Pure colonial elegance in bustling Ho Chi Minh City | IKIMASHO!
Categories: Luxury Travel, Travel: Outside Japan • Tags: 5 star, asia, blogging, design, food, ho chi minh city, hotels, interior design, justin egli, lifestyle, luxury, photography, Saigon, se asia, space, travel, travel writer, travel writing, vietnam
Right now I’m back in Tokyo after spending two full weeks visiting home in Northern Ireland. As well as being able to enjoy quality time with my family and friends, I was reminded of just how untouched and beautiful some parts of my country really is. There’s a simplistic beauty about our villages and coastlines, and I’m happy I could spend Christmas there with the people I love. ☘️ ❤ Follow IKIMASHO! on Facebook ❤
Right now I am back in Tokyo after spending a few sun-soaked Autumnal days in Miyagi prefecture. In recent months I have come to really appreciate and enjoy the contrast between urban city life and that of the Japanese inaka (田舎) rural countryside. Spending time with my girlfriend’s family who are volunteering after the tsunami, I feel incredibly lucky to have been introduced to life in Tohoku, absorbing everything around me. Above all, the last few days have reaffirmed my belief that […]
Last weekend was seriously one of the best weekends I have had in years. There is a fine line being a travel blogger – I obviously want to write informative posts about places, but sometimes I like the fact that this site is simply a diary for myself, and something I can look back on in years to come. And so this post isn’t really about anything, and yet it’s about everything. This is what my three-day weekend looked like […]
AKABANE / 赤羽 Last Friday I found myself out drinking in Koenji, an area not too far from Shinjuku that – like my own ‘hood of Shimokitazawa – is famous for its thrift stores and retro vibes. I go there once a year for the Awa Odori, but apart from that I honestly don’t really venture out that direction – despite it only being a short train ride from where I live. (Last year I think I visited three times in total.) […]
Right now I’m back in Tokyo after a week in Saigon. I didn’t visit one tourist attraction while I was there, instead choosing to spend my time as I usually do, wandering the backstreets and eating local food. I quickly found out that the most interesting daily life happens deep in the concentrated network of alleyways that exist away from the main tourist centre. By zooming in on Google Maps, you can clearly see areas in Ho Chi Minh where […]
A cute cafe on the top floor of an abandoned apartment building in Saigon where they serve amazing drinks from skull pint glasses.
Quite often when you travel a lot – and particularly when you are a travel writer – so many little moments can get lost; photos relegated to the the depths of memory cards, overlooked in favour of bigger articles that are being written at the time. As a perfect example, I was freeing up some space on a card the other day when I came across a group of photos I hadn’t looked at since the day they were taken. Cycling […]
Categories: Travel: Outside Japan • Tags: asia, asian, backpacking, bali, blog, food, indonesia, japan, japanese, justin egli, photography, sanur, se asia, travel, travel writer, travel writing, writing
Each year between mid-February and early March the Setagaya Plum Blossom Festival (Setagaya Ume Matsuri) takes place at Hanegi Park in Umegaoka. It’s a small park, with small neighbourhood vibes to match: the festival mainly attracting local people who live in the surrounding area. I live two stops from Umegaoka, and so last weekend I decided to check out a good sushi place then met some mates to hang out at the matsuri. Cute local festivals like this are what living in the […]
TSUKISHIMA / 月島 Last Saturday I had a wander about Tsukishima – a man-made island in Tokyo Bay, just across the channel from Tsukiji fish market (which I still haven’t been to despite living here five years…) Tsukishima was created over 100 years ago using earth that was dredged from the bay during the construction of a shipping channel. It’s an area rarely featured in guidebooks, although among Japanese people it’s probably best known as a mecca for monjayaki – a kind of runny pancake with different ingredients, […]
Categories: Daily Life in Tokyo • Tags: area guide, asia, asian, blog, design, food, ikimasho, japan, japanese, justin egli, nature, neighbourhood, old japan, old tokyo, photography, shrines, street, temples, tokyo, urban
KAGURAZAKA / 神楽坂 Despite being cold, the winter months in Tokyo are often the best time of year to enjoy clear blue skies and sunshine. And so, with the sun on my back, I recently headed down to Kagurazaka for the afternoon – a neighbourhood in Tokyo not too far from Iidabashi station. (There’s a great cafe down by the canal there by the way, check it out.) Kagurazaka is perhaps most famous for its picturesque cobblestone streets, cute French restaurants […]
Touching down in the bustling state capital of Kota Kinabalu On my most recent trip to SE Asia I visited three countries: Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia – specifically the Malaysian state of Sabah in Borneo. I had visited Sabah’s major hub Kota Kinabalu before, but that was seven years ago and so I was interested to see if the city had changed in any way. Fortunately, Kota Kinabalu has retained its character and has not changed dramatically simply in order […]
❤ ハイパーかわいいです！❤ While some schools offer kyushoku (prepared school lunches), my school is primarily bento-based – ie. the kids bring in their own packed lunch made by their parents that morning. These Japanese bentos are usually pretty healthy and super cute – with the kids all having little chopstick sets and table cloths featuring their favourite cartoon characters.
Typhoon strength ramen as Tokyo takes a direct hit from one of three tropical storms Today was my first day back at work after the summer break – and it seemed like the weather didn’t want to play ball. Right now three tropical storms are spinning near the country, and in the last 24 hours Tokyo has taken a direct hit from one of them, Mindulle, which strengthened into a typhoon early this morning. It’s the first typhoon to make landfall near the metropolitan region in 11 years, with gusts […]
Noodles and soup. Nothing else. I was in Akihabara over the weekend for an exhibition at 3331 Arts Chiyoda. Usually when I’m out and about I do a quick search to see if there are any highly rated ramen places in the area. My search of Akihabara threw up a few options, but one shop in particular caught my attention as I’d been meaning to try it for a while now. I first read about Shinosoba Tanaka Second (志奈そば 田なか Second) on the Ramen […]
YUSHIMA / 湯島 Last Sunday I made my way out to Yushima in east Tokyo – a station one stop from Nezu on the Chiyoda line, not far from Ueno Park. Yushima Tenjin (or Yushima Tenmangu) is Tokyo’s most famous shrine of scholars, and is therefore visited by students all over the city who come to pray for good exam results. Inside the grounds you can see hundreds of ema – small wooden plaques – written by students hoping for entry to the university of their […]
Categories: Art Music & Culture, Daily Life in Tokyo • Tags: asia, blog, design, festival, food, ikimasho, japan, japanese, matsuri, photo essay, photography, shinto, summer, Tenjin, tokyo, travel, ueno, video, Yushima
Ahhh, Blogger’s Guilt… I wonder if anyone else gets it or just me? In the same way that if I go a week without the gym, if I don’t post at least once a week on here I get edgy. Amazingly, I’ve been running IKIMASHO! for four years now – with an average of two posts a week. But now with more writing gigs for other magazines and publications – as well as kindergartening full time – I’m busier than ever. And so, a […]
It’s been three months now since I moved back to Tokyo after travelling for the guts of a year. I arrived in January after my company needed someone to replace a teacher who had quit after the second term. So for the last three months I’ve basically been finishing off someone else’s contract – which has had its good and bad points. The positives: I had actually taught at this school before, four years ago. It was the first kindergarten I ever […]
34,998… 34,999 … 35,000 plum blossom trees in bloom at Soga Bessho Bairin. Last Saturday I woke up early and by 8.30am was already heading west out of Tokyo towards Shimosoga – a station in northeast Odawara, Kanagawa prefecture. I was on my way to get lost in Soga Bessho Bairin, a grove of 35,000 plum trees in the inaka, Japan’s countryside. There was a small festival being held to celebrate the plum bossoms. After about an hour on the Odakyu line the […]
DAITABASHI / 代田橋 Stumbling across a cute Okinawan Town in Central Tokyo Did you know there’s a small Okinawan Town in Tokyo? Well, I say town, but it’s more like a collection of cute shops and alleyways in a residential neighbourhood. I found it by accident the other day while wandering aimlessly around Daitabashi, a station just a fifteen-minute walk from my house in Shimokitazawa. Despite living so close, I hadn’t been to Daitabashi in a long time so I decided to […]