Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Japan Day

Will and I (ok mostly me) were disappointed that we had missed Korea Day so we made sure to have a butchers at Japan Day when it came to Auckland's Queen's Wharf. We started the afternoon with some ramen in a little restaurant in Mount Eden village called Zool Zool. Mine came in a miso broth and was delish :)


We headed down towards The Cloud building by the harbour which was filled with all sorts of sights and smells, including a large display of Honda cars! We watched whilst paying customers indulged in a tea serving ceremony. It was fascinating to watch the choreographed and graceful moves of the Japanese women serving the Matcha tea and I wish we'd had some extra dollars to spend here...


Upstairs we saw some guys and girls practising the martial art Aikido. As they were in front of the window the light meant it was difficult to take clear photos but I liked the shapes their bodies were creating and they almost looked like silhouettes, or puppets in front of a paper theatre. 






I spotted a long table lined with bottles of ink and traditional brushes and paper and pinned above examples of Japanese calligraphy symbols. I couldn't wait to have a try and chose to have a go at the 'Brightness' character. The girl instructed me to load the brush fully and hold it at an almost vertical angle, sort of at right angles to the paper, which felt a little unnatural but I'm so glad I had a go and was really pleased with the outcome :) 


The video below is of a girl singing. From the looks of the girls in the front row of the audience I'd say she was pretty famous and very popular as they seemed to know all the words and kept cheering! The girls' costumes were amazing, with exaggerated hair styles and silky gowns. (I now wish I'd bought a manga book from one of the many stalls!) I have to say the chorus was very catchy and me and Will kept singing it to each other for the rest of the day!


video


Outside was a bit grizzly but we stuck around long enough to watch this cool ninja performance! We loved that the actors took the whole thing very seriously and kept in character for the entire time.


video

I loved Japan Day and although Will has already been I really want to visit the country now :) 


Monday, 25 April 2016

Goose Chase!

Brunch has quickly become my favourite meal of the day! There are so many local independent cafes to choose from and the food is always so fresh and tasty, with silky eggs, crispy bacon and a side of toast my firm favourite. We started our Saturday with friends at Olaf's in Mount Eden village, who sell artisan bread and we sat at a table where we could watch them mould the dough in to loaves.




Western Springs is the same park we went to for Pasifika Festival but it looks completely different without all the stages and stalls. Our friends drove us there and we spent an afternoon wandering around the lake with a loaf of bread and a fan club of geese! As soon as we dropped a few crumbs we had a big group of birds honking and flapping and running towards us, following us along the path. One got so excited he bit my finger in an effort to get at the slice more quickly. The sun was shining and we had a lovely relaxing day It was nice to be in the city yet feel so far out of it.





We worked up quite an appetite and Mi and Chenmu took us to a cool Chinese restaurant on Dominion Road. If we were on our own me and Will would have walked straight past as you have to walk up a flight of stairs to reach the dining room but it was great to find somewhere new. We tried dumplings and spicy skewers and shared a large bowl of chicken, potatoes and veg with noodles - the bowl was huge and it didn't take long for me to get full but it was all delicious! 


The spiciness seemed to get the better of Will! Strangely I coped remarkably well!

Wintergarden

There are so many fabulous FREE things to do in Auckland and one of the things I really enjoyed was visiting the Wintergarden and Fernery in The Domain park. There are 2 big greenhouses with loads of plants and flowers squeezed in everywhere - hanging from above, all around the sides and on the small pond, in every colour, shape, size, pattern and texture you can imagine!










They have veg growing too!






Frilly little edges











These little pods were fascinating, I thought that maybe they catch flies or other insects to eat?!











Hanging bark



We turned up on a day when a couple got married - you can just see them in the top left hand corner! 



At first I thought the tiny spheres on the undersides of the leaves were eggs laid by insects but after researching when we got home I found they were the plant's seeds or spores; there were so many and all perfectly round



A nice hour spent wondering around amongst all the colour and even better that it was warm inside the greenhouses when it was a little chilly outside!