Treasuring the way of living // Lisa Kawai October 30 2014

Hello Baum-kuchen friends!  Happy to be back to this month’s love letter from Tokyo where autumn is in the air and day after day gets darker. When I first thought of the idea “treasured artifacts", I paused a moment and had a small panic moment since we recently went through “cleansing” our house! We got rid of so many big and small items - from number of rooms (!), clothes, tableware we didn’t use over period of time, to a collections of small gifts and souvenirs that slept in the drawers. We revisited all these “possessions” that we owned and are now left with minimal number of belongings that survived the screening process. We made sure that these objects are reflective of our current lifestyle and values (...with some remaining desires that went into a future wish list!). So sitting in front of the computer, I thought, "oh no…we do not own any family keepsake artifacts for the sake of owning them because we just stopped doing that".  
**click title to read more


The very first step to the road of Ikebana / Lisa Kawai June 27 2014

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step Coincidently, we have exactly same saying in Japanese that reads: 千里の道も一歩から I always wonder how some of the quotes transcend in same phrase & context through different languages. Did these originate in one country and got translated while being spread? Or are these truths so universal that they simultaneously grew in each culture and ended up in identical sayings across different places of the world…? Well, this quote might be one of those. Back to the Japanese translation, it is almost as is word for word the English version, except, where the word "journey" is used in English, a character "道" which means "course / road / way" is used in Japanese. So in Japanese it reads: A course of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Interestingly, this character of "course / road / way", "道” is also used to express many forms of traditional art in Japan like Sado (Japanese Tea Ceremony), Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) and Judo (a Japanese form of martial arts). It means "A way to become master of the area (tea, calligraphy, judo etc) both technically and spiritually". Another one of these Japanese arts is Kado or more commonly known as Ikebana (Japanese Flower arrangement), which I would like to share my story with you today: My very first step of a thousand miles in pursuing Japanese flower arrangement.

Borrowing a little from our wild garden... April 07 2014

Our garden is going pretty wild right now with wildflower seeds we spread last spring finally blooming. I love watching the garden transform... It's a great excuse to wonder around the backyard and get lost in time... especially on a lazy Sunday morning.

We picked a few flowers from the garden and brought them closer to us on the patio. Love how instantly the colors can change the mood of the space. I couldn't help to borrow a little and press it on the page of Traveler's Notebook. Just a little bit:)

I hope you had a lovely weekend and a great start of the week!



Breakfast at Knead Baking Company / Ojai October 02 2013

If there is one meal during the day that could lead to a successful dine-out time as a family: It's our breakfast! So I was not going to miss out on the opportunity when I heard about Knead Baking Company in Ojai.  I love their backgrounds... the combination of art, architecture, French, Italian, business, geography and culinary arts and their mission to perfect the texture in the foods they create. My kind of bakery:)

*click the title to read more!

Travel through appetite August 25 2013

Certain food evokes the nostalgia of places far in distance. Shabu-shabu is one of these foods that instantly bring us the memory of comfort in Japanese homes... and it happens to be the easiest family style dinner to prepare!