Sunday, February 28, 2010

Amazing onsens!!!

I am not a big fan of Japanese TV because I just don't get many of the programs ("don't get" meaning the humour is strange in my opinion) but one of the exceptions is their travel shows. Japan has one of the highest rates of domestic travel and I totally understand why every time I view one of their travel shows. The show I just finished watching was about onsens (hot springs). I thought I would share some of the pictures. Remember when you go to an onsen you are naked ... so we only go to ones that have private onsens meaning your room has an onsen attached to it....either on a balcony, on a patio, in a private garden etc.

The first one is in Shizuoka ken (same prefecture as Mount Fuji). For one night 2 days the price starts at 20,000 Yen ($224) and this includes the room and dinner and breakfast and the hot spring.

The room.

The hot springs.

The food.

This next onsen is in Chiba (near Tokyo). For 1 night 2 days the price is 22,000 Yen ($247) per person. This price includes the room, hot spring, dinner and breakfast. This place has many private hot springs.

This next one is in Nagano prefecture. The cost starts at 16,000 Yen ($179) for 1 night 2 days. It includes the room, onsen, dinner and breakfast.

This room has a private hot spring on the balcony.


A traditional fire cooked meal. This style is very cool. You put the food on sticks and the sticks are put in the sand around the fire to cook.

Amazingly beautiful!! I LOVE watching these shows. Hopefully we will go to one soon!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gluten Free? Living in or visiting Tokyo? You are in Luck!!

Thanks to a reader (Annalisa) who posted a comment in one of my blog posts about living gluten free in Japan I now know about this restaurant. It is in Roppongi and is the sister restaurant to the original which is in East Melbourne. It is Japan's first wheat and gluten free restaurant. It is called S. Komatsu.

To ensure that it is completely gluten and wheat free they make all their own sauces and condiments and all are completely free of preservatives, additives, artificial colours and sweeteners.

Here is a map. If you click on it, it will take you to the site with more instructions on how to get there.

It isn't very often that I wished I lived in Tokyo but.....iina!!! (means I'm jealous!).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hungry? Want a Moffle?

What is a moffle?

Mochi is Japanese rice cakes made from pounded sticky rice. Someone had the great idea to turn them into a mochi waffle! Apparently, they are kind of crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Here is the mochi press.
To make a moffle you add a piece of mochi (there are different kinds-thin sliced and regular rectangle shaped mochi). then close the press and it comes out looking like a waffle. If you want a stuffed moffle (like a sandwich) then you add 1 thinly sliced mochi and then you add some meat or other filling. Then top with another piece of mochi.
Then, close the press and when you open.....
In the picture above you get a kind of sandwich or stuffed waffle/moffle!

Here are some pictures to show you what you can make using the mochi press.

Seriously will have to talk to my honey about getting one of these!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Meccha Kawaii Sweets!

Last week I was lucky enough to get some handmade chocolate and other sweets from some students for Valentine's ("tomo choco" I guess you could call it). Some of the cookies had cute faces-they were very sweet. I totally forgot to take pics of those so instead I decided to put up these pics to show just how cute sweets can be! (oh and from the title of today's post "meccha kawaii" means "very cute")

Thursday, February 11, 2010

If you are a guy in Japan....Valentine's Day might be disappointing!

In Japan, Valentine's Day is a bit different. The tradition here is that girls/women give chocolate to guys (girls get a present from those guys in March on "white day" -they get white gifts like white chocolate, marshmallow covered chocolate etc). Also, there is "giri choco" which basically means "obligation chocolate". Women give chocolate to their bosses or some other important men in their lives-this is expected and has a long tradition in Japan.

But what is a new trend in Japan is "tomo choco" meaning "friendship chocolate" and according to a recent survey 74 percent of women plan to give a Valentine's gift to a female friend but only 32 percent intended to buy something for a boyfriend. In another survey a chocolate maker surveyed 500 women and 92% said they had received tomo choco from a friend last year. And of these women, only 11.2 percent said they plan to give chocolates to a someone they love.

So....there is a good chance many men will be "chocolateless" on Valentine's here in Japan.

Ya just gotta love her...

I know this has nothing to do with living in Japan but I felt like sharing. Actually...I guess in a way it has to do with living in Japan in that I miss out on some TV and the commercials.

Sunday was the Superbowl and while I have no interest in the Superbowl I do like watching commercials (and when we were in Canada in the summer my honey loved watching the TV commercials as they are sooooo different from Japanese commercials). I absolutely love this commercial and who wouldn't since Betty White is in it?! I have loved her since the "golden girls" and there is something about her that reminds me of my grandmother! I hope you enjoy the commercial and I hope when I'm 88 I look this good and can be this young!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Year's Resolutions, Updates And Our Anniversary!

I can't believe it is already February!! Where did January go? Anyone still working on their New Year's resolutions? So far we are! One of ours was to walk 5-6 times a week when I get home from work and we are still doing it! It is pretty cold (I think I have to give up my Canadian passport as I'm sure many Canadians would laugh at me!) but it just feels so good to walk! We walk around 10:30 pm (sometimes earlier and sometimes later) for 25-40 mins right now. I am planning to increase that so that by sometime in March we are walking closer to 1 hour per night. I can't believe I am saying this but I miss it if we don't walk. We chat a lot about our business, our dreams and sometimes we stop for a minute and look at the stars (we walk in kind of the countryside so we can see lots of stars!).

A few of our other resolutions are about our businesses and our finances. These take more time but we have started making some changes. It is amazing to me how every year we learn so much and I am learning how to follow my gut on things. I'm still watching the Suze Orman pod casts, reading books about money, business etc. I'm trying to find as many interesting and suitable pod casts, blogs etc. I want to learn as much as possible so that I can make the right choices. Last year, one of the most important things we focused on was advertising and it has paid off. This year I guess is it about "focused growth". The thing is ....Japan has so many things we could sell but after 2.5 years in business we are feeling like we are finally figuring out what we want to sell...and what actually sells-what people want to buy and what products or product areas are growing. It feels good to reign it in a bit and focus on certain things and listening to our customers etc. Anyway, enough about resolutions....though I'm curious if anyone else is still doing theirs!

In other news....I just found out that one of my pics of Niagara Falls (from our trip to Canada last summer) was included in the online Schmap guide of Niagara falls. You can check out the picture here -it is the picture in the upper right corner and it has my name, Sofia Takami, under it I just thought that was pretty cool. My hubby submitted the photo and they picked it!

Saturday is our 1 year wedding anniversary! I can't believe one year is already gone! We are planning to go into the city to our favorite yakiniku restaurant If you click on the buttons under the "menu" you will see more pictures of delicious food!!

And on Sunday his parents are taking us out for Chinese for lunch I love Chinese so I'm very happy about this too!!

Hopefully I will remember to take some pics and post them later!


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