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STUDIO GHIBLI’S SPIRITED AWAY

(Traveled from February 7 to February 28)

My second Studio Ghibli postcard came from Chang of Huanggong, China. Released in 2001 and written, drawn, and directed by Studio Ghibli’s then director Hayao Miyazaki (hailed by the New Yorker as the “auteur of anime”, Spirited Away was easily Japan’s highest grossing movie at the time, overtaking the Titanic, and went as far as winning an Academy Award. Disney was so impressed, they bought the distribution rights of the animated film, but on the condition that they would not cut or alter any part of it. The first screening was also held at the Pixar Studio in California. I cannot advertise this film enough, and neither could the Disney team. 🙂

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HRAD KOKORIN

(Traveled from January 18 to February 16)

After a break from blogging caused by misplaced priorities, I am eager to write about one of my favorite topics: castles! I hope you are eager to read too. 😉  The Kokorin Castle is a small Czech castle (as you can see) in the middle of a forest. Unlike the elegant castles I have featured on this blog, the Kokorin Castle is an abandoned fortress which has lost its beauty through the years. Before you blame the Czech government for its “abandonment” of such a historical architecture, here’s an excerpt from the Czech Tourism Website:


After the Thirty Years’ War the Austrian Emperor Ferdinand included the desolate medieval residence in “the cursed castles”, which were forbidden to be repaired.


Why it has been declared ‘cursed’ – I will leave that assignment to you.

The Kokorin Castle may be lacking in grandiose, but I believe it is still worth visiting. A little hike through the woods will lead you to a castle that is easy to capture whole due to its size. It might help to know that there are stairs leading to the castle. And did I mention that it is a few hours drive from Prague? Not bad if you are up for a side trip huh.

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Gasing, or top spinning, is a popular traditional game in Indonesia. It is also a traditional game in the Philippines. In the Philippines, we call this ‘trumpo’, and is usually made by local craftsmen. The common gasing or trumpo is made of wood, seashells, hard fruit,  and iron, and is spung with a string or a thin rope. To be able to play gasing/trumpo, one must know how to make a good throw.

The ‘trumpo’ has declined in popularity in the Philippines. The emergence of the Beyblade and with the shift to digital citizenship(? )may have contributed to its decline. When the Beyblade came to rise, almost every kid in the Philippines owned a Beyblade.  I had a wooden ‘trumpo’ and two Beyblades (one large and one small) back in primary school too. Now, even the Beyblade fever has been completely wiped out, but it seems that the iPads and gizmos are here to stay.

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Here’s a little confession: I don’t mind receiving ad cards. There are certain ad cards that appeal to my brand-conscious self. I have swapped for ad cards, and this Tiffany & Co. ad card from Kimmy of Hong Kong is an example.

Word vomit: I am one of those girls who think only a Tiffany & Co. engagement ring would fit their finger perfectly. (Speaking of engagement rings, for future reference to my future husband, I have been drooling over this Tiffany Enchant Yellow Diamond Ring.)

Tiffany & Co. does not only remind me of my favorite classical Hollywood actress (Audrey Hepburn), two of my favorite books have the name of this jewelry line in their title (Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and James Patterson’s Sundays at Tiffany’s). AND, if I were rich, I would love to be spending breakfasts and Sundays at Tiffany & Co. – who cares whom I am with! . 😉

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GOTHA: BLICK UM SCHLOSS FRIEDENSTEIN

(Traveled from January 17 to February 13)

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My castle collection is fast growing. Thanks to one of my favorite persons on Postcrossing: Dani from Altdorf, Germany! This is my second time to swap postcards with her. Just like our first swap, her second postcard to me did not disappoint. The card, as you can see has a minimalist decoration and a very informative write-up at the back. Please do not mind the date on the stamp. We agreed to swap written and in an envelope as opposed to the  written and stamped tradition and it was my suggestion that she could paste a used stamp on the postcard because I still wanted it to look like it was sent as a postcard per se without risking having the postcard stamped at the front by our very customer-centric and local post office. *sarcasm*

Just to add to what Dani wrote on the postcard.. the Friedenstein Castle was built by Duke Ernest I the Pious of Gotha dating from the 17th century. One of the main features of the castle is the Ekhof Theatre, which is the oldest castle theater in the world.

Geesh, this castle card gives me more reason to want to go to Germany!

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Here is an illustrated map card of South Africa. I have never been to South Africa but I have serious plans of going there in the future while I still have the strength to go on wild adventures like safari trips. I hate zoos because I firmly believe animals deserve to be in their natural habitat and not in cages. To me, zoo owners mask their greed for money by pretending to be concerned with the welfare of animals. They trick kids, parents, and school principals into believing their business exists to advocate for caring for animals and the environment. Oh, puh-lease!  I can educate myself better about animals by switching the TV to the National Geographic Channel or Animal Planet. I refuse to watch monkeys do rehearsed acrobatic tricks or volunteer at a dolphin-sea lion show only to have my ass slapped by a sea lion. No, that’s not learning for me. (Sorry for the long rant.)

Serious talk. If I want to see tigers, lions, and monkeys, I’d save up for a trip to Kruger National Park or to one of the African continent’s game reserves. Some of the places I want to see in South Africa are Capetown, Johannesburg, and of course the famous Kruger Park. I would love to stay in one of the safari lodges at Kruger Park and dine at a tree house with an unblocked view of the night sky. Funny how I switch from being a pessimist to a cheesy hopeless romantic. 😉