Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

Yan Can Cook

i never thought that i could make pizza n bread from the dough. it just seemed so complicated n troublesome, a process that takes lots of time, many different ingredients, a very big oven, and hours of clean-up work. but Sachiko-san of Heart N Tree (my Hokkaido WWOOF host) showed me that cooking is easy, and everyone can cook, including me :mrgreen:

oh, btw, in case you wonder, Yan is my Chinese name 🙂

while its fun making dough for bread, it could be quite tiring, especially for the hard dough that has no egg nor butter. i love it though, for i just treated it as some good workout for my arms haha 😀

Heart N Tree makes its own pasta too.  depends on season, different pasta is made. for examples, potato, pumpkin, spinach…

before working in Heart N Tree, i wouldn’t image myself making pizza, n from the dough too 🙂

Heart N Tree basil pizza! I made this 8)

Sachiko-san loves cooking, and always wants to show people how easy cooking could be.

so, despite of her busy work in Heart N Tree, Sachiko-san holds a few cooking classes, which her students (mostly young mothers) could have some fun cooking while chit-chatting n making friends with one another.


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Japan WWOOF Host – Heart N Tree

when i think of Heart N Tree, the love in a family and the passion of cooking are the two things that come to my mind right away.

this is Heart N Tree, a restaurant, with very beautiful scenery on days with a clear sky, in the countryside called tsurui (鶴居).

origin of the name Heart N Tree: Hittori (服部) is the last name of the Heart N Tree family. if you split the name into parts – hi tori, and imagine urself a japanese pronouncing the words , then u will find urself saying “heart tree”.   and what a wonderful coincidence it is, for it matches well with the image of the restuarant 🙂

Heart N Tree is known for its bread

some of the pets of the Hittoris

Heart N Tree has been a WWOOF host since Jan 98.  Over these ten years, the family has met WWOOFers of all kinds, from different countries, with different background and personalities.  hence, unlike most japs, the Hittoris are very much used to work and live with foreigners.

from the left: Sachiko-san (Mrs Hittori), Masato-san (Mr Hittori) , me, Arianna (WWOOFer from New Zealand) and Alastair (WWOOfer from UK)

n here is the Hittoris! Mr and Mrs Hittori + Momo + Takumi (little brother, Daichi is missing for he was the one taking this pic)

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hakodate’s famous squid festival (イカ祭り) is all about squid n dancing.  besides the squid dance that everyone can participate, there is a dance competition which is very cool n fun to watch!  😎

n here let me show u one with a group mooning (now, have i caught ur attention? hahaha).

click here for Update from Hokkaido – Hakodate, the squid city.

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The Dancing Squid Sushi Bowl

well, the squid wasn’t really dancing. but its arms were still very strong that they kept holding onto the “squid noodles” (made from its head 😕 ). the guilty feeling of my own cruel act + the too-tensed-up, hard-to-chew arms of the squid make this a once-is-enough experience. yet, no doubt, it’s a unique n interesting one.

click here for Update from Hokkaido – Hakodate, the squid city

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okay okay! i have got the message – the more u participate, the more fun u can get!

my life is trying to let me understand this i bet, for it keeps popping up all these goodies to show me the message just said.

so after the belly button festival (へそ祭り)in furano (富良野), i was in tsurui’s obon festival (鶴居お盆祭り). its not just a plain traditional obon festival, but a costume party as well 😀

this is the heart n tree team (two members r missing in this pix)! while the heart n tree family is always busy n working long hours, they never forget about fun. making bread is fun. teaching cooking class is fun. n having a booth selling pizza n chicken in the festival, of course, should be fun too!

i m just one lucky girl who always get hooked up with all these fun loving ppl! 😀

the two sexy “ladies” n the purple head monkey

the kiss crazy froggie n rabbit

N the best custome award goes to… (drum roll…) the anpan man team! (n the monkey just ran up n took pix with them haha :mrgreen: )

fyi, the anpan man (red bean bun man), is a very popular cartoon in japan.

“i thought the belly button festival was over? no? ” the monkey puzzled… 🙄

we sold everything that nite!

then firework! not a very big firework show but becuz its so close (n i went up to the front too), the effect was great! w burnt paper of the firework dropping on ur face (umm… not sure if u want that though hehe :mrgreen: )

can u believe it? we won the fourth place! cash price too! besides all the fun!, i also got 5000 yen for doing nothing but just having fun! wahahaha 😛 (masato san n sachiko san were very nice that they just let the monkey wondering around, taking pix instead of always staying in the booth selling pizza n curry to customers 😉 )

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after staying in the countryside for 1.5 mths, i felt like a country girl going to a big city when i stepped out of the sapporo JR station. so many ppl walking around (n so fast they walked too), everywhere was so bright, street lights, neon lights everywhere, big department stores with top to bottom glass windows, convenient stores everywhere (unlike how i had to bike 15 mins to get to one when i was working in farms… 😛 ) concrete nicely paved road, taxi everywhere… i almost forgot how its like in a city.

btw, it actually is a easy, quiet city when compared with shinjuku in tokyo or causeway bay in hong kong, only that i hadnt got myself ready for all the lights n sounds when i arrived the city haha :mrgreen:




i went to the morning market in sapporo for my sushi bowl breakfast again 😀 the uni was just sooo sweet that having it with wasabi n shoyu would be such a waste!


walking around the city, hitting all those touristy spots


lunch in hokkaido university, had its famous beef toro rice bowl (牛トロ丼) n a salad. yummy, n good deal too! 1g of salad for 1 yen! esp good deal when one finds veggie n fruits r so expensive in japan (a ‘cheap’ apple in supermarket costs around 150 yen)

these remind me much of umich,  outside the michigan union or the angell hall maybe?? somewhere in the central campus 😀

visited the hitsugigaoka observation hill (羊ヶ丘展望台) with nao. its a nice place, eps on a good weather day. there r a few other facilities besides the obervation deck, like hitsujigaoka wedding palace (a wedding chapel??), a foot spa onsen (羊ヶ丘ほっと足湯), a museum of sapporo snow festival, a genghis khan (mutton barbecue originated in hokkaido) restaurant… seems like they just put a bunch of unrelated things together to make one sightseeing spots for the tourists 😛

having our genghis khan early dinner, one of naos favorite

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there r quite a few theme parks in noboribetsu, like noboribetsu marine NIXE,  the edo ninja park, the bear park…   but instead of squeezing everything into my schedule, i decided to have an easy day in the town, jogged along the trails near the hell valley, n enjoyed a slow n relaxing time in the big n beautiful (n expensive too :mrgreen: ) onsen paradise of dai-ichi takimotokan.


the demons in japan r quite cute indeed.




there r several  walking trails in noboribetsu onsen area.  n since i had a craving for hiking, i jogged all of them slowly in this very hot day.  all of them r short n easy trails. n i was happy n satisfied after my 1.5 hr volcanic walk 😀


 too hot for this raccoon baby here haha


dai-ichi takimotokan – an upscale onsen resort known for its big, beautiful bathouse. if u r not a guest of the resort, its 2000 yen for walk-in. this is expensive, for many good ones cost under 1000 yen, while smaller n local ones cost like 200 yen. actually, i have been to some around 500 yen, n those r very nice already 😀

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