✧ ✧ Renkon Chips✧ ✧ #izakayaevenings #wateryouwaitingfor #afterworksnacks #fattyfoodfattyclothes #TBT

Renkon chipsHave I mentioned that the duck and I love looking at photos of food? The answer is ‘yes‘. Yes, I have. During our most recent food appreciation session, the duck and I discovered this photo from about two and a half years ago when we were still living in Tokyo and would sometimes spontaneously grab dinner or snacks with a friend or two. Sometimes we’d end up at an izakaya after working late (or a particularly exciting Tokyo exploration session) and even though the duck and I stuck to water – always have – we had fun sharing a variety of exciting dishes with our friends. One of our absolute favorites were fried lotus root chips. We just love the look of lotus root in any kind of dish, but snacking on it, fried, is especially cool! The duck and I miss that special izakaya atmosphere.
Well, at least we don’t have to worry about smelling like a walking deep fryer on our way home these days. 3/5 renkon chips for the atmosphere and taste and company – deduction of points for the feeling of having turned into fried renkon chips ourselves afterwards. ✧ ・ ✧ ・ ✧

It’s funny how the smell of our clothes after having been to one is the thing that the duck and I remember most about our izakaya experiences. But I guess that’s what people say about good stories, right? They should involve all the senses. It seems that our memories work that way, too, though I only remember what I thought about the smell, not the smell itself… yet. Izakayas, just you wait until the duck and I visit you again! Ha!


Spying on turtles at Kiyosumi Gardens

Last week I mentioned how, back when we were still living in Tokyo, the duck and I went to a garden before we admired a lovely Kawawa Chizuru 猫魚姫 (cat fish princess) exhibition and had a delicious sorbet brioche. Said garden was Kiyosumi Garden. After meeting our lovely tour guide friend at Kiyosumi-shirakawa station, it only took a few minutes and a minuscule entrance fee until we could enjoy a nice and refreshing (as refreshing as a humid summer day in Tokyo can be) stroll around the lake, marveling at the peaceful scenery – and the turtles! At one point one of the turtles even got out of the water, started following us around (maybe plotting to bite us, as our friend theorized) and then posed for some photos surrounded by other park visitors. Our fond respect for turtles definitely increased even more that day! Of course we also enjoyed seeing all the cool birds and fish.

If you ever visit (Eastern) Tokyo, the duck and I highly recommend checking out Kiyosumi Gardens. At around ¥150 the entrance fee is super affordable for getting the opportunity to admire all that wonderful flora and fauna – and maybe even have your own memorable turtle encounter.
If you have some free time after, we suggest strolling around the area surrounding this beautiful garden, maybe having some tasty coffee or an ice cream filled brioche and visiting a Buddhist temple, as we did that day before the duck and I went to Shinjuku (a mere 20-25 minute subway ride away) to meet up with some old and new friends, including our Kyoto, Edo-Tokyo, Akita and Kamakura (among other little adventures) travel pal.
That was one of our last mini adventures in Tokyo, and the duck and I are so happy that it turned out so memorable and, well, perfect.
Have you ever experienced such days – days that turned out better than you could have imagined when you woke up in the morning?


⁓Ice Cream Brioche⁓ #sorbetactually #refreshing #kiyosumishirakawawalks #learnaboutoneofourfavoriteartists #TBT

Ice cream brioche

The duck and I don’t eat out much these days. Therefore, daydreaming about all the nice things we ate in the past has become one of our favorite pastimes. Recently, with the summer heat keeping us from sleeping through the night sometimes, we’ve started craving a big serving of sorbet – which is best enjoyed together with a friend, ideally after a day of exploring nice gardens, a pretty exhibition (we were lucky to see one featuring Kawawa Chizuru’s lovely Nyangyohime, cat fish princess, watercolors – and going by what we did last week, you can bet how thrilled we were!) and lovely old neighborhoods, as we did about two years ago when we took a rest at Brigela with our favorite Ginza guide! As the name suggests, this shop’s main attraction is ice cream hugged by a fluffy brioche. So, of course, that’s what we got! The duck and I went with two sorbet flavors: melon and pineapple (I think). We were a bit worried about whether the sorbet would work inside a milky, buttery brioche, but, I don’t know what we worried for! This was definitely the most refreshing and one of the most delicious snacks the duck and I have tasted in Japan! 5/5 cat fish princesses for the delicious sorbet brioche and the wonderful company ❤

Talking about cat fish princesses: Do an image search for 猫魚姫 on your favorite search engine, if you like, to see what all the hype is about! We got to chat with Kawawa Chizuru at her solo exhibition and she was truly lovely. The duck and I need to study some more Japanese so that, one day, we can casually check her website to see what’s new.


Memories of that one time we went to the Imperial Palace East Gardens in Tokyo

The duck and I still avoid going out as much as possible. This is why we love looking through our photos from past adventures. Pretty much exactly two years ago, for example, we went to the Imperial Palace East Gardens that are located on the former grounds of Edo Castle with our Disney Sea adventure pal Sb. We did not take a lot of usable photographs, unfortunately, which is probably why we never put them on here. But now we’re desperate for material (and for being able to safely go to parks again), so here ya go:

Some of these photos aren’t as good as we’d like them to be, but the duck and I still have a vivid memory of arriving too late in the day to be able to fully explore the gardens before they closed, of eating snacks on a bench near the entrance, of excitedly watching an ant fight at the base of a bamboo stalk, of being surprised by how loudly toads could croak, of trying to make our way around the lake while garden employees told everyone that it was time to leave and of strolling around Shinjuku and having conveyor belt sushi after. I guess this is more of a memory-refresher for us. For you, maybe, this can act as an invitation to explore this wonderful garden yourselves (for free!) when this whole crisis is over?
Stay safe and sane, everyone!
The duck and I.


♪Blueberry Pancakes #Goldenweekeats #sweetswithfriends #Shinjukumemories #pancakeseverywhere #TBT

Hawaiian Pancake FactoryAll this writing about pancakes last week reminded the duck and me of a day two years ago when we were going to meet our sugar-appreciation-pals for an afternoon at Sweets Paradise, a dessert buffet! Unfortunately the Shinjuku store was fully booked, so we had to find another place to get our sugar fix. When we were walking through one of the many Shinjuku department stores, looking for an alternative, we decided that pancakes wouldn’t be half bad when we saw that Hawaiian Pancake Factory seemed to have a few empty tables. The duck and I aren’t huge fans of American style pancakes, but, surprisingly, we enjoyed our blueberry pancakes more than we had expected and the lovely conversation with our friends made this an unforgettable afternoon! 3/5 blueberries for the pancakes ♪ 5/5 sugar cubes for our sweet friends ♪

Coincidentally there is another reason this day is burnt into my memory. Throughout our strolls through Shinjuku my ankle started acting up and by the time I had reached my station the pain had gotten so bad that it took me about 20 minutes to cover the 200 meters home (I suspect all the walking we did on our Akita trip a few days prior). Fortunately all this happened during Golden Week so that the duck and I just stayed in, watched movies and waited for my ankle to get better… and we had the sweet memories of the pancakes (and plenty of movies) to keep us cheerful throughout those days of minimal mobility.

Do you have any vivid memories of foods you ate, conversations you had or slooooow walks home?

P.S.: We did end up going to Sweets Paradise a few weeks later – with a reservation. Our plates were way too ugly (as in filled to the brim with random pieces of cake and other desserts) to share on here, though  😛


Two springs past: A haiku

The duck and I have written about our love-hate relationship with spring about a hundred times. Now that we are asked to stay inside we feel our love grow stronger every day, probably because social distancing also includes distancing ourselves from some of the pollen that aggressively swarm around the neighborhood wondering where their former victims have gone… while the duck and I sit at our computer reminiscing about all the sakura we got to see in Tokyo two years ago, when the world was still a little bit less crazy and our main worry was having to interrupt our excursions from time to time to treat our stinging eyes with yet the coolest (literally!) eye drops we’ve ever used. Looking through our collection of photos from a happier spring makes the duck and me feel somewhat nostalgic and weirdly poetic. Today we have finally decided to give in to that poetic itch, took a photo from our  pollen plagued hike up Mount Takao two years ago (here’s a link to that post and video) and let it inspire us to write yet another haiku within a cheesy inspirational quote format like we did last December.
Now let me share with you the duck and my newest piece of fauxetry:

Sparkling pink mountain, scents of blossoms fill the air, and a sudden sneeze.

With this one we tried to add an air of acceptance to those pesky allergies that come with the beauty of spring. I hope that comes across. If not, now you know our intentions, hahaha!
Do you have a favorite season? Please tell us about it (wow, this looks like an elementary school essay prompt. But I’m going with it).

In other news:

Continue reading


*Yokohama Christmas vibes* #day19 #christmasmarketstalling #crazychristmascrowds #TBT

Yokohama ChristmasThis photo is titled ‘Christmas Eve in Yokohama’. I’d say that it pretty much speaks for itself (as does the picture quality of my phone camera).
But for those of you who like to read, here’s the backstory: Two years ago the duck and I made plans with our friend to explore the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market. That market had been recommended to us by a friend who had been to plenty of Christmas markets in Germany and considered this one to be the most authentic one around Tokyo. In fact, it did look a lot like the ones we saw in Berlin this year, with one tiny difference: It was CROWDED!
That probably was our fault, though, because we thought that it would be a great idea to go there on Christmas Eve, as did lots of couples! It took us over an hour to get from one end of the Christmas market to the other – they were less than 500 meters apart (I think)! We decided to check out one gift stall on the way to the tree at the end of the market, but for food we went to McDonald’s (which wasn’t the worst Christmas dinner we had). That truly was a very formative experience of Christmas in Tokyo.

If you’re in Tokyo around Christmas, the duck and I actually do recommend checking out the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market – as long as you don’t go on Christmas Eve.
What was your most bizarre Christmas experience?


*Ovenless kitchen diaries* #day12 #nobakechristmasbaking #pretzellove #TBT

Chocolate drizzled pretzels
Pretty much two years ago today the duck and I were getting ready to attend a Christmas party. We wanted to bring some homemade snacks because we’re cool like that. Since we did not have an oven in our Japanese kitchen we had to resort to some other kind of Christmas ‘baking’: We located a foreign food store, grabbed a few bags of our favorite food and some bars of our other favorite food… and began drizzling. We drizzled all night long, one tiny pretzel at a time, listening to one podcast after the other.
Drizzling pretzels with dark chocolate turned out to be a perfect substitute for actual Christmas baking because it gave us the same back ache that we always have after a full day of cranking out Christmas cookies (and eating nothing but an oatmeal breakfast and cookie dough – for quality control! – all day)! Would do again. 5/5 hunched ducks! 😀

Did you ever do any Christmas non-baking? What do you like to bring to Christmas parties?


*Meanwhile in a Tokyo Department Store* #day5 #christmasintokyo #everyonecanbeachristmastree #TBT

Mannequin tree
Two years ago around this time the duck and I were checking out all kinds of Christmas decorations in Japan in order to get some visuals to accompany our very poetic report on Christmas in Tokyo. This wonderful display we found in a department store unfortunately didn’t fit the theme of our Christmas post back then, but it is just too good not to share, don’t you think?

Do you have any favorite Christmas snaps that, for some reason, you seem to be the only person to fully appreciate?

Side story: I worked in a Christmas-themed store once and that was exactly the pose I adopted whenever I was pretending to ‘blend in’ and ‘be one of the Christmas trees’. Not many people appreciated my ‘comedic intentions’ back then, but being a tree for a couple of minutes brought me utter joy. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?


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.