Monday, October 1, 2012

Japan / part two

After conquering Mt Fuji, we took a 12 hour trip via bus, bus, bus, bullet-train, and train to Takayama. When we arrived, it started to sink in that I was actually in Japan. The architecture was no longer ultra modern, but very traditional in style and material. The streets were narrow and quiet; we wondered all over the place in the rain, saw a huge worm and the beginnings of the Japan Alps.
I was surprised by the inward nature of the buildings, most had windows facing the street but nearly all were covered by the ubiquitous paper/wood framed shade. It was very rare you would be able to see the interior space, even in sudo-public places like restaurants. We were never sure if we were allowed to enter, but eventually we got used to ducking our heads in and venturing an enthusiastic "konnichiwa"!

Typical (and totally awesome!) street facade in Takayama

Over the hill - the back side of Takayama

It was pouring! We loved it though, cooled off about 10 degrees

Ryokan with traditional Japanese breakfast served in the morning.
Menu includes: Salmon, white rice, miso soup, Hoba miso cooked
on a magnolia leave, and steamed vegetables

Old Sake brewery 

Interior - raised tatami mats with hearth for cooking. Rooms for entertaining are surrounding this space.
To enter the tatami mat area, you must remove your shoes.  Don't forget!

Sleeping room with garden and exterior hallway connecting the spaces. 
 On to Shirakawa-go, a town of thatched roofs! Sooo sooo sooo cool!!

the classic photograph

Open air museum where you can tour the buildings and walk in the roofs

1 meter thick roofs are made of bamboo, tied together with rope, and layered to insulate and withstand heavy snowfall in the winter months. 

So happy to be here! 

Super delicious meal - cook the beef in broth and season with hoba miso

Super impressive concrete pedestrian bridge to Skirakawa-go

Stay tuned - I will post about Kanazawa, Kyoto, and Tokyo soon!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Japan / part one

Japan was full of surprises. It is an incredible combination of tradition and contemporary, calm and hyper-active, soft ambient and neon lighting, consumerism and natural beauty.

Hama Rikyu Gardens - Wild flowers and Skyscrapers
Tsukiji Fish Market - Sushi before 8am

Ginza area - blocks and blocks of high-end shops lined with Christmas trees... 

From the busy and vibrant Tokyo streets, we traveled to Mt. Fuji 5th Station by bus. Upon arrival, we departed by foot to summit this 12,338 ft snowless, red-gravel mountain. We slept in a mountain hut, about 3/4 of the way up, and woke around 2:30am to summit in time for sunrise. It was absolutely awesome!! (and very cold!)

2pm - beginning the hike

5pm -  encountering our first mountain hut embedded into the slope

8pm - cramped but cozy sleeping quarters, after a hearty meal of curry and rice 

3am - ready to go summit!!

6am - beautiful sunrise atop Fujisan
7:30am - the hike down with fellow pilgrams

8am - so happy!
More to come!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Necklace Valley

Hello Blog!

Last Friday I left work a couple hours early and headed East to Necklace Valley, about 2 hours from Seattle on Hwy 2. It was a great hike totaling around 20 miles split over 3 days. If you try this hike remember your heavy-duty bug spray, the mosquitos are relentless. I think I came home with over 100 bites!! Mother-nature left her mark :)

the beautiful Alpine Lake Wilderness, Washington

Night 2: Campsite on the ridge

Jade Lake
Early morning pic before a long day of hiking 

Lovely river crossing, East Fork Foss River

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Moledo House

More illustrations for drawing class!
The assignment was to create a landscaped hand-drawing of a well-known house, I chose to render a house in Moledo, Portugal by architect Eduardo Souto do Moura.
I started with AutoCAD to create the line drawings of the plan, section and elevation, which, allowed me to toy with the composition of the page. After printing, I used pen and Mylar paper (which is similar to velum - and you can erase pen from it!) to create the drawing you see here. It was a fun project.

Plan - top left, Elevation - bottom left, Section - Right

Images of the house embedded in this terraced landscape and surrounded by trees and rocks. 

A small, one story home
View from the roof

Monday, January 30, 2012

Invisible Cities

Excerpts from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino - Marco Polo, the Venetain traveler, relates his adventures to Kublai Khan, the Tartar emperor. 

The harbor faces north, in shadow. The docks are high over the black water, which slams against the retaining wall; stone steps descend, made slippery by seaweed. Boats smeared with tar are tied up, waiting for the departing passengers lingering on the quay to bid their families farewell. 
The people remaining behind look over the ramparts above the rocks of the pier, their eyes following the ship until it rounds the cape; for the last time they wave a white rag. 
"Set out, explore every coast, and seek this city," the Khan says to Marco. "Then come back and tell me if my dream corresponds to reality."
"Forgive me, my lord, there is no doubt that sooner or later I shall set sail from that dock," Marco says, "but I shall not come back to tell you about it. The city exists and it has a simple secret: it knows only departures, not returns." (pg. 55)

For a long time Pyrrha to me was a fortified city on the slopes of a bay, with high windows and towers, enclosed like a goblet, with a central square deep as a well, with a well in its center.
My mind goes on containing a great number of cities I have never seen and will never see, names that bear with them a figure or a fragment or glimmer of an imagined figure. The city high above the bay is also there still, with the square enclosing the well, but I can no longer call it by a name, nor remember how I could ever have given it a name that means something entirely different. (pg. 92)

     They tell this tale of its foundation: men of various nations had an identical dream. They saw a woman running at night through an unknown city; she was seen from behind, with long hair, and she was naked. They dreamed of pursuing her. As they twisted and turned, each of them lost her.
     After the dream they set out in search of that city; they never found it, but they found another; they decided to build a city like the one in the dream.
     New men arrived from other lands, having had a dream like theirs, and in the city of Zobeide, they recognized something of the streets of the dream, and they changed the positions of arcades and stairways to resemble more closely the path of the pursued woman and so, at the spot where she had vanished, there would remain no avenue of escape.
     The first to arrive could not understand what drew these people to Zobeide, this ugly city, this trap. (pg. 45)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Day!

What to do when life gets cancelled??

Take a morning stroll.
Cal Anderson Park - Capitol Hill

Do a little baking.
Muffins in the morning

Dip into a good read.  

Research for the next studio project - designing libraries this quarter. 
Maple Valley Library, Washington

Central Library - Phoenix, Arizona
Program diagram for the studio presentation on Monday 

Eat some dinner.
Cauliflower, Apple-sage Field Roast, Lentils made in the crock-pot, Grand Central Bakery potato bread

And top it off with the new Brad Pitt film.

It was a good day. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mama loves me

She made me these beautiful earrings and necklace for New Years! We found the beads during our trip to Boston and Marblehead so every time I wear the jewelry I will think of that special time together. Thanks Mom!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kisses + PB Cookies

I think these cookies might have topped the charts. 

Here is the ingredient list slightly adapted from

1/2 c butter (melted)
1/2 c peanut butter (creamy or chunky, I used chunky)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 egg

1 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt