January 2014 in Tokyo

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I love seeing the streets lined with Japanese flags on public holidays.

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Leftover Osechi. I find the symbolism behind each item in Osechi ryori fascinating. For instance, one should eat prawns as a wish for long-life as they suggest a long beard and hunched back. And the holes in renkon (lotus root) are a symbol of being able to see the future. Mr Y's mum makes this Kentaro hijiki meatloaf every year. Although it's not traditional Osechi,  it's my absolute favourite!

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This giant bag of コシヒカリ arrived from the wonderful Kumi-chan in Niigata as a new years present! It came along with a note that read "Meeting you and sharing time together were the best things for me in 2013".

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The rice was perfect to use in Nanakusagayu: Seven greens rice porridge on the seventh day of the new year.

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Cucumber, chick peas, piman, red cabbage, capers, coriander, parsley, basil, lettuce, carrot, gobo, beetroot, broccoli, shiso konbu and cottage cheese です.

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Pink and green. Black and white.  I made this beetroot and chickpea dip.

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Supermarket obento.  ¥498 and 438kcal.

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Organic vegetable box delivery.

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Colours along the Daizawa nature walk.

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Sunlight from my balcony.

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Hour walks along the nature walk listening to the BBC Arts and Ideas podcast.

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Great graphic typeface.

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Neat little practical clusters.

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Most things are neat around town.

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A lot of effort goes into this entrance. The Christmas theme here was in a league of it's own.

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Squid, anyone?

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This little playground near my apartment always reminds me of when I was still living in Sydney, and I used to watch Japanese drama online every night and dream of living in Tokyo. The drama's always featured grounds similar to this. I was addicted to 'Zettai Kareshi' and 'Lunch Queen'.

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A few houses down from my apartment.

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It's beautiful walking around Kitazawa listening in to friendly obaachan chats. I threw in a little 'Konnichiwa' and some silly comment about the weather just for fun.

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Afternoon light.

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Kabukiza (Kabuki theater) on my way to a meeting with Magazine House.

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Makunouchi obento
with POPEYE magazine editorial staff. It wasn't until recently that I discovered the meaning of Makunouchi obento which is a pouplar obento with it's origins from Kabuki theater.

Maku = curtain / act of play

Uchi = inside

So, this bento means 'eaten in between acts'.

You can read more here: In the Edo Period (1603 to 1867), bento culture spread and became more refined. Travelers and sightseers would carry a simple koshibentō (腰弁当, "waist bento"), consisting of several onigiri wrapped with bamboo leaves or in a woven bamboo box. One of the most popular styles of bento, called makuno-uchi bentō ("between-act bento"), was first made during this period.[3] People who came to see Noh and Kabuki ate specially prepared bento between maku (acts).

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Omotesando wearing my new vintage frock from my lovely friend Lauren.

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A few colds going around this time of year.

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Do you know 'Fuku-bukuro'? It's a kind of lucky bag, or mystery bag, popular at many shops over the new year period. This gorgeous Fuku-bukuro was handmade by my friend Mami-chan.

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Mami-chan carefully hand sculpted and hand painted each lucky charm, and cleverly made up a little Japanese meaning list to discover my fortune based on which one I opened first. Mami-chan is one of the most talented people I've ever met. Everything she creates is done with such care. I think I cried when I opened this.

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Mr Y's been at it again baking these wholemeal + rye rolls.

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Flowers last so long at this time of year. Soooo cold.

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Only one more day until my favourite Shimokita coffee beans shop opens again. よし.がんばります!

And only two more days until my solo show of drawings and craft works opens at Commune Gallery in Shimokitazawa. I'll be at the gallery on Saturday and Sunday, so please come along and say hello! See a few more pics of the gallery over here.

Hope you're having a wonderful start to the year.

Love Love
Hello Sandwich