Saturday, December 31, 2022

thank you

Thank you for being a part of our adventures this year.

We are thankful to be able to travel and eat out even if we still continue to mask and social distance.

There were sad days and we are also thankful for the good days.

We hope you all have a delicious 2023.

Be well, be kind.

p.s. I'll post again here after Satoshi goes back to work on the 4th, but will probably post on IG over the start of the New Year....

photo: by Satoshi

Friday, December 30, 2022

this and that

So the water heater got changed on Saturday, and then Monday I noticed that it was leaking! ack!

Called the management company and while waiting for someone to call me back, looked online, which told me there was 3 main reasons for leaks..the heater is old, the heater got frozen, the washer wasn’t installed properly…you could kinda guess which one it was…

Monday night the guy that installed the heater and the guy that coordinated the change came to fix the leak.

Lots of apologizing (bowing), and a “towel” compensation and about 15 minutes out on our fahreezing lanai and it was fixed.

Something about using a paper type washer in the connecting pipe versus a rubber one...they changed it to a rubber one...

Satoshi wants to know why a rubber one wasn't used in the first place...

at least it is fixed and I'm knocking on wood and hoping that we do not have any more drama...

Remember they were filming when Dennis and I visited Bongo?

Well, we had our less than one second of fame in the finished product.

Actually Dennis had one more second in another shot.
We shared the ume filled with katsuo...the ume is on the sweeter side and it is filled to the gills with the katsuo mixture.

Delicious with okayu (rice gruel).

We tried a different one in onigiri but I thought it was a bit overpowering, so I would stick to eating these in okayu or in chazuke.

Tokyo’s numbers are still up.

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

10 photos

Salad Chicken...also known as poached chicken, is an easy way to make a tasty lean protein.
Ume spareribs...tasted like hoisin sauce ribs.
Sweet sour spareribs was similar to something my Grandma used to make
Everything parmesan crusted potatoes was easy and tasty.
Banh fun to say
Shakshuka...easy to make and also fun to say
1st time ordering from T-farm their blood oranges were delicious
1st time ordering from Hinata Nouen, it was fun to try different varieties of figs.
1st time ordering from Meister Toganeya, their linguica is similar to the portuguese sausage I grew up with.
1st time making umeshu...6 months to go until we get to taste this.

I started posting 10 photos back in 2008 as a meme, nowadays it is a nice way to look back at the adventures in my kitchen over the year.

Did you have a favorite kitchen adventure that I didn't write about here?  Please tell me about it in the comments.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022


1. "The Memory Tree" by Britta Teckentrup

2. "Kindness Grows" by Britta Teckentrup

3. "The Little Book of Hygge" by Meik Wiking

4. "Coffee Gives me Superpowers" by Ryoko Iwata

5."Alone at home" by Naoko Machida

All of these books have English versions, but since I couldn't get those, I borrowed the Japanese versions from our library.

I'm not too sure how I bookmarked the first two books, but they were really nice books to read.

The third one was about "hygge", which is hard to translate into English, it sort of means "cozy"...

The fourth book was fun to read and the illustrations fun to look at also.

The last book, only had a link to the French version on Goodreads, but it was a cute story about what cats do when they are home alone.

What did you read this year? 

Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

columbia 8

I had been wanting to try Columbia 8's spice curry when we were in Osaka, but never got around to doing so.

So I was happy to learn that they had a shop in Tokyo and I went to check them out after running an errand.

In the Yaechika shopping mall, under Tokyo station, they have an area called Tokyo Curry Quartet, with Columbia 8 being one of the 4 shops.

Look at all the curry spoons coming down from the ceiling!

I took out their keema curry...1100 yen (tax included) each for our dinner on Friday.

I love how they packed the curry separate from the rice (forgot to take a photo).

It was spicy and delicious.

You could also change up the flavor with their dry spices.

There was pickled onion and a shishito pepper on top.

I'm glad we got to try this and look forward to trying the other shops here.

Columbia 8

Tokyo Curry Quartet

Yaechika Shopping Mall, B1

Hours: 11:00-22:00

Closed when Yaechika is

Monday, December 26, 2022


We've been wanting to check out Tora for some time now and finally got to do so yesterday.

This Chinese restaurant has also been used as a filming location for J-dramas, movies and commercials.

There are many famous Japanese celebrity autographs on the walls.

One of their famous food items is their gyoza...

But to order it as a single dish is quite pricey at 600 yen (tax included) for 6 pieces, so I ordered it as a teishoku (set meal)...800 yen (tax included).

It came with tsa tsai (pickled mustard plant), rice and soup

Satoshi tried their moyashi ramen...800 yen (tax included) and tried one of the gyoza from my set.

The gyoza passed the gyoza snob's criteria.

Unlike most ramen this one had a slurry, thick soup.

He said enjoyed this.

I'm glad we got to try this place and look forward to trying other items on their menu.


1-6-18 Yaguchi

Ota, Tokyo


Closed Tuesdays

Hours: 11:00-14:00 (lunch), 17:30-21:00 (dinner)

Friday, December 23, 2022

this and that

Sunday, we put the screen doors back up, plants outside...

It’s so nice not to have to worry about hitting the plants while walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

And I was also amazed at how much light comes in now that the scaffolding nets are gone!

Last Tuesday the 23 year old water heater decided it was too cold and decided to stop working in the far, it works best in the afternoon when the sun is probably hitting it, eep!

We called the management company who talked to the owner and they will change the water heater..

AFTER the new two weeks...eep!

I have been “jump starting” the heater, turning it off then turning it back on and immediately turning on the hot water to see if it will “catch” and keep hot water coming out….which brought thoughts of “jump starting” a car by rolling it down a hill…

I also called the management company again to see if they would pay if we had to go to the public bath…

Fahreezing without hot water in the mornings, especially when trying to wash the dishes, but when we think about what the people in Ukraine have been going through for the past 7 months, we try not to whine...and at least we've been able to bathe in the evenings...

Then, Monday, good news, the guy that arranges the water heater change can do the change tomorrow! whoo...thank you Santa!

Have you ever had Rogan Josh? It was our first time, I used Geeta’s sauce. 

Tomatoes, yogurt, tamarind, spices this was delicious.

It comes with some dry spices in a little packet on top of the cover

I kept half of the spices, used half the bottle of the sauce and froze the rest.

Even if it was medium heat, Satoshi was perspiring bullets!

I saw someone on IG do this with a really ripe persimmon...but since I didn't have one, I used a really gelatinous anpogaki.

The person, put their persimmon on cream cheese toast in place of jam, I tried this with butter.


There was an ume episode of "Matsuko no Shiranai Sekai" recently and the person on the show introduced these ume filled with different things.

So, I ordered some for us to try...konbu (kelp), madai (red snapper), katsuo (bonito), buri (amberjack), maguro (tuna) and hijiki (type of seaweed)

Apparently, they take the seeds out from the ume, then put the various filling in them...I dunno how they do it because the ume still looks whole.

One way to eat them is chazuke, will post when we try.

Want to share this cute card, friend Steph sent to us.

Hope you all have a nice Christmas.

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, December 22, 2022


It had been 6 years since I met up with Singapore friend H and her husband.

They are visiting their CIL (cousin in law) in Yokohama, and contacted me to meet up.

We caught up at Kyoto Saryo Suisen, which her husband had seen on a television show and wanted to try.

I ordered this Freshly Topped Matcha Mont Blanc.


Crunchy meringue base topped with whipped cream and a piece of sponge cake and then just before serving, is topped with concentrated slightly sweet matcha cream paste that is pressed out through a disk with 1 millimeter holes.

Then half of a cooked chestnut is shaved over like a truffle and the other half is used to top the mont blanc.

So fun to watch and so delicious.

Love the plate it was served on too!

Back in the day, the mont blanc topping was piped out from a pastry bag using the mont blanc tip and made ahead of time, but these days shops top the dessert just before serving using these hand pumped gadgets.

H had their matcha warabi mochi set (no photo) and the 3D matcha latte

Her husband had the Dashimaki set (no photo) and Suisen Parfait

CIL had tastes from their plates/desserts.

H gave us all sorts of omiyage from Singapore, roasted soba & gingerbread chocolates from Awfully Chocolates, pandan chiffon cake (so light and delicious!), a bunny pin from her friend who beads for the Year of the Rabbit and a handmade bunny pouch, as well as a packet to make bak kut teh (a type of pork dish).

It was nice catching up and meeting CIL.

Thanks for today H and I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!

Kyoto Saryo Suisen

CIAL Yokohama B1

Phone: 045.548.5518

Hours: 10:00-22:00

Closed when CIAL is

Wednesday, December 21, 2022


From Mishima, Shuzenji is about a 50 minute train ride.

There are a lot of onsen (hot spring) and ryokan (Japanese inn) in the area, so Satoshi has been wanting to check them out.

The hot spring/ryokan area is about 15 minutes away by bus from Shuzenji station.

The ryokan we would be staying at was Katsuragawa.

Oh em gee! chaos when we entered the lobby...they had a long line to check-in, other guests were grabbing their yukata from the shelves, children running around…

no amenities in the room, so be sure to grab them in the lobby…

definitely not the zen that I envisioned from other ryokan we've visited in the past

I told you that many prefectures were giving discounts to boost their travel markets, well Shizuoka was no different.

The only thing was that Shizuoka is very strict.

I wasn’t aware, but one of the criteria to qualify for the discount in Shizuoka was that ID was needed at check-in (guessing it wasn’t necessary when we went to Enoshima because no one checked our ID)

In Japan I usually don't travel with ID, in fact, to ride an "inter-island" flight in Japan, I've never been asked to see ID to check-in, ever!

So, we were shocked when the front desk clerk denied giving me the discount because I did not have ID.

They also said we might be billed 5000 yen by the travel agency we had gone through to pay for the difference for not qualifying for the discount, eep?!

Bummed after we checked-in, we then realized at 17:30 that we needed to make reservations for the buffet?! and ended up with a reservation for 19:30...small kine hangry…

So we went to the hot spring and then to dinner...and if I thought check-in was chaotic, dinner was even krazier.

People wheeling around carts to lug their items from the social distancing what so ever.

Most ryokan have slippers to wear, but this one only gives you socks, so in the dining area we were all walking with socks…you could kind of feel the floor being a little slippery and a little grimy…eew!

AND, you need to mask up and wear gloves when taking things from the buffet...

after many rounds and an hour of all you can drink, we rolled back to our rooms and waited for their nightcap ramen at 22:00..oink!

I took the socks I wore in the dining area off in the room because I couldn’t see myself wearing them in bed too…

The next morning, we woke up, went to the hot spring and then down to breakfast…

Which was krazy like dinner.

We decided we were gonna eat enough so that we didn't need to eat lunch...

Afterwards we checked out and went to explore the area

Up and down the many hills to see various historical gravesites that Satoshi was interested in seeing.

I was happy that there were still some autumn colors.

Despite my not having my ID, we tried to make the best of it and got to see all that we wanted to.

Not sure we would come back, but if we do, we want to try some of the local soba restaurants and cafes.

860 Shuzenji
Izu, Shizuoka
Phone: 0558.72.0810

If you are interested, more photos and videos here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022


Mishima is about 2 hours by train from where we live.

Friday, we headed out that way and went to check out the Mishima Skywalk.

From Mishima station to the Skywalk took about 40 minutes by bus.

We picked up some curry pan, Mishima croquette pan (made from potatoes grown in Mishima) and cream pan from the station before getting on the bus.

When we arrived at the Skywalk, we found a bench and had lunch.

Bummer the curry pan had almost no filling in it. The others were tasty and enough for lunch.

No clouds = Mount Fuji could be seen.
This suspension bridge is huge!

400 meters (437 yards) is the longest pedestrian bridge in Japan.

Admission for adults : 1100 yen (tax included)

There is grating in the middle of the walkway, so if you are afraid of heights, do not look down!

At least it didn’t sway like the one we went across in Nara.

While we waited for the bus, back to Mishima station, we shared this hoshi soft : konpeito soft serve : 530 yen (tax included)
Skywalk coffee : 380 yen (tax included)

We also checked out the Sky Garden which has all these hanging plants...and is actually a place to eat and shop.

Since my photos uploaded out of order, I'll talk about the bus ticket now....1100 yen saves you 40 yen versus if you ride the bus without the ticket, and the ticket also gives you getting off and on the bus privileges for the day

On the way back to Mishima Station, we stopped off at Mishima Taisha, a large shinto shrine

The grounds had a lot of weeping cherry trees, it must be beautiful in Spring!

My favorite shot...

Mishima Skywalk

313 Sasahara Shinden

Mishima, Shizuoka

Phone: 055.972.0084

Hours: 9:00-17:00


If you are interested, other photos and short videos here

Monday, December 19, 2022

bucket list and reconnect

It has been 9 years since our last foodie adventure with Dennis of Radiused Corner.

Since he was near Tokyo, he wanted to check out Onigiri Bongo and it had also been on my "to try" list since I'm glad he asked to meet up.

The shop opens up at 11:30, and there are only about 10 seats around the counter, so people start lining up way before.

We got there a little after 11 and had to wait in the “second” line across the street...

While waiting, there were two Japanese celebrities (Jimon-san and Higo-san of Dacho Club) that were also filming their take out from Onigiri Bongo.

After a 1.5 hour wait, the last part in the freezing shade, we were finally getting closer.

They were nice to pass out hot tea while we waited.
After sitting down, they ask you your order and within a couple of minutes, they serve you your onigiri.
I ordered Ume and Tuna Mayo...300 yen each (tax included). 

It doesn't look too big, but the onigiri is quite hefty and they are generously filled.

You can also order tofujiru (miso soup with tofu in it)...200 yen (tax included)

This two onigiri with tofujiru set is normally 800 yen (tax included) but on weekdays it is 700 yen (tax included).

While eating & listening to others order, I also learned you can go without ordering the soup and just order onigiri.

They also do take out too.

While I like ume, I felt just the ume as a filling was way too sour and salty for me...

In retrospect I would not order one filling but order a half and half type instead which is a little more expensive or add a side order of pickles, to change things up.

But, I'm glad I got to experience this, and look forward to bringing Satoshi here (he’s already looking over the menu and trying to figure out what he’d order)

Thanks for today Dennis and we look forward to trying the coffee you gave us.

Keep in touch and I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!

Onigiri Bongo

2-27-5 Kitaotsuka

Toshima, Tokyo

Phone: 03.3910.5617

Closed Sundays and Holidays

Hours: 11:30-23:00

Friday, December 16, 2022

this and that

Last Friday at breakfast Satoshi tells me he is working from home…um so I didn’t need to wake up at 5 to make your bento?! sigh

I also told you they were painting and I needed to be at home.

The first coat of paint (primer?!) was done by 9:30-ish 

At 11:30-ish the painter did the second coat and everything was dried by 13:30-ish…whoo!

Man it was fahreezing since we had to leave the painted door area open…shh, he doesn't know I am uploading this photo...bwhaa!

While waiting for the paint to try, I made a skirt/shawl pin for V, boy am I rusty!

Dinner was pizza...half tropical half seafood...

Domino's recently changed their app so they were giving  1/2 off on any we ended up only paying 1992 yen tax included (not bad)

The scaffolding is supposed to start coming down on Monday, so I can't wait to put everything back outside sometime next week.

Tokyo People...this furry one as he passed by
Found lots of favorites at Kaldi (goshoku hana musubi & (not sweet) brown rice cakes) and Fukumitsuya (ume).
This souped up moped...
Christmas presents from Satoshi's German teacher...danke schön.
Since they made our lanai look so nice, I thought we should try to keep as much water off of it.
The drain hose on our air conditioner is really short because of damage from the sun, it is plastic so just it being outside makes it brittle.

I bought a hose joint and a new hose and attached it to the old one....528 yen (tax included)

Hope we can keep as much moisture off the lanai.

Have a safe weekend.