Friday, June 30, 2023

small kine hiatus

In Hawaii and will not have access to a computer, so will be taking a break from the blog.

If you have access to Instagram, you can follow us there if you are interested.

Be well.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

this and that

Tokyo People: thought this woman's purse was cute..mwa!
love the round windows on the Shin Yurakucho Building
Been awhile since I visited Viron.

Took out their nicoise sandwich...880 yen (tax included) kind of carbs on carbs with the potatoes in it but I loved flavors and the olives in it.

And their kouign amann 470 yen (tax included)

think this was my first time trying their version, the caramel was a little to hard for my liking, but I loved the buttery pastry.

Over the weekend, Satoshi had his first "overnight" tour guide assignment. (which is why we went to Haneda to scope out the place)

Saturday, he went to Hokkaido. 

His assignment was to escort the guests from their cruise ship and guide the tour from Otaru to Tokyo.

Then from Tokyo onto flights back to Europe.

It seems the people he works with are getting better at organizing.

The price of peaches has been quite high, so I was waiting for them to come down.

But, came across figs, so had to try the fig fruit sandwich at Marchen.

Glad they still have tuna avocado on their menu too.

Tokyo People: changing the light bulbs without a ladder
Rogue Honey Kolsch : slight honey aroma, not sweet
Hitachino Yuzu Lager : nice yuzu aroma, delicious!

The news has been talking about the number of COVID cases rising in places like Okinawa.

Not sure what they (the government) want us to do because they downgraded COVID from pandemic to the same as the flu.

Dunno if they have vaccines/boosters for us either.

I would imagine we would need to pay for them since they downgraded it to the same as the flu.

I'm still masking whenever I go into stores, riding on trains.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023


One year ago, we were noticing people with no class

Four years ago, we were trying Red Beauty Plums

Eight years ago, our mouth was on fire from Cafe Rakuta's curry

Twelve years ago, we were checking out the Friends of the Library Book Sale

Sixteen years ago, we were trying to make pongashi okoshi

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

umeshu pickles

Saw tomatoes pickled in umeshu (plum wine) on a television show, was intrigued and looked online to see if there was a recipe.

Most recipes that I found online used umeshu plus sugar but since umeshu is already sweet, I envisioned a recipe that didn't use added sugar.

Luckily Choya had a recipe.

Translated from Choya website: serves 2

1 cup umeshu

1/2 vinegar

1/2 water

5 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

1 chili pepper

1 turnip

1 cucumber

1/2 each red and yellow bell pepper

Bring the first 6 ingredients to a boil then cool

Peel and cut the veggies into bite sized pieces

Marinate in an air tight jar for at least 2 hours

NOTES: the original recipe used various veggies but since I wanted to try them with tomatoes that is what I used.

I first took out the stem area with a paring knife then made an "x" at the bottom.

Then to remove the skins of the tomatoes I put them in boiling water for 30 seconds and then put them into cold water for 30 seconds, the same way I make tomato suzuke

Since I only saw it on tv, I’m not sure what it should taste like but it was similar to tomato suzuke.

The umeshu flavor wasn't too present, probably because there are peppercorns, bay leaves and chili in there plus you burn off the alcohol before marinating the veggies.

Kinda wasteful of umeshu.

Still, I'm glad I tried this version.

Monday, June 26, 2023

okara "potato" salad (update)

Reconnected with okara "potato" salad

The recipe I used was again from the bag of okara.

The one I previously used had you "cook" the okara to get rid of the moisture.

This one doesn't have cooking involved and seemed easier, so I updated my okara potato salad recipe.

(FYI : potato salad in Japan is more like a mashed potato texture.)

For this version, instead of ham, cucumber, carrot, grated onion, yogurt, mayo, I used myoga, shiso, cucumber, a little dressing and a little mayo.

and for this version, I used cucumber, pickled myoga, shiso and a little mayo, I should’ve added a little more salt or something, this version was bland even with the pickled myoga

I'm glad I reconnected with this, it is a nice way to have "potato salad" without all the carbs.

Friday, June 23, 2023

this and that

The mannekin pis ready for rainy season : photo by Satoshi
Saw a yakitori food truck doing business under a supermarket, love how teeny the food trucks are here.
I wanna know how this root managed to weave itself on this fence!

Tokyo People: I would totally fall down wearing these sandals
Was so humid the day I was following behind this guy...
After going to the dentist the other week, they suggested I get a mouth guard to prevent me from clenching my teeth when I sleep.

I decorated my container with masking tape
My newest temptation written "scorn"! in English...
like crunchy cheetos which is pronounced “scone” in Japanese.

These are spice curry flavored.
My cyclamen plant doesn't know whether it is Spring or Summer...we had several flowers and now the dead straggly leaves, these were the effects from the reno, the green leaves just came up a couple weeks ago...
And because my photos uploaded wonky....

I also put some masking tape in the container so I can see my mouth guard.

Thankful for insurance, the mouth guard was only 3020 yen and if need be, can be replaced for a fee in 6 months.

Seeing this poster, blocked partially by a construction wall...
Reminded me of this sticker that I like to use on LINE.

Whenever I go to Kawasaki, I like to buy this okonomiyaki style taiyaki for lunch, it is savory and tastes just like okonomiyaki.

The other day, when I went to Kawasaki, they had a seasonal version, with the addition of yakisoba in it...delicious!

I also bought one with tsubuan (chunky sweet bean paste)...bu bu (oink oink)

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, June 22, 2023


Satoshi has a tour assignment soon so he wanted to scope out Haneda airport.

First we had lunch at Terminal 1 at Tenho, a tiny ramen shop in business since 1993.

We found out about this place when it was featured on a tv show. 

It’s a gem so not many want to tell you about it.

Their popular item is the Tenho men. Shoyu based ramen topped with veggies, seafood and a slurry.

Satoshi also ordered their half fried rice too…("A" set) 1150 yen (tax included)

I ordered the Canton yakisoba…980 yen (tax included) this is similar to the Tenho men except not served in broth. 

I loved this, the noodles are a little crispy and the parts touching the sauce are chewy…kind of similar to cake noodles.

The little cup of soup was bland in comparison to the flavor of the noodles though 

To get around Haneda, use the free shuttle buses, look for the yellow bus stops.

Next Terminal 2…I checked out all the vending machines while Satoshi went to check out the areas he wanted to

I was impressed there were so many dessert vending machines!

And even one selling PCR tests...4000 yen! and masks.

And then we shared junior scoops of Blue Seal ice cream…550 yen (tax included)

Mint Chocolate for me, Chocolate Cookie Swirl for Satoshi.

Lastly we went to Terminal 3

If you remember we were here a couple weeks ago.

While Satoshi went to check out things, I browsed

Hopefully Satoshi's tour will go smoothly.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

banana juice

In Osaka, they have a drink called mixed juice (mikkusu ju-sue)

all sorts of fruits are blended with milk, a liquidy smoothie.

You can find this drink at some Osaka train station kiosks, people standing around drinking variations of this.

You can watch them blend it in a blender, drink your order then go catch the train.

I had some really ripe bananas, so I put this together the other morning.

Serves 2

1 really ripe banana

2 teaspoons kinako (my kinako (soy bean powder) also has ground black sesame and ground almond in it)

1 cup your favorite milk

Whizz until everything is blended

NOTES: sweet from the banana, this was delicious

I'll make this again

Tuesday, June 20, 2023


Been wanting to recreate this ever since coming across this at the market

I see them in the markets frequently so I've never tried the recipe I had bookmarked 

Yakishisomaki is a dish found in Tohoku, they eat it as pupu (appetizer), have it with Japanese tea, add it to their bento.

Each family has their own recipe so there are different ones all around the internet.

I made up this based on different recipes for the ingredients I had and for the amount I wanted to make.

Please adjust the recipe to your dietary needs and if you want to make more than the amount I made.

If you do use white miso, you might need to adjust the sugar since I feel white miso tends to be a little sweeter than other types.

Kat’s yakishisomaki : makes 2 skewers

6 shiso leaves, washed, dried, stems cut off

5 grams nuts, weighed then chopped medium fine

10 grams miso

7 grams sugar, I used brown

shichimi (seven spice mixture)

2 toothpicks

1 tablespoon of oil

Mix the miso with the sugar then add the nuts and shichimi

It will come to a thick paste

Portion the mixture into 6

Face the dull side of the leaf upward and put the point of the leaf pointing towards you

Put the miso mixture near the point then roll the point tightly upwards 

Skewer the roll with the toothpick

Repeat until you have 3 rolls on 1 toothpick

Heat the oil in a pan on medium and fry for about 30 seconds on each side

Drain on a paper towel


NOTES: this was delicious and easy to make

Tohoku produces walnuts, so that is the nut that I used, but you can use whatever nuts you have on hand.

If you are allergic to nuts, you may want to use ground sesame seeds instead.

Also, if you want to freeze them, fry them first then put them into the freezer.

I’m not sure if there is a symbolic reason why 3 rolls are on a 1 skewer other than it just might be easier to fry many rolls at once.

I'll make this again.

Monday, June 19, 2023

when life throws you curves

We've had this blog for almost 18 years now.

Learning to write code to embed links.

Had bots/trolls steal whole posts.

If you've read our blog from the beginning you know all the good and the bad that we've gone through.

We've made lots of friends along the way too.

Mostly virtual, but we've managed to meet up with some IRL (in real life) too.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know this title usually isn’t something good…

The other day, I got an email from Google's Album Archive, saying that they will be phasing it out as of July 19th.

It told me to download the files that are in Album Archive, so I did.

But after doing so, most have errors on them or something and cannot be transferred, WT?!

The files in question seem to be all the photos on this blog!

I thought by moving my photos from Flickr to Google Photos would solve Flickr limiting my photos (by the way, all my photos are still on Flickr, I just cannot add any more)

I even re-pasted the photo on each post that was linked to Flickr!

I am frugal and not willing to put any money into this blog

Long story short, after July 19th, this blog may not have any photos on them.

I don't know about you, but I use this blog when I cannot remember "that time we went somewhere" or when I need to cook something

It won't be fun without the photos to go along with the "stories", but I am not ready to shut down the blog just yet.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you know what is happening.

Hoping things are better where you are.

Friday, June 16, 2023

a year later

Last year, we tried making umeshu for the first time.

If you remember, when we first put the ume in the bottle with the alcohol, it overflowed, talk about drama!

I removed some of the alcohol from the bottles and put it back into the shochu bottle.

When I went to Hawaii last year, I labelled the leftover shochu bottle so that "someone" wouldn't drink it while I was away...ha!

Fast forward: Wednesday made one year.

I went to the dentist on Wednesday, so I worked on the umeshu yesterday.

The jars from my favorite (for now) peanut butter are the perfect size for "one cup" umeshu.

With the ume, I separated the flesh from the seeds

I froze the flesh and will use them in the various ways, V, introduced me to through this blog post (thanks V!)

The seeds, I froze most, but used 10-12 and cooked it with rice.

The alcohol from the ume really made the rice smell like alcohol so next time I would cut back the amount of ume seeds, and would add dashi and other seasonings to make it more like takikomi gohan.

at 9:30 in the morning, I also "quality controlled" with the tablespoon-ish amount of umeshu that came out when I separated the fruit from the seeds.

I added some carbonated water and it tasted pretty good to me...I hope it was 17:00 somewhere..

We'll be having some of this with our pupus tonight and I plan to send a couple of the one cups to BIL & SIL.

Backstory : It was SIL who gave me the idea to try making umeshu in the first place when we were in Kyoto for MIL's memorial service last March...Hikone grandma used to make the best umeshu.

Hope you all are doing well.

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, June 15, 2023


Hari is a tiny cinnamon roll shop.

Unlike most cinnamon rolls, these are 4-inch squares.

The woman who bakes and runs the shop used to live in Sri Lanka. 

She makes about 10 different flavors and uses Ceylon cinnamon 

During the pandemic and now on weekends, they sell their cinnamon rolls as pre-orders only.

The other day, I saw something online that they would be selling their cinnamon rolls first come first serve, so I went to check them out.

I got there 15 minutes before their opening time and there was already a line, I was 13th (I counted).

The limit was 4 rolls per person and most of the people in front of me were buying 4.

I chose the matcha sesame azuki...560 yen (tax included)

And the original...560 yen (tax included)

So delicious! not overly sweet

A little more expensive but I was pleased that all her flavors are the same price.

I'm glad we got to try these and hope to try other flavors in the future.


1-4-2 Denenchofu

Ota, Tokyo

Closed Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays & Mondays

Hours: 11:00-until sold out* check social media for their selling methods

**cash only

Wednesday, June 14, 2023


I've been wanting to try Uzu's cinnamon rolls for some time now (Uzu in Japanese means "swirl")

They are located in the Daikanyama area of Tokyo.

Luckily, they had a pop up at our station.

For the price these were kind of tiny.

I would say it was about the size of an oldskool muffin?!

This shop uses flour made in Japan and butter from Hokkaido.

We tried the salty maple and pecan nuts...480 yen (tax included)
And the original...410 yen (tax included)
They recommend you heating them up before eating.

Delicious..buttery with a cream cheese frosting.

Not worth the price though, but I'm glad we tried them.


13-8-112 Daikanyama

Shibuya, Tokyo

Closed Mondays

Hours: 11:00-18:00