coffee shop

For all my friends, who read my blog to stay updated on what things I'm busy with in my life, I want to share that I'm seriously considering to open a coffee / work shop. 

I will partner up with a friend, who is into fashion and we will try to integrate that part into the space as well. I'm very happy to have found someone, who gets me and thinks alike and is ready to take this risky, scary but exciting step with me. Whenever I thought of a business idea I always hoped for a partner or a team because I feel more creative, braver and motivated with likeminded people.

The main concern is obviously money and finding a location that suits our image of what we want the coffee shop to represent. It will definitely be a challenging time for us but we are ready to get on this roller coaster. 

We set a timeline and currently we hope to open the shop by fall 2018. Kazumi (my business partner) and I have had two productive meetings so far and hope to be able to meet up at least three times a month. We both have a hectic life and work a lot, which makes it hard to get together on a more regular basis. As long as our meetings are planned well though we hope we will be able to make the most of our limited time.

I don't want to share more than this. I hope you understand. For one thing, I don't want to jinx things, and also, one never knows what life surprises you with. 

Wish us all the best and stay tuned, my friends. 

DIY with Kei

I’ve always loved craft work but I’m not the most patient person and things don’t always look the way I imagined them. That’s always been like that and I don’t think that’s going to change.

Especially with our new home I wished I could make things myself and add a more personal touch to it. I have so many ideas and unfortunately they often just stay ideas, simply because I don’t know HOW. 

And then, a few months ago, Kei happened.

I love hanging out with her - not only because I enjoy our conversations and love her mindset, her creativity, and her kind heart - but also because she shares my passion for DIY. You have no idea how hard it is to find someone like that in this corner of the world. Unlike me though she knows HOW and ideas do turn into real things with her. 

I still can’t believe my luck because in addition to having DIY in common with her, I also love her taste, and we seem to understand what works and doesn’t work for the other. 

What (mostly) Kei and I have made so far for my apartment are: 

- A tray for our coffee table in the living room with kimono fabric in it 

- A wooden box to hide cable clutter 

- A tumbler decorated with kimono fabric 

- A wooden board with wheels I put the microwave on, so that I don’t have to bend down so far when I use it. Plus, I can move the board when I need to vacuum the floor under the microwave

- We also decorated one part of the dining room wall with different sized frames 

All beautiful and functional items. 

In the next few weeks I’m hoping to finish our WIC and decorate one wall with yet another  vintage kimono fabric, and also to get some advice from Kei on how to arrange my own room. 

She really has an eye for things and currently she is playing with the thought of giving professional advice on interior solutions. If you are intrigued and want to know more about how Kei might help you, contact me and I'll pass your questions on to her. 

P.S. In the set of photos above you can see Kei ... from behind. :-) 

Electra K. Vasileiadou

Photos for Palm Me Up 

My friend Electra (isn't that a cool name?), who is from Greece and has been living in Tokyo since 2011, is a photographer and travel writer.

For the ones, who have been following my blog posts since the beginning, you know that I have been working on a website that is about tropical prints. For THAT website called Palm Me Up I wanted to have personal photos, so I could use those to introduce myself to my future audience.

I’m very insecure in front of the camera and I knew that for the photo shoot I needed someone, who is not just skillful but also an understanding and trustworthy photographer. Although I had met Electra only once, my gut feeling said that she was the woman for the job. 

I was very happy to hear that she didn’t mind coming all the way from Tokyo to Osaka and the fact that she stayed over at our house was wonderful as it gave us both a chance to get to know each other more. I told her about my insecurities and how I think that my lack in self-esteem was a reason for my clumsiness in front of a lens. 

She listened and she heard me. 


Getting ready for the photo shoot 

But even before the photoshoot I was impressed by how well she communicated with me, guided me in things she needed to know. Things like: What is the mood and the goal of the website? What scenarios did I have in mind? How did I want to pose? What clothes did I want to wear? What make-up did I want to put on? etc. She asked me to give her as much information as possible, so she could get a round picture of what’s expected of her. When she summarized everything back to me, I knew that Electra understood what I wanted for my Palm Me Up. (I'm still working on Palm Me Up and haven't been able to update a lot.)


Strike a pose

On the day of the photoshoot I was very thankful for her ideas, her support (her goofiness to get me to relax and laugh), her patience (telling me stories to get me in the right mood for each shot), her flexibility (her spidermanlike physical efforts to get what we needed) and her talent to keep an eye on the time and to make sure she got a good bunch of various pictures in order to finish her job. 

At the end of the day we were both exhausted for different reasons but I couldn’t have had a better photographer and friend for that matter to do this for me. 


In EDITion 

A week later Electra presented me the selected and edited pictures and I was thrilled to have  so many photos I truly liked myself in and that I could not only show in Palm Me Up but also use for other promoting purposes. 

If you live in Japan (preferably in Tokyo or Osaka area) and you have always wanted to have some personal photos for yourself, then let me tell you that Electra K. Vasileiadou is your woman. If you're looking for someone, who is pragmatic, organized and skilled on the one hand, and sensible to your ideas (given you also share as much information as possible about that with her), a great bonder, and a good listener on the other hand, then she is definitely someone you should get in touch with. 

You can check her out on Instagram (electra_vk) and Facebook.

TELL Kansai Suicide Prevention Walks

I was on my way back home at Nagahoribashi subway station. It was around 9 pm and I was walking towards my platform when I saw some quick movement in the corner of my eye. The train just came in on the left side, while a man was jumping back. Then I heard a strange tone that sounded like a dog's yelp. It felt like it went on forever. Was it the train's sound?

It stopped and though all people froze on the platform, at first it seemed everyone was refusing to believe what had just happened in front of our eyes. But reality pushed itself forward and denial gave in: it was clear now that a person had thrown him/herself in front of the train. 

Japan is known for it's high suicide rate. Roughly 65 people take their own lives every day.


That's just an unbelievable number.

Worldwide a person dies every 40 seconds.

Suicide claims around a million lives each year. 

Next week, I will be taking part in a Suicide Prevention Walk in Osaka (that's also taking place in Kobe, Kyoto and Tokyo), organised by TELL Japan. We want to raise awareness, create space for this topic and combat suicide in our communities. 

You might not live in Osaka but you can walk with us and effectively communicate about this topic and mental illness in other places in the world since September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. 

This year's theme is "Connect, Communicate, Care". You can read more about this here on TELL website. 

Below I'll share a video with you of a man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and survived. He says that the moment he jumped off the bridge he regretted his decision. 

Nobody really wants to die!

If we were able to communicate with people who struggle and speak more openly about these topics then that's already a huge step! 

Let's be there for our loved ones, for friends and for our communities on September 10th by walking together. 

Please contact me for more information on the Kansai walks. Thank you. 

ONZORO Bierrösterei

Onzoro Bierrösterrei is located in Oogimachi on a quiet, unremarkable street.

The entrance is a wooden porch embraced by some greenery, and once you walk up the porch on the left side you might get greeted by a Rottweiler, who sits in her spacious box. I’m not best friends with her (though that’s another story) but she is a darling to a lot of guests, who seem to have bult a relationship with her.  Her „dog home“ is quite a clever construction as it’s both half on the porch and half inside the restaurant.

The owners, a lovely young couple, have thought of this solution because they want their dog to be around them while they are at work. During their break they take her for a walk.


What I have noticed about Onzoro is that - although it's quite charming - it doesn’t „wow“ you right away. Instead, you find yourself bonding with the place a little bit more each time you go there. And each time you're there your eyes will catch some new detail the owners have installed, or put up, or hand made with love.

It’s the same with the young couple who runs it and their staff – they are ALL adorable, fun and hardworking people and they really know how to make you feel comfortable.


That’s why I love going there.


Onzoro was introduced to me by a dear friend of mine, who is there for lunch or dinner during or after work every second day. First time I met her there for lunch I was quite touched by the friendship she had built with everyone at the restaurant.


Since they sometimes have foreign customers, I was asked if I could give them English lessons and for some weeks now I’m there for group lessons 4 to 5 times a month and I’m loving it.


I’m usually there for lunch and though for the longest time I was addicted to their quiche set (with a huge amount of salad), just recently I switched to their „open sandwich“, which is made of homemade bread topped with sprouts and salmon. In the summer you get a tasty cold onion soup and a decent portion of salad with it. It’s heaven and it’s healthy.

One of their waitresses has learned her bread making skills in France and once you’ve tasted her whole grain dark bread that’s all you’ll ever want to eat.


The cook, who is also the owner, is quite creative with his dishes and always looks for new ideas. I love the balance he creates.


Not to forget, since that’s what the name „Bierrösterei“ stands for: They serve quite a range of foreign, mostly European, beer!


So, if you care for good Belgium or German beer, home made bread, dishes with a European taste and a warm atmosphere, as well as a creative and natural ambient, then don’t miss to go to Onzoro.

pour Mademoiselle

pour Mademoiselle is a … hm … ? It's actually hard to pinpoint.

It’s a cafe and a Chanel second hand bag shop, that also sells vintage home decor items that are mostly held in golden colors.

It’s located in the heart of Horie on the Orange Street in Osaka and is surrounded by other quite charming shops and cafes.

I can’t say it’s an outstanding cafe, and it’s surely not a place where I’d hang out for a longer time, as the space is small and you feel like you are being presented on a platter, but I like the ambient they have created, the effort they have put in the choice of colors – gold and black – and even the cute name for the shop they have picked. You'll feel that the whole shop is a tribute to Chanel and the elegance it spread(s). 

The price for a lot of the pieces they display are quite reasonable, so don’t be surprised when you walk out with a used Chanel bag or an vintage candle holder. 


My personal stylist

"clothes make the man" 

On the one hand there is truth to the idiom “there is no accounting in taste”.

On the other hand there is also truth to Gottfried Keller’s novella’s title “Clothes Make the Man”.


As for me, when it comes to fashion, I like the elegant-sporty-comfortable style. When I see people with outfits of that combination I get envious and each time I can’t help but ask myself:

“Why is it that I know what style I like but can’t get myself to look like that in my daily life?”

It’s like having a sense for the fashion I long for when I see it in front of me but having little sense left when I put on or buy clothes.


It's a true mystery to me!!


my personal stylist 



The best way to move forward in a situation in which you know what you want but don’t know how to get it is to ask someone who DOES know. And that’s what I did.


I asked my friend Mai, who in my eyes is the personification of Elegant Sporty AND Comfortable in One, if she could help me shop the right clothes for me.



Before I tell you more about our shopping day let me bring to your attention that I am a curvy woman in a land of NOT very curvy women with most fashion retail shops offering M as their biggest size, which makes me often feel like an elephant trying to shop in an ant shop. In other words, it’s pretty frustrating for most Western women to shop in Japan, where Zara and Gap become your best friends.


In addition to that it was Mai’s first time to be a serious personal fashion stylist. It’s one thing to shop for yourself and to know what looks good on you and what does not. It’s a completely different story to find the right clothes for someone else, especially if that person has a different body shape.


Now you know. These were the exciting challenges we were facing.


being prepared 

Therefore we wanted to be well prepared for the big shopping day. Since Mai lives far away from Osaka at the moment we needed to make her visit to Osaka count.

In order to be efficient and achieve our goal …


1) Mai kindly studied my fashion folder on Pinterest to get a vague idea of what I like.


2) She was so sweet to agree on staying over the night before, so she could check all my current clothes. She had to see what I already had in my closet and what I needed to purchase.


3) We had to confirm and decide what outfits I was looking for for this summer season and what pieces I definitely needed to buy.


4) We prepared a to-do list of what shops we should go to and in which order so that we didn’t waste any time.


5) Mai understood that my budget was small.



Finally the day came and I can’t tell you how pleased I was with the outcome at the end of our clothes hunt. 


But let’s start at the beginning:


The night Mai checked my closet and made me wear 2/3 of my wardrobe in different combinations she impressed me with how quickly she understood what suits my body shape and what didn’t flatter my curves at all. With only a little tugging out a shirt here and pulling up a skirt there or adding a belt or accessories she managed to make me see my clothes with different eyes.

I was so fed up with so many of my pieces in my closet that I was close to throwing most of it out. Thanks to Mai though I learned how to put another complexion on them, how to combine them and how to spice them up by using different accessories.


This very exhausting process (we slept like a log that night) was also very beneficial for keeping the budget low. We knew that I didn’t have to buy as much as we thought we would have to.


the actual shopping day

On the shopping day itself, Mai introduced different stores to me that were perfect for accessories that suited me.

What I liked most about her shopping style was 1) that she could find something pretty even in stores that sold rather ugly stuff and 2) that she was only ready to buy a piece if she was 100% convinced it was a good match and 3) that she cared about my budget situation and instead of buying lots of pieces for me she made sure we purchased clothes that I could combine with a lot of the stuff I have at home.


Even though we had taken some short breaks throughout the day to refresh and also to plan where to go next and what to look for, our feet craved for a 10-hour massage at the end of the day.

Nevertheless, we were both really pleased with the clothes we had in the bags although Mai, as she is someone who always wants gives her best, wondered whether she could have done more for me.


the new me

Personally, I am very grateful for everything she has done. I love the ideas she gave me, the combinations she taught me, and the pieces she picked out for me.


I feel really good in the clothes I have been wearing since we went shopping. It’s great to feel fashionable AND comfortable at the same time.


As I think that Mai is a wonderful personal stylist I hope that she will make this into a hobby and maybe, one day, even into a job. 


Would you consider a low budget personal stylist? 


Sometimes you don't pay attention to wonderful things that are right in front of your nose. 

That's what happened with this little Deli Cafe/Restaurant right across our apartment. It's called Cocotte

Usually my husband and I are full like a Fugu (blow fish) or hungry like wild boars who haven't eaten in days. It's rare that we only have an appetite. But that's how we actually, finally paid attention to this cute little deli shop on our street. 

An elderly very sweet lady, who lives right above her cafe/restaurant, runs the three-table place. She serves small dishes from shrimp gratin, fish pies, different types of salads to tiny desserts and it's easy to taste the love she puts in each dish.

I'm glad we discovered her before moving to the new place. We'll definitely come back.  



Oh yeah! Forgot to mention that it's mostly French! Like a lot of other places I've recommended recently. :-) 

Sammy Pooh

The other day I was too early for my hair cut appointment. So, I strolled around Shinsaibashi and I found this lovely café that has a terrace. When I came to Osaka ten years ago it was hard to find a cafe with outside tables. Nowadays, it’s still not too common but you’ll stumble over more and more terrace cafes.

This place is called Sammy Pooh, which is a fantastic name, I think. It’s adorable, inviting, and sounds personal.

Inside they have a bakery where you pick what you want to eat and where you can order your drink. The neighborhood is rather quiet compared to how busy Shinsaibashi is just a three blocks away.


Furniture Stores in Osaka

Just recently I wrote a post about us having bought an apartment.


In the ten years I have been living in Japan I did not really put much effort in giving our home an individual touch, simply because it was never our place and when you rent a house there are a lot of things you can’t or are not allowed to do.


In Japan, people rarely use wallpaper or paint their walls.

People prefer new looking furniture and plastic boxes to organize their stuff rather than making a snatch at a flea market and spiffing the piece up.

Also, I’ve seen many homes that don’t really reflect the personality of the owner except for what tricks they use to tidy up their room. People here are very creative when it comes to making the most of a small space though often you have the impression they don’t care much about the looks.


I told my husband that I wanted our apartment to differ from most Japanese homes, that all rooms should have a different look by either painting the walls or using wallpaper.


My husband and I combine various cultural backgrounds and we love a range of styles and I think that our home should show that.


I’d like to turn the tatami room into a walk-in-closet with a Japanese touch. I will try to cover one wall with an old kimono sort of as a wall decoration.

The kitchen will have Turkish tiles, my husband’s room will include a work out space for him, and the atmosphere on our terrace should remind us of the Airbnb house’s porch in Hawaii, which was our oasis of relaxation.


I’m planning on doing things on a small budget and so I planned to buy old furniture and do a lot of things myself. But in Japan the word “antique” or “vintage” shoots prices rocket high, and wallpapers and painting walls can be a luxurious choice.


Nevertheless, we researched a few interesting furniture shops, rented a car last Tuesday and went to all possible stores on our route, together with another friend who is renovating her old house and wants to spice her home up with elements of French interior design.


Here are the places we visited:


the farm UNIVERSAL

This is a great place in Minou (North of Osaka) where you can find all kinds of plants and gardening equipment. Even if you don’t have a garden the farm UNIVERSAL is a relaxing place to go – You are surrounded by green and you can enjoy great coffee and breakfast-lunch-style food at their café!



Antiques Midi

Personally, I think Antiques Midi has too many overpriced pieces but I like their industrial looking space with various white furniture reminding a lot of French countryside interior.


Modular antique

This second hand furniture store was within our budget. We couldn’t find anything that we need but it’s worth checking the place out on a regular basis.



If you are crazy about high-quality wallpaper then Wallpa is the place to go. You just need to be mentally prepared for their prices.


Shark Attack

Not far from Wallpa you’ll find Shark Attack, which has a lot of vintage stuff.

Again, I think, some of the things they have are overpriced but you’ll be amazed by the big range of furniture they offer.



This second hand furniture store in Horie is definitely my favorite. The girl, who works there is as cold as the receptionist in Beetlejuice but you’ll love the pieces they sell. I did! Twice! I bought a chair for my husband’s room and a glass cabinet g.u.f.. I’d say their prices are fair. 

Meet Martinique, the Wallpaper

Please allow me to be extra dramatic in this post.

You might already know how much I’m in love with tropical prints. I mean, that’s what Palm Me Up (my online business idea) is all about!

Now that we are getting our new home (you can read about that in of the main post Perspective) I am eager to buy my favourite wallpaper called Martinique!!

The other day, when we visited a wallpaper shop, I was blown away when the lady brought a catalogue with exactly THAT design! She asked me to follow her to one of their showrooms – a toilet – and there it was: all over the walls and even on the ceiling! Martinique!
At last! We met!

The only thing that can top this feeling is when I go to the Beverly Hills Hotel in L.A. and see the original Martinique wallpaper displayed in the bathroom there.

DiCaprio has posed so wonderfully in front of Martinique in the movie Aviator. 


Work Out Like You Mean It

For the last few months I have tried so many times to start working out at home with You Tube videos … and always failed to continue. 


I came to appreciate Cassey Ho’s Blogilates. At first I was a bit annoyed with her overly enthusiastic voice squeaking “Let’s do this! You wanna have a bikini body by this summer, don’t you?!!” Then I came to understand that I need her to be overly enthusiastic because I … AM … NOT and that has not been working for me.

Personally, I think Blogilates is a very well done site and she does a great caring job. She has become something like a friend, who doesn't know that we are friends. 

Go Cassey!


Back to my "work out" story. 

After a while I had to face the fact that I’m not strong-willed enough to work out by myself. The gaps between the You Tube videos I watched got longer and longer and the number of my excuses were going up.

Then, one day, as I was walking up a very steep hill for about 15 minutes, I thought my heart was about to pound out of my chest and I was breathing like an old horse. “Anyone call an ambulance!!!”, was all I could think of.

That night I told my husband about how physically unfit I felt and that I was worried not to be able to lose weight and build up muscles in order to feel healthy again and ready to do fun sports.  He knew that I had joined a gym many times and that I had quit again for different reasons.

When it comes to gyms I honestly don’t know what to do with myself there. I feel disposed and I'm obviously not comfortable with that feeling.

Though at the moment I’m not making much money and my husband is working hard for both of us, he suggested I try out a personal trainer at the gym.

The next day I was a member of Konami Sports Club … Again. This time though I had my personal trainer - the young Ms. Murakami! 

She told me that she only wants me to do one thing when I show up at the gym: Smile and enjoy our lessons! That sounded like a fair deal.

I’m in my 4th week now, and though I have barely lost any weight, I can feel how I’m building muscles.

And guess what? A week ago, when I had to walk up that steep hill again, it was still definitely not a piece of cake but I managed it without breathing my lungs out. 

Way to go! 


And here is Cassey with one of her well done, motivating, energetic work out videos.

What A Discovery


Like it's the case with anyone who has a slight obsession, my world started to revolve around anything that had to do with my growing interest in palm leaves or any tropical looking design that came across my way. 

And when I stumbled over the blog / site / article in the below link, I felt like Indiana Jones, who just made the discovery of his life!

It wasn't only palm leaves that I felt magically attracted to - apparently banana leaves seem to have the same effect on me. !!!

There are hundreds of tropical leaf prints out there, but only two designs seem to be the true inspiration for all other designs in the years to follow and the base for every tropical fashion revival. (For any smart poop heads here, … I'm not going to argue that the world had tropical designs way before these two designs but let's not make things too complicated … And to be air, I'm just at the beginning of my obsession, so let me enjoy this discovery and give me a break, sweet darlings!)

Ladies and Gentleman! Let me introduce to you The Glam Pad - Where Hollywood Regency Meets Palm Beach Chic- , which introduces the amazing, irresistable wallpaper designs Martinique and Brazillance. 


Quarante Quatre

You might remember my post about a wonderful French restaurant in the "My Town" section I put up a while ago. Well, let me recommend you yet another French restaurant in Osaka.


I’m not sure what’s going on here – before last year I’ve never really been into French food, mostly because it made comments pop up in my mind like

“too fancy”,

“you pay a tiny fortune and then you have to check your plate with a magnifying glass to locate your food”,

“the waiter looks down on you for not knowing what wine to order”,


“what exactly IS French food anyways?”.


In other words, I was fairly prejudiced, uneducated and ignorant about the French cuisine.

(Then again, there is justice in the world because I pay my fair share when people ask me on a regular basis whether in Germany we eat white sausage every day.)


A friend introduced me to “Quarante Quatre” and we went there with two of her friends for lunch. Although at first paying Yen 2,800 (about EUR 23,00 or US$ 25,00) for lunch felt like a tiny kick in the stomach, I joined the group in taking course B, and couldn’t have been more amazed and satisfied with what was offered.


We were served a salad with a light herbal dressing, warm baguette, an innocent looking tiny starter that took me to heaven with its creamy texture and put me softly back on my chair, a great burdock soup, another breathtaking appetizer, heavenly soft lamb in sauce with seasonal vegetables as the main dish, and an unforgettable apple dessert topped with cream that reminded us of a light version of Nutella.


Overall, it was a delight.


“Quarante Quatre” is located in Kitahama, which due to its business offices is mostly busy during the day. From the outside the place itself is fairly unrecognizable – it’s small and with it’s brown wooden design outside it slightly reminded me of a typical old-style Japanese café.

I loved their yellow napkins and pink/purple small flower arrangements on each table. They felt like spots of spring.

The staff was amazing. They know my friend well and so we might have received special attention but everyone was very kind, welcoming and always had a smile on their face.


Sometimes they have “Petit Concert” there, it seems. I’m assuming it’s French music.


And voilà, here is the link to Quarante Quatre and a few pictures.


Today, my friend took me to a new cafe around the corner from her place in Moriguchi (on Keihan / Tanimachi Line) in Osaka.

It is called BUNROKU Tea Room

The place made quite an impression on me. On the outside it's disguised as a renovated traditional Japanese family home turned into a cafe. 

Then you walk in, and though overall the "package" of the interior stays traditional Japanese your eyes catch beautiful Western antique furniture and charming British looking tableware tastefully arranged around the room.

There is no coffee offered on their menu. They are that dead serious about tea! I'm not even going to attempt impressing tea lovers because I know I'd fail big time but just for the sake of opening up a new world to ignorant coffee drinkers like me, let me use the word brisk to describe the general flavour of what they offer. (Click on the word "brisk" to enter that world!)

I liked that they used classical music in the background although I found Mendelssohn's wedding march Midsummer Night's Dream  a bit distracting. I was expecting a bride walking by our table any second. 

Apparently, this place has it's original huge shop and cafe in Kyushu, where it has it's own tea plantation and which got a prize by the English Great Taste Award for its amazing tea. 


Bunroku Tea Room

A Little Soul Comes To Earth ...

One of my dearest friends, Stefanie Wackar, has a website called Wolkenwerke (cloud works/factory). She has come a long (spiritual) way to call this her baby.

She creates personalised books for children. The stories are about dreaming, love, discovering your individual skills and characteristics, friendship, and gratitude. 

All you need to do is choose one content from a series of set stories, and add personal information about the child. Personal information varies from book to book  (e.g. from name, age, looks, characteristics to name of birth place, birth day, and name of grandparents and so on).

That's all. Stefanie gets the book ready within ten days and sends it to you. 

The books are great personal gifts for children for birthdays, Christmas, baptism, or just like that and a beautiful memory for life!

When Stefanie started with Wolkenwerke I was lucky to be a presentee. It's a very special feeling to receive something so personal and so touching. I'm still moved when I hold the book in my hands to go over the pages once in a while. 

The only hard to fix obstacle is that the books and website are in German. If you are hooked on the idea though, have a look at the colourful pictures of different characters who appear in her books. My two personal favourites are "Rosalie", the butterfly queen, and a guardian angel. I love the thought of a guardian angel, especially for a child. It makes you feel protected. 

If you have any questions, then please don't hesitate to contact Stefanie. She is fluent in English and Spanish.

Have fun!


Meet up for Entrepreneurs

My friend and business consultant, Jacqui, and another friend, Amanda, who is an interior designer, regularly arrange a get-together for female expats they call Osaka Women Entrepreneur Meetup.

The meet ups are designed to support female expats in Japan (Kansai mostly) in starting their own small business. 

Today was the second time I joined the meeting and I love how motivated I feel after the meet-ups. 

Both Jacqui and Amanda put a lot of effort and love in these meetings.

I like the locations they choose - they are fashionable, they create a cozy atmosphere and they  introduce you to the different faces Osaka has, from business to retro style. 

Everyone gets a chance to talk about their business idea(s) and in most cases most members have a tornado of thoughts they put on the table. With Jacqui's  and Amanda's business experience and with the team's brainstorming you get a sense for the next few steps you want to take for your business idea. Those steps are he hardest. Just like when a baby starts walking for the first time - it's still shaky and takes up all your strengths. 

Especially for one of today's members joining the group was an emotionally important step - she could follow our conversation but speaking in English was difficult for her. Also, all her life she had been there for other family members but a while ago she thought of something that could become a life changing business idea, with which she'd finally have a chance to do something for HERSELF. When she stumbled upon Jacqui's Meetup (check out the App on iTunes) on Facebook she got really excited. You could see how important it was for her to have found a space where she could finally talk about (in Japanese and English) all her thoughts on her business idea, no matter how big that tornado of thoughts was.

It's normal to be all over the place with ideas - the main goal is to know how to take the next few steps.  

Amanda talked about how important it is to create your own inspiring work space and how you can do that. I love how she simplifies approaching this important step for starting your own business. 

At the beginning of the meeting one of the members, Leigh, whose into yoga, did a wonderful breathing exercise with us to get us in the right mindset. It worked.

Last but not least, I liked how Jacqui asked me to describe how things have been going for me since the last time I had attended the meeting. By telling my story I realised for the first time how things had become clearer for me, how I had grown on a personal level, how my ideas had shaped into something I could now grasp. 

I'm not ready to talk about my idea yet but I wanted to let you know that it's on its way, and you'll hear more about it next year. Please stay posted.  

Thanks for all the support. 


German bread

Most Japanese prefer soft white bread. Therefore it's not easy to find dark, hearty, rich, densely textured bread in Japan. By the number of adjectives I used it’s not hard to guess how much I miss REAL bread!!!!

My mother and a friend were so sweet to send me a few bread mix packages from Germany the other day and all of them were quite healthy dark bread types. One was even gluten-, lactose-, and wheat-free.  Mind blowing! 

I always find a way to mess up even easy instructions and I didn't want to take any chances here. That’s why I was happy to meet up with one of my friends, who is enrolled in a one-year bread-baking course. She really knows how to make crusty, beautiful baguette and other kinds of bread. She is also very interested in organic food in general.

We were both looking forward to baking all bread mix packages on one single day.

We had one oven, three bread mixes, and 6 hours in total to get everything done.

“Why sweat?” (as one of my friends likes to say), you’ll think – “That sounds like a lot of time!”,  but different bread have different rest times, which made the whole process a little challenging.

Luckily, my friend had learned at her bread baking course how to plan out a time table and so we managed to not only finish baking all three bread mixes but we also had time to a “Brotzeit”, a light meal at the end. 


The other day I went to Banpaku Park in Osaka, where an event called LOHAS Festa, which stands for Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability, was held.

We were lucky with the weather - It was a beautiful autumn day with a blue sky, which made the leaves that had already changed colour look even prettier.

I didn't know what to expect but I was thrilled to see lots and lots of tents on a wide field functioning as shops and beautiful, creative handmade items or old goods, just like at flea markets. Around the shops people were picnicking and enjoying all kinds of different dishes from various food stands. 

We had a fantastic time, wandering from shop to shop and admiring knit-, wood-, pottery work and all kinds of accessories as well as antique glass work and so on. At some point we were overwhelmed by the amount of shops, up to the point we didn't know anymore what we liked and what we wanted to buy. 

One thing I DID buy was a balloon dog at a shop that sold all kinds of balloon animals. It was so cute I thought I had a new pet. I named him Luke and thought my little 2-year-old nephew might enjoy playing with him. After the event I went to their house and he was indeed very happy about his new friend.

 I visited my nephew and Luke just yesterday - it looked like poor Luke had lost some … air. 

Anyways, if you decide to go to the next LOHAS Festa event then I recommend to bring your own picnic blanket, plates, cups, and cutlery so that you don't have to pay for that when you visit the food stands. 

LOHAS takes place twice a year (in autumn and spring) at Banpaku Park in Osaka. 

Here is the link: (only in Japanese though)

Luke and I on the train. 

Luke and I on the train. 

Little Red Restaurant

The other day my husband and I went to this French Bistro / Restaurant to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

Unfortunately, it's hard for us to get over the prejudice that French food is mostly a white big plate … with some food on it but this place proofed us wrong. The portions are more than filling, each dish had its own splendid taste, and desert was to melt for.

It's a charming little place with little items and decorations everywhere that show the bistro has a history. The music reminds you of Hollywood movies in which an American visits Paris. I loved that. 

Everything mentioned above wouldn't have made that much of an impression on us if the waiter and the chef had not been sweet and wonderful to us. We thank them for a quiet and beautiful first anniversary. 

Check this link out: