I'm so, so, soooooooo behind on my posts... :X I've been moving. No, not moving blogs, moving house. Yes, again. Nowhere far, just upstairs to the second floor of the same building but wow, so much work T.T I will post pictures later when the new apartment is all set up and ready.
In the mean time, here are some pictures of me and hubby wandering around Yokohama Chinatown on the 3rd day of Lunar New Year (Saturday, February 5). It was insanely crowded with everyone bumping into each other and crazy long lines every where. But it was also really fun and the atmosphere was filled with excitement ^.^ There were special shows and whatnot, but we didn't go. We were mostly snacking about town, finding the longest line to get in on what everyone's eating LOL!
This is a backissue of Steady, for August 2010, which also featured a Natural Beauty Basic tote. If this sounds familiar to you, it's because Steady January 2011 issue also came with a Natural Beauty Basic tote ^.^
I really like the tote's gray nautical stripes and cotton rope handles, and from the reviews and pictures I've seen, it looks really well made!
More February 2011 issue came with a L'Occitane pouch and a body cream sample, and while the L'Occitane name alone isn't quite the selling point for me, the pouch actually looks quite well made so I bought it.
Bought this February 2011 issue of Mono Max for hubby because it came with a Lanvin gadget pouch. Yes, men's magazines come with freebies too, though mostly "manly" things like gadget pouches (like this one), messenger bags, totes, wallets, etc.
Near many train stations in Japan, there is usually a 24-hr bento shop that caters to the early birds and road warriors. The one in front of my train station happens to be Origin Bento.
I absolutely love this place, and not just because I love bentos in general. The bentos sold at these 24-hr shops aren't pre-made refrigerated kinds you see in conbinis. They are made to order, fresh off the grill/pan/pot hot bentos and they are just absolutely heavenly! When we first arrived in Japan, hubby and I lived off of these for a week or two before we got our kitchen up and running. I remember one time, hubby made a comment that made me roll over laughing. After inhaling one delicious buta-kimchi bento, he exclaimed, "These has got to be government subsidized charity bento shops or something!"
Bún Riêu is a delicious Southern Vietnamese rice vermicelli soup in a seafood-tomatoes broth that, well, started out complicated go make but the process has been simplified over time (thank goodness!) ^.^ It used to be that the dish is made from fresh crabs, but nowadays my mum and I are among the vast majority of those who use a shrimp or crab paste sold in cans or jars :P It just really makes life so much easier and the dish much more accessible. I can make it for dinner at will instead of having to plan far ahead for some ceremonious special occasion like my Martha-Steward-esque aunt once did.
The bún riêu pictured was made with shrimp paste because crab paste is not available here in Japan and to be honest, the shrimp paste I used wasn't any where as good as Por Kwan Spicy Crab Paste T.T Also, there wasn't any "Vietnamese ham/sausage," Thai basil, and a host of other things, so the bún riêu I made was actually quite plain... :(
So all of a sudden I got the urge to try bb creams again. After my first venture with Missha M BB Cream Watery SPF27 PA++, I was, well, indifferent at best. I guess for those who wear some form of foundation regularly, bb creams are really a multi-purpose, one size fits all, *#*-in-1 step that really cuts out several layers of products (moisturizer, whatever else, sunscreen, foundation, etc.). But I don't even wear foundation to begin with, and though the moisturizing factor is nice, when I need a moisturizer the last thing I think about is bb cream. As for sunscreen, I already explained why skincare/makeup products with sunscreens are completely useless, so I have no interest whatsoever in the "sun protection" in bb creams. I guess I don't really have an explanation for why I want to try bb creams again after all ^.^
Nikujaga is usually a less-soupy beef and potatoes (though mostly potatoes) stew that's claimed to be one of Japan's comfort foods. I think I understand. It's yummy and especially so when eaten in the colder season.
People have different ways of making nikujaga, and I've arrived at this rather simple recipe after gathering my sources from various websites.
Yes, hubby and I love Thai food, hence the many posts on various Thai restaurants in Tokyo-Yokohama area. And thank goodness we finally found a very decent place with decently authentic food, especially the noodle soups - Keawjai, located on the 1st Basement of the Queen's East building (inside Queen's Square) in Minato Mirai, Yokohama.
On another sunny weekend, hubby and I reminisced on the MET and opted to visit the Tokyo National Museum instead. I guess the point here to be open minded, but we weren't, and having frequented the MET we had certain expectations in our heads was sorely disappointed upon seeing the Tokyo National Museum. Let's just say the MET just blows this place out of the water. I mean, it wasn't fair for us to compare the two places to begin with, so if you love the MET, it's best you visit other museums with no expectations or you will be sorely disappointed too.
Before heading off to the Tokyo Tower, hubby and I had dinner at Menam no Hotori in Jinbocho, right across the street from the Used Books District. I read online that the place serves authentic and spicy dishes at reasonable prices, so I was really excited thinking we have finally found some decent Thai food.
Well, boo, hiss, but it turned out to be a ho-hum meal with an expensive tab. Even the average Thai food I've had in the states was better than the Thai food at this place, but may be I think this because I'm homesick and therefore biased. The most disappointing aspect of the meal was that when we asked one of the waitress for Thai ice tea, she looked as us as if we were from Mars and said she doesn't know what Thai ice tea is. When we clarified we meant milk tea, she said they don't have any milk tea. Why is this disappointing? Because even the so-called "quick service" places like Tinun has Thai ice tea that they call "milk tea." Although it wasn't listed on the menu, they readily served it to us when we requested it. And no, it wasn't just your run of the mill milk tea, it was Thai ice tea, the sweetened red tea with evaporated milk and it tasted just like it does every where I've had it!
This Sweet January 2011 issue looks rather tempting with the pretty Snidel 2-way tote. Still, I wavered a great deal given there are so many interesting magazines coming out with fabulous-looking freebies and I want to save up for the ones I really like. ...But I caved in the end ^.^ Seeing many people carry this bag on the street only made me so curious and curiosity never helps.
In addition to the Snidel 2-way tote, there is also a small leaflet attached featuring the DRWCYS 2011 Spring & Summer Collection on Rinka.
Several weeks ago, having caught a glimpse of the Tokyo Tower on our way to Oedo Onsen, hubby and I decided we had to go back to the tower sometimes soon. We finally did recently and I have to say it was really fun!
Actually, we didn't intend go to Tokyo Tower that night. Hubby is a bookworm so I wanted to take him to the Used Books District in Jinbocho to let him roll around in all the books he loves. There were so many used book stores and hubby went in almost every single one of them ^.^ We left the place shortly before dinner and hubby got himself a small loot - 2 hardcover books in beautiful condition for a mere 1,000yen! Apparently these are from a series books on classical Japanese literature and are an older edition that came out in the 60's or 70's. There is a newer edition of these books with minimal updates, only each cost somewhere between 6-7,000yen! Hubby says his professors all use the older edition anyway, referencing to the page numbers and specific footnotes and whatnot, so he is better off sticking with the same edition as theirs.
Hubby and I celebrated our Lunar New Year's Eve with a Mogwai concert in Ebisu, Shibuya, Tokyo. It was our very first concert in Japan and it was a really neat experience. The music was great and the crowd was shockingly civil and orderly. I've only been to 2 other concerts,Radiohead and Big Head Todd and the Monsters and the crowds were quite different and definitely a lot more obnoxious then. The Mogwai concert, on the other hand, was on a much smaller scale than those grandiose stadium ones. Somehow, they fit everyone into a regular size dance floor with standing room only on the ground floor of some club. Our tickets had numbers on them, and based on that number we guessed there must have been a thousand tickets sold. How they managed to fit a thousand people onto that dance floor is another mystery to me.
When I showed my friend M. my ticket, she told me in Japan the number 7 is considered luckiest (as opposed to the number 8 in Hong Kong) ^.^ Hubby got 7's and 8 on his ticket!