The Friendly Faces of Japan (and some pets)

The friendly faces of Japan

If there’s one thing that we’ll never forget from our time in Japan it’s the people. Always helpful and friendly, they go out of their way to make you feel welcome as a visitor.

This photo essay covers the many friendly faces we met along the way. You’ll also see some dogs and cats. I don’t think we’ve ever seen pets as spoiled as Japanese pets. [Read more…]

Signs in Japan: The funny, strange or just unusual

Japan signs

We spent 7 weeks in Japan and one of the things that never bored us were Japanese signs. Japanese signs are unique in their design, often using cartoon figures and sometimes incorporating elements of anime (the animation used in Japanese comic books). They’re cute, colourful and often pretty funny. They’re also a reflection of modern Japanese society and culture. [Read more…]

Why Nara was my favorite place in Japan

Why Nara was my favorite place in Japan

We spent 7 weeks in Japan and my favorite memories were of our 1 day in the town of Nara.  Why? There are a few reasons: the most impressive temple we’ve seen in Japan (the Todaiji Temple), one of the most famous Shinto shrines (the Kasuga Taisha shrine) and lastly – tons and tons of deer wandering around everywhere. If you’ve never had a chance to get close to deer then you have to come to Nara. That alone makes Nara a very different kind of place. [Read more…]

Our 60 Favorite Photos from 2016

Our 60 Favorite Photos from 2016

A couple of weeks ago I did a wrap-up of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) places visited in 2016. We took so many photos in 2016 that we decided to go through them and choose our favorites from the year.

“Favorite” photos doesn’t necessarily mean “best” photos. “Favorite” can mean a place that holds a special memory (like that dog lying at Lissette’s feet) or a place that was just overall a special place (Cape Town was for me “that special place”).  [Read more…]

Need an apartment for a month in Kyoto? Here’s the place to stay


Anyone familiar with us knows that we are big fans of Airbnb. In fact we spent 315 night in Airbnb apartments in 2016. The one major exception was Kyoto. When researching where to stay in Kyoto I found the Airbnb options in Kyoto depressing (funny enough, the 2 Airbnb apartments we stayed at in Tokyo were disappointing as well). So I started looking at different options – and that’s how I came across CMM Ekimae. They cater to people booking apartments by the month. [Read more…]

Our Kyoto meltdowns. Are we all just photo-clicking monkeys? What’s travel about?

Our Kyoto meltdowns. Are we all just photo-clicking monkeys What’s travel about

On my last post I had a photo essay of our highlights in Kyoto. Kyoto has a lot to see as far as temples and gardens and we appreciated the architecture and natural beauty that we saw during our month there. I’ll be honest though – we both had meltdowns. They fell on different days, in different places, but they were both meltdowns. [Read more…]

Photo Essay of Kyoto (and our highlights)


Kyoto was the capital of Japan from 794 AD to 1869 and is considered the “home” of traditional Japanese culture. It contains many of the country’s most famous temples and shrines and almost all are surrounded by beautiful gardens and/or situated along the scenic foothills that skirt the city. Visiting a temple in Kyoto is not just about seeing a religious building, it is just as much about the nature surrounding them. [Read more…]

Looking back at 2016…and forward to 2017. And our Travel Oscars (and losers) for the year.


Ah, the usual yearly wrap-ups that we travel bloggers come up with. But I’ve said it before: year end posts are about remembering what we did in the year, how far we came in fulfilling what we hoped for, and remembering how we felt about the places we visited as well as where we are in life. After all, the main goal when I set up this website was to document our travels (for ourselves).

In this post you’ll see a summary of the different places we went, our favorites and not-so-favorites, as well as some thoughts on our lifestyle as full-time (slow*) travellers. I’ll also go over some of our plans for the coming year. [Read more…]

Ninja training in Kyoto


One of the most mythical figures in Japanese folklore is that of the Ninja. Unlike the Samurai (the warrior class of the military) the ninja was a secretive figure, often hired as a covert agent or mercenary. Think of him as a Japanese Jason Bourne. He could sneak around undetected, he knew martial arts and was taught, from an early age, how to use multiple weapons like swords, daggers, darts, spikes, knives and star-shaped disks (shiruken). [Read more…]

Going Hello Kitty Crazy at the Keio Plaza Hotel (Tokyo)


I had kept it as a surprise for 2 months. We were at the Premier check in counter of the Keio Plaza Hotel when Lissette spotted a familiar image on the room cards that were handed to us. “HELLO KITTY!!!” she exclaimed, her face suddenly red in excitement. She did a skip and a hop. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her as happy. [Read more…]