And I’m off to Spain! But I wanted to tell you about my first (of hopefully many haha I joke I joke) birthday presents. First, THIS incredibly humbling blog-post by fellow blogger, Laura.
Second, pictures from my birthday eve, spent with a very special family. One who gave me their home, bicycle, fresh vegetables and unconditional love for an entire month then threw me this dinner and gave me these presents and money (osenbetu). I felt so embarrassed, I should have been doing that for them! But I am so joyful to have shared in the joy of such an evening on a birthday far from home.
Last, this message from Jose. I request PAELLA! Hehe, see you guys V V soon!
Do you remember THIS? When I introduced my favorite illustrator whose work I randomly (and luckily) came across at a small bookstore in Osaka station last year? Well, I added him on Facebook, declared my love to him and begged him to meet me in Tokyo the other day. Mitsuie-san is an incredibly humble (as well as talented) artist. He couldn’t believe how much I loved him. We spent the evening discussing his work, life and inspirations. As well as taking an hour train to meet Minako and I, he gifted me a big bunch of postcards featuring all of my favourite pieces of his which I have shared on my blog and social media since I have known him. God willing, we will be collaborating in the near future so watch this space! To check out more of his work, click HERE.
When this precious little girl and I met two months ago, we both felt an instant connection. Aoi is so sweet it hurts. And though we couldn’t communicate more than a few words, we spent the entire day making origami (paper art) and playing on the hammock together.
Last week, she and her mother visited me in Osaka. I was so blessed to see her radiant face again. It’s true, children are the light of the world!
I made a big batch of fresh granola for Minako and I’s Tokyo trip because I didn’t want to be eating out for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. After our one night stay at a hotel which came free with our shinkansen (bullet train) ticket (thanks to Mina’s amazing organisation skills) we took the remainder to her parents’ place – our accommodation for the next two nights and days. Mina’s mom tried (my) muesli for the very first time in her life and happened to love it. So on my last day, this happened: a big bowl of delicious. After, she (Mina’s sweet mother) wouldn’t stop thanking me for it. She said she thinks she is going to lose a lot of weight (hehe).
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Despite the bright lights and overpopulation, Shinjuku (housing the world’s busiest railway station) is surprisingly quiet. Over-photographed Shibuya crossing is surprisingly small in size and Harajuku isn’t bursting with Harajuku girls. This is why travelling is important. We need to SEE for ourselves.
I have decided what I like most of Tokyo is its diversity. Diversity is the life of this city. From its tacos to its art aquariums, it’s buzzing.
The view from our free hotel – thanks to Mina’s amazing organising skills.
Guzman y Gomez – an Australian Mexican-food chain in Japan (go figure).
100% organic milk soft-serve from SOFTTREE in Laforet Harajuku.
Inspired by the Japanese minimalistic movement, I decided to tackle my post-Ohara travels with only a single carry-on. This meant letting go of A LOT of my stuff. One of these belongings was this pair of kawaii (cute) bunny slippers bought for me by my dear mama. I decided they belonged with Yasu (my unexpected friend) seeing as she loves bunny rabbits so much (image below drawn by her). Yasu decided they better suited her mom whom apparently now wears them all-the-time. My heart. Oh my heart.
Also, I may or may not have influenced Yasu to go against her entire country/upbringing… for just a week ago, Yasu got not one but TWO tattoos by the same guy who inked the tulip on my arm. Talk about bad influence (hehe). Ha-ha I joke, I joke! Not to boast my own trumpet or anything, but I totally feel I opened her eyes. As in, challenging the norm, thinking for her own and taking pride in being different to everyone else! Next, she has promised to travel out of Japan to visit me sometime: “wherever you go” she says.
Watch this space people!
My dear Japanese momma who’d invite me to her house and cook me all sorts of delicious food, that Yuko. She, her husband and her teenage daughter, Juri will be visiting and staying with my family in New Zealand this December. The funny thing is, I won’t actually be there. Now that’s some friendship! I promise to ask my sister to take many a nice pictures for me to post here.
PS can you tell which is Juri and which Yuko?! Goodness, I NEED Japanese genes.
Lifa, Akiko and Oz:
These guys message me all of the time. Always asking if I’m okay and/or if they can help me in anyway. They’re the sweetest family there ever was. I look up to them and wish to have a beautiful family like theirs one day. Soon, they’re off on holiday to Haifa, Israel (Lifa’s hometown). They’ve promised me to eat mounds of falafel and tahini on all of our behalves.
Mi-chan is the lovely girl who let me wear her Yukata for my going away dinner. A beginner yoga instructor, she has promised to visit me in Yoga capital India. Her dream is to travel far and wide. Here, we are eating a vegan lunch, a term many Japanese countryside dwellers have never even heard of.
Guys, I said I was gonna blog less, not not at all! I mean, I blogged every single freakin’ day for two entire years. So now, only 3-4 times a week, if that’s okay with you (hehe).
Japanese grapes are like no other. Really, some of them sell for thousands and thousands of dollars! The purple ones (similar to these) are usually peeled. I can still remember the first time I saw my colleague, a 50-something year old carefully peeling her bunch of grapes as if they were bananas or apples. My mind was, and still is, blown. Also peeled by Japanese: pears, apples, the inner skin of all citrus fruit and figs.
I volunteered as a security guard in Haifa, Israel once where we used the code 10-68 for inappropriate behaviour. Nowadays, even though 5 or 6 years have passed, every time I see something “inappropriate” I think 10-68! Funny how some details stay with you.
It’s not all green-smoothies and health-foods. You know it’s a bad day when you find yourself sitting inside a Mos Burger at 9.25 on a Saturday night alone. Biting into the flesh of a dead animal as a second dinner – after having already eaten a big plate of cold left-overs plus two cream buns. Which, is the reason you’re out at all, you know, to convince yourself you’ve killed some of em kilojoules. Listening to Adele through stepped-on-broken headphones while using the restaurant’s feedback pad to write ex-lovers depressing love notes.
“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” -John Burroughs
100 yen vending machines are popular because they only require 1 coin.
Singledom has a completely new meaning when you’re with the flu. These are freshly squeezed orange and carrot juice – my attempt at mothering myself with my real mama so far.
Would have been a completely vegan meal if not for the fish flakes atop the tofu. Of course, still delicious. I am really going to miss soba. Both soba and tofu are my favorite Japanese foods.
Often I have to remind myself that being single and living alone has its benefits too. I swear, except for the time I ate my feelings through a Mos Burger and fries combo, there hasn’t been a night where my dinner hasn’t been muesli and fruit.
PS I have had some recent fame, you can check it out HERE also, my latest Savvy article, HERE.