Seiji lives in Tokyo, Japan and I love his photography. The first pic is one of my faves, although I have many.
Please scroll down for the Japanese translation.
He first bought a DSLR camera back in 2009, a Pentax k-x. Now he uses Canon although he shoots with all kinds of film cameras, even with a 1967 Polaroid.
Although it was just a hobby back then, he would like to become a portrait photographer. He shoots to document and remember the moments that are never going to be the same again.
Ever since he was a kid in Matsuyama he always liked photography. He used to have a disposable camera and shot pics of his family and friends.
“I’m in the game not for the money but to make people smile. If I could make someone happy or smile with my photos for 1 hour,1 week,1 month or even a lifetime, then that’s priceless to me. People may think my photos aren’t that good now but 20 or 30 years from now they are gonna look at my photos and realize how important it is to have GOOD photos of them.”
Seiji personally knows this as when he was younger a good friend passed away and a shot he took was used as his funeral portrait. To this day his friends and family all still look at those photos to remember the moments they had together.
Such opulence. I suddenly felt underdressed in my casual travel gears.
It’s like walking into a princesses high tea. Everything is pastel and luscious looking, themed to the last tiny detail.
Rose pink velvet chairs with matte silver studs, pastel mint and pink coloured ribbon hangs behind all the beautiful boxes you can put your sweets in.
Greeted by a hostess if you’re sitting in, I had to wait for a table. It wasn’t for long and in the meanwhile I admired the beautiful uniforms of the girls working there. In front of me was the take-away display cabinet, full with a variety of incredibly intricately detailed pastries, macaroons and other sweets. It really looks fit for a princess.
I was actually excited being led to my table as I could see I had a good one! Seated in a corner in front of the window, I looked right over a busy intersection in Ginza and could people watch my heart away.
Beautifully coloured roses (matching the pastels) were in a vase and a wine glass of iced water was placed in front of me with the menu.
Considering Ladurèe isn’t THAT high priced, the setting and service is impeccable.
I made my selection, the Thè Mèlange Spècial Ladurèe with La Fraise & Pierre Hermè’s Ispahan.
I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious they both were.
La Fraise was $900¥ ($9$). So intricate. Red with pale spots and a green stem, inside we’re layers of Strawberry mousseline, strawberry confit and coconut biscuit. It was so soft and delicious. Melt in your mouth.
The Pierre Hermè’s Ispahan also about 900¥ ($9) was just as good. Raspberries & lychees – you can’t really go wrong. The crunchiness of the outside of the rose macaroon with the softness of the fruit is a sensation in itself. So beautiful.
My tea, also delicious. I don’t even usually drink tea so that speaks for itself! It was a ‘Ladurèe blend tea scented with orange, rose, vanilla, cinnamon.’ Simply delightful.
I sat and watched and ate and drank. Well worth the 3000¥ or $30aud that I spent. Perfect for a spot of indulgence.
I woke up early and finished packing my bags ready for Seiji to collect me with our rental car ready to go exploring for the day.
I headed to the supermarket to get some baked goods as I was too lazy to go the full distance to the bakery. I ended up with weird pancakes with goopy stuff in the middle and little sugared raisin toast squares. They were nice but very sweet.
Seiji was waiting for me when I got back and we hit the road. First stop Yokohama. Took a while to get on the motorway and I noticed all the trees looked a but weird – all stumpy. After the earthquake they cut off all the branches because they all fell down in the middle of the road and blocked it. And I thought they were just trying something interesting!
Once on the highway it was an easy path to Yokohama just a few toll stops. Yokohama is about an hour out of Tokyo and a really popular place to visit and live.
Seiji took me straight to Chinatown and his fave park. Chinatown stretches out about 5×5 blocks. It’s huge! Seiji couldn’t even understand anything as they were all speaking Chinese. We walked the streets trying different food and watching all the people. Eventually Seiji found somewhere he thought we should eat – a tiny place with 850¥ ($8.50aud) set meals. The plates just kept coming! Starting with some kind of weird thing that tasted like mustard, then Chinese Gyoza, fried rice, pork noodle soup and a coconut jelly & fruit dessert. I loved the soup, beautiful broth. So cheap!
With a full tummy we grabbed Starbucks to walk around the park. This is Seiji’s fave park and its a beautiful area. It was built from the rubble after a big earthquake they had in the 1950’s. We were so full we didn’t last long walking around so we went on a driving tour then back to Tokyo.
Shibuya was the next stop. After finding a park (they do valet parking for 300¥ an hour in the city!) we went for a walk to a shop Seiji knew was good for gifts then tried to walk to Harajuku. We went by a huge old park but decided to go around it to get to Harajuku with more time. We got lost. I really enjoy getting lost when I don’t need to be anywhere. It’s fun. You see things you wouldn’t usually.
Harajuku meant shopping so I had a look around while Seiji chilled outside. He doesn’t like stocking shopping that much for some reason? Lol.
Back to get the car to drop it off in Shibuya before a casual dinner and to take my bus to the airport.
This is about the time I realised I was about to miss my flight and I had the most intense and crazy taxi ride of my life!!! Read more HERE
What’s the cost of forgetting your flight time and realizing with minimal time before check in closes? Well if you’re in Tokyo 20,000¥. That’s $200aud.
Seiji and I had a wicked day and were in the post shop in Shinjuku purchasing stamps to post my postcards. We were heading to Yoshinoya afterwards for a casual dinner before I needed to be on the bus at 6 for my flight at 10.55 to Gold Coast. The bus takes 2 hours and is only 3000¥ or $30aud. It’s my preferable transportation to and from Narita Airport in Tokyo as its comfy, cheap and reasonably quick with lots of departures.
The 6pm bus would get me in at 7.55, well before I needed to check in for my flight. Thank god for Seiji’s planning skills and attempt to get me there early otherwise I would never have made it.
How many times have I said why am I always that lady running through the airport?
Back to the post office. There was a bit of a queue so I began flicking through my pics from the day. That’s when I came across a screen shot of my itinerary. You see, I’m very organised and keep copies with me as images on my phone so I’m not rummaging through pages of paper to find the right piece. Well, I was very confused. This particular screenshot said that my flight was at 8.25pm.. 2 and a half hours before I thought my flight was. I read it again before a plethora of terrible curse words ran out my mouth. Lucky no one speaks English! No one apart from Seiji. He looks at me with a funny expression and goes ‘what?!’ I curse some more before explaining my mistake. It’s 5.15 at this stage.
We quickly run through my options while Seiji tries to calm me. I really don’t get frazzled very easily but I hate making mistakes and this one was reasonably annoying and potentially expensive.
My saving grace, well one of many is that Jetstar actually only have a one hour check in cut off pre-flight. So I had to be there at 7.25.
The next bus left at 5.25, if I ran I would make it. Except it didn’t get it until 7.25 and I would most likely miss check in.
My other and only viable option was a taxi. And they are at the very least 20,000¥ or $200aud. However they are slightly faster than a bus.
I briefly considered missing my flight but I literally had a few minutes to make my decision and run, time was of the essence. In hindsight I almost wish I did miss it and claimed travel insurance with a nice hotel but that’s why they say hindsight is a great thing and not foresight right?
Seiji was amazing and convinced a taxi driver to take me to Narita for the 20,000¥. He told him I was in a big rush and I needed to get there before 7. He even arranged for him to take the highway and all tolls to be included. Impressive work.
Thankfully I had quite a bit of Yen left so ran across the road to the 7/11 and took it out. I mean RAN. I don’t run much but it was a special occasion.
The taxi driver, lets call him Speedy Gonzalez, or SG for short loaded my luggage, while I said a brief farewell to Seiji and before I knew it I was on my way.
We zig zagged our way out of Shinjuku, SG doing a great job and was soon in outer Tokyo then on the highway. I was impressed.
I was also impressed he was sitting at 100km in and 80km zone. Very thankful that he understood the situation I was in and my haste to get to the airport.
Little did I know old SG had a lead foot. Soon enough we were sitting between 130 & 150km the rest of the way to the airport!
I only noticed his speed after a near miss and heavy beeping/ swaying as we nearly changed lanes into a mini bus. SG didn’t have a flash taxi. It was small and older and windy as can be outside.
That’s when I got nervous. I asked him to slow down, 120km was fine -but he just turned around and smiled – nice man, SG. Doesn’t understand a damn word of English.
So fast and furious it was. Car in front going to slow? Change lane and over take. Turns around and offers me a smokes & a lighter – no thanks – very considerate but please stop swaying the car and watch the road, SG.
We arrived at 6.35pm, we left at 5.30pm. The two hour car trip took just over an hour.
I breathed a massive sigh of relief at the airport.
1. I could get out of the fast ad furious taxi and
2. I made my flight with time to eat before I boarded!
Thanks, SG, you crazy man you.
Next time I will be double checking my flight time. I think the bus is just that little bit more comfortable…
Would you believe it’s only 2.45pm and I have already had a nap?
After a broken sleep – there were sirens all morning and I had no idea what they were saying over the loud speakers, I tried to nap more but didn’t succeed. They could have been yelling to put our rubbish out or to evacuate – I wouldn’t know!
So! I made like the Japanese and took a nap in a public place. I had made it to SkyTree Town – the mall part that accompanies the 634m Sky Tree Tower. And I was stuffed. I could barely open my eyes so I simply sat down in one of the many rest areas, set my alarm for 30mins and closed my eyes!
To be honest I kind of had two naps. I read there was a Konica Minolta Planetarium here and was really keen to check it out. When I enquired it turns out you can only watch the movies in there in Japanese. After mucking around I bit I decided to check it out anyway. Glad I did! Chairs were super comfy and recline able and the planetarium was amazing. No idea what I watched but a few times I had to shut my eyes as it felt like I was in a simulator and I felt a bit ill. Convenient place to nap with noone knowing AND only 1000¥ or $10aud!
Waited in line to go up the tower for a bit but they kept stopping the lifts as it is so windy in Tokyo today and a safety issue. I really just wanted to see Mt Fuji and considering the weather it wasn’t gonna be possible.
For breakfast I stopped into a bakery (most delicious bakeries ever!) and had some kind of sweet bread with cheese, bacon and onion… At least that’s what it looked like.
I was after a snack & passed a Gyoza shop so jumped in and ordered a plate of 4. They come out an they are JUMBO Gyoza. Massive!!! I could hardly eat two but felt disrespectful so forced down a third.
Lunch consisted of tatoyaki – octopus balls. You add your own sauces which was great as I skipped the yucky bonito flakes try always put on them. Impatient as I am, I managed to burn, blister and peel the roof of my mouth before I even left the eatery. Must learn to wait for my food to cool down.
After that I felt dessert was needed so it was crepe time! Gem & I loved the crepes last time we were here and even with my lactose intolerance I somehow manage to do okay with them. Today’s pick was banana, fake cream and chocolate mmmm.
I took a train to Asakusa thinking I was meeting Seiji there but his meeting is going longer than we thought.
I had a wonder around the Ebu markets and visited the oldest Temple in Tokyo, Sensoji Temple. I happily ticked some gift items off in the markets and surrounding shops too.
Currently on a train to Shibuya where I will kill an hour people watching and shopping before meeting Seiji for dinner.
HOLY WOWSERS I LOVE SHIBUYA!! Such an awesome place! I went straight to Shibuya 109, a popular mall there and I could have bought nearly everything! Loved the place! Could hardly drag myself away to meet Seiji.
Glad I did though, he took me for a Japanese BBQ, and it was soo good! We had pork and beef – cooked by Seiji on our personal BBQ and a cabbage salad with a sesame dressing. Also had some cold ramen noodles that I was quite impressed with. Thank goodness I have Seiji to take me to the local places and order for me. I had some sakè but my rash popped up on my neck that I get from allergies so had to flag it.
We were gonna go to a ramen place but I was far too full. Instead we went for a walk around and retired early home as we have a big day tomorrow.
I had my first head spa last night. Seiji took me to his hair stylist (he has flash taste) who sat me down and analysed my hair. It was pretty funny with Seiji doing the translation. I thought the guy was looking for nits haha. Anyway he was choosing which treatment to put in my hair.
I’m led to the wash basin where my hair is washed and then I’m led to a private room where an oil (I couldn’t choose which one so the stylist did) was defusing. The lights are dimmed and the stylists assistant comes in and applies the treatment to my scalp. He then proceeded to massage my scalp for about 20mins. It was all I could do not to fall asleep!! Amazing.
All too soon the massage is down as its back to the basin for another shampoo and condition.
The stylist’s assistant then blow dried my hair and left me with a magazine to wait for the stylist. He checked my hair over, made a few alterations and it was all over.
All for 3000¥ or $30aud! I did get a discount of about 15000¥ from Seiji though – thank youp!
Highly recommend. I won’t even start to tell you how soft and silky my hair is today!
The salon I visited was Ananda and the stylist was Kyôsuke Aoki. Check out their site HERE
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