The Plum Blossoms in Okurayama


I know, I know. Plum blossom season is over.

But when I went to the bookstore the other day, I saw some of the prettiest plum blossoms at a local ume-matsuri (plum festival) and I had to share! Better late than never, right?

It was a beautiful day out but still very chilly. Very very chilly. But despite that, there were quite a few people enjoying picnics under the plum blossoms. I am guessing a lot of alcohol was consumed to ward away the chills.

There were also many festival stalls selling different kinds of food. In my recent obsession over dorayaki, when I saw the ume-flavored dorayaki in one of the stalls, I had to get it. It ended up being the very last one…lucky me!

Next to come are cherry blossoms! Are you ready? x

The Book Apart in Okurayama

Hello, hello! How have you been?

I seem to have forgotten about my blog for a little while, hounded by that thing called “real life.” It can be so time consuming sometimes. But no worries. I’ll be making up lost time by posting like a maniac the next few days 😉

So a couple of weeks ago, I finally made my way to Book Apart.

Book Apart is a bookstore that opened last year in Yokohama. It’s owned by Shuhei Mita, who also owns, Book Truck, a mobile bookstore. His selection of books are wonderfully vast and diverse. But the books were not the only reason this bookstore pulled me in. I mean, books are always enough. But there was an extra cherry on top (for me).

You may have guessed from the name, this bookstore is housed in an apartment. Okurayama Apartment, to be exact. This apartment building was designed by Kazuyo Sejima, one-half of the world renowned SANAA architecture firm. They’re famous for architectural designs such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa prefecture and the Musée Louvre-Lens in France. You can say they are currently one of the most influential architects in Japan, so I was really interested in the apartment itself.

The apartment had three-stories, very uniquely designed. Large windows, white walls, and simple concrete floors made the place look quite spacious. The bookstore used various sections of the apartment to highlight different books. Children’s books by the bedroom, cooking books in the kitchen, travel books by the patio.

I was there for hours, first browsing, then sitting down with a book, then browsing some more. It was definitely a treasure box. I finally settled on a magazine that caught my eye and I headed towards the register on the first floor. With both books and architecture to tickle my toes, you can bet I went home with a smile on my face.

What do you think of this bookstore? Here are some photos:

Okurayama Apartment I
3-5-11 Okurayama, Kohoku-ku
Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
*2min walk from Okurayama Station
on the Tokyu Toyoko Line
Hours: 12:00pm-9:00pm
Closed Mondays

The Holiday Weekend in Yokohama

Aren’t these the cutest Christmas reindeers (aka poodles) you’ve ever seen?
While many other countries may have a day off to celebrate Christmas on the 25th, here in Japan it is not an official holiday. So a lot of people get together over the weekend or on the 23rd, which actually is an official holiday here (it’s our Emperor’s birthday!).
I ended up in Yokohama this weekend with my Japanese friends, who currently live in South Korea, and their Chinese-Malay friends, currently visiting Japan from Malaysia. We went by Chinatown and had lunch at Bawarou, a Taiwanese restaurant that actually had vegetarian options. It was really good and the owner was quite the character.
After learning how to count from one to ten in Chinese, Korean, and Malay (this is what happens when everyone speaks a different language), we took a walk down the pier. Yokohama has so much history, it’s really interesting learning about how the port opened and evolved. Also, the view is pretty amazing, too.
Our Malaysian friends wanted to try ice skating so we stopped by the Red Brick Warehouse, which we call Aka-renga. Every winter they have a popular outdoor skating rink in their event space. It’s very crowded so it’s not the place to practice your triple axels, but skating with friends is always fun. Especially when it’s someone’s first time on ice. The girls had previous experience so they were very good but their dad had never ice skated before. He was like bambi on the ice! Teehee!
We had tons of fun and I’m glad we got to spend our holiday weekend together. And even though I’ll be working on Christmas day, I’ll still be in a festive mood for sure! (Especially since everyone on the other side of my emails will be on holiday and I won’t have that much to do anyways ;D)
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas from Japan! x