Wednesday, August 31, 2022

hinata nouen

I recently ordered some figs from Hinata Nouen, through Tabechoku...(I think this is the sixth time I've ordered from Tabechoku since the pandemic started)

This farm is located in Okayama Prefecture.

The set had 3 varieties of figs...Violette de Sollies (left), Masui Dauphine (right).

Violette is a dark purple almost black, Masui Dauphine is a bright red.
and Rhodes...3565 yen tax and shipping included
This is what they looked like when cut in half.

I really wanted to sample the Violette variety because it is apparently really rare in was really sweet!

Since the bulk in my order were the Rhodes variety and had to be eaten "right away", I made a small batch of Fig Vanilla Jam.

I also realized that this was the variety I had used when I made this recipe many years ago.

Christine Ferber, the chef whose recipe I use to make this jam, liked my fangirl moment

Looking forward to eating this in the coming months.


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

mini stop

Saturday, Satoshi went to get his 4th vaccine.

On his way home, I also asked him to go to Mini Stop to get us some premium beni imo soft serve...

Unfortunately, they closed last month and are getting ready to tear down the apartment building (google maps screenshot)
The building doesn't look too old from the outside...

Hope to find another location so we can try this soft serve.

Monday, August 29, 2022


This summer, on a lot of Japanese social media accounts I had been seeing whole peach desserts being sold by many cake shops as well as cafes. 

The cafes would put them on top of parfaits.

Well, lucky for us Maiko also had their own version.

A yellow cake on the bottom, the whole peach is cored, poached in a syrup and filled with custard.

So delicious! 600 yen (plus tax).

We also tried their Pave, a dense chocolate cake...380 yen (plus tax).

We ate the peach before the chocolate cake, so that the peach wouldn't turn "sour" from the sweetness of the chocolate, but the chocolate cake seemed to have very little flavor after eating that peach!

Still, I'm glad we were able to try these and look forward to peach season next year.

Friday, August 26, 2022

this and that

My host-sister recently went to Okinawa and sent us some omiyage...instant curry, chocolates and andagi…Thank you!

We appreciate her sharing her trip to Okinawa with us and hope she had a nice summer.
Hello Kitty taiyaki filled with chocolate cream...too cute!

RANT/culture shock: Over the years I’ve told you about the non-customer service of banks in Japan.

Well, I have one more experience to add… they do not exchange money anymore! (please note that on your directory in the lobby!)  

I can understand if the branch couldn't do it but the whole bank group as well as other banks have stopped exchanging money.

I was told to either go to the airport or a duty free store....sigh 

You may have heard that Japan is thinking to open up (a little) in September...getting rid of the PCR test before boarding a flight to Japan (for those vaccinated at least 3 times), letting 50,000 people and tour groups without a guide (with a detailed itinerary as well as contact info) come into the country per day.

Not sure if that means individual tourists will be allowed, but at least it sounds like a start.

My only peeve is I wish they would hurry up with our 4th vaccine (booster), especially since all the hospitals around Japan are almost to full capacity.

Though there is talk of the "merge vaccine" (the one that can treat the omicron and the original coronavirus) to be given in October...which means we'll probably receive that one sometime next year...

Update on the reno: they gave everyone a bag with door locks for our sliding doors and a (HUGE) plastic bag to put our screen doors into...and we have to store the screen doors inside our apartments! I'm not sure WHERE we will put the 3 screen doors since we already have the plants inside...

As for the locks for our sliding doors, we already have been using something similar, you know after the break-in...can't believe it was 15 years ago (don't mind the dust! in the photo).

Sad seeing all these old buildings getting torn down in our this whole block!

Tokyo People...this grandpa, walking with great posture.

Tokyo's daily case count is still in the 20,000 range...I think the total case count for Japan was 150,000?! or something like that.

Stay safe and have a nice weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2022


1st time making shakshuka.

I sauteed some red bell peppers with some dukkah and then added some leftover marinara sauce and a little water.

Added some eggs and let it "poach" uncovered for about 8 minutes.

Then topped it with some sliced okra.

We ate it with some naan.

Not authentic and I don't think I've actually had shakshuka before, but it is fun to say and was tasty.

I'll make this again when the weather gets cooler.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

the reno

Our building is old (40 years?!) so the leasing company & owner decided to clean and paint as well as do other repairs.

So, Monday started the FOUR MONTH renovation.
As you can see, it needs a lot of cleaning and painting.
Since the pandemic is still here, we were not able to gather to hear what kinds of things they will be doing over the next four months, instead they gave us a "manual" to show us what will be done.

We might have to remove our TV antenna, which means, we will not have any cable reception for FOUR MONTHS!

If we do need to take the antenna down, I hope the owner will pay for the removal of the antenna...though I am looking forward to subscribing to Amazon Video to watch the last 3 seasons of "This is Us".

And I will have to bring in the plants/planters that are on lanai.

AND there is a day when "someone" (me) needs to be home while they paint our door jam, apparently the door needs to stay open for 4 hours to dry...

The scaffolding will go up soon...

Hopefully everything will go smoothly.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022


I can't remember how I learned about the fruit variety called "wassa"

Apparently “wassa” is the nickname of  the man who first grew the hybrid, a cross between a peach and nectarine.

Apparently Wassa is quite rare outside of Nagano Prefecture (where it is grown), so I was happy to find it at the market.

The outer "skin" comes off quite easily like the peaches here in Japan.

The flesh is a little firm like a nectarine and also a little sweet like Japanese peaches.

I'm glad we got to try these.

Monday, August 22, 2022

atsuage kabayaki

Tried making atsuage kabayaki with this and some leftover kabayaki sauce.

There were only 6 pieces and they looked tiny.

I poured hot water over the atsuage then in a non-stick pan I put a little oil and heated it up.

Then I put the atsuage in and flipped it several times to heat it up.

I drizzled the sauce but I only had a teaspoon, so it wasn’t enough.

It was delicious but would’ve been better had I had at least a teaspoon more of the the sauce.

I loved this brand of atsuage, the middle was soft, not firm like most atsuage I’ve tried before.

I am going to try making this again.

Friday, August 19, 2022

this and that

Last Friday, I had this doughnut spicy chicken sandwich for lunch.

Wish they had used a malasada (no hole) instead.

Sweet, spicy & savory...delicious.

I told you we had a typhoon over the weekend, well, we brought in all the plants
as well as the tiny trash can and basket of tools we have on the lanai.

I guess you could say we are also "practicing" for when they start our 4 MONTH renovation on our apartment building in a few weeks...eek!

Tuesday night's moon was eery, red and HUGE!

Since Satoshi has mild asthma, he is eligible for the 4th vaccine...he applied for the "ticket" so that he can receive it, the ticket should come in the mail in a couple of days then he can make an appointment with his doctor.

Me, I don't meet any of the government's requirements, even though it has been over 5 months since my last vaccine, I need to wait...sigh

This is the fourth year that the Ota Fireworks has been cancelled...2019 was cancelled due to rain, 2020, 2021 & 2022...well, you know.

I hope next year we'll be able to enjoy the fireworks from our lanai, like I was able to back in 2018.

It is the end of Obon here, since we aren't able to get back to Kyoto this year, I thought it was kind of neat how MIL made her presence known to us.

I was about to write something down and noticed this scribbled on a page in the middle of the notepad.

Written by MIL...some things that her late father apparently had said.

"Money cannot buy grace" and "Don't cry in public"

Tokyo's case numbers are slowly going down but the medical system and hospitals are overflowing all over Japan

The numbers in Tokyo will probably go up again soon as everyone (except us) was out and about during Obon.

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, August 18, 2022


Awhile back, we received this jam from my host-sister.

I thought I had written about it but couldn't find it, nor could I find a photo of the bottle when we received it.

Bruneton Preserves are made in France, in a small town called Longes, by Philippe Bruneton.

This jam is made with cherries, syrah wine and a touch of cinnamon.

The cinnamon isn't overpowering which is nice.

We've tried it on toast, oatmeal pancakes and in yogurt.
I love that there are lots of whole cherries in this.

I'm glad we got to try this, it is delicious.

Thank you! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022


One year ago...we were virtually travelling to Hokkaido

Five years ago...we were being welcomed by the furry one

Eight years ago...we were saying goodbye to my Dad's sister

Twelve years ago...we checked out the bon dance at my mom's church.

Fifteen years ago...we were visiting various graves during Obon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022


Yesterday at the market I saw some raw peanuts, so I picked some up.

They were grown in Kagoshima Prefecture and was about 3/4 pound..398 yen (plus tax)

I used the easy recipe to make boiled peanuts.

It was tasty and had the "crunch" that I like.

I also liked the fact that I could sit near the air conditioner while these simmered on the stove.

Monday, August 15, 2022


Friday, BFF sent me a message letting me know that my license came...

less than 3 weeks! fast yeah?!

Relieved it came in the mail...

Saturday, we had a typhoon, #8, named Meari pass over our area.

Luckily, we just had a lot of rain. 

Other areas were not so lucky and had flooding as well as some damage.

Hope they will be able to get back on their feet soon.

Friday, August 12, 2022

this and that

Umeshu update: it is almost two months and the ume have sunk in the largest bottle and the color of the liquer is getting darker.

Recently with his tour guide friends, Satoshi learned how to make washi (Japanese paper) and also re-learned how to make origami cranes.

Sunday, he was folding and folding and folding, I helped him whenever he would get stuck...He was impressed that I already knew how to fold them.

My sun umbrella has a slit in it…I've had it for 16 years now, and I've also noticed there are tiny holes, I guess when the slit and holes get bigger, it'll be time to get a new one.

Made nasu kabayaki the other night and used the leftover kabayaki sauce to coat some aburaage that I sauteed in a pan with some red bell pepper, the aburaage gets crispy and the sauce caramelizes onto the aburaage. 

I liked this and want to try this with the thicker fried tofu.

Been wanting to try Roka’s curry for some time, but with the pandemic I haven't been able to get out to check them out.

Luckily 7-11 collaborated with them and came out with a Roka plate 702 yen tax included…lu rou fan and spicy chicken curry…delicious!

The spice creeps up on you, I would get this again and look forward to eating at their shop in the future.

Since returning to Japan, the heat had humidity has been pretty brutal in Tokyo. (apparently while I was in Hawaii, the heat and humidity in Japan was worse!)

While in other areas of Japan, they have been having non-stop rain and flooding.

Global warming is real.

Tried Omma Foods’ bulgogi bento…515 yen (tax included), it was delicious but seemed more like japchae…I also bought their homemade yakiniku sauce to try 258 yen (tax included)

It is supposed to be used as a marinade, and says to add garlic and sesame oil to your liking, we tried it last night.

Not sure if it makes the meat tender, the meat was tender though, but flavor wise it was delicious, not too sweet.

Gonna try marinating chicken next.

We tried nectarines called "Summer Crystal" that were grown in Nagano Prefecture.

These were sweet, I'm glad we got a chance to try them.

Yesterday was a holiday, Mountain Day, we laid low since the daily case count in Tokyo is quite high.

I've attached a photo of my favorite mountain...

Have a safe weekend.