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, Beauty, Feelings, Food, Friends, Japan Technology, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Shop, Shopping, Tokyo

Toraya @ Tokyo Midtown Roppongi

I went to Toraya to look for Japanese traditional confectionery to host my Singaporean friends for lunch on Sunday.

The shop sells their confectioneries at one counter and exhibits history of their confectionery based on theme.

This time, tray.

I like this flower tray among them.

Yes, we image to use Japanese designed tray for Japanese food.

However, the exhibition is introducing these trays can be used for Western food as well.

I bought dessert for lunch from there and it came with seasonal limited edition of Origami (folding paper) edition paper bag.

So cute!

I bought these.

Next year is year of Rat.

Rat designed Yokan (sweet bean jelly) and Monaka (sweet bean puff).

I like them and hope they did, too.

Posted in Exercise, Feelings, Food, Friends, Golf, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Mt. Fuji, Nature, Place, Restaurants, Travel

Christmas Golf

My friend arranged Christmas Golf at Satsuki Golf Club Kanuma Course.

I caught 6:50 am subway for Kita Senju Station to catch Tobu Express Kegon 5 (Departing Kita Senju Station at 7:42am); this train reaches far as Nikko, a nice UNESCO heritage place.

The uniqueness of this train is it’s entrance is located at platform of other line.

I enjoyed peaceful Winter views from the window.

There are many ducks.

Mountains with snow.

I even spotted Mt. Fuji!

Mountains can be seen clear and closer.

Kegon 5

The club bus will wait for us at Shin Kanuma Station.

We checked in at the club and got ready.

Today, we can drive in the cart in the course; yeah, we can save energy!

It was nice weather, sunshine without cold wind.

I enjoyed the first half; then I had a Genghis Khan, Mongolian Style mutton BBQ for lunch.

I played okay for a player who hasn’t played for nearly two years (Score: 95).

After the game, we quickly took a bath to catch a club bus back to Shin Kanuma Station.

We went to our usual place, Micchan for after game party and Bonenkai (Year End Gathering).

We wanted to continue chatting, eating and drinking but we had a train to catch.

We continued on the train.

We even stopped at Kita Senju Station to further continued.

I had a good laugh with my friends so I could conclude that my Christmas was ver Merry.

Posted in Family, Feelings, Food, Japanese Culture, Music, Place, Restaurants, Tokyo

Christmas Concert @ Suntory Hall, Akasaka

Dad was invited for Christmas Concert and I was his date on Wednesday, 18 December 2019.

Some organ music and Symphony No 9, classic collection for Christmas in Japan.

We also received a drink ticket so I had a glass of champagne at the break.

After the concert, we went for dinner at Italian restaurant Brianza 6.1, Ark Hills South Tower B1F, Akasaka, Tokyo.

I started with Blue Sparkling Wine.

This is a cocktail, Champagne with blue liqueur.

It looks mysterious.

The place is casual but food is delicious and potion is large.

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Choco-chan, Experience, Feelings, Food, Friends, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Travel

Short Trip to Unohama Onsen, Niigata

I didn’t have a proper weekend for for rest for months so I took Monday and Tuesday off.

I also needed time to clean dirty dishes and clear garbage from gathering.

It was before noon, Choco and I packed up and left house.

It’s his first stay over.

We stopped every two hours for Choco’s toilet; nonetheless, it’s good to take a break for a driver as well.

We took a quick bite for lunch at the parking area.

It was a nice clear day.

I expected to see Autumn leaves changing in colours.

We drove to mountainous area and the scenery became more scenic.

There is snow….

Kanetsu Tunnel

Enjoying looking at the rice field after harvest.

We stopped at the Parking Area for toilet break.

There is some snow and I wanted Choco to experience his first snow.

I thought he would enjoy it but he didn’t; he angrily asked me to pick him up.

We continued driving country side.

We finally arrived Unohama Onsen (Unohama Hot Spring) Wan Yado, Niigata.

Our room is typical traditional Japanese style Tatami room.

Choco looked happy.

The inn had a problem with boiler so we couldn’t use shower.

Therefore, we went to the inn across the street – Mikaku – to use their bath.

There is a bath inside

And outside (this style is called Goemon Buro, bath tub is in the shape of bowl).

The beauty part of our inn is there is a room for Choco.

Incan freely take and use basic necessities for Choco such as treats, food bowls, toilet sheets, etc.

I can ask to look after Choco as well (charged service).

We had a private room for our dinner.

Choco could join us and he had his plate as well.

We ordered crab menu; there are various way of cooking crabs.

Boiled

Nabe (Pot Dish)

Osashimi no Funamori (raw fish on boat)

Grilled

Other fish dish and Chawanmushi (steam egg)

Tenpura

Rice and Soup

Oops I forgot to take a photo of dessert Matcha (Green Tea) Pudding.

We are all tired so we went to bed early.

Next morning, we started with a morning bath by visiting Mikaku.

I didn’t notice a manager was quietly sitting at reception.

So cute!

I got ready and went down for breakfast.

We cook fish on our own plate.

It’s a long way back home, about 4 hours to return Tokyo.

We left the place after our breakfast.

People visit Onahama for beach.

It’s Autumn/Winter; therefore beach is quiet.

We took a different road back to Tokyo.

We admired different mountains such as Myoko.

Choco looked excited during the trip; however, once we reached home…. he suddenly looks exhausted.

I hope Choco enjoyed his first stay over.