AKI MATSURI and MAKING YUKATAS

The kids go to a Japanese immersion school as their primary school. In addition to learning the Japanese language, they also get to participate in cultural events. One of those events is called, “aki matsuri,”or Fall Festival. For half the day, we convert the school into different games popular in Japan during these festivals. At the end of the games, the kids parade around the school with decorative floats, chanting, and dancing. One thing that is very common for people to wear at the fall festival is a yukata. I’ve been told it’s like a casual kimono. The girls really wanted to wear one, but even after all of our trips to Japan, we had never bought them one. The basic garment is constructed similarly to a bathrobe. It looked simple enough, so I decided to make them one. I mean, I made an Elsa dress for Halloween before, I could handle this​, right? In the end, I was right. But getting there, that was the tricky part.

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HUBBARD SQUASH SOUP

We were at the farmer’s market the other day and saw these huge blue colored squashes I had never seen before. When we inquired what they were, they said they were hubbard squash and they’re delicious. She also said since they are so big, it’s best to throw it on the ground to open it up. Hmmm, I love winter squashes and I love smashing things, so why not? Even if it tastes bad, it would be four dollars well spent just to smash it. I decided to make hubbard squash soup to start with.

Cue the Smashing Pumpkin’s song (or in this case Smashing Squash) and let’s break this thing open!

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WHO YOU CALLING SCROOGE?

The day after Thanksgiving is the official start of the Christmas season.  At least that’s how it was in our house growing up. That’s when my brother and I would help my parents put up the Christmas lights on the house. There was an inside team and an outside team. The inside team were the light checkers, and the outside team were the light putter-uppers. While we did all of this we would graze on the Thanksgiving leftovers all-day long. And of course to set the mood, we would start jamming the Christmas tunes. Christmas music in November!? It’s so early, what’s wrong with you!?

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MY KUKI FRIENDS: PART THREE

The much awaited part three of a story that started eight years ago…

Eight years ago I met some people in a random bar in Kuki, Japan while I was out on an adventure-seeking-night by myself. I got the adventure I was seeking both while I was out, and when I got home. (You can read about that here).

I had exchanged e-mails with my new friends and a few years after later I met them again at the same bar and almost got lost and in big trouble… again. (You can read about that story here).

And now, after originally meeting them eight years ago in Japan, I welcomed them to Detroit with my family, and into my home!

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MOM’S CHILI

Chili in our family is a Halloween tradition. What turkey is to Thanksgiving, chili is to Halloween. I can’t imagine a Halloween without it. Even when we aren’t with my parents on the holiday, I try to carry the tradition and make her famous chili. It’s not overly spicy, or interestingly unique, but it is a classic dependable recipe. If you like to experiment, this is a good base to make your own creation. However, I don’t like to stray too far from this tried and true recipe. Continue reading “MOM’S CHILI”