Nestle rules Spain. Kind of sad because I hear they exploit child workers.
Wholegrain Special K with wild fruit picked by little hands.
A traditional convenience store.
And I thought Japan had strange vending machines…This thing makes fresh orange juice!
Okay, things just got weirder! This one’s for fresh milk :O
What did I say? The good life.
Went for a bicycle ride with Jose and the kids and stumbled upon fresh grapes (white and black).
On the way home, we visited their elderly neighbour, a sweet woman in a floral dress, to ask for parsley for a dish we were to prepare later. When I casually told Jose her house smelt delicious, he asked her what she was having for lunch that day to which she did this:
I still can’t believe how much fresh, organic and FREE fruit there is in Europe. So, our favorite activity (and by that, I mean MY favorite activity) is sourcing and eating it.
Tonight we were invited to a typical summertime Spanish BBQ AKA pork fest. I made this vegan platter (hehe). #changingtheworldonevegetabledishatatime.
And I’m off to Spain! But I wanted to tell you about my first (of hopefully many haha I joke I joke) birthday presents. First, THIS incredibly humbling blog-post by fellow blogger, Laura.
Second, pictures from my birthday eve, spent with a very special family. One who gave me their home, bicycle, fresh vegetables and unconditional love for an entire month then threw me this dinner and gave me these presents and money (osenbetu). I felt so embarrassed, I should have been doing that for them! But I am so joyful to have shared in the joy of such an evening on a birthday far from home.
Last, this message from Jose. I request PAELLA! Hehe, see you guys V V soon!
A picture story.
I chose to walk to Osaka EXPOCITY (a newly built amusement park/shopping mall featuring Japan’s largest ferris wheel) today. My GPS said it would take 1 hour and 19 minutes. When I told my Japanese friends, they were mortified. But “WHY” they questioned. You see, Japan has the world’s best transportation system. Their trains are so unbelievably convenient that it doesn’t make sense to travel another way. However, seeing as I’m a New Zealander (as well as a world citizen) I did what Kiwis do best and just tackled the journey.
As I walked and walked I thought and thought. Some good, some bad, some unnecessary. I thought about how I am quickly running out of money and how I should probably start budgeting and I thought about my family and how I wish they were going with me – in saying that, I was very very lucky to join my ex-colleague and her super-adorable kids.
As I neared EXPOCITY, I started seeing groups and groups of young girls and attractive young couples. Now I must say, Osaka has some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I think it’s because they make a big effort to look pretty. Which I personally don’t think is a bad thing! Their outfits are always on point and their hair and make-up lovely. But sometimes I forget this. I see them and their perfect straight hair and super slender figures and I feel too big. Today, when I finally arrived at EXPOCITY, for the first time ever, I did a thing. I looked down at my legs which I’m often criticising and I said out loud, like a crazy lady, I said, thank you. Thank you for being fit and healthy and thank you for carrying me. Then I had one hell of a day!
Food: natural granola, honeydew melon, dried mandarin and walnuts with almond milk for breakfast, frozen raspberry and condensed milk after my walk, soba lunch, almond-milk latte, fresh gelato – I had adzuki (red beans) and milk with matcha (green tea) and last, a simple dinner of wholewheat crisp-bread, raw walnuts, watermelon and goat’s cheese.
Last, about EXPOCITY: I would say take a lot of money. Everything costs. I loved the Ferris Wheel. A shop-assistant told me the night view is even better so I’m hoping to do that before I leave. It’s definitely a good place for young children… and of course, very busy so better to go at 10am when they open and have an early lunch shortly after before the queues get too crazy.
Hiromi asked me to help out with an English camp. We picked blueberries (some of which were from NZ!), played games, sang songs and made sandwiches (with “hard” bread which the kids were unfamiliar with hehe). I absolutely adore children! Here are the pictures.
This post should really be split between several posts because it’s so heartful – is that a word?
From top to bottom: my goodbye party last night, a few of my thoughtful thoughtful gifts…one of which…drum roll please… IS THE RETURN OF MY BENTO! I know! I can’t believe it either. I am SO overjoyed. And last, snaps of some of my loved ones including a picture story of my new friend gifting me his (second) best watermelon (I remembered my camera this time).
A lot of goodbye dinners and lunches are happening. Not long now! 1 or so weeks.
Top to bottom: the old couple returning my muffin tray with fresh lavender and rosemary, Yasu and I’s friendship going strong, dinner with Oz, Lifa and Aki, vegetarian lunch with Ashleigh sensei, and dinner with Fukuda sensei, Imai sensei and Imai Sensei’s daughter, Non at my favorite Indian place (had to go back even after saying goodbye). Anyways, Non! Non is eating chocolate naan (strange I know) with a smiley-faced chicken curry (even stranger). Too cute. I wanted to eat her. What a name!
Vegan followers don’t be offended! And meat-enthusiasts don’t run away! (Or do-what are you doing here? I joke I joke). Last night I had the most delicious vegan dinner prepared by my dear sister and yoga sensei Akiko Tanabe. And after, I almost hit a deer. These animals are taking over.
Eggplant and green-bean tomato medley
Cucumber tomato and mint quinoa salad
Carrot ribbon, walnut, raisin and soft-dried apple salad
Lettuce, dried figs, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds green salad
I haven’t forgotten my attempt at eating more savory foods. I am trying. I bought more muesli but that’s just because I cannot, for the life of me, love anything else as much as I love my muesli bowls. They bring light to my heart. Also because, every single morning (7 days a week) an incredibly loud and highly inappropriate siren sounds in my village to announce 6 o’clock. It is inappropriate because after living in Iran and Israel, it always freaks me out. I instinctively think of missiles. Though the next village wakes up to musical chimes. When I first arrived and knew nothing about countryside Japan life, each time I heard the loud siren I stressed so much. Eventually I realized it happened every day and at the same time. When my parents came to visit and the siren went off, my panic-stricken mother woke my father and I up. These days, I intentionally get up before 6 when it’s usually dark. And it is when I am making coffee or decorating my muesli bowl when the siren sounds and the sun comes out.
PS that’s not my bike. It is some old lady’s bike. The salad is made of vegetable “noodles” using this little hand rolling device. It is yellow zucchini and cucumber dressed in apple cider vinegar and olive oil. It was my contribution to a home-cooked Japanese dinner I was invited to. The dahl/dal or dhal however you spell it is made of adzuki beans – my humble attempt at marrying the flavors of Japan and India.