Thursday, February 26, 2009


many years ago, while working as a custom picture framer in berkeley, i met ayumi. we immediately clicked as we bonded over food, and soon I considered her my imouto -- my little sister. we worked together for only a year and then in 2001, i moved to new york. that was the last time we had seen each other.

we kept in touch online, but i still missed her very much. in the meantime, she and her husband, aaron, moved to portland, oregon. finally, after years of procrastinating, ej and i made it a priority, and after our recent holiday visit to the west coast, flew straight to portland to visit ayumi and aaron. she and i cried when we saw each other.

ayumi and i in their happy little home.

with aaron, ocho, and p-nut.

in their house, there is always something to look at.

at night, ej had vivid dreams in color.

close up on his dreams .

ayumi and aaron work together as artists under the name apak.

we really felt like we were on vacation.

this is the dog with the longest neck i've ever seen.

ayumi made a batch of blueberry pancakes.

oh, happy day!

life as a dog in their house is pretty darn good.

we eventually ventured out into the world. strangely, many of our adventures were related to food.

we visited a massive asian supermarket. right after i took this photo, an employee informed me that photos were prohibited. i guess they don't want anyone to steal their dragon idea.

so when i took this illegal photo of ayumi holding a notebook and some stationary that they designed that's sold at the store, we had to have ej and aaron be on the lookout. there were two other shops in portland where i saw their artwork being sold in different forms and that was exciting. i felt like i was hanging out with celebrities.

other stops were at the love counselor, which was...confusing.

and the waffle window where i got the warm chocolate-covered waffle i was craving.

just a little waffle action to fuel us.

hailing a cab? pointing the way? is it me, or does that statue have an unusually long finger?

we were tourists, so it was required that we stop at voodoo doughnut.

they're known for their unique doughnuts, such as texas-sized glazed doughnuts and cereal covered doughnuts.

the one i'd seen on tv was the maple bacon doughnut. i hear it's good, but i stuck with a traditional glazed. regular sized.

i enjoy neon.

perhaps my favorite part of our visit, was when ayumi made a traditional japanese one-pot dish called nabe. here are most of the ingredients.

this was in honor of my birthday and it was exactly what i wanted, good food shared with people i love.

i discovered that nabe is the perfect mid-winter meal. the clay pot is heated by a single burner that was brought out to the table. it was all very warm and comforting and all the flavors were outstanding.

this is from wikipedia:
Eating together from a shared pot is considered as an important feature of nabemono; East Asian people believe that eating from one pot makes for closer relationships. The Japanese thus say, Nabe (w)o kakomu (鍋を囲む、"sitting around the pot"), implying that sharing nabemono will create warm relations between the diners who eat together from the shared pot.

the dogs knew they were missing out on something.

"delicious" doesn't even do it justice.

too much sake.

this was all followed by blueberry pie a la mode. i hope that aaron and ayumi realize what they've done. ej and i will be back next year for dinner on january 11th. and every year thereafter.

these are close-ups on a collaboration between apak and a furniture designer. this work was painted directly on a bench. it's called "coming home" and this shows only part of the whole work.

one of the things i love about ayumi and aaron is that they're creating the world in which they want to live. they both make their living as artists, they bought their home, they've created a studio upstairs where they can work, they have two adorable dogs, one of which can
play a toy was really wonderful to be a part of their world.

it was going to be hard to leave, even though we'd only been there two full days.

before they dropped us off at the airport, we stopped for breakfast. of course we couldn't leave without one last meal.

it was yummy danish food.

the bonus was that we were able to meet up with a dear friend who had been a framer with us. i hadn't seen chris since 2001. lucky for us, she now lives in portland. she brought me a gift of a hat.

the lay-dees. yup, we can all cut glass, cut mats, and assemble moulding.

a skinny creature on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. apak found him.

and then it was time to fly away. on the plane, you could listen to music provided by the airline or, play games on the screen in front of you. ej played a trivia game against other passengers. he did very well.

there were quite a few snowy peaks as i looked out the plane window. the visit had been exactly what i needed.



Sistah D said...

May I be Ayumi in my next life??

Timothy said...

Thanks for this Sandra! Your friends' art is VERY cool and their Portland-scape made me pause for a minute and think "hmmm, could that be my life?" Anyway, I've bookmarked their sites. I love that bedroom!