Waking from the Tokyo Dream

Photo credit to Air Canada Website

After landing in Vancouver I picked up an email from Vivian saying that she was in Gaienmae shortly after I left and experiencing pangs of sadness in my neighbourhood.

Ah, Gaienmae. Why did that seem part of a distant past? I had closed my apartment door and left the keys in the mailbox that same morning, walked north on Gaienmae-nishi dori past Citron to catch a cab in front of Francfranc. The sun was bright and the air crisp.

On arrival in rain-soaked Vancouver my second Saturday morning began. Continue reading

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Snow Falls in Tokyo before Leaving

According to Japan Today, the Monday, January 22nd snowfall in Tokyo was the heaviest since 2014. Because I walk and the snow started sticking after International Class, I escaped rather unscathed. Unfortunately, I had to cancel an evening with a friend as it wasn’t worth venturing out with the crush of millions trying to get home on delayed trains. Continue reading

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Winter Colours

Walking along the shaded avenues, looking across the expanses and views of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden on a crisp afternoon, I suddenly longed to paint rooms.

I imagined a serene home designed in the varied and wondrous winter tones spread before me. I wanted to create names for the colours, but try it sometime. How challenging it is.

Paint companies have it down to an art reminiscent of haiku. Listen to the poetry in these samples from Benjamin Moore: Balboa Mist, Cathedral Gray, Buckhorn.

So I tried.

Woodland Paperwhite.

Hoary Slate.

Skyscraper Cloud.

Blushed Ice.

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Getting Back to Sogetsu Ikebana School

Getting back into ikebana after a 20-day hiatus wasn’t easy. Like any skill-development abandoned for a significant period of time—exercise, music practice, that golf swing, whatever—there’s a certain muscle tone and mindset which deteriorates in the interval. Continue reading

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Serendipity and a Haircut at Gold Salon Tokyo

How serendipity strikes: After a party of three left the restaurant where I was waiting at the counter to place my order, one of them turned around and dashed back in to give me his card. “In case you might need someone to do your hair,” he said. “This is my shop. We specialize in foreign hair.” Continue reading

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Afternoon Interlude at Alain Ducasse Beige, Tokyo

Beige, the Alain Ducasse restaurant in the top floor of the Chanel building in Ginza is where I spent most of yesterday afternoon. I’ve never enjoyed a Michelin star restaurant before and prefer to supply a link the Beige website for professional photographs. Those showcase the room, menu options and philosophy behind the food better than anything I can do with a phone. Continue reading

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Fashion Duds

Though it wasn’t on the trip “To Do List” I was open to being tempted by Tokyo fashion. I’ve bought beloved and timeless clothing in Japan that is still going strong more than a decade later. However, on some previous trips I didn’t have room in a single carry-on suitcase for purchases. This time I do. Continue reading

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Happy New Year from Tokyo: Welcome 2018

Today I picked up my order of Osechi-ryori, boxes of celebratory New Year’s foods. These are freighted with auspicious symbolism and beautifully packaged inside boxes called jūbako. Continue reading

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Reviewing My Progress in Sogetsu Ikebana

Levels one and two of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana are devoted to basics, basics, basics. Everything depends on the basics. One set of branches with one set of flowers and variations of three primary lines (Shin, Soe and Hikae) placed in different positions and slanted to different degrees. Over and over and over. Sometimes in round flat containers (Moribana) and other times in tall slender containers (Nageire). You might think of it in the same way as endless etudes for the same 88 keys of a piano. Continue reading

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Thoughts on Food & Love on Christmas Day

Christmas, in my view, is more intimate than other occasions on the calendar. At least it is in the Pacific Northwest where I have experienced the majority of my Christmas celebrations. Inside the home trees, lights, fires and candles glow. Rich aromas permeate the air. Whether it rains or snows, the blackened windows reflect the backs of those seated and envelope the space. Everything feels closer.

More so at Christmas than at any other festive time, in my mind food is linked to love Continue reading

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