Toshikoshi Soba --- Buckwheat Noodle on New Year's Eve

I just finished eating this. Soba, chopped green onion and wasabi as condiments with cold sake.

( Yamada Nishiki from Kobe )

Now I finished ( finally ) all the cleaning of the room and am ready for new year. The TV program ( kohaku ) is still on. It feels good to have new year. Refreshing. Hope 2008 will be a good year for me and everybody in the world.

Year End TV Program

I am watching NHK , the public broadcaster in Japan. They are broadcasting year end program
"Kohaku Uta Gassen" ( = Red-women vs. White-men song competition ) . It is 58th this year.
Started at 7:20 p.m. and will last till just before midnight. Since I was child, watching this program has been a custom. After the program, we eat soba-noodle ( This is called Toshikoshi Soba = buckwheat noodle eaten on New Year's Eve) listening to Night Watch Bell. This bell rings 108 times , which is the number of human earthly desires. Wait a moment, I will post the photo of the noodle later or tomorrow morning. You will see our traditional new year food as well.

Wish you all Happy New Year and Full of Happiness !


When You Are Invited by Japanese Friends

Well, I would like to write about Japanese custom today. Be on time, if you are invited by Japanese or ask them if you should show up on time or be fashionably late. I have been educated in Japan ,but since I have foreign relatives and many foreign friends, sometimes my way of thinking is not very Japanese. While ago, a group of my friends asked me " how come you always show up later when we throw party ? ". For them, if they say " OK, let's start the party at my place at 1:00 p.m. ", you are supposed to show up at 1:00 p.m. It is not all of them and not all of the parties. For instance, if it is business party planned around 6:00 p.m., it is OK to be little late. However, if it is small parties and arranged by senior people, be careful. Just making one call to let them know that you will be late will save you. Otherwise, they might take your not showing at all or be late without any notice as rude attitude although you have no bad intention. Some people accept your attitude and never mind, but some people do mind it and next time you might not be invited. I don't want to sound too strict, but it is always nice to know the local manner to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding.
When I host a party at my place, I would appreciate it if people show up like 10 , 15 min. late, because sometimes I am not ready being busy with cooking etc. Also, I have been told by my American friends and others, " Be fashionably late " since it is a manner. The group who asked me why I was late were very Japanese people. So, I explained that and apologized if it caused any inconvenience. Since then, for this group's gathering, I try to show up on time. On the other hand, with the gathering of foreign friends, I try to be flexible because people are more easy going. It is sometimes difficult since I feel like I have to have multiple personalities. Yet, this is probably a typical cultural gap I should understand and be a bridge for Japanese and foreign people. Let me add one more thing. If you book restaurant in Japan and if you think you might be late, please just ring them and let them know that you are 10 min. late or 15 min. late since it helps the restaurants to be prepared and keep your reservation. I talked to a friend who owns barbecue restaurant near my place. She says all her customers call if they are late even 5 min. She appreciates it since she can plan the next reservation based on that. Some restaurants cancel your reservation if you don't show up and are late more than 20 min., so please be aware of that.

Broiled Saury with Salt

Dinner at Tonsui ( Reasonable set menu restaurant in Shimokitazawa ).
Samma ( Saury ) is broiled with sprinkled salt.
Steamed white rice, pickled cabbage and miso soup ( cabbage and tofu).
Simple, healthy, light menu and also reasonable.
The chef of this restaurant is probably early 60's ? He and his wife are always friendly and nice. 680 yen for this set menu is also quite reasonable. I 've been busy with cleaning my place toward new year. This kind of place is precious for this busy time.
2-39-13 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
They have take out menu also. There are plastic replicas in front of the restaurant.
You can order it through the window. It takes about 10 to 15 min.
While waiting, you can stroll around the shops on the same street.


Simple Dinner

December is busy month with many Bonenkai ( direct translation is " party to forget the year" )
with various kinds of groups. It is nice to get together with friends, business friends , associates etc. In our busy life, you cannot get to see friends very often. When it is with business associates or clients, it is nice to have good food and get drunk a bit and feel closer than before.
On the other hand, it is costly and sometimes my stomach says " I miss simple food which you cook at home. " So, the left is the one I had the other day. Simple and light. I cooked rice and miso soup only. Miso soup has green veggie similar to spinach. The middle one is the deli I bought at food store located basement of Tokyu Department Store. It is seasoned herring , field mustard ( green veggie ) and herring roe ( yellow ones). The little red pieces are chopped hot pepper. I don't know how to make it at home,but it tastes healthy.

Once in a a while --- McDonald's

Once in a while I get this sudden urge to eat hamburger of McDonald's. Yesterday, I had this BIG MAC. I don't remember if this size here is smaller than other countries'. This was 390 yen and the ginger ale was 100 yen. So, total is 490 yen which is equivalent to 4 US dollars or 2.5 British pound.
I almost ordered MEGA MAC, but was not sure if I could finish it.
So didn't challenge it this time. It looked like MEGA MAC had 4 pieces of beef pate. mmm. Next time. Anyways, I go to McDonald's like once every 2, 3 months. It is good to have it once in a while. I remember when I had In & Out hamburger in San Diego since it was sooooo good. Handmade ones are much better with juicy taste. Still, this kind of fast food is also convenient and good to have once in a while. Lately, it seems they are trying to make healthier impressions by having salad menus. Well, it is nice, but if I want to have real healthy menu, I would go to somewhere else or cook at home.


Kaikaya---Sea Food Restaurant in Shinsen

I had dinner with a friend of mine last night. I picked this restaurant where I hadn't visited for a while. This is Kaikaya---Sea Food Restaurant near Shinsen station.

It is casual, lively dinner place and good for friends' gathering and for casual parties. Their fish is fresh. They have all sorts of seafood menu from sashimi to creative fusion dishes.

One stop from Shibuya ( by local train ) on Inokashira-line.

We had this Mini-Sashimi plate, Crab meat wraps etc.

They have Shochu Cocktails, Sake and Wine.

It seems the place is popular among foreign people. Whenever I visit here, there are at least two , three groups of foreign people enjoying their food and service.

23-7 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo


Sydney Trip VII

In Sydney, I had this breakfast one morning in the hotel room.
Across from the hotel, there was a mini-mart. They have heated oven in the shop. In there, I found Mrs. Mac's Beef Pie Series.
It seems like a pie brand, so I picked this Mrs. Mac's Premium Steak Cruizer. Heavy for breakfast ? No,no, it is handy size and not heavy, besides it is yummy. I gained the power to start up the day.

Illumination at MIDTOWN --- Ocean of Lights

This is another lighting in front of Ritz Carlton.
It is spread over the field. Beautiful and Sigh.

These lightnings & decorations are art. Looking at beautiful things on streets are so nice. It is like enjoying arts for free of charge.

How is your town's Christmas ?

Christmas Tree in front of Ritz Carlton Tokyo

I had a meeting yesterday afternoon at MIDTOWN, a complex of office building, shopping mall & hotel.
This is the tree in front of RITZ CARLTON.
There were so many people in MIDTOWN.
It is getting cold in Tokyo, but this kind of festive mood is warm and I enjoy it.


Sydney Trip ( VI )

This is the bar called " Establishment". ( on George St. ) If you are in Sydney, this is probably a must to visit. A friend of mine recommended this bar before my departure, but I had forgotten. Then, despite of her busy schedule, Sarah took me there at my very last night in Sydney... Thanks to her. The bar is owned by a family who has been in Fashion industry ( it said so in some guide book ) and transformed this whole complex as entertaining bar, restaurant and club building. Cool and Stylish. Yet, comfortable and relaxing. At many of the places in Sydney, I felt prices were high, I think the main reason is the foreign exchange rate since last time I felt here that things were pretty reasonable, even cheap. ( Don't worry though, at this bar, I felt drinks were reasonable. )
I have to ask Japanese politicians and corporate managements to make stronger Japan to make stronger Yen. In any case, I had TOOHEY beer there, my favourite beer in Australia.

Cafe in Inokashira Park

This is the cafe My friend and I had a cup of coffee and green tea cake. ( Photo )

It is next to Peppermint Cafe, which is also nice, but if you are older and prefer quiet place, this smaller coffee shop is a recommendation.

I forgot the name of the place, sorry. It is near the center bridge
of the pond.

Inokashira Park Near Kichijoji

This was early December.
Leaves were changing colors.
I was brought up near this area and my school was close here.
This year, I visited this park during Cherry Blossom season and this time. Always nice and relaxing. ( Be careful though. During Cherry Blossom season, almost everywhere you try to sit, there are blue sheets with people who have kept the blocks for them. )

What is Your Image on Japanese Food ?

What is the Japanese food you can think of ??? I am wondering if I do write a story about it, what would be a good Japanese food that foreign people would be interested in ? Also, is it food ? Table manner ? Restaurant ?

I would like to hear foreign people's opinion. Please make comments here.

Food is something we eat for living, but it also involves friends gathering, family conversation,
Children's education, Entertainment, Health.... So, I feel it is actually very deep.

When we eat good food, it makes us smile before thinking. Therefore, I have great respect for people....Mothers , Fathers who cook food for their children everyday, Restaurant Chef who give power , energy and smile for the clients.....

Birthday Party for 2 Girls

This is the continuation of the birthday party for 2 girls.
After having champagne, we moved to a Mexican restaurant in
Harajuku. The food in the photo is fried pork skin and salsa.
Then the band came over and started singing for us.

It feels like being in Mexico at this restaurant.
If you are just two or three, the price could be pricey for
the food and drinks, but if you go in a group and share food
and drinks ( we ordered two pitchers of Margarita) ,
it is pretty good deal.

The room we were in for this party was smaller one.
It was cozy. Another floor downstairs is also nice, which feels like visiting courtyard of Mexican friend's.

Our group , which had British , Brazilian, Japanese and American
enjoyed their food , music and the atmosphere.

Fonda de la Madrugada
Vila Bianca B1, 2-33-12 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku,
Tokyo 150-0001 TEL:03-5410-6288


View from Manly Ferry Port

The photo I took after the arrival at Manly Ferry Port.
I was visiting Sarah's office for the meeting.
Nice peaceful town on the beach.
30 min. ride from Sydney.


Sydney Trip ( V )

Look at this mussels. I ate all of them.
Even if you don't like fishy mussels usually, try this ! They are so fresh and don't have fishy smell. This Belgian Beer Cafe Sarah took me to is located in Rocks ( on Harrington St. ) , where you can enjoy nice decor, service and quality food. There are several flavours for mussels such as garlic, veggie etc.... I tried this broth and veggie one. Delicious. They have meat dishes and various kinds of beers.

Belgian Beer Cafe:
135 Harrington St, The Rocks NSW 2000
Phone 9241-1775, Sydney Australia


Sydney Trip ( IV )

This is St. Martin's Place right on the corner of General Post Office. There is a beautiful ( bit Summary ) Christmas Tree. Good for meeting point since there are several benches.
If you have a chance and time, check out the basement of the General Post Office.
There is a belt-conveyor Sushi counter, Sports Cafe, Nice restaurant and bar, Cheese Cellar....
Worth to check out.

Chinese Leek , Minced Beef/Pork Oyster Sauce Flavour

This is easy one.
Chinese Leek 150 - 200 g. Chopped.
Minced Beef/Pork 50 -100 g.
1 clove of Garlic. Sliced.
1 table spoon of Oyster Sauce.
Steamed Rice. Sesame Oil.
1) Put sliced garlic and sesame oil into the pan. Low heat.
2) Add meat and fry.
3) When the meat color has changed, add chopped leek into the pan. Medium heat.
4) Cook for another 3 min. then add 1 table spoon of oyster sauce.
5) Serve with steamed white rice !


Birthday Party for 2 Girls

Before I left for Sydney, there was a birthday party for 2 girls. I made three appetizers.
The left is two of them.
Orange one is sliced persimmon and blue cheese on them. Use ripe ones. Substitution suggestion is.... probably sliced sweet apples or mango.
The right is prosciutto. Inside is dried prune.
( I just wrapped the prune with prosciutto. )
I was originally going to use sweet grapes, but couldn't find it. Both these are same style, combination of salty food and sweet food.
Create your own !

Chinese Cabbage , Minced Meat in Korean Style

I don't know if it is real Korean, maybe not, but I used Korean Chilli Powder, so let me call it so. Korean Chilli, if your town has
Asian town such as Korean town or Little China, you can probably find it in a package. It is red and looks really hot, but actually it has little sweetness compared to jalapeno.
Several Leaves of Chinese Cabbage or Regular Cabbage ( Any Green Veggie can should be fine. )
A table spoon of Korean Chilli Powder ( It depends how hot you want to make it )
A clove of Garlic ( Slice it )
Minced Pork & Beef ( 70 grams or more )
Toppogi ( It is Korean Rice Cake like thing in Chalk shape. If you cannot find it, go without it.
You can serve this meal with steamed white rice. )
A sprinkle of salt, Chinese Soup Powder, White Wine ( if you have. a table spoon )
Korean Chilli Powder ( 1 table spoon or less ) , Sesame Oil
1) Cut Chinese Cabbage into small pieces.
2) Put sliced garlic and sesame oil into the pan. Medium heat.
3) Stir garlic and add minced pork & beef . ( Any meat is OK. ) Also, add Toppogi. ( if you have )
4) Add Chinese Cabbage and soup powder, salt and white wine.
5) Cover the pan with lid. Wait till it starts boiling.
6) Wait another 5 to 10 min. ( It depends how soft you want to make the veggie. )
7) Sprinkle a table spoon of chilli.
8 ) Stir for another 2 minutes.
Done ! The Chinese Cabbage tastes sweet by being steamed. Enjoy !
It is much colder in Tokyo after coming back from Sydney. This meal warms you up.

Sydney Trip ( III )

Most of the Sydney flight out of Japan is night flight, which is nice because you can use day time effectively without wasting the time for flight, yet the sleep on the flight is quite short actually with two meals. a few hours maybe ? So, I was feeling dizzy afterwards.
At night, I didn't have energy to go out and explore the area.
The dinner was this photo, Butterfly Chicken with Ginger Sauce, Jasmine Rice at the Hotel Restaurant. The sauce was pretty good.
I had a glass of Shiraz wine and went to bed...... slept over 9 hours. Sydney Trip will continue.
There are more photos, so let me upload a few at a time.

Sydney Trip ( II )

Although it is Summer, the weather was strange in Sydney. I heard this is very unusual weather for them also. The day before I arrived, they had hailstones. I saw the news and there were houses whose roofs were full of halls made from the stones.

This photo is the view from my hotel at Darling Harbour. Hazy, but still nice view. Lucky me.

Trip to Sydney ( I )

I was in Sydney for business. This is the first meal I had during the meeting. Beef pie and wedges. The beef was cooked in thick sauce and tasted good. Wedges....I learned this word this time from Sarah. I always called this type also " French Fries ". It was great to see the person after so long since we kept talking on SKYPE.
I forgot the restaurant name, but it is one of the cafe restaurant facing Darling Harbour. " Something Pie " or "Pie Restaurant".....


Japanese Traditional Pattern Collection

It is not FOOD today. The book I translated.
Basic explanation is in Japanese. English translation follows.
The left is the one, which is introducing Japanese Traditional Pattern Collection with Copyright Free
Design Patterns' CD-ROM.
For example, the bottom purple and green design is Pine Tree. "The pines are green colored through four seasons. Therefore, it has been called " tokiwagi" ( everlasting tree) "tokiwagusa"(everlasting grass) from ancient times. A single pine tree can also mean auspicious matter. Yet, the various kinds of combinations are showcasing the celebratory patterns. " Publisher is X-MEDIA. The original author is Kaoru Yamamoto.


Veggie Plate with Jew's Marrow Creamy Soup

Whoa, it's been a month almost since I uploaded last blog !
Gee, it is scary. After I got over the cold, I have been busy catching up with things. That two week was a big loss.
Anyways, I am doing fine now. Since I haven't cooked, there is nothing in the fridge. I went to Sunday Brunch's Deli & Bakery to have breakfast. Slices of rye bread, ratatouille, creamy soup with chopped Jew's marrow. ( Why Jew ? funny ) 30 years ago, there was no Jew's marrow at Japanese stores. I don't remember when it came into our lives. It is originally from Egypt. Supposed to be good for health. mmm, I need to work this weekend, so writing this blog is a start-up for a day. There are lots to work on.
Translation, making docs for a client, planning for an event , sending company profiles to some people who asked me...... It was rainy this morning, but now birds are singing and cleared up little. Hope I can get things done as planned for today and visit my friend tonight.
Sunday Brunch Deli & Bakery is a good place to have sandwiches , light brunches.
It is hard to find this kind of place in Japan. Terrace is recommended. When it is cold, you can ask for a lap blanket.
Sunday Brunch Deli & Bakery
1F, 2-29-2 Kitazawa, Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo, Japan


Aspirin Origin --- White Birch ???

I think I learned before that original aspirin was made of the bark of white birch.. I checked Japanese Wikipedia..... It says " Willow" instead of white birch.... Does somebody know which is true story ???

The photo is the one I took this time, the regular aspirin you can find any drug store in the states.... like Walgreens, Duane Reade, Longs Drug Stores.... $1 to $2 a bottle. I like this design. Simple. Light. Fever goes up and down...still I can feel I'm getting better gradually.

Resting Whole Weekend

For those who read my blog, apology....I've had fever since yesterday and have been resting. I don't like taking too much medication,so I have taken aspirin tablets and orange juice some slices of pizza..... Hope I get better by tomorrow. mmmm, I am behind the schedule.... was going to work this weekend,but there is nothing I can do. The best solution is to get better.

Wait a moment, please !


Order through Display on the table

On this past weekend, I went to my friend's live and afterwards joined the dinner of the group. It was casual restaurant with tasty Japanese food and drinks. People from the group were very nice and friendly, so I fully enjoyed the dinner.
You see a display here. You can order food and others by pressing the button on this. This photo is showing the plates and cups and glasses. Yes, when you need more clean plates, cups and glasses, you press the screen of that and waiters and waitresses bring them for you in seconds !
I heard this is not so rare at this type of restaurants lately. Wow, I didn't know it.


Keihan --- Amami Oshima's rice soup with chicken

I just realized another week passed so fast and hadn't written for a week. Tonight's dinner was ready-made KEIHAN, which is Amami Oshima ( Southern island near Okinawa ) 's food. It is said that local people made this to treat Clan Officials.
Shredded chicken, egg, green onion etc . with rice and soup. Good for tired stomach !
There are much more food pics, but for tonight, just put this photo.
Amami Oshima belongs to Kagoshima-Prefecture,but it was sometimes ruled by Ryukyu ( Former Okinawa ) . So, their culture is influenced by both Kagoshima and Okinawa. If you have a chance, please visit. In a way, it is similar to Okinawa, but something is different.
There is also an art museum of Isson Tanaka. His drawings is very accurate and has tropical and some Western flair. That is probably why he was not well accepted by main stream people back in those days. I don't do diving lately, if you are a diver, it is also a great place for that.
Another attraction is to see pongee fabrics. Its color is subdued mud, brown gray. Elegant and quality products.


Vietnamese Pho at Food Stall in Sangenjaya

Today, I needed to go to Sangenjaya. 15 min. by bus from Shimokitazawa. It is also close to Shibuya. The atmosphere of this town is similar to Shimokitazawa , yet little bigger. I like its casual atmosphere and reasonable prices at shops. I had nice Vietnamese Pho at this food stall today. Late lunch around 3:00 p.m. Delicious Soup. The photo is the one I ordered -- Beef & Veggie Pho. The coriander and basil added ethnic flavour to this Asian rice noodle soup. Bean sprouts was fresh and light.
The price was less than 600 yen. The detailed contact is not available. ( It is small place and they probably don't have phone. ) Almost right on the corner of the Sangenjaya intersection.

Otsuya ??? Dinner at Otsuya ???

I will write about Otsuya today in case you do not know what it is. Like this friend's death, the news came from a friend of the group. When I heard it, it was Sunday afternoon. The friend said " He passed away around 2:00 a.m. and the Otsuya is planned Monday night. " Usually, the next night is Otsuya. The start is around 6:00 p.m. usually. It is better to arrive at the ceremony site early enough or on time. What we wear is same as other countries , I guess. If you are family of the person, you would wear black kimono with family emblem. ( especially women wear kimono ) I wore black one piece with pearl necklace and earrings. no manicure, no flashy accessories. The pearl necklace has to be single string. ( since it is not a good news and if the string is double or triple, the image gives you the bad news will repeat. ) When you write your name at the registration , you write your name and address. You are supposed to bring a condolence money wrapped in special envelope. ( You can easily find them at convenience stores. ) If you know the person from business or something and not that close, 5,000 yen is fine. If you are close, 10,000 yen or more. Also, if you are old enough , it is better to avoid 5,000 yen, I guess. ( Ask other Japanese people's opinion , please ! ) Then, the ceremony starts. The monk starts the sutra and you will be invited to offer incense to the person in front of the photo and the coffin. After that, there will be a dinner served at the tables. I would say, if I don't know the person well enough, I would decline. This time, I was close enough and there were other close friends also, so, we decided to go up stairs and start having beers , sushi and other dishes. We talked about the dead friend and recalled good memories. We also put the beer and food in front of his photo.


A Friend Passed Away

Yesterday, sad news arrived. A friend of mine who I have known for over 12 years passed away. He was sick for a while, but this sudden death was something nobody expected.
Later today, there will be a wake ( the first night ceremony to mourn the death) at a temple.
I am going to attend that.


ROUKALA LOKKI ( Kamome Shokudou )

No major accident, murder, love in this story. Sachie who owns and runs small Japanese restaurant in Helsinki , Finland is the main character. Joining her is two Japanese women, one is Midori, who looks lonely and confused first, but gradually shows her drawing talent and sweetness supporting Sachie. Then, Masako, middle aged sincere woman shows up saying her luggage has been lost on the way. Masako also starts helping Sachie. In relaxing Helsinki, Masako also finds comfort although she doesn't speak any of the local language.

According to Sachie, Onigiri - rice ball- is the soul food of Japanese people. When people are tired, confused, Sachie makes Onigiri and serves them. Sachie seemed to be independent, strong woman, but in a way, she has been stubborn. With Midori's support, Sachie is changing also.

The story does not describe much of the history of those women, yet you can sense each of them has own history and came to Finland. It is superb movie for adults. Especially women.


Lazy Saturday

This week was busy week. I was short of sleep and recovered today. Thank god, the Monday is holiday here. So, I am going to work tomorrow and Monday to catch up.
This boiled pork and veggie salad , beer was my dinner today. It feels much better sleeping well last night.
I am also catching up with TV series today such as Prison Break, The OC.... Allow me this break.

Good Luck Kitty !

Last Saturday, I visited Ms. Fujiko Hemming's place to see the cats Ms. Sugio ,the volunteer lady saved.

This is the one who was most friendly when I was feeding for a couple of days waiting for Ms. Sugio. His or her condition was much better having taken care of. The eyes were clearer, no more coughs or sneezes. That afternoon , the kitty was going to be given to somebody lived in Nakano. Hope the life gets better for the kitty. Good Luck ! I was glad to see the kitty and say good bye.


Great Cook ! Friday Night Gathering at Friend's Place

Well, this week was busy meeting with friends.
Lucky me, I enjoyed various kinds of food.

Friday night, three of us visited a friend's place who live quite close to my area. Of course, we all had to work during day, so around 7:00 p.m. we planned to get together. The funny and pathetic story is that the beautifully embroidered my Chinese shoes literally collapsed on the way to her place. I was so miserable... also, I forgot to bring the map to her new place..... kept calling her and other people, they were probably busy chatting.... I sat on some step of some building and waited for the call.... It took me full 40 min. to get her place, if there was nothing, I could have made it within 20 min..... So, it felt great when she started serving this delicious food ! Thank you all ! Amazing thing is that she worked
and came back then quickly prepared all these delicious food with beautiful presentation.
The top is appetizer. Prochute, tomatoes, Celery, the white one is tofu, then the left is mixed Goya, Edamame, Tuna and Avocado, which was delicious !

Then risotto came with the white fish topping, then beef with grated onion sauce. ( Soy Sauce flavour )

Of course, we had drinks such as sparkling wine, white wine and red wine.

Small Home Party at My Friend's House

There were Cesar Salad, Salmon Salad, Grilled Bacon & Water chestnuts, Japanese Chicken & Burdock Rice, White wine, Red wine, Olives, Sweets etc.......
It was smaller than planned ( Total 9 people ) ,but we enjoyed eating, talking and seeing the photo show ( slide show ) of Miwako's travelling in Tanzania. One thing I should mention is that our Egyptian friend had to wait till 6:00 p.m. since he is in the period of Ramadan. We started eating feeling bad, still we could not control our hunger, he was strong enough to wait seeing us eating foods in front of him.
We learned about Ramadan from him, which was another nice thing about this party- learning different culture and lifestyle.

My Niece is Getting Exhausted !

I ran with her, played with her, wrestled with her..... last night there was small home party at my friend's house. This dog is my niece... since the host is like my sister. I know her since she was tiny little puppy. Now she is two years and 3 months old. She is healthy, lively, friendly good dog. She was so excited to meet all the people and after several hours, finally she started feeling exhausted, hey, Layla, I was so worn out by you !


Takoyaki --- Octopus Balls for Dinner

My kitchen sink has been clogged up for the past weeks. That is one reason I haven't cooked lately. Naturally, I eat at restaurants and buy food at convenience stores, which is good if it is once in a while, but not good if it last for a while. Maybe next week, I should call plumber to fix it. Today's dinner is Octopus Balls, 9 pieces of them. One was extra service since I waited for a while in the line. The ingredients are flour, octopus, tiny dried shrimp etc. The toppings are dried bonito flakes, mayonnaise, green laver. Yummy, 280 yen is good price for this volume and taste. The place is called Osaka-Ya near the railroad crossing of Shimokitazawa.

Tania Kadokura's Book

My friend , Tania published a book from Softbank Creative. It is called " Tania no Doitsu shiki Heya Zukuri " means, " Tania's 'How to make rooms in German Style '". I is not just interior book, it is also lifestyle book. She tries to have minimum things in her house since it is psychologically heavy and if it is light, you can manage things easily and simply. I think the concept is similar to Feng Shui , Zen and Ecology.
When she finds things she does not use, she gives away those to Friends or organizations. If you have a chance, please take a look. It also shows her house and her parent's place, which are both beautiful. They are not big, but there are many useful ideas which we can also take in for us who live in limited space.


Cat Woman

Since then I have been a cat woman. I mean I have been helping this volunteer lady who tries to rescue the kittens. Thursday, she captured three of them. She immediately took them to the veterinarian and got the medicines for the babies. They are doing fine. Today, she and I captured the last kitten. Compared to the first three, this one was so scared of us and panicked.
The mom looked worried and came up to the cage, but she didn't try to fight against us. mmm, we tried to explain what we were doing,but there is no language between us..... we just hoped that we can capture the mom at some point in the future and take her also to the doctor to fix sterilization in order to avoid too much reproduction. Then, she will see all her children at the lady's place.


Kittens with Mom

Lately, I haven't written much. Sorry about it.
Well, there are so many food photos I would like to show you.
In the meantime, please enjoy this photo.
They are actually four brothers ( or sisters ),but one was missing this time.
Very cute. They are stray cats. A volunteer lady who saves cats from too much reproduction and poor environment came over here today. She will bring a cage to take them to a veterinarian.
It seems there are too many stray cats in this area. It is OK, if they are healthy enough and eat and have fun enough. However, these babies have colds, it seems. ( They snooze often)
The lady said that she helps with Ms. Fujiko Heming ! ( My yearning pianist )


When It is Really Hot---Salsa Hamburger

It's been incredibly hot and humid here....
the air temperature is almost like body temperature..... if you walk on streets, you would feel like being boiled....this is not the proper temperature for people to live and work.
Lately, I don't feel like cooking...this alwayseating me.... surprisingly... imagine how crazy the weather is . I went to this restaurant Village Vanguard and had Salsa Hamburger with Onion Rings. This spicy salsa helped me to eat and finish it .
Village Vanguard:
Livable Shimokitazawa B1, 6-3-1 Daita, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 155-0033
TEL&FAX: 03-3481-5620


Natto ( Farmented Soybean) Rice with Egg and Green Onion

If you are in big city, even in foreign country, you probably have
Japanese or Asian grocery store. Try Natto ! It is like blue cheese, smelly, but tasty and nutritious. ( Tasty.. is up to you.
Please prepare soy sauce or Yuzu flavoured vinegar soy sauce)
I put rice first, then put natto, then chopped green onion, and fresh raw egg. Finally Yuzu( Japanese lemon or lime) soy sauce
over it. Quick breakfast.


Summer Feature

There are big and small festivals during this season in Japan. Fireworks events, local events....

At festivals, there are many stalls selling things such as the photos. Yo-yo scooping, Goldfish Scooping and food stalls..

When I was small, these were a part of fun things which I got so excited.