Sado in Pictures

Glimpses of my weekend on Sado Island.Shinkansen and coffeethe ferry to Sadoview from the ferryold men and the sea taiko performancethe path to a secret swimming spot on SadoFarewellssunset on the weekendAfter a great time at Earth Celebration last year, we returned to Sado Island for more taiko and sea air. It takes all day to get there from Tokyo — shinkansen to an express train to a ferry — but for me getting there is half the fun. Each night on Sado we climbed the hill next to the harbor and watched the sunset amidst cicadas until the concert drums and night stars took over. During the day we napped in the grass and swam in calm ocean inlets. Ah, Sado.

Shinkansen Felt Ornaments

One of the craft shops in my neighborhood is owned by a very old couple. They don’t always hear the bell ring when you enter the store so I often have to loiter, waiting for someone to emerge from the back room so I can make my purchase. The top shelf is covered by dust, but I pretend not to notice.

One of the perks of a shop like this is that their stock is old, and sometimes you come across an item that has been sold out elsewhere since 1987.

Shinkansen felt mascot

This Shinkansen (known as the “bullet train” in the US) felt mascot kit isn’t that old, but in this dusty shop is the only time I have seen it for sale anywhere. I thought they would make ideal Christmas tree ornaments, so over the holidays I dug out the kit.

Shinkansen felt ornaments

The kit includes die cut felt pieces (very cool), beads for wheels, embroidery floss and stuffing. The directions are easy since this kit is meant for children to complete in about a day.

kit contents

kit instructions

pieces

My favorite parts are the wheels. It took me a little time to figure out that the small felt pieces are actually glued on rather than stitched. Once I had that down, these were really fun to assemble. Sometimes you just need a little something easy to do while drinking all that eggnog at Christmas.

speedy little trains

For those of you who love speedy bullet trains as much as I do, Sanrio has a cute website full of free printables. Enjoy!

Food Porn, Nagoya Edition

This past spring Dan and I spent a weekend in Aichi Prefecture with a friend to visit her family. It was one of the best weekends I’ve had in Japan. We visited Inuyama Castle during its springtime festival and watched the candle-covered wood carts creak through town, visited temples and an outdoor onsen, took in cherry blossoms along the river, and spent time with some wonderful people. And we ate a lot of food.

It was my first Shinkansen trip. So awesome. If you listen closely, you can hear Dan clapping and giggling like a 10 year old as the train approaches. OK, back to the food.

Because of the festival, Inuyama’s streets were lined with food carts. We started slowly with curry-filled croquettes, fresh from the fryer.

A shrimp pancake. Because why not.

Grilled miso-dipped mochi. And a feisty raccoon flag. This area of Japan is known for its miso, so the local specialties have a rich flavor, which I loved. I even liked it in the sweets.

Noodles for lunch, with more miso and yep, that’s a raw egg.

For dinner we had grilled eel, which might be my new favorite food.  I try not to think about this when I’m eating it.

On Day 2 we were too busy eating to snap photos, and all I caught was our tea-time snack of grilled mochi in warm red bean…soup? broth? Who knows, but redbeansoupbroth was niiice.

A train trip wouldn’t be complete without a beer for the road. This was a local brew. Our friend’s mother then sent us home with a huge bag of goodies — cake, a pomelo, strawberry-filled mochi, tea, and a ton of snacks. She must be related to my mother-in-law.

Such a lovely weekend.