Friday, July 31, 2009

Nihon Ikimashio! Part 4

(cont’d from earlier post)

Getting up from bed early isn’t exactly my forte but I did it anyway as I had a train to catch. The last time I put up at Midori’s, she surprised me with homemade breakfast. Needless to say, it was delicious! But more than that, it was the gesture which I really appreciated. Back home here, it’s always a mad rush in the morning. Breakfast is bread with jam/butter, grab and go. Imagine how deep an impression a full set of homemade breakfast created. This morning was no different. Midori whipped up a scrumptious meal in no time! Yippe!

It was a 3 and a half hour train journey for me. I was heading to the prefecture that I resided in 3 years ago, Fukui (福井). But I wasn’t headed back to my hometown yet. I was meeting a friend, Satoko, in Tsuruga (敦賀) and we stopped by by Keihi Jingu (気比神宮) and admired its magnificent torii.

We were actually driving to Obama. Yes, you heard it right. Obama (小浜) is a city in Fukui prefecture. Obama city is not very much different from other cities in rural Japan but I had a few laughs seeing the creativity of the locals. I saw chopsticks, biscuits, banners, key rings stamped with President Obama’s face. They have a hamburger name after him too!

Dinner that night wasn’t in any fancy restaurant but I had so much fun with Satoko and Mon-chan! We made our very own yakisoba with Satoko’s hotplate. And when that wasn’t enough to fill our hungry stomachs (we are talking about 3 growing and energetic young people ;p), we had gyozas too! Of course, that was all washed down with Kirin (I love Kirin! We should have more of it in Singapore!). With our betsu baras (separate stomachs), Satoko and I ventured out in the dark after dinner to the nearby combini, MiniStop. Even the drizzle could not come between us and our Halo Halo (ハロハロ) dessert!

The next morning, we treated ourselves to the sights at Sotomo (蘇洞門), located at the tip of the Uchitomi Peninsula. With its many strange-shaped rocks and caves created by the wind and the rough Sea of Japan, I imagine this is must be one of the must-see sights for my high school Geography teacher.

It was a fun-filled 1 and a half day in Obama. But I was in greater anticipation because that afternoon, I would be returning to the place I once called home…

Have a great weekend everyone, and we'll continue from here next week!

[click on images to enlarge]

[images: dessert - MiniStop, Sotomo - Wikimedia, all others from Cookie Cutter]


Yay! It’s Friday. If you have been following my little blog, you’ll probably be expecting a wedding-related post today. We’ve had 10 installments in this weekly series and I’ve had so much fun posting them! More than that, it was always a delight to read your comments on them. However, I think it appropriate that we end the series with its 10th installment. Of course, you’ll still hear updates from me on my wedding prep here and there. If you’ve missed any of the 10 or would like to recap, you can easily click on the “weddings” under “Cookie Flavours” on the right column and you can find all the 10 installments there. Once again, thank you for your support on this series.

For now, I have been posting everyday since the first post on 28 July, on my recent Japan trip. Please join me as I retrace my journey. I hope you’ll have as much fun reading as I did visiting the Land of the Rising Sun—the unbelievably delicious food (and beer), the breath-taking nature, the vitality of the city, the impeccable service, the priceless friendships…

[image from Cookie Cutter]

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nihon Ikimashio! Part 3

(con’td from previous post)

With empty stomachs and eagerness, Midori and I made our way to Tsukiji Fish Market. The early-rising summer sun had helped jolt me from my slumber. Since it was our stomachs we were looking forward to fill, we walked through all the shops and little restaurants which were already buzzing with activity. After a stroll through, punctuated by my “what is that?!”, “oooh that looks good!”, we settled for one of the numerous little donburi shops that dotted the area.

Delicious was personified in all the images that plastered the shop and although I desired so many items on the menu, I finally settled for one. As we sat at the counter, I watched as the chef hurried around his little space, the huge chunk of tuna that another chef was cutting (using one from his array of knives), hungry people who were enjoying their breakfast...

Mine finally arrived! Itadakimasu! Usually, my stomach is not too opened to the idea of having rice in the morning (I’m a bread person day in, day out), but to my own amazement, my bowl of donburi fast disappeared. The food was so fresh, all I needed was only a touch of soy sauce to go along with it. The Japanese really know how to appreciate food in its most natural state.

That afternoon, I made my way to Nippori in search of the much talked-about Tomato fabric store.

After exiting the train station, I got just a little lost but asked for directions and soon found myself in Fabric Town! Tomato with its huge signboard was easy to spot. And despite the crowd, I raced up to the top floor to work my way downwards level by level. Oooh, Tomato is fabric paradise! It was filled with bundles of fabric as well as pre-cut smaller swatches. In all colours and tonnes of kawaii prints!! Photography was prohibited so I managed only one shot very discreetly.

As I perused the stock, the crowd around me faded out. If you are a fellow fabric lover, you’ll know what I mean when I say this is sheer happiness. Annoying Rational Sandy kept reminding me of my already heavy luggage though.

In my next Japan trip post, I’ll take you out of Tokyo. I hope you’ll come along for the ride and fall in love with inaka (countryside) Japan too!

[click on images to enlarge]

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nihon Ikimashio! Part 2

Ohaiyou! Welcome back! Thanks for joining me yesterday and it was so great to read in your comments that you enjoyed the trip! Shall we continue with our journey?

I had a restful night and slept in till about 9am. Midori and I set out for brunch soon after. Although we are officially into summer in Japan, the morning drizzle had introduced some cool air. As we strolled leisurely down the sidewalk, I took in the familiar sights—combinis, Japanese fast food chains, 100yen shops… I WAS in Japan!

I soon found myself in a peaceful backlane in Nakameguro. The river runs on my left and it was lined with Sakura trees. The café we were heading to, HUIT, for our brunch was right there. I couldn’t think of a better place!

You know the thrill you get when you push open a door with anticipation of finding out what’s behind it? I felt just that. The interior certainly didn’t disappoint. The wooden furniture and vintage decorative pieces lit with a string of light was awfully charming! As I wrapped my fingers round my warm cup of tea, I looked out of the window and imagined how beautiful it must be when the Sakuras are in bloom.

After attending to some matters in the day, I made my way back to the apato alone that night. Call me crazy but I was so excited to pick up an obento from the nearby supermarket. I loved doing that when I was residing in Japan 3 years ago. The choices were endless so I always took a while to make my decision. It didn’t help that the food always looked so good! Well, it was no different this time. So it was obento with Japanese TV variety shows for me that night. Perfect.

I had told Midori before that I wanted to visit the world renowned Tsukiji Fish Market. The arrangement was for us to wake up at 4am the next day and get there early to catch the fish auction and of course have some oishii breakfast after that. That night, minutes after I told Midori “oyasumi”, I asked, “If we go just for breakfast, what time do we get out of bed?”. The choice was between 4am and 6am. That was 2 more solid hours of sleep! My laziness got the better of me. I decided we’ll just head there for breakfast. Afterall, that’s what’s more important, isn't it?

Join me tomorrow on our trip?

[click on images to enlarge]

[all images from Cookie Cutter, except for last image: Bliss]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nihon ikimashio! Part 1

Have you forgiven me for not posting regularly last week? I know you would :). But, I have just the way to make up for it anyway! Come with me as I retrace my journey last week.

You ready? Let’s head to… the Land of the Rising Sun!!! Woohoo!!

When the plane landed in Narita at about 2pm, I couldn’t quite believe that I was back. It’s been 3 years and I’ve been saying forever that I want to return. It was finally happening! I took a limo bus to the city to meet my friend, Midori, who very very kindly put me up in her lovely little apato. Despite having woken up at 2am that morning, my adrenalin was pumping so we left for Shibuya the moment I dropped my bags on her apato floor.

Shibuya, the heart of Tokyo city... I soak in the air of cosmopolitan Japan. I convinced Midori that I MUST go to Tokyu Hands and I soon found myself in craft/DIY paradise. Wow wee! Several levels of anything, everything that will make creative souls happy. Time was limited so I zoomed into my great loves—sewing related stuff, stationery and paper. Since I had only just landed, I restrained myself from spending my entire fortune on my very first day.

But I HAD to bring home these awfully cute marking clips. It was love at first slight.

And aren’t these tiles sooo kawaii?? I would have bought every single alphabet but well, rational Sandy said to get only “S” and “T” (T for my wonderful fiancé). I slipped the tile with this irresistibly cute girl and doggie into my hand anyway.

It was tape galore as well! Don’t ask me what I will do with it. I’ll get it first and I’ll find out later.

Dinner time!! Mmmm… Nihon ryori is my all-time favourite!! And nothing beats the quality of Japanese food in Japan! Midori, Aki and Yuki treated me to a delicious meal. I was too happy eating and chatting with them to take more pics (baka Sandy).

Aki gave me an omiyage and the box was too beautiful! Despite the unimaginable weight of my luggage, I made sure I took the box home. The contents delighted me just as much!

[click on images to enlarge]

So, have I redeemed myself yet? Nope, this is not all. Come back tomorrow and we’ll continue with my second day in Tokyo, ok? I’ll take you to a lovely café.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Knock knock

Hi everyone,
Did you miss me? Just dropping in to let you know that I have not vanished into the thin air. I have had so much going on lately! I promise I will be back by Tuesday. Exciting posts guaranteed! Japan fans, stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Images I am loving

I have these images which I really love and am dying to share. So I’m just going to post them here with no particular theme, except maybe “Beautiful Images I am Loving”:

[click on images to enlarge]

Monday, July 20, 2009

Come be my shopping mate - J.Crew

Welcome back! I hope you had a restful weekend. Today, I’m going imaginary shopping at J.Crew. I love doing it. It’s a real virtual feast! Wanna come along? Don’t you want some summer-friendly clothes too? Betcha will after this.

I’m strutting down the sidewalks in my flowy summer top, denim shorts and sunglasses. Ahuh! Boutique spotted! Pushing open the glass door, racks of clothes greeted my eyes as I took a step in.

Some accessories to go along:

Now, wasn’t that absolutely therapeutic?

[images from J.Crew]

Friday, July 17, 2009

[Wedding Series 10] - Colour Palettes

One of the first things that is decided on when preparing a wedding is your colour palette. After all, it will be worked into many visual aspects of your wedding. It is in complement with your chosen theme to make your wedding a unique and personal one. I am impressed whenever I attend a wedding with an obvious colour palette which is consistent throughout. It thrills me to see how the chosen colours are executed eg. “Oh, they have pink and white flowers, just like their invites”, “that’s a cute pink and white favor!” etc. I also know that it is a well-thought out wedding with everything carefully planned for, down to the details.

After looking at the numerous beautiful wedding-related images here in the blogsphere, aqua with its overtones of blue and green really appealed to me. I love how it can look so sweet and yet exude a sense of serenity. Oh and of course, it’s also related to that renowned gorgeous little blue box. I pick Tiffany Blue! It’ll be in my colour palette by hook or by crook.

Since the room in which my wedding dinner will be held has many touches of mustard yellow and gold, I have decided for my colour palette to comprise:
Tiffany blue, white and yellow/gold. My fiance? Oh, he's just too glad I'm taking care of the "niity gritties".

How did/will you decide on your colour palette? Was it based simply on your preferences? Do you and your partner have a couple colour?

P/S Can you believe it? We're into the 10th installment of our wedding series! Am I boring you? Do you like any particular bits about it? Hoping to read about something but I never seem to get to it? I'll love to hear from you! Happy weekend!