January 10th, 2022

Today was a day off for both me and Teddy so I made a big breakfast. My new vase also arrived right in the middle of it and I quickly changed it out. Now it appears to me I need more flowers to make it a bit fuller haha.

After breakfast we went to a bakery, where I got some french toast among other goodies, before we went to this cute little Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s park. We had a lovely stroll around, went into the mushroom house which was fun, but as in the name of the park; even more so if you’re a child.

We stood on top one of the houses and looked down to see a park attendant draw pictures on the pavement using water to the delight of the children.

There was also a little cafe there that looked adorable, but we were already full from our trip to the bakery so maybe next time.

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.

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…

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?

Summer vacation

Obon vacation came and went by in a flash. I wouldn’t have minded having another week or two.

I was supposed to go home this year, using my vacation days, and fly back to spend some quality time with my friends and family, but because of the pandemic these plans have been overturned and I’ve had to stay here. But I did get out of the house for a bit.

The first day was spent cleaning and organizing a bit in our stock closet, thanks to (finally) reading this manga by Yururi Mai, I wanted to turn out the whole apartment, but satisfied myself with the closet (for now).

I got this in December last year as I had just moved in with someone for the first time, but it took me until now to actually get to reading it.

Day 2 we went on a drive over to Gunma prefecture to see this beautiful old historic house, a dam, and to eat some himokawa udon (which I have found that I love!)

Day 3 I went on a date with my friend, and she let me drag her out to Daikanyama (where I had never been) to see a bookstore that according to a google search is one of the top 20 most beautiful in the world! It is called the Daikanyama T-site and it is spread over three connected buildings. They had a pretty big English selection too and the interior was gorgeous.

We also went to the Rikugien gardens for a nice (super hot) stroll.

Day 4 we celebrated a birthday with eel, cake, and fireworks.

Day 5 was spent just relaxing.

The last day, Sunday, we got up early and drove to the beach! I took my favorite novel with me, Jane Eyre, but it was too hot to do anything but cool off in the water. It was so hot that the glue must have melted because pages started coming out and I had to try and attach them with washitape when I got home.

It was a good little vacation, a breath of fresh air, before going back to work. Having gotten a day at the beach, I feel like summer is complete for me and that autumn is more than welcome to take its place. Dreaming of hot chocolates and scarves and sweaters and a chill in the air. Wrapping yourself in blankets and knitted socks. What a dream. A dream that feels oh so far away.

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