Sunday, January 24, 2016

Arts Stage Singapore 2016 Marina Bay Sands

Mrupupup attended the Arts Stage Singapore 2016 at Marina Bay Sands exhibition halls. The Art Stage Singapore 16 brought all the major galleries to show case their artists' work. The works of arts were really diverse and interesting. It was a great visual arts feast and this flagship event was the sixth edition.

         There were works of arts from major countries like Japan, Indonesia, China, USA, Australia and etc. 173 galleries from 37 countries joined in this arts exhibition. However, there was a greater focus on South East Asian art. Well, the pieces could be really expensive like $200,000 for large Chinese man art to small pieces that costs $5000. Some of the pieces were thought provoking and stimulate Mrupupup's tiny brain cells. Mrupupup is not an artist but just interested in expanding the horizons of thought (Hope So!). The art exhibition was not cheap and costs $32 per person for entry and lasted four days in January 2016. Lucky got some kind sponsor for the entry to this art exhibit and it was really crowded for an art exhibition! Singaporeans getting more high class in appreciation of the finer things in life.

          Mrupupup made two videos of Arts Stage Singapore. One video got art with fake cockroaches displaying "Faith, Hope and Love" and the other video on a cool 3 dimensional work of art (really interesting stuff!).


Thursday, January 21, 2016

From Takayama to Kanazawa Japan

Wakey Wakey, Mrupupup! Time to travel from Takayama (really slow pace sleepy town) to Kanazawa via train. Out we checked out from Washington Plaza Takayama Hotel, it was a cold day in December. The hotel person said we could go. Mrupupup found this hotel a bit of stiff business class hotel, not too friendly though.

          Along the way to the train station which was just across the road from the hotel, Mrupupup bought a bento set and nice box of fresh strawberry (about SGD4 - quite cheap compared to imported ones from Japan) for the train ride. Mrupupup had to queue up for the train ride half an hour before the train came as we did not have reserved seats. Surprisingly, the queue had many Singaporeans and bunch of Asian people.

          As the train came, we rushed in to get the best seats so as to enjoy our meal on board and the view outside. The train had wide view window which allowed one to see the meadows, farm land, pretty houses, mountains and Japanese countryside (much slower pace!).

         The train was about 2 hours and it went through very beautiful places and Mrupupup even get to see the snow covered Japanese Alps mountains. The train came to a stop at Kanazawa station. This station was really busy. Luckily, Mrupupup's hotel APA Kanazawa was nearby about 5 minutes from the train station. The price of the room about SGD$100 a night.

          We checked into the APA hotel. The room was really small!!! Mrupupup stretched out the hands and could touched the walls of the two person room. It was a big squeeze. The saving point of this APA hotel was the great location (next to the main train station) and nice big hot bath/sauna on the top floor of the building for guests (free Japanese onsen). Around this hotel, there were many shops like Starbucks, eating places and shopping!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama - Have you been? Nice Thatched Houses

Mrupupup went to Shirakawa-go and Gokayama for the famous Thatched Houses that had roof shaped like 'praying hands'.

Mrupupup took the bus from Takayama to go to these two places. The bus journey would take about 1 hour. Do queue early before the bus arrives as there would be many Japanese wanting to visit these areas. Once board the bus, prepare for a long journey to these places. Do prepare snacks and water for the journey. Do read the bus time table properly as Mrupupup nearly miss the bus.

You could take the bus and go to the villages of Shirakawa-go (which is more famous) and the other Gokayama villages, Mrupupup went to one of the Gokayama village named Suganuma. If you are short of time, Mrupupup thinks Shirakawa-go would be enough for a day visit.

Mrupupup never stay overnight in the village to enjoy the quietness, but one could stay overnight. Mrupupup saw many tourists dragging their luggages after an overnight stay. However, the villages got pretty dark from 5pm onwards and the shops would be close for the day.

After getting down from the bus, do check out the information from the tourist desk. Tourist desk has many maps. Mrupupup crossed the main river and enjoyed the Shirakawa-go village. Looked at the roof houses, take pictures, entered a shop to check out the souvenirs, enjoy the nice scenery and have a nice snack. Wandered around and Mrupupup was amazed by these 'praying hands' roof shape houses. The place even conducted regular fire drills just to ensure things did not go haywire when there was a fire which would affect the wooden houses.

If you are free, you could go take the bus and go to the nearby Gokayama village. Mrupupup went to the Suganuma village. The village was much smaller and less tourists, after alighting from the bus, one need to walk about 20mins to reach the entrance of the village. All I remember from this village was the nice vegetarian lunch, yummy toufu among the plentiful dishes and nice fishes swimming in the drains.

Enjoy the day and you could go back to Shiragawa-go from Suganuma, which Mrupupup did, during sunset around 4pm. Mrupupup took the 200yen shuttle at Shirakawa-go village and went up to the top of the mountain and took in the view of the village and enjoyed the setting sun. Very beautiful place- Shirakawa-go!

Took the last bus to Takayama at 5pm (this time very dark and cold!) and relax along the journey back to the Takayama hotel.

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