London + the Cotswolds

London was the second city I visited this time in Europe. Well technically I was to visit a couple places in Belgium but plans got rearranged so I wasn't able to go:( After arriving in London I visited the Cotswolds. I took a bus into the countryside to stay one night in a cute village.

It was my third time in London and I absolutely loved being there. It's different from Paris (obviously) and what I find that draws me to it are the people. It's supposedly Europe's largest city and it is so cosmopolitan. Yes, I've been to other cities that were international but not quite like London. I swear the most English I heard was the announcements on the Tube. Plus, I have a few close friends that are living in London versus the almost non-existent social network I have in Paris.

I guess it's wonderful that Paris as a city draws you in because even if you don't know anyone you are perfectly content wandering around on your own. Not that exploring isn't fun in London but knowing people adds to it's experience. But hey I'm an only child so getting around on my own hasn't ever been an issue.

Anyway, the more time I spend in London the more I enjoy it. There are so many areas to explore, cuisines to try and markets to walk around. I truly sensed that it is someplace I could live. It's a large, diverse city where I have friends and in terms of work there are opportunities in the field I want to pursue.

Okay, stop with my babbling. Time for pictures!

A little update

Hey all, so sorry that I haven't posted pictures. My laptop isn't cooperating (but I also haven't tried to turn it on in several days knowing I'll be heartbroken when it shuts down on me). I'd love to post pictures from my mobile phone and although I've made an address to email I still haven't figured it out. In my defense, I tried once and it didn't work. Must try again ASAP.

In other news, I have a small idea of my future plans which has taken a huge amount of anxiety off my shoulders. As of yesterday my plans are set to go to Europe for two weeks beginning at the end of this month. I'm beyond excited! My future rests a lot on this trip so I must do my best to achieve my goals.

I'll be flying in and out of Paris and I'll most likely visit somewhere else besides Paris -London/Belgium/Switzerland. Yes, the end of September into the beginning of October means it's fashion week in Paris. Such an exciting time. I was there for work in March and it was amazing.

Will update more soon. And I really need to get some pictures up here because like you guys I'm tired of NOT having pictures in these last couple posts.

August is gone and for most of us that means that summer is fading away. But alas, my favorite season-autumn- is on its way. Granted, it doesn't feel at all like the end of summer here on Maui but I'll have my share of autumn soon enough :)

The Rockies

Please excuse my lack of posts. I've been having serious computer issues. My laptop is shy of being 6 years old and won't always start. And if it does start it doesn't stay on long. I really need a new one and I've been thinking good thoughts for my current laptop but it seems it isn't enough. Now I have the daunting task of working and saving to purchase a new one.

Computer issues aside, I was recently in Western Colorado visiting family. The trip haven't last minute. It's been over three years since I've seen my father and other members of his family. Other than the dry climate it was wonderful being there. The Rocky mountains were in plain view and for them to be there every time I looked east was just amazing. I even visited a town called Ouray that is said to be the Switzerland of the U.S. Which of course lead me to compare and contrast the landscape with Switzerland. A place very dear to me as I spent a semester studying there in college.

Most of my time in Colorado was spent helping out on my father's large organic farm. My half siblings all work on the farm and the plethora of vegetables was simply beautiful. I helped with weeding, harvesting, packing and the most exciting for me- working the farmer's markets. My father was a farmer here on Maui when I was very young and it is was he's truly passionate about. It's fantastic to see him fulfilling his dream and I respect all the work he does because farming is far from easy.

Eating fresh tomatoes, zucchini, beets and apricots almost daily and maintaining a healthy diet there (no refined sugar, flour, rarely any dairy and no caffeine) pretty much gave me the detox I needed for the year. Physicially I felt great because I was active and spending time with family made it all that much better. The farmer's markets were a lot of fun. Definately a first for me because I'm usually on the other side as the buyer. My father's produce is made with so much love and hard work (family, workers and interns all do their part) that selling the produce at the markets becomes so easy. The relationship between farmers and the customers is so important. The transparency of what happens on the farm is so essential.

Another amazing opportunity while I was there was to spend time with horses. My aunt has a neighbor, and now dear friend, who owns 37 horses. My time spent with horses hasn't been much over my lifetime. There were three horses my family took care of when I was a young girl and then the very occassional horseback ride later on but otherwise horses remained in the pastures that I pass by in the car. Anyway, these horses are all gorgeous, intelligent and fascinating creatures. I also got to learn a little more about horses. This kind of education is useful whenever it is I see and meet a horse next. Horses communicate with actions which seems so much clearer than how we humans interact with words than become misinterpreted, misconstrued and even unheard. The time I got to spend with these beautiful creatures makes me want to spend more time with them.

I was in Colorado for 12 days. It was hard to say bye to my sisters and my brother but coming home is a feeling like no other. I'm so glad that I can call Maui home.

Hope you're all having an amazing, adventure-filled summer! Enjoy the rest of it too:)

I'm still here

I cannot believe it's been practically three months since I've last written. I had previously mentioned that I was going to Europe on business. I was involved with a fashion show during Paris Fashion Week and then went to London for an exhibition. The weather in both cities was wonderful and it was all a great learning experience. I met some amazing people, got to see some friends, explore Paris a little and enjoy Europe overall.

However, on the my last full day in London I was awoken by a phone call from a friend telling me that there had a been an earthquake in Japan. I turned on the t.v. and called my loved ones. No one I knew was directly affected but the images on the t.v. didn't seem real. It was so shocking to see and it was a mix of feelings for wishing I was there to be with my loved ones and not wanting to return right away to see how things would be.

After returning to Paris my colleagues and I had to see if our flights would fly back to Tokyo. The first group of colleagues were delayed but the rest of us were fine. When I arrived in Tokyo on March 13th many of the trains weren't running so I was given a ride home. From then on it was almost non-stop with watching the news. My company and other companies had taken a couple days off to read the situation. At this point I had decided it would be safer to return for a short time to Kobe and see friends. I was definately still concerned but it was a relief to be farther south and not have to feel like I need to wear a mask- something that was a must in Tokyo for me.

I returned to Tokyo and continued working but the situation with the nuclear plant didn't seem to be improving at all I was busy trying to make my own opinion between the Japanese media downplaying the presence and the affect of radiation and foreign media which was more realistic and sometimes exaggerated at times. Anyway, after much thought and deliberation I decided that the best thing for me and my health was to move out of Tokyo.

So...I moved my things into a storage unit in Kobe and stayed there for a week or so before coming here to Hawaii. I had already planned to come for vacation in early May so I decided I'll just come, be at home and just see how things turn out.

There are some aspects of being away from a metropolitan city and many friends that I miss but it's been two years since I've been home and Hawaii is just so beautiful. I feel so fortunate to be here and to have had such a wonderful upbringing here.

I'll try my best to keep up with this blog. I'll have more time to dedicate to writing amongst other things so keep reading:)

Hope you're all happy and healthy.

Foreign places II

It's December and yet the weather and the temperature in Japan has been warmer than years past. It seems strange but then again going out won't be as difficult when it isn't that cold.

I received a package from my mother the otherday which included a new battery for my laptop, dried persimmon and lip balm.
The new battery has provided new life to my practically ancient laptop (at least in an electronic sense) and now it's mobile and actually like a laptop. The dried persimmon- why send it from the States when it's available in Japan you may wonder- was grown by a family friend and my mother helped them peel and dry them. She was then thoughtful to send me some delicious, local dried fruit. Lastly, the lip balm is my favorite but like the laptop battery they won't ship abroad so i can to get my mother to re-ship them to me. This lip balm is amazing. It isn't easy to find and most of the lip balm I find here contain petroleum which apparently makes chapped lips worse and is also part of the addictive quality that leads many to think they need lip balm. It contains shea butter and smells like vanilla I swear it works miraculously as I've had chapped lips in the morning and applied it throughout the day and had smooth lips by the evening.

Anyway, I wanted to post more pictures from my trip. Spain, more of the Netherlands (I went through A'dam twice) and Turkey.


San Antonio, Ibiza

One of many beautiful coves

Adorable



La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona


Casa Botllo

Unbelievably delicious paella in Barcelona


Foggy A'dam

Vondelpark


Wonderful canals of Amsterdam


Tasty fries

A little reminder of home


Sunset canal



Blue Mosque, Istanbul


beautiful interior


Aya Sofya, Istanbul



one of the fish boats


Looking from the European side to the Asian side


Famous mackerel sandwiches by the Bosphorous


Arches in the Grand Bazaar


Textiles in Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar)


Turkish sweets



Spice Market

What sort of adventures have you been up to?

Foreign places

Good morning! It's another gorgeous day here in Kobe. The weather yesterday was absolutely perfect. It was about 15 degrees Celsius/60 degrees Farenheit. It's the kind of weather that only requires a scarf and possibly a light cardigan or sweater. Can you believe it's already December?!! This year has gone by too quickly.

Recently I haven't been as busy as I'd like. If I haven't mentioned it before I teach conversational English part-time and have recently started a friend's business in Japan. They make and sell jewelry in Bangkok and London and had aspirations of expanding their business to Japan. I'm passionate about fashion and love their jewelry so I'm trying it out. I won't lie, it's been a bumpy beginning. Unlike a posh market like that of Notting Hill, Japan's flea markets are filled with second-hand things that are inexpensive (Clothes for under 500 yen/$6 per piece and so on) but proves to be difficult competition to the new and antique jewelry that I sell. It's okay though because it's all a learning experience and each path I try, whether it succeeds or not, will teach me something important.

The main reason I wrote today was to upload pictures from the trip I took last month. Azerbaijan, Turkey, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Turkey. What was originally only a two country trip ended up being six. Slightly chaotic but more so enjoyable and exhilarating. I feel so grateful to have visited some new places and even see new things in places I'd already been. I'm having issues with my computer-lack of space- and therefore I can only post pictures from the first half of my trip. Here they are:

Old City in Baku

Beautiful detail for the entrance of Shirvanshah's Palace

Shirvanshah's Palace

Shirvanshah's Palace

Baku and Caspian Sea

Another view


Streets of Amsterdam

Yohji Yamamoto Spring 2011

Breakfast and coffee at the bakery
Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

Colorful chairs in Montmarte

Eiffel Tower

Up close


Dinner that included mussels in the Latin Quartier



As soon as I upload the rest of my trip onto my computer I'll post the pictures. The many people, different kinds of food and the contrasting environments. It was truly a wonderful trip.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day (or night)!

Autumn has arrived

Finally?! My gosh it's almost Thanksgiving. Due to the unbearably hot summer and other various climate causes, the fall foliage didn't begin till this month. Compared to past years when it began in October. Fall is my favorite season and therefore I am enthused. I recently visited Kyoto where viewing the fall colors is quite popular but was a bit disappointed as the leaves had barely started to change or were a less colorful brown.

I returned safely from my vacation about a month ago. My mother arrived on the same day and stayed with me for a month which is why a) I've been traveling a bit domestically and b) why I didn't seem to manage fitting in any blog updates. Sorry:(

My trip to Europe and Asia was amazing. The most autumn-like weather was in Amsterdam which I completely adored. Cute houses, throngs of bicyclists and natural supermarkets. But each city had its splendor so therefore its hard to compare or pick my favorite. Baku was completely new to me but being in Central Asia by the Caspian Sea. The people were friendly and I found it quite easy to adjust. Paris was as lovely as I remember, if not more. I wasn't in Barcelona for as long as I would have liked but what I did see and eat was simply wonderful. Ibiza was refreshing after being in so many cities and the ocean was beautiful. Istanbul was exhilarating with its history and culture. I feel so fortunate to have been able to travel to so many amazing places and meet such great people.

My computer is still the same old so I cannot yet include pictures due to the lack of space and slow speed at which the process will all take. As soon as I can I'll post many pictures.

Hokkaido

So, yes another couple weeks have gone by and I haven't written anything. When I think about how infrequently I write in this blog I realize how lazy I am. However, I'm thinking that in order to have things to update about, other than food and such, I may start posting pictures of street fashion as well as events that I attend.

The rainy season is upon us here which means warmer temperatures and more humidity. Not so great. Anyway, after my trip to the States I spent a couple days in Hokkaido (northern most island of Japan). Although it was the end of April it was still like late winter in some places and temperatures were far cooler than this area of Japan. Here are some pictures. Hokkaido is known, at least in terms of food, for ramen-specifically soy sauce, seafood and its dairy products. All are very delicious. It was my third time visiting Hokkaido. Couldn't partake in ramen eating because I do not eat meat and therefore can't have the broth, but the seafood is amazing-particularly sea urchin, crab, scallops,salmon and salmon roe- and cheese/milk/butter are also fantastic.












breakfast at the early morning seafood market