Friday, April 20, 2007

Highlights from our Journey Slideshows

Yamaguchi & Hagi- Part I

I've always been fascinated about the Japanese Hot Spring Bath, called "Onsen". Not like that I want to strip off my clothes and be naked in front of Nihon-jin (Japanese). The idea of being naked in front of other people makes me turn red and shy.

So I asked around and discovered that we have a choice to choose the private room, called "Kazoku buro" in Japanese meaning bath for family. It doesn't cost much about 1500 yen ($15) per 5o mins. Not bad huh....

We arrived Japan in winter time so it was a perfect time to go to the Onsen. Hey, what are we waiting for, let's go to the Onsen!

We were looking for the place nearby Hiroshima we were recommended to go to Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi is another prefecture which is next to Hiroshima, about 2 hrs drive on the express way. It was also a perfect trip to test our RX8 performance. Woo hoooo.

When driving this beast, we actually felt bigger and stronger with so much power and style. On the expressway it was hard to control ourselves to drive slowly and it was like the car had a life of its own and asking us to go faster. At one point I was even reached 170km/h! Sorry mum, we wont do it again.

The first night we checked into the Japanese Traditional Hotel, called "Ryokan". We stayed at "Yuda Ryokan " in Yamaguchi. It was a bit expensive (18,000 yen per person ($180) but as I possess a real practical skill in negotiation and beat the hotel manager down to 15,000 yen per person. Well it was still a bit expensive but it came with a stomach bursting dinner and breakfast.

This is what our room looked like. "Tatami room"

At the ryokan they provide you with a night dress called "Yukata". You can wear this dress and walk around the ryokan. It is like a uniform as each ryokan has their own fabric design. There is a correct way of wearing this dress, which is the left-side needs to be on the top of the right-side. I was doing it wrong back then if you can see on the photos, I was wearing with the right-side sitting on the top of the left-side. Below photos showing the incorrect way.

After dinner we got ourselves a private hot spring bath room. This is what it looked like. One thing that we need to do before get into the bath is we need to wash ourselves first. I mean in Japanese style. You have to sit down and wash yourself. Take a look the photos.

We're all clean so let's get inside the bath, it's freezing outside!!!

Kimochi.... This is so relaxing. Ahhh.

Next morning, we drove to the place, called"Kozan-koen " where the five storey pagoda is next to the lake in Yamaguchi city.

To be continued (tsuzuku)

Koh Chang Thailand Nov 2006

While we were in Thailand, we made another trip to the second largest island in Thailand. It calls "Koh Chang" (Elephant Island). "Koh" means island and "Chang" means elephant. It was a perfect place to get away for a weekend and is not far from Bangkok. The beach has crystal clear water and while we were there, the sky was perfectly blue.

We stayed at the place called Sea View Resort for two nights. This resort has its own private beach so it wasn't that crowded.

Our room overlooks the beach. Here's the view from our balcony

So many activities that we can do over there. We traveled to another small island nearby on a small kayak

The water is so clear and warm, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

After a fun day, sitting next to the beach and appreciating the sunset scenery. Just like heaven!!!

So, we did really have a good time there

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Loy Krathong Festival Slides Show

Loy Krathong Festival Thailand Nov 2006

Just a quick introduction about what Loy Krathong is. It is the most beautiful and popular festivals in Thailand. This takes place on the full moon in November and during the evening, people will go down to their local klong (canal) or river to float their krathongs. They believe this will bring them good luck.

"Loy" means "to float" and a "Krathong" is a lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves. The Krathong usually contains a candle, three joss-sticks, some flowers and coins.

Last year (2006) the Loy Krathong day was on 5 Nov, we were still in Thailand so we went joined this event. As we stayed in Sriracha there was a popular place that people go to float their " Krathong", called "Koh Loy" (Loy Island), familiar with the word "Koh", yes it means island. So we went there too.

Here is what "Krathong" looks like

Wohooo! This is a huge Krathong

Having Fun!!!!! (Sanook Jung), Tanoshii desu

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya

The first trip that we made while we were in Thailand was a place in Pattaya called "Sanctuary of Truth". I have to say it is one of the amazing places I've ever seen in my life.

About this Place (Serious Stuff) from

The Sanctuary of Truth is a gigantic wooden temple like construction which covers the area of more than two rais. The top point of the buildingis about 105 meters high. It has taken over 20 years to build this and it is still underconstruction.

The building was constructed according to ancient Thai ingenuity and every square inch of the building is covered with wooden carve sculpture. The purposes of decoration with wooden carve sculptures are to use art and culture as the reflection of Ancient Vision of Earth, Ancient Knowledge, and Eastern Philosophy. With in this complex, visitors will understand Ancient Life, Human Responsibility, Basic Thought, Cycle of living, Life Relationship with Universe and Common Goal of Life toward Utopia.

Getting to the castle, we sat in a horse carriage and travelled an incredibly long distance - 50 metres.

And when we finally arrived there. Wow !!!!!

What you see below is the workshop and all the woodworkers carving away.

Look at all the stuff that they made, amazing!!

This is one of the draft drawing

How hard it can be??? I think I can do it too!

Close up Photos

More information about this place go to

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Beginning

This is our very first post so I should tell you a little bit about our (Noi - Cheyenne) journey to Japan first. It all started when Ford (Cheyenne's company) offered him a position to work in Hiroshima, Japan for 3 years. When receiving this news, we couldn't believe our luck because we had been talking about our dream of moving to Japan with our family and friends for few years. Not only was it a move to Japan but a promotion and a two month business trip to Thailand before moving to Japan. This was the day the stars all lined up in the sky and we had the feeling of a long adventure beginning.

Over 6 months has passed since that day and it has really been an incredible journey for both of us (well in our eyes it has been) . It hasn't been all rosy and pink and at times it has been stressful, frustrating and emotional but it never has been boring.

After filling up half a 40 foot container (we should have got a 20 foot one) with all our furniture and belongings and then saying good bye to our family, friends and work colleagues, we stepped onto a plane at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne and flew 9 hours to Bangkok and arrived at the new Bangkok called Suwanabumi airport.