September 27, 2013


I recently visited Kyoto which was a birthday trip from my boyfriend.  We had to do it early because the weekends surrounding my birthday are chock full of well just about everything.

I was happy to visit Kyoto with my boyfriend because even though I have been there four times before, it was my first time with him.  Together we experienced some of my favorite places and some new places as well.  It was a wonderful trip.

First we visited the Bamboo Forest:

A place new to me, I was surprised how serene it is there.

Next we visited one of my favorite places in Kyoto and in my opinion one of the most beautiful places in Japan, Heian Shrine.

Then we went to the Silver Pavillion which despite it's name is not silver at all.

I had never been to Silver Pavillion before so I was excited to see it.  It's so beautiful there.

After, we headed back to Arashiyama and climbed up the mountain to visit Monkey Park, another of my favorite places in Kyoto, and a place I think you should visit.

Unlike the last time I was there, the park had a bunch of adorable and naughty baby monkeys (macaques if you want to get really technical).

This little guy was so naughty and this is by far my favorite picture:

If you get the chance I definitely recommend visiting Kyoto.  Although, Tokyo is my home and I'm certainly a city girl, Kyoto is a much more calm, low key and relaxed city.  The hustle and bustle of Tokyo is completely absent from Kyoto.  In addition, Kyoto is full of adorable cafes.  Sad to say I couldn't visit them all.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my mini tour of Kyoto.  Happy weekend!

September 26, 2013

Tales from The LG 12th Floor Garden...

It's started to get a bit colder here but I'm not worried about the garden just yet.  In fact, things are still growing happily.

First of all, this is cilantro I planted at the same time as the purple tomatoes:

The cilantro plant I bought didn't survive so maybe I'll have a better chance growing from seed.  Things seem to work out that way anyway.

Next, the yellow tomatoes have started to flower:

I'm so excited!

Finally, I harvested the first head of red romaine today:

Isn't it gorgeous!

However, I had to eat it and I made a delicious salad with it:

Also, I didn't pull it out by the roots but just chopped the stalk so it would regrow.  Woo!

Anyway, that's all the news that's fit to print regarding the garden.  Happy gardening!

September 20, 2013

Tales from The LG 12th Floor Garden...


Lately Tokyo's weather has been absolutely beautiful.  Crisp cool mornings, pleasantly warn days and brisk evenings.  It looks like fall is finally here.

Things are going well in the garden.  I believe the spider mites have been eradicated (I tossed the original tomatoes and the strawberry plant - the last infected plants), and I also got rid of some more pesky caterpillars.  I planted some new plants and I inherited some new planters.  Everything is just lovely.

First, say hello to some heirloom purple tomatoes:

There were only 8 seeds in the package.  So far, six have sprouted.

I also planted 9 seeds (banana peppers and peperoncinis sent from my mother) and I don't remember which is which so I guess it will be a surprise!

So far six of those have sprouted.

Finally, welcome aloe vera to the garden:

I have no idea how to take care of this so I started reading up.  My favorite part so far is that aloe vera plants have babies.

Anyway, that's all the news that's fit to print.  Happy gardening and happy weekend!

September 19, 2013

Lost bicycle...

So one day I had to go to the ward office to renew my health insurance.  Since I hate the bus and I love riding my bike, I decided on the latter.  The ward office is not very far from my house.  It's a straight ride down a main road.  After that I decided that I would jump on a train at Shin-Koiwa station and head to Ginza to pre-order iPhone 5C which was a special offer for older phone holders.

I rode to Shin-Koiwa and parked my bicycle in what I thought was a safe location.  Many other bikes were parked there and I figured I wouldn't be gone too long.  There is where things started off wrong.

At SoftBank Ginza, on that day there was only one English speaking staff member and she was beyond busy.  I waited forever until she finally came to help apologizing profusely the entire time.  The rest of the pre-ordering process was pretty painless but seemed to drag on forever.  I began to sweat, worrying if my bicycle was still where I parked it. 

Finally, I left SoftBank and returned to Shin-Koiwa some two hours after leaving it.  The bicycle was gone.  Shaky and near tears I headed to the Koban.  In broken Japanese (which becomes worse when I am upset) I tried to explain to the police officer that my bike was not where I left it.  After much agony and some tears, I learned that it was either stolen or picked up.  I received a paper with the location where picked up bikes were housed.  The place closed at 6.  The time was 6:05.  Exhausted, defeated, upset, I tried to stifle tears as I got in line for the bus which would take me home.  On the bus, I lost it and started sobbing and sobbed the whole way home.  Why do I always have to cry when I don't have tissues with me?  Besides the bicycle situation what upset me the most was not a single person offered me a tissue (surprising in the land of free tissues).  I can only assume it's because I am a foreigner.  This, of course, made me feel worse.

The next day Super Boyfriend called the place and determined that my bicycle was picked up and I could get it back for the low low price of only 3000円 which I paid albeit reluctantly, but in the end I knew it was my own fault.  I also cringed as I rode by 800円 bicycle parking lots on the way home.  Despite all that being on the bicycle again was the best feeling in the world.  I love She-Ra, Princess of Power.  She and I have been through a lot together and I'm not ready to give her up just yet.

This marks the 2347665760027518th time I've cried in Japan.  Awesome.  Even though it was a hard patch it had a happy ending.  All's well that ends well.  I've definitely learned my lesson about bicycle parking.

September 16, 2013

A vegetarian foodie in Japan...

Today (because it is a holiday) I whipped up a bunch of things.

I made these awesome cookies:

Totally worth ridiculous import store prices.

Then I made some banana muffins:

For no added sugar these are unbelievably delicious.  I'm not a big fan of chocolate chips so I added mini caramel chips.  Such a good choice!  I will be making these again and I want to try them with raisins!

I also made this killer quinoa salad:

I'll be stocking up on quinoa next time I'm in America for sure.  I use it so often.

Previously, I made this salad:

Words cannot express how good this was.  It barely lasted a day.

I also made some baked zucchini fries:

I used panko, so they didn't brown like bread crumbs.  However, they were still good with some Ranch.

In Adventures in Dining, I stopped by Urth Cafe again and this time had the Caprese Sandwich:

Always good at Urth.

Next weekend I'm heading to Kyoto and I'm excited to try some veggie cafes there.  I didn't realize there were so many!  I'll surely update about that!

Happy eating!

September 8, 2013

Tales from The LG 12th Floor Garden...

Wow, I really thought that last post would get more attention.

Anyway, things are looking up in the garden.  Since I was able to remove the spider mites from the majority of my plants, things have been growing as normal (or much better than before).

These peppers had really stunted during their infestation.  They refused to grow.  Since the spider mites have been removed, they are growing taller and flowers have appeared which means peppers soon!

In other news I purchased a parsley plant:

Yesterday some of the plants received new more spacious homes.

The mint and blueberry bush now have more room to grow.

I also replanted the red romaine into bigger containers.

My butter lettuce and regular romaine are growing nicely:

As are the yellow tomatoes and red and yellow peppers:

Finally, I trimmed the tomato plants down to this:

These plants are STILL infested with spider mites despite numerous treatments as well as washing.  I threw out the bases and the soil, and they are currently isolated.  I'm really trying my hardest to save these two remaining plants because they are what got me in to gardening in the first place.  I kind of have a soft spot for them.  I hope they will be okay.  Also, STILL infested is the strawberry plant which I've pruned almost down to nothing.  The ultimate fate of these plants is still unknown.  I will try to save them.  I hope they survive.

That's all the news from the garden front.  Happy gardening!

September 6, 2013


In Shinjuku's seedy Kabukicho district you'll find hundreds of lights, host clubs aplenty, tattoo'd people and prostitutes.  But this is also where you'll find Tokyo's ロボットレストラン or Robot Restaurant.

An otaku's wet dream or tourist trap (you decide), Robot Restaurant assaults your senses with flashing lights, scantily clad dancing girls, and robots of all shapes and sizes.  This visitor and occasional blog writer loved every minute of it.

There are different shows and currently they are running a show featuring dinosaurs!  Outside the restaurant, you'll find an animatronic T-Rex and brontosaurus (not to mention a really busty cavewoman?).

Within the show there are several different shows.  Let's start with a badass tattoo'd chick playing a trumpet:

Pole dancers on top of robots, okay!

Throw in some drummers both on the robots and on the ground:

More robots?  Why not!

But these are evil robots who can only be defeated by bikini clad Captain America!

And also some badass chicks on a dinosaur:

Mini intermission, have a glow wand:

Ready to be assaulted by lights?  I hope so!

The finale is the girls riding around on a light up tank and plane:

It's definitely the coolest part.

Here's one of the robot girls up close:

You may have seen them driving around Shinjuku:

Anyway, my verdict is yes!  If you get a chance to see this show, go!  It's definitely exclusive to Japan and likely (if you're visiting) a once in a lifetime experience unlike anything you've seen.

(And I apologize that some of the pics are not super clear.  Everything moves pretty fast at Robot Restaurant.  It's hard to take clear pics on iPhone.)