Friday, April 27, 2012


I'm back, after a short hiatus. I've been busy elsewhere, to be exact, I've been busy honeymooning in Japan! Two and a half years after our nuptials, my husband and I finally packed our bags and headed for our honeymoon. The destination was decided a long time ago, and if you know us, the choice of going to Japan would seem like a perfect fit, almost predicable.

Both of us have been fortunate to be able to travel fairly frequently, together, through work and before we met. We have been to a bunch of Asian countries but none of us have ever set foot in Japan (with the exception of the occasional transit at Narita Airport). But for the longest time we have been indulging in various aspects of Japanese culture. We've watched countless of Japanese movies, series and game shows, we enjoy a lot of Japanese food, we are avid gamers, we have been to anime conventions, we both used to have Tamagotchis and my husband's favorite piece of art is "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" by Katsushika Hokusai. We even watched "Lost in Translation" on our very first date. Actually, it's a wonder we haven't been to Japan until now.

To summarize our trip with one word, it would have to be amazing! It was fascinating, surprising, relaxing and crazy, all wrapped up in the unique package that is Japan. Also, it was super tasty, but more on that later.

There are so many things I want to share with you that I could write a book about it. I would perhaps be able to fit it all into an essay, but to reduce enough material to fill a book into a blog post is impossible. So starting today and over the coming week, I will be posting four separate post (including this one) about our trip. The next blog post will summarize our first 9 days of travel and it will include Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Yudanaka and Obuse. The third post will be about our 5 days in Tokyo. The final blog post will be all about edible goodies!

I hope you'll enjoy reading about Japan. And if you do, imagine going there and experiencing it!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My beloved hometown

To quote one of my favorite artist, Maia Hirasawa: "Gothenburg, I thank you, you gave me someone to love and I really owe you".

In very many ways I feel more attached to my hometown of Göteborg/Gothenburg, and the West coast of Sweden, than with Sweden itself. When I get geographically homesick, I don't miss Sweden's many lakes and grand forests, I miss the ocean, the smell of salt and the bare granite. I don't necessarily miss Swedish, but the local dialect of Göteborg is like chicken soup for my soul. If I would find myself disliking something about Sweden, it would never apply to Göteborg. Without a doubt, I have put the city and the people of the city on a very high pedestal.

There are several factors contributing to my love for Göteborg. I'm brought up there, my family is there and many of my friends live there. It's the city I'm most familiar with and the first city I got to explore and discover. And on top of that, in my opinion, the West coast of Sweden is the most beautiful place in the world.

In 2002 I left Göteborg to pursue university studies in England. Since then I have lived in several other places. But Göteborg has always been a place I could come home to and a place where I feel completely at ease. With the exception of a few new restaurant and clubs, and a few new and re-routed tram lines, the city has remained pretty much unchanged throughout the years.

It dawned on me, that in September this year, it will have been 10 years ago I left Göteborg. I have moved back, briefly, a few times since, but all in all, I haven't lived there for quite some time. This got me thinking. If I was 6 when I moved from Taipei to Göteborg and it's been almost 10 years since I left the city and I haven't turned 30 yet, I must have spent more than half my life outside my beloved hometown. This prompted me to take a closer look. If I break my life down into months and look at where I've lived during the majority of each month (excluding vacations and business travels), by the end of April 2012, I will have lived the majority of my life elsewhere than Göteborg.

As a tribute to Göteborg, which will always be my beloved hometown, I want to share Maia Hirasawa's song and music video. Unlike her, I have never doubted my feelings towards the city, but just like her, I would write a songs about Göteborg if I was a songwriter.