Friday, 30 June 2017

A beautiful temple full of cats in Tokyo for those who believe in magic & love cats: Goutokuji Temple by Andrés Hernandéz

By Andrés Hernández: Not many people know this beautiful temple in Tokyo. A temple that reminds me how fortunate I am, hence I got a wonderful wife, my family in Colombia, my few good friends and my cats Pepe and Federica (in Cat’s heaven).

When Belén had the idea to visit Goutokuji Temple we were completely lost in the pouring rain from Tokyo. Although we were about to go back to the train station and maybe have a cup of tea, we decided to continue our journey. Finally, after a good long hour in the rain we found that gorgeous temple. It was magic! I felt part of the story when we arrived during that heavy rain. I still have that imaginary picture of Pepe and Federica waving their hands to show us the right path to the fortune. Let me share with you the original story of the Japanese “waiving cat”. This is for those who believe in magic and love cats.

“The Original Story of a Waving Cat¨  (Original story taken from the shop in the temple)

In Goutokuji, Goutokuji Temple is located at 2 Goutokuji Setatagaya – Ward Tokyo, and it is famous for the grave of Sir Li Naosuke, the chief Minister, Tairo, of the Tokugawa Government in the late Edo period. The notable temple in western Tokyo covers a vast area is starred with old, solemn trees. Huge numbers of parishioners and visitors come to pray and admire the beautiful architecture. Although the temple is renowned as the stern Zen temple, ¨it is also a shrine for the cute cats that wave with one arm raised. This is the other world-famous character, which originated from an episode in the history of the temple. Here is the story of a Monk and a waving cat. A long time ago when the temple was a shabby hut and the Monk could barely live on the small income he gained as a practicing mendicant. He had a cat and cared for it like his own child, sharing his own meal with it. One day he said to the cat, “If you are grateful to me, bring some fortune to the temple”. After many months, one summer afternoon the Monk heard sounds around the gate, and there he saw five or six samurai warriors on their way home from hawk hunting approaching him and leaving their horses behind. They said, “We were about to pass in front of your gate, but there was a cat crouching and suddenly it lifted one arm and started waving and waving when it saw us. We were surprised and intrigued, and that brought us to come here to ask for some rest”. So the Monk serve d his bitter tea and told them to relax. Suddenly the sky darkened and heavy rain began to fall with thunder. While they waited a long time for the sky to clear, the Monk preached Sanzei-inga-no-hou (past, present future reasoning sermons). The Samurais were delighted and began to think about converting to the temple. Immediately, one samurai announced: “My name is Naotaka Li. I am the kind of the Hikone, Koshu prefecture. Due to your cat’s waving, we were able to hear your preaching. This has opened our eyes, and seems to be the start of something new. This must be Buddha’s will. Soon after returned home, Naotaka Li donated huge rice fields and croplands to make the temple grand and generous as it is now. Because of the cat, fortune had been brought to the temple. Therefore, Gotokuji is called the cat temple. The Monk later established the grave of the cat and blessed it. Before long statue of the cute waving cat was established so that people might remember the episode and worship it. Now everybody knows the temple as the symbol of household serenity, business prosperity, and fulfillment of wishes.”

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Last Movies I have seen: "Beauty & the Beast"(2017) & "Ghost in the Shell"(2017)

Beauty & the Beast

Genre:  Musical; Fantasy/Romance
Recommended?  Of course! If you love this classic fairy tale that has been turned into a musical with Disney animated characters. One feels like a kid again . I could not stop smiling and even though i knew the story from the beginning to the end, i was looking forward to seeing it so much and i was not disappointed! Young and delicate actress from Harry Potter, Emma Watson plays her role as the "Belle" very well. What was surprising for me was that in some countries of Asia, the movie is not being shown due to what was considered guys scenes. 
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Agree with the score? I would have even given it a 90% if not a 100%. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite children's tales and i'll never get tired of seeing it in the cinema and/or books. 
Did you know?  Did you know that "Beauty and the Beast" was written by a French novelist called Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in the XVIIIth century? Disney converted into an animated feature in 1991.

Trailer can be seen here: ( I wouldn't mind going again!)

Ghost in the Shell

Genre:  Science-Fiction
Recommended?  This movie needs to be seen in the big screen, i'm sure it loses a lot if you see it on TV and/or on a small screen. I love movies about the future; I knew what I was going to see and what to expect and it's what we got. On top of that , the city where the story unfolds, reminded me a lof of Hong Kong, a place that I loved and living now in Asia, i could definitely picture the future with digital Ads in the air (not very far from where we are now ) & human robots. I'm not a bit fan of Scarlett Johansson but I do give her credit for the role that he plays in this film. Modern robot with a soul from a previous human that are incredibly strong and help to fight terrorism with excellent vision and precision in their movements. Her roles is very believable. She looks amazing , too , which is in fact, very annoying lol. 
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 61% (audience) - Critics 47%
Agree with the score? No, we would have given it a 80% . It was very entertaining. 
Did you know?  This move costed around 110 million of $ and so far after the movie was released on March 31st 2017, they have earned around 155.5 million $ (according to Wikipedia).

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Tribute to my mum - International Women's Day

On a day like today, I want to dedicate a few words to the woman that has inspired me the most in my life: My mum. She met my beloved father in college in 1961, she finished her degree in Economics, relocated to the South of Spain , got married and raised 5 daughters. Back then, it was not that common to have women with a bachelor degree and working in an office. Women like her fought for women's equality rights in the workplace. Bringing up 5 children and having a full-time job at the same time was not easy. My father was a politician and as a lawyer in a very small town, humble people paid him at times with kilos of oranges or potatoes. My mum was the one with the stable monthly income and our family relied on her salary for main day-to-day expenses. Being busy at work did not allow her to spend as much time with her daughters as she would have liked but she always made sure that we had everything that we needed. My grandfather used to say that my mum was very strong. Life has tested that strength repeatedly. Only a few months after her husband died, his dad also lost his battle to cancer. My grandfather's death was so sudden and unexpected that it did not help my mum to cope with the painful recent death of her husband. Spite of it all, she was able to overcome those difficult times, I have always been blown away by her resilience and inner strength. Me, on the other side, after my father passed away, I felt a strong need to start a new life abroad, away from all the memories. I applied for an Erasmus scholarship and I emigrated to Munich (Germany). A new life in a complete different country with a language i did not speak. I was very young and inexperienced. My mum supported me from the beginning financially and I was able to finish successfully my last year in college there. Living far away from my mum, has brought us closer in a very special way. From the moment I started to have my own salary I wanted to pay her back everything she has done for me, going on a trip with her every year. We have been travelling around since 2006: From Vienna ( Austria), Scotland ( UK), Berlin, Ireland (a few times), Bath (UK), Bournemouth (UK), Liverpool (UK), Brussels, Prague,Budapest to Singapore. Every trip is a collection of unique memories that will always stay with me. 

Do you have a woman in your life that is important to you?  Celebrate it with her today!   Happy International Women's Day !

My mum and I in Budapest.

Photo of me with my beloved grandmother, another important woman in my life. She taught me how to be firm and respect others. I love you Grandma, I hope to see you again one day.

Photo of my parents in College.

Photo of my grandmother and my mum

Sunday, 5 March 2017

"5 Top Movies I recommend out of the last 18 we have seen in the Cinema By Belen Delgado

My parents' love for the cinema influenced me to start my passion about seeing films in a proper setting: in the cinema, with popcorns or nachos & a soft drink. 
I started to write in this blog years ago due to my short-term memory about movies I see. Not sure why it is but usually I only remember whether i liked the film or not. This is one of the main reasons why I started this blog. 
Since i moved to Asia it has been more challenging for me to keep up with my 3 blogs, time just goes faster here! 
I had a mini backlog of films to write about from 2016 to yesterday and today I have decided to tackle that. I can't write to the level of detail that I usually like but let me at least share with you the title of the film, genre, whether I recommend it or not and the Rotten Tomatoes score that I usually agree with ( in case I don't, I'll let you know, too). 

* Doctor Strange (2016). 
Genre: Action & Adventure; Science Fiction. 
Recommended? Yes, Entertaining! Excellent special effects.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88% (audience) 

* Passengers (2016). 
Genre: Science Fiction. 
Recommended? Yes, Entertaining! 
They could have done much more with the original idea of the plot though.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%( audience) ( Agree!)

* Fantastic Beasts (2016) 
Genre: Fantasy    
Recommended?  Yes, why not.  
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81% (audience)

* A Monster Calls (2016) 
Genre: Fantasy/Drama 
Recommended?  It is a must! Beautiful film, different from other movies you may have seen recently. It reminded me a little bit of "Pan's Labyrinth"( another great film, in case you haven't seen it ! 
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84% (audience)

* Bridget Jones Baby (2016) 
Genre:  Comedy    
Recommended? It is a must if you are a fan of the Bridget's series and if you have read the books like I did ( Yes at that time i was single and i felt like Bridget so many times ..) ! I hadn't laughed so much in a very long time. 
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69% ( audience). To me it was a 90%!!

*Mike & Dave need wedding dates (2016) 
Genre: Comedy   
Recommended? No!Avoid!  ( Don't even ask me why I went to see this one.. I guess i was brain-dead at that time.. aw, wait i remember.. Andres chose this one!)   
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 54% (audience, 35% critics, i have to agree with the critics..)

* Dirty GrandPa (2016) 
Genre: Comedy    
Recommended?  Yes, why not! Entertaining. It depends on your mood.  
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45% ( audience)

* The Purge, Election Year (2016) 
Genre:  Horror    
Recommended?   No! Avoid! Extremely violent, there is already enough violence in the world.I liked the first movie and the second one but not this one.  
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 49%

Since 2017 started we have continued our passion for cinema & we have seen the following films:

* Why Him (2016) 
Genre:  Comedy  
Recommended?  Yes! Very funny ( If you like American humor, as I do)! James Franco is not only very attractive but also very hilarious in this movie! 
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 59% (audience)

 * A street cat named Bob (2016) 
Genre: Drama    
Recommended?  Yes (if you read the book like I did and you like cats) 

It is based on a true story. You can follow James Bowen and his cat on Facebook,too. I always wanted to see them in London but i didn't manage to. He became too famous after his book became a bestseller. If you look carefully you can see the real James at the end of the movie. I never saw homeless in the same way after I read this book.

A short video about the Real James & his cat Bob: 
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

* La La Land (2016) 
Genre: Musical/Love Story   
Recommended?   Yes! Beautiful film! (If you like musicals & Ryan Gosling, you can't miss it! If you are not fan of musicals, do not bother, you will probably hate it..)    
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84% ( Agree!)

* Split (2017) 
Genre: Suspense/Horror    
Recommended?  It is a must!   
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%   James Mcvoy's is stellar in this movie! He reminded me a bit of Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. Terrifying at times the multiple personalities of the protagonist. James Mcvoy is without doubt one of the best European actors of this time. If you haven't see his movie "Filth"(2013), you should. Another of his masterpiece terrifying performances!

*The Light Between Oceans 
Genre:  Drama   
Recommended? Yes! Beautiful film! I cried so much but you what? There is nothing better than a movie that makes you feel, even if it is sadness.    
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 62% ( I disagree with this one it's a 90% for me, i loved it and i could relate to the protagonists pain. Excellent chemistry between Michael Fassbender & Florence Clery )

* Fifty Shades Darker 
Genre: I can't even classify it.. 
Recommended?  No! Avoid!              
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 56% (audience) - I'm afraid i have to agree with Rotten tomatoes critics score on this one 9%, is even generous. OMG is so BAD!! 

*Manchester by the Sea 
Genre: Drama    
Recommended?  Not for me but some people love it and his score in Rottentomatoes is very high, too.. and it the main protagonist has even won an Oscar. The protagonist's life cannot get any worse than what it is in the movie..seriously. After this film we started to talk about how lucky we are in our lives right now. 
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80% (audience)  I'm the odd one here since i found it boring at times and then very depressing..I don't understand that high score. However, I can understand why the protagonist won an Oscar, he plays very well his role. Very credible.

Genre: Drama      
Recommended?   No! Avoid!  ( And I was very interest in the history of what happened when Kennedy on the day he was killed but i expected much more.. )   
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 66% ( To me not even a 30%.. Natalie Portman plays very well her role but in general, thought the movie was very boring.. i even fall asleep for some of it. )

* Alone In Berlin 
Genre:  Drama  
Recommended?  Yes,Why not. 
Interesting and based on true facts. It shows what a revolutionary man tried to bring awareness about Hitler's regime through post-cards left in different parts of Berlin anonymously. It would have been much easier now with Twitter! 
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 42% (audience) . To me it was a pass : 50%

 *Trainspotting 2 
Genre: Drama/Comedy    
Recommended?Yes It is a must!  Best movie I have seen this year so far! It shows a sad reality of a drug underworld that can be seen in most cities around the world. In this case in Edinburgh.  ( Needless to say if you didn't like Trainspotting 1, do not even bother.)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%                     

Top highlights of Trainspotting since i watched it yesterday and I remember it well: I loved this movie even more than the first one! Worth the wait all this years to see the trainspotting "gang" again! and Franco is a very bad, bad hombre! Great soundtrack , too!

Best monologue of the film: 

"Choose life,Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares
Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently
And choose watching history repeat itself
Choose your future
Choose reality TV, slut shaming, revenge porn
Choose a zero hour contract, a two hour journey to work
And choose the same for your kids, only worse, and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s kitchen
And then… take a deep breath
You’re an addict, so be addicted
Just be addicted to something else
Choose the ones you love
Choose your future
Choose life”

So to sum up, see below the movies that I truly recommend: 

                                                   T2  Trainspotting  : 

" I loved this movie even more than the first one! Worth the wait all this years to see the trainspotting "gang" again! and Franco is a very bad, bad hombre! Great soundtrack , too!"


"James Mcvoy plays a stellar role in this film! He reminded me a bit of Anthony Hopkins in "The Silence of the Lambs "

                                                 A Monster's Calls : 

" A love story between a mother and his son that uses his imagination to get away from the sad reality of his mum's slow death due to cancer" 

                                                 Bridget Jones Baby: 

"I hadn't laughed so much with a movie for a very long time. Who doesn't love Bridget clumsiness?" 

                                         The Light Between Oceans : 

"Such a beautiful sad love story , loads of chemistry between the protagonists. I cried a lot at the end.."

                                           La La Land: 

" I'm a big fan of musicals. Impossible love story, excellent music and very colorful photography. It is true that it can never be compared to the classic old musicals from Hollywood, however it is a very good attempt."

Note:* I have had some issues with the formatting writing this post, apologies and i hope you can read the content.

Concert Ronan Keating ( August , 2016, Singapore)

It is unbelievable things you would do when you are abroad just because you miss home, home for us is Ireland since we lived in Dublin for 11 years. We had only moved out from there months ago at the time when we decided to see Ronan Keating at the Universal's Studios in Singapore. I actually used to be a big fan of him when I was a teenager, i had a poster of him in my bedroom, wearing jeans and a white t-shirt. Everything started as a joke between Ciara & I: " Ronan K. is coming to Singapore, it would be fun to go and see him". Ciara also agreed that if she was in Ireland, she would have probably not had gone to see him live. Well, not only we decided to see him but we got "VIP" tickets with a table and some food/drinks very close to the stage. We had a VIP pass with his name on it. It ended up to be so much fun, he is so amazingly talented, such a great voice and still so handsome. Our goal was to get a selfie with him, my husband, Ciara & I tried in so many different ways to call his attention waving the only Irish flag in the audience: mine. Well, even though we were very close to the stage ,we never managed to get a selfie with him :-(. At one point, he started to walk among the audience and we started to chase him like a couple of teenagers lol . At the very end of the concert, he stopped to talk about his wife. Oddly enough, even though Ronan did not seem to care about a true Irish girl, Ciara and an adopted one, me, his wife took notice of us! She posted a photo of Ciara &I waving the flag on her Instagram page ( see below photo); she even replied to one of my comments on her page. I actually started to follow her on IG after the concert and she is such a nice and sweet woman. Our work colleagues were laughing at us due to that photo and our excitement to see him but you know what? Carpe Diem! We had a great team and only those who emigrated very far away from their families and friends, understand how seeing an EU pop-star came make your day. There are not as many chances to see concerts from EU singers in here, so we could not miss this one! Who knows whom i'll go to see next! Ronan if you read this by any chance, you owe us a Selfie !

A beautiful romantic movie: ¨The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society¨(2018) by Belén Delgado

This movie deserved a separate post since I loved it so much. If you are thinking of watching a romantic movie, this may be the one: Yea...