Tuesday, December 11, 2018

1st world problems

The other day, apparently Ericsson had a data malfunction of sorts.

Well, because of that malfunction, it took out 11 countries worth of cell phone carriers & users...including mine.

It is amazing how much we rely on our cell phones, yeah?!

Since I don't use my cell phone too much for phone calls, I didn't notice the outage until the news had reported it.

Things people learned without cell service...

How to use a pay phone (yup, there are generations that don't know how to use "real" land lines)...

You cannot use Apple Pay or the like...

Analog items like important phone numbers might be good to carry around...

Disaster warning apps are useless...

Asking for directions...

WiFi spots are life savers...

Were you affected by this malfunction?

Monday, December 10, 2018

okita seimai

I had gone to Hatanodai station to visit Otto Pan, to see if they were selling stollen...they weren't...boo!

So as I was walking towards Nagahara, I stumbled upon Okita Seimei.

This shop has been in business since 1921! selling rice.

Then, when the 4th generation took the business over, besides rice, they started selling bento and sweets made from rice.

Their tenmusu (short for tempura musubi) is a tempura shrimp drizzled with a little soy based sauce then wrapped with rice and nori....I should have bought more.

Namasu and sunomono were delicious as well.

I also bought millet ohagi...cooked millet covered with kinako (soy bean powder)...so good!

While I was standing in line, a lady, a few customers ahead of me received coupons for the shopping arcade...as she was leaving, she asked me if I could to use her coupons.

Since I don't live in the area, I thought it would be wasteful to accept it so I refused.

Then after I purchased my bento and was walking through the shopping arcade, another lady, who was the customer in line in front of me, stopped me to ask if I could use those similar coupons, I thanked her but told her I don't live in the area...so funny yeah?!

They had so many okazu (prepared foods) to choose from, I'll be back when I am in the area.

Okita Seimai
4-6-3 Hatanodai
Shinagawa, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3781.6557
Closed Sundays, Mondays & Holidays
Hours: 9:00-20:00

Sunday, December 09, 2018

guru guru bakery

Tried Guru Guru Bakery's stollen.

Lots of spices and nuts.

Not too much dried fruits though.

The texture of this stollen was more bread than cake.

On another note, their fruit sandwich was delicious.

Chocolate bread, whipped cream, cream cheese, strawberries & bananas.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

yashi pan

Tried Yashi Pan's stollen.

This version was a little more bready...but still had lots of dried fruits and nuts in it.

Hope to find more stollen to try...

Friday, December 07, 2018

back to shinjuku

After telling Satoshi about the day I had with V & K, he wanted to go to Katsukura and to visit Shinjuku Gyoen.

He had the same meal that we had the other day, and was super impressed by the huge prawn.

I was determined not to eat the same items (twice in a week!) and ordered the filet katsu sandwich instead.

So tender! and great with the kuroshichimi (black 7 spices) that it came with.

FYI: the Japanese menu is a little different from the foreign language ones, for one thing this sandwich wasn't on the foreign language menu.

Can you believe in all the years that Satoshi lived in Tokyo, he had never visited Shinjuku Gyoen? mottainai (what a waste!)

We walked the perimeter of the park.

This was the French Garden area...Avenue of Sycamore trees.

Loved that the roses were in bloom too.

And the lower pond area.

An area called "Maple Hill"

The sun sets so early these days.

The weather was so warm and it was nice to be out and about.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

boulangerie towaie

I thought I had posted about Boulangerie Towaie before, but it seems I didn't.

They are a tiny bakery near the Senzokuike station on the Tokyu Ikegami line.

I bought their cheese maru (mah-roo)...a round (maru) piece of bread, the texture is like boule (which I think also means ball in French) and filled with lots of cheese.

Toasted, the cheese gets oozy...so so good!

I put half in the freezer for us to eat with soup.

I also bought slices of their stollen...

Was a bit disappointed as this was similar to toast.

Still I can see why their cheese maru is their number one seller...I'll be back.

Boulangerie Towaie
2-30-1 Kamiikedai
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6421.8825
Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
Hours: 7:00-19:00

Wednesday, December 05, 2018


Tried Hutte's stollen recently.

Loved how it was moist, a little dense...almost like cake.

There was a little marzipan in the middle and lots of dried fruits and nuts in it.

It's stollen season and since we've moved to Tokyo, I am on the look out for places with stollen...so far, I think this one is a fave.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018


Walking to the Nagahara station after buying the dried fruit yokan, I stumbled upon Stivale, a tiny shop that makes Italian style foods.

I picked up their marinated eringi (oyster mushrooms) in a balsamic vinaigrette.

There were also some sun dried tomatoes in there too.


I used it to top some steamed broccoli.

I hope to go back to try their pannetone.

And on their website, I also noticed they have a restaurant, so I hope to go back and try them soon.

1-8-9 Kamiikedai
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3727.7343
Hours: 11:00-22:00

Monday, December 03, 2018

wagashi asobi

I have seen the big posters of Wagashi Asobi's dried fruit yokan from the train line we ride and finally got a chance to try it.

Dried figs and dried strawberries are soaked in rum then are placed with walnuts in a dense, smooth sweet bean paste.

This actually goes nicely with wine.

The owner also suggests eating it with cream cheese and bread.

I hope to try this way of eating it soon.

The owner was so nice to also let me try his rosemary rakugan.

Rakugan is a hard candy made with rice flour and sugar....kind of like eating a sugar cube but firmer.

This also went nicely with wine.

I think this yokan would be nice to give to friends who enjoy wine/whisky.

I'll be back.

Wagashi Asobi
1-31-1 Kamiikedai
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3748.3539
Hours: 10:00-17:00

Sunday, December 02, 2018

yaoya jazz

Stumbled upon this cute produce shop called Yaoya Jazz.

Yaoya means produce shop.

The kaki (persimmon) that they were selling were so orange! (and were super sweet)

The lady at the shop was so nice too.

I'll be back when I am in this area.

Yaoya Jazz
2-16-14 Todoroki
Setagaya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3701.3860
Closed Mondays
Hours: Tuesdays & Wednesdays 10:00-18:30, Thursdays-Sundays 10:00-19:30

Saturday, December 01, 2018


Spent most of Tuesday with V and K.

Since their flight back to Hawaii wasn't until almost midnight, they had lots of time to kill after check-out.

We first walked part of Kita-Shinagawa, which Satoshi and I first explored back in May.

Then we took the Yamanote line to Shinjuku, where we had V's favorite tonkatsu at Katsukura.

The yuba wrapped veggies (cut into pieces) were delicious.

While the chestnut mushroom croquette (not cut) didn't really have much chestnut in it.

Talk about kanak attack afterwards...for those of you who don't know what that is, kanak (kah-nack) attack is when you eat way too much then feel super sleepy afterwards...(thank you again for lunch)

V and K did some shopping and then we went to check out Shinjuku Gyoen.

A huge park literally in the middle of the city.

There is a small admission fee, but it is worth it.

It was my first time here and I look forward to maybe braving the crowds for cherry blossom season (maybe).

I'm glad we got to spend more time together and got most of V's shopping done.

I hope they enjoyed their trip and had a safe trip back to Hawaii.

Shinjuku Takashimaya 14F
Hours: 11:00-23:00
Open when Takashimaya is

Shinjuku Gyoen
11 Naitomachi
Shinjuku, Tokyo
Hours: 09:00-16:30 (Entry until 16:00)
Closed Monday (if Monday is a national holiday, closed the next day), New Year's (Dec. 29th-Jan. 3rd)

Friday, November 30, 2018

aaloo masala

Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback on yesterday's post.

After I work on re-pasting the photos on the posts that are connected to Flickr, I will work on rotating the ones in the albums...

Changing subjects...Tried a new recipe recently called Aaloo Masala.

Apparently Aaloo is the Hindi word for potato and Masala is spices.

This is kind of like middle eastern potato salad.

Adapted from "Spice Cafe" by Kazushiro Ito, makes about 4 servings
2 potatoes (about 300 grams total)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed
5 curry leaves
2 heaping tablespoons minced onion
2 heaping tablespoons minced carrot
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt

Peel and slice potatoes into cubes then boil until soft (about 15 minutes)
Drain and set aside
In a pan, heat oil on high and add mustard seeds
When you hear the seed start to pop, turn off the heat and cover the pan until the seeds stop popping.
Turn the heat back on to medium and tear up the curry leaves and add
Add the onion and carrots.
Cook until the onions are transparent
Add the turmeric and salt and mix well.
Add the spice veggies mixture to the potato, mashing the potato while stirring and leaving some chunks as well.
Serve warm.

NOTES: This was delicious and different. I served this with some tandoori chicken and would make this again.

Oh and with the other half, I made shepard's pie...in a baking dish, I put some steamed broccoli, cut up the tandoori chicken then topped it with the aaloo masala and then baked it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


I have a small favor to ask...

If you look at the side bar of this blog, there is a label "photo gallery"

Please click it and then click a destination to see if you can see if it takes you to Google Photos where I have loaded photos for the destination that you clicked.

These are the albums from Flickr.

FYI: It is just the photos, there aren’t captions/notes.

I still need to rotate some of the photos in each album, but I think I downloaded everything...

Anyway, in the comments area of this post, please let me know if you can view them.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

vending machine

More cool finds in a vending machine.

From left to right...corn potage, onion soup, fukahire (shark fin) soup & shijimi (type of clam).

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


There is an area called Jimbocho.

There are tons of bookstores in this area for all sorts of consumers and collectors, as well as publishing companies.

While I was waiting for Satoshi, I walked around this area and noticed this objet.

Apparently it is the site where Japanese baseball got its start.

I thought it was cool that the ball was a globe.

Lunch was at a place called Kitchen Calorie (cool name yeah?!)

I had their omurice (fluffy omelette topped chicken "fried" rice). This also came with a salad.

I thought their ketchup would be sweet and overpowering but I think it was mixed with some of their demiglace sauce so the sauce was just right.

Satoshi had their jumbo fried shrimp plate.

This also came with a hamburger, fried onions, pasta, corn AND rice.

Their portions are quite large, but everything is reasonably priced and the food comes out quite quickly.

Satoshi is already planning a re-visit...ahem!

Coffee with cheesecake at Dix Ans.

Camembert and marscapone cheeses were used to make this...delicious.

Satoshi had their roll cake which was really sweet.

This place is pricey but super quiet and laid back.

I'd come back for the coffee and just hang out reading or something.

The wind was fahreezing but at least the sun was out.

Kitchen Calorie
3-10 Kandaogawa
Chiyoda, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3291.3266
Hours: 11:00-21:00

Dix Ans (Jimbocho)
1-24 KandaJimbocho
Chiyoda, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5244.5618
Hours: 8:00-19:00 (Mondays-Fridays), 11:00-17:00 (Saturdays & Sundays)

Monday, November 26, 2018

au bon vieux temps

My host brother's wife first introduced me to this shop's baked items.

I went to check them out this past Saturday picking up their Galette Bretonne (buttery and flaky "cookie"), Galette Dauphinoise (walnut "pie") and their Nougat Montelimar (nougat filled with nuts)

I enjoyed them and want to go back to try their cakes in their tea salon.

Au Bon Vieux Temps
2-1-3 Todoroki
Setagaya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3703.8428
Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays
Hours: 9:00-18:00

Sunday, November 25, 2018


Friday was a holiday.

Satoshi had plans so I went on my own adventure.

I started out by getting off the train at Ontakesan Station and taking a picture of Mount Fuji from the platform.

Then walking around Senzokuike Park.

The maple leaves are brownish this year.

Lunch at Santino with Satoshi because it turned out he had some time before his adventure.

I had their Napolitan.

Made with their fresh pasta the noodles were very chewy, the flavors were so-so.

Satoshi had their eggplant with bacon pasta which was kind of soupy.

We may be back the next time we are here.

The weather was beautiful and it was nice to be out and about.

2-30-1 Kamiikedai
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3728.5188
Hours: 11:00-22:00

Saturday, November 24, 2018

thursday with v & k

Thursday, I spent most of the day with blog reader V and her husband K.

We started out early, "fighting" the salarymen (businessmen) "ocean" at Shinagawa Station, then finding our way to Tsukiji.

Since we moved to Tokyo in April, we have not been around here, so it was hard for me to remember what everything was like before.

It seemed to me that a lot has changed.

After going row by row in the market, I'm glad we found the furikake that V wanted to get.

We then walked to Ginza/Yurakucho to have unagi for lunch.

On a previous trip V tried the Osaka shop and wanted to have unagi again at their Tokyo shop.

I liked how "crispy" the unagi was...thank you for lunch!

We then went to Kyu-Shibarikyu Garden and walked around.

Not too much fall colors, but at least they were able to experience a Japanese garden.

V gave us lots of snacks.

I'm glad we were able to meet up and it was nice to meet K too.

It was overcast and a bit drizzly, still I hope they had fun and enjoy the rest of their trip.

Thank you V & K!

Hitsumabushi Nagoya Bincho
2-2-14 Ginza, Marronier Gate 12F
Chuo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5159.0231
Lunch: 11:00-15:30, Dinner: 17:00-23:00
Closed when Marronier Gate is

Friday, November 23, 2018


Been enjoying these snacks...

This version of arare with peanuts by Sanko Seika is flavored with ume (pickled apricot), sprinkled with coarse sugar and then there are the peanuts...sweet, salty and a little sour.

And these peanuts by Inaba.

The left side is sprinkled with Jane's Krazy Salt and the one on the right is sprinkled with aonori (green laver).

The one with aonori reminds me of hurricane popcorn.

What are you snacking on these days?

Thursday, November 22, 2018


It's Thanksgiving in the States soon.

We don't celebrate it here (in fact, Japan is in Christmas mode already!)

I am thankful for family and friends...

That we have enough to eat and have insurance to take care of medical costs.

So many natural disasters around the world this year, I’m thankful we have a roof over our heads.

If you are celebrating today, have a safe and delicious holiday.

Thank you for always being a part of our adventures.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Found some nice sized kabu (turnips) at the market.

I used a little more than half of one for our dinner the other night.

I sauteed some pork belly and diced potato in olive oil.

Added 300 milliliters of dashi, 3/4 of the kabu (thinly sliced) and cooked for about 5 minutes.

Turned off the heat then I added 50 grams of kim chee and 2 teaspoons of miso.

Dinner was served.

It is definitely soup season.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

lake kawaguchi (day 2)

We woke up early the next morning but Mount Fuji was still "sleeping".

Breakfast was quite heavy (for me)...an omelette, ham, sausage, some lettuce....yogurt, orange juice, toast, coffee.

After checking out, we walked from our hotel back to Lake Kawaguchi.

This is what the Momiji Kairo (Fall Foliage Corridor) looks like in morning lighting.

Can you believe the leaves were more plentiful and more colorful last week?!

Satoshi wanted to check out the Itchiku Kubota Museum, and since Mount Fuji was still "sleeping", we decided to check this museum out.

Itchiku Kubota was a textile artist who apparently revived a lost art technique called "tsujigahana" which is a method of dyeing and decorating cloth.

The kimono collection (on display) that he created were beautiful.

And the grounds that his museum is on is also beautiful, so be sure to walk around.

Admission is 1300 yen but worth it to see the hillsides behind the buildings especially since the leaves had changed.

Lunch was at Momiji-tei, which is famous for houtou.

Houtou is a local dish that is similar to miso soup with flat noodles in it.

Satoshi had the kinoko (mushroom) version while I ordered the kabocha (pumpkin).

Huge pieces of kabocha, daikon (radish) as well as other veggies and noodles...it was a very hardy dish.

After lunch, Mount Fuji decided to show herself, so we decided to check her out...

We went to Shimoyoshida and climbed up to see the view of Mount Fuji at the Arakurayama Sengen Park.

This is where many people, maybe even Lonely Planet has taken many shots of Mount Fuji.

At this time of day though, the backlight was pretty harsh so the photos we took were mostly shadowy.

If you are interested in seeing a short video, click the link here.

I hope you enjoyed our short adventure as much as we did.

We were lucky to see Mount Fuji for two days in a row.

3067-1 Kawaguchi, Minamitsuru-ward
Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi
Phone: 0555.76.8200
Hours 10:30-21:00

Arakurayama Sengen Park
From Fujikyu Shimoyoshida station about 10 minutes plus 398 stairs.
3353-1 Arakura, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi