November 27, 2012

Indoor City

The Complexe Dejardins, essentially a large street block that is housed indoors. If you go out of the entrance and walk all along the shops to the other entrance, you have basically crossed a whole street.

It was highly amusing how literally everyone stopped and stared at the moments when the fountain flared very high. This happened about every five minutes or so.

Little spurts of water for little children.

An advent calendar in the form of a long stuffed animal? This was at a French bookstore.

Angry Birds was literally everywhere. Strike while hot, and in as many ways as possible, I suppose.

A self-portrait using ornament spheres.

Walking through Place des Arts, a complex which houses a metro station and also connects to halls for the Montreal orchestra, the ballet, and the Museum of Contemporary Arts.

The entrance of Cinquième Salle, one of the halls. Curiously, the Place des Arts website does not contain any photos of the halls as seen from within the complex; only those from outside and inside the halls are displayed. A missed opportunity to display some of the best designs in Montreal!


These were all taken within 10 minutes' walk from St. Laurent Metro in Montreal.

This graffiti in particular made me feel grimy.

Hotel Hopping in Montreal

Hotel Gault in Old Montreal. I only saw the lobby/restaurant, but it's a beautiful space, its bright sleekness contrasting nicely with the traditional look of the outside facade.

The dining area to the right of the entrance.

Gault has the crispness of a new hotel, but was actually opened almost ten years ago, in 2003.

Restaurant Osco!, located inside the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Montreal. Echoes of Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast again!

The restaurant was bright and airy, perhaps more so because I was in the enclosed area at the end of the room. The food was excellent.

I'm always amazed by how effortlessly people who work in stores, restaurants, hotels etc. in Montreal can determine which language (French of English) people want to be spoken in and never slipping up. To a country like Japan where people make a big stink about not being able to speak English, the nonchalance with which people switch languages is truly impressive.

The Palais des congrès, which could be seen from the restaurant. The last time I went there was three and a half years ago. 

November 20, 2012

Lake Ontario

(In Toronto.) Lake Ontario, by way of Sherbourne Park.

At around 8:30 in the morning, the area seemed populated by gulls rather than humans.

Peeking into the Corus Entertainment building. Is that slide for fun or for emergencies?

The nearby Sugar Beach, created about two years ago to bring some prettiness to the waterside. It opens up to a nice view of the lake, but you cannot swim there. Once again, only gulls seemed to be inhabiting the beach at this hour.

Someone had dragged a chair underneath a willow tree, creating a nice little private area.

There was a fairly diverse array of birds in the lake. They seemed quite wary of humans.

The sugar factory next door.

Frost on the ground in a part that had been untouched by the sun.

A panoramic view of the lake. I would like to walk all along it some day.

A Series of Squirrels, Standing

In Montreal. The bags under the tree are all full of leaves!

Under them, squirrels were scurrying around. I noticed this one would dash about one meter and then stand up, dash another meter, and then stand up.

Looking to the right...

...then the left...

...then dead center.

It really is quite fat, but is most likely preparing for the hard winter.

For comparative purposes, here is a black squirrel in Toronto. Granted, the weather was about five (Celsius) degrees warmer.

Looking at the spindly branches, I was surprised a good gust of wind didn't simply knock these nests over. 

November 6, 2012

Around the Corner

Literally right around the corner from where I live, I made some new discoveries:

Overripe pomegrante (a waste when you considered how much of it there is to eat or make into juice)...

...a well-loved cat (you can tell by the bell on its neck and the non-feral look in its eyes)... impressively life-size leopard teddy bear (if it hadn't been thrown away, someone would have happily claimed it)...

...and two stray kittens in the corner, happily taking refuge. The last time I saw them, their family lived under a car across the street.

Hie Shrine in Akasaka, Part 2

Hie Shrine in Akasaka, continued.

Climbing the long and steep steps leading up to the shrine has been made easy with the addition of this escalator.

This was past a closed-off area, so I couldn't see where this tunnel led to.

Someone had donated a couple of inarizushi, bought from the nearby conbini.

I thought these stalls were for horses, but it seems they hold mikoshi, temporary shrines that are most frequently seen hoisted up onto the shoulders of festival-goers.

The entrance to renzoku-torii, which are rows and rows of torii gates.

It seems that a gate is added every year, often sponsored by a local shop or company. They can be in a straight row like here, or arranged according to the path like here.

When you get to the bottom of the gates, you are faced with this giant gray torii. It was actually viewing this torii from a distance around two and a half years ago that made me decide I wanted to visit this place sometime.