woodwork

Nishiawakura

20 days to go. I am trying my best to make the most of every day, knowing that when I look back on my time here, I’ll only remember the good and miss it. Terribly. Today, I am appreciating Nishiawakura, the village next to mine. Not only is it home to some of my dearest friends in Japan, it is also beautiful and, bursting with raw talent. From Olivier and Hiromi’s bread to Lifa and Akiko’s woodwork to Naho sensei’s pottery to the fresh herbs and vegetables lovingly cultivated by sweet old couples. Of course, Nishiawakura’s talent is not limited to this image for it seems almost every inhabitant there is making and creating in the hope of putting their unique mark on the world.

Thank you, Nishiawakura. I am going to miss you.
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Life Is Tough But So Are You

So I received the best gift ever. Like, I love it so much, I can’t stop thinking about. Handmade with local Japanese mountain Sakura (cherry blossom)! Wow wow wow! Friendships like these don’t come easy. This is why I travel. I love you my Israeli brother. @kodamaliving SO much talent! This, (not just the material thing but also the thought behind it) makes all of the trouble, all of the worries, the homesickness, the weight gain, the mosquito bites, the prejudice, the unfamiliarity, ALL worth it.
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Boys (and girls) and BBQ

At home, I eat mostly vegan/vegetarian. With my Japanese friends, I’m sorta obliged to eat meat because I don’t want to offend them when they have placed much care and time in either taking me to a favorite restaurant or preparing me a special dish. There, I suck it up like a big girl and wash it down with a kale smoothie, later. I’m serious. However; I don’t mind eating locally hunted deer. This is because, in the countryside, there are SO many of them and they often get themselves killed or kill people through severe road accidents. They just run everywhere. Venison is pretty lean and has very little fat to it. I enjoy the taste. Last night, the boys cooked the girls (Aki and I) a delicious BBQ and we loved it. I made a platter featuring hummus (recipe HERE) organic veggies, nuts, blue-cheese, olives, crackers, prosciutto wrapped bread-sticks and chia-seed corn-chips. My super talented friend, Lifa (the Israeli wood-worker) made his beautiful wife a gorgeous grocery box and for the our BBQ, a chimney coal starter.

For more of  his work check out his dope Instagram HEREimage
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We have to remember what’s important in life:

…friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come third. -Leslie Knope

SUNDAY
BRUNCH
Perhaps two of the most delicious words in history and together, saliva inducing. Today, I made healthy waffles using THIS recipe and served them with home-made apple and raspberry compote and coconut oil and honey fried bananas, yoghurt, macadamia nuts and fresh strawberries.

So, speaking of friends and waffles and waffles and friends. My dear dear friend Lifa made this absolutely gorgeous piece of art, a one-off personal chopping board for me. Which, was gifted to me by his adorable son (my valentine) straight on arrival accompanied by the cutest”I love you” I’ve evereverEVER had the pleasure of hearing. TOO CUTE. This kid is driving me insane. Friends are everything. Wow, how incredibly lucky am I? Just look at it. So pretty! Made from local Hinoki Cypress, it’s light, smooth, warm and inviting! I look forward to using it again and again and again. Thank you, Lifa.

To see more of Lifa’s artistic creations, click HERE and while you’re at it, follow his Instagram, for all things wood (not that kinda wood), Japan, and KAWAII (Oz-kun – oh and of course, his beautiful wife, Akiko-san).
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compote:
3 apples, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cups raspberries
2 tbsp honey, maple or agave syrup (optional)
juice of one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add apples, raspberries, honey and cinnamon, and ONE cup of water. Bring to the boil, then simmer until thick. When nice and pulpy, stir in lemon juice. Can be eaten hot or cold.

fried nanas:
1 tbsp coconut oil
3-4 bananas, peeled and chopped, medium
1 tbsp honey

Melt coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add bananas and honey and GENTLY stir-fry until nice and yummy 3-5 minutes.