For once, we slept in and “we took it easy” (as Herbie would say). Started off our morning going to Kamehameha Bakery. They are famous for their – poi glazed donuts. I also got a poi haupia donut as well.
In this same plaza, if you really enjoy ube, Ubae is situated. I grabbed a ube crinkle cookie.
The plan for today was to explore the city and take a break from hiking and beaches and explore the city. I’m an avid fan of graffiti and have been following the whole Powwow movement that gathers artists in different cities to create giant art murals around cities. Similar to what Miami has with Wynwood. The place to go for this Powwow Hawaii movement is Lana Lane in Kaka’ako. The Lana Lane Studio is a good starting point which also houses some art exhibits as well. The murals are all different in terms of style and look but definitely brighten the areas and give it more flavour. The area is mainly industrial in terms of car distribution warehouses but it’s like a hidden gem. There are some really cute boutique shops nearby called SALT at Kaka’ako.
Kaka’ako is relatively near Ala Moana Mall. We decided to leave the mall to another day but stopped by Don Quijote. Don Quijote is a major chain in Japan that has a bit of everything and where you stock up on food and souvenirs and other little nicknacks. For lunch, I wanted to take my friends to a local spot called Rainbow Drive-in. Its the typical fast food that Hawaiians love – you can get mixed seafood plates, loco mocos, burgers etc. I got myself a mini loco moco bowl and a salad (because we weren’t really eating greens).
Our plans were very much in the air for the afternoon so we messaged Herbie to see what they were up to for the day and in Herbie style he told us he was “taking it easy”. They went to the zoo earlier in the day but also mentioned that a beach volleyball court is usually set up at Waikiki Beach. We slowly made our way to the beach (word to the wise, Kuhio St is a one way and you need to loop around again if you miss the parking. There is paid parking closest to the beach but there is a lot that is slightly further away which is closer to the zoo where locals park for free). It turns out the beach court is set up sporadically when they feel like it nearby the pier in the middle of the beach where people jump off to boogie board from. It turned out that that day they indeed did not set up a volleyball court. Luckily Herbie and Elvia showed up with Tristan and a volleyball to pepper with for a bit and we did “take it easy” with the Ku’s on Waikiki beach for the afternoon.
We stayed at Waikiki Beach and took in the free Hula show called Kuhio Beach Hula Show that occurs every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, weather-permitting from 6:30pm to 7:30pm (6:00pm to 7:00pm Nov-Dec-Jan), free to the public at the Kūhiō Beach Hula mound on Kalākaua Ave near Uluniu Avenue across from the Hyatt Regency Waikīkī. It was very fitting and ended with the sun setting.
To end the night off, we stopped by the Mall and had dinner in the The Street food Hall. I got the largest bowl of greens I have had in such a long time from Indie Girl. I ordered the Kailua Sunrise bowl – $15.99USD (Baby kale, Quinoa, sunflower butter, roasted purple sweet potato, pomegranate dressing). The best part of this meal was most definitely the salted roasted sweet potato. It took me such a long time to eat it that I was entirely stuffed and the girls finished it off.
One thing we haven’t really been doing on this trip is staying in later in the morning even though many things aren’t opened early. I tend to rise with the sun and the sun comes out at 530-6AM. We walked from out Airbnb to our first location for the day – Kenroku-en Garden that opens at 8AM. It was a chillier of mornings however the park was quiet and peaceful even though some of the trees still remain bare. Upon entering this park (from the Kenroku-en entrance), we only did a small portion but made it to the lookout point which got even colder with the wind. It was about 10-1030AM at this point and we decided to goto the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art – There are free exhibits but the paid exhibit only costs 1000y. Purses are allowed but backpacks and anything larger must be put into the lockers. No photography allowed in the exhibit but you can carry it and are allowed to take photos of the swimming pool. The sculptures outside are very fun to play with and photograph especially the multi colours circle (Olafur Eliasson Color Activity House 2010).
We finally went in and the exhibit for this time was for Ikeda Manabu – an artist that works mainly in pen medium using fine lines to create masterpieces that usually integrate waves and nature in his work. In his interview, Ikeda talks about how long it takes for him to create an art piece. the smaller 10x10CM art pieces take about a day but the massive ones take about 3 years and when life experience happen such as a death or birth, he incorporates those moments into his work as well. He also does a fine job hiding his signature in each piece. If you continue downstairs, you can enter a blue room which part of a permanent installation called “The Swimming Pool” by Leandro Erlich. In this blue room, if it is a sunny day, you will see the glistening water dancing on the walls with the bottom of what looks like a ladder making you feel like you are in the bottom of a swimming pool as you look upwards to the sky seeing a layer of water that separates you from what looks like people who are looking down at you from above the water. Overall, a cool museum – whether it be the architecture or the installations or the exhibit. If you happen to be in Tokyo, Japan between November 18th 2017 – April 1st 2018, his work “Leandro Erlich: Seeing and Believing” will be showcased at the Mori Art Museum.
By the time we finished the museum, we were already peckish so we opted to goto the Omi-Cho Fish Market. We ate at Omicho Inoya (33-1 Shimoumicho, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa (石川県金沢市上近江町33-1) had Kaisendon which consists of a bed of rice with what looks like chirashi topping but made into 2 patties on top of the rice that you use a spoon to smooth down the mountain. Once its been flattened, you pour the sesame soy wasabi sauce over top and eat about half way. Once the half portion is finished, you call out oi dashi and the server brings over hot soup which you then add to the bowl and boom, it becomes a whole new meal in itself. The raw fish then cooks as the hot soup engulfs the bowl and enriches the flavour. I ordered a large Maruti-Don (crab, tuna toro, tuna tatami, shrimp, octopus & scallop) 1480y. Highly recommend this place! Once we finished out Kaisendon, we walked back around the market and grabbed a small basket of white strawberries (400y?). The first one I ate wasn’t anything special but the second one i had was perfectly ripened and it was so delicious.
After lunch, we walked to Kanazawa Castle and entered through the giant open space before entering into the Castle grounds. It was such the perfect day with cherry blossoms everywhere. We walked around the grounds before exiting through what I guess was the main entrance and made our way north to the Higashi Chaya district where we stopped by Hakuichi ( 株)箔一 東山店)(Japan, 〒920-0831 Ishikawa-ken, Kanazawa-shi, Higashiyama, 1 Chome−１５ 東山 1-15-4) – Gold leaf speciality store. This store sold products made in Kanazawa with gold whether it was gold flecked sake to gold plated chopsticks to gold leafed ice cream (the big pull in for me). The gold leafed ice cream (980y) sounds exactly as its named. They delicately wrap a sheet of gold leaf onto the side of your ice cream cone and you sit down and enjoy it. The gold leaf breaks off so easily and as it touches your tongue, a faint taste of sweet metal passes over top your tastebuds. If it touches your lips, that sweet taste lingers.
Karen & Chi were heading into Kanazawa that evening so we continued to wandered and check out the Namagachi Chaya district which is the samurai district but by the time we arrived, it was roughly 5PM and many of the places like the samurai houses were closing or closed. It was a nice walk though as the sun was slowly setting and the weather was still quite nice. I was able to grabbed so locally made azuki bean ankoro dessert from a dessert shop before it closed to bring home. We walked along this one street where we saw a team setting up either for a movie video or a movie/television shot where they have umbrellas laying on the ground with lights behind them. One thing that pulled us in was also the fact that all the grips were all females – styling females (yay woman power). We tried to wait around for a bit but I think they were waiting for the sun to set or nightfall so we continued on.
We met up with Karen & Chi for dinner at this ramen place and then called it a night because it turned really cold. We went back to the Airbnb and watched 3 episodes of Terrace House – Aloha State on Japan Netflix (not released in North America) then went to bed.