I bought my desk calendar tonight.  I don’t usually leave it this late, but i generally wait until they are on half price. The choices were poor- a live life better, a to do list (every day was a different format of a blank to do list), sudoku, crosswords, a things to do in a boring job, a paper airplane every day and an origami every day.  I ended up with the origami. 

I like having a desk calendar, but i rarely do the activity they hold (last years calendar is a Johanna basford colouring in one – i have coloured in about 4 pictures and given away about 10). 

I already have a to do list notepad and i have an undated weekly desk calendar- i didn’t use it for several months last year.  I do have electronic calendars, but for some things paper is better. But i have noticed fewer people have and use paper now, which limits the number being sold and therefor my options.

Microblog Monday- thoughts

A collection of thoughts

I have been doing a lot of reading about minimalism. It is an interesting idea, but i think the ability to be a minimalist requires an immense amount of privilege and resources. I have a lot of thoughts about what living a minimalist life entails, so this may come back.

Its a shock to the system going from 3 degrees to 34 (celsius).

Still trying to get my head around the idea that it is 2018.  

I finished one rainbow and started another


Looking for some new books/authors.  I read several harlequin presents on holiday, i think i have reached a surfeit.  



Japan trip- 7 days in Kyoto-part 1

On christmas morning we woke up early, checked out of the hotel and headed for Kyoto. Its about a 40 minute – 1 hour trip by train (depends on the train, line and destination). I was still coughing a lot, so i wore one of the face masks.

Once at kyoto we stuck our backpacks etc in a locker at the train station (suitcases were sent ahead from the hotel) and headed for the market.  The 25th of the month is a flea market day at a particular buddhist sects temples across japan.  The one in December tends to be big as people clear their houses in advance of New Year.

The market was pretty good. Last time round i found it a bit too touristy, this time it still had a lot to appeal to tourists but there was also a lot of interesting stuff.  There were also a few stallholders i recognised from osaka!

We found a different drip coffee stall and had some freshly roasted coffee.

After wandering the market for a couple of hours we went to Kinkakuji- the golden temple.  This is in the same area as the temple where the flea market was.  Kinkakuji was originally a residence for a noble, then was turned into a temple. At some point the villa was covered in gold leaf.

I was still feeling not so great at this point, so we headed back to Kyoto Station to pick up the bags, have lunch and then to the hotel.  It turned out the hotel was essentially next to a bus stop, so it was pretty easy.  I crashed for the rest of the day while G and M went out exploring.

As i was so sick, we looked at the planned activities and rejigged. On the 26th G and M went to Kobe without me.  Kobe had been a maybe day for the last few days in Kyoto, primarily to go to a Brazilian BBQ restaurant that we like.  Thats pretty much what they did while i stayed at the hotel and slept.

On the 27th we went somewhere new!  In all the times we have been to kyoto we have never gone to the the Fushimi Inari shrine. Thats the the one with all of the orange torii gates up the mountain.  It was snowing when we got there, and very crowded with tourists. No serene pictures of torii gates!

M decided to walk along the path. I opted not to (still sick), so G and i looked at the stalls and shops in the area, and i ended up in a coffee shop.

Following the shrine we headed a couple of stops further and went to the Gekkeikan sake factory.  The factory was interesting and offered some tastings as well.

Sake barrels at the local train station

Then we took a train back to Gion, had lunch and looked around the shops.

I then went to Misayubari- a tiny needle shop

Its down this passage

Sitting in a tiny garden is this tiny shop

As well as needles and scissors they also sold these handmade pins.  They are tiny.

The next day we had a wander from Kiyomizudera down to Gion.

Kiyomizudera is another temple complex, this one was famous for holy water (its not officially holy anymore).its main temple is a wooden structure with a huge deck that is popular for photos as there is the wooded hillside below and the city of kyoto in the distance.

The temple was constructed without nails and is currently being rebuilt/repaired.  The rebuilding of temples is very common in  japan and is actually part of the process with some shinto shrines.

The covered over area is usually an open deck.  There was only one section open this time.

Access to the temple is on foot- the bus stops at the bottom of the hill and we walked up the streets (cars still come up the streets, so i suppose we could have grabbed a taxi…)

The temple grounds are extensive and we wandered around on the paths

After we had our fill we walked down a different street, this one was lined with shops selling stuff to tourists (both japanese and overseas).

This we took a sharp right, down a flight of steps

A lot of shops along here too

There are a lot of shops and cafes along the way- we stopped at Inoda coffee which has a lovely garden outside.  We also visited a couple of my favourite temples.  These were noble residences that were then turned into temples.

One of these is kodai-ji which is my favourite temple, in part due to the garden, but i was feeling cold and not so well by this point, so i sat in the tea room and had matcha and a japanese sweet.

At this point we were pretty tired, so we headed back to the main shopping area for lunch and back to the hotel.

We did a lot of walking on these days, drank a lot of coffee.  Some of our dinners were just convenience store food, heated up at the shop and taken to our room(s).

Stay tuned for part two!







It was not a good flight back.  As of two weeks ago, the flight was half empty.  It was a full flight. Completely full, unexpectedly at the last moment. We landed at cairns at 5 am, and our flight from there to brisbane was leaving at 10. Not a good time to sit around a tiny airport.

Next time we go to japan, i think we may be looking at other options.  The budget airline we used is appealing because it has the most flights there, but the need to go through cairns is rough.  

Its nice to be home- my own bed, my own pillows.  The heat at home is not great- we have gone from chilly winter to heatwave summer.

I will write up our further trip adventures, but so tired right now…



Reading challenge fail

I signed up for a reading challenge on Goodreads last year- 100 books.  That should have been easy- i read so much, or so i thought. I ended the year at 75 books or so.  Some of this is the fact that i don’t instinctively track on good reads, but maybe i am not reading as much.

So this year, i will try again, but i will also try to track my reading here.  Maybe that will help? I have already read a number of books- vacation plus train travel does that. Maybe a post for tomorrow.


Walking the same path

This trip has been an interesting exercise in walking the same path. The first time we did it, it was completely new, we were discovering new things every day. It was also the last hurrah before a year of IVF.  The second time we did it, it was a mix- new things and old things combined.  It was a moment of calm.  This time has been odd. A few new things, but a lot of old.

The first trip we stayed at a hotel which maintained a public bath (hot baths and onsen are among my favourite japan activitities). I can remember opting out of a long soak, and avoiding onsen out of fear i was maybe pregnant (i was not). Tis time we stayed at-a another branch of the chain (they are expanding) and i used the baths multiple times.  The issue was more the other users than the implications of the bath. I have had multiple onsen options this time, G has not. When the option came up today, he was not enthused.  

We have tried to add new experiences and new places, but part of the reason we keep coming back is for the same places. The problem is that these places have changed too.

I am drawn to repeating holidays- a reaction to constant change elsewhere in my life.  The problem is that this is not a sleepy holiday town, but a busy, evolving city.  It changes.  Some things remain the same, others do not.

I think the next time we do this, we will not be coming back here.  It’s time to find a new path

Cable news and the lack of content

Ah travel- the time when you realise exactly how empty the cable news cycle is.

Generally, the only english language channel we will be able to find in Japanese hotels is CNN. Sometimes it is BBC world- although not this time.  There is nothing like having it on for an hour or so at points during the day to realise how much content is repeated over and over.

There isn’t much happening in the world apparently. It is astounding how US centric CNN is, even overseas. Sigh. At least BBC used to make a real effort to be in the space that you were watching- there was BBC Asia, and then coverage specific to Japan/Korea. Sometimes this was irritating, like when they would air a story on the region and then it would air on the broader shows, but in shorter form.  CNN is just the US, and a focus on US news.