Heya my lovelies!
So, I’ve decided to take the plunge and invest in my blog! teatimewithnaomi.com will remain as it is, but I will be moving over to bluehost so please be patient with me!
Hope to see you all super soon on a cool new amazing blog 🙂
What I want from my life in the next 5 years
❤︎To have a writing job I enjoy waking up to almost every morning.
❤︎I’d love a nice apartment with big windows and lots of plants and succulents where I can breath easy.
❤︎To reduce my anxiety and stress levels
❤︎To have my masters degree
❤︎I would like to be living in a new country or city
❤︎To still be with Chad
❤︎To have a nice work environment, be it a space or at home.
❤︎To have N1 Japanese
❤︎Start learning a new language, maybe French or Norwegian
❤︎I would love to be better at staying in contact with my friends
❤︎To get my body to where I want it
❤︎I need to be better dressed
❤︎To be more organised and punctual
And finally, perhaps the most important of all;
❤︎To be happy.
How about you guys? Please tell me a few things you’d like to happen in the next five years.
Okay guys, So I really want to start making my blog look a little more professional. I’ve looked online for many blog templates and have found many I love! However, many of them need to be on wordpress.org to work and I’m pretty sure mine doesn’t run on that.
So my question is, is it worth changing over to wordpress.org or not? I’m really trying to up my blogging game, and I think If I can have a nicer space where I feel more motivated to pour my time into, then I will really be able to up my game.
Looking forward to hearing from you guys, thanks! ❤︎❤︎
As a birthday present to my lovely friend Jenni, a few of us decided to book a surprise ‘writers retreat’, a small break for us to get away from the world and write. We booked the trip for March, but due to unavoidable plans we had to push it back to July. This only increased our excitement, however, and by the time that July rolled round we were all in need of a break.
So, one Friday in July, me and Jenni rushed from work and hoped on the first ferry to Fukue, the largest of the Goto Islands. We were to stay at Smokey Cottage, a small cabin in the Hantomari area, tucked away in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by nothing but sea and forest.
We were greeted by the ever lovely Renae, who had arrived earlier from the neighbouring island. The owner, Mr.Namio Sato was waiting for us outside the terminal and indulged us in conversation during the twenty minute car ride to his own personal haven.
We met his wife, Akiko-san, on arrival and after the official tour of our cabin, she treated us to a warm, delicious home cooked meal. It was wonderful!
With an outside area protected by mesh to keep out the bugs, we were led through a heavy wooden door into a beautifully decorated open plan cabin. A large table took up a part of the room, with a wide bench that ran the length of the wall. The kitchen was the perfect blend of old and new and had everything we needed from tea with what appeared to be wood in it, to eggs for breakfast.
The bathroom was by far the most interesting, with a traditional Goemonburo bath dating back to feudal Japan that had to be heated up before hand with fire by Namio-san. I couldn’t help think of Calcifer from Howls Moving Castle as I watched him feed logs to the ever growing fire. Encased in shell incrusted concrete, the metal basin barely big enough for one person. The aim was to get climb inside, placing the wooden lid at the bottom so as to not burn your feet. The first night none of us added enough cold water so it was pretty much impossible to enter and had to wash ourselves in the area outside, but by the second night we had got the bathing business down like pro’s. Perhaps we should thank the many glasses of Umeshu we had indulged in, but hey, who’s judging.
The first night ended with a few glasses of Umeshu and a quick catch up before me and Renae retreated to the bedroom, the latter of which was far too excited to be able to sleep on a real bed, while Jenny took the made up bench.
The next day would have a bit of a different pace. A few weeks before hand, Namio had e-mailed Renae asking us if we wouldn’t mind being filmed making Pizza in front of a camera crew. A bit weird right? I thought so too, untilI I learnt that Namio not only made his own salt, but also had stone pizza ovens out back and made his own from scratch. With the prospect of free pizza, there was no way any of us could refuse, and so, eleven o clock the next morning, now joined by Sophie, we were introduced to the Camera crew. Using the ingredients we brought with us from the mainland, we set to work making our pizza, the camera crew watching out every move, chatting to us as we went along. Being a vegetarian, I chose to try and make a tofu pizza, and idea which greatly intrigued the crew and gained me an embarrassing moment on tv. After filming us enjoying our pizza outside, the crew, along with Namio-san, Akiko-san and two of their friends sat with us and shared in our delicious Italain treat, followed by some home made cake.
They were gone by mid-afternoon, and it was time for some writing. With no reception and a view of both land and see, it was the perfect place to write. Inspiration was in abundance.
A few hours later we decided to stretch our legs. Leaving Sophie to work, me, Jenni and Renae set out on a little adventure, walking down a path alongside the sea, doing our best to avoid the sea cockroaches, or as I like to call them, ‘the creatures that time forgot’. They really are horrible, and theres always so many! I couldn’t get over how untouched this land was, and I half expected a dinosaur to pop out at any moment. They really could have shot parts of Jurassic Park here, I’m telling you. We even decided to practice out ‘Is that a…..dinosaur?!’ face.
We spent the evening drinking, trying to drunkenly get a frog out of the bathroom, and loosing ourselves in deep conversations. I ended up passing out at around 3 am, Renae tucking me in where I slept like the sweetheart she is.
I was sad to say goodbye the next morning, or I would have been had we not discovered a gigantic huntsman spider in the bedroom. Nothing will smash your illusion of a perfect nature retreat like a freakishly large spider with legs as long as your fingers.
I didn’t realise how much I needed this little break until I was on my way home and back to everyday life. It was amusing, however, at how many people saw me and recognise me on TV. Even the people who work at the fishmongers on my street recognised me.
Fukue, as well as all the other Goto islands are absolutely breathtaking, and walking along side the sea surrounded by nothing but nature quieted my heart as I was hit with a sense of grandeur. A sense of gratitude. I felt so grateful to be where I was in that moment, so grateful to be living in such a beautiful and diverse country.
The weather wasn’t exactly amazing by most peoples standards, but as a lower of rain and the gloomy, this was honestly the perfect weather and I feel as if I got to experience this beautiful little area at its most natural, and I honestly cannot wait to go back.
If any of you are ever in Nagasaki and want to get out of the city for a little while, I high recommend this place!
Thanks for reading ❤︎❤︎
To take a break from the usual travel blogs of late, I thought I’d write about a mini haul of things I splurged on today. Well, I didn’t really splurge in the sense that it cost me a million pounds, but I did treat myself a little.
Recently, I’ve been insanely stressed and a little down. I’ve been walking around with this numbness in my pocket, unable to lose it. Everything that normally makes me happy gives me no feelings whatsoever as of late. If truth be told, the only emotion I’ve experienced in the last week or so has been raw stress. I have no idea where exactly it’s coming from, but it’s here and it’s weighing heavily on my chest, as if the entire population of Nagasaki were sitting on it.
So, as a little pick me up, Instead of getting off at my usual stop, after work, I rode the bus all the way to Nagasaki station and made my way into Amu Plaza. Until now, my opinion of Amu has been low, placing it behind Yume Saito and Cocowalk in terms of shopping and enjoyment, but thats all in the past! Walking around Amu on my own – something I rarely do due to mild social anxiety- I had a chance to glance around some stores, and discovered a hidden gem in Francfranc, my new favourite store!
My first point of call, as planned, was Muji, where I was looking forward to finding an autumn scented candle to warm up my apartment and help me get into the mood for autumn. I was disappointed, however, with their small collection of candles, so I began looking for the second item on my list; a jewellery case. In the last week I stumbled upon EsteeButton’s youtube channel and blog. In one of her blog post she speaks of a clear case she got from Muji, along with velvet compartment dividers, and how good it was as a jewellery case.
I decided this could be a good invested since I manage to loose my earrings and tangle necklaces on a far too frequent basis. The box was heavier and much more sturdy than I had originally thought, I’m so pleased with the outcome! It’s simple, clean beautiful, and best of all, translucent. I finished off my Muji shop with this shea butter handcream. Decently sized and pretty inexpensive at 600 Yen, it was a no brainer for me. I’ve heard whispers of Muji skin products for a while now, so I’m eager to try some out. If you have any suggestions please let me know.
Now onto Francfranc, my new favourite place. With prices ranging from practical to a little expensive, it’s the perfect place to go if you want to splurge all your hard earned Yen, or just treat yourself to something nice without breaking the bank. Since Muji was a bust in the candle department, I had originally intended to grab a candle and dash, but something in the cup isle caught my eye. So, if theres one thing you need to know about me, it’s my love of tea. I mean, I LOVE tea, so I always make it a point to glance in the mug area. Little did I know I was about to find the most poiniant mug for me right now. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful ’N’ inscribed on the front and the quirky little groove. It was then I noticed the inscription on the back; ‘Nothing is impossible’. I wanted to cry a little. Just last night I was feeling as if nothing I do is good enough, as if aspiring to be a writeris a pipe dream that would only lead to heartache, so to see this written on a mug with my initial on the front, I had to get it.
So, with my new mug in hand and my Insign Amber Must candle in my basket I went to the counter and checked out, more than ready to make my way home.
I also picked up these lovely flowers on the way home for around 300 Yen.
Saving money is important, and I don’t belive money can buy you happiness, but sometimes it’s nice to indulge and treat yourself.
Thanks for reading ❤︎❤︎
Now onto the last day. I promise this is actually the last part of the Kumamoto series!
So, with our hearts still in Tsuetate, we headed off to what I thought was home. On and on we drove, winding through the ever beautiful Kumamoto mountain range, with good conversation to accompany the view. We stopped only once, and ended up at this adorable little area that had a small collection of cute shops; one of which was an impressive liquor store.
Bending, twisting, the car groaned now and again, doing her best to climb the steep hills that lay ahead of us. Considering she had people and cases bursting out of her at all doors, I think she did a pretty good job. With my heart resigned to home, knowing my week of bliss was soon to be over, I was overjoyed when we came to a car park in the middle of cluster of hills, mountains flanking us.
“What are we doing?’ I asked a little cautiously, not wanting to let on that I was utterly out of the loop. It turns out that the Nakamura’s had one surprise left for us; Kuju flower park「くじゅう花公園 」(I will put details about the park at the bottom of my post).
At first, I had thought that we were still in Kumamoto, but it turns out we had just crossed the border into Oita. That brought my Golden Week prefecture count up to 3, an uneven number that for once, I was happy with.
The shops at the entrance were welcoming with all their pine and fresh produce, taking you back to a calmer time where the internet wasn’t a thing and the stress of an unreceived text was a far off dream. We spent the following hour or so exploring the meadows of flowers, ducking in and out of different fields, bathing in the colours. Sadly, we were a little out of season and the tulips, one of my favourite flowers, were already withering, and in many places gone all together.
And some good news for all you vegetarians and vegans out there; they had a vegetable oriented buffet! Healthy, well cooked and relatively cheap, the meal replenished the strength needed to return to work the following day and to say goodbye to a beautiful holiday that had given us a taste of freedom. Oh how I miss freedom.
I could not have asked for a more perfect ending to a perfect holiday. I had spent my golden week in the best way possible! Surrounded by friends and my amazing boyfriend. Going to Kitakyushu and then Kumamoto had been the first step in the stages of ‘Let’s see how much Naomi and Chad can do together without wanting to kill each other‘ and we passed with flying colours! Working in Japan, or any place for that matter, can sometimes make you forget just how beautiful a place is, which is why I sorely needed this trip. I was reminded once again, just how beautiful Kyushu is. So please guys, come visit Kyushu, even if it’s for a day, I promise you will not be disappointed.
Thanks for reading ❤︎❤︎
Japanese website: http://www.hanakoen.com/
After leaving Aso Farmland, we were soon back on the long and winding roads of the Kumamoto countryside. With music pouring through the speakers of Shelby, Chads tiny but ballsy car, we watched the scenery change around us. From Hills, to towns, to villages, to valleys, we saw the beauty of Kumamoto. I was most curious about this destination. The entire trip had been a little bit of a mystery, but with time ticking on my interest was peaked. Winding ever on, we finally arrived at a small village, passing many onsen along the way, the pipes spewing out steam.
With the hands on the clock pushing six, we soon came to a standstill, the traffic surprisingly heavy for a small village between two mountains. It didn’t take long for us to find out why. Nestled between two large mountains either side a roaring river, sits Tsuetate 「杖立」, a small onsen retreat in the heart of Kumamoto. I had forgotten that today, May 5th, was Children’s day 「子供の日」and Tsuetate, as I later found out, was famous for celebrating it. Hundreds of carp streamers「鯉のぼり」 hung above the river, dancing on the wind as it made it’s journey through the valley. It was honestly breathtaking. Easily one of the most beautiful things I have seen, like something straight out of a Miyazaki Hayao masterpiece. Due to traffic, we were a little late to dinner, but thanks to the kindness of our patrons, we had a delicious dinner laid out for us upon our arrival.
We spent our evening relaxing in the onsen after a delicious meal, with me and Mamie having a good bonding session in the soothingly hot water. By the time we got back to our rooms, our beautiful wooden table had been swapped for four comfortable futons, which we all soon fell into. Not before having some delicious beers of course. There is honestly nothing more relaxing than sitting with your friends, wearing Yukata and listening to the crashing of water below you as you sip your beverage of choice.
The next day the tight schedule continued. Even more so in fact due to it being our last day, we still had a lot to see before we arrived back in Nagasaki! After an equally exquisite breakfast, we decided to go on a little adventure and explored the small area of Tsutate before we left. With a tunnel of wishes, twists and turns everywhere you went and stunning views, I immediately decided that those who live in the area were some of the luckiest people alive and that I too, in return, was lucky for being able to come here, even if for a short while.
If any of you have no plans next Golden Week, I cannot recommend this place enough. With a raindbow of colour blowing in the breeze above your head, and old mountains either side protecting you, I promise nothing but a dream like experience.
Thank you for reading