Tokyo Japan, thriving, bustling metropolis (our latest OzSee adventure)

Tokyo Japan, being Day 1-3 of this, our latest adventure, was ranked first in the “Best overall experience” category of TripAdvisor’s World City Survey (the city also ranked first in the following categories: “helpfulness of locals”, “nightlife”, “shopping”, “local public transportation” and “cleanliness of streets”). It’s easy to see why!

Once you get the hang of the train system, the rest kind of follows suit. Besides, it’s really easy to walk around albeit large and cold. Given we’d just left sunny, hotting-up Australia, the cold really did have an immediate and piercing impact. Nonetheless, this did not stop these intrepid travellers of experiencing as much as possible in as short a time frame as could be arranged…

To keep ourselves warm and energised in between discovery sessions out and about, the hotel we stayed in, the Park Hotel Tokyo, has the Art theme going on. It has art in the foyer (pictured), in the rooms, projected on the wall, just about everywhere. Very immersive.

When we did venture out, we had all sorts of experiences going on. One in particular is the Shibuya Crossing, which is not for the meek. Rumoured to be the busiest intersection in the world (and probably definitely in Japan), it sends people in all directions at the same time with every pulsing light change. Kind of fun to watch and participate in.

Being Gwen Stefani fans, one thing we did want to see were the Japanese Harajuku girls dressed full-on in all their finery. Alas, it must have been too cold as we did not manage to find any. But we still had fun all the same.

The focal point of Harajuku‘s teenage culture is Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets, which are lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, striped fairy floss, crepe stands and fast food outlets geared towards the fashion and trend conscious teens.

First leg of our Japanese adventure has got off to a great start…

One of our fellow travellers and savvy YouTuber summed the day up beautifully in her latest Sheribubble vlog:

Sheribubble – Japan Vlog One

Disappointment abounds, oh Fjordland, why have you forsaken thee?

The one part of this trip that we desperately wanted to get to was Fjordland (Milford Sound) but alas, it was not to be. Bad weather reined again…

After the disappointment of missing Wellington, more importantly Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop, we had Fjordland to look forward to but it was not to be. 

Instead we headed back to Melbourne prematurely, running away from the weather that was fast approaching. It eventually caught up, making the ship rock and roll all night long, and into the following day. 

Due to this unfortunate event, another movie fest ensued:

  • Absolutely Fabulous 
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  • Begin Again

Together with good reading:

  • X Saves the World 
  • Red Notice 

Melbourne, here we come…

Christmas Day in Christchurch – amongst restoration and ruin…

Curiousity drew us to Christchurch on Christmas Day as we thought it worth visiting as opposed to the sleepy hollow port of Akaroa (albeit French influenced and gorgeous). 

Well worth the effort, given the bus trip was 1.5 hours one way and we were unknown what would be open for sustainance purposes. 

Some ‘wise’ one on the Ship had determined there was a 24-hour service station open. With not much on the shelves, there was nothing that appealed. As it turned out though, a few select places were open which kept all fed and watered, including the renowned ‘lolly cake’.

Christchurch engenders quite polar reactions at the same time. The devastation of the 2011 earthquakes is still very apparent, which is saddening. Equally impressive is the restoration process, going full steam ahead. All hail to the locals we say…

As it turned out, the day was a delightful way to ho ho ho the 2016 celebration of Christmas.  

ho ho ho; top of the festive season to you and yours…

May the Big Fella grant you all your little heart desires… and some!

What a year! With Daughter finishing school forever (of the high school variety), 2017 will take on quite a different hue.  Looking forward to some downtime with the family in readiness for what looks like a most energising and enterprising year ahead…

Here’s to a fantabulus 2017…

7 metre swells and all is well…

Sitting here in midnight mass, floating in between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Probably shouldn’t be writing at this particular time but it’s keeping me awake so that has to be a good thing, right…

Today was a bit of a fizza unfortunately. We were to spend it in Wellington, specifically at the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and the ‘Hobbit’ movie series creator Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop but the poor weather did not allow us to dock. Bugger!

65-70 km winds (near hurricane strength allegedly) and 6-7 metre swells for approximately 24 hours meant we were not able to get close enough to avail of a Wellington welcome, nor its added pleasures. Made for a very rocky evening on the ship as well! Rockin’ and rollin’ all night long…

Having had an aimless wandering kind of day in Gisborne the previous day, we were looking forward to a serious creativity injection but it was not to be. 

The unscheduled day at sea was instead spent in a movie fest, catching up on some of those missed during the year:

  • Magic in the Moonlight 
  • Bridget Jones’s Baby
  • Miss Peregrines School for Peculiar Children 

So, what will Christmas Day in Christchurch bring?