Posts Tagged ‘travel’

The second half of our spring trip that gave my brain a good shakeup was in Kyoto, Japan.  I’m really drawn to the Japanese way of life, sense of style and history.  Kyoto especially had long been on my travel wish list.

We spent most of our time there visiting gobs of temples, admiring beautiful cherry blossom trees just starting to bloom and eating like crazy!

We decided to make Kyoto an adventure in food as well as history and natural beauty.  We tried high end kaiseki, low end (but great!) conveyor belt sushi, fermented wonders, yummy sweets, street food, you name it – we tried it!

beautiful tamago rolled omlette (not done by me but something to aspire to!)

Loved so much of what we ate – and how we ate – that I’ve tried to incorporate it into my eating at home.  After the trip, I figured out a bunch of recipes that mimic what we had in Japan – including eating fish for breakfast(!), cooking mushipan steamed cakes, and working on perfecting my technique of the tamago rolled omelet in the new purple tamago pan I bought (oh so good!).  I got a little book of 300 bento style recipes and have been experimenting with all sorts of new things.   Cooking lotus root is a delightful new find!

The way we ate while in Japan made so much more sense to me, it felt much healthier than what we do at home even though we’re pretty healthy eaters by North American standards.   I’m eating so much fish now that I can probably ditch that Omega-3 vitamin!  😀

Our last day in Japan we left the traditional beauty of Kyoto for the lights of Osaka.  Capsule hotels are so fascinating and I always wanted to try one, but they don’t often allow women.  The husband was able to find one that did and he generously put up with a crappy room all so I could sleep in a tube on the women’s floor.  He’s a good man! 🙂  The experience was super fun but not one I will repeat.  Love the energy in Osaka, so many people, crushing almost – but everyone is respectful and polite.

a few of the mushipan experiments

Japan shook up my brain in a great way, exposing me to some beauty and giving me renewed interest in food and cooking after having been in a rut for awhile.  I was so set on getting just the right mushipan recipe that I went nuts trying tons all in one day.  The husband saw the day’s production all laid out on our counters and wanted to know if I was starting a mushipan factory!  But it’s great, stimulating new areas of the brain and learning new things can only be good for all other areas of my life.

Below are some pics from Japan.  Next blog is back to stuff about glass and mosaics as summer is now upon us and I can get to work under the glorious sun outside. ☀

 

Have you ever not realized how much your brain needed something to shake it up?  I’d not realized how in need my brain was of something completely different till recently when we went on a big trip.

I’m not good at being “in the moment”, my brain is always moving, usually bouncing around future and past thoughts more than present thoughts.  It is hard to not think of things elsewhere from where you are, whether it is a worry, a project, a conversation you recall out of nowhere.

We took a trip this spring that I was looking forward to (we’d been planning it for 2 years) but didn’t realize how much it would impact me.  We were to visit China (Beijing, Guilin & Shanghai), the husband had lived there in his 20s and wanted me to experience it a bit, and after China a stop in Kyoto Japan (my choice due to a long love of most things Japanese) for cherry blossom season.

China was our first stop.  I knew Facebook was banned there, but forgot about Google being banned – and thus my email, which is a gmail account.  Immediately, I had no contact with anyone back home and decided to take that opportunity and run with it by not going online to read daily North American news.  It was a complete disconnect from all things tech and news from everything at home – which was wonderful.

Not that I had the time for tech and news anyways!  I was blown away by China.  Beijing and Shanghai were wonderfully fascinating places to visit.  We saw some amazing sights (the Great Wall, Hutongs in Bejing, the Marriage Market and Propaganda Museum in Shanghai) and learned so many interesting bits about life from various guides.  But my new love on this planet is the Guilin area of China.

I’d long wanted to see the mountains around the Li river and we spent several glorious days there with a suburb guide.  We climbed up peaks in the dark to watch the sun rise over the mountains, we rode on small rafts on the river surrounded by gorgeous vistas, went to ancient villages and met the most amazing people who let us take their photos and told us about their lives.  I can’t even being to describe without writing a novel how many things I learned, how much I cherish the experiences we had, how wonderful and warm the people were.  My brain never once thought about anything back home (except checking in on the beloved dog) the entire time we were here – every day was simply amazing.  I hope with all the hope in my body that I get to return to the Guilin area one day.

We had a week+ in China and on our plane ride to Japan both remarked how wonderful it had been and that we could have happily gone home at that point and counted it as the best trip ever.  But we got one other week in Japan which was spent in Kyoto – I’ll share more about that with you in the next blog post.

So I’m home now, with a rested brain that is humming with Chinese and Japanese inspired ideas.  🙂 It will be fun to see what all comes out of it (kind of want to try and learn some basic Mandarin now).  The 2 weeks of being so stimulated with everything new and interesting that it didn’t allow my brain to be anything other than “in the moment” has sort of held.  I’m doing much better at being in the now and looking forward to the rest of the year in a much more relaxed mode.  Think my brain was really in the need of learning and seeing some new exciting completely different bits.  Before this entry gets any longer, will end with a bunch of favorite photos from the China portion of the trip, and a wish that you too get to experience a brain shake up (in a good way) soon.  🙂

New Workroom!

New Workroom!

My neglect at the blog is terrible!  It has been so long it must have seemed like I fell off the face of the earth!  The past few months have been chock full of so many other life happenings that the blog and mosaic kind of went on the back burner.

When I last left you – the mosaic room was getting packed up for moving to the new house.  The move went well and a brand new mosaic room, complete with new worktable and storage unit, was set up.  This new workroom is amazing!  It is on a 2nd floor, has a great window with fantastic afternoon sun, a comfy chair for Ozwald to be while I work and walls loaded with fun photos and tchotchkes from my travels.  My first few days of working in here were pure joy – it is the perfect place!

Speaking of travels, one reason for my absence from the blog – in addition to the move – was a great big adventure to Asia.  Having never been, much time was spent planning and organizing ahead of time so that I could see the most in a limited amount of days.  Visiting Tokyo was a dream come true, I love Japan related books and have long had a fascination with the culture of the country.  Could write about 7 blog postings on that part of the trip alone!  We also got to visit Hong Kong and were totally fascinated by the street markets.  A quick visit to Singapore gave another taste of Asia and I actually braved up over my fear of high edges and swam to the edge of the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands, 57 stories in the air!  Finally the trip wrapped up with a visit into rural Indonesia for some amazing scuba diving.  We saw some sea anemone there that blew my mind – and make me want to re-visit making 3-D sculptures of anemones to mosaic.  Our flights there and home had us circumnavigate the globe, a first for me!

It has been a busy few months, but now, with the new room all in order and finally recovered from our 40 hour trek home, I’m ready to ramp back up and spend the winter mosaicing my heart out!  New projects have gotten started – and new blogs will come again more regularly, so please stick with me and check back next week when I’ll share the start of the next mosaic!