Sunday, November 23, 2014

cherry picking in young

Young is Australia's cherry capital. My family decided to go again this year, and I dragged my friend along for the four hour ride from Sydney. Olympic Highway is where we found the majority of the orchards, and we visited three in total in Goldilocks fashion. The first one was Allambie Orchards. Cherries were $6 a kilo and weren't very big or sweet, so the five of us barely filled a bucket together. The second one isn't even worth mentioning - required a minimum of 3kg per person so we didn't enter the orchard. And the third and preferred one was Ballinaclash, where we sat on the back of a pick up truck on hay bales. Cherries were $7 a kilo and better, though I think two more weeks would've had sweeter and riper cherries.

Pick your own? More like all you can eat. My friend and I sat down because we were tired from tasting each tree. It was a process of taste, taste, taste, empty that tree.

There is now almost twenty kilos of cherries in my fridge. It feels like Summer.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

hiroshima, which should've been the first japan post

As procrastination seems to a way to turn into blogging, here's a continuation of my Japan posts. Partly because being in the middle of exams means the most exciting my life gets is when my mum buys mangoes. The excitement was real this afternoon. Almost as exciting as going to Japan for the first time. I kid. Not even close.

My friend Helen and I met each other at Narita Airport at night, and if it wasn't for my waiting-for-boarding-time boredom inducing me to take photos of my plane ticket and posting it on WeChat, I don't know how we would've found each other - but can I just say how freaking exciting it is to meet someone at an airport. It went something along the lines of: On plane from Sydney! One plane from Beijing! See you in Tokyo!

As we - and by we, I mean Helen, because she's a organisation champ - planned Hiroshima to be our first stop, we stayed overnight in a hotel opposite Shinagawa Station, where we took the shinkansen to Hiroshima in the morning. Tokyo to Hiroshima involved two bullet trains with a change in Osaka, totaling at least five hours, and a lot of onigiri. I will never get enough of Japanese convenience stores. I'm going to rank them towards the top of my highlights in Japan. (From time to time, I reflect back to my midnight bike trips to the convenience store in Kyoto and sigh in fondness.)

Our hotel was above Hiroshima JR Station, and if I ever entertained dreams of living in a shopping centre, it would go something like this. The food halls! Ooh, so fancy.

Dinner was Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, which is layered rather than mixed like Kansai style. It was also the applied observation to a conversation my friend and I had a while ago about food culture in Asia. Lesson in point: Japanese people do not waste food. My friend was on exchange in Japan at that point and she had unconsciously adopted this mentality. When she had dinner with someone visiting and he did not finish all his food, it made her uncomfortable. We were comparing this to China, where over-ordering food is the accepted norm.

After dinner we went browsing. Earrings, accessories, clothes - pharmacies. Time just seems so disappear when I'm in a pharmacy. I think every visit is a realisation of things I never knew I needed and not needed.

The next day was visiting the memorial sites of the atomic bombing. It started to snow as we got off the bus, but stopped shortly afterwards.

A solemn reminder to the devastation of nuclear warfare and the importance of remembering history.

Then it was a brief coffee matcha latte break before enjoying the light of golden hour.

And my first bowl of ramen in Japan.