Colourful Spring Time in Hakodate Hokkaido – Goryokaku Park

It’s been over 2 months since I last updated my blog, and it’s quite a contrast that my last post was something that happened in Okinawa (the South-est part of Japan), while this post is going to talk about Hokkaido (the North-est part of Japan).

So during my month long’s business trip in Japan last month, I decided to try to take a 4 hours bullet train ride from Tokyo to Hakodate City of Hokkaido. As Hokkaido is the North-est part of Japan, it also means that it gets cold the quickest, which leads to the earliest viewing of maple leaves/red leaves in the whole of Japan. I visited in mid October, and the leaves were already 80% red!

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Just the street of Hakodate – Ginko Trees

Although you can view the beauty of red leaves nearly in all part of the city, there are a few spots which are highly recommended, one being the Goryokaku Tower and Park (五稜郭). The original site was a pentagonal shaped fortress with inspiration from the French architect Vauban, the design allows for greater numbers of gun emplacements on its walls than a traditional Japanese fortress, and reduced the number of blind spots where a cannon could not fire.

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The admission fee to the observation deck is 900yen, and it’s well worth it! The bird eyes’ view allows you to see the unique pentagonal shaped park, and also a good view of the Hakodate city. The different shades of colours are just so mesmerizing. There are also miniature models and information that talks about the background of the fortress and its history, which is quite interesting!

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Very cute miniature model

Don’t leave just yet after the visit to the tower, be sure to go to the park too. The park entrance is right by the tower, and it allows you a close view to the colourful leaves, which gives you a completely different feeling to the view from the tower.

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There are many great photo spots within the park, and it’s a great place to have a picnic too! I bumped into this very lovely security guard of the park, and he was so kind to show me photos he took of the park during the different seasons, and it’s AMAZING!

After this visit to Hakodate, I’m surprised that this city is just so pretty all year around! I hope to visit here again during the Cherry Blossom season and snowy months! Here are some pictures I’ve found online.

USEFUL INFORMATION:

Official Website

A place to read, rest, relax – OPEN Library in Seoul!

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It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog entry, I have been busy travelling and working the past month or so. Stepping into July, I have decided to pick up blogging again, and also to start writing a new destination – Korea!

So I was in Seoul (capital of Korea) about a month ago for work. Our office is located in COEX mall in the Gangnam area. I have been to this mall many times so nothing really excites me here, but, my jaws dropped when I walked past the atrium on the 31st May 2017! It was the opening day of the Starfiled Library (often referred as Open Library).


This library is 2800 square meter, and with over 50,000 titles, you could easily spend hours, if not days here! An interesting concept of the library is that there are no doors, no gate, no librarians, no nothing. Passer-by can freely pick up a book and read it at their own leisure, and return it back to position when finished – all free of charge. I do however wonder if some of the books are for “display” only, as I have no idea how you can reach some of them…

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The concept of the library is to combine shopping, culture, and relaxation all in one. Not only will you find books from different genre, there are also study space, independent community space for reading related meetings, all with gentle indirect lighting (and some natural lighting), creating a very comfortable environment for the readers.

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A little bit different to the traditional “library”, here you can also find more than 400 kinds of the latest magazines (both Korean and overseas), preparing you for the latest trends in the world. E-books are also available.

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So, next time when you are in the Gangnam area, and your feet are tired from all the shopping, why not come here to rest a bit, read some books, grow some knowledge, before you walk onto your next destination?

Useful Information:

Operating hours: 10:00-22:00 (Open all year round)
Location: Located at the center of Central Plaza within Starfield COEX Mall, B1-1F, 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Closest Subway Station: Samsung Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 6
Official Website: www.coexmall.com

MAP:

TRAVEL KOREA-05“>

A Home Away from Home in Rome

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A home away from home… this is how I felt when I check into this cute little space while I was at Rome.

As this was my first time to Rome, so while I was searching for a place for my friends and I to stay, my top priorities were safety and convenience. I looked at all possible accommodations, from hotels to hostels to Airbnb etc, and when I stumbled across the listing about this place on Airbnb, my eyes stopped and immediately fell in love with the decorations. After doing some research on the locations and several messages with the host, I knew that this would be the perfect stay for my trip to Rome!

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We arrived Rome Termini station from Milan around mid day, and it only took us around 20 minutes to get to the place. Instructions on how to get to the place were very clear, so it made the journey there very easy. We were warmly greeted by the host who was waiting for us in the house, and she has already prepared all the maps and suggestions of the local area for us.

This lovely decorated house is located approximately 10 minutes walk from The Colosseum, a 5 minutes walk to the closest metro station (Manzoni), and it’s only 2 metro stops away from the Rome Termini station, also, there’s a bus and tram stand right in front of the house, which makes it a great location while travel around in Rome. Not to mention that there are lots of local restaurants around the area, and 2 of the biggest cathedrals around.

The interior of the house is very unique, using a lot of vintage and decorative elements, is fully equipped with all the amenities you will need. The best part of the house was the little outdoor garden of the house, very nicely furnished with chairs and table, made it a great place to dine. We stayed here during winter, which could be a bit cold, but could not resist to dine here.

Entrance:

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Continue reading “A Home Away from Home in Rome”

Appreciating Australia

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My family and I migrated to Australia in 1997, when Hong Kong was handed over back to China by the British government. It was a historic moment for us Hong Kong locals, and like many others, my family were not so sure about the future of living in Hong Kong, therefore, they have decided to move somewhere else.

As a little kid, I had no choice but to follow them. I had to leave all my friends, my relatives, and everything I ever known of, and move to a completely new place. Instead of moving to Sydney or Melbourne like a lot of other Asians would do, we moved to Brisbane instead. A little background information – Although Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia, when I moved there in 1997, it was like an old boring city. The fashion there was HORRIBLE, and most of the stores, including the supermarkets closes at 5pm everyday (except Friday night shopping which closes at 9pm).

“We never fully appreciate what we had until we don’t have it anymore”

Australia Brisbane South Bank 02I never really liked this place, so I’ve decided to move back to Hong Kong by myself in 2009, and had been here since. Although I love the people, the city, and my job, the longer I’ve stayed and worked in Hong Kong, the more I miss Australia. To be more precised, I miss Brisbane – I miss the food, I miss the weather, I miss him (Ok, I shouldn’t, someone slap me please), I miss everything about it.

It took me some times to realized, as human beings, we tend to forget how good things and people are, or how much we already have in life – we tend to focus on what we don’t have, or how bad thing and people could be… Until the day we lost it, then we start to look back, and noticed that, we already had everything. If you learn to appreciate even the littlest things in life, you will  be a much happier person 🙂

I will share more about the different places and restaurants around Australia in my next few blogs, so remember to stay tune.

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