Thursday, March 31, 2011

Annual Plum Festival at Hanegi Park / 毎年羽根木公園の梅祭り

It's that time of year again. The annual plum festival at Hanegi Park. It's a nice little walk to the park from apartment and we were going to meet some friends there for an impromptu picnic.


This year, instead of buying food from the various food booths, we decided to splurge a little and bought some sushi, along with some chicken, yakisoba and vegetable sticks. And we mustn't forget the beer! Actually I treated myself to a couple of cans of ice-tea sour.


Sushi Platter / 寿司の盛り合わせ
Yes, it's a picnic! / はーい、ピックニックです!

Rino enjoys some sushi / 梨乃ちゃんも楽しんで寿司を食べてる

The local fire department and other local businesses had their booths but as you can tell, the fire department booth was popular with the kids.


We are not going to let the earthquakes and aftershocks stop us from having our hanami (cherry blossom viewing) this weekend either.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Soup Stock Tokyo

After all the earthquake, tsunami, fire, and nuclear accident news, I thought I would return with something a little more pleasant - food! Before I wandered around Osaki, it was lunch time and I had been wanting to try some of the soups from this place. Nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cold day! I ordered the soup set which means you get to choose two different kinds of soups and also includes some bread. Today, I went with a couple of tomato sauce flavored soups - the Atlantic lobster, tomato and potherb bisque along with the tomato stew with chicken and vegetables. I gotta tell ya, they were both mighty tasty. I must go again soon!

地震、津波、火災、原発事故のニュースばっかりで、今回は元気で明るくなるネタに戻ります。それはもちろん食べ物です!大崎周辺に散歩する前にちょうど昼だったもんで、結構前から食べに行きたかった店はこの「Soup Stock Tokyo」。寒い日にスープはもってこい食べ物と思はない?スープセットがありまして、二種類のスープを選べる。そしてパン付です。今日選んだスープはオマール海老のビスクと野菜と鶏肉のトマトシチュー。や~両方はとっても美味しかった。また行きたくなりますよ。

Soup Set / スープセット

The soups may look the same but I guarantee you they taste mighty different!


Atlantic lobster and potherb bisque / オマール海老のビスク


Tomato stew with chicken and vegetables / 野菜と鶏肉のトマトシチュー


Bon Appetit!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Post Earthquake Update / 地震後の最新情報

After the large March 11th earthquake, my wife was really uncomfortable with our standing bookcase (well, mostly mine since it's all my books and most of my miscellaneous collections), that she took it upon herself and tilted it on it's side while I was still at work. I was surprised but not angry and thought it was a good idea. We also took this opportunity to a little rearranging of our room as well.


We are fine and so are our family members who live up north. However, we have still been experiencing a lot of quakes and aftershocks as well. The accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant has also been causing problems in Tokyo proper as well as we are currently experiencing rolling blackouts which may last until the end of April. Fortunately, we live in an area that hasn't been affected by the blackouts. However, what's really mind racking is hearing the Early Emergency Earthquake Warning buzzer on tv. After last Friday, you never know how big the next quake is going to be. We currently have emergency supplies set near our front door just in case.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake in Tokyo / 東京で大地震

I imagine most of you have already seen the news. Japan was hit with a 8.8 Magnitude earthquake today in the afternoon. Although the epicenter was up north, the quake was felt in Tokyo as well. I usually work on Fridays but I had taken this day off and was sitting at home talking to my mother on the phone when our couch started shaking. As we get a lot of little earthquakes, I didn't give it much thought. But when the shaking starting to get stronger and didn't appear to be stopping, I had to tell my mother that I have to get out of the part NOW! and will try to call back later.


When the quake finally settled and I went to check inside our apartment, I found our bread basket and toaster oven on the floor, and our microwave had fallen upside down in our kitchen sink. The large bookshelf and television were unharmed but my collection of mini cars on the bookshelf were scattered all over the floor. Our cd shelf held up for this earthquake as we fixed it after the last large quake we had which helped spill hundreds of cd on our floor. A few other knick-knacks were fallen off of various shelves but nothing major was broken. The only damaged sustained was our microwave oven (but it was still usable). But we couldn't relax after the first large quake because we kept getting these aftershocks every five to ten minutes afterwards. Which makes it hard to relax because you just don't know if this quake is going to be an even bigger one. It's already been about six hours since the first big quake but we're still getting aftershocks even now.


Fortunately, we do not live by the coast. As we watched the news of the tsunami that hit the coastal towns of Northern Japan. The number of fatalities has already surpassed 50 and there are still many people missing. In Tokyo alone, the quake had caused no less than 10 fires. There was also a large fire at an oil plant in Chiba Prefecture. There is still a large tsunami warning for the entire Western coast of Japan. There is also speculation that there may be one more large quake sometime this evening. I hope that's not the case.


The first thing I saw when I went back into our apartment. The microwave on top of the fridge had also fallen off and I found it upside down in the kitchen sink.


About five years ago when we had another fairly large quake (not as large as this one), the shelves collapsed and we found hundreds of cds scattered throughout the floor. Fortunately, we re-enforced the shelves so that wouldn't happen again and am proud to report that the shelves held up. Of course, a bunch of loose items fell off the shelve though.


As you can see, our bookshelf and television were unharmed, except for the little avalanche of my mini car collection and a baset of DVD-Rs.


Star Wars space ship thought it could really fly and crashed to the ground while the Jawa's sand crawler crawled off a cliff and fell as well.


My wife and I survived the quake just fine. The only damage received was our microwave, but as I said, it was still usable.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Walk around Osaki / 大崎の散歩

For my second neighborhood walk of the year I decided to roam around Osaki. The area around the station has grown since I moved to Tokyo and now features a couple of large shopping areas such as Gate City Osaki and Osaki New City. It's also the location of Art Village Osaki.

今年第二弾の散歩する場所は大崎周辺。駅の周りの開発は凄い。今は大きいなショッピングセンター、Gate City OsakiとOsaki New Cityなどが立てられました。他にArt Village Osaki。散歩場所には面白そうな発見がありそう。

You couldn't miss Gate City Osaki if you tried, so I decided to explore that area first. The art object in front of the building was pretty interesting as well. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors feature a lot of restaurants and a large open space with a lot of tables. A nice place to spend some time on a cold day. As I had lunch before walking around the neighborhood, I will have to come another time to check out some of the restaurants and cafes inside the building.  There is also a large garden located behind the building so of course I had to walk around there as well.

駅に降りたらすぐそばにGate City Osakiがある。行ったことないので、最初はその辺を探索。ビルの前にあるアートオブジェもなんだろうなって感じ、でも面白い。ビルの1階から3階はだいたい飲食店が入ってました。駅ビルと違って、店舗数はそんない多くはない。でも1階に広いロビがあって、寒い日にのんびり出来る場所に良いかも。行った日にやっぱり子供連れの家族が多かった。先ほどランチを食べたので、中にあるカフェやレストランはまたいつか行ってみたい。ビルの裏側のほうに大きいな庭もあって、もちろんそこも探索しました。

There was a lot of interesting art around the garden as well.


There was more art work around the plaza as well.


But what really made me decide to walk around Osaki was this statue of a Gnome with a very large hat which I always saw from the Yamanote Train line as I was headed to work (when I still worked in Shinagawa).


This is an art piece called "Growing Gardener" by Inges Idee. 2006 Aluminum, steel

「グローウィング・ガーデナー」 インゲス・イデー作品 2006年 アルミナム、スチール

More funky art work / また面白いアートオブジェ発見

The Meguro River also flows past Osaki / 目黒川は大崎にも流れてます

On the left is Onari Bridge and and the right is the Suzukake Overpass.


As I was walking back to the station, I couldn't help but notice this character. Since the Art Village Osaki was close by I figured the person must be a student. But no, he was a walking ad for a neighborhood English school called "Monster English" and this is their character mascot.


I'm familiar with blowfish restaurants and places that specialize in whale meat, but this was a first for me, a restaurant that specializes in sardines! I may have to eat there at least once just for the experience. This concludes my walk around Osaki.


Suitengu Taian / 水天宮たいあん

Probably my biggest fan and most avid reader of my blog - my father, wrote to me in an e-mail that he had no idea what a taiyaki which also meant that he did not know what a taiyaki ice cream was. Perhaps there are some other readers who are not familiar with taiyaki as well. To put it simply, it's a hot bun shaped like a fish and usually filled with azuki. An even easier explanation is available. Check the "snacks" label and you will find a post about a shop called "The Tai Yaki".

多分私のブログの一番のファンと思われる人物(自分のお父さん)が電子メールでたい焼きってわからないようとつぶやいた。当然たい焼きアイスも分かるはずがない。他の読者もたい焼きが知らない人もいるの思うので、簡単に説明します。鯛の形のあったかいまんじゅと言えば一番分かりやすいかも。そじてまんじゅの中につぶばんとかあずきが入ってる。もっと簡単と言えば、“Snacks”のラベルを選択して、“The Tai Yaki”の店の事を書いております。

If you look at the picture above, it looks like an ordinary taiyaki. However, it was the end of summer and this shop had for a limited time only, a vanilla ice-cream filled taiyaki.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Manten Ramen / 満天らーめん

And yet another ramen shop we went to and I neglected to write about. A few months ago a friend of mine gave us tickets to see a children's performance at some hall in Ningyocho. As the show started sometime in the afternoon, we decided to grab a bite to eat and nearest place that was open was this ramen shop called [Manten Ramen]. Seeing the large poster of one of their latest ramen's, "Shanghai / Sechuan no Kyosho Bunji Aihara Style Tantan-men" I knew what I was going to order, while Mikako ordered their regular tantan-men.

また紹介遅れのラーメン屋です。半年前位友達から人形町にある劇場のチケットを貰いましたので、その舞台が一時か二時位に始まるということで、その近くに昼食を食べようと思った。店が少なく、唯一空いてたのはこの「満天らーめん」の店。店内に入ると壁に貼ってあたポスターを見て、今日のラーメンが決定:「上海・四川の巨匠 相原文治流 坦々麺を注文。美香子は普通の坦々麺をチョイス。

Bunji Aihara Style Tantan-men / 相原文治流坦々麺

Just seeing the word Sechuan on the poster, I assumed this was going to be one spicy bowl of noodle. In actuality, it was rather mild. It was still delicious and the ramen shop makes their own noodles. We still had time before the show was to start and it was such a nice day that after we finished our bowls of ramen, we went next door and treated ourselves to some taiyaki ice cream at a place called Suitengu Taian.


Tantan-men / 坦々麺

Of course the regular tantan-men was delicious as well. I found it to be spicier than the bowl of ramen that I ordered but what the heck.


Bon Appetit!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Noodle & Bar [Sancha Fukami]

I can't believe I neglected to write about this ramen shop which opened in our neighborhood a couple of years ago and which we finally went to last year. Unlike your regular ramen shops, you can see from the sign on the store that this is also a bar. It seems ramen bars have become rather popular in the last year or so. Anyway, the specialty of this shop if the Tokushima Ramen which is what I order while Mikako settled for a standard Chashu-men.


Tokushima Ramen / 徳島ラーメン

Americans may be put off by the raw egg but that's what probably makes it a Tokushima Ramen. The broth used is only a chicken broth. Instead of chashu, the ramen is topped with boneless pork rib and a lot of green onions and bamboo shoots. You mix the egg with the broth and enjoy your ramen. This ramen doesn't fill you up as much as a tonkotsu or soy-based ramen. Quite tasty.


Chashu-men / チャーシュー麺

The wife's bowl was filled with thick slices of chashu and also topped with onions, bamboo shoots and a slice of seaweed. I only had one bite but this was quite delicious as well.


Bon Appetit!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Seiseki Park / 聖蹟公園

As I mentioned in my previous post, after leaving Tennoz Isle, as I making my way towards the closest train station, I came across an interesting park. It was the Seiseki Park and is also considered one of the 100 Scenic Sites of Shinagawa Ward which is located on the Old Tokaido Road. It's also the site of a feudal lord's inn. Coming across another scenic site in Shinagawa Ward reminds of those walks I took during my lunch break while still working in Aomonoyokocho.

前回のネタに書いた、天王洲アイルから一番近い駅を目指してる時に、聖蹟公園 (せいせきこうえん)を発見しました。あとから気付きましたが、この公園は品川区百景の一つでした。この道は旧東海道でこの公園に本陣跡の場所でもある。また品川区百景の一つを見つかったことで、青物横丁に働いた時期のランチ散歩を思い出す。

Seiseki Monument / 御聖蹟の碑

Unfortunately I have no idea what the writing says.


I have no idea what this monument is for either.


Darn, the bushes around the placard were overgrown so I didn't bother trying to read it.


Perhaps part of the feudal lord's inn? I'm definitely going to have to do a more detailed walk around this area next time.

本陣跡なのかな? また時間があればもうちょっとこの辺を探索してみよう。