chocolates

Things I’m Loving – March 2015

It’s just now the beginning of April but the temperatures have risen here in Honolulu and it’s already making me think of summer. Even though it was just a year ago that I was in Japan and enjoying the beginning of sakura (cherry blossom) season, it feels like that was years ago and a world away. My days are still filled mostly with school-related activities, whether that be class, studying, or working on any of the several projects I’m involved with at the university. But I think when it’s so busy, that’s probably one of the most important times to take a few minutes and reflect so here are some of the things I was loving in March! (more…)

Things I’m Loving – August 2014

This past month has been so very busy. At the end of July we’d pretty much just arrived in Hawaii and were staying with a friend while we looked for an apartment. Now that it’s the end of August, I’m happy to say we are settled into our very own apartment and starting to get into our new routines. The past few weeks have been packed full of buying furniture, moving things out of storage, and then of course the dreaded unpacking. I cannot believe it but I still have one box to unpack! >_< There were also two hurricanes that threatened the islands and threw us into “secure everything” mode and really delayed our settling into the new apartment. Thankfully the hurricanes turned and didn’t affect our area though they did do damage on the Big Island to the east of us. Now that things seem to be settling down, it’s time to share some of the things I’ve been loving this past month!

1. Friends

 

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Okay, so this could really be on the list every month but it has just been so great to see our Hawaii friends again. We had a lot of fun with friends in Japan of course and I do miss them but we’ve been having a lot of fun catching up with friends we haven’t seen for so long. (And I am trying to convince friends in Japan to come visit us in Hawaii. ^_~) Our change in time zones has also meant it’s been easier to find convenient times to talk to friends and family elsewhere in the US. That’s definitely a plus! And remember how I mentioned we stayed with a friend until we found an apartment? This was the view from our temporary home! (In case you are wondering…no, our own apartment has no such view.)

2. Wind maps

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One of my friends showed me a website where you can see current (within a few hours I think) wind patterns for the entire world. You can get a wide view of the earth or zoom in for a closer look at your own location. The photo is a screenshot of the wind patterns here in Hawaii after hurricane Iselle had already passed and we were waiting to see which way hurricane Julio turned. See those little dots to the left of the hurricane at the center of the picture? Yep, that’s Hawaii. I found this absolutely mesmerizing to watch!

3. Hiking

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You might have noticed from the many posts I’ve done on visits to parks that I really enjoy surrounding myself with nature. One of the things I’ve really been enjoying this past month is that I have only a short drive to so many great hikes. And unlike the manicured parks I mostly visited in Japan, these are hikes through wild rainforest. There is just something about being surrounded by nature and getting away from the sound of civilization that is so relaxing and energizing to me. I love it!

4. University of Hawaii campus

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That’s right. I’m a student once again! Classes have just begun but I spent some time on campus even before classes started just to take care of some admin items and reacquaint myself with where everything is. The campus is really beautiful with many tropical plants and a Japanese garden, too. They even have a map of various spots with botanical points of interest so you can take your own walking tour. I have a feeling I’m going to get to know the campus really well by the end of the semester.

5. Dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts

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I have such a weakness for these! As soon as we went grocery shopping, I was hunting these out to add to our shopping basket. They come in several different varieties but the dark chocolate is my favorite by far. It’s dark chocolate and macadamia nuts. What’s not to love about that?! The only danger is that once I’ve opened the bag, I don’t want to stop. It’s a serious exercise in will power.

So that is my update for now. I’m going to seriously carve out chunks of blog time in my calendar so I don’t come back at the end of September only to discover I’ve barely posted anything. I still have a lot of things from Japan I want to share and I’m already thinking of lots of good stuff from my adventures here in Hawaii that I’ll be sharing, too. Look out September, here I come!

Orange Peel Flavored Kit Kat

Orange Peel Flavored Kit Kat

Orange Peel Flavored Kit Kat

Do you ever have those nights when you just cannot end the day without some dessert? I do on occasion and usually chocolate is the only thing that will satisfy the craving and allow me to go to sleep feeling the day has been complete. On one such night as I was scrounging around in the kitchen and about to give up on finding anything, I found something I’d bought a few weeks ago with a friend and then completely forgotten about: orange peel flavored Kit Kats! (more…)

Things I’m Loving – April 2014

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Here I am once again at the end of another month, looking back and thinking of all the things that I’ve enjoyed the past few weeks. It’s definitely been a beautiful month full of springtime flowers and sunny days. I’ve enjoyed the sakura season and a flower festival celebrating spring, as well as tasty holiday treats. Here are some of the other things that have made April a wonderful month. (more…)

White Day in Japan

White Day presents

White Day presents

It has been a month since Valentine’s Day and that means today is White Day (ホワイトデー) here in Japan! What is this White Day holiday? Well, it is one of the interesting differences in how Valentine’s Day is celebrated here in Japan. Back in February, my Valentine’s Day post was all about how women give men chocolates to celebrate the holiday in Japan and how these chocolates might be honmei-choco (本命チョコ, “true feeling chocolate”) given to boyfriends or husbands but also might be giri-choco (義理チョコ, “obligation chocolate”) given to coworkers, bosses, or friends. White Day is the day when men are expected to reciprocate by giving gifts to those women who gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day.

In the spirit of the holiday here in Japan, I made homemade chocolates for my husband on Valentine’s Day this year. So today, I received White Day gifts from him! He knows exactly how much I love chocolate so he gave me a delicious layered cake in the shape of a heart (which I ate immediately, of course) and a box full of chocolates I cannot wait to try! As soon as I opened the box and smelled the yummy chocolaty goodness, I wanted to immediately try each different kind…but I’m going to at least try to exert some willpower and eat them slowly over the next few days like a reasonable person. I managed to close the box after only eating two pieces (a dark chocolate matcha piece and a white chocolate piece with orange liqueur) so the challenge begins now!