Masterpiece – Kyoto, Japan

green tea cappuccino

Masterpiece MSPC

(81)  75.231.6828
区三条通富小路東入中之町26 Nakagyo-ku
Kyoto, 〒  604-8083,

Open Hours:
11:00-20:00    Daily

Master-Piece is another of the great design stores that one should visit while in Kyoto.  MasterPiece specializes in waterproof bags; thoroughly designed with all the correct compartments, straps and details.

Master-Piece started as a company dedicated to creating all-weather gear for sailors and marine workers.  Then changing with the times to include consumer goods.  All made with impeccable Japanese quality.

This falls, once again, into a should’ve, would’ve, could’ve category; where we regret not purchasing one of the expensive, but of excellent value shoulder bags.  Yes they are not cheap; but that is exactly the point.  This is an item that will last and serve you well throughout.

If for nothing else visit the store the store in Kyoto for its small cafe with view to an amazing garden and enjoy a delicious green tea latte 🙂

There are also outposts in Tokyo and Osaka and the bags are available in luxury department stores throughout Japan.

Kagbeni – Nepal


Village of Kagbeni, Mustang, Nepal

Lat/Lng: 28.8696315 , 83.570964

First is getting there.  The planes that take you to the closest airstrip in the town of Jomsom,  are little 10 seater prop planes that feel very very small compared to the VERY VERY large mountains you are flying through.  Thankfully, they come equipped with a very very skilled pilot!  The trip is extremely windy; a white knuckle that is not for the faint of heart.  Our plane could not fly straight most of the flight; it was sort of blown up the valley  in a diagonal position.   Sort of like a Labrador who’s hind legs are faster then their front, and they run with their body a quarter turn from true.  Now make that dog a plane and put yourself inside with the smell of gasoline and the ground way below, the wind screaming in your ears and the mountains looming all around … I have a vision burned in my mind of our pilot, a large Nepalese man in a crisp white shirt, smart blue jacket and aviator shades, arms ram-rod straight, hands clamped, eyes forward, rock solid … his stoicism gave me confidence in our survival.

Flight to Pockara 007

We made it, though everyone agreed it was one of the more touchy jumps they had made.

Once back on lovely mother earth, we were driven a bumpy 10km  to our final destination; the medieval village ofl Kagbeni.  If you have a bit more time and the weather is pleasant  you can make the same trek by foot or horse.

Kagbeni lies on the banks at the confluence of Kali Gandaki and Jhong Rivers.  At  2,800m (9,186 ft.) of altitude;  you find yourself sitting on the Annapurna Circuit  and the gateway to Upper Mustang.  This part of the world has the ability to make you feel very very small.  You feel yourself very alone, among these giants of the world.

The town played a very significant role during “Salt Trade” era that flourished between Tibet and Nepal and today is a collection of mud brick houses, temples and rural life.  You are close to the edge of the world here; any you can feel it in the high thin air and desolate river beds.

We stayed  at the Red House Lodge.   It was December and it was freezing; (not really a smart time to go).  With no heater in the rooms,  the only warm spot was the glass enclosed dining area on the rooftop during the day, which warmed with the only available heater and the smashing sunlight.  Fortunately,  the ever present chai tea is available any time and  is served in a thermos!

The  Red Lodge houses a Chapel  with beautiful wall printings and a idol of Maitreya and a very impressive Mandala.  It is as lovely a place as is to found.  You are well beyond mod-cons up here.  This fact sinks in when you realize that everything you see was hand carried over  the same trek that was arduous by plane and car.

Your stay in Kagbeni will be personal to you.  It is incredibly photogenic, so let’s let the pictures to the rest of the talking.


Kagbeni_028Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Lingred monestary and Kagbeni
Flight To Jomsom 001Fish Tail
Flight To Jomsom 008 Annapurna (8,091m)
Flight to Pockara 008Back center, Mt. Nilgiri (7,060m)
Flight to Pockara 009
Kagbeni_001Tilicho Peak (7,139m),
Kagbeni_006far distance Mt. Nilgiri (7,060m)
Kagbeni_009Tilicho Peak (7,139m)
Kagbeni_004far distance Mt. Nilgiri (7,060m)
Kagbeni_014far distance to the right, Mt. Nilgiri (7,060m)
Kagbeni_022  Prayer flags
Kagbeni_055Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Ling Gompa

Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Ling translates as “Monastery of the place to stop and develop concentration on teachings of lord Buddha”.  Founded  in 1429 by scholar Tenpai Gyaltsen of the Shakya Pa sect, the altar of monastery displays bronze icons of Sakyamuni Buddha flanked by his disciples Sariputra and Maudgalanya and other divinities.  It is wonderful to see the Thankas, holy canon, frescoes, and woodwork in this remotest of locations.  There is an entrance fee to enter the monastery.

Kagbeni_063slate carvings of the Four Guardian Kings outside the Sumdu Choeden Gompa
Kagbeni_044Kora around monastery
Kagbeni_046Kora around monastery
Kagbeni_057Kag Chode Thupten Samphel Ling monastery





21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art – Kanazawa, Japan

21 C Museum Contemporary Art 009
Background, Olafur Eliasson (Colour activity house)

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

(81)  076.220.2800
1-2-1 Hirosaka
Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
920-8509, Japan

Open Hours:
10:00 – 18:00    Daily


     21 C Museum Contemporary Art 047Pedro Reyes
People’s United Nations (pUN) Drone Dove Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2015
Photo: Keizo Kioku


21 C Museum Contemporary Art 043Pedro Reyes
People’s United Nations (pUN) Drone Dove Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2015
Photo: Keizo Kioku
21 C Museum Contemporary Art 078Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan
Passage- Another Country 2014
 21 C Museum Contemporary Art 074Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan
Passage- Another Country 2014
21 C Museum Contemporary Art 072 copyAlfredo & Isabel Aquilizan
Passage- Another Country 2014
21 C Museum Contemporary Art 069Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan
Passage- Another Country 2014
21 C Museum Contemporary Art 066Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan
Passage- Another Country 2014
21 C Museum Contemporary Art 016Leandro Erlich – The Swimming Pool 2004
Ghost in the cellabove photo © 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
Miku Hatsune BCL + Semitransparent Design Ghost in the Cell 2015
21 cntury Museumabove photo © 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art