Posted in Choco-chan, Family, Feelings, Flower, Food, Hotel, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Shop, Shopping, Tokyo, Travel

Short Trip to Hokuto, Yamanashi

I don’t have any social life for past three weeks.

The weather is getting better in Tokyo, reaching over 20C.

Sakura starts blooming.

I decided to plan a short trip with Choco for refreshment.

Well, Mom followed us.

I thought it would be nice to take Choco for a walk in fresh air in woods.

I still need to avoid contacting people so I decided staying at cottage, Pension Gin No Michi, Hokuto-City, Yamanashi.

The Pension serves dinner and breakfast at cottage so we can avoid people and be with Choco.

Choco doesn’t like to be left alone.

It’s 160 km away from Tokyo and it should take 2.5 hours to reach there.

However, traffic was so heavy….. to go out Tokyo, it took more than 2 hours.

I took a break at highway Hatsukari service area.

I bought Shingen-Mochi and Premium Shingen-mochi Ice Cream and Matcha (Green Tea) Shingen-mochi Ice Cream.

Shingen-Mochi is Kofu (Yamanashi) local confectionery combination of glutinous rice flour mochi, soybean powder and brown sugar syrup.

There are many more products developed by this original Shingen-mochi.

After taking a break, I continued my journey and it took me 4.5 hrs to reach the pension.

We finally reached the Pension.

There are flooring living room connected to a small tatami room (tatami mat room).

Living room is equipped with kitchen.

Then wash room

Bath room

And toilet.

As mentioned, I wanted to take Choco for a walk in woods; however, it was too cold.

In Tokyo, it’s over 20C, so I only brought leather jacket.

It’s only 4C here…

I decided to stay in.

Choco had so many to experience and learn.

I enjoyed home cooked dinner at the room.

The next morning, it was a nice sunny day.

Hopefully, Choco enjoyed fresh air.

I enjoyed home cooked breakfast.

They also baked these breads.

It was a brief stay but very refreshing.

We headed back home.

On the way back, I stopped by at service area for one last glance of Minami (South) Alps and shopping.

The local flower farmer is selling flower bouquet for JPY 1,200 (USD 12) – very reasonable!

Currently, Japanese government encourages people to buy flower because flower business is affected by corona virus.

March supposed to be high demand period for flower for graduation ceremony; however, now almost all schools cancel the graduation ceremony.

I love flowers so I bought one.

I also looked for souvenirs.

There are many Shingen-mochi products.

I bought Shingen-mochi Pudding, Monaka (Wafer and Shingen-mochi (glutinous rice powdered mochi)) and Kit Kat.

I love the original and these are all nice, especially pudding.

It took only 2.5 hours to reach home, meaning there are so many cars on the road yesterday.

I think many of us got board. ahaha

It was very relaxing trip for me.

Posted in Choco-chan, Family, Feelings, Food, Friends, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Shopping

Hinamatsuri (Dolls Festival)

It’s 3rd March.

The day for girls.

Once a girl, always a girl.

My house is decorated with Hina Ningyo (Emperor and Emperess/ King and Queen).

These are collection of Mom and I.

Actually, there are more.

Perhaps, next year, we decorate all.

I bought Hinakamaboko (Dolls Surimi/Fish Cake) manufactured by Kagosei because I thought it is cute.

I’ve been hearing bad news but at least it is a nice springy day today on my birthday.

I cannot ask my friends to go out to celebrate my birthday due to COVID-19; but Yes, I’m having my red wine and cakes and Choco is celebrating with me. Yeah!

Posted in Family, Feelings, Food, Shop, Shopping

Starbucks Rewards Voucher

Dad gave me Starbucks Rewards Voucher worth JPY 700 (USD 7).

I went to Starbucks to buy seasonal Valentine coffee beans, Guatemala Casi Cielo – Bright with a Smooth Cocoa Finish.

According to a staff, it is light comparing to Starbucks Pike Place with a slight chocolate flavor.

I cannot wait to try it!

I will serve it to you too, Dad.

Posted in Family, Feelings, Health, Japanese Culture, Shrine and Temple, Tokyo

Izumo no Kamishio (Izumo Shrine Salt)

At year end, on 20 December 2019, I visited Izumo Roppongi Betsuin (Izumo Shrine Roppongi Branch) in Roppongi for pray.

I wanted to welcome New Year freshly.

The second largest shrine, Izumo Taisha, is located in Izumo-City, Shimane.

This is Roppongi Branch.

I brought back Izumo no Kamishio (direct translation is Izumo’s God Salt); this is purifying salt.

My brother transferred his flue to me so that I’m not feeling well.

To ease my day, I purified myself to calm down myself this morning before I left for work.

I just want to go back home.

Posted in Art, Choco-chan, Family, Feelings, Food, Japan Technology, Japanese Culture

Oshogatsu (New Year)

On 3rd January, I visited my uncle.

We had afternoon tea and Domino Pizza for dinner.

He is a mint collector and showed me his new collection: Previous Emperor’s 30th Anniversary Memorial Coin.

And New Emperor’s Coronation Memorial Coin.

He promised to give me a coin when I visit him.

This time, he gave me Tokyo Olympics Badminton coin.

On 4th and 5th January, I was like this…my brother transferred his flue and I feel sickly tired.

My Oshogatsu holiday is ending. Boo hoo.

I’ll go back to office tomorrow for the first working day in 2020.

Let’s enjoy 2020!

Posted in Art, Cooking, Family, Feelings, Food, Friends, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Mt. Fuji, Shrine and Temple, Tokyo, Work

Akemashiteomedetogozaimasu (A Happy New Year)

I worked till 31 December 2019 on New Year’s Eve.

It was so quiet in Ginza.

I could be only one working in my office building.

Even Japanese government office close from 28 December – 3 January to celebrate New Year.

My boss called and allowed me to leave earlier; I left happily at 2:45 pm.

I was feeling sentimental looking at last sunset of 2019.

I went to pick up my niece.

The road was clear so there was no traffic.

I wanted to surprise her so I decorated her room with balloons while she was taking a bath.

I succeeded it!

She was so excited!

I also took a bath to welcome new year freshly.

We ate soba (buckwheat noodle) for tradition, wishing for a long life like soba.

It turned midnight…we greeted Akemashite omedetogozaimasu and A Happy New Year then popped a party cracker!

We all got excited for a while and went to bed at 1:30 am.

I woke up lazily on Gantan (New Year Day).

Most of shops and restaurants closed today.

We ate Osechi (New Year Dishes) for brunch.

Each dish has a meaning.

For example, Kurikintoki which is made by sweet potato and its colour in gold means wishing to have gold (richness), etc, etc.

And Ozoni (chicken, vegetables and mochi/rice cake in soup)

After brunch, we paid a visit to our family shrine, Tenso Jinja (Tenso Shrine) for New Year prayer.

I wrote my wish on Ema (Wish Designed Board) and I used this picture for my New Year Greeting eCard.

We had a break after returned from the shrine.

Niece and I made Monaka.

We fill Anko (sweet bean paste) on monakanokawa (monaka shell/wafer).

We can adjust the amount of anko.

There are ume (plum) and fukuro (owl) shapes.

Based on astronomy, I believe nothing much of difference from yesterday’s; however, it is the first sunset on New Year’s Day.

I look forward for more adventures in 2020!

Akemashiteomedetogozaimasu!

Posted in Art, Family, Feelings, Food, Japan Technology, Place, Restaurants, Tokyo

Santa Hunting

First, we visited the exhibition organized by Fuji Film at Tokyo Midtown Roppongi: Merry Many Santa Clauses.

There are Merry Many Santas!

Even enjoying summer by wearing swimming suits. hahaha

Then we found Fuji Film currently conducts a stamp rally for Fuji Film’s Instax magnets.

My niece loves to participate in stamp rally therefore we went to look for another stamp stand.

While we searching for a stamp, we reached to Infinity Santa booth.

There are many Santas in a booth for us to take pictures with them.

I’m taking this photo from the side but if we stand at the center of the booth to take photos, we would be nicely surrounded by Santas.

There is a trick; inside of booth is covered by mirrors to create Infinity Santa!

Finally, we found a stamp stand,

We successfully collected one.

We had our Christmas cake together.

It’s not necessary to place candles for Christmas cake but there are some candles from past birthday cakes so I just placed them.

It looks more merry, right?

Merry Christmas!