Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Worms, Compost and now Chickens!

Since I got excited about gardening and growing vegetables, I decided to try and start a worm farm. Hubby kept having these large styrofoam boxes being delivered to the practice and my mum told me I could make a worm farm out of them. So I decided to give it a try.

Unfortunately I had only one big styrofoam box and two little boxes. So I started with the big box and poked some drainage holes in the bottom. It would have been nice if I could collect this "worm wee" I read so much about, but I only had one box. The kids were also quite excited about the whole "pet worm" thing.

Image from Family Weekend Project: Practical Kids Make a worm farm
I did lots of reading and they said to put lots of "carbon" into the box. So I shredded lots of corrugated cardboard and paper and lined the bottom with a few pieces of newspaper so the worms didn't go out the holes as easily. Then I bought a box of worms from Bunnings and away they went.  However, we made more fruit peel than they could eat, so I decided to top up with another box of worms and see how that goes. I've been watching it carefully to make sure it's not too dry, and also to make sure food isn't going anaerobic in there. There are a few other bugs in there breaking down the food too, and I every morning we open the lid to see if we can see any worms eating the peelings and other scraps that we left there.  One website said that I should bury the food not leave it on top to help control the smell and I might do that for the second worm farm that I wanted to put in the house in square styrofoam boxes.

Then I decided I wanted to keep chickens. I'd been thinking about chickens for a while now, and I didn't have anywhere to put them, except in this area of the backyard that had lots of trees growing out of control in it. I've since cut down those trees, and there is a good space there for putting a coop, but we have the water tank collection thing there. However, I think we can cover it so the chooks don't poop on it, but I've finally gone ahead and bought a coop to put there from My Chicken Coop.

Thinking of starting with 2 Isa Brown hens, and I hope they're friendly so the kids can pick them up and have them treated like real pets. Also, looking forward to feeding them our scraps! I have resigned myself to being the person who cleans and looks after them (adding more time to my chores), but I figured I can at least use their poo on the garden.

Which brings me to the last thing, I finally bought a compost bin. After umming and ahhing about what to get, I bought an Aerobin 400, which seems to be a nice lazy composting bin that would work well for me. I would like to put the excess chicken poo in there and bedding (thinking of using hemp bedding rather than straw). I was doing a lot of reading about successful compost bins and it seems that having the right combination of nitrogen and carbon contents is the key. If you put too much food stuff in there it goes foul and stinky. And it has to be moist and warm too, much like the worm farm. I won't set it up until the chicken coop goes in, because I need some nice solid ground to put it on (like pavers or bricks) and I would like it near the chicken coop. I like how this person has set it up on a raised area.

But the vegies are doing well - the bok choy is growing wild on the tanbark because I threw the old seed pods there after I'd done a big seed harvest and they started growing so I thought, free food! So I've been looking after them, fertilizing and watering them, and even putting out slug and snail bait, and they have been growing nicely and should be right to have some leaves harvested in the next week or two.

I've also tried something my mother was telling me about. Her sister, my aunt, is the ultimate in recycling, and keeps chickens and grows her own vegetables. She collects large tins from her neighbours, punches holes in the bottom for drainage, puts compostable stuff in the bottom 5-10cm of the tin, chucks in some chicken poo and then potting mix on top and then plants vegetables in them and plonks them on the soil. She has containers growing vegies EVERYWHERE, and they're very successful!  My mother is a very keen gardener with a huge vegetable garden and takes great pride in her vegies but even she was impressed with her sister's work. My aunt gives eggs and vegies to her neighbours and in return they bring her their kitchen scraps and old tins and she feeds the chooks and makes more pots. So I decided to try that with my sister's empty baby milk powder tins, and have got some zucchini growing in one of them. It will be a bit of an experiment for me!

So currently I have dwarf beans, bok choy, carrots, spring onions, and cucumbers growing. I have just sown some thai basil, lettuce and zucchini and there are some wild spinach that have obviously grown from my failed earlier attempt at spinach (which bolted to seed because it was just too warm here). My poor chili plants have been resuscitated from the brink of death, and my Kaffir lime is growing all over the place (but never flowers or fruits). I have one basil plant that survived the slugs but I really should plant more if I want to get anything useful out of it!

I'm quite enamoured with my garden at the moment, having never thought I would be much of a green thumb, but I find it fun and the kids love to go outside and help water the plants and pick vegies. I bet they'll be even more excited to get eggs every morning!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

2015 has been My Year of Diversity in Film and Television

This year, more than any other year, I have noticed a lot of things in film and television that show women in roles that are worth looking up to, and showing amazing strength of character and the development of positive relationships. Often when people discuss the "strong female character" they seem to take that in the literal sense - women who have amazing physical or mental prowess such as Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanov in the Avengers, Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft in Tomb Raider or Charlize Theron's ├ćon Flux. 

This may sound strange, but it ALMOST seems that these interpretations of strong female women are just substituting a woman into a male hero role. Most females (and I say most, not all) are social creatures, who enjoy friendships and relationships. Positive relationships, I should add. A strong woman doesn't necessarily mean a kickass one (though of course I do admire them, but I am not one of them). Stereotyping in media is interesting in that it's so subtle, that we don't even notice how it makes what we see as normal. We all deny it and say "of course I know that black people aren't always violent" or that "Indian people don't all work in Quik-E-Marts", but other things, like gay relationships or even gay public displays of affection seem to be more shocking to people when you don't see them on television and are suddenly faced with them in real life having never seen it before.

The Bechdel test, which first appeared in 1985 in Alison Bechdel's comic strip :Dykes To Watch Out For" is something I have been using privately to assess every work of fiction I come across (TV, movies, books). To pass the Bechdel test it has to satisfy the following requirements:
  1. The movie has to have at least two women in it, 
  2. who talk to each other, 
  3. about something besides a man
It is surprising how many movies I have enjoyed over the last 10 years actually fail the test. Most of the superhero movies I watch by Marvel (except X-Men), Lord of the Rings, and most action movies (The Bourne series, Bond movies, Die Hard series and my favourite movie, The Fugitive). Even animated movies like Toy Story, Ratatouille and Ice Age don't pass the Bechdel test. Interestingly, what DOES pass, are the Disney princess movies, and you know how much criticism there is surrounding those movies about values we teach our daughters.

But this post is not about just women in fictional media. I'm talking about cultural and sexual diversity too.
My most recent TV show that I've started watching is Quantico. There is so much diversity there, that I think the show is brilliant in its representation of not only women, but of other cultures too.

The main character of the show, Alex Parrish, is an Indian (Asian Indian, not American Indian) who is intelligent, beautiful and a brilliant trainee in the FBI. I honestly can't remember the last time I saw an Indian female in a western movie in a starring role (except Bend it Like Beckham - where there were a lot of Indian stereotypes in it), who wasn't just the girlfriend or significant other of a main character. And that's not all. There are twin FBI trainees, Reina and Nima, who are muslim but with both approach their religion differently - Reina is more conservative and wears a hajib, Nima is outspoken and does not. It's also nice to see that the muslim women are not portrayed as the terrorists in this show (as yet!) and that they can be independent, and work hard in something that is not a stereotypical muslim female does (ie oppressed, stays at home, or engage in law enforcement). There are lots of muslims, men and women, who are just normal everyday people and it's great to see that it's being represented here! Also, there are gay characters (and one pretending to be gay) and they are all mixed in together with other FBI trainees of different race and sex - it's not trying to say women or other races are more powerful, but to me the show demonstrates that these are normal things you see in society and we should recognise that.

Jessica Jones was another outstanding series that I binge watched this year. After the much lauded predecessor, Daredevil, I wasn't sure what to expect (and was worried about being disappointed) because I'm sure that I, like many others, wondered "Who is Jessica Jones?" However, it was a portrayal of a superhero which delved a lot more into the darker side of human nature, with a huge emphasis on character development - which you can do with a series, not so easy to do in a movie. Jessica has supernatural strength and unlike other heroes, chooses not to hide it (nor flaunt it) - it's just part of her everyday routine. Her best friend, Trish, with whom she had been avoiding due to her sense of "keeping everyone distant so I dont' hurt them" felt to me like the more emotionally strong character, taking charge of her own challenges, and facing them rather than hiding from them.

There was good representation throughout , from her lesbian lawyer who faced the same challenges with a relationship as you would expect from a married couple, to a mixed black/caucasian relationship that Jessica herself had with Luke Cage. However, the best part of the series was the portrayal of how control in a relationship IS abuse. Kilgrave's "love" for Jessica, made you almost feel sorry for him, with his stalking and desperation to please, yet the warped way in which he carried out the relationship was highlighted so well that I hoped that people could better understand how an abusive relationship can come about.  He controlled her, with mind control, to do the things he wanted, yet he also gave her nice presents, expensive food and hotels, and thought because he "treated her well" with these things, it entitled him the use of her body, because he LOVED her. This is the part that I think many males without positive relationships misunderstand in real life, that just because you love someone and shower them with gifts, it does not entitle you that person's love or their body or their trust. It is a choice to engage in a relationship, between two people, not one person. I probably didn't articulate that well. Also, the reverse chauvinism displayed by the cop, Will Simpson, who was in a relationship with Trish was also interesting - where the guy feels like he has to be the hero and protect the girl but the girls don't really need protecting unless asked for - this is something that I feel like I deal with a lot. I don't need help, and I will ask for it if needed, but just because someone thinks they can do something better than me, doesn't mean that that I should listen to them. It was articulated very nicely in an article by Edeline Wrigh:
Where Kilgrave believes he’s entitled to women he’s put on a pedestal and done “favors” for, Simpson believes he’s entitled to the attention of the “fragile” women (Jessica’s superhuman strength notwithstanding) who must be protected. Where Kilgrave uses mind control to force women to give him what he wants, Simpson manipulates situations “for their protection” while undermining their autonomy. They aren’t enacting the precise same version of toxic masculinity, but in both cases, it’s a mixture of entitlement and manipulation that necessitates they view women’s skills, knowledge, and desires as inferior to their own. Perhaps the scariest part of the whole thing is that they’re convinced they’re justified in doing so.
It's a little more aggressive than what I would like to express, but it is the part where the villains feel like they have the right to remove the decision making of their victims that is the form of abuse that is something that society doesn't quite always see.

(On a side note, it was pretty awesome the number of Aussie actors in it - Rachael Taylor, Wil Traval and Eka Darville)

Mad Max: Fury Road was a movie that I watched this year that surprised me because I actually enjoyed it, AND it also had quite a strong feminism message too. The fact that the heroine, Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa, was the actual protagonist rather than Mad Max, sat very poorly with some of the male audience, which was a shame because I actually enjoyed the movie a lot. It did pass the Bechdel test with flying colours!

Furiosa is a woman - a disabled one at that, with only one arm - and she takes it upon herself to help the wives of Immortan Joe, one of the warlords in this post apocalyptic movie, escape the life that has been forced upon them. Women in this movie are precious possessions - their bodies, their babies, their lives - and Furiosa is merely giving them a choice to be able to live a life that they choose. She can drive, and shoot, like any man, but she is not BETTER than any man, which is why I really enjoyed this movie. I like how Max doesn't feel emasculated when Furiosa has to use his shoulder as a stand to steady her shot. I also admired how the wives, even when faced with a rabid War Boy bent on suicide bombing, showed that life is to be valued and treasured, never wasted, even on an enemy.

The 100, was another series that passed the Bechdel test and should be celebrated for its diversity, though it's one of those series that aims at the young adult/teenager group. Clarke is a leader, not because she is the strongest, but because she has the courage to make decisions and to follow them through. Bellamy is a nice balance to her leadership and I quite like how the two complement one another, both trying to protect their people in their own ways. Bellamy has his strength and testosterone technique, which isn't always the way, and Clarke seems to be the one who reasons and balances, and also shows that the emotional toll that the weight of those decisions can take on a person.  It isn't weakness when emotions or morality take a toll on you, it's human. And showing how characters experience it and deal with it, gives people something to aspire too. Those female strong types who walk around kicking ass and not being "weakened" by emotion is a ridiculous unrealistic stereotype (more of that woman being substituted into the male hero role) and I like that the 100 isn't like that.

It reminds me a lot of Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen, who is emotionally drained and traumatised by all the things that has happened to her in the Hunger games and its aftermath. Mockingjay Part 2 came out this year and a broken, stressed out Katniss, who cries and suffers with all of what has occurred in the past few movies - just like soldiers who come back from war are traumatised by what has happened to them. This movie also passes the Bechdel test and I do like how the road to healing was not the aggressive and violent way (embodied by Gael) but by the choosing the gentle and peaceful way (embodied be Peter who is also an emotional wreck after his time in the Games and the Capital). Moving on from your trauma, acknowledging it, learning to live and deal with it, rather than continuing to motivate you to more anger and more bloodshed, is a message that this movie demonstrates very well.

I guess what I'm trying to say in this post is that we're moving away from the Bruce Willis's John McClane Die Hard hero (who is emotionally stunted, can't keep communicate to keep his shit together, but is a kickass hero, and every just that bit chauvenistic because he doesn't think anyone can look after themself) and more towards the Katniss and Jessicas - that you don't have to be unaffected by the horrors around you and still stay strong and emotionally resilient. Being able to face your emotions and deal with them is heroic in itself.

What I WOULD like to see is not just women facing these challenges - but I would love to see a man facing them and overcoming them. It's great that we're breaking the stereotype for women and other cultures, but when a popular mainstream TV or movie does it for a man as well - well, then that will be another stereotype broken, but I admit that one will be a tough one. I'm not sure how long it will take for the world to be ready for a male hero that isn't macho, emotionally stunted and able to communicate and be a leader that leads with his head and not his sword.

Or maybe, he's already here :)

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Japan Holiday Day 12-14 - Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea

We decided to do Disneyland a day earlier because weather was good and also because less queues on the weekdays compared to the weekend. Our friends were going out for dinner so we could only spend the day there and not hang around for the night show. So we decided to do Disneyland on Day 12, DisneySea on Day 13 and catch up on the bits we missed on Day 14.

Disneyland in Tokyo is similar to Disneyland in Los Angeles, so the rides were all the same, but this time the kids could ride everything in Disneyland.

English was spoken in both parks by at least some of the attendants so you could get by not knowing any Japanese. If you ask, you can get a map in English.

Disneysea can definitely be done in a day - but Disneyland still takes us 2 days if we wanted to do everything. We went back to do our favourite rides again (Splash Mountain, Canoes, Speedway) on the third day and caught two parades and also the DisneySea light and water show.

Halloween was a very prominent theme and the park was decorated heavily with Halloween stuff, as well as having special Halloween parades and props and accessories.

This is my favourite picture - the night picture of Cinderella's castle. It just look so magical and the Halloween 2015 makes it look even more special!

Everything looks great at night. I couldn't take pictures of the show - I found that I was spending more time trying to get nice shots instead of watching, so I gave up and just watched the show instead.

So what are my recommendations for Disneyland? I think that Disneyland is great for the under 10s - both parks. My children were still too small to go on the big roller coasters in DisneySea but even those rides were quite mild and not too scary. As I have gotten older I find I get vertigo and car sick a lot more, so Space Mountain and a few of the visual rides with lots of veering around made me feel unwell.

Food is outrageously expensive so it's not a bad idea to eat at Ikspiari for dinner instead of in the park. If you have to, lunch is probably the meal you should eat there.

I got a monorail pass for 4 days which turns out to be cheaper. If you catch the monorail at least twice a day then it will be worth it.

Weekdays are definitely a better option for visiting Disneyland. It felt so much less crowded than Universal Studios, and if you have young children, waiting in queue will be a horrible nightmare.

Fast passes are free which is good but they are time limited - you can only have one every 2 hours or until you do your ride. Make sure you choose your fast passes wisely! Don't fast pass anything with a queue less than half an hour, you might as well line up.

If you like dressing up/cosplay then Japan is THE place to do it. So many people cosplay and wear souvenir shirts (we all wore Disney shirts on the second day) that you won't feel like a dork.

There is child-switch available in Disney as well, and it works out well if you go with friends. Someone lines up and they get a child-switch, they get on the ride and you jump in after you swap kids and skip the line. Something to think about when there's a few of you at Disneyland as you can get more rides in.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Japan Holiday Day 11 - Tsukiji, Oedo Onsen and Dinner at Narisawa

Hubby and I had fancy dinner plans tonight, so I wanted a relatively easy day.  We headed out to Tsukiji markets, too late to see the tuna auctions (they don't allow kids anyway and it's at 530 in the morning limited to 120 visitors per day) and too late to wander around the fish market, so we hung around the outer Tsukiji market looking at the stalls and trying to find somewhere good to eat.

We had only gone in a small distance and we came across Sushizanmai, which is a sushi chain that I had seen in Dotonbori in Osaka, and it had quite good reviews.  We went in and ordered some of the best and freshest sushi we could find.

I don't know why I ordered crab miso. I don't particularly enjoy cracking open crab legs to get meat out but the miso did have a slight crab flavour to it. It was probably because I didn't get to eat crab at Dotonbori.
We ordered some hand rolls of prawn and cucumber and a blue fin tuna, and nigiri sushi otoro and herring roe. The otoro (tuna belly) just melted in your mouth, it was so fatty and yummy!
This nigiri sushi set was for hubby, but the kids were helping themselves to it.
We got these salmon, avocado and salmon roe rolls for the kids but they wouldn't eat them so we ate them.
I felt like something different, as I had already had a chirashi sushi so I ordered this rather cholesterol heavy chirashi sushi with salmon roe, crab and sea urchin. Yum! I think I have more than satisfied my salmon roe craving.
Our friend ordered a tuna chirashi sushi and the otoro on it looked so yummy I had to take a photo of it. It made me wish I had gotten this instead!
At the end of the meal the kids got a little gift - these sushi lollipops! They are just striped candies on top with a white candy on the bottom, but they did look great, this photo doesn't do it justice.
The second floor had people sitting around a sushi bar. It would have been fun to sit there if the kids weren't with us.

When we went outside there was now a queue outside the restaurant!  When we first arrived we got straight in, hopefully it was because we were a bit early for lunch, but boy were we glad we went early.
The sushi was very fresh, the salmon roe was so soft which is different from the roe you get usually, and the fish was all very fresh, which is what I would expect from eating at the fish market. It was a shame we didn't go into the market directly to look around, but not sure if the kids would get underfoot at the market, because it is still a working business area and it must be annoying to have people wandering around whilst you are trying to work!

After that we went to Odaiba, which is a shopping and entertainment district on a man made reclaimed island in Tokyo Bay. Our friend wanted to go to Miraikan, also known as the National Museum of Emerging Science, but it was closed on Tuesdays! The Fuji TV building was interesting to look at, as was the Maritime museum (which was a big boat building). So we decided to go to Oedo Onsen Monogatari, which is an onsen (bath) theme park. The park has onsens from water they drilled out of the ground, and they are all outside public baths.

If you haven't been to public onsen before in Japan there are several rules, or rather, etiquette that must be followed.
  1. Wash before you get into the onsen. Onsens are for soaking only, and everyone is sitting in it so you shouldn't be dirty.
  2. You have to be naked to go into the onsen. No towels or clothing. That's because you should be clean when you enter, not dirty and clothing is considered dirty.
  3. No towels in onsen water. You can put it on your head if you're sweaty.
  4. Many places frown on tattoos. So no tattoos in some of the big famous public onsens. In Oedo Onsen there were LOTS of signs 
So I couldn't get into the onsen but everyone else could, which was a bum, because I was the one who really wanted to go. There is a foot bath that I could go to and they do the fish therapy where they nibble at your feet. I thought that would be fun.

Everyone gets changed into yukata after you enter, so you get a locker key, and you can put your clothes in and change into yukata.  There are lots of different ones to choose from and kids are welcome too.  There is also an entertainment area with food, tables and games to play in a shitamachi style old Edo-period environment.

There are a few baths around the central big bath, some with nano bubbles so it's like a spa - I think there are 14 baths all up with 7 on each side.  Onsen are separated into male and female sides. Hubby took my son to the onsen and they had a great time, my daughter and I walked around in the foot baths yelping as we walked on rocks that should be massaging but felt rather painful instead, and indulged in the fish therapy which tickled and was probably more a novelty than any real exfoliation.

There were a some non Japanese people there.  Koreans, chinese and caucasians - I could hear them talking but there were a lot of Japanese people too, groups of girls and groups of boys, couples, families with young children - it seemed to be a place for everyone.

There was free tea and water to refresh and rehydrate after the onsen, and I had some strawberry and mango shaved ice with the kids.

After that we had to head back because hubby and I had dinner plans at Narisawa. Narisawa is a two Michelin Star restaurant that was featured on SBS Destination Japan with Adam Liaw. It also was placed at #8 in the World's Best 50 restaurants (sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Aequa Panna). With a pedigree like that, I was expecting a lot.

Fortunately I wasn't disappointed. I was asked how the food was compared to the 3 star kaiseki cuisine I had in Kyoto. The difference was that I expect kaiseki to be the best of Japan's seasonal foods, with the excellent service that traditional Japanese are famous for and have authentic traditional flavours that epitomise the culture and cuisine of Japan. From Narisawa I expected a Heston Blumenthal or perhaps Sepia's Martin Benn type of menu - where ingredients I don't expect to come together do so in a surprisingly pleasant way.

This is the entree serving plate. This glass with Narisawa's name embossed can be seen from the side as well, which I thought was cool and took a photo of it.
The bread of the forest was interesting. They brought out the uncooked dough, which was fermenting with its yeast in a glass in an arrangement reminescent of the forest. They took it away afterwards and put it into a hot stone bowl which was heated to 300 degrees or something and then left there for a period to cook.
I could appreciate the use of wood in this forest theme, and the result was a dough that was more like asian steamed bread than crusty french bread. The addition of chestnuts inside bread was a surprising flavour that I enjoyed a lot.

The Essence of the Forest was a essence of oak in a Cedar cup (tree stump), with deep friend burdock (twigs). The green powder (moss) was ground spinach with a bit of matcha (green tea) - but the matcha wasn't strongly featured because there wasn't a bitter taste in the green powder. The dark powder (soil)was charcoal bamboo. A little bit of soy yoghurt was underneath the mound which you eat together with the ground powders. It was interesting and fun to eat, and I could appreciate the art put into the dish. I enjoyed it.
After our bread of the forest they brought out a crust bread and a special butter to eat it with. More forest themed plating, witht his slice of wood serving platter.

This rock with moss growing on it and a plant is actually butter, covered in ground olives and ground spinach and some herbs placed on top. The butter is so pleasing to look at I hardly felt like eating it, but once I started eating it with my bread I couldn't stop. I wish I could just eat it by itself! It makes so much sense to put olives and butter together since we sometimes dip bread in olive oil - I loved this idea, and the taste.

Fried yuba (tofu skin) with horse mackerel.
Deep fried minced leg of soft shell sea turtle done karaage style. The meat was actually very red. I wondered if they cooked it karaage style because everything tastes like chicken. The bone they stuck in it to make it look like a drumstick suggests that.
This was not on the menu - charcoal leek on sweet onion. It's interesting how charcoaled leek doesn't have that burnt taste, it has that slight smoky taste without the horrible charred taste. I did wish we had the "coal" though, which was charcoal leek on beef.
Broth of sea snake from Okinawa. Sea snake is a delicacy found in Okinawa in a few places. There is pork broth in here also with wintermelon and sweeet potato.
They showed us a dried and preserved charcoaled sea snake so we could see what we are eating. Voluntarily, of course.

Tai, sweet shrimp and salmon roe on a kombu and tomato broth with a bit of butter. Those are shiso flowers decoarating the plate which go nicely with the sweetness of this dish.
Clam in kombu buttered broth with tomato. Fantastic.

Deep fried lobster with grilled tomato sprinkled with vanilla and a vanilla bean. Vanilla and tomato is actually really tasty! The lobster was superbly cooked, I hate tough lobster but this wasn't tough.
Eggplant prepared 3 ways, sauteed, minced and deep fried, with seasonal flowers, shiitake mushroom, cheese from Nagano topped with a clear tomato jelly. Beautiful presentation and tasted amazing too.
Suckling pork with gingko nut and onion. The pork was done rare but the crackling was crisp, with a sauce of essence of pork with sherry vinegar. Must have blow torched the top...
Hamo (conger pike) deep fried, seasonal greens with sesame dressing and roasted buckwheat. A nice combination of textures there!

Kyoto duck cooked Peking styloe with sweeet orange, honey and coriander sauce. Sauteed beetroot with berry and beetroot sauce. Of all the dishes this was my least liked though I still liked it but it wasn't really peking style to my palate, but rare duck nonetheless.
This dessert is peach sorbet in ume (Japanese plum - a bit sour) jelly and caramalised shiso.
Pear overdose with this pear shaped dish and pear sorbet with pear, awabe mochi flavoured with yuzu and topped with pear puree. I think they could have done with less pear puree.
OMG when they brought out this petit four selection, I didn't know what to choose! I asked how many we could have and they said we could have all if we wished. WOW. So of course I had one of everything!
This is the top row which isn't shown well in the other picture. To be honest I can't remember all of them...
Mohito jelly with rum foam and mint, Kuzu walnut, awabe matcha, green grape, red grape (from tokyo), taro souffle in the taro skin (a large taro bud), green mochi covered in poppy seed, grape maccaroon, puffed brown sugar, saffron with pumpkin custard, lime flavoured orange with mochi, mountain cherry.  There are a few I've forgotten, but each dessert was delicious! I felt so greedy eating all of them.
I washed my decadent dinner down with a mint tea, but that was after the menu desserts and before I realised there was petit fours coming out. I probably needed a matcha tea afterwards to refresh the palate, but the lingering sweetness in my mouth was divine! Narisawa was an excellent restaurant and the food was surprising and delicious in its combinations and presentations. The duck was the most disappointing of the dishes, I wished I had asked for the beef instead or the pigeon (alternative offerings) but it doesn't matter, I would have wondered about the duck if I hadn't had it. A fantastic dinner that will be hard to match!