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Mountains & Mitsuwa

Mountains & Mitsuwa

This weekend marked the perfect time for a little getaway. Although I love New York City, it's always nice to have some change in scenery. I always advocate for a return to nature. On Saturday, we journeyed up to Bear Mountain in the morning for a short hike. Located about 1.5 hours outside of the city, the mountain is close enough for a day trip and yet far enough to feel like you’ve gotten away from the hustle bustle of Manhattan.

I brought my Nikon along for the trip, keeping in mind my personal goal to practice my photography skills. I’ve had the camera for almost four years, yet have only really used it sporadically. I’ve gotten familiar enough to know the adjustments I need to make for lighting and environment, yet still find myself having to adjust quite a bit before I’m able to produce the image I’d like. Many times during the hike, I found my movements too slow to capture some interesting moments. In addition, I’ve found myself irritated that my kit lens is neither letting in the amount of light I  prefer (even at its maximum capacities) nor getting near the sharpness I drool after in other photographers’ pictures.

If the above sounds like I’m justifying a new lens purchase - you’re right - this is a formal attempt. A while back, I had the chance to test out my friend's Nikon, and I’ve since been eyeing the 50mm f/1.8D prime lens that came attached. It creates ultra-sharp shots and lets in so much light. *drooling* However, if this blog post is an indication of my skills, it would serve me well to keep practicing with the kit lens for a bit. I’m so used to zooming, but the 50 mm is a prime lens (no zoom!) so it would certainly be an adjustment.

Back to the hike! It was a very pleasant 3 hour excursion with a bunch of challenging stairs in the beginning, but nothing very steep. The weather was also quite nice, since the shady mountain was much cooler in temperature than the area at the base of the mountain. Instead of looping around after reaching the summit, we took the same path back down, because the loop around takes quite a while. I consider myself fairly in shape, but this hike toasted me a bit, likely because it has been a while since I’ve done intense cardio. I will need to cut back on gelato soon!

After hiking, it took us an hour to get down to Mitsuwa, my favorite Japanese supermarket. There, we had a ramen lunch at Santouka (my favorite ramen chain). There's nothing like warm ramen in salty bone broth as well as a side bowl of salmon and fresh, juicy ikura.

Then we shopped around! 

Let me pause a moment to obsess over these rice bag designs. So utterly pretty, my goodness.

 So many options!

So many options!

We selected a bunch of sushi-grade fish to make sushi for dinner. We went back to our Airbnb with otoro (fatty tuna), king salmon, and more ikura (not pictured, but still remembered in my tummy) as well as some pre-cooked rice, roasted seaweed, and some spicy octopus as a side dish. If you want to learn more about sushi, visit this site I created as my final project for a food class I took last semester!

Browsing the drinks section. Some of these sake bottles are so gorgeous!

 The best gummy candies on Earth.

And here's a gratuitous picture of my favorite gummies on Earth - so juicy and yummy. But, pst pst, don't buy them here or at H-Mart, because they're cheaper at the Chinese supermarket, New York Mart, in Brooklyn's Park Slope. We also stopped to grab some mochi ice cream, but I ate it later on without remembering to catch a snapshot. Oops! ^_^

This was the result of our two-hour shopping trip at Mitsuwa! 8 pieces of ikura gunkan, 4 pieces of otoro nigiri, 4 pieces of king salmon nigiri, and some spicy octopus for dinner. Because of the limited supplies we had (dishware and furnishings) this dinner was served on the most basic of plastic serving trays. But, alas! My heart was very, very happy.

Ikea & Williamsburg

Ikea & Williamsburg

Up High

Up High