The Ramen at Furaikyo

Sometimes I get ramen cravings.
So I decided I’d have ramen for lunch today.
But sometimes meetings and sudden meetings
and then even more meetings get in the way of lunch.
And I ended up having to wait until 4pm.
But oh the ramen was GOOD!
I love their shio (salt-based soup) ramen.
There’s so much goodness in that yummy soup.
Also love that their noodles
are on the firm side.
It was worth the wait and I left happy as a clam 😀
7-19-18 Nishi Shinjuku
Shinjuku-ku Tokyo
Open Everyday
Hours: 11am-11pm
(closes when their soup runs out)

The Valentine’s Day Cookies

This four day week was so so busy at work
I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make anything.
But I did!
Did I have to kind of threaten my coworker
to let me go home if he wanted something the next day?
(Yes, I did.)
Was I planning on making something more elaborate
but thought…ugh cookies are so much easier?
(Yes, yes I did.)
Did I stay up until 2am baking cookies and
writing Valentine’s Day messages and fall asleep on the floor?
(Yes, oh yes I did.)
But I’m so glad I did!
Seeing the happy smiles on my coworkers faces
and the fun I ended up having was worth every minute 😀
Valentine’s Day Cookies
(adapted from Two Tarts)
3 2/3 cups  flour
1 1/4 tsp  baking soda
1 1/2 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp  coarse salt
200g  butter
1 1/4 cup  brown sugar
1 cup  granulated sugar
2  eggs
2 tsp  vanilla extract
3/4 cup  strawberry chocolate chips
1/4 cup  chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 180℃.
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.
Mix butter and sugar in another bowl.
Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat together.
Add dry mix to butter mix
and combine well.
Add the chocolate chips/chunks.
Make a golf ball sized ball of dough
and flatten it slightly on the baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
*You can use whatever chocolate you want.
Or even use raisins or nuts.

*Even if the middle of the cookies is still gooy
take out of oven when the edges get brown.
Once it cools it’ll be the perfect amount of chewy!

I made so much I took some extra for my girlfriends at work.
And yes, I ate a few hundred myself, too!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Aoyama Flower Market Tea House

Aoyama Flower Market is a popular flower shop
with over 80 shops around Greater Tokyo.
Last year they opened Aoyama Flower Market Tea House
behind their flower shop in Omotesando.
It’s really something.
Remember that movie The Secret Garden?
That garden they find inside the walls with all those vines?
It’s kind of like that.
Take a look.

We decided to have lunch there.
Masa got the beef stew lunch set
and I got the salad lunch set.

My salad was mostly all veggie
(just a little bacon!) so a perfect dish for vegetarians.
And my chocolate scented tea
(obviously not the official name!)
was quite delightful.
(what is it about tea that makes me want to use british-ish expressions?)

If you’re ever in Omotesando
you should definitely stop by this lovely cafe.
Plus you can grab a bouquet of pretty flowers
at the flower shop just outside on your way out, too!

5-1-2 Minami Aoyama
Minato-ku, Tokyo
Monday-Saturday: 11am-9pm
Sunday, Holidays: 11am-7pm

The Afternoon at Costco

Met up with my sister at Costco.
Costco is like Disneyland.
It’s too expensive to go everyday
but every time we go it’s like a magical wonderland.
I’ve learned to control myself at Disneyland.
I’ve learned that Bambi ears are not cute outside in the real world.
I’ve also learned that Mickey popcorn cases just get in the way at home.
But I have yet to learn to control myself at Costco.
You would think we weren’t two single girls.
Thank god for these huge shopping carts
or we would have had to get two.
But we had so much fun!
And I’m looking forward to not having to buy any
detergent or shampoo for the next 5 years. Ha.
After shopping, we headed to a near by onsen.
I love onsen in the winter.
Especially the baths outside.
We call them Rotenburo.
There’s something so relaxing and refreshing
about sitting in a hot bath outside when the air is chilly.
You can stare up into the sky and see the winter constellation.
Or the vast blue sky if it’s during the day.
But either way, I love it.
Rotenburo’s are really really great.
If you have never done this, you really need to.
We headed home all relaxed from the onsen.
And spent the rest of the night watching Happy Endings
while eating tortilla chips with cheese and salsa.
Pretty great day 😀

The Long Yellow Skirt

People with short legs should never wear long skirts.
But I don’t care what people say.
(Actually I kinda do.)
So when I found this long yellow skirt
I fell in love and HAD to get it.
(Actually didn’t HAVE to…but I did.)
And this weekend the long yellow skirt and I
headed out and took a train ride together.
I love how the skirt swooshes around when I walk.
And I only almost tripped once
when walking up the stairs to change train lines
and forgot to hold my skirt up.
(my recovery and pretending nothing happened was amazing.)
I think we’re going to have many more days together.
This long yellow skirt and I.

The DIY Cellphone Case

I couldn’t stand it anymore.
Androids have the most boring phone cases
and I’ve had major iPhone case envy for awhile now.
Last week I broke my bright pink case
when I dropped my cellphone for the hundredth time.
So I decided it was time.
Time to make myself an iPhone-ish case.
It was super easy.
I just got a simple white case for my Sony Xperia
and went crazy on it with my favorite colorful washi tape. 
Isn’t it cute?
I’m seriously loving it.

The Girls Night in Shibuya

This is what happens when 3 girls are hungry.
We at and drank like we were in Italy.
So much food. So much wine.
Even the server looked kind of worried.
But we ate everything
and even had room for dessert 🙂
This is what happens when 3 girls have a billion things to talk about.
We don’t get to hang out often
but when we do it’s always lots of fun.
Dinner with the girls was the best way to start a three-day weekend! x

The Blackout

Did you hear about the blackout at the super bowl this year?
Sunday night football usually means
Monday morning football for us in Japan.
And I couldn’t take the morning off.
But I did hear about the 34 minute blackout.
Did I mention I love blackouts?
Especially inside a big dome or stadium.
All that energy packed inside the darkness.
It’s pretty awesome if you’ve ever experienced it.
When helping out at tennis tournaments every year
we always have days that turn into a rainy day at center court.
The thing about these tournaments is that
they are suppose to be outdoors.
So even if we know that the rain is coming
we literally have to wait until the last minute to close the roof.
But also, the roof takes 30 minutes for it to close.
And also all the lights go out while it closes.
I took these pictures on my cellphone last year
when we were opening the roof for the second match.
It went pitch black for a minute.
(we got everyone to wave their cellphones)
Then the light came streaming down into the court
as the roof started moving out.

The Paprika Farmer

Paprika (パプăƒȘă‚«)
That’s what we call bell peppers in Japan.
Apparently it is the Hungarian word for pepper.
I love paprika.
But they are so expensive!
Almost 200 yen for just one in some stores!
The reason behind this is that
most paprikas are imported from abroad.
It’s said that over 90% of our paprikas
are from the Netherlands and South Korea.
And actually paprikas weren’t even introduced to Japan until
the ban of fresh produce from the Netherlands was lifted in 1993!
So why am I so interested in paprikas so suddenly?
Because of this nice man in the picture.
Doesn’t he have a great smile?
We met him at the local shop we went to for lunch
during our weekend in Miyagi.
He was sitting in the table next to us and
asked us where we were from and what we were doing.
(they’re all really friendly like that in Miyagi)
We told him we were helping out one of the paprika farmers.
He told us he was a paprika farmer, too.
He had tons stories about his experience with paprikas and
explained to us how he was slowly rebuilding after
everything was swept away after the tsunami.
And when we expressed our love for paprikas
he invited us over to his paprika farm!
His paprikas growing inside the large greenhouses
had mostly all been harvested for the season.
But he gave us a bag full of yellow and green paprikas
saying that they were the leftovers that could not be sold.
Which is crazy.
They were beautiful.
He also let us eat some fresh paprika right there.
Not only was it juicy
but it was sweet like a fruit!
So delicious.
I felt super lucky to be able to take so many home with me.
He even gave me the string of dried persimmon!
What a sweet man.
I’m constantly touched by
how generous some people can be.
And I love the friendships that come from it.
Of course, we promised to
help out during the next paprika harvest.
I can’t wait to learn how they harvest paparikas!

The Good Bye to Demi

We saw Demi off at the airport the other day.
I remember when she told me that
her company was sending her to San Francisco.
My first reaction was to say
“NO! Don’t go!!”
Which, of course, is selfish of me.
Sometimes you want to be selfish.
Sometimes you want things to stay the same.
But I could kind of see in her eyes
that she was just as conflicted about going, too.
So I went with my second reaction and said
“OMG what a great opportunity!!!”
And it really is.
We all sent her off with big smiles on our faces.
And we waved until the very last minute.
Miss you already. xx