Otaru pt 1 – daytime wanderings (mostly food)

Pretty sure I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I have a bit of a soft spot for small towns. Not sure how I’d go living in one for a long time, but they sure are lovely places to visit. One of my most favourite places in Japan was a small rural town: Otaru is located somewhere west of Sapporo, in Hokkaido, and we visited on February 8th.

Otaru is only about half an hour from Sapporo by train. Things like this amaze me because sometimes it takes over half an hour to get from one part of Brisbane to another by train – on one train line, travelling through the same city!

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Sapporo Yuki Matsuri – part 2 (Susukino)

I reckon I could’ve spent the entire day at Odori Park for the Sapporo Snow Festival – just eating, and watching random performances on the snow stages, and drinking hot sake and hot mojitos (yes, hot mojitos are a thing, and they are delicious; plus, with the lime and mint together in a hot beverage, it almost feels like it’s actually good for you) – but, of course, there was more to see, and time was limited!

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Thursday Doors – soup curry

Just as I was lucky to have a friend who’s living in Tokyo (temporarily while completing studies), I was also lucky to have a friend who’s living in Sapporo (temporarily, to teach). Yeah, Japan’s a pretty popular destination for Aussies (for all sorts of things – not just holidays).

My friend in Sapporo kindly took KF and I out for dinner the first night we were there. And on a cold winter’s day, what better to have than soup curry? This is where we went:  Continue reading

because figs are the best

For various reasons, I haven’t baked much in the latter half of this year (not as much compared to last year and earlier this year, anyway). It helps to have people to bake for, and also the time for it.

It was a colleague / work friend’s birthday on Monday, so I thought I’d bake something on Sunday and bring it in to work. I really didn’t feel like trying out a new recipe, so I thought about my tried and trusted recipes, and of course I stopped at fig cake. I don’t think I know anyone who likes dried figs as much as I do, so I kind of think of this as something I bake for myself as much as for anyone else. This is my sort of comfort food (well, I probably have a lot of other “sorts” of comfort food…)

Anyway, I brought the little cakes in to work (I’d baked them in a muffin tray, rather than as one big cake – long story – not really; I’ll explain below), and people really liked them. I had a couple of people asking for the recipe, so I figured I might as well post it here (“for posterity”, as a friend would say).  Continue reading

Thursday Doors – local coffee

There’s a cafe in one of the parks I run through on week-ends. I think I’ve only ever seen it open and operating once because I generally prefer to run in the late afternoon / early evening (for various reasons, not least of which is sleeping in), and cafes don’t tend to stay open that late on week-ends (particularly suburban ones).

When they are closed and dormant, it’s not easy to distinguish where the door is (especially if you’re just running past, and mostly trying to just keep running) but I happened to notice it one time (after having passed it many, many times)  Continue reading

reconsidering meat

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been watching a documentary series called “For the Love of Meat”, hosted by journalist turned farmer Matthew Evans. The main point of the series is to make people more aware of how their meat is produced, and how the animals are treated, particularly on “intensive farms”, where the focus is on high output.

In the introductory blurb, Evans says that he is a “dedicated carnivore”, and I actually think this is a really good thing because you’d expect these sorts of documentaries to be hosted by people intent on turning everyone into vegetarians. I feel like this documentary series is more about the question of how to farm meat sustainably and ethically, rather than the question of whether or not we should eat meat at all.

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