Monthly Archives: October 2013

Happy Halloween Onigiri!

When we first moved here, we asked about Halloween and how/if it was celebrated. We were curious to see if we had another Headland Drive situation like we did in Discovery Bay. We were told that Halloween really hadn’t caught on yet. Evidently, we didn’t ask the right person, because Halloween is a thing here. Maybe not quite as big of a phenomemon as it is in the US, but it is an event.

One small example: today, I stepped into a Family Mart, which is another combini (slang for convenience store) for a quick snack and found a special Halloween Onigiri, white rice with a salmon circle on top:


We had a private trick or treating in our building from 6-8 pm. About 25 apartments participated preparing treats for an expected 17-20 costumed kids. We ended up giving out close to 40 treats. Not sure who did the math.


I Am Candy

He survived his first japanese grooming experience at the “dog healing salon” in Azabujuban, called “I Am Candy.” It’s about a 20-30 minute walk from our building depending on how focused we are. Actually, survive isn’t the right word…there wasn’t really anything thing to endure. The shop was bright and clean, and the female groomers are major animal-lovers who spent a lot of time loving him up before he happily went with them for a bath. It was a 3-hour pampering event.
He was groomed and fluffed in the kawaii-style of extra soft and poofy.

Kappabashi – Kitchen Heaven

This week we ventured out to Kappabashi, which is basically a street a little north-east of downtown Tokyo. But, what a street!

Kappabashi Street is four blocks long and contains EVERYTHING you could possibly imagine having ANYTHING to do with kitchens, restaurants, and cooking. You want a slicer, an “open” sign, a chef’s coat, a to-go container, a cotton candy machine, some miso soup bowls, or some plastic food to show passers-by what your menu is…you can absolutely find it here.

kappabashi 1

What did I just say? Plastic food? Yep! You can’t put real food in your display cases outside all day; it’ll look nasty in short time. So, you gotta go to Kappabashi and get your plastic food. Everything from frosty beer, to raw squid, to hamburgers, to pastries…it’s all there.

kappabashi 2


One of the unique cultural phenomenons in Japan is…the longer the queue, the more desireable the item being waited for, the more rewarding it is to wait in line to get it, and the happier people are to wait. This manifests itself into amazingly long lines for some ridiculous things.

We visit Omotesando somewhat regularly and there has always been a particularly long line for gourmet popcorn place called KuKuRuZa (which is a Seattle-based company). So, we decided to give it a try. As expected, there was an amazingly long line (250 minutes to be exact) in which we orderly waited for our opportunity to purchase flavored popcorn.


To be honest, it was quite fun and the popcorn is delicious. Was it more enjoyable and tasty because of the wait? Hmmm…not sure. It sure didn’t hurt that it was the weekend before Halloween; with great fall weather, trick-or-treaters, and a parade!


Ginza at Night

Both of the girls “had plans” this Saturday night, so we were on our own for a few hours. The temperature was a pleasant 16C–perfect tempura weather, so we tried a nice, casual restaurant: Ginza Tenkuni. It was warm and tasty; the vegetables, in particular were delicious!

Afterwards, we walked through the streets of Ginza. The buildings were so beautiful at night, it gave the area a completely different feeling.image

The Last Stop


At the bottom of the hill, across from the Romance Car station, were a few blocks of stores selling local snacks and souvenirs. There was a small country/mountain town vibe to the place–a little like Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

It was a great day–even with the incoming typhoon–and we are looking forward to visiting Hakone again.

The Rain

It was at about the same time as we tasted the black eggs, that the typhoon started to arrive into the area and we had to head down back to the Hakone-Yumoto train station. To do so, we took the cable car down the hill (with a stop for lunch) and a transfer to the switch back railway.