KYOTO 京都

Time to get out of big cities and experience old fashioned Japanese culture merged into unique nature of the continent. 

Kyoto is only 15 minutes away from Osaka (via Shinkansen) that makes easy to commute a day trip to the destination. Interesting fact that Kyoto used to be the capital of Japanese island Honsu. Therefore, it contains so many historical places, imperial palaces, temples. Due to invasion of Buddhist clergy into the Imperial government trying to influence on decisions of the Palace, the decision was made to move the capital to Edo in 19th century. 

Edo was later called 東京, meaning “Eastern Capital” which pronounces Tokyo. We all know Tokyo. 

Kyoto tried to be re-named as 西京, meaning “Western Capital”, however, came back to Kyoto giving the city that legacy of thousand-year capital (千年の都).

If you love hiking and exploring thousand year history, you should definitely go to Kyoto. There is one great FITNESS solution here that I have done in the past. As a part of that international crew that I joined fair few years ago, we went on a bike ride from Osaka to Kyoto. The distance between these two are 55,6km which makes your legs burned at the end of the day (this distance doesn’t include another 20-25 kms cruising around the city). 

Kyoto is fairly big city but mostly famous for its cultural events and nature. Heading there on a bike, you will get obsessed with its nature in its fullest. Moreover, it will make your trip more accessible to reach different temples where you can sometimes enjoy kabuki theatre or some dancing festivals.

One of the most famous festivals in Kyoto in October is Jidai Matsur (“Festival of Ages”). Day when Japanese citizens come out of their houses and dress up as people of the past to acknowledge oldest people of the land and “touch” the thousand year old history of the area.

Jidai Matsuri is held every October 22nd (*Will be held on October 26th in 2019), as it was on this day in 794 AD that Emperor Kanmu made Kyoto Japan’s imperial capital, a status that would last for over 1,000 years, right through to 1869 when the capital was then moved to Tokyo. *Note: The 2019 procession is exceptionally scheduled on October 26 as October 22 falls on the day of the Enthronement Ceremony of the Emperor in Tokyo. If you know a lovely Japanese person, do not hesitate to say some nice words on the day to them in regards to their celebration. They will appreciate the fact that you know and respect their culture and heritage. 

When you are in Kyoto, it is a MUST to visit Bamboo Forest of Nishikyo-ku and go pass Jizo-in Temple.  

The Forest is located just 15-minute from the central station of Kyoto. You will meet a lot of locals there – this is their place to go hiking, enjoy and appreciate the nature around them. Do not forget to pack some bento boxes to share picnic with your friends. 

Appreciation of beauty is another thing that I would like to highlight in this article. I have already mentioned it in my previous blog posts dedicated to Japan – great lesson to learn from Japanese: 

They do see the beauty around them, in other people, in items around them. They are very united with the universe if it makes sense. How many times we walk pass a beautiful park and do not even stop next to a bunch of beautiful flowers or natural arrangements around? We are always in a rush – the modern life demands us to be like that and it is understandable. 

Check out my previous post about mindfulness through appreciation of things around here .

This is why I love to visit Japan and “slow down” here. This is where you can re-unite with yourself, disappear in that Bamboo Forest to stay with your thoughts, discover new pathways and just let many things go that stuck in your soul like stones dragging you down. This is what Kyoto is about. 

Forget about FASHION here – this place is not about parade show. It is the place to discover yourself and be as you are without all these current trends, instagram stories and showcasing fancy lifestyle – leave it all for the next destinations…

Ange xx 

OSAKA 大阪

My personal choice in Japan.

My second destination is already well-known to me and, if you read my blog notes before, majority of my previous articles were written here, based on Osaka knowledge. 

So, it is clearly cheating from me to write a blog now. Doesn’t matter – I believe you can always discover something new if you really looking for it.

The reason why I called Osaka my personal choice is it is the place where you can experience everything you need in Japan if you really looking for it. 

First of all, looking at the city from gorgeous and unique architecture design of the Umeda Sky Garden, you will clearly see that the city is very modern and reminds you a bit of a Tokyo. When you walk down from the view point and start looking around the city centre, you realise how many international places around – another similarity with Tokyo. There is one huge difference, I would say one advantage over Tokyo, the Osaka city was not built crowded and touristic. The city obviously attracts millions of tourists a year, however, it is not trying to attract them with its touristic look like Tokyo does. This is what makes this place unique to me and my experience.

Throwing back to those long 7 years ago when I arrived to Osaka for a couple of months of summer holidays. That time I didn’t enter to Japanese school so was by myself and I needed to make some friends. 

I went to Starbucks (yes, before Australia I thought it was really cool place to be lol) and found a brochure with international meet ups. My English was weak but good enough to understand what’s written there regarding type of events, dates, locations and other important details. I carried that brochure everywhere like my passport. 

My International meet up journey started when I walked it to meet and greet at one Irish pub in Shinsaibashi. No-one checked my ID when I came to the bar and ordered Asahi. I sat down next to the international group – Canadian and American guys and one Japanese girl. They started talk to me. Found may first friends! 

Interesting to say that Ai (that amazing Japanese girl is in Melbourne now doing her own business in massage and beauty industry). We managed to catch in Melbourne last year – amazing that we both ended up in Australia. 

Those international friends took me on board and introduced me to meet up organisers. They took me to bike tours to Kobe and Kyoto. They got me to volunteer to international parties where I was given wristbands at the entrance. Then they were sneaking a VIP wristband to me so I could enter a party being 17 year old. Considering over age is 20 in Japan, I wouldn’t clearly experience incredible parties walking out the venue at sunrise time!

Anyways, the bottom line, Osaka was, is and will always be international hub in Japan but more inclusive than gigantic Tokyo. Going to Irish, English or international cafes pubs to find out where they meet up – I still believe that trip was my very best one because of that. 

Osaka is a bit cleaner – again, due to its size. It is easier to navigate around the city, the metro lines are more structured. Due to the fact that I have been there so many times, I can easily give you an overview of some of the areas to visit in Osaka. I went for a run the other morning and can say that outdoor walk/run is the best way to discover hidden shops and fascinating areas. Many beautiful stores are literally condensed in the city to fit more. 

FASHION – I have already mentioned Shinsaibashi. This area of Osaka is famous for its shopping lines (“leave all your money in Shinsaibashi”), great dining and places for parties and night life. 

Shinsaibashi never sleeps. You can shop there from 10-11:00am until late night. I could see how some people were buying new party dresses, got changed in them and went straight to night clubs and pubs to keep going. 

Shinsaibashi has everything from Japanese local brands to world famous outlets; from modern styles to luxury brands. There is a big shopping mall in the heart of Shinsaibashi called Daimaru. Daimaru is like Bondi Junction Westfield – this is how good it is!

Another thing to mention is better not to plan a day trip to Osaka if you plan to see some of the Osaka’s attractions. You need to spend the whole decent day to appreciate the fashion and go through stylish outlets in Shinsaibashi. If you are aiming for fashionista title, it is a big lie to say you will get enough fashion inspiration for a couple of hours in Shinsaibashi. You need at least one full day. Then head to an Irish pub at the end of the day to share your fashion knowledge with other Internationals. If you discuss it with Japanese, it might be even more different though as they have different vision in fashion.

FITNESS – Osaka has encouraged me to use the stairs over elevators or escalators. There are a lot of walks and transfers from one metro line to another. Go for stairs! Also, due to lesser crowds, it is much nicer and better to run outdoor in Osaka. My only recommendation is try to do it before 7:20am – 1) the sun goes up and it is super humid at this time of the year (summer is even worse); 2) people are start heading to work. You may notice that many people have to travel intercity so all the metros and shinkansens are packed from early mornings. 

 Just given a small overview of the 1-day Osaka itinerary so you can cover “different aspects of Japan”.

  • Start with the Umeda Sky Garden. This place is open at 9:30am. Normally, nothing is open in Japan till 10-11:00am – they are not morning people at all (what a shame!). It will also give you nice natural morning light to overlook the whole city and start the day right. If you are into history, there is the illustrated museum inside the Sky Garden;
  • Head to the Osaka Castle – this is one of my favourite castles in Japan (still consider Akita has better ones but anyways). I love it because there are a lot of small gardens and temples around the castle to explore. When you get to the Castle, head up to the 8th Floor and start exploring from top to the bottom;
  • Head to Dotonbori river area taking Namba station 16th exit. It is very nice and beautiful there. You can also take the tour of the river cruising around crabs and octopuses on surrounded buildings;
  • After the river, time for get decent lunch – sushi is the go for me (Japanese Diet by Angie). There is an amazing sushi restaurant with English menu with freshest raw fish. You don’t need even worry to order anything, the plates are passing through you with whatever you like! The restaurant is located on that big crab street opposite direction to Dotonbori gates on the Starbucks side (right).
  • Also, try their popular Takoyaki that are everywhere on that street. They are very filling and made with true Japanese traditions;
  • Then jump to Shinsaibashi shops and get lost there!
  • End of at a nice Irish pub to relax as you might burn your legs after Shinsaibashi walks. Get some refreshments (I would still suggest NOT to order food in pubs and eat before – all these fish and chips and burgers you can eat everywhere; real Japanese food only made by Japanese).

Ange xx

TOKYO 東京

I guess I can do some decent summary of Tokyo based on last 2 days. It is a bit of a cheating from me to write for the first time about the country where I have been about 9 times already, however, considering I have never had an idea to write up a blog before, would be nice to write what I got out from this particular trip.

I tried to look at the trip with fresh eyes – taking just minor knowledge I picked from my Japanese trips in the past.

Currently in the speed train called Shinkansen – travelling between destinations within the country is best by Shinkansen. With the speed up to 234 km/h you can easily get from Tokyo to Kyoto crossing 456.43 km within few hours.

Shinkansen can be at a speed maximum 320 km/h. TIP: pre-book rail pass for the duration of your trip – it will save up a lot of time, energy and money.

Anyways, Tokyo – what can I say? 

To start with, it is a well-known international capital. If you have never been in Japan, the cultural differences can slightly shock you so better to start with Tokyo. There are some international places where you can meet a lot of Germans, English, Irish, Canadians, Russians, etc. International pubs are everywhere in inner Tokyo. We went to the English pub called ‘The Mermaid” to watch a rugby game – felt like somewhere in Europe. 

Get ready to struggle with Tokyo metro. It is complicated to start with as they have a lot of lines and separated train links. Spend some time at a station to figure out the algorithm and it will be easy going forward. 

The best areas to your “touristic” journey would be Ginza (considered to be one of the most luxury shopping areas in the world), Shibuya, Tokyo station – they are designed for internationals – you will find a lot of places with English explanations there. That was our destinations for the day 1.

Arriving at 6:15am, we had to wait a little bit and the shuttle delivered us straight to the Hotel in the amazing DisneyLand. Sheraton provided with an amazing service. I have to mention the fantastic Japanese hospitality below.

We all humans and we all can make mistakes. Japanese people are pretty accurate but also humans (as much as they implemented thousands of robots!). The check in didn’t happen until 3:00pm so we had to leave the bags at lobby and we were promised they would be taken to our rooms as a part of the service. Great – heading to Tokyo Station to explore the area. 

When we got back, we realised the bags were unattended for the whole day. The service staff had some miscommunication. They were extremely apologetic and offered Marriott Bonvoy members benefits i.e. VIP lounge access, complimentary breakfasts, extended check outs and many others. The service was exceptional after that. 

The best thing about Tokyo is the fact that it contains a little bit of everything. If you want some Japanese culture touch, go to Asakusa. Asakusa (浅草) is a district in Taitō, Tokyo, Japan, famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. There are several other temples in Asakusa, as well as various festivals, such as the Sanja Matsuri. You can also experience Nakamise shopping street there – something similar to Manly or Bondi markets. Many stalls will offer you handmade Japanese souvenirs and treats. Walking all way down the street, you will get to the tea shop where you can watch Japanese special brewing technique and taste some real stuff 🙂 

As to temples, since you are there, you must go to Asakusa’s main attraction is Sensoji, a very popular Buddhist temple, built in the 7th century. The temple is approached via the Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with a variety of traditional, local snacks and tourist souvenirs for centuries. Pretty much all temples we visited are free of charge.

Being first time in Japan, you will be amazed by their accuracy. If your train is at 12:58pm, it will come and leave strictly at 12:58pm – no early or late. If there is a delay, it will be communicated to you at their earliest convenience. 

FASHION – amazed with the contract. Walking in Ginza and Shibuya, you are walking through posh shopping stores and centers. However, Japanese people are dressing up very modest and reserved. I expected more dressed up people including tourists on the streets – I felt how people were sometimes looking at me because of my “dressing up attire”. Realising that I didn’t use much of the make up – didn’t help – I was still in the centre of attention. I remember when I came to Japan first time and was a teenager, Japanese loved to take pictures of me. I believe they would do it now again but considering I am adult now (lol), they might be hesitant to ask. In general, being a white European with, ideally, blond hair will make you a celebrity there.

I started to capture my adventure in my Instagram stories and was happy to realise I was re-posted by Fashion World Tokyo – feeling I have just gotten unofficial reward of being fashionista in the country of sunrises!

Due to the fact that Japan doesn’t have much of the land, they build the whole new world underground. I would suggest, get out of the stations and take some time to walk on streets from station to station – this is where you will see the country at its fullest and can find interesting places to see and visit. Also, you will be able to experience fascinating architecture contract – huge modern skyscraper will stand behind oldest 6th century temple – it is breathtaking experience if you appreciate excellence and beauty around yourself. 

FITNESS – On the last last day before check out (extended!), I went for a run and managed to run around the whole DisneyLand – incredible destination to do outdoor cardio. I had to head back around 7:40ish am due to humid heat and Japanese starring at the white European running around. Considering Japanese are running in very enclosed clothing, I was not SO dressed (wearing shorts and sports bra) so it could be embarrassing for them. Oh well, had to head back 🙂 

Outdoor running (especially in the morning) is a great way to explore the area next to you. We haven’t gotten to the actual DisneyLand or DisneySea (age problems 🙂 ) but I appreciated the beauty around just exploring the area on my two feet. 

At the end of the trip there will be some time to spend last day in Tokyo and I am aiming for Legendary Kill Bill cafe , Kawasaki suburb to pick up goodies for my Ninja Baby back home and Rainbow bridge. 

Now off to Kyoto!

Ange xx

Japanese Diet by Angie

I am after easy and enjoable diets as I believe in a few things that I follow.

1) Life is too short – enjoy it! Food is an essitial part of it;

2) I used to limit myself with food – felt horrible, got sick often. You need a proper nutrition in life;

3) Anti-social behaviour – when you are on diet, you are trying to avoid going out with friends as they all eat what you have restricted yourslef.

There are more reasons – just a few in the top of my mind.

Since I had started my Japanese trip yesterday (yes, I am here again!), I would like to share my Japanese Diet that I had already unintentionally followed already. When I weight myself after Japan trip(s) for around 10 days, I am normally 2-3 kgs lighter and this all without much effort.

I am here for 14 days tis time so the result should be even better.

THREE MAIN INGREDIENTS TO INCLUDE:

  • Sushi (or preferably sashimi)
  • Green Tea (heaps – 2 litres a day is great)
  • Greens

FEW MINOR WARNINGS:

  • If you are a female, be careful eat TOO MUCH fish IF you are 1) pregnant or 2) about to get pregnant 0r 3) breastfeeding. Many sorts of fish contains mercury that can damage brain development of a baby. Not my words – check this dietitian out – Leslie Beck;
  • Avoid too much soy sauce. It goes together with sushi/sushimi – true story. But the less you can have it, the better for you. One of my next healthy article to be is about consumption salt over sugar (still in production). Long story short here, avoid sodium that is overpacked in soy sauce. From weight perspective, sodium will hold your body weight; from health prospective, it increases your blood pressure. If you have had some, follow up with green tea as it reduces sodium greatly;
  • Fish is great, but mix it up with other Japanese proteins – tofu is yummy, Japanese BBQ worth a million.

Raw fish gives you a lot of required nutrition for protein intake. Having rice in your diet, will give you enough carb energy boost without any saturated fats. Strive for brown rice though, it is healthier, more nutritious and clearly has a lower glycemic index. Finally, greens, go for special Japanese greens that has A LOT OF good items for your metabolic rate – seaweed salad, edamine beans. And sip green tea everywhere. That’s about it !

Of course, you need to try amazing dishes such as tempura, okonominoyaki, udon, ramen, etc. while you are in Japan. The dining here is outstanding and you definitely didn’t try this in any European restaurants that serves Japanese food. Moreover, they have much lesser preservatives that stops your metabolism. Treat yourself with it.

The whole idea of the diet is to eat clean, stay active (don’t be a boring tourist – get out of bus and explore on your feet) and consume solid amount of green tea that is everywhere in Japan (see my previous blog article about coffee and tea in Japan).

I will be back here for some overview of my first Japanese destination – Tokyo shortly xx

Make a Magic..with the Water Bottle

Being fitness and healthy lifestyle advocate and ambassador helps me to discover amazing things that support my fitness journey. I have already shared the importance of water consumption in my blog. I have been sent a fantastic gift from one German company called John Hancock – Smart Drinking Flask. My everyday item that I take with me in my hand bag – this magical water bottle.

The button of the bottle cup mainly contains a natural ore called Alps. It is a rare mineral that can react instantaneously when exposed to water and has strong activity, which can help promote blood circulation accelerating metabolism.

Secondly, it might electrolyze water into H + and OH-, OH- Can combine with water molecules to form negative ions, which have strong reducibility. It can help reduce free radicals, weakening alkaline fluids providing an anti-oxidant effect.

Thirdly, it might help water turn into smaller molecular groups allegedly from 5-6. This small molecular group is a good carrier of nutrients with stronger penetration and 30% higher solubility than normal water. It can help dissolve fat, metabolize bowel stool and toxic or harmful substances.

This new German invention is always with me

Finally, Alps ore contain Mg ions that can be absorbed by the human body. Magnesium ions can activate more than 300 enzymes to participate in metabolism, and can be widely involved in the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

So based on the above findings, you can clearly understand why this is my every day choice wherever I am: gym, work, walk, meeting, home. Check out this article too – https://www.abc-7.com/story/40768215/a-new-german-invention-drinking-water-may-have-a-new-effect-on-the-human-body

My everyday fitness plan at the 38X Fitness Manly

Fash + Fit

It was a bit of a risk to combine two different industries and expect a good result. 

Fashion – the word associated with runways, glamour, style trends. 

Fitness – Health, gym, marathons.

They are different so how can I really pitch them to be together? I can explain:

Attitude

Coming back to my previous topic about motivation – who are you training for? For yourself? To impress someone else? If you set up the right and healthy attitude, you train to look good for yourself. You want to look healthy, fit, skinnier or toned – all depends on your personal goals. Now, let’s take Fashion. If you are interested in Fashion, you probably have or aim to have a good sense of style and after important Fashion trends. You pay an extra attention to what you wear when you come out. You are getting ready before an important business meeting. What do you need Fashion for? Same thing again – for yourself? Impress someone at one event? Wear someone glamourous for horse races at Randwick? 

You start with the right attitude. You understand that things you build in life starts from you. If you have ever had an experience to move to another continent when you are a teenager that doesn’t know what she wants, you might come to realisation that you have to build self base before you can build something else in life. I cannot build my life looking at someone’s one – I need to look at what I do. I cannot get impressed by someone’s achievements only – I need to set up something for myself each month to feel I am moving. 

Attitude by @Angela_alina

When you go to the gym, you may notice more and more people are “dressing up” to the gym. Not literally. But trying to wear right sports gear, good active lifestyle brands, etc. Many fitness blogs suggest to wear “cool” gym wear to boost motivation to exercise more. I can definitely see the link between those two. You start with the attitude. You want to see yourself successful, fit, healthy and stylish. It is not a secret that you might be toned and skinny and look quite sexy but if you wear a dress that look like a bag for potatoes on you, your toned body disappears. And, of course, you can buy the most expensive suit from the best Italian designer – it probably looked so gorgeous on the runway – but it looks ugly on you because your body is poisoned with junk food, lack of movement and first signs of ageing.  I like to see and promote more on my page fashion in fitness.

It is not only wear something trendy at the gym but wear Fashion and Fitness within you..

Go for Green – Dinner Bowls

I have to share this as it seems working. I put on my old jeans today. When I wore them last time few months ago, it was a slight effort to put them on. It was morning and I put them on not thinking much about it. Only on my way to work I realised that they felt pretty loose on me.

I think I can thank my green dinner bowls. The main idea behind is having various greens and light digestive protein together.

As to light digestive protein, you can pick:

  • Chicken – 150 gram
  • White fish – barramundi is great – 120-150 gram
  • Salmon – never go wrong with salmon – 100-150 gram
  • Tofu (for VG or vegans) – 100 gram

Greens..get creative – make a variety. My top favourite is asparagus, spinach, 4 leaf mix, sprouts, zucchini.

Grilled chicken with snow peas, spinach, asparagus and ricotta

Try to avoid overcooking any of the ingredients is my main rule while cooking. All the ingredients are light and easy to absorb by your body. You can add 40-50 gram of smashed avocado and some spices if you like.

I started this type of dinners a few weeks ago and I can the outcome:

  • Less bloating in stomach
  • Feeling more energy to workout next morning
  • No hunger in the morning

Greens help to absorb any bad elements and toxins from your body. Light protein is digested in your body within 2-3 hours which make you sleep better at night.