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Showing posts from 2010

Prospero Año Nuevo

We thank THEE for the year gone
And pray to THEE to bless the new one
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║Happy New Year 2011║
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Souvenir Shopping in Asakusa

It's fun shopping in Asakusa though the prices may not necessarily be cheaper than in the Omotesando district. There are hundreds of stalls on side streets and on the main alley leading to Sensoji Temple. But it's hard to get close to some stalls  (like the cookie shops) on Sundays when it seems a third of Tokyoites are congregating in the area.


No wonder the cookie stalls are mobbed. Check out these goodies which are wrapped so attractively. Who wouldn't be thrilled to receive a box of these freshly baked treats?


The cute knick knacks above are cell phone accessories or possibly something you can put into your key ring or hang from the handle of your handbag. I like the miniature wooden Japanese dolls best though I didn't buy any.


These cloth made dolls are beautiful to behold. Note the price for each doll - from 2,000 yen to 5,250 yen or US$24 to $64.00 at $1 to 82 yen. Behind the dolls are paddles with two feather shuttlecocks.


There are also many kimono and fabri…

Merry Christmas

Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Merry Christmas

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Photo by Charie

Parkside Grille - Portola Valley

The table is set with poinsettias
Appetizer: Ahi tartare in wontons with chile soy glaze
Appetizer: Homemade mushroom infused mini meatballs
Appetizer: Grilled chicken satay
Choice of Entrées:
Chardonnay poached river salmon in citrus beurre blanc with garlic mash potatoes and braised Delta asparagus
Grilled organic hanger steak, Dijon butter,
fingerling potatoes, arugula Blue Lake string beans
Dessert: chocolate cake or gelato with homemade biscotti
Great Christmas party under the redwood trees. Enjoyed my salmon in citrus beurre blanc. It was really flavorful. A friend who had the hanger steak said that though it was delicious, the meat was a little tough. Everyone enjoyed the appetizers. Another entrée selection was the wood roasted oven breast of chicken. It was hard to steer the group to the table to start lunch. They lingered a while longer in the bar area where the appetizers where spread out over the counter. For dessert I had the chocolate gelato with homemade biscotti which to my…

The Christmas Holidays in Tokyo

A glittering tree at the Swarovski boutique in Omotesando,
the Rodeo Drive of Tokyo
Inside Omotesando Hills Mall

A jewelry store in the Ginza district
Sparkling lights and banners herald the new year
Christmas trees line the main street in fashionable Ginza
Happy Holidays to passengers at Narita Airport
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Images by Charie

Hungry in Tokyo?

The art of plastic food display reaches its zenith in Japan. No other country in the world has such a wide array of the most delectable plastic dishes (and not limited to Japanese food only).


Surrounded by Japanese restaurants, this window display announces an Italian pizzeria in Asakusa. Italian food has an affinity to Japanese or Asian cuisine as noodles = pasta. What differentiates them is the sauce.
 At this noodle restaurant close to my hotel in Hanzomon, you need to get an order ticket from a machine with instructions in Japanese. So I took the menu and compared the Kanji characters of the combination dish I wanted for dinner with that of the machine but nothing matched. I narrowed down my choices by the price indicated on the menu but still couldn't find a match. So finally I gave up and stood by the counter until the chef was free to help me. He was very accommodating as he had seen me figure things out for a few minutes but as he had a steady stream of customers, couldn…

Balay ni Charie Celebrates its Fifth Year

Kids on their way to their classroom
One of the most heartwarming experiences I've had while visiting the Philippines has been meeting grade school kids through the Balay ni Charie School Supplies Program. According to Room to Read, "World change starts with educated children". And how do we keep economically disadvantaged children in school? Balay ni Charie helps children stay in school by providing them with the tools they need, namely: pencils, pens and paper. While we take these items for granted in more prosperous countries, many children in the Philippines can barely afford to buy the school kits necessary to succeed in their studies. With the generous support of friends and family, Balay ni Charie was able to reach out to 600 kids at Conrado Barrios Memorial School in Roxas City, Capiz last November. We are looking forward to helping more children for many years to come.
Grade school kids at Conrado Barrios Memorial School
For more on Balay ni Charie, visit http://w…

Early Morning at BayBay Beach

Mantalinga Island in the distance
The best time to take a walk along BayBay Beach in Roxas City is early morning when the rest of the city is still fast asleep. Except for annoying stray dogs, the beach is yours to enjoy. (The city really needs to address the burgeoning population of stray dogs as they often scare away would be strollers.)

Low tide. No fishing today?
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Photos by Charie


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At the Roxas City Fresh Market

Pan de sal and mamon are my favorites
Sinigang and ginisa mix for that special flavor
Red egg with tomatoes and onions, yum!
Time for a little chit chat
Sorbete, ice cream, ice drop - there he goes
Nothing like a camera to bring out that smile! Thanks, guys.

Tricycles are so handy
Colorful outdoor stalls
Fresh produce and my favorite, melanzane (eggplant)
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Images by Charie

Islands in the Bay

Lagen Island
When choosing an island getaway, the best options (in my opinion) are in the Philippines. Why do I say this? There are 7,107 islands in the archipelago and not all are created equal. So if you visit Batanes islands in the north, you will find a landscape of green, rolling hills like that of Ireland. Or get a taste of Santorini at Bellaroca in Marinduque. At El Nido Resorts in Palawan, the bay is dotted with limestone karsts similar to the backdrop in the photo above.
Miniloc Island
If your ideal getaway is to do absolutely nothing but sit by the pool and read a book, then this is the place to do it. But if you feel like indulging in various adventures out at sea, there are a number of possibilities. Island hopping is de rigueur here. For starters, we took a short motorized outrigger ride to Miniloc Island for buffet breakfast before feeding the jackfishes in the protected area right in front of the restaurant. We also had the option of snorkeling (equipment provided free of …

At the Salt Ponds

Walking by the salt ponds in late afternoon, I took this photo of blue waters, crystallizing salt and packed salt beds beyond.


After a few days, note the red pinkish hue of the water. In researching the reason for this coloration, I found this is due to the presence in the salt pond of "halophilic archeabacteria" bearing carotenoid compounds. These microorganisms thrive in areas of high salinity.

Live and learn!

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Images by Charie

Sunset

After a good 2-mile walk, here's my reward. A blazing sunset which reminds me of my favorite poem, The Day is Done by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Thank you Lord for the beauty that surrounds me.

Here are a few stanzas from the poem to whet your literary appetite:

The day is done, and the darkness  Falls from the wings of night,As a feather is wafted downward  From an eagle in his flight.I see the lights of the village  Gleam through the rain and the mist,And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me  That my soul cannot resist:A feeling of sadness and longing,  That is not akin to pain,And resembles sorrow only  As the mist resembles the rain

Come, read to me some poem,  Some simple and heartfelt lay,That shall soothe this restless feeling,  And banish the thoughts of day.
For the rest of this lovely poem, here's the link: http://www.bartleby.com/102/65.html.

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Image by Charie

Wet is Hot!

Glacia
Inside Crystals Retail and Entertainment District in Las Vegas, WET Design wows shoppers with its wetworks. Glacia is an installation of pillars of ice which "transmogrify by exposure to air" (this according to an article from Las Vegas Weekly). I've had to look up the word "transmogrify" and it means, to transform into a different shape. In this case, sculpted ice is transformed into these ethereal forms.

Halo
It's easy to be mesmerized by Halo. In every tube is a whirlwind or tornado waiting to be born. WET (Water Entertainment Technologies) lives up to its name. Water can be calming or it can be entertaining. And with Halo, it can be thought provoking.

Focus at Aria
Focus is a 270 foot long curved wall at the entrance to the Aria hotel lobby.  This is such a refreshing treat when temperatures climb to the 100's. Listening to water flow down the expanse of the wall, I'm transported to the rainforest or to the tropics where rain pours heavily fo…