Posted in Art, Feelings, Food, Friends, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Place, Restaurants, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Toranomon, Tokyo

The first Toranomon Hills (Tower) was opened on 11 June 2014.

This is my first visit to Toranomon Hills.

Therefore, this is my first to meet Toranomon.

The second tower, Toranomon Hills Business Tower, was recently opened on 11 June 2020 and there would be additional two Toranomon Hills tower for residential and station by 2022.

I went to Toranomon Yokocho where 26 restaurants are located in a block or one floor.

We hopped restraints to enjoy few dishes.

We had pork skewers at Torishige.

Torishige

There is a distiller for gin: Sake Shokudo Toranomon Joryusho (Liquor Restaurant Toranomon Distiller.

I had Mojito, and

Gifu Lavender Gin

If you want to have varieties of bites; this would be a place.

She is a great guide!

She also took me to one of iconic public arts: 10 m high sculpture “Roots” by Jaume Plensa.

Arigato!

Posted in Experience, Feelings, Food, Japan Technology, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Shopping

Happy 49th Birthday Cup Noodle!

I didn’t know birthday for Cup Noodle is on 18 September 1971.

I should honor and celebrate the birthday together; therefore, I decided to think these are guilty free. hahaha

Nonetheless, I thought I should buy these special birthday package Cup Noodles for a memory and trying Chili Tomato for the first time.

I am traditional for Cup Noodle.

Posted in Cooking, Feelings, Food, Japan Technology, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Place, Travel

Local Instant Noodle: Maneki no Ekisoba (Maneki’s Station Soba Noodle), Himeji – City, Hyogo

Nissin is known as a major player of instant noodle maker and its product, Nissin Cup Noodle, is globally loved.

This Nissin produces locally famous and sold instant noodles.

These two are good examples, Maneki no Ekisoba: Kitsune (Fried Tofu) and Tempura (Tempura Waste – Deep Fried Tempura Batter).

Since after the WWII (year 1949), the noodle shop, Manekino innovated and started serving a noodle dish at the Himeji Station that people can enjoy quickly and deliciously by using Chinese style noodle – ramen and Japanese traditional dashi soup.

As same as other instant noodles, take out soup powder and toppings.

Open and put those back in the bowl.

Add water and wait for four minutes for this.

Tempura
Kitaune

Next time, I should try the actual Maneki no Ekisoba at the Himeji Station.

Posted in Cooking, Daily Life, Feelings, Health, Japanese Food

New Normal: Binge Cooking

Now I bring lunch to work.

I used to go out for lunch to refresh myself but today I eat at my desk to clear my work fast in case Boss allows us to go back earlier than the clock.

I used to buy Take Out Meals from supermarket for dinner; however, during my Stay Home Period, I tried to cook as much as I can to avoid packed food.

Today, I try to continue a good practice.

To ease my weekday tasks, I binge cooking today / on Sunday,

Dumpling – freeze them as emergency food
Beef hamburgs / Beef Patty
Tomato Sauce for spaghetti, pizza, beef hamburgs, etc
Korean Style Zucchini
Dashi (Seaweed and Bonito Stock)

Hopefully these can save me from time and appetite.

Posted in Choco-chan, Family, Feelings, Food, International Culture, Japanese Food, Surprise

The Last Day of Long Weekend

First, I taught UNO to my niece based on rules that I remember.

However, I worried what if I taught her wrongly and she gets confused when she plays the game with friends.

I checked the official rules practices by Japan UNO Association and I changed rules; yes, to my surprise there is Japan UNO Association!

She is only 5 years old and can play with adults by remembering many rules such as same Colour, same Number, Skip, Reverse, +2, +4 and WILD Card and according to the packaging, the game is designed for 7 years old and above!

I am proud of her!

We were so full from lunch the previous day so we skipped dinner and souvenir – Panda Baum (Matcha Baumkuchen or layered cake) .

After playing few games of UNO and having a light breakfast, we opened the box….there is a cute Panda!

The cake is in Panda shape!

We decorated our Panda Baum with Macarons.

It’s cute and delicious!

We all got excited, regardless our age!

It’s fourth day and last day today.

While she was packing, she asked me what date would it be her next visit?

She is asking for DATE!

I told her we should plan again on her school holiday.

I’m glad to know that she enjoyed her stay at my condo and she is looking forward to visiting me again.

On the other hand, Choco looks happier to get attentions and his quietness after guests leaving.

Yes, we finished our roles as host and we shall get some rest.

Posted in Family, Feelings, Food, Friends, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Restaurants, Tokyo

Totally Eel Day

21 July 2020 was this year’s Doyo no Ushi.

Doyo no Ushi is a date for Chinese calendar; therefore, the date for western calendar changes every year.

On Doyo no Ushi, we have a custom to eat Unagi (Eel).

We believe eel is energy food and we encourage to eat eel during summer when we lose energy.

I had my belated Doyo no Ushi (Eel’s day) on 22 July 2020 at Chikuyotei, Ginza for lunch.

It was nice and surely I gained some energy.

When I returned home, Mom reported she bought Eel Obento (take away) for dinner at our family restaurant, Shojikiya, Roppongi.

It reminded me of my grandpa.

We talked about him and memories with him while having our dinner.

I like eel so I don’t mind to have it for two continuous meals.

Each restaurant has different taste (character) on food even though it’s the same dish.

I think I managed to gain energy which I need it for now.

Posted in Cooking, Family, Feelings, Food, Friends, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Place, Shop, Shopping

Furusato Nozei (Home Town Tax Payment Programme)

In 2014, Japanese government introduced new tax incentive system to support local areas: Furusato Nozei (Home Town Tax Payment Programme).

We can purchase local products and services (hotel stay, experience such as diving, etc) to support the area.

We pay for products and services and the government provides incentives for income tax deduction.

There are few Furusato Nozei service providers such as Satofuru, Furunabi, Department Stores, etc.

This time, I purchase Nama Katsuo no Tataki (lightly roasted bonito) from Katsuura-city, Chiba via Satofuru,

My mother side are originally from Katauura; therefore, YES, I would like to support the city and this has sentimental value for me.

I will purchase more products and services from the areas that I would like to support.

This was my first purchase and I’m glad that I was strongly recommended to use this system to enjoy products and services AND tax deduction.

Posted in Choco-chan, Exercise, Feelings, Food, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Restaurants, Surprise, Tokyo, Travel

Trip to Moto-Hakone

The State of Emergency was lifted; weather is getting nice so decided to go to Moto-Hakone for Onsen (Hot Spring).

Choco found his stay over goods at the entrance so he got excited.

On the way to Moto-Hakone, we stopped to get our lunch and I had my BigMac and Ramune Shake.

Ramune shake (Japanese traditional soda flavored shake) is seasonal and limited menu.

It finishes serving either finishing the ingredients or serving duration.

We arrived Moto-Hakone early so that we stopped at Ashinoko (Ashino Lake).

Some people are enjoying fishing.

I could see a fish, very peaceful.

We checked in at Caro Foresta Moto-Hakone Lucia at 3 pm.

This time, I have chosen a western style room.

There are welcome Onsen Tamago (Hot Spring Boiled Eggs) and cookies for Choco.

These Onsen Tamago were boiled at Ohwakudani: the origin of natural Onsen.

These eggs are also known as good luck because we believe one egg can bring us longer life, 9 years, by eating it.

The air is fresh there.

This hotel is dog friendly and I was busy using facilities for Choco.

First, he exercised at the Dog Run (Dog Playground) at the entrance.

Hakone is famous for Onsen (Hot Spring).

The hotel is equipped with Onsen facility for Choco as well!

He had his first Onsen of his life and it was Iou Onsen (Sulfur based Onsen).

I also dipped myself at Onsen.

After refreshing, I had a nice French for dinner.

All dishes are delicious.

I got so excited when I received the dessert plate!

There is Choco!

After dinner, I took Choco for Indoor Dog Run.

This Indoor Dog Run is opened for 24 hours.

Both of us got tired and slept well.

First thing I did on the next day was dipping in the Onsen.

In the morning, I found a dog greeting me from outside!

I had a nice Japanese breakfast.

After breakfast, I took Choco to the Wood Dog Run.

Again, I took him to the Dog Run at the entrance and Indoor.

The check out time is 11 am; therefore, we rest in the room before checking out.

Choco must have so much fun because he slept in the car on the way back to Tokyo.

I had a big breakfast so I had a late lunch at Misoichi, Nakameguro Shop.

I had a basic Miso Ramen with toppings of corns and butter.

I like it!

After unpacking and resting, went for late quick bite to say hello and congratulate reopening after Stay Home Request to our friend, Sushiya no Goto (Goto’s Sushi Shop), Roppongi.

It’s nice to see smiling face of Taisho (Master) and Mama san (Madam).

I enjoyed Sushi very much after two months!?

It was memorable two days.

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.