Monday, November 30, 2009

My rings were featured on Perez Hilton's Blog and the Trendhunter blog

Oh. My. God! Thanks to a wonderful etsian I found out that Perez Hilton featured my rings on his CocoPerez blog!! Sadly, he wasn't sure who made them so I left a comment and the wonderful woman who emailed me about it, also emailed him. Turns out he found out about my rings from this site Trendhunter ! It certainly explains why I suddenly sold a whole bunch of rings last week!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Enjoying the little moments. A perfect start to a Sunday!

Normally, I wake up on the weekends and basically turn on the computer and start working. Not today! Today, my hubby decided to climb the mountain near us giving me some space and him some exercise. It was just the kind of day I like...cloudy and cold. I turned on some soft jazz, made some hojicha (roasted green tea) and called my girlfriend in California. After we got caught up, I read Oprah magazines and a few others. I relaxed and sometimes just closed my eyes and listened to the music. I love these perfect moments. Some people live for the big moments....but little moments happen more often and are just as amazing. The old saying about "stop and smell the roses" is so true!

When hubby came back he was refreshed and was so happy to have gone hiking. He took some pictures and they sure are beautiful so enjoy!!!

Although Thanksgiving is over (way over in my case as I'm Canadian and ours is in October)....being thankful for moments like these is so important for a happy life. I wish you all a fabulous Sunday!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Senbei shopping and the "virgin road"

Lately, I have been really into eating senbei. Senbei are Japanese rice crackers. They are delicious but finding some without wheat or soy sauce is very difficult. Even the "plain" ones often have soy sauce. We found out that near us is a famous senbei shop. Here are a few things they offer.

So we went yesterday and I bought some. I was a bit sad because most of the nice ones in the pictures above I couldn't fact I could only find the plain ones-still....better than nothing.

Apparently this senbei shop is so famous that you can even buy the water they use to make the senbei-it is pure mountain water -100 yen (about $1) for 10 liters. The place to buy the water is attached to the store. Here are the pictures!

Now, the "virgin road" story. Even after 11+ years, I learn new things all the time! Yesterday my student was telling me about a new hotel that was built here in our city. Apparently it is hoping to be popular for weddings as they built a chapel inside. My student said: " They are very proud of this chapel because the designer drew the plans so that the sun would shine on the virgin road". I was a bit lost and though I must have heard her wrong...perhaps she meant a statue of the Virgin Mary or something. But no. She meant the virgin road. She then looked at me like something was wrong with me. Why didn't I understand? It was English after all! Turns out that when the bride walks down the church aisle (with or without a father), she is walking down the "virgin road". And no, that is not the translated version...they say it in English. When it is just a regular church day it would be translated into an "aisle" but when a bride walks down it, it is the "virgin road". I was speechless....never heard that before! My students were shocked because they thought that was how we say it in North America. We don't. We all got a laugh out of that one!!

A Romantic Christmas Eve

Yesterday, we booked this room at an onsen for Christmas eve!!! I am so excited! It is a room big enough for 4 with a private, outside bath. We will eat delicious food and have a great time! I will take a ton of pics of our trip and post them after. This sure beats staying at home and thinking of what everyone is doing back in Canada for Christmas!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We are featured in the #1 magazine for anime, manga and Asian film

We are featured in NEO . You can see our little hannari tofu phone charm in the corner. This is a very cool magazine if you are into anime and manga!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I love a little wine while taking a bath but this....

I love to drink a little wine while taking a bath but this is an all together different thing!!

This is an onsen (hot spring) in Kanagawa Prefecture. This is a wine hot spring. This year, they used Beaujolais Nouveau wine. This picture was taken on the grand opening of this particular bath and it was the day of the newest release of the wine itself. Apparently this onsen also has green tea baths, sake baths and coffee baths! I think this may also qualify for the "only in Japan" title!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My week in pictures

Well I've been busy but I have also been having fun. Last Saturday I went out to eat with 3 of "the ladies". They are my students but are more like my Japanese moms. When I came to Japan they were already at my school so I have been teaching them for 11+ years. I LOVE hanging out with them. Anyway, they took me to a restaurant in town that I have never even noticed. It was delicious!! There are only 6 tables so we had to make a reservation and we didn't even look at a was decided for us. There were 3 courses plus bread with the main course....sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the dessert course but it was yummy.

The first course- fried fish, smoked salmon, a pumpkin puree with some smoked bacon on top, marinated veggies with liver (ok...that was an unexpected and unpleasant surprise....didn't eat the liver!)

The main course- salmon with mushrooms and very tender beef!

We sat and chatted for 3 hours...until they kicked us out as lunch time was over. Can't wait to do that again!

At the supermarket I found some pretty cute food! I know that many Canadian/American kids don't like fish...but maybe they would eat it if it looked like "pikachu" or "doraemon". Yes, these are made from fish paste....they are quite yummy!

And of course kids love sweets but these must be better just because they are so cute!!

Yesterday we went into town to do some shopping and eat Indian food and when we got back to the station we walked by public telephones and my hubby commented on how people must rarely use them now that most people have cell phones. Well...I had forgotten about how big and different they are compared to ones back one so I thought I would show you. I do remember that my very first day in Japan I had my picture taken next to one because I thought they were so weird! The green one is for international phone calls.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And you thought Kobe Beef Was Special...

I'm sure many of you know about Kobe the cows are beer fed and massaged. Well, now in Hokkaido there is an onsen (hotspring) that is trying to lure guests by offering special pork dishes. This onsen is a "beauty" onsen in that the water is reported to be good for your skin and health. So, the pigs are made to drink 5 liters of this onsen water per day. The onsen claims that the pork from these pigs is healthier, more delicious, less fatty and has a better texture than other pork.

Here are the pigs drinking the onsen water

This is the pork from this onsen

It does look good....but is it really different? My hubby suggested we go and try it and then I can write about it but since we would have to fly is pretty much out of the question. So...if anybody ever gives it a try..let us know!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

40% off 600+ Items

As mentioned in a previous post, Etsy has changed the rules for commercial supplies. After talking it over with my hubby, we decided we don't want to move over that many items so we are selling them at 40% off! The sale is from November 11th to December 31st 2009. Please pay as you normally would and we will refund the difference. The 40% is only for the items -NOT the shipping. Normal shipping discounts apply. This is only for our shop.

The following items are 40% off:
** CARDS (not Christmas cards)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thought I would share these.

I found some great articles on the site JapanTimes. I thought I would share them with you. They are all by the same writer- Amy Chavez. She is an American living on an island here in Japan. It is interesting reading her view on things. As I read, I often laugh and nod in agreement! Enjoy!

Japanese — a language of tall tales

Appreciating a sense of space — a Japanese fine art

What is it that makes things 'Japanese'?

Imagine no possessions

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Sad Reality And A Possible Way To Prevent It

Japan has one of the highest suicide rates among the industrialized nations-some say it is 100 per day. The reasons are similar to other countries -unemployment, financial troubles, depression etc and there are cultural issues as well given that psychiatry and counselling is not viewed in a good light here. What might be different is one way that people commit suicide.

In Japan, many people jump in front of trains to kill themselves. This is a big problem as at least 2000 people killed themselves this way last year. I have been on trains that have stopped in the middle of a field because someone jumped at the next station-it is a very strange feeling knowing that someone just killed themselves. What makes it even sadder (if that is possible) is that the family of the person who jumped, must pay for the clean up and for the time it takes to do it.
This has become such a big problem in Japan that some stations are now installing blue LED lights at some train stations. While there isn't any scientific proof that blue lights will prevent suicides, they believe that blue lights have a calming effect and might make someone pause and reflect and that is reason enough to install them. The picture below shows the newly installed blue LED lights.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Only in Japan? Doggy Kimonos!!

My husband sent me a link to a store that sells doggy kimonos and I just had to share! I know there are people who like to dress their dogs up and this has to be one of the most interesting ways!! Take a look!

Speaking of dogs....or cats.....I am thinking of listing these kits in my store. Both are kits for using clay (which they come with) and making a paw print of your cat or dog. The first one is a framed set....comes with the clay and the frame and there will be instructions on how to do it but after you finish you will have your pet's paw and picture plus there is space for another picture of either your pet or child or you.

The second kit you also make a paw print with clay but it becomes a key chain with the paw print and a picture of your pet.

I'm thinking for animal lovers, these would be great but would love to hear thoughts on these before I buy them to sell.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cute Food!

Japan is not only in love with everything cute but it also loves to combine that with limited edition things. Tonight I found these in the Lawsons (like a 7-11 convenience store) near my work. I bought them and was going to take pictures but my honey really wanted to eat them so I told him the only way that was going to happen was if he could find the pictures on line for my he did. He then promptly ate them and told me to write in my blog that they are really really good!
These little guys are mochi (chewy rice cakes) covered in chocolate

Or covered in caramel pudding

or covered in matcha (green tea)

And apparently they won't be around for long!

In other news.....

It suddenly got cold. Last week during the afternoon we actually used the air conditioner because it was humid and then combined with the afternoon sun the living room was a terrible place to be. Now, I just put the heating pad on the bed and am washing my winter blankets etc to put them on as soon as possible! BUT the beautiful thing about the cold is bath time!! I know I blogged about it last year but honestly, the bathroom becomes similar to an outside onsen (hot spring)....I open the window which is at the foot of my bathtub and cold air comes in (and I love it when it is windy!) water up to my neck, no lights ....pure heaven!!!


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