Seen · Seen/Heard/Tried

Gold!

It’s been a rather chilly start to summer here in Michigan, and to top it off, Chad and I have both been battered down by an evil, relentless cold. Today when I woke up I decided to look for all of the orange, yellow and gold I could find to help me focus on the bright sunshine instead of our sniffly, mouth-breathing disposition. I took pictures at the Muskegon Farmer’s Market, and at Saugatuck Brewing company where we had a Father’s Day lunch. Unfortunately after lunch we both passed out for several hours at home with exhaustion, and I lost my voice. We even had to cancel our evening plans 😦 Still feeling like crap, but at least I took some fun pictures!

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Someone was selling rubber duckies…!

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We bought some of this awesome honey.

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Totoro Birdhouses made out of gourds!

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A sculpture near the market entrance.

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IMG_20140614_125607_361Lunch! A yummy portobello burger.

IMG_20140614_125551_658Chad got a French dip. I was happy to find my colors in our lunch!

IMG_20140614_124552_717Chad took this cool picture with my brother in the background.

IMG_20140614_125522_083He also took this one, which I think turned out to look kind of like a painting!

IMG_20140614_124514_502          Last, but certainly not least…

Well lovelies, I am off to get some more sleep. I hate being sick *cries*

xx

 

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?

Heard · Seen · Seen/Heard/Tried

Falling from a Height, Holding Hands

About eight years ago, I had the fortune of being able to meet my favorite poet, Gary Snyder, in person at a reading he did at Grand Valley State University (one of his poems is actually responsible for the name of this blog). He read several poems from his book Danger on Peaks, and afterwards he did a signing. When we met, we talked briefly about how I had studied in Japan and how I was going to go back one day (he lived there for some time, too). I wanted so much to explain how wonderful his poems were to me, and to talk for him about nature and Asia and life. But, the line of his fans had to keep moving, so I tried my best to express as much as I could with a “thank you.”

Though I had read several other books of Snyder’s poetry before going to see him read that day, I hadn’t read Danger on Peaks. It was exciting to hear him read poems that were new to me, and I sat fully focused the entire time. For his final reading, Snyder decided to close with a poem called “Falling from a Height, Holding Hands.” He explained that he wrote it after watching a news story on 9/11, and as he read the poem aloud, everyone listening seemed to hold their breath. The poem was so simple, and yet–like so many of his poems–captured so much. His explanation and reading was so moving that I was brought to tears, and like the rest of the audience, couldn’t manage to speak. He must have gauged the effect the poem had, because–suddenly–he decided to read just one more: “To All the Girls Whose Ears I Pierced Back Then.” Our hearts lifted in laughter, and I felt so inspired. What an amazing talent he has–he can bring people from tears to laughter in just moments with his writing.

I know that without actually being there to hear him speak it may be hard to fully grasp the emotions in the room that day, but I still feel a stirring in my heart when I read “Falling From a Height, Holding Hands.” I’ve included the poem below, along with “To All the Girls Whose Ears I Pierced Back Then.” These poems remind me to remember the tragedy of 9/11 and to avoid becoming desensitized. They also remind me to focus on the importance of growing, learning, laughing, loving, and cherishing life.

Falling From a Height, Holding Hands

 

What was that?

storms of flying glass

& billowing flames

 

a clear day to the far sky–

 

better than burning,

hold hands.

 

We will be

two    peregrines    diving

 

all the way down

 

To All the Girls Whose Ears I Pierced Back Then

for Maggie Brown Koller

(among others)

 

Sometimes we remember that moment:

you stood there attentive with clothespins

dangling, setting a bloodless dimple in each lobe

as I searched for a cork & the right-sized needle

& followed the quick pierce with a small gold hoop.

The only guy with an earring

back then

 

It didn’t hurt that much

a sweetly earnest child

and a crazy country guy

with an earring and a

gray-green cast eye

and even then,

this poem.

Friday Five · Seen

Friday Five: On The Wolverine

(Mini spoiler alert! Though if you haven’t seen the film, most of the things I’m going to mention are pretty obvious/predictable right from the start.)

2013 Movie Preview: The Wolverine

(Is anyone else kind of freaked about by his crazy muscles? Picture source)

Last weekend, Chad and I went with my brother, sister-in-law, and friend to see the new Wolverine movie. My brother was telling me that Hugh Jackman said in an interview that The Wolverine was supposed to give fans the Wolverine they deserved, and one of my coworkers told me the film was mostly set in Japan, so I was excited to see it. Here are 5 things I noticed throughout the film:

1. I was really excited to understand all of the Japanese without subtitles! When the subtitles came on I needed them a few times because they were talking so fast and angry-like, but for the most part I could understand a lot, which made me happy. At the same time, it made me miss Japan tremendously (like I didn’t already, haha).

2. While understanding the Japanese made me happy, I’d have to say a good 30% of the un-subtitled Japanese was just the word gaijin, or foreigner, being thrown around as angry Japanese mafia chased and confronted Wolverine.

3. And speaking of gaijin, Japan is notorious for Japanese women falling for even the nerdiest, jerkiest, weirdest foreign guys, while foreign women tend to loom in the background, feeling like ogres. So it came as no surprise when Mariko slept with Wolverine. Gaijin  guy strikes again!

4. And while we’re talking about Mariko, I was surprised no one sat down with the non-Japanese actors to talk about how to pronounce her name. I heard everything from Marko to Mary-ko.

5. Lastly, the bullet train scene was pretty fun, though hardly feasible. I mean, maybe somehow Wolverine’s extra strength and mutant awesomeness allowed him to get by, but how about the mafia guy? Unless he had some super physics-defying powers hidden in his tattoos. Which would be an pretty cool revelation to everyone who knows anything about yakuza.

Two more final notes: 1) What was the point of Viper shedding off her skin only to basically lose her hair? She looked way cooler with reptilian skin, in my opinion. And 2)The after-credits scene starts off really cool with Wolverine and Magneto, but when Xavier comes rolling through like he’s on a game show my brother and sister-in-law just about lost it. We all decided that was probably the best moment in the movie.

Did you see the movie? If so, what did you think?

Seen

Glico Truck

Last weekend I was walking around in Sannomiya when I came across this amazing Glico truck! (If you remember, we had a bizarre trip to the Glico factory a few weeks ago.)

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I often stumble across interesting cars or trucks like this one in Japan, and it got me thinking of an article I recently found showing 40+ creatively designed food trucks in the states. Despite the trend really taking off in the US, I’ve never seen one in Michigan. Don’t you Michiganders think one would do well in Grand Rapids–especially during Art Prize? Chad and I have toyed with the idea of opening a curry pan truck.

Would you ever start a food truck? What kind of food trucks do you love in your area, or would you like to see?

 

Seen/Heard/Tried

Magic every day

Every once in a while I stumble upon an audio book that ends up whisking me away into a story unexpectedly. For example, about 5 years ago I started listening to The Secret Life of Bees on audio, and it was so well done that I would take the long way driving home from work or errands just so I could listen more. I would also often sit in parking lots to listen a little more before getting out of the car, not wanting to be pulled out of the story just yet. Only a month or so after listening to the audio of The Secret Life of Bees, I bought the text version, happily marking page after page of writing I found particularly beautiful or descriptive with little sticky notes. And then it seemed everything around me was conspiring to bring the story alive in my life–my sister-in-law’s father let us watch him spin honey from the bees he was keeping, Chad and I began reading articles and books about bees, and we started to dream of keeping our own someday. With that book, the ordinary became magical to me, and the book has been my favorite ever since listening to it that summer.20130321-134033.jpg

A page from my journal in 2008 after seeing Thom’s bees

Similarly, about a year ago I listened to the audio of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Once again, I was enthralled by a fantastic audio version of a book, this time read by Jim Dale (you can hear a sample on amazon here). After listening on the train and walking to work, I would stand outside the gates of school without being able to pause the story, often risking being late for our morning meetings! I really enjoyed the book, and so I was happily surprised to receive it as a Christmas gift from my mom this year!

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My mom also sent this pretty little bookmark she made. Isn’t it lovely?

I read the book over the last week, and enjoyed being able to really appreciate the lovely description she uses in the novel. I found myself dreaming of circuses, remembering a Cirque du Soleil performance we went to last year and thinking of the “magic” in the show. And, just like when I read The Secret Life of Bees, everything around me seems to get me thinking about the book and about the circus! I’ll write more about my growing obsession later, but for now I just wanted to recommend both of these books on audio, and then–of course!–in paper once you’ve finished (The Secret Life of Bees especially!) They both really gave me a sense of “magic” amidst the “every day,” and though the books did so in different ways, they both pulled me into daydreams and wondering…

Do you like audio books? (I bet you would if you listened to these! 😉 ) What are some of your favorite ways to bring magic into the ordinary?

Seen

Seen: Pretty Heart Chocolates

I think I mentioned the Chocolate Wonderland I experienced a couple weeks ago. When Chad and I went in search of Koyama chocolates that day, I had commented on a few of the other pretty chocolates on display for the event. I don’t know what it was, but I felt elated to walk by all of the glass cases filled with artisan chocolates, imagining their tastes and textures. Have you ever felt that way?

I was brought back to the feelings from that day on Valentine’s Day last week. After a special surprise from me, Chad gave me a little surprise of his own:

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    Chad remembered me commenting on these pretty hearts at the Chocolate Wonderland!

Aren’t the colors of these heart chocolates beautiful? After regaining my sense of smell (I’m almost all better–just need my voice and energy back now!), Chad and I decided to split them tonight while watching some Modern Family. And now, we’re getting ready for bed. It’s a little later than we planned on, but we needed time to wind down!

What will you treat yourself to tonight? Sweet dreams~~!