そろそろ。。。

And just like that…in a few weeks I will be heading back to Japan for the first time since saying farewell over a year ago *enter all the emotional tears *

As I prepare for my trip I have been thinking a lot about the things I am MOST looking forward to eating/seeing/buying/doing back in Japan. I began to realize that all the things on the top of my priority list are quite arbitrary…which I guess is the result of calling a place home for 3 years. I miss the most basic stuff!! Forget the fancy shopping malls, the trendy food in Tokyo, the hyped instagram spots…I miss the simplest, smallest, most insignificant things more than anything.

Here are a few at the top of that… “ARBITRARY THINGS I CAN’T WAIT TO DO IN JAPAN” list…

EAT MY IDEAL BREAKFAST - Blazing hot black coffee with Butter An Pan is my favorite breakfast and something I will gladly eat every single day without hesitation. This is a combination that is relatively non-existent in the states for reasons I completely understand. Sweet red bean paste with a slab of butter on top spread on a piece of toast is not something that suits the American palette…but to the average Japanese person this is as classic as it gets and something I love so much. BUTTER AN PAN….I AM COMIN FOR YA.

EAT MY IDEAL BREAKFAST - Blazing hot black coffee with Butter An Pan is my favorite breakfast and something I will gladly eat every single day without hesitation. This is a combination that is relatively non-existent in the states for reasons I completely understand. Sweet red bean paste with a slab of butter on top spread on a piece of toast is not something that suits the American palette…but to the average Japanese person this is as classic as it gets and something I love so much. BUTTER AN PAN….I AM COMIN FOR YA.

WEARING MASKS -let it be known that I miss wearing face masks. Why? After some thought, face masks are one of those random societal norms that 100% work in Japan and 100% would never work in the states and that’s the charm in them. They are ridiculous and excessive but TOTALLY normal (I know people that wear one every single day) and a part of the culture I miss. Plus, when I wear a mask I feel even more Japanese than I already am and this is a cool feeling.

WEARING MASKS -let it be known that I miss wearing face masks. Why? After some thought, face masks are one of those random societal norms that 100% work in Japan and 100% would never work in the states and that’s the charm in them. They are ridiculous and excessive but TOTALLY normal (I know people that wear one every single day) and a part of the culture I miss. Plus, when I wear a mask I feel even more Japanese than I already am and this is a cool feeling.

BRISKLY WALKING THROUGH A TRAIN STATION - is there anything more exhilarating than rushing through a bustling train station in order to catch your train in 2 minutes so that you aren’t late to meet up with a friend for dinner?! No. the answer is no. Driving a car will never compare to the thrill of a train station. The endless stream of people entering and exiting, the organized platform lines, the voices over the intercom announcing the next train, the little shops tucked neatly inside, the beep beep of people swiping their pasmo cards, and the click click of heels on the ground….ahhhhhhh I miss it!!

BRISKLY WALKING THROUGH A TRAIN STATION - is there anything more exhilarating than rushing through a bustling train station in order to catch your train in 2 minutes so that you aren’t late to meet up with a friend for dinner?! No. the answer is no. Driving a car will never compare to the thrill of a train station. The endless stream of people entering and exiting, the organized platform lines, the voices over the intercom announcing the next train, the little shops tucked neatly inside, the beep beep of people swiping their pasmo cards, and the click click of heels on the ground….ahhhhhhh I miss it!!

SHARING A MEAL WITH FRIENDS THAT ARE FAMILY - the relationships God blessed me with in Kashiwa and Tokyo are something I treasure with my whole heart and nothing beats sitting around a table in a smoky Japanese izakaya with a few of them catching up and laughing about our best memories together. This is the main reason I am going back to Japan and the thing I am most excited for :)

SHARING A MEAL WITH FRIENDS THAT ARE FAMILY - the relationships God blessed me with in Kashiwa and Tokyo are something I treasure with my whole heart and nothing beats sitting around a table in a smoky Japanese izakaya with a few of them catching up and laughing about our best memories together. This is the main reason I am going back to Japan and the thing I am most excited for :)

BEING BACK IN TOKYO - There is something magical about Tokyo. I cannot explain it well in words but if you have spent any significant amount of time here…you know what I mean. It’s endless. It’s ever changing. It’s all encompassing. And it is the greatest city in the world. I can’t wait to walk these busy roads again soon!

BEING BACK IN TOKYO - There is something magical about Tokyo. I cannot explain it well in words but if you have spent any significant amount of time here…you know what I mean. It’s endless. It’s ever changing. It’s all encompassing. And it is the greatest city in the world. I can’t wait to walk these busy roads again soon!

A STROLL ALONG TEGANUMA - now, although Tokyo is the city that has captivated my heart, Kashiwa city will always be home…especially this little corner of the city called Teganuma that is very high on the list of specific places in Japan that hold the most memories for me. Teganuma is home to a river (Ohori river) and a park (Furusato Koen) and I cannot tell you how many mornings I walked this pathway talking to God and thanking him for sustaining my life in Japan. This place is peaceful, beautiful, calm and home to me. I miss it daily and can’t wait to be back to breathe the fresh air and thank God once again, for all His goodness and grace.

A STROLL ALONG TEGANUMA - now, although Tokyo is the city that has captivated my heart, Kashiwa city will always be home…especially this little corner of the city called Teganuma that is very high on the list of specific places in Japan that hold the most memories for me. Teganuma is home to a river (Ohori river) and a park (Furusato Koen) and I cannot tell you how many mornings I walked this pathway talking to God and thanking him for sustaining my life in Japan. This place is peaceful, beautiful, calm and home to me. I miss it daily and can’t wait to be back to breathe the fresh air and thank God once again, for all His goodness and grace.

日本。。。see you soon!

3 GIRLS + 1 BOY

Last weekend, I spent a day with my three nieces and my nephew. Does it get much better than this?

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Growing up. Isn’t that an odd thing to think about?

When you’re 8 years old and mad at your parents because they won’t let you go out with your friends - all you wish for is to be a grown up. When you’re 15 stuck in pre-calculus class all you can dream about is becoming famous so you can get a free pass to adulthood and not be in school. When you’re 20 and in college all you want to do is find your husband and your career path so you can have a home of your own. When you’re 25 and on the work grind all you strive for is to climb that corporate ladder and not be the “new hire” anymore.

And then…at what point do you know you’ve grown up? When do you arrive at…adulthood?

For me, now just a few years until 30, I am beginning to understand how growing up is never fully an “arrival” but rather a calm and necessary progression along the road of life. To best express this I have made a silly list of a few sign in my life that have read “Amie, you are growing up” …so here is that list

1B686962-A69C-4C3D-82F5-550205138382.JPG
E2CEE5AB-0AAE-4DDE-B2B8-6C6826BC3E52.JPG
  • I can tell my body reacts the best to healthy foods. This is an obvious statement but for 25+ years of my life I would have chosen a bag of chips over an apple any day. But then, I realized how my body reacts terribly to dairy, sugar, heavy meats, and a bunch of other crap I had been enjoying. Thus leading me to begin a somewhat vegetarian/vegan lifestyle these last few months and since then…I haven’t missed much. So now I’d take a quinoa bowl with grilled veggies and tofu over an in&out cheeseburger with grilled onions any day of the week. This, I tell myself, if a sure sign of growing up.

  • Continuing on the topic of food…COFFEE. I have officially developed a deadly habit of needing blazing hot black coffee every single morning of my life. I feel incomplete without it. It is dramatic and it is true. No cream. No sugar. Just strong black coffee.

  • When shopping, I now read every tag for the fabric the garment is made out of. Why?? I turned a new leaf and realized I don’t want too much polyester touching my skin and prefer cotton and natural fibers…who am I a 75 year old zen Chinese grandma? Possibly. I also am hyper aware of what I put on my face. I somehow have become obsessed with face cleansers, moisturizers, sun screens…you name it, i’ve googled it.

  • A perfect night out with my girlfriends is a chill yet nice restaurant with at least 4 stars on Yelp, mature waiters who pour you a glass of wine like a professional sommelier, and candles on the table. There has to be candles on the table.

  • I recently felt the sudden urge to buy myself a pair of Manolo Blahniks. 20 year old Amie would have said, “Manolo who? Is that an icecream flavor?” but 27 year old Amie says, “I am a European size 38 and I want a stiletto heal, pointed toe…yep, the one with crystals on it.” WHO HAVE I BECOME??

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen…just a few signs of the time <3

INSPIRED BY : ZARA

There was a point a few years ago (in Japan) where I had VOWED to never buy anything from Zara ever again. The cause of this was when the patch on a jacket I had bought there came off just after a few wears and I immediately lost all trust in the quality of the brand. Welp, recently the creative people at Zara pulled a fast one on me and decided to not only hire some magical stylist to prep their new catalogue, but also hired some awesome people (person?) to photograph it all leaving me COMPLETELY in awe that this relatively affordable brand could produce some high-fashion editorial photographs.

SIGH…I wish I could have stuck with my vow to stay far away from a brand like Zara who pushes fast fashion and a ridiculous amount of products per season/store…but when you take photos like this I CAN NOT IGNORE IT.

Here are some of my favorite shots…

take all my money…

INSPIRED BY : JAPANESE ARCHITECTURE *MY DREAM HOUSE*

When you spend enough time in a place like Japan…and in a city like Tokyo for that matter…you can’t help but find yourself in AWE of the buildings around you. From the look of some high end designer stores (in Omotesando and Ginza especially) to the one-of-a-kind personally designed family homes…Japan has got to hold some of the world’s most incredible structures. What I love about it is that the homes and buildings in Japan are so different from the types of dwelling places we have here stateside. Here in LA, houses are all about square-footage, curb appeal and a big yard. But in Japan…they seem to focus more on the overall design of a structure, it’s functionality and cleanliness.

With that being said, if you were to ask me what my dream house would be I would have to answer…”A house with a modern, sleek, minimalistic exterior…with tatami mats, shoji screens and a traditional Japanese vibe on the interior.”

OR I would simply send you these photos so you could get an idea : )

dreamsssssss!