Spending only a week in Japan and being on a really tight schedule, we still wanted to get out of Osaka for a day to get to the Japanese Alps. Have you heard of Kanazawa – a city called “Little Kyoto”? Like Kyoto, Kanazawa avoided bombing during World War II. The city name literally means “golden marsh” – in its peak period it was considered to be the richest region in Japan producing about 180 million kg of rice! In addition to samurai and geisha districts you will also see there many interesting temples, museums and the Omi-cho market resembling a bit Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. Honestly our aim was to come mostly for the views, yes! – gorgeous views of the mountains from one of the 3 most beautiful gardens in Japan, Kenroku-en. Arriving at this place only for a few hours was definitely worthwhile even though the one-way trip from Osaka to Kanazawa took us 3 hours. Have a look how beautiful the place is 🙂
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It could seem to any of us that Easter should be celebrated by Catholics in the same way anywhere in the world. Well, it’s definitely not. You do not have to search far to spot some differences. Go to Spain to see at least one of the Holy Week’s processions and you will experience a completely different Easter atmosphere. We did this 2 years ago, but this year we wanted to spend Easter in the Philippines, where you can observe local people during specific celebrations performed on a large scale too. On Good Friday Catholics anywhere in the world commemorate the death of Jesus Christ – that’s the fact. In Poland we have the Liturgy of Word and then – adoration of the cross, whereas in the Philippines (especially in Luzón Island) many men participate in a procession/parade, during which they whip themselves and stop along the way visiting chapels one by one until finally they fall to the ground at the last one with their arms stretched out and whole body forming the cross; then after 1pm a crowd of people is waiting for the performance of the scene of the Passion of Christ (an actor playing a role of Jesus and the other two convicts are literally nailed to the cross, and after the “event” they are taken to hospital). So in a nutshell, this is what we saw in Angeles City, where we decided to stay for 2 nights. Initially, we had wanted to go to San Fernando, where in the nearby Cutud there is a big ”spectacle” taking place including scenes of whipping and crucifixion every year, but we finally chose Angeles to experience it more locally. You’ve probably heard lots of stories about people coming to the event groaning and yowling during the crucifixion performance which is described as the most profound experience for them during Easter time (BTW forbidden by the Catholic Church). We have a slightly different impression from the mentioned performance in Angeles. Sharing our experience with you here below.
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Japan is not just sushi. For us the keyword for describing Japanese reality is matcha, a powdered high quality green tea, which is used as an ingredient in myriads of products and dishes, especially sweets, to which it gives an intense green color and a characteristic taste. You can discern the Japanese green tea powder madness in at least 10 types of Japanese products! Green tea powder is obtained by grinding tea leaves from its first spring harvest. Matcha is the world’s healthiest green tea, rich in catechins (antioxidants), believed to be anti-tumor, antiviral and beneficial for the heart. The matcha tea ceremony itself is called Chanoyu, which is actually nothing special. What seems the most interesting and impressive at the same time is the extremely widespread use of matcha in Japanese culinary world!
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It happens very rarely to us to visit any city with so much fun when ticking off sightseeing points from our ”prepared” list, as it was the case with Georgetown – the most fascinating and colourful city of Malaysia built by the British. The city’s colonial and Chinese architecture with temples representing various religions attract a plethora of tourists. The capital of Penang was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Strolling down the streets, in addition to admiring stylish buildings, you can enjoy the time exploring wall murals on the city buildings, majority of which was painted by a Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic, giving the city a unique image. Even with a map in your hand you may sometimes be surprised by the result and confused when reaching a particular place as some of the paintings have been “hidden” somewhere in the back of boutiques or shops. Many times when looking at the map you are sure that you reached the place you wanted to reach, but in fact you need to look around, up and down trying to find a hidden wall picture as it’s sometimes not so obvious. Finding some of them is pure satisfaction and then it’s time for playing trying to fit you in with a mural image to be an integral part of it and snap a riveting photo 🙂 If you ask us, we spent a wonderful time in Georgetown:)
Continue reading “Penang, Malaysia: enchanting street art of Georgetown!”