Monday, November 30, 2015

Rum Raisin Kitkats

It's been a while since I've tried any new kitkat flavors. I've let a few pass my by, but it also seems like they haven't been coming out quite as often. Just as likely I've gotten less observant, but yesterday these rum raisin kitkats caught my eye.

They come in the hilariously named "big little" size, which are basically kitkat nuggets. I really enjoy this shape, and think the serving size is just about perfect. Sometimes I don't buy a new flavor because I can only find the big bags at the grocery store and don't want to have to eat or give away so many.

The rum raisin flavor is surprisingly well done, and pairs nicely with the chocolate. It really does have a rum taste to it, and I suspect a kid wouldn't like them at all. Consider these adult kitkats.

Rum Raisin Kitkats

The "big little" size

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Another Thanksgiving is behind us. I'll probably be washing dishes all morning, but it is so worth it to have our house full of friends and laughter and good food.

I went back and read my blog posts for our past Thanksgivings - can you believe this is our fourth out here? It's interesting to remember different ways we've celebrated - we're definitely getting better at it, and to see what I've been especially thankful for each year. I don't think much has changed. I'm still thankful for family, and that with the internet it's so easy to stay connected to them. I'm thankful for John and how wonderful life is with him.  And of course for my friends. Honestly, I'm having trouble writing about what I'm thankful for because it all sounds so trite. So instead of rambling on, I'll just wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Holiday Week

Yesterday was Labor Thanksgiving Day, so it was a three day weekend here in Japan, and later this week is American Thanksgiving. It's feeling quite festive around here. I'm getting ingredients together and getting ready to cook up a storm on Thursday.

The weather has been getting cooler - it feels so crisp and refreshing outside and I even put our winter duvet on the bed over the weekend. The leaves are changing too. This afternoon on my walk home it was so quiet outside that I could actually hear the leaves falling. This is one of my favorite times of year in Tokyo.

I've been thinking a lot about how next year is going to be different. Raku's having her baby, and I'm closing in on finishing the second draft of my book. I don't know really know what's coming next, but I'm excited to find out. A few days ago we decorated a bunch of clothes for Raku's baby - I can't believe her due date is just 6 weeks away!

Clearly, we were meant to design baby high fashion

Cold weather means soup

Fall colors

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lawson Lucky Bags

Fukubukuro, bags filled with mystery objects, are usually sold around New Year's, and I always think the surprise is so fun. It's not common, but every once in a while you'll find them at another time of year.

Just last week a new convenience store opened in our neighborhood and to celebrate they were selling lucky bags. I knew they would only be convenience store snacks, but Raku and I still got them just for fun. As suspected, they were just typical conbini junk food but we enjoyed opening them. The green tea was the most practical. The weirdest? Tuna crackers. The best - cinnamon almonds, I would definitely buy those again!

Lucky Bags

The goods

Friday, November 13, 2015

Three Years

Wednesday was our three year anniversary of living in Japan. It seems so fast and slow all at once. I think I say that every year, but I guess some things never change.

This time of year always makes me feel reflective, thinking about what the last year has brought and how our time here continues to shape me. Lately, I've been thinking about how adult I feel. Now, if childhood Wendy could hear me say that, she'd laugh in my face. I'm thirty years old - I better feel like an adult. But I think as we all come to learn, age comes up on us slowly and it's not like a switch flips one day after a certain number of years and suddenly we are something new.

In the time I've been living out here I've seen a lot of my friends back in the US doing "real grownup" things like buying houses, having children, getting promotions. There are definitely times when I feel like I'm in a suspended reality here because I'm not doing any of those things and for as long as I live in Japan I won't be.

But the thing is, moving out here really made me and John grow up. In a way that we had never experienced before, we had to figure out everything for ourselves. We weren't in a familiar environment and our families weren't close by anymore. Feeling sick? We sure couldn't just go to the doctor who had known us since we were kids. Not sure why the hot water heater isn't working? That's not something my mom can explain to me out here. There are times it's been really hard (sometimes infuriating) but a lot of the time it's fun, and it sure is empowering. I've struggled with insecurities my whole life, and that will probably never go away entirely. But I feel so much more confident today, and I have no doubt that's due in large part to the way that living here has made me grow. I'm still so grateful for the chance to live here and trying to make the most of every day.

Falling Gingko Leaves
Tokyo Love

Friday, November 6, 2015


It's hard to believe that it's already November. Somehow I've gone from a summer full of travel to planning Thanksgiving dinner and already seeing Christmas decorations everywhere. And yes, you better believe I made a special trip out to Costco yesterday specifically to buy a pumpkin pie (which is now patiently waiting in my freezer.)

I guess it feels like the time is passing so quickly because of all the things I've been doing lately. Over the weekend we had a really wonderful baby shower for Raku. She didn't want the typical experience with lots of shower games, so instead we opted for a fancy brunch at the Park Hyatt. This past weekend John and I also got to attend the opening of the Takashi Murakami exhibit at the Mori Art Museum, which is one of the better shows they've had lately.

Raku has friends visiting right now, so I also visited the Yokohama Ramen Museum with them, which was delicious! In between all that I'm still trying to stay focused on my writing, but it's hard.

Takashi Murakami's Show
Part of Murakami's "The 500 Arhats"
This view never gets old
Nighttime City Lights
Neighborhood Christmas Lights
Trying to stay focused