Shimanto

· Food, Illustration, Travel

We continue our Japanese roadtrip! After leaving the city of Kōchi, we headed south to Shikoku island toward Shimanto for 2 nights in order to enjoy one full day on the area.

We slowed down to make sure we’d enjoy the Japanese nature and discover my favorite part of this country, the wilder areas. As always, I’ll take you with me to show you this refreshing part of Japan. Deep breath, let’s go!

 

Yakatabune boat trip on the river

Shimanto-gawa is a 196km-long river, the longest in Shikoku, well-known for its extremely pure and clear water. We could have chosen a canoe-kayak but we took the most traditional way, the yakatabune.

 

This traditional Japanese barge was created during the Edo period and was used as a private boat for the shoguns (the ancestor of the private yacht!). When we get inside the yakatabune, we can admire all the views at the same time while enjoying a good meal on a long table, comfortably seated on pillows placed on the tatami.

 

This boat trip was recommended by the owners of our housing that I’ll describe at the end of this article. The wharf was not really easy to find (especially since I can’t remember the exact address but the company name was called “Yakatabune Sakoya”) : anyway, just go to the Shimanto tourist office or show a picture of this article to local people, they will help you out.

The guide/boatman of the day, called Hideaki, was very talkative, even though he wasn’t speaking a word of English (thank you google translate for helping us out). Only us and a couple of tourists from Hong-Kong on the boat : and we enjoyed this small committee!

That being so, Hideki explained to us that the water wasn’t really clear that season because of the rain and that the best was winter time to enjoy the best clarity. He proved it by showing us a photo album while telling us some stories about «celebrities» as he was very proud to pose with Kumamon, the mascot of the Kumamoto prefecture or Kyushu island.

We also discovered the chinkabashi (submersible bridges) hanging over the river, built without a fence, in order to resist the bad weather and flooding.

As always, Japanese know how to compose with their weaknesses to better adapt to the caprice of nature.

 

Dragonfly park

We visited this dragonfly park early in the morning, and once again we were almost the only tourists to be there. It’s in a very quiet ambiance that we freely strolled around the water lilies and dragonflies.

74 species can be watched along the year : we only saw a few of them in their natural habitat but it was very relaxing to experience this show.

 

The park also had a museum with insects and a small souvenir shop where benefits are intended to preserve the dragonfly species.

 

Savour Shimantoya eel

(SHIMANTOYA 2494-1 Yamachi, Shimanto, Kochi 787-0157) This restaurant is apparently the most popular to savour a bento with eels freshly fished in the Shimanto river.

 

We had a beautiful lunch with a view on the river. The caramelized eels and shrimps were delicious… and eating all of these seated on a tatami made this experience even better (…or painful, depending how flexible you are!).

The restaurant has been featured in a manga comic book !

 

 

Our small house in Shimanto

If you want to see a full home tour of this housing in Shimanto, please check out my Instagram highlight stories called “Shikoku”: all I am saying is not very reliable but everyone who likes the french show « La Maison France 5 » might agree. More seriously, this small house was just the perfect location in the region… and the adorable owners advised us for dinner places, grocery shopping and what to visit around : we almost thought we were locals!

We did some grocery shopping in the supermarket nearby and prepared big and yummy breakfasts that you can see on the picture above.

VSo here is the address, if you want to stop by for a night or two in the region: Shimanto river house Yuube-Tei (2082-7 Fuba Kamimachi, Shimanto – 787-0018 SHIMANTO). Here is also their website and their instagram page: say hi from me!

 

On the road to Matsuyama !

After this break into nature, here we are again, on the road on the way to Matsuyama. Before telling you all about this city full of charm, here is a quick look at the temples we visited on the way between Shimanto and Matsuyama : the 39, 40, 41, 42 et 43 (Enkō-ji, Kanjizai-ji, Ryūkō-ji, Butsumuko-ji et Meiseki-ji) … And there are the 5 new calligraphies on my Nokyocho !

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the destination today that was for us one of the most beautiful reconnection with nature… before going back to an urban landscape in the next city of Matsuyama : see you soon! (English translation by Quiterie)

Kochi

· Food, Illustration, Travel

Finally ! Back to tell you more about my Japanese road trip, which was exactly a year ago. On that same date, I was in the city of Kōchi ! The ambiance really changes from what we’ve been living this year, no? I hope this will make you dream a bit. It was so nice to plunge back into all the pictures from another time, time of the live-and-let-live attitude.

So I will tell you all about the tour we did in the city of Kōchi, located in the Kōchi prefecture, on the Shikoku island where we’d been wandering around… Do you follow? We stayed 2 nights in Kōchi (the city), which gave us a bit of time to discover all the points of interest.

 

Kochi castle

We didn’t get inside, to keep up some time to visit others city areas but here is a quick glance at the surrounding park. This castle built in 1611 during the Edo period is now a museum.

For Japanese animation fans, you should know that this castle can be clearly seen in a Ghibli movie « Ocean Waves » where the scene takes place in Kōchi (I haven’t watched it, as most of the Ghibli movies = yes I know, shame on me! But I am planning on catching up on Netflix).

 

Katsurahama beach

The car was useful to access the beach otherwise I think we could take a bus (because it’s 30min away from the city center). This beach surrounded by pines is quite amazing and we got lucky enough to have this beautiful weather.

Unfortunately, swimming is prohibited considering the dangerous stream, so you won’t need to bring your swimsuit, or you can wear it (but it will stay desperately dry).

This beach is well-known for its statue of Sakamoto Ryoma (with also a dedicated museum if you want to know more about him). In a nutshell, the end of feudal period came thanks to him in Japan, so he deserves a bit of attention.

On the side, after crossing a small bridge above the beach, a cute temple overlooking the waves. This place is very impressive and photogenic as shown on the pictures.

 

Hirome market

This city market is an indoor market made of 7 different sections but the food section is still quite large. We took this chance to grab our lunch by stopping by a few food stalls. I don’t have any specific stall to recommend, just follow your intuition and own desires!

Grilled squids and mochi crêpes

 

We tried the local speciality : the skipjack (bonito) tataki, the emblematic dish of the Kochi prefecture. A kind of pink tuna lightly grilled, half cooked that comes with green oignons, ginger and/or garlic… the perfect plate for a date with your lover.

Katsuo no tataki (tataki de bonite)

 

The region is well-known for citruses and sweet potatoes fries. Enjoy, this market is the place to discover new flavors, get wild, dare trying!

 

Chikurin-Ji temple (Temple 31)

Let’s not forget about the 88 temples pilgrimage of Shikoku : this temple was worth the detour for our calligraphy collection but also for its 4 storied pagoda and for its relaxing green bower. Please admire.

 

 

 

Other visit ideas

Here are a few ideas (that we unfortunately didn’t have time to try) but that seem interesting if you stay around.

THE MAKINO BOTANICAL GARDEN : This garden is dedicated to a famous Japanese botanist, Tomitaro Makino or « the father of Japanese botany » (yeah that’s right). Facing the Chikurin-ji temple, this garden will pleased the maple tree, chrysanthemum and other Japanese natural beauty lovers.

THE YOSAKOI DANCE FESTIVAL : A festival of traditional dance that takes place every year on August 10th and 11th (except this year maybe!).

The Yosakoi dance uses an accessory that you’ll see pretty much everywhere in the region : the naruko (a kind of Japanese wooden castanets). Lots of dance groups come to participate to a contest organized during the festival. The ambiance must be so friendly, colorful and festive (and I can imagine the food stalls hehe!)

THE GODAISAN OBSERVATORY : to overlook the city and admire the landscape.

 

Kochi yummies

We mostly ate on the go, while doing markets, but here are two addresses recommended by the locals that caught our attention (and pleased our taste buds).

KUMONYA (1 Chome-4-15 Harimayacho, Kochi) : an izakaya restaurant very local and authentic.

We sat at the counter, obviously no English menu, so we followed the chef recommandations… and it was so good! Skipjack in all kind of forms (tatami and maki) seashells (I couldn’t tell the name), grilled eggplants, everything was delicious!

PÂTISSERIE NEGRITA : I think it’s a chain of pastry shops. If you miss French pastries with a Japanese twist, this place is just made for you. Quite small but it was perfect to satisfy our sweet tooth. Very special thought for the nice waitress (that might have changed since last year).

 

Housing in Kochi

We booked a simple hotel : the Comfort Hotel Kochi mostly for its location in the center. We had some misunderstanding about a reserved parking space that actually was not! So we had to find a public parking but everything ended up well…

From what I recall, the room was quite small but good enough as we just stayed to sleep.

 

I hope you enjoyed the tour, especially as this end of lockdown period is still unclear. See you for the next episode to leave the city and travel along the Shimanto river! (English translation by Quiterie)

My blog is turning 13

· Illustration

Year after year, when I see the 25th of May on my calendar, I have a smile on my face… I don’t really celebrate it every year but I always remember this day of 2007 when I had the idea to start a blog « to see », just because I thought it was a great idea to chat with people from around the world, and also because I was bored of writing long comments on other fashion blogs (Balibulle or Punky B for instance) and that I needed a new space to express myself and create.

Social networks didn’t exist at that time (but MSN did !), it was the time when the only way to communicate with you was the comment area below. Honestly, I would have never thought that I could be writing you here 13 years later… Some of you have been following me since the very beginning, some of you later on and other just found out about this blog : I grew up and got older with most of you, while sharing my passions and this sounds just crazy.

We read quite often this enthusiasm in blogger interviews and I won’t be original because, yes, this blog changed my life (human relationships, life-experiences…). I’ve kept doing what I like and I don’t regret anything.

 

A lucky charm blog

But why should we expound on this anniversary, this particular year? Maybe because this year I also turned 40 and 13 is traditionally known as a lucky number and the blog has been a lucky charm for the past 13 years. I’ve changed since the beginning (stylistically/physically speaking, it’s the more obvious), my aspirations and concerns as well, but I think I’ve remained loyal to my initial desire : being sincere and enjoy every single time.

With this article, I will rewind these past 13 years to sum up the best (and the worst), even though I didn’t transfer all the archives on this blog that officially started in 2008. As I told you I don’t regret anything : all these years have contributed to be what I am today and I hope I’ll keep being in touch with you here or elsewhere the coming years. I don’t know where it’ll take me but it will always be a pleasure to write and share here, I’ll keep doing it.

To laugh and see the all the changes over these past 13 years, here is a selection of my best souvenirs and funny looks/hairstyles year after year. There would have so many things to say, but here is an overview (if you want to go more into details, you can freely read everything from the beginning!). I assume all of it, ahah!

And eventually, to be even more cheesy, it’s time to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart, it’s also thanks to YOU, or it wouldn’t be the same at all <3

 

2007:

  • Best memory : The first time I met Alix (I wasn’t showing yet my face on the blog!) but here is a collector picture of that day.
  • THE look : I was in love with the dress I was wearing that day, purchased during my first trip to Japan.


2008 :

  • Best memory : My trip to the United States
  • THE look : Everything in this look is everything I wouldn’t wear today! (A skirt transformed to a scarf (!), a saroual pant, a fluffy cardigan and this manga inspired haircut) but it makes me smile.

2009 :

 

2010:

  • Best memory : My first comic book “Serial shoppeuse” published (the theme is at the extreme opposite of my today’s convictions) but it will remain in my memory forever, for the work I had done, the emotions I had felt, especially during the book fair or signing session in the French book stores once again with you! … and beside, one thing that just changed my life, the surgery of my myopic vision I told you about here and there.
  • THE look : it goes in every direction (Pirate boots obsession) but, despite of this I met Ewan so whatever!

2011:

  • Best memory :Being a one-day model for Jean-Paul Gaultier as part of an ambassador program with (among others) Stéphanie and Pauline and this fabulous trip with the JPG team to Montreal.
  • THE look :The quest to the perfect perfecto marked the beginning of this year, my style was getting slowly more simple (I said slowly) and here is a look that I don’t think I would wear today but I still have two pieces (the breton shirt and the perfecto) and I still love them a lot.

2012:

  • Best memory : My second comic book “Globe-trotteuses” released (and once again some signing sessions across the country with you <3) and this day spent with my favorite band Keane
  • THE look : I finally (sadly) purchased the pair of platform sneakers from Isabel Marant, to create this look (=sneakers still in my cellar) but I still got this fashion challenge in London with international bloggers that you probably know.

2013:

  • Best memory : A year full of travels : Seoul then a gataway to the Thai paradise, then a second time to the USA… and a lot of good moments with my friend Lionel, met a year before, by luck while working.
  • THE look : I (finally) gave up this spiky haircut to keep my hair more natural.

2014:

2015:

  • Best memory : My fall trip to Japan (again!) that made me discover another face of this country and this collaboration with Swarovski that was the starting point of a love story with Christmas.
  • THE look : My hair longer than ever got cut short (with my style more and more simple : Alleluia !)

2016:

2017:

  • Best memory : the backstage of the 25th anniversary of the Disneyland Paris’ parade and a trip to Bali that made me think more deeply about my consumption and priorities (we refined/transformed our apartment that year)
  • THE look : My outfit style and my haircut got closer to my ideal minimalism.

2018:

  • Best memory :My winter trip to Japan under the snow, my British road-trip and one of the most beautiful collaboration I’ve done during these 13 years for Kenzo. They gave me a full carte blanche to work with a great team (at Beaubourg and for this video)
  • THE look : Simple, with pieces I’ve already got in my closet, and only a few newbies, such as this look in the middle of an exhibition of Tadao Ando.

2019:

  • Best memory : My roadtrip to Japan (that I actually haven’t finished to tell you about) and all the concerts (Take That, Spice Girls in London, Backstreet Boys, Keane, Marina, Little Mix, the Lollapalooza festival…) and a perfect cosy Christmas season.
  • THE look : only a few newbies in my closet and simple looks, easy to wear.

2020:

 

I hope you enjoyed this retrospective : at least it will show me how I’ve changed (like a Pokemon evolution ?) and I really hope we will share more experiences together in the coming years (… with or without walker?). (English translation by Quiterie)

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