Welcome to my ‘Julie Loves Asian’ Page
The Asian cultures play a big role in how I live and how I eat and how I decorate. Having grown up in the south I didn’t come in contact with that many Asians. It wasn’t until I got married, and Gordon and I moved to Hawaii, that I came to know and love all things Asian.
I find in my daily life that I have much in common with the Asian cultures. I love that they respect the aged. They see older people as being beautiful and wise, something that is lost in more shallow cultures, that shall go nameless.
I love that they respect their dead, they honor their ancestors, they don’t forget them once they are gone.
If I could list everything that I love about the Asian cultures then we would be here all day reading this introduction. So I will close by saying that when I started my website on May 26, 2011, and debuted it on July 6, 2011, I did what Bruce Lee did in Dragon, The Bruce Lee Story.
Me, Dropping the Pebble to Make the Ripples
“You drop a pebble in a pond, you get ripples. Soon the ripples cross the whole pond. Drop it.”
I know nothing about martial arts. I don’t think you have to, to realize just how special that Bruce Lee was. He was talented, smart, wise, intelligent, (yes, all 3 of those are different), and philosopher and a trailblazer. I wish your wisdom and knowledge were still around today.
The painting in the background of this post is of our dog Monk. Veronica painted it for me one year for my birthday.
Cupcakes I made where I inserted a lovely umbrella, for my niece Kate’s birthday.
To me the best gifts are those where someone does something for you. I do love flowers and cards but I also love it when Veronica and Brodie would wash my car as my Birthday or Mother’s Day gift. Or give me a foot rub. Or clean my bathroom. I don’t like them spending their hard earned money on me. I would rather they save it for their futures.
BUT, seeing as how I didn’t get a foot rub or my car washed, or my bathroom cleaned, they did buy me some lovely things.
I’m not complaining. Anything Asian usually hits the spot with me.
I Love My Breakfast Bar
I happen to love my kitchen. It’s not the nicest or the fanciest or the most modern but I don’t care. I love my kitchen.
Asian Hat Filled with Breads
I bought this hat at the Aloha Flea Market in Hawaii when we lived there. It was hand woven, I love it, here I’ve added some breads to it. These breads are so good. I buy them at the Asian supermarket. Some have dried pork in them, some have strawberry, some have pineapple, (or as the package says, “Pine Apple”), and even my favorite, Taro. Taro is the root that is pounded to make poi. Taro is very healthy for you.
They are just so easy to grab and go as we run out the door.
I just wish that they had some whole wheat alternatives.
Like My New Faucet?
This is lovely to me. Pretty Asian plates, bowls, spoons, and platters drying in a bamboo rack. My fish bottle with liquid soap and my fish planter that holds my sponges and cleaning utensils. I happen to like washing dishes when I wash pretty things.
This is why I love my kitchen!
Anything Can Be a Vase
Even My Bamboo Steamer
This just says spring to me.
I rigged this together by placing a bowl with water in the bottom of the steamer and inserting the flowers through the bamboo slats on the middle section. The bamboo steamer I picked up in China Town in Hawaii for $3.50 many years ago.
Bamboo Steamer Vase
(Now come on, you know you want one too.)
I am so into this lovely bamboo pattern that I think I need to pay a visit to the Asian Supermarket to buy some more pieces.
Asian Ware and Asian Pugs
My Very First China Cabinet
I bought it in Hawaii from J.C. Penny’s catalog. It came unfinished and I always left it that way. It’s probably 22 years old. My grandmother bought it for me as a birthday gift one year. Well, she paid for it, I ordered it. It houses my Blue Willow china that I inherited from my grandmother and my Rice Ware that I started collecting in Hawaii and have since found some wonderful pieces in thrift stores around military bases everywhere we live.
You can see the light shining through the grains of rice in my tea cup here.
It’s so beautiful!
From Top to Bottom
Peace, Peace, Peace
The Blue Willow clock above was my grandmother’s. I found it just shoved into a closet under a bunch of blankets and I asked her if I could have it? The cobalt blue vase above was her’s as well.
The people that I love and miss in photographs, along with some of their personal items from when they were alive.
Blue and White
The Blue Willow once belonged to my Great-Grandmother Keith and passed down to my grandmother who then gave it all to me.
I love collecting. I have many interests and many collections. My niece Lola learned about collections from me. She came to visit us for the first time from Ireland when she was 5 and after she saw my collections she wanted to start one herself. Her’s is the Lalaloopsie dolls, she has almost every single one. It makes me feel good to think that I can be an influence on someone.
Granted it is by being a materialistic hoarder but she is half American so……..
Oh well, TIME to go.
Plums and a Movie
Memoirs of a Geisha
Plums, Blossoms, Bamboo, Origami and Rice Crackers
I adore fresh, ripe plums. Healthy, sweet and delicious. So instead of popcorn I like to eat fruit when I watch a movie, usually. 🙂
My Vintage Sake Jars
I found both of these at thrift stores. One in Hawaii and one in Florida.
I can’t seem to get enough of Asia at this time.
I love my vintage geisha’s.
The intricate costumes and ornaments and the lovely fabrics by such devoted artisans, how I wish those people were still around.
I have always loved the Asian cultures. The work that went into such lovely clothing.
My Asian Wine Rack
It holds my sake and plum wines. I bought it at the best antique mall that ever existed, in Rome, GA. Sadly, the mall was sold to the church next door so that they could expand their parking lot, razing the property before all the vendors could get their precious antiques out.
Can you imagine? Bulldozing over those lovely antiques? Sadly, it does not surprise me one bit.
Asian Fan Craft
When I was a Girl Scout leader in Hawaii I had my Girl Scout’s to make these fans for Japanese Girl’s Day. They were quite simple actually. I cut out two round disk’s from cardboard. Hot glued some lovely Asian fabric around them and hot glued a pair of chopsticks as a handle. The girl’s loved the project. Veronica and I still have ours.
More Dishes in the Kitchen
I went to the Asian supermarket last week and bought the cutest bowls and plates. I just love them!
Always check out your local Asian or Spanish or ethnic supermarkets. You can find some wonderful items there.
Most of the time I have fresh flowers around my kitchen and nook area. Orchids are a favorite.
Happy Girl’s Day
Hawaii, Japanese Girl’s Day, Mr. Miyagi,
Me, with my Asian Collection
March 3rd. is a little known holiday called, Girl’s Day. The holiday originated in Japan and migrated over to Hawaii with the increase in Japanese populations. We first learned of Girl’s Day while we were living in Hawaii. There is also a Boys’ Day, but I will get to that later on.
Girl’s Day is about honoring the girl in your family. Appreciating your daughter. In Japan, the girl would dress up in her finest kimono for school, place cherry blossoms in her hair, surround herself with her pretty dolls and have a tea party.
Beautiful Hair Adornments
Japan did do away with Girl’s Day and Boy’s Day in favor of something now called Children’s Day but Hawaii still keeps them separate. I agree, I think they should be separate. Each one should have their own special day.
I’m fiddling with my favorite geisha’s to the left, and my green tea cookies to the right. I always pick them up whenever I am at the Asian Supermarket. See below.
At the Asian Supermarket
I’m buying my green tea cookies above and contemplating buying that large jar of Kimchi, at right.
It seems that every weekend we make the rounds at our favorite ethnic food supermarkets. The Asian, Latin, and Indian supermarkets. The prices are so cheap! I don’t understand why more people don’t shop there? Even if you aren’t into any of the ‘exotic’ foods, they also have fruits and veggies that are cheaper than you are paying at the major supermarkets.
You may not be interested in Freshwater Eel…….
Or Roasted Duck, for that matter,
BUT, they do have a variety of other things that I’ll bet you do eat at much cheaper prices than you are paying right now.
Oh, and speaking of freshwater eel……
When we were living in Rockingham, North Carolina we had a 5 acre pond in front of our house. That is me above, rowing the boat. Our lake was full of those freshwater eels that would wrap themselves around your arm or your leg while you swam. They didn’t bite you though, so we tolerated them.
My little brothers, Frank and Ben fishing.
I think the year was 1980.
Sorry, just had a flashback memory of the eels.
But back to my daughter’s favorite Hawaiian holiday.
I’m holding in my hand one of the many origami crane’s that Veronica made during our 13 years in Hawaii. She loved origami and was actually quite good at it.
It is a Japanese tradition that when you get married you must have 1000 origami cranes at your wedding to symbolize good luck. My Japanese friend Cathy would make them every night at work in preparation for her wedding to Mark.
I Adore My Beautiful Geisha’s
Oh, funny story. My niece Kate in Ireland loves the Asian cultures as much as I do. One year I ordered online a book about how to be a geisha. When it arrived I looked at it and was horrified to realize that it was a book about how to be a geisha prostitute!! Well, I shoved it in my closet with absolute horror and that is where it has been since. I guess that I should tell my children about it so that they don’t discover it when I die and wonder ‘what in the hell was mom up to’???
The dress that I am wearing is one that I picked up at my favorite thrift store. It’s a Talbot’s size 10!! I am just amazed that I squeezed into it. Most of the time I am a 12. I bought it for $5.00! It’s lined and I thought it had an Asian look to it.
Now, about Mr. Miyagi……
We moved to Hawaii in 1986, the year they made Karate Kid II. It was filmed in Hawaii. It was a big deal. Hawaii is the home of several of the Asian cultures and Karate and Tae Kwon Do are all but a few of the many, many forms of martial arts around the world. My mother took tai chi. Or as she said, “I can beat you up in slow motion if I want to.”
It was so beautiful to see the seniors on the beach performing tai che every day in Hawaii when we lived there. It keeps you young! I also love how the Asian cultures value their aged. They see them as beautiful, and knowledgeable, not just old has been’s.
The Ultimate Dynamic Duo
Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-san to me are the ultimate dynamic duo. I have never cared for the Batman’s or Superman’s of this world. I prefer real people. The peacekeepers, the environmentalists, the ones that you think are so weak, but actually they are so much stronger than you can even imagine. I do realize that Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-san were not real people. But they symbolized what real people can do.
The ones that have the strength to walk away from conflict and only engage as a last resort. The ones that use their strength and their knowledge to help people, not hurt them.
People that have honor. You don’t find many of those anymore.
Karate Kid II Takes Place in Okinawa
Here Pat Morita and Nobu McCarthy reenact their love from their youth as Yukie and Noriyuki.
Nobu McCarthy in her youth. A former Miss Tokyo.
I love the lantern ceremony. When someone dies you honor them by placing a lantern on the water. How beautiful is that?
The Inner Garden
I could live here very easily and enjoy every moment.
Miyagi and Yukie Tea Ceremony
Kumiko and Daniel Watching
The Miyagi Family rules of Karate:
Aha… here are the two rules of Miyagi-Ryu Karate. Rule number one: “Karate for defense only.” Rule number two: “First learn rule number one.”
Daniel-san on seeing Miyagi’s old friend breaking a log:
- Daniel LaRusso: You think you could break a log like that?
- Mr. Miyagi: Don’t know. Never been attacked by a tree.
They were the best. The were good, they were honest. They are no longer made. This was the best duo! I don’t care how many remakes there are, there will never be a duo like this. Remaking The Karate Kid is like someone saying, ‘Hey, let’s remake Star Wars’!
It just will never be the same.
The Tea Ceremony
Kumiko Tea Ceremony
Kumiko Waiting for Daniel
She Knew Daniel Would Come
I especially love the music by Bill Conti in this film. I took a tea class on the Big Island of Hawaii in the Volcano area, (Volcano is a town) and I remember some of this as well. Of course there is more to this than is shown it was just edited out for the short attention spans of today’s people.
I love ancient cultures and their traditions and ceremonies.
Daniel-san is drinking the tea. Oh, no, here it comes.
Wait for it……
And there it is!
Love’s first kiss.
My most favorite couple of all time.
Now for one of my most favorite songs of all time, made for this movie and sung by Peter Cetera,
I love what she’s doing with the rice here.
An old tradition of when the men go out to sea the women pour rice into the ocean so that they will come back safely.
I may not have had rice on Girl’s Day but I did have some delicious spring rolls, frozen, that I bought at the Asian Supermarket.
Spring Rolls, Green Tea and my Kokeshi Doll
Although my Kokeshi doll seems to be having rice.
I made that rice bowl out of that Sculpy clay years ago when we were living in Hawaii. The chopsticks are toothpicks.
Sesame Candy for Dessert
So Happy Girl’s Day!
Appreciate our daughters AND our sons!
Did you know that Asian women that stay in Asian have the lowest breast cancer rates in the world? It’s their diet.
So let’s try eating more like they do.
Some of my favorite scenes from Karate Kid II
Fighting for her honor.
Sprucing Up My Vintage Birdcage
I originally found this on Ebay a few years ago. I do love it. It’s very vintage and I think a little bit Asian looking. One Christmas I added lights to the inside of it and I just never removed them. I like having them on throughout the year and not just on special festive occasions.
I’ve placed some pretty birds all around the cage, and always the cage doors open, never closed.
I like to place candles inside to add that special little glow. Sometimes I change them from something casual to something more formal. Sometimes I place dishes inside, all stacked up.
But I did want to add something a little bit more to reflect my current theme in our dining room so I found some nice fabric and lined the bottoms of the cage with it.
Beautiful Asian Fabric
This time I replaced the candles with some of my vintage Asian tea cups with a candle on the inside.
Pretty Touches to the Birdcage
I like it. Now it fits in a bit better in my dining room than it did before.
Also never overlook a good thrift store. A lot of my things I found very cheap. Including my dress. Talbots, size 10, lined, dry clean only, $5.00!!
Can’t beat that!
p.s. You know my message to everyone has never been, ‘Do what I do. I know best. I have great taste. Blah, blah, blah’. I’ve always said to do what YOU want to do and not what someone tells you to. Decorate, dress, look, how YOU want to and not how some self anointed group of “experts” tell you what looks good and what doesn’t. After all, someone just made all this stuff up at one point, declared themselves important and then got a bunch of people to follow them.
This is YOUR life so do what YOU want to do!
Starring Marlon Brando, Red Buttons, Miiko Taka, Miyoshi Umeki, Ricardo Mantalban and James Garner.
“And then in a voice centuries soft, the beautiful, haunting, forbidden girl said: “I come from the North of Japan. We were very poor. I join Matsubayashi Theatre. I work very hard and now I am first dancer of all. But Matubayashi girls must take vow……
Written on a vintage promotional brochure of the movie in 1957. See photo above right.
The photo above left are some of my vintage books from the movie’s Sayonara and The Flower Drum Song.
Vintage cocktail glasses filled with flowers. I added some umbrellas to the cupcakes for that Asian look.
Ace and Ona-Ogi
I love the flowers in her hair. When I was in high school in the South, I would wear flowers in my hair and the other kids would make fun of me. But when we lived in Hawaii everyone had flowers in their hair. See, I knew there was nothing wrong with me, I was just living in the wrong area of the world.
I placed all of this on my shell mirror because I wanted it to look like a lake.
I bought this doll on Ebay and when she arrived I hated her! I thought she was just a bit too gaudy for me. She also has this huge gold plastic “spike” through her hair. I tried to remove it but I can’t without ruining her hair. I hated her so much that I was thinking about getting rid of her and then one day while I was decorating gift bags with some silk flowers I got the idea to glue one onto her “spike” in her hair. Then I decided to add some flowers to her hands.
A beautiful movie, a beautiful culture and a beautiful memory that I recreated myself.
My nieces were over from Ireland visiting and while they are here I decided to throw Kate a little early birthday party. Her birthday isn’t until August 28th. but I have never been with her for her birthday so I wanted to celebrate a little early for my sake.
I made Kate and Lola cupcakes. I placed some pretty umbrellas into the cupcakes. I also used a plain vanilla frosting but added coloring to a few of them to make them different colors. Blue, peach and pink. I placed everything on one of my mirrors that I made with seashells. That way it looks kind of like everything is floating on a lake.
Here I added some lovely flowers to some of my vintage cocktail glasses to make them a bit festive and pretty.
Kate and Lola eating some cupcakes.
In addition to the lovely Japanese maiden I also gave Kate a book and a DVD to go along with the theme.
Kate shares my love of the Asian cultures so I based this gift on the 1957 movie, Sayonara.
I added the flower accent to the gift bag and the lovely Japanese girl necklace.
Here Marlon Brando’s character falls in love with a beautiful Japanese performer right after WWII when it was taboo to marry a Japanese girl.
The beautiful Hana-Ogi.
I gave Kate a choice as to which Japanese beauty that she wanted and she chose this one.
I also gave Kate two lovely bowls and spoons.
Birthday Craft Project
I also gave Kate this poster but I didn’t want to give it to her in the plain poster tube so I hot glued some origami paper all around it. I think it looks great.
Gifts for Lola, my niece.
I Adore Mulan
When I think of my favorite Disney “princess” it is automatically, Mulan. I realize that I have a few “Cinderella Christmas” pages, and I have a great fondness for Snow White, but I must confess that Mulan is my modern day favorite and has been since the movie first came out.
No one knows for sure if she even existed. Mulan is nothing more than a poem in Chinese history. Women were not recorded back then. It would be the equivalent of writing down something that a dog did. They believe the legend got past censors by writing about her in the form of a poem. According to the poem, she was a favorite of her father’s, even though it was taboo to pay any attention to your daughter. He taught her his martial arts skills and they even planned that she would take his place when it came to his going off to war. She disguised herself as a boy in order to enlist. As the poem states, the war lasted a good 12 years, she made it to the rank of General because there is this one battle that took place on a mountain, the soldier’s were retreating and Mulan called them back by saying, ‘Son’s of China, do not retreat, we stay and fight!’
After the war Mulan was escorted home by 5 military officers. When she arrived home she discovered that her parents had given birth to a baby boy. She went inside, bathed, put on her kimono, powdered her face and then went outside to her escorts. That is when they realized that she was a girl. Her closest male escort asked her to marry him, seeing as how they were already good friends.
The reason I have a foo dog in the front yard of our home.
My Asian Mother’s Day
The orchid that I received on Mother’s Day a few years ago.
Here I have decorated our dining room table for a lovely lunch with tea.
Lunch With Tea
My Kokeshi dolls, (Japanese) with the rice bowls that I made out of Sculpy. Sculpy is a clay that you mold and then bake in the oven. I simply used black Sculpy to create a bowl, then used white Sculpy to make little grains of rice. I then baked it in the oven for about 20 minutes until it was nice and hard.
I also put some toothpicks into the Sculpy to look like chopsticks before I baked them.
My favorite snack bento box and my favorite chopsticks in their carrying case. I carry this with me quite often when I am enjoying some homemade sushi on the go.
and a gift.
In my new bamboo tray.
Below: a samurai helmet made from a napkin. By Gordon.
Cloth origami of sorts.
I do tend to mix my Asian cultures. But that is me. Fortune cookies are Chinese.
It reads: You will take a chance in the near future, and win!
I hope it comes true.
Double Wall Glass Tea Infuser
I love tea. Just look at how healthy the Asian’s are. It is due in large part because of their taking of tea. Above is my Asian tea infuser. I simply add some tea leaves to the metal sieve and add some hot water from my kettle. Once the tea is infused, a good 5 minutes to allow all the antioxidants to infuse, then drink up.
Bamboo tray with bamboo cup (vase).
I love bamboo. I found the bamboo cup, above, at the Dollar Store. I bought several. They can be cups or vases or whatever you like.
My Table Setting
If you look closely at my table setting above you see that I use several of these sort of “bamboo blinds”. When Gordon fitted our windows with these blinds outside he had to cut them. We kept the extra that he cut off. Didn’t know that, did you? Looks great though!
Always be on the look out for something that you can either recycle or use yourself. Think twice before you throw anything away.
Happy Boy’s Day
Tangu No Sekku
Brodie, enjoying his Boy’s Day sushi dinner.
The wooden Japanese boy was a Boys Day gift from me to Brodie a few years ago.
Japanese Boys’ Day Hawaiian Style
We lived in Hawaii from 1986 until 1999. Both of our children were born in Hawaii and grew up with the customs and traditions. One of the holiday’s that both Veronica and Brodie loved the best was the Japanese holiday of Boy’s Day and Girl’s Day. Because Hawaii has such a large Japanese population it has become a very popular holiday. Girl’s Day being March 3, and Boy’s Day is May 5. May 5, for my son Brodie, I bought he and his girlfriend Lauren, a great Sushi dinner. It consisted of chicken rolls, tuna rolls, ahi rolls, vegetable rolls, calamari, and little baby squids marinated in a lovely soy sauce. All of this topped with some excellent Wasabi paste. At our commissary we have some excellent sushi chefs that prepare the food for you. I also gave Brodie an Asian money tree, a.k.a. bamboo plant. Also a handmade origami card.
They both seemed to enjoy their dinner.
The preparation of this food is such an art form.
Don’t knock the little octopus until you’ve tried them.
Brodie and Lauren enjoying their authentic Japanese sushi dinner.
My Bento Box luncheon. I’m more into the California rolls than the squid.
We fly a red carp inside the house in honor of Brodie.
We also fly carp outside the house to honor Brodie.
It is a tradition to fly a carp fish windsock outside your home to represent all the boys in your family. The largest carp being the oldest boy and the smallest carp being the youngest boy. I tend to fly a variety of carp windsocks to commemorate my son. I don’t necessarily stick to the tradition.
It is also a tradition to draw a bath for your sons and have them bathe in water filled with leaves in the shape of swords. It is symbolic to make them stronger. Brodie used to love this. He really enjoyed his bath that we would make for him when he was young. Although we have eliminated the bath, we have substituted the big sushi dinner. Because Hawaii has played such a major role in our lives for the past 30 years we still embrace these holidays. The state of Hawaii is such a unique state because they have literally combined the Hawaiian, Polynesian, Japanese, Chinese, Mainland America, and Portuguese cultures into one great state. Hawaii will be in our blood until the day we die. You can take the girl/boy out of Hawaii, but you can’t take the Hawaii out of the girl/boy. Nor do I even want to.
So Happy Boy’s Day to all our son’s out there. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, I hope your day is special. Why not consider having your own Boy’s Day celebrations?
Byodo In Temple, Hawaii
The Valley of the Temples
This was a popular place that I would take my children when they were little. It was so beautiful and peaceful here. The monks would whistle and the birds would land on their hands. I cannot even begin to relay to you how much we miss Hawaii and it’s cultures and traditions.