Wednesday, April 26, 2017


gmh3 Semi-funny thing happened to me yesterday.

I was standing on the platform, waiting for the train to come.

There was a caucasian man standing in front of me.

As we were waiting for the train, his caucasian woman friend, came by and said "hi".

They then proceeded to chat as they waited for the train to come.

The man turns slightly around looking at me and "whispers" to his friend loud enough for me to hear...."slowly sneak in front of me"...

In actuality, letting his friend cut in front of him (and me!)

I smiled at him and said, "you can let her cut in".

This shocked him...

An asian that spoke English...

He then turns to me and says, "Are you really "Japanese"?"

And while a few years back I probably would've been insulted by this, I found it a bit hilarious...

He then said, "where did you originally come from?"

I said, "From Hawaii".

His face relaxed and said, "ah okay, now it makes sense. I thought your pronunciation was a bit too perfect."

I said, "shh...I'm undercover"

Since moving here, I have gotten used to being seen as a Japanese national who speaks perfect English, instead of as a foreigner.

Most Japanese who meet me for the first time, often are disappointed because I do not look "foreign" enough (meaning I do not have the blonde hair and blue eyes they associate with foreigners).

I have often heard from other foreigners how they are gawked at on the trains by Japanese because they look "foreign".

But have also seen Japanese treat them more hospitably, because they do look "foreign".

I remember when we called the police to have them check on an apartment on another floor of our building because their door was ajar...the policeman asked for my name and when I said, "Kathy"...he looked puzzled and said, "is that your real name?"

Satoshi had to then explain that I was a "foreigner"...sigh.

But anyway, I digress...the train arrived and we all boarded while having a nice chuckle.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

museums & ippouen

culture-ing❤︎  #kyoto #japan #kaihoyusho #京都 #海北友松 Remember the dragon at Kenninji?

The artist, Kaiho Yusho, was being featured at the Kyoto National Museum.

Satoshi said he wanted to check it out, so, Sunday that is what we did.

We got there early, along with hundreds of others...

Just to get into the museum we had to queue up...

While we were waiting our turn to ride the elevator, I took this picture with Kyoto Tower far off in the distance.

Meh, I wasn't impressed by this exhibit. Plus the inside of the museum smelled like a locker room...ugh!

Glad that Satoshi enjoyed the exhibit though.

We then went up the street to Shimizu Ippouen...a tea house.

Untitled If you order lunch & a sweet, they give you a little that is what we did.

Satoshi's maguro don with sesame oil and raw egg yolk.

You separate the egg and add to your donburi just before eating....only in Japan!

Untitled Satoshi's parfait....this had matcha ice cream, shiratama (like mochi) & sweet bean paste.

Untitled How cute is the wasabi container?! Made of wood with a teeny spoon and cover too!

Untitled I ordered the Maguro Houjicha (roasted green tea) Dashi good and just the perfect serving!

Untitled I chose the matcha roll cake...I normally don't like white chocolate but that swirl was nice to balance out the bitter matcha.

There was also some konbu cha (powdered kelp) and bubu arare (small rice cracker puffs) sprinkled on the white chocolate to give it a sweet-salty flavor & crunch.

Although we went soon after they opened, we had to wait for a table, still, I'm glad we tried this place and want to come back to try their shave ice.

Bellies full, we crossed the street to Chishakuin.

Untitled Click on the photo and you should be able to hear the temple bell ringing.

Untitled Their garden area was super quiet and peaceful.

Untitled While viewing the garden, we also caught a rare glimpse of a grey heron up close...

Untitled Then back down the road to Sanjusangendo.

Amazing display of 1000 kannon (figures for peace) statues inside the long rectangular building.

Every January 14 they hold archery tournaments here too, apparently which used to be held on this long deck.

Untitled The double cherry blossoms are in to see the video.

Untitled And then back near the Kamogawa (Kamo river) we sat and had a snack. (click to view video)

It was kind of summery this weekend, but still comfortable to be out and about.

Shimizu Ippouen
665 Honkawaracho, corner of Higashi Oodori & Shiokoji road
Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.202.7964
Hours: 11:30-16:30
Closed Mondays

Monday, April 24, 2017


papocchio Saturday, after Satoshi's German class, I wanted to try a Chinese shop, but the line was krazy, so we decided to look for somewhere else to lunch and stumbled upon Papocchio.

The owner is from Rome and much of the staff working is (I think) part of his family...

We ordered the pair lunch...3000 yen (plus tax).

This started with a HUGE appetizer plate.

Fried sardines, roasted veggies, many other goodies and a generous seafood salad...we enjoyed this.

The foccacia and a fried round something were also so good!

papocchio The pizza we chose was their "napoletana"...with anchovy, garlic & fresh tomato sauce.

I liked that this was without cheese...the sauce was so good with the saltiness from the anchovies and tartness from the tomatoes!

papocchio We chose the hotaru ika (literally firefly squid) tomato pasta.

This was also tasty!

papocchio Dessert was a delicious cherry tarte but I spied another table with a piece of chocolate cake...

papocchio Delicious coffee to end.

We want to come back to try other items on their menu.

happy earth day❤︎azalea, sakura, lilac & wisteria  #noda #osaka #japan #earthday2017 #野田 #大阪 #アゼリア #桜 #ライラック #藤 #latergram #nofilter We went to check out the fuji (wisteria) in the Noda area after lunch, but it was a bust, not much blooming and the strands were so teeny.

Still, it was a nice day to be out and about on Earth Day!

2-1-1 Oyodominami
Kita-ku, Osaka
Phone: 06.6442.7582
Lunch: 11:30-14:00, Dinner 18:00-21:30
Closed Mondays

Thursday, April 20, 2017

sakura gohan

Untitled If you've ever wanted to bring home Japan with you and like the flavor of sakura (cherry blossoms), I would suggest getting some sakura hanazuke.

It is also called sakura shiozuke.

It is hard to describe the flavor, but I can tell you it isn't like sour cherries nor American cherry flavors.

Depending on which brand you buy...the size varies and I would assume the price too.

This one cost me about 400 yen (tax included) is about 40 grams and is from Kanagawa.

Untitled The sakura is packed in salt.

Be sure to wash off the salt before using.

IMG_5479 This is one I received from a friend a couple years back and is from Nara and was about 50 grams.

broccoli goma-ae, tako avo poke & sakura gohan❤︎  #broccoli #tako #avocado #poke #sakura #rice #gomaae #osaka #japan #ブロッコリー #胡麻和え #タコ #アボカド #ポケ #桜ごはん #大阪 To make sakura gohan...2 servings.

1 cup rice
4-5 sakura flowers

Soak your flowers for about ten minutes to remove some of the salt.
Cook your rice according to your rice cooker.
Drain and chop up the flowers.
After the rice is cooked, add most of the chopped flowers and mix with your shamoji (rice paddle).
With the remaining chopped flowers, garnish when serving.

NOTES: The only thing about this type of sakura is that it can only be found during Spring. Most stores do not carry it year round. This recipe is super easy and a nice way to enjoy a taste of Japan's Spring.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

prepping for summer

mixed berry compote❤︎  #strawberry #raspberry #blackberry #sourcherry #osaka #japan #苺 #木苺 #ブラックべりー #サワチェリー #大阪 #コンポート #compote Yesterday, I picked up a frozen bag of mixed berries...

After bringing the bag back home, I read the back, it said that you need to cook the berries, not to use as is.

Boo! I had intended to use it as is in smoothies...

So, I rinsed the berries, then cooked it, with a little sugar and some vinegar (didn't have lemon juice)...

I'm going to freeze most of this, but at least now I can use this in smoothies whenever I want to.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Untitled Sunday, the weather was beautiful...sunny & HOT!

Seriously feeling like summer...gah!

Yesterday, it started to rain at about lunchtime and didn't stop until early this morning.

I think the weather dude mentioned that we got a month's rainfall in one day...eep!

It is still quite overcast today.

Wanted to share with you the last of the sakura...

Love this season, it is just way too short and the weather just too krazy these days..

Monday, April 17, 2017

shin-tamanegi gohan

Untitled I enjoy the television shows that visit farms.

Most times, the farmer's wife has great ideas for using the veggies that they grow.

Like this one...Shin-tamanegi gohan.

In Japan, Spring veggies are tender and sweet.

Shin-tamanegi (literally "new onion") are super tender.

If you are not careful, they will bruise and rot quickly.

Anyway, the show I was watching visited a farm that grows these onions.

The wife made a rice recipe in her rice cooker and put a whole onion in before cooking.

There wasn't a recipe online to try so I ad-libbed, basing what I did for the shoyu butter corn yakionigiri recipe that I use.

Untitled When I made this, I used 1 cup of rice, 1 cup of water and 1 softball sized shintamanegi.

After cooking, the onion is so soft that you can break it up with the shamoji (rice paddle)!

NOTES: If you use a softball sized onion, cook it with 2 cups rice & 2 cups water. If you use a fist sized onion, then 1 cup rice & 1 cup water will do.

The rice gets a little softer than normal because I think the liquid from the onion adds to the cooking water.

This was nice served with steak and also with an oozy egg the next morning.

I didn't season the rice because we enjoy the flavor of the onion as is, but feel free to put salt and pepper to taste when serving.

I know you may not be able to get this type of onion where you are, but if you happen to be in Japan when shin-tamanegi are in season, I hope you will give this a try.

I'm making this again.