Wednesday, September 30, 2020

vote

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

semi-rant

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.
 

Monday, September 21, 2020

zappaisuikan souji

Yesterday (Sunday) was the day that our apartment building's pipes got cleaned and we had to be home between 13:00 and 15:00.

This procedure is called zappaisuikan souji in Japanese (zappaisuikan are the pipes and souji means to clean)

Apparently if your building is 30+ years old, the pipes should be cleaned to prevent back-ups.

The cleaners started from the bottom floors and worked their way up to the top floors.

Before they clean, certain areas should be cleared...

The area where the washer's drain is.

Under the bathroom sink.
Under the kitchen sink.

As well as the bath/shower area (no photo).

So in the morning, I moved everything just in case they needed to open things up.
I didn't actually see what the guy was doing but think that he "flooded" the drain and checked to see how it "drained".

The internet showed that if it was a slow drain they would use a high powered waterstream to "flush" out the calcified areas.

Luckily our apartment only took 5 minutes and they didn't have to open any of the drains.
Amazed that this little generator did all the work for our building.

It was our first time to experience this so I was surprised that our building management did projects like this.

In a couple of weeks the building management will change all the fire alarms in the apartments.

I was also surprised that the building management kept track of who already did this because Satoshi got our apartment's alarms changed last year while I was in Hawaii (this was one of our facetime calls, I had to tell him that the fire alarm was telling him the battery needed to be changed), so we don't have to be at home on this particular day...whoo! (not that we have been going anywhere though...)

We have one more day of this Silver Week holiday but Satoshi needs to go to work, so it will be a regular day for us.

Hope you have a safe week!

Friday, September 18, 2020

this and that

You may have heard that we have a new Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, he was actually the Chief Cabinet Secretary in the previous administration.

He is the 99th Prime Minister of Japan and the 10th one to hold office since I moved to Japan in 2001.

Hopefully he and his cabinet will be able to carry out their duties until the next election next September.


I reconnected with this baked/roasting recipe using furikake for a batch and everything but the bagel seasoning for another batch.


I like both flavors and am sure I will be roasting more veggies in the coming weeks.

I used my last packet of Noh's char siu marinade and made some boneless pork and chicken.

We had the chicken for two meals in salad and with veggies.

After slicing the pork, I put it into the freezer.

I want to make baked manapua with some of the pork and hope to make some before the temperature gets cooler.

Poor Satoshi he's been coming home so late (midnight) that I only give him some soy milk so he can go to sleep soon after bathing.

Since I go to bed later too, after I make the foods for Satoshi's bento, I take a 30 minute nap while I wait for the foods to cool.

After the 30 minutes, I pack his bento then start making breakfast...

While I eat breakfast, Satoshi eats "dinner".

Can you believe one day he texted me at about 17:00 (just as I was getting ready to make dinner) to tell me he was just about to eat lunch!

I used to make 1 big musubi for him to eat with his lunch, but now make two smaller ones so he can eat one with his lunch and one later in the afternoon.

The sunrises have been beautiful when we do get them, most other days have been rainy or cloudy.

Even on the rainy or cloudy days, it has been super humid...blah!

Tokyo's numbers this week were as low as 80 and as high as 276 with numbers significantly rising in the suburban areas, which means our area...gah!

Technically it is the start of a 4-day weekend but we aren't planning to go anywhere, hopefully Satoshi will be able to get some days off too.

Hope you have a safe weekend.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

supermarket finds

Some items we recently stumbled upon at the market...

Follow Dressing...onion, garlic, this creamy dressing is delicious on salad but also nice with pork.

Hoshi imo (dried sweet potato).

This particular brand uses Tokushima grown sweet potato.

It is more semi-dried than fully dried and super sweet.

Another brand of hoshi imo uses Ibaraki grown sweet potato.

This brand has a little more "pull" with a slight sweetness.

JIF! most shops in Japan bring in Skippy.

Growing up my mom almost always had JIF.

When I saw this at the market, I had to get some.

Belgian butter waffles...these remind me of pizzelles.
 
Calcium furikake...they grind up dried fish and add sesame seed, seaweed and other ingredients.

Don't sneeze when eating this, your furikake will "fly"...trust me

Pizzutello Bianco...is back!

So good!

What have you been enjoying lately?

Monday, September 14, 2020

this and that

The other day I was reading an article written in Japanese online and the author talked about a Japanese brand of kim chee that does not use additives or preservatives.


Luckily, the supermarket I go to had this brand for us to try.

It is made in Nagano, which in recent years has surpassed Okinawa for longevity.

The kim chee is not overly spicy and I hope we can eat it up before the expiry date.

I'm glad we got to try this and that I was able to use the points on my point card to pay for the kim chee and bell peppers (top photo).

Satoshi has been working long hours, coming home close to 23:00 some nights.

This also means I wait up, then serve him dinner only to get up at 5:00 to make bento for him to take to work.

Napping has become a very important part of my day...ahem!

As for the amount of cases in Tokyo... in the past week, we went as low as 77 to as high as 276.

I hope our numbers will get even lower.

I try to keep off our train lines and only stay close to home...this means we are kind of getting bored with our rotation for take out.

Even on rainy days, the temperature is quite blazing and humid (at night too) so our ac/dehumidifier has been working hard...

Anyway, I hope you are keeping safe where you are.

Have a good week.

Friday, September 11, 2020

virtual hugs

Sending virtual hugs to New York and all the surrounding areas.

It's hard to believe that 19 years have passed.

Have a safe weekend everyone.


 

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

genghis khan

If you visit Hokkaido, one of their local foods is called Genghis Khan, which should actually be called Mongolian Barbecue.

Not to burst your bubble about Japan, but the Japanese language can be kind of racist...using descriptions of a culture as the name of a food or person.

Like Caucasians are literally "white people" in Japanese and  colored people (can you still say that?!) are literally "black people" in Japanese.

Anyway, Genghis Khan uses lamb as the main ingredient of this dish which apparently was the protein of choice of the Mongol soldiers back in the day.

The convex shaped pan that the dish is cooked on apparently resembles the Mongol soldiers helmets which they used to cook their foods on. (photo from internet)

Apparently the Japanese government had intended to increase their sheep flocks in 1918 but most of the sheep farms around Japan were destroyed with the only 2 sheep farms surviving in Hokkaido.

Which is why you can easily find lamb to consume at their markets.
 (photo fro the internet)
I had recently seen an episode of "Kodoku no Gurume" and he had eaten Genghis Khan.

While at the market yesterday, I ran across lamb from New Zealand (top photo), so using my grill pan, I cooked up some lamb for our dinner.

This dish is usually served with moyashi (bean sprouts) but the market I had bought the lamb at didn't have any! so I just served it with the veggies I had at home.

The meat was tender but there was also lots of fat and some gristle.

The sauce that came with the lamb was shoyu based, a little sweet from apple and punch from a little ginger and onion.

I would definitely buy lamb again especially if I come across Hokkaido lamb, to make this dish again.

Friday, September 04, 2020

sunrise

This was the sunrise this morning.

Pretty yeah?!

It's still blazing and humid here.

Hope you have a safe weekend.



 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

this and that

Yesterday, Hawaii made the news here when they showed the mass testing in the H-3 tunnel.

Hoping everyone's numbers will start to go down.

Tokyo's numbers have come down to 100+ per day over the last week and today was a little over 200, instead of the 400 we had a couple of weeks back.


Made korinki and renkon (lotus root) pickles yesterday.

Both are crunchy and puckery.
Bought this yakiimo (roasted sweet potato) yesterday, it was so dry and junk...boo!

After discovering yakiimo last year, I have noticed that a lot of markets have them year round, though if you find yakiimo during Spring and Summer, the sweet potato tends to be teeny.

Hope to come across better yakiimo in the coming months.

This morning we had "excitement"...no internet nor landline service.

Of course, Satoshi is non-tech so was of no help.

After waiting until 9 am (there is nothing 24 hours here), the tech guy that did help me was super nice.

You should know that Satoshi and I have different cell carriers and our internet and landline service is under Satoshi's cell plan.

While talking to the tech guy, he mentioned that he needed to have Satoshi's cell membership number and have Satoshi call in to verify that I was "family"...

Gasp! Nooo...then he gave me a hint..."the number starts with CA"...

I found the number in our papers and told him the number...he said normal procedure would still be Satoshi having to call in to verify that I was "family" but he would make an exception...thank goodness!

Then we went over what my wifi router looked like, what was lit up, what was not.

Did I pull the cord out of the socket and put it back...

And then he told me that someone would contact me, they might need to come into the house to look at the wires and router.

If they found that it was the router, we might be responsible to pay for it (since we rent it), but if it was something outside of the building, then we would not be responsible to pay for it.

He asked if I needed someone to translate when they called or came to check, I told him that I think I would be okay as long as they spoke slowly.

So I went to get some groceries while I waited for the person to call me back.

Man, you don’t realize how much you depend on the internet until you cannot connect to it.

I had major anxiety knowing I was only connected to the world by cell phone (thank goodness we still had television service)...

Then after lunch, when I looked at my cell phone, I realized we had internet!

And I also noticed I missed "the call"....gasp!

So I called the number and left a message.

And the guy called me back.

I couldn't understand the whole conversation, but what I think he said was that he checked the lines outside the building and that we should be connected now.

I told him that I had just noticed we had internet and landline phone service too....ah relief!

And then someone else called us.

I guess we had missed each other's calls, so I explained to the woman on the line that I think we were all okay now...whew! so grateful to be connected again!

Oh and if you do not believe that global warming exists, it is real. 

Apparently the ocean temps around Japan are so warm 30C (86F) that it is causing typhoons to form  (cooler oceans would break up typhoons before hitting land).

So there are now 2 typhoons getting ready to hit Honshu and Kyushu over the next couple of days...

Talk about stress and 1st world problems...

Be well everyone.





 

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

korinki


Came across this squash called Korinki.

At first, I thought it might be called an Acorn Squash in English, but upon researching, I found out it is a relative of Red Kuri Squash.

It is teeny about the size of a baseball.


The outer peel was not as thick as squash and the seeds inside were more like a cucumber, which is why most Japanese recipes online use this to make pickles or use it raw in salads.
I put half of it into our green curry last night and plan to make pickles with the other half.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

new month new things

It's a new month, but can we back up a couple of days so that I can show you this?!

It is called an anvil cloud (cumulonimbus incus) or kanatokogumo in Japanese.

When I looked out the window on Sunday, I was surprised to see it, scary looking yeah?!

The weather dude said if you happen to see a cloud like this, take cover because besides heavy rain, there could be lightning...um, yeah..

So...it's the start of a new month...Satoshi's workplace was supposed to change from Shinbashi to Kamiya-cho, which isn’t far from each other, just the train lines are different.

He was bummed because he wouldn't be able to eat lunch at Hibiya Park and would need to change his commute route...

Then yesterday he told me that they didn’t need to move (Actually the office he is at is always changing what they do, he said it is super frustrating not knowing, and says he’ll be working “for love” (no overtime pay) & less salary.)...

So he will still be able to eat at Hibiya Park and go to work on the same trains that he's been riding.

BUT his schedule changed so he has to work on some weekends and holidays.

Which means “normal” weekend days or holidays could end up being a “weekday”.

I’m pretty good at waking up early, but with the inconsistency of days off, I hope I’ll be able to wake up when I need to...what will probably happen is I'll wake up everyday at the same time and just take a nap when needed...

You may have heard, but in a couple of weeks, we’ll have a new Prime Minister.

What surprised me was the way they will choose the new Prime Minister.

Who knew the politicians in the ruling party (Liberal Democratic Party) were as cliquey and catty as those people you see on a reality show?!

Whoever gets chosen (the people in the ruling party get to decide), I hope he/she has an idea of which direction we need to go to beat this pandemic.

I'm hoping for cooler weather soon..it has been so miserable, plus typhoons have started to pop up here and there, so there is just another thing we all need to worry about...

Hope you are all hanging in there.