happiness

Figure Out Who You Are Then Do It On Purpose

image-1
See! We and Prince of Persia really DO share the same tablecloth! PS if there’s one advice I can give for making perfect pancakes, it is using a non-stick crepe maker. THIS one in specific. It has been and continues to be, my most prized possession – after the yellow rose Soroosh gave me on our first date. image-5
My dear friend and follower, Randy yesterday commented to say she misses Akiko, Lifa and Ozzy. Well, lookie here! Look who is thinking of me! Thanks guys, my heart is bursting.
image-1-2
The Origin (95 Westminster Street) is a new entirely vegan CHCH eatery. And, it is hands-down, nothing short of amazing! The food and the coffee, oh my. You’ve been warned. I can’t wait to go again. In fact, I’m gonna go today. image-6
image-1-1Bet you’ve never taken a #muffinselfie. Or have you?
image
Oopsie. Must use bigger oven. Of course, my mother told me off for this. I did not try to argue that it was her who suggested and by suggested I mean forced me to use the toaster oven for my baking experiments in hope of using less electricity in the first place.
image-1-3
Combine the following in a large mixing bowl, 3 free-range eggs, 1/4 cup runny honey, 1/2 cup natural yoghurt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 ripe banana, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. Mix well, then gently sift in 1 cup buckwheat flour, 1 cup almond meal, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp baking soda, a large handful of chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, then mix thoroughly. Drop the mixture in to 12 greased muffin tins. Bake at 180 C for about 15 minutes or, until an inserted fork inserted comes out clean. Yummy yummy.

It Is Only With the Heart That One Can See Rightly; What Is Essential Is Invisible To The Eye.

I want to do everything on earth with you.
image-1-png-16image-3-png-15image-png-24
Happy family of three (haha).
image-4-png-10
Do you see what I see? Hint: body ink.
image-5-png-8
Guys, this night at the symphony was definitely the best night of my life. Really. It may seem melodramatic but it truly was the happiest I’ve ever been. Everything was perfect. Just like the movies. Ah, I am so lucky. My heart is bursting.
image-1-png-15image-6-png-6
Pumpkin pie smoothie bowl from Daily Juice.image-7-png-4
And for me: mango, banana, spinach, maca, avocado and coconut milk.
image-png-25
image-png-23
The best backward skater you ever saw! And the cutest ;)
image-1-png-17
Peace! (I’m still Japanese).
image-png-26
image-2-png-15
After my first fall LOL.

Beautiful People Do Not Just Happen

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.image[2]image[1]image[1]image
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!image[5]image[1]image[2]imageimage[3]image[4]
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).
image[9]image[4]image[3]image[5]
“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

Whatever Happened To…?

Yasu:
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!
image[8]image[4]image[5]image[6]image[7]
Yuko:
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.
image[9]
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.
20160821_163205.jpg
Michiyo:
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.
image[2]image[1]image[3]

“Write It On Your Heart…

…that every day is the best day in the year.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
image
image[9]
image[4]
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” (John Wesley)
image[7]image[8]
“May I share with you a formula that in my judgment will help you and help me to journey well through mortality… First, fill your mind with truth; second, fill your life with service; and third, fill your heart with love.” (Thomas S. Monson)
image
image[1]image[1]
“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)
image[2]
image[2]
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” (John Wooden)

20 Pictures Of A Japanese Summer Festival Guaranteed To Make You Smile

“I fell for her in summer, my lovely summer girl,
From summer she is made, my lovely summer girl,
I’d love to spend a winter with my lovely summer girl,
But I’m never warm enough for my lovely summer girl,
It’s summer when she smiles, I’m laughing like a child,
It’s the summer of our lives; we’ll contain it for a while
She holds the heat, the breeze of summer in the circle of her hand
I’d be happy with this summer if it’s all we ever had.”
image-60
image-72image-68image-66
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” (Henry James)
image-29.jpg
image-62image-63image-61image-64
After a year and half of living in super inaka (countryside) I feel so alive. Connectivity is vital to life. For as long as I can remember, I have always liked markets and festivals and large crowds. I think this is because positive energy is so contagious and so nice! Though often, in such scenarios, I’d look around and concentrate on what I was not. I’d see boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives and large groups of girls giggling about and I’d see tall women with athletic figures and lush hair and fashionable clothes and bemoan my own life. Tonight, as I walked around completely alone, I didn’t do that for once. I saw the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen in yukata (traditional Japanese summer ware) and I saw charming husbands carrying the handbags of their wives and young fathers piggy backing their little ones. I saw couples feeding each other yakitori and groups of young girls holding hands and fans and candied apples and their heads upright to protect their beautiful hairstyles, and I smiled. I rejoiced in their happiness and thanked God I was alive. Alive to share in their transmittable joy and alive to live their spreadable love. What do you think? Is that me growing up?
image-75image-71image-77image-76image-78
image-28.jpg
image-79
The first food is a mochi (sticky rice) sweet. Inside is anko (sweet red bean paste) covered with plain sticky rice and lastly coated in kinako (roasted soybean powder). The second is karaage chicken. As you may or may not know, I am a wannabe vegetarian. However; I had to, I just had to try this. Not only did it smell insane, there was a 10 meter line for it and we all know lines mean business. It was amazing. So much so, that I remixed Katy Perry’s infamous song for it in my head: “I ate chicken and I liked it…the taste of it’s…” Okay…so as you can see, it’s a work in process.
image-69image-67image-73image-70

This Moment Contains All Moments

Do you remember Yasu? My unexpected friend? Well, her family thew me a goodbye party last night. We ate clam chowder, sushi rolls (featuring pink, green and whie rice), tofu salad and much more. Her mother is such a sweet soul and a very good cook. Last night she reminded me very much of my own mother. She’d made this pork and egg dish which she kept apologizing for. She’d say, “please try this, I made it but I’m sorry, it became too spicy.” Each time someone reached for a helping or she offered it to them, she’d say sorry. I told her my mama was the same. That whatever she cooked she’d end up apologizing for. And even though if it was the yummiest dish in the world, she’d still be saying sorry. Then my father would tease her for having apologized, again. Silly sweet humble loving mamas.

Yasu’s younger sister, Shoko, whose name for the life of me I can’t remember so I have to call her what her two year old nephew calls her: “aka”, surprised me with the beautiful cake pictured. We had a blast. I can’t believe how much they did for me. I wish I’d met Yasu sooner. I keep questioning why our paths didn’t cross earlier. Especially since she had been living right there, in the upstairs apartment! We could have shared so many dinners together – a thought which brings me much joy but also sadness.

After dinner, we did hanabi (fireworks) – an activity strongly resonant with Japanese summer.
image[1].jpg
image[6]image[5]
image.jpg
image[3]
image[4]
image[2]
image[7]image[8]
image

Best Friends Forever

“Memories and thoughts age, just as people do. But certain thoughts can never age, and certain memories can never fade.” ― Haruki Murakami

I had the most wonderful time last night. I only met Haruka and her family 2 months ago but even so, I feel I’ve known them a lifetime. To say that Haruka’s family treated me like a princess last night is an understatement. They really did so much.

They had prepared a delicious make-your-own sushi dinner featuring avocado (my favorite) and mixed rice (black and white) with ample vegetables. Everything was so healthy and presented so beautifully just for me. We drank homemade plum juice – made sugar-free after I introduced “natural” eating to Emika, H’s sister. For dessert, we had the most divine matcha (green tea) and soy-milk pudding made with kanten (a natural vegan gelatin substitute and a super  ingredient I’ll be hoping to do a Savvy article on). Again, Haruka had made the dessert this way (sugar-free and vegan) just for me.

Last but definitely not least, I was gifted two gorgeous earrings (one with my birthstone) and two bracelets all handmade by Haruka! And, Mommy Mo-chan (H’s mother) gifted me a cute red Japanese cloth for wrapping my lunch. Wow I felt like royalty. What a night. I left their home with a full stomach, a full heart and a full bag of left-overs for today’s lunch. Haruka, Emika, little Ichikia (E’s daughter and my 1st grade student), Mommy Mo-chan and Satozi (H’s father), I want you to know that I will always remember this night and that it will never fade from my heart.

PS the fourth picture is made with kanten too. It is an eggplant jelly flavorured with soy-sauce. Though I admitted to my friends it looked chotto kowai (a little scary) it was soooo yum!
imageimage[2]image[3]image[1]image[4]image[5]image[6]image[8]image[7]