July 31, 2013

Tales from The LG 12th Floor Garden...

After the bike incident or rather during the bike incident, my friend and I found this perfect little flower shop stocked full of tons of flowers including many different colors of roses.  Gentlemen, if you're looking for a great place to buy your sweetheart roses, I recommend the flower shop just next to Mizue Station.  That aside, I did get a little googly eyed when I saw their excellent selection of plants.  (I really need to stop this.  It's become an addiction.  Intervention!)  I walked out of there slightly sane as I only purchased three smallish plants.

I had been looking for a basil I could prune from for some time.  I walked away with one:

I also bought a lil blueberry bush:

I've been reading up on it and I still don't know if I know how to take care of it but I will try!

Finally the pièce de résistance is this habenero plant:

Not only is this the first habanero I've seen in Japan, it's in plant form!  The guy at the shop said they can be harvested now or wait until they turn a brighter orange for a better flavor.  I have no idea what to do with them.  Maybe roast them?  I'll be looking for recipes.

Last but not least we have a baby sprout:

I was a bit worried about this plant thinking it was never going to sprout.  In fact, it took so long, I forgot what it was.  (After checking the seeds, it's Italian parsley.)  Perhaps now is not optimal growing season (like I care about that).  I guess we'll see how it does.

That's all the news from the garden front.

July 30, 2013

Lost in Mizue...

Technically, I'm never really lost any more since I have an iPhone with Google maps.  However, I still get emotionally lost in Japan.  Like today. 

It's not the best weather.  It's hot and sticky but since I hibernated all winter, I think it's best to ride as much as possible during the summer.  I rode on Sunday.  I didn't ride Monday because it rained all day.  Today I had plans to meet a friend at a faraway station.  It's not all that far, 9km or about 5.5 miles.  This would be the perfect opportunity for a ride in which I could explore new areas!

As I was riding, the bike was wobbly.  I shook it off and continued to ride.  Finally, I couldn't handle the wobble any longer and checked the situation.  The back tire was, of course, flat.  Now at this point, I could have turned around and walked the bicycle back home to my familiar area where I could at least fumble though getting it fixed.  That being the sensible thing you can guess that, of course, I didn't do it.  I continued to walk thinking "This is Japan!  Everyone cycles!  I'll run into a cycle shop soon!"  I didn't.  I walked all the way to Mizue Station.  I continued past Mizue Station.  Now, stop and ask me if I wore sensible shoes.  The answer is, of course, no.  I thought "Hey, I'm biking!  I don't HAVE to wear sensible shoes because I'm not walking!"  Sensible, obviously not the word of the day.

So I continued on past Mizue not knowing I walked right past a bicycle shop (nestled in the station) not to mention a Don Quixote.  I did find a shoe shop and some cute (more sensible) shoes which were unfortunately not in my size.  It was about this time that I had a break down.  Thinking I would never find a bicycle shop, I started to sob right there next to Jonathan's.  I texted my boyfriend and a friend for help but it turns out the friend I was supposed to meet came to rescue me.  She came to Mizue Station.  She told me to chill in a cafe (I think everyone needs a friend who will tell you "Man just chill in a cafe").  I chose Doutor which is easy to find and right by the station.  She came to the coffee shop and even though I was resting and trying to calm down as soon as I saw her, I started to cry.  She told me not to worry, we would find a place.  She asked one of the workers who said there was one real close by, of course.  We had coffee and tea and I finally stopped crying. 

After, we walked the bicycle literally across the street to the bicycle shop.  They flipped the bike over and the rear tire was shredded.  They said they could patch or replace.  I said replace it.  They said 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, we walked to a flower shop next door which had a large variety of plants (I'll blog about my purchases later).

We returned to the bicycle shop.  They had, as promised, put a new tire on.  In addition, they fixed my wonky seat and oiled the kickstand (neither of which I asked for but both things had been bugging me for some time). 

I'm now much much calmer, clean and sitting in my bed writing this blog.  I am not so sure if this is a language issue or what.  I can ask in Japanese "Where is the bicycle shop?"  But it's never as it is in textbooks where the person you're asking provides a simple answer 「あそこ」。  No, no it's always long and drawn out.  I think the main problem here is fear.  I'm scared to speak Japanese sometimes because I don't want to appear stupid.  I know a Japanese person would never be rude about it so why do I have this fear?  I don't really want to live in this English bubble but a lot of times I can't help it.  It's so easy to fall back into English and it's so hard to speak Japanese.  Also, (and I'm really not making excuses) but I haven't studied recently because I was sick and when I tried to study I got a massive headache.  I know I need to study.  I know I need to practice.  I know I need to stop being so scared.  I know all these things.  I just need to DO all these things.

This is actually a positive post not a negative.  It was a bad day that turned into a good day.  The bad was, of course, a flat tire (and non walking shoes) but the good (which totally outweighs the bad) was I have an awesome friend who is an fantastically positive person, I got more things fixed on the bike than I asked for, and I found a great flower shop with awesome plants.

I really do feel so lucky to have had the experiences I have had here already and I am beyond blessed with the friends I have made (some of whom go out of their way to help me).  I am floored by this level of kindness and only hope I repay it somehow.  I often feel like a child.  I want so badly to be independent but sometimes I am so scared to do things on my own.  Other days I'm like "Watch me take Japan by storm!"  Bi-polar much?

Do Japan make you crazy?  Does it make me crazy?  Am I crazy?

July 27, 2013

Tales from The LG 12th Floor Garden...

It should really be called The LG 12th Floor Organic Container Garden.  But that's too wordy. 

Success from the garden front.  First we have some new sprouts:

Look at those baby basils!  How cute!

Next we have some red romaine sprouts:

Once both the romaine and the basil grow a little bigger, I'll have to thin out the plants.

I also planted the lemon basil into soil since it developed some nice roots.  The plant itself still looks a little sickly but I hope it can recover because it smells delicious!

In other news, I started plant sitting for two more plants:

Those are parsnips which I don't really care for but I promised to take care of them because my friend loves them.  Not sure why...

And finally beets!  Beautiful beautiful beets!  I wish they were mine because I love beets so much but I've never seen them (fresh) for sale here.  I've been able to find every other vegetable that I love.  No worries because I ordered some beet seeds from Amazon.  Yay beets!

That's all that's left to report from the urban garden.

July 26, 2013

July in clothes...

July is wrapping up quite rapidly.  I'm about to go on vacation!

Meanwhile, look at these clothes!

July 2nd:

Boots Chiyoda, skirt Goodwill, jacket Colleen Collection, shirt Uniqlo, bracelet Forever 21, necklace made by me.

July 3rd:

Pants & shirt Uniqlo, shoes Target, sweater Goodwill, necklace Forever 21.

July 4th:

Dress Goodwill, shoes Chiyoda, sweater Target.

July 5th:

 Shirt ???, pants Forever 21, shoes Payless.

July 6th:

Shirt & necklace Kohl's, shorts Wal-Mart, sandals eBay.

July 13th:

Tank Glamorous Garden, tights & socks eBay, overshirt Zizibeh, shorts Wal-Mart, necklace Kohl's.

July 21st:

Tanks & necklace Honey's, pants H&M, shoes Chiyoda.

All the other days were either repeat outfits or nothin' spectacular.   I hope to spend hot and sweaty August in tanks and shorts.  That's all from the clothes front.

July 25, 2013

A vegetarian foodie in Japan...

Hi all!

Since it's too hot to even think about turning on the stove, I've been working my way through the vegan/vegetarian options on this list for 101 salads.

So far almost everything has been yummy and rife with fresh fruits and veg.  Here's what I've made recently:

I made some soup:

Recipe: Throw all vegetables you have into a pot.  Cook.

I tried Tokyo Caramel Banana:

I made some mint lemonade with Mt. Fuji mint:

I made some skewers for a hanabi party:

In Adventures in Dining, I traveled to Aomori with Honey.  We were served lovely meals at the ryokan:

Black konnyaku:

I tried an apple macaroon:

And we had caramel apple parfaits:

I had lunch with a friend at Urth Caffe:

Highly recommended!

That's all from me.  Happy eating!

July 23, 2013

Tales from the LG 12th Floor Garden...

Hi all,

I've been gardening.  Well, it's kind of a garden.  It's a container garden...on my balcony.  

The story starts with onions or maybe radishes.  Red radishes are really easy to grow.  They grow quickly.  They were the first thing I ever grew and harvested.  The onions, however, were not successful.  I got a sprout but nothing more developed.  (Perhaps another trial is in order?)

Then I learned you could regrow Romaine lettuce.  I had success with several cores until the heat molded more recent attempts.

At the end of May this year after a difficult trip to Mos Burger (that's another story), I walked away with a free gift from them, a packet of tomato seeds.  I sat on them (not literally) until one day I decided to plant them.  Lo and behold they sprouted, and then they grew.  I had to buy stakes to keep them upright.  They grew and grew until they grew flowers.  Those flowers turned into green tomatoes which turned into red tomatoes which I harvested:

And then again:

I used to think cherry tomatoes were just not so great until I grew my own.  These beat anything I've ever bought at the store.  They are so delicious!

Capitalizing on the success of the tomatoes, I decided to go all out.  Go big or go home.  I added to my garden, a cranberry plant.  Not much has changed since I acquired it, but it hasn't died yet which is good news, I guess.  Last week, I planted some more radishes, some snap peas and basil all of which have sprouted.  I also bought a strawberry plant and orange mint (just today).  It's hot and humid but the garden is in full swing!

Why is all this important to me?  For a great many years I thought I was a ruthless plant killer.  I tried in my desert home to grow not only house plants but also basil.  Maybe I thought plants hated me because I feasted on them.  I decided I could never be like my DC idol, Poison Ivy.  Perhaps it was the climate, perhaps it was the timing.   So now I grow and grow and I feel great!

Anyway, here's a look at the LG 12th Floor Garden:

My tomato plant plus a tomato plant I'm babysitting.

Freshly sprouted snap peas.

Mt. Fuji mint (mama mint I am babysitting) plus my newly planted baby mint.

Radish babies.

Baby basil (bottom left and right) plus one reclaimed basil plant (which is finally growing).

Here's the whole garden:

Bottom left cranberry, lemon basil (in recovery stage, live dammit live!), rosemary.
Bottom right snap peas.
Right center mint (mine), mint (not mine), orange mint (best smelling plant ever).
Center strawberry, radishes.
Left center my tomato and basil.
Left top tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers (not mine).

I promised to watch some plants for a friend and she promised me whatever fruits the plants produced.  A fair deal if you ask me.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of the garden.

Happy summer everyone and happy gardening!

July 19, 2013

Lipton tea...

Hi all!  I guess I hadn't updated this section in a while. Anyway, I have some new teas for you.

From the Tea's Travel Series is Italian Fruit Punch Tea:

It was okay.  Not quite as good as the 50/50 Tea Punch.

Next is Honey Milk Tea from the Premium Series:

This has been the only tea from the Premium Series that I could actually finish.  It was quite tasty.

Finally, is Green Apple with Honey:

It was okay but not the best.  I couldn't really taste the honey.

Holy cow I'm up to 30 teas!

The list:
  1. Milk Tea
  2. Maple Milk Tea
  3. Lemon Tea
  4. Peach Tea
  5. Earl Grey Milk Tea
  6. Green Apple Tea
  7. 50/50 Tea & Lemonade
  8. Tropical Fruit Tea
  9. Chamomile Citrus Tea
  10. Roast Milk Tea
  11. Jasmine Lemon Peel
  12. Grape Tea
  13. Straight Tea
  14. Apple Tea
  15. 50/50 Tea & Fruit Punch
  16. Matcha Milk
  17. Tea Cappuccino
  18. Mikan Tea
  19. 50/50 Tea & Nectar
  20. Luxurious Milk Tea
  21. Muscat Tea
  22. Plum Honey
  23. Cream Milk Tea 
  24. Grapefruit Tea
  25. Orange Marmalade Tea 
  26. Royal Milk Tea
  27. Golden Pineapple Tea
  28. Italian Fruit Punch Tea
  29. Honey Milk Tea
  30. Green Apple with Honey
The Top Five:
  1. OG Milk Tea
  2. 50/50 Tea Lemonade
  3. 50/50 Tea & Fruit Punch
  4. 50/50 Tea & Nectar
  5. Jasmine Lemon Peel

July 7, 2013

Really late (again) on the clothes...

Sorry.  Blah, blah, blah...fill that in with whatever will make you keep reading this blog (for the two people who actually read it).

Anyway, here's some clothes!

June 19th:

Not a fave of mine but this has always been a learning experience for me.  Anyway, pants Goodwill, boots Couripie, necklace made by me, jacket Colleen Collection, shirt Uniqlo, bracelet Forever 21.

June 20th:

 Shirt & sweater Uniqlo, skirt Goodwill, boots Chiyoda.

 June 22nd:

I feel so much better (looking) in my non-work clothes.  Shorts g.u., necklace Lia Sophia, tank Wal-Mart, sweater Kohl's.

June 26th:

Meh.  Top made by me, necklace Kohl's, jacket & jeans Colleen Collection, boots Couripie, bracelet Forever 21.

June 27th:

But sometimes I do look cute at work.  Necklace Lia Sophia, skirt & tank Goodwill, bracelet Forever 21.

June 28th:

Jacket Colleen Collection, pants Kohl's, shoes Payless, bracelet Forever 21, tee eBay.

June 29th:

Pants Dillard's? Robinsons May? Macy's? Necklace J.C. Penny, shirt Goodwill, tank Wal-Mart, shoes Payless.

Happy July!