Thursday, November 30, 2023


first time seeing this metasequoia, most times I'm coming down the street toward JR Asakusabashi station so I think the building camoflagued it and I've never noticed it, it was huge!
Went to Ambika, the last time was back in 2019.

Picked up some snacks to try...halwa, black pepper banana chips, golden mix and coconut soan papdi
Shinonome Seipansho...they open at 12, which to me is super late.

I usually like getting out early, get my errands done then get back home before all the crowds start.
I was first in line...tried their kouign amann, so buttery and flaky! love..350 yen (tax included)
cheese, edamame, mushroom and bacon...the bread was a little hard, but the burnt cheese so ono! 400 yen (tax included)
croquante...flaky, with lots of nuts and caramel, loved this too...400 yen (tax included)

They also have a scone and cookie shop nearby but they weren't open on this day.

I'll plan better to be able to get to both next time.

Shinonome Seipansho
4-35-2 Kuramae
Taito, Tokyo
Closed Sunday
Hours: 12:00-18:00 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Went to the Shirokanedai area yesterday.

The last time I was in this area was two years ago.

Love the reflection on the side of the building.

Wanted to try some chocolates from Cacaocat, a chocolate company from Hokkaido
Crossing Gaien Nishi Avenue

(Photos uploaded wonky) I bought some chocolates by weight, 703 yen (tax included) for 6 pieces.

Love that they gave me a "chocolate map" so that I would know what flavors I chose.

They gave me one piece free...whoo!

Been wanting to check out the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien (Garden) Art Museum.

This is the former residence of Prince Asaka.

I wasn't interested in seeing the art being displayed, so I only paid to enter the garden...200 yen (adults)

Huge red pine
Japanese garden and tea house called Koka
Beautiful reflection
Huge ginkgo tree
Huge kaki (persimmon) tree
"Wind" by Kan Yasuda
It was a beautiful day.
Grabbed some items for lunch from Himmel.

Baked curry pan
and Kouign Amann

It was nice to be out and about.

Afterwards, I realized I missed seeing a few things around the garden, so I'll try to go back during the Spring, when more flowers should be blooming too.

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
5-21-9 Shirokanedai
Minato, Tokyo
Closed Mondays
Hours: 10:00-18:00

5-18-8 Shirokanedai
Minato, Tokyo
Hours: 9:00-19:30

Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Over the past couple of months, BIL and Satoshi have been having talks as to what to do with MIL's house.

In the beginning, Satoshi left everything up to BIL, so BIL was talking about selling the house, but then they both started thinking about "life after retirement"…

Satoshi says he isn't quite ready to move back to Kyoto just yet 

On the other hand, BIL & SIL are ready to move out of their condo, especially since it is kind of out of the way and they don’t like their condo association.

On top of all of that, in 2024, Kyoto will start charging a tax for houses that aren't being lived in.

BIL says they don't have money to pay for renovations or to buy a new house, which means that Satoshi will have to pay for most, if not all of the renovation costs/or to build a new house.

Satoshi's friend put them in touch with an architect, so Satoshi is in Kyoto today to meet with him.

The architect will check the foundation today as well as for termites (and maybe other critters, eep!)...

So..if the base of the house and structure are still strong (though the house is over 50 years old), Satoshi thinks they should just get the house cleaned and if need be maybe do a little fixing up.

But if not, they would need to rebuild

Stay tuned and send good mojo

Monday, November 27, 2023


There was a small shop that used to serve tempura called Tenmi, which I’d had on my “to try” list.

Then the pandemic hit and they changed what they serve.

They now do shinasoba (literally chinese noodles), or what most of the world calls “ramen”.

Shinasoba usually refers to a shoyu based bowl of noodles.

Satoshi tried their shio (salt) soba...1100 yen (tax included), which looked like it was chicken stock based.

It looked like it was topped with menma, kamaboko, komatsuna, ajitama, pork char siu and chicken char siu.

This came with some of their housemade yuzu kosho too

He said he enjoyed this, he should, he drank all the soup…eep

I ordered their niku maze soba...900 yen (tax included)

I was disappointed that the menma (bamboo shoot) and komatsuna (mustard greens) were cold.

At least the kakuni (braised pork) was heated and tender.

They let you change up the flavors by adding vinegar, soy sauce or their special chili oil.

And at the end they give you some rice (my photos uploaded wonky) to eat up the pork

Pet peeve: restaurants that wash their cups for water with the eggy dishes...blah makes everything smell like egg.

Dunno if we'll be back, but I'm glad we tried this shop.


7-32-3 Nishikamata, Maison Astoria 1F

Ota, Tokyo

Closed: n/a

Hours: n/a

Sunday, November 26, 2023

shinagawa aoi

Met up with V & A for dinner at Shinagawa Aoi, last night.

Dinner started off with a housemade gomadofu (sesame tofu), and aonori konnyaku (green laver konjac jelly)

maguro in yamaimo (chinese yam)
sashimi (ootoro, ika (squid), katsuo (bonito) and akagai (blood clam)
dobinmushi (clay pot that steams dashi (stock), mushrooms and other goodies (ebi shinjo (shrimp ball) sudachi (type of lime))
Eat the goodies and drink the broth
sawara (spanish mackerel) with negi miso sauce
uni (sea urchin) tofu, cream cheese with moromi miso (like an edible soy sauce) and mukago (a super teeny potato) topped with maguro liver?! (not too sure)
sushi (ootoro, tai, chutoro, ebi, anago, bakagai (type of clam), maguro) and sushi rice topped with ikura and uni
dessert: sushi rice topped with caramelized apples, sweet bean paste and house made ice cream...supposedly like an ohagi

All different but delicious dishes!
V generously treated us to dinner and also gave us so many goodies! A also gave us homemade guava jelly.

Thank you so much V & A, we enjoyed hanging out with you, we hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!

Sushi Shinagawa Aoi
3-5-3 Minamishinagawa, Aoyoko Building 4F
Shinagawa, Tokyo
Closed Mondays
Hours: 11:30-14:00 (lunch), 18:00-22:00 (dinner)

Saturday, November 25, 2023


Went looking for Global knives with V & A yesterday.

According to A, the Global items only sold in Japan are only sold at Yoshikin in Roppongi.

After trying (many times) to figure out which way we were supposed to walk, we found the shop!

Then we went to check out Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Nakameguro.

There are 6 of these Reserve Roasteries in the world (Seattle, Shanghai, Milan, New York, Tokyo, Chicago, Mumbai)

Scan the QR code (on the building next door to the Roastery) to get a number on the waiting list.

Do not wait around the Roastery, wait for an email to let you know your number is called

Once your number is called, grab a seat if you plan to eat there.

(the waiting list number is only to get you into the building!)

If you see a tiny reserved sign on the table, it means that someone is already reserving their seat.

Then stand in line for drinks and food.

Alcohol beverages sold on the 3rd floor and also has some food items.

Tea type of beverages sold on the 2nd floor and also has some food items.

Sandwiches, coffee drinks (non-alcohol) and other items seemed to be sold on the 1st floor...

It would've been nice if instead of just a wait list to get into the building, they actually secured some seats for you too.

We were lucky to snag a table up on the 4th floor, it was a beautiful day, so it was nice to sit outside.
I tried their Arriviamo Espresso Tonic...1700 yen (tax included)

For the espresso tonic, you can choose the coffee you want them to use, I chose the Tokyo Roastery Microblend which supposedly had floral and citrus tones.

Super refreshing!

And their olive tomato foccacia...630 yen (tax included)

loved the crisp edges of the foccacia!

It was my first time checking out this Starbucks.

This shop has been crowded ever since it opened in 2019, so we've never been.

The food items are apparently made by Princi Bakery, an Italian bakery.

Not somewhere to go every day but a nice place to take guests from out of town.

Definitely be prepared to wait

Thanks for today V & A, sorry we got lost a couple of times, hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as I did.


5-17-1 Roppongi, Axis Building 2F

Minato, Tokyo

Closed Sundays & Holidays

Hours: 11:00-19:00

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

2-19-23 Aobadai

Meguro, Tokyo

Open daily 7:00-22:00

Friday, November 24, 2023


Yesterday, we met up with V and her daughter A who are in town now.

Since V had never been to Showa Kinen Park, we decided to check it out since the ginkgo tree leaves are yellow.

But first we had snacks...yakisoba and oden 600 yen (tax included) for each

It's a good thing we ate at the time we did because as we were leaving the park the lines for food were kind of krazy

The ginkgo trees..tons of people because tourism is up and as V said, "it's a holiday"
Sasanqua (camellia)
Japanese garden area
Bonsai area
And then we checked out Ikea

Lots and lots of walking!

At least the weather, even if it was overcast, it was not too hot, not too cold...just right

Thanks for today, V & A, hope you enjoyed today's adventure as much as we did. 

Have a safe weekend.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

bakery quartet

It's been awhile since I've been to the Kojiya area.

I went to the DIY shop and on the way stopped in to Bakery Quartet.

It is a small shop, and they had quite a lot to choose from.

I tried this avocado tuna melt...340 yen (tax included)

Loved how the tuna and avocado were on top, the cheese was oozy after I re-toasted it.

Caramelized onion and bacon tartine...340 yen (tax included)

The caramelized onions were so sweet and there was lots of oozy cheese on this too…love!

It was my first time here, they have a lot of hard type of breads, I'll be back.

Bakery Quartet

2-7-12 Haginaka

Ota, Tokyo

Closed Tuesdays

Hours: 8:00-19:00