Friday, May 31, 2013

char siu don

The char siu don (donburi = bowl) from Foodland...$5.99

Just rice and char siu (a little green onions)

The meat wasn't fatty so it was rather dry.

But I was surprised at how much char siu they gave, totally worth the price.

I got lucky because there were some Chinese roast pork pieces in there too...whoo!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

from bento to...

Recently had the bulgogi bento from Palama Market. I've written about it before here, it's still $5.50+tax.

For some reason, I wasn't able to finish it in one sitting, so I kept half (the rice, bulgogi & kim chee) aside.

Oh, this time around the kim chee wasn't sour...whoo! The meat was good too, no gristle. And those korean-style potatoes (bottom left corner) were so good!

The next day, I heated everything up and added an egg and some bim bap!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013


You know all my adventures in the kitchen aren't always good ones, there are disasters too.

Take the other day. My brother cut open a kabocha (pumpkin) and scooped out the seeds.

I then washed and cleaned the seeds from all the fibers and set it out to dry a little.

Then I drizzled some oil and sprinkled some salt.

Thinking I could roast these, I put them into a 425F(200C)...well, about 10 minutes into the roasting, we could hear this "pop" "pop" sound...

I looked and the seeds were popping like popcorn.

I guess the heat was too high, the seeds themselves weren't too plump either.

Definitely made for slim pickings when you actually got the shells off...sigh

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

hawaii sights

Major rain this past Sunday.

Somehow I don't mind rain in Hawaii because it almost always brings one of these...rainbows. (A definite rarity in Japan, well, in Osaka where we live, it is.)

This one was a double one...nice!

Monday, May 27, 2013

w & m burgers

How many moons had it been since I visited W & M Burgers?! Too many.

I got their fries...$2.10 I think these are double fried because they were crispy, even after sitting out a bit.

The cheeseburger...$3.85 (came with lettuce & cheese, choice of mayo, mustard, ketchup and/or relish)...I went with mayo.

I like that they marinate their burgers in "b-b-q" sauce.

In Hawaii, you should know that "bbq" usually means "teriyaki". W & M's teriyaki was a balanced sweet-salty.

While some would "scoff" at iceberg, I liked that nice "crunch" from it.

I also like that the mayo was just enough to "peek" out at you while eating.

Maybe a schmear on the corners of your mouth when you bite into the burger.

There was never a dollop falling out to make a mess.

Nor was there any drippy "sauce" to run down your arm...whoo!

I also got a small drink (rootbeer)...$1.65

Make sure that after you buy your lunch you take it to gaze at Diamond Head or any other natural wonder that Hawaii has to offer...

I'll be back.

W & M Burgers
3104 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii
Phone: 808.734.3350
Open: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10:00-16:30, Saturday & Sunday 9:00-16:30

Sunday, May 26, 2013

morning glass coffee

Finally met up with Kathy and also finally got to check out Morning Glass Coffee.

Tucked away in Manoa Valley, this tiny cafe is located next to Bangkok Chef.

It was so hot when we met up that iced beverages seemed in order.

She had the ginger soda while I had their lemon ginger tea (lemon for lemongrass).

It was fun chatting with her, and while we didn't have any foodie adventures this time around, I'm sure the next time we meet up, we will.

Thanks again Kathy!

Morning Glass Coffee
2955 East Manoa Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
Phone: 808.744.8404

Saturday, May 25, 2013

zari foot stool

I've been looking for a foot stool for some time now.

I recently saw this Zari foot stool in a store in Tennoji and since then had been debating about whether to get it.

I looked online but didn't want to pay for the shipping, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found some at a shop in Umeda.

I had originally wanted a light blue or light green.

But I have to say that this deep purple is growing on me.

The legs are removable, so if you ever have to store it away, it is possible.

I also like that they use recycled fabrics (I think they are sari fabrics) to make the cover for the stool.

Friday, May 24, 2013

inaba red & yellow

So, there was the Inaba thai green curry...

And then I found the red and yellow ones...

Yellow is made with chicken.

To me, it had a little sweetness to it and wasn't as spicy as green.

Red was spicy, and filled again with lots of tuna.

I think these are great to have in the pantry for emergency rainy days.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

caspian sea yogurt

Caspian sea yogurt, is a "gooey" thick yogurt.

Apparently the correct name for it is Matsoni and is popular in parts of Russia.

It doesn't taste any different from the plain yogurts we've tried, the texture is like I said, "gooey", which may bother some.

We like it with fruits in the morning.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I spy...

lavender buds on the lanai...

Too bad I won't be able to see them bloom, though Satoshi has "promised" me that he won't kill my plants this time...we'll see.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

instant spam curry

When I saw this at the market I knew I had to try it...Instant Spam Curry.

Made by Okinawa Hormel, the curry comes with potatoes, carrots and spam.

The spiciness was medium hot, but I thought the spam was a bit spongy.

Oh well, it was worth trying.

Monday, May 20, 2013


The other day, Satoshi and I tried Gyosai for lunch.

During lunchtime, they were offering a glass of beer for free...whoo!

Satoshi ordered their kaisen-don (assorted seafood bowl)...1000 yen.

This came with a couple of pieces of tai (snapper) and some sesame dressing. After eating your donburi, fill it up with some rice, and some fish stock, then top it with the snapper and have a chazuke (rice with tea) of sorts.

I went with their 7 pieces of sushi...1000 yen.

This actually came with 2 handrolls and some soup too.

One thing about shopping in Japan is that most places have point cards. The point card at Breeze Breeze lets you accumulate points then when you get 1000 points, you can print out a shopping coupon worth 1000 yen. The coupon can be used at any store or restaurant in the Breeze Breeze complex.

Since we had a 1000 yen coupon, we used it for our lunch. So our bill only came out to 1000 yen! (Deal!)

The food was good, so we'll be back.

Gyosai (UPDATE: 2016 no longer in business)
Breeze Breeze 5F
Umeda, Japan
Phone: 06.6442.1515
Closed when Breeze Breeze is.
Hours: 11:00-15:00 (Lunch), 17:00-23:00 (Dinner)

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I am always amazed at what other "tasks" people have to do at their jobs.

Sometimes walking past car dealerships, I see the "female" workers out pulling weeds, or watering plants.

The security guard at the banks help customers use the ATMs.

And the other day I spotted this guy at the neighborhood suit store pulling weeds.

I'm thankful my job never "made" me to do these things.

p.s. I'm off to Hawaii today, I still have some Japan posts, so they'll be uploading for a couple of days. Talk to you from the other side of the world.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Oosansho-uo ((oh-oh-san-show-ooh-oh) literally giant pepper fish) is what the Japanese call salamanders.

Did you know they are tennenkinenbutsu (natural monuments) and are protected?! I didn't even know we had salamanders around here.

During Golden Week, we walked up to Minoo Falls and saw a very large one (hope you can see it in the photo).

Apparently they live in the rivers there.

We also saw some monkeys.

Do you have giant salamanders where you live?

Friday, May 17, 2013

maruchan seimen

Been seeing commercials for this recently...Maruchan Seimen. I think when cooked it is supposed to resemble the "freshness" of eating at a ramen shop.

Boil 500 mililiters of water and stick the noodles in for 3 minutes.

Using a pair of chopsticks, separate the noodles while it is boiling in the water.

Add the liquid soup packet into your bowl and then pour the water from your pot into the bowl along with the noodles.

Add your own toppings.

I made a han-juku-tamago (half-cooked egg) as one of our toppings.

I put an egg straight from the refridge into a pot of cold water and brought it to a boil.

When the water came to a boil, I turned off the heat and left it for 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes, I put it into a cold water bath and then peeled it.

Voila! an egg that isn't hard boiled yet not super runny.

I also topped our ramen with some lup cheong and green onions.

I prefer my noodles on the harder and thinner side, but this was perfect for the rainy day we had last Saturday.

p.s. This past week, Okinawa started their rainy season, apparently 5 days late from last year's stats, so we're headed for our rainy season soon. The weather is still kinda weird, we had a couple of days where it hit 30C (86F), it's only May...and then the temps dropped rapidly 10 degrees...I think summer in Japan is gonna be blazing!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


About this time of year, I often see this climbing rose called Mokkobara (Banksian Rose).

Many homes have it climbing on their fences, some have it arching over their front gateways.

This one house, had it climbing all over the walls of their house.

The rose has a slight fragrance.

I've seen yellow and white but like the light yellow color, so cheery.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"pain to ippiki"

I first heard about this book from Dennis' post.

"Pain (the french word for bread) to Ippiki (the Japanese word for "one animal")" is a lovely book filled with photos and some narration about each photo.

At first I thought the cover was an illustration, but it is an actual photo.

Most of the photos are of the author, Kuwabara Natsuko's breakfasts and her dog, Kipple.

There are also some recipes at the back of the book for some of the foods that appear in this book.

I recently tried the one for french toast. Instead of using baguette, I used two slices of sesame bread.

Another recipe I tried was the one for black sesame pancakes.

Black Sesame Pancakes adapted from "Pain to Ippiki" : makes 9 small pancakes
100 grams flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
10 grams ground black sesame
60 mililiters plain yogurt
50 mililiters milk
20 grams sugar

Mix everything together.
On medium-low heat, pour a serving spoon size of batter into a non-stick pan.
Cook about 1 minute 30 seconds on each side.
Serve with butter and maple syrup.

NOTES: The original recipe called for black sesame paste, but I used ground sesame instead. It also called for cream but I used plain yogurt instead. The recipe also called for salt and some oil but I left those ingredients out.

I also made my pancakes smaller so I came out with 9 whereas the original recipe only makes 5. I really liked this sesame version.

I hope to try more of the recipes.

Thanks again Dennis for telling me about this book.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ooh ooh

Recently I've seen this cormorant in our river.

In Japanese it is called an u (pronounced "ooh").

If you're interested, check out my video here.

The first second or so you will see a huge white koi (carp). Then the cormorant will look like a black duck only it will stay underwater for quite some time.

It isn't the best quality, I shot it with my iPhone and there was no way to zoom-in (well if there is I don't know how to).


Monday, May 13, 2013

made in japan

Saw these drying blocks called "soil" at a zakka (knick-knack) shop and my friend, Kazumi gave some to me recently. (Thank you!)

Just break off a square like a chocolate bar and put it into a bottle of sugar, salt, whatever you want to keep dry.

They have various sizes to fit different containers.

Oh and I like that these are made in Japan too.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

happy mother's day

I am grateful to have many "moms" in my life.

Wishing all of them a "Happy Mother's Day!"

Saturday, May 11, 2013


It had been six years since my last visit to Nakatani-tei, which I wrote about here.

These days I find myself in this area more often, so I'm trying to re-connect with some of the places I've visited when I first started this blog.

Anyway, I ordered the tarte salée set...1680 yen. This came with a tarte made from scallops, zucchini, tomato. A salad, a slice of homemade bread and some potato salad.

Everything was delicious. I liked that the tarte didn't skimp on ingredients, there were huge pieces of scallop in there.

Dessert was from the showcase and I chose something called "Fraisier", Japanese style strawberry shortcake.

I loved how there was strawberry in every bite.

And what amazed me was how my slice never toppled over...the secret?! A little neat slather of chocolate on the plate to hold the slice in place...brilliant!

I'm glad I got a chance to go back and hope to bring Satoshi here soon!

6-6-27 Uehonmachi, Nakagawa Bldg 1F
Tennoji, Osaka
Phone: 06.6773.5240
Closed: Mondays and the 3rd Tuesday
Hours: 10:00-19:00 (Lunch from 11:30-14:00)

Friday, May 10, 2013


I've touched upon how Japan bakeries sell their breads, here.

It always amazes me how "just so" items have to be to be sold in Japan.

And if they aren't pretty much perfect, they mark down the price.

Take for instance, this bread. There was a hole (which I've circled) in the slice, so they marked it down 20 yen.

I could see if the majority of the slices had huge holes in them, but out of the 6 slices in the bag, it was only that one.

That hole didn't bother me and I was happy with the markdown.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

kaisen-zuke don

The other day I tried making a kaisen-zuke donburi for dinner. (Kaisen means assorted seafood).

I used the sauce recipe that I used when I made magurozuke avocado donburi.

I took half of the sauce and grated some fresh ginger into it and marinated some chu-toro (medium fatty tuna) in it. With the rest of the sauce, I marinated an assortment of sashimi (sliced raw fish) and some boiled tako (octopus).

While the seafood marinated (10 minutes), I put some rice into bowls and sprinkled some sesame seeds. Then I sprinkled some sliced green onions, thinly sliced shiso (perilla) and myoga (young ginger shoots).

Then I placed the marinated fish on top and drizzled what marinade was left.

Dinner was served.

We've finally started using "less-salt" shoyu (I was trying to use up what regular shoyu I had), and luckily the flavor of this didn't change much.

Our weather is still a bit weird, we still have very "cool" days, there have been some rainy days and some humid ones too.

I hope the weather will stable out soon.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


Last Friday, Satoshi had the day off, it was also the anniversary of his Grandma's passing, so we brought some flowers to her grave and then we went to visit MIL.

We picked up some foods for lunch.

After lunch MIL asked if we would take her shopping.

She can walk a little better since the accident, but only short distances.

After shopping, we sat and had some ice cream. Two small scoops for 300 yen at Baskin Robbins or 31 as they call it here.

I chose Jamocha Almond Fudge & Oreo Chocolate Mint. MIL had Chocolate and Coffee and Satoshi chose Chocolate and Strawberry Milk.

Afterwards, we went back to MIL's and had some tea and conversation.

She wanted to look through her cupboards for a teeny cup to put on the family altar, so I helped her and while doing so, we came upon these vintage items.

The light green dishes are by Noritake. She said these were a limited edition made to commemorate the present Emperor's marriage (I think it was in the 1950s!)

The blue/white dishes are made by Tachikichi. I don't have any background on these but they were a nice pattern.

We tried out the Noritake for breakfast the other day.

These are quite thin, so we'll have to be careful when using them.

The Tachikichi cups are quite shallow, they only hold about 3/4 cup of liquid.

Still, I like both.

MIL says I can come back and take whatever I want...Thank you!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

merci beaucoup

I really appreciate the friendships made from this blog.

Though I've never met most of my virtual friends face to face.

They know how to brighten my day with a surprise.

Merci mon amie! xoxo

(care package contents: Jacques Genin Pates de Fruit, Les Jardins de Gaia Babouchka Gout Russe Tea, Schar Gluten Free Wafer Bar, Sesame Candy & Cookie, Kaoka Noisettes, Rapunzel Chocolate Chips, Pere Louis Chocolate Coconut Bar)

Monday, May 06, 2013

inaba thai green curry

I've been seeing this around the web lately. Inaba makes a canned curry.

Apparently there is a red curry, yellow curry and this green curry. From what I've seen, the yellow curry is made with chicken and the red and green curries with tuna.

I'd never seen it in the stores here, so we've never tried it, until the other day.

It was on sale at Daiei, only 98 yen a can.

It was my first time to try a green curry of any kind.

The curry is spicy, there are kaffir lime leaves in there as well as red chilies. I was surprised at how much tuna there was too. Whole chunk type not teeny bits.

This was good and I hope to find the others so we can try them too.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

new & improved

Recently, I've been hooked on this tobikiri cheese at MOS burger.

A simple cheeseburger with lots of oozy cheese, onions and a special sauce (kinda like demi-glace)

And then the other day, there was a commercial on television that they'd improved the MOS burger.

It had been ages since I'd had the MOS burger.

So, I went to check it out for lunch the other day.

Wow...that's a LOT of sauce, kind of an Italian meat sauce, but a little sweeter.

Lots of diced onions (hidden under the sauce).

A juicy patty.

Nice slice of tomato.

And cheese...did I mention that the cheese was oozy?! it was.

Don't eat this while driving.

Don't worry, I didn't.

This was so messy, in a good way.

p.s. Happy Boy's Day a.k.a. Children's Day!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

german yogurt

Have you ever tried German Yogurt?

I hadn't until recently.

Apparently it has a little higher fat content then most plain yogurts, making it a bit creamier.

It was our first time trying this but I liked it.