Sunday, March 31, 2019

sakura walk(s) (chidorigafuchi, nakameguro & toritsu university)

Yesterday, it was still overcast and cold.

We started out at the Chidorigafuchi moat area...walking down Daikancho-dori then crossing over to Kitanomaru Park then coming back around through the Chidorigafuchi Green Way.

There were a lot of row boats out and about.

It was so pretty to see and even though there were a lot of people, it wasn't totally packed.

We also checked out the Meguro River starting out at Ikejiri-Ohashi and walking down towards Nakameguro.

FYI: The closer you get to Nakameguro, the more crowded it will be.

It was nice to see but enjoyed the area near Ikejiri-Ohashi best.

After going home and resting a bit, we went to Toritsu University Station to check out their illumination instead of braving the crowds to see the light up of Meguro River near Nakameguro.

Apparently, this area only started lighting up their cherry blossoms last year, so it wasn't crowded.

It also started to rain while we were there.

We hope the rain will stop so we can get out and about tomorrow.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

sakura walk (gotanda-shinagawa)

The Meguro River flows from Setagaya to Shinagawa then out to sea.

During the cherry blossom season, one of the most popular area to view cherry blossoms is in the Nakameguro area.

Yesterday was forecast for clouds, so I went to check out the Meguro River cherry blossoms closer to Gotanda.

If you remember, we checked out this area in December when they lit up the cherry trees in the area.

From Gotanda to the Kita Shinagawa Shopping arcade is about 50 minutes on foot.

It wasn't crowded at all and was nice to see many pre-schoolers out and about.

There are foot/car bridges in many places along the route.

It was nice to see people stop from their busy day to take a photo of the cherry blossoms.

Last year, when we were looking for a place to live, we checked out an area close to Shinbamba which is near the Meguro River and Shinagawa.

It was nice to see how the path connected to the Gotanda area.

There were many tours going up and down the river too.

In the business area of Shinagawa, it was neat to see a skywalk where you literally walk above the cherry trees.

Lunch was a falafel plate at City Bakery. Bummer that the pita and falafel were

I did eat everything but enjoyed the edamame hummus, curried root veggies, roasted carrot and hidden under the pita, a roasted sweet potato more.

This year Tokyo's cherry blossoms hit "full bloom" status 7 days early...luckily, we hit a cold snap yesterday though the high was only 8C (48F)! brr.

Hope to check out more areas in the coming days.

Have a nice weekend.

Friday, March 29, 2019

sakura walk

Yesterday, the weather was forecast for clouds, but luckily there was a brief moment of sun.

Since the news had mentioned that the Sumida River area was in full bloom, I went to check it out.

The view from the Kototoi Bridge was pretty!

And luckily, not very crowded.

I walked from Asakusa to Pelican Bakery but they were already sold out.

I then walked to their cafe where the wait was krazy.

I realized I was near Kuramae and went to Dandelion Chocolate.

I stopped in for a dulce de leche bar and some cacao nib cold was nice to sit for a while.

In the same area is Ambika, an Indian spice shop, where I picked up some snacks.

And down the street is my favorite store, Shimojima, where I picked up some muffin papers.

I used to visit the one near Shinsaibashi in Osaka, so it was my first time going to this shop since moving to Tokyo.

Coming back, I got a bit mixed up on the trains but glad I figured out where I needed to be.

Hope to get out and about tomorrow even though the forecast is cloudy.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

sakura walk

Tuesday the weather was dreary, rainy...

Yesterday the weather was forecast for sun, in fact the only day this week with a sun I packed a bento (karaage, shungiku (edible chrysanthemum leaves), ninjin shirishiri (grated carrots), cucumber marinated with yukari furikake and a sakura musubi.

My first stop was Rikugien...the line to get in was super long! but I'm glad it moved quite quickly.

The shidarezakura (weeping cherry) was beautiful and HUGE.


The trees in front of the JR Komagome Station were beautiful and HUGE too.

Senzokuike was disappointing...not many trees in bloom.

There were lots of people here and there...I was lucky to find an empty bench to sit on and eat my lunch.

Sakurazaka had some blooms but had just started.

Sakurazaka from another angle.

Then I walked about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) along the Tamagawa where there are lots of sakura trees.

Hope to try again next week when more trees should be in bloom...

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Satoshi's bonsai looks to be doing well.

He keeps asking me if I watered it when I water my plants, but I keep telling him that it is his responsibility to take care of it...

So of course he waters it whenever he remembers...

Hopefully it'll get strong enough to flower.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

things I'm liking (disliking)

Been awhile since I did a post like this...tried Mr Waffle's sakura waffle..meh!

Too much syrup (probably maple) not enough sakura flavor.

Himmel's sakura anpan...bummer...the only thing that was sakura about this anpan were the two sakura flowers on top.

Other sakura anpan that I have tried from other places usually make their filling from white bean paste, then mix in chopped up salted sakura flowers and salted sakura leaves.

On the other hand, Himmel's chu chu, a tiny pretzel formed in the shape of a mouse was tasty.

In Japan, mice "say" chu chu unlike the mice in the US that "squeak"...

Patisserie Asako Iwayanagi's dark chocolate covered dried kaki (persimmon) was so good!

The dried kaki was sweet and the dark chocolate was a nice balance.

And the kaki was super HUGE about the size of my palm!

What are you enjoying these days?

Monday, March 25, 2019


Breakfast the next morning was a little more appealing, though I couldn't eat the natto...too stinky.

Check out how thick this tamagoyaki (rolled omelette) is?!

After breakfast, we checked out the Yorokeikoku area, which has a trail that goes around and over the Yoro River in several places.

This area is a popular spot to view Fall Foliage (we hope to come back to check it out).

There was also this "2-story" tunnel...I think in different seasons there is more moss (other photos I saw online showed the top "tunnel" greener)

Back in Chiba city, it was freaky to see and ride this upside down monorail.

It is apparently more quiet and more stable though.

It was a super short trip and we've hit another cold snap.

If you're interested in seeing some photos & videos that I didn't post, please check out the album here.

I hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as we did.

Sunday, March 24, 2019


From where we live it is about one hour and forty-five minutes to Goi in Chiba Prefecture.

At Goi, we saw this woman selling bento and other items and wondered if we should buy something for the ride.

(We ended up not buying anything but would regret it later...)

Then from Goi to Yorokeikoku it is about one hour and thirty minutes on the Kominato Railway.

One thing you'll notice is that most of the stations in the area have "kazusa" attached to their names.

This particular area used to be called Kazusa Province, and is located in the middle of what is now known as the Boso Peninsula.

The Kominato rail only had two cars and no about rough ride.

Still, it was nice to see farms, nature and no tall buildings.

Along the way we saw nanohana (rape blossoms), but it wasn't as plentiful as most of the pamphlets advertise.

The reason is because they didn't have much funding to plant nanohana seeds plus the weather was wonky.

We also saw what is apparently the largest toilet in the world...a huge fenced area with 1 toilet (thank goodness for that curtain!)

I had seen this on a show and was excited to stumble upon it on this trip from the train.

If you'd like to read more about it, I found an article in English here.

At Yorokeikoku, there were no places to eat that were open, so we bought some musubi at a convenience store and also bought some sushi from a man at the station.

He also gave each of us a handful of puffed rice (sorry I took a photo nearing the end of eating my stash).

From Yorokeikoku to Ohara, you need to go to the end of the line (Kazusanakano) of the Kominato Railway, then transfer to the Isumi Railway to get to Ohara...which takes about 2 hours.

The reason it takes so long is because the lines are not coordinated to meet up with the other line in a timely manner (thank goodness for Wi-Fi at Yorokeikoku station.

This ride was krazy crowded because the Isumi line only had one car and there was a busload of tourists that arrived several minutes before we were to depart.

At the end of the line (Ohara) we decided to turn around and head back because we needed to check-in at the ryokan and also because with the untimely running lines, we weren't too sure how to spend our time in Ohara.

We were able to get off the train for a bit at Otaki.

I thought it was cool that the high school is located at the foot of the castle and you need to walk through the high school to get to the castle.

We didn't have time to check out the museum in the castle because we needed to catch the train back towards Kazusanakano.

Luckily, our ryokan picked us up at Kazusanakano, there was literally nothing near the station and to wait almost an hour to get back to Yorokeikoku was krazy.

Dinner was an assortment of things and I was a bit just seemed like a mish-mash of dishes instead of the seasonal foods you usually see at ryokan.

It was a long day plus it rained here and there.

The ryokan bath water was black like the type we have at the public baths we have in was actually kind of was freaky as I didn't know how deep the bathtub was (couldn't see the bottom)...

Still, we were glad to be exploring the area.

163 Kuzufuji Otaki-machi
Isumi-gun, Chiba
Phone: 0470.85.0311

Saturday, March 23, 2019


I thought I should bring you up to date...if you remember, when we first moved to Tokyo, I had thought that we would have to bathe at the public baths over the winter because our bathtub didn't have a "reheat" button...

Well, "someone" must of heard me because after posting about it, I stumbled on the reheat button for our bathtub...saving me from going to the public baths during the cold months...whew!

One thing I learned while watching the local cable channel and also from the article I linked in my previous post on public baths is that the bath water is black in our area and is called "kuro-yu" (literally black hot water).

I am not sure what makes the bath water black, but think it may be due to the types of minerals in the hot spring water.

Satoshi's been to the one nearby several times but if I do get a chance to check out a public bath in our neighborhood, I'll be sure to share the experience.

Friday, March 22, 2019


So I experimented with the fish drawer grill/broiler and cooked one of the purple sweet potatoes in it...

The pilot light (at least I think it was the pilot light) for my gas range kept going out, so it took about an hour to cook.

Still, I think this came out pretty good.

I have two more sweet potatoes and will try cooking one in the oven.

This was fun trying to cook it with the grill/broiler.

Thursday, March 21, 2019


Tuesday, I went to check out one of the spots for blossoms, Sakurazaka (literally cherry blossom hill)

Apparently this particular area was the model for Masaharu Fukuyama's song "Sakurazaka".

On this particular day, the blossoms weren't quite ready and at the time I was putting this post together, Tokyo was still waiting for the weather people, to see 5 flowers on the specific tree (there were only 4 flowers) to announce the start of the cherry blossom season.

It is the Vernal Equinox (First day of Spring & a holiday) today, hopefully the weather dudes will be able to see one more flower bloom so that this cherry blossom season can get started.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


From where we live it takes about an hour to get to Yokosuka.

It is home to a large US Naval base.

And where there is a slice of America there are usually burgers...

Honey Bee's has been around since 1968...their navy burgers are pre-made 1/2 pound patties and the huge fluffy buns help hold the sandwich together while eating.

As the waitress said, "just smash it down and go for it" (well, something like that in Japanese)

Super juicy and well seasoned...this was hefty...1680 yen (tax included)...and I also added cheese 150 yen.

This came with fries and a drink (which I ordered a cola).

Satoshi went with the captain...2300 yen (tax included)....this had teri sauce, an egg, bacon, mayo, cheese, tomato and onion, plus the 1/2 pound about monster! messy eats.

Satoshi had an orange Fanta.

While eating it was nice to listen to KSSK which they had streaming in too.

Another popular food in Yokosuka is their curry which I believe is influenced by the Japanese Navy...we'll have to come back to try that...

After lunch we walked to Mikasa Park.

This is where retired Japan warship, Mikasa is parked and where you can pay to roam around inside.

While Satoshi roamed the warship, I went to check out the Port Market.

They had fish freshly caught at the nearby Misaki area.

I picked up some otoro (fatty tuna)

and katsuo tataki (seared bonito) for dinner...about 1700 yen for both!

As well as locally grown swiss chard and broccolini.

I also found some purple sweet potato that was grown in Chiba...550 yen total for the veggies I bought.

Yokosuka is also the home of the Sukajan (Yokosuka + Janpa (jacket))...a satin embroidered baseball jacket...for more background on this read this.

The weather was nice and we were glad to be able to explore this area.

It was also a nice change to see many Caucasians.

We hope to come back for some cherry blossoms too.

Honey Bee
2-1 Honmachi
Yokosuka, Kanagawa
Hours: 11:30-??
Open Daily

Yokosuka Port Market
6 Shinko-cho
Yokosuka, Kanagawa
Closed Tuesdays
Hours: 10:00-21:00