The March Link Love

Hello March, hello all!

Are we ready for the blossoms to start blooming? It’s just around the corner! I’ve been seeing various ume blossoms popping up here and there. Nothing makes my heart happier than knowing that warmer days are ahead in the near future.

Last month was a lovely month connecting with friends, both old and new. We had awful chilly weather in February but all the laughter and fun definitely made my heart much warmer!

Also…can I take a second to tell you the most bizarre thing?

It’s a crazy story but, well, you know I adore instagram. I love my little community of instagram friend’s and the fun we have posting square photos. Well, every weekend instagram hosts a prompt called Weekend Hashtag Project and on Monday they feature a handful of photos that the intagram team has chosen.

Well, I always read the intagram blog and noticed last weekend that the prompt was Local Story, to capture everyday stories that were happening around you. So when I took a photo with my cellphone of some ladies walking across a street wearing kimono, I randomly remembered the prompt and posted it on instagram with the hashtag #WHPLocalStory.

So then everything was normal until I woke up on Tuesday morning to find my cellphone bombarded with notices from instagram, pretty much every other second. At first I thought my account had been hacked or my cellphone was having an episode (it’s Sony Xperia). It took me a minute (okay, more than a minute…I hadn’t had my coffee yet!), but I finally figured out what was going on.

My photo had been chosen as part of the #WHPLocalStory feature on instagram!

How incredible is that? Especially for an instagram addict like me. It completely blew me away. And I got to connect with the other people who were featured as well, which was just as exciting.

So yes, last month was pretty bizarre. How about you? x

——————————————————-Link Love——————————————————-

– Today was the last day of Some No Komichi.

Chinese Zodiac matchmaking guide (I’m Year of Dog, what are you?)

– Which is your cup of tea?

– Have you seen Tokyo without the ads?

Answers from Haruki Murakami. (Mostly Japanese but some English, too.)

– Also, an article on the answers from Haruki Murakami.

The Henderson Waves in Singapore

Have you seen a more beautiful pedestrian bridge?

I first saw the Henderson Waves featured on the instagram blog (here) and thought, Wow!!! It was so unique and you know I love all things made of wood. In this case, Yellow Balau wood.

Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore and is located in the Telok Blangah district. It connects Mount Faber Park with Telok Blangah Hill Park, stretching 36 meters above Henderson Road. (more here)

I was beyond excited about getting to go there and seeing it in person while we were in SIngapore. We took a taxi from our hotel and asked to be driven to Henderson Wave Bridge. Our fabulous Malay taxi driver informed us that we would have to walk part of the way, which was fine. He had a load of interesting information regarding Singapore and we chatted all the way there. I love taxi drivers in Singapore!

We were there in the late morning so it was pretty hot. But the tall trees gave us shade as we walked along the trail to Henderson Wave Bridge. I noticed you can hear the birds chirping away. There were a lot of runners on this trail, although it seemed like we were the only tourists there. After awhile we turned a corner and suddenly we were there!

I really wish I had a wide-lens camera to show you how gorgeous this place was (still saving my pennies…or yen, if you will). But you get the idea. The entire bridge is structured like a wave. We had a great view from above but my eyes were constantly drawn to the beauty of the wooden slats. So beautiful. We pretty much had the whole bridge to ourselves and it was fabulous.

At night, the bridge is lit up with LED lights. It sounds gorgeous, doesn’t it? Next time I’m in Singapore, I’m definitely coming here to sit around and watch the sunset. X

Here are some photos:

(photos by R)
(photo by R)

The Honya B&B in Shimokitazawa

In many parts of the world, B&B would stand for bed & breakfast. Or in some rare cases, bread & butter or even Beavis and Butt-head (shout out to the 90s!).
But in the streets of Shimokitazawa? B&B stands for…books and beer!
On their website, Honya B&B mention that they aim to become the urban bookstore of tomorrow. It’s a relatively small bookshop but the selection of books covers a wide variety of topics, all of which you can enjoy reading with a drink in hand. 
Obviously, as it’s included in their store name, they serve beer. Draft beer, in fact. (I’m not a beer person so not really sure but beer is better on tap, right?) Their drink menu also includes wine, non-alcoholic beer, and other soft drinks.
And I know what you’re thinking, trying to read a book with a beer in hand can get a bit tricky. But no worries, the bookshop has lovely tables with seats and a number of chairs scattered around for you to use. I should mention that most of the vintage furniture (shelves, tables, chairs, etc.) inside the bookshop are for sale, too. 
It really is a cozy set up.
I love that the books are arranged together by topic, instead of author or publisher. You can browse until you find a corner that interests you, and then dig in.
You just never know what kind of book is waiting for you here!
 Here are some photos:

Honya B&B (本屋 B&B)
Dai-ni Matsuya Bldg, 2nd Floor
2-12-4 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo JAPAN
東京都世田谷区北沢2-12-4 第2マツヤビル2F
TEL: 03 6450 8272
HOURS: 12:00pm-12:00am

The Plain Vanilla Bakery in Singapore

What is better than finding an amazing bookstore?
Finding an amazing bookstore, walking out with your new book, and stumbling upon a bakery with a mouth-watering selection of cupcakes! The Plain Vanilla Bakery on Yong Siak Street, I later found out, is quite popular. They had nine basic cupcakes and a couple more seasonal ones. I was very tempted to try all of them but somehow manage to limit myself to just one, the carrot flavor.
It was so good.
There was a seating area right outside of the bakery. It wasn’t a very large space (just two large tables) but I loved the simple and rustic decor. It was the perfect place to just sit and relax while reading my new book. And I have to say it again, the cupcakes were delicious!
Here are some photos:
1D Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168641
TEL: +65 6465 5942
OPEN: Tue-Fri 11:00am-8:00pm
             Sat 9:00am-8:00pm
             Sun 9:00am-6:00pm (closed Mondays)

The BooksActually in Singapore

You know I love stepping into local bookstores during my travels.
Well, I had heard about BooksActually (on this list) even before I knew I was going to Singapore. I think it’s one of the most well-known independent bookstores in the world, or getting there. So when the talk of stopping by this sovereign city-state came up, I immediately jumped on the idea solely because I wanted to stop by this bookstore.
I didn’t take very many pictures because I spent most of my time poking my nose in every corner of the bookstore, not to mention a handful of books and magazines. They specialize in fiction and literature but you can also find everything from typewriters to original stationary. Oh and did I mention the cats, too? (Although not for sale.)
I think the owners have a very unique and eclectic taste when it comes to selecting books for their bookstore. It had an amazing selection of novels by local writers, which made choosing a souvenir book for myself all the more difficult. They also publish books under their own brand, Math Paper Press, and hold events such as book launches and readings, which I would definitely go to if I were local.
BooksActually made me wish I lived in Singapore.
No. 9 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168645
TEL: +65 6222 9195
HOURS: Mon 11:00am-6:00pm
               Tue-Fri 11:00am-9:00pm
               Sat 10:00am-9:00pm
               Sun 10:00am-6:00pm

The 7 Things I Love About Singapore

So I’m finally sharing photos from my stay in Singapore!

I almost forgot about this trip. Which is ridiculous because I had the best time. After my trip in Melbourne, I had a layover in Singapore. So my friend R and I decided to take a day or two to explore and relax in Singapore before we head back home.

Best. Decision. Ever.

It seemed like the internet leaned toward “boring” when it comes to describing travel in Singapore. But I have to disagree because I had a blast. We didn’t do anything especially exciting, but exploring the streets of Singapore was so much fun for me. So much to see in this little country. I was taking photos at every corner!

Here are some of the things I especially liked about Singapore:

1. The Airport – I’ve always liked airports but when one has unlimited free wifi, a swimming pool, AND a butterfly garden? I was in heaven and actually wished I had more time at the airport. Next time I am definitely trying out their swimming pool.

2. The Architecture – The buildings in Singapore were so beautiful! With many different cultures living amongst each other, it’s inevitable that Singapore would have an abundance of unique architecture, both old and new. It made walking around the city all the more interesting!
3. The Tropical Weather – If humidity is not your thing, you may actually pass out in Singapore. But I am not one of those people and didn’t mind the humidity that came with all the beauty of the tropics. Palm trees, year-round flowers, and best of all…no need to moisturize your skin morning, noon, and night (I’m looking at you, Tokyo)!
4. The Shops and Food – I found a treasure filled bookstore and an amazing cupcake shop on my first morning there! It was hard resisting the urge to buy and eat everything. But I quickly realized that I would need more than a couple of days to see and taste everything I wanted to. In that sense, the shopping and food scene are close to Tokyo with lots of variety!

5. The Transportation – Whether you take a taxi, train, or even a cable car…it was all easy peasy! The taxi drivers were the nicest people ever, giving us suggestions on where to go and answering our questions. So sweet. And there’s also no need to worry about the smell of durian fruits on trains, it is apparently forbidden 😉  
6. The Pool – Because the cool summer messed with my plans to make this year all about swimming, nothing could have made me happier than an outdoor pool! And yes, I truly did swim in it, from one side to the other. I need this swimming pool in my back yard (which is also on my list of things I want)! 
7. The National Museum of Singapore – I didn’t know very much about the history of Singapore, which is why  I was so happy to discover an exhibit about the history of Singapore here. It actually started the day before our visit. Our timing was seriously spot on!

Have you ever been to Singapore? What were your favorite things about Singapore?