Getting ready for welcoming the New Year to arrive, which is the most important event in Japan, I feel so grateful that I can do all these things like I have always done (even the crazy part like doing the exhausting last minute New Year shopping!). 2011 has been the most difficult year for us in Japan, and when looking back the past year it can never be done without thinking about what happened in and since March 11. I can not say how grateful I am for many of you who kindly sent me the warmest wishes and words of encouragements through this blog and emails which meant A LOT to me, and for all the tremendous support we received from all over the world for Japan. I thank you so very much and hope that you will all have a wonderful start to the 2012, that happy warm light will keep coming through the window of each of your heart and to the world :)


Another house, the last house Luis Barragán designed "Casa Gilardi" is also in Mexico City and although the Gilardi family are actually living in this house they let you see inside (partially) by appointments. The famous dining room with an indoor pool was quite amazing finally seeing in real life. There is a huge jacaranda tree in the courtyard where one of the walls is painted in the exact same colour of the jacaranda flowers. I imagined how beautiful it would be when jacaranda is all in full bloom. I must go back to see this city for the jacaranda season, all the streets lined with jacaranda trees must be so dreamy just like our sakura!

I'm continuing posts from my trip to Mexico wanting to finish up soon but I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate it. Here in Japan it's not really what it must be like in the rest of the world, generally it's not so important but just very commercial once you have grown up....


Well, the biggest reason I had always wanted to go to Mexico is Luis Barragán, a Pritzker-prize winning architect and one of my very favourite architects in the world. Casa Barragán, designated a world heritage site by UNESCO, was designed by Barragán for himself in Mexico City in 1948 and is where he spent the last part of his life. I had seen so many photos of his house from a couple of exhibitions held in Tokyo and from books that I knew what each room would look like, it had long been my dream to go visit his house to see and feel the space, light and what is all there, so when I stepped into this house, into each room, my heart went fast with excitements! I would highly recommend visiting Casa Luis Barragán if you ever go to Mexico City. Seriously, I do.

Unfortunately no photographs were allowed inside so I could only take of the exterior which is kept very simple that it is hard to imagine what is like inside, so here are the images of the interior all cortesey of Luis Barragan Foundation via Casa Luis Barragán.
All above 8 images are from

This last amazing image is by xoio.

Coyoacan is where Frida Kahlo was born and spent most of her life in, and yes that is where Museo Frida Kahlo is. This is where Frida grew up and is also called la casa azul (blue house) and I had dreamed of going there one day for a long time so it was another of my dream come true!


Well, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


From San Angel we walked to Coyoacan, a lovely neighbourhood with so many beautiful old houses with lots of amazing colours. It was really hard to just keep walking without stopping to photograph every few metres. Every single sight that came into my eyes was mesmerising. Ah Mexico City, I love you so much!!

So, the 3 days in California went by so fast yet I think we did pretty well eating-wise :) I left San Francisco with an enormous excitement along with anxiety. As I always feel whenever arriving to a place out of Japan for the first time, or probably more so than ever, I was feeling extremely nervous especially because we arrived Mexico City in the night time. Because everyone says (or thinks) Mexico is dangerous, right?

We bought the ticket and got on the taxi, none of us spoke much including the driver all the way from the airport to our hotel, there was some kind of tension in the air (I get super nervous, way too much sometimes I know!). Anyway, we arrived at our hotel smoothly and we were greeted by a lovely staff who made us feel as if arriving to his own home. When we saw his gentle smile we realised we were so hungry and tired after all the travelling including over an hour and half of waiting in line at the custom at the airport. So we had our dinner at our hotel, in their lovely dining area in the courtyard. It was so peaceful and quiet there, we couldn't see what was like outside but I couldn't stop smiling, I finally made it to Mexico and that was really exciting!

The photos are from the following morning, from San Angel where they have a cute market only on Saturday. By the time we got there, I was already in love with this city.

(more posts from mexico will follow!)

I think you'd all have a place or two (or more) where you really wish you can visit one day in your lifetime. I too have some. In this holiday, I actually made it to the 3 places of my dreams, I feel so fortunate. Chez Panisse was one of them. I had been dreaming of going there for quite some time, I knew it was somewhere in California but didn't know where exactly it is and when it turned out that most flights going to Mexico from Japan goes via west coast of the US, it came to my mind the possibility of stopping over somewhere in California to go visit my dream restaurant. When I found out that it is in Berkeley, that it is near San Francisco, and that there are available flights that goes via San Francisco, my heart went wild. - somewhere that felt so so far away that it seemed like it will never happen but only in my dreams. I can not explain the excitement I felt, but soon we decided to stay in Berkeley within a walking distance from this dream place so that we can fully enjoy being there and that is how we ended up staying in Berkeley and not seeing enough of San Francisco.

Berkeley is only about 20 minutes or so from San Francisco on the subway, which I felt a little nervous at first but soon got used to and found very convenient. We probably could still stay in San Francisco and travel to and from Chez Panisse, but I'm glad we stayed in Berkeley. It's a charming little town, everything seemed to move slowly there which I enjoyed. And the dream restaurant? It.was.marvelous! I just loved the food, wine, the service, atmosphere..., everything. We ended up going there twice while we were in Berkeley (which was only for 3 nights), but still couldn't get enough of it! I would go back to Berkeley just for this place, seriously! It is the kind of place that we would never find in Tokyo, no matter how hard anyone tries to make the similar place. It can only happen there, it is just perfect. So perfect.