Friday, February 26, 2021

this and that

Found this assorted peanut snack, some peanuts are covered with a rice cracker shell, there are also some peas in there too, love it. 
Supermarket wood oven style pizza...loved the crust! and that this quattro formaggi (4 cheese) came with a little container of honey to drizzle on the pizza after heating up.

I do think they need to note that there is that container of honey included AND they need to put instructions on how to warm up the pizza...
The fence at nearby Kumano shrine is metal! it looks like a woven cloth, yeah?!
Bummed that I had to throw out 1 blood orange...
saw this interesting objet...the title of the piece is "toraboruta"

if you look carefully at is a tora (tiger) that is bolted (chained up).

"toraboruta" is also the pronunciation of travolta, as in John Travolta...ha! 

The sunrises have been pretty spectacular...
I found taiyaki filled with sakura filling...stashed a couple in the freezer.

There are 2 more weeks for the State of emergency, but it seems that Tokyo has plateaued at 300 cases a day...hopefully we can get our number down even lower.

Japan has finally started to vaccinate but at the pace they are going the experts say it will take a couple of years?! 

Hopefully they will be able to get things moving...

Hope you are doing well, have a safe weekend.

Thursday, February 25, 2021


Yesterday, Satoshi had the day off and we had an errand at our ward office.

Afterwards, I went to see if Torikyu had the bento I have been wanting to try.

Luckily, they had it.

Grilled chicken, tempura pumpkin and tempura shishito, a tender seasoned bamboo shoot, tsukudani, picked ginger, nori and shibazuke.

So good! The grilled chicken reminded me of the teriyaki chicken my Dad used to grill for dinners.

I'm glad I got to try this and hope to get it again in the future.

On our way home, this tree caught my eye.
It was an early blooming sakura (cherry).

The weather has been so warm that I guess a lot of trees have started to bloom.

Hope there will be some sakura to see in March as well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

tokachi popcorn

Recently came upon this popcorn made by Maeda Nosan which uses popcorn grown in the Tokachi area of Hokkaido.

The bags are a little smaller than the Quinn Popcorn I usually buy whenever I am in Hawaii.

This one is 56 grams, where Quinn is 66 grams.

I need to extend the popping time a little.

This was delicious and I'm glad we tried it and will definitely pick up more the next time I see it.

Monday, February 22, 2021


Saturday we got out and about early to beat the crowds so we could check out the ume (apricot) at Ikegami Baien.

Pandemic style...they check your temperature at the entrance and have you use the alcohol hand your 100 yen and then enter the park...they also have hand sanitizer at different areas of the park.

Points if you can see Mount Fuji in this photo...we discovered that you could kind of see her from the park on this visit.
One thing about Japan (for me) is that when you go to "touristy" spots or popular spots, the crowds dampen the mood.

So, it was nice to view the blossoms without the crowds.
Then we walked to an area that I had been to before, but was Satoshi's first time.

We found this origami Mount Fuji in the window of a senior daycare.

And this intricately carved art piece...
Clean clean clean...on the side of a garbage bin.
We stopped in at Sankei...this was Satoshi's first time.

We picked up some items for dinner...kurodai (black seabream) & soi (mebaru/rockfish) sashimi.

First time trying these types of fish as sashimi, but it was so fresh looking and cheap, that I couldn't resist.

For lunch, Satoshi chose their saba nori bento...he was so excited that it was only 298 yen (plus tax).

I picked up some mac salad and chicken...too much mayo on the mac salad...blah! I also added some black pepper.

The chicken thigh was pretty big, very tender & juicy.

I also found a beet (336 grams, a little over a half pound) which I roasted....only 94 yen (plus tax).

The weather was nice and it was nice to bond with nature a little and get out for a walk.

Friday, February 19, 2021

this and that

Signs that Spring is coming..the cyclamen on the lanai started blooming (early!)
A nearby pocket park has an ume tree that started blooming too.
Stumbled upon an interesting house near my dentist's office.

It had all these "pockets" filled with succulents and many other plants.
This is the Google street view of the house...before...
My fave market got a sweet potato roaster...whoo!

So sad to see all the hate against different races in the US these days.

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, February 18, 2021


Hinamatsuri is coming up so I took out my collection of hinaningyo (dolls).

I recently discovered that Kansai (West Japan), namely Kyoto, has a different placement of the Obina (Emperor (male) doll).

When looking at the display, he is seated on the right because they feel "the most important person" should be seated on the right.

Kanto (East Japan) places their Obina on the left.

And in case you were wondering the Empress (female) doll is called Mebina.

(photo taken at Inatori, Shizuoka)

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

this and that

Sunday, with 3 blood oranges I made a small batch of marmalade.

After taking this picture, I put it back in the pot to cook down, since I thought it still had too much liquid.

Monday, it rained all day long.

We had some marmalade on toasted baguette with some butter.

Satoshi thought it was carrots...ha!

Monday dinner was marmalade chicken...this sauce was so easy and tasty!

From the Kewpie website: serves 2

2 tablespoons of marmalade

1 tablespoon of shoyu 

1 tablespoon of sake 

300 gram piece of chicken

Some olive oil

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces

Heat the oil and cook the chicken.

After the chicken is cooked, pour the sauce over the chicken and let it caramelize a little.

NOTES: I used boneless chicken thigh, cut it up and cooked it skin side down to crisp.

Then before adding the sauce, I wiped up the oil from the chicken.

I'd definitely make this again.

Back up to Monday afternoon, the rain stopped and I got to see a pretty big rainbow.
And then back up to Valentine's Day...Satoshi had to work.

I gave him these Italian chocolate hearts that I found at Flying Tiger, a knick-knack shop from Copenhagen that has shops all around Japan.

Whenever he works on Sundays, it throws me off and I get confused as to what day is what.

He's also been off on Wednesdays so that throws me off too...

Oh well...hope your week is going well.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

blood orange upside down muffins

Since I have a lot more blood oranges, I looked online to see what I could make.

I saw an idea for upside down cake.

Since we don’t need a “whole cake” around our house, I used my favorite muffin recipe and ad-libbed.

I put 1/2 a teaspoon of brown sugar at the bottom of each muffin paper.

Then put in a thin slice of blood orange.

Scooped in the muffin batter and baked the muffins.

While the muffins baked, I squeezed the rest of the blood orange.

When they came out of the oven, I used a bamboo skewer and made holes in the muffins.

Then spooned some of the blood orange juice over them like when my mom used to make cakes and drizzle soda or jello into the holes......

The next morning, before heating the muffins up, I flipped them over and took them out of their muffin papers.

Love the color! so pretty, yeah?! like a jewel.

I froze the remaining 4 and we look forward to eating this again in the coming weeks.

Monday, February 15, 2021

back to gakugeidaigaku area

My host mom's birthday is coming up so I went back to Patisserie Sourire to send her something sweet.
It had been about 3 months since the last time I was in this area.

With Valentine's coming up, they were also selling chocolates so I purchased this salted caramel tablette for myself.

I love that it comes in a mold, will wash it and try to use it again.

The chocolate was not very dark but matched the salted caramel, there were also some cashew pieces as well as some dried mango.

Before heading home, I picked up some lunch from Stand Banh Mi.

There is a little pun with the pronunciation of the name.

In Japanese banh mi is pronounced "bai-n-me"

So "Stand Banh Mi" sounds more like "Stand By Me"...


I tried their Bo Bun.

They only serve 10 of these a day.

Loved this! lots of cilantro and mint, lime to brighten the flavors and a sprinkle of peanuts.

The meat was a disappointment though, lots of gristle and very very hard...

But the cha gio (spring rolls) had lots of shrimp in it.

Everything was packed nicely and there was more than enough nuoc-cham.

I hope to try other items from their menu...I'll be back when I am in this area again.

Stand Banh Mi
2-16-23 Takaban
Meguro, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6451.0827
Closed Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays
Hours: 11:00-15:00 (lunch), 17:00-20:00 (dinner) 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

we are fine

It was scary.

We were about to go to bed.

Luckily we had no damage.

Glad friends in Sendai are okay.

The experts are saying this is an aftershock from “the big one” 10 years ago.

Thank you to everyone who reached out to us.

Stay safe everyone.

Friday, February 12, 2021

makka nouen

Yesterday I ordered a box of  blood oranges from Tabechoku.

This is my 4th order from Tabechoku.

Makka Nouen is located in Hiroshima prefecture and the farmer was once a businessman.

10 years ago he quit his job and started farming.

The box I ordered was 3 kilos (about 6.6 pounds).

I wasn't too sure how many fruit would be in the box and was quite surprised to see each one wrapped in plastic wrap!

What a waste of plastic!

There were 25 orbs and all were different sizes. 

I unwrapped a few and we will work through the box over the coming weeks (maybe days)

I received a message from the farmer who said that he wraps each one to prevent the outside of the fruit from getting marked up.

I think he should invest in paper fillers instead...

Besides eating the fruit as is, I plan to make some blood orange infused vodka with the peel and also keep some peel in the freezer for baking.

Our numbers are continuing to go down though the number of hospitalizations has not.

We do have the variant virus (South African and UK) in Japan.

About 80 cases, 1 from South Africa and the rest UK and I hope they are carefully watching this....

The experts have also said that Japan has its own variant which came about some time last year.

As for the Olympics...the top, who was once Prime Minister of Japan has shown his "true colors" with sexist remarks...oy!

Japan has a long way to go with gender equality, hopefully this incident will spark some changes, no matter how big or small.

I personally feel Tokyo should cancel hosting the Olympics and use what monies they do have left to support the medical community and work on getting this pandemic under control instead...

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

department stores

Monday, I went to get my teeth cleaned and checked.

Before my appointment though, I went to check out the nearby department store.

It had been about 6 months since the last time I was in this area, and there were some noticeable changes.

Especially way into the store (on the left) and one way out (on the right).

There are temperature checking machines as well as alcohol hand sanitizers as you enter.

Also, instead of having escalators pass each other (up and down), they only have one side working for up and another escalator in a different part of the store for down.

Tokyo's numbers have come down quite a bit, but we still need to get the amount of hospitalizations down.

As for the dentist, I didn't have any cavities, BUT I have some fillings that need to be changed, so will need to go back a couple more times.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

mart iijima

Went to check out yet another market nearby called Mart Iijima.

(photo from the internet)

A whole cabbage for 80 yen...karaage (fried chicken) and a huge musubi.

The musubi had all sorts of stuff in it and was only 108 yen!

All of the okazu/sozai(pre-made) foods are cooked in-store.

Look forward to trying other okazu.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

guess what?!

Back in December, after Satoshi went to his interview as part of the German interpreter's test, he was so depressed that he didn’t pass.

Then on Saturday the mailman brought him a packet and inside was his interpreter certificate.

Whoo hoo!

He says he has to register with the government and may have to take another type of test in 5 years or so, but for now, he passed...whew!

Guess five times is a charm...Thank you to everyone who sent him some mojo and good thoughts!

Monday, February 08, 2021


Yesterday was super sunny and a little warm.

Who would have thought my trip around the sun would have been like so many others...krazy!

I am thankful to be able to celebrate it though...

And if I thought previous birthdays were low key, this year was even more low key...

We had beer, burgers & o-banzai from Kakumei for lunch.

Backstory: I had seen Kakumei's owner's S.O.S. on social media, he had purchased too many cans of a craft beer and needed help...since we ordered takeout, we had wanted to help out and buy some of the craft beer but they said that we couldn't buy it with our takeout...WT?! bummer! 

So...after picking up our lunch, we stopped in to a liquor store to buy some beer...

Facetimed with family in Hawaii.

And had a pupu party for dinner.

Since I received so many treats for my birthday, I decided not to buy cake to celebrate.

Hoping Japan can start vaccinating soon and that maybe we can travel a little later in the year.

Thank you for always being a part of my adventures.

Friday, February 05, 2021

this and that

Last Friday, my favorite supermarket reopened after their fancy now!

Of course, everyone and then some (even I) went to check out the opening sale...

Total nightmare especially since there was no social distancing! even though they said they were limiting the amount of people in the store...not!

Bummer! not sure if I'll be shopping here too often from now on...

Narly looking lemons that I found at Sankei, lots of juice and a bag of 6 were only 100 yen!
Tuesday was Setsubun.

It was 124 years since Setsubun fell on the 2nd of February (usually it is on the 3rd).

The weather dude explained that apparently every year the Earth takes about 6 hours longer to go around the Sun, the lag makes the day that Setsubun fall on vary.

Since the weather was forecast for rain, I wasn't planning to go out.

So I made our ehomaki by mixing rice with some tsukemono instead of vinegar & sugar then added some kani kamaboko (fake crab), cucumber, egg, carrot and a little mayo.

I used an app (yes they have one! actually there are many) that tells you which way to face while eating...this year was nan-nan-to (south-south-east)

Hoping for good health, happiness and for this pandemic to end soon...
Wednesday, Satoshi had the day off so we walked to check out the Magome Cyclamen Garden.

Apparently our ward used to have lots of farm lands.

This shop started growing cyclamen in 1953 and produces over 7500 plants a year.

If we had visited last November, we would have been able to see their 3 hot houses filled with cyclamen plants!

The owners were gracious to let us see what they had.

The cyclamen plants are bigger than the type we have.

Unfortunately none were for sale.

They also had starter plants that they were preparing for this November.

We hope to be back later this year.

Our case numbers have slowly come down but the amount of severe cases and deaths have not, so our State of Emergency has been extended to March 7.

Hope you all have a safe weekend.