The Long Weekend in Germany

Hallo Deutschland!!!

I had so much fun with my girls in Germany!

Oh, and did I mention this is my first time in Europe? I know, I don’t know why I waited so long. But I love that Germany ended up being my first European country, even if it was just a small corner of the country.

This weekend all came about when my friend R realized that there was a Pentatonix concert in Cologne AND our friend H lived near Dusseldorf. We’d been wanting to visit her but you know it’s hard to schedule something last minute, especially when it includes 15+ hour transit. But all three of us checked our schedules…and it somehow all worked out!

June was the perfect time to visit, in my opinion. The weather was perfect, with everyone eating outside. Apparently Germans eat outside as much as possible, especially when the weather is nice. I would think that a restaurant was full because all the outdoor seats were be taken, but then when we stepped inside the restaurant there are a whole bunch of seats that were open. I quickly learned that the outdoor seats were the most popular.

We were also there during white asparagus season, and let me tell you, Germans love their spargel. Every restaurant had a special spargel menu to celebrate this joyous season, and we definitely took advantage of it. We had so many types of spargel and they were all delicious.

We also spent a day in Cologne, exploring the city before the concert. The cathedral was massive and there was so much to see. We also walked along the Rhine river and crossed the Hohenzollern Bridge before heading to the concert venue.

As for the concert, Pentatonix blew me away. They were amazing. Also, on the way back to the station after the concert, we were trying to figure out which street to take and a random German girl spoke to us in Japanese! She had studied a year in Tokyo and understood we were trying to get the same station as her so showed us the way. What a night, we had the best time!

We spent a lazy Sunday at a lake near where my friend lives, just relaxing and playing games. The water was super cold but a lot of the locals were jumping in and swimming. I guess when summer is short, you take full advantage of warm weather.

My last day in Dusseldorf, H and I took the Rhine river cruise because I wanted to see the Gehry buildings at Dusseldorf Harbor. We also did a little shopping (souvenirs and these sandals!) and ate here and there before heading to the airport.

All in all, the long weekend in Germany was totally worth the long flight. I love it when a sudden plan comes together so well like this. Germany is such a friendly country. I can’t wait to come back to explore other cities some day!

Here are some photos:

 

The Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki

Something about fields of blue that make even rainy days seem bright!

Nemophila flowers in Hitachi Seaside Park (or Hitachi Kaihin Koen in Japanese) are becoming incredibly famous and this park is a popular place to be during Golden Week. These are pictures from last year, actually, but I thought now would be the perfect time to share as any!

I went by car with some friends on a rainy day. It wasn’t suppose to rain but you know how spring likes to trick you that way. But when you’re with your friends, it really doesn’t matter. We bought ourselves an ice cream cone and took a walk around the park.

We were walking up a hill when a little girl passed us in a rush, pumping her arms in an effort to reach the top of the hills as fast as her little legs could carry her. My friends and I were chatting about how lazy we were, watching her leave us in the dust.

When we finally did reach the top of the hill, the scene before us was pretty incredible. I later learned that the hill is called Miharashi-no-Oka (translated: Hill with View) and is 58 meters above sea level. You could see past the blue fields that surrounded us to the green woods beyond, including a big ole ferris wheel. You could even see the ocean, which surprised me.

Just as I was wishing we had better weather for the view, I noticed the little girl that had rushed past us before, wandering around with a half sob on her face. I recognized this look, the brave face of a little one frantically looking for the familiar face of a parent while their heart beats a thousand miles a minute. I’m sure we’ve all had that exact same expression on our faces in the earlier years of our lives.

After a quick look around to see if someone was looking for her, I went over to crouch down and asked her if she was lost. With quivering lips, she nodded her head. So then I asked her what her name was. She mumbled something but I couldn’t quite manage to catch her name, so I asked her again, leaning in closer to hear. She must have though I was deaf because she stuck her mouth literally to my ear and shouted “MANA-CHAN!”

She had my ears ringing but bless her, I did get her name 😉

My friends and I called out for her parents and they were soon there, huffing and puffing up the hill. Apparently Mana-chan had really left them in the dust and they had just reached the top. The sudden relief on her face was apparent as she was scooped up into her dad’s arms and all was well in the universe again. Awww.

Satisfied that we had done our civic duty, we headed back down the hill. It was a good day!

Here are some photos:

 

HITACHI SEASIDE PARK (国営ひたち海浜公園)
605-4 Onuma Mawatari, Hitachinaka-shi, Ibaraki JAPAN
茨城県ひたちなか市馬渡字大沼605-4
TEL: 029 265 9001

The Three Musketeers in Ikea

Shopping for a bunk bed at Ikea ended up taking all day.

Not that it took that long to choose. I had actually narrowed down the bed we wanted online and we were technically just there to buy it. But you know how it is…we had to try out every couch, gush over the system kitchen that would never fit into my apartment and ponder over how many pots for plants I need (and by need, I mean want).

We also took a break and ate at the Ikea restaurant. Not only are their dishes very cheap, they had a vegetarian dish on their menu, too! We all tried the Veggie Ball Kurozu Ankake and it was really good!

At the end of the afternoon, we finally got around to buying our bunk bed, which we somehow maneuvered into our tiny car. It was a tight fit going back home but I had tons of fun. Mission accomplished! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 


IKEA SHINMISATO
2-2-2 ShinMisato Lala, Misato, Saitama JAPAN
TEL: 0570 01 3900
HOURS: Mon-Fri 10:00am-9:00pm, Sat-Sun 9:00am-9:00pm

The May Link Love

Helloooooooo May!

And if you live in Japan, happy Golden Week! Are you travelling? Or are you like me and waiting out this peak travel season to go anywhere besides the supermarket?

April was a great month for me. My sister has settled into my apartment this past month and now we have a pretty good rhythem going. I won’t lie and say it was easy. It’s always a challenge living with someone who is not yourself, especially when you’ve lived on your own for so long. Am I right? I may or may not have cried in the bathroom when my sister came with so much stuff that I couldn’t see the apartment floor. So yes, it definitely took me awhile to adjust. But then I think back to my days in boarding school with over a hundred girls, not to mention this will probably be the last time we’ll get to spend so much time together as just us sisters (she’s getting married in August!!!), and I want to embrace this opportunity and enjoy having a roommate. Especially one who knows how to cook! ;D

So that’s what’s up with me. How are you doing?

I really love this season before the rainy season. It’s been so gorgeous outside and walking everywhere has never felt better. Hope you’re all enjoying this perfect weather!

——————————————————-Link Love——————————————————-

– The breakdown of flag designs.

Chicago neighborhoods. (I love this city!)

– A new kind of camouflage.

– What book should you read next?

– The beautiful art of repairing.

The Night Hanami in Tokyo Midtown

I was passing through Roppongi for work and was pulled towards the lights.

The sakura trees along the Midtown Garden are lit up every year. Yozakura itself is lovely but when they are lit up like this, it really draws a crowd. But surprisingly, at this time of night it wasn’t too crowded and I was able to take a leisurely stroll along the park.

Here are some photos:

TOKYO MIDTOWN GARDEN (東京ミッドタウンガーデン)
9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo JAPAN
東京都港区赤坂9-7-1
TEL: 03 3475 3100
HOURS: 5:00pm-11:00pm
SEASON: Mid-March to mid-April (depends on the year)

The Morning Hanami in Shinjuku

I know hanami season is over but I just couldn’t go on without sharing just a little.

It may just be my imagination but are there more sakura trees in Tokyo than never before? With a slightly hectic spring schedule, I had accepted that there wouldn’t be a proper hanami season for me this year. It may just be that the hanami gods felt bad for me but it seemed like every corner I turned, there was a burst of sakura waiting for me!

Like this massive tree that was trimmed to a T it almost looked like a pink square marshmallow from the front.

They say it’s bad luck to have a sakura tree in your yard, something to do with it feeding off human decay or attracting the dead. But others, like this house, say to hell with that and have gorgeous cherry blossoms above their roofs. Do you think it’s true?

As much as I love sakura, and even though I’m not really all that superstitious…just in case, I would love to be the next door neighbor 😉

Here are some photos:

  
 

The April Link Love

Happy first day of April!

I just remembered that today is April fool’s day, which I have never been into. Do you like jokes and tricks? I am just one of those people that can’t handle purposely embarrassing people. I know, so uptight and boring. But I get even more embarrassed for them and it’s just too much. Ha.

Anyways, March was an interesting month. My cellphone passed away and since I haven’t made the time to get it fixed or exchanged, I am now living like a pilgrim. Or when I was in 5th grade, give or take a few hundred year. No computer, no cellphone.

It’s not too bad to tell you the truth. Which brings me to question myself…do we really need to be connected to every single person we’ve ever met? But then on the other hand, I’d like to get my cellphone fixed so I can actually call home and talk to my parents.

In other news, the sakura season is finally upon us! Yay!

Happy hanami season, everyone 😉

——————————————————-Link Love——————————————————-

Jane Austen is probably mad at us.

– I had no idea!

Not in the mood to party? (Heehee!)

– Haunting photographs.

Community.

– Perfect for hanami!