Wednesday, June 13, 2018

update

gmh3 Thought I should update you as to what is happening "in real life"...

My passport took 2 weeks to get renewed (just as they had estimated).

Apparently, they don't expedite them for a fee like they do in the States, but are apparently faster (and apparently are more expensive) than the States.

On the day of my appointment, they took me earlier than my appointment time and I thought it was all pretty speedy.

After receiving my passport, I looked online for flights...

I really wanted to fly out from Haneda (because we only live 30 minutes away by train).

I usually fly JAL but apparently the only flights JAL has flying out of Haneda are code-shared with Hawaiian (using Hawaiian's planes).

The flights are about $200 (both ways) more than flying out from Narita and are really late at night.

I've also heard mixed reviews about flying Hawaiian...so even if Narita is out of the way for me, I decided to fly out from Narita.

peach season❤︎ ・ ・ ・ #白鳳 #桃 #山梨産 #東京 #hakuho #peach #yamanashi #tokyo #japan In the past couple of weeks, we got to eat some peaches.

This particular variety from Yamanashi prefecture is called Hakuho and was a little more "perfume-y" than varieties we've had over the years.

As always, the skins just peel off because they are perfectly ripe.

sakuranbo❤︎ ・ ・ ・ #さくらんぼ #山形産 #東京 #果物 #sakuranbo #yamagata #tokyo #japan #fruit We also got to eat some sakuranbo from Yamagata prefecture.

I have never had "sweet" sakuranbo.

Maybe I don't know how to choose them or maybe they are supposed to be sour-ish, but the ones I've picked out are always tart.

beets❤︎ ・ ・ ・ #ビーツ #千葉産 #くくりの森 #東京 #beets #chiba #kukurinomori #tokyo #japan I am pretty sure the Japanese do not realize the goodness of beets (yet), these beauties were in the "old veggie" area of the market...only 398 yen (plus tax)...so cheap and so big!

Oh and my dental issues which started back in April...are still not resolved and will be taking a "summer vacation", while I am in Hawaii...

In fact, I should already be in Hawaii when this posts.

While in Hawaii, we'll be having a service for my father and settling his estate.

It may be quiet here, just thought I should let you know.

Be well and talk to you soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

verve coffee

kaffe tonic❤︎ ・ ・ ・ #カフェトニック #vervecoffee #新宿 #kaffetonic #shinjuku #tokyo #japan I am not sure how I heard about Verve Coffee, a coffee shop from Santa Cruz, California.

When I went to Shinjuku the other day, I stumbled upon their shop and tried their Kaffe Tonic...espresso that has tonic water added.

A bit pricey at 650 yen (plus tax), this was delicious and perfect for the humidity.

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

Verve Coffee
Shinjuku Station
Phone: 03.6273.1325
Hours: Weekdays 7:00-22:00, Saturdays & Sundays 7:00-21:00

Monday, June 11, 2018

orient bakery

fish burger & mushroom cheese bread from orient bakery on a namesake shopping street❤︎ ・ ・ ・ #大城通り商店街 #オリエントベーカリー #西蒲田 #東京 #パン #パン屋 #昼食 #lunch #fishburger #mushroom #cheese #bread #bakery #oshirostreet #nishikamata #tokyo #japan Remember Ikegami Orient Bakery?

Well, I recently stumbled upon the main shop.

There is a shopping street with my family name, Oshiro, in our area and located on that shopping street is Orient Bakery.

I asked the lady at the register if they were related to Ikegami Orient Bakery and found out they are.

I tried their mushroom cheese bread and fish burger...both were delicious!

This fish burger was better than the one I tried from the Ikegami store.

They also had more baked items than the Ikegami store.

I am glad there are many different bakeries in the area to choose from.

Orient Bakery
5-8-16 Nishi Kamata
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3731.5182
Closed Tuesdays
Hours: 7:00-19:00

Sunday, June 10, 2018

ruby

ruby❤︎it is sweet and tart @rowena.italia ・ ・ ・ #キットカットショコラトリー #ルビー #チョコ #東京 #kitkatchocolatory #ruby #chocolate #tokyo #japan I first heard about the Ruby Kit Kat from Rowena of Rubber Slippers In Italy.

I was a bit leery of the whole thing because most of the flavored Kit Kats in Japan are basically white chocolate based with the various flavors added/mixed in.

So, the other day, I happened to be near a Kit Kat Chocolatory (in some department stores around Japan) and bought one.

At 432 yen (tax included) this is not cheap.

It started off sweet (like white chocolate) then the tartness followed.

Would I buy this again?

Maybe not, but I am glad I tried it.

Thanks for bringing my attention to this Rowena, and I hope you get to try this when it is launched in Europe.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

kugahara

Untitled A couple of stations from where we live is Kugahara.

Like most of the stations in this area, they have their own shopping arcade.

I had bookmarked Hutte, which apparently means "hut" in German.

This tiny bakery is filled with all sorts of hard type breads.

I bought some breads for us to try.

The hamburger was homemade, and went nicely with their bun.

The chocolate cranberry and walnut stick was filled to the gills with chocolate!

Satoshi enjoyed his mentaiko baguette...baguette that is slathered with butter and topped with mayonnaise and mentaiko (spicy pollack roe).

The scone was also filled with lots of chocolate and chunks of walnuts.

Untitled And then I stumbled upon Mon Reve, a french bakery.

Chorizo tarte was like a spicy pizza and the meat pie was flaky and filled with lots of cheese and seasoned ground beef.

Untitled Yamamoto is a tiny meat shop in between of these two bakeries.

The kushikatsu (fried things on a stick) was delicious.

Sweet onions and pork fried perfectly.

I'll be back to these shops and look forward to finding more places to try.

Hutte
29-9 Higashiminemachi
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5700.1500
Closed Sundays & 3rd Mondays
Hours: 8:00-20:00

Mon Reve
27-10 Higashiminemachi
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5748.0118
Closed Tuesdays
Hours: 8:00-20:00

Yamamoto
29-9 Higashiminemachi
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3754.9858

Friday, June 08, 2018

tataki kyuuri (smashed cucumber)

got inspired to make tataki cucumber from @maybeitsjenny ❤︎recipe from shirogohan.com ・ ・ ・ #たたききゅうり #東京 #おつまみ #smashedcucumber #tokyo #japan #pupu #appetizer Jenny of Maybe It's Jenny, was recently talking about tataki kyuuri (smashed cucumber).

I had bought a cucumber for poke but couldn't find good maguro, so I decided to try making smashed cucumber instead.

The recipe I used was from Shirogohan...If you can read some Japanese or your computer can translate, there are lots of recipes on this site that are great with rice.

I didn't add the grated ginger as the recipe directs, but will definitely try this again with some grated ginger.

2 cucumbers
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
1.5 teaspoons shoyu
1/4 teaspoon salt (if needed)

Smash your cucumbers...video to show you how here
Break the smashed cucumber with your hands into smaller pieces
Grate the ginger
Add the sauce ingredients
Mix well

NOTES: This is great way to relieve stress!

And it is so easy to put together, no cooking involved.

I would make this a couple hours before eating (even maybe a day before), so the cucumber has some time to soak in the sauce.

Definitely making this again...thanks Jenny for the inspiration!

Thursday, June 07, 2018

fishmonger

Untitled I knew that they had fishmongers to gut your fish at the supermarkets.

What I didn't know is that they also cut slabs of fish into sashimi (sliced raw fish) for you.

I found a nice piece of madai (sea bream) at the market and right in front was a sign showing that they also cut it into sashimi (thin slices), cubes as well as thicker slices.

I asked the fishmonger behind the counter to slice it into sashimi or otsukuri as it is sometimes called.

No extra charge and they also add a packet of wasabi and shoyu.

Will definitely take advantage of this service in the future.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

pickled ginger

Untitled If you can get your hands on some young ginger, this recipe is super easy and tasty.

As seen on a television program, "The Taikoban":

400 grams ginger
350 cc vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon honey

Clean & slice ginger (chunky) (or thin if you like)
Boil vinegar, salt & honey until honey and salt dissolve
Pour over ginger
Store in airtight jar

IMG_4797 NOTES: this isn't too sweet so if you like the sweeter pickled ginger (like the types that are sometimes served with sushi), adjust the amount of honey.

I am glad I tried this recipe and would definitely make this again.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

new neighbors

Untitled It's been a couple of weeks since this family of sparrows moved into the metal thingy on the electric pole in front of our lanai...

Although they can be a bit noisy, they are better to check out than the scary crows that sometimes sit on the electrical lines.

Crows really scare me...

Hope your week is going well.

Monday, June 04, 2018

natto

Untitled Have been trying work natto into my diet, but cannot get past the stinkiness.

I think I found a brand from Gunma that isn't stinky.

not stinky❤︎ ・ ・ ・ #ちいさなしもにた #納豆 #群馬産 #東京 #chiisanashimonita #natto #gunma #tokyo #japan I like that they just wrap it in a thick piece of paper, or maybe it is a thin piece of bamboo leaf...they also don't include any Japanese mustard or sauce, so you can control how you eat it and what you eat it with.

think I’ve found a way to eat natto❤︎ ・ ・ ・ #納豆 #キムチ #胡麻油 #醤油 #米 #生姜酢漬け #玉子焼き #オクラ #煎茶 #東京 #natto #kimchee #sesameoil #shoyu #rice #pickledginger #omelette #okra #sencha #koreannori #韓国海苔 #tokyo #japan The other morning, I masked the natto with some kim chee, a little sesame oil and a little shoyu.

I know natto isn't everyone's "thing", but I think I'll be eating natto this way for now.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

sumobeya

Untitled Satoshi and I have been seeing sumotori (Japanese wrestlers) in our neighborhood.

A quick look online showed that we have a sumobeya (stable) in our neighborhood.

The Onoe sumobeya (stable) has been around since 2006.

The most "famous" sumotori from this stable is Baruto, an Estonian who went as high as ozeki in the sumo ranks.

Quite a novelty to see these sumotori out and about in our area.

On a side note, if you are familiar with sumo, over the years there were 4 wrestlers from Hawaii (Takamiyama, Konishiki, Akebono & Musashimaru).

Hope to catch the wrestlers from Onoe sumobeya practicing one day.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

sento

Untitled One thing we've noticed is that our area has a lot of sento (scent-oh...public bathhouses).

We have several a couple of minutes walking distance away from where we live.

And since our furo (bath) does not have a reheating unit (it is super old!) we are probably gonna be using the neighborhood sento this winter.

Sento is more casual than onsen (hot springs).

Like onsen though most sento have a bathing fee.

You need to bring your own towel, soap, shampoo, etc.

And if you want to use the hair dryer afterwards, there is a fee too.

There was an article I found about some of the sento in our area here.

Hope to share with you our sento experience later this year.

Friday, June 01, 2018

grocery finds

grocery finds❤︎ ・ ・ ・ #冬瓜 #ツルムラサキ #ブルーベリー #カラフルラディッシュ #沖縄産 #宮城産 #高知産 #群馬産 #野菜 #果物 #wintermelon #malabarspinach #blueberry #colorfulradishes #okinawa #miyagi #kochi #gunma #veggies #fruit #madeinjapan #supportlocalfarmers Some grocery finds...malabar spinach from Miyagi prefecture.

My father used to grow something similar in his backyard but he called it Okinawan spinach, so I think it must be a different variety.

After rinsing it, I just wilted it in a non-stick pan.

We ate it twice, once with mayo and once with sesame dressing.

It does have a little sliminess to it so even if it is called spinach it is a little different.

The other items we have bought before...blueberries, togan (wintermelon) and colorful radishes.

I am enjoying my trips to different supermarkets in the area.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

pizzaman

Untitled One of Satoshi's friends lives in Oimachi, so after walking around after our monja lunch, we decided to find a place for dinner in Oimachi.

There was a place that he has been wanting to try but there was always a line...Pizzaman.

This shop looks like an old military barrack, round on the top, made of corrugated metal.

Inside it is rather noisy.

The pizza comes out quick from their wood burning oven.

We shared their margherita, daily special pizzas, an order of fries and a bottle of wine...the crust was so good!

The daily special pizza had all sorts of different grilled veggies on it.

And the fries were crispy....mmm.

Make reservations if possible, otherwise you'll need to wait for a table.

They also have salads and pastas.

I'm glad we tried this place and look forward to coming back.

Pizzaman
1-11-8 Oi
Shinagawa, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3774.0900
Closed Mondays
Hours: 11:30-14:00 (lunch), 18:00-21:00 (dinner)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

ebisuya

Untitled We met up with two of Satoshi's co-worker friends.

They both grew up in Kansai and work at the same office as Satoshi but everyone are in different departments.

One has lived in Tokyo for over 10 years, so he took us around to see the "sights".

Lunch was monjayaki or monja (moan-jah) for short at Tsukishima.

Tsukishima which is a couple of stations from Tsukiji has tons of monja shops.

Have you had monja?

I was leery because I heard it is similar to okonomiyaki but super watery and not very photogenic.

We started with some butteryaki...bean sprouts, mushrooms, squid legs & scallops..cooked on the griddle with butter and some shoyu (soy sauce)...delicious.

Untitled Then the ingredients for the monjayaki arrived...mochi pieces, cheese, mentaiko (spicy pollack roe), dried ramen, cabbage, dried shrimp, and I think some katsuobushi (shaved bonito).

Underneath all of that is the liquid "batter" which is more like a very unappetizing looking slurry.

They put the cabbage, dried shrimp, katsuobushi onto the griddle then as it cooks, they use the bera (bay-rah...metal spatulas) to "chop" up the cabbage, dried shrimp and katsuobushi into smaller pieces.

Then some of the liquid batter is added and then all the goodies (mentaiko, mochi, dried ramen & cheese).

The bera is used to spread everything out over the whole griddle and everything melds together.

Each diner has their own smaller bera and you scrape and press the monja with the bera against the griddle, whatever sticks to the bera is what you eat.

Monja is definitely not "fast food" it is meant to linger over while "talking story" (what we say in Hawaii meaning to chat).

I'm not a fan of mentaiko, but this was delicious.

I think the burnt cheese & mochi parts were the best.

The texture of monja is just that--burnt cheese off of a frying pan.

Untitled Click on the photo to see a video of monja cooking...

Untitled We also had a curry cheese version.

It was my first time trying this it is totally different from okonomiyaki and I would eat this again.

Ebisuya
3-9-10 Tsukishima
Chuo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3531.0731
Hours: Lunch 12:00-15:00, Dinner 17:00-23:00
Closed Tuesdays

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

alice

found a new (to me) bakery called alice❤︎mushroom tartine (bechamel sauce, mushrooms, a little bacon & cheese)...blueberry danish(flaky pastry filled with cake!, topped with custard & blueberries) ・ ・ ・ #小麦工房アリス #池上 #東京 #パン #パン屋 #タルティーヌ #ブルーベリーデニッシュ Found a new bakery called Alice.

They had all sorts of things.

I tried their mushroom tartine...crusty baguette topped with bechamel sauce, mushrooms, a little bacon & cheese...so good! especially the burnt cheese bits.

The blueberry danish was also good too...a flaky pastry filled with some cake, topped with custard and blueberries.

The cake inside was a nice surprise!

I'm glad this bakery isn't too close to where we live too but I'll be back.

Alice
8-1-9 Chuo
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3753.6178
Hours: 7:00-19:00
Closed Tuesdays

Monday, May 28, 2018

shanti

shanti’s chicken dal curry & naan, a little too salty but only 500 yen❤︎ ・ ・ ・ #シャンティ #カレー #マメ #チキン #ナン #蓮沼 #東京 #shanti #curry #dal #chicken #naan #hasunuma #tokyo #japan #cheapeats The other night, Satoshi didn't need dinner, so I bought some chicken dal curry from Shanti.

The spiciness can be changed, I think their range is 0-5?! I chose 1.

For 500 yen (tax included) you can choose from their the curry of the day, keema, dal, chicken, veg AND they also add 1 naan or some rice.

The chicken dal curry was their curry of the day.

The curry was a little too salty for my liking. The naan was so big that they folded it!

They also have a 750 yen (tax included) menu with exotic stuff like mutton, prawn and seafood that also come with 1 naan or some rice.

I am curious what their other curries taste like, so I'll be back.

Shanti
6-30-7 Nishi-Kamata
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6320.2027
Hours: Lunch 11:00-15:00 Dinner 17:00-23:00
Open Daily

Sunday, May 27, 2018

whoa

Untitled I've seen this guy get out of his "stall" which is pretty impressive but I wanna know how this guy parks under the stairs...

Saturday, May 26, 2018

antenna shops

oganemochi asari kashi butter mochi In Tokyo, they have antenna shops, which are outlets for products from different areas of Japan.

Like in Shinagawa, they have an antenna shop for products from Akita prefecture.

When we visited Akita, I couldn't find butter mochi without it having artificial sweeteners in it, so I went to check out the antenna shop.

The first butter mochi I came across at the antenna shop had artificial sweeteners in it and then I looked in the refrigerated area...and they had a version that was made without the artificial sweeteners by Asari Kashiten....whoo!

oganemochi asari kashi butter mochi Oh em gee, the mochi was so so soft, they also had a version with miso and butter, will try that one next.

This is different from the butter mochi we have in Hawaii, it isn't oily...there isn't much butter flavor and it seems a little sweeter than the one we have in Hawaii.

Still, I'm glad I got to try it.

Besides the mochi, I also purchased some Akita Komachi, a type of rice from the area.

I look forward to checking out other antenna shops around Tokyo.

Friday, May 25, 2018

zojoji

Untitled Satoshi had a class and his classroom is right across the street from Tokyo Tower.

There are several temples near Tokyo Tower and we visited one called Zojoji the other week.

They were allowing people to visit the tombs of the Tokugawa family (for a fee) on the property, so we went to check it out.

Loved the dragons near the doors of the tombs.

Untitled There were lots of these statues for unborn children.

Untitled It was nice to see Tokyo Tower with azaleas in bloom.

Untitled

Untitled So much to explore, we still need to get to the top of Tokyo Tower too.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

yakishisomaki

Untitled We tried this yakishisomaki made in Sendai (Miyagi).

Shiso (perilla) is filled with a sweetened miso, walnuts, sesame seed mixture then pan fried.

Untitled Sweet, salty...this was good with rice.

I'm glad we tried this.

I found a recipe online and want to try making this.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

storage

Untitled Thought I would show you my kitchen...

Where we lost some storage space, we gained storage in other places.

Like under the kitchen sink, there is one big cupboard.

It has doors to separate the areas, but no "walls".

Glad I brought the stacking shelves that I had under my kitchen sink at our place in Osaka, really came in handy.

A nice thing too is that the 100 yen shops here mostly sell these types of storage gadgets, so it is easy to make your own shelving/storage.

The only bad part of the counter top is that it only comes up to right under my belly button.

I am short so I feel like a giant whenever I use the counter top, and can only imagine what a six foot tall person would feel like using it....

Untitled I lost a drawer in this kitchen, but made my own using a plastic basket.

On the bottom, big gadgets.

Untitled Using two smaller containers, I separated the other utensils and they fit perfectly on top of the big gadgets.

Untitled Above the kitchen sink we have this metal rack that came with the apartment.

These types of racks are in most older kitchens in Japan, MIL has one in her kitchen too.

I have a gadget holder that uses suction cups to stick it onto the wall, but for some reason it doesn't stick to this tile so I am using clips to hang it from the metal rack.

Untitled The kitchen sink isn't wider but it is longer.

Untitled There is a long ledge behind the gas stove and sink, so I use it to store teapots and other gadgets.

Untitled And since there wasn't any towel racks in the bathroom for our bath towels, we bought a vertical tension rod type coat rack.

We still have some things that do not have a place to be stored, but for the most part, everything is put away somewhere...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

dryer

Untitled Wondering why the built-in dryer of our washer is so "weak"...look how teeny the filter is.

Untitled There are 3 filters...but still.

Untitled No wonder it takes forever for things to get completely dry.

Untitled My peeve with this built-in dryer (besides the fact that the clothes do not get completely dry) is that the clothes do not "relax" in the dryer, they dry as a scrunched up ball...which increases my ironing work load...oh well, we'll see what happens when rainy season starts...

Monday, May 21, 2018

score

score! if you spent $10 you could get a spin for prizes, I spent $20 so I got two spins...picked up arare for hubs and dorayaki for me (bummed that they use sorbitol in the dorayaki though)❤︎ ・ ・ ・ #ガラポン #東京 #蒲田 #どら焼き #梅園 #あけぼの #あられ I recently was at the department store and they were having a campaign.

If you spent $10 you would get a spin and chance to win prizes.

I spent $20 and got two spins.

On my first spin I won 2nd place and was allowed to choose 2 prizes from their prize table.

I chose a package of arare for Satoshi and a package with 2 huge dorayaki in it for myself.

On my second spin I got the booby prize and was given a piece of hard candy.

Stoked that I won but bummed that the dorayaki has sorbitol in it...boo!