I accidentally opened the back cover before rewinding the film. Very silly. But decided to post these faulty pictures so I will never do it again! Also they kind of have the nostalgic feels I am feeling right now as the year is coming to an end.
I think it's almost time for my break. Yes almost.

P.S. Thank you so much for many lovely comments and warm wishes on my previous "coffee" post. I'm so delighted and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. And.... happy new year!!!!! よいお年を♪

coffee brake
ice latte
cafe mai
cozy place 2
I usedn't to be able to enjoy coffee so much when I was much younger because it would give me headaches. It still does occasionally, but it seems to have stopped bothering me anymore. I'm also a tea lover and always have a cup of tea or two in the morning, but good coffee makes me smilie :) I sat down for a nice cup of coffee just then and it seems to make me feel calm.

After doing this post I realised that this may be my last post before Christmas. In Japan we don't get the Christmas holidays and everyone works both on the 24th and 25th (though we celebrate it, or rather just party around with friends and lovers), so I will still be running around crazy trying to get all the work and other stuff done breathless for the next god-knows-how-many-more-days.
I hope all of you will have a very warm "merry christmas" and wonderful holidays :)
In the old Japanese calender December was called "shiwasu" and this term is so often used even today more than any other month of the year. The word "shiwasu" (師走) is made of two kanji characters that mean "master" and "run", it means December is such a busy season that even a great master or priest must run to get everything done.

Oh my goodness this shiwasu, I have not ever been busier!
Christmas, at the moment I can only get a glimpse of it, but it's coming this week!? I hope I can slow down a bit.. somehow. *sigh*

I think it was still summer when I received a pleasant message from Ulrika. Her offer for the two of us to do a new blog together came all out of blue, but I instantly loved the idea and accepted it. How many emails did we exchange, I don't know, but after many thoughts we put into it it has finally become presentable and here I'm very happy to announce to you the launch of this new blog by Ulrika and I (hiki), from Helsingborg and Tokyo. I hope you will visit and enjoy it!

Wonderful gift #1 from gini, all the way from the French alpus! She handmade the sweetest card holder for me!!!!!!! Such a lovely postcard, designed by gini of course :) I'm trying to save the chocolate for later but I don't know for how long...... And her cutest little boy has just turned 1 too, omedeto!
Wonderful gift #2 from oly arrived from Taipei - so full of cute little surprises! Took me a long time to open them all but it was a lot of fun :) The calender and paris photo card set are seriously gorgeous. And the way she presented them, beautiful papers, stamps on the package...!

Thank you lovely gini and oly, merci, xie xie, arigato!
I always send out packages overseas, but it was so jolly receiving them for a change ;)

menu on board

cheese cake
my favourite corner
my new favourite cafeThis new cafe recently opened near my apartment has instantly become my favourite! It's called "ikanika", and is run by a lady who has been working as a flower coordinator and her husband - a lovely couple (and a dog) in a renovated old simple Japanese house. It's actually located in a not-so-convenient place if you don't live close by, the closest station would be Jiyugaoka but it's going to be a good walking distance although walking through the lovely residential area around here is pretty nice. (My place is unfortunately on the other side not in this exclusive area.)

Beautiful food, good coffee, fantastic cheese cake, and a very warm and cozy interior, this is perfect for spending some quite time in the afternoon. I sure will be hunging out there a lot! It was also featured in this issue of Tennen Seikatsu with great pictures!

cafe ikanika
6-40-7 Todoroki Setagaya-ku Tokyo (Google Map)
Open: 12:00-18:30
Closed on Mondays (Shop info updated 31 Jan 2013)

Another post on ikanika here.
Okay! The winners for Kami-Fusen/Paper balloon Giveaway has been decided. The 3 lucky winners are:

Hana (Temari Fun Set)
mieke willems (Star&Bell Set)
shleepy (Sakura Set)

Congratulations, I will contact the 3 winners soon! Sorry for those who didn't win this time, but thank you so much for your entering. I promise I will do another Giveaway in the near future.

p.s. it's japanese, but i used this for picking the winners.

p.p.s. shleepy, you don't have an email contact in your profile and your blog doesn't accept comments, so will you leave your email address for me please?
barceloneta 03

Some old photos from my past trips. All nice and sunny, beachy! It's been raining all day in Tokyo it's freezing, I really wish I were somewhere nice and warm right now :(
Well I'm going to have a hot umeshu now, it should make me warm. Remember the homemade umeshu I posted about in June? I'm having it now, almost everynight ;)

Oh and the Paper balloon giveaway will end tomorrow, so if you haven't entered yet please do!

Top: One of my favourite bookstores in Tokyo -TSUTAYA TOKYO ROPPONGI, on Keyakizaka St in Roppongi Hills, one of not-so-many bookstores where you can browse around while having a cup of coffee. Good selection of books on art/design/arichitecture/children's/magazines (japanese and foreign).

Bottom: The library at the Great Britain Museum in London. (I think that's where I took this photo, I may be wrong.)

And this is where I want to go! The Stockholm City Library by Erik Gunnar Asplund. Seen in plus81 Voyage Scandinavian issue which I have been reading over and over! Has anyone been there?
Image from plus81

P.S. The Paper Balloon Giveaway ends tomorrow (Friday)!!
Wim Wenders is one of my favourite film directors. He's German and apparently he loves Japan, he loves Yasujiro Ozu. "Journey to Onomichi" was the title of a photography exhibition Wenders had in Tokyo back in 2006 showing what he and his wife photographed in and around Onomichi in 2005.

Onomichi is a small fishing town in west Japan where "Tokyo Story" was filmed - a masterpiece of Ozu from 1953. (Yes if you've seen the film, that is where the parents lived.) Ozu admirer Wenders took a journey from Tokyo to Onomichi and took all the photographs while staying there for one week. And this book "Journey to Onomichi" just came out recently and it's super! You feel a little bit of Ozu and quite bit of Wenders' world in this whole book I never seem to get bored looking at it over and over!

Now this makes me want to see "Tokyo Story" again (I first saw it when I was about 21 and my friends made faces, he's not pupular among young Japanese people I think he's more appreciated outside Japan), must find where I put the dvd. Also do check out "Tokyo-Ga" filmed by Wenders in 1985 as a tribute to Ozu if you're interested.

A box full of Kami-Fusen arrived last night and I got so excited! Kami-Fusen is the Japanese Paper Balloon which has been a popular playing stuff for children in Japan (or maybe not so these days) and the traditonal balloons have been around for almost 90 years. There aren't so many manufacturers left in Japan today but I hope they will keep making them.

Anyway, yes as it says "GIVEAWAY" in the title I am going to have a "Paper Balloon Giveaway" to thank my lovely blog readers for all this time I've been around here since I started this blog in March. Many people have mentioned my blog and also my shop I started in July in their blogs and that has been super wonderful. I actually started both my blog and shop from a very sudden impulse but without your help and heartful comments I don't think I could've kept them going until now!

So I am going to give out one balloon (or one set of balloons) of your choice plus some surprise gift picked from my shop. There will be three winners and they will be picked randomely. To enter this giveaway please leave a comment and say which balloon you would like AND Follow my store blog OR mention about this giveaway in your blog! If you don't have a link to your email address in the blogger profile, please also leave your email address.

Available balloons are:
1. Temari Fun Set (3 balloons and a paper whistle, seen in the second picture)
2. Strawberry
3. Star&Bell Set (3 small balloons, picture #4)
4. Sakura Set (2 balloons, picture#5)
5. Ladybird Pair (2 balloons with an envelope, picture #6)
6. White Bird (left in the last picture)
7. Hanabi/Fireworks (set of 3 balloons, middle in the last picture)
8. Fugu/balloonfish (it's a big one, right in the last picture)

I will add all of these to my shop too, hopefully soon and you will be able to see the details of each balloon. (All added now!!)


well, i hope more than 3 people will enter, fingers crossed! ;p
have a fun weekend!
the terminalぼーっとしてたらもう12月。
I can't believe it's already December, I've been complaining that it's so cold but actually it has been strangely warm for December days in Tokyo. Tokyo's symbol tree ginkgo are now all golden yellow and the leaves are starting to fall it's really beautiful. I took some photos of them today but it will be a while before I finish the roll of film so I picked these photos I took some winters back for the start of a new month. I hope you are all having a great start of December!
Osanbashi International Passenger Terminal, Yokohama.

P.S. Alice has just returned from Japan. Check out Quaint Living for gorgeous Japan photographs!