Monthly Archives: September 2013

How to bake the best brownies ever!

imageIngredients: oreos, nutella, brownie mix, peanut butter, marshmallows, chocolate, powdered sugar.
Steps:
1. get out a brownie pan, whatever size you have will work. Grease the pan.
2. mix the oreos and nutella in a food processor until doughy. put the dough in the pan, spread it out, and pack it down so that it makes a crust on the bottom.
3. mix the brownie mix together as it says to on the box. Put it on top of the oreo crust. Bake using the directions on the box, but add time if necessary.
4. Mix peanut butter and melted chocolate into a electric mixer. Add melted marshmallows, about 3-4 will work, but work quickly otherwise the marshmallows will become clumpy. Add as much powered sugar is necessary to reach the desired consistency.
5. Once the brownies are done, let them cool and then put the frosting on top, add whatever “extras” you want. We added chocolate syrup and powdered sugar.
ENJOY

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Fall – Bread Style

Fall has arrived in Tokyo and with it comes all the related seasonal items. Today’s example comes in the form of bread.

The brown one was pumpkin flavor and the little green one (although shaped somewhat like a pumpkin and complete with a pretzel stem) was squash flavor, including squash cream filling.

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Grand Sumo – September Honbasho

imageLast weekend we ventured back to the Grand Sumo Tournament. The September Honbasho is currently in progress and we attended day 8 (of 15). The honbashos occur every other month and every other honbasho (every four months) is held in Tokyo.

We opted for the regular seats this time, as opposed to sitting on wafer-thin floor pillows. Although we weren’t as close to the action (regular seats are only on the second level) our backs and back-sides are much happier.

We will definitely be back, if not for the January Honbasho, then surely the one in May. It is really a great time and getting tickets is easy now that there is an English website.

Want to know more about Sumo, buy tickets, or even watch live via streaming video? Just click here: http://www.sumo.or.jp/en/index

Automated Mechanical Parking…for Bikes

Earlier, if you recall, we did a post about mechanical parking for cars. Well, on our walk back from dinner Friday night, we came across this new evolution of the concept.

bike parking

This is a relatively new invention that addresses two major issues in Tokyo; space (very important when you live on an island) and aesthetics (less important; but, very cool). Instead of a huge piece of asphault stuffed with bikes; there is a small, sleek, little plot with a few futuristic huts.

So, how does it work? Check out this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcZSU40RBrg.

Tropical Storm Man-Yi & Respect for the Aged Day

Today was an unexpected double holiday. The arrival of Tropical Storm Man-Yi resulted in ASIJ closing for the day and it was an official Japanese holiday…”Respect for the Aged Day”. Originally called “Old Folks Day” when it was founded in 1947, the name officially changed in 1966 along with the date; changing from September 15 to the third Monday in September (as part of the “Happy Monday System” of holiday observation in Japan).

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So, what do you do on “Respect for the Aged Day”? You celebrate and honor the senior citizens, of course. As for the storm, there was some rain and a lot of wind (which shut down several of the train lines); but, no major damage. And, by 5pm, all was calm and the storm was headed back out to sea.

Akasaka Hikawa Shrine Festival

This weekend, despite the arrival of the front edge of Tropical Storm Man-Yi, is the Akasaka Hikawa Shrine Festival; which celebrates the harvest season. This is the most important annual festival for our local shrine and has been celebrated in the same fashion for literally hundreds of years.

Basically, local citizens carry a “Mikoshi” (a portable, mini shrine) through the streets of the area while on-lookers shout and chant as it passes through. Then, after several hours, the parading ends and everyone gathers at the Shrine for a party that includes food and craft stalls.

The “Mikoshi” has been parked in front of our building for a couple days and we got a chance to watch the parading commence this morning; albeit in the driving rain. Luckily, we got a picture of the “Mikoshi” while it was parked, before the arrival of the storm.

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