Friday, May 31, 2013


Really sad about Google Reader disappearing... so I just joined bloglovin'! If you have an account, click here to follow me!

tokyo eats blog

One of my favorite blogs is Tokyo Eats, a guide to many of the hidden gems that span the huge city of Tokyo. Whenever I trek out to Tokyo, I check the blog to see if there are any places I should try that are in the vicinity of whatever part of Tokyo I happen to visit that day.

I took my sister to a bakery in Shibuya called Gontran Cherrier, recommended by Maki-san (the writer of Tokyo Eats), and it did not disappoint.

We picked out a bunch of things to try from sweet to savory. Everything was delicious, but standouts were a sun-dried tomato bread (bottom picture, bottom right), the croissant (bottom picture top right), and all the scones. A must eat if you're looking for a quick breakfast in Shibuya!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

mandoka cafe

When my sister was here, we wandered around Tokyo on foot. To rest our weary feet, I suggested going to a cafe that I had gone to before in Shibuya called Mandoka. It's a cute cafe with Indian decor, but no Indian food, and it's always crowded. Imagine my surprise when we arrived and saw that the whole place was decked out in Rooftop Prince paraphernalia.

If you don't know, Rooftop Prince is a popular Korean drama starring Park Yoochun, acting as a prince who travels forward in time with three of his minions. I'm not that into Korean dramas--too much melodrama and cancer plots--but this one was hilarious and heartwarming all at once. I recommend it!

I was really excited to receive these coasters as gifts from the cafe.

But I was even more excited to eat my dessert. I got a sakura parfait! Sakura is a seasonal flavor, so at the time, if sakura was an option, I would get it.

I think the cafe has reverted back to its normal state, but regardless, if you're in Shibuya, do drop in! It's on the way to Tower Records from Shibuya Station in Lumine Men's.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

cool runnings

Except it was freezing.

That weekend's run in Oshima (an island off the coast of Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures) was definitely an experience. Oshima was one of the areas hit most directly by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami--a part of the island was actually isolated during the tsunami, and many people died. I was happy to hear that America sent over helicopters to fly people off of the island during that time.

Even after two years, they are still rebuilding. This marathon was held in part to help revitalize the area and boost the declining tourism industry in Oshima. Cold as it was, locals lined the marathon course to help cheer on the runners.

We arrived the day before and stayed at a minshuku (like a ryokan/Japanese-style inn, but more home-y and smaller). We had dinner there and it was amazing.

We also had a small, but nutritious breakfast before we set out for the run!

We were pretty pumped up until we realized it was snowing. And raining. At the same time. I think it's called sleet in English (but I had to look it up, because I'm from California, so I never encounter cold weather!). To my surprise, the marathon wasn't cancelled. All 2000 of us ran through the freezing sleet without a word of complaint. It's quite admirable, the way Japanese people can endure and not complain, but at the time, I was flabbergasted. I didn't have a choice about whether or not to run though, I was hopelessly outnumbered. It's a shame thing; that's another thing Japanese people are good at.

No matter, after a grueling, 40-minute run, it was all over (for me at least. I was in awe of the people who did 10km and the half-marathon!). We then set out for our reward--seafood lunch!

Even though it was a huge challenge, I'm glad we went. It was eye opening to see some of the damage still left by the tsunami and humbling to hear the thanks from the locals, even though we barely did anything. I'll never forget this run, that's for sure! In fact, I'm going on another run in a month. Am I a sucker for torture? You betcha!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


It's been a long time, but all my visitors have left (sadness!) and now I am back in my normal routine.

Actually, I'm leaving Japan in a little over two months, so I'm trying to see and do all that I can in the time I have left! It's bittersweet; I'm looking forward to going home, but Japan feels like home now too!

Upcoming posts: Sendai run, Golden Week travels, more sakura and more food!