More Pepsi: Energy Cola

Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 | 0 comments

  Here's another Pepsi out: Energy Cola. Ingredients are: sugar, royal jelly, guarana, Korean carrot, caramel color, ascorbic acid, caffeine, etc etc etc in that order. Basically, one big sugar rush. Taste? Like some herbal tonic has been poured into a really syrupy sweet Pepsi. Not good, but oddly addicting! Even with all those random herbs/plants included, I'm pretty sure that the only energy you're going to feel comes straight from all that sugar. The label indicates that it's good for sports, studying, on the job, and for dates. Huh, who knew. That's still not enough to get me to drink another one, though!

                          Keila had fun playing with the can, at least

Pepsi Caribbean Gold: White Sapote Flavor

Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 | 0 comments

   Pepsi released its limited edition summer flavor today: Caribbean Gold. The label goes on to say that it's 'white sapote' flavored...which I had to look up, considering I had no idea what that was. Turns out it's a type of tropical fruit found in eastern Mexico on down south through Costa Rica. Huh. Having visited Mexico and Nicaragua, I'd imagine that I would've come across it at some point....or more likely seen it in the produce section of our local Walmart! Apparently white sapote just isn't all that popular, perhaps because eating the fruit is said to induce drowsiness? Although I would think that would make it MORE popular than not, but maybe that's just my brain talking after limited sleep every night for the past 8.5 months.
  Anyway...back to this Pepsi. Perhaps the name Caribbean Gold was chosen in the hopes that it'd bring to mind Pirates of the Caribbean and thereby further increase sales (Pirates is HUGE in Japan)? Whatever the case, it's obviously not named after white sapote, which I don't really need to point out isn't even native to the Caribbean. Someone at Pepsi didn't do their research! The flavor itself did bring to mind a tropical feel, however. Imagine cream soda mixed with pineapple pop, in a good way. I'd definitely recommend buying it. Way better than that cucumber flavor they came out with a few years ago!!

                                      Pepsi Caribbean Gold, White Sapote Flavor

                                             Keila liked it, too! 

Typhoon Mishmash

Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | 0 comments

    We've been stuck inside for most of the day due to Typhoon Ma-on (I didn't name it), so now is as good a time as any to play catch up with some random products I've discovered over the past month. First up, we have 2 new Kit Kat flavors: cookies 'n cream and strawberry hazelnut. Sadly, neither one of them was good enough to make me buy them again. Cookies 'n cream tasted basically like a Cookies 'n Cream Hershey's bar, while the strawberry hazelnut was nice and strawberry flavored...not so much hazelnut though. I'd give them both a 6 maybe? Decent but nothing special.
  Second, we've got 2 new stationery sets that I just couldn't resist. The first one reads: 'Fatty Animals' and in smaller letters underneath 'I do not mind fatty!!' Love it! The second one isn't quite as funny, but still cute and reminded me of our old dog Scooter. That one reads 'Little Butler. We will put delicious tea in. I will do the highest entertainment' and then farther down 'I am only your butler'.
  Don't ask me where they come up with the wording for the stationery sets here, but major props to whoever's creating them!
   Finally, the last 3 pictures are from Haneda Airport's new international terminal, which I had the pleasure of exploring when we saw Yuki off on his last trip to China. I have NO idea what the sign in the toilet means?? Perhaps this is self-obvious to anyone else looking at it, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what the little platform that folds out of the wall onto the floor is supposed to do. Anyone? (And yes, I do realize that taking a picture in a toilet stall is kind of weird).
  Next up, the sign just before security. If the English is taken literally, then you can just stand there all day and try to figure out the never-ending loop of whether or not you can bring liquids on board. I would've thought an international airport could do a bit better than that on translations, but at least it's good for a laugh!
  Last picture, this cute little bunny apparently reminding you not to forget your skin when you fly. Good advice, Bunny-san!

                                 The new Kit Kats: Strawberry Hazelnut and Cookies 'N Cream

                                     Fatty Animals!


I really want to know what this contraption is for!

                                'Liquids cannot be brought on board aircraft. However, liquids can be carried on by following the rules'. Rules? See #1: Liquids cannot be brought on board aircraft!

                                'Have a nice air trip and your skin!!!'

Flag Waver

Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 | 0 comments

  There's got to be some sort of law here in Japan that a flag waver is required at EVERY construction site. And that law really needs to be revised, considering that, while this guy was dutifully performing his job as other workers dug a hole...the construction site is the top of our street, which is a dead end!!!

                                        Neighbor's house on the left, our place on the right...and NOTHING else around besides farm land in the back

He was REALLY happy to wave the flag around as Yuki backed out of our parking space

Bio-S Restaurant and Farm

Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 | 0 comments

       Last Thursday we headed to nearby Fujinomiya for lunch at an organic restaurant, Bio-S, that we recently learned about. (It's pronounced Bios, so I'm not sure why there's the dash?).
   I've been attempting to buy mostly organic vegetables and fruit for Keila, which has been a feat in itself, seeing as there just aren't very many organic farms around Japan. I first learned about this particular farm and restaurant while talking with a friend, and the very next day I happened to see a sticker with the farm's website address pasted onto a 336 yen organic zucchini at a health food store. (For those of you not up to date on the current exchange rates, I paid about 4 dollars and 15 cents for one little zucchini. Grumble).
  Figuring that buying directly from the farm would be cheaper, we looked their address up online after deciding to have lunch there and make a day trip of it. Yuki called ahead to make reservations (and request that they hold some zucchini for us). The hostess seemed rather surprised that we wanted 8 zucchini, since most people don't have big freezers here and therefore don't tend to stockpile and freeze produce.
  Here's where things got a bit confusing....there's both a Bio-deli and a Bio-S restaurant in Fujinomiya. We first ended up at the deli, a cute and definitely casual little place, before realizing that we needed to be at the restaurant. Which was quite definitely NOT casual. Luckily, this is Japan, where dress codes don't really exist. Still, I was glad that I'd at least decided to wear a new shirt that day! Yuki was feeling a bit out of place in shorts until a single woman in hiking boots and jeans strolled in and took a seat at her reserved table. The rest of the crowd, however, was much better dressed than we were. At least Keila was fancy enough for the occassion!
  The owner of this organic enterprise, Mr. Matsuki himself, was hard at work showing guests to their tables and waiting on them, too. I'm not sure how long he's had his farm operating in Fujinomiya (Bio Farm Matsuki), but he told us that the restuarant had been open for about a year now.
 Ever the gentleman, he didn't say a word about us hauling Keila in for lunch, although it is rather obviously not a restaurant suited for children or babies. Thankfully, our little Pooper behaved herself beautifully and even entertained a group of elderly women seated at the table adjacent to us. Score One for Little Billy Shatner!
  Lunch was, of course, all organic. We opted for the smallest course set, which included: an appetizer of raw corn and wild boar bacon; fish carpaccio over onions and spring peas, which was topped with mushrooms and served alongside cherry blossom salmon; roast chicken with spring vegetables; lemon granita over panna cotta; and finally, tea with tiny sponge cakes and macarones. Needless to say, it was all excellent, and we had a pretty small dinner later that evening! Ok, I'm lying about the small dinner. What can I say, feeding Keila gives me an appetite equal to that of a herd of hippos. Half-starved hippos. Snort snort.
 Next time, we'll probably try lunch at the deli instead so as not to push our luck with Keila a second time. If you're interested in finding out more about the farm or restaurant and deli, here's their website:

                                                  Bio-S Restaurant. They do weddings, too.

                                                  The Dining Room

                                          Organic Carrot-Apple Juice

                                       Appetizer: Raw Corn With Wild Boar Bacon

                                   Carpaccio Salad And Sakura Salmon

                                  Roast Chicken With Zucchini, Onions, Potatoes, Beans, and Burdock Root With A French Dijon Sauce. No, that's not a stick; it's burdock root. Completely edible and quite tasty.

                                                         Darling Keila In Her New Dress

                                Lemon Granita Over Some Amazing Panna Cotta

                                      Herb Tea, Sponge Cake, And Macarones

                             The Still Cute But Much More Casual Deli

                                        Organic Produce For Sale

Tanabata, Bistro C, And Stroller Success

Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2011 | 0 comments

   We met some friends out for dinner on Friday in Shimizu, at a little bar/restaurant called Bistro C. I'd never heard of it before, but it turned out to be pretty good (plus it's no smoking). Only downside was that it did take a rather long time for all of our food to arrive, seeing as the place only has one oven and a menu full of baked entrees. Keila was great about the whole ordeal, however, and she really enjoyed hooting at a man at the bar until Yuki took her over to chat with him. She's a little flirt already!
 We also strolled through the Shimizu Tanabata Festival on the way back to the station. For those of you who don't know, Tanabata is officially on the 7th of July (7/7). On this date, the deities and lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi (the stars Vega and Altaire) are said to be allowed to meet. On all other days, they are separated by the Milky Way. In honor and celebration of their meeting, star festivals are held across the country in July and August. And because they're star festivals, most of the action takes place after dark. Keila loved seeing all of the lights and hanging much so that getting her to go to sleep proved more difficult than usual!
  Finally, one more note--after 2 months of SCREAMING whenever she was set in it, Keila decided that she'd submit to a stroller ride on Friday! Success!!!!

                                                      Lovin' The Stroller!

Tanabata Decorations

                                       Shimizu Tanabata Festival

Keila Update: 8 Months!

Posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2011 | 0 comments

  I'm still trying to figure out how 8 months have gone by already, but as of 4:57 p.m. this evening, Keila will officially be 2/3 of a year old.
  Here's what's been going on with her lately:
 1. Lots of new sounds and 'talking'. She'll say MamaDaDadLalaGaaaGaaa and other babbles, but she reserves NaaaNaaa and NeNe for when she doesn't like something (ie prunes) or wants to go to bed.
 2. Speaking of bed, our hyperactive girl STILL doesn't like sleeping much. Our schedule is that she gets tired and goes to bed around 7:30...if we're lucky. Other nights, she somehow gets a second wind as she hits the crib mattress and starts waving her hands around and cooing like a mad monkey. I've tried letting her 'cry it out' (aka checking on her every 3, 5, then 10 minutes to see how she was doing)....all that led to was her becoming increasingly upset and scratching big gouges in her forehead. She tends to scratch at her head and ears when exhausted, poor girl. But seeing as I don't want a bloody, scarred up baby, that little move inadvertently trumped my attempt at a 'cry it out' solution. Back to square one!
 3. Keila is doing a bit better with tummy time but still not for more than 5 minutes (is that the same as last month? I'll have to check). Her arms are getting a lot stronger though, so maybe crawling is in the future? Or maybe just straight on to scooting or walking--in the past few days, she's been actively scooting backward. We have yet to figure out forward, maybe next week!
 4. Baby food is going ok; she's been grabbing at the spoon lately so feeding herself is also in the near future. So far no other 'reactive' foods besides bananas and possibly green peas. Zucchini and blueberries are favorites of the moment, although we introduced cinnamon a couple of days ago and that went over well, too. On Friday we're hitting up the local tofu shop, so she can try out some soft-style tofu over the weekend.
 5. Favorite activities now include waving the cats' toy fishing pole around for them to bat at; stealing the cats' toy mouse and attempting to eat it; attempting to eat just about anything she can get ahold of: and blowing raspberries. Oh, and she also loves singing and dancing. Lady Gaga is a biggie, but Neyo seems to be holding his own, too. Taylor Swift has yet to evoke much response. Sorry, Taylor.
 6. Keila has MASTERED the art of running around in her walker (much to Wasabi and Sushi's horror)! She can now go forward and back, even looks over her shoulder like a good little driver when backing up. I'm getting an idea of how busy she's going to keep me once she's more mobile: last night she had a great time throwing the recycling all over the kitchen floor. Nothing like the sound of plastic, metal, and glass rattling around to make for a happy baby.
  Finally, as a present to me today (or maybe just pure luck), Keila has actually gone down for a nap longer than 20 minutes this afternoon! We'll see how long this little miracle lasts, but in the meanwhile I think I'll try to put away our 5 loads of clean laundry that have taken over her nursery. Until next month.....



Posted on Monday, July 04, 2011 | 0 comments

   We tried out a new taiyaki shop a few weekends back, but of course I'm only just now getting time to post about it. First off, if you're not familiar with taiyaki, it's basically a fish-shaped sort of cake with filling inside. The outer crust is made from pancake or waffle batter, and the filling is usually comprised of sweet red beans (adzuki), custard, chocolate, or cheese, etc. This shop's featured taiyaki is filled with sugary Japanese sweet potato paste. Delicious! They also have a green tea cream taiyaki, along with your usual custard and other varieties. It's a really cute little place, located on the road heading up to the Shizuoka prefectural art museum if you're interested in trying it. And if you do go, try to get there in the morning, when the taiyaki are still fresh off the griddle. Yum!