This year’s vacation has been secured, we’re going back to Japan! Last year we went on a three-week trip where we first visited Kyoto and then Tokyo. We had so much fun last year that we wanted to go back and this time, we’re staying for 1 month! Last time, we managed to arrive during the peak of the typhoon season. Despite what you might think, this actually has some perks. The tourist attractions weren’t especially crowded (even Disneyland was ok!). I’ve also read somewhere that the weather usually turns great right after the typhoon. This was probably the case for us when we were in Kyoto. Completely unaware of the weather, we met the landlady outside the house we rented. She gave us a warm greeting and said that she was “so happy to see us” and that she “didn’t know if we would arrive on time”. Then she said, with a big smile on her face, “oh and by the way, your house is still here!”. She was dead serious.
If you disregard the risk of getting caught in a typhoon, the weather was pretty awesome after we got used to the temperature. This year we hope to repeat the success and thus we booked almost the same dates, middle of September to October.
We haven’t booked any houses/hotels or ryokans yet so if anyone’s got any tip on nice places to visit, please share! We fly to and from Tokyo so we will probably spend a couple of days there. We seriously fell in love with Kyoto so we might go back for a few days. Perhaps a day-trip to Osaka is a good idea? As of now, I’ve got three things on my want-to-do-list.
- A visit to Hakone Ginyu. This looks like a lovely ryokan were each room is equipped with a private onsen. Onsens are usually public and men and women bath separately. Soaking in the onsen water is a great way of relaxing, and this time I would like to share the experience with my husband.
- A trip to Kōya-san and Oku-no-in. I imagine this Buddhist graveyard is quite beautiful and peaceful.
- The Tsumago-Magome hike. A mountain path with traditional wooden inns which hosted travelling samurai lords. Need I say more?
Midsummer’s Eve is something we Swedes take very serious. If I were to rank the most important holidays, I would say Midsummer and Christmas share first place. Christmas is something you spend together with your family and Midsummer is celebrated together with friends. Food is very important and the funny thing is that we eat almost the same food on both occasions. Pickled herring is an absolute must have! The herring should be served together with eggs, sour cream, chives and of course, early potatoes. Drinks are equally important and everyone sings drinking songs and drinks snaps (the only exceptions are designated drivers and pregnant women).
Since this is such an important holiday, I always try to buy or make a nice outfit to wear. This year I was seriously running low on time but I decided to give it a go anyway. The pattern for the Tamoto dress is super easy and it’s very simple to assemble. The skirt and the lining fabric was a bit slippery so I probably spend half the time just cutting out the pieces. I was afraid that serging the raw edges of the lining would distort the fabric and that it wouldn’t fit together with the fashion fabric. Then I remembered the interesting “iron-on fabric stabilizer” I had bought at Okadaya in Shinjuku, Tokyo last year but never got around to using.All the instructions are in Japanese, which could be somewhat of a hassle, but the pictures are pretty self-explanatory. Just put the tape with the glue facing down towards the fabric and apply heat. It only takes ~10sec for it to stick. I used the same technique for stabilizing the neckline of my wedding dress but at that time I had to cut all the stripes myself. Having a pre-cut 15mm wide tape is just perfect! Not only does it prevent the raw edges from fraying, it also keeps the seams in place. Noone wants a neckline that stretches out of shape! When attaching it to a curved neckline like in the picture below, the trick is to make small cuts on one side.
I was planning on making a simple hem for the skirt but since I was short on time, I just serged it and sewed on some black lace trim I found in my stash. Perhaps not as stylish as I would’ve wanted it but maybe it could pass as “cute” instead.
Last but not least, a picture taken from the pier right below the house where we had this year’s Midsummer celebration.
When I looked at my site statistics today I was surprised and happy to see that someone actually managed to find my blog via pictures of my bedspread on Pinterest. It’s not every day that random people manage to boost your confidence like this. Thank you unknown persons! :) A small step for mankind but a giant leap for me!
Now the only question is, what am I to do with the ~100 leftover tiles? Pretty much the only thing I can think of is cushion cover. But I hardly need 4 cushion covers! Perhaps I should give Etsy a try…