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12 of 12 of August in Japan

Actually it is 13, because I could not decide which other of the many photos I should throw out ๐Ÿ™‚

I spent almost a month in Japan and hope to manage to post more photos here – but it is quite some work to go through all of them. I counted 2500, and a bunch of videos…

12 of 12 is easier ๐Ÿ˜‰ At that time I stayed in and around Kyoto before I went back home. The day before I had visited Uji and gotten quite some nice green tea, green tea dorayaki, and a box of yummy green tea dango. I shared the leftovers with the other guys in the hostel where I was staying.

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I made my way to the station of Kyoto, where I saw an awesome fountain that created patterns by projections and variations of the falling water. There were messages, pictures, and some falling stars

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It was the last day of validity of my Japan Rail pass, so I finally decided to use it for a little trip. I took the Shinkansen to Okayama.

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I discovered another nice japanese drink from the vending machine

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I would have liked to spend some more time in Okayama, as it has a nice castle and garden, but my plan was to take a local train to Imbe. There were lots of rice fields around and big birds – presumably herons.

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Imbe is the traditional production place of Bizen pottery. It is fired in large climbing kilns and without adding any glaze. The smoke and ash from the wood fire is creating some kind of glaze instead. The ceamics have rather crude, simplistic designs. I had the chance to visit a workshop and get an insight of how the pottery is made.

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After my visit there, I continued by train to the island of Shikoku – where I hadn’t been before. I went to Tokushima; mainly because it was the first day of Awa Odori – see a nice video here – a large traditional dance festival. Since I did a kind of “Tour de Matsuri” – I visited 7 most famous summer festivals during my trip – and it is supposed to be one of Japan’s main festivals, I thought I really should go.

There were typical activities like fishing for stuff booths, though I didn’t see any with living fish this time.

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Many people were wearing pretty yukata.

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There were some paid stages, and some free, and more dancing on the streets. It was amazing to watch.

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I was most impressed by the pretty ladies in their amazing outfits, performing a dance on the tip of their geta shoes, which looked quite funky.

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There was a lot of typical festival food. I got some grape kakigori.

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There was a food stall for okonomiyaki that had well mastered the mass production.

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I had not managed to reserve a hotel room as I had decided to go quite late, but I was lucky to be pointed into the direction of a manga cafe, where I could spend the night in a small cubicle. It was also an interesting experience. You could surf the internet, get as many soft drinks and coffee as you liked and browse the manga library. I was rather tired and didn’t find any manga that I needed to read, so I tried to catch some sleep. It was not the most comfortable thing, but the idea is awesome. Imagine a library where you can read and sleep and drink and surf the internet all night!

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The next day I visited the Awa Odori museum in Tokushima, did some souvenir shopping, figured out my journey back by bus to Kyoto and visited an indigo dyeing museum and the whirlpools of Naruto on the way. But that is another story and will be told another time.

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12 of 12 em 12 of 13 July 2017

I kind of forgot 12 of 12, so here comes a 12 of 13 instead ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not giving up yet!

Had some granola for breakfast…

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Then I watched a few youtube videos about watercolor painting

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I had started to make a small watercolor travel kit and got a neat idea on how to add water containers: a small soy sauce bottle and tiny silicon mold for pralines. I already have a small pocket brush that came with my larger watercolor set. I am not sure if 3 colors + black will be enough. I guess it should be, no? I planned to test it, but didn’t get to do it yet. But before I take it on a long trip I should be sure I don’t need more colors.

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Having out my bento box supplies assembling dust in the shelf and remembered I bought a Koinobori streamer a while ago. I have never used it but recently saw that there are Koinobori laundry bags and loved them instantly. So I decided to convert this koinobiri to a laundry bag. When in Japan, take your laundry to the washing machine in style.

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I then finally got to plant the chilli pepper seedlings into single pots. They were a bit floppy afterwards but have recovered since.

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These are my avocado plants. In the past i never could make them grow, but now I have four plants going, and one is quite large already. I am a bit scared of damaging its roots when I put it into soil, so I tried it first with a smaller plant.

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The tomatoes have been busy as well:

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And the blackberries are getting ripe as well:

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I also have some amazing mint growing. It’s smell is really intense.

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In the evening I went over to the first movie at cinetransat, Geneva’s open air cinema festival. It was Ghostbusters and as always, they had some amazing photo opportunities.

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That’s the inflatable screen, seen from the back side.

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My knitting projects are quite on the large side right now. I’m putting together some travel projects and be efficient about it. So I just started some dish cloths for now.

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Next month on 12th I’ll be in my second favorite country (who could have guessed?). Probably in Kyoto, though I’m still figuring out the details.

 

12 of 12 June 2017

I am again a bit late with 12/12, but I’m not giving up either. I had however the problem that I hadn’t realized that there was no SD card in my camera, so I had to re-enact some photos because they hadn’t been saved.

Breakfast consisted of another batch of homemade granola (this time I recycled a bag of nuts and dried fruit). I preferred the previous one, I think this one has too many oats. I also had a few strawberries and some soft cheese made from “Heumilch” – hay milk. Apparently the cows have just been fed with grass and hay. I hadn’t known that existed, but it’s nice.

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My herbs are coming along nicely. Most of them are mints – and I think I have 3 different kinds of. Sadly most of the mint is a hairy variety that doesn’t smell that intense. I keep planning on cutting down my herbs and to dry them before they get ugly and start to flower.

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There are new episodes of “Poldark” – yay! I get reminded of my short trip to Cornwall last year. I quite liked it there and would not mind to return some time.

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Knitwise I am still working on my Caramel cardigan. I continued beyond the shoulders and tried it on. I suppose it will grow a bit, so I think the fit looks good so far. The only worry I have are the edges that are rolling in a bit. I hope it will be better after blocking.

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I was working on a job application for quite some time. I normally do them with latex. The place where I applied demanded an application with photo and sent by post. It is quite unusual. In the meantime I had some promising news from other potential jobs. We’ll see about that soon. It’s good to know that I get some positive response with my weird skill set and work experience. I think I am on the right track.

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I finished reading the last book of Tad Williams’ Osten Ard series. I am glad that I made it because it was long, I am proud that I stuck with it, I enjoyed reading a really long story for a change and I am a bit sad that it’s over. But I quite liked the ending. Now I am undecided if I should start with the new Osten Ard series, which will take some years to be fully published I guess, if I should read Shadowmarch now, which I am planning for ages, but I’m not sure that I can handle another 4-book looong looong fantasy story right now, or if I should go and read something else. For example Firebrand by Kristen Britain, which came out a few months ago.

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In the evening I went to my pottery class. I passed a pretty field of wheat (?)

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I had made a bunch of bowls on the wheel, and chose one set that fits into each other. They have been bisque fired.

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I had plans to paint them with fish scales, inspired by koinobori. Each bowl should get their own color – black, red, blue, etc.. I was wondering how to do this and thought about putting on some resist resin or wax to preserve the white color, but my pottery teacher had another idea and I tried it out with two spare bowls. I’m very curious to see how they turned out.

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I worked also on the other leftover bowls – some to become a berry bowl, and two very unbalanced ones were to become some measuring cups. I suppose the large one can hold the volume of one US cup, which might be handy for baking and cooking.

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Back at home, R. was experimenting with attaching my camera to his telescope. He tried to take a photo of Jupiter, but it was a bit blurry. We have to work on it still.

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12 of 12 May 2017

12 pictures of May 12:

For breakfast I had granola. It is the third batch of granola that I made in my slow cooker. Still loving it. I recycled some cereals with cherries and cocoa beans that I bought a while ago and didn’t particularly like. I was out of oats, so I used this instead, and it’s excellent.

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There was not much exciting going on, I spent a lot of time writing job applications and I got distracted by pinterest.

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Some cat content:
I met the black cat in the garden when I visited my herbs and checked on my strawberries (which are quite lazy to produce any blossoms)…

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…and the red one briefly said hello until he realized I won’t give him any food.

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I did a bit of housework…

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… and had cold soba noodles for lunch…

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… followed by some vegan ice cream that I had discovered in the supermarket and decided to try. I am not really convinced. It looks like ice cream, tasted like ice cream while I ate it, but it has little creaminess and a completely bland aftertaste. So to say no flavor at all after swallowing. Strange.

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I decided it’s time to re-watch Downton Abbey…

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… and finally to try out the afterthought heel for the socks I am kniting right now. There you just add a different bit of scrap yarn at the place where you add the heel later, but continue to knit in a tube until finishing the toes. It is said to allow to change the heel part later when it’s worn out.

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I put a few more avocado pits into water. The upper right one I “planted” about 4 weeks agoย  and it’s the only one I ever managed to get to develop roots. I know they are upside down. I saw a youtube video where someone did it that way, and it worked for the one pit, so I decided to repeat that.

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The weather was very unsteady. It was raining a bit, then the sun came out, then it rained a bit more.

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In the evening I finally got to do something with the 10 kilo bag of clay that I bought to play around at home. I thought I can do some handbuilding myself and focus on throwing at the wheel in pottery class.

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Dinner was leftovers that I forgot to photograph. There was more Downton Abbey and knitting later. As I said, not very much excitement.

12 of 12 April 2017

I know that this comes a bit late. Easter holidays and internet access inconvenience are to blame.

April 12 was a Wednesday, and I had a job interview in the morning. So I had other things on my mind than taking pictures of my (scarce) breakfast. I took the train to the city, so I had a bit of time on the train to have more breakfast and prepare my interview. It went ok-ish, I think (first time ever having all my documents and the interview in French! oo). I wasn’t informed about the decision yet.20170412_082953

After that I went to the supermarket for some shopping. It was clearly noticeable that it was Easter time.
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At home, I watched the last few episodes of Iron First. It got quite some unfavorable critiques and I partly agree, though I think it was not absolutely terrible. I’ve seen way better Marvel shows (Daredevil and Jessica Jones) and I am very excited about the new Defenders spin-off (because Daredevil and Jessica Jones).20170412_125516

I made some knitted bunnies for Easter and worked on them while watching Iron Fist. They are really simple, just squares of garter stitch, through which you pull a thread to make the head (stuffed) and ears. Then the back is sewn together and usually the body is also stuffed and closed, but I saw this version where you can fill them with chocolate Easter eggs and then close them with a ribbon. I made a bunch of them as gifts, they were really adorable.
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I had planned to make some “Dandelion Honey” for a few days, since there were so many dandelion blossoms growing in our garden.ย  There are so many recipes and I followed a combination of them. I started plucking flowers and removing the green stuff, because one recipe said to take it off. Before I decided that this probably was just not necessary. Later, I added the same amount of complete blossoms, because I thought this was just some tedious and unnecessary work. I could not finish that day, but continued the next days. 20170412_141226

I had some headache that got worse (too much excitement in the morning? too much sun?) so I took a nap in the afternoon. BTW, pictured is my nice radio alarm clock. It has large numbers so I can read them without contacts at night. โค
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Feeling better, I went to my favorite activity on Wednesdays in the evening: the knitting meeting.I passed the little garden patches of the local elementary school, which looked pretty:
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We were just 4 people this time, and I worked mostly on my new Caramel Cardigan.
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On my way home I saw a very pretty full (?) moon. The light was reflected in the lake far down. The picture doesn’t do it much justice.
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At home, I had leftover Miso Ramen soup and a bit of chocolate Easter bunny.

I progressed with the Osten Ard books that I began re-reading last month to book 3 (Die Nornenkoenigin / To Greenangel Tower Pt. 1). The translator really made some bizarre choices… I realized that the first book of the new series (The last King of Osten Ard) has already been published in January. But this is rather an in-between-novel of the old and new series? It’s a bit confusing.
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12 of 12 March 2017

This 12th of the month was again a sunday – and a relatively uneventful as well.. here’s 12 of 12 in March.

I did a bit of yoga in the morning. Just for a few minutes. I figured a few minutes more often is better than not at all ๐Ÿ˜‰
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I had breakfast in the garden for the first time this year.
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It was not particularly sunny, but warm and nice, the wild bees were beeing around, violets are growing in the grass and were really fragrant.
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The neighbour’s cats also came to say good morning.
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I first spent some time knitting and watching an animated short movie. I’m knitting a pair of socks from handdyed yarn. I had dyed the yarn first with black tea a while ago and now added speckles last week, because I like the look of all the speckled yarn I saw on Ravelry. It needs some more practice but I quite like the result.
The movie I watched is called “The Garden of Words“(Kotonoha No Niwa) by Makoto Shinkai and was quite nice. He also directed 2007’s “5 cm per second“, and 2016’s “Your name” (Kimi no Nawa), which I watched a few days ago and found really excellent. Really, it’s great. It might be one of my favorite animes now. I already had plans to go on (yet another) trip to Japan this year, and now I’m even more determined.

Lunch was leftovers from the day before, we made Guinness Beef Barley Soup. It was quite delicious and may be repeated some time. I had planned to cook with barley for a while, it is one ingredient in the infamous “Bรผndner Gerstensuppe”, a soup from Eastern Switzerland and something I would like to try soon.
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The main thing I did on that day was reading. I haven’t read a long book for a while, and none which was no ebook but a real, physical book. After reading about the announcement of a sequel for the “Osten Ardtritetralogy by Tad Williams, I decided it is time for a re-read, since all I clearly remember about it is that I really liked it back then, ~18 years ago. It was really nice to curl up with a book and I am surprised how fast I progress, given that I had trouble finding something exciting to read recently and stick with it. Having a more grown-up view this time, and also a little bit more insights into world-and story building and how to actually write fiction is interesting. I appreciate the way of introduction of figures, the cultural and historical background. One thing that I both admire and find a little bit awkward is the sometimes flourish language, trying a little bit too hard for my taste. I am mostly reading the German version for a change, as my English copies are not here right now, and some of the awkwardness may come from the translation. I even realized that I had this copy signed during a book reading at least 12 years ago in Heidelberg, where I had the chance to experience Tad Williams in person. I had brought a whole bunch of books, but did not remember that he signed this exact copy. One more reason to appreciate and love the book.
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I also worked a little bit on my tax declaration, due in a few days. It’s in French. Gnaaa. Well, I learned a few new words. And I think I have it mostly done.
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In the evening we went to see “Logan” in cinema. I was looking forward to see it, as I like X-Men movies (the comics never much appealed to me) a lot and I’m a fan of Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. And we also had nice company for the film and a quick eat before. The movie is hyped a lot, so I had great expectations, but I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. I did not care much for all this car action and different versions of how you can put adamantium claws into various body parts and especially heads. Also, there were quite a few old tropes, such as the nice people that help out mutants on the run and end up quite dead. Needless to say I did not appreciate much having to say farewell to two of my favorite figures in X-Men verse and favorite actors to play them. But I agree that it might be time to let them go. I would rank it better than X3 and the first Wolverine movie, and I think Jackman, Stewart and the kids did great acting, and the overall story is not bad. But I’d rather rewatch the majority of imho better X-Men movies.
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On the way home I liked the full moon
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and that one of our cat-friends paid us another late visit and even graciously let me take a photo of her.
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I did a bit more reading before I became so tired that I almost fell asleep.
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Nerdopolis February 2017

 

For a while now I am taking part in a nerdy challenge group on Ravelry called Nerdopolis. The idea is to craft something for the six monthly challenges to gain points. At the same time, people can be in fandom groups and gain extra points if they relate their project to their chosen fandom. It is also possible to play as an unaffiliated Rogue player and join any time, as team sign-up usually only takes time every 4 months. This time I joined a newly formed Harry Potter group, with some extra challenges and House points that can be gained for one’s Hogwarts house from these challenges as well as from the usual Nerdopolis categories. I really like it so far, and as always it is super fun and helps to get creative and keep busy.

I have finished early this month – usually I make it last-minute to post my finished projects – so I thought I share here what I have made. I have been really productive and have managed to make something for every challenge. Yay. More detail can be found on ravelry.

Carousel Nerdception: Who Do You Love?
I knitted a hat from handspun and -dyed merino & silk yarn.
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Nerdopolis University: Ornithology
I have knitted a bird’s nest. At least I claim that it is one. It’s intended to be a part for the belated christmas present for my nephew
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Area 51: Treat Yourself

Area 51 is about finishing WIPs or knitting up stash yarn, two projects are allowed. I did both, used up some cotton from my stash to knit a dishcloth, and finished the Lutea shell that I had laying around for about a year.

Wildcard: The Four Elements
I knitted a pair of fingerless mittens, inspired by the element fire. The pattern is called “Margarete Fingerless Gloves” and I quite like it. Though it might be nicer with a thinner yarn and made with two colors.
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The Lab: Craft Local
This is a challenge for non-ravelry crafts (i.e. knitting, crochet, spinning). I decided to cook two local dishes from regional ingredients (saucisse vaudois, tomme vaudoise and tomme de Geneve, a bottle of white wine from around here, some local honey and walnuts that I have collected from a tree in the village where I live).

I made Tommes Vaudoises pannees (local soft cheese, breaded and fried) with green salad with bacon and caramelized walnuts and a Papet Vaudois (local sausage with a side of heavily white wine infused potatoes and leeks) and it was very delicious.

Change the World: PIF & RAK
that is still a bit of a secret, who knows who reads this… ๐Ÿ˜‰

The new challenges for March will be published in half an hour and I’m excited to see what they will be!