An Aborted Grandeur Illusion for a Halloween Costume

When a friend relayed that he read my recent blog post about my Osaka flight cancellation, he knew that one of my agendas in going there was to celebrate and attend again the big Halloween street party in Osaka. He then asked who would I be this time if my Osaka Halloween attendance pushed though.  I simply responded King George.

I have been the Riddler and an Indian Warrior in the past Osaka Halloweens, but I was really looking forward to being the mighty and loony King George this year.  But when my friend further asked why King George, I told him that we Filipinos seem to secretly yearns for a king and has the weird fascination towards noble families.  Though our country is not under a monarchy, we are so in love with kings and queens!

crowned prince of the twisted! hahaha!

 Here in the Philippines, every primary or grade school seem to have coronated their little prince and princess.  Even rich and affluent people featured in society columns in the past were tagged “royals and royalettes”.  And when people are elected to a public office, they have to go around with a whole battalion of body guards to signify how important they are, waving their hands to their constituents as if they are kings and queens of their barrio or little municipalities. 

Classic examples are the effective portrayal of the late dictator Marcos and Imelda who depicted themselves as the modern king and queen of the Philippines.  This outrageous couple thought that it was their obligation to the people to live a fabulous imperial-like lives for the poor. Hahaha!   

Also, we are so fascinated with grand majestic coronations, that we look forward to the annual coronation of the queen of the universe (Miss Universe pageant) and we go extra crazy if the crowned winner is from the Philippines!

Now that I will not go back to Osaka, my friend still further asked what then should I do during Halloween? I told him that as a message to myself, I will have to settle singing the song “You’ll Be Back” by King George in the Broadway musical Hamilton. Hahaha!

You, who would you be this Halloween?

Stepping Into the Good Olden Days of Osaka

Only now that I realized that in the past 7 times that I have travelled to Japan, only few times did I went to a public art museum.  Reason maybe is because Japan in itself is one whole country of a public museum.  Everything you see, touch and feel seem worthy of being preserved, collected and exhibited.

When I go to a foreign country, I often set aside a day to visit either an art, cultural or historical museum.  I call it my “cultural day”.  A day when my soul is fed with art, history and culture.  But being in Japan, everyday seem to be a “cultural day”.

LIFE doesn’t come with an instruction manual, it comes with a MOTHER!

 

Though it is my 8th journey to Japan, this visit is still something different.  It is because I got to go and check on an actual museum.  And what is so unique about it is that I myself seem to be part of the museum’s exhibit.

While my nieces and nephews settled to go to Osaka’s Universal Studios, accompanied by one of my nieces, I, my sisters and Nengkoy went to Osaka Museum of Housing & Living.

super fun dressing up!

i love this shot!

what’s cooking?

gabi na! hahaha!

 

i call this the “rabbies shot”! hahaha!

The whole museum is a replica of an old Japanese town, specifically during Japan’s Edo period.  The cool thing about this museum is you got to rent and wear clothes of people during that era.  Thus, visitors donned in kimonos and yukatas can interactively feel how it really was 200 years ago in Osaka.

Adding up the modern Japanese technology, the lighting and sound simulations of the whole museum would shift, in which visitors would get to witness how it is to be during early morning dawn, daytime and nighttime period of the Edo era.   The awesome feeling was like stepping into  the good olden days of Osaka!

super fun peeping back into some japanese history…

Ang galing!

Experiencing the Way of Tea

The ultimate measure for the most favorite travel destination to a foreign country of a traveler is the number of times that traveler has returned.  Intentions for such returns must be for leisure and never to count the reasons due to work, study, business or religion.

Me and Nengkoy’s most recent visit to Japan was our eight time.  And Japan, Osaka in particular never ceases to amaze us.  Both of us thought that we have basically done everything a tourist must do in Osaka and its nearby cities like Kyoto, Nara and Kobe.

We then decided to further plunged ourselves to the Japanese culture by attending and learning the Way of Tea, otherwise known as the Japanese tea ceremony. My niece booked us at Maikoya Osaka, a Japanese cultural experience center who fortunately holds some of their cultural classes in English.

tranquil, graceful, serene

hot!

serving nengkoy (who had a different set-up for she no longer can do the Japanese way of seating on a square pillow)

delicious japanese sweets prior to sipping the macha tea

mix!

doing my little ceremony at a corner

We got to witness how the tranquil purification process was done along with the very elaborate and refined steps of the ceremony.  The Way of Tea for me is like a transcendent ritual that truly demonstrate respect through grace, charm and poise along with the showmanship of how a high level of good etiquette should be carried out.

The Way of Tea ceremony is a total opposite from my being brusque, coarse and unmannered.  The beautiful rite was so calm, serene and peaceful.  It was so dreamlike, I wanted to lie down, sleep and snore right there at the tatami mat!

inside Maikoya Osaka, contemplating on having this as my halloween costume next year hahaha!

I thought my 8th visit in Osaka prefecture would be a bore but our first Way of Tea experience was such a refreshing encounter.  It provided me reasons to come back and further explore beautiful Osaka and its nearby cities in the future.

Malayo sa paghigop ng Tsaang Gubat!

Osaka Halloween 2017

Channeling the mental state of Heidi Klum who loves to shock and amaze people every Halloween, I decided to dress up like an Indian Warrior.

happy halloween!

This is my second Halloween in Osaka and I equally love it just like the first.  Let the pictures speak for itself.

team langit before the street party (with nengkoy)

she was ursula in 2015, the queen of hearts of alice in wonderland in 2016. this year erika is coraline the other mother

team langit with darth vader and avatar characters

with c-3po, queen amidala and mariposa

monkeys!

with my evil smile, no doubt, i’m the most wicked! hahaha!

one of the popular t-rexes that night was my nephew alexis!

i had a blast!

i love osaka

Happy Halloween!

Spine Tingling Toilet View

According to the World Toilet Organization, approximately 2.4 billion people lacks access to a basic toilet.  I know this is a serious global matter, but in celebration of the World Toilet Day today, let me feature one unique toilet I found, used and amazed about when I visited Osaka this February 2015.

It is the public toilet found at Harukas 3000 Observatory, the top most floor of the highest building in Japan known as Harukas Abeno Tower in Tennoji, Osaka.

Japan I suppose has the most technologically advanced toilets.  But the one I found in Harukas 3000 Observatory is not about the toilet fixtures and facilities.  It is actually the breathtaking view inside the washroom.

don't be fooled by the minimalist look of the entrance...

don’t be fooled by the minimalist look of the entrance…

one rare view for a toilet!

one rare view for a toilet!

picture muna.  the reflection of the view on the mirror makes me dizzy...

picture muna. the reflection of the view on the mirror makes me dizzy…

you know the toilet is clean in you are willing to sleep in it.  up at the end are the cubicles...

you know a toilet is clean if you are willing to sleep in it. up at the end are the cubicles…

this is the spine-chilling view as soon as you open the door of the toilet cubicle after you relieved yourself

this is the spine-chilling view as soon as you open the door of the toilet cubicle after you relieved yourself

This toilet I guess is not for the faint at heart.  Acrophobic attacks would definitely starts to set in as soon as you enter it.  The walls of the toilet are thick clear glass in which toilet users would not have the choice but to look at the chilling panoramic view of the buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructures of Kansai area.

Mapapa-tae ka sa lula!

Holy Koyasan Makes Me Wanna Pray

I would like to believe that I must have done something beautiful in my past life that my present one has been so blessed.  One particular blessing is the opportunity to go and visit the beautiful and mystifying Koyasan, a unique Buddhist town nestled high in the peaks of Mt. Koya in Wakayama, Japan.

But what is so amazing by such a blessing is that I did not only visited this UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the holiest places in Japan once.  I was given by the heavens the generous chance to visit  Koyasan twice.  First was during the springtime of 2014 while the second was this year’s richly colored autumn season.

Selected 2014 Photos

with nengkoy and the gang...

with nengkoy and the gang…

at my back is the massive kongobuji temple

at my back is the massive kongobuji temple

breathtaking...

breathtaking…

feeling blessed...

feeling blessed…

right at the heart of ukunoin

right at the heart of okunoin

Selected 2015 Photos

taglagas...

taglagas…

strike a pose...

strike a pose…

mesmerized by the chanting of these monks...

mesmerized by the chanting of these monks…

hugging a massive tree at okunoin...

hugging a massive tree at okunoin…

same alley, same person, different season

same alley, same person, different season

colors of autumn...

colors of autumn…

What captivates me most about Koyasan is the peaceful aura and zen-like atmosphere it emits.  Visitors will truly feel the positive serenity and explicit spiritual side of Japan.  I am not religious, but each of the visit I did in this holy place made me feel so moved, it makes me wanna pray!

Koyasan is one great travel destination, no way will I hesitate if in this lifetime, I would be given the chance again of visiting this holy place for the third time.

Mapapa-Eymen ka sa ganda!

Halloween in Osaka: I got to be The Riddler!

Thanks to Halloween and the tradition of dressing up to be someone else on this day.  It is because it is one day in a year when the young ones and young at hearts got to exercise their wonderful sense of magical imagination.

I have always been the “I don’t care about Halloween” type of a person.  But my Halloween this year is totally different!  I spent this year’s Halloween in Osaka, Japan.  And I had a blast!

i got to be The Riddler

i got to be The Riddler

It was the night I got to be someone I was not.  I got to be The Riddler!  It was the night that no soul stopped me from looking weird and acting strangely.  It was one night that I just took all my cares away.  And the best part of it is that I got to party with some of my monster pamangkins (nieces & nephews)!

What is so awesome about the Halloween in Osaka is that herds of people wear costumes for the occasion. The array of costumes are just unbelievable!  And they would walk the streets of Osaka in a very cheery mood creating an awesome street-party-like atmosphere!

aylavet!

aylavet!

super fun!

super fun!

amazing!

amazing!

one with the osaka halloween

one with the osaka halloween

Me and my pamangkins, in our respective costumes, walked and went to the Triangle Park known as Sankaku Koen where people in their amazing costumes converge to see and be seen.  A lot of people say that walking the streets of Osaka in costume during Halloween will be incomplete if you won’t pass by Sankaku Koen.

One extra ordinary thing about this Halloween tradition in this park is that there seem to be no planning, no advertisement, no organization nor program being followed.  But everyone just turns up to this park in their costume so as to amaze and be amazed!

nemesis galore...

nemesis galore…

bongga!

bongga!

the queen of hearts and the joker

the queen of hearts and the joker

the riddler and the stormtrooper

the riddler and the stormtrooper

party! party! we owned the dancefloor at balabushka!

party! party! we owned the dancefloor at balabushka!

After witnessing the colorful, amazing and unbelievable costumes in Sankaku Koen, me and my pamangkins went to Balabushka – a dance club – where we all danced our Halloween cares away!

Kakaibang gemba! Kakamangha!

Breathtaking Views from Harukas 300

My present Osaka visit confirmed further that it is my most favorite city on the planet.  All the while, I thought I have been to all its best places to go to.  But I was at awe when I and my family visited the top of Abeno Harukas, the tallest building in Japan.  Abeno Harukas is the newest landmark in this part of Nippon country for it just opened in March/April of 2014.

elevator entrance

elevator entrance

at the cold open air area of the 58th floor

at the cold open air area of the 58th floor

The top three atrium cum observatory floors of the building is called Harukas 300 which offers the sweeping view of the whole Osaka metropolis.  The lower floors houses a five star hotel, a magnificent museum, high-end offices and a humongous shopping mall.

The view at Harukas 300 floors are so wonderful, it is hard to find words to fully describe it. The whole panoramic sight will make your heart beat faster and makes you realize how huge Osaka is and how spectacular Japanese architectural advancement is.

spectacular view!

spectacular view!

amazing!

amazing!

:)

🙂

cosmopolitan osaka

cosmopolitan osaka

It is surprising to note that the observation deck vicinity was actually very relaxing considering that it is so modern and top of the class.  The coffee shop at the 58th floor was a good add-on facility for people who would like to unwind and let time pass by while enjoying a spectacular view of the city.

Harukas 300 is indeed a new iconic landmark in cosmopolitan Osaka.

Ameysing!

Osaka has Pablo while Snaffle’s is in Hokkaido

When me and my family visits Japan (which fortunately has been a regular occurrence in the last couple of years) not having the Osaka-originated Pablo Cheese Tart seem like a mortal sin.  Thus, during our present visit we again lined up to buy and enjoy this amazing dessert.  Not only did we have the medium soft version of this enslaving cheese tart, we also had the newest version which has fresh orange on top.

yummy!

yummy!

But since the highlight of our present Japan adventure is to experience the Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, we were fortunate enough to come across Hokkaido’s best version and equally popular cheesecake.

a little piece of heaven

a little piece of heaven

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the fascinating palatal experience brought about by Snaffle’s Cheese Cake from Hakodate, Hokkaido.  The soft creamy texture is simply perfect.  This heaven-sent dessert brings a different penchant to your sweet, smooth and cheesy impression.  The savory flavor brings a unique invigorating assault on the taste buds.  Its addictive character is equally impressive to that of Osaka’s Pablo.

the box that easily gets empty

the box that easily gets empty

savoring every bite

savoring every bite

Snaffles was a big hit with my family.  Everyone loved it!  Unfortunately, Snaffle’s as we found out is not yet available in Osaka while Pablo is nowhere to be found in Hokkaido.  I hope I would be the one benefiting from these delicious gastronomic highlights by having these exceptional desserts available in the Philippines.  I know Pablo will soon be available in Manila (by the 3rd quarter of 2015) and I’m wishing that Snaffle’s will follow suit.

Best tsiskeyks eber!

Little Fuji by San Maruku

I know that the popular Japanese-originated St. Marc Café is a freshly minted icon in Manila.  But that did not dampen my yearning to try it in the country where it all started.  I and my family had it at a branch within the Namba area in Osaka.

the now iconic choco cro by st marc cafe

the now iconic choco cro by st marc cafe

People go to St. Marc Café because of their signature and sought after Choco Cro (short for chocolate-filled croissant).  But for me, I would return to St Marc (pronounced as San Maruku) because of their Little Fuji.

Little Fuji which I guess the name was derived from Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji is composed of warm buttery flaky Danish pastry with soft vanilla ice cream drizzled with addictively light caramel sauce.

little fuji (a delicious piece of heaven)

little fuji (a delicious piece of heaven)

one happy customer...

one happy customer…

As expected Japanese vanilla ice cream is so heavenly.  But what is so amazing about this dessert was the savory taste of the Danish pastry.  Japanese pastry chefs of St Marc Café would indeed give the Danish people a run for their money.  We were so impressed we bought the wicked Danish roll for takeout.

Little Fuji, though uncomplicated in its components, is foolishly delicious.  It is so good my soul was screaming “Oishii!”

Kaloka sa sarap!