The importance and danger of treats for yourself

I experienced it lots of times: I did my best today, I deserve this. And I bought it. Especially since I started living abroad, the treats I buy for myself have increased.

But sometimes you just start wanting more because, no treat will cover up how tired you are. It is just momentary and sometimes buying stuff leads to feelings of regret. Which makes me feel bad over myself all again.

I want to enjoy myself. But somehow I really like buying in organic stuffs or fancy stuff. But if I don’t buy anything, this feeling/NEED heaps up untill it explodes and I buy way too much in a short period of time.

I have a lot of things I want to buy now. To make my life easier/bettef because I’ve been holding in for a whole year, saying ‘I can do without, it’s only a year and half’. 

I really should’ve bought those things at the beginning of my exchange year. I should stop listening to other people too much. It’s my life and my choices and I decide. 

Anyway, sorry if I left you confused. Philosophy on the train back home.

This was today’s snack and treat, cuz I felt tired and I have to have energy because I will finally be buying a microwave  

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My all-time favourite Japanese snack

Is a baked sweet potato, yakiimo. Yes!! Japanese sweet potatoes are so good!! They differ a bit from what I was used to in Belgium (they where orange inside, Japanese ones are yellow or the okinawan purple ones are (a very pretty) purple!). You can find them in supermarkets sometimes already baked and hot and ready to be eaten~ motly in autumn and winter but hey… I love them so much I did eat them in the summer haha

I think you break them in two and just eat them like that. 

So sweeet and yummy! 

Afraid to read Japanese?? 

Since I started studying Japanese literatur in Japan… I recently noticed I became afraid of reading. It always took me such a long time to read what was asked of me, too many words I had to look up which I wanted to but didn’t have the time to do so. The content also was difficult. This also made me stop reading for fun.

Until I noticed how fast I actually could read English or Dutch again, how much FUN it is to READ without having big difficulties. 

Now I started reading a manga in Japanese and it reads so fast… I’m starting to enjoy reading again, little by little! 

The manga is called ‘Tokyo Ghoul’ btw and I’M HOOKED! 


I hope I’ll be able to read more Japanese! Like real novels. 

Overnight oats addiction start! 

Lately I’m addicted to it. You cannot go wrong with overnight oats ^^ my last two breakfasts were overnight oats with peanut butter, almond milk, chia seed and maple syrup. So good. I followed a recipe for this one but the brown, chocolate one is like very random, I just put things in it like I felt putting in. 

Loud neighboor

I couldn’t sleep well because of the heat and because one of my neighboors started singing and playing guitart at 1:30 am. I mean , yesterday it was 2:30. And she’s not trying to be silent in any way. What should I do? It’s almost every day… Maybe I should write a note.. 

But this morning I felt great because the weather is so nice! It really feels good to open your window and see a sunny sky! 

I went to buy some matcha but came back home with a fancy package of tea 

Honestly… I only wanted some matcha cuz I almost run out of mine. Then the shop lady came and she was so fired up about tea and tried her best to explain everything to me. She showed me the tea made of the first batch of harvested tea leaves from spring (I sometimes couldn’t understand what she was saying cuz she was talking fast and quite silently). 

So yeah. I bought matcha and het recommendation of tea (the packaging is soooo cute) and some Japanese sweets. 

She really wrapped it up nicely for me.

Then she invited me to have some tea. She let me drink all sorts of tea and showed me how to make them. She really seems to love tea. I loved watching her. We talked and I really started to like her. She’s so positive and she made my heart full , as my stomach (so much tea! Me =happy).

I really feel like I learned something. Maybe I can see het again. 

Vegan lunch in Shibuya before going to a job interview~ 

So I had this job interview for a student job in Shibuya for a salad bar café I had taken an interest in and I just couldn’t leaaave the opportunity to go out to eat and try a new vegan restaurant. This time, I chose ‘Hanada Rossa’ because of practical reasons: close to the place of my interview. 

Although the café is famous for their veggie burgers, I took the plate of the day-lunch menu (the cheapest) and it was Mapo tofu (I guess a Chinese dish?? I don’t know). It tasted good :).  Maybe I should take the famous burger next time though. 

They also had some interesting looking desserts. 

UPDATE: life in Japan, stress and anxiety

So it`s been a long time since I updated my blog. I totally forgot about it to be honest. I was stressed out, busy, got problems due to stress, busy, travelling, meeting friends, and trying to overcome my stress and trying to learn to cope with it. I think I did well. I think I got stronger.

Last semester feels like one vague … I don`t know what to call it, dark cloud?

I started participating in club activities. I decided to join aband club. Which means playing an instrument in a band and participate in small concerts in live houses or in the school. I just participated in two. It was so much fun. I only remember standing there, with my keyboard a Senpai (senior) was so kind to lend me, and had fun standing on stage. I actually DO love standing on stage. I actually enjoy it. Same with dancing.

I also started finding a new dicrection regarding my research for my master thesis: literature written by Koreans living in Japan ( the `zainichi` Koreans). It was really nice to do and I really enjoy doing this.

I met a lot of new people and new good friends.

So where did things go wrong?

I think I kind of collapsed because of my self-image I`m trying to lay on me. I put too much pressure on myself, wanting to be as good as everyone else. at least. And also

I don`t really say what I really want.

And actually… things weren`t going well between me and my boyfriend.. well, we broke up.

I just felt like I was held down, caged, unable to breathe. Not saying its my exs fault, not at all. I just didn`t love him anymore. I was living too much with my mind, rather than with my heart.

I gained a lot of wait due to emotional eating because of stress and anxiety.

I started dieting hard and going to the gym. I noticed going to the gym really helped me feeling good about myself. I ran as fast as i could and I felt like I ran the stress away.

I started eating more healthy food, making more food myself, I even tried eating vegan and I really felt the best eating that way so I kind of continue that now. Though, I`m very easygoing on this one. Step by step.

I also saw my family, travelled with them, went on school trip after that.

 

So this was a quick update, kind of personal, but I feel better writing it.

So my plans for now are to continue updating this blog with my activities as an exchange student from now on! Things will get busy!! I hope I`m ready to handle it!

 

 

A typical Belgian rainy day in Antwerp

We didn`t see a lot of Antwerp. There are still the MAS museum and Planteyn museum which I recommend going, and some other beautifully places left unseen. But we did see the must-visit places for a Japanese visit to Antwerp. These are the unrealist beautiful station and the church of `The Dog Of Flanders`-story (a story written by an English lady which is situated in Belgium but strangely only the Japanese know. Try asking a Japanese about it. Every single one knows it. I tested).

Of course we visited the inside of the church first. I mean station. It have never thought about it before, but in the eyes of a Japanese girl who only has seen churches like we have in Europe on pictures, every pretty building must look like a church (especially when it`s made in Gothic style).

Then we dared going outside, into the rainy city. First we wanted to have lunch. I had planned to go to the `Foodmaker`, a shop I had frequently visited during my first year studying in Leuven. We jogged to the shop (with a few picture breaks) and were glad there was place to sit. We both took a salad, a soup and a foodmaker muffin (they are so delicious… I have been craving for it for  2 years.. now, finally!). And after that, we were pretty full. I think my eyes were bigger as my tummy. 

 After leaving the shop, we went to the cahedral  screaming how cold and rainy it was and going from shop to shop on the `Meir`=street(famous shoppingstreet). We succesfully arrived at the church (I remind you of my map reading skills). In front of the cathedral, you should be able to find a black memorial stone with only Japanese written on it. It’s about the dog of Flanders and that’s the reason it’s only in Japanese I guess. After taking a picture of that and the church we went inside as quickly as possible because the cold and the rain got really unbearable.

   
 We paid to get inside and walked around the cathedral. We saw the painting that was feautured in the ‘Dog of Flanders’ and wandered around. But actually, we just wanted to go home. So we did. We jogged back in the rain to the station. We missed our first train and went to the second one. Which got a delay. And in the middle of the trip, all passangers were asked to change trains because there was a technical problem. The station where this happened had a problem too though because a lot of trains were delayed. We got on a delayed train and got to Brussels like that. In Brussels we catched a delayed train to my hometown, where my parents came to pick us up. I seriously am so thankful for that.

   
   
We were dripping wet. The next day we heard there was a bomb alarm in Leuven and that that was the reason for a lot of delays (we had the luck to be in a train with technical problems too). And I also found out the reason why my left foot was really wet.I noticed I really had a hole in my footsole. Great.

I wish I could say I had a good day in general but actually, it was a bad day in general with a few good things (like the ‘Foodmaker’ or the fact I did some shopping).

Japan in Düsseldorf and final stage in Köln

ŒiWe arrived around 12 o`clock in Düsseldorf and went straight to the hotel, a Motel One-hotel. It`s situated very close to the station. About 4-5 minutes by foot, and very recognizable because you have to pass a yellow post building. We checked in and could immediately go to our room. The hotel itself is very nice. When entering, the fancy blue and dark brown colors and the wall behind the reception will immediately catch your eye. On the wall, there is written in Japanese 気に入るよ (Ki ni iruyo), andthe English translation = you will like it. The room was also in the same nice colors and the television was sending out a comfy fire (with the sounds to make it feel real). Although it wasn’t that expensive, I felt like I came to a fancier hotel than I had paid for.

After dropping our luggage in the hotel room, we started exploring the city. The first place we went to was ‘Hotel Nikko’, a little bit fancier hotel with some shops in it. At the café inside, we ate a ’Mont Blanc’ cake, and my Japanese friend was impressed by the use of berries in it. It tasted very nice and the service also was friendly. He even talked a bit in Japanese to my friend although he wasn`t Japanese himself. Next, we just had to stop at a café called ‘Sphere Bay’. Matcha (green tea) crepes with matcha sauce and matcha hot chocolate. The matcha hot chocolate was made by melting matcha chocolate according to our guess and tasted heavenly. The matcha crepe also tasted bitter and was so good. In other words, matcha heaven. Luckily for us, we just love matcha green tea.

After we filled our tummies with matcha, we entered a book shop close by filled with Japanese books (in Japanese and German)  and then we went to the Medienhafen. We easily found our way, looking out for the high tower. The Medienhafen are some architecturally interesting buildings. Even if I don’t know a lot about architecture, I find them attracting. On the bridge over the river at the `Hafen`, there also is a (very) fancy looking restaurant. Perfect for a more expensive date maybe?

Next, we went to the Altstadt. We drank some tea in a restaurant called ‘Schiffchen’. I read somewhere on the internet that Napoleon had come to this restaurant before. And yes, there were some Napoleon references. Except for that, it’s very spacious and is built in an old and traditional style with lots of wood.  The service was friendly.

In the Altstadt, we went to a very cute chocolate café-shop called ‘Gut und Gerne’. We just had our tea and were still full so we just went to the shop next door (they are connected). I bought a lot of chocolate. There were a lots of chocolate kinds which I hadn’t seen before and which looked so good. Drink chocolate with superfoods. Instant buy.

We enjoyed the evening view of the river and the port, and when walking through the streets of the city, we had a pleasant surprise.  Some street performer was blowing a lot of soap bubbles. The air was full of it. It was so nice to watch and see and made us excited. We stood there watching for 10 minutes maybe.

We ate dinner at a Japanese ramen shop ‘Takumi’ in the Zimmermanstrasse. The staff spoke Japanese and the shop itself had a Japanese feeling. They had a vegetarian Ramen, which I took. It tasted good!! I really liked it. The taste is about the same as a Ramen-shop in Japan. A recommendation!

The next day, we ate breakfast in ‘Bakery My Heart’. This bakery is very Japanese, and so is it’s bread (‘pan’ in Japanese… I don`t really call it bread like I eat in Europe…) . There was a lot of bread with matcha in it. I took a twist ‘pan’ with matcha and ogura red beans in it. My friend had a curry ‘pan’, a matcha cream filled horn and we shared a pumpkin ‘korokke’ (croquette-ish) (you see now what I mean that it`s not really bread like the bread you usually eat?). She drank a Hoji-cha and I had a Matcha Latte (My matcha addiction is real). The staff also spoke Japanese and was friendly. The shop itself was very clean you could also eat in, which we did. It was soooo good. Another recommendation!

We strolled through the Japanese and Korean supermarkets and through a `Karstadt`, next to the church we went in. For lunch, we went to ‘Waraku’, an Onigiri (three cornered rice ball) shop. There are also some lunch packages (bento) and a lunch set (2 onigiri and a miso soup for 6 euros). We both ate one onigiri and it was soooo good. I took the avocado wasabi soya one and it was heavenly. The staff was also so nice and she complimented my Japanese when there were no clients except for us at a moment. I was so happy. Her German also was so good. Oh … I forgot complimenting her for it (she also is on an exchange year in Germany).

Then it slowly was time to go to Köln. We took the train and arrived about 40 minutes later. We put our luggage in the locker (which was expensive, 2 euros for 2 hours, 7 euros for 24 hours, and not even everything could get in it, so I was carrying our heavy makeup bag the whole day. I think I made a lot of sour faces). And we went to the Dom, just next to the station (they really know how to place a station in Koeln.. ). My friend arrived at her peak of excitement I guess. The building is built in fine gothic style and I think you just have to feel impressed by it (my excitement was a bit muted because of my luggage though… ). We entered and took a lot of pictures (I mean she did) and then we walked through the crowded shopping street. At the end we went to the Starbucks near the station because we needed to go to the toilet (we tried several McDonalds but somehow weren`t lucky in finding places… because my friend wanted some free wi-fi as well to contact her family) and then we made our way to the station.

We ate dinner at `Dean and David` in the station. We both took the yellow curry with tofu, a very filling meal although the size was just right. I drank a Ginger Honey tea with it and also bought a smoothie for later. But for some reason my stomach started hurting. So we searched for a toilet. One expensive euro to go to the toilet, which wasn’t even very clean. Anyway. Our train had about 15 minute delay but we could easily ride it. The best thing, we booked first class. Like a boss. But we couldn`t really enjoy the space in front of our feet because we placed our luggage in front of us (too heavy to lift up) but the staff came and spoiled everyone with milk and honey bonbons. Fancy.

This is the end of my Germany trip. I really had a nice time and I learned some new things. I am so happy and delighted everything went well and mostly according to plan. Mission, accomplished.