Osaka and Nara – highlights

Another Japan video is live!

After our 2 days in Hiroshima, or next stop was Osaka where we spent 2 days as well. There are not many things to do in Osaka, so a day to explore the city centre is enough. You will see in the video below that we spent the first day exploring Osaka Castle and Dontobori, the city centre where you will find the famous Ebisu Bridge and the Glico Man sign.

On the second day, we headed out of the city to Nara, a public park famous for its huge temples and its roaming deer. We spent the day exploring the grounds and making new furry friends.

I will go into more details on all our Japan itinerary in a series of posts coming soon, in the meantime, if you want to see more of our Japan trip, have a look at my Kyoto video and the Hiroshima one. Next stop, Tokyo! Chances are this video will be at least an hour long as I have sooooo much to show you!

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Halloween in the countryside

I find the cemeteries in small British villages extremely charming. Am I just weird?

Norfolk – 2016

Burnham Market cemetery

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Knock knock

I wish my front door looked like this!

Norfolk – 2016

Front door Blakeney Norfolk

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Katsukura – Kyoto, Japan

One of the most impressive places to visit in Kyoto is the train station. You read that right, the actual train station.

It is very famous for its impressive architecture rising to 15 floors. The building is a futuristic take on architecture by Hiroshi Hara, where, spread other many levels, you will find shops, train’s platforms and many, many, many restaurants.

Kyoto train station

Our hotel wasn’t too far from the station, so on our first day, after dropping our bags, we headed there to see the view of Kyoto and grab a bite to eat before heading to Fushimi.

Kyoto view from train station

Once at the top of the station and after taking multiple pictures of the view we headed to the restaurant area where we found Katsukura.

As you would have guessed by its name, Katsukura serves tonkatsu – aka breaded and fried meat. It was also one of our favourite meal in Japan!

Katsukura queue

The queue at the front can be quite long as it is a fairly popular place, but it moves very fast. You won’t hang around too long in Katsukura, being in the train station the service is very fast so you don’t miss your train!

Katsukura restaurant

Once seated you have the choice between various meats or fish tonkatsu, I went for the crab meat cream croquette and fillet cutlet. All are served with shredded cabbage, a miso soup and rice.

Katsukura sauce

One particular thing about Katsukura is the sauce making process. They are very proud of their sauces and you will be given several options to choose from at the table. You will then be given some sesame to ground yourself and mix with the sauce to create your preferred texture. We loved that entertaining step, it made us feel like we totally knew what we were doing (we didn’t).

Katsukura sesameKatsukura sauce

Once the sauce was ready the meal was served. The pork was juicy, the crab meat croquettes were creamy; it was a very satisfying lunch. It is a great option for Westerners,  as it felt like a more conventional meal with the meat and side of vegetable and rice.

Katsukura tonkatsuKatsukura restaurant

The perfect meal before hiking uphill at Fushimi!

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“Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there”

Rio de Janeiro – 2013

Copacabana Rio de Janeiro

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Lake District hills

Nothing like a weekend away getting lost in the rolling hills of Great Britain.

Lake District (Cumbria) – 2014

Hills Lake District Cumbria

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Escaping the Big Smoke

Escaping the big smoke and heading the Cotswolds this weekend! I can’t wait! Our little English gateways are some of my favourite trips.

Norfolk – 2016

Beach cabins in Wells Next The Sea Norfolk

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Around Ben Nevis

I lost my shoes several time into the muddy ground that day. It wasn’t funny.

Scotland – 2013

Hike Ben Nevis Scotland

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100 blog posts – My blogging story so far

100 blog posts! That’s a milestone I never thought I would reach when I really started blogging in June 2016.

Why do I say ‘really’ started? Those of you who have been around for a little while would have seen that I post two types of content – travel photographs and written blog posts. I don’t really consider the photographs + one-liner posts to be real blogs per se. Those are just little travelling treats for the eyes.

Having reached 100 posts, I thought now would be a good time to tell you a little bit more about my blogging story because, after 16 months writing, I finally have a story!

Back in 2014, I wasn’t very happy with my job. It was fine but I wasn’t really doing what I had studied for and I felt completely drained out of creative energy. At the time, a recruiter got in touch with me for a role I would have very much liked. He asked me if I had a portfolio, and, of course, I didn’t. Panicked at the idea of failing, I logged on WordPress and created ‘Claire Imaginarium‘. I thought that, even if my current job wasn’t creative, it didn’t prevent me to create content showcasing my skills.

So I went live with the blog, and then nothing happened, or barely anything… Let me explain.

Claire Imaginarium

I was looking for content I was good at creating and which was easy to share. With thousands of travel pictures on my hard-drive, I thought ‘Bingo!’ and started my one-sentence-and-a-picture posts. Then life got in the way, and in the summer of 2014, I was offered a job in Communications and PR. I was finally really enjoying what I was doing!

The blog then took a back step for the rest of 2014 and 2015. I would post a picture every now and then but I wasn’t really committed to it and was too busy living life. I am also someone who thrives on positive feedback and with an average 200 visitors per year (yes, per year…), I didn’t really feel like I was making much of a difference and thought I was just better off letting this little site be, without much input.

Claire Imaginarium

Fast forward to 2016, and the week after my wedding, I felt an urge to shift the blog to something different! There was a lot of changes introduced at work and I needed to really ramp up my digital knowledge in order to be better at my job. So I thought, what better place to start than trying things on that little blog I have already? No one knew it existed, so I could freely play around with different types of content and increase my digital understanding without anyone one seeing me fail.

I started writing one long blog post each week, with more than 3 words and a picture. After three months, I had as many visitors as I had in 2 years! Complete strangers were actually taking the time to read what I was writing! So I kept going!

Claire Imaginarium interior

The number of visitors was growing, which completely blew my mind and I finally ‘came out’ to my parents and my husband at the end of 2016, and told them that I was blogging. Until then I had never ever talked to anyone about it! I only saw it as a platform to play with, it wasn’t something I was proud of or wanted to proactively share with my close ones. And even up to now, I have not talked about the blog to most of my friends, or proactively advertised it on my personal Facebook page and Instagram account… So family, friends, colleagues, if you are reading this – well done! You found me!

Claire Imaginarium travel

We are now heading toward the end of 2017, and from a post a week, I have increased to 3 weekly posts. The number of people reading my content has also increased exponentially, and I may even end the year on another significant milestone, but I am keeping this one to myself because I don’t want to jinx it (oh yeah, I am superstitious too by the way!).

So thank you all soooo much for reading this and showing me that what started as an exercise is actually worth reading. You have no idea how much it means to me and I will forever be thankful.

Ok, I am done now! That’s probably the most I have ever talked about myself on this blog, and I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more moi! See you again in 100 posts!

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Burnham Market church

Quintessentially British Autumn vibe.

Burnham Market (Norfolk) – 2016

Burnham Market church

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