Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kyoto: Shojin food

Izusen: Shojin Food by girl from finito
Izusen: Shojin Food, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
Ah food! Kyoto has some pretty amazing places to eat .. what am I saying?!? all of Japan has great food.
Kyoto is unique in the fact that being a land locked city and with a large population of Buddhist monks a vegetarian cuisine developed. Part of my walking tour included a stop for traditional Shojin food. the little red bowls stacked into each other to make a pagoda.
All the food is local and seasonal.. from what I can remember chestnut, black beans, tempura, rice with mushrooms, miso soup, daikon, various pickled vegetables. Sweet wine (plum ??) Ah! I wish I could have remembered more.
Oh! and fresh tofu - I read somewhere that it's a specialty in the north east of the city (due to the abundance of clean water used to make the tofu)
Izusen: Shojin Food by girl from finito
Izusen: Shojin Food, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kyoto (an introduction)

I feel like I don't even know where to start when I go to talk about Kyoto. I took a two day walking tour the city, did a lot of self (and book) -guided exploration and met some wonderful people.

My week in the city was something I won't soon forget and it still feels me with a warm nostalgic feeling. I highly recommend taking a large chunk of time to visit Kyoto. You shouldn't rush around this place.

To that end I would highly recommend the apartment I rented - clean, centrally located and cheap. Everything you could want. Just ignore the terrible website.

This shot is of Choakuji Temple - located in the east of Kyoto and tucked in the mountains behind two other bigger temple complexes it was a nice respite.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


After an exciting weekend of festivals I headed off on a short day trip to Nara. Nara is an another ancient capital of Japan and has remained a very important religious city. It's here that the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha) is located. Actually there are 8 sites (temples, ruins etc.) in Nara that have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I made it to 5 (for the record... Todai-ji, Kofuku-ji, Kasugataishi, Yakushi-ji and Kasugayama Primeval Forest).

Painting in the park - Nara by girl from finito
This is a small park located just below Kōfuku-ji Temple - it has a great view of the five story Pagoda and was really popular with the artists. It was nice to take a break and inspiring to see people painting.

Nara by girl from finito
Nara, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
Kōfuku-ji Temple is also where I had my first school trip photo.. These girls rushed over and in pretty good english asked to take a photo with me - I whipped out my camera and asked for the same..Awesome!
I think my favorite part of Nara was the Kasugayama primeval forest. A sight to behold pure forest lined with thousands of stone lanterns.

The path through the forest led to the Kasuga Taisha Temple. An lovely temple full of bronze lanterns.

Nara by girl from finito
Nara, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
A note about the deer. It's believed that the deer were messengers of the god that resides in the Kasuga Grand Shrine and as such are protected creatures. Although not evident by the pictures I posted, they are everywhere in Nara - generally hounding the tourists for food or deer biscuits (on sale in the picture for 150 Yen). As one guide book noted the God must have stopped using the deer or has become really fond of biscuits.

Finally I found out in Nara that i actually don't mind red-bean paste (which was a shock). I tried freshly made mochi (glutinous rice desert) filled with red bean and it's one of the most delicious things.

Monday, November 21, 2011

京都時代祭 (Festival of the Ages) - Kyoto

I have way too many pictures from Jidai Matsuri - the Festival of the Ages - in Kyoto. So I've just posted a slide show of some of them. Jidai Matsuri is one of the three largest festivals of Kyoto - the main attraction being a parade of traditional costumes from Kyoto's history with about 2000 people participating!  It takes about an hour to watch the whole thing pass by you!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kurama Fire Festival .. 鞍馬の火祭り(くらまのひまつり)

Kurama Fire Festival by girl from finito
Kurama Fire Festival, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.

I literally had arrived in Kyoto the day before this festival and almost missed it completely. Thank goodness for tourist websites and a mostly flexible plan. My friend Virginia made it up for this and so did her co-worker Kristin. It was pretty nice to go with people especially since my jet lag was in full effect!

So first things first - the back story. (from here)
This festival held at Yuki-jinja Shrine reproduces the scene of receiving the deity in Kurama. At 6 o'clock in the evening, watch fires called kagaribi are ignited all at once in front of the houses, and people holding up small and large taimatsu (pine torches) parade all night long announcing in loud voices the arrival of the festival. 
Guys, it was a downpour but that didn't stop people from attending. Karama is about 45 minutes out of Kyoto and the train was packed! The trains in Tokyo weren't as bad as that ride up. Ah but it was worth it.. lots of crazy torches, shouting, kimonos and ...loin cloths.
Kurama Fire Festival by girl from finito
Kurama Fire Festival, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.

The start of the festival was kids carrying torches with their parents the parents shouting "Sairya" and the kids responding "Sairyo!" and then it moved up to the larger torches that required 6 or 7 people to carry them.

The only downside was the route we walked on - which required wandering through a few(very muddy) feilds behind the main streets where the action was taking place. 
The other side-Kurama Fire Festival by girl from finito

Not much to complain about!
Highly recommended!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Japan... coming soon

Kinkakuji: Gold Pavilion - Kyoto by girl from finito

Ah, the travel high... I'm still coming down off of it. And as much as I had planned to blog and upload things as I went along that just did not happen. I was in Japan for 3 weeks - 3 weeks! - and I have so much to say about my time there but I'm going to have to go a little slowly - I have only uploaded about a weeks worth of photos so there is a lot of background work to do. 
To start you off here is a nice shot of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto.  So relax a little and I'll be with you all shortly.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On the lake

Andrea Rowing by girl from finito
Andrea Rowing, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
Oh man what a fun morning out on the lake. Andrea invited me to come out to see her time trials. Five am! but on the upside with me still being on EST I was good to go (but I didn't turn down the two thermoses of coffee she made me)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Coming soon..

Rowing - Warm up, originally uploaded by girl from finito.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Double Wedding Ring Quilt.. quilted!

Yes, yes..
It took long enough. But thanks to my mom my double wedding ring quilt is completed and in a much fancier way than I could ever hope to achieve. For my birthday my mom had it professionally quilted and it looks so good on my bed! check out the detail below!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thanks for a lovely birthday

Birthday flowers by girl from finito
Birthday flowers, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
My goodness.. another year older! and still in Toronto. hee hee.
I thought I'd share a few of the lovely things I received form my awesome family and friends. Thank you all so much.

Birthday gifts by girl from finito
Birthday gifts, a photo by girl from finito on Flickr.
even the wrapping on Andrea's gift was amazing!
Mary gave me her gift partly before my birthday... an amazing summer dress and some winter/fall fingerless gloves which I used right away. I will take a picture.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Did you get up for it?

So how many of you got up early Friday morning to watch the wedding? It was on at a (reasonable) 6am here in Toronto - but I know that Mary was up at 3am in Whitehorse.
I for one, am glad I saw it - the dress the hats - everything was lovely.
I'm including some of the official photos from the official British Monarchy flickr site.

also you should check out the full size version of this one - for Harry's expression alone

the full size version of the above picture is so cool - check out the people in the fountain they look so happy

finally I couldn't leave it without mentioning the cake! wow! definitely check out the larger version for all the details and there is also a set of the just the cake. pretty amazing!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dance Break!

dancedanceTO from dancedanceTO on Vimeo.

The story goes like this...
I was out for pie with my friends Naseem and Connie. We were sitting around chatting, laughing and eating when the subject of an amazing video that Naseem had made came up. It is an inspired by "Insipred by Iceland" homage and it is fantastic. Someone (not me) suggested we do one for Toronto and we all laughed and said YES! That's the best idea ever. I didn't think they would follow though.
but these friends..
they follow through.

And I am so glad we did it.
We filmed from November through March (taking a very generous break for Christmas) and although most people are in sweaters and mittens I think the city is wonderfully portrayed.
I hope you'll love it too!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I have started Japanese lessons and have finally advanced to the stage of writing journal entries. I'm pretty excited about it. My sentences are still quite basic but I thought I'd share some of it anyways.
Last week I wrote this:

This morning I listened to the radio at home.
:: image :: 
me: good morning... 
This afternoon Tabby bought coffee at the coffee shop.
This evening I watched tv at home. 

I washed my jeans this morning.
This afternoon at home I read a book.
Mary and I talked this evening. 
:: image :: 
arrow: older sister 

Here are some entries from this week.

Speech bubble: Good evening Mr. Masa!

This evening I bought tickets at the station. I am taking the bus home.
:: images :: 
me: good evening 
arrow: is this a zombie?

This morning I read the paper. I am going to the hospital.
This afternoon Tabby is going to the bank. I am going to eat my bento.
Holly took a car to come to the cafe. Holly and I are chatting.
:: images :: 
light hair: Tabby 
dark hair: Holly

this post was originally written before the earthquake and subsequent disasters in Japan. I've been sitting on it for a week now waiting on events and the thought of taking better pictures.. wondering what to append to the post.
my heart goes out to all the people in Japan and those with family and close friends there. They are in my thoughts and prayers. My friends in Japan as well as the friends and families of my Japanese teachers and classmates are all safe. For that I am really thankful.
There are lots of ways to help and I would encourage people to think about making a donation to an aid organization working there. Many creative people are pitching in... Hello Sandwich is selling her gift wrapping zine with all proceeds going to the Japanese red cross and there are raffles here and here benefitting the same cause. Two of my favorite web art dealers are raising funds 20x200 and tiny showcase have amazing prints and there are a slew of other artists doing the same.
If you want to donate directly to a charity I would encourage you to read this article and research a charity to give to (granted this is from the US but most of what they say is applicable to us).

[better pictures to come]

Saturday, March 12, 2011


so I'm not sure about posting this - as I'm likely the only one excited about the fact we got to pick out our granite for our countertops. But have a look ...isn't it great?!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

house (paint) update

Patrick and I stopped by the house today and they have painted! how exciting! The photos of the main space (from Patrick's iPhone - sorry for fuzziness) were taken from the living/dining room looking to where the kitchen and front door will be. I'm really excited about the colour - a kind of blue spruce. You just never know how it will look on a massive wall when you are looking at a chip. The facing wall and pretty much the rest of the house is a light beige. The red (a rosy/coral terracotta) is the feature wall in the bedroom.

You can see the bamboo flooring stacked up - it is acclimatizing to the indoor temperature as it is -30C outside.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chinese New Year Dimsum

Chinese New Year dimsum, originally uploaded by ardenstreet.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Carpiquet, Dieppe, Arnham, Cassino, Ortona, Normandy ..... all Canadian battles in WWII and all streets in our new nieghbourhood! Whitehorse is set up that way - each neighbourhood has a theme: Porter Creek is trees (elm, spruce etc); Copper Ridge is minerals/gems and you guessed it Riverdale has streets named after Yukon rivers.

But back to Carpiquet - it is a new road in Takhini North, which is a short walk to work. And we are buying a house on it! It is a half of a duplex and will be ready for us by the end of April.

The Yukon has a very crazy real estate market - there is a huge shortage and places get snapped up incredibility fast. The recession didn’t seem to affect the market here at all. So we feel extremely happy to get a place that is: in the neighbourhood we want, within our budget and is a quality new build.

It 1000 square feet - so close to the same size as our apartment and on such a beautiful lot. Here is the view out the living room window of the backyard and beyond!!!

(umm nevermind the construction debris)

It has been all very exciting and scary. As you can see it is a new build, so we got to choose our paint colours, granite counter tops, floor tiles (for the bathroom). Below is the bamboo floor sample, maple kitchen cabinets and paint chips (rosy peach is feature wall in bedroom, the blue spruce type colour is for one long wall that stretches from the kitchen to the living room, and the beige is for everything else).