“Beautiful” word from stranger

I have met kind people around the world. I have got new friends I will never meet again and memories staying with me forever. I wanted to share this story about the woman who impacted me greatly. I’m thankful to her and will be probably until the end of my life.

“Beautiful” How can one word change person?

It was my first week volunteering in Kyoto. I lived in small hostel free for working three hours day and it had taken only a couple of days for me to feel like in home. At daytime I explored the city and the nights I spend writing in the hostel’s common room. In one of those nights I met her.

She was older lady and I never really get to know what she did in the hostel. The language barrier between us was huge. I didn’t know Japanese and she didn’t speak English. However she kept talking to me and I tried to understand.

Soon I get to know that she knew one word in English. Beautiful. She told me just that. You beautiful. No one has ever called me beautiful. I have never felt particularly pretty. When I went to school people used to call me ugly and it has always stayed with me.

Beautiful. That one word and her kind eyes changed me. Nowadays when I feel ugly or worthless I recall that moment and feel better. That one moment and stranger impacted me for the rest of my life.

I didn’t see her the night after and come to the conclusion she had stayed only one night. I hoped I would have talked more with her. But like a magic and destiny I get to meet her once again. After two months and my last week in Japan we met like old friends.

I spend the night in common room like always and she came in. She put her things next to met and while she cooked we tried to talk like the last time. This time too she kept calling me beautiful and I even got to thank her. She was like angel with her bright smile.

Then she put plate in front of me and surprised me once again. She had cooked a miso soup for me. Even if I tried to say she shouldn’t or would she take some of my food as returning favor she didn’t take any of it. It was the perfect last week for my Japan trip.

I know I am probably not going to meet that woman again. I wil remember her. The kindness and the one word he was able to say in English. Beautiful. You just can’t forgot person like her.

 

.    .    .

I didn’t have time to write anything long today (trying to back for my Sweden trip) so I came up with this memory. I have been thinking about writing “story times” or my memories once in while but I don’t know would those be interesting.

Have you met kind strangers? I think this world is full of kind people and I hope I will meet more of them while traveling. Maybe in the future I will write about all the people I have met on my travels.

With love and wanderlust,

Viivi Severina

 

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Photo Diary: Beautiful Tokyo

Today is my birthday! Thanks for everyone who has wished me happy birthday. To celebrate this day I have collected my travel photos from Tokyo (yes I finally found my lost photos…) and want to share them with you. This will be my first photo diary but definitely not the last.

All photos are taken by beginner photographer using her phone so I am sorry if some of the pics are not so good. I hope you enjoy my travels!

 

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Getting lost in Tokyo means finding beautiful places.

 

Tokyo Ueno Starbucks
Ueno park was my love (and next to my home) in Tokyo and this particular Starbucks quickly came my number one place to visit.
Whale statue Ueno Park Tokyo
If someone is as enthusiastic as I am about Japanese (crime) dramas, this whale is seen so many times in them. I haven’t even realized it before coming back from Japan. It’s in Ueno park too.
Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum Harajuku
Tokyo is full of interesting art museums. This Taro Okamoto memorial museum is one of them.
Urban Torii gate
Torii gate somewhere in Tokyo between urban neighborhoods
Star Wars Toystore Tokyo Japan
I’m big Star Wars fan. (Or better said my whole family is) It was fun to notice how Japanese share my passion for Jedi. They had Star Wars everywhere!
Urban river Tokyo
In Tokyo i was blessed with some beautiful blue skied days and one week of rain and storms as balance. This is one of the best days.
Tokyo Old Railway Station
Tokyo’s railway station is still big mystery for me. I got lost and somehow exited from different door every time.
Korea Town shop Tokyo
Any kpop fans here? Well I don’t admit anything but Korea town may have been like heaven… I find these stairs totally cool.
Line Friends shop Harajuku
Harajuku is my favorite neighborhood in Tokyo. It’s full of surprises and small alleys. Every time I visited there was something new to discover.
Fabric street Nippori Tokyo
When your best friend and mom are crazy about textiles you can not dissmiss Fabric Town and Street in Nippori. Shop after shop this are is full of beautiful and cheap fabrics. (Look even Buzz Lightyear is shopping there!)
idyllic alley in Tokyo
Getting lost in Tokyo is like walking in to movie. I would just spend years in Tokyo to get know all the streets and corners. I discovered this place one afternoon but the fun fact is that even if tried to go there again (there was cute shop) I wasn’t able to find it second time…
Scenery in Ueno zoo park
This photo is from Ueno Zoo. It was so beautiful! Small lake full of plants.
colors of Akihabara
Akihabara was something I have never seen anywhere else. Even if it was raining (I have never seen that much water coming down from sky!) the there was so many people.
Colorful Ferris wheel flower field
I have maybe the worst phobia of high places. Of course I had to visit three Ferris wheels in my in my Japan trip. (Why am I doing this to myself?)

idyllic tokyo neighborhood train

 

So there was all the photos! If you want to see some more adventures from Japan check out these food post I have made:
Sweets in Japan

Food in Japan

More Food in Japan

Have you ever visited Japan or planned to go there? Making this post has made me miss the city so much… Maybe I should start to plan my second trip there. (Or maybe not because so many places I want to see!)

There was all for today. I hope you are having amazing weekend.
With love,

Viivi Severina

Sweets in Japan

I’m here again with new food post from my Japan trip! This time I have fulled my blog with pictures of sweet and candies. Who wouldn’t be interested in them?

japanesesweets
My souvenirs to my family and friends

For a sweet tooth being in Japan is like visiting heaven. If you have courage to break away from the tourist streets and take the unused path you may find cheap and tasty candies. My best advice is buy everything before airport -there is bad selection and expensive-. When walking around visit small convenience stores and 100 yen stores.

These bear cookie sweet candy things were my total favorite thing in Japan! The bears are different looking and depending on flavor have changing filling. My mission during the trip become to find as many variants of this cookie as I can. Like you can see above I did found quite many! There was this special pumpkin flavor because of Halloween.

japancandy

Don Quijote is a discount department store chain in Japan. You will recognize it by the happy looking blue penguin logo. This is place to go shopping the souvenir sweets. It’s cheaper than many other shops and the range of different candies is wide. Just make sure you have enough time because making the choice what you will buy takes time. -At least if you are indecisive like me…-

Colorful kitkats japan

If you have get to know Japan and what to do there while traveling you would have probably seen stuff about Kit Kats. Above the Kit Kat tower demonstrates how you can find odd and different flawors of Kit Kats from Japan. I must how ever let you down and tell that the tales of Japan’s Kit Kats aren’t all true.

There is countless of amounts interesting Kit Kats. You can buy the normal ones from many shops. BUT it’s hard to find the odd and not normal Kit Kat candies. Even the Matcha Kit Kats are hard to find from normal stores. Someone should say if I am wrong but at least for me it was hard time to find these sweets.

Japanese kitkat

Cheese cake Kit Kat! Wasn’t very good but interesting so definitely good purchase.

Matcha Kitkat

Matcha Kit Kat. Like I talked HERE matcha is green tea thing that Japanese people put everything. -Don’t get me wrong I love matcha flavored food. But you can find anything in matcha flavor.- This is must buy souvenir. However I don’t recommend buying it from souvenir shop or from tourist areas because you have to pay twice as much as some smaller shops.

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I bought the mushroom looking cookie candy things first time for accident and after that tried to hunt them down for quite while before finding them for the second time. Not anything special (just cookie and chocolate) but so tasty!

And by the way I am so jealous of the cute packets and the characters in them… We don’t have those in Finland. Why don’t we have cute characters (expect Moomins)?

Matcha Almonds

These matcha almonds were okay to me but my family didn’t like them. You need to get used to the taste because it’s quite strong and even bad if one is not used to it.

 

I think I have now shared all of my good enough to share food pics from Japan. But don’t worry I still have Japanese themed posts in mind and other travel stories coming.
So see you next time with more stories of my travels!

Viivi Severina

10 Free Things in Tokyo

Tokyo is the place with endless free options. I would make the list last forever but I don’t really have enough pictures and time for that. So here is some of my favorite free things!

 

 

Tokyo metropolitan government building night
View from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at night time

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Good place to start your Tokyo tour is from high place where you will be apple to see whole city. -Even the mount Fuji if weather is in your side.- Metropolitan building has two towers and both of then have free observation deck.

 

sunset in ueno park
Go see sunset in Ueno park
Ueno Park
Ueno Park something for everyone. From kids to grown-ups

Ueno park

Tokyo’s parks are must to visit and Ueno was my favorite. At evenings you may see dancers practicing and at almost every weekend there is some kind of  event. Ueno has beautiful fountain that’s perfect picnic place. It’s right next to Ueno station so it’s easy to access.

Go torii gate sighting or visit temples and shrines. Ueno park is also perfect cherry blossom spot. Come here to calm down and to see normal Japanese people living their every day life. And better not forget the performers you can see at weekends. Everything from magicians to musicians.

 

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Fancy, street style and cute shops. If you want to get in Japan’s teen fashion you should visit here. Roaming and admiring trough all the shops will take forever but it is worth it even if you don’t have money to buy anything.

 

Shibuya Crossing

One of the busiest intersections in world. After waiting for the green light and trying to get across the street without stumbling over other jaywalkers. At weekend nights people are dressed for partying and you see colors and happy people everywhere.

 

Anime figures in Akihabara
Just exploring all the figure shops in Akihabara makes it worth of visit

Akihabara

If you are planning to visit Japan you should probably be aware of the anime and manga culture. Akihabara is one of Tokyo’s districts and it has a lot to offer even people not being into Japanese cartoons or comics. It’s famous for its many electronic shops but in my case I recommend visiting the anime/manga figure shops and game halls.

It is unforgettable experience to go one of the narrow aisle shops full of figures and anime goodies. All you can see are glass shelves full of tiny colorful characters. Oh and just warning that it is easy to wander accidentally to mature content areas of shops. (A lot of naked woman characters.)

 

Showrooms

Who wouldn’t like to try new modern technology? Tokyo is full of different companies’ showrooms waiting for you to come and explore the new products. Go to Panasonic Center play Nintendo games, check out Sony‘s newest products and visit Mega Web to test drive cars.

 

Senso-ji Temple Asakusa Tokyo
Senso-ji Temple
Senso-ji Nakamise shopping street
You should visit Senso-ji at evenings when the are lights up beautifully in darkness

Senso-ji

Senso-ji is Buddhist temple located in Asakusa and the place you should visit if you only have time to see one temple/shrine in Tokyo. It’s popular among locals and tourist and especially at weekend evenings full of kimono dressed youth.

The temple itself is beautiful and free to visit and around it spreads streets full of small shops and restaurants. If you want to buy something small, cute and japan like to souvenirs I recommend visiting the small stalls on the road from temple to metro station.

 

FT Island Tower Records
Korean boyband FT Island’s promotion in Tower Records

Tower records

Visiting Tower Records music store can be experience even if you are not there to buy anything. Taking pics with big Japanese idol posters or listening the sample songs throws you to the wold of Japan’s music culture. If you are lucky you may even see some idols or live performances!

 

Hello Kitty Character Street
Hello Kitty Shop in Tokyo Station’s Character Street

Character Street

Tamagotchi, Pokemon and Totoro. Below Tokyo station lies area full of small shops selling different character goods. There is some all time favorites such as Pokemon and changing newer trends like Japanese drama and anime series stuff. Takes pics with cute shop decorations and buy cute souvenirs. Don’t forget to check out capsule toys!

 

KITTE Garden Roof Tokyo
KITTE Garden is perfect spot to relax and explore the city from the heights

KITTE Shopping Mall/Roof Garden

This shopping mall right next to Tokyo Station has beautiful roof garden with view to the old station building. If you have time and are on the are visit here to calm down between fierce shopping spree. Don’t forget to do some window shopping on the interesting shops that are “highlighting Japan’s unique sense of beauty”.

 

See you next time!
With love,

Neidotta

 

More Food in Japan

Go check out my first food in Japan post from HERE.

So like the first post this is just pictures of food and me scribbling nonsense. I hope you enjoy!

I admit being surprised how tiny Japan’s ice cream selection was. As country with so many odd and cool things I though there would be strange looking/tasting ice creams. Or maybe I have just got used to too good. I mean in Finland we have so many different flavors and brands.

From some places (like Ueno park’s hidden ice cream vendor) I was able to find amazing sundaes. In the left picture you see pink slush and soft ice cream. We have those two in Finland too but this was my first time seeing them together. -Or maybe I just spend too much time not leaving my home when I am back at Finland…-

icecreamandmilk

I absolutely hated strawberry milk. I am sorry everyone. The idea of it sounds sweet and delicious but I couldn’t even drink it after tasting. Maybe I am somehow broken? Is there any one who has tasted it? Did you like it?

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The pastry above was one of my favorite breakfasts to buy from nearby bakery in Tokyo. It reminded me of hot dog but it had stick where you were able to hold it. Tokyo’s bakeries had so many other delicacy that even one blog post wouldn’t have enough space to contain them all.

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In addition to bakeries there were countless amount of different cake shops, teahouses and sweet shops. I ate so much and so often that it’s like miracle how I still fitted in airplane when coming back home. Actually I lose weight while in Japan. Even when eating a lot of unhealthy food the normal food was light when compared to the things I nprmally eat in Finland.

salad

Avocados have been big thing for a while but only at Japan I grew to love them. Avocados and rice go together perfectly. At home I add soy sauce and wasabi when I am feeling home sick back to Japan. I even bought rice cooker to make the rice more Japan like. -The best purchase I have done in long time.- 

starbucksjapan

One taste I miss from Japan that I can’t have at home is matcha. It’s powdered green tea. My Japanese friend took me to traditional matcha teahouse in Tokyo. According to her there are strict rules how to make and drink matcha tea. As foreigner no one however expects you to follow them.

The matcha isn’t just in teas. In Starbucks you can order matcha frappuccino and even candies (for example Kitkat) comes as matcha flavor. It’s in sushi, cakes and probably anything you can think of. At first I didn’t like the matcha’s taste but after my first month in Japan it kind of stuck on me. Now I am missing it.

japansweets2

I don’t really now what ingredients they use to those small cakes that you can see above. I think it was red bean paste inside of it, but I am not sure. I can’t speak the language so I couldn’t ask anyone. However the main point is it was delicious!

japanfood2

If you don’t eat noodles while in Japan you haven’t really had the whole Japanese experience! Rice and noodles are the food you should eat. And sushi. And so many other things. Okay I am going to change that sentence.  You should eat as much as you can while in Japan or you haven’t had the whole Japanese experience!

japanfood

Convenience store food is the love of my life. Cheap, tasty and easy to find. While getting lost in the city I usually stopped to buy something and found beautiful place to eat it.

crepes (2)

Today’s last pic is crepe. Looks sweet, right? I hope you enjoyed my food pics and chatter.

See you next time!
With travel passion,

Neidotta