Ruellia plants has been popping in my pots for some time now but they were always white, in my past post I hoped that one day I get the pink or purple kind, well guess what mother nature listened and viola! I now have a pot of purple ruellia. The only problem is that the flowers easily fall from the stem so I only get to see them for a while, when the wind blows it’s sayonara. 😀
Had the opportunity to take a vacation in Japan last month, growing up I’ve been exposed to Japanese culture through various TV programs and anime’s, It’s really one of my dream destination so I tried to list out the things I want to see and eat, however having a child on the trip means we also need to make last minute changes so here goes…
We arrived late at night to our rented Airbnb and we had difficulty finding the place, a kind police officer who speaks english was kind enough to help us find the apartment.
Since we arrived at our place past midnight we decided to rest the morning then just went around the neighborhood in the afternoon, we’re not yet brave enough to try the local shops since most Japanese don’t speak english we then decided to have lunch at Starbucks because they have an english menu but later we found out that most shops have english menu’s.
The Ramen Museum – ShinYokohama
I first saw this when I was in college and since then I knew that when I get the chance to go to Japan I will visit this place, why? because I love ramen – noodles is my comfort food. Aside from ramen, one of the main attraction is how they built the shops inside, it mimics the streets of Japan way back when, to add to that nostalgic appeal they also have a store that sell old fashioned sweets.
At the train station we decided to buy ramen again for dinner and a little extra for breakfast the following day, apparently they do not have take outs / aways, we found it out when we already placed our orders just imagine the amount of noodles we need to finish on the spot, we felt bad because we had to give our bowls back with lots of leftovers. We felt bad that the chefs may think we didn’t like the food, really such a shame, final note: if you’re planning to eat at home or stock up for the next day always ask if they allow take outs / away before ordering.
Hachiko Square / Shibuya Scramble Crossing
I do not have a photo here because my little girl had some serious tantrums. My observation: lot’s of tourists and locals in the plaza. A long queue to get a photo with the statue of Hachiko, there was even a shooting for a TV show happening at the square when we were there. The scramble crossing might look better at night when all the neon and building lights are all lit up.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Park
We went late in the afternoon about 2 pm then they close at 4 or 5 pm it’s a huge park so we only got to see the traditional Japanese Garden. Note: It’s best to go there earlier.
Blue Bottle Cafe @ Shinjuku NEWoMan Mall
This one was requested by my husband since he’s into specialty coffee shops, I love the set-up of the cafe , the coffee beans are grounded in front of you and the baristas will let you smell the fruity aroma of the ground coffee beans, it’s really neat – that’s one way of not just selling a product but also experience.
The coffee culture in Japan is insane, there’s a lot of brand and flavors of coffee on their vending machine and convenient stores. They even have a coffee flavored coke. I’m not complaining I love coffee. I love a country who share the same love for coffee the way that I do.
We usually leave the apartment by 10 am then after the train ride we look for a place to have lunch, our destination was Harajuku station since it’s near the Meiji shrine, we found a Pablo Cafe nearby so we decided to have lunch there, their cheese tart is in my food list. The famous cheese tart did not disappoint.
Luckily, there was a takoyaki store nearby now there’s 2 items off my food list.
I love takoyaki ❤
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Upon entering this majestic arc I smell the scent of varnish, everything was being repaired and renovated, actually it’s happening all around Tokyo as they were preparing for the 2020 Olympics. It was a rainy day so I couldn’t really enjoy a good stroll on the way to the shrine. When we arrived at the main shrine it was closed and covered with a tarpaulin, it is undergoing renovation, nonetheless the entrance to the shrine was still a sight to see and still Instagram worthy.
Designed by architect Tatsuno Kingo who later became known as the “father of modern Japanese architecture.” Fun Fact: A German engineer was hired to design / construct the station but his design was “too japanese” thus it was rejected, the work was then passed to a japanese national whose design was european inspired, it was then approved and viola! Inside this historical station are various shops and restaurants, we bought dango and warabi mochi in a small grocery there, they also have packed lunches, bentos and salads. We had lunch at a Tempura shop located in Marubiru. Oishii desu ne!
I’ts all about the view, I saw the red pagoda in Asakusa from up there 🙂
We didn’t get to visit the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka since it’s already fully booked. We found out that it was advisable to book 3 months in advance before your trip. My plan B was a Ghibli store in Solamachi- the mall beside Skytree. My souvenirs were a plush doll Catbus, Arriety’s hair clip (both for my daughter) and a totoro keychain (for me).
Everything inside the store was an eye candy for a Ghibli fan like me.
For Dinner we ate at Tully’s Cafe. I found a baumkuchen cake. Baumkuchen originated in Germany, introduced in Japan during a German exhibition in hiroshima in 1919, it remains one of the most popular dessert in Japan.
Ueno Zoo / Park
Came here for the panda and polar bear. Again a huge place with so much to offer, a zoo and a bunch of museums, would’ve loved to explore and check out the museums but my little lady loves the play area of the park.
We bought bento (Ekiben) at Tokyo station for dinner.
The last day – my itinerary includes the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nippon Koa Museum of Art it houses an original Van Gogh painting entitled “Sunflowers”. It also has a Gauguin and a Cezanne original painting, as a former art student I’ve encountered these names so many times and have seen their works only in pictures, so this was a big deal for me, but as I have written a while ago having a child on board can derail certain plans, on the way to the museum she’s already having tantrums and been looking for a play area with slides so I decided to forgo the museum instead we went to the park, later I found out the Museum was closed, so maybe it was not meant to be, maybe I shall return – hopefully, someday. On the way to Seiji togo we also saw the cocoon tower.
Shinjuku Chuo Park
I enjoyed it. The park was beautiful and huge, it was relaxing I wouldn’t mind staying in the park for the whole day, they even have a park cafe that serves a generous amount of the most tasty, juicylicious chicken karaage, yum!
Finally, the mandatory feet-fie / shoe-fie on the manhole covers. Japan manhole covers are famous for their beautiful designs, others are even colored, I only found 3 manholes on our travels.
Another example of Japan doing it right. That’s it pancit!
A few days ago I had a hearty lunch because my father brought me Suam na Tahong (mussels), this is one of my favorite mussel dish. By definition- Suamn. broth of rice with sauteed fish or meat, garlic and ginger. We also put chili leaves (although other households use spinach for a fancier take). It is a simple, healthy and tasty dish.
I found this growing beside my zz plant, I replanted it and now it’s flowering profusely. According to google it’s Ruellia simplex – (Britton’s wild petunia, Mexican petunia, Mexican bluebell) is a species of flowering plant in the acanthus family, Acanthaceae. It is a native of Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. It has become a widespread invasive plant in Florida, where it was likely introduced as an ornamental before 1933. I had one before that I found in a pavement crack, I also replanted it but it did not grew like this one. There’s a pink and purple color blooms for this plant, I’m still waiting for mother nature to send me either one next time.
I did this project last year it’s my attempt to make a miniature set using air dry clay. It was a little difficult to mold it to the shape that I wanted plus I cannot properly even the surface since my finger nails kept on puncturing some of the parts but I managed to create my Arriety. I only used white clay so everything is hand painted- all in all I enjoyed working on it and hopefully I could improve my skills in clay crafting so I could make more accessories with clay. #makesomethingwithyourhands