The Picnic at Shinjuku Gyoen

Ever since I got my hands on this fabulous picnic blanket, I’ve been a picnic addict!
So last Saturday, my bff and I had a picnic at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. The great thing is that she just moved into my neighborhood (whoop whoop!) so we just met up at the corner of the street and walked to the park together. I love that we can do that now!
We stopped by Freshness Burger to grab lunch for our picnic. Have you tried their vegetable burgers? They are so good. They have a bean burger and a mushroom burger and I am SO happy they are back on the menu. I think they are popular among non-vegetarians, too. This time I went with the mushroom burger set. 
We spent the whole afternoon just laying around and relaxing. There were a lot of families with children also doing the same thing and we ended up chatting with a few of the little people. So cute. All in all it was a great afternoon, especially since the typhoon came and it was all rain the following two days.
Do you have a favorite picnic spot? x

The Three-Day Weekend Flowers

Who else is loving the three-day weekend?
Japan is on its second three-day weekend in a row. We had Respect for the Aged Day last Monday and this Monday is the Autumn Equinox, which is a public holiday here in Japan.
I am rarely inside my apartment, unless it’s to sleep. So I don’t often buy flowers, especially in the summer because my apartment gets really hot in the afternoon while I’m gone and it pretty much boils the flowers. So sad.
But three-day weekends mean more lazy mornings. So when I saw this small flower bouquet, I couldn’t help myself! Aren’t the pretty?
Well, whether yours is a three-day weekend or not, I hope you’re enjoying it! x

The Family of Fourteen

It all started when I thought I was being clever when I thought to give Japanese children picture books translated into English as a gift to my friend’s children who live in the US.
Then I realized I didn’t know what books had been translated. Or where to buy them.
So I, of course, asked the internet via twitter and the lovely Ru helped me out by pushing me in the right direction. And I suddenly realized that there were actually a lot of Japanese children books that have been translated. It was fun rediscovering my childhood favorites like Guri and Gura, The Gigantic Turnip, and Swimmy (which is technically not from Japan, but it was still one of my favorites!).
Then I stumbled across The Family of Fourteen Series. It’s a picture book written by Kazuo Iwamura about a family of mice and their various outings and everyday lives in the forest. Ever since his first book came out in 1983, it’s been very popular in Japan and also internationally. I actually found the series translated into 8 different languages.
We had a couple of these pictures books when we were little and I absolutely LOVED them! The illustrations are works of art and there is always so much too see each of it’s pages. I knew this was the perfect children’s book that both my friends and their children could enjoy together so I ordered a couple of these books. But I am seriously thinking about getting myself one for my library, too!
Aren’t the illustrations beautiful? x 

*All illustrations from Doshinsha’s The Family of Fourteen series webite.

The Rainbow After The Storm

Typhoon number 18 pass through Japan this morning.
I have a bad habit of getting excited over natural phenomenons and I always feel guilty about it because people actually get hurt or even pass away. But even when I was younger in Michigan, every time there was a tornado warning, I’d get excited and run outside to watch the sky turn all green and eerie. Little pebbles would start to fly around and the air would be would of energy. It was always the most amazing feeling watching mother nature express herself.
I ended up sleeping through most of this typhoon. But when I went outside to go grocery shopping, the whole sky was lit up in bright pinks and oranges. It was so bright that not just the sky but even the air seemed to be pink. Isn’t it a gorgeous way to end our three-day weekend?
Hope you all had a great long weekend, too! x

The 30th Anniversary at Disneyland

Did you know that it’s Tokyo Disneyland’s 30th anniversary this year?
Tokyo Disneyland (which is technically in the neighboring prefecture of Chiba) opened on April 15th, 1983. I had no idea but it was apparently the first Disney park outside of the United States. And what a fabulous park it is. Despite the long lines and more long lines (and did I mention the long lines?), it’s still one of my favorite places to go to and have fun!
We had the after-5pm passport, which is plenty of time to enjoy the magical land of Disney. We went on rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, Castle Carrousel, Pooh’s Honey Hunt, and Space Mountain. We also ate various flavors of popcorn and even pizza while waiting in line. Which we did a lot of. But it’s fun when you’re with your bff because if you always end up in a cafe and chatting your heads off, why not just do it at Disneyland while waiting in line? 😀
Our time there was the perfect mix of Disney magic, fun rides, and girl talk. And of course, it’s always fun to scream my head off non-stop on Space Mountain. It’s not that I’m scared, but I just like to scream on rides no matter what. I mean, where else can you scream at the top of your lungs? x
Here are some photos:

I love all the popcorn flavors! My favorites are curry, honey, and now soy sauce & butter!

The other flavors are salt, caramel, and corn potage this season.

Happy Anniversary Tokyo Disneyland! We’ll be back soon! x

The Sky Above Tokyo

That moment when the sky above Tokyo is so gorgeous, everything is right in the world.

And that moment you realize that thousands of mosquitos had been attacking you all the while you were taking photos of the gorgeous sky (okay, so only 9 bites…but it felt like thousands!)

But then that moment you notice that one of the mosquito bites is shaped like a heart.

Well…life is really a roller coaster full of ups and downs, isn’t it? x

The Afternoon with the Kiddos

My heart is still melting!
My former boss had baby L just a day after the Royal baby was born and is currently on parental leave. So last weekend a couple of us finally went to visit and spent the afternoon with the new big brother status R and baby L! My coworker also brought her 3rd grade twins so it was quite a lively affair!
Baby L was so tiny. It’s amazing how newborns are so small at first. She would make these big eyes while drinking milk that had all of us cracking up. What a sweetheart.
Big brother R was such a smart kid and fun to play with. He’s started talking so he would show us all his toys and what color they were. He’d run around screaming like kids his age do. He requested that my friend read him the Nemo book and when she finished, he turned to her and said Moh ikkai! which means Again! 😀
Spending time with these kiddos was so much fun. I loved every minute of it!

The Olympic Hype

Have you heard? The election of the 2020 Olympics host city is just around the corner!

It’s down to Istanbul, Madrid, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand….(what!?)….Tokyo!!!!! How crazy exciting is this? Could Tokyo really win the honor of hosting the 2020 Olympics?

Personally, I’ll be just as excited whether it’s here or the other side of the world. I love the Olympics. I grew up in a VERY Olympic enthusiastic family and have tons of memories of our family watching the Olympics on TV together.

All this Olympic talk made me nostalgic. So I went down memory lane and picked a few memorable Olympic moments that I remember sharing with my family…and I’m not gonna lie, I cried all over again ;P

Albertville 1992, Women’s figure skating

Living in the U.S. at the time, I think this was the first time I’d seen that many (okay…two) Asians on TV at the same time. I wanted to be just like Kristi Yamaguchi when I was little and we all loved Midori Ito, too. I remember in her interviews she would try to answer in English with phrases like, “I fee-lu goo-ddo!” Too cute. They were both amazing and we were all on pins and needles during the long program competition! (read story here)

Barcelona 1992, Men’s 400m

This wasn’t even the finals. It was the semi-finals but I will never forget what I saw on the tv that day. I was only 10 but I remember what happened to Derek Redmond very vividly. He didn’t win the race but he finished it and became someone unforgettable. (read his story here)

Atlanta 1996, Men’s gymnastics

Alexei Nemov What more is there to say? This man was hottttttttttttttt!!! (And that is really all I cared about in 7th grade.) The competition between China and Russia was tight and had us holding our breath the whole time. But who are we kidding, all us girls were glued to the tv just so we can get a glimpse of Russia’s hottie. (enjoy all his hotness on the floor exercise here)

Atlanta 1996, Women’s team gymnastics

I was so into gymnastics during this Olympics. I think all of America was. We were up against all the dominating gymnastics countries like Russia and Romania but we had a really great team plus the hometown advantage. The competition was exciting and it ended up being the most dramatic ending. It was insane and the U.S. women’s team won their first ever team gold medal! (read story here or watch the whole thing here)

Nagano 1998, Men’s ski jump

Watching my first Olympics back in Japan…and it was actually held in Japan! And although at that time, I had no idea where Nagano was, it was still exciting watching it all from Sapporo. And I remember my dad let me come home from school early so we could all watch the team ski jump competition together. I think most of Japan was laughing and crying just like our team was after winning the gold. A-ma-zing. (read story here and here)

Do you have a favorite Olympic moment? Gathering information on this post has me surrounded with crumbled tissues (I get emotional when it comes to the Olympics! haha) and once again in awe of all the athletes. The Olympic games are amazing and I’m always excited for it.

Wishing all three cities the best of luck at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires this weekend! 😀

The Starlight Cinema 2013

I completely forgot about the outdoor movie I saw last month.
Ebisu Garden Place always hosts the Starlight Cinema during the summer weekends. They shows one movie a night outside on the large 300-inch screen. They always have a great selection of movies.
My friend M and I saw Mamma Mia last year and had a great time so we decided to make this a tradition. This year we went to see Nankyoku Ryorinin (南極料理人). The english title is The Chef of South Polar. It’s a hilarious story following a chef who is suddenly stationed at a south polar research expedition. I don’t know how to explain it but it’s such a Japanese movie, I loved it and was laughing my head off the entire time! Have you seen it?

Here are some pictures:

If you’ve never gone, I hope you’ll go enjoy movie night here next summer! x

The September Link Love

Hello lovely month of September!

We had the most odd summer this year. I felt like it was much cooler than previous years and it makes me feel like summer is coming to an end too soon.

But on the other hand, I tend to have a hard time sulking for too long. I mean, fall brings us cooler weather, richer colors, and hot latte cups! How can you not love that?

September means busy month at work, but also friend’s birthday celebrations, more night runs, and the start of tennis tournament season (for me)! Looking forward to it all!

What do you have planned for September? Hope it’s full of fall fun! 😀

——————————————————-Link Love——————————————————-
– Unbelievable kirie.

– The importance of a quiet space in the city.

– Some place like this maybe?

Photos that make me stoked for tennis season.

– A tale of two cities and their skyscrapers.

– Drooling over these fries.

– Oh culture.