Whisky for breakfast — the Yoichi Distillery

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve taken up drinking as a new hobby. Let me explain. For Christmas a friend sent me the book The 12 Bottle Bar. Christmas puts me in a shopping mood and I was looking for something new in 2015, so I got it into my head that I need those 12 bottles. Mission complete, I mixed a few drinks a night, tasting things along the way. One of the first surprises was Vermouth. I’ve been using it in my cooking since I was in high… Read More

Self-Possession in a Garden of Delight

From the orchards in Dejima, Nagasaki.

Early this year I walked into my bedroom showered, tired, and ready for bed. Flipped the light. Baby spider was on my pillow. We both looked at each other for a beat. I charged, it JUMPED behind the bed, and I slept in the other room. I am not an arachnophob. Not really. Unnerved. Unsettled. Proof that they live amongst us both fascinates me and puts me on edge and, yes, terrifies me. Walking through Dejima’s orchards and gardens in the rain — umbrella in one hand, camera in the other — I… Read More

Hanami

I’ve been on spring holiday. The cherry blossoms, sakura, have been blooming. People gather wherever they are. They mediate on their meaning, have picnics under them, takes trips to see them. Sakura remind us to pay attention to the temporal nature of life. Their season is, at longest, a week. Because their bloom is short, Japanese people celebrate them, drink under them with family or with friends because our lives, too, are short and, like the sakura,¬†we each grow and change. First, the petals fall — a soft pink snow — the… Read More

The Onion Sandwich — Caramelized Onions

(recipe follows) People who comment or send me mail tell me I can improve my blog by talking more about my life. From their advice I have been adding bits and bytes. A part of my life story I never speak about is poverty: I grew up poor. After my parents divorced my mother and I were so poor we couldn’t afford a vacuum. My mother borrowed one every couple of months from her half-brother’s wife. (To clean the carpet we used the back side of tape.) We were poorer than most… Read More