Twins in Japan!

So happy this year, my twinsis and her boyfriend traveled to Japan so we could celebrate our birthday together! They traveled from Tokyo to Matsumoto to Kyoto to Osaka and everything in between, but we could still spend three days together v(^^)v We climbed the Daimonji in Kyoto! Always a lovely hike, we used to live …


Hanami Time!

So it is hanami time! Time to sit on blue plastic sheets beneath the cherryblossoms, and drink and eat untill the early hours. All of it while wearing a kimono! After our trip to Arashiyama we took the train to downtown Kyoto to really get that hanami vibe :-) The atmosphere was amazing, beautiful lit …


Arashiyama: Bamboo groves and stone statues

O my it is sakura time again!! The trees are bursting with flowers! This weekend, we traveled to Arashiyama, Kyoto and Osaka to see all the famous cherryblossom spots. First stop: Arashiyama, where we actually saw a whole lot more than just sakura. Arashiyama is a beautiful mountain area west of Kyoto, and is famous for …


Ward Matsuri!

Ward Matsuri, or ” Ward Festival”, because for his 30th birthday Wards family paid a surprise visit to celebrate his birthday for a whole week :-D It was a biiiiig surprise because Ward had absolutely no idea they were coming to Japan!!! And so, we celebrated, gave presents, baked an applepie, took some days off to visit …


Temples, bears and dark forests: Hiking Konpira

On “culture day”, one of the many Japanese holidays, we traveled to the little farm village Ohara, north of Kyoto. There we wanted to hike the mountain ridges to mt. Konpira.  But first, we visited the lovely temple Sanzen-in :-) This beautiful temple in the Ohara hills has a nice garden and very cute statues. Kinda …


Hiking up Kyoto’s highest mountain: Atago

After summiting Tateyama our next goal was to climb the 925 meter Mount Atago, west of Kyoto. Perfect for a daytrip from Osaka! We took the 8:00 train and arrived about 2 and a half hours later at the foot of this sacred mountain in Kyoto. Then there was a warning sign, in English, wow. Must …



Even though we’ve lived in Kyoto for 1,5 years now, we still discover new and beautiful spots in the city. Today we walked to the river and crossed a secluded temple area where a wedding was going on. It was beautiful! Alongside the river we were surrounded by bird of prey trying to catch fish, …


Inaka ni itta

“We went to the countryside”! Our good friend Tokutaro-san took us to his grandmother, who lives in the countryside of the Kyoto prefecture. He took us by car through the most beautiful areas of Kyoto. First we went to Miyama-cho. This is a lovely village surrounded by misty mountains and water. The area is famous …


Kaiseki Birthday

Yay happy birthday Ward! We celebrated by going to a “kaiseki” restaurant called Grotto, located near our house. Kaiseki is a very traditional Japanese multi-course dinner. Our dinner had 9 courses of the most delicious and real Kyoto style foods. Ofcourse we made a lot of pictures :-) We ordered some fantastic Japanese sake. Ofcourse, …


Snowy Kyoto

When we woke up this morning, Kyoto was suddenly covered in a big pile of snow! So we went outside and made some photos in our neighbourhood :-) Our neighbours made a snow Totoro :) The beauty of our neighbourhood: My attempt at making a snowman: And then the sun came out and everything melted …


A Michelin-star Lunch and Piano Concert

Today was a very special day, first we had a fantastic lunch at a Michelin-star restaurant and afterwards went to a piano concert in the Kyoto Concert Hall! Kyoto has more than 100 Michelin restaurants (with a total of 149 stars) and most of them are very tiny establishments with just one cook and a …


Triple A score on the Japanese test!

Yaaaaaay we passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test we took in December! And both with a triple A score! This means we now have official proof that we can speak, read and understand basic/intermediate Japanese.   And this is how we celebrated :-)

The hidden dark alleys of Pontochō

Near the center of Kyoto lies Pontochō, a restaurant/bar area, and traditional Flower District, home to many geisha. There are secret alleys leading to all kinds of hidden bars and restaurant, we discover new things every time we go there!

Family part 3: The Setsubun Festival!

At the beginning of February Ward’s family visited us in Kyoto! Even though they were only here for a couple of days, we’ve seen so much fantastic things. First of all, the Setsubun festival! This festival is held to welcome spring, and is celebrated by lighting up huge fires, throwing beans and eating lucky sushi …


Long time no see!!

Three years ago, during our exchange, we met a very nice family here in Kyoto, the Okuda family. Yesterday, after all those years, we met up again! It was so nice to see them again! They took us out to dinner to eat absolutely delicious shabu-shabu (raw meat dipped in soup). Also we tasted crab, …


Family in Kyoto

Our family visited us in Kyoto and again we discovered a lot of new and exciting places in our beautiful city! We ate Kyoto sushi with Jurgen and Carlijn. Because Kyoto is located far from the sea, the traditional sushi is not made with fresh fish but prepared fish and herbs.  This sushi has so …


Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas everyone! There are often nice concerts at Kyoto Station, and during Christmas we went to this one. Even the tiny girl in the middle sang a Chistmas song (in English even!). Really nice!

What have we been working on?

Well, the past couple of months we joined an online drawing class by James Paick, a very skilled and famous artist in the game industry. We both took classes in Environment Design. Because the classes were held in America, we had some time difference issues, and we had to get up at 4:00 am to …


Autumn colors!

Whoa it’s finally autumn in Kyoto! And wow, the city transformed into bright red colors, with all kinds of flowers and trees bursting with fruits. It’s really spectacular. Here are some photos we shot in our neighbourhood, which is one of the most beautiful areas to see the colors of autumn!

Friends and Family

    The past few week we had a lot of visitors, first my family came by and then our friends joined us for over two weeks. Together we discovered a lot of fantastic new things in and around Kyoto! Some highlights:   Arashiyama and it’s nature is fantastic. The bamboo forest is enchanting! We even saw a real …


From Marthe to Maiko

I celebrated my birthday in a very special way this year: me and my twinsister Dorith did a Maiko makeover! A Maiko is an apprentice Geisha, with a beautiful white face and red lips, elaborate hairpieces and a really colourful kimono. We’ve seen them strolling around in Kyoto, but what is it like to dress …



I know I post a lot of creepy creatures, so I promise this will be the last one: there was a huge snake next to our house!! (;゜0゜)

Candle Festival in Nara

The Japanese know how to celebrate summer! This time we visited the candle festival in Nara. Nara is the old capital of Japan, and is a very traditional town with a huge park filled with wonderful temples. For this occasion, the beautiful park was completely decorated with candles and lanterns! The atmosphere was amazing, wandering …


Kibune Water Festival

Last week we travelled to the mountain town Kibune, north of Kyoto, to visit the temple there and see the water festival. During the festival, the temple is lit with hundreds of lanterns and people can write down their wishes and hang them in beautifully decorated trees. It felt like a fairytale walking there! Kibune …


Pumpkin eating

Today we went to Anraku-ji, a small but beautiful temple right behind our house, to the special Pumpkin Memorial Service. This tradition is over 200 years old. Visitors can eat special cooked pumpkin and drink cold tea while viewing the beautiful garden. It is said that by eating these pumpkins, you stay healthy for the …


Cicada noises

In Japan, summer is very noisy! This is the time when the cicadas emerge from the ground, climb in the trees and start making intensive noises that sound like electricity… Some sound like an alarm, but most remind me of engines or fridges or something :p It’s sometimes so deafening!! We managed to make a …


Gion Matsuri

Yes, it is July, so it’s time for Gion Matsuri again! Last time we celebrated Kyoto’s most famous festival wearing yukatas (summer kimonos), but this year we decided to go in our normal clothes :) Gion Matsuri is celebrated by a colourful parade of over 60 different floats. We went to the evening festival before …


Exchange Student Exhibition

  Yesterday was the opening party of the Exchange Student Exhibition at Kyoto Seika University! Our work can also be seen there. We printed some of the work we made so far during our stay here :) If you’re in the neighbourhood, come see, and if you’re not, see these photos :)    


We encountered this monster last night in our kitchen!!! The only way to kill these dangerous creatures is to poor hot water over them… Now it’s like a boiled shrimp :-s

Mountain temple

Today we went to a beautiful temple high up in the mountains! It was so secluded that no one was there, a really calming experience. Also there was a picture of the temple’s guardians, the monkeys that live there. Before that we had a delicious lunch in an old soba (Japanese noodles) restaurant.  We even …



I bought a nice children’s book about Japanese bugs :-D now I can look up the names of all the creepy, nasty and way too big insects we encounter here :-) …


Finally made a picture of a firefly (hotaru). June is hotaru season and a lot of them magically float next to our house.  

Golden Week

Time goes by so fast! We’ve been here for over a month now and have been quite busy with school. Ward is drawing a 40-page manga for his class about Dutch folklore, and it will be exhibited in the Manga Museum next year! The story is about “de Solse gat” and it’s going to be …


Sakura Explosion

This week, the sakura (Japanese cherry blossom) started blooming! Since there are so many sakura trees, it is truly an awesome sight to behold. The trees, that are actually somewhat bland during the rest of the year, suddenly explode with pink/white flowers. The trees stay like this for about a week, and then the flowers …


Mountain Temple

Together with our friend Tokutaro, we had a trip to Lake Biwa, the biggest lake of Japan. Tokutaro has a car, so he showed us places we didn’t go before, and it was a lot of fun! One place in particular was fascinating, a mountain with a large temple build on to it. When we …


Seika Lip Dub

This is a very funny video, made by Kyoto Seika students. It shows the university’s library  and surroundings, but most of all it’s a very entertaining video :D So watch and enjoy and taste the atmosphere of Seika University!

Maiko Madness

Gotta catch ‘m all! While walking through Gion, the old entertainment district of Kyoto, we stumbled upon two Maiko. Maiko are Geisha apprentices. At the height of the Geisha era, the 1930’s, men came from all around the country to compete with each other to be with the most popular geisha. From what we saw …


Hello Japan!

Yesterday we arrived in beautiful Kyoto, and as the taxi dropped us of at our new home it started to snow! We live in a lovely tradtional Japanese house with tatami mats, futons and no chairs :-). The surrounding are amazing, there is a very nice and quiet temple in our backyard (Honen-in) and Ginkaku-ji …