Wednesday, June 30, 2021

shigezo's soy meat

I wrote about Shigezo's inarizushi here...well, they also sell all sorts of soy products.

We recently tried their minced soy "meat"...which if I remember correctly cost 130 yen (tax included).

When we first moved to Japan, products were limited to accommodate vegan and vegetarian diets.

Nowadays, there are more products on the market.

I had to look online to see how to prepare this since the instructions on the back of the package were kind of vague.

I also didn't want to reconstitute the whole package, so I just measured out 1/2 a cup and added some warm water to cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes, I gently squeezed the "meat" and set it aside.

It had a slight tofu smell but the texture felt like minced meat.

I cooked some diced eggplant (for texture) with some onions and then added the soy meat, and seasoned it with some taco seasoning.

The texture of the soy after cooking was a little softer than meat, but flavorwise you could not tell that there was no meat in it.

Shigezo also sells soy meat that is similar to sliced pork and chicken nuggets, so we'll give those a try after we eat this up.

Shigezo (UPDATE: 2022 out of business)
7-49-10 Nishikamata
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3733.2380
Open daily 10:00-19:00

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

on a walk

Saturday it was blazing but we decided to go on a walk...

The house that had that plumeria tree, now has 3 more!

First time to see white agapanthus.
Sorry my finger in the way again...we met a new friend.

He was actually out looking for the dogs that had passed a couple minutes before.
Oomori Furusato Hamabe Park...when we first explored this area, we were looking for the sandy it is!

The water and sand looked gross to me (am totally spoiled with beaches in Hawaii!)

On the way to the park, we picked up sandwiches from Takeuchi Bakery and Sakaeya Bakery and had lunch on a bench
It was nice to be outside and take off our masks for a little bit.

The park has pergolas, pavilions and benches, so there were many people having lunch or just talking (with their masks on) to friends

There were also many people sun bathing or walking their dogs.

The park also has beach volleyball courts...the sand looks nicer here!
On our walk home, we saw some houses covered in vines.

Social distancing at the bus stop...

The humidity was pretty nasty especially with masks on and our legs were jelly from all that walking, it was still nice to be able to get out.

Monday, June 28, 2021

super easy pupus

Super easy pupus that we had last Friday....

Take some boiled tako (octopus) and cut into bite sized pieces.

Smash 1 Japanese cucumber and break it up into relatively bite sized pieces.

Add 1 tablespoon of kim chee base and mix.

This was the recipe on Momoya's website, but I would probably add a little sesame oil and sesame seeds for a little more flavor.

Torotaku...I read somewhere that you don't actually need to use toro (fatty tuna) for it to be called torotaku, so I used maguro because I couldn’t find toro at the market I was at.

Mince your maguro, takuan and shiso (I used 5 leaves)...add some sesame seeds, mix well.

Serve with nori and shoyu.

I actually wanted to serve this with Korean nori, but Satoshi wanted ajitsuke nori (Japanese seasoned nori).

Since I could not find ajitsuke nori at the store I was at, I served it with yakinori (roasted nori).

Instead I added a little sesame oil to my shoyu.

Not really recipes, but super easy to put together and tasty too.

Friday, June 25, 2021

this and that

This past Saturday (Friday in the US) was my cousin's son's graduation.

I think in order to keep the gathering small, each student could only invite 4 people to attend the ceremony.

Luckily, they had an online viewing, so we were able to watch the ceremony, love technology!

It was Satoshi's first experience to see an American high school graduation.

Congratulations K and the class of 2021!

Chiyohime peaches...these were smaller than normal, but super floral.

Chiyohime literally means Princess Chiyo

They could have been a little more ripe because the flesh near the seed was sour and really firm.

Can't wait to try different varieties in the coming weeks.

On June 20th last year, we were eating at Civitas.

Since last year, most eateries have these acrylic "walls" to block "flying germs"...which also makes conversations pretty hard to hear...

The only reason we were eating out was because we went to see Satoshi's friend perform rakugo.

We saw him perform a couple of times in Osaka.

The auditorium that we went to see the performance at had seats blocked off with these signs so that no one was seated next to each other and not right behind each other.

Everyone had to keep their mask on while watching the performances.
This dude was not paying attention and sat right in front of me.

The sign which was taped to the chair fell off the seat and when he stood up to leave, guess what was attached to his back?!

We should have chased after him....we wondered how far he got before someone told him about it…or if anyone told him about it

It was nice to be out and about, but it was oh so humid especially while wearing a mask.

Not to mention my feet got beat up from not wearing sandals in over a year.

Loved the stained glass in the lobby of the auditorium.
Near the main entrance there was a life-size cut out of sumo wrestler, Taiho.
On the way back to catch the train I noticed this huge magnolia hanging over the temple wall next door to the auditorium..

Monday...emergency dental thingy, I freaked myself out and thought one of my lower front teeth had cracked near the base of the tooth and was kinda depressed about it…after some checking the dentist says…”it is plaque!” and had the hygienist clean my teeth…whew! and thankful for insurance.

As for the Olympics, they (JOC-Japan Olympic Committee) have decided to go against what the medical people have recommended.

The medical people recommended no spectators…JOC plan to allow 10,000 spectators to view each game and allow 20,000 spectators each for the opening and closing ceremonies.

The medical people recommended people from other prefectures not be allowed to come to JOC are allowing it.  

And while we are at it... the main branch of government have also allowed people from other prefectures to come to Tokyo to get vaccinated!

As of June 21st, the state of emergency in Tokyo has ended, bars & restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol.

BUT, you can only be in a party of 2 and can only drink for 90 minutes (at a time) between 11:00 and 19:00…there are people that have been drinking non-stop from 11:00 to 19:00…geez!

All eateries/bars must close at 20:00....excuse my finger, but you can see how antsy everyone was to go out drinking with all the empty bottles in front of a bar...

Can you believe JOC was thinking to serve alcohol during the games in the stands?! which would've been a double standard for all the eateries who would have had to stop serving at 19:00...sigh

Oh and there was one member of the team from Uganda who tested positive AFTER arriving in Japan.

The main government is playing the "I thought you were supposed to do it" card with who is supposed to check on the others travelling with the infected member and the other passengers on the same flight...sigh

As of today, the infected one member from Uganda has since increased to two members...eep!

Tokyo is on the rebound with infected cases, with the state of emergency ended and everyone out and about like the pandemic is over, I can only imagine what the numbers will be like next week.

With less than 30 days until the start of the games, Tokyo will probably skyrocket out of control...pray for us this point, the main branch of government is only relying on the vaccines...

Have a safe weekend.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

oxymoron's caponata style curry

Tried a new (to me) recipe from the Oxymoron's curry book...Caponata style curry

For some reason I couldn't get any zucchini at the two markets I went to, so I just used eggplant, okra, onions and canned tomatoes.

I also had frozen part of a large red bell pepper, so I added it in.

This recipe uses quite a large amount of spices and oil, but I think it is because I didn't use the amount of veggies that the original recipe called for.

Adapted from Oxymoron Curry Book : serves about 2 or 3 

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seed

1 clove garlic, slice thin

1/2 onion, sliced

2 small eggplants, rinsed cut into rough large bite sized pieces

1/2 red bell pepper, cut roughly into large bite sized pieces

4 okra, cut into half

1 tablespoon coriander powder

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 tablespoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 can of diced tomatoes (about 400 grams)

1 teaspoon shoyu

salt, pepper to taste

garam masala to taste

Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds

When you hear the seeds start to sizzle, add the garlic

When the garlic starts to get fragrant add the onions, eggplant, okra, red bell pepper

Coat everything well with the spices and oil

Add the canned tomatoes and dry spices

Bring everything to a boil then turn the heat down to simmer

Cover and cook for about 10 minutes

After the 10 minutes, remove the cover and let some of the liquid evaporate

Add the garam masala, salt and pepper to taste

Serve with rice or baguette

NOTES: caponata which is similar to ratatouille (I think) meets curry…

this was pretty easy to put together, very tasty and meatless.

We had this with rice and another time with baguette and both ways were delicious.

It was also good served warm & served cold.

The original recipe calls for whole cayenne peppers but I didn’t have any on hand, so I left it out. I guess I could have added powdered cayenne pepper, but didn't.

This was delicious and if I find zucchini, I'll try this again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

wedding video


Back in April, I told you that we sent our wedding video out to be dubbed into a DVD, well we got it back and since some of you wanted to see it, I've attached a super short snippet of our wedding video...there is sound attached, so if you are viewing this at work, please turn down your sound...enjoy!

Monday, June 21, 2021

tokyo people


 no music attached to this one...enjoy!

Friday, June 18, 2021

this and that

Pretty lilies that we saw on the way to the temple for MIL's 100 day service.
"Juicy" inarizushi by Shigezo.

It was my first time trying this...super cheap at 208 yen for 7 inarizushi.

It was juicy (lots of sauce)...but I would've preferred a little more "stuff" like carrots or even sesame seeds instead of just sushi rice inside.

New (to me) baggage processors at Haneda airport for JAL.

After you scan your ticket, it prints out your baggage tag, YOU put the tag on your bag yourself and bring the bag to these conveyor belts.

The bag gets scanned and weighed and off it goes...

NOTE: do not listen to the check-in staff who told us to put our tag on a part of our bag that couldn't get!

Sumomo, a type of  plum...these were so sour..blah!

On top of that they were wrapped so tight that a lot were bruised…boo!
Shijo area, Kyoto on Saturday morning...usually this area is packed with people.

I think the time of day plus state of emergency resulted in the scarce amount of people.

FYI: There were more people when we got closer to the Kawaramachi area

Gotta love free wifi on the Shinkansen!
Been enjoying the gardenia in everyone's yards.
This seed bread from PAUL.

So soft and lots and lots of seeds!

They had actually filled it with soy filet "tuna" and sold it as a sandwich.

I also saw that they sell the bread separately too.

I'll be back to buy more of this bread!

This house had a cool net to catch all of their falling ume (apricots) from their tree.
Super tender yakitori (grilled chicken) bento that I found at Benny Supermarket...only 480 yen (plus tax).

Tokyo's numbers were steady at 400 cases a day, yesterday it upticked to 500!

It seems the main branch of government will end the state of emergency on schedule on June 20th, "because everyone is getting tired"...WT?!

They are opening up just so that the Olympics can take place.

So…get ready for the case numbers to "do its thing".

I feel so bad for the medical people because they are working tirelessly.

The main branch of government still says they can cancel this Olympics at any moment if they see fit (ha!) but I think Japan is on a vehicle with "no brakes" just so they can let this Olympics take place.

Most eateries have not been able to serve alcohol during this state of emergency, which has hurt the beverage industry as well. 

Starting on the 21st, if these establishments pass jumping through hoops, they can serve alcohol until 19:00! which literally means nothing.

This main branch of government is just trying to look like “the good guy” because they will hold an election later this year 

I'm trying to keep zen and hoping you all have a safe weekend.

Take care!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

marugame seimen

Back in April when we went to Kyoto, we tried Marugame Seimen's udon bento.

For the bento toppings you can choose from 2 items, 3 items,  or their special bentos which have toppings like tori ten (fried chicken) or shrimp tempura.

It also comes with some kinpira & tamagoyaki.

The udon is bukkake (pour over) style, so the sauce comes in a little bag.

I tried the 2 item in April and it was delicious.

The bento came with some kakiage and chikuwa tempura.

Their summer bentos have daikon oroshi (grated radish).

This particular bento had tori ten (fried chicken) and a ponzu sauce.

Everything is packed after you order, so the fried items were still crisp when we got home...(actually MIL's is only 5 minutes away walking, so maybe it is a biased opinion...)

We don't have a Marugame Seimen nearby where we live in Tokyo, so this has been a nice change of pace for us when we are in Kyoto.

Marugame Seimen

Vivre Kitaoji, 1F

Kita, Kyoto

Hours: 10:00-20:00

Closed when Vivre is

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

some (more) things I brought back from kyoto

Some things I brought back from Kyoto...

Since I have sort of a collection of these girl's day dolls...I brought back MIL's stash...these looked really old and are actually clay bells.

These are laquered wood and I think I have the same ones but bigger...
This is a karakuri (move/slide) box, if you move/slide parts of the box it will unlock.

If I’m not mistaken people used to hide valuables in boxes like these.

Satoshi says there is a coin the top of the box.

This is the bottom of the box and the sides.

If you have the same box, please tell me how to unlock it...Satoshi says he has never been able to open this one.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Nearby to MIL's is Yoshinoya, a tiny shop that has been in business since 1926.

They make all sorts of wagashi (Japanese sweets).

I tried their matcha jelly...matcha gelatin cubes, sweet bean paste, shiratama (similar to mochi balls) & mandarin oranges.

This also came with some kuromitsu (molasses),  but I didn't use it.

I enjoyed this especially since it was so hot and humid.

Satoshi had their kuzu sakura.

Sweet bean paste wrapped with sakura flavored kuzu mochi and a salted sakura leaf.

He said he enjoyed this.

I'm glad we tried this place, I have a feeling we tried them before but I never wrote about them.

We'll be back whenever we are in Kyoto.


54 Koyama Higashino-cho

Kita, Kyoto

Phone: 075.414.1901

Open daily 9:00-18:00

Monday, June 14, 2021

100 day service

Just like when FIL passed away, there was a 100 day service.

I don't think there is a specific meaning for this service except that it marks 100 days since the person has passed away.

This past weekend, we went to Kyoto for MIL's 100 day service.

Like April's 49 day service, we flew in and was able to see Mount Fuji...bummer the window we were seated at was kind of "dirty".

Ugh, turbulence after this was taken...

On the day of the service, BIL was feeling under the weather, so he didn't attend.

We had lunch afterwards with SIL, niece & nephew then went to BIL's to see the butsudan (family altar) which was moved from MIL's to BIL's last month.

It's been sad going to Kyoto these days, especially for Satoshi who is trying to purge things at MIL's....

We started rainy season today in Tokyo....hope this 100 day service was a safe gathering, hope BIL is feeling better and hope you all have a nice week.

Friday, June 11, 2021

this and that

We've been snacking on these banana chips that I found at Mart Iijima...there are 3 types in one container...
plain which is slightly sweet, kokuto (brown/black sugar) which has a caramel taste & shio (salt).
They use coconut oil to make these, I’ll get more next time I go to Mart Iijima
7-eleven's namachoco mochi (ganache covered with a thin chocolate mochi) ono!

The best part is they aren’t too big, maybe like an inch wide?! 

I had this with iced coffee but think it might be nice with wine too.

Kitchen Sumikko's shogayaki (pork ginger)...3 pieces of pork, hijiki, tsukemono & rice...950 yen (tax included)

The pork could have been more tender but I was surprised at how hefty this bento was.

Since we are still in a state of emergency until June 20, this shop has been closed since the end of April.

We were glad to see they were back serving lunch at the start of June.

Super tall lilies, I didn’t know they could grow so tall.
Part of the hikidemono (gift from wedding) we received, a box of baum kuchen. 

There were 8 with flavors like kokuto (black/brown sugar), satsumaimo (sweet potato), kinako (soy bean powder), cinnamon and chestnut.

There was also some Japanese black tea that was made in Nagasaki.

And there was a catalog for us to order something, which we plan to order some rice.

As for the Olympics, they are still debating with 43 days to go.

The government says they have evidence it can be a safe event...though they still haven’t shown anyone their “evidence”.

The medical people still say it is too dangerous to hold this event...there is data to show we’ll need to go into another “state of emergency” if the Olympics is held.

I still say that they should cancel it because the risk is too high.

Tokyo & Osaka have opened large vaccination centers to vaccinate some of the surrounding prefectures.

Trouble is the elderly are leery to travel all the way to Tokyo/Osaka just to get vaccinated.

Looks like it will be the end of summer before we get our vaccines.

The temperature this week has hit krazy highs for about melty!

Hope you are all doing well.

Have a safe weekend.