Yamadaichi Shop and Restaurant

Posted on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | 0 comments

    Last month, we went to a great little restaurant near the Toro Iseki (Toro Ruins) in Shizuoka. It's owned by the Yamadaichi company, which makes Abekawa mochi.
   Mochi is a type of soft rice cake, made by pounding sticky rice into a paste and then shaping the paste into balls. (It tastes way better than it sounds). Abekawa mochi gets its name from the nearby Abe River, around which it was originally sold, and it is plain mochi that's usually been dipped in sweetened kinako. FYI: kinako is a toasted soybean powder.
  The Yamadaichi company is located directly next to their restaurant, so obviously the main reason people eat there is to try Abekawa mochi. You can choose from selections such as the original (dipped in kinako) style, mochi covered in anko (a sweet bean paste), mochi with shredded Japanese radish and wasabi, mochi with roasted soy sauce, and mochi with nori (a type of dried seaweed). They're all great, but I'd recommend the sweet ones and the savory wasabi one if you ever go.
  Soba is also a popular offfering, and their soba lunch sets run between 700-800 yen or so and include some Abekawa mochi as dessert. Here's the link to their website (all in Japanese of course) if you'd like to see more pictures or look up directions:   http://abekawamochi.co.jp/

                            The restaurant is housed in a building more than 200 years old

                                        The second floor dining area

                                  Right rear bowl: kinako-covered mochi (front) and anko-covered mochi (rear).
                                  Front bowl: mochi with daikon and wasabi.

                                             Close-up of the wasabi type mochi

                                       Japanese-style seating is great when there's a baby around


                                                  Baby Keila enjoying the atmosphere

                                                        Restaurant Entrance

                                                    Foreigner invasion!

Not So Fresh!

Posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010 | 0 comments

Add okonomiyaki to the list of foods that are off-limits until Keila's stomach develops a bit more. Too much cabbage = a very long night for both William Shatner and her mommy!
  In case you're not sure what okonomiyaki is, it's a kind of Japanese crepe/pizza that's absolutely delicious...and chock full of cabbage and green onions. Bad combo for babies, very bad.
Click here for some okonomiyaki pics.

Here are a few photos detailing the aftershocks....be forewarned, the first one is adorable, but don't look at the second one if you're easily grossed out!

                                      Note that Shatner's shirt reads 'Fresh'                                     

                      Seriously...if you don't like gross stuff, I wouldn't scroll down any farther......

                Don't say I didn't warn you!

                                              The flip side: definitely NOT so fresh!!! Shatner strikes again!

Christmas Strawberries

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010 | 0 comments

     In Japan, Christmas seems to be mainly associated with illuminations, Christmas cake, KFC (every Colonel statue is dressed as Santa this month), and, not to be forgotten, strawberries. The holiday is also celebrated mostly by couples, seeing as it's not especially recognized as a Christian event over in this corner of the world.

Based on all that, I'm pretty sure that the ideal Christmas here would involve something along the lines of eating chicken with your boyfriend/girlfriend, followed by a trip to view some illuminations and then munching on strawberry-covered Christmas cake. (FYI: Christmas cake is nothing like fruit cake and contains no particular ingredients that I'm aware of. It's just cake that has Christmas decorations on top).
...Not to miss out on a prime opportunity, retailers and chocolate companies always capitalize on the seasonal strawberry connection and produce various strawberry-related goodies around this time of year. So far I've found Strawberry Cake Kit Kats, Strawberry Melty Kiss, Meiji Marbled Strawberry Cream chocolate, and many other brands that I've refrained from purchasing. And at Kinzaburo, our favorite local tea shop, they're offering a limited-time strawberry chaffle. We tried it yesterday afternoon: heavenly!

                                                Keila and a Kinzaburo strawberry chaffle

                                                      Mmmm...ichigo chaffle!

                                          Meiji brand strawberry cream white chocolate...it honestly tastes like strawberries and cream, good work Meiji!
                       Strawberry Cake Kit Kats. Way too sweet for my liking, bleh.

                           Oreo failed to get on the bandwagon and instead was offering an apple Oreo bar. Rating: 0 out of 10. It was DISGUSTING. Like a medicinal green apple Jolly Rancher somehow got shoved into an Oreo cookie.

                                           Zelie loved the sugar rush from the Kit Kats

Keila wearing the strawberry trend

Ladies' Man

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010 | 0 comments

                       Sushi and Wasabi have gotten a lot more cuddly now that the weather is getting colder and colder. If this keeps up, we're going to have to plug in the toilet seat heater soon!

                                                       We love Daddy!

                                                   Sushi and Buddha Baby

Happy Birthday Otousan!

Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | 0 comments

    Keila gave a big smile today for her beloved grandpa! Otanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu!

Baby Vader Visits A Kaiten Zushi Restaurant

Posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010 | 0 comments

               Keila  has earned another new nickname thanks to her balding dome: Baby Vader. As in, Darth Vader without his mask. Apparently we're keeping the sci fi theme going here: Sigourney Weaver from Alien, William Shatner from Star Trek, and now Darth Vader. I don't even want to imagine what could be next.
  Here are a couple of recent shots of her; the first is from the conveyer belt style sushi restaurant we went to last night. Keila was a champ and slept through the entire experience, good girl! Now if only we could get her to do that once it's bed time, we'd be set.
  The second is from after her bath; I figured that a cute picture was necessary to offset the Baby Vader one. Enjoy!

                                           'Luke, I am your father!'

                                             Kute Keila!

Keila is One Month Old!

Posted on Monday, December 06, 2010 | 0 comments

                       Keila is one month today! Everyone swears that the time flies, and they're right....I think it has something to do with sleep deprivation, for the most part.
   ...Yesterday we all visited Sengen Shrine in downtown Shizuoka (see here if you want details on the shrine: http://tofubunny.blogspot.com/2009/12/back-in-shizuoka-sengen-shrine.html), which coincidentally was packed with couples bringing their babies in for a visit.
  It's customary to bring babies to a shrine when they turn one month old, although I'm not exactly sure what people do besides make an offering and pray. All of the other babies were dressed in fancy outfits or baby kimono, whereas ours was simply strapped to Daddy and basically incognito under her sun cover. Not that I'd planned on bringing her there especially for a blessing or anything, but I have to admit that it'd have been nice to take some pictures of her in an over-priced baby kimono! Maybe we'll do that when she gets a little older...and regrows some hair! Happy One Month, baby Keila!!!

                                                   Sengen Shrine

                               Yuki, Keila, and me (Keila being the black blob attached to Yuki's chest)

                                                     Family pic

William Shatner Needs a Rug!

Posted on Sunday, December 05, 2010 | 0 comments

   My mom was the first to notice that our little Billy is going bald already! She used to have lovely curls forming on the top of her head whenever we gave her a bath, but recently those curls have only been appearing on the back of her balding dome. Apparently the same phenomenon happened to me around this age too: I was born with dark hair that subsequently fell out and grew back in blonde. While I don't think Keila is going to sprout some blonde shoots any time soon, here's hoping that she won't look like Humpty Dumpty for too long!

                                                  Where's my hair???

                                                       Faux hawk

                                 In other news, we've also discovered our thumb!

Shiraito no Taki Revisited

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010 | 0 comments

                  Another short post due to the fact that William Shatner is starting to wake up.
  We visited Shiraito no Taki (a waterfall near Mt. Fuji) on Sunday; Yuki and I have gone there several times but it's always a great place to take visitors. Keila was a champ in the Baby Bjorn after we got a paci into her mouth, and Zelie had a staring contest with a chicken we saw along the path. A good day for all!

                                                     Bawk bawk bawk!

                                                  Keila being camera-shy

Americans invading Shiraito no Taki    

William Shatner visits Kinzaburo and Seikenji

Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010 | 0 comments

            Today we all went out for chaffles and tea at Kinzaburo, followed by a visit to Seikenji (a temple) in nearby Okitsu. I've already posted about Kinzaburo and Seikenji if you're interested, but due to time will just post a couple of pictures and have to follow up later.
   As for William Shatner: yes, that's Keila's newest nickname. As if Little Pooper doesn't have enough already! Story behind this one: my brother found an old Star Trek show on tv here and was watching it while I held Pooper. Right around then, she lived up to that nickname....and you can probably figure out how 'Shat-ner' popped into my brother's head. Poor baby! I have the feeling she will always have a hatred of anything Star Trek related!

                                                 Adorable Keila at Seikenji

                                               Nap time at Kinzaburo

Kinako Kit Kats

Posted on Thursday, November 25, 2010 | 0 comments

   Happy Thanksgiving! No turkeys here so we're going to make a big pot of nabe tonight, pictures from that will likely follow at some point in time.
  To start the day off right, we tried some kinako (roasted soy bean powder) Kit Kats this morning--thanks, otousan! I have yet to take a bite of this year's version, but both my mom and Zelie gave them the thumbs-up. I'm going to guess that they're at least a 9, based on the previous fall's release. Kind of like a peanut buttery Kit Kat, what could be better??

Belly Button Update

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 | 0 comments

                  Keila lost her umbilical cord stump overnight on Friday! Don't ask me how she managed it, but I found it in her diaper, of all places. So much for following the Japanese practice of saving it in a special little wooden box we were given from the maternity center. I'm still not sure why the cord stumps are saved here, but I wasn't about to dig it out and clean it off, especially when you consider the fact that I've nicknamed our baby 'Little Pooper'.  Big Pooper would probably be more accurate, but I'll stick with Little in reference to her size.
  Bit of culture before I run back to check on her: the term for 'umbilical cord stump' in Japanese is 'heso no oh', which means 'umbilical tail'. Cute, right? Yuki told me what it meant. and my first thought was that now 2 of our 3 girls don't have tails. Here's hoping that Sushi doesn't feel too left out!

                                 Another adorable bath pic in lieu of a belly button shot

                              The (other) tail-less wonder

New Kit Kats

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | 1 comments

                  We found both of these new Kit Kats on the same night about 2 weeks ago, the night I went in labor, coincidentally enough. Which is why it's taken me so long to post about them.
 The new flavors are: cheese, and cafe au lait. Seeing as I'll try just about anything cheese, the first one was snapped up immediately. I debated on the cafe au lait ones, but Yuki said he'd eat them if I didn't want any more after a taste (I'm not a big coffee fan).
  The cheese ones came as a box of 10 minis, 25 Calories each. They were a bit pricier than the usual regular-sized Kit Kats, but I guess Nestle felt the fancier packaging would make up for the extra cost. After all, who wouldn't pay more for Kit Kats in an imitation treasure chest box?? I'm really glad I bought them though: they got a solid 9 on the taste-test scale! They contain a bit of real Gouda, and they definitely taste like cheese, with a slightly sweet Kit Kat aftertaste. I plan on buying more while they're available!
     The cafe au lait Kit Kats came packaged in a paper coffee cup along with a pack of instant (what else) Nestle cafe au lait. The advertising on the back of the cup showed how you could eat 2 of the Kit Kats along with the cafe au lait and still only consume something like half the calories of a standard cafe au lait and piece of cream-filled roll cake. (No big surprise there, considering how many calories roll cakes have). Verdict on these Kit Kats: maybe a 7.5 or an 8. Probably because I don't really like coffee. They basically taste like hard coffee-flavored candy, not bad.

                                             A treasure box of cheese

                                              Snack set

                               Nestle instant coffee and a cafe au lait Kit Kat

One Week!

Posted on Saturday, November 13, 2010 | 0 comments

  Happy one-week birthday, my sweet baby Keila!
  Still working on that birth story everyone's been asking for...I'd hoped to have it finished by today, but no such luck. Maybe some time this next week, depending on if I can fit some writing in between feedings, changings, burpings, and photographs! 

Keila, wrapped in her purple blanket for warmth while we frantically searched for a new outfit after she peed on 2 sets of clothes last night and one this morning. Lessons learned: 
        1. More is better when shopping for baby clothes
        2. Her dresser could be organized a wee (get it??) bit better in the future 
        3. Babies REALLY like to pee when you're changing their diapers!

First Bath Given By Daddy

Posted on Friday, November 12, 2010 | 1 comments

  A lot of these posts from here on out will probably have something to do with Keila, but I'll do my best to include some culture, too. Today's topic: bathing babies!     
 Here in Japan, nobody waits for the umbilical cord to fall off before putting babies in the bath. I was quite surprised to learn this fact, since I'd always been taught that you keep the cord stump clean and dry, only giving them sponge baths until it falls off.
      By the time I learned of this different practice however, Keila had already been given her first bath, so there wasn't too much I could do to protest. Plus, I figured...well, I haven't heard of many Japanese people with belly button problems, so perhaps it's more of a cultural issue than a sanitary one? And in terms of the Japanese perspective, the nurses seemed to think it crazy that in America, we DON'T give anything more than a sponge bath the first few weeks...and that we don't actually bathe the babies every day! (In both countries they do, however, rub around the belly button with ethanol to keep it sanitary, although I recently read of a study indicating that just leaving a stump alone to dry may be the best practice).
  I have to admit, babies do LOVE being in the bathtub. As part of the new parent training at the maternity center, I watched a nurse bathe Keila on Wednesday morning, and yesterday I gave her a bath myself while they supervised. The look of utter bliss on her face was so obvious, she might as well have been purring with pleasure. I felt bad taking her out when we were done! 
 Today, since Yuki took the day off, he got to try his hand at giving Keila her bath while I of course recorded the moment with tons of photos:

                                             Happy girl!

                                    Cute little elf

                                                   What a great dad!

                                                  Enjoying the spa treatment

                                                         Finally, a back rub!