Thursday, October 19, 2017

rainy sunday in kyoto

Untitled Sunday was rainy but Satoshi wanted to check out an exhibit at the Kyoto National Museum, so instead of going through similar kraziness like what we experienced with Hokusai, I decided to do my own thing and went on a cafe crawl.

I started at Ichikawaya Coffee. A tiny shop located off of Higashiyama-dori.

At first when I got there, there was a line, but because most parties were couples, I got the only seat left along their window seats.

I ordered their bacon mibuna sandwich. Mibuna is a veg similar to mizuna but with a little more "spiciness" like mustard cabbage. Apparently these days, it is mostly found in Kyoto and the surrounding areas.

The mibuna in this sandwich was pickled, it added a nice zing to the sandwich.

I also liked the nicely toasted milk bread that they used which was a little sweet.

The iced coffee was nice and strong too.

After breakfast, I walked back to the Shijo area. The rain was drizzling off and on.

Untitled After some window shopping, my next stop was Kiln Coffee Shop, the shop that is located under the "super friendly" Kiln...ahem!

I had their gorgonzola cheesecake which was topped with fresh figs.

The gorgonzola cheese wasn't overpowering and there were lots of walnuts in the cheesecake...delicious!

Bummer though there were these 2 inconsiderate Korean tourists sitting next to me that insisted on taking a bazillion photos of each other, while laughing and talking loudly.

Talk about irritating and noisy...

Untitled Late lunch with Satoshi was at Oreno Pan Okumura in Gion.

Meh, we didn't care to much for this place...the food seemed a bit overpriced...maybe that was why this place was super empty?!

Untitled Coffees before riding the train at Arabica Kyoto inside of Fujii Daimaru.

Despite the rain, Satoshi and I both got to do what we wanted.

I hope to be back to both cafes (hopefully with Satoshi in tow!)

Ichikawaya Coffee
396-2 Kanei-cho
Higashiyama, Kyoto
Phone: 075.748.1354
Hours: 9:00-18:00
Closed Tuesdays

Kiln Coffee Shop
194 Sendo-cho, Murakamiju Bldg 1F
Shimogyo, Kyoto
Phone: 075.353.3810
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 11:00-23:00

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


testing out new wifi Back in June (I think), we received word that our SIM card for our pocket wi-fi would end and that the company we deal with had new SIM plans.

In my opinion, the plan we had was the best because it was a flat monthly rate of 1000 yen (plus tax).

You could use it for however many (bazillion) bytes, but I guess the company was losing money because of that.

So, the new SIM plans would be based on how many bytes you used.

Instead of paying a monthly fee for something we hardly use, we decided to cancel our plan.

In essence by subscribing over the past 5 years, we bought the pocket wifi gadget, so I am on the lookout for a SIM card that will let me use it as I need to.

Right now, though there are only 2 ways to use SIM cards here..1) monthly rate based on usage 2) 7-day or 30-day usage (mainly for tourists)

We really don't need the monthly version.

And the 7-day/30-day version is a junk option too because it starts counting down from the day you activate it and depending on your usage, you could use it up before the 7 or 30 days.

When I was wandering around in Tokyo, the amount of free wifi was limited, but way more than what we have in Osaka and even way more than what we have on Oahu (Hawaii).

Why can't the whole world have some kind of "free" wi-fi connection? First world problems, yeah?!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Untitled Maeshika had purple sweet potato..whoo!

This variety is called Nakamurasaki which literally means "middle purple".

I couldn't remember how much it was, but think it was 270 yen (plus tax).

Untitled When cut the middle is more purplish than the outer edges.

Untitled When cooked though, the whole flesh turns dark purple (love!)

Untitled I made some sweet potato salad with half of the nakamurasaki and a kurisatsu that I steamed.

I mixed 1 teaspoon of curry powder with mayo then folded the potatoes in it.

Not the most aesthetic, but delicious!

Untitled With the other half of the nakamurasaki, I roasted it in the oven and then cut it up and put it into some tapioca coconut milk...mmm!

Monday, October 16, 2017

shopping foodie friday in osaka

Untitled You know how in Osaka we say "kuidaore" (coo-ee-dah-oh-ray = eat until you drop)?

Well Friday was "kaidaore" (kah-ee-dah-oh-ray = shop until you drop) as I got to meet up with Reader V since she is in Osaka at the moment.

If you remember, we first met up with Jalna over the summer.

It was funny because when we first met she said, "I thought you would be at least 200 pounds with all that you eat!"

Anyway, she had a nice amount of items on her shopping list, so we went together to Namba to hang out and to tick some those shopping list items off.

Within minutes of Takashimaya opening we ticked off a couple of the places she wanted to shop at and then headed to MUJI.

We then walked from Namba to Honmachi, stopping for a caramel pudding with coffee jelly (gelatin) break at Starbucks.

And then more shopping at a shop specializing in mainly bags and containers for shops called Shimojima.

(I love this place because I can buy muffin papers and other kitchen things here for reasonable prices.)

Back in Umeda we had lunch at a dashi chazuke shop called En and then had espresso sodas at City Bakery.

It was super grey and raining off and on, but all in all it was a whirlwind shopping day and I am glad we got to meet up.

V was so nice to bring all sorts of goodies for these ulu (breadfruit) chips that I think she said her friend makes.

It was my first time trying ulu this way, so good!

Untitled Cropsticks will be perfect to bring on picnics.

Untitled Kula Strawberry Chili Pepper Jam as pupu (appetizer) sounds good with cream cheese and crackers...

Untitled One of my favorite snacks..Kind Bars...

Untitled And an introduction to Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimba manga character.

I hope she had a nice time and I am glad that we got to tick some of the things on her shopping list off!

Lots of walking, lots of talking and lots of retail therapy!

Thanks for a great day V!

Friday, October 13, 2017

culture shock

Untitled The other day while walking in Osaka, I noticed several cars parked on the street.

We don't have a car so I really don't know how street parking works here, but I think you purchase a ticket from this machine...

Untitled The tickets are printed with the time that it will expire.

Then stick the ticket on the inside of your window.

I'm not sure if the ticket already has the sticky thing on it so that it can be stuck on your window, or if you have to have your own "stickers".

Anyway, I thought it was neat that you don't need to feed individual meters.

I don't know about you but sometimes in the US, I get confused as to which meter is the one that I need to feed.

Do you have parking meters similar to the ones in Japan?

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Untitled We came across Chojugaki recently.

Choju means long life and gaki (kaki) is persimmon in Japanese.

The insides are not as gel-like as the anpo-gaki that we have tried in the past, but still very delicious.

I'm glad we tried this and will keep my eye out for both types.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Because the hotel we were staying at had a "first come first serve" policy for riding their shuttle, we decided to get to the airport early and have breakfast.

Untitled On our way back to Osaka, I was in the right seat at the right time and got a "snowless" Mount Fuji video (click the photo to see it).

krazy lines for culture-ing❤︎ #hokusai #osaka #japan #abenoharukasartmuseum #北斎 #大阪 #あべのハルカス美術館 By 10:00-ish we were standing in this krazy line to see the Hokusai exhibit at the Abeno Harukas Museum.

People cutting in line for tickets and unreal shoving inside to see the different works, put a damper on my enthusiasm.

I tried patiently to see as many works as I could, but gave up towards the end of the exhibit and instead waited for Satoshi to exit the exhibit.

Untitled At 1:00-ish we went up 300 meters (984 feet) to the top of Abeno Harukas (which I think is the tallest building in Japan at the moment)

Untitled definitely not for those afraid of heights...

Untitled Lunch was late but delicious at Piccolo Curry.

This was their special beef and regular beef curries over rice topped with a scrambled egg.

Untitled Dessert was a matcha soft serve made with green tea from the Minami Yamashiro area of Kyoto at Hankyu Umeda Department store.

It was whirlwind 3-day weekend, even though it was quite summery, I'm glad we got to do all that we did.

Piccolo Curry
Abeno Harukas Dining 12F
Tennoji, Osaka
Phone: 06.6654.6063
Hours: 11:00-23:00
Open when Abeno Harukas is

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Sunday before the sun rose, we were on our way to the airport...

By 8:00-ish we were in Tokyo.

Untitled At 9:30-ish we were at the base of the Tokyo Sky Tree.

Too bad the air had a haze to it, I think the views from the top would've been something to see.

Untitled Satoshi wanted to check out the Tokyo Sumo area.

He had seen something that said there was a gift shop we could visit too...bummer both the area and shop were closed.

Untitled We then headed to Asakusa to check out a yoshoku-ya (western style shop), but the wait was krazy with the 3-day weekend, so we headed across the street to Kappabashi and found a reasonably priced sushi shop called Tasukezushi.

My nigiri set had 10 pieces and Satoshi had their chirashizushi...each were 1300 yen (tax included).

It was a nice fast (delicious) lunch.

Satoshi then headed to Jingu Stadium to watch his University baseball team.

I went on my own adventure.

Untitled Kappabashi, the largest area for kitchen/restaurant tools, tableware, like Osaka's Doguyasuji but 10x bigger, was having some kind of festival.

Had it not been so crowded I would've stayed longer but it was tough just moving between stores...

Untitled The Sky Tree as seen from Kappabashi.

Untitled I went to Kuramae, to check out the Dandelion Chocolate cafe & shop.

Since we've been having summery temps, I tried their cacao nib cold brew, which came with a tiny chocolate cookie & housemade marshmallow.

Untitled and their oatmeal cookie.

The cacao nib cold brew wasn't anything special, but the cookie...loved that it had chocolate, cacao nibs, cranberries, oatmeal & shredded coconut in it.

I got back on the train and headed to the Omotesando area.

Untitled And stopped into Sarutahiko Coffee.

It was too krazy hot to actually drink some hot coffee, but I really wanted (a photo of) their paper cup...and I was also thankful they had somewhere to sit while I waited for my cup to cool down a bit.

Untitled Down the street I checked out Hugo & Victor and picked up some of their dark chocolate mediants.

Candied almonds, pistachios & raisins top their dark chocolate...delicious!

Untitled Satoshi messaged and said that they had!

We met up along the way and went to check out Nihao, which apparently created the hanetsuki gyoza (potstickers with wings).

We tried their shrimp.

Untitled Original.

Untitled Sizzling hot plate...(click the photo to hear it sizzle)

Untitled Fried.

Untitled Mabo Tofu.

This place is fast! delicious and reasonable. I can see why people will wait for a table.

Plus 2 beers and an apricot wine drink for me our total was about 3500 yen (tax included).

It was a krazy long day. Lots of walking, lots of eating.

p.s. we used miles to fly to Tokyo and we bought the Keikyu Pass (1310 yen) which gets you from Haneda to Sengakuji then usage of all the subway lines for the day.

2-26-6 Matsugaya
Taito, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3841.4811
Closed Wednesdays

Dandelion Chocolate
4-14-6 Kuramae
Taito, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5833.7270
Hours: 10:00-20:00
*call before going, days off not set

Sarutahiko Coffee
4-3-3 Jingumae, inside of H.I.S. tour agency
Shibuya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.5775.2471
Hours: 11:00-19:00

Hugo & Victor
4-12-10 Jingumae, inside Omotesando Hills
Shibuya, Tokyo
Phone: 03.6434.0912
Hours: 11:00-21:00, open when Omotesando Hills is

4-25-7 Kamata
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3734.2180
Lunch: 11:00-14:00, Dinner: 17:00-24:00

Tamadear Hotel
4-14-4 Haneda
Ota, Tokyo
Phone: 03.3741.5573
*free shuttle to Haneda Airport

Friday, October 06, 2017

curry friday

curry friday❤︎ #curry #muji #butterchicken #keema #kaki #persimmon #puertea #tea #カレー #無印良品 #バターチキン #キーマ#柿 #大阪 #プーアル茶 #osaka #japan It's curry friday, it is also the start of a 3-day weekend.

Satoshi's German class starts up tomorrow and we're planning to get out and about Sunday & Monday.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, October 05, 2017


IMG_2185 Came across a new type of sweet potato at Crazy Pantry called Kurisatsu.

In Japanese, "kuri" is chestnut and "satsu" is short for satsuma imo (sweet potato).

Apparently the aroma is supposed to resemble chestnuts while the texture is like sweet potato.

kuri satsu a new type of sweet potato, kind of like chestnut & kind of like sweet potato...delicious❤︎ #kurisatsu #sweetpotato #kagoshima #japan #くりさつ #芋 #鹿児島産 #くりさつごはん I cooked some with some rice, shoyu (soy sauce), mirin (sweet rice wine) and sake (rice wine).

It could've used more salt but this tasted just like kuri gohan. (chestnut rice).

I hope Maeshika still has some purple sweet potato next week, I want to make sweet potato salad...

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

boulangerie un

boulangerie un’s apple tarte❤︎ #apple #tarte #boulangerieun #boulangerie #osaka #japan #林檎 #タルト #ブーランジェリーアン #大阪 This apple tarte from Boulangerie Un was delicious.

I especially liked that the apples had a pink tinge to it.

Oh and kaki (persimmon) are in the markets now too...whoo!

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

foodie thursday in kyoto

Untitled Hiromi had the day off so we went to Kyoto.

We got to Kiln a little early but they wouldn't let us in until noon.

So we went to nearby Murakamiju, a tsukemono shop and browsed. (will show you what I purchased at the end of the post).

Lunch service was super brusque (almost on the verge of rude) but the food came out quite quickly.

We both had the fish burger topped with tartar sauce. The tartar sauce used Murakamiju's shibazuke instead of sweet relish...delicious.

I don't know that I would go back to this restaurant, but am interested in checking out the cafe on the 1st floor...

Untitled After lunch, we went back to Murakamiju and bought some tsukemono then headed across the Kamo River to the Gion area and had some sweets at Zen Cafe.

Wagashi (Japanese sweets) maker Kagizen Yoshifusa has several cafes scattered around Kyoto, this one was tucked away, almost hidden.

We shared this kurikinton, a sweet made of chestnuts good!

Untitled And we also shared this fig cream sandwich.

I don't know where Japan got this idea from but it is different.

Fresh fruits, whipped cream and bread...when you eat it, it is like cake.

The figs were perfectly ripe, this went nicely with strong coffee.

This cafe is really quiet and a nice place just to chill, it was nice to catch up here.

Untitled So, what did I get from Murakamiju? some tsubozuke (like takuan) and namashibazuke (this type is a little more puckery).

I'm glad we had nice weather and that we were able to get out and about.

Thanks for a great day Hiromi!

194 Sendo-cho, Murakamiju Bldg 2F
Shimogyo, Kyoto
Phone: 075.353.3555
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 12:00-15:00 (lunch), 18:00-23:00 (dinner)

190 Sendo-cho
Shimogyo, Kyoto
Phone: 075.351.1737
Hours: 9:00-19:00

Zen Cafe
570 Gion-cho Minami-gawa
Higashiyama, Kyoto
Phone: 075.533.8686
Closed: Mondays
Hours: 11:00-18:00

p.s. if you are interested in crafts, I finally posted something the other day on my craft blog...

Monday, October 02, 2017

fizzy cold brew coffee

Untitled Before it gets too cold here for cold beverages, I thought I should post this.

Since I made carbonated cold brew tea, I thought that I could do it with coffee too.

When I put the instant coffee into the 500 milliliter carbonated water bottle, it started to foam...I should've foreseen what would've happened....

In the past when I had the espresso tonic at Micro Lady Coffee Stand, the barista had told me not to stir the drink too much as it will foam up.

Even the espresso soda from City Bakery had a bit of foam on top too.

So when I opened the carbonated water the next day, I literally saw the bottle erupt...spraying the kitchen backsplash (guess that is why they are called that, yeah?!), leaving me with only a half a bottle of carbonated cold brew coffee.

Still I am glad I tried this, even if I had a lot to clean up afterwards.

If you want to try this, you should dissolve your instant coffee with a little water or use a coffee concentrate in a cup, then add some carbonated water to your drink.

Just be careful, it still really foams up this way too.

I still want to experiment with coffee grains and see what happens, though I may have to wait until next Spring?!

Anyway, did you know that bottled carbonated drinks here have these grooves at the top of their plastic bottles?

I hadn't really paid much attention to it, but recently they had talked about these bottles on tv.

Apparently the grooves help the air escape when you open the drink so that it doesn't go spewing out...I guess they weren't expecting me to make cold brew coffee in their bottle...ha!

Do the carbonated drink bottles where you live have these grooves?

Sunday, October 01, 2017


Untitled The weather dude taught me something new the other day..."If you see a lot of kamemushi (stink bugs), the coming winter will have lots of snow".

I'm kinda excited to see just how much snow we'll get this winter...(sorry if you have to shovel where you live).

(Use your fingers to zoom in on the photo, OR don't if you don't want to see THAT many stink bugs in one place)

Happy October!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

curry gohan

tuesday❤︎ #currygohan #sunnysideup #pear #puertea #rakkyo #カレーごはん #目玉焼き #梨 #らっきょ #プーアル茶 #大阪 #osaka Remember Kaemon's Curry Gohan?

Here's how to make it in your rice cooker.

1 cup rice, washed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon curry powder

Mix well, dissolving curry powder in the water (no lumps) you will cook the rice in.
Cook the rice according to your rice cooker's directions.

NOTES: I used S & B curry powder.

Please make sure the curry powder you use does not have any flour in it, some do so that when you make curry, the curry thickens.

If your curry powder does have flour in it, I am not too sure how your rice will turn out, if possible use the type that have spices only in it.

Satoshi thought it could've had more flavor, but I thought it was just right. Satoshi also thought the rice turned out softer, though I thought the rice was a bit hard/dry.

I topped this with a sunny side up egg and rakkyo (pickled shallots), but you could also add sauteed veggies and or top with your favorite pickles.

I used white rice but if you do use brown rice, you will need to up the amount of water to 1.5 cups of water.

This is definitely picnic/party food, am thinking it will be good as musubi.

I am making this again.

Friday, September 29, 2017

kyushu fair

Untitled We shared this kuri (chestnut) sundae by a Kumamoto dairy at the Kyushu Fair being held at Hankyu Department Store.

Chestnut bits folded into the soft serve topped with two halves of a roasted chestnut.

Untitled We also came across a vendor from Oita prefecture selling fresh bambucha (huge) shiitake.

There were 3 of these in one styrofoam tray and we bought 2 trays.

The first time we cooked it in a non-stick pan then topped with a little butter and shoyu.

The second time was with a little shoyu and squeeze of sudachi (type of lime).

So good! and I'm glad we were able to help a little to get Kumamoto and other Kyushu areas get back on their feet after their natural disasters.