Butchart Gardens 2019


You always hear how beautiful this place is and how many people who have been there recommend it. Well, I need to reinforce that! I never really cared about going because I wasn’t into seeing flowers when I was younger, so I didn’t appreciate this place.

Obviously when I matured, I realized I missed out on seeing a Canadian National treasure, if not an American (North America) gem that was in my backyard (when I lived in Seattle).

My wife has been planning to see this and we wanted to do it as a whole family (with her sister and brother). After planning a weekend trip, we went there via BC Ferries (the only way I think).

Summer in the Butchart Gardens is probably the best time. But they do have some months in autumn too.

Parking was plentiful (at least when we arrived) and there were umbrellas available (if it was raining) to use.

We walked to the entrance and paid the fees:

  • Adult – $33.80
  • Children 5 – 12 yrs old -$3.00 (which is our kids)

The Sunken Garden was my favorite. Just the history in it and the layout.

The Japanese garden was pretty cool because there were Torii Gates around and within a ton of trees, so it kept the area cool and shaded. Small bridges and stone walkways on water.

I can’t recommended this place enough. If you are in Victoria, this is the main attraction.

Vancouver Lookout


I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a few high places with scenic views.

Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Umeda Sky building (Osaka), Space Needle and Columbia Center (Seattle), Empire state building (New York)…

But I never really pursued Vancouver Lookout as I should have. Well, this time, I wanted to check it out and with my family.

I was not disappointed. While this isn’t as high as most, I have to say it had some of the best views I’ve seen.

While the aforementioned places were great… For some reason I liked the Vancouver Lookout a lot.

Maybe the combination of water, close by mountains, city and urban worked well!

We ate at the food court before going up.

Prices weren’t bad ($18 adult) and kids (free).

https://vancouverlookout.com/buy-tickets/

Again, the views were amazing because I love the stark contrast of landscape.

I enjoyed this with my family and kids. I really liked how intrigued the kids get.

If you are in the area, check it out.

https://vancouverlookout.com/

Momiji Gardens, Hastings Park


I came upon this serene Garden while going to Driven carshow. After I left the show, I decided to take some pictures because how calming I found it to be.

After looking it up, I couldn’t believe how extraordinary this place is.

” The Momiji Commemorative Garden serves as a reminder of the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. “

credit – http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM3TVW_The_Momiji_Gardens_Vancouver_BC_Canada

WL Day 9 pt 1 – Nagasaki arrival


In 2018, I met with Noguchi-san and he said the Red Kaido Leopard was 2 hours away. I didn’t have that much time, so we didn’t go to see it.

This time, I wanted to see it and also Nagasaki, so we planned to go this time.

I left Hakata station via Kamome Express line to Nagasaki.

Soon, Noguchi-san picked me up and he said he would take me to Secret base.

Fukuoka Nights


After I left Takamatsu, I headed straight to Fukuoka. I was excited as I was hoping to meet with my friends from last time.

Unfortunately, everyone was busy. Even my friends in Kumamoto were busy (one of them was in the hospital for being sick).

Even though I was crushed, I took the time to explore Fukuoka on foot. I walked to Canal City and checked out Kawabata Shopping arcade.

I walked a few blocks to JR Hakata station. In all honesty, I was blown away how huge Hakata station. I’ve only seen it from the inside mainly, but coming from the outside.. how it is huge. I was talking with Mitch (Showa Elite) and I trying to see if we can schedule something with Misaki-san and others… but it didn’t work out.

So I continued exploring.

Having missed a religious site in Kyoto, I did visit a Shinto Shrine here in Fukuoka.

Reisen Crane Shrine and Kushida Shrine Shinmon

It was night time, but it was a Friday night, people were out having a good time and the food stalls were packed!

I walked around til about 230am. I really loved exploring Fukuoka. I just love this place!

Takamatsu Nights and VANKulture.


The last couple of times I came to Takamatsu, they were in the evening because I would arrive late.

This time, it was late, but I had just gotten done spending time with my brothers.

I decided to go walk around Takamatsu Sunport.

I started walking towards the Sunport area. It was a good night, not windy or cold. It was perfect. I remember one of the spots I wanted to go to was the Red lighthouse.

I cut through Takamatsu station.

I went across the street where Sunport Hall Takamatsu was located.

Cut through headed to the port.

Now at the “pier” section.

As I was walking back to my rental, I saw a couple of cars drive by. I was kinda excited as taking some car pictures is a good night cap.

Once I saw it was an older Toyota Hiace van and Toyota Crown, I had to ask if I could take pictures! I love these older cars.

I talked to the owner and showed them Vankulture. They were not on any SNS (Social network service aka social media). After showing them, he jumped on Instagram.

The older Hiace vans with that VIP style… that is the style I fell in love with in 2002.

After that small meeting, I walked to the local train station to check out the local train line.

Having a calming night walk and just enjoying it was pretty cool. I loved it.

Sunday – Shizuoka hotel and F31 meeting > Yokohama


Sunday morning, I woke up early to get breakfast with everyone. Last night I took a good long shower and I was so tired, I turned off the lights by taking out the key card for room out of the slot.

I didn’t realize this, but that pretty much cut ALL electricity to the room… So my cellphone and power banks did not charge.

During breakfast, Uchida-san and Ito-san let me borrow a cable and power bank. Pretty much saved me and did the job for the day. My LG had horrible charging and the battery life sucked.

The day was focused on the Leopard Meeting.  Pictures here : http://www.f31club.com/2017/10/06/31st-all-japan-leopard-festival-october-2017/


After the meeting, Okuni-san took me to the nearby station where I would get on and transfer to the Shinkansen. I would stop by Mishima station where I would meet my aunt again. I had stuff that have been left at her place and I wanted to get it all.

It was definitely a pain to carry back to Yokohama (flying out of Haneda).

What was worse is that the capsule hotel, I was looking forward to enjoying, turned me down due to my tattoo (barely showing).

So I had to stay at another hotel for the night, which was better anyway. I had to repack stuff.

Vancouver BC planning


Everyone knows I love Vancouver BC. If I didn’t have commitments in the bay area and I could move freely, I would have moved years ago.

 

One of my colleagues asked me about a few things and this presented as a good opportunity to make a blog.

Obviously, depending on time, interests, transportation and season, everything is subjective.

*Canadian currency

 

My Vancouver BC map.

 

Websites that are informative:

Here are my basic recommendations in no particular order:

1: Capilano Suspension Bridge.  Located in North Vancouver, you will drive up a what feels like an neighborhood main road and the you will see parking on the right side. This has definitely changed from my last visit which was in 2012 (these are from 2007).   Tickets are $47. It can get crowded, but the attraction itself has expanded to have a cliff walk component to it.

2. Grouse mountain. On the same road that takes you to Capilano, maybe another 15mins, you will arrive at Grouse Mountain.  Parking is $8 for all day. Taking the lift to the top is $65 per adult. There are many activities to do while there. Hiking trails, zip lining, Eye of the Wind, (certain times +$15 per person),

But the great thing about this, if it is clear, is the view of Vancouver BC if it is clear Summer of 07.

3. Lynn Canyon. The other suspension bridge is Lynn Canyon.  It is also in North Vancouver.

This is also a good hike and the water from the stream is clear. Other things include 30ft pool, Twin falls trail, and a nice stair climb as well.  from 2015.

 

4.  Continuing with North Vancouver, going more east, you will come upon Cates park. This is where you can rent kayaks and paddle boards. It’s a park where people love to bbq or have lunch.

5. Further up the road is Deep Cove. I feel this place can be busy, but it is nice. There is a small shopping area coming in (which features some nice local gift shops), but also a place to relax and do water sports.

 

5. Still in North Vancouver, heading towards the downtown area, there are scenic places to check out.  Burrard Dry Dock Pier is a good place to stroll.

6. Along the water, everywhere, there are trails to walk and exercise.

7. Stanley Park. After crossing Lion’s gate bridge, you will come upon Stanley Park. it’s pretty much like Golden Gate Park. A big area with things to see (Aquarium, gardens, mini steam train ride…)

The outside of Stanley Park is like a circle for biking and driving. Walks are absolutely gorgeous and there are some beaches that when it is nice, people are out and about.

8. After exiting Stanley Park, you can head to the west end. English bay and Sunset beach are great places to stroll and enjoy. Once you get near Hornsby, there are a few places to eat.

 

9. on the opposite side of the west end, is Gas town. I haven’t gone there in years as far as night time because it is a where people like to party and drink. It might have changed since then, but I am unsure.

The cool things that is noted is The Vancouver look out ($17 per adult) and Gastown Steam Clock.

Also just a couple blocks north is Canada Place and the Convention centre. Very nice place to check out and walk around.

 

10. South of Gastown is Granville Island. It is a pretty big open market and a few shops to buy stuff. There is a kid’s market as well, but the market and food court is awesome.

11. Even within some of the neighborhoods are community centres. While it might not sound appealing, many of the community centres there are pretty big and offer many things such as indoor pools and even classes in various subjects.  Just in case you wanted to spend the morning swimming.

The one I always go to is Killarney Leisure Pool off Kingsway.

 

12. There are many beaches and parks are throughout Vancouver BC, which makes it interesting to me.

Jericho beach, Plateau and Brighton Park, and Queen Elizabeth park just to name a few.


 

 

 

Sea to Sky area is a highway that is absolutely gorgeous as you have the water on one side and mountains on the other. It is a good drive with small spots here and there to park and enjoy nature.

When you get to Squamish, there is a Sea to Sky Gondola ride and also another suspension bridge. I was trying to go last time, but didn’t have time.

 


 

Outside of Vancouver BC.

 

Richmond Night Market.   

I feel this is a good experience. Of the freeway between Richmond and Vancouver BC you cannot miss it as it has lights and there used to be a big yellow duck.  $4.25 to get in. I believe it is in the evenings only.

I was always told that the dragon’s beard, crispy wonton tacos and strawberry rice cakes are the good things to eat.

 

 

If you are wanting to see some scenery and what not, I suggest heading out East. Chilliwack has the Bridal Veil Falls and just further is Othello tunnels.

 


Ferry to Vancouver Island.

If you want to Visit Victoria (and Nanaimo), which is on Vancouver island, you will have to take a ferry or by flight. I haven’t gone that way as the ferry is a 4 hour ride each way. By plane it is 35 minutes. There is a lot to see in Vancouver island, so people say dedicate a day or 2 to spend there.

 


 

Food is great in Vancouver BC and surrounding areas.

Famous street vendor is Japadog

Just like the bay area, there are tons of food trucks popping up and many are great to try.  The link is up top.

Richmond Night Market is definitely a place to get snacks too.

Even Costco there offers Poutine!!!


 

Shopping  is plentiful as well.

Famous place to shop is Robson Street in Downtown Vancouver BC.

CF Pacific Centre and Hudson Bay are right there off the Vancouver City Centre station (Canadian line Skytrain) or Granville station (Expo Skytrain).

 

 


There are also many activities that maybe people want to try, biplane rides, hop on/off buses, the typical tourist adventures.