Welcome to the way of words. If you need a writing problem solved, contact me.
Words, of course, are the most powerful drug used by mankind.
- Rudyard Kipling
What interests you?
- Subscribe by RSS
Since acquiring my new home I have been busy. Creating blog posts has not been priority one. Instead, I revved up into high gear the moment the keys were mine.
I immediately called in Fuzzy Wuzzy Carpets a local firm (which has been around for more than 40 years and comes highly recommended from multiple sources) to measure the suite and balcony for new carpet and lino.
I removed the switch plates, prepared the walls and taped off the trim in the hallway, great room and master bedroom before painting.
Over the next weeks I applied Benjamin Moore Aura paint in the same palette my friend Cindy Schafer of Schafer Design and I had chosen for my Abbotsford condo. The colours are already proven. In addition, they will immediately feel homey psychologically as well as show my furnishings to best advantage.
Between coats and touch ups I cleaned, lined shelves and drawers, researched options for light fixtures and other items I wished to swap out or needed to acquire.
Victoria Blinds and Closets were able to tweak their modular closet systems the previous owner had installed to my needs. Brilliant! At some future date I will call on them to reconfigure the entrance, laundry and linen closets in order to maximize my storage space.
Kitchen Technician will swap out a useless (to me) open kitchen cupboard for one with glass doors, install a lazy Susan where a gaping cavern exists, and create a storage tower in the ensuite bathroom.
I bought an over the counter microwave oven small enough to fit the space for it as well as a Toaster-Convection oven that will be a more efficient use of energy than the regular stove for small-scale meals like mine.
By a wonderful stroke of luck, I found ready-made black-out curtains and matching rods for the master bedroom that look rich but aren’t expensive. You got to love it when that happens.
I scheduled my moves from my leased suite to the condo and the furnishings I have in storage in easy to manage stages and kept on packing. Until the carpet is installed, there’s no point taking things over and shuffling them about multiple times. However, they’re ready to go.
During this time I’ve also been able to take breaks, read books, have fun and enjoy the company of friends. Once fully moved in, I look forward to sharing before and after shots.
Today is much like one of those evening flight, waiting-around-with-nothing-to-do at the airport days. Except that no one is going to bring me drinks once I’m on board.
In 9 hours I get the keys to my new home! I’m thrilled in a weirdly calm way. Sort of the way I am when I’m about to fly to Tokyo for a couple of months. People constantly ask: Are you excited?
Well of course. There’s a serene knot of happiness at the core of my being at the prospect. At the same time I’m cognizant of the work involved in the enterprise. That sort of puts to rest any giddiness I might indulge.
Fortunately, I enjoy the work. I especially like interior design projects, and can’t wait to add my personal imprint to this property. I welcome the challenge even as I feel its magnitude. Most large-scale beginnings are like that, I think. But when undertaken in manageable, sequential micro-bits and approached with joy it’s anything but daunting. Bring on the bliss!
I was surprised during a visit to a local mall to view a Christmas tree display to find a compass rose pointing to Tokyo more than 7500 kilometers distant. Sometimes it feels as if it were that many days.
I’ve been back three weeks now, decking my own halls, checking out the local concerts, events and reconnecting with family and friends. I’m especially grateful to enjoy Christmas in accommodations with central heating and adequate insulation this year. No drafts blow the candle flames to a horizontal 90 degrees and no buzzing heaters are needed here to keep things toasty inside.
Outside the weather has (except for a few crisp and clear days at the beginning of the month which were so like Tokyo’s winter season) been soggy and stormy. December is Victoria’s rainiest month and devastating winter storms have come on shore this year. Ferry sailings and flights during the peak travel season have been delayed or cancelled. Trees fell making a mess of the roads and causing lengthy power outages, some for several days and still unresolved, in the region.
The streets are littered with branches—an ikebana artist’s bonanza. However, my apartment is too small to accommodate more than the Christmas tree, Advent Wreath and crèche in the window. My Victoria Ikebana lessons begin again in January. I’ll have to wait until then.
Not all of the Tokyo stories have been told, and I’ll continue with tales of those delights after the merry making is done. Until then, best wishes for a Good Yule, Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel!
Over the years Anne has been a splendid dinner companion with whom I’ve enjoyed numerous restaurants in the Vancouver area. There’s never been a dud among the numerous options she’s suggested.
She was taking her first trip to Japan in the final weeks of November, and we happened to be in Tokyo at the same time. She wondered whether we might visit Lature, a Michelin starred restaurant specializing in Japanese game with a young Chef Takuto Murota at the helm.
His accolades are numerous, including third place in the 2019 French Division for Tokyo restaurants. However, Murota is quick to share the credit for his accomplishments. He lauds the producers, foragers and hunters who send him great ingredients, vendors who hear him ask the impossible and deliver, repeat customers who offer advice, and his staff whose hard work and long hours make awards and Michelin stars possible.
On arrival we were shown to the best table in the house, offered complimentary glass of Antech Blanquette de Limoux Brut Nature, and the feast (a set menu for which any allergies had been taken into account when we made the reservation) began.
One of the more intriguing aspects of Lature is that Murota hunts his own game in Hokkaido and prepares the game dishes for Lature in the French tradition. The menu varies with the seasons and is presented with charming, distinctive touches.
Deer blood macaron with black pudding filling served on deer hide.
Savoury Madeline-like biscuit with deer salami filling served on a pine cone.
House made roll and Hokkaido butter with a carved bird butter knife.
Smoked salmon, micro greens and flowers.
At this point of the meal we ordered a glass of Domaine de la Juvinière 2015 Savigny-Les-Beaune AOC Grand Vin de Bourgogne and proceeded with the next courses.
Pate en croute made with deer, boar, badger and bear; deer consume gelee and prune compote.
Deer loin with juniper, black pepper and currant sauce; celariac on the side; mushrooms, carrots Japanese white turnips, and micro greens. For the main course we selected a glass of Maxime Graillot 2016 Domaine des Lises Equis Crozes-Hermitage.
Two dessert courses followed. Confit apple with creme fraiche.
Caramel, pine nuts, walnuts and cocoa nibs.
Fortunately, we had scheduled a good deal of walking after the sumptuous meal–a memorable interlude and matchless food experience.
Apologies for all the accents omitted from the French text. And deepest thanks to Anne who kept better notes than I of the food and wine details.
It’s almost possible to forget that I am in Tokyo—glorious autumnal Tokyo—to study ikebana. Classes ended for an extended period between the 20th and 29th of October due to a major exhibition at month’s end.
Given that amount of time to play hooky I went to Yonezawa. Then lucking into a JR East Rail pass I extended the gallivanting around to include Atami and Akita. After that I was grounded by technical issues with the Wi-Fi router and computer. Together with the time lag between me and my tech support as well as holiday periods here, that required more than a week to resolve.
Suddenly I was behind the blogging 8-ball with a backlog of posts rhapsodizing about all the other great stuff going on in my Tokyo life stacked up: travel adventures, exhibits, food, concerts and such.
At the beginning of November the five ikebana classes I take weekly resumed. In the coming posts I will feature highlights from the course work. Not like the one above which is seriously flawed. Sigh. A rather glorious mistake, but Sofu Teshigahara, the founder of Sogetsu Ikebana was clear. The first of The 50 Rules of Sogetsu Ikebana states this: Beautiful flowers do not always make beautiful ikebana.
Now, as preliminary preparations for my departure begin, I’m delighted to have completed the coursework goals I set at the outset. I have a few more scheduled classes left to enjoy during which I intend to have another go at that “disaster” above. However, I am desperately trying not to think about dwindling numbers of days. Time. Always slipping away.