Friday, October 30, 2020

this and that

I've never noticed until I saw these orange orbs yesterday...there is a kaki (persimmon) tree in front of our apartment building!

Gotta find out who planted it and if they will share...

I heard that Hawaii will start accepting tourists from Japan next month...BUT tourists coming back from Hawaii to Japan will still need to quarantine for 14 days! AND we are not allowed to use public transportation once we arrive in Japan...I guess I will continue to wait until Japan softens their quarantine requirement.

Hope you all have a safe weekend especially if you are planning to get together for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

black no jo

Came across this variety of pumpkin called "Black no Jo"...look at the outer flesh...super black, yeah?!

The meaning of the name of this variety is for it to literally "always have a black outer flesh".

Apparently this variety was developed to have a thinner outer flesh which is easier to slice...the inner flesh is apparently sweeter when aged and when steamed the inner flesh is apparently hoku hoku ("fluffy").

I roasted the piece that I bought with a little olive oil.

I like how the markets sell them in smaller portions so that you don't need to buy a whole pumpkin.

We enjoyed them in a salad with a yogurt dressing (2 tablespoons plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon maple syrup), baby leaf, kaki slices, maitake, canned sardines, zucchini slices, kim chee.

I also made a quick (lazy) version of this salad for part of our dinner tonight using only 1/2 a yakiimo (roasted sweet potato) and couple of pieces of roasted pumpkin.

After cutting up the yakiimo and pumpkin, I added 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder and 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and mixed well.

Before serving I will sprinkle some toasted pumpkin seeds.

How are you doing? What have you been enjoying?

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

gyoza no ohsho

We recently took out from Gyoza no Ohsho.

I ordered the yurinchi (fried chicken with a shoyu garlic ginger leek sauce) and tenshinhan (rice topped with a scrambled egg topped with a sweet sour slurry sauce)

I'm glad they packed the sauce separately from the fried chicken.

Satoshi had the hoikoro (cabbage with beef sauteed with an oyster sauce based sauce), tenshin-chahan (fried rice topped with a scrambled egg topped with a shoyu based slurry sauce) and gyoza.

Of course we don’t have a car, so by the time we walked hone with our food, some items were not as good as if we had eaten there.

But, it was a nice way for the gyoza snob to get his fix without putting ourselves (or others) in danger while eating in the restaurant.

Hope your week is going as well as can be.

Monday, October 26, 2020

namara masara

During this pandemic, we've been taking out from different shops nearby.

We recently tried Namara Masara.

They make curries, which the Japanese like to call "spice curry".

It isn't made from a roux like Japanese style curry, instead these curries are "made from scratch" with lots of different spices.

Loved the interior of the shop when we went in to order.

I ordered their pork cartilage (nankotsu) curry with root veggies.

Note to the shop: next time please tell us about that spicy condiment in the teeny compartment, my mouth exploded tasting to see what it was...

The pork was so tender as well as the cartilage. 

The root veggies could have been cut into bite sized pieces but at least they were tender as well.

Satoshi ordered the salmon with ikura curry.

We weren't too sure what those two big white pieces were, it wasn't mochi but it was kind of glutenous like a dumpling of sorts...

He said he enjoyed this curry too.

They have two other types of curries on their menu which we want to try so we'll be back.

Namara Masara

7-31-9 Nishi Kamata, Kamata TK Heights 1F

Ota, Tokyo

Phone: 03.6424.8963

Closed Thursdays

Hours: 11:00-15:00 (lunch), 17:00-20:00 (dinner)

Friday, October 23, 2020

this and that

I recently made Japanese Veggie Soup with Ginger and realized that I had a typo...sorry!

It should only use 3 cups of water instead of 6...hope this soup wasn't too watery when you made it.

I think this is a strawberry guava tree in our neighborhood which I discovered on a walk.

Wonder if they pick them when they ripen?

I should find out...maybe I can make guava jelly...

I don't think they even have an election coming up in Tokyo, but had to listen to this dude the other day who was parked right in front of our apartment building...

I think the weather dude said that we had only 3 days without craving sun, so I can open the windows.

According to our experts here, ventilation is important especially this year to cut down the amount of COVID germs floating around...

I really like this example of why we should wear masks that someone had posted on IG...have a safe weekend!

Monday, October 19, 2020

rainbow red

Came across an interesting variety of kiwi called Rainbow Red.

This variety is grown in the Yame area of Fukuoka (Kyushu).

Most of the kiwi I've seen in Japan are imported from New Zealand, so I was interested in trying something "locally" grown.

Love the packaging!

It kind of reminded us of eating citrus more than kiwi.

Love the color!

Glad we tried this and will keep my eye for more.

Friday, October 16, 2020

daigaku imo

Last month, I told you I had bought a junk yakiimo (roasted sweet potato).

Well, I realized that it might be the market that I had bought it from not the sweet potato, I think they are not cooking the sweet potato long enough....because the one I had bought yesterday from that market was again...junk.

So, to try to save it, I wrapped it in foil and stuck it in the fish grill (broiler) for about 40 minutes.

Today, I used half of the re-roasted sweet potato to make daigaku imo.

About this time of year you can find daigaku imo in the premade food area of the markets and see them at festivals.

Daigaku imo literally means "college/university potato".

One story of how this got its name is a college student who couldn't pay his tuition made this to raise money.

Another story is that a sweet shop near a university, made this and it was a hit with the students.

Sweet potato is deep fried then coated with a "caramel" coating.

When I tried daigaku imo in the past, the sweet potato itself was super dry and the caramel was so sticky that everything stuck to my teeth...meh

To make this, instead of deep frying the sweet potato, I "fried" them on a special foil that gives foods a nice sear.

This foil is coated with silicon, so you can turn any pan into a non-stick and cook foods without adding oil.

I noticed this foil leaves a residue on non-stick pans, so I do not use this foil with non-stick pans....

After "pan frying" the roasted sweet potato, I coated the sweet potato with the "caramel".

Adapted from the internet:

350 grams roasted sweet potato, cut into bite sized pieces

1 tablespoon oil * only if you do not have access to this special foil

Caramel sauce:

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)

1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)

1 teaspoon vinegar (to prevent the sauce from crystalizing)

pinch of salt

black sesame seeds

Prepare the sauce ingredients except the sesame seeds and mix well.

“Fry” the sweet potato in a pan on medium, then add the sauce ingredients to the pan and coat the sweet potato well.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook in the caramel until everything is nicely coated and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.


 Using roasted sweet potato was good because the sweet potato was moist, not dry.

The caramel was a little sticky but didn’t stick to my teeth.

Once the sauce goes into the pan, everything goes quickly, so don't walk away!

Don't cook this too long or your caramel will burn, 

It was my first time making this and I'm glad I tried, and would do this again.

It was easy, tasty and a nice way to save a junk yakiimo.

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

it's the little things

Remember last month I found JIF?!

Well, on a recent trip to Takeya, I found a bigger jar!

The price was a little higher, like a dollar more, than the smaller bottle but at least I now know that "normal" sized jars exist here.

How is your week going?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020


Our first time trying fresh prunes.

Somehow I grew up thinking dried prunes came from plums...

These prunes were grown in Nagano Prefecture.

The outer flesh was soft and a little bitter.

The inside was sweet.

I'm glad we got to try these and will keep my eye out for more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020


I sent my ballot out on October 1st.

The other day I checked online to see if my ballot made it to Hawaii.

It did...whoo!

Hope you will exercise your right to vote too.

Monday, October 12, 2020

green burger

Earlier this year, MOS burger came out with a plant based burger called Green Burger which is supposed to replicate their signature MOS Burger.

I got around to trying it recently.
(photo of the MOS Burger)

The Green Burger's patty is made from soy, konnyaku (jellied devil's tongue) and cabbage.

To be honest, the patty was kind of rubbery, but at least it wasn't dry.

One thing MOS did was omit the five pungent veggies that Buddhism avoids...this is called "gokun" (literally 5 pungent roots).

The basic list is onions, rakkyo (ramps), chives, green onion and garlic. 

(Some also add coriander and mustard cabbage to the list of pungent veggies to avoid.)

The Green Burger has a little more carbohydrates, no cholesterol, less fat, a little more fiber and a little less salt than the MOS Burger.

The bun is green because they mix some spinach puree in it.

I'm glad I tried it, I think it is a nice alternative and would buy this again.


Friday, October 09, 2020

baked manapua

Yesterday the temperature dropped to 14C (57F) and it has been raining.

There is a typhoon approaching (Chan Hom or #14) and should pass by over the weekend. 

Apparently, cooler ocean temps would help to break up the typhoon, but with global warming, the typhoon does not dissipate and also moves slower because of the warm ocean temps.

So..the typhoons these days do lots of damage because it takes such a long time to pass...

Anyway, since I stayed indoors, I decided to try making baked manapua.

I used part of the char siu that I made last month. 

And I used the recipe for the dough that I made beignets and pizza with during this pandemic.

I love this dough recipe because it comes together pretty easily.

I should have used a little more char siu and some green onion though, so that these manapua would be filled to the gills.

They are snack sized but I like the flavor and texture.

The next thing I want to try making with this dough is cinnamon rolls...

Hopefully I can try this before the weather gets too cool.

Have a safe weekend everyone.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020


Usually, when I wake up, I go to the other room to check on the sunrise, which I can see from the window that faces Haneda Airport....this is how it looked yesterday.

And then from the kitchen, I looked out the window that faces Mount Fuji and caught a glimpse of a rainbow.

Excited to see part of a rainbow, especially early in the morning, I put on my slippers and went out onto the lanai.

And saw this instead...

It was my first time to see a rainbow in Japan so close and so arced!

Amazing yeah?!

Monday, October 05, 2020


Recently learned of this combo called pi-chee (peachy).

In Japanese, bell pepper is called piman (pee-mahn)...chee comes from cheese.

The bell peppers here are teeny.

Cut the bell pepper in half lengthwise and clean.

Fill with cheese then wrap with a thin slice of pork belly.

The way pork belly is sold, actually meat in general, is that everything is put into styrofoam trays so a lot of times you can't tell how long the piece of meat is, or how many pieces there are..which is why the pork belly I bought for this was too!

Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook for 4 minutes on low in a non-stick pan and flip over and cook for another 4 minutes.

Not really a recipe, yeah?!

NOTES: If possible, try to make sure there are no holes when wrapping the pork or your pi-cheese's cheese will leak out into the pan like mine did.

Also, when eating, be careful as everything inside the bell pepper is super hot!

I'm glad I tried this, it was easy and delicious.

I'll make this again.

Friday, October 02, 2020

new month new things

 Autumn is here...

The mornings and evenings are cooler, and no humidity...

Fragrance of kinmokusei is in the air.

Yesterday was the Harvest Moon.

The weather dude had mentioned we might not be able to see it because of clouds, but

I saw it as the sun set, it was pinkish and as the moon went to bed the next morning, just before making Satoshi's bento.

Yesterday, I found a butternut squash at the market...teeny, yeah?!

Actually I'm glad it was small, my oven isn't that big...

Roasted and sprinkled with furikake & everything but the bagel seasoning because I couldn't decide which to season the squash with...ha!

Tokyo is now allowed to participate in the "Go To Campaign", be prepared to see Japan's numbers go up...

One of the things the experts in Japan are telling us to do is that when eating out (whether inside or outside), is to eat, put your mask back on, then talk...the experts feel this is what a lot of people are not doing so, so they may be contracting the virus this way.

Acrylic partitions and plastic sheets are all the rage here too...between tables, diners, around cashiers...

Since that is no fun, we will continue to take out instead of eat out...

Hope you are staying safe and keeping zen.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

kakumei burger

Kakumei Burger opened sometime late last year.

I finally got around to trying them.

I ordered their avocado cheeseburger.

This comes with fries or obanzai.

Obanzai are little veggie side dishes.

The fries were okay after the walk home, next time I'm going to try their obanzai instead.
The burger was juicy (no fillers) with lots of cheese and avocado.

There are other items on their menu I want to try, I'll be back.

Kakumei Burger

7-10-10 Kamata

Ota, Tokyo

Phone: 080.7134.7875

Closed Tuesdays

Hours: 11:00-15:00 (lunch), 18:00-22:00 (dinner)

Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Excited to receive my absentee ballot yesterday!

Will vote and try to send it out sometime this week because I am not sure if the postal service is still wonky or not.

I hope my ballot gets to Hawaii on time.

A friend on IG (Instagram) mentioned that many overseas ballots were being thrown away...hoping this isn't true.

Vote people...

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

shine muscat & queen nina

In the past we've tried Shine Muscat grapes (green).

Recently we got to try Queen Nina (red-pink).

Queen Nina's outer flesh is quite tough, so it needs to be peeled.

Shine Muscat's outer flesh is tender and the whole thing can be eaten.

Both do not have seeds and are super sweet.

I'm glad we got to try both.

Monday, September 28, 2020

we're 15

Who would have thought this blog would turn 15?!

This year has been, well...

Still, we are thankful for our health, a roof over our heads, enough to eat and that Satoshi still has a job.

We haven't been exploring, nor eating out (well, just that one time back in June).

Instead we have been taking out or cooking at home.

If you are still reading our little blog, I thank YOU.

I appreciate you being a part of our adventures.

Hopefully next year will be a better one for everyone.


Friday, September 25, 2020

city office

Yesterday I had to go to get some documents from our city office for Satoshi.

I don't go to this office too often, so I was surprised at some of the things they are doing to prevent virus contamination.

Like this cup of pens that had been sanitized.

To the left was a cup with red tape on it for pens that were used and needed to be sanitized (no photo).

In the elevator, they note where you can stand.

At least now there is a reason why you can't be packed like sardines in elevators and trains.

Changing the subject, it still surprises me how many people do not look down on the floors for these markers as to where to stand in stores.

Several times in a store I've turned around hoping that the person who is right behind me will get the hint that they should be "distancing".

At least most everyone here wears a mask.

It is still on a request basis but if you do choose not to wear one, the "mask police" will tell you so, be prepared to be yelled at by these people...

The temps have dropped quite a bit here, I need to look for my warm clothing...

Hope everyone is keeping zen, have a safe weekend everyone.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

physical during pandemic

Yesterday I went for my physical.

It's been 2 years since the last one and of course, this time around with the pandemic, things were done were a bit different.

For one thing, the amount of people getting tested was lessened.

Your temperature is taken before entering the waiting area, you must sanitize your hands with a spritz of antibacterial spray and masks must be worn at all times.

I don't know if I told you, but before starting the physicals, everyone changes into the same sweat-like clothing so that they can do the tests without having to wait for you to undress.

After a test is performed the area that the patient touched as well as the medical staff touched is wiped down with alcohol.

Even when doing the mammogram and when doing the barium test, we had to wear masks.

The only time I took my mask off was to drink the barium.

I get back my results in a couple of weeks, hopefully everything will be okay.

Afterwards, I went across the street to check out the Tokyo Gransta area. 

They also opened up a new area called Tokyo Gift Palette.

I wanted to try these Soles Gaufrette which is a brand started by BAKE

Chewy buttery waffles filled with butter cream with bits of granulated sugar that gives a little "crunch" and a rich vanilla jam.

While this was tasty, I didn't care for the chewy texture but I'm glad we tried them.

I also went to Daimaru Department Store which is right across from the Tokyo Gift Palette.

They check your temperature (with a computer screen that takes your temperature as you walk in) and make sure you spritz your hands with antibacterial spray before entering (there is actually someone standing there to make sure you do) and masks must be worn.

Also, the direction of traffic inside the store was one-way.

I stopped into Papabubble and picked up these salted caramels and chocolate filled mints for us too.

So much more to explore but I'll do so after this pandemic settles down.

A few days ago we had a typhoon approaching (#12 named Dolphin), which started off coming for a direct hit but now looks like it will just "brush" Tokyo and leave us with lots of rain and hopefully not too much krazy wind.

Take care everyone!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Proof that the other person in this house throws out the silverware...

and you know I have to take a photo because "that person" refuses to believe he is throwing it out...

And then the other day when his butt kept dialing my phone 3 or more times in a matter of seconds...

Not too bad if I was the only one he was bothering, but his butt apparently has called others too...sigh.

Hope you are having a nice week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

chichibusan ruby

Came across this variety of grapes called Chichibusan Ruby.

Apparently they are hard to grow.

I was a little disappointed because the fruit is oblong, but wasn't "crisp" like the Pizzutello Bianco variety.

The fruit was sweet but not really sweet like the Pizzutello Bianco.

Maybe I bought an old batch or maybe it isn't fully ripe?

Still, I'm glad we got to try this variety.

It's the first day of Autumn and a holiday here.

Satoshi has to work so it is just another day for us.