Leaves of Autumn Past

Three years ago, the duck and I wrote about how we like to take autumnal neighborhood walks with our camera from time to time. When we jog (these days, at an increasingly decreasing speed), we routinely take in the seasonal changes in our current neighborhood. But we’re also routinely too lazy to go out with a camera afterward to capture them. So, today, the duck and I want to share some pictures from when we visited our friend in Louisville, Kentucky, years ago. In Gourds of Halloween Past, I mentioned that we spent most of our time being collectively lazy indoors. I also noted that our trusty camera’s battery died halfway through the pumpkin path. To those of you (= positively no one) who wondered how that could have happened – how many photos could we possibly have taken indoors, and did we not learn from our Tachikawa fiasco? – this is the reason: I lied. While we did spend most of our time on a comfy sofa, watching TV, playing games, and catching up, we occasionally left the apartment – sometimes even twice a day! On one of those days, we experienced the Louisville Jack O’Lantern Spectacular. A few hours before we were to admire thousands of Halloween pumpkins, our friend suggested we go for a walk. So, the duck and I grabbed our camera (presumably with a fully charged battery) to take some foliage photos. We never shared any of them, probably because most of them weren’t remotely pretty. Well, the duck and my standards have lowered since then, and our laziness is here to stay. So, once again, we’re falling back on photos we’ve taken at a slightly more productive time. Here ya go:

I think we took these photos at Cherokee park, but (if I don’t forget) I’ll confirm with our faraway friend the next time we chat. Until then, have a pleasant autumn (or spring), and don’t forget to schedule some lazy hours.


🍁Maple sweet potato rice cake🍁 #seasonaltreat #autumninjapan #fallinforsweetpotatoes #TBT

Kawagoe sweet potato ohagi
Fall has come once again, and the duck and I miss our beloved Japanese seasonal autumn snacks even more this year. Just look at this beautiful treat that we got to devour four years ago, sitting on a canopied bench under a pretty autumn afternoon sun after a fun exploration tour of an area we had never been to. Even though we got it at a local grocery store, we felt truly fancy when we ate this maple syrup sweet potato rice cake (at least that’s what our translator app told us this is)! 5/5 sweet potato stuffed ducks for the sweetness of Japanese autumn in a bite (and many more after that)! 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

The duck and I still aren’t eating out a lot, especially since we don’t really like it all that much if catching up with a friend is not involved. So, there might be even more solitary or inside snack reports in the near future of this blog. What about you? Do you like eating out? Are there any foods that you miss?


∼·✧Kyoto coffee✧·∼ #fancyblackcoffee #prettydrinkprettycup #Kyototourist #autumncoffeebreak #TBT

Pricey black coffee
It’s all about coffee with the duck and me! Recently we’ve begun reminiscing about one of the most expensive, but also fanciest, cups of black coffee we’ve enjoyed when we were in Kyoto foraging for fine foliage almost three years ago; after having seen lots of leaves and a few shrines and temples, accompanied by icy December winds, we decided to stop for some afternoon coffee on Shijo-dori, the road that leads to the infamous gate of Yasaka shrine (that we featured in our Kyoto travel video). Kyosendō is a sweets shop and cafe that is more famous for its traditional Japanese sweets and green tea desserts than for its coffee, but the duck and I were in a cheap mood, so we decided to go with the ‘hot coffee’ that ran somewhere between 600 and 800 yen, a relatively common price for a cup of black coffee- but this one came with a fancy coconut cookie and have you seen the sugar?! The lovely Japanese stoneware cup, the nice atmosphere and the feeling of being (back) in Kyoto – with amazing travel buddies! – made this experience wonderfully memorable and particularly delightful. 4/5 colorful leaves for a cup of black coffee with a price that made us feel truly fancy. •✧•✧•·

The duck and I tend to have rather vivid memories of a lot of the things we’ve eaten outside our home, especially the pricier ones. It seems as if, subconsciously, we force ourselves to remember all the drinks and food we decided to spend money on despite their (for our means) scary price tags. Well, the duck and I love reliving beautiful memories, so we’re not complaining!

Green Rider and maple apple coffee

The duck and my last attempt at writing about some food we made and a thing that our friends recommended to us was pretty messy, so messy, in fact, that we decided to try again. Now that we have Coco, our beloved coffee maker, we decided to try and come up with our own little fall coffee drink that is not pumpkin spice related (because our morning oats tend to be – a lot! – these days). Oh, how we have missed fall themed foods (Germany, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be as big on them as Japan is)!
maple apple duckFall is a season the duck and I connect with sitting at home, reading a good book and drinking a nice cup of tea or: an apple maple latte macchiato! In our imagination, however, the duck and I like to spend the perfect fall afternoon with a walk, collecting colorful leaves and enjoying the warm golden sunlight on our faces as the day slowly turns into evening. This feeling reminds us of one of our absolute favorite book chapters, the one that describes Karigan’s time at Seven Chimneys, the Berry sister residence, in Kristen Britain’s Green Rider, one of the many amazing books that our amazing friend R has recommended to us: Continue reading


Neighborhood walks

The duck and I like to take little walks around the neighborhood with our camera. We like them so much that we do them about once every two years, in fall, because pretty fall foliage is the one thing that can lure us out of our warm and cozy bedroom. Sometimes. Don’t get us wrong; the duck and I actually don’t mind walking (that’s the perfect time for catching up on podcasts), but, somehow, we have trouble dealing with those non-target-oriented ones that don’t lead us to the grocery store, the train station or the mailbox. This is why we get to take photos like this one only once in a while:Berlin fall walk
My hands were frozen pretty soon after we had left, so it was a bit difficult (even more so than usual) to get a steady photo. This is why we only have the photo above and the one below to show for our good intentions (of going outside)… this year.
Berlin fall eveningFor days after our venture into the cold the duck and I couldn’t shake the feeling that we had seen photos similar to these before. So, we looked through the few photos we had taken during our previous photographic neighborhood walk in Tokyo two years ago. And what we found was sort of uncanny:

Isn’t it funny how the duck and I took the same kinds of pictures two years apart without realizing it? Well, I guess it does make sense that the duck and I decide to take our camera out during our favorite season and that, due to our laziness and love for procrastination, we usually embark on our photo walks just before dusk in order to catch at least some of the remaining sunlight.
Our timing for perfect fall foliage seems to be a bit off each time; that’s another constant. Two years from now the duck and I will try our best to take another neighborhood walk at almost the perfect time for autumn leaves. But just almost.

What is your take on casual walks? Did you ever find weird parallels between photos you have taken years apart? Maybe we’re just seeing parallels where there aren’t any. Probably.


Kyoto reflections

Earlier this week the duck and I went on a little trip to Kyoto. The initial plan was to go autumn leaves watching but, unfortunately, we were a bit too late for seeing the city drenched in a wonderful and completely harmless red. However, together with the foliage peak season, we also missed the tourist peak season which means that we could walk and admire without any major hindrance, except for the freezing temperatures – especially unforgiving at our first sightseeing stop, Arashiyama. Further adventures led us through beautiful shrines and temples (like Kiyomizu temple – perfect for sunset-watching), hundreds of gates up the hill at Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine, scenic paths and streets (such as the beautiful backstreets of Gion), tasty tourist snack sampling shops (loved the matcha shops in Uji) and, of course, from restaurant to restaurant (my favorite fried dinner we had in Osaka, though) and through way too much money.
Of course, we also took lots of touristy pictures, our personal versions of everything you can find on the internet or in travel guides. We’ll spare you most of those. Instead, as the title of this post says, we present to you a few (some more, others less ambiguous) reflections of some of Kyoto’s most popular tourist spots. Can you guess where we captured them?

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As for written reflections: Going to Kyoto was probably the highlight of our stay in Japan so far (also, literally – those three days were so incredibly sunny that we probably collected our monthly dose of vitamin D just walking around Kyoto); we had the most amazing company and equally amazing and hilarious experiences together.
My number one hilarious experience related to the trip, however, I made when we had just returned to Tokyo: When I was running up the stairs to the train platform I tripped – my untrained legs still a bit angry about the sudden flashback of all those stairs at Fushimi Inari shrine. This, my children, is the perfect time to remind you that you do not want to be those foreigners whose faces make acquaintance with the ground after attempting to run and catch a train!

Also, we recorded some shaky footage on our trip, so prepare for another installment of “the duck explores new places captured by the camera of an inflatable air dancer” sometime when fall is long gone. Maybe. If we’re not lazy.

We’ll go back to reflecting on our life and stair choices now!

Snacks: LOOK, it’s autumn!

Japan is great when it comes to seasonal snacks. In spring it is hard to enter a grocery store without finding at least one sakura (cherry blossom) flavored snack – my friend once brought me a cute little box of matcha-sakura flavored Kitkat when she visited from Japan in spring; they tasted like a steady chocolate-float ride through a LOOK, duck, look!peaceful matcha stream in the middle of (the week-long) cherry blossom season, just without all the crowds of sakura-admirers and instead with some extra sugar sprinkled on top. But enough of this pseudo-poetic writing!
Now that it’s fall (even though the temperatures feel a lot like winter), of course, the duck and I had to try some of the autumn-specific snacks Japan has to offer in that favorite season of ours. The first thing we found was this year’s autumn edition of Fujiya‘s LOOK chocolates.
The individual bite-size pieces of chocolate usually come in a box with two or four different varieties, such as LOOK 4 with 27%, 40%, 55% and 70% cacao chocolate or LOOK A La Mode with banana-, almond-, strawberry- and coffee-cream filled milk chocolate. Our catch, however, featured two Japan autumn classics: sweet potato and chestnut (as far as the duck and I could tell). This is our very personal review: Continue reading