South of the Main Street SkyTrain Station and Terminal Avenue, one can find a collection of the newest murals in Vancouver. If you don’t mind walking off the beaten path into the industrial False Creek Flats, you will be duly rewarded with artful surprises. Look for the Fontile Kitchen & Bath & Store and the Tim Horton’s. Those two business mark the southern corners of Station Street and Terminal Avenue. Head south until you find the giant red/peach mural on a warehouse wall on the west side of the street. Stand there and get to “Knot Yourself.”
Happy New Year! Chinese New Year, that is. Welcome to the Year of the Monkey in 2016. My celebrations included a visit to Aberdeen Mall in Richmond the week before. However, they were only setting up and the “flower market” wasn’t really open yet. The displays, though, were already all up. We were thinking of joining the countdown last night, but we had food and dog in tow. So we couldn’t go to the mall.
July 2, 2016 (Thursday) – One of my personal interests in Paris was to explore the covered shopping galeries, or passages couverts, of Paris. Because we had a lot of other things planned for our one week trip, I ended up seeing only one of these famed galeries. If I ever go back, then exploring more of these galeries would definitely be on my list.
July 1, 2015 (Wednesday) – After exploring the Chateau, we ventured out into the gardens at Versailles. The fountain was unfortunately not running that day, but the gold-gilded statues surrounded by golden frogs was an impressive sight on its own.
Being a scorcher of a day, we decided to not walk the gardens. We didn’t have time to walk the whole grounds. So we decided to splurge on renting a golf cart to get us around. On a day where temperatures reached 38C, we were more than willing to pay in order not to sweat buckets. And trust me, we were still sweating buckets without all the walking.
July 1, 2015 (Wednesday) – This past Canada Day was spent in Paris. More specifically, we headed out to the famed Chateau de Versailles just outside of Paris. We got up early in the morning and grabbed a quick breakfast at the nearby Atelier Jules. Then we were off on the Metro and then onto a RER train to head out of town. It was already very warm and it would be sweltering record temperatures for the rest of the day.
We made our way across the wide Parisian boulevard and found our way to foot of the dome. This dome was originally the Royal Chapel. In 1840, it was designated to become Napoleon’s tomb. However, the required modifications to include a crypt took over 20 years to complete. The Dome in its current form was completed in 1861.
Matsuri is the Japanese word for festival. Summer is the season for matsuri in Japan. It’s also this past long weekend that the 39th Annual Powell Street Festival was held down in Japantown. I missed last year’s edition that was kept out of the usual Oppenheimer Park location by a tent city. This year, the festival was back into full gear in the park.
Here’s a few photos from this year’s Powell Street Festival.
We couldn’t have picked a better day to end our 4 weeks of classes at Hokkaido Japanese Language School. It was our last day and we would be going to see fireworks in the evening. However, along with fireworks, comes yukata. Yukata are traditional Japanese clothing similar to kimono, but they are much lighter and less complex to put on. However, to us, the uninitiated, we needed help to put on these wonderful traditional pieces of clothing.
Let me start by saying I thought that we were going to be making fans from scratch for my last workshop at Hokkaido Japanese Language School, or JaLS. Maybe I read the itinerary wrong. In any case, we didn’t make fans. However, we did get to do some neat stuff with our fans.
Apart from our first night at Chitose Airport, we hadn’t been to an onsen during the month in Hokkaido. We had discovered that there was a nearby onsen resort town called Jozankei (定山渓). The first time we heard about this place was through the lovely green mascot below.
That cute green mascot, my friends, is a kappa. Kappas are supernatural frogs of Japanese folklore. This particular kappa is using her powers of cuteness to reel in customers to the Jozankei onsen area. Just look at the wooden tub that she has to carry around with her to protect her modesty.