Celine Pagnier/ Scott Allbright

Celine and Scott

Celine Pagnier/ Scott Allbright

Celine and Scott have been together since November 20th, 2004! Scott saw Celine in a gi in Skenfrith and thought she looked cute. Celine saw Scott and thought what a psychopath! Whos the romantic now?

Asia » Japan » Wakayama October 13th 2017

Beach on the Pacific ocean, the only ones on the beach. Ueshiba Morihei, founder of aikido was born in Tanabe, a statue is dedicated to him near the beach Ryujin onsen Wildlife spot of the day: Japanese macaque. Sky tower, view over the Kii undulating penensula. Muriokoin, koyasan, arriving on the last drops of gasoline and managed to check in before "last orders" at 5pm. Dinner was a vegetarian banquet. Nighttime walk in Okuno in, an enchanted cemetery, lit by lanterns and towered by hinoki trees.... read more

Asia » Japan » Wakayama October 11th 2017

Left Ise, hugged the coast. Nice rocky cliffs, on which we stopped for sashimi picnic Shingu, dusktime temple visit of Hayatama Taisha NachiKatsuura: Nachi no taki sacred waterfall, 3 storey pagoda. One missing (Hongu shrine) of the Kumano sanzan Beauty beyond words. Tanabe udon good food.80 year old house, wood pannelling in the shape of Fujisan.... read more

Asia » Japan » Mie October 9th 2017

Our next port of call from Monday evening until Wednesday was the pilgrimage site of Ise where the deity Amaterasu is worshipped. She's the Shinto goddess of the sun and the ancestor of the imperial family. The site covers 2 areas: Every 20 years the buildings dedicated to Amaterasu are totally rebuilt in the alternate site and the deity moved to the new place. This ritual has been going on for centuries (1500 years I think), and thanks to the 20 year time span the crafts needed can be passed on to the next generation. Swimming on a deserted beach Mainotoiwa - wedded stones Sashimi in old converted warehouse... read more

Asia » Japan October 7th 2017

Saturday morning was much brighter and left us free to visit 2 temples in the vicinity of our accommodation: Kinkajuji and Ryoanji, both very different from each other. It was all about bling, grandeur and crowds in the former and calmer more muted ambiance in the latter. Both have to be experienced! We then headed off to Osaka, the main reason for our trip, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of Shodokan Aikido. Food on Saturday night was local delicacies takoyaki (grilled dumplings with octopus) and okonomiyaki (Japanese omelette with cabbage and other toppings) in lively dotombori area, Namba. Sunday was a great event with seminar from Nariyama Shihan, lots of friends from Japan and abroad, inspiring demonstrations from primary school children, secondary school, University, general aikidoka, aikidoka from abroad, Shodokan instructors and Nariyama ... read more

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Sekigahara October 6th 2017

This morning we left the wonderful old ryokan and returned to the temple by the river. Then we headed off to Yoro waterfall a couple of hours drive away, stopping en route for coffee and cake! We also stopped at Ogaki to look at the castle. It rained constantly but Celine and I were prepared with brollies. At the Yoro falls a nice lady came to Jerry's rescue by lending him one. We made the short walk up to the waterfall which was gushing. The water is supposed to be the best in Japan. On the way back down we noticed crabs! Yes, crabs running around the wet steps! Bizzare. We had lunch with the helpful ladies. From Yoro we headed for Kyoto and the Airbnb. Yuki, our car GPS , got us as close as ... read more

Asia October 5th 2017

After a Japanese style Breakfast for Celine & Scott, we went on a boat trip on Kawaguchi lake on the "ensoleillé" boat, aptly-named since the sun came out while onboard. Fuji-san also made an appearance, a scarf of clouds around her neck. We return to the traditional village one last time for Jerry to pick up a print signed by the artist. We're on the road again, leaving Fujisan and the beautiful 5 lakes area. We're crossing the mountains on a slower road before joining the Chuo expressway westwards towards Gifu prefecture, Minakamo town for the next stage of our road trip; this time, we're staying in a ryokan! Jerry's at the helm today. Travelling by car offers a different perspective; for instance, the speed limit is 80km/h ie about 50ml ph(unlike France 110); like France ... read more

Asia October 4th 2017

We got up and started the day wth a traditional Japanese breakfast! Not Jerry's cup of tea! Then we headed off to a volcanic cave which houses bats; being nocturnal, they were nowhere to be seen, but the cave itself was worth seeing. You could see where the lava had flowed and dug the tunnels. We had the wear helmets and crouch really low to protect our heads, good exercise! Afterwards, we went to Saiko Iyashi no Sato, a traditional village with thatched roofs. We went in to one with a cooking area recessed into the floor. While we were there a little old lady came in and offered us ocha and sweets. We sat in seiza around the recess and she entertained us - highlight! Mt Fuji teasing everyone by hiding behind the clouds. From ... read more

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji October 3rd 2017

Night became day, Hong Kong became Japan! We picked up the hire car for our road trip , only to find ourselves without a working gps! Celine brilliant ly negociated crossing Tokyo east to west, landing on course on the chuo expressway, reading a map until we finally worked out the gps and safely got to kawaguchiko in 4h, before enjoying our first Japanese lunch of our holiday (and of Jerry's life!). We are staying in a nice Japanese inn and traditional room with tatami and futon and free tea, and hot baths and views of fujisan, well done Scott! Fuji was shrouded in clouds but has now completely cleared up. ... read more

Asia October 2nd 2017

Last day in Hong Kong - Man Mo Temple, Dim Sum in Lin Heung Tea House Our check out being at a leisurely 12pm, we headed out on the wet market and dived in the crowds. The aroma of fish pungent in the air, the hustle and bustle of a market. We breakfasted on rice vermicelli congee (served with liver, cockles and ginger for Scott and Jerry, minus the liver obvs), nicely settling, and 2 steamed buns for celine, stuffed with a beautiful sweet crushed peanut paste, yum. We then left north point area, jumping on a tram heading towards central for one last top deck pootling experience. Our destination: Sheung Wan antiques area, with Man Mo temple. Deities venerated here are a god of literature and a god of martial arts, very relevant! Steep narrow ... read more

Asia » Hong Kong October 1st 2017

Ok, so this is not how we had planned our excursion to victoria peak! We were going to catch the funicular and enjoy the ride up in all comfort and laziness. But so were 2 other million people. after a fun ride by vintage tram and bus, the view of the queue at the funicular discouraged us from waiting. And we set on upwards. And up the slope and the paths we went, in the dusk and then the moonlight. What an eclectic mix is Hong Kong! It's all metropolis and then you find yourself in a semi jungle, with the chirps of exotic birds and insects and the sweet smell of the forest... After a few wrong turns and very sweaty clothes, we got back to civilisation at the top. And a drink! We are ... read more

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