Takeda Castle Ruins

Here’s a 21st century thing to say: I met my friend Kate through Instagram. I’m not sure who started following who first but we began talking, found out we both live in Japan (though 4 hours apart) and have common interests such as healthy eating and literature. After chatting through the internet for some time, we finally met yesterday, halfway, at Asago’s famous Takeda Castle ruins. Below are the pictorials. The pic of our soba lunch is Kate’s, I actually took it without her permission because my photo  of our lunch really sucked. Hopefully she doesn’t mind. I’m sure she won’t, she’s the sweetest (as well as most beautiful). Check out her Instagram HERE if you like. Also, we packed a healthy picnic. I made my famous date balls.

In the evening, I went to a BBQ. I prepared a simple salad of garden lettuce topped with diced kiwi-fruit, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped dried apricots and pumpkin seeds. I finished it with a little olive oil, juice of half a lemon, sea salt and ground pepper. Whenever I go to a BBQ or the like, this is what I do. Not this specific salad, but I make something healthy to take because if there isn’t anything healthy on offer (which there normally isn’t) then I can always eat my own food hehe.

Click HERE for more info on Takeda and HERE for more info on the restaurant.

FINALLY! My first “hike” in Japan

I use quotation marks here because I hiked with a group of 70+ year olds. So, it was really more a stroll through the mountains of Nishiawakura than a full-on hike but, I ain’t complaining! I hope you enjoy the photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them. I had so much fun with the elderly! We spotted 2 snakes, many many mushrooms, deer and boar prints and thankfully, no kuma (bear).

PS some highlights: our snazzy guide (a true hiking nerd equipped with 304 pockets and bear spray) advised us that the picture below is where Tottoro lives hehe and at noon, I swear to God; every single person ate onigiri (triangular Japanese rice ball) as part of their lunch. Seriously, everyone. But, yours truly of course. Gotta love Japan and its quirk!

that time i went hiking with an 8kg watermelon and a concealed weapon in my backpack

On the last day of my wee holiday in the beautiful Bay of Plenty (situated in the North Island of NZ), I went hiking with an 8kg watermelon and a concealed weapon in my backpack. Yep, you read right. My cousin and I wrapped a very dangerous knife in two tea-towels (kids, don’t try this at home) and placed it in my backpack alongside a big round stripy watermelon. Why? 1.Addiction and 2.Because there truly is no other food one wishes to gulp after a long and sweaty hike. Seriously, no other.  I’m not going to lie, heaving an 8kg watermelon up a steep hill was not the most comfortable situation I’ve found myself in during my mere 22 years, yet every freakin’ sweaty step is totes worth it in the end (once you learn to disregard the sharp stomach pains eating too much watermelon can and most possibly will, induce that is)

After food and literature, my third favourite past-time are hikes. The feeling one receives after eventually (emphasis on eventually) reaching the top of a hill/mountain and as a reward, being greeted by ‘dat view tho’ is frankly incomparable. Except well, if you reach the top and get to smash your face into some sweet sweet melons (get your mind out of the gutter!).

Between the two of us, my cousin and I ate half a watermelon each. Minus two slices, which we generously (not really as two slices were truly zilch compared to the whole fruit) hand delivered to two tourists. So, if NZers get a reputations for being generous and self-less souls (as evident in former image), you know who to thank.

I Walk Up Like This

image (2)
image (3)
A break from food (what is such a thing?!) here’s some snaps from the few nature walks I have been fortunate enough to take whilst travelling the North Island of beautiful New Zealand. To cleanse your palate, if you will. Oh and if you’re wondering, the first 4 images are from the Mt. Zion track in Piha (Auckland) and the last three images are from the Kauaeranga Kauri trail on the Coromandel peninsula.