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I'm Back From Japan!
Hi! Welcome to “good mood food” from Kale Me Maybe’s Carina Wolff. If you’ve made it here and aren’t yet a subscriber, come join! You can expect recipes, musings, and faves in your inbox every Wednesday! Paid subscribers get even more! Learn more about the paid tier of my newsletter here. You can also try a week for free!
Hello friends!! I’m a little late in writing and sending this newsletter, so my apologies! We just got back from Japan on Monday night, and yesterday, I spent the day planning my content for the week. I was aiming to shoot my newsletter recipe this morning, which was already way too tight of a turnaround, but I had a bit of a rough night last night and am not feeling too great this morning.
I guess jet lag caught up to me, and I couldn’t fall asleep until 4 a.m. (gross). I woke up today feeling exhausted and with a bit of a stuffy nose, so I’m trying to take it easy today so I don’t get too sick. Mentally, it’s a little difficult, because I just took the past 11 days off for a vacation, so I’m filled with a lot of guilt that I’m not hitting the ground running with work.
So I decided to make myself feel a little bit better by still putting out this newsletter. Instead of featuring a recipe this week, I’ll feature some of my Japan highlights!
I will be sure to have a new recipe up this Friday for paid subscribers, and then next week, we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming!
THINGS I’M LOVING
I bought these shoes for bought for my trip, and they really pulled through. I wanted a sneaker that was great for walking and also looked good with my outfits. After trying on multiple New Balances, On Running shoes, etc. I ended up with these Reebok Club C 85 Sneakers, and they were PERFECT! We were walking over 25,000 steps a day, and these shoes were so lightweight and comfy but also have a fun vintage look. No foot pain for me, 10/10.
This slouchy Free People Roma Suede Tote was another purchase for the trip, but I will definitely be using it all the time now. I wanted a bigger purse that could fit a water bottle or a sweater but that had a slouchy, laidback look. I loved how this one fit with my outfits, and it was very convenient to travel with a bag that had so much space.
I guess we are doing fashion all week, but hey, it’s what I’ve been loving! I’ve been on the hunt for a skinny belt, and this one from Mango was chic and affordable. I’ve been pairing it with my black Abercrombie tailored pants, and they’re so cute together!
Even though I’m feeling icky right now, I’m still buzzing with joy over with how incredible our trip was. Japan is definitely one of my favorite places I’ve ever been, which is unsurprising considering how many people told us they loved it.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m the queen of spontaneous travel. I don’t really plan trips ahead of time (and because I work for myself, I’m luckily able to do this). I get in these moods where I need to go somewhere, and then I jump online to find a good deal. Almost all of my spontaneous travel also ends up being a steal. Two years ago, we flew to Italy ROUNDTRIP from LA for $300 a person.
About a month ago, after a hard week, I said to Grant, we should go somewhere. He said, “What about Japan?” Japan has been a bucket list place for both of us, so when he gave me the green light to look into it, I immediately started planning. Between the miles we had and deals I found online, our roundtrip flights only clost us $400 each . I found some good deals on nice hotels on Priceline, the rest was history!
We mostly spent our time in Tokyo and Kyoto, with one night at the dreamiest ryokan with a private onsen in Hakone. I gathered a bunch of recommendations from friends and followers before we went, and spent a lot of time researching on travel blogs and Reddit. I spent the weeks prior to the trip salivating over the food we were going to eat, and it did not disappoint.
The first couple days I had jet lag, but I didn’t feel tired — I just lost my appetite, which was almost worse! We had a sushi omakase planned for our second night in Tokyo, and I could barely eat my food, which was devastating. I felt so guilty watching the chef put food in front of me, only for it to sit there. As someone who is obsessed with sushi and a very adventurous eater, it was torture — I didn’t want the chef to think I was uninterested.
Thankfully, that passed pretty quickly, and I was able to indulge in all the amazing food the country has to offer. Obviously, I was in love with all the sushi and matcha, but we also enjoyed ramen, soba, udon, okonomiyaki, lots of grilled fish and veggies, tofu, and a plethora of desserts.
I loved Tokyo — yes it’s a huge city, but like New York or LA, there are lots of different areas with different feelings. Shinjuku feels like Times Square, but other areas like Yanaka or Nakameguro feel quieter and more quaint. I felt like I could have stayed longer just exploring all these areas.
Hakone was also stunning, with the fall leaves coming in and our incredible private outdoor onsen. Staying at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese Inn), is a must-do if you go to Japan. We splurged on a fancy one, but eating our kaiseki dinner and spending our time in the baths was a special experience.
We also enjoyed Kyoto as well, although I felt it to be much more touristy. Some of the temples were too crowded for me, but when went to some quieter ones, I really felt the magic of the city. Grant and I are obsessed with Japanese architecture and interior design, so we really felt quite at peace the entirety of our trip. Drinking matcha on the floor with our shoes off in a stunning tea house is really an experience I’ll miss.
I’m so happy we took this trip, and I can definitely recommend a trip to Japan. I hope to go back someday and explore some other cities!