Favorite Things …

I had some extra time today and while I was loafing (as opposed to cleaningcookingdoingthelaundrywalkingtothestorepreparingforclassteachingworkingonacrochetorsewingprojectgardening…etc)

I decided it would be a great time to call my friend whom I have sorely neglected over the past few months. Life got in the way I guess. But really..is the above so terribly important that we can’t lay it aside for a while to keep in touch with dear friends and nurture relationships?

We talked for over three hours. It was awesome! I helped her learn how to use her iPad and now the super awesome thing is that she can use email and read my blog-two things she has always wanted to do! Technology can be really daunting for older folks but with patience and gentle instructions they can learn. Even over the phone across the miles!

One of my favorite things to do…help someone. Help them and teach them something that will improve their quality of life.

I guess I was thinking about favorite things in general today while I was thinking about being thankful.

One of my favorite meals is yakinikku-table top grilling of vegetables and meat.


This was our dinner two nights ago-really simple. On the grill are tomatoes (from the garden), shiitake mushrooms, onions, shishito peppers (from the garden) and chicken. There was also grilled eggplant and about to be grilled beansprouts and Australian beef.

That small mason jar is filled with homemade red-hot pepper  paste from Saipan that we mix into the citrus soy-sauce for a dipping sauce. Add a steaming hot bowl of rice from the farm and an ice-cold beer (non-alcoholic if you prefer)….super simple-totally delicious.

Another favorite is watching the big white herons on the river. I caught this one as it was taking off.


They are so graceful. Sometimes I stand quietly on the river’s edge and soon one of these beautiful birds will come gliding right past my nose-flying low over the river. So close that I can hear the whoosh of wings.

Another favorite is seeing priests standing with their begging bowls. It’s part of their spiritual practice to stand humbly with a bowl in their hands -waiting for people to drop alms into it. I always put something in the bowl and I have many reasons for doing that.

Each time the priest will say-may I pray for you? I always say -yes and I always hear “may God bless you”. The first time I was surprised because the priests aren’t from the Christian tradition, they are Buddhist. It made me smile and sometimes I cry….not sure why. But it touches me deeply that they acknowledge my faith.

If we go someplace where I might see a priest standing with his bowl I try to keep a 500 yen coin in my wallet to drop in the bowl.


I also love the smell of incense that floats up from the altar bowl.


We traveled back and forth to Japan for over 14 years before we actually moved here. Each time we came to visit my husband’s parents they would pick us up at airport and as soon as we got to the in-laws house my husband and I would go directly into the Butsudan tatami room and pay respects to the ancestors. It is traditional to light a stick of incense, place it in the bowl, hit the little gong-bowl with a padded mallet and then pray.

Smells are very important to me and invoke feelings and memories. I would buy Japanese incense- joss sticks (called senko here) and bring them home to Saipan. Whenever I’d light one I would immediately be “transported” to Japan and recall instantly all the wonderful memories that we made throughout the years.

I have hundreds things that are my “favorite” but I’ll add just one more.

I adore the artful way food is arranged and decorated according to the seasons.


I had a ladies get-together at our home last autumn and this was a dish that one of the ladies brought. It was a dish of sauteed seasonal root vegetables. She had decorated it with little autumn leaves and I almost didn’t want to eat it because it was so pretty!

What are some of your favorite things? Everyone has favorites…..


3 thoughts on “Favorite Things …

  1. The cooing sounds of doves combined with the gentle tinkling of glass wind chimes transport me back to Japan. Your description of food reminded me of my Japanese mother. She used to tell me that presentation is everything when serving a meal!


    1. Awesome Louise! I even get that. Food here is marvelous! When it’s just hubby and I with a simple yakinikku meal I don’t pay so much attention — although, if I make something else with it I do choose the dishes carefully and I don’t just dump it in the bowl. And actually- thinking about it I do now pay attention to presentation for most meals. Sometimes I’m tired– but I do choose serving bowls and plates carefully and tweak the food so that it looks pretty when I put it in the table. I do that with hubby’s bento too.


  2. I love the smell of tomato plants. I don’t have a garden so I buy tomatoes at the store that are still on the vine and crinkle the leaves in the palms of my hands. I breathe in the aroma and it takes me back to times when my large tomato patch was full of neighbors and children all harvesting the ripe, red fruit. There are so many memories of all the ways we would prepare tomatoes whether they were ripe or not. Green tomato pie anyone?

    Thank you for this delicious and wonderful post!


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