Tuesday, October 25, 2016

foodie friday in kyoto

earlier❤︎  #kyoto #japan #latergram #京都 A couple of Fridays ago, I met up with Mineko and Kiyomi.

Mineko was visiting and she wanted to check out Kiyomizu Temple.

We were lucky to have such nice weather.

aki fondue❤︎autumn fruits and japanese sweets dipped in dark milk chocolate. they add coffee to the leftover chocolate to make a mocha beverage❤︎thanks m & k for a great day!  #jouvencelle #kyoto #japan #ジュヴァンセル #京都 #latergram We also checked out Jouvencelle.

It's been awhile since I've been back.

They have this new (to me) fondue on their menu.

All sorts of autumn goodies (kaki, apple, pear, chestnut, sweet potato) and some Japanese sweets (green tea cake, mochi) to dip into a warm dark milk chocolate.

After you are done dipping all the goodies, they give you some coffee to mix with the leftover chocolate for a mocha beverage...so good!

I'm glad we got to spend some time together.

Thanks for a great day Mineko & Kiyomi!

Monday, October 24, 2016

iburi gakko cream cheese

Untitled Remember that dip we had at Donpachi in Sendai?

Well, I found the tsukemono, Iburi Gakko (smoked pickles in Akita dialect).

Smoked Daikon, a type of pickle from Akita Prefecture.

Untitled I used about a 2-inch sized piece and chopped it up.

Then mixed with some cream cheese.

Untitled No real recipe.

I also found those Levain crackers, the ones that are made in Japan.

NOTES: This is great on crackers, but I am thinking it might be nice put in with a tuna sandwich too.

I'm making this again.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

culture shock

Untitled While traveling in Tohoku, I noticed that most of the homes had these little "nubs" on their rooftops.

Some were in nice rows, while some were scattered here and there.

I looked around online, and it appears that these "nubs" are to stop the snow from sliding off in big chunks.

Homes in these areas also had ladders leading up to the rooftops.

I've seen people shoveling snow off of their rooftops on tv during the winter.

I love seeing snow, but the novelty would definitely fade if I had to shovel.

Do you have snow where you live? Do the homes have "nubs" on the roof to stop snow?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

tohoku omiyage

Untitled From Aomori : We got lots of apple things like these dried apples.

There were only about 10 pieces in the bag but were individually wrapped, perfect for snacking, though not ecologically friendly.

Untitled Apple tea, and an Aomori Blend filter drip coffee packet.

The tea is apple flavored, but the coffee is a nice chocolatey blend (not apple flavored).

Untitled Pickled garlic, shiso wrapped anzu (apricots) and shiso wrapped apple pickles

Untitled From Ooma: Maguro simmered in shoyu, konbu, sugar...good with rice.

 Dried tako legs to make kamameshi (rice cooked with dashi (stock), veggies, shoyu, mirin, and other items like seafood, chestnuts, gobo (burdock))

Untitled Kinoi sake.

Untitled Aomori Nebuta Beer (Pilsner).

Untitled From Ishinomaki: I actually ordered these t-shirts and bumper stickers online because their shop, Tohoku Kazoku, wasn't open the day we were in Ishinomaki.

Untitled Since we only travelled with backpacks and weren't going to check our bags into the aircraft, we didn't bring back any liquids.

Things we ate/drank that we didn't bring back:

Aomori: Apple juice...so sweet! and they don't add sugar.

Untitled Sparkling apple juice...no alcohol, just fizz.

Untitled Apple Pie...buttery crust and lots of filling with a little custard, so good!

Untitled Sendai: Zunda mochi..soft mochi that is covered with mashed soy beans mixed with sugar

Untitled Sasakamaboko (fish paste that is steamed in the shape of bamboo leaves (sasa)).

Hope you enjoyed our omiyage.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Untitled Sendai has great loop bus called Loople.

For 620 yen, you can get on and off at various stops along their route and it runs about every 20 minutes depending on traffic.

Untitled We first got off to see Zuihoden, the resting place for the first feudal lord of Sendai, Date Masamune and his family.

Um, the day before there was a bear sighting in the area...gulp!

Untitled And then we visited the Sendai Castle Ruins, where there is a huge statue of Date Masamune.

Untitled We also visited the Osaki Hachimangu, designated as a national treasure, this shrine was built by Date Masamune and covered with dark black urushi (lacquer) and vibrant colored carvings.

These 98 stairs were nothing compared to the 700-something we climbed a couple of weeks ago.

Untitled Once back in Sendai, we enjoyed the lush green streets.

Untitled And then it was time to head back to Osaka.

The Sendai Airport was also badly damaged with the tsunami.

To give you an idea of how high the water was, you can see where they marked it (with a blue arrow) on a pole, and compare it with Satoshi's height (5'7" (170cm)).

This adventure was an eye opening experience and we were glad we made the trip.

I hope we can visit other Tohoku prefectures in the future.

I'll post some of our omiyage in another post and I hope you enjoyed this adventure as much as we did.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Untitled If there is one thing you should try when you are in Sendai is beef tan (tongue).

While we were in Sendai, we found a great izakaya to have dinner at...Donpachi.

Their amuse bouche was some super tender oxtail, simmered with daikon, carrots and a sweet-salty shoyu based sauce.

Untitled The tan was grilled perfectly.

Served with spicy miso, this was addictingly good!

Untitled Iburi gakko is a tsukemono (gakko) from Akita prefecture, the daikon is smoked (ibusu) then pickled.

The pickles combined with some cream cheese was so good.

Smoky, creamy, tangy and crunchy.

I'm glad we got to try this and want to recreate this.

Untitled Salmon wasabi nuta (new-tah).

Nuta is fish combined with miso and a little acid, like vinegar.

Untitled And to end this ox tail soup ojiya-style (with rice and egg).

It was a great day, and we were glad we were able to taste a bit of Sendai too.

2-6-34 Chuo, Aoba-ku
Sendai, Miyagi
Phone: 050.5787.3618
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 18:00-2:00

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


The next day, we awoke to sun, but the wind was icy.

Untitled The hotel we stayed at had a lot of construction workers, probably people helping Ishinomaki rebuild.

I was impressed with how hearty the breakfast bento was.

earlier❤︎  #石ノ森萬画館 #石巻 #石巻 #ishinomorimangamuseum #latergram #ishinomaki #tohoku #japan Ishinomaki is the second home to artist, Ishinomori Shotaro, creator of characters like Kikaida, Kamen Rider to name a few.

During the tsunami, many of the statues of his characters were washed away.

I'm glad they got this museum up and running again, even though I am not too familiar with all the characters, this was nice to see.

Not too many businesses were open, since it was a national holiday, so we headed back towards Sendai.

Untitled We were feeling a little hungry and shared this bacon, cheese taiyaki from Taiseien.

As well as one filled with sweet bean.

Since we were used to the sweet version it was nice to try a savory one.

This tiny shop used to be in the temporary shopping arcade that was put up after the tsunami.

It was nice to see that they were doing business from a permanent shop now.

From Ishinomaki, it is about 40 minutes to Matsushima.

Apparently Matsushima is one of three beautiful spots to see in Japan (the other two are Itsukushijima (Miyajima, Hiroshima) & Amanohashidate (Kyoto)

matsushima This photo was taken back in 2001, when we first visited Matsushima.

I was sad to see that most of these trees had been knocked down by the tsunami.

Luckily, the temples, Entsuin and Zuiganji at the end of this walkway were not badly damaged.

Untitled At Entsuin, you need to pay admission, but once inside, this cute grandpa, took us on a free tour of the grounds.

His narrative was interesting and fun to listen to.

It made the temple and its grounds more interesting to look at.

And then we headed to Sendai.

I was impressed with Sendai station's vehicle rotaries and pedestrian overpasses.

After putting our things down and resting a bit, we went in search of dinner...

Ishinomori Mangakan
2-7 Nakaze
Ishinomaki, Miyagi
Phone: 0225.96.5055

no info online
Ishinomaki, Miyagi

Royal Mayflower Sendai
1-13-28 Honcho, Aoba-ku
Sendai, Miyagi
Phone: 022.262.5411