There are few things as satisfying as making something yourself, particularly when it's useful and/or edible. While I only cut and assembled this meal, it felt like quite an accomplishment.
Markets in Japan sell sushi-grade fish all over the place. Around the time I finish work, the market on my way to the station has deep discounts in the fish department, so I sometimes pick up something for dinner. Today was a lucky buy, but I think I need a sharper knife. Still, tuna nigiri sushi is always welcome.
There isn't a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan that doesn't have a statue of the Colonel to scare everyone. It seems he has become synonymous with KFC in Japan and it would be tragic not to have him out front.
Upon occasion, you may spot him dressed up, for Halloween or some such occasion. I'm not sure what the reason was for this cardboard samurai, but here he is...
While the Japanese learn flower names from the time they are young, I don't have that in my favor. As such, I have no idea what these are, but they're everywhere in Tokyo right now. They are mostly pink, red, purple and white, but there are a few other colors too. It's interesting to see whole bushes looking like bridal bouquets, which is what Tokyo spring feels like.
Once in a while I find a good deal on something slightly out of the ordinary. This bento ended up being my dinner. The front is chopped grilled eel (unagi) on rice. This is nothing unusual, really. But the inari sushi at the back of the bento have shredded crab in them. I've never seen inari made with anything but plain rice or sometimes 5-flavor rice, and that's what convinced me to buy this at a discounted ￥500.
For work I had to pick up a kindergarten that's not exactly close to me. It's not too far, in Machida, but since it eats most of my day, I've decided to start taking lunch there too. It lets me try things that Shinjuku doesn't have close to the office. TGIFriday's has a decent lunch menu, and this Cajun Chicken Salad is my new love.
The city of Maebashi loves roses. They're literally everywhere. Most places have decorated manhole covers, but in and around Tokyo most seem to be gingko or maple leaf designs. These are also lacquered, which I found interesting.
In Japan, people go crazy over decorated nails. I'm personally not willing to pay someone lots of money to keep my nails looking nice (at least not yet), so I do them myself.
Here's my attempt at some festive flowers for cherry blossom season.
These mini sakura cheesecase and macha desserts are little tastes of heaven. Now I have to find sakura liqueur, which is apparently not seasonal. And I also need to find the blossoms used in food...
Today was a seasonal bread class, although how this is springy I don't know. Anyway, the bread has carrot juice in it instead of milk or water. Cubed cheddar is then worked into it before rolling it and cutting the leaf motif on the top. It's quite tasty, although rather rich. I like it.
This cake caught my eye as soon as I signed up with my cooking school. At that time I decided it would be my birthday cake, and so it is. Unfortunately, it's about two weeks late. Still, better late than never. And it's filled with raspberries and white chocolate; two of my favorite things.
My love affair with food continues. The fresh fish you can buy even in Tokyo is pretty darn good and if you know when to go to the store you can get some great (for here, reasonable elsewhere) prices. This smoked salmon needed something special to go with it, so it went over a sauteed mushroom sauce and the last of the tri-colored fettuccine given to me last month.
Mochi dango are a constant experiment for me. There's a dango shop in Kamakura that has seasonal flavors as well as some unusual regulars. From the top are sakura paste, honey-lemon paste and sakura matarashi. Unfortunately, the weather caused them to turn before I could eat them. *sad face*
Harajuku is known for cutting-edge fashion and pop culture. The displays sometimes go a bit overboard in that respect. This display was in the basement of LaForet. The black paint on the Kewpie dolls is a nice touch, but makes those dolls no less creepy.
My cooking school for new ovens, and as such my bread seems to be getting darker. This one is Pain au Lait, which uses milk instead of water. It's a very sticky dough and I'm not sure it was worth all the extra work...tasted much like the other breads...
I'm a sucker for bright pink cherry blossoms. These were found in Kamakura in the garden near the Daibutsu (Big Buddha statue). We decided to stop there for lunch and to admire the pretty pink.
While my friend was visiting, I was unable to talk with Moo Cow very much on skype. He wanted to make dinner together as soon as possible, and this was my result. The noodles were a gift from a teacher who invited me to her end of year party last month.
Gates are paths into the spiritual world. The paper streamers hanging across the front are meant to absorb any bad things that may cling to you as you pass through the gate. The shape of these is distinctly Shinto (this type of gate is called a torii), as is the row of gates. I'm still trying to find out the significance of so many torii in a row.
This odd little cocktail of a café drink is rather unique. Found at the Double Tall Café in Harajuku, it's tea, milk and coke mixed together. The most prominent flavor when you take a sip is...lemon? It's an odd drink and that wasn't the flavor I was expecting at all.
In any case it was interesting and I don't regret getting one. Still, why lemon?
Nobody mentioned my birthday in Osaka on Friday, so when my boss ended today's startup meeting with cake for me (a box with a variety of slices for everyone) I was very surprised. It's nice when people remember things like your birthday.
This one had a lot of fruit which is why I chose it, but I regretted the size of it about halfway through and wished I'd taken the less healthy-looking strawberry montblanc.
On Sundays if I'm able I do like to go to Harajuku. If I don't have much else to do I'll also dress in my "regalia" of the Elegant Gothic Lolita. My wardrobe was in need of a refresh, so I got a new wig and hat and tried out my red skirt. It all worked quite well together and I'm pleased with how it came together.
For my birthday I wanted to walk through Yoyogi park with glasses of wine while looking at sakura. I got my wish and also found some gloriously pink blossoms. The Japanese prefer the pale pink ones that are almost white, but I like these better.
Today I had a meeting in Osaka for work. April first is the beginning of the academic calendar. Spring is symbolic of new things and it seemed appropriate to have everything begin with cherry blossoms overhead.
My original plan was to stay through the weekend because tomorrow is my birthday and today is Friday--and the company paid for my shinkansen tickets to Osaka, but a friend arrived in Tokyo today and I need to go home to greet her. So instead of staying the weekend, I had okonomiyaki for lunch.