2011 a year in review

It seems that I’ve once again neglected a blog. No matter, here’s a summary of what happened in 2011 (and bits and pieces of all the content I never got around to writing). Picture heavy post ahead!

In February, D’Ann got her first doll. She’d been wanting one for some time so I hit up Volks to see if they still had any in stock. Fortunately, they still had a Miu available after the DP event so I picked her up. Even though it was still a few months before D’Ann’s birthday, I let it slip that I already had the present. Here’s what happened…

Early birthday present

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Shopping at Nakano Broadway

Hello from a cloudy Tokyo! Yesterday a storm came through and dumped a large quantity of rain on the city and surrounding areas, which meant one thing… shopping! We went over to Nakano Broadway in the afternoon since it was indoors and out of the rain.

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It’s a great little shopping center with plenty to see. Mandarake operates most of the stores in the 3rd and 4th floor and many of the other shops deal largely in second hand goods. It’s typically less crowded than Akihabara and is completely indoors. Since it’s a bit less traveled, you can often find some interesting little gems!

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Arriving in Tokyo and shopping in Akihabara

After spending a couple days in Hong Kong, it was time to head over to Tokyo! I have the next 8 days here for sightseeing, shopping, and generally being amazed. Unfortunately, there’s one problem that’s going to put a damper on things…

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Yep, that’s rain in the forecast all the way through Tuesday… I’m leaving on Thursday afternoon. >.> Hopefully we’ll find enough to do despite the weather, but it really hinders what I want to do with photography! At least it gives me plenty of time to do shopping…

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Visiting Hong Kong

It’s been awhile! A lot has happened since the last time, and I’m currently visiting Hong Kong. After almost 19 hours of traveling from Charlotte, I arrived Saturday evening to a warm and humid city. There’s plenty to see in this city, and with the limited time I have, it was time to get cracking!

HK Panorama 1

First order of business was to get to my relative’s place from the airport. Hong Kong International Airport is huge and very modern. Since it’s on an island outside of the city, it’s connected to the mainland via a very large bridge. Unfortunately, I was *on* the bridge so there aren’t any pictures… Sad smile

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A week in Hawaii

First, a bit of business. Apparently I hit the 100 post mark without even realizing it. It was a great 100th post too, featuring Rin at the garden. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate hitting a milestone than with pictures of Rin. Smile

Moving on now to the main event! A couple weeks ago, I made a trip to the gorgeous state of Hawaii. This was purely for vacation, so I tried to leave work mostly behind. A trip wouldn’t be complete without a ton of photos and I’m happy to provide!

Diamond Head 4

Starting with this wonderful wide angle panorama of the Waikiki area from the top of Diamond Head crater. The hike was about an hour in each direction and offered some of the most spectacular views of downtown Honolulu. For this trip, we limited ourselves to staying on Oahu. Even though it’s an island, there was plenty to explore!

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Trip to Japan – Odds and ends

After almost a month after coming back from Japan, I’ve finally made time to tie up the loose ends from the trip. Photos have all been uploaded, Photosynths have been completed, and blog posts written. To bring things to a close, here are the things that didn’t make it into previous posts.

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Beware, lots of multimedia ahead!

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Food of Japan – Part 3: Kyoto

In the last two installments, I covered most of the food that I came across in Tokyo. On Friday morning, we departed for Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan. After a two and a half hour ride on the Shinkansen and settling into our hotel, we decided to venture out and find some dinner. There wasn’t much in terms of restaurants around our hotel and we ended up wandering some of the neighborhood streets. We eventually stumbled upon a local street festival, filled with all sorts of tasty goodies! Excuse the quality of the photos, I only had my cell phone camera on me at this point in time. 😦

Party time!

The neatest part about the festival was that it was for the locals, by the locals. We were probably the only tourists around, so there were a lot of really interesting things to look at.

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Food of Japan – part 2

Now that I’ve had some more time to digest, it’s time for part two of my Japanese culinary experience! We’ll start this time with a shot of what I enjoyed for breakfast on the day we went to Mitaka for the Ghibli Museum.

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In addition to getting sodas, water, and bottles of tea, many vending machines in Japan also sell coffee in a can. This particular serving was cold, however some machines also offer a selection of hot beverages. I did have a chance to try one in Nakano and it was pretty tasty! Breakfast that day consisted of some taiyaki that I’d bought the day before in Nakano. This particular one was matcha-flavored, or green tea flavored.

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Food of Japan – Part 1

I’m back again! This time with an insight into the various foods I ate while I was in Japan. Sadly, I didn’t bring a nice portable camera with me on the trip, so most of the photos were taken with my cell phone camera (main camera was a bit cumbersome to bring with me to dinner).

AppetizerMain course

Of course, neither of the above actually qualify as food in Japan, as I was in the air over North America when I was served these. First was some lovely grilled shrimp served with a tomato bisque and greens. It was then followed by a delicious beef stir fry with cashews, and veggies. First class, FTW!

First and foremost, the Japanese love to eat and really enjoy variety. On some streets, you can count a dozen restaurants in each direction. Furthermore, each department store features a food area filled with smaller cafes that specialize in a variety of cuisine. From noodles to sushi, and culinary delights from all over the world, you’ll certainly find something you fancy.

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Loot from Japan trip

In some earlier posts about my trip to Japan, you saw the following two pictures:

Loot 1

Loot 2

Before I go any further, yes, I did spend way too much money on toys when I was overseas. Fortunately, my plane ticket back was already paid for, so I couldn’t have wound up like Piro and Largo. Now, after some wait time, here’s the unveiling of the loot from Japan!

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