Tuesday, February 28, 2023

ikegami plum garden

Ikegami Plum Garden was 70% in bloom so we went to check it out on Sunday.

Tons of people out and about, even if it doesn't seem so in my photos.

The wind was icy but at least the sun was out.

Monday, February 27, 2023


Saturday, we went to check out Hokaen which was featured on a J-drama.
The owner cooks everything and I think his wife is the one who waits the tables.

The kitchen was super messy, it was interesting watching him cook and there were just some things you shouldn’t see...eep

I ordered the mabo tofu style curry 650 yen (tax included), rice is separate so I ordered the small 140 yen (tax included)

This was more curry than mabo, but I enjoyed the onions in there, it had its own sweetness.

The curry was a little spicy but not overly.

Satoshi ordered the moyashi ramen...not sure of the price

He enjoyed this. And said that the soup was more like dashi.

The gyoza didn't pass the gyoza snob's criteria though...450 yen (tax included)...apparently these were more like deep fried rather than pan fried...

Anyway, aside from the kitchen, we enjoyed the food, so we'll probably be back to try other items on their menu.


5-10-1 Kamata

Ota, Tokyo

Phone: 03.3734.4440

Closed Sundays

Hours: 11:30-20:00

Sunday, February 26, 2023

this and that

Retro...sink in our room....
Cute figurine at Ryokan Heianbo
The Jizo statue sitting under the camellia tree at the ryokan.
The bunny and monkey and the ryokan.

Wish I was able to show you the cat that lives at this ryokan named Chi...so cute but super shy. (UPDATE: this ryokan permanently closed)
We went to MIL's before coming back to Tokyo so Satoshi could lug more of his "stuff" back.

BIL turned off the gas and water so we weren't able to use the bathroom while we were there, since it was fahreezing, I gave Satoshi a max of 1 hour to get what he wanted from his room.

While he did that, I packed the big version of the reddish painted bowls, here's the smaller one next to it to show you the difference in size.

and these chawan that MIL used to serve us rice in called Meotochawan...

Meoto means husband and wife...and we were saying how "prejudice" these were by saying the wife should only eat a little...ahem

Also, while I was waiting for Satoshi to get his things together, I ran across the street to Kamo Donuts...coconut chocolate for me and a crueller for Satoshi, which we had on the Shinkansen.

So much more stuff for Satoshi to go through...

Saturday, February 25, 2023

poco vs miwaku

Poco was just around the corner from where we stayed at on Wednesday night.

The bright neon "coffee" sign is what I noticed.

Since we didn't book any meals with our rooms for this trip, we got a chance to check out different places. 

The cigarette smoke smell that filled the air when you walked in was definitely a turn off, we didn't have other choices in mind, and there wasn't anyone smoking, so we had breakfast here on Thursday.

vinyl wallpaper definitely retro...

I ordered the C set, which came with toast, boiled egg, salad and coffee...600 yen (tax included).

The salad and boiled egg were ice cold...loved the wooden tray!

Coffee was sadly instant...

More retro...

Satoshi had a egg and ham sandwich with coffee...650 yen (tax included)

 I loved the neon but probably wouldn't return...
Miwaku was near the ryokan we stayed at so this was our choice for breakfast on Friday.

Again the cigarette smoke was a turn off...luckily no one smoking...
I loved the interior...
The boiled egg was warm,  even the glass of water was warm!

AND this set was only 550 yen (tax included).

The coffee was delicious! and had hints of chocolate...
More retro...

After exploring some coffee shops in Tokyo, I was interested in seeing/trying some in Kyoto.

I think we'll be back to Miwaku when the smokers are not there.

550 Higashishiokoji-cho
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.351.7990
Closed Sundays
Hours: 6:30-19:30

579-24 Higashishiokoji-cho
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.343.4788
Open daily 7:00-18:00

Friday, February 24, 2023

this and that

When I saw this at Bakery Alice, I had to try.

I don't know if it is the same as the Supreme Croissants made by Lafayette Bakery, but these were delicious.

Filled with whipped chocolate cream, the insides were light and not overly sweet.

The outside texture was crispy and coated with lots of chocolate.

Satoshi’s was strawberry filled with strawberry whipped cream.

I think Bakery Alice calls these vinyl croissants probably because they look like records.

They are definitely smaller and cheaper than the Lafayette croissants...320 yen (tax included).

Umeshu...4 more months to go...

Wednesday we flew to Osaka then bussed it to Kyoto.

Dinner was at Lipton in the Porta Mall since we wanted to use the travel coupons we received and also because this shop was recently renovated by Satoshi's classmate.

Sadly, the food was expensive and nothing too special.

MIL's 3rd year memorial service was held on Thursday which was a holiday, the Emperor's birthday.

Glad the drizzles stopped for a bit.

This was the 1st time I've seen the ume trees in bloom where the graves are located.
Lunch was at Yakiniku Tendan with the family (no photo)

After checking into the ryokan we would be staying at, I had curry rice and Satoshi had curry udon at Mimikou, which has been in business in the Gion area since 1969.

This curry wasn't heavy, it was super flavorful because it uses dashi (fish and konbu stock)

It was nice to see Kyoto Tower lit up.
The taxi driver as well as we were surprised to see this huge kokeshi doll in the front of Higashi Hongwanji.

It was a quick trip to Kyoto, we were glad to be able to go.

Satoshi still needs to go through his things at his mom's.

It was raining in Kyoto but we were lucky it wasn't when we got back to Tokyo

Have a safe weekend.

Dormy Inn Kyoto
558-8 Higashishiokoji-cho
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.371.5489

Ryokan Heianbo
725 Higashishiokoji-cho
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.351.0650

Lipton Porta
902 Higashishiokoji-cho
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.343.3901
Hours: 8:00-22:00 (Closed when Porta is)

Yakiniku Tendan
1-225 Miyagawasuji
Higashiyama, Kyoto
Phone: 075.551.4129
Weekends & Holidays: 11:30-23:00
Weekdays: 17:00-23:00

Mimikou Porta
902 Higashishiokoji-cho
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.352.3322
Hours: 11:00-22:00 (Closed when Porta is)

Thursday, February 23, 2023


Thought these two would be something I would enjoy but sadly they were both too sickly sweet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

nya nya nya

February 22 is Nya-nya-nya Day...a day for cats.

Nya or nyan is the sound cats make here.

I thought I had wrote about this but hadn't so I'm posting about it today.

Apparently nya/nyan sounds similar to ni (the number 2 in Japanese) and it is also the goroawase (word play) for the number 2, which is why 2.22 is the day for cats...

Thinking about this one today.

Miss you Malia

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

thanks for today

Over the weekend, friend Rona was in Tokyo and contacted me to meet up. 

With life and the pandemic, it had been 11 years since we met up last.

We had planned to have sweets at Henri Charpentier in Ginza but the waitlist was krazy.

So we went to Starbucks Reserve, but the line for seats was krazy there too.

In the end, we ended up buying cakes from Henri Charpentier, coffee and tea from Veloce and then sat in her hotel lobby, chatting and having our cakes.

So much to catch up on.

The Charlotte Chocolat that I had was definitely hard to eat with that teeny plastic fork, but, it was so light and chocolatey! Love!

I hope Rona enjoyed the strawberry shortcake that she chose.

Rona gave me all sorts of chocolates which I can't wait to try.

I'm happy she had some time to meet up and thankful for her friendship.

Thanks for today Rona, I hope you enjoyed your trip and have a safe trip back home.

Monday, February 20, 2023


Saturday, we had some errands to run.

First, Satoshi's dentist appointment to check his implant surgery.

He said they took out the stitches and it is healing nicely.

MIL's 3rd year memorial is coming up (actually 2nd year) and we need something to bring as offering, so we went to check out Arare Sakaguchi.

They've been in business since 1952.

On the way to the shop, these mosaic walls in the Ichigaya Station were so pretty.
Love how they wrap the arare you buy.

The grandpa working the cash register was super hard of hearing (I think he is the owner), so all the staff working there were shouting (sometimes kind of rudely) at him...poor guy!

From there we went to Asakusabashi.

Satoshi needed to buy some things from Shimojima.

It was his first time at Shimojima, so I brought him and helped him find what he needed.

Afterwards, we wanted to have coffee and found a cute coffee shop (forgot to take a photo of the outside) under the JR tracks called Coffee House Kyu.

I had their fondant chocolat and coffee 850 yen (tax included).

Satoshi had their egg sandwich and coffee 900 yen (tax included) (no photo).

So happy that this coffee shop does not allow smoking.

We'll be back whenever we are in the area.

And then we went to check out Mannekin Pis, who is dressed up in the WBC (World Baseball Classic) uniform.

Japan is getting ready for the games to qualify to play in the finals...
My photos uploaded in a weird order, so this is what we bought for ourselves...the bags are not sealed, just tied tightly with that gold cord, so be careful!

BUT these were fresh and delicious! We'll be back whenever we need gifts.

Lots of people out and about, back to squishy train cars, but at least most people are still masking in the train...

Have a good week.

Arare Sakaguchi

4-1-5 Ichigaya

Chiyoda, Tokyo

Phone: 03.3265.8601

Closed Sundays

Hours: 9:30-19:00 (Mondays-Fridays), 9:30-17:00 (Saturdays)

Coffee House Kyu

1-19 Yanagibashi

Taito, Tokyo

Phone: 03.3861.9876

Closed Sundays

Hours: 7:30-19:00 (Mondays-Fridays), 11:00-18:00 (Saturdays)