Fukushima: A Forgotten Beauty

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What was the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear ‘Fukushima’?  It could be tragedy, radiation, hazard, abandoned, wasteland…the list can go on.  After my experience with the Fukushima prefecture I would literally describe it as ‘a forgotten beauty’.

What I didn’t realise before was that Fukushima is a prefecture which is split up into three regions.  As the disaster occurred on the very eastern shore of the coastline (some of the areas there are still unsafe for human living) we stayed and explored mostly at the opposite end of the western city of Aizuwakamatsu.   Despite not trusting all of the negative media coverage of the prefecture, I was still reluctant to go at first, however after tonnes of research and advice from friends who live in Japan I decided to go and see what the real Fukushima was like with my very own eyes.  Although it is fair to say that my greed for exploration and curiosity for the unclear attracted me to go even more.

At first I expected it to be a challenge to take pictures in Fukushima, mainly because there was almost miniscule coverage about tourist spots on the internet.  It was also a place that is not shown much on Instagram so I didn’t know what to expect.  However to my surprise, it came easy.  There were so many spots that showcased its natural beauty and being the 4th best prefecture for a hot spring getaway you can see clouds of steam coming from onsen towns in the distance.

We explored various aspects of Fukushima including its samurai history, sake and onsen culture, and stunning natural landscapes and folk villages.  My favourite part of the trip was being able to stay at  a different hot spring hotel everyday and try out their onsen.  It really hits the spot after a long day of exploration.  Although I was hired to work there for a week, it really felt like a vacation instead.

It was an eye opening experience where I get to see with my own eyes the beautiful side of Fukushima and get to hear interesting personal accounts on the day everything changed for the prefecture and the lives of residents.  What was really touching was that I found out a lot of the people living there moved back to the prefecture from Tokyo in order to contribute and restore their home to its rightful reputation.  This post really isn’t a post to lure you into a place where a lot of people still fear, but it is to just to shed a chink of light on the positives and hopefully it can enable people to stop picturing Fukushima as a wasteland, but a reputable beauty that should be remembered.

Journey to the West

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Do you ever feel like something should feel familiar but in reality feels even more alien?  That’s exactly how I felt when I recently went to China.  Although I grew up in London all my life and spending almost half my 20s in South Korea I still have Chinese blood running through my veins, so I would’ve expected to have a sense of familiarity when I touched down the mystical city of Hangzhou.  But nuuuuh I was literally a complete tourist.

Aside from the clear identity issues I was thrilled to be invited by Sheraton Hotels to attend Sheraton Grand Hangzhou Binjiang Hotel’s #sheratongrandtour, which involved the 3 unique travel solutions – Paired, PackPoint Packing App and Sheraton 1-Hour Gems.  Located in the world’s most sought-after destinations, Sheraton Grand hotels are marked by sophisticated design, iconic restaurant concepts, elevated finishes and superior service.

The “Paired” China menu was inspired by 8 distinguished China regional cuisines and each is selectively partenered with premium wines to create “East meets West” in an unexpected way.

The ‘PackPoint Packing App’ where the application prepares you for the optimum travel experience, and the ‘one hour gems’ programme was where guests can experience a hidden gem within an hour proximity of the hotel.  Being a design and architectural fan myself, the obvious choice was to visit the stunning Zhongshuge Bookstore situated in the city center.

The stay was a real authentic experience.  I loved how the hotel was specially designed according to Hangzhou’s traditional culture and beliefs for example the giant chandelier in the lobby was inspired from a poet about raindrops.  As expected from a 5 star hotel the room was traditionally modern, immaculate and have a fantastic view of the Qiantang River.  It was so relaxing that I honestly wanted to just swim through my bed sheets all day.

 

Deepest thanks to the Sheraton Grand Hotel Binjiang for the wonderful hospitality and opportunity.

Bits and Bobs

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Hello again peeps, it’s been a while.

Not going to dive in too deep but a lot has happened, so currently trying to make things right in terms of my future here in Korea.  However this involves a lot of exams, so studying hard for it currently.  Yay….me love studying clearly.

During this time I haven’t forgotten about this blog either.  Rather I am trying to think of a new direction for this blog.  I have many ideas but I will have to see how this unravels first.

Sorry for being vague, but I really don’t say anything until things are confirmed.

ANYWHHOOOOO I am SO enjoying this monsoon and getting my socks wet everyday.  Also the forecast has been so indecisive it reminds me a little bit of home in UK. Speaking of the UK I am appalled by the votes to ‘leave the EU’.  There are so many sh**ty things happening in the world, so we should be united more and not be divided any further.  If this continues, I actually fear what will become my country I’ve called home for over 20 years.

Hello…

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It’s me…

How have you all been? Sorry AGAIN for the silence. I visited home in London for a while to see my sister get married. I’ve never seen my sister so beautiful and I’ve never seen my family united so tightly. I was overwhelming, but more importantly I was proud to be a part of this family.

Rooftops have been my thing lately. No, not to dangle my feet off the edge like some crazy photographers these days. Somehow up there I get to see the ‘wider view’ of things. Not particularly Seoul, but myself, my future, and the people around me. I find it so therapeutic and can stand there for hours.

This particular rooftop was above a plastic surgery clinic…and boy was I shocked to see people in bandages walking in at the elevator. O_o

#theMummyReturns