harvest moon rising (COUNT=1483)


last night
turning from Pacific Avenue unto Bloor Street
we saw the harvest moon rising
(here is a crappy snapshot)
(maybe too many people are posting too many beautiful photos)

before that
grilled octopus + moscato @ bricco
(a note on notes of lychee
sometimes when I read this in a magazine
i wonder if it’s a nice way of saying smells like canned fruit
but this is the real thing)


before that
armed n simcoe @ rainhard brewing
notes of real lychee
(simcoe may just be the most interesting hop in the world)

before that
(best way to travel to japan without getting on an airplane)

before that
propeller coffee
(always a good way to start a long weekend)


traveling together

It was very clear from the beginning that we have different approaches to travel. Instead of pushing him to do all the things that I want to do, I figured it would be easier to start with his preferred approach and make changes slowly.

In 2012, our first ever trip together was a 9 day architecture tour of Chicago with three stops in Wisconsin.

In 2013, our 10 day visit to San Francisco included a bike trip around Napa.

In 2015, our 11 day trip around the Pacific Northwest included biking around Mt Hood and hiking along the People’s Coast.

In 2016, our 12 day trip to Germany and Austria included biking around Salzburg lakes, biking along the Mosel river and castle walks. The fact that we had an amazing trip despite getting off at the wrong train station and me suggesting that we walk to the next train station gave us a huge confidence boost.

This year, we are doing a 16 day trip to Japan with a stop in Vancouver. I don’t love big crowds but, having lived in Shanghai and Beijing, I have my ways of finding serenity in a sea of people. This is his first trip to Asia so not quite sure how he will respond.

For the three days in Kyoto, I’m thinking we can break it down into six segments. This way, if we get run over by tour groups, we will just tough it out knowing that a quiet break is right around the corner.

Segment #1: We are staying in an apartment in Nakagyō-ku (中京区) so I’m thinking we can kick off our first afternoon adventure at Cao Cafe Ishikawa (picture above) which is open from 11:30 to 3 am on Sundays. Nishiki Market followed by Nishiki Tenman-gū (天満宮). Pontocho Alley followed by Shirakawa-minami Dori.

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Segment #2: 6 am bamboo forest stroll followed by coffee at % ARABICA (picture above). Walk across Togetsukyō Bridge (渡月橋) followed by exploration of Tenryū-ji (天龍寺): “The main 14th-century Zen garden, with its backdrop of the Arashiyama mountains, is a good example of shakkei (borrowed scenery)” (lonely planet). Looking forward to comparing and constrasting with Humble Administrator’s Garden, which is also famous for 借景. Buy cute items @ chirimen zaikukan followed by all you can eat lunch at Gyatei!

Ishibei-koji (石塀小路)

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Segment #3: Coffee at efish followed by pottery admiration at Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Hall. A stroll around Ninen-zaka, Sannen-zaka, Ishibei-koji (picture above). Pickle buffet then buy incense @ koju.

Segment #4: 6 am walk around Inari-yama followed by coffee @ Vermillion.

Segment #5: Paper shopping @ rakushikan followed by Weekenders Coffee. 7 pm sweets @ Umezono.

Segment #6: 6 am Hōnen-in (法然院) visit along Philosopher’s Walk (tetsu gaku no michi). 8 am coffee @ Shinshindo Cafe (進々堂). Climb to the viewpoint above Ginkaku-ji followed by lunch at Omen. Paper box shopping @ shofudo and soap shopping @ chidoriya.

grateful (COUNT=1416)


i++ Last Sunday, magazine reading @ offsite, one of “10 new coffee shops with the best interior design in Toronto” per blogto

i++ Last Saturday, people watching @ dark horse canary, another one of the 10

i++ Les pains au chocolat La Fournée Dorée

i++ Excellent STL dinner @ Bristol Seafood Grill

i++ Citrus BBQ party featuring pickled plum with lime zest, carrot sauteed in orange juice, fried lemon, kumquat and Jess’ super amazing Bergamot cake


what i will eat (& drink) in japan (part i)

Day 1: Train from Kansai Airport Station to Namba Station, check into hotel, coffee @ Takamura, walk around Hozenji Yokocho and eat okonomiyaki @ Houzenji Sanpei, followed by Meoto Zenzai, check out the four floor Muji store which is open until 9 pm

Day 2 AM: 8 am coffee @ Mill Pour, 9 am visit Osaka Castle and designer bathroom (see picture)

Day 2 PM: Coffee @ Hood by Vargas, visit Floating Garden Observatory, buy sweets at Hankyu Umeda Main Store, dinner at hankyu sanbangai food museum

Day 3: 5 am breakfast @ Endo Sushi in Osaka Fish Market, train from Namba Station to Gokurakubashi Station, cable car to Koyasan, check into Jokiin (常喜院), book evening cemetery tour and eat vegetarian temple food

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what i will eat (& drink) in japan (part ii)

Day 10: Train from Sanjo Station to Kitahama Station, check into hotel, coffee @ LiLo Coffee Roasters, walk along Tombori River, eat Matsusaka Beef Course (see below), shop @ d&department

Day 11: 8 am coffee @ Brooklyn Roasting Company (see above) (not many coffee shops open at 8 am), visit Kuromon Market, train from Namba Station to Kansai Airport Station, fly to YVR

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grateful (COUNT=1397)

1. He shared this picture with me
Him: Looks at the cute owls
Me: Why do you think they are owls?

2. Discussing Big Salt with Blair @ Taverna Mercatto; maybe South Core is okay after all!

3. Watching Big Chill (his mum’s fav movie): I often wonder whether I am more honest with friends made recently or friends I’ve known for decades; it’s probably easier to question the here and the now with old friends since we have a common frame of reference; at the same time perhaps we feel compelled to be consistent with the person we once were

4. Coffee with Tanya @ Crafted by Te Aro followed by

5. Ava Roth @ Loop Gallery followed by

6. Walking along Bloor Street like we used to

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