Friday, February 28, 2020

fuyofukyu

It's almost the end of February.

The prime minister announced that he wants all schools in Japan to close from next Monday...

this means "taking an early Spring Break" but should lessen crowding on trains...

of course everyone is in a panic...

no time to figure out where kids will be able to stay while their parents work...

Fuyofukyu is a word they've been using which means non-essential non-urgent = if you don't need to go anywhere, don't.

Everything is shutting down for awhile here...theme parks, events, museums...

There is some talk about the Olympics being postponed...

Apparently there was a run on TP (toilet paper)...

Also since China is shut down, there are many items that aren't being imported like frozen veggies, merchandise for 100 yen stores as well as parts for cars and items for other businesses...

I went to restock a few food items today but didn't buy too much because I don't have that much fridge space.

(I did find more blood oranges...whoo!)

I do have some foods in the freezer and pantry and am only worried about fresh foods (veggies, fruits), but think we can survive for awhile with what we have.

For the moment, Satoshi still has to report to work, though he did say that there were a lot of reservation cancels (he works for a travel agent).

Have a feeling this is going to get worse before it gets better.

Have a nice weekend.

Be well everyone.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

bad and good

I don't know about you, but usually I'm kind of clutzy.

Last week, I was having a bad week...my hands were really dry and I broke this dish...actually saw it slip out of my hand and fall in "slow motion"...

And then after I washed Satoshi's thermos, I forgot to put this rubber thingy back on...well, it leaked before I got a chance text him about it...oops!

(at least it was tea and not soup)

while peeling potatoes, I broke the potato eye cleaner thingy...

Oh and one of my laundry pins "flew" out of my hand and down to the street (hoping it didn't hit anyone!)

So that was the bad...here's the good...

blood oranges! I'm glad I bought two bags...though I haven't seen more at the market after that.

And I loved how this purple carrot was actually orange in the center, kind of like a sunrise/sunset!

There are all sorts of events being cancelled here to avoid crowds forming. Some companies have asked their staff to work from home to prevent crowding on the trains.

I think this virus gives Japan a chance to look at their work ethic practices...if you feel like you are coming down with something or are already sniffling or coughing...instead of going to work, stay home!

Almost the end of the week, hope your week is going well.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

seiyoryori suzuki

I was looking at Google Maps and came upon the restaurant, Seiyoryori Suzuki, they serve Western style foods.

Everything is à la carte.

I ordered the beef stew with bread (baguette)

The beef was so melt in the mouth tender!

The demi-glace sauce was a little sweet, you could taste grape juice or something fruity in there! but it was rich and delicious.

I also ordered a salad.

Satoshi enjoyed mopping up the demi-glace with the baguette and some of his rice.

Satoshi ordered the ebi fry (fried shrimp) which came with a salad.

Look how big those shrimp were!

The food was delicious and it was like eating at a fine dining restaurant without being krazy expensive.

We'll be back.

Seiyoryori Suzuki
7-56-9 Nishikamata
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3736.1177
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 11:00-14:00 (lunch), 17:00-22:00 (dinner)

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

curry nuka

We tried a new (to us) curry shop called Curry Nuka which is located in the Shibuya Scramble Square.

They only have 5 or 6 seats at a counter.

Order, pay and give your ticket to the kitchen staff.

They have 2 types of curry, pork or chicken.

(The pork curry is supposedly spicy.)

Satoshi chose the pork while I chose chicken.

This shop uses nekase genmai which is brown rice that is cooked in a pressure cooker then left for 3 or 4 days to develop a "chewy" texture to it which apparently makes it easier to eat.

Each dish is topped with all sorts of pickles, puffed rice, veggies.

You can also use the lemon vinegar or green chili soy sauce to change up the flavors.

Here is Satoshi's pork curry.

And my chicken curry.

We both added a spice egg...a medium boiled egg that is "buried" in curry spices.

I saw the person putting our curry together and she took the eggs out of the refridge.

I thought the egg would be ice cold when we were served, but it wasn't...whew.

We enjoyed these and will be back when we are in the area.

Curry Nuka
Shibuya Scramble Square B2F
Shibuya, Tokyo
Phone: n/a
Hours: 10:00-21:00 (open when Shibuya Scramble Square is)

Saturday, February 22, 2020

tamagawa to kawasaki

Yesterday, the weather was nice.

I wanted to check out a bulk foods shop, so I headed to Kawasaki, which is in Kanagawa prefecture.

Actually, it is close to where we live, only across the Tamagawa (Tama River).

I caught the train to Tamagawa station where I needed to transfer to another train line.

Since I was early and the shop wasn't open yet, I stopped into a bakery that caught my eye from the train...Nora Bakery.

Apparently they recently opened in mid-January...I had their bacon epi and a cafe au lait.

They heated up the epi for me...delicious!

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

After lunch, I walked across the bridge to Kanagawa prefecture...

And found Bulk Foods.

You need to bring your own containers, or buy containers from them.

I was interested in buying some almond butter (maybe some peanut butter) and trail mix...

They need to weigh your container before filling, so make sure you tell their staff before filling up.

They didn't have almond butter so I just got some crunchy peanut butter and some trail mix.

The small plastic package of nuts was a freebie I received because the guy at the register couldn't figure out how to sign in to charge my charge card and I had to pay cash.

They are a bit pricey but I'm glad you can just buy the amount you want.

I'll be back.

Before catching the train home, I went shopping for dinner groceries...I noticed this chicken.

I guess they are trying to wean us off of styrofoam because they are packaging the chicken like this...plastic is not ecological either, but I guess until they think of another way to "package" things...

Oh and starting April, you will need to pay for bags at many shops.

Nora Bakery
1-55-10 Denenchofu
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6459.7037
Closed Mondays & Wednesdays
Hours: 9:00-18:00 (Saturdays & Sundays), 9:00-19:00 (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays)

Bulk Foods
769 Shinmaruko, Nakahara-ku
Kawasaki, Kanagawa
Phone: 044.322.9033
Closed every 3rd Thursday
Hours: 11:00-19:00

Friday, February 21, 2020

sabajaga

Recently came upon a site for everything beer (in Japanese only).

Not only do they talk about beer but they have recipes that pair with beer.

I recently tried one of their recipes because I wanted to use up some cilantro and potatoes that I had.

The recipe was super easy and tasty.

Sabajaga from Beergirl.net
1 can saba (mackerel), water packed about 180-200 grams
2 potatoes about 180-200 grams total
cilantro or watercress
shoyu (soy sauce)

Wash and cut potato into cubes.
Cook your potatoes until soft.
Peel the potatoes then mash them.
In a skillet (pan) add the mashed potato and canned fish with the canning water and break up the fish with a wooden spoon
On medium heat, cook until the water evaporates
Add some shoyu
Serve with cilantro or watercress

Beer that they recommended to pair with : IPA

NOTES: Instead of peeling the potatoes after they were cooked, I just washed them well, so I could leave the skins on.

Also instead of mashing them, I just smooshed them a little.

Instead of using shoyu, I put a little of this zaku zaku shoyu by Kikkoman's Cocoro Dining (photo from internet).

This condiment is super flavorful and I like the crunch from the almonds.

We've used it on salad instead of dressing already.

For this recipe, instead of shoyu or this zaku zaku type, I think the next time I make this I will use some fish sauce.

And will mash the potato so that when I put it into the pan, it will brown up and form a little crust on the bottom.

I'm glad I tried this and will make it again.

It's another 3-day weekend here (the New Emperor's birthday), hope you have a nice weekend.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

coconut milk braised chicken legs

Every time I travel back to Japan from Hawaii, I buy a magazine that I read from cover to cover on the plane ride home (sometimes I finish reading the magazine before I get on the plane...).

Usually that magazine is "Bon Appetit"...there are lots of delicious looking photos as well as recipes and tips.

On my last trip to Hawaii, I bought a copy of "Bon Appetit" and the photo for Coconut Milk Braised Chicken...jumped out at me.

It took me awhile to get the ingredients together but I finally got a chance to make this.

So easy!

Just put everything into a pan and put it in the oven to do its thing.

Coconut Milk Braised Chicken Legs : From "Bon Appetit" : issue September 2019 : makes 4 servings
INGREDIENTS
1 (13.5 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai curry paste
2 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed, lightly crushed
1 2" piece ginger, peeled, smashed
6 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick; about 3 pounds total)
Kosher salt

(for serving)
Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
cilantro leaves with tender stems
cooked rice or flatbread
lime wedges

RECIPE PREPARATION
Place a rack in top third of oven; preheat to 400°F (200C).

Stir coconut milk and curry paste in a 2 quart baking dish to combine (or, use a medium skillet if that’s what you’ve got).

Add lemongrass, ginger, and garlic.

Season chicken with salt (hold back a bit since curry pastes often have a lot of salt).

Place in baking dish and spoon some liquid over.

Bake, occasionally spooning liquid over, until chicken is browned, tender, and cooked throughout (the joint should be reasonably easy to flex), 60–75 minutes.

Divide chicken between plates.

Top with coconut flakes and cilantro.

Serve with rice or flatbread and lime wedges alongside.


NOTES: so easy and tasty! I found lemongrass but it was pricey, so I left it out.

Also, I could only get green thai curry paste, so that was what I used.

I didn't add any salt and served this with rice.

I also added some water because my coconut milk seemed thick.

If you like Thai curry, you'll enjoy this, especially since you don't need to stand near the stove.

I'm making this again.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

naganuma

Sunday, we checked out Naganuma, which serves yoshoku (western-style foods)...

Satoshi tried their hamburger with demi-glace sauce and ebi fry (fried shrimp)...he said that neither was special, just okay.

I had their chicken tomato sauce...the chicken skin is pan fried crispy then topped with an oregano tomato sauce.

I loved this!

The dish was served with daikon that was simmered in stock until tender.

Both our meals came with some soup (minestrone) and a drink (we chose hot coffee).

We have other dishes that we are interested in trying so we'll be back!

Naganuma
6-2 Higashimine-machi
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3751.7570
Closed Tuesdays
Hours: 11:00-15:00 (lunch), 17:00-22:00 (dinner)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

color

The past couple of days have been either rainy or overcast...so I've been craving color.

Saturday, while Satoshi went to a German class, I went to check out the farmer's market and these colorful radishes popped out at me along with these colorful carrots.

I also got some kale...whoo!

This virus thingy is kind of getting worse with someone contracting the virus close to where we live (eep!)...really hoping they can get this under control.

Monday, February 17, 2020

tokyo dujyan seikatsu

I had to run an errand on Friday in Gotanda so I went to eat lunch at Tokyo Dujyan Seikatsu.

This tiny shop serves Taiwan style breakfast.

Soy milk soup called shendujyan.

The flavors reminded of this soup.

It kind of looked the same too.

I also ordered a scallion pork "bun" called tsonrousupin...flaky outside with a little sweetness to it.

Lots of pork and scallions inside...so good!

Loved the flavors of the soup and bun.

I also took home a peanut "bun" called foashenpin.

How cute is the package?!

Tiny...

But filled to the gills with crunchy peanut paste and so flaky too!

Afterwards, I read online that they put lard into their dough...well, no wonder it was so flaky!

The outside kind of reminded me of Hawaii-Chinese mai tai su or Hawaii-Japanese pie crust manju.

They have several different types of soy milk soups as well as different types of "buns".

I'll be back to try other items when I am in the area.

Tokyo Dujyan Seikatsu
1-20-3 Nishigotanda
Shinagawa, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6417.0335
Closed Sundays
Hours: 8:00-14:00

Sunday, February 16, 2020

so...

Back in December, I told you that Satoshi was waiting for the results of his German test.

Well, he didn't pass.

The bummer part of this is that they don't even tell you how you did (so you don't know how to improve), just that you didn't pass.

He was bummed to say the least...

But, he said he'll try to find out what he needs to re-take and try again.

We appreciate your mojo and good thoughts!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

inatori-tokyo

The next morning, sunrise was pretty spectacular.

The breakfast buffet had all sorts of things to eat, of course, Satoshi ate like I don't feed him at home...ahem!

The main reason for coming to Inatori was to see this...Tsurushibina.

Apparently in the Edo period most people could not afford the elaborate tiered doll displays (center of this photo), so many would sew these types of tsurushibina (literally hanging dolls..seen on the sides of this photo) out of kimono fabric to pray/wish for the good health and happiness of their daughters.

Each "charm" has a different meaning, for example, the mouse sitting atop tawara (bales).

This charm hopes for prosperity and that the child will work hard to be prosperous.

So fun to see all the different variations of charms.

Like this dried kinmedai...

And this one all "blinged" up with Swarovski beads.

As we walked to the station, we bought all sorts of snacks for the train ride...like this kinmedai shaped monaka (wafer) filled with sweet bean paste.

And a tsurushibina shape (not sure what type) filled with a tomato flavored bean paste (very faint tomato flavor)

and the end pieces of castella...all these sweets were from Kurohatsu.

This oshizushi called hanazushi topped with fish floss from Takeya.

The grandmas at both of these shops were so nice!

We had bought the sweets and rice for the train ride home, but instead we shared these different kinmedai bento which I found at the train station.


The train we caught back happened to be a special one called Black Ship Train with all sorts of historical info about the Shimoda area and the black ships.

We enjoyed this train because the windows were wide and let you sit facing the ocean...also, we didn't need to pay extra to ride it.

We were lucky to have great weather and saw all that we intended to.

If you missed the other photos/videos, you can see them here.

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

Kurohatsu
672 Inatori
Higashi-izu cho, Kamo-gun
Shizuoka
Phone: 0557.95.2976
Closed Sundays
Hours: 8:00-18:30

Takeya
423 Inatori
Higashi-izu cho, Kamo-gun
Shizuoka
Phone: 0557.95.1674

Friday, February 14, 2020

gotemba-kawazu-inatori

We awoke to hopefully see a beautiful sunrise, but Mount Fuji was still sleeping.

At breakfast, we saw some hail but for the most part it was really cloudy.

After a hearty breakfast buffet, we headed to Gotemba station and caught the train to Kawazu (which takes about 2 and a half hours).

From Atami to Kawazu the train winds down the tracks through many coastal towns.

Unlike the weather at breakfast, it was turning out to be another beautiful day.

When we arrived at Kawazu station, you could see the pink trees just below the train platform.

We were ready for lunch and popped into a cafe right near the station called Kirin-kan.

One reason we popped into this cafe was to use their restroom, the line at the station was krazy! (even for the men's restroom!)

Satoshi ordered their hayashi rice (hashed beef) and I had their open faced sandwich (tuna, cabbage and tomato and sausage with potato)

Their food was delicious and we happened to eat at the right time (there was a line for the cafe when we left!)

Before checking out the kawazuzakura, we walked to one end of the path which was near the ocean.

Being from Hawaii, I am a beach snob and can never get used to seeing Japan's "dirty" sand...

We then walked the path (about 2.4 kilometers (1.4 miles)) to Nehando, where they have a statue of a sleeping Buddha.

If you climb up the hill next to Nehando, you can see the river and all the sakura trees lining it.

Kawazuzakura emerged when the oshimazakura and kanhizakura varieties were naturally bred. Unlike the someiyoshi variety which is seen all over Japan, kawazuzakura is a darker pink, bigger flower and blooms earlier than the someiyoshi and the flowers last about a month.

On the way back to the station, we checked out the original Kawazuzakura tree which is over 60 years old!

This year's festival runs from February 10 until March 10.

After a lot of walking we went back a couple of stations to Izu-Inatori where a shuttle took us to Inatoriso.

This hotel was quite large and had many different bath areas, including several baths in a separate building! (Satoshi had fun checking out all the different baths)

Our room looked like we were on a cruise ship, yeah?!

Dinner was an assortment of things...like sashimi...we each could choose a type of fish, I chose kanpachi (amberjack) while Satoshi chose tai (snapper).

A citrus gelee was served to be eaten with the white fleshed fish...different but delicious.

There was also some squid, amaebi (northern shrimp) and maguro (tuna)

Apparently Inatori fishermen catch the most Kinmedai (splendid alfonsino) in Japan...so this fish appeared on our dinner menu several times...like this shabu shabu.

And this kinmedai nitsuke...in which the fish is simmered in a sweetened shoyu based sauce.

They suggest that you eat your nitsuke by putting it on some rice, drizzling the sauce on and topping it with a combination of katsuo bushi (shaved bonito), green onion, ginger, wasabi and/or nori.

I had mine with green onion, nori, ginger and a little katsuo bushi..delicious!

Another thing I enjoyed at dinner was this deep fried kasago (scorpionfish)...you could eat the bones! crunchy like kettle chips!

This was served with a yuzu salt...delicious!

I also enjoyed this shiso sour which is made with a shiso syrup and I think a shochu (distilled sweet potato liquor).

We walked a lot and ate a lot...it was nice listening to the ocean and relaxing in the different hot spring baths.

Kirin-kan
160-3 Hama
Kawazu-cho, Kamo-gun
Shizuoka
Phone: 0558.32.0007
Closed Thursdays
Hours: 9:30-17:00

Inatoriso
1531 Inatori
Higashi-Izu, Kamo-gun
Shizuoka
Phone: 0557.95.1234