Thursday, December 30, 2010

it is what it is...

Since the temperature in Hamburg has been below freezing, we still have a solid amount of snow everywhere. It's cold and absolutely surreal. I took a long walk this morning by myself and contemplated about 2010.

What a year...

Time does not stop nor begin on January 1st but I appreciate the opportunity to reflect on the last 365 days. I try to think of 2010 as "it is what it is"... try not to question about what happened nor what didn't happen and accept the year as is.

I know I tried my best at every moment of the year... as much as I can in my ability... and sometimes that is all we can do.

I hope to welcome 2011 gracefully and continue reaching to be the person I want to be.

I wish everyone a very peaceful end of year...
snow in Hamburgsnow in Hamburgsnow in Hamburgsnow in Hamburgsnow in Hamburg

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

True breakfast

At home we love doing breakfast... but I would have to say that we are having "the king of breakfast" here. My mother-in-law knows how to make things "nice"... and her breakfast is no exception.

I wish you were here to join us...


Homemade German food. Yum:)

My in-laws are both great chefs in the kitchen so I am completely spoiled with homemade German foods everyday here. Here are some pics from our fondue night and sausage night.

Fondue night with the whole family... I was told not to accidentally take other people's fondue stick from the pot. Fondue always reminds me of shabu shabu dinner... but Germans have figured out not to fight for the meat in the pot. You just have to defend one:)
beef fondoubeef fondoubeef fondou
I love these tiny cups for a small coffee after dinner. Left one is from my great grandmother-in-law and the right one with the swan is my mother-in-laws favorite find from flea market. We want to look for ones for our kitchen once we're back home. Maybe a trip to an antique flea market!
beef fondou

Our sausage night
4 different sausage and of course... beer with my favorite potato salad all cooked by my father-in-law. 
German sausage for dinnerGerman sausage for dinnerGerman sausage for dinnerGerman sausage for dinner

Did I say... spoiled? More pics of foods to come soon.

Quiet morning... thinking about 2011

It's amazing to see how quickly a baby can adopt to the new environment. After two days of slightly painful nights with long (and loud) cry, little roo has eased into the new time zone... while I am still enjoying the ride of jetlag... we have a very little agenda of what needs to be done here other than spending time with family so I am taking random naps with little roo during the day and waking up few hours at a time in the middle of night and early morning.

I especially love the quietness of early morning. It's all white outside with fresh snow from the night before and the light from outside is bouncing off from snow making the air feeling especially crisp.

It's perfect time to let my mind wonder... and project the thoughts towards next year.

Have you thought of the goals/resolutions for 2011...? I am still working on my list but once it is complete, I will share it with you.
white on whiteP1000533

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gift {WISH for 2011}

I would like to take a short intermission from our travel updates and share one last project I had my hands on throughout December.

I wanted to do something special for close friends this year as holiday gifts. My two criteria?
1. something that can't be bought with money
2. something meaningful...

... and the result was
{WISH for 2011}

I was really inspired by "Osechi" the traditional dish we have in Japan to celebrate New Year. Every component of Osechi has a very special meaning behind it. Chestnut for wealth (because it's golden), Konbu/seaweed for joy (because it sounds similar to the word "joy" in Japanese)..., etc. etc. It gives special contexts to all the food and makes sharing Osechi so much more thought provoking.

So taking the idea of "Osechi", I have deconstructed the wish for New Year.

Growth, Happiness, Creativity, Forgiveness, Love and Karma...

with each wish being represented by small artifact/s I have either handmade or customized and wrapped in the translucent envelop using a roll of vellum and my favorite Japanese masking tapes... accompanied with the wish tag.

You can scroll down and see what I have included for each wish. I had tons of fun putting these together and was so thrilled to hear my friends loved them too:)
Wishes for 2011These are my first few thoughts I captured in my sketchbook when I was brainstorming. From the very beginning, I knew I would have a blast with this project.
sketch for 2011 wish

Growth: I packed a handful of seeds in the package... because it's healthy to "see something grow...
it’s good for your heart:)"
I loved seeing the seeds through transparency. Aren't they pretty?
Wishes for 2011Wishes for 2011

Happiness: I have selected special photos from 2010 because "smiles go a long way". Some with little roo (because her name means happiness in Japanese) and some I found from my friends facebook page from their 2010 adventures. Then I have printed these pics using MOO cards online service. It was fun seeing these digital pics turned into these wallet size photos! They are like happiness in the pocket:)
Wishes for 2011

Creativity: Pencils with laser etched scripts to inspire more ideas because "sky is always blue. Always..." These two phrases, "What if...?" and "Follow your curiosity!" is our mantras when it comes to imagination and idea generation so I think this was a perfect match made in heaven!

***in the design industry we use "blue sky" to describe conceptual ideas.
Wishes for 2011Wishes for 2011

Forgiveness: Monopoly inspired Get Out of Jail Free card because "letting it go is {almost} always a better solution." and little bit of humor doesn't hurt when we're having one of those days, right?
Wishes for 2011

Love: custom designed tiny little stamp that says always+forever to "stamp it like you mean it". We use the phrase "always+forever" in our household to share our commitment and dedication to each other. I also like using it to describe my relationship with close friends and family because I am not quantity type of person when it comes to relationship but I always want to be there for my important people in my life.
Wishes for 2011Wishes for 2011

Karma: Fortune in the walnut shell because "today counts as much as what you did yesterday and you will do tomorrow".  I got this idea to seal something precious in the hollowed out walnut shell from my mother-in-law.  "Good karma" is the seed inside of the nut... such an appropriate place to keep the new path that might unveil in the near future.
Wishes for 2011

Final touch: I packaged these little wishes in the craft paper and shipped them away for my friends in distance... while my friends in the city got them in the vintage Ball glass jars.
Wishes for 2011Wishes for 2011Wishes for 2011

Sunday, December 26, 2010

world covered in snow

Coming from sun-kissed Los Angeles, Hamburg has brought a nice change of scenery for us. Lots of snow and below freezing temperature. I am not very good with cold when it is the everyday thing but I do love it for occasional joy.

We took a brief walk around the park yesterday... Everything was covered with snow and was absolutely gorgeous.

Do you think snow does some magic to the world? I think everything becomes so much quieter when there is snow around us.  Maybe because snow absorbs a lot of noise or maybe people rather stay at home when it's so cold outside.

Asides from some of the inconveniences we have accumulated due to the snow (canceled flights and delayed delivery of our luggage), I am in awe with this snow covered fairly tail world.

snow in hamburgsnow in hamburgsnow in hamburgsnow in hamburg

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas story

Hubby has always told me how magical Christmas is in Germany so I am really happy to be here for the first time. Just like everything has a meaning behind it in Japan, my family in Germany celebrates this season with layers of stories to share...

Goose dinner my grandmother-in-law used to make, Christmas decoration they bought in India long time ago, little angels my mother-in-law made (and have been brought back this year with their futuristic flying vehicles made by my father-in-law), little roo's first Christmas gift, the story of Peter Rabbit which was my hubby's favorite when he was little...

I love hearing every bit of story from my hubby and his family.

Life is told through stories...

Special occasions like this bring family and friends together to share the sweet memory over and over again.
Christams Eve 2010Christams Eve 2010Goose dinner made by my father-in-law... recreating his childhood memory of his mother's Christmas dinner.
Christams Eve 2010 Safe or not... The Christmas tree lit with candles is beautiful and little roo loves it too.
Christams Eve 2010Christams Eve 2010Lovely gifts from in-laws. I love the vintage tea container... and of course... Peter Rabbit's story.
angel(s)Handmade angels. They have been fixed many times over years... this year with their handmade flying vehicles. angel(s)Check out the additional angel. She loves to fly:)

little roo Saturday {first flight}

Merry Christmas to everyone:)
As I promised, this is the first post from Hamburg, Germany. I am so excited that we have made it here... last night... just in time for Christmas Eve dinner with my in-laws.

I have already taken quite bit of photos here in snow covered Hamburg... but first I would love to share some pics from our travel! Little roo's first flight.

10 hours from LA to Frankfurt... then another 50 minutes to Hamburg.

It was exhausting for us (both physically and emotionally) but we made it through with good spirits. The seats with adjacent bassinets were the best thing ever.  Except the first take off from LAX (when she cried her head off), she spent most of her time in the little bassinets either sleeping or playing. People around us were very sweet and kept little roo entertained here and there...

She of course woke up and wanted to play in the wee early morning (like 2-5am??); otherwise, we are smoothing into the days in Europe. Stay tuned! More updates to come from our adventure:)
flying with little rooflying with little rooflying with little rooflying with little rooflying with little roo

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Due to the weather in Europe, our trip has been stalled for a few days... so right now we are camping out at my parents' house. Hopefully our flight will take off tomorrow afternoon to arrive to Hamburg just in time for Christmas Eve dinner.

While we are kind of stuck here in very rainy Los Angeles, we are making the most out of situation. My parents are absolutely loving the extra few days they got with our little roo and we feel very lucky "to be stuck" at a place where there is a solid roof, comfortable bed, yummy foods, time to read... all with a company of family.

I hope everyone is staying warm and dry... and enjoying the few days before Christmas. And hopefully my next blog post will be from Germany.

We'll see:) Everything happens for a reason, right?

p.s. the chocolate on the third picture is from Recchiuti Confections in San Francisco. Amazing flavor and textures...
days brefore our tripdays brefore our tripdays brefore our tripdays brefore our trip


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