As so many of you know, @Ryoko ~Cookie Ave., aka Ryoko Hayashi, has been a longstanding member of Cookie Connection, a fearless and faithful contributor to our Practice Bakes Perfect challenges, and an artist who consistently delights us with her cookie "storytelling" abilities. Her cookie sets are undeniably lovely, but they always go further than surface beauty. Whether they teach us lessons about Japan (Ryoko's home country), expand our skills by showing us techniques, or simply capture a whimsical scene from everyday life, each and every one is a heartfelt expression of Ryoko's passion for cookie art.
As you probably also know, we had the good fortune of chatting with Ryoko over the month of February in a unique non-live format! This format allowed us not to lose any sleep because of the 15-hour time difference between Japan and the US, and for Ryoko to take her time translating from English to Japanese and back! I sincerely hope you enjoy the chat transcript, as much as I enjoyed developing it with Ryoko and getting to know her better over the last month.
I would like to take a moment to publicly thank Ryoko for answering her many chat questions so thoughtfully and thoroughly, and for interspersing her terrific sense of humor along the way! I also want to applaud Ryoko for being so fearless in all she does. She tackles each and every Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge with verve and vigor, even if it's one that pushes her out of her comfort zone. And she took on the challenge of this chat just the same way, translating every word in English to Japanese, writing her responses, and then translating everything back to English just so I and everyone else here could read what she wrote. I am so grateful and completely impressed. And, of course, Ryoko's cookie work is a true delight, always guaranteed to bring a smile to my face! THANK YOU, RYOKO!
Now, before you dive into the chat transcript, here's a small sampling of Ryoko's work that shows you what I mean about her storytelling abilities . . .
And here's some brief background about Ryoko's cookie journey to date . . .
Ryoko Hayashi, aka @Ryoko ~Cookie Ave., lives with her husband in Fukuoka, Japan, about 1,100 kilometers (690 miles) southwest of Tokyo. Four years ago, after an early retirement from her own overseas trading and retail company, Ryoko began exploring things she had always wanted to try, including knitting, crocheting, sewing, making bags with paper tape, making beaded accessories and clothes, swimming, and decorating cookies, of course.
Having finally overcome her needle phobia, Ryoko can now sew a button without sweating! She also does the crawl stroke, back stroke, breast stroke, and butterfly quite competently. And, having consistently pushed herself in Cookie Connection’s Practice Bakes Perfect challenges, she enjoys regularly decorating cookies for her family and friends. One of her biggest cookie milestones was having a set of her cookies printed in a cookie book about how to make icing.
Looking forward, Ryoko wants to learn how to draw and paint, handle drawing apps with her iPad, do basic embroidery, and make stained glass accessories. She would also like to one day publish children’s story books illustrated with her cookies. As her cookies are distinguished by their attention to detail and often playful storytelling, the latter goal seems well within Ryoko’s reach!
Photo credits: Ryoko ~Cookie Ave.
NOW, GO AND READ RYOKO'S CHAT TRANSCRIPT HERE. YOU'LL BE GLAD YOU DID!
**** P.S. A CHAT TRANSCRIPT CORRECTION ****
Unfortunately, I made a posting error in the chat, which I cannot edit within the chat itself now that it has posted and closed. So I am making it here. At the point in the chat where Ryoko posts a link to her first cookie set . . .
I inserted the first photo in that link for all to see. (I was scratching my head as to how this could be a first set, as it is so darn good, but I was moving too fast and did not fully read the link . . .) As it turns out, this photo was a re-do of Ryoko's first set posted further down that link. (Of course, I should have remembered this, because this is a previous Practice Bakes Perfect challenge entry . . .) Here's the actual first set, so you can see Ryoko's progression: