Saturday, November 29, 2008

Update from Kyoto

We have enjoyed our last few days in Kyoto immensely. We have visited many historical places, learned how to pray at both a Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, enjoyed noodles for lunch, sushi for dinner, local wine and beer, and plenty of coffee and tea in-between. We did partake in English style afternoon tea in our hotel for some respite and discovered green tea scones! These are served with strawberry jam and clotted cream of course.

We are headed to the Osaka to begin our journey home.

Shitsurei shimasu

Friday, November 28, 2008

First Report from Japan

We have been on the go since arriving in Tokyo on Tuesday, November 25th. We spent a day exploring Toyko, with a visit to the Imperial Palace and Gardens, the Senso-ji Temple and Ueno Park. We enjoyed a quick train ride to Kyoto on Wednesday evening and woke to sunny skies and glorious mountain views. The maples and ginkos are in peak color, and agree "this is the best time of year to visit Kyoto"! We explored many temples in Kyoto on Thursday, and enjoyed a Buddhist's luncheon in one of the temples (lots of tofu!) in the peaceful surroundings of their meticulous gardens.

For Thankgiving dinner we had a traditional Japanese dinner with N0buya Kaneko and his colleagues from AsahiKasei. We are grateful to AsahiKasei, who invited Bruno to deliver the keynote speech at the 5th AFTE meeting, and for the chance to visit Japan. On Friday Bruno gave his lecture, which was translated instantaneously into Japanese. This was very impressive and his talk was very well received!

We have have the good fortune to have Nobuya as kind host and tour guide. We have learned a great deal about Japanese culture, food and the ranking of the temples, and when we should remove our shoes. We have been declared competent with chop sticks and "ok" with Japanese food. Indeed, the Japanese food is excellent, but with all the walking we are hitching up our trousers more every day! Fresh fish and rice is a little easier on the waistline than stuffing and mashed 'taters.

You can see a few photos at the link below, including of Bruno's lecture title in Japanese.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Tale of Jack Frost and the Sprouts

Last night we experienced our first hard frost of the season. We hit a low of 28 degrees-F and were happy to be eating porridge (hot oatmeal) for breakfast.

Despite the freeze we were able to harvest Swiss chard and spinach from the garden once the sun had been up for a few hours, and we picked our first ever crop of Brussel sprouts.

Tonight's dinner was home made shepherd's pie and freshly picked 'greens' that were packed full of flavor. Brussel sprouts never tasted so good!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The kitchen at Spruce St is nearly there!

The renovation of the kitchen at Spruce Street is nearly complete. We put the back splash in last weekend, and the grout during the week. Many thanks to Jen and Mark for the unoffical freecycle of their extra Mexican tiles! The tiles were just what the kitchen needed.

You can learn more about the official freecycle program at

The curtain rods are up and the curtains we bought during DiAnn's visit are in place. Now onto the last room. One last round of sanding and painting.

You can check out more photos at the link below.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Adirondack weekend

We just got back from a sunny and cold weekend in the Adirondacks. We visited Potsdam on Friday and early Saturday, and then meandered over to Lake Placid and Keene Valley on Saturday afternoon. After an overnight stay at a local B&B, Sunday was spent hiking one of our favorite peaks (Hurricane Mt) in the early season snow. What a treat! More pictures to come when we've fully unpacked..........