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There’s Nothing New Under The Sun. It’s Never What You Do But How It’s Done.

Dear Ashida Sensei,
This one’s for you!
Thank you for reading my blogs. I miss you and I miss Japan very very much, too!

Yesterday, I received a jam-packed envelope containing letters from my ex Junior High School students in Japan. Ashida Sensei, thank you for initiating them. I have always admired you. You once told me that you teach because you feel an obligation to open your student’s minds to the outside world. At the time, I thought your statement was beautiful. Today, with the heartbreaking circumstances of our world, I understand it as incredibly necessary, too. Thank you for selflessly shaping our future. Funnily enough, lately I have been receiving some negative opinions (and unfortunately from those dear to me) about my work. The education of children is not adequately valued in our society. These attitudes have left me unhappy, thinking that perhaps I should have studied something different, something more reputable like medicine or law. Fortunately, other positive forces in my life have rescued me from the quicksand of such negative thoughts. One beautiful lady in particular pointed me to the following quote by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith:

Among the greatest of all services that can possibly be rendered by man to Almighty God is the education and training of children… It is, however, very difficult to undertake this service, even harder to succeed in it. I hope that thou wilt acquit thyself well in this most important of tasks, and successfully carry the day, and become an ensign of God’s abounding Grace; that these children, reared one and all in the holy Teachings, will develop natures like unto the sweet airs that blow across the gardens of the All- Glorious, and will waft their fragrance around the world. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. pp. 133-134)

So, “the education and training of children” is not only the greatest service of all time but also one that is very difficult to do and to succeed in. Don’t get me wrong, I am not tooting my own horn. Rather, I wish to acknowledge the true importance of a teacher’s work.

I would like to finish with my favourite Japanese Proverb:

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
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Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors

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Tried this before? Coconut yoghurt with turmeric and mango. It has been surprisingly hot. I have been enjoying eating outside in the sun and in the space of a few days, I have gone from no job, well 1/2 job (freelancing for Savvy Tokyo) to 2 and 1/2 jobs. The first is to do with the education of 5-10 year olds. That’s pretty much all I can say without breaching privacy rules. And the second is serving delicious homemade organic gelato, vegan sorbets, and coconut ice-cream for the freakishly talented Utopia Ice. Hashtag life-as-a-wannabe-writer.
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Plum and earl grey. Yes, earl grey! CHCH friends, you know where to get your ice-cream fix this ice-cream-weather long weekend ;)
image-1FINISHED. This one is my favourite (so far). I really related to Heidi. She, a real writer, me, a wannabe writer – let’s just say reading it, I had numerous: “for real? ME too!” moments.
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Today my mom, my sister and I (dad, God bless him, was working as usual) had a Persian breakfast for lunch. Persians eat bread and feta cheese (here sprinkled with cumin powder) with vegetables like cucumber and tomato (the avocado is a personal addition) with herbs and nuts. And sometimes watermelon makes an appearance, too. Washed down with black cardamom tea. Until the age of seven, all I knew of breakfast was the Persian kind. When we arrived in NZ, I was introduced to cereal for the first time. Also sliced bread. We never had that in Iran. Our bread was huge and round and I had to line up for it with my mom. It would come out of a large round oven filled with little stones. Sometimes, if we were lucky (or so I thought back then) our bread would have one of these stones attached to it. This was my childhood. Walking down the street on my tippy toes, scanning the bread my mother held for lucky stones.

I Devour My Favorite Books

“Reading and eating are natural companions, and they’ve got a lot in common. Reading is consumption. Eating is consumption. Both are comforting, nourishing, restorative, relaxing, and mostly enjoyable. They can energize you or put you to sleep. Heavy books and heavy meals both require a period of intense digestion. Just as reading great novels can transport you to another time and place, meals — good and bad ones alike — can conjure scenes very far away from your kitchen table. Some of my favorite meals convey stories of origin and tradition; as a voracious reader, I devour my favorite books.” (Dina Fried, Food and Fiction)

The other day, as I scanned the library shelves for something new to read, I came across Heidi Julavits’ The Folded Clock which I judged entirely by the cover only and thus ended up issuing. Thankfully, the old adage proved utter bullcrap because this book, with its pretty blue patterned cover, is a, dare I say it, complete beauty! I love Heidi. I wish we could be friends. On second thought, her success would probably frighten me. This is because over the span of a couple pages,  I’ve become a huge fan of her writing. Why can’t I write like that? (I’m not fishing). Heidi’s prose is so human and so refreshing. You see, The Folded Clock is a diary which means we are given access to Heidi’s frank, funny, and surprisingly relatable musings. Her thoughts (often irrational) hit close to home for me. Unlike some authors I’ve read, Heidi isn’t pretending. She writes what her overworked mind (much like yours or mine) thinks.
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“I am a jack-of-all-trades. I edit and teach and at times desire to be a clothing designer or an artist (one who doesn’t draw or paint or sew) and I write everything but poetry and I am a mother and a social maniac and a misanthrope and a burgeoning self-help guru and a girl who wants to look pretty and a girl who wants to look sexy and a girl who wants to look girly and a woman in her middle forties who wishes not to look like anything at all, who wishes sometimes to vanish.” (Heidi Julavits, The Folded Clock: A Diary)
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The Importance of Food Presentation by me.
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I just wanted to say I liked The Berry Shop before it was this busy!
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Soroosh’s mom taught me this salad. I think it’s so tasty. Recently, I made it for my family and they also agreed.

1 pound boiled chicken, chopped small
3-4 large stalks of celery, chopped (leaves included)
1 cup red grapes, halved
½ cup roasted walnuts, chopped
handful of fresh mint, torn
2 gherkins, diced small
1 cup greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix until just combined.
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My family’s favorite foodie place in all of NZ is ZAB Thai Food Takeaway (except for my dad since he can’t handle spicy food). Oh man, it’s so good. It’s so good that I considered not posting about it. You know, in case it gets super popular and it becomes not good anymore. #padthaigamestrong

Speaking of strong food games, HERE are 8 Japanese foodie Instagram’s y’all should follow!

This Is What It Means To Be Happy

I know I say this of every place, but Anthy-sur-Leman is truly something else.
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You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
(Mary Oliver)
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The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. (Anne Frank)
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…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough (Vincent Van Gogh)
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A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness. (Leo Tolstoy)
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I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.” (Sylvia Plath)
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The Idea of Him

They say not to confuse love with the ‘idea of love’. But the same people also say that if you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all. So I sit here in 12D sandwiched between a snoring ogre and an overweight grandfather whose beer belly is so big that it makes me unbutton my own trousers. I sit here and I bathe in the idea of you. Tall, kind and handsome. I have never cared for colour. You can be blue black or orange but you must be a sweet talker. Comforting. Intelligent. Creative and patient, with me, with us but also with yourself.

They say not to fall in love with that which someone can offer. YOU must be whole first. Well ain’t that utter horse shit? Show me someone who isn’t broken. Who isn’t keeping a secret. Anxious. Vulnerable. Trying. Scared. I sit here and I bathe in the idea of you. The you who holds me while I cry over a broken dish. A rude waiter. Rain.

They say in love to stay independent. To not lose yourself. I say both Shakespeare and Mr. Fitzgerald would scoff at that. I sit here and I bathe in the idea of completely losing ourselves in each other. Abandoning the old and morphing into the new – a sort of superhuman, if you will. Where listening to you talk gadgets becomes my favourite habit and where my kale smoothie trespasses leaping to the very top of your morning checklist and you gladly welcome it. Where your warmth and hunger become my daily concerns. And my happiness your life’s mission.

The plane begins its ascend. The ogre roars from his nostrils and the grandfather shuffles his stomach like a pregnant woman finding a comfortable position, and I progress my float to a steady swim.

We are in Spain. In a narrow alleyway. Drinking juice and sharing tapas. “And,” you say in excitement, “the iPhone 7 plus is water resistant!”

Make A List

If you haven’t heard of Dallas Clayton, you’re missing out (big time!) so please check him out here right NOW!

Welcome back! Isn’t he an unfairly talented guy? To me, he is a huge inspiration. I only wish to inspire like he does. Last night, when I was pondering my new found smile, I came across Clayton’s latest work of art:
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How could I have missed something so simple? I mean, I was trying my best to live a good life, the countryside was so beautiful. I’d started new hobbies including cycling and yoga and made unexpected friends like this ojichan (old man) and yasu. But that didn’t mean I was actively engaging in activities I knew I loved. I know this sounds vain, I really do, but in this city, I am happy because I am filling my day with activities I know that I like. I am exercising (not sitting on my bottom for 8 hours straight in a suffocating room), walking walking walking (not driving for one hour to get groceries, alone), eating healthy, dressing pretty, writing in artsy cafes, appreciating diversity, purchasing freshly-made green smoothies and enjoying the odd glance from a boy. My new life makes me feel alive and it makes me feel young!

So how about you? What makes you happy? Painting? Drawing? The ocean? Cooking? Dining out? Road-trips? Building Lego? Dancing to the Beatles? Collecting fruit-stamps, watching old movies?

Are you doing it? Could you be doing it more?
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Me Before You: A Movie Review

There should be a fine for promising trailers that end up not delivering at all. Not even a little bit. If there is one message Me Before You gives across, it’s that the value of our time should always come before that. What a load of bollocks (did I get that right?). Ridiculous.

You have amazing inspirational movies like The Theory of Everything where the dude can’t even utter a word but stays positive and ends up becoming a genius academic author guy inspiring trillions then you have this spoilt brat who can speak better than the most of us who ends up SPOILER ALERT simply giving up.

Now, before you attack me for having no right to speak on the matter and not understanding the pain of such individuals, know that I am not commenting on this community as a whole. I’m just saying, that this character was dumb. You have all these scenes where he is making intelligent remarks on race horsing, appreciating classical music, admiring the view, rejoicing in his friend getting it on with some blonde, joking at a birthday party, buying a thoughtful gift and making this one girl’s entire life and shutting down her boyfriend with epic sarcastic remarks – all of which prove his life, just as any other individual’s, is worth life then BAM, bye bye! I can’t be happy because I’m not who I used to be, blah blah. Gosh, it makes me so mad. No one is who they used to me.  I sure as hell aren’t. Life happens. We change. Physically and emotionally and we don’t stop. It’s not easy for anyone. It’s not supposed to be. Again, relax, I know this attitude doesn’t apply to everyone.

Last, Emilia’s wardrobe is over-done. I mean, there’s hipster, then there’s too much.

GAH.
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Spring Has Come!

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Hi lovely followers! Just posting to let y’all know that spring has come to Japan! It was 19 degrees this weekend! 19! After being in the negatives, with snow only a few days ago. And personally, I am feeling much better, much less blue. Which I think is due to a combination of the spiritual powers of the fast, and the beauty of these blossoms! Oh the blossoms! Only three more weeks and they will be even more beautiful and I will be sight-seeing them with my parents. Can’t stop day-dreaming over here!

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. (Sonnet XCVIII)”
― William Shakespeare

“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.”
― L.M. Montgomery

“Too much sun after a Syracuse winter does strange things to your head, makes you feel strong, even if you aren’t.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson

“Spring is a powerful spell. The blue. The clouds high up and puffy. The air warmer than it’s been for weeks.”
― Jenny Downham

“The first real day of spring is like the first time a boy holds your hand. A flood of skin-tingling warmth consumes you, and everything shines with a fresh, colorful glow, making you forget that anything as cold and harsh as winter ever existed.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

“In the winter you may want the summer; in the summer, you may want the autumn; in the autumn, you may want the winter; but only in the spring you dream and want no other season but the spring!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

“I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees.”
― Pablo Neruda

Sunny-Side Up

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Sometimes blogging is hard.. like when I tell you all to follow my blog and like my Facebook page and follow my Instagram and share all of my posts and you don’t. Other times, it’s the most rewarding thing of all. For one, it has introduced me to a variety of people, people I would’ve otherwise never known. One of these, is kind and thoughtful, funny and creative, Randy. Now, I don’t know much about Randy, other than SHE (first I thought she was a HE) has been sweet enough to comment on my posts and not just any old words but loving expressions of encouragement and support. AND, Randy wrote a poem for me! Can you believe that? Someone I’ve never met wrote a POEM for me! I love you Randy! Thank you for making me smile again and again and I hope to  meet you someday! Where do you live? Israel?

If I were an egg,

I might be hard-boiled or scrambled.

But, you, my dear

Are always sunny-side up!

With softness of mantle.

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For Anisa Kazemi.

I love this girl; You will, too. See why, at:

http://iaccidentlyatethewholething.com