I enjoy the precise nature of Japan. There’s precision in the timing of the public transport and precision in making up a futon. There’s precision in the way you take your shoes off and turn them around for when you go back out. There’s precision in the movements of the traditional tea ceremony. There’s precision in eating Hatsumabushi (grilled eel on rice). Calmness and efficiency in what is a busy and very driven society.
Let’s talk about my favourite precision of all. Putting on a kimono.
First, (take your shoes off and turn them around of course) enter a tatami room where several older Japanese ladies are getting a little excited about helping you dress up. Next, strip to your underwear and put on a petticoat, or bloomers and a thin cotton ‘under kimono’ (I’m unsure what they’re called, can someone enlighten me?). Don’t forget to put on some socks too. And then, it’s time to be wrestled into a silk clad sausage shape by aforementioned excited Japanese ladies.
The ladies used several pieces of cloth to shorten the kimono so that I could walk in it, and also to secure it closed. The left side should be over the right side. Then they added padding, and wrapped around the obi, and somehow tied a bow in it. Finally they added a cord and tied pretty knots in it at the front. It was all quite tight by the time they had finished with me.
For the grand finale, we were allowed to walk around a beautiful park in Nagoya, where the autumn colours are fully on display.
And unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to wear my kimono home!
A couple dressed in black and holding a baby walked down the hill towards us. A few other people were milling about dressed in black. We tentatively approached them, feeling a little awkward, and asked them for directions. They helped us as best they could, and then went on their way to their car.
A minute or two later, a car hooted at us, and the window was wound down. They came back! Because of the baby they could only give 2 of us a lift at a time, but they really wanted to help us! So 2 of us hopped in the car with the wife, while the husband and the other 2 began walking in the same direction.
After she dropped us off, the lady drove back to collect the other 2 of our group, and the husband ended up walking the whole way..! Such incredible hospitality. So very sweet of them to help the slightly lost gaijins!
The street lights may block out the stars but the moon rabbit is forever peeking out at us.
Although next week there will be a lunar eclipse!
This photo is taken over the houses of my new neighbourhood in Nagoya, Japan. I’m getting settled in now, and I’m very excited to be exploring the area over the next few months.
For more information about the weekly photo challenge, click here.
“Now then, Pooh,” said Christopher Robin, “where’s your boat?”
“I ought to say,” explained Pooh as they walked down to the shore of the island, “that it isn’t just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it’s a boat, and sometimes it’s more of an accident. It all depends…”
“Depends on what?”
“On whether I’m on top of it or underneath it.”
Boats are containers that can take us to so very many places. Or not, as pooh rightly points out.
I’ve decided to get back into the swing of photo challenges every now and again. See here for more information about the challenges.
Following on from my last post, I took another trip to a beach a week or two ago. This time I went to Koh Samet.
I’ve been to Koh Samet lots of times, but only ever to Hat Sai Kaew, which is the biggest and most popular beach on the island. It’s fun, but this time my sister and husband were coming along, so we checked out Ao Sang Thian which is a bit further down the island. We got a green songthaew/taxi to Ban Khiang Talay. I’d seen some bad reviews of this place online, so I was a little worried. But it was so lovely! The staff were very friendly, and the food was great with veggie food too.
We went snorkeling, swam and relaxed on the beach. We pretty much had it to ourselves, the same as in Prachuap. It’s so beautiful, and a completely different feel from Hat Sai Kaew. The beach here is a lot smaller, and a bit rocky, but with clear blue warm water and only the sound of the waves, what more do you really need?
The thing with Koh Samet is that it’s one of the driest places in Thailand, so you can go there in the low, rainy season and still be blessed with lovely blue skies.
In the evenings we opened a beer or 3 and sat on deck chairs on the beach, with the soft glow of a few lights behind us. It was just about dark enough for us to clearly see stars, and once our eyes adjusted we saw the crabs come out to explore the sand after the tide had gone out and the hot sun had gone in.
If you’d like to party and meet new people, head to Hat Sai Keaw. But if you’d rather some peace I suggest going to one of the other beaches! I’d completely dismissed the other beaches, thinking they were too small, or not beautiful. Instead, it was totally worth it.
Have you ever been to Koh Samet? Where did you go? Or do you know of any more small, quiet beaches in Thailand? Let me know!
Things have started hotting up in Thailand, in more ways than one. But with regards to the coup d’etat, for me, and most people I believe, day to day life is as normal.
The weather though, is sweltering. It hasn’t rained much yet which, If I can remember from the past two years is a little odd. Let’s hope the heat breaks soon!
I went to a new beach last month, which I thought I would share. Perfect for anyone who likes a bit of peace and quiet and not to far away for a quick break from Bangkok. It’s low season right now, so that’s one reason there weren’t many people when I went.
Phu Noi Beach, Prachuap Khiri Khan
It’s very near Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, and the town of Pranburi. Our minibus from Victory Monument in Bangkok took us right to Blue Beach Resort where we were staying. It’s a lovely place to stay, family run and good food (they know how to please westerners; they don’t use MSG). There are also kayaks for you to use for free, which me and my girlfriend made good use of. We kayaked to the two islands in the pictures below, where there were a few monkeys.
Look at the beach! An empty stretch of sand! It might not be the clearest water or the whitest sand in Thailand, but we had it nearly to ourselves. Wonderful.
We didn’t do a lot, just kayaking for a few hours every day and swimming! Next time I’d like to explore the national park some more, I’ve heard good things.
I love that there are quiet little hideaways like this within reach of Bangkok. Why are we all working so hard if we can’t spend a little of that hard earned cash on some recuperation every once in a while?
I’ll write my next post about another quiet beach I went to on Koh Samet when I’ve uploaded the pictures.
Has anyone ever been to this area, or Sam Roi Yot park? Where did you go, what did I miss? Leave a comment! :D
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