I have a blog!

4 Dec

Sometimes I forget.

To make up for the long hiatus since my last post, here is an extra-long, pictureful, autumntastic entry. 😀

Leaves and treats ahead….

Since last we met, the temperature has… not changed much. This fall has been quite mild, but still full of yummy goodies. Like chestnuts! Autumn is chestnut season here, and every market and city street corner has someone selling roasted chestnuts. Shamefully, I don’t have a photo of that.

Instead, I chose to enjoy some of the chestnut-flavored desserts that pop up in the bakeries in fall. For example, this delicious sponge cake with the chestnut icing:

Mmm!

Here in the jutaku, where we have 6 Americans, 1 Canadian, 1 Irishman, and 1 Singaporean, we also celebrated Thanksgiving with a traditional American meal:

Pizza! What else? I don’t think people in Japan actually eat turkey, ever, and we’ve never bothered looking for it. Plus, we were craving pizza.

In honor of the holiday, I baked a cake for the first time – in my rice cooker! Here’s how it came out:

And I topped it with whipped cream:

Also, last night I made homemade hot chocolate for the first time ever, topped with a dash of cinnamon. Yum!

As you can tell, I’ve been very healthy this season. The cake was delicious, btw, and I’m looking forward to more rice-cooker-baking.

Well, that’s it for food. Now, November is also koyo, or autumn foliage, season. Since there are maples and ginkgos all over the place, the world has exploded into glorious color. Here’s a shot of our neighbor’s house:

This weekend I finally had a chance to go out hiking and take pictures of the koyo. It was a little past peak, but things were still gorgeous at my favorite mountain, Kiyomizusan.

Around here is where I started singing “I Dreamed a Dream” in my head. It was so pretty! My favorite temple is on this mountain, and its garden is designed to highlight the koyo. Unfortunately my camera didn’t quite capture the brightness, but trust me, it was spectacular.

Japanese gardens are like French food; everyone else is doing it wrong.

One of the things I like best is the idea of “borrowed scenery”, which means that the landscaper integrates the land surrounding the garden to enhance the design. You can see in the above picture how that triangular mountain in the background sort of balances out the lines of the trees within the garden.

There were lots of Japanese folks there taking pictures, too.

And although, again, my camera didn’t capture its glory, I had to take a picture of the spread of leaves around this tree:

It was just like a poem, how it starts so thickly on the right and then scatters outward. I’m sure there’s some mathematical principle we haven’t quite figured out that predicts how leaves will fall around their tree.

But much as I adore the bright red and orange maples, I actually have to say that the ginkgos are my favorites. Maybe because they are so much more dramatic than in the States. Here, they all turn an incredible, fire-bright shade of yellow:

Isn’t that just amazing? Anyways, that’s all I got for now, folks. I’ll try to update again before I go home for the holidays. (whoo! Back to NYC for 2 weeks!)

6 Responses to “I have a blog!”

  1. tanya December 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    tara i love the picture of the neighbors place, its great! i meant to take one but i forgot. i also took a funny shot of people taking pictures in that temple 🙂

    so glad i got to kiyomizu for the foliage…i second the gingkos

    • tarasensei December 5, 2011 at 1:44 am #

      That photo came out crazy well! And I saw that ginkgo picture on your blog – I think it’s the same tree!!

  2. Jess December 4, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    Yay you’re coming home! What days will you be here? Hopefully we can see each other.

  3. heather kendall (@heatherkendall) December 7, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    Wow! Kiyomizu is super beautiful in the fall! I wish I were there! I can’t believe I missed it. Absolutely gorgeous!

    • tarasensei December 9, 2011 at 4:32 am #

      You just have to come back! Easy!

      Heh. It was really lovely, even though it was late in the season. ❤ ❤ ❤

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