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Mochi Monday: Blanket Walk

6 May

This is the closest that Mochi will get to wearing garments of any kind.

mochi robe circle

moch blanket cave

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They Draw & Travel

30 Apr

Here’s a cool website for some travel related artwork- it’s called They Draw & Travel. It features artwork from artists all over the world. The website makes it easy to narrow down to what you’d like- you can search by destination, art style, and vibe. Below are some that have caught my eye (click on the images for a larger version). Happy browsing!

TDAT- Buenos Aires

TDAT- New York

TDAT- Los Angeles

TDAT- Greece

TDAT- Tanzania

TDAT- Kyoto

And if you are food minded- here’s the original site called They Draw & Cook which TDAT was spun off from. Enjoy!

Hakone Open-Air Museum

24 Apr

Besides hot springs and water parks, the Hakone Open-Air Museum is a nice way to spend a couple of hours. The various pieces of art are unique, interactive, and fun. Composed of over a hundred sculptures by  modern and contemporary sculptors, exhibition halls including the Picasso Pavilion, and pieces that encourage play, it’s certainly not your run-of-the-mill museum!

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Don’t forget to check out the website for a printable coupon!hakone museum9

hakone museumOf course it wouldn’t be Hakone without a little dip in the perfectly toasty water!

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We read the sign AFTER- only kids under the age of 12 are allowed to climb inside. Oops!

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This was probably my favorite piece- here’s an article that highlights the artist behind this amazing work. 
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Japanese kids are such cutie-patooties! Speaking of which, check out this youtube channel of this Japanese kiddo- she tries various foods around the world that her mom makes.

Photo Tip: Amsterdam

23 Apr

Amsterdam Letter Sign

You can’t go to Amsterdam and not visit this iconic city symbol. It’s located in the Museumplein city square in front of the Rijksmuseum. At any given time there will be tons of people in your shot, which adds character to the photo if that’s your sort of thing.

However, if you want a less cluttered shot, here’s a tip- walk to the back side, snap your photo, and then “flip” your image. Example:

One: take your photo.

Amsterdam Backwards

Two: with a program of your choosing, use the flip option to flip your picture. If you have a smartphone or iPad, a variety of apps will do this including Diptic, Pic Jointer, Pic Stitch, etc. Usually it is a symbol that looks like a mirror image of 2 triangles or rectangles with a line in between. I am using the Pic Stitch app in the example below. If you’re on your desktop, there a few options: Picasa (Control-Shift-H), Preview for Mac go to Tools -> Flip Horizontal, or you can even do it within WordPress and of course Photoshop.

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Three: Save to your camera roll, add filters, post process, etc, and you’re all done!

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Hope this little tip helps! Someone with a sharp eye will certainly do a double-take, but as a non-purist I really don’t mind!

Mochi Monday: Waking Up

22 Apr

We’re looking forward to regularly posting again! In addition to our travels, we’ll try to post tidbits of our daily life (including Mochi!) here and there.

First up- we have Mochi here at 8.5 weeks. One of his favorite sleeping spots was under the couch.

mochi under couch

I’m glad I have these moments on video. He grew so fast! (PS- click on the cog-like icon next to the clock and change to 720p for the best quality)

Happy Holidays!

25 Dec

ImageHello everyone!

Thank you for being patient during the radio silence on our blog. The past 5 months have gone by faster than we realized! We are now happily settled in the Bay Area in our new home surrounded by friends and family, and we have added a member of the 4 legged variety to our family- a Shiba Inu named Mochi.

Rest assured, we will jump start our blog in the new year. We’ve got tons of content to share- from the rest of our travels to our new adventures with Mochi the Shiba Inu. Below is a video of Mochi and his litter mates at 6 weeks! (change to HD for the best quality!)


Again, from our family to yours, happy holidays!

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We’re Back. For Reals.

25 Jul

Even though we technically flew back to the states last Wednesday, we were still “traveling” in the last week. Less than 2 days after we got to SFO, we jumped into our car and headed towards LA for a family/friends reunion. After enduring many transit connections over the course of our trip, the 6 hour drive down I-5 seemed like a breeze!  We spent a long and fun filled weekend in LA and now we’re back in the bay area, ready for more reunions galore. Here are some things we are embracing about being home:

Having personal space. It’s nice to not be surrounded by people wherever we go!

Getting free water with ice in restaurants.

Non-confusing weather. July in the northern hemisphere should be no rain jackets or umbrellas.  We’re talking to you, Europe!

Consistent internet.

Driving…from one end of the parking lot to another.  Hey, the Gilroy Outlet is very big.

Our laptops. It’s glorious to be blogging with a real keyboard!

And the most important thing:

Spending time with our families and friends in person.

We are so happy to be home!

Spain Snippets: Barcelona

8 Jul

Our tour of Spain concluded with Barcelona.

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Instead of a hotel we opted to stay at Urban Suites apartments in Barcelona. That way we could cook. Above: delicious watermelon. Usually seedless watermelon aren’t the sweetest but these were!
Below: enough food for quite a few meals!

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Visited the overly touristy La Boqueria. We weren’t too impressed with it, but the overpriced fruit juices were pretty good.

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A preview of some of the food we ate. Feast for the eyes and the taste buds!

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Gaudi galore.

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We also made a side trip to the Dali museum.

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More on Barcelona as well as the rest of Europe when we come back in T minus 10 days! Hope you enjoyed these previews of Spain. We’ve got a few more hours in Paris and then we are off to Amsterdam and London.

Spain Snippets: San Sebastian

7 Jul

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I have to admit: I had never heard of San Sebastian before this trip started. Because of Jeannie’s insistence that we go to this small town in northern Spain close to the border of France, we found a jewel of a place that has it all: the best food in Spain/Europe/quite possibly the world, friendly pedestrian walk streets, easy bike paths throughout the city, and picturesque beaches. It truly is a wonderful city and we immediately knew we would return someday.

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San Sebastian is only a 6-hour bus ride from Madrid through the Spanish countryside. Notice I say “only”, as by this time we’ve been accustomed to long airplane flights, boat rides, train rides, you name it. The Spanish transport system (Alsa buses and RENFE trains) is comfortable and on time, unlike pretty much everything in Asia. The bus even had wifi!

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One notable thing about San Sebastian is its huge network of bike lanes and bike-friendly culture. We rented bikes for a day and rode around town. We went along the beach, through the high school and college area, and finally back through a long bikes-only tunnel that looked like something you’d see on the Matterhorn in Disneyland.

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The food in San Sebastian is fantastic to say the least. It’s also easy to figure out what to order. At all the tapas bars, the food is laid out on the counter and you simply pick up what you want to eat and pay per number of dishes you’ve had. The food ranges from simple bacon and mushrooms on a stick to smoked squid with a lime shooter and fancy biscuit. We tapas bar-hopped the first night and easily found our favorite to be Bar Zeruko. The range of culinary dishes here is truly amazing! Anthony Bourdain even said that besides Vietnam one of his favorite places to eat is in Sebastian. This is because they have the highest concentration of top ranked restaurants, so there’s no room for error.

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There’s more to share from San Sebastian, so stay tuned!

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Spain Snippets: Madrid

5 Jul

What a welcome surprise it was to land in Madrid as the next leg of our journey! After two months of being in less developed countries, it was nice to hop directly onto the subway and literally arrive at the doorstep of our hotel.

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Madrid is such a walkable city. We stayed right in the center and almost never had to use the subway. There’s restaurants, shopping, parks, historical palaces, and the world famous Prado museum all close by. We also spent quite a bit of time at Zara and Mango, because they’re both Spanish clothing brands and we could claim our VAT back as well.

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Everyone is out and about in Madrid. Madrid is one of the best places in the world if you like pedestrian walk streets. There’s shopping, cafes, and plenty of things to do in the center of town. The sun stays up late and the people eat out accordingly late as well.

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Old presidential palace and the view it overlooks.

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Apartments overlooking one of the older squares in Madrid. A long time ago, this square was used for bullfighting; the city rented out the balconies to spectators, hence the box numbers which are still there today.

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A few famous restaurant fronts a few blocks away from our hotel.

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Everyone’s heard of the famous Spanish tapas. What’s different in Spain is that you’re not expected to spend your whole dinner experience in one restaurant. It’s common to try out a dish or two, then pay and leave 20 minutes later to go to some other tapas place to try something else. More than likely that place will be steps away from the previous restaurant because everything in Madrid is so close together.

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Late night churros, anyone?

We’ll have more detailed posts and pics of our time in Europe when we return from our RTW adventure. We’ve only got a couple more weeks left!

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