Out of quarantine

Had to abruptly go to Norway for a family emergency in November. Booked a ticket on the 17th and sat on a plane two days later.

It’s been 3 years since I was able to go home, and while it wasn’t a happy circumstance bringing me back, it was good to see familiar places and people. Hugging my family and friends. Feeling a twinge of baby fever upon seeing my cousin’s new baby. Making spring rolls and dancing around my best friend’s kitchen. Having my aunt’s two huge great danes in my lap. Being hated by my mom’s new kitten unless she was too sleepy to notice it was me. Feeling homesick and looking at houses thinking about moving back to Norway.

The timing was terrible though. A couple of days into my two-week stay in Norway, omicron happened which made me a nervous wreck the second week, constantly checking the news and border control pages to see if they’d allow me back in Japan.

Spoiler alert; they allowed me to come back in, but I had to stay 3 days at a quarantine hotel eating cold bentos morning, lunch, and dinner. I like rice, but not for every single meal. And the remaining 11 days I could quarantine at home, given that I didn’t step outside, which they would routinely check through an app.

On Sunday (yesterday) I was finally free to venture outside, and I went to get a haircut, bought a novel, got donuts, posted my long overdue christmas cards, and went for a walk in the woods savouring the fresh air and the feeling of stretching my legs out fully for the first time in two weeks. Swearing to myself I won’t take this freedom for granted again. But like with colds and blocked noses, it will quickly be forgotten until next time.

Falling behind

I have a mountain of correspondence to reply to and must apologize to all of my penpals.

I had planned to try to catch up this weekend but,

Saturday we were gone most of the day, and when we got home I barely managed to get a shower before going to sleep. I went to bed with my hair still wet, even though Teddy always gets cross about that. But what is a poor girl to do? Hairdryers aren’t the best for your hair and with this length it takes forever, and with a desperate need for sleep I wasn’t in a state to wait up another 2-3 hours for it to dry naturally. Sometimes you just have to go to sleep with wet hair.

Sunday I slept in, till the ungodly time of 11:30! And even having slept until this late, I didn’t even get up and make breakfast or do anything before closer to one o’clock in the afternoon. Usually unheard of for me but Saturday was a long day so I guess it can’t be helped. I spent the day cleaning, studying, watching Gray’s Anatomy, and planting. We had some more plastic bottles so I made some more planters.

We also went to the homestore and I got some cat-friendly plants for the living room. I want to make the apartment into a jungle. With plants everywhere, but I have to think about Darjeeling as well, don’t want her to get sick, nor mischevious and making a mess.

I would like to be able to write letters on weekdays, but finding the time to sit down properly and give the letters the attention they deserve is difficult when your after work schedule is full of trying to catch up on house stuff, like grocery shopping, cleaning, making dinner, and getting to bed in a timely manner.

Let’s face it, I have become a boring adult (tear).

I will do my best to get in some writing time this week (this weekend Teddy is having his second shot of the vaccine meaning we will be at home and so I will have time to write between taking care of him). I also want to get a headstart on christmas cards that I got a little while ago (and that I need to get more of, I only thought about my penpals, not my actual family when I was buying them 🙈)

At the border of Niigata and Gunma; Tanigawadake

Saturday morning, again at 3am, we got up to be on our way to Tanigawadake with Teddy’s family.

We took the ropeway (which might have been the first time for me), and then the skilift (that didn’t have a bar like the one I used last time years ago when going snowboarding) to get to the top and see all the mountains, including Mt. Tanigawa, surrounding us on all sides. Such a stunning view, an experience to behold.

Teddy is saying we will climb (!) Mt. Tanigawa next time, but I am not so sure, it might take too long at my fitness level (crying)

We went and had some soba afterwards, with tempura, and soba-yu, and soba tea, and soba tea pudding. Everything soba, except the tempura. As I lived in Nagano when I first moved to Japan, I do love soba.

On the way back we chanced upon a foot hot spring and some autumn leaves at a little roadside station, the foot bath was really refreshing!

Maybe I will think about climbing Mt. Tanigawa, one day…

Friday morning, reading, plants, and lately

This morning I managed to wake up (yesterday I did not), so I can have a relaxing morning. I like to get up early so I can do nothing for about two hours. Sometimes I will do some cleaning or some yoga, but that’s on the rare occasion that I am perfectly rested and have the energy.

Lately it is cold, so the first thing to do is turn on the heaters to heat up the rooms and to make a cup of tea. Since I woke up with a bit of a sore throat today I decided to make peppermint tea.

I am rereading Murakami’s 1Q84 lately. Darjeeling is in the window looking at the birds outside, making her little meowy noises.

After being inspired by a tiktok I am trying to grow some greens in my humble kitchen and they are sprouting a bit! I also got some more mini plants to greenify our space a bit. They’re not good for Darjeeling so I am keeping them in rooms she doesn’t have access to. The teapot pot is so cute though! I love it and want another hundred more.

Not long now before I can eat some spinach! (Haha)

When we got home from the supermarket on Monday, we got home to a crime scene;

It had been on top of the dresser lately but now it is no more. Just the day before I had been talking about why I like it so much to Teddy, maybe Darjeeling got jealous. At least she didn’t hurt herself!

I have also picked up my studying again lately after getting (yet another) new textbook on the recommendation of my friend.

Yesterday I got some Japanese sweets at the supermarket because they were irresistibly cute!

It’s a mini pumpkin!!

It’s 7am now so time to get back to my book before I have to get ready for work.

Have a lovely Friday everyone❣️

Yamanashi adventure

3am; we get up to start the journey to Yamanashi prefecture. With a cup of coffee with cocoa powder and my new trusty neck pillow from muji in hand I was ready to be on our way.

First we went to Hinatayama. We started out at the lower parking as the upper parking is a bit inaccessible unless you have one of those offroad cars or what you call it.

It took almost 3 hours to get to the top, because I am horribly unfit and feel sick with any kind of ascent (I can walk on flat ground for days). I thought of going back uncountable times but we reached it and I was so glad I hadn’t given up. It was freezing, but beautiful.

After having a snack we went on our merry way down, which was a lot easier than going up. I enjoyed it a lot. The fresh air, the sunlight filtering through the autumn foliage, the path littered with yellow leaves making the scenery magical.

Until about the last 50-ish minutes (that felt like the longest of the whole hike) where I had several blisters and what not, making each step painful, and I was tired and over the whole thing, just wanting it to end.

We made it down to the bottom in one piece, lifting my mood a great deal.

Next we went to get the Yamanashi specialty as we were ravenous; houtou

They had a limited autumn set that I had to get, with pumpkin houtou and chestnut rice!The chestnut rice was so sweet, almost like dessert!

The houtou was like a stew, or hotpot, with a wide range of different vegetables in a soup. There were huge chunks of potato and carrot in there too, so soft and delicious.

After eating till we felt like bursting, we went to the onsen to nurse our aches. We went to Hottarakashi onsen at the top of a mountain, just in time for the sun to set. Sitting in the hot water outside with the cool wind, watching Mt. Fuji flushed in pink; indescribable.

It was a lovely day off, and I am happy that I could experience Yamanashi a bit.

Today, the day after this adventure, I am taking it easy at home, as my legs are out of order like the day after leg day at the gym. I will see you again one day Yamanashi.

Rainy October Sunday

It’s fall. Mornings are crisp, and soon it is time to dig out the heaters and put the fan in their place.

This morning I made some hot chocolate, (from scratch!), and sat down to do some letter writing.

I am also wearing my little «brake time» cozy socks from Daiso.

Darjeeling is with me as always of course, doing her best to lie on top of the letter so I can’t read it.

Yesterday I spent the day reorganizing the kitchen, the stock closet, and the bath. I recently found out that the walls in the bath are magnetic, which opened up a whole new world of organizing possibilities.

We bought the rack in the middle for all the kitchen electronics, as the previous arrangement was not very earthquake secure.

It also has wheels making cleaning easier

Bought a little wagashi on the way back from the home store yesterday, a black halloween cat, which was delicious.

Today I want to see about getting some different trash bins, as I am over this tower type where any smell goes through all the compartments. I have seen some at muji that you can affix wheels to making them more convenient as well.

Have a good Sunday everyone❣️

Saturday bookstore browsing

I went to the bookstore to get a housewife magazine today, and while I was browsing I first saw that there is now a fourth book out in the «Before the coffee gets cold» series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.

As I looked to the right I saw a very familiar design, namely that of Michiko Aoyama’s books! I didn’t know she had a new book out, nor that it seems to be a continuation of my favorite book of hers; 「木曜日にはココアを」(Cocoa on Thursday)!!

This time it is «Matcha cafe on Monday» or 「月曜日の抹茶カフェ」.

I can’t wait to read this!

Potato donuts and a chic day off

Today it is a public holiday here in Japan, don’t know which one, what matters most to me is that I have a day off.

I have seen online that they have different potato donuts at mister donuts here so I decided to try them out. I can’t remember the last time I went to a donut shop, nor when I last ate a donut, so it must be a while since it happened. Anyways.

We have mitsuimo (honey potato), mitsuimo and butter, daigakuimo (candied sweet potato, literally university potato though haha), sweet potato, and murasakiimo (purple fleshed sweet potatao, very appetizing name).

Mitsuimo was ok, mitsuimo and butter not to my taste (not a fan of butter taste?), daigakuimo was ok, sweet, sweet potato was good, and murasakiimo was the best I think. I wanted to like the sweet potato one more, but it didn’t have as much sweet potato taste as other sweet potato sweets, like wagashi, usually have so.

Darjeeling was also interested, but not enough to have a bite haha

Today I felt very french, with my parisienne favourite perfume from SHIRO, and a dress and belt from the collaboration between uniqlo and Ines de la Fressange.

I have been reading another book by Dora Tauzin lately namely; «パリジェンヌはいくつになっても人生を楽しむ» or “A parisienne enjoys her life no matter how old” (loosely translated).

Anyone tried the donuts from mister donuts lately? Or any other good donuts out there?

Long time no see

Last time I wrote it was spring, with its cherry blossoms and fair weather.

I was so excited about this but for some reason can’t get into it as I did with the first one, is it that different?

Now it is autumn, beloved autumn (let’s skip summer).

A lot has happened since spring, and some has stayed the same. I got a new job, which accounts for most of the changes in my daily life and wellbeing. Working from home should mean that I have a lot more time as there is no commute, but for some reason it was easier to get in reading on a commute than at home. I am still working on the work/private life balance.

I got my dream table, a table I had in a note in my evernote app years ago titled «future house ideas». I am living in the same apartment but the arrival of the table has brightened it more than I had imagined.

My plant keeps growing and I had to repot her a little while ago:

We have been hiking lately so I have seen some beautiful views;

I did some doodling from May on my new phone, mostly of Darjeeling, and opened up a little Redbubble shop! I found doodling on my commute was very relaxing, but I often missed my stop.

It is almost time to break out the autumn fashion, and as usual I couldn’t help myself getting some new pieces this year either;

It’s still just a little too early, a little too hot, to start wearing it though.

I am still writing letters, and being as obsessed with stationery as always. Been buying autumn stationery and stamps like there is no tomorrow;

I would like to blog more, but not sure how to proceed, what to blog about, how often etc. Maybe the blog will be updated more this fall, or maybe not, I cannot say for certain. I have so many hobbies but so little time.

How is everyone doing so far this year, as we pass into autumnal bliss?

Perfect Monday

Yesterday was as perfect as a normal working Monday could be.

It was sunny, but with a cool wind bringing in the scent of autumn. I opened all windows and doors as far as I could letting in the fresh air while not letting out the cat. After days of rain, I could finally do the laundry and did no less than four loads thanks to the sun drying things in less than an hour.

For three years I have had the same futon covers, but I finally bought new ones; matching ones. And the joy of washing them and putting them on: I was over the moon. I have noticed that here, instead of having several sets of covers and changing and washing on like a weekly basis (which I would do in Norway), it seems to be enough with one set and then you hang the whole futon out to dry and “wash” in the sunshine.

While the laundry was drying, I was free to clean the apartment and finish most of my to-do list (that has been piling up lately)

I also got started on changing out my warderobe. Thanks to reading “Lessons from Madame Chic”, I am trying to define my style and also get some ‘core pieces’ and maybe even get down to a ’10-piece warderobe’. I make no promises however. I got a lot of new clothes (well, 8 pieces) which I think will be the main, but I also have some thicker knit sweaters and one wool skirt in my existing fall/winter warderobe so I am already exceeding the 10 pieces but I am not too bothered, it’s not the end of the world. I’m also trying to get better at dressing up, wearing the clothes I like more regularly and not just for special occasions. So for example, to go to the bakery this morning, I put on some of my new pieces and did my makeup! At 10 in the morning! (I work evenings). In Norway, if the bakery was as close as it is here, I might’ve just gone over in sweatpants.

Anyways, I digress, I was writing of yesterday.

My warderobe is looking like this at the moment, I’m hoping to get my knit sweaters etc., into the white boxes that are currently full of winter clothes, which means I need to find a different space to store summer clothes. Did I mention I love organizing yet? It should be getting clearer now. Thinking about storage space and how to organize it is what gets me going. And yes, I have thought that maybe I should become a Konmari consultant, but haven’t found any courses here yet.

I took a break after my warderobe shenanigans and had another matcha latte, which I have every day now, I am obsessed. I’ll probably drink it daily for 6 months and then I’ll get hooked on something new, or maybe go back to milk tea (that I made and drank daily from December until June).

Matcha latte? Check

Laundry? Check

Cleaning? Check

Organizing? Check

Reading? Check

It doesn’t take too much to make me happy. I coud accomplish all this, take my time getting to work, and work didn’t bring me down either.

I got home, took a bath with the Makioka Sisters in hand, and then I could go to bed in new sheets, the first new sheets in 3 years. My sigh is of happiness and you could probably hear it from outside as the temperature was perfect for keeping the windows open all day and all night.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started