April 30, 2013

The Afternoon Walk on Saturday


Some days are too gorgeous not to be outside!

Saturday was one of those days. It was glorious outside and I started my walk from Harajuku and before I knew it, I was in Shinjuku. Of course I stopped here and there to take pictures along the way.

My old boss used to tell me that a true real estate businessman goes out and walks around the streets to get to know the area. He said that no amount of research can exceed the power of seeing through your eyes and interacting with local people. And although I did lift an eyebrow at the use of the word "businessman (Hello? I am a woman.)," I have to agree. Every time I walk down a new street I learn something new about that area.

Like this weekend, I never realized how close Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium was to Shinjuku Gyoen, my favorite park. I've started working out lately (kind of) so it was really interesting seeing the facilities there. They have a pool and gym that are open to the public when the gymnasium is not used for events...they even had a basketball hoop with a half court. Made me wish I could actually play basketball.

I also couldn't resist stepping into Shinjuku Gyoen for a bit. I was just enjoying all the green sprouting everywhere in the park when I remembered Rurousha's azalea post. So off I went looking for azaleas! (You can see what I found below in the pictures!) After the azaleas, it felt so good under the sun that I ended up taking a little nap in the field. Actually, it may have been a deep sleep. Not too sure but it felt great. And it was all worth having pieces of grass and bits of dirt all over my dress and hair. Ha.

Here are the pictures:

Azaleas decorating every other street.

Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium looks UFO-ish, don't you think?



Shinjuku Gyoen was multiple shades of green...so gorgeous.



The azalea garden was a bright burst of color in this corner of Shinjuku Gyoen.



Quite the change from this view but I love this, too.



I am addicted to these homemade granola bars...this one is cranberry, raisin, and chocolate.

Never one to miss a chance to walk barefooted.

If this great weather keeps up, afternoon naps in the park may become a weekly thing!

April 24, 2013

The Sunny Weekend in Yamamoto


Spring had definitely come to Yamamoto the weekend we were there.

It felt really great working under the sun. Although inside the greenhouse is like a sauna. But again, a great way to naturally lose some pounds by sweating it out. Just need to remember not to forget sunscreen next time. It was that warm outside.

So it's no wonder the flowers were starting to bloom. The fields, that were just a couple weeks ago just dirt and dead leaves, had started turning green here and there. Something very exciting about spring. Like seeing color just burst into the world. 

It's really like Robin Williams says, "Spring is nature's way of saying, Let's party!"


The sweet dogs we play with during breaks, Sakura and Shibazakura.

The parent plants are growing steadily for this summer.

All the lovely green grwoing around the greenhouse and my new boots.

My awesome mugiwara hat I borrowed for the sunny day.


Lunch was delicious soba with tororo imo...so delicious!

My fascination for greenhouse farming grows with the plants.

Parent plants aren't meant to grow strawberries so we pick the flowers.

Nothing beats taking a break and enjoying strawberries!

Done for the day...time to head to onsen!

Received the most delicious strawberries as a gift.

Pretty trees by the onsen entrance.


We could see the Zao mountains on our way back...so pretty!

Our second day was filled with shovels, sand/dirt, and these awesome wheely things.

Found a classical CD in its case while digging...still a lot of things in the ground.

The cherry blossom that was planted last year...hope it blooms every year! x

April 23, 2013

The Embroidery Art by Takashi Iwasaki


Can you believe that this is not a painting?

It's all embroidered (is that a word?), if you can believe it. They are created by a Japanese artist, Takashi Iwasaki, who currently resides in Canada. I just love how colorful all of it is! And although I have no idea what the story behind each creation is, according to the interview he did, many of the abstract shapes and colors have meaning behind them.

He calls himself an "Art Enjoyer" and I think it fits him perfectly.


April 20, 2013

The Sakura in Yamamoto


Finally catching up on my posts from Yamamoto!

I have been sick this week like never before. Like barfing-all-night-with-a-high-fever kind of sick. And I have found that age does not make getting sick easier. What ever happened to the days of hopping out of bed the minute the fever goes down and go skipping outside? My fever didn't go down for two days and even when it did, I felt like crap. I am seriously going to take better care of myself so that never happens again.

That being said, this week HAS helped me lose most of my winter weight all at once so I guess it's not all that bad :D

Anyways, so here are the lovely cherry blossoms in full bloom in Yamamoto. We were so lucky to be able to see them last weekend. And we even had blue skies to accent the pretty blossom!

The tree standing at the entrance of the volunteer center at the town hall.





We oohed and ahhhed over the cherry trees in bloom in various parts of the town while heading out to the greenhouse we were helping out for that day. They were in bloom everywhere!

After our day was done, we also stopped by the famous cherry blossom spot Hitome-senbon-zakura (一目千本桜) in the neighboring town. Over 1,000 cherry trees stand along an 8km stretch of Shiroishi River. We were only there for a little time but with lanterns along the trees and the thriving food stalls, the whole area was really festive!





Group picture under the cherry blossoms! :D