Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dinner at Jadetkol

After a long day walking through Wawel Castle, we decided to go to a traditional Polish restaurant by the name of Jadetkol for dinner.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Iryu 2 Review (2007)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

As part of Dr Noguchi's reformation plans for Meishin, he recruits medical reporter Kataoka Kazumi to run the newly affiliated Hokuyou Hospital. As a political side effect, the best medical staff are transferred to Meishin to help reestablish a leading position for the hospital while misfits among the former staff are transferred to Hokuyou as a dumping ground. In the process, Team Dragon is deliberately split between the two in an effort by Dr Noguchi to destroy the team.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Iryu 3 Review (2010)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

Team Dragon returns in this 3rd season where Meishin University Hospital is faltering due to lack of patients and amidst an outflow of talented physicians and surgeons. When Dr Kitou takes the helm of the hospital, she immediately calls back Team Dragon and various other experts to help revive the hospital. In the process, and upon Dr Noguchi's advice, she ends up hiring a catheter expert Dr Kuroki who seems dead set against the cardiac department and its surgeries. Will his catheter procedures and antagonism toward cardiology lead to the demise of Dr Kato and her colleagues?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kekkon Dekinai Otoko Review (2006)

Drama Rating: *****
Personal Rating: All time favourite!!

Kuwano Shinsuke is a 40 year old architect and somewhat of a hermit, preferring to keep to himself and generally avoiding social contact. His regular routine consists of eating steak and meat nightly and listening to classical music. Due to his unbalanced diet, he suffers from stomach pains one day and his neighbor Michiru ends up accompanying him to the hospital where he sees Dr Hayasaka. After that fateful incident, their closely knit group of acquaintances gradually become part of Kuwano's life as they share their bemusement of his eccentric lifestyle. In particular, they begin wondering if anyone would ever be interested in marrying 'The Man Who Can't Get Married'?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Panoramic View of Düsseldorf

Here's a video I took along the lively boardwalk in Düsseldorf next to the Rhine river.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday in Düsseldorf's Aldstadt

After taking an awesome first look at the Altstadt, the next day was Sunday in Düsseldorf and it got off to a great start with some beautiful blue skies. We headed near the Schadow Arkaden area, which is a large and famous shopping mall in Düsseldorf, which was unfortunately closed on Sunday. However, we did happen to catch a marathon going around the area that day.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wawel Castle Courtyard & Cathedral

The interior courtyard of Wawel Castle is quite splendid with its numerous arches and columns.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wawel Royal Apartments and State Rooms

A few more beautifully crafted tapestries depicting various stories are seen throughout Wawel Castle.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Iryu Review (2006)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

Ryutaro Asada is a brilliant surgeon with extensive training in the field during his stint with an NGO.  For various reasons, Asada was released from North Japan Hospital but was subsequently headhunted by Akira Kato, the assistant professor of the Cardiac Surgery Department at Meishin University Hospital. Kato is looking to put together a team to attempt the Batista operation, a highly difficult surgery, to complete her thesis and key to her promotion to becoming a full professor. Given Asada's independent nature and strong morals, will Asada be able to survive at Meishin?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gokusen Review (2002)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: Loved it!

On the coattails of GTO comes another high school drama about Yamaguchi Kumiko aka Yankumi, an idealistic math teacher with a yakuza background who is hired to teach at Shirokin Gakuen high school.  Despite her class being basically composed of the most difficult kids in the school, Yankumi is determined see her class through to graduation despite their academic and extracurricular problems and teach them life lessons along the way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mackerel Run Review (2007)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Loved it!

Mackerel Run tells the story of an aspiring soccer player Cha Gong Chan who is kicked off the team and serves as public enemy number one to his teacher Ma Do Shik and the school's Director. As Cha Gong Chan struggles to stay in school, he ends up creating touching and memorable high school memories.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Walk through Wawel Castle

Lunch at Pod Wawalem was delicious aside from the sauerkraut. For some reason, sauerkraut doesnt sit well with my stomach =( In any case, the sausage, soup and cabbages were delectable.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wawel Royal Castle

Wawel Castle was originally started in around the 11th century with parts of the castle, such as the Cathedral, dating back furthest. As a long-time royal residence, the castle retains huge historic value as parts of the fortress were constructed throughout the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque eras.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Moon That Embraces The Sun Review (2012)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

Lee Hwon, son of the King of Choseon and next in line to the throne, falls in love with Yeon Woo, daughter of an important court official. Fueled by jealousy and greed for power, the devious court minister Yun crafts a plot with the Queen Dowager to rid himself of his main adversaries, including Yeon Woo's father, and ends up taking the post of Prime Minister. As a result of his plans, Yeon Woo is sacrificed. Will Lee Hwon and Yeon Woo's love survive the treacherous waters of palace intrigues and power struggles?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bijo ka Yajuu (Beauty Or Beast) Review (2003)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Loved it!

Takamiya Makoto, a successful reporter with UNN, is scouted by JBC to lead and direct their Evening News programme. On the same day as her scheduled start date, the talkative Nagase Hiromi from the Variety Department at JBC is transferred to the news section to supplement their ranks. These two form an unlikely pair leading the the motley Evening News crew from the top and bottom, injecting them with a sense of pride and meaning in their work.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mr Brain Review (2009)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Decent

Kimura Takuya is a neuroscientist with the Institute of Police Science (IPS), an organization tasked with aiding the police with their most difficult investigations. His eccentric ways are not initially welcomed by his colleagues but as they see his expertise in action, their opinions slowly begin to change.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Churches in the Krakow Old Town Square

I had to make a separate post for this as Krakow has some of the most gorgeous churches I've seen in Europe. Starting with St Mary's Basilica in the main old town square, which has architecture which is quite reminiscent of some of the buildings I've seen in the Prague Old Town Square.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A stroll through Krakow's Old Town

We started out fresh and early in the morning just outside our hotel at the Plac Jana Matejki. Strangely, the horizontal street heading in on the left of the photo is named after Ignacy Jan Paderewski, a composer, pianist, diplomat and former Prime Minister of Poland. In front of the statue stands another grand piano, a symbol of the city of Krakow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Friends Review (2002)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: Loved it!

Tomoko, a Japanese salesperson, is on tour in Hong Kong when she happens to bump into Ji Hoon, an aspiring film director. Ji Hoon was originally filming her for his movie when he realizes she's mistaken him for a thief. After the unusual introduction, they begin to get to know one another further and end up exchanging emails before departing for their respective countries. Little did they know where their chance meeting in Hong Kong would eventually take them.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pod Wawelem

It wasn't without reason that we had wandered all the way down to the vicinity of Wawel Castle after a hop from Dortmund to Krakow. While most restaurants are almost closed, Pod Wawelem was recommended to us by our hotel as it stays open late and offers nice large quantities of authentic Polish fare.

I was quite taken in by the unique curved roof of the establishment with the dimmer lighting and chandeliers giving the place a very warm, homey feel.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Krakow, First Impressions

The flight from Dortmund to Krakow was a quick 2 hour hop on Easyjet. For those not familiar with budget airlines in Europe, Easyjet is a UK-based carrier with service to a number of cities in continental Europe for an ultra low price! This particular flight after all taxes cost just 25 euros per person! Mind you, that doesn't include luggage or any other fees they might tack on so keep that in mind if you plan a trip with them.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Iljimae Review (2008)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Loved It!

Set in the Choseon Dynasty, Yongee is a happy-go-lucky kid who appears as carefree as the wind. However, as he starts to learn more about his own background, he gets drawn into what appears to be a complex political plot. In an effort to investigate further, Yongee takes on the guise of Iljimae, a thief who steals from corrupt government officers and gives to the poor. With this disguise, Iljimae targets his true aim of getting to the root of the conspiracy and finding out the truth about his father's death.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pike Place Market

Seattle is ever the rainy city, so it was fortunately only cloudy that afternoon when I went to the Pike Place Market, one of the oldest open air farmer's market in the US.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hotpot in Taipei

This was easily one of my favorite meals in Taipei.  I've always been a fan of hotpot but this restaurant (named 'Gathering' - as in a gathering of friends or family) really took it one step further with its delicious variety of meats, vegetables and other goodies.

Probably my favorite part of the meal was the appetizer included in the meal which was a delicious 'onsen' egg (an egg sitting on top of a boiling shot of water), a scallops on the shell and a piece of vinegar soaked cabbage.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry Review (2010)

Drama Rating: ****
Personal Rating: Loved It!

Lee Shin Young is a career-minded reporter having split with her ex-boyfriend Sang Woo for an overseas reporting stint. Along with her two friends Jung Da Jung and Kim Boo Ki, this drama follows the story of the three women in their 30s and their love lives. Shin Young happens to meet a university student/indie band lead singer Ha Min Jae and his friend Dr Na Ban Suk, a traditional acupunture doctor. Will Shin Young end up with either Min Jae or Ban Suk and what hurdles will they encounter?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The Luxor likely has one of the more unique exteriors among the casinos on the Strip. Like the Venetian, the Paris, the New York New York and the Excalibur, the Luxor aims to resemble one of the most recognizable structures on Earth, the great pyramids. The Luxor stands out on an approach to Las Vegas airport and can be found on the south end of the Strip next to the Excalibur and the Mandalay Bay.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace is a luxury hotel/resort/casino sandwiched between the Mirage and the Bellagio.  From a distance, we can see some of the buildings and the main entrance but the Colosseum (originally built for Celine Dion's show and used now for shows/performances) is hidden from view.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vegas Night Shots

Some views of the Las Vegas Strip at night - the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Views of the Strip

Having driven in from Los Angeles, I was a little tired after a 4 hour car ride.  Here, one of the first casinos I snapped was Caesars Palace.

Next up came the Paris Las Vegas.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Attention Please Review (2006)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Enjoyable

Misaki Yoko, a tomboyish girl who is the lead singer of a band, sees the attention lavished on cabin attendants and in a wish to attain the same level of attention, she applies for a position. Little did she know that the training for a cabin attendant was not going to be as easy as she envisioned. The tough instructor Mikami appears to pose a formidable obstacle even as Yoko makes friends with Yayoi, Saori in their quest to become full fledge cabin attendants.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bellagio, Buffet & Sensi

Likely the most well-known casino on the Strip is the Bellagio, home of the gorgeous fountains. As you  in through the front, you'll encounter a very unique ceiling of colored umbrellas attached to the front foyer like a bunch of helium balloons.