Thursday, June 30, 2016

cold brew

Recently, I saw this at the convenience store.

I usually don't buy coffee that comes in a can (unless I have to do some mc-gyver-ing) because I feel it has a "metal" taste to it.

Being it was a cold brew version, I wanted to try it.

It was good, smooth flavor.

I'd buy this one again.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


This past Sunday, we went to Kamizono for lunch.

Satoshi loves the food there, especially the fried shrimp.

We love that they serve all sorts of different veggie side dishes.

They gave each of us different ones so we could share.

Satoshi ordered the fried shrimp, while I ordered the gobo wrapped beef.

I was intrigued by the tomatoes, they were soaked in a pickle sauce and when I asked the wife of the owner, she mentioned that she made a dashi vinegar sauce and put the tomatoes in, it was so fruity it kind of reminded me of an umeboshi (pickled apricot)...gotta try to re-create this.

Satoshi's favorite veggie dish was a rakkyo salad, sliced rakkyo, parboiled then mixed with some mayo, salt and pepper.

It was nice to re-connect with this restaurant.

We'll be back.

Monday, June 27, 2016


Saturday, we reconnected with Katsuretsu-tei.

This tiny katsu (cutlet) shop was one of the first places we tried when we moved to Ishibashi in 2001 (pre-blog).

Yup, it's been THAT long since we went back...

Satoshi ordered their mix fry (an assortment of fried, shrimp & pork).

This came with a salad, miso soup and rice.

When the weather is warm, I don't really like soup, so I ordered the chicken katsu curry with cheese and a mini salad.

Man, that salad was huge! a whole cucumber and tons of cabbage.

The curry was huge too.

I don't remember the servings being that huge...I do have a feeling that it is due to the fact that we live near the Osaka University.

Most eateries like to cater to the students by giving a lot of food for a reasonable price.

While this was delicious, the katsu cooked perfectly and the cheese oozy. I realize that I enjoy a lighter batter coating.

Satoshi helped me eat most of this...we'll be back, but next time we're sharing...

1-1-11 Ishibashi
Ikeda, Osaka
Phone: 072.762.5751
Closed Sundays
Hours: 11:00-22:00

Thursday, June 23, 2016


The weather has been depressingly grey and super humid.

Poor Kyushu, they got a month's worth of rain in a couple of hours...

We've had some rain too, at times it rains in sheets.

It makes getting to the market a challenge for me, but I still try to get out so that I can get in a little walk.

We've been enjoying peaches.

The first couple of peaches were on the firm side but this morning the peach was perfectly ripe.

They are super sweet and juicy.

Satoshi and I stand over the kitchen sink eating them in the morning before sitting down to breakfast.

Summer is here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Whenever they have Hokkaido fairs in Osaka, I try to see if they carry Bocca's products because we love their yogurt drinks...super thick and not too sweet.

Recently though, we tried their puddings.

The white pudding comes with a caramel sauce.

Pop the balloon to release the pudding and then drizzle on the sauce.

I screamed a little when I popped the balloon.

The pudding was thick, rich and creamy.

The crème brûlée version was nice too with crushed caramel bits to sprinkle on top.

I'm glad we got to try these, if I see them in the markets, I'll be sure to get more.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

things I'm liking (disliking)

A few things I'm liking, disliking these days...this chocolate mint drink by Starbucks could've been mint-ier.

This honey lemonade by Orangina.

Super puckery, but good on these humid days.

curry spiced kakinotane by Kameda...super addicting and good with beer.

What have you been enjoying?

Monday, June 20, 2016


Remember I told you about the new light fixture we put in?

Well, I was looking around at the 100 yen store to find an inexpensive lamp shade but wasn't successful.

So I decided to make my own...

I bought a tiny hose clamp from the 100 yen store.

It wasn't doing what I envisioned it to do, so I looked on Youtube and found a way to fix the clamp (love technology!).

Then I used an empty coffee can and made my shade.

The hardest part was cutting into the thick aluminum/steel seal at the bottom of the can.

I thought I would be able to use a can opener but it didn't really do much.

I ended up using wire nippers and scissors to cut through the can.


This was fun to make.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

okara granola

While I was browsing at a bookstore, I came across a book that had an interesting recipe for granola.

The recipe uses okara (soy lees) instead of oats or cereal.

I usually follow a recipe verbatim whenever trying it for the first time, but thought I could make this relatively the same way I make Ellie Krieger's version.

Okara Granola adapted from "Shumi-doki June-July 2016"

120 grams okara (soy lees)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
handful of unsalted pumpkin seeds
handful of unsalted pecans
handful of unsalted mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews)
handful of dried fruits (cranberry, blueberry, raisins)
handful of cacao nibs

Mix together, spread out onto parchment and bake at 170C (325F) for 30 minutes.
Cool and store in airtight container

NOTES: The original recipe instructs you to bake the okara mixed with some maple syrup for 10 minutes on the top rack of your oven, adding the nuts with a little more maple syrup and baking it for another 20 to 25 minutes, but I didn't do that, so I think this is why my granola turned out "moist".

The picture in the book looks like the okara is dry and "sand-like"...similar to panko (bread crumbs).

Satoshi was surprised when I told him what the granola was made from.

After we eat this batch up, I am going to try it like the recipe instructs...will let you know what happens.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

sending hugs

It's been 2 months since the tragic Kumamoto Earthquake, and they are still having aftershocks!

Thousands are still in shelters and/or living out of their cars.

They haven't been able to clear much of the debris and the "red tape" part of getting things moving forward seems to be endless and frustrating.

I found a tiny shop nearby that sells fruits and veggies from Kumamoto.

Even if we cannot visit the area right now, I hope by purchasing their produce it will help Kumamoto start moving forward.

Sending hugs to Kumamoto.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Konnyaku (devil's tongue jelly) is made from a type of yam and apparently has a high fiber content.

You can read more about it here.

Lately on TV, I've been seeing some new ways to add it to meals.

One way is to slice the konnyaku then freeze it.

By freezing it all the moisture is taken out and what you are left with is something with the texture similar to meat.

I haven't tried this method but have been reducing the amount of meat I put in a dish and adding konnyaku.

Like last night when I made stuffed bell peppers.

I put some konnyaku into the hollowed out pepper then added some meat.

And to the tomato sauce, I added the rest of the konnyaku.

When I made gapao, I added konnyaku that looked like noodles.

Satoshi thought it was harusame (cellophane noodles), and was surprised when I told him it was konnyaku.

I hope to try different ways to add konnyaku to our meals.

Have you tried konnyaku?

Thursday, June 09, 2016

in japan, summer means juicy and sweet! can't wait to start seeing these in the markets. The skins just peel right off because they are perfectly ripe.

corn...also super sweet!


Summer also means we're eating foods like:
Ayun's Salad

Kim Chee Corn Fritters


Minced Pork with Corn Miso Butter Sauce

Shoyu Butter Corn Yakionigiri

Refrigerator Oatmeal

We have also been eating lots of salads and foods that don't need a lot of prep or take a lot of time to cook so I don't need to stand near the stove for too long.

Growing up in Hawaii I didn't experience the different seasons, but now that I'm in Japan I look forward to the changes.

Of course I could do without the humidity in Japan, but without all the heat and humidity we wouldn't have all these delicious foods.

What are you enjoying this summer?

Wednesday, June 08, 2016


If you follow us on Instagram, you'll know that I've been hooked on onigirazu lately.

It is a nice way to use up leftover namul for bi bim bap.


Roast chicken and corn rice.

Sometimes I make two different types like Buchi-uma chicken and croquette. Then Satoshi and I have one half of each for breakfast.

It is also a nice way to eat up leftover rice with okazu (prepared foods) from the market, like sesame chicken.

Fried fish.

Have you tried onigirazu? What types of fillings have you put in?

Tuesday, June 07, 2016


Dahlia not doing too well.

With the funky weather, hot cold muggy...the plants seem to have dried up...

Hope both will revive...but it doesn't look good.

Monday, June 06, 2016

my number

Back in October, the Japanese government started putting everyone on a numerical identification system called "My Number".

The card is supposed to be based on the US social security number.

Japan wants to use this number to keep "an eye on us" and see if we are all paying taxes. And if I'm not mistaken will be used for other government related services too.

The initial form was sent special delivery by the city office to each household and had to be signed for.

If you weren't at home, the poor mail carriers had to keep trying until the forms were delivered.

We had to get identification pictures taken, attach the photo to the form and send it in.

A few weeks ago, we received a letter in the mail that the cards were ready.

What a p.i.t.a.

We had to go to the city office, show various forms of identification and set a password for the card.

The card is only good for 10 years and the password for 5 years.

Dunno why they couldn't have first checked our identification and take our picture at the city office.

Then when the card was ready the city office could've sent it to us special delivery.

Anyway, like most "ideas" that the government has tried, most have faded out over the years.

I have a feeling this too may be one of them.

Hope your week is going well, we started our rainy season over the weekend.

Sunday, June 05, 2016


The delivery system in Japan is quite amazing.

You can order things online and receive them usually the next day or sometimes even the same day!

A friend asked me to order some things from the Disney store, they have items that aren't sold in the US.

After ordering, I received an email, but my address number wasn't listed.

I wondered if I had forgot to put it on the order form.

I called the number on their website and got no help from the girl on the other end.

She said, "when we send you the "your order is being sent" mail you should contact the delivery guy and check with him if your address number is on their form"...sigh.

Dunno why they even have a call center...

So I got the "your order is being sent" mail...well, it didn't tell me which delivery service they were using, BUT gave me info for the three that they use...sigh.

I went to each site and popped in the delivery number that was on my email.

When I finally found the delivery service they were using, I kept an eye on the status of my order.

When I checked the site later that day, it noted that the item was "out for delivery", so I figured it must have my address number on there and didn't bother to call.

In the end, the delivery guy delivered it to me without the address number.

I guess I've ordered online from other places enough for them to "know me"

He did give me a warning of remembering to put my address number on the next time.

I know it is partly my fault for not checking the info, but the Disney store should have some sort of flag on their website whenever an address does not have address numbers.

Still, I am in awe of the delivery service in Japan.

Saturday, June 04, 2016


Okinawa started their rainy season early on May 16th. Kyushu hasn't even started theirs yet...

But I've been seeing the hollyhock (tachiaoi) blooming here.

And have written about how it is an indication of the rainy season coming here.

The weather dude isn't too sure and says maybe next week or the following one...we'll see.

Friday, June 03, 2016

kunto no sato

Yesterday, my host mom took me and my host brother's wife to lunch to celebrate my host brother's wife's birthday.

We went across the ocean to Awajishima.

A 150-something year old house refurbished into a tiny restaurant called Kunto no sato.

The wife does the food while the husband is in charge of the soba.

It was a beautiful lunch, too bad that I had a bad case of motion sickness and couldn't eat much of it.

Still, it was nice hanging out with my host mom and host brother's wife.

Happy Birthday, K!

Kunto no Sato
1541 Shitoridoi
Minamiawaji, Hyogo
Reservations only (at least a month in advance)
No children allowed

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


In Japan, a lot of homes use these large bulky light fixtures.

Most can be turned off or on with the pull string thingy, or if the socket is hooked up to a light switch, the fixture can be controlled by the switch.

Inside there are two round fluorescent bulbs and a teeny "starter" bulb.

The teeny bulb usually needs to be changed every so often but the two round bulbs rarely need to be.

My peeve with these huge fixtures is that usually the parts holding the bulbs in place are plastic which wear out from the heat of the light.

The other day, we got rid of one of our fixtures and bought a pendant light type.

I wanted to show you the plug.

Most are like this.

All you do is make sure that your light fixture has the same type of socket, put it in and give it a little twist.

No need for an electrician to come to install.

Am gonna look for a simple lamp shade for this soon.

Are light fixtures simple to put in where you are?