Posted in Action, Beauty, Choco-chan, Experience, Feelings, Food, Health, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Restaurants, River, Tokyo, Travel, Waterfalls

Memorable Weekend

First I went to Utsunomiya, Tochigi.

This town is known for Gyoza (fried Chinese dumpling).

In fact, this is my first time to try Utsunomiya Gyoza at Utsunomiya.

There is Gyoza Dori (Gyoza Street).

There are many Gyoza specialized shops and Ramen (Japanized Chinese style noodle) and Gyoza restaurants.

The lamp is also in shape of Gyoza.

I queued and had my Gyoza at Goku, Gyoza Dori, Utsunomiya, Tochigi.

Niku (Meat) Gyoza and Jumbo Gyoza

Then proceeded to Nikko, Tochigi.

In Nikko, visited Kegon no Taki (Kegon Fall).

Today, there is a lift to go down to watch Kegon no Taki in front of it.

It’s very cold there and we can still see some snow.

We drove by Chuzenji-ko (Chuzenji Lake) and enjoyed the view from window.

Recently, we enjoyed warm temperature and suddenly its temperature dropped; therefore, we could see some steam from lake which makes lake look more scenic and mysterious.

We drove through woods on the way to Oku-Nikko, also very scenic.

We drove farther and reached Sengokugahara (wetland) where believed God of Mountain conducted battles.

There is another lake, Yuko (Yu Lake) at the entrance of Oku-Nikko area.

We finally reached Oku-Nikko Kogen Hotel.

We can stay this nice Washitsu (Japanese style room) together with Choco.

I went to dip in onsen (hot spring) before dinner.

There are two sections: Lower (bigger) and Upper (smaller).

Both equipped with indoor and outdoor/open-air bath.

Upper
Lower

It’s cold there; so that dipping in Onsen felt really nice.

I became thirsty after dipping in onsen so I enjoyed drinking cold Wakimizu (spring water).

After getting some rest, we had dinner with local sake made for Oki-Nikko Kogen Hotel.

I went to futon (Japanese style bed) early.

Next morning, I woke up with a surprise.

According to weather forecast, it predicted snow in Kanto region.

However, in few days, we will welcome April – Spring.

There could be some snow but I didn’t expect it to be thick.

Well, I was wrong….

It continued snowing and no sign of weakening.

I became panic because I came with normal tyres, not snow tyres.

To calm myself down, I went for morning dip.

It was still early and there were no one.

I supposed not to take any photos at the bath, but it was so romantic.

Quickly got ready and went to breakfast.

There are many varieties of food and there is an egg and bacons in the pot.

Continued monitoring snow and consulted hotel staffs who are local; well, I had to make a hard decision – abundant my car.

I think we made a wise decision because snow is thick and we surely could not drive through these windy roads: Irohazaka.

Reached Tobu Nikko Eki (Station) by hotel free shuttle bus.

Then Took train, Spacia, back to Asakusa, Tokyo.

Choco behaved his best on train.

I had a rich vanilla ice cream on the train while looking at these sceneries.

It’s scary but breath taking sceneries.

We cannot underestimate nature; I safely returned home.

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 Feelings, Food, Friends, Japanese Food, Restaurants, Tokyo

Kainomi, Kanda, Tokyo

I went to quick bite at Kainomi, Kanda, Tokyo, specialized restaurant for Shell.

Basically, it’s a standing bar but I had the only table.

It’s reasonable and delicious.

It has casual dining atmosphere.

What interested me is that we need to make our own drink including simple cocktail such as Highball (whisky and Soda).

Again, food is delicious and VERY economical.

Kanda is known as downtown and this friend of mine is good at discovering a new restaurant.

Cheers and Yammy♪

Posted in Diving, Exercise, Experience, Feelings, Food, Friends, Hotel, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Restaurants, Shop, Shopping, Tokyo, Travel, WordPress

Trip to Miyakojima, Okinawa (Continued)

When I tried to post numerous photos and videos on my diving trip to Palau, the system was jammed.

I noticed WordPress upgraded the system recently and perhaps, I might not face the problem.

Nonetheless, I’m posting other matters on my trip to Miyakojima, Okinawa on this post.

On previous post, I mainly shared about under water matters.

Now I would like to share on over (!?) water matters.

There are many more activities on the ship.

While we are resting between divings, some divers were enjoying fishing.

As a result, they caught Ika (squids)

And Gurukun (Bananafish).

Gurukun is popular Okinawan fish that we can find it easily on the menu of restaurants.

However, to serve in sashimi (raw), it has to be super fresh.

We have to eat it in 10 mins after catching it.

Therefore, this is the only way to try the taste: on the ship!

You might easily guess that both Ika and Gurukun were super delicious!

While we are moving to next point of diving spot, we met dolphins and manta.

I could catch manta’s fin by my eyes but not able to by my camera because it blended in to waves.

If you are lucky, you can also see dolphins and manta.

We had lunch on the ship over looking ocean.

This place is famous for its clearness and colour!

Lunch was nice; these are all home made cooked dishes

We also enjoyed food and activities in town.

Nice local food and local music at Bunmya.

We had Awamori (distill made of Thai rice which contains 35 – 40 percent alcohol) and local beer, Orion.

The store taught us local way of enjoying Awamori – with canned black coffee.

To our surprise, it’s so nice!!

The musician sang with Sanshi (Okinawan local guitar).

He plays a traditional music instrument, but he rocked the place!

My body started moving automatically!

The next day, Deiriguchi.

We asked other diving mates to join us for dinner and we enjoyed drinking, eating and laughing together.

Yes, we had fried Gurukun (right bottom corner) as well.

The final night, we had our dinner at Yakiniku Inkazi (BBQ Inkazi).

We tried different Awamori every night: Tyumya, Kuon, Ryukyu Ocho, etc.

Every night, despite how full we were, we returned to the Steak House Leon to end our day.

The last day, we woke up late lazily.

We even had our breakfast at our room. hahaha

Since our body was tired from 3-day diving.

We went for massage at Hogushi-Ya (Unwinding House).

After unwinding our body, we went to Steak House Leon for last visit.

I’m gonna miss this…

Then I walked the street for looking for a souvenir.

The place, Miyakojima is famous for production of salt and found a salt specialized shop, Maasuya.

I enjoyed soft cream (ice cream) with free flavored salt.

I bought souvenirs from this shop.

However, I noticed I’ve been to this shop by looking at their products but in Azabu-Juban in Tokyo.

The sales lady happily reported to me that the company has a satellite shop in Azabu-Juban.

I bought souvenirs that I could buy in neighbor. Ahhhhh

Well, good prodicts should be accepted at any markets anyway.

However, sadly I learned the satellite shop in Tokyo will close on 15 March 2020.

The last thing we did before heading to airport is to cross Irabu Ohashi (Irabu Big Bridge) which we crossed under it every morning.

It’s 3,540 m long bridge to connect Miyakojima and IrabuJima.

It’s longest bridge in Japan for free access.

In terms of length, it is fourth longest bridge in Japan after Aqua Line (4,384 m), Akashi Kaikyo Ohashi (3,911 m) and Kansai Kuko Renrakubashi (Kansai Airport Connecting Bridge: 3,750 m).

I believe I’ve done all what I could do in Miyakojima.

I would like to thank my friend to plan and reserve nice restaurants and n advance so that we won’t miss out any good food and time together.

Posted in Diving, Exercise, Feelings, Food, Friends, Hotel, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Restaurants, Travel

Trip to Miyakojima, Okinawa

Monday, 24 February 2020 was a Japanese national holiday in observance of replacement of New Emperor’s Birthday on Sunday, 23 February 2020.

I took few more days off to go to Miyakojima, Okinawa from 21 – 25 February 2020.

There is a direct flight from Haneda Airport to Miyakojima which takes three hours to my surprise – three hours…

I look forward to use the lounge for domestic flight and I thought we are going to have a bite there.

However, I was informed that there aren’t any food.

When I reached at Haneda Airport, I spotted Mac Donald and suddenly I had a craving for Sausage Egg Muffin, regular Mac Breakfast.

Nonetheless, we stopped at ANA Lounge.

It’s time for boarding.

This is when we realized the flight takes three hours.

The distance must be almost same as reaching to Guam…?

Another world, I could go to overseas with three hours flight.

Today, ANA briefs flight safety in Kabuki (Japanese traditional play) Style.

As you can see, we are not provided an individual screen.

We need to be creative to enjoy flight entertainment which I failed to do so by forgetting to bring my head set for iPhone X.

We are finally approaching to Miyakojima, Okinawa.

It takes two hours to the capital city of Okinawa, Naha, meaning Miyakojima is located much farther.

Once we reached Miyakojima, we checked in at Coral Island Hotel.

We unpacked and waited for other friend from Osaka to join us for dinner.

Unfortunately, this nice Okinawan and Miyakojima local food restaurant, Bocha Tatsuya doesn’t allowed to take any photos of food.

I took some photos for my memory but sorry, I should not post any to respect the restaurant.

This restaurant is must go to enjoy delicious local Miyakojima food.

Despite enjoying various Miyakojima local food, we followed the Okinawan custom – eat steak for last meal of the day.

We went to famous Steak House Leon for a steak and local beer, Orion.

Please remember we just had various dishes and we even emptied two bottles of Awamori (distill made of Thai rice which contains 30 – 45 percent alcohol) at the restaurant.

However this is what each of us had after good food. hahaha

The hotel provides us simple breakfast such as bread, egg or yogurt and drink (tea, coffee, milk and water).

I could enhance it by buying salad and yogurt myself but I’ve been having nice dinner so these are sufficient.

We engaged Aqua Story for three-day diving (3 dives x 3 days).

We passed famous Irabu Ohashi (Irabu Big Bridge) every day.

The diving spots for Miyakojima are famous for Chikei (landscape).

We dive through a hole, looking at cracks and shape of rocks and how sun light reaches at the bottom of ocean.

Sometimes we go up to surface and dive back to return.

Posted in Art, Feelings, Food, Friends, Work

Special Home Cooked Malaysian Lunch

I was invited for home cooked Malaysian lunch!

It’s all done by one individual and he is not a professional chef; he is a corporate officer!

It’s nicely presented and it’s not only the look; I admit it’s delicious and even better than restaurants!

He will soon finish his term in Japan and to return to his headquarter.

We supposed to organize the Good Luck gathering for him but he invited us for his home cooked lunch instead.

It was nice working with you on projects and hope to see you soon for good laughs.

Matane! (See you soon!)

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 Action, Diving, Exercise, Experience, Feelings, Food, Friends, Hotel, Nature, Place, Restaurants, Shop, Shopping, Surprise, Travel

Trip to Palau

I was absent from Word Press but there are so many things that I wanted to post.

Sorry, I was too tired. hahaha

I took days off from 31 January – 5 February 2020 to go to Palau for diving.

I haven’t dived for a while so surely I was excited.

Unfortunately, the direct flight between Narita and Palau by Delta is no longer in service.

We took United to Guam and change flight.

I didn’t know it was preferred to obtain ESTA (electric VISA for the US) for transit at Guam.

We need to go through immigration to exit and re-enter at Guam.

I busily registered myself but I received a notice that it will take two days to process it.

I needed the internet access and rushed to the gate.

Hoping application would be processed by the time we reached to Guam.

I continued to register for others till losing internet connection before departure.

My seat was facing back so I could have a clear view of airplanes heading for runway

And taking off.

I purchased inflight internet access for an hour to complete registration for ESTA for friends.

I’ve done what we could do at that time.

I had Loco Moco for inflight lunch.

I thought the way serving lemon tea is cute.

Now landing to Guam.

Unfortunately, ESTA wasn’t approved by the time we landed.

However, we were informed by a flight attendant that we could queue at the line for ESTA holder for transit.

We exited and re-entered.

We had good four hours to connecting flight.

We chatted over drinks and light snacks.

United’s flight video is collaborated with Star Wars!!!

This might be showing at previous flight but I was too busy registering ESTA so I’m might have missed it. hahaha

I had sandwich for inflight meal.

It looks simple yet nice.

The person next to me placed her arm on my inflight monitor controller so I could not view anything.

When I managed to press it while she moved her arm but later she placed her arm to change the channel. Sigh

She was watching Japanese movie with English subtitle so I watched her screen.

It was less than 2 hour flight but I felt it longer…

I didn’t know that Palau is stop over for this flight and this continued to Manila.

I had to walk over two passengers to exit. Ahhhhh

Finally, we arrived at Palau and the Penthouse Hotel in Koror.

The internet connection is superb and WCTC shopping center is nicely located in few minutes walk away.

The hotel provides blue beach towel at the counter.

The next day we had a breakfast at the hotel restaurant.

For the next day, we bought breakfast at the supermarket at WCTC such as anpan (red bean bread), yogurt and orange juice for breakfast.

We departed for diving shop, Cruse Control.

Nice staffs looked after us.

I decided to take a license for NITROX this time.

We came to Palau in early February, especially new moon for spawning season for Tsunodashiuo (Moorish Idols).

If we are lucky we could see over few hundreds even thousand Moorish Idols in a group.

We dived mainly at Blue Corner where we can expect many various fish and of course Moorish Idols.

To my surprise there are many sharks swimming under a group of Moorish Idols.

I didn’t know sharks are not good at hunting.

Therefore, a shark targets Moorish Idols when they become weak at the spawning season.

Unfortunately; they swim deeper than us and light won’t reach them so it’s not clear on the photo.

However, these shadows indicate sharks and you would know there are MANY.

We were lucky that we managed to watch Moorish Idols at most of our dives.

We also watched other fish.

Can you find a fish?

And at the German Channel, we also caught Mantas!

I even watched Manta Train!

However, I noticed there is limited capacity for one post.

I will post the movie of Manta Train on the different post.

Sayonara Koror, Sayonara Moorish Idols!

These are lunch that I had on the boat.

And at the shop.

After 14 dives over 3.5 days, I joined a half day trip to Shell Island and Jelly Fish Park for snorkeling which is operated by Antelope.

Shell Island and also called Inoki Island.

Japanese retired Professional wrestler, Inoki has a property here.

It’s Shell Island because there are Shakogai (Giant Clams).

And some fish

The next is the major destination… heading for Jelly Fish Park!!!!

When I visited Palau in 2017, Jelly Fish Park was closed because of death of Jelly Fish due to global warming.

It was so much fun!

There are so many of jelly fish and these are harmless to touch!

Every night, we had nice food such as Thai, Indian and Sushi for supper.

On the last night, we and staffs of diving shop gathered to have a party at Italian restaurant.

Our departure flight was at 3:35 am, I slept through the returned flights.

I remember having breakfast only. hahaha

Posted in Beauty, Feelings, Food, Friends, Gadget, Health, Japan Technology, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Shopping, Travel

Protecting from Flu

I’m not feeling well for nearly a month now.

I start using these to comfort and protect me from flu.

I have sensitive skins so I don’t like to wear a mask.

However, it prevents me from virus and I really need to avoid virus because I’ve been continuously catching it.

First I was diagnosed virus flu followed by virus gastroenteritis.

I’ve been buying masks from various manufacturers.

To my surprise, it doesn’t hurt my ear nor damaging my skin.; the mask has improved I guess.

Some masks are designed face to look smaller.

Looking at my condition, wearing mask will become my daily routine.

I bought a box of mask which has three layers of filter to block house dust, pollen and PM 2.5.

These are in individual pack which allows me to carry one extra in case I need to change it.

I also bought Ryukakusan.

Ryukakusan is name of product as well as company name.

Nowadays I buy their herbal medicated cough drops.

My friend recommended me their original powdered herbal medicines for throat.

According to her, she takes it whenever she feels any irritation at the throat.

I tried it for the first time and I agree it works directly and more effectively.

I have never shown interest in this traditional product which has been aiding throat for 200 years.

I didn’t even know the drugstore sells this traditional medicated powder. hahaha

I bought the smallest size (20 g) for trial and also to carry it if effective.

It so cute that it contains a small spoon.

And my spa beautician made and gave me lavender body milk lotion.

According to her, lavender has sanitation effect.

So sweet of her to add lavender essence to body lotion.

Yes, when I felt worse, I should have massage my body to increase blood flow to fight back virus.

And lastly, I bought this Egyptian mint essential oil when I visited Egypt last year knowing my throat is weak.

I should burn Egyptian mint oil with Egyptian aroma burner to comfort my throat.

I should practice all these to get better or even not to get sick!

Posted in Beauty, Books & Magazines, Feelings, Food, Japan Technology, Japanese Culture, Shop, Shopping, Tokyo

25 January is Japanese Beauty Day

It is birthday of Ms. May Ushiyama, the founder of my beauty salon – Hollywood Beauty Salon.

She greatly contributed development of Japanese beauty industry; therefore, in 2013, her birthday, 25 January, is registered as Japanese beauty day.

I went to spa today and received one stem of rose.

The company organized the event on the 7th Floor so that I paid a visit.

I was welcomed with a plate of high tea and received a goody bag with spa’s tabloids, memo pad and May Ushiyama’s book titled Road to Happiness.

Her beauticians still respects her and highly talk about her.

According to the introduction, she describes her philosophy to become happy.

She was dynamic so I should be able to learn something from her/this book.

(May Ushiyama

25 January 1911 – 13 December 2007)