Bucket List: Ton Katsu (Pork Cutlet)

Posted on Saturday, September 24, 2011 | 0 comments

  Check another one off the Japan bucket list: today we had ton katsu for lunch. Ok, actually I had fried shrimp and veggies (but incredibly unhealthy so still counts) and Keila ate zucchini with oatmeal, her foot, and a chopsticks wrapper....a good time was had by all! Now, back to packing, aka flipping through British magazines and telling myself it's still equivalent to preparing for the big move....
                                    My lunch

                                  Ton katsu, cabbage, and fried oysters

                                                    Keila rather enjoying her lunch

                                         Yum, yum!

Bucket List: Atami Family Trip

Posted on Friday, September 23, 2011 | 0 comments

Once again, just a quick post since the nasty duty of packing boxes still awaits me tonight.
  ...We had a great time in Atami last night and this morning! Ate way, way, WAY too much lovely seafood and thorougly enjoyed relaxing in the hotel. Thank you, Otousan!!!

                                   Family pic

                                      Sashimi, I will miss you

                                       MASSIVE sashimi boat

                                             Overhead view

                                      One of the countless courses at dinner

                                      View from the breakfast buffet....enlarge the picture and look closely to note what this lady is drinking...at 8 am. When on vacation, all rules are out!

The Bucket List

Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2011 | 0 comments

  Well, in case you don't already know, the big news here is that we won't be here for much longer. We're being transferred to Worcester, England. And while I'm really happy in some ways to be heading to Europe, I'm also really sad to be leaving family, friends, and life in Japan. Especially since time has suddenly sped up, and we've got maybe a month left. There's sooo much to get done before the big move, so I'm not sure how many posts I'll get in before we go....but I'll at the very least try to put up photos as we work on our bucket list for the time left in Japan. (In case you're not familiar with the concept of a bucket list, it's a list of things you want to do before you die...or in this case, things we want to do before we move).
  For now, here's our list:
 1. Eat ikura aka salmon roe. Lots of it! (Already did it once, again would be nice)
 2. Visit Kamakura again. And eat at Hachi no ki (great vegan/Buddist monk cuisine)
 3. Eat Belgian chocolate soft cream from Mini Stop. (Did it, will post pics soon)
 4. Visit Kyoto (did it last month, see pics from previous posts)
 5. Take Keila to the zoo
 6. Eat houtou (a type of noodle/stew) near Mt. Fuji. We really like eating, what can I say.
 7. Eat unagi (eel). I'm going to gain 10 lbs before we move!
 8. Returnee friends reunion in Tokyo
 9. Yuki's final band concert
 10. Have dinner at Budou no Oka (great buffet near our place)
 11. Relax at Kinzaburo green tea shop
 12. Photograph favorite sites along our daily walks
 13. Stay in Atami with family (planned for next week)
 14. Mountain drive/hike near Shizuoka
 15. Buy more Nontan for Keila

  I may/may not add more to the list if: 1. we remember anything else and 2. time prevails. I think that our list would be rather different if activities weren't restricted by Keila's nap times, etc, and also by our own lack of time here. As it is, we've tried to think of things we'll obviously miss and won't have access to in the UK.
 Obviously once we move, this blog will no longer be about life in Japan, but instead will detail England and whatever European trips we take. Not sure yet if I'll keep the same web address or will change to a new one; details on that after we get settled, though!

Finally, New Kit Kats!

Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2011 | 0 comments

   Kit Kat flavor production seems to have slowed down since the big earthquake in March...but maybe now they're starting to ramp things up again? At least, here's the new flavor for Halloween: pumpkin cheese cake. Pretty good; Yuki said he could taste pumpkin right away but it took me a bit longer to notice it. Definitely creamy, although the American in me was expecting more of a pumpkin pie spice/cheese cake flavor rather than just pumpkin cheese cake. Maybe a score of 7 or 7.5? Keila, however, was not big on the wrapper and only gave it a score of 3 out of 10!

Weird Product Alert!

Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | 0 comments

  I spotted this at a Mini Stop yesterday and forced Yuki to toss it in with the other items we were buying. He resisted at first, asking me what I needed it for, but I used my 'It's for the blog!' card and won. Besides, it was half off, apparently because nobody else could figure out a good reason to buy it, either. So, what is this mystery product, you ask?? 
..........................a curry-scented sparkler!!! Odd even in consideration of all the other weird products I've found here. The front boasts phrases such as 'It smells of curry!' 'Can you smell it?' and 'Indian people will be surprised, too!'
  We tested one out tonight, and it definitely smelled rather spicy when we opened the package. However, the only scent emitted upon burning was your usual sulfurous sparkler smell. Oh well, I still think it was 53 yen well spent in terms of the entertainment factor alone!

Tenryu-ji in Arashiyama

Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011 | 0 comments

  Only about a month later, I'm finally posting some more pictures from our Kyoto vacation. These are at Tenryu-ji in Arashiyama, a northern part of Kyoto. It's registered as a World Heritage site and while quite beautiful, I have to admit that I enjoyed seeing the bamboo forest in back of it more than anything!


10 Months Old!

Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2011 | 0 comments

  Yep, Keila turned 10 months old today! And she's been making a TON of progress these past few weeks. Here's the monthly update:
 1. She's getting louder and louder! 'Mama' is a regular word, although I'm not too sure whether she yells it when she wants me or just when she's upset, seeing as how she usually wants me when she's upset. Besides sounds, her new oral trick is....drumroll....spitting! Nice huh? I swear she got about 3 feet out of one on our walk yesterday. It's especially fun when she's got a mouth full of food at the time, too.
 2. Again on the subject of her mouth...we're at 5 teeth now! 3 on the bottom and 2 on top. The 2 on top are not the middle ones, but instead the canines. When they're fully in, I get to start calling her Baby Dracula.
 3. Sleep is still not going well, unfortunately. She was actually doing really well and had slept through the night for almost a week, but then Dad had to leave on a business trip and we came to stay at Grandpa's. Not sure if it's the change in location or lack of Daddy being around (probably combined with teething), but sleep patterns have reverted! And the only way she'll nap is if I'm holding her in my lap. So it's either...no nap = cranky baby or nap = Mom doesn't get anything done during the day.
 4. Still no crawling...and I doubt it'll ever happen, seeing as of August 9th she started actively scooting. It's really funny to see since she rather looks like a gimp baby in motion, but she's also quite fast! The cats learned this fact the hard way. Also, starting last week, she finally started pulling herself up to standing. Turns out that she probably could've done it a while ago given the proper incentive....ie a toy or the tv remote sitting on Grandpa's couch cushions. So far the remote hasn't been broken...so far....
 5. In terms of eating...she now wants to do it all herself! Meaning that the mouth clamps closed whenever a spoon comes at it. She can feed herself baby crackers but so far other items are a bit difficult. Melon was definitely a thumbs down, but onions (in her crackers for flavoring) seemed to be a pretty big hit!
 6. Favorite activities now include: hitting or pinching Mom repeatedly and then laughing when Mom yells 'OUCH' or 'NO'; pulling on any and all electrical cords and attempting to stuff them into her mouth; playing with Grandpa's fire extinguisher until she's caught; and turning the tv and lights on/off. She can also clap her hands when she feels like it, and she waves bye-bye a lot...even when nobody is going 'bye-bye'.
 7. Separation anxiety is still driving Mom crazy, but otherwise she's an incredibly happy girl!
 8. Keila weights approximately 9.5 kg now (almost 21 lbs). We'll see if she maintains or gains on her cracker-only diet, though!
 Until next month....


A Typhoon Is Coming!

Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2011 | 0 comments

                  Combine incoming bad weather with sale day at the grocery store, and what do you get? Lines like these.....I couldn't even get it all into the picture, but here's an idea of how crowded it was! Needless to say, I immediately gave up on the idea of buying my diet Pepsi....