The night before I was to be leaving Soroosh in Nashville, he read me a children’s book to calm my nerves. You may know it, apparently it’s quite popular but at the time, I didn’t. The Kissing Hand as the title suggests is a kiss in a hand gently pressed on its recipient’s face.
I recently received this kiss in the mail.
The first time I experienced origami (the art of paper folding) was in Japan where a coworker asked an entire class to make a paper crane, write their name on it and later stand and declare: “this crane was made by (insert name here)” as a way of introducing themselves. I remember silently panicking for the students who wouldn’t know how to do it. Turns out I had no idea. Every student made a crane. And they made them fast!
You know how they say only in hindsight can you realise the true value of a moment? Well, I remember feeling extremely homesick and out of my comfort zone that very make-a-crane day. However, if it wasn’t for that unique experience, I wouldn’t have been able to pass on the art to my new students today.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~C.S. Lewis (Coffee. He means a cup of coffee!)
You know round Saturn peaches? Well, turns out they have pretty inappropriate looking nectarine cousins and here’s one of them.
Another classic NZ dish: the humble meat pie (which I wrote a 3000 word University essay on one day), Castle Hill (famous from Narnia) and last: a nostalgic New Year’s Eve countdown in Hagley Park featuring back-to-back country music which took me straight back to Nashville and to my sweetheart’s arms.
So Yuko and her family are here. Here in NZ for the very first time and I think they’re loving it. Here are day one’s pictures so you can also be with us:
First up, omiyage or in English, souvenirs. These are a HUGE part of Japanese culture. We all received gift(S). That’s right, not one but many presents (including my sister’s dogs, Lucky and Ella).
After resting, we took the family to Christchurch’s Botanical Gardens where they exhausted their cameras.
Two beautiful roses.
Last remnants of Christmas…
Last but not least, our guests’ first meal in NZ: pneumatic curly fries and sliders at the world-renowned C1espresso. Come on, how cool is that?!
And…someone else happened to like them too! #embarassing.
Friends! I have officially seen my most favorite ever movie. It’s called Tampopo, it’s Japanese and it’s extremely funny. And charming. And saliva-inducing. Oh man. This film is the shizzlemanizzle of all movies. It is a black and white 1985 film which has been given a new 4k restoration in the past few weeks. I liked it because it had something for everybody. From steamy sex scenes, to ramen close-ups to Tekken fighting. Though I must say, being an old film (and Japanese) the film did contain several unPC (nonPC?) scenes. I’m talking animal cruelty and borderline child pornography. That sounds bad… it wasn’t that bad. Well, I don’t think… Either that or I am a horrible person for laughing.
My love and I watched Tampopo at The Belcourt here in Nashville. So, I’m guessing if you want to see it, you’ll have to look up your local artsy theatre or something. I also enjoyed it because I could understand 50% of the Japanese. Go me!
What else? Tomorrow I’m leaving. I’ll be soaring Nashville to LA to Auckland to Christchurch with very short stops in between (yay!). Please wish me a safe flight and be sure to keep reading for before long, I’ll be posting A LOT of NZ scenery.
“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.”
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” (Henry James)
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?
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.