel guides Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi are the ones to visit. However, both restaurants had 3-4 hour minimum waits–even at 9am!!! I wasn't about to spend so much time waiting for sushi so I went for the 3rd best option: { Sushi Sei }. No lines at all, and the sushi was amazing. I couldn't be happier about my decision. And the price was justified for such a tourist spot. I even had enough yen to buy myself an equally delicious green tea soft serve in a random stall inside the market.

I was a really good morning, to say the least.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

TRAVEL | tokyo photo diary

Tokyo in 2015 seems so different from Tokyo in { 2013 }.

It was an unpopular opinion, but I wasn't that impressed the capitol of Japan on my last visit to the city. Hm, maybe 'impressed' isn't the right word, but I just didn't like it as much as I had expected to? Maybe it was because the first time I spent so much of my energy jumping from one end of the city to the other searching for those famous Tokyo landmarks. And from what I learned from my trip to { Rome } : tourist attractions are never fun.

This time I took on Tokyo with a whole other mindset: plan nothing. I still had my bookmarks from my previous trip saved in my google maps with some new locations added in throughout the years, but that was about it. No schedule, no sights, and guess what?

I love Tokyo now.

Not to say a schedule of sorts was the root of all my problems. And while I did enjoy my free time wandering about the city I think the thing that really topped off this fantastic weeks were the people I spent my days with in Tokyo. Not only did I get to catch up with old friends from the states, but I also discovered that two of my classmates from middle school were living and working in Tokyo. There were also fellow SCAD folks in the city as well.

The most miraculous part was that none of the meetings were pre-planned—I had no idea they were all going to be there, and vice versa. I guess these are the perks of being an international kid.

This time I stayed in Asakusa again. I couldn't find a hostel I liked more than Khaosan Kabuki on Hostelworld and jumped at the chance to stay there again. Even though I'm not a morning person, my favorite time of day in Asakusa is in the early mornings. It's one of the major tourist destinations away from the city center due to the famous Sensō-ji temple and the Kaminarimon gate. Therefore, this place is usually swarming with people by the time 11am rolls around. But if you're able to wake up early enough to experience Asakusa in the morning, I would highly recommend it because the little streets and tiny shops will charm the socks off of you.

I'm conflicted between my loyalty to Hong Kong's trademark pineapple bun but I have to admit that this melon pan from { Kagetsudō } is pretty damn delicious. Light and fluffy on the inside with a crunchy, sugary, cookie top.

One of my favourite things to do in Tokyo--or in general--is to check out local coffee shops. Not suprisingly, Tokyo's coffee game is on point. There were a few scattered around the city center that I told myself I had to visit. This method of travel took me all around city and off the beaten path. I strolled through countless residential streets on the hunt for a good cuppa, and yes, while some walks were long, I got to visit some neighbourhoods I wouldn't have gone to otherwise

I wish I had been better prepared for Yoyogi Park. It was a beautiful afternoon and every one had picnic gear all packed and ready. Too bad I didn't have a blanket, water, and snacks with me or else I would've spent all afternoon lounging on the grass.

Best part to this story is that Tokyo wasn't even supposed to happen. I had originally booked a flight to Seoul--for the same week—but due to the MERS virus my parents persuaded me to cancel the trip. With no more trip to Korea and so much free time left I decided to book a flight to Tokyo on a whim. At first I was unsure about how it would go but now I have to say it was one of the best decisions of the year!

Lastly, I'd like to give a shoutout to the staff at Khaosan Kabuki Hostel. They are truly some of the nicest people I've ever met. They made Tokyo feel like home and I'm definitely hoping to go back again soon.

photo 18 + 19 by { Tina Leung }

Thursday, July 16, 2015

TRAVEL | random

One of my favourite snaps of a random well-dressed stranger at { JiuZhaiGou }

Sunday, July 5, 2015

TRAVEL | jiuzhaigou 九寨沟

It's happened! I can finally cross off Jiuzhaigou from that bucket list and move on with my life. Its been sitting there for the better part of a year and certain circumstances have always stood in the way of my going despite the fact that my dad lives in Cheng du--a mere 1 hour flight away from Jiuzhaigou valley.

Anyways, believe it or not, but these photos have barely been retouched. The waters were really that blue, and the trees were really that green. I mean, for the first hour or so I could barely comprehend what I was seeing--everything was so overwhelmingly beautiful and serene.

Friday, July 3, 2015

PERSONAL | chengdu life

I took these photos on a warm night out when my Dad decided to cook a sukiyaki dinner on the balcony. All vegetables were organic and picked fresh by the farmers who sold them to us at the local market. That was a good day.

And little 二毛 kept us company the whole time. I miss that little cutie pie.