Friday, November 29, 2019


I've been to Pariya twice, they have several locations around Japan and their desserts are more popular on social media...

The first time was after my physical check-up last year (but I didn't blog about it)...can't remember exactly what I chose, but their bento was quite filling.

The other day after my dental check-up, I went to eat lunch at a different location of Pariya.

This bento had fried onion and takana (mustard cabbage) rice, natto pork (not stinky), pumpkin and renkon (lotus root) and pickles.

If you eat-in, they also offer you all you can drink tea or coffee and a cup of soup.

Each location has different choices and their menus change weekly.

You can get your bento without rice if you wish and the "fancier" the rice the higher the price of the bento.

The soup was a little too salty for me, but I enjoyed the foods I chose and herbal tea...I'll be back.

Pariya (UPDATE: 2021 no longer in business at this location)
3-13-8 Yanagikoji-Minami
Setagaya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6447.9825
Hours: 11:30-22:00

Thursday, November 28, 2019

thanks for today

Thankful for...enough food to eat.

A roof over our heads.

(relatively) Good health.

Friends and Family.

Hoping you all have a delicious Thanksgiving, and a great start to the Holidays.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

lady salad

Recently came across this pink radish called lady salad at the market.

Apparently this is grown in the Miura Penninsula area of Kanagawa.

I sliced it thin and marinated it with some red onion and lemon using this marinade recipe.

This morning I grated some for our grilled salmon.

I like this pretty pink color...tastewise it tastes the same as daikon (long radish).

It is cheaper than daikon these days so I hope to pick this up again at the market.

Monday, November 25, 2019

taishu sakaba beetle

Sometimes plan A & plan B go out the window and you just need to go into a place without any research or social media hints...

That was the case for us on Saturday.

The two places we had in mind for dinner were packed and only people with reservations were being accepted.

Right across the street from plan B, I noticed an izakaya (bar) with the sign "Beetle" on their noren (entrance curtain).

The windows were purposely frosted, so you cannot see inside.

I told Satoshi, "we're eating here"...he kept saying, "are you sure?!" because it was "his" type of place to eat and not really "mine".

But, when you are nearing "hangry"...anything flies...

When we entered, we were surprised with how packed the place was.

We were also surprised at how huge the place was, with 3 wrap around counters...many people eating in groups, others eating alone.

It was noisy, a little smoky...

We didn't know "the drill" it took a bit getting used to.

I ordered this...ume syrup...70 milliliters of shochu (sweet potato liquor)...bottle of fizzy water.

You can add the amount of syrup you wish and the amount of fizzy water.

The syrup and fizzy water turned out to be enough for two drinks...

Sashimi assortment (maguro (tuna), hamachi (yellow tail tuna), tai? (snapper))

These were pre-sliced, so it came out right away...still quite fresh.

Grilled eggplant...delicious with the katsuobushi (bonito shavings), a little shoyu (soy sauce) and a dab of grated ginger.

Beef harami (skirt steak) grilled perfectly!

Chicken tsukune (meatball) delicious with green onions & renkon (lotus root) mixed with the minced chicken.

Made in house chips. can choose what items, we chose daikon (long radish), atsuage (fried tofu) & shirataki (konjack, devil's tongue jelly noodles)

Salmon harasu (belly)...the skin was so crispy! with grated daikon this was delicious too.

Skewered tomato...loved this too.

It was a bit too loud for us, but we enjoyed the food.

The woman next to us ordered a large beer and the beer mug it came in, surprised all of us (even her), it was like a little bucket!

We also liked that this shop does not do the amuse bouche thing (things you pay for but do not order)...

We'll be back.

Taishu Sakaba Beetle
7-4-3 Nishi Kamata
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6428.7375
Hours: Mondays-Fridays 16:00-25:00, Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays 14:00-25:00
*cash only

Saturday, November 23, 2019


Yesterday, I went to see "Life Itself" which was a movie by Dan Fogelman, who writes "This is Us", a television show that I really enjoy.

The weather was rainy, cold.

Before going into the theatre, I spotted a group of people...when I asked around I found out that the group were fans of the Takarazuka shows.

When we lived in Osaka, I would often see these fan groups waiting outside of the Takarazuka theatre.

I have heard somehwere that these fan groups have a "dress code" and "unwritten rules".

Anyway, thought it was pretty krazy to see them out in the pouring (freezing) rain...

Our temps have dropped to single digits (Celsius), (and it is supposed to rain all weekend) but are expected to go up to 24C (75F) on Monday...WTH?!

Hope the weather is nicer where you are, have a nice weekend!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

shunpachi seikaten

Last month, when I went to Gotanda, I stumbled upon Shunpachi Seikaten.

They sell fruits and veggies under the tracks of our train line.

Yesterday, I noticed they also sold bentos.

I picked up this pork kakuni (shoyu pork) bento, especially since the sign said "tender" pork...

Ha! their pork could've been WAY more tender.

But, I enjoyed all the different veggies that topped the bento.

I want to try their other bentos, so I'll be back.

Shunpachi Seikaten (2023: no longer at this address)
1-22-4 Nishi-Gotanda
Shinagawa, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6417.0685
Hours: 11:00-19:30 (weekdays), 11:00-19:00 (weekends & holidays)

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


About this time of year, you will see "shinmai" in the stores.

Shimai is literally "new rice" and means that the new harvest of rice are being sold.

These days we go through 5 pound (about 2.0 kilos) bags of rice quickly because I have been making bento for Satoshi's weekday lunches.

Some "brands" of rice are pricey ($12-15 (maybe higher?!)) but I almost always try to look for the ones that sell for about $10.

With the typhoon in October, a lot of newly harvested rice was damaged.

The news had said that they didn't know if could be used because it sat in flood waters...sad that they might need to throw it all out.

I know not everyone eats rice, but if you do, I hope you'll get a chance to try "shinmai" where you are.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


We just got word that our apartment building's name will change in January...WTH?

You should know that in Japan a lot of buildings, especially apartments & condos have names.

Probably so the mailman can tell the buildings apart.

As far as I know, our building has had this name for the past 30 years, since the apartment was built.

The thing that peeves me is that they do not give a reason for changing the name of the’s just all of a sudden.

I need to figure out where I've given the apartment name point cards, doctor's offices...

We might need to make a trip to the city office to change some documents too.

At least I’ll be able to send out change of the apartment name with our New Years cards this year...

what a p.i.t.a.

Monday, November 18, 2019


Sunday, I went to check out the Aoyama Pan Matsuri (bread festival).

I'm not sure how many vendors they had but the crowd was definitely larger than the chocolate festival I checked out in October.

I purchased a walnut scone and walnut fig bread from Noraya, a bakery from Nagano.

Apparently the walnuts grow in the woods near the bakery!

I also bought a hojicha (roasted green tea) cinnamon roll from Ulucus, a bakery from Kyoto...I didn't realize this until afterwards, but they are located really close to MIL's!

I ate this on delicious and pretty with the dried rose petals.

Some campagne (country bread) and chocolate pan (like anpan but filled with chocolate) from Kibiya Bakery...a bakery from Kamakura, Kanagawa.

The lines were krazy for most of these bakeries and the prices were "nice" too...still I'm glad I got to check out this event and look forward to trying the other items I purchased.

Lunch was at Maya Luz.

My lunch started out with some consomme based bean and veg soup.

And a salad.

Their taco rice was tangy and spicy.

Very filling with all the rice too.

I look forward to trying other items on their menu, I'll be back.

Maya Luz
Shibuya Hikarie 7F
Shibuya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6803.8977
Hours: 11:30-23:30
Closed when Hikarie is

Sunday, November 17, 2019


Back at the end of May, I visited Showa Memorial Park to see the poppies.

Saturday, I went to check out the fall foliage.

The ginkgo were pretty.

So were the sazanka (camellia).

From the entrance to the Japanese garden area was about 1 kilometer (0.62 miles)

The bonsai area of the Japanese garden was pretty.

Some bonsai trees were 300 years old!

Too bad the Japanese garden itself only had a few trees with colors.

I guess with all the weird weather a lot of leaves dried up!

There was also some susuki (pampas grass) which is popular during autumn too.

(If you would like to see a few more photos and some of Mount Fuji, check out the link here.)

I went back to Sesto for lunch...avocado and pastrami sandwich with a cranberry soda (more like a mixed berry soda) I enjoyed fishing out all the frozen berries at the bottom.

After all that walking this sandwich and the fizzy soda hit the spot.

Since I was meeting up with Satoshi after his German class for dinner, I went to Jiyugaoka to have a snack and walk around.

I stopped into La Cialda.

According to Rowena, these are similar to what I know as pizzelles.

I ordered the cialda with the seasonal marron creme (chestnut cream) and a good!

After sitting and refueling, I walked around Jiyugaoka...I always get my directions mixed up in this area.

After walking and window shopping for a couple of hours, I met up with Satoshi and we went to dinner at Fiorata.

Fiorata is actually the Jiyugaoka Bakeshop, but in the evening, they change gears a bit and serve organic wines and Italian style food.

We started with some buri (yellowtail) carpaccio which was served with some pickled daikon.

Drizzled with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil...delicious!

sanma (saury) beccafico...this was so good!

Apparently it is usually made with iwashi (sardines) but sanma (saury) is in season now, so that is how they made it.

The fish is rolled with some bread crumbs, raisins and herbs.

It was served with some tomatoes and orange slices...mmm!

And to end we had some of their bolognese pasta.

It was Satoshi's first time here and he liked the laid back vibe of the place.

I'm sure we'll be back.

My legs were so tired after the pedometer said that I had walked 29,750!...eep!

Still, I'm glad the weather has been nice to get out and about.

Friday, November 15, 2019


We have a liquor shop in our neighborhood called Kakuyasu (they actually have shops all over Tokyo).

Kakuyasu literally means low prices.

The other day, I picked up a bottle of wine and the cashier asked me if I drink beer.

I told her "yes".

Then she scanned a can of beer and put it into the bag with the wine.

She mentioned that the expiration date was nearing so they were giving these away.

I looked at the bottom of the can when I got home, the expiration date was nearly 4 weeks away...

Japan is way too sensitive about expiration dates, but we were thankful for this freebie.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, November 14, 2019


Last night, Satoshi had the opportunity to have dinner on a yakatabune.

Yakatabune literally means house boat.

The usual price for dinner on one of these boats is 10,000 yen (per person, tax excluded).

Satoshi and his department entered a company lottery of sorts and were chosen to go, everyone had to pay a small fee and the company paid the rest.

They had lots to eat (and drink).

And the sights from the boat were beautiful.

I didn't get to experience this but if you have a chance to go on one of these dinner cruises, you should definitely try it.

If you are interested, this is the boat company that they went on...Funasei.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

curry mayo tofu fry

Tried another curry mayo recipe.

This time using fried tofu which is sometimes called atsuage or namaage,

I think they call it namaage because the insides are still "raw" tofu.

Curry Mayo Tofu Fry : 2 servings from "Masakichi's Bento no Hon"

2 pieces atsuage, cut into bite sized pieces, pour some hot water over to get rid of some of the oil
2 leaves cabbage, broken into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon oil

Sauce: 1 tablespoon curry
3 tablespoons mayo
2 teaspoons shoyu
1 tablespoon sake
1 teaspoon mirin

Heat the oil and cook the tofu until it browns
Add the cabbage and sauce
When the cabbage wilts, it's done.

NOTES: I made this for Satoshi bento yesterday.

It was fast and easy, my kind of cooking.

I left out the oil since I forgot to pour hot water over the atsuage.

Similar to this recipe, the sauce measurements are a little different...also, this recipe is for 2 servings not 1.

Hope you like it if you try it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


The city of Kawagoe in Saitama prefecture is about 2 hours away from where we live.

We left at about 9-ish and got there around 11-ish.

When we arrived we popped into a restaurant called Kasuga for lunch.

I ordered their Manpuku set...sweet potato noodles in a shoyu broth that also came with some grilled dango (dumplings).

The dumplings weren't sweet but savory.

I enjoyed the noodles too which were like somen (capellini). There was only 30% sweet potato in them so the sweet potato flavor wasn't pronounced, this was delicious.

Satoshi had the Tsubasa zen...his noodles were like mine, but his lunch also came with tororo gohan (rice covered with chinese yam) and naruto kintoki sweet potato ice cream.

I'm glad we ate lunch kind of early because the lines we saw after we came out of the restaurant were kind of crazy!

After lunch, we walked around the Kurazukuri Area.

Lots of wooden buildings from the past.

The bell tower wasn't working because of the recent typhoons.

Fancy Starbucks made to look like one of the older buildings.

Honmaru Goten is the only remnant of the Kawagoe Castle.

There was a kiku matsuri (chrysanthemum festival) at Kitain.

Amazing to see.

We also looked that the home that 3rd shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu was born.

There is also an area where there is 500 rakan (arhat).

Arhats are "those who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved nirvana".

According to the pamphlet I received on entrance to the area, there are actually 540 arhats which were carved between 1782 and 1825 with no two statues alike.

There was also a kind of creepy "story" on the pamphlet regarding these was said that if you felt these arhats in the middle of the night, one would be warm.

Mark the "warm" arhat and come back the next day...the arhat would resemble you.

We've also seen rakan in other areas of Japan, here and here.

Since we had an early lunch, we were kind of hungry, so we stopped into Patisserie Potager for something sweet.

Satoshi tried the Potager Roll which was filled with fruits.

I tried the no bake cheesecake, which was a whipped cream cheese, light and airy.

The craft beer of this area is the Coedo brand.

I bought the Beniaka, an amber beer made from sweet potatoes and the Sumatera, a pale amber made from LCF Mandheling Coffee.

We tried the coffee beer with dinner on Sunday.

Lots of coffee flavor...smooth and delicious.

We also bought a small bottle of sake called Akiagari by Koedo Kagamiyama.

We also bought some prosciutto from Mio Casalo, a local maker of sausage and hams.

We also had some of this with dinner on Sunday.

Wrapping sliced kaki (persimmon) with it.


While we were glad to explore the area, we were a little disappointed with Kawagoe it is kind of touristy like Arashiyama in Kyoto, also most shops only take cash.

If you are interested in seeing a few more photos, please look here.

6-1 Saiwai-cho
Kawagoe, Saitama
Phone: 050.5590.8707
Hours: 10:30-20:00

Patisserie Potager
1-17-3 Matsue-cho
Phone: 049.223.6232
Hours: 9:00-20:00