Kanazawa & Lagos

Kanazawa is a city located in the center of Honshu, Japan. Since the modern times, this place fell behind the industrial development and became a hub city. However, it was able to preserve many historical places as it was not affected by the storm of modernization, such as wars and natural disasters. Kanazawa Castle, built in the 16th century, and Kenrokuen, one of the three gardens of Japan, are the great courses for a morning walk. Across from the Kanazawa Castle is the modern structure of the 21st century Museum of Contemporary Art. Here, old and new things coexist in peace, which provides the picturesque scenery. However, beauty of this place is not just found in the scenery, but also in the whole-hearted devotion of the people for the last 500 years. Since the Maeda Era in the 16th century, Kanazawa invested its wealth from rice farming in culture, philosophy, and art. As a result, various traditional crafts (e.g., gold plating and Gaga Yujen [dyeing]), traditional culture (e.g., teaism and Nogaku), and culinary arts (e.g., flower cakes and Kaga dishes) have flourished. Its culture and arts succeeded in making Kanazawa even more special today. The young artists, masters, and chefs living in Kanazawa at this time are building a new history based on the firm foundation of the past.

Lagos is a small city with a population of around 30,000 people in Algarve, the southernmost part of Portugal. Built in the 14th century, this historical place was a major strategic point when Portugal was an oceanic empire. The beach preserves the primitive environment so beautifully that it is one of the most beloved vacation destinations among the Europeans. The old town of Lagos combines the dramatic views and historical heritages with its various colors of today’s life. Encased by low and thick walls of the castle, the old town is small enough to explore only in half a day. The winding alleyways, which also clearly reflect the traces of time, lead to one of three squares – Camoes, Avenue Agnes, and Infante. There are many unique restaurants and shops around Infante, which is always crowded with visitors, and the two smaller squares offer friendly shelters for the local people. Art also shines across the city. You will be astonished by the treasures of church and handicrafts in municipal museum, as well as the precise Baroque wooden structures of St. Antonio Cathedral. By sitting at a streetside café in Lagos to listen to the bittersweet and husky voices from street singers singing the old Portuguese songs, or look out the coastal cliffs that have endured the heavy seas, you will have a relaxed time to look back on yourself.