Starbucks in Ministry Office Building

At the moment, I am involved in to a project of METI ( Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry).
I cannot disclose the details for now, but it is something related to the ones I worked on a few years ago. The other day, when I went to METI, I went to the basement of the METI with the project team. There was Starbucks ! Last time, I went the basement ( which was while ago), I don't think there was. It is everywhere now. Not a bad thing though. There was nice coffee smell floating in the air. The ambiance of the shop is adding comfortable accent on the plain, nondescript restaurant floor.

The First Seven Days is Over

The first seven days of new year is called Matsunouchi. ( meaning within the pine) .
The pine tree decoration at the gate or on the door is removed. Yes, I did remove my decoration yesterday. Usually, people are busy with greetings, checking accumulated e-mails during this first seven days. ( They came back to the office on 4th or 5th this year). From next week, things and businesses will be started in full swing.


Traditional New Year Porridge with 7 Herbs

Using the 7 herbs' package I bought yesterday ( shown below) , I made this traditional porridge.

Usually I use white rice, but this year instead of rice, I added a cut of rice cake.

Hope I can stay healthy this year and evil spirits are removed by this.

I may be psychic...I wrote to my American friend and posted it this afternoon. Had not met him for a while.

Then this evening, I heard from him.... he comes to Japan once in a while for his business.
He says he is in Japan ! What a coincidence or I probably sensed that and that is why I wrote to him !?? It will be nice to catch up with each other after a while. I am looking forward to seeing him in a few days.


McDonald's --- Something not Japanese

I kept eating New Year's feast.... very Japanese....
I got tired of it. Therefore, the lunch was this.... Quarter Pounder ( cheese) , French Fries and Coke.

@McDonald's Shimokitazawa


Meiji Jingu ( Shrine) --- I would recommend Sangubashi Station

I used to live in Sangubashi area and I should have noticed....... Well, we went to Meiji Shrine for
New Year's Visit.

The biggest shrine in Tokyo expects 3 million visitors during the first 3 days of new year.

However...... I wanted to enter from the main entrance..... from Meiji Jingumae Station side....
I was wrong..... I should have known..... The back yard station, Sangubashi... on Odakyu line is the one we should have used. If you enter from Sangubashi side, the waiting time would be much shorter. It took almost 90 min. for us to reach the inner shrine. Anyways, it felt good to do something new yearly and thanked for last year and made wishes for 2010.

At night --- Salmon Roe and Rolled Egg

Ozoni ( the top black one is seaweed) , salmon roe ( with ground radish....no seasoning is needed for me since it is salty enough.)

Another is rolled egg....... also with ground radish.

During this holiday, we tend to eat too much.... ( it is just like the Christmas in Western country).

Ground radish helps digestion..... or I feel better if I have it.

Ozoni --- is also something you cannot miss in New Year's feast

I change ingredients always and try to see what works and also depending on the mood of the day.

This ozoni has sliced burdock, carrot, radish leaves,
rice cakes, chicken thigh etc.....

You make the soup first, but I did use chicken soup powder and bonito soup stock powder ( Japanese Soup) and hot water..... then added chicken and veggies..... add mirin ( sweet rice wine) and soy sauce, pinch of salt and adjust to your taste.

The right top is ground walnut and rice cake. ( I bought a package of ground walnut.)
Mix walnut and brown sugar.. Cook the rice cake and soak in hotwater.... then dress with walnut and sugar mix.