Cheese, Wine, and Sunshine

Hi all!

Jon and I are finally getting a little bit more settled in to our new house. It’s fantastic to see our stuff starting to take shape into a home.

empty house

moving in

We took a break from the chaos to check out the Cheese Fest this weekend and had a really good time! Less cheese than last year, though that translated into less crowds. It was so sunny. Just a really great day to be out at the market with friends.

IMG_0224.JPG

This pic is from last year, and the crowds weren’t as intense, but at least it gives you a little bit of an idea of what the event looked like:

Seattle Cheese Fest

Around noonish, we (heather, steven, yelena, ben, jon and I) had eaten enough cheese to give us bellyaches, and did what all reasonable people would have: decided it was time for wine.

wine on sneuman's deck

If you’re in belltown and in need of a bottle of wine, I definitely recommend stopping into Seattle Cellars. The guy that was working (owner?) recommended three fantastic and vastly different bottles all in the 10-15$ range. They were perfect for the afternoon. The wine shop has a cooler with about 20 chilled bottles of white, rosé and sparkling, which is important to know if you’re looking for something to drink right away.

Onward and upward. Literally. Today’s adventure takes us to Steven & Yelena’s rooftop deck, with a fantastic view of the city, the sound, and the mountains.

view from snueman's deck

…and our new house!

view from snueman's deck - our house

…which is incredibly close to quite a few friends. How cool is that?

lower queen anne friends

We live on the west side of lower queen anne.  For any non-seattleites out there, that’s midway between the sound picture above (we’re really close to the “coast”) and the space needle.

view from snueman's deck

What’s that in the backround? The seaplane! Are you listening, mom?

sea plane

As we settled in to our afternoon of sunburn fruit and wine…

wine on sneuman's deck

…we noticed that the sky was doing a weird apocalyptic sort of thing. How odd is this? Anyone ever seen the ring around the sun like that before?

sun rays?

Is it the end of the world? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s just time for another glass of wine. Pass the rosé please!

wine on sneuman's deck

Hanami: Naka-Meguro / YoYogi

“Spring” is the only season I’ve ever tagged in the blog, which… makes me wonder. Why? I don’t even particularly like spring. If I had to pick a favourite season, fall wins by a landslide. The colour palette is way better. But with spring… it’s easy to focus on how drastic it is.

April rains, and rains. And it’s hot and it’s cold. And then you blink, and in an instant if seems as if the whole world has exhaled. It’s quite breathtaking, when you come right down to it.

yokohama spring

So it’s no wonder then, that I post about spring so often. And springtime, in japan, is quite the place to be.

naka-meguro hanami

naka-meguro hanami

We’ve talked about hanami, yes? It’s perhaps the very best piece of japan we can take home with us: the tradition of stopping what you’re doing to celebrate the fleeting beauty of things. Celebrate how good things are. Be outside with your friends. Drink, merriment, etc. Have a… corona?

naka-meguro hanami

When that’s what they’re selling out of trucks on the side of the road, that is. The evening in Naka-Meguro, I think we ate dinner a total of 7 times. Julie, jon and I literally stopped at every food vendor that looked tasty, split something and moved on. I was so full I could have been rolled into the river, and I might not have minded.

naka-meguro hanami

Japanese girls have this adorable way of standing next to the low-hanging blossom and flashin the peace sign for the camera. If jon were an adorable japanese girl, this is what he might look like:

yoyogi hanami

**

Another day, another park. More springtime.

yoyogi hanami

Japan is not a place for the claustrophobic.

yoyogi hanami

But for those who stay, it’s totally worth braving the crowds. What a cool place to have been able to live in.

yoyogi hanami

I had to keep reminding myself that I might not be anywhere else like this again. We met Emi and Reece at a party on a sunday afternoon, in yoyogi park. It was exactly how you might imagine a party in a tokyo park look like: loud music (until the cops come and tell them to turn it down), booze, & dancing. And a lot of people.

yoyogi hanami

In my natural state, I’m kind of a downer and have to be coerced into have a good time. Thanks, jon. (On the flip side, look at my fantastic glasses. Ashley said I was “so fitted” or something with this coat.  I think she meant I matched.  Am I an old lady because I think teenagers speak a different language?)

yoyogi hanami

Also… Emi and Reece are so totally perfect for each other… they even match today:

yoyogi hanami
yoyogi hanami

Yakiniku in Spring

There’s a yakiniku (think: korean bbq) place that we’ve gone to about three times now. It’s a great place to go with a group, and at $30 for all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink, it’s not a bad deal. So when Dana got into to town, we were all really excited to take her there. After all, it’s a really cool Japanese experience in a little spot that we had found ourselves.

Remember the first time we were there, the boys dubbed jon “the grill nazi”, because he was so adamantly regulating the height of the flames? It looks like the restaurant could have used a few more jons in its midst. That night we found nothing but an empty plot of gravel where the building once stood. Did it burn to the ground?

the empty yakiniku plot

In our shock and disbelief we set off in search of dinner.

isazaki alleys, yokohama

Even though it’s slightly more expensive and infinitely more corporate, we were happy to have thought of Gyu-Kaku: It’s large enough to fit our group of 8 and essentially the same as our original plans.

gyu-kaku

Doesn’t jon look like a dirty hippy with his bonaroo shirt and face-scarf? That thing is so many different colours, it makes me giggle. Someday I’ll take a close up picture of it for you. I can’t imagine that he’ll be interested in that though – I might have to do it stalker-style, while he’s sleeping.

gyu-kaku

Dana’s so adorable. Look at her new glasses? Aren’t they stylish?

gyu-kaku

I love this picture of emi. She’s so goofy…

gyu-kaku

…and I think Brian Reece was trying to intimidate me because I had spent the past five minutes making fun of how super-gay he looked. Which isn’t a big deal, but come on. He was wearing hot pink with teal sparklies.

gyu-kaku

Yakiniku is so entertaining, even if you’re not traditionally someone that loves to chow on lots of meat (read: that ex-vegetarian here). It’s an experience. You know, like… the experience of burning off all your arm hair as you’re cooking dinner.

gyu-kaku

It’s a way to interact with your dinner pals and take part in your meal. There’s something to be said for not eating passively; for not scarfing a hamburger on your car ride home from work, for not shoving a candy bar in your face as you’re watching Glee. But I suppose that’s a post for another day.

Can someone remind me that I don’t do well with “all you can drink”? My hair looks like I just had a little tousle in the broom closet! I show you this picture just because the sakura tree behind us is SO pretty. You hear me? Don’t look at my head – look at the pretty tree BEHIND my head.
m&j - springtime in yokohama

And two more things. 1. Did someone forget to tell dana that we were being fierce? Or…. dana, is that the fiercest you get?! and 2. why does my “fierce” face look like “car sick”? Sigh. Anyhow. Fantastic evening. Reminds me why I should stay up past BedTime sometimes. :)
springtime in yokohama