Tuesday, August 31, 2021

library reserved book machine

 Finally tried borrowing some books from our library.

They have a neat machine to pick up your reserved books.

Perfect for this pandemic...You don't have to talk to anyone and can even go before or after library hours to pick up your books.

If some books are too big for the machine you might have to pick them up at the counter, but other than that, this was easy to use.

This video was from a local cable show.

Just scan your library card and the reserved books come out "one by one".

If you want to find out when the books are due, login to your account and the borrowed books will show the date that they are due.

Cool yeah?!

Friday, August 27, 2021

this and that

“Someone” still has a bruise from the vaccine...
The fig and cream cheese bread we tried from Songbird Bakery was a little too hard for my teeth.

The flavors (cinnamon & red wine) were a little overpowering to me too.

The cheese bread was very delicious with wine.

The cheese wasn't melty but worked into the dough.

The ururu bread was super soft even after freezing and then toasting.

Kind of like foccacia in texture.
Friend Val wanted me to get something for her, so when I mailed it out I had to print out an address label.

Apparently, the US doesn't want handwritten labelled packages.

So after creating an account and filling out the info, I went to the post office to show the printer this code and printed out a label…I blacked out parts for privacy purposes.

It was fast and easy.

Hope she receives the package soon.

Val was also kind to send us some goodies.

I hope we can use up those alcohol wipes before they all dry out.

Thank you Val!

Spotted this dragonfly on the street...it was so blazing yesterday, can understand why it must've wanted to rest somewhere...glad I didn’t step on it.
The teeniest truck in Japan...
My favorite spot in the morning, I sit on the tiny stool with the pillows supporting my back and read or look at stuff on my smartphone.

This is the side of the apartment where I can watch the sun rise if I wake up early enough.

Later in the day, Satoshi sits here too but he uses the pillows to give his butt more padding...ha!

With the weather as blazing as it has been, I usually cannot sit here for too long and have to close the curtains.

Another teeny truck.

Right now in Japan there are 100,000 at home waiting for a hospital bed!

Not as bad as India was but oxygen is becoming a prime commodity.

And the Prime Minister is saying "he sees the light at the end of the tunnel"? !

Hoping the medical system, local governments and main branch of government can coordinate better or else the loss of life will be sadly high in the coming days.

Hope you all are staying safe.

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

tamago senbei

Tamago senbei or tamagosen for short is a type of b-kyu gurume that is often seen at matsuri (festivals).

Satoshi said that growing up he and his friends would go to a dagashiya (candy shop) to buy snacks after school.

Using their kozukai (pocket money) they would buy ebisen (shrimp crackers) topped with okonomiyaki sauce.

I asked him about takosen (shrimp crackers topped with takoyaki).

He said that takosen was too expensive for the amount of  pocket money he normally had which was about 100 yen (like $1).

I don't remember ever trying this, so I made some for our lunch yesterday.

I juilienned some cabbage and then wilted it in a non-stick pan.

I also squeezed out as much liquid as I could from the wilted cabbage.

Then I pan fried an egg for each of us.

Topped the ebisen (shrimp crackers) with cabbage, the egg and then drizzled some okonomiyaki sauce, mayo, bubu arare (since I didn't have tempura bits) and some aonori.

Messy to eat but so so good!

I think the egg needed to be cooked a little longer so that it wasn't oozy when eaten.

I loved how crispy the shrimp crackers stayed even with all the toppings.

And the sweet salty combo from the okonomiyaki sauce with the shrimp crackers is so so addicting.

Since it will be awhile before festivals are allowed again, I will definitely make this again when I am in a pinch to make something for lunch.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Yesterday was the start of the Paralympics.

Japan's Blue Impulse, like America's Blue Angels, flew over Tokyo.

Apparently they flew over for the Olympics, but we missed it.

We were lucky to see them from our balconies.

This was all I was able to capture though...the colored vapors...

We were amazed at how close we must live to the center of the city.

Hope you are having a good week.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

tako pesto salad

I was able to gather most of the ingredients for this copycat salad that I tried from 7-eleven.

If I am not mistaken 7-eleven sells this as a pupu (appetizer) rather than as a salad.

I don’t have exact measurements so just ad-lib if you do try it.

1 tako leg, boiled, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 small head broccoli, steamed, cut into bite sized pieces

2 small potatoes, peeled and boiled, cut into eighths

handful of edamame, cooked then shelled

2 or 3 tablespoons pesto (basil, mac nuts, oil, parmesan cheese)

After everything is cooled

Gently mix everything together with pesto

NOTES: so easy and tasty! makes about 2 servings

The original dish has celery in it but I couldn’t find any at the market, so I left it out.

Most markets sell tako legs already boiled in the seafood section, so this was easy for me to put together.

When I made my pesto, I made a small batch (2 or 3 tablespoons) using a handful of basil leaves, small handful of toasted mac nuts and a small clove of garlic.

I put everything into a food processor and drizzled in some oil.

Then before mixing it with the tako and other ingredients I added 1 teaspoon of grated parmesan cheese.

Try to make this ahead so everything can meld while it is chilling in the fridge.

I served this on butter lettuce 

If I have all the ingredients together I would definitely make this again.

Monday, August 23, 2021


We tried a new (to us) nectarine called Fantasia.

It was grown in Fukushima prefecture and is apparently a cross between Gold King and Red King nectarines.

It was quite large compared to the nectarines we had earlier this summer.

The first one wasn't super sweet, but was still delicious.

The second one was super juicy and was a little tart.

I'm glad we got to try this variety and am always on the lookout for new varieties of fruit/veggies for us to try.


Friday, August 20, 2021

this and that

Back to Songbird Bakery...

Soleil is the name of this bakery's melon pan.

I've tried melon pan in the past and most times, the bread that is under the cookie dough topping is dry and tasteless, but Songbird's is a game changer...buttery moist and so so good!

Cheese bread
Fig simmered in red wine, cream cheese bread
Ururu.....is another unusual named bread.

This one looks hard but is super soft.

Apparently the baker puts lots of liquid in his dough then bakes it slow and low.

Look forward to trying the cheese bread & fig bread with wine tonight and I put the ururu bread in the freezer to eat later.

If I can gather the ingredients, I want to re-create this tako (octopus) salad from 7-eleven.

If you want to try, this is what the salad includes...tako, edamame, celery, broccoli, potato and pesto....sounds easy & tasty yeah?!

7-eleven also came out with mochi doughnuts but they are not as good as some others I have tried.

So...The night after receiving my 2nd vaccine my joints got all stiff.

I woke up the next day with body aches and a headache.

I took some aspirin and then took my temperature, which had gone up a bit.

We laid low on Tuesday and took many naps.

That evening, we both had fevers.

Overall we both felt sluggish.

On Wednesday, I was back to normal but Satoshi was still feeling sluggish, he refused to take any aspirin, so I think his reaction took some time to weaken.

Satoshi, he kept saying..."Kat you are so strong!"....I was like, “just take aspirin!”

I admit 10 years or more ago I probably would have waited until the last moment before taking pain relievers, but nowadays, I don't wait.

Japan is in a krazy downward spiral…case numbers increasing rapidly and so many people dying at home because there are no hospital beds for them...Japan hit 20,000+ new cases on Wednesday and at this point there are 70,000 at home waiting for hospital beds!

The place that I get my hair colored also had two cases over the weekend, so I guess I need to wait a couple more weeks for the vaccine to do its thing or at least until they can get the case number in a more manageable range before I can get my hair colored.

The main branch refuses to lock everyone down because they say it won't work (how do you know unless you try?!) AND is still on summer vacation! (what is wrong with these people?!)

Oh and the Lambda variant from Peru came with someone from Peru during the Olympics but no one from the main branch of government addressed it until AFTER the Olympics was over, because it was only 1 case....um, it only takes 1.

On top of all of this it is still raining in Kyushu, Hiroshima and the surrounding areas, so much damage and loss of life.

We plan to lay low, hopefully the case numbers will go down as well.

I hope you all are doing well.

Please keep safe and have a nice weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2021


So happy I woke up to see this, this morning.

Hope you can view this too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

keeping cool

This summer, we've been keeping cool with ice cream and sweets...

Like this frozen creme brulee.

It had a hard sugar top and the chocolate custard was rich and creamy.

They also have a custard version, so if I see it at the market, I'll get it to try.

This chocolate bar filled with vanilla ice cream.

I usually break it in half so I can enjoy it for two days.

Watermelon...so refreshing.
This one would've been good had it not melted on the way home and then refroze into a big blob.
It was our first time trying this one, filled with all sorts of fruits...pineapple, peach and orange.
This stracciatella bar was more chocolate than vanilla...love!

I heard there is a chocolate banana version, hope to be able to find it to try.

My all time favorite is this monaka...like a huge rectangle cone with vanilla and chocolate inside.

I also break this one in half to enjoy for two days.

What have you been enjoying to keep cool? 


Tuesday, August 17, 2021


Since Family Mart was having a Hokkaido Fair and we can't travel we bought some foods to eat our way through Hokkaido.

Chicken skin chips...oh em gee...so bad for you but so good!

Almost $5 for a teeny bag but so worth it...I would get this one again.

They had different flavors but we tried their salt version.
Fruit beers made by Hokkaido Beer.

Yubari melon and Yoichi Cherry & Berry ales.

Just like drinking the actual fruit juices!

Hotate Butter Shoyu Ramen by Fujiwara Seimen.

So much scallop and butter flavor!

On the package it also said to add rice at the end for zosui.

Satoshi was excited because he thought Kat was gonna let him drink all the broth...ha!

He was bummed when he found out he had to use the spoon with holes to eat the zosui...

Yakisoba bento. I had been wanting to try this but apparently this is only sold in Hokkaido.

I was excited to see that Family Mart brought it in,  add the hot water to make your yakisoba.

Then instead of throwing the water out, pour it into a cup and add the instant soup to have with your yakisoba.

I only took a sip of the soup because eating the yakisoba and soup would be too much salt, but you know who drank all of his soup...ahem.

I'm glad we got to try all these different items from Hokkaido but am looking forward to the day when we can travel safely again.

Monday, August 16, 2021

we are still bored

Remember I told you about the hanger we saw on the roof of the apartment building across the street?!

Well, it is gone.

I am not too sure when it happened but think it must of fallen off when the winds were krazy the other week.

Hoping no one got hurt when it fell off.

We are still bored but with all the rain we have been staying indoors and hopefully this is keeping us safe.

At least the temps dropped to 19C(66F)…whoo!

Semi-good news...we are scheduled for our second vaccination today, hoping we won't have any side effects.

The medical system is in a panic trying to save everyone.

So much rain and damage in Kyushu, Hiroshima, Nagano and Gifu...they predict the rain to stop later this week!

And while all this is happening, can you believe that the main branch of government is on "summer vacation"?!...grr

Hoping you all have a safe but good week.

Friday, August 13, 2021

this and that

Weird stuff found inside of these oranges I had bought, it was hard...ew!

note to self, make sure they are not imported...

This pediatrician that has been on most news programs regarding the pandemic wears these interesting neckties.

This one was a surfing picture, but he also has Disney & cartoon character neckties too.
Been enjoying these butter biscuits from Family Mart.

Whipped cream cheese is sandwiched between two butter cookies.

The cookies are kind of soggy but I love the cream cheese fillings.

This one was lemon and the one I tried before was chocolate.

Sad to see someone throw out their teddy bear.
Tokyo's numbers haven't totally exploded but is hanging around 4000-ish per day.

Almost every prefecture's case numbers are up too.

I wish the main branch of government would do more.

On top of that Mother Nature has thrown us back to the rainy season especially Kyushu.

I think we all need a smile these days...please stay safe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

pesto and cheese milk bread

It is really too hot and humid these days to be baking, but it is probably the only time of year for yeast to proof, so I baked.

I love this milk bread recipe, you don't need to weigh ingredients nor knead the dough and it comes together rather quickly and easily.

I've made pizza with the dough and also fried it as savory doughnuts.

This time around I stuffed half of the dough with pesto and the other half with cheese.

Both were delicious but my favorite was the cheese version because the cheese gets a little burnt.

We had this with canned sardines which I always jazz up with some sliced garlic then put it under the broiler/in the fish grill.

I timed it so that the bread would come out just as we are about to eat.

So good!

Monday, August 09, 2021


Learned something new the other day.

We picked up these tiny baum kuchen at Benny called kyusuke baum.

I looked online to see how to read the kanji and learned that in the factories, namely senbei/arare (rice cracker) factories, they called the broken pieces or imperfect items “kyusuke”.

They usually sell kyusuke for a reduced price because of the imperfections.

These were moist and delicious and if there were any imperfections we didn’t know what they were.

I'm glad we tried this and learned something new in the process.

Friday, August 06, 2021

this and that

I don't remember seeing tiger lilies that were pink before...I always thought they were orange...

These kind of remind me of jellyfish for some reason...

Have you tried this granola? I love that it is a good reason to eat chocolate and nuts for breakfast.

It has been so hot and humid, so we cut our walking route.

We usually go to Benny Supermarket and a convenience store along the way and then we try to get back home as soon as possible.

Now no detours or exploring...too krazy hot.

The premade foods at Benny are old skool...nimono (simmered foods), some fried foods...when we get tired of convenience food, their food hits the spot.

Been trying all the taco salads at the convenience stores...

So far the ones I have tried use soy meat...

Didn't like the texture of the "meat" at Family Mart, but loved the colorful assortment of veggies and cheese, they also add nuts and grains.

I loved the taste of the Seven Eleven one.

Plus they had a spicy salsa dressing.
Almost forgot, one other thing we like from Benny is their ohagi.

This one is made by Daruma Beika and their factory is located nearby.

We like that they don't add preservatives to their sweets.

Yesterday's case number was 5042 for Tokyo and overall everyone's numbers are up.

Did you know that they don't have enough hospital bed space in Tokyo so there are over 10,000 cases at home?!

Many have also died while at home because there is actually no real care being administered while people wait for a hospital bed.

Experts are saying Tokyo’s daily case numbers will hit 10,000 in the next two weeks, I’m pretty sure it will be sooner.

All I know is if they decide to cancel the Paralympics, there will be a angry world to deal with.

So…not only do we need to worry about the Delta variant, and maybe getting heatstroke but there are also 3 typhoons roaming around Japan!

Stay safe everyone.