Friday, January 29, 2021

this and that

Whenever Satoshi has the day off, we try to stay at home though we do go out for a walk, if the weather permits.

I figure since he is going to work more than I go grocery shopping, he has a higher risk of catching COVID and bringing it home.

One thing the experts here have told us is to sleep opposite each other...can I tell you that we’ve actually been sleeping like this way before COVID?!

One night as we were sleeping “someone” coughed in my face..bah! so from then on, we have been sleeping opposite each other...I guess it is easy to do in Japan because we each have our own futon, though I do worry about being kicked in the head...

My latest weakness (I have many)...7-eleven’s black pepper & 3 cheese potato chips.

Family Mart came out with buns for their Fami Chicki, a boneless fried chicken that they have next to their cash registers tempting everyone.

The bun has a dollop of tartar sauce.

I toasted my bun and added some cabbage.

Also tried this Buldak spicy cheese noodles...gah! too spicy for me! glad I didn’t put all the chili sauce.

Starbucks came out with a new frappuccino called Chocolate on the chocolate...I was all set to commit to the 427 calories and 59 grams of carbs! only to find out that our nearest location is closed for renovations...guess "someone" is telling me not to try it...(photo from the internet)

How pretty is this watermelon radish? It was only 99 yen and about the size of a fist.

We've past the year mark for our first case of this pandemic...hopefully Japan can get on the ball and start vaccinating...but then again, the main branch of government JUST reconvened, they seem in no rush to get out of this pandemic, are only worried about the economy and have a double standard for eating out and working from home...sigh.

On a semi-funny note...Yesterday, I was looking for my gloves and noticed that Satoshi’s were hanging on the laundry thingy we have, since I’ve been washing our gloves every time we use them.

I then realized Satoshi took mine when he left for work.

So I texted him and he replies, “no wonder they were small”...dude!

Hope you all are hanging in there, getting vaccinated when you can and keeping your spirits up.

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

jumeokbap

Tried something new that I saw on television, jumeokbap.

Apparently this is something Korean mothers make for their children.

“Jumeok” is fist and “bap” is rice...so literally “fist rice”

I made 1 cup of rice and added some tsukemono,

a can of tuna, Korean nori pieces, sesame seeds, mayo.

Mix well and then make rice balls.

The amount of rice balls will differ depending on the amount you scoop out.

NOTES: The original idea called for takuan, but I couldn’t find any without artificial sweeteners in it, so I just added some of the tsukemono that I had in my fridge.

Also, the can of tuna in Japan is smaller than those in the US.

We ate this with kim chee but feel free to add some shoyu or kochujang when you make this.

Not a recipe per se...will definitely make this again maybe using shibazuke for some color.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

home delivery

Yesterday Rowena mentioned about home delivery in her comment which reminded me to post about our home delivery.

With the pandemic, I started ordering my vitamin supplements from Amazon.

Amazon changed how they deliver our orders to have less contact with their delivery dude.

They now do not require our signature and just leave the package near our door.

Of course for some, this has been a problem with their package so large and the delivery dude not being too sharp...the package BLOCKING the door and the person not being able to leave their home..WT?!

Packages being stolen or very damaged have also been problems too.

So far we have been lucky and not had problems like those I just mentioned...whew!

I still believe Japan's delivery system is more efficient than other countries.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

daimatsu

Checked out a new (to me) wagashiya (Japanese confection shop), Daimatsu today. (photo from Google Maps)
I'm not sure how long this shop has been in business but it was run by an older woman.

One thing I noticed about most wagashiya in Kanto (East Japan) is that they don't only sell sweets, but savory items like inarizushi, musubi even sekihan (red bean rice).

I purchased a couple of inarizushi for us to try as well as a salmon musubi for Satoshi and yukari (shiso) musubi for myself.
The inarizushi wasn't sweet more vinegary.

I enjoyed the yukari musubi.

The owner also asked if I would like some takuan.

We also shared this mikan (tangerine) daifuku.
A whole mikan wrapped in sweetened white bean paste and a very soft outer gyuhi (soft mochi).

I cut the daifuku horizontally with a piece of dental floss...so pretty yeah?!
This wasn't overly sweet and there were no seeds.

Total for everything was 590 yen (tax included)....I'll be back to purchase other items for us to try.

Daimatsu
5-11-22 Nishikamata
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3738.7450
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 6:30-18:30

Monday, January 25, 2021

ramen weekend

The weekend was forecast for rain, maybe some snow.

I made sure we didn’t have to venture out for food.

One thing I tried making was Dalgona Ramen.

At the beginning of the pandemic with the popular Dalgona Coffee trending, I thought Dalgona meant “foam”, but it apparently means caramel/toffee.

I saw this idea on an IG account and had to try.

I couldn’t get my caramel to the right consistency so it turned out kind of hard and I wasn't able to coat all of the ramen.

I also adlibbed and added some arare, pumpkin seeds and nuts...

This snack is similar to caramel popcorn or chex mix...

I have another idea for this, so when I get the ingredients together, I’ll post about it.

Another thing I tried was Curry Ramen, which I copied from “Midnight Diner” season 5, episode 8.

I diluted the shio (salt) ramen soup, then added a package of veggie  instant curry.

This was delicious!

In the end it didn't snow (boo!) and we didn’t have to go out on Saturday. 

On Sunday, Satoshi had to go to work and it again rained all day.

It is supposed to warm up over the next couple of days.

Have a good (safe) week.

Friday, January 22, 2021

this and that

Since last Thursday, my favorite supermarket is being renovated, so whenever we need groceries, I've been walking to other neighborhoods to (explore) buy groceries from their supermarkets.

Last week’s grocery run was an area I’d been to before, so this week’s grocery run was to a neighborhood I had not been to called Chuo.

They had a tiny pocket park with a Kannon (goddess of peace), 

I want to come back when the fuji (wisteria) are blooming.

So many older buildings in this area.
Like this liquor store.
This shop, Yamazaki Royal Toyoshima,  sells sandwiches, I purchased a strawberry fruit sandwich.
 
So good with coffee.

I shopped at a tiny supermarket called Sankei.

When I went in, there was also a floor upstairs too.

They don’t have many shelves, just lots of items in boxes, so you need to look carefully at everything...not very good when you want to be in and out in a matter of minutes...

Their salmon nori bento was only 298 yen, so cheap! and packed with all sorts of different foods.

I’ll be back for bento!
It's been sunny but super fahreezing, BUT no snow, not even a flurry..boo! (though we are forecast for rain tomorrow & Sunday)

On the way back, I also stumbled upon a tiny park with 3 or 4 cherry blossom trees, so hopefully we can check them out this Spring.

So happy our cable tv has CNN, even if I couldn’t watch the Inauguration live (was too late at night for me), I was able to see part of the Inauguration concert in real time.

Have a safe weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

honey murcott

I recently picked up a bag of these honey murcotts which were imported from Australia.

They are a type of tangerine and are super sweet.

I love that the pith is not white but orange too.

They have quite a lot of seeds and most are easy to peel.

BUT some were juicy while some were kind of dried out...boo!

Still, I'm glad we got to try these.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

leftover mochi

I usually buy these teeny mochi for New Years because I don't want to have any leftover.

Well, the other night after dinner, we wanted a little something extra, and I had 4 of these teeny mochi, so I pan fried them in some butter then topped with some saku saku shoyu almond (crunchy almonds soaked in shoyu and other seasonings)

The butter and nuts got a little burnt, but it was still so good!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

prefab

In Japan, they have buildings called purihabu(prefabricated).

Well, I've been seeing a lot of trucks like this one in our area.

Attached to it is a prefab room.

The truck drives up to the construction site, a crane lifts the room off the truck.

And like "Lego" they building apartment buildings by stacking these "blocks" onto each other then securing them.

I've seen some “blocks” with closets, others with bathtubs....

Cool, yeah?!

Monday, January 18, 2021

aji tama

Have you had aji tama?

Aji tama is short for ajitsuke tamago which literally means seasoned egg.

You often see it on top of ramen and I’ve been seeing people put them to fill open spaces in their bento boxes.

Stick a peeled boiled egg into a liquid and the egg will get seasoned with the liquid.

I think it is similar to pickling eggs or even making tea eggs except the result is more savory.

I made Buchi-uma chicken the other night and with the leftover sauce used it to season a 6 minute egg.

I let the egg sit in the liquid overnight.

In the morning I cut it with a piece of dental floss and we shared it for breakfast.

I'm glad I tried making this, it was delicious and a good way to use leftover sauce.

Friday, January 15, 2021

this and that

Pierre Herme has once again teamed up with 7-eleven and came out with a chocolate eclair.

There is a thick chocolate layer almost like a chocolate bar on the bottom of the eclair and an airy whipped chocolate layer on top.
Bummer it got squished on the way home, but it was so good!
I should have taken a photo of Satoshi's thermos before doing this because it was so dirty!

I found this bubbling cleanser at the DIY store and boy! did it get super clean...I should’ve taken an after photo too...
Saw this ad on the BBC one morning urging people to stay at home...pretty straight forward, yeah?!
Today is our 21st anniversary unfortunately the pandemic is STILL around, so we are planning to celebrate at home.

Last year, I wrote that we were supposed to attend a wedding but it was cancelled due to the virus.

Well, they had planned to have it this weekend, but because of the recent state of emergency they had to cancel again...

Anyway, when this is all over, I am looking forward to travel, to meeting up with friends and to eat in a restaurant (so I don’t have to cook or wash the dishes!)

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

cherry berry

We tried a new (to us) strawberry variety called Cherry Berry.

The color is a deep red like cherries.

And it is super sweet.

Apparently it is a type of Tochiotome strawberry, from Tochigi Prefecture.

I'm glad we got to try this and will keep an eye out for it in the future.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

ookuniya

There is a wagashi shop in our area that has been in business for 80 years, Ookuniya.

We have tried them before and I thought I posted about it but couldn’t find it on the blog...

Saturday we walked down and picked up some daifuku and dorayaki.

Our ward, Ota has a 100 item list of different items made in our ward and one shop is Ookuniya.

Apparently their mikan daifuku is a popular item, but they didn’t have it on this day, so I tried their ichigo daifuku.

I used a piece of dental floss to cut the ichigo daifuku in half.

I think the strawberry could have been bigger but this was still delicious.

Satoshi had their salt daifuku...the sweet bean paste is cooked with some salt so it isn’t too sweet and he also tried their mame daifuku, which the outside is studded with black beans.

I also picked up their Ooguri dorayaki, which had a whole chestnut inside.

You gotta love a shop that keeps up with the times, they have FB, IG and Twitter accounts.

Hope to try the mikan daifuku the next time we go.

We’ll be back. 

Ookuniya

1-3-15 Tamagawa

Ota, Tokyo

Phone: 03.5732.0928

Open daily 9:00-19:00

Monday, January 11, 2021

daikon gyoza

A great way to cut carbs... use daikon as gyoza wrappers!

I saw this idea online and had to try.

Adapted from the internet : 2 servings
100 grams daikon, peeled and cut thinly in rounds (about 12 slices)
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 grams minced chicken
5 leaves shiso, chiffonade then minc
1 teaspoon sesame oil
kim chee 

Mix minced chicken with shiso and set aside
After peeling and cutting daikon into thin rounds, massage daikon with salt and let sit for 10 minutes.
After the 10 minutes, rinse and gently dry each slice with paper towel.
Scoop chicken mixture onto each daikon slice and gently fold in half. (the thin slice gets “flexible” after salting) 
Unlike gyoza you do not “seal” these, they should look like "tacos".
Heat oil in pan and place each gyoza onto the pan.
Cook for about 4 minutes
Flip over and cover to steam and cook through 
Cook for about 4 more minutes.
Serve with kim chee

NOTES: on the original recipe the amount of daikon didn’t match the amount of minced meat (chicken), so I adjusted to what I wrote above.

The original recipe adds oyster sauce and chives to minced pork, but I instead used shiso & minced chicken

I also didn’t season the minced meat because we were eating the gyoza with kim chee.

I ended up cutting the daikon by hand because the mandoline I do have was slicing the daikon too thin.

Hopefully I can find an inexpensive adjustable mandoline to get my slices evenly thin.

Also depending on the size of your daikon, the diameter may or may not be able to fit on a mandoline.

Will definitely try this again.

p.s. today is technically a holiday (Coming of Age Day) but Satoshi is off to work and I am laying low....have a good week!

Friday, January 08, 2021

this and that

Even if this picture doesn't show it, yesterday was so blustery!

The weather dude had said the wind speed was like a typhoon...

All I know is that the wind was super icy, but I'm glad I was able to get out for a bit.

I first received Ellips hair oil treatment from one of Satoshi's co-workers who had travelled to Malaysia.

I was happy to find them at a 100 yen store, so I bought 1 of each different type.

These are nice to use especially during the winter.

Yesterday with all that was going on in the U.S. I needed to stress eat and bought myself a doughnut topped with all these chocolate sprinkles.

So scary and disappointing at the way things are going in the States.

I roughly followed a recipe for Scandinavian style Salmon Soup for dinner.

This was easy to make and I cut back a lot of calories by not using the cream and butter the recipe called for.

The recipe also called for filets and instructed you to take off the skin...well, the filets we have here also have BONES (such a p.i.t.a!)...so next time I would use sashimi grade salmon instead (no bones or skin).

We (Tokyo) and the surrounding prefectures (Kanagawa, Saitama & Chiba) were ordered into a State of Emergency (lockdown)...(Tokyo's case number yesterday was 2441! our hospitals are at 78%) from today until February 7th.

The medical experts say this is too short a time to decrease the numbers, they also say that this "lockdown" isn't severe enough because it still allows people to eat-in.

Satoshi is still going into the office.

I will try to get out for a walk every day and instead of going grocery shopping every day,  I might try to go back to grocery shopping once or twice a week.

Stay safe everyone and have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

torikyu


Whenever I walk through a shopping arcade near the JR Kamata station, I've often seen the line to buy bentos from Torikyu.

A shop specializing in everything chicken that has been apparently been in business since 1928!

We looked at their menu beforehand unfortunately I went before 10:00 and found out that our choices were not available...boo!


I chose the soboro bento...minced chicken seasoned with shoyu, sugar, mirin.

Delicious! and filling.

Since Satoshi had the day off, I purchased the salmon bento for him...besides the salmon there were some nimono (simmered veggies), a meatball, a piece of karatatsu (karaage + tatsutaage) chicken as well as pickled ginger and some tsukudani.
Because it is the start of the New Year, they also gave me a furoshiki.

Apparently an artist, Okamoto Kohei created the furoshiki.

"Kansei" is written on the right hand side and roughly means that during the winter, almost all the trees are "white", their leaves have fallen and dried up but only the matsu (pine) stays "green".

This saying was revered by actor Ken Takakura who tried to live by this phrase.

I know that there will be a lot lost in translation, but I believe this means that no matter how hard things are in life, we should be kind to others, believe in the good and continue to emit positive energy. 

We'll be back.

Torikyu

5-16-1 Kamata

Ota, Tokyo

Phone: 03.3738.5736

Open daily 7:30-17:00

p.s. Since we have had 1200 and 1500 cases over the past two days...eep!

Tokyo and some of the surrounding prefectures are FINALLY headed for a shutdown. 

I think they will declare it tomorrow, so I'll keep you posted as to what will happen.

Take care everyone.