Category archive: Lifestyle

How being in the forest is good for your health

Bamboo forest FB4

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kyoto

While in Japan, we went to Kyoto and visited a bamboo grove at Arashiyama. It was quite lovely walking through the grove and looking up at the tall bamboo trunks that seemed to go for ever. It was peaceful and soothing but little did I appreciate the extent of the health benefits it offered.

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The next days of our flexible lives

Photo - author's own

Photo – author’s own

As autumn comes to a close, we move to the next episode in our flexible, snow seeking life-style. With only days to go until winter is upon us, there is no snow yet. The lingering golden hues of autumn and the icy bite of the wind hint at the changes to come as we settle into our Australian winter home.

Changes and resettling
Moving from Japan back to Melbourne, and then on to Hotham to a new job brings long lists of thing to do, buy and pack. Reorganising our lives in this way is more familiar but there are still a few things to fine-tune before we settle into a new routine.

Interrupted posting
There are sometimes hiccups in the transition and this has affected my blog posts this week. I will return to my routine next week, with posts already in the pipeline.

Enjoy your last days of autumn or spring (depending on where you are in the world), and embrace the changes the new season brings. Have a great weekend!

Friday good news story: Do you have a story to share?

Photo credit - Rowan Chestnut via unsplash.com

Photo credit – Rowan Chestnut via unsplash.com

The Friday good news post is aimed at sharing positive stories with you as you go into your weekend. To get variety and diversity in this, I need stories from different sources. One of those would be you. Do you have good news to share?

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What a new ski season brings

Photo credit - http://www.mthotham.com.au/

Photo credit – http://www.mthotham.com.au/

In less than a month, we will be back in the snow – atop Mt Hotham. The start of a new season brings excitement, hopes and challenges. We are looking forward to resuming our residence in this familiar place and to embracing what the 2017 Australian winter will bring.

The people
For us, returning to an Australian ski resort like Mt Hotham is like returning to a favourite vacation place. You revisit your favourite spots and seek out the familiar faces of people who frequent them. There will be the returners, the new staff and the space left by absent friends.

There will be much laughter, hugging and hand-shaking. Meetings, inductions, pot-lucks and famils will help welcome newcomers into the mountain ways, social groups and community rituals. Catch-ups and chats will reveal the adventures and experiences had between seasons.

The resort
There will be new things to discover – new businesses, new watering holes and eateries. Where will  you get the best coffee? Which venue has the best music?  What’s changed with the ski runs? What are the new snow-making facilities? Are there other changes in the resort?

A new perspective on a familiar place
Having returned from working in Japan, in a different style resort, I wonder how this new perspective on Mt Hotham will be? I will be working in the resort full-time, returning to live “in the bubble” again. After being in the Niseko region where everything was new and different – job role, resort organisation, snowfall, language and culture. This one is our home resort. It presents a chance to reconnect with friends, to reengage with the people who make up the community that we enjoy belonging to and to bask in the beauty of this part of the country.

Engaging with familiar folk and places is like receiving a warm embrace. You have a place. You contribute. You are liked, perhaps needed. It’s not that this is not true of other places. There is something special about your home resort though. That and the temporal nature of ski seasons and their iterations that build connection. You recombine with other like-minds interested in living the snow life. You experience the highs and lows of the season together and then go your separate ways again.

People ask, “Is it enough?”
People ask me if this lifestyle offers enough to keep me interested and fulfilled. I enjoy the spirit that goes with communities like these. I enjoy living in cities but am probably a country girl at heart. Combine that with the loveliness of the snowy environment and it is a delightful backdrop for a period in which I can try new things and meet new people. Bring on the delights that lie ahead in 2017!

Start the weekend with a good news post on Fridays

Kindness cardsNow that our Japanese tour of duty is over, it is time to change my Friday food treat post routine. In its place I am going to do a “good news” post. In a world where the news is full of reports about conflict, violence and negativity, there is a need for good news stories. Good news on Friday could be a great food for thought heading into the weekend.

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Three things I never thought I would miss about Japan

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kit_Kats_in_Japan

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kit_Kats_in_Japan

We’re home. We’re back in familiar territory, enjoying the comforts of home and embracing our former lifestyle. It feels good. Comforting. Reassuring. And yet, there are things we miss – already!

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Japan – a country of contrasts

Samurai mask

Samurai warrior head dress

Japan is a beautiful country. The food, the manners, the dress and the traditions are all about politeness, the aesthetic, elegance and honouring hierarchy.  Yet at the same time there is a brash, zany other side to the place as well.

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Friday food treat: Tempura

Tempura2

Tempura is a Japanese dish of battered and deep fried seafood and/or vegetables. The word tempura refers to the technique of battering and frying. However, originally the Japanese fried food without batter. Portuguese influences changed that.

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Understanding Japanese etiquette

Photo credit - Ta Ching Chen via unsplash.com

Photo credit – Ta Ching Chen via unsplash.com

The Japanese people display grace and courtesy towards others. They are helpful and respectful and this is ingrained in their culture. As an outsider, this can sometimes present challenges – as it has for us recently.

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Friday food treat: Soba noodles

 

IMG_5871

There are many kinds of noodles available in Japan. One such variety is soba noodles. These are made of buckwheat flour and resemble spaghetti in terms of thickness. Soba noodles are used in various hot and cold dishes. 

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