A Traveler’s Review of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, is one of those standard-reading books that somehow slipped under my radar until… I think it was after college. And once it was finally on my radar, I didn’t want to read it, because I figured it was a children’s book, and I’d find it boring. But watching a YouTube adaptation (because I love adaptations and retellings, even apparently of books I haven’t read) finally got me to put those preconceived notions aside and pick up the source material.

Quick summary for those of you who haven’t seen one of these posts yet: these reviews are meant to combine my love of travel with my love of reading, and approach books not asĀ books, but as vacations that happen to take place in words. So with that, let’s get to it.

The World: First off, Avonlea is a very pleasant place. So pleasant, in fact, that I couldn’t help feeling that it was all a bit too beautiful, too perfect. Lots of gorgeous nature, idyllic countryside, that kind of thing. But in a sense, that works, because Anne–well, read the back of the book. Er… travel brochure. It will probably tell you why a perfectly beautiful place could be heartbreaking for Anne. Speaking of which…

The People: Similarly, the people are mostly pleasant. They have their little faults, so depending on your pet peeves, you may find some of them annoying, but they aren’t supervillains in disguise, or anything, which given some of the other things on TV and in print these days, is a nice respite. And the narrator, I have to say, makes very good company–if you aren’t a kid yourself, it’s easy to kind of reminisce about childhood with this person. Also, Marilla (who is very much not a kid) helps. As does her brother, Matthew. That’s right, we get to spend some time with adults, too. Quite a lot of it, actually.

Dining and Activities: Avonlea and Green Gables are definitely not places to vacation if you’re looking to take down a dystopian government or something, but I’m thinking you probably knew that already. Instead, expect more ordinary entertainments–parties (ETA, as clarification: like tea parties), concerts, that kind of thing. And some school. As for the food… well, make sure you ask who made it, especially in the early chapters. That’s all I’m going to say.

Other Assorted Hazards: Expect all the ordinary dangers. Getting embarrassed in front of friends, possibly getting hurt or sick, the usual risks from doing reckless things–life stuff.

Things to Pack:

  • Tea (because always tea)
  • Appropriate attire (because much like with Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels, this isn’t a place where you want to walk around in jeans and a T-shirt)
  • For those quiet moments at Green Gables, you may want some books to read, and/or maybe some materials to press flowers, depending on how outdoorsy you are. As I said before, it’s a lovely place, and you may want to keep some of that.

All silliness aside, I enjoyed my stay at Green Gables more than I expected to, largely thanks to a very good narrator-guide. And it was a nice way of seeing a past version of Canada, since I can’t exactly go to the real Canada right now.

Next up: a traveler’s review of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (season 1)? I just finished watching that. I’ve never done one of these for a TV show before, though. I’m not sure whether it would work. Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely weekend! And that you have some wonderful book vacations (or other vacations, or just good stuff happening) this week.

Song Tea and Japantown

Stop #1: Benkyodo

Stop #1: Benkyodo. Because you want to get there while the selection is good. I took this picture at home, though.

Well, this isn’t the post I’d planned on doing, but at least it’s an actual post, so yay? As you may have guessed from the title, this past weekend I was in Japantown, in San Francisco. It’s hard to talk coherently about that, because for me, going to Japantown feels sort of like going to a favorite supermarket. (A lot like that, actually, because one of my stops there is the supermarket.) “I don’t know. I got eggs and milk. The lines were short. What do you want from me?” Only replace the eggs and milk with things like arare and tonkatsu sandwiches.

That having been said, it was a very nice visit, and very productive, in that I got most of the things on my list. And the weather was good–unusually warm for San Francisco, despite some clouds–which made it all the easier to walk from Japantown to Song Tea & Ceramics.

Song Tea has been on my radar for a while, but it made it onto the “must visit” list when I had some of their tea at a Berkeley cafe. The tea ended up being over-steeped, so it was bitter, but beneath that bitterness it seemed delicious. I decided that at some point, I would have to get more of it.

The good news is that from Japantown, Song Tea is extremely walkable. And once you get there, you might be able to fit in a tea tasting, which I enjoyed quite a bit. (It’s an especially good deal if you buy something, in which case they waive the $10 fee. Policies change, so I would check this before committing, but still–it’s very nice.) Thanks to that tasting, I got to try some teas I don’t usually try, like some greens, and a delicious aged tea that was way out of my budget, but that seriously tempted me anyway, and also made me think about things like gaiwans.

After Song Tea, it was back to Japantown, to visit favorites like the stationery store and the supermarket (again). Then back home, with some wonderful things I’m looking forward to trying. Here’s a sample:

-Some Things I'm Looking Forward to Trying

Notebook from Maido, okonomiyaki pack from Nijiya, and tea from Song Tea

Seeing Japantown made me miss Japan again, but that also brings me to something I’ve been thinking lately. As much as I miss traveling, living life deeply isn’t always about going somewhere new. (ETA: like a new state or a new country. I still want to go to new places.) A lot of it is about perspective. And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love California. It’s beautiful, and diverse, and there’s so much to do. And now, thanks to my trip, I don’t even have to leave my house to try some of it–tea and an okonomiyaki pack. I am more excited than my lack of exclamation points would suggest.

So anyway, I hope you all had a lovely weekend, and that you have a wonderful week, full of everyday fun and maybe–if you want it–some pleasant new adventures. And who knows, maybe some of mine will make it onto this blog, along with all the books and food and other things.

Going to the Movies

I don’t see a lot of movies in theaters, so when I do, it often feels kind of special. Like today: I went to see a matinee (no, I’m not going to name the movie here, because I don’t feel like it), and it was like I was gearing up for some huge event. I avoided spoilers. I may or may not have bounced up and down a few times, talking to people about this movie I was so excited about seeing. When I got to the theater, I even let myself splurge on overpriced food.

As for the movie itself–it was fine. It was fun. But I think I had more fun being excited about it than I did actually watching the movie. And I don’t mean for that to be a sad thing, or a slam against the movie, because first off, like I said, it was a fun movie, and second, I really enjoyed being that excited about it. Which is maybe the point of today’s post, as much as there is one. I’m constantly reminding myself to have fun–to let myself relax a little bit, and enjoy things. Today I did that.

Now to maybe do that with writing. Well, I’ll keep working on it.

So anyway, I hope that your Monday has a bit of fun in it. Next week I’ll try to do a real, proper post. Maybe. I have an idea. Until then, have a wonderful week!

Writing Day

I’ll try to get a post up sometime this week, possibly, but for now I have some time to write, and I am using it. I hope you’re all having a lovely Monday, though, and that you have a wonderful week!