I’m in Taiwan! 

travel

We’re staying in the Da’an District in Taipei, Taiwan. I’ve been taking photos non-stop and will be making a big blog post about our adventures, but I just had to make a quick post to say how great it is here. The metro system is efficient and Westerner friendly, food is amazing and there’s always something to see and do. Currently we are unwinding our long day with cocktails at this great bar called Roxy Rocker. Tomorrow we’re hitting up Jiufen Old Street. 

Advertisements

Green Stand Chu-Hi Stand in The Honch

Eat and Drink, travel

I always like keeping an eye out for fresh new local establishments. A few months ago a new chu-hi stand opened in The Honch, near Yokosuka Naval Base. Well, if you know me, then you know I enjoy a good chu-hi.

Green Stand definitely catches your eye as you walk by. The glass exterior and vintage type face takes me back to some of the little independent boutiques and pubs in the hipster neighborhoods of San Diego. The interior is cozy, and offers seating at the bar, pub tables and couches. This bar is definitely great if you just want to kick back and chill, or chat.

As I’m typing this, Green Stand has 36 available flavors of chu-hi, with your choice of syrup or juice. They also allow you to mix and match. I really like mixing pineapple and coconut. They also offer other interesting flavors such as Mountain Dew, Calpis, Lychee, and Yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit). The bartenders are friendly, welcoming and attentive.

The pricing isn’t the cheapest that you’ll find in the Honch, but still reasonable. Depending on the flavor and strength of the drink you choose, you’ll be looking at between ¥400 to ¥1000. They offer snacks at the bar, but do not have a food menu.

If chu-hi isn’t your thing, they also offer a full bar and hookah!

Here’s their Facebook page: Green Stand Yokosuka

See below for a map to their location.

 

I took these pictures with my phone on a night out with some girl friends. I promise to go back and take better photos with my big girl camera and update this post with them!

 

Bill Murray Was Here.

Eat and Drink, travel

I just want to start this post off by saying that this past weekend I was able to check something off my bucket list:

  • Lost in Translation Bar 

lostintranslation068

Yes, I went to New York Bar from Lost in Translation and it was magical, but we’ll get to that in a little bit.

An old friend/former coworker/previous classmate that I have known for 13 years or so came to Japan with a group of friends. I was so glad that we both found time to meet up and catch up a bit after 6ish years of not seeing each other. We met up near the Hachiko Statue at Shibuya Station and began our little adventure.

Tokyo was very cold that day, with even a few snow flurries dancing around in the frigid breeze between the rain. It was a perfect day to grab a hot cup of coffee, so that’s exactly what we decided to do. My friend had a couple of spots in mind nearby that he had been wanting to check out. Armed with his navigation and my umbrella wet set off to the first spot.

The first place we tried was called About Life Coffee Brewers. A small coffee stand on a corner in Shibuya. A bit away from the hustle of the shuffle, it was a nice place to start with a good selection of beans from different roasters and regions.

Next we hit up Good People & Good Coffee, tucked away in the Meguro Ward. I loved this coffee shop. I’d say the interior was fairly spacious compared to others in Japan, and the decor was fresh, hip and welcoming. I didn’t catch his name, but the barista behind the counter was very friendly and inviting.

After wandering around back in Shibuya, and being unable to decide on what to eat, my friend decided to check in with his group of friends that he had been traveling with. A few of them were nearby so we met up, shopped around a bit, grabbed some Kin-no-torikara (delicious boneless fried chicken) and then decided we were ready to hit New York Bar in Shinjuku, the famous Lost in Translation Bar where Charlotte and Bob Harris meet.

Located inside the Park Hyatt on the 52nd floor, this swanky bar definitely felt like I stepped into the movie. Unfortunately, Sausalito was not playing. Lost in Translation has been one of my favorite movies for years, and was responsible for piquing my interest in Japan as a teen. Now here I am.

With views of the Tokyo Tower and Cocoon Tower, the Tokyo skyline backdrop is breathtaking at night from this bar.

 

Needless to say, I had a wonderful day in Tokyo. It was so great to spend some time with my friend, and meet his. For me, that’s what life is about. To share memories with good people in places that speak to your soul.

Gearing up for TAIPEI!

travel

We’re 24 days out from our trip to Taiwan. This will be my husband and my first trip together outside the U.S. We didn’t even travel to Japan together. Technically this is our honeymoon trip since time and finances didn’t allow us to take one after we got married. Better late than never, right?

Since Asia is so accessible to us for the next couple of years we’ve decided to make it a priority to see as much of it as possible. It’s definitely very different living abroad and trying to travel. It has pros and cons, but I definitely feel like I’m kind of on vacation everyday here in Japan since there’s always new sights to see. Actually, Japan is very seasonal. Since I was raised in a desert that basically had two seasons, hot AF and cold AF, I am fascinated by the varieties of plants and flowers that appear each month.

Anyway, let me get back on track here. Traveling around Asia, yes. Both my husband and I actually didn’t have a passport until a few weeks ago, surprisingly enough. Now i’m sure you’re asking, “how did you get to Japan then?”. My husband was able to travel to Japan on his military ID and I received a government issued passport that only allows me into Japan.

So in order to get a passport, we had to make and appointment and visit the US Embassy here in Tokyo. The process was quick and painless and allowed us to spend the day in Tokyo for some fun.We also received our passports in the mail about two weeks later.

I booked our flight with VanillaAir through Skyscanner, and started looking for places to stay. I was originally going to go with AirBNB, but decided to book a hotel through Booking.com since we may arrive into the city a bit late.

I have a huge list of things that I want to see, do and eat, but I am going to try to stay as open minded and flexible as possible.

Once we get back from Taipei, I want to focus on taking more day and weekend trips in Japan. There’s still so much that I haven’t seen.

On another note, I have been spending my time at home listening to a few podcasts to inspire, educate and get the creative juices flowing. My two favorites right now are The Budget Minded Traveler and The Travel Bite.