One of the reasons for coming to Melbourne was to source for vintage furniture and collectibles for an upcoming project we are preparing to launch. We gathered a list of vintage shops from our friends and found more than we could ask for (if we could have our way, we would have definitely bought loads more!). Here are a couple of our favourites, and a list of other stores which you can hunt down on your next trip to find that perfect vintage piece! Continue reading
Apart from the St. Ali group, the cult coffee scene in Melbourne is heavily dominated by the Seven Seeds group and Market Lane Coffee, both of which were our next pit stops on our whirlwind coffee crawl during our short visit down under.
Seven Seeds was our first stop and not straightforward to find, which can be a good thing in our opinion. Located inconspicuously in a row of industrial warehouses with only “prison-like” iron bar windows to allow outsiders a peek into their secret world, Seven Seeds was certainly a hidden oasis that was enchanting and seductive. Entering through their large wooden doors, we immediately felt like part of an exclusive club – it was certainly a treat worth any trek down to! Continue reading
Our first port of call in Melbourne was St. Ali, a coffee mecca housed in a converted warehouse in South Melbourne. St. Ali’s reputation is founded on its incredible array of coffees. Paying homage to Ali ibn Umar al-Shadili, a 14th century mystic considered the patron saint of the coffee port of Mocha (in Yemen), the café boasts a mind-boggling range of beautiful beans sourced from all over the world. If you’ve always wanted to try Kenyan Tembo, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Tanzanian Kilimanjaro, Cachoeira Estate Yellow Bourbon or Guatemalan Finca El Bosque, St. Ali is the place to be. Continue reading
Last weekend, we had the privilege of attending the wedding of a special someone in the family. The backdrop was the gorgeous limestone karsts and isles of Ha Long Bay, aboard the luxury junk, Bhaya Classic III. The flawless organization of the weekend-long celebrations could not have been more perfect – thank you D & J, for being such wonderful hosts.
The magnificent Ha Long Bay has been recognized by UNESCO as a Natural World Heritage Site since 1994 and is undoubtedly Vietnam’s most famous natural wonder. With pristine deserted beaches, grottoes, caves and over 3,000 limestone islets and pinnacles thrusting skyward from the emerald waters, The Bay of the Descending Dragon is a breathtaking marvel well worth the journey for anyone seeking a special and memorable experience. The journey from Hanoi to Ha Long bay takes approximately 4 hours by bus (170km). Alternatively, there is a helicopter option which has a flight time of 1 hour but departs only on Saturdays from Gia Lam Airport in Hanoi. Continue reading
Last weekend, we headed for Hanoi, Vietnam to attend the wedding of a special someone in the family. While the ceremony itself took place in the magnificent Ha Long bay, we did have a couple of days to enjoy the ever-so-bustling capital and be warmly reacquainted with the nerve-wrecking traffic synonymous with Vietnam. Here are some highlights from the trip, crammed into less than 36 hours! (Jack’s advice: give the water puppets a miss.) Continue reading
Kappabashi is popularly known as Tokyo’s ‘kitchen-town’ and is truly a place with shitamachi (old-school downtown) flavour. There are dozens of shops lined along Kappabashi Dori selling kitchenware and anything and everything you need to start up a restaurant – think specialty shops offering plastic food, blackboards and menus, chef knives, yakitori grills, chef uniforms and large ice cream cone fixtures, to name a few. Even if you just love to cook, this street will drive you wild – this is, by a mile, my favourite place in Tokyo and I can spend as much as half a day here each visit.
A day after last Friday’s earthquake, I hurried down to Kappabashi Street, concerned how the store owners and their wares were keeping. I had just been to Mashiko the day before the earthquake stuck and read that many of the stores and museums had suffered substantial damage.
At Kappabashi, business was as usual on Saturday for most stores. While some reported minimal damage to goods, thankfully, most had escaped unscathed. I highly recommend this wonderful stretch of shops just one station away from Asakusa if you are thinking of setting up a restaurant or cafe, love cooking or simply want to marvel at the many offerings on display – one of the most meaningful and fulfilling ways spend an afternoon, in my opinion!
Nearest train station: Tarawamachi Station on the Ginza Line, exit 3.
(photo credit: my.opera.com)
Deeply saddened by the deaths and people who have been displaced by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant disaster, it is with a heavy heart that we are leaving Tokyo to return home to Singapore. We will forever cherish in our hearts the time spent with the locals who have shown us a tremendous amount of hospitality and grace throughout our travels.
As the new shoots of spring begin to show signs of new life, our wish for the Japanese people is that they too, will begin to slowly rebuild their lives with each new day.
We will continue to feature Tokyo in our next few posts, which we dedicate to the people of Japan.
Leaving you now with this beautifully written and meaningful article by Nicholas Kristof, columnist for the New York Times.
Filed under Japan, Travel
(photo credit NationNews.com)
As we continue to watch devastating footage of Friday’s catastrophic events and its deadly aftermath, we appeal for your thoughts to be with the Japanese people as they deal with this horrific national crisis. Over 10,000 people are estimated dead and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes. We urge you to contribute in a very tangible way by donating to the Save the Children foundation during this critical time. The team at Save the Children has already flown in to the disaster zones and are in the midst of providing relief to children (many who have been orphaned) and their families.
Save the Children aims to deliver food, shelter and psychosocial support to young people, helping them overcome the shock and stress that the disaster has left in its aftermath. They will set up child-friendly spaces to provide a protective environment where children can spend time with other children and trained teachers, allowing parents much-needed time to find food and shelter as well as locate other friends and family.
To read more on the Save the Children official press release and donate, click here
God bless Japan.
Filed under Japan, Travel
We had the opportunity to meet an extremely talented local ceramic artist over the Lunar New Year period this year and she recommended that we visit the small village of Mashiko on our upcoming trip to Tokyo. Having a great interest (bordering on fetish) in Japanese ceramics, we were, of course, thrilled to hear about this thriving pottery town, some 100km north of Tokyo; the only thing that was standing in our way from jumping on the first train to Mashiko, was the journey. Continue reading
Dear Readers & Friends,
Thank you for all your thoughts and concern, we are safe in Tokyo (though very freaked out). Tremors are a lot less frequent now as compared to this afternoon’s scare – buildings were literally swaying and creaking and things flying everywhere. Even the tiles from our apartment were ripped off.
Our thoughts are with the people in Sendai as relief efforts are underway. Will update again soon.
D & P
Filed under Japan, Travel