Monday, July 27, 2015


remember way back in the precambian era say, oh, july 2nd, when i mentioned that leff had snagged us a bag full of dagashi? we finally finished the bag! 

just a refresher, dagashi stores are similar to british penny candy stores.  or, uh, the really inexpensive section of the bodega here in the u.s. you know, the place where you can buy sweet tart rolls, those weird individually wrapped caramels with a milky white swirl or those plastic fruits with flavored powdered sugar inside.

yeah, you're on the same page now.

anyway, our bag of dagashi came from an online retailer and, WOW, every single item was delicious!

one nice thing about dagashi is that there are savory as well as sweet items. we had two savory sticks in our package. the first that we tried was corn potage flavored.

both sticks were hollow

and absolutely AMAZING! the corn potage had a corn chowder flavor (naturally). so! good!

here is the second stick which was cheese flavored. very mild! it tasted like a grown up version of cheetos.

one of the more "out there" items was a blue flavored jelly,

i like how it glowed when held up to the light.

and also the baseball markings (stitching!) that were part of the mold. sadly, you can't see that here.

one of the more super delicious sweets was this hot chocolate flavored marshmallow.

"there is *no way* this is going to taste like hot chocolate!" i thought. then i was quickly proven wrong because look at this chocolatey center!!

i would love to buy a bag of these to use in real hot chocolate. oishii for sure!

when i was guessing at flavors from package clues, i thought that this might be cheese or maybe dairy flavored.

the back certainly didn't give me any clues.

i was pleasantly surprised by the milky coffee flavor! (the "co" on the cowboy's bottle must stand for "coffee"! ha!)

leff sampled the cola flavored chewing gum.

he said that this wasn't sour but that it was very cola and that the flavor lasted for a very long time. much nicer than american gum.

the last savory in our dagashi bag was a little confusing. was it taro flavored? was it made from taro roots?

i never found out (god, i should just learn kanjii already!) but these were nice. crispy and slightly tasting of  lightly buttered toast.

you know what i wish that pixie stix tasted like? yes, orange cat candies.

seriously, guys. these were addictive. so orange! so on the border between sweet and sour!

the last item we tried were these adorable stars? blossoms? sugary meteors? they were three different flavors! orange, cherry and, um, sugar.

they were like noncloying rock candy. i don't know how that was accomplished but it was incredibly enjoyable.

and so ends the dagashi bag review. i am absolutely going to try another bag in the near future!

ps-- if you'd like more info about dagashi stores, here's that great "begin japanology" episode again.

(dagashi 2.0 post is here.)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

we went to the natsu matsuri festival at uwajimaya

today leff and i went to the natsu matsuri festival at uwajimaya. i had been looking forward to this for weeks, i am not gonna' lie. (i check their events calendar religiously.) 

even though it was not very summery outside

it was still a full fledged japanese style summer festival! we had lots and lots of food from vendors. leff kicked things off with this tasty udon!

i headed straight for the ramen burger.

if you have any doubts as to whether or not this was oishii, you need to have your head examined. SOISHII!!!

i could have eaten two more! (that is a lie. it was incredibly filling but i WANTED two more because, as mentioned, OISHII LIKE CRAZY!!!!!)

another thing that you're supposed to do at summer festivals is have some shaved ice. i obliged with this matcha with mochi.

"obliged" ha! i had planned on getting kakigoori in tokyo but we ran out of time.  you had best BELIEVE i will track some down next time i'm in tokyo during the summer months!

i can't remember everything else that we ate. um,  mabo tofu, gyoza, okonomiyaki and something else? it was all INCREDIBLE! leff will have pictures, no doubt!

in addition to the natsu matsuri, there was also a small group of local artists at the kino art fair in kinokuniya. i like this idea a lot since it was something that one of the employees came up with when the store's manager asked for suggestions to get the community more involved.

at the kino art fair, i picked up one of aleeza mccant's tiny sushis.

also of note were the lovely cutouts by smallrinilady.

i tried looking for some issues of  "cooking papa" while at kinokuniya but, man, it was crowded so no dice. (it is *always* crowded there because it's a great store.) i guess i will have to make do with this cooking papa recipe that i found the other day.

you are not going to be surprised when i tell you that we ducked into uwajimaya where i picked up five pure smiles and one other brand of milk mask. you will also not be surprised when i tell you that i also went to daiso and got royal jelly, collagen, cucumber and hand masks.

(hand mask is not made from hands. it is FOR hands. also, yes, the pure smile that has a snail on it does, indeed, have some sort of snail extract. i do not question japanese face masks. i submit blindly to their awesomeness. (and i will let you know how it works.))

you probably will be surprised to learn that i didn't get a picture of the person in the kitty chan costume. but, dude. i was eating kakigoori! so much kakigoori. so much brain freeze.

let's end this post in the traditional natsu matsuri way with fireworks. they are a serious business in japan!  and they are amazing. (here's a great "begin japanology" if you'd like more info!)

Friday, July 24, 2015

we visited the bookmobile and got a pu pu platter (but not at the same time)

nothing makes me feel more like i'm on vacation (even when i'm not) than visiting small libraries. i used to do this as a kid when we'd stay someplace on holiday for longer than three days. we'd roll into town, i'd get a temporary card and i'd spend the time that i wasn't sightseeing or hanging out with other kids catching up on the latest judy blume and beverly cleary. or stephen king. 

with that in mind, you can understand why i so thoroughly enjoyed the krl bookmobile. it was like a mini vacation just steps from home!

believe it or not, i had never been to a bookmobile before. i KNOW!

i'm glad i took the time to visit though as it was entirely charming.

and there were robobookmarks!

i picked up beloved (haven't read since my african american lit course a billion years ago and have forgotten a lot of it.) and some weighty beach read thing for myself and leff snagged a few mysteries.

consensus:  we will be going back! (i will also use it to drop off books when i'm too lazy to walk to the main branch.)

nearby the bookmobile was alana lu hawaiian bbq.

we picked up their pu pu platter to go. you can't really beat roasted kalua pork, huli huli chicken and hawaiian mac salad.

yes, there is spam in the picture. i did not eat spam because i grew up eating it fried on white bread with mayo (and sometimes american cheese) several times a week. so, no. no spam for me ever. again.

i am chomping at the bit to try this huli huli chicken recipe though!

Sunday, July 19, 2015


these fish are food AND friends. 

it has been warm again. our fridge is not always happy during the summer (could be because the motor faces a metal door with a window in it SO STUPID but there's nowhere else to put the blasted thing.) so our veg gets a bit tired and wilted. not to worry though! our sink works.

that was a great breakfast salad with the added bonus of making me feel a bit like mei.

leff picked up some ADORABLE pocky on his uwajimaya run the other night. these are strawberry creme and, in addition to being super tasty, the sticks are heart shaped!!!!!!

KAWAIIKUTE!!!!!  and OISHIIIIIII!!!! how can you lose?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

friday night

while i was busy making my dinner of tare yakitori and fried egg onigirazu 

and tiny, tiny yaki onigiri (dear god, using unagi sauce is inspired!)

leff was tracking down cc lemon.  CC LEMON!!!!!!! HE FOUND 200 LEMONS WORTH OF VITAMIN C!!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015


this first picture has nothing to do with progress on the house. i was just excited that leff managed to find an actual honest to fucking god sweet tea.  delicious! refreshing! 

the progress in the title is referring to the no longer blue room. i have been painting, you see. the stairwell (not finished), the trim on the side door and this.

god, it's boring, isn't it? but, like i've mentioned, one must remove all signs of personality in a home if one is to sell it. those curtains are getting replaced, obvs. and the desk and lamp come with.

not that fucking garbage can though. i hate that garbage can.

if you'd like to see the other iterations this room has had since we moved here:  this is what it looked like when we first arrived (ick) and this is how it was for a long time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

july rolls on

i finished go set a watchman this morning. it was enjoyable. yes, the bombshell about atticus was difficult but, as i've said elsewhere, very true to life. i have known many older southern people who are, sadly, the same way. 

still, good book. don't read it as a sequel but as the very lightly edited, unpolished draft that it is. 

i used my last pure smile from tokyo this morning. sad but relaxing. i love these face masks.

i needed to relax as i have started "the great white out 2015" or, as it might also be termed, "house painting". interior walls, exterior trim.

some people are sad when they start making their homes neutral. not me. moving always provides the opportunity for a fresh start. and after the lost decade that has been washington state, i'm going to relish this upcoming one.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

saturday was restful

with the break in the (not what would be considered a) heat wave (in any other part of the country) came a bit of peace. not so many hideous moss people were outside screeching so i hung out with a friend of mine.

reread to kill a mockingbird in anticipation of go set a watchman on tuesday. yes, i preordered. of course i did. mockingbird was just as important to me as it was to countless others.

i had forgotten how sad it was though.

i also read a book about tea kaiseki. well, mainly about tea kaiseki. it really made me want to go back to japan.


i would do almost anything to go back. in the mean time, however, i have to make do with more onigirazu

and a quick, tiny japanese style strawberry shortcake even though it's not christmas.

fun fact! the cake is leftover from when i made atomic cake earlier this summer. gotta' clean out the freezer, you see because HA i think we might have a moving date. FINALLY wish us luck, k? i'll totally keep you posted.