Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Last Night's Sky

I was at an outdoor wedding reception last night when I noticed the sky. It was around 7:00 pm. The moon was coming up over the mountain and it backlit the clouds . . . so pretty. 

Sony RX100 III; 1/40, f1.8, 6400 ISO



Saturday, January 27, 2018

You Will Cry . . . Again

See the prelude. And look for the butterfly at the end!

Friday, January 26, 2018

You Will Cry

The butterfly!!

Thanks for sharing, Cy!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wendell's Long Beans and Pork Belly

Pork belly!! Whaaaat????  Well, I did eat the beans and it was very good. Wendell found the recipe on Seonkyoung Longest's website and can be found here. The recipe actually calls for bacon, but Wendell used pork belly instead.


Monday, January 22, 2018

My Mom and Me

Don't tell my mom you saw this picture. She'll kill me.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Grand Nikko Room

I'm going through odds-and-ends photos right now. These pictures were taken from our room in Odaiba. The room was huge . . . opposite from our room in Ikebukuro. Our room in Ikebukuro was so small that I couldn't even fully open my suitcase there. I don't really mind small since you're normally not in the room a whole lot, but it was also warm. That was worse. Me and warm don't get along.

Here's the view from the room. Can you see the tunnel going underwater? Very cool, hah. The day that I took this picture was the only not-sunny day of the trip, and it was the day of our Mt. Fuji tour. Landon and I stayed behind. Landon, because he was sick, and me because I preferred to go shopping instead of traveling 2 hours each way to not see Mt. Fuji. 

Here's our beautiful room. The box is one of two that Landon started putting together for us to use as our second luggage. In case you don't know, the airline allows two suitcases per person.

Here's our luxurious bathroom.

Eating the food, witnessing the sites and being immersed in a culture that is part of my heritage are what draw me to Japan again and again. But I do believe that my absolute favorite thing is discovering new omiyage to bring back. Here are just a few with weights written on the bags.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Platinum Fountain Pen + Carbon Ink

Tombow, Sakura, Copic, Kuretake Zig, Posca, Tsukineko are all Japanese-brand art supplies that I love, but they can be pricey. That's why Tokyu Hands was one of the places that I looked forward to visiting most while I was in Japan. 

There was a branch a few minutes' walk from our hotel in Ikebukuro. I went twice, once with Landon and once without. I ended up spending around $60, mostly on Copic markers. 

My most favorite purchase was this Platinum brand fountain pen. It was $7. Artist extraordinaire Jane Davenport uses something similar, so of course I have to copy her.

This is extra ink cartridges that I bought to use instead of the one that came with the pen. Carbon ink is water resistant so can be used with water colors. 

I ended up liking the pen so much that when I saw that Amazon carried a similar one that's especially designed for carbon ink for only $1 more than I paid, I ordered it.

Here are some drawings that I did with the pen. I love the feel and the look of the ink, or it could be that I just like it because Jane uses it.

It really is fun to use.

This girl is very Jane Davenport-ish. I used origami paper for the dress.

Another Jane-copied girl. The notes that I write on the bottom of the pages are to help me remember what I used to color the faces. I still struggle with that.

Washi tape clothes. 

I used a lot of water and just a little bit of color for this face. It was kinda accidental, but I liked how it came out comic book-y.

I used Copic markers, colored pencils, water color paints, a white gel pen as well as the fountain pen for this one. I hated the end result and was gonna toss her. But I liked her lips so I didn't. 

Does this saying sound familiar? I think if you can't be a unicorn, then being a mermaid is good too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Eyeliner Giveaway Winnah

Misako, you da winnah!! Can you email me with your mailing address? Congratulations!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Breakfast Buffet - Sunshine Prince Hotel

There were more selections at the breakfast buffet at the Sunshine Prince Hotel than my pictures show, but most of the hot foods were covered, and I thought that uncovering them just to take photos wouldn't have been a good idea so I didn't.


At most buffets this is more my speed.









Here's Landon's breakfast. 

Here's mine. The plan was to eat light breakfasts so that we would have room to sample other foods that might come our way during the day.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Café La Mille

Landon and I were looking for a particular store when we passed by Café La Mille. The cakes in the display case caught our eye, and we decided to stop for a snack. We ended up sharing a salad and dessert.

This is the Mille-Crepe, layers and layers of crepe with whipped cream in between . . .  soooooo yummy.

The Shrimp Avocado Salad was also very good. 

Café La Mille is on the 1st floor of the Alpa section of Sunshine City. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Before heading out to do some shopping on our free day in Ikebukuro, Landon and I stopped at Nakau for some breakfast. 

I didn't take this picture. It's actually a screenshot from Google Maps. So cool, yah. I always use Google Maps to go virtual exploring before a trip to try and familiarize myself with the area. It's usually up to date and pretty accurate.  nakau

There was a new-fangled ordering machine in the restaurant that Landon took to right away even though there was no English. And you know . . . young brain vs. old brain . . . I couldn't keep up with his tap, tapping and swipe, swiping of the screen. 

He ordered some kind of combination thing which worked out perfectly because I wasn't hungry at all . . .IMG_0497

so I ate the udon that came with it.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Yakiniku Toraji

Landon actually started studying the menu for Toraji Restaurant months before our trip.  You can check out the menu here


The restaurant was about 2 minutes walk from our hotel if you know where you're going. It took us about 5. There was a sign-up sheet in the front, but we only had to wait about 10 minutes.

Landon knew exactly what he wanted and in no time at all we were grilling up some wagyu. 




The grill had vents all around it so that the smoke was immediately sucked up as the meat cooked. Cool yah!

The meal was fabulous. If you're ever in the Ikebukuro Sunshine City area you should check it out.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Yokohama - Cup Noodles Museum

The next stop after Kamakura was Yokohama and the Cup Noodles Museum. 

This is the Yokohama Bay Bridge, a two-level suspension bridge which connects Yokohama to Tokyo. 

I couldn't get over the amount of vehicles that were being transported at this port. 

Not sure if they were coming or going, but choke, yah.


I tried to get a good photo of all the cranes in the bay, but this is the best that I could do. 

This giant ferris wheel is part of Yokohama Cosmoworld, an amusement park right across from the Cup Noodles Museum. It takes 15 minutes for the ferris wheel to complete a full rotation and offers a wide view of the area. Too bad it wasn't on our itinerary. 

To be honest . . . Cup Noodles Museum? . . . they built a museum about Cup Noodles? I couldn't understand the attraction.

The ground floor was huge and spacious with lots of breathing room . . . unusual, I thought.

It was a different story upstairs in the My Cup Noodles Factory where you can create your own packaging. So this is where the crowd was. Aha!

This is the History Cube which tells the story, via displayed package samples, of the growth of inventor Momofuku Ando's instant ramen . . .

from 1958 . . .

to present day. 

This is the Noodles Bazaar where for 300 yen each, you can sample noodles from around the world.




We got noodles from Italy, China and Indonesia. Tasted just okay.

It was good to experience the museum since I'd never been there before. I found it pretty amazing to see how busy (and profitable) such a common-themed (boring) tourist attraction could be. But . . . and I think you know this already . . . once is enough.