Tuesday, January 16

Gunma hot springs

Rented a car for the first time in Tokyo and drove out to Gunma prefecture to a hot springs resort called Hatago. Amazing place in the highlands! They have an outdoor hot spring just next to a waterfall and some nice indoor ones too. The outdoor is especially good in the winter when it's 0 degrees and a little snow falls down.

Arriving to station nearby. Weather reports promised snow in the night so we didn't want to drive to the top 
Hatago felt a lot like Spirited Away

Private bath room 
Sunset was gorgeous 

Massive traditional Japanese dinner, fish to hold sticks...? Never seen this before 

Outdoor hot spring with a waterfall. Perfect with a beer 
Had a bath in our own room with hot spring water right in to it. Nice to open the window and get some nature 
Herb spring room was hoooot 
The resort also offered a small museum of sake and pottery 

Retro fire trucks waiting for a disaster 
Small bamboo forrest 
#Enter Hatago
Up in the highlands! 

Wednesday, January 3

Gotokuji - The Cat Temple, MEOWSER

If you are into strange Japanese stuff and happen to find yourself in Tokyo then Gotokuji is the place for you to visit. It's a cool Japanese temple with LOTS of cat statues. 20 minutes from Shibuya station only!

In the temple you can buy a cat, biggest cats go for 5000 yen and a tiny one for 300. You keep the cat home 1 year and bring it back when the next year changes. I got a middle sized cat for 800 and will bring it back in 2019. Lucky lucky 2018 :) 
 Cats that other people have had home for 1 year. Some look really old 
 Gorgeous Pagoda in the temple 
 Write wishes for all the kitty's out there 
 Good night Tokyo 

Tuesday, January 2

Happy New Year 2018!

What a year it's been again! I always think that cannot top previous year was but it keeps getting better all the time :) Kaj has grown so much since last year and runs around the house keeping us...busy! Getting more accustomed to Tokyo and Japanese language +  finding a friend in our neighbour has made 2017 a lot easier. 2018 will be a busy one and also our last in Tokyo...At least for a few years. Next year we are heading down south to never ending summers. Thank you Mona for being the best Kaj can get 24/7 while I've been gone!

Cool chocolate shop in Tokyu Mall - Ginza 
Some travel highlights of the year for new cities visited was: Karachi - Pakistan, Gdansk - Poland, Adelaide - Australia and Hiroshima - Japan and Bari - Italy.

Went to the infamous Yasukuni shrine. The Chinese always get super angry when some Japanese officials visits because of buried Japanese war heros here who committed a lot of bad things during the war

Like a street lighthouse 
It was amazing to have the reunion in Shanghai about 3 weeks ago and meet everyone and so nostalgic to go back to China as a tourist for the first time. Fun to visit but I now realise that it's not a place I want to live in anymore.

Tokyo station
When you don't feel super genki you go for coffee at...So Tired 
Second year in Tokyo was much better than first, now more familiar with places , language and people here. But I still think that Tsukuda is the absolute BEST place to live, can't beat the seaside while at the same time being in central Tokyo.

My favourite view! 
Our backyard is a perfect playground 
Lightsaber sun
Coffee breaks 
I usually do a 9 km set from Tsukuda - Toyosu - Harumi and back. This is by Harumi seaside 
 Thanks for the awesome retro present Mona! Time to play some SNES again 
 Light dance show for some pre new years partying 

At Bar Bridge for some beer. Probably the best view over Shibuya's scramble crossing 
 End the night in AgeHa with some drum n bass

In Japan people come to temples the first morning of the year to wish for good luck. Some people arrived early in the night already on the 31st to be the first ones to wish for luck in 2018. Cold to wait in 2 degrees for hours!! 

Meiji Temple entrance 
The waiting people 
Lanterns lighting up the forest 
70.000 people were at the Shibuya countdown. Loudest and most drunk were the foreign tourists, keep it down guys. 109 getting ready! 
Minutes before 2018!! 

And Happy New Year everyone!! 
 Next morning on the 1st a walk around Meguro, amazing blue skies - Saigoyama Park 

 New Years Osechi brunch, eating preserved food. In the old days it was made so that the wife in the house could rest those 3 days during the year. Note, only those 3 days to rest in a whole year.