Sunday, September 30, 2018


Enakawakamiya is a Gifu Japanese sweet shop that specializes in all things kuri (chestnut).

Apparently there is an area called "Ena" in Gifu that has many chestnut trees.

I recently stumbled upon their kiosk at Futako Tamagawa and tried their Kurikomochi.

Chestnuts are blended with sugar to form a "soboro".

Soboro translates to minced, but this more like tiny "crumbs" of sweetened chestnut.

It is served with an unsweetened super soft mochi that you "dip" into the soboro.

So so good.

I'll be back to try other items from here.

Futako Tamagawa Rise Shopping Center B1
Setagaya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6805.6850
Hours: 10:00-21:00
Closed when Futako Tamagawa Rise Shopping is

Saturday, September 29, 2018

torimaru sakaba

Torimaru Sakaba is a tiny yakitori shop in the Sunrise Kamata shopping arcade.

If I haven't mentioned it before, Satoshi doesn't really like chicken.

At the time we were looking for somewhere to eat and this was our last choice.

The tsukidashi (stuff you didn't order but have to pay for) was steamed moyashi (bean sprouts) topped with a spicy pork mince.

Kind of like the stuff we received when eating at Red Scorpion...yum.

The tsukune (chicken meatball) were moist, almost "fluffy"...delicious.

Sasami (chicken breast) coated with ume (pickled apricot) paste.

Agedashi nasu (fried eggplant) served in a soy based sauce then topped with grated daikon (long radish), grated ginger and green onions.

Service is pretty fast, the food good and reasonably price.

I'll be back.

Torimaru Sakaba (UPDATE: no longer in business)
7-61-6 Nishi Kamata
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6428.7157
Hours: 16:00-24:00

Friday, September 28, 2018

we're 13

(Click on the photo if you'd like to view a video of the sunset taken back in August)

Can you believe this little blog of ours is a teen?!


In that amount of time, many that had been blogging when I started are no longer doing so.

I guess everything is kinda in "instant" mode these days.

Still, if you are reading this...

I appreciate it.

And appreciate you being a part of our adventures.

Thank you!

p.s. there is another typhoon approaching, stay safe everyone!

Thursday, September 27, 2018


It has been months since I've seen Midori, the last time was in Osaka right before we moved to Tokyo.

It has been years since I've seen Asami...probably pre-blog, since then she got married, moved from Osaka to Tokyo and has a son!

On Sunday, I got together with Midori, Asami & Midori's friend, Yuko.

They were all going to a concert in the evening so they asked if I had some time for lunch.

We ate at Singapore Seafood Republic...we've eaten here when we lived in Osaka.

Unlike the Osaka restaurant which is in a department store, the Tokyo restaurant is huge structure and feels like you are in a foreign country.

I don't remember what I ordered but we all had the same dish and I liked that the noodles were dry and the char siu was tender.

There was also a won ton soup and rice noodle salad that came with the meal.

Asami gave us these cute wasanbon (Japanese sugar) for Moon Festival.

And Midori gave us these delicious ginger pineapple coconut cookies.

It was nice to see them all and in the process I made a new friend.

Thank you for inviting me Asami, Midori & Yuko!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Saturday started at Yushima Tenmangu.

The shrine for scholars.

There were many ume (apricot) trees on the property as well as ume motif worked into the lighting and architecture.

Down the street from Yushima Tenmangu is Kyu-Iwasaki Teien.

Another huge property of the Iwasaki family (owners of Mitsubishi).

Apparently, the land that is left is only 1/3 of what they had before (and it is still very huge)!

Lunch was at Aun...shirunashi (no soup) tan tan men.

Choose your numbing (ma) and heat (la)..I went with 1 for both (you could actually go up to 6!)

This was just the perfect amount of heat for me.

Satoshi went with 3 and was perspiring profusely...

Down the street is Kanda Myojin.

It is apparently the oldest shrine in Tokyo built more than 1270 years ago and moved to the present location in 1603.

Many in the warrior class including the Tokugawa clan worshipped here.

Yushima Seido, a Confucian temple is nearby.

Kind of eery with all the black.

A few minutes away is Nicolai-do (Holy Resurrection Cathedral)

We got to hear the bells because they were performing a maintenance test on them.

And around the corner is Meiji University, where Satoshi went to school.

They've extended their campuses and increased the number of high-rise buildings from the time that Satoshi attended, so it was nice to reconnect with his school.

While Satoshi visited the Baseball Hall of Fame at Tokyo Dome, I walked around the shopping mall.

I also tried the "concrete" at Shake Shack for the first time.

The Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunchcrete had chocolate custard, chocolate bits and peanut butter toffee.

It wasn't "stiff" like concrete, but super rich and thick!

Another day of lots of walking and eating.

Yushima Tenmangu
3-30-1 Yushima
Bunkyo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3836.0753

Kyu-Iwasaki Teien
1-3-45 Ikenohata
Taito, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3823.8340
Hours: 9:00-17:00

Szechuan Tan Tan Men Aun
3-25-11 Yushima
Bunkyo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3834.6350
Closed Tuesdays
Hours: 11:00-14:00 (lunch), 17:30-21:45 (dinner)

Kanda Myojin
2-16-2 Sotokanda
Chiyoda, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3254.0753

Yushima Seido
1-4-25 Yushima
Bunkyo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3251.4606
Hours: 9:30-17:00

4-1-3 Kanda Surugadai
Chiyoda, Tokyo

Shake Shack
Tokyo Dome location

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Next to the shop that fixes our shoes is Civitas.

From what I can gather, they are known for their hot cakes/pancakes.

Since it was close to lunchtime, I didn't just want something sweet, so I ordered their "snack frank" plate.

Boy, was I surprised at the volume of this "snack".

4 sausages, 2 rather large pancakes...salad and

I enjoyed these pancakes, crisp on the edges and fluffy in the center.

I'll be back.

Tokyu Plaza 4F
Kamata, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3733.5775
Hours: 10:00-21:00
Closed when Tokyu Plaza is

Sunday, September 23, 2018

shake shack

Finally finished my dental work this past Wednesday.

Nearly 6 months...

I really think this dentist is more thorough than the one I was going to in Osaka.

Anyway, to celebrate, I had Shake Shack's 'Shroom Burger...a deep fried portobello mushroom with 2 types of cheeses.

Oozy cheese and fried to perfection.

I'm glad that the dental visits are over and my next visit will be sometime next year for cleaning...

Saturday, September 22, 2018


Himmel is a tiny German bakery on the platform of Tokyu Jiyugaoka Station (Oimachi line).

I tried their soft pretzel which was delicious.

Their main shop is in Oookayama, so I hope to check them out.

Himmel (Jiyugaoka) UPDATE:this location no longer in business)
on the platform of Tokyu Jiyugaoka (Oimachi line)
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5731.8150
Hours: weekdays 7:00-22:00, weekends 9:00-21:00

p.s. can you believe we have another 3-day weekend?!..hope you have a nice weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2018


Monday was a national holiday...Keiro no hi (Respect to Elders Day).

In the past, I've said this holiday is similar with Grandparents Day, but I think calling it "respect to elders" is more fair as everyone may not be a grandparent..

Anyway, the weather was blazing and humid.

We started off at the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden.

There are 9 metropolitan gardens around Tokyo and so far, the ones we've seen are huge!

Amazing to see in the middle of the concrete jungle.

The only thing with these gardens in the middle of the concrete jungle are the noises of the city.

Lunch was at Noda Shumai.


Cold Tan Tan Men... wish I brought my spoon with holes.

Loved how the spiciness crept up.

A really good bowl...hope to get back to try other items.

Rikugien is a garden that used to be the Iwasaki Family's property (owners of Mitsubishi).

Another beautiful huge property.

If you are also planning to visit the Kyu-Furukawa Garden, be sure to by the ticket that gives you a discount when you purchase your admission to Rikugien.

About a 20 minute walk away is the Kyu-Furukawa Garden.

Another beautiful (huge) property, this one will be pretty when their roses are in full bloom.

The Japanese area of the garden will be pretty when the leaves change color.

Then we walked 30 minutes or so to Sugamo.

The shopping arcade is huge!

We visited the Koganji Temple.

This temple is related to the one in Manoa.

It was so humid and warm that we stopped for shave ice at Mizuno.

Shio Daifuku (salty sweet bean paste filled rice cakes) is the main item at this shop.

They put the salty sweet bean paste on the bottom of the bowl and top the shave ice with a tiny daifuku.

The sweet-salty combo was perfect for the heat and humidity.

Lots of walking and eating and we got to see more of Tokyo.

Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
1-6-6 Koraku
Bunkyo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3811.3015
Hours: 9:00-17:00

Noda Shumai
6-24 Honkomagome
Bunkyo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.53695.9940
Hours: 11:30-24:00

6-16-3 Honkomagome
Bunkyo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3941.2222
Hours: 9:00-17:00

Kyu-Furukawa Garden
1-27-39 Nishigahara
Kita, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3910.0394
Hours: 9:00-17:00

3-33-3 Sugamo
Toshima, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3910.4652
Hours: 9:00-18:30

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Sunday, Satoshi wanted to watch his college team play baseball.

So, while he did that, I went gallavanting around the Omotesando area.

I started off at Dominique Ansel Bakery.

This bakery is known for the cronut (croissant doughnut).

Apparently there are monthly flavors and this month happened to be grape with shiso (perilla).

I wasn't too interested in that, so I ordered the DKA (Dominique's Kouign Amann).

This was served so good.

Flaky and buttery.

My only peeve with this shop was that they do not ask you to find a seat before ordering, so there were people with their sweets, standing so close to me in essence "pressuring" me to finish my food stat!

I'll be back, hopefully when it isn't too crowded.

After leaving the shop, I took my first walk down Takeshita Street in Harajuku...

Talk about sensory overload!

Everything is about rainbows these days.

Not sure we should be eating all that food coloring though...

Then I went walking around an area called Cat Street and had an iced coffee at The Roastery.

This wasn't a good cup...I think it was because the server brewed the cup of coffee first then tried to get it cold by swirling it in some ice...

Not sure I'll be back here...

After the game, Satoshi and I met up and we had lunch at Tokyo Rice.

This shop specializes in Kids Meals for Adults.

In Japanese, Kids Meals are called O-kosama Lunch.

They have 3 types here...buggy which is a hamburger meal, veggy which is a salad meal, and ebi which is a shrimp meal.

Satoshi went with the buggy while I went with the veggy (photo above this one).

I enjoyed my meal while Satoshi felt his was too only during lunch time so be prepared.

After lunch we went to the Nezu Museum.

I must say, that the garden area is a little more impressive than the exhibits itself.

We'll be back when the leaves change color.

The warm weather is back, still there was lots of walking and eating.

Dominique Ansel Bakery (UPDATE: 2/2019 no longer in business)
5-7-14 Jingumae
Shibuya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3486.1329
Hours: 10:00-19:00

The Roastery
5-17-13 Jingumae
Shibuya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6450.5755
Hours: 10:00-22:00

Tokyo Rice
5-9-8 Minami Aoyama, 2F
Minato, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6427.4548
Hours: 11:30-21:00

Nezu Museum
6-5-1 Minami Aoyama
Minato, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3400.2536
Hours: 10:00-17:00
Closed Mondays

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Saturday it rained for the most part of the day.

I wanted to check out a shop in Ameyoko shopping arcade at Ueno, so we went to look for it.

Otsuya is a super teeny spice shop.

I picked up their chili spice blend and some dried apricots.

I'll be back when I need more spices.

Satoshi's German class is in the middle of the afternoon, so before his class we had lunch at Pyonpyonsha.

It's hard to believe we were in Iwate eating this in February.

Luckily we can get our reimen fix in Tokyo as they have a shop in Ginza.

I had their reimen with pajeon (what the Japanese call chijimi).

Jeon is a flat pancake filled with different fillings, this one had green onions (which apparently is "pa" in Korean).

Since we were in Ginza, I wanted to check out the Hiroshima antenna shop.

I picked up more nekomame (an assortment of fried beans and rice crackers), sweet miso coated peanuts (similar to honey roasted peanuts) and hassaku (type of citrus) peel.

We also stopped at the Hokkaido antenna shop.

I picked up imo mochi which is apparently made with potatoes and potato starch.

And some zangi (zahn-ghee)...which is their seasoned fried chicken.

I also got a croquette with beef and egg in it for Satoshi.

We shared the imo mochi and had these for dinner...delicious.

With all the natural disasters around Japan, we've been trying to buy many products from these areas to give something back to them.

I hope more of these areas will be able to get back to their daily routines soon.

4-6-13 Ueno
Taito, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3834.4077
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 10:00-18:00

3-2-15 Ginza, Ginza Glasse 11F
Chuo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3535.3020
Hours: 11:00-23:00

Hiroshima Antenna Shop
1-6-10 Ginza
Chuo, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5579.9952
Hours: 10:30-20:00

Hokkaido Antenna Shop
2-10-1 Yurakucho, Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan
Chiyoda, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5224.3800
Hours: 10:00-20:00

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


I needed to replace my portable sun umbrella, so I went to check out the Waterfront flagship store.

They make all sorts of umbrellas and many are super light and compact.

On top of protecting you against sun and rain, this one is supposed to be able to withstand wind too.

Hopefully this one will last me a couple of years. (UPDATE: it broke a week after I bought!)

Lunch was at Mellow Brown Coffee.

I love the space of this cafe...large windows looking out onto the street, perfect for people watching.

Ice brewed coffee, it apparently comes out of a tap (just like beer).

It looks like beer but there is no alcohol in this it was super smooth coffee.

The avocado smash plate...mashed avocado, some feta cheese, a squeeze of lemon...oozy poached egg...perfect on their toasted bread.

Will be back to try more of their menu items.

Kouign Amann from Patisserie Paris S'eveille.

Super flaky, buttery...simple goodness.

I want to go back to try their cakes.

I've roamed around Jiyugaoka on past trips to Tokyo, but this time around I think the layout of the area has changed a little (or I've probably forgotten how the layout was in the past).

I'm glad we live relatively close by now, I'll be back to explore some more.

Waterfront Flagship Store
1-9-1 Jiyugaoka
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6421.2108
Hours: 11:00-20:00

Mellow Brown Coffee (UPDATE: 2019 closed)
2-12-10 Okusawa
Setagaya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5726.9805
Hours: 8:00-21:00

Patisserie Paris S'eveille
2-14-5 Jiyugaoka
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5731.3230
Hours: 10:00-20:00

Sunday, September 16, 2018

tofuya gen-san

There is a small tofu shop on my way to Kamata station...Tofuya Gen-san.

Before going to Hawaii this summer, we tried their oboro tofu.

For 200 yen, this was huge!

At least 2 blocks worth and the texture seemed like firm tofu.

Then after coming back from Hawaii, we tried their yose tofu.

For 170 yen, this was smaller than the oboro, but it was creamy and almost like custard.

They don't always have the yose tofu, so I am glad we got to try this one.

Apparently there is no difference between oboro and yose tofu.

Hope to try their other items like aburaage (fried tofu) and yuba(bean curd skins).

Tofuya Gen-san (UPDATE: 2019 no longer in business)
7-14-3 Nishi-kamata
Ota, Tokyo
Closed Sundays
Hours: 7:30-19:30

Saturday, September 15, 2018

fish drawer (success)

You may or may not remember that I was going to try using the fish drawer.

Well, in that time, we moved to Tokyo and I now have a totally different fish drawer.

On top of that, there are no instructions on how to use!

So, thankful for the internet, including YouTube on how to grill fish using it. (You may not be able to view the YouTube video if there are country restrictions)

Anyway, according to the video, the guy instructs you to line the bottom of the drawer with foil.

Put the rack on.

Put another layer of foil onto the rack and poke holes in the foil.

Dry the fish well and put it on top of the foil layered rack.

Cook the fish.

Get your "fish plate" ready...

I need to figure out how long to cook the sanma (saury), and how to control the heat, but I think this came out pretty good for my first try.

Also, clean up was a cinch with the foil...all I needed to wash was the rack.

Glad I got over my fear of using the fish drawer and will use it more often.