Tag Archives: japan

my pre-summer vacation

Back in mid-May, I went on a 3-week vacation with O to Vietnam and Japan. It was his first time in Vietnam, my first time meeting his dad AND our first long international trip alone together. No pressure, right? :) Nah, we had such a blast (despite a few mishaps here and there). It was definitely a food trip for us. We (well, mainly me) made a list of all the food and/or places we wanted to eat in each location we stayed at. And needless to say, we almost hit 10 out of 10 spots. The weather was great most of the time (we caught the beginning of the raining season), and we got to enjoy some beautiful beaches in both countries. It’s been over a month since we came back and I’m STILL craving/missing the food we ate, especially in Japan.

Below are some photos I took (I decided not to bring my DLSR this time and took everything on my iPhone 4s). For the rest of the photos from the trip, click here. You will see that 90% of my photos were of the food we ate. Can’t you tell that I want to become a foodie? :-)

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gift ideas: for the travel friend

…how about this fun postcard for you to stitch on the map and mark your destinations?

…or this adorably sweet chalkboard card that lets you write little notes/letters back and forth with your loved ones? (Watch this short video, too.)

{Images via Baum-Kuchen}

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japan, lately.

It’s been so cold the last couple of weeks that I thought snow might come early this year. But the closest thing we had was slushy snow-rain for a couple hours last night. Whenever winter and cold weather is here, my memories always return to the long winter in Japan back in 2007-2008. There was snow, harsh dry air and a lot of walking outside. This weather also brings me back to the cold days and nights in my old apartment. Insulation was nonexistent. Walls and windows were either grim- or thin looking. Miso soups, hot teas, a couple blankets and a space heater were my loyal companions (besides my two lovely roommates, of course).

I worked at several branches, and most of them are at a least 5-10 minutes walk from the subway/train station. It was the same routine 6 days a week, walking alone between point A to point B, often with ample time for my mind to wander and enjoy the surroundings of holiday lights and decorations from the ground to the glass windows of skyscrapers above train stations and shopping buildings.

Though this was not during winter time, one of the branches I commuted to that stood out the most was the farthest from the train station. It was an easy 15 minute trek to get to that branch, where it is located next to a nice supermarket in Kani city. During the summer, there was no shade for me to hide under so I would have to walk through the fields under the burning sun. After a couple weeks did I finally learn to appreciate this long walk despite the unyielding heat. I loved cutting through the small neighborhoods with old-style houses and bonsai gardens, imagining myself being planted in that environment, living like a true Japanese local. After the houses came acres and acres of farm fields, neatly lined and squared with an occasional farmer or two tending in the muddy grounds. It was so peaceful–a nice break from the city life that Nagoya has to offer.

It was over 5 years since I left Japan and returned to Seattle. The trip back last December was much needed and definitely impulsive. But it was all worth it given how much I had missed the country. Seeing old friends, eating local foods and walking around the same (and even new) places brought a rush of memories back to me. I promised myself that I will return and live there again. Someday.

{Images circa Japan 2012}

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zakka nouveau

I love everything about zakka nouveau’s blog and shop by Satsuki Shibuya. Two of my favorite items from her shop are the weekly planner and bento bag (pictured below).

And if you haven’t already, check out her springtime + holiday collection! So cute and lovely.

She also has a limited edition project called stitch+connect, with 30 products/projects made–one per day {like the items pictured below). 100% of the sales from this project will be donated to a charity of your choice on the list.

More details about this project {from her shop Announcement}:

stitch+connect concept
“each product will include some patchwork from remnant fabrics, which is the ‘stitch’ part + to drive home the idea that one can contribute somehow with the things that they have around them = the connect part!

each product will be different + will be assigned a unique limited edition number. the announcement will be made here on zakka nouveau : blog, twitter + facebook fan page daily so be on the lookout!”

How wonderful is that?

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with love…

If you visit my shop between March 28th through April 15th and make a purchase, I will donate 30% of all my sales to AmeriCares to help the Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims.

Thank you so much for your support!!

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