A Little European Flaire and Hygge

European flaire and the Denmark’s popular lifestyle – hygge (“cozy” or “enjoyment”) can be found in an unexpected part of Hong Kong called Wan Chai, which is famous for its night clubs, restaurants, and markets.

This is Lee Tung Avenue, which used to be the famous street of book/news publishing and wedding cards printing in Hong Kong. It has been redeveloped into a shopping arcade with plenty of European pleasure, shopping, eating, and sweet indulgence in the midst of busy Wan Chai.

  
  


Courtesy of Mipim Asia – the project won the 2016 Gold Award for Retail Development

What do San Franciscans Do on a Beautiful Sunday

A couple of weeks ago during Sunday lunch, I attended a University alumni function at the St. Francis Yacht Club in the Marina district, described as the most prestigious yacht club in the Western U.S.

While the club is no doubt very nice, what captured me the most that day was the surroundings and the leisurely San Franciscans on a sunny, beautiful afternoon by the Bay in San Francisco.  I ended up walking back home from the marina – about an hour of leisurely walk! What a feast for the eyes and goodness for the body!

Right outside the San Francisco Yacht Club

 

Great Angle of the Golden Gate Bridge
Strolling along the marina

 

The Palace of Fine Arts – oh so fine!

 

Colourful Marina district houses

 

Great park for many Sunday activities

 

Resting in front of the beautiful St. Peter and Paul Church, Washington Square Park

 

Happy New Year of the Fire Rooster

The first day of the Chinese New Year of the Rooster will be on January 28 when you will hear “Gong Xi Fa Cai” or “Gong Hey Fat Choi” well wishes (they both mean wishing you abundance of wealth.)

This year is one for the fire Rooster; the last time this occurred was in 1957. For each zodiac sign, there are five types – gold, wood, water, fire, and earth. Each type has a different personality.

Everything is celebrated in red – you will see children wearing red jackets, adults giving red packets to the younger ones, good tidings written on red paper, etc.

San Francisco and London have apparently the largest celebrations outside Asia.

Let us celebrate the Chinese New Year with some scenes from the flower markets last weekend in The San Francisco Chinatown – lots of red!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and energetic year of the Rooster!!

First, a beautiful red Rooster from Guangdong, China!

Wishing you abundance every year!


All sorts of Rooster ornaments!


The sound of the mandarin orange in Chinese resembles luck and blessings.

 The most popular surnames in China:

Amazing human flexibility and strength!


Some Kung Fu movements!


And sharing this beautiful rainbow photo shot by a neighbour during our stormy weekend!

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Tram ride in Hong Kong at night

One of my favourite forms of transportation in Hong Kong is tram ride. It is a great way to observe the life in Hong Kong, especially from the train’s I pper deck, as the train moves slowly and steadily around the urban areas in the Hong Kong Island.  Here was a short trip from the Wan Chai area to the Central business district in Hong Kong, arriving at the Landmark, with its colourful Christmas decorations.  

     

  

Flower Piano in the San Francisco Botanical Garden

To a piano player and a garden lover like myself, when I heard about the Flower Piano event (July 7-18) at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at the Golden Gate Park, I was overjoyed and could not wait to be a part of it.

With the sponsorship of Sunset Piano, 12 pianos are tucked among flower-filled gardens, beautiful ponds, redwood trees, all free for the public to play. There are scheduled performances as well. The garden has become a public concert hall, and with the beautiful surroundings of over 8000 kinds of plants, it is hard to imagine a better way to spend a leisurely Saturday afternoon.  It was amazing to hear all the talents coming out from the audiences to play their favourite music – classical, jazz, self-composed music, or just kids trying their hands on the piano. Some of the ambiance and acoustics were just surreal. Though I have seldom practiced my piano these days, I still managed to play in 6 of the 12 pianos today, performing Debussy and Yiruma’s works, basked in the audience’s appreciative claps, to which I was equally grateful and pleased.

These are some of the flower pianos I have played on today – no photos of mine but nevertheless still very fun and memorable.

How your iPhone can hold all your music scores!

And here is one of the pieces I played – the First Arabesque by Debussy. I have a feeling I will go back at the end of the week to play again and participate in a community sing-along, too.