Seen/Heard/Tried · Travel

Misaki Port & Jogushima Island

It’s rainy season in Japan, so amidst being quite busy at work, we’ve had a lot of cloudy, gloomy weather that sometimes makes us feel like…well…like we need to ESCAPE!!!! Especially living in Tokyo, which often feels kind of imposing with building after building after building. So, we decided to take a day trip using the Misaki Maguro Kippu, a day pass that provides 1) Transportation to & from Shinagawa and Misaki Port, as well as around Misaki Port and Jogushima Island, 2) a free activity for the day, and 3) a free meal at one of the many restaurants that specialize in tuna.IMG_2063 IMG_2067 IMG_2069 IMG_2073The entire area is famous for tuna, and the locals claim their tuna is better than even Tsukiji‘s! A big fish market there sold toroman, which is like nikuman but with tuna, and we decided to split one as a mid-morning snack. It was kind of weird, but that could be because we were just expecting normal nikkuman flavor. IMG_2075 IMG_2076 IMG_2077 IMG_2082
For our meal, we decided to go to Kurobatei, a restaurant made famous by the show Bizarre Foods (click to see the episode), that mostly sells really delicious, normal food.IMG_2081 In Bizarre Foods, the host orders the tuna head, which apparently needs to be requested 3 days in advance, and is oven cooked for at least four hours before serving. Needless to say, this is not the dish we tried.
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                                        A little truck outside the restaurantIMG_2086
                                                      Parts of the tunaIMG_2089Chad ordered a sashimi boat that came with rice and miso soup. IMG_2090There was a crazy fish head looking at him throughout the meal… IMG_2091I ordered the tempura set, which also came with some sashimi in the bowl (and of course, miso soup!). Everything was really delicious, and the staff were incredibly friendly. We were so glad we tried Kurobatei, a place we never would have gone if it weren’t for our Misaki Maguro Kippu! IMG_2095 IMG_2098 IMG_2101
After lunch I chose to go to a glass shop to use my activity ticket. I made a little jar with a kitty cat and Mount Fuji resting on some layered sand (picture on instagram soon!). Then we grabbed a couple donuts from Misaki Donuts and took the bus to the very beautiful Jogashima.IMG_2110 IMG_2111
The donuts had a really nice mochi mochi texture. This was a berry donut.IMG_2112On Jogashima, everywhere you walked you saw beautiful nature. The entire little island is just so refreshing and relaxing. *sighs* IMG_2115
Can you see the old, broken down shrine in the cave back there?IMG_2117 IMG_2118We hiked all over the island. (Pardon my crazy hair–there was a nice breeze all day!)  IMG_2122 IMG_2133
The water was so clear! From the picture it may look like just a bunch of shells, but actually, the whole area was bustling with hermit crabs and other crabs alike! They were really fun to watch (until Chad starting chasing a crab toward me and I thought I might break my ankle running away 😉 ).IMG_2134 IMG_2137 IMG_2138IMG_2144 IMG_2143
Our trip ended with Chad using his activity ticket to go to an onsen (hot spring) while I soaked my feet in a little foot bath and watched the sunset. We had such a nice day trip, and plan to try and go on more little weekend adventures in the future!

Where is a place you’ve gone on a day trip recently, or a place you’d like to go? Our trip was quite spontaneous, so perhaps you’ll be on your next day trip sooner than you think, too!

xx Caitlyn

P.S. If you’re living in the Tokyo area and you’re wondering about the Misaki Maguro Kippu, it can be purchased at most Keikyu stations (we got ours when we transferred at Shinagawa) for around 3000 yen. This turns out to be quite a good deal, saving you about 2000 yen on average.

Autumn Bucket List · Party

Autumn Bucket List: Hobo Stew Party

Every fall, my grandparents host a Hobo Stew Party at their lovely home up north. If you don’t know what a Hobo Stew Party is, you’re about to be introduced to a simple, fun gathering in which everyone participates in the main event: the stew!IMG_1173This year’s party took place a couple of weeks ago, and the main idea (as always!) was this: each person attending the party brought their own additions to add to the stew, and after the flavors had a chance to meld together and everything had been cooked through, it was time to eat!IMG_1176Chad and I brought tomatoes from our garden, kidney beans, and a light dessert. Yum!IMG_1172Above is the dessert I made: Mini Santa Maria’s (little cream puffs with shortbread bottoms). They turned out a little eggier than I would have liked, but they looked pretty at the very least!IMG_1195                                         I love this picture of my brother and Ariel at the party.

IMG_1180After eating, a walk was definitely in order, and it was a gorgeous fall day. IMG_1185IMG_1179I finally got to cross blowing dandelion seeds off my list 🙂
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We had a really nice time at the Hobo Stew Party. What is your favorite dish or addition to bring to a party?

xx Caitlyn

 

Bookspiration · Projects

Bookspiration: Owl Postcards

“For to witness majesty, to find yourself literally touched by it, isn’t that what we’ve all been waiting for?”

-David Sedaris

After reading Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, I decided to make postcards with owls on them. I made four postcards in total, trying to keep them simple with easy watercolor owls saying the above quote.

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Click to view larger image

I tried my best not to worry too much about detail, and after free-handing the calligraphy, I also quickly free-handed the cute little owls.

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It’s a little bit hard to see the light green-colored wings in the picture, but I liked the way it turned out. I’m thinking I might send the postcards to people via postcrossing. I accidentally changed the quote slightly in the postcard featured above, but I still thought the art was nice. Sedaris writes the phrase I quoted when talking about coming across something beautiful and unexpected in nature, and making a private connection with nature in that moment.

Have you experienced any moments of majesty lately?

xx

Bookspiration · Projects

Bookspiration: The Song of Hiawatha

Several years ago I received the book The Song of Hiawatha as a Christmas gift, and though I had read bits and pieces of the epic poem , a few weeks ago I finally got the chance to read the entire thing. It was difficult for me to decide what to make after finishing the book, but after much deliberation, I decided to put some of the text from The Song of Hiawatha over a picture from a recent walk at one of my favorite places in Michigan, Rosy Mound.

First, I chose my picture:

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Then, I spent what felt like three years trying to put text over it the way I wanted. I still didn’t quite achieve the look I was looking to create, but I decided the text was going to have to be good enough.

Live Together

It says:

“All your strength is in your union,

All your danger is in discord;

Therefore be at peace henceforward,

And as brothers live together.”

I printed an enlarged copy of the image at Walmart for about $6, and then modge podged it to an art board purchased for around $5 before a 40% off coupon at one of my local craft stores. Below you can sort of see how it turned out, though the lighting isn’t the best:

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I am not necessarily in love with how the project turned out, but I do love where the photo was taken, and I really like the passage from The Song of Hiawatha. I often think about the power of human connection when I go on walks through nature, and about how to I can be kinder and more loving to others. A message about unity totally seems fitting for a picture taken at Rosy Mound.

Here are some other pictures I took on the lovely spring day last week: IMG_0583

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Hope you got to enjoy some beautiful weather like we had in Michigan over the weekend 🙂

xx

Food & Cooking · Seen

I Spy…

Spring!

It may still be cold, but I’ve been finding bits of springtime (or creating bits of it!) all around me 🙂 Firstly, I’ve been spying it outdoors…

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Is that water? Oh my gosh, that’s water! THE ICE IS MELTING in Grand Haven! HURRAH!

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This ice was melting from the inside out, creating a little cave!

20140408-191233.jpgBright skies = happy days

Secondly, I’ve been creating a springtime atmosphere to “spy” indoors…!

20140408-191325.jpgNothing like whipping up some Lemon Poppy Seed Scones for a nice spring day. I made my first-ever batch with a nice (cute!) mug of coffee nearby.

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The recipe said to cut the scones into twelve triangles, but I chose to cut the twelve in half again because they were so big. The scones were fantastic!

20140408-191341.jpgI may not be able to start a garden just yet, but I was able to make a cute radish needle felting craft with one of my Whimsey Box kits. I had never heard of needle felting before, but now I’m in love with it. I can’t wait to show you a tutorial featuring the other needle felt cutie I made!

20140408-191348.jpgThere was invigorating spring lemon scent in another of my Whimsey Box kits: homemade lotion and hand scrub.

20140408-191356.jpgI also decided to make some Vanilla Pistachio Cream Puffs because I thought the bright, pastel green color created a nice, light spring feel.

20140408-191403.jpgThe cream puffs were yummy, too, so I decided it would be best to get them out of the house and bring them to work 🙂

Where have you spied spring?

Food & Cooking · Seen · Seen/Heard/Tried · Tried

Week in Pictures

This week was one filled with lovely nature, marketplace excursions, culinary delights (such as that jambalaya we tried for Fat Tuesday!), and a pattern search in and around our house. (Anything to keep us busy and keep our spirits up 😉 )

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Rosy Mound #1

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Rosy Mound #2

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Rosy Mound #3

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Goodies from our Asian Market trip (some of which were used for our Hina Matsuri dinner)

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Bubble Tea at a restaurant next door to the Asian marketplace

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We tried pho for the first time!

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Pretty flowers sent to us

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My favorite beer

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Nutella French Toast #1

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Nutella French Toast #2

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Patterns #1 (Don’t the knots in the tree look like eyes?)

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Patterns #2

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Patterns #3

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Patterns #4

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Patterns #5

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Patterns #6

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Patterns #7

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Patterns #8 (Okay, so maybe I just wanted to take a picture of our kitties because I love them…)

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Goodies from a trip to The Cheese Lady in Muskegon (We tried the Vanilla Balsamic drizzled over fresh strawberries!)

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I made homemade Crab Rangoons and Gyoza…

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And Chad made amazing homemade ramen!

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Dinner party dishes #1

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Dinner Party Dishes #2

I wonder what the weekend has in store for us! What have you been up to this week?

Seen

Walking on ice

Today I got to see the frozen lake at the Grand Haven beach first-hand. We walked from downtown all the way to the pier, and then walked straight out onto the ice. It was so amazing to see the way the lake froze, especially when we took a chance to look over at the lighthouse and see how far out on the water we actually were (admittedly, it was also a little scary!).

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The sunset was gorgeous. Nature so often leaves me in awe.