Happy Finland! 

It’s Finlands 100th birthday. Besides their design, music, art, food, Finland has influenced me very much – like in my building ideas when I saw photos of  Finnish garden buildings at an art show. 

Now for some Finnish garden art (random pictures stolen from the internet).


Finlands thing is my thing. 

For many years now I have been helping with the Christmas dinners here at Djurby Gård, and not going to the Fyris Market until April, but this year no dinners, so I do the markets when the weather is good enough. Today is the first of advent and yesterday was the first of the popular advent markets. There are many holiday season markets all over the place. I probably should try some of the other markets, but I went to my usual Fyristorg Market. 



The weather was cold and windy and alot of people stayed home or were at other markets, and all I had was pumpkins and pickles, but sales were very good. 

The guy selling mistletoe.

Now we are home again with a little jet lag and a couple grey days left of november. It’s cold, rainy, dark and dismal, but it feels good. 


And there’s a lot left to do before winter sets in. 

The kids have raked the rest of the leaves to take to compost.


And there’s quite a bit of clean up and digging left to do. 

The Toyoko Inn Hotel, adjacent to the Nagoya Airport, with the Dali Rhino in the entrance courtyard, was the last step in our Japan trip. 


It has an excellent japanese style breakfast,


complete with rice, vegetables, miso soup, pickles, natto and what else -Coffee!

We would rather stay, but it’s time now. We are preparing to go home again. We bought 2 large sport bags to get everything back with us. 

And what could be more appropriate then to visit the japanese/swedish folk dance group in Osaka. 


These folk dance enthusasts have been dancing together for 10 years now and are very good and made us look like the novices we are. So we had a great time danccing with them, learning many new dances and laughing at all the wrong turns. 


Doing the polska


Three of them are coming to Sweden next summer for a folk music and dance festival. Hope to see them again!

Today we found a fun and different market in our neighborhood park (Minatogawa park) – arts and crafts, music, food, and coffee and….




Coffee ceremony


The adress to an organic tea grower near Nara. 

Nan bread with spinach curry lunch

Nan bread oven

Kohnan Home Store in the middle of Kobe Harbor. 


This is my last and best chance to find pumpkin seeds. 


Alas, no pumpkin seeds, but among the garden tools and kitchen utensils we found 2 hori hori (digging knives) and bought both. 


Steamer cloths


Garden shoes


And more in season seeds


That should be enough for now. 

Oh yes, I could have bought a mochi pounding set (morter, hammer and stand) for a mere 30,000 yen. But to get it home….

One of the most famous and photographed and visited places in Kyoto i the buddhist temple Kiyumizu dera. We went there again today too. We just can’t get enough. And it’s not the last time I hope. 


It was labor day in Japan, so the crowds were big. 


Alot of the buildings were covered in shrowd because they are being repaired. It was the same three years ago it seems but different buildings, so we didn’t go out on the famous balcony for pictures, but got some good ones anyway.

Wisteria in winter covers.


We had a fika break with amazake and warabi mochi. 


And some water from a mountain spring. 


We were there till dark, but didn’t stay for the light show. We walked down to the kamo river and got a river stone for and old friend. Then ended the day with dinner at the vegan restaurant Veg Out – brown rice with a view of the river. 


  

We like Kobe too. 


It’s a nice town on the coast of the Pacific Ocean – a bit cheaper and more funky than Kyoto. We can stay here and still get to Kyoto easy and fast by train with a Japan Railways Pass. The best, tho, is that we have made some good friends here.
Our favorite place to stay, the Yume Nomad Hostel is here. We are now nested in here for the rest of our stay. 

It is inexpensive, quiet, artsy, and a great gathering place where you can meet like-minded travelers and locals in a laid-back and cozy atmosphere.

Our hosts (and old friends)


Then there is the traditional market Higashiyama Shotengai nearby to get lost in and find just about any thing under the sun, such as traditional japanese underware, an extra suitcase or tofu or lunch. 

Grilled mochi balls

Kabocha pumpkins
We buy our supplies for cooking meals at the hostel here. The best place to buy miso and pickled vegetables was still there, of course. And the family that runs the stall was so glad to see us again. 

Three years ago we met Bun, the coffee enthusiast, at Yume Nomad. Since then he has established himself in the business and moved to a new shop in down town Kobe near Sannomiya station. We got a great cup of ethiopian coffee and spent some time talking about coffee and old times. 


The Ikuta Jinga Shinto Temple was almost next door and demanded a visit. History has it that it was establised around 200 AD. It has been burnt down and destroyed in wars and natural disasters many times but always rebuilt. 


Now it still stands majestic amoung the high rise.

Every Month on the 21st is the giant flea market at Toji Temple.


We should have gotten up earlier because we weren’t able to get around to see everything, but we started at the right end where there was seeds, plants, and garden stuff. 


We couldn’t find pumpkin seeds as they were out of season, but did get some seeds of vegetables they grow here late in the fall and winter. Hopefully we’ll be able to check out another couple of seed stores before we go. 

Anyway we found a lot of other stuff – clothes, utensils, food etc.

Used kimonos

Traditional garden pants


Roasted broad beans for a snack

Hot amesake with ginger for a pick me up.


And if that’s not enough there’s the ubiquitous coffee shop.