Thursday, November 30, 2017


Recently we spotted this taxi in Kyoto waiting for the bride and groom to be whisked off to their wedding ceremony.

On the front of the taxi there was a fan and the kanji (chinese characters) for kotobuki (celebration).

Inside the taxi, there were also artificial flowers on the rear deck near the back window.

The back left wheel was covered with a white cloth, I didn't know why, but think that maybe it was so that the bride's kimono/dress wouldn't get dirty getting in and out of the car.

Too bad we didn't get a glimpse of the soon to be newlyweds, but I'm glad we got to see this unique taxi.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

kyosaimi nomura

 Kyosaimi Nomura is a shop I stumbled upon while surfing Tabelog (kind of like Yelp but mainly for restaurants).

The company specializes in pre-made foods that are sold online as well a used at various restaurants.

Satoshi and I both tried the Miyabi Gozen...1080 yen (tax included).

12 different items all presented in tiny glass bowls/cups on a wooden tray.

A huge yuba (bean curd skin) donburi (rice topped with yuba and a thick sauce) and a bowl of miso soup also comes with the meal.

I really liked all the items and the tiny bowls/cups were nice to look at too.

I think the next time we come to Kyoto early in the morning, we might try their breakfast...we'll be back.

Kyosaimi Nomura
224 Hashibenzen-cho
Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 050.5589.7541
Hours: 7:00-20:00

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

okaffe kyoto

If you follow us on Instagram, you know we've been hanging around Kyoto more these days.

Satoshi's been checking out exhibits at various museums and me, I've be cafe crawling...

On Sunday though we went really early in the morning to have breakfast at Okaffe Kyoto.

I'm not too sure how I found out about this place but we were glad we checked out this place.

Satoshi had their pancake breakfast...salad, sunny side up egg and yogurt.

Me, I ordered their egg sandwich.

It comes with a green smoothie, yogurt and this super thick omelette sandwiched between pancakes.

Served with two sauces...a mustard mayo and a slightly sweet marscapone, this was delicious!

The pancakes aren't too sweet so it is perfect for the omelette.

I want to try their lunch here...we'll be back.

Okaffe Kyoto
235-2 Shinmei-cho
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.708.8162
Closed Tuesdays
Hours: 9:00-21:00

Monday, November 27, 2017


I mentioned in my previous post that it was a holiday on Thursday.

Earlier in the month when we visited MIL, we had planned to visit Satoshi's grandma's grave too, but since MIL had requested bento from the department store, we figured that we wouldn't be able to get to the department store and visit the grave, so we instead went to visit the grave this past Thursday.

On our way back to town we jumped off the bus at Kyoto Gyoen (the former Imperial Palace) and checked out the fall foliage.

Huge huge ginko tree.

Click on this photo to see a short video.

Across the street is Go-o Shrine.

Huge ginko tree here too.

Click on the photo to see the video.

Lunch was at the Gyoza Ohsho on Oike Boulevard.

This one is fancy and serves a different menu from their other shops.

Apparently they are marketing target is the female population...

Of the different things we tried, we loved the fried rice with all sorts of Kyoto style tsukemono (pickles) in it.

(and they measure the amount of wine they give...whoo!)

There were also some trees to see along Oike boulevard as we walked to our train station.

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and got great deals on Black Friday.

Can you believe there are only 5 weeks until the end of 2017?! Too fast.

Gyoza Ohsho
430 Tatsuike-cho (on Oike Boulevard, corner of Anekoji and Ryogaemachi)
Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.251.0177
Monday-Saturdays 11:00-24:00, Sundays 11:00-22:00

Thursday, November 23, 2017

kinro kansha no hi

Today is Kinro Kansha no Hi, a national holiday that shows an appreciation for laborers and production, to me it is a combination of Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

Thinking of family and friends in the States and around the world too.

Hope you all have lots to eat and are able to spend some time with the special people in your lives.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

roi thai

Roi Thai is a brand that we have here for coconut milk.

Recently, as I was walking around Kaldi Coffee Farm (a shop that imports all sorts of foods), I noticed that they had an "instant" curry.

I picked up their Massaman, Green and Red.

Each box is 2 servings and you only need to cook the curry for a couple of minutes, so I precooked all the "stuff" I wanted to put in it...eggplant, red bell pepper, maitake and chicken.

We tried the green curry, because I thought "green" was not as hot as "red"...wrong.

It was super spicy!

But so good!

I'm glad we tried this, and the next time I put chicken, I think I'm gonna try putting in minced chicken instead of chicken wings, so it will cook through faster.

Monday, November 20, 2017

muroji & hasedera

Sunday, we were heading out to Nara when Satoshi who has a bad habit of walking in front of me, took me out and I landed "kerplat" on the pavement.

I usually have a chance to "deflect" him, but this time he came out of nowhere....luckily it happened right in front of our place, so we headed back upstairs for me to clean my wounds...

Both palms have teeny asphalt holes (try washing dishes, showering, even putting on skincare....sting!)...both my knees have chin has a bump (hope it won't turn black and blue) and my lip looks like I have a huge cold sore on it...

On top of that, my arms and legs are sore probably from trying to brace my least I didn't break anything and didn't need to go to the hospital...

Anyway, from our place to Muroji it is about an hour an 45 minutes by train to Muroguchiono station, then by bus another 10 minutes or so.

Luckily during this time of year they have extra buses running, so we were able to get onto one as soon as we arrived at the station.

You need to walk in a bit from the bus stop but there are some shops to look at along the way.

From the entrance to Okunoin (the farthest inside temple), you need to climb stairs...lots of them and they go pretty much straight up...

I took my time going up and held onto the skinny rails that were almost all along the way up.

I also took my time coming down as it is quite steep and didn't want to fall "again"....

Treat while we waited for the bus to come...a slightly warm, yomogi (mugwort) mochi filled with sweet bean paste.

Also during this time of year there is a bus that takes you directly from Muroji to Hasedera...luckily we were able to catch one of these...

The ride is about 50 minutes through winding roads.

Once at Hasedera, there is a huge staircase to walk up to the temple.

It is quite peaceful and beautiful from up top.

If you have some time, pay the extra 1000 yen to go inside and see the Eleven Faced Kannon, it is 10 meters tall (about 32 feet high). You can walk around it about mouth open drop jaw moment...

And from Hasedera to the station it is about a 30 minute walk.

We were glad to check out some of fall foliage, though the weather was overcast and cold.

It seems we've been thrown head first into winter...maybe those stink bugs really know something yeah?!

Have a good week!

Friday, November 17, 2017

ikeda castle ruins park

This morning was 4C (39F)...brr!

On my way to the market, I went to check out the Ikeda Castle Ruins Park.

There weren't too many trees that had changed colors.

But, I'm glad the ones that had were my height, so I could get close enough to get some shots.

There were quite a bit of fallen leaves too.

They also had kiku (chrysanthemum) on display too.

Rain in the forecast for tomorrow, hope you have a nice weekend.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Went to Saikoji today to check out the fall colors.

Only the leaves that the sunlight hit turned reddish.

The wind was strong and icy.

We're supposed to have year end temps tomorrow through the weekend...brr.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

thanks santa

On Saturday, I saw these at Dean & Deluca and decided to pick them up...

Takibi Bakery's stollen and Miraval's Rosé.

We tried Takibi Bakery's stollen a couple of years ago.

And I first heard about the rosé from Rowena over the summer.

D & D also had a blanc made by Miraval, but the price for that one was a little too pricey.

Looking forward to trying the rosé with Christmas Eve dinner and having the stollen for several breakfasts in December.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Earlier this morning I went to Sanshikisaido. I love this street.

This year the leaves changed quickly, our mornings have been in the 40s(F)...brr while warming up by lunchtime, which is perfect for the leaves to change colors.

Click on this photo to see a short video that I shot.

It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so I hope to get out later this week on more walks to see more fall foliage.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

winter rainbow gratin

The other day, I was looking for a way to use some sweet potato and finally got around to trying a recipe from Heidi Swanson's "Super Natural Cooking".

Winter Rainbow Gratin adapted from "Super Natural Cooking" 2 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet potato, about 8 inches long, washed and cut into cubes
1/2 large carrot, peeled and cut into cubes
1/4 purple onion, cut into cubes
1/2 package of maitake, broken apart into strips by hand
1 small round eggplant, cut into cubes
sprinkle of dry okara
sprinkle of parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Saute veggies in olive oil over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Heat oven to 375F (190C).
Transfer veggies to greased casserole dish or saute in an ovenproof skillet.
Sprinkle dry okara and cheese.
Bake for about 40 minutes.

NOTES: Her gratin has no white sauce which seemed more of a hash to me.

Her recipe calls for some potato and breadcrumbs but I used all sweet potato and replaced the breadcrumbs with dry okara.

It also calls for some apple or pear but I left it out.

Next time I make this, I will put it into a larger baking dish, so that everything can crisp up more.

Satoshi also enjoyed this dish.

I am glad I tried this and hope to try this with some apple next time.

p.s. the temps have dropped quite a bit especially in the mornings and evenings, so some of the leaves seem to be earlier than normal...

Friday, November 10, 2017

panya focaccia

I'm not sure how I found out about this place, but I finally got to check Panya Focaccia out the other day.

Apparently the owner used to own an Italian restaurant, but the star of his restaurant was his house made focaccia.

So, he closed up his restaurant and started selling focaccia topped with all sorts of keema curry.

Filled with sweet bean paste and butter.

Apple and gorgonzola.

I loved how the bottom had a nice crisp crust and the focaccia itself was soft and kinda fluffy.

I don't always come to this area, but will be back when I am.

Panya Focaccia
1-2-4 Higashiobase
Higashinari, Osaka
Phone: 06.7505.9919
Hours: 11:00-17:00 (earlier if they run out)
Closed Sundays

Thursday, November 09, 2017


It takes about an hour and a half from where we live to Tondabayashi.

Apparently this area has a lot of preserved homes. In most regions, the preserved homes are "just for show", but in this case, most of the homes are being lived in.

One preserved home is the Tanaka family home and it is currently used as a community center.

Most of the preserved homes in this area are one-story as they were not allowed to build higher than that back then.

It was nice exploring all the little alleyways and roadways.

Mid-morning snack was from Yasu, a tiny bakery.

They are apparently known for their cream filled bread, but were already sold out at 10:00...

Satoshi had their mentaiko (spicy pollack roe) bread (right) while I had their cream cheese anpan (sweet bean paste and cream cheese) (left).

We also stopped at Koshoji, where they were having a Pokemon Go convention of sorts outside...sigh.

Inside the temple grounds though, it was super peaceful and quiet.

Lunch was at Cafe Rosa.

Satoshi went with the gutsu-gutsu (onomatopoeia for scalding) curry udon.

While I went with the goro-goro (onomatopoeia for chunks of) beef suji (muscle/nerf) curry.

I loved how there was an outer door before actually being able to enter the house.

And the cute planter boxes that looked more like frames.

We also had some coffee at Heizo.

The art shop, Konjyaku no tamatebako, next door was amazing too. Intricate kiri-e (pictures cut out of paper)

It was nice seeing all the different shops and we were amazed at how quiet and laid back this area was.

There are other areas nearby that Satoshi wants to check out, so we'll be back.

10-12 Tondabayashi-cho
Tondabayashi, Osaka
Phone: 0721.25.8026
Hours: 8:00-18:00
Closed Mondays

Cafe Rosa
123-6 Tondabayashi-cho
Tondabayashi, Osaka
Phone: 080.1468.4180
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 7:00-17:30

123-39 Tondabayashi-cho
Tondabayashi, Osaka
Phone: 090.5461.9150
Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays
Hours: 10:00-18:00