Amazing Chai Tea and Hamburgers In Kanagawa

On the heels of eating Singapore food for the first time with a friend, I went with another friend “Queen M” to one of the areas I used to live around in Kanagawa.  I used to live there, but I had no idea on all the great food places I was missing out on.

Queen M showed me around to this amazing hole-in-the-wall burger place and wow, they knew how to make burgers right.  Yum!

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The Yokohama Ramen Museum

You’ve heard of ramen, right?

It’s more than those cheap cup noodles that college students know well, at least in Japan it is. There is a whole range of styles and options from how hard you want the noodles to what kind of broth and what you want in it.

I prefer shio (salt) ramen.

One of my husband’s favorite places is The Ramen Museum in Yokohama.

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Golden Week Road Trip (Day One) 2017

This year the Golden Week Holidays in Japan fell perfectly, in a way that gave my husband and others an unusually long holiday.  So we packed our bags and went for a driven.

Normally, we go west, in the direction of Kyoto, like the rest of Japan, but this year we decided to go north, to Hokkaido.

The roads were so open and free, it was difficult to believe it was Golden Week. We zipped up and made our first stop at this city. Can you guess by the pictures where these were taken?

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Cherry Blossom Flavored Coca Cola Review

Happy Valentine’s Day from Japan!

I found it!

Here’s the video for my review of the just released Cherry Blossom Flavored Coca Cola that I’ve been dying to try:

My thoughts on it.  I like the lemon-flavored coke better.

I hardly drink sodas anymore (I did find Dr. Pepper here in Japan).

The aluminum can it comes in is very beautiful.  It’s cheap (less than $1.30).  It’s also hard to find.  I managed to find it at an obscure super market after checking out convenience stores and my local supermarket with no luck.

Finding one is locating the Holy Grail.   Continue reading “Cherry Blossom Flavored Coca Cola Review”

The Japanese In-Laws (the good and the bad)

We’ve made our annual visit to the Japanese In-laws for the New Year. Since I live in Japan I always celebrate in Japan. I’ve not been home (to Texas) for Christmas in a long time.  If we ever have kids, maybe that will change.

We are eating Nabe, clinking our glass in a call of “Kanpai”, and celebrating the end of 2016.

I feel like I won the lottery of in-laws. Mine are very open-minded and understanding.

When my husband told his father of my infertility, my father-in-law immediately said that it was okay if we never had kids. He was worried about me. While he would love grandkids, he wants his family to be happy more.  My own father has been equally understanding and said a similar thing, “Plenty are happy without children.  I just want you to be happy.”

No one is pressuring me. There is no blame or recrimination.  This is opposite of the horror stories I’ve heard or read about from many others going through infertility who have been made to feel “broken” (biologically) because of it. Or that it’s somehow their fault.

It’s just one of the many things that is wonderful about my in-laws.

I remember when, three months into dating, my boyfriend (who became the hubby) asked if I would meet his parents. This blew me away at the time because all the other foreign women said that Japanese men wait at least a year to do that.  I expected the same, but I was wrong.

From the moment we met, despite the awkwardness and language barrier, they have always been kind and humble.

Before I met them I was anxious. I heard countless in-law horror stories from other foreigners.

One American woman with three kids by her Japanese husband told about how she no longer met with her in-laws. Her husband refused to let them near her after they continued to ask her “Why are you a fat American pig?” and then refused to apologize or acknowledge any wrongdoing.

Now they only drop off their grandchildren on the New Year to see their grandparents. However, even the grandkids didn’t want to meet them as they only say things like “How is your fat mother doing?” or “Why did your mother steal our son?” or “He could have done so much better.”

Then there was the Haitian woman’s story of her mother-in-law from hell.  She met and married a Japanese man in Haiti. Eventually they moved to Japan and had a baby together. Around this time the mother-in-law asked to move in with them. The Haitian woman desperately wanted to be a good daughter-in-law and, despite reservations, agreed.

It quickly became apparent she had made a terrible mistake when her MIL ran her finger across the top of the TV and held out her dirty finger pad like an indictment and said, “A Japanese wife would never allow this.”

The abuse grew worse and worse. Every mistake in childcare or housework was met with an emphatic, “A Japanese housewife would never do this. Are all woman lazy in Haiti? Hmm?”

Finally, the Haitian woman delivered an ultimatum to her husband: either the MIL leaves or she would go back to Haiti with their child.

He made the smart choice and kicked his mother out to a nearby a apartment he set up for her. She could come visit, but would need to mind her manners. The MIL seemed aghast and sputtered, “But I did nothing wrong. I was only joking around. She is too sensitive.”

These stories made me nervous, but my in-laws were nothing like that. They are sweet hearts who have always welcomed me into their home.

They have a thirteen year old, diabetic Scottish fold who comes and snuggles up to me now as I write this. I’m surprised he hasn’t hopped onto my keyboard yet. Wait… he’s looking at it.

Okay, he sauntered off to my husband.

I’m grateful to have such a great place to spend my New Years.

I hope everyone has such places.

Have a happy 2017.

 

Christmas Magic and Ice Skating In Yokohama

Looking for Christmas feelz in Japan? Or maybe somewhere to faceplant on ice?

I have a place for you!

It’s a perfect spot for enjoying the Christmas Spirit in Japan, and it’s at the Red Brick Building in Yokohama.  Where you can see these kind of displays:

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I Love Autumn In Japan!

Growing up in Texas, I rarely got to experience autumn.

The old joke is there are four seasons in Texas: summer, less summer, not summer, and becoming summer.  

Here in Japan you get to enjoy all four seasons (though I rarely enjoy the cold winter). There are even an array of “autumn” foods like pumpkin soup, chestnut lattes, and nabe dishes. The list goes on.

Before it got really chilly, I went to Kamakura to enjoy the fall leaves and even ate some pumpkin soup.  The weather was perfect.  There was so much red, gold, and burnt orange!

Here are a few pictures of the experience.

I had fish and chips (a bit greasy, but good) and a little “pudding” desert while I studied Japanese for a bit.  I’m going to miss autumn, the loveliest season of them all.