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Monday, September 1, 2014

The best of Tokyo with friends, including a visit to a heritage home and dinner at one of the best restaurants in the world

I took my friends to visit a prominent artist
at his home in Tokyo yesterday

In Tokyo with some friends, living a Travelife, we spent a very enjoyable day yesterday as I showed them some of the best of Tokyo.

This was a Tokyo off the beaten track, that foreigners don't usually know about.

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A HERITAGE HOME 
FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT

In the morning, we headed off to the edge of the city to visit a beautiful and immaculately preserved 1920s heritage home, once owned by a very wealthy businessman. It's a lovely example of the genteel life in Japan before the world wars and the arrival of modernisation.

It was so beautiful, and everyone just loved it.

The interesting part was that it was empty. We had this beautiful villa all to ourselves because so few tourists know about it.



THE LOVELIEST STREET IN TOKYO

And then we walked through an ancient street of Tokyo nearby with lovely old-fashioned shops straight out of a coffee table book on a topic like "Lost Gems of Tokyo."

Again, everyone exclaimed: "Why are we the only ones here in this beautiful street??"

It's true. There are a couple of other neighbourhoods like this in Tokyo, and in Japan for that matter, but they are teeming with tourists so you can't really enjoy them.

Trust Travelife to know where to go.

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TRAVELIFE WITH US

MOROCCO



THE MOST EXCLUSIVE CLUB IN TOKYO

In the afternoon, I took them to Japan's most exclusive and historical gentlemen's club for cocktails. This is another place with the wow factor but most people will never be able to get in because it's very private.

It's actually off limits to women too unless you are escorted by a (male) member.

So I roped in three gentlemen members I know to escort us for cocktails, as each member can only bring in five members and we were a large group of friends.

No photos are allowed at this exclusive club.
So I'm posting this photo of a Japanese sweets master
who makes sweets to order, instead

THE BEST OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE

The club itself is a study in the best of Japanese modern architecture, so it's a pity so few people can admire it save for club members and their guests.

And there are so few club members because this club is notoriously hard to get into it.

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But it was designed by Japan's foremost architect, who also created the new MoMa in New York.

These friends own some of the most beautiful homes in Manila, so it takes a lot to wow them; but even they just loved the design and architecture of this club.

ONE OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD


Finally, dinner was spectacular, at XXX, one of the world's best restaurants.

The chef has turned down requests for him to cook for large groups, but for some reason he said yes to me. We are the only large group he's cooked dinner for so far in a while, and he made a very special menu for us last night.

Everyone described this meal as simply spectacular.

At the end of it all, they all wanted to know: "How did you get us a booking there?"

I smiled and said: "My charm, I guess?"

But someone else made a comment that absolutely made my day: "Maybe it was because of Travelife..."

Hutong presents the ancient art of lantern making for the mid-autumn festival in Hong Kong



Reminiscent of an ancient family courtyard in one of Beijing’s fast disappearing historical neighbourhoods, Hutong at One Peking, takes Chinese tradition to heart.

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TRAVELIFE WITH US

MOROCCO



From September 7 to 9, Hutong invites guests to join in the mid-autumn celebrations with a bountiful 10-dish banquet menu of seasonal Chinese fare.

Diners will also receive a traditional Mid-Autumn lantern created by Lantern Master Yu.

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THE ANCIENT ART OF LANTERN MAKING

Mid-Autumn Festival or Lantern Festival is an annual tradition, with people carrying colourful lanterns in the parks and streets.

With a history that dates back to the ancient Qin and Han dynasties, lantern making is one of the oldest, most delicate forms of traditional Chinese arts.



Master Yu has practiced the art for decades and now brings it to Hutong on the three evenings of Mid-Autumn Festival for diners to watch.

She will make a Chinese lantern with traditional design now rarely found in Hong Kong, and add a personal message for Hutong’s guests.

A DELICIOUS 10-COURSE MENU



Presented during the festive period is also a delicious 10-dish mid-autumn festival banquet menu featuring Hutong’s signature bamboo clams spiced and steeped in Chinese rose wine and chilli sauce, spotted grouper fillet tossed with fermented beans and dried chilli and large pork dumpling served with dried scallop.

To complete the experience, bird’s nest in coconut almond soup with glutinous rice dumplings are served as a traditional mid-autumn dessert. They are said to appear as yellow lunar moons floating in the sky.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

40 simple rules for living a Travelife

Silversea.com

Someone sent me these 40 "rules for living" some time back, reportedly written by a 90-year-old lady who had experienced a very full life. I thought I'd share it with you today.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you're happy and living a never-ending Travelife.

Scroll down to read more..




1
Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
Make up your mind to enjoy it.

2
Live everyday with dignity,
on your own terms.


3
Don't get bogged down by the small stuff.

4
Choose your battles wisely.
You don't have to win every argument. 

5
Don't ever let anyone put you down,
or affect you with infectious negativity.


Scroll down to read more simple rules for living....



6
Always try to see the good in others.
Some people make criticism and cynicism a habit.
Don't mix with this crowd.

7
Save for things that actually matter.

8
Save your time and effort for people
who are truly worth of these.

9
Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

10
Don't compare your life to others. 
You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Scroll down to read more simple rules for living....




11
When in doubt, just take the next small step.
Life is a combination of millions of baby steps.

12
Everything can change in the blink of an eye. 
But don't worry; God never blinks.

13
Take a deep breath. 
It calms the mind.

14
Get rid of anything that isn't useful. 
Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

15
Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

Scroll down to read more simple rules for living....



16
It's never too late to be happy. 
But it’s all up to you and no one else.


17
When it comes to going after what you want in life, 
don't ever take no for an answer.

18
Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. 
Don't save it for a special occasion. 
Today is special.

19
Over prepare, then go with the flow.

20
Be eccentric now. 
Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
Don't let others dictate what you should or shouldn't do.

Scroll down to read more simple rules for living....



21
The most important sex organ is the brain.


22
No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

23
Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 
'In five years, will this matter?'

24
Always choose life.
And laughter.
And love.

25
Don't lie, the truth will always catch up to you.

Scroll down to read more simple rules for living....


26
What other people think of you 
is none of your business.

27
Get rid of things that weigh you down, 
because it is not worth your time.

28
However good or bad a situation is, 
it will change.

29
Don't take yourself so seriously. 
No one else does.

30
Believe in miracles,
and in the inherent goodness of most people.

Scroll down to read more simple rules for living....



31
Don't audit life. 
Show up and make the most of it now.

32
Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

33
All that truly matters in the end is your character.

34
Get outside every day. 
Miracles are waiting everywhere.

35
If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, 
we'd grab ours back.

Scroll down to read more simple rules for living....




36
Envy is a waste of time. 
Accept what you already have, and not what you need.

37
The best is yet to come.
Wake up believing in this each day,
and it will happen.

38
No matter how you feel, 
get up, dress up and show up.

39
Yield.
This can sometimes make you a winner
in the long run.

40
Life isn't tied with a bow, 
but it's still a gift.
Cherish it.