Mar 29, 2012


With a bit of free time on my hands, Ive been crocheting....
It has taken me hours watching youtube videos to figure out how to make specific stitches...and many trips to the dollar store for yarn. Here in Japan, I am not sure where to shop for art materials yet.
This bag pattern I got from Attic24 which has to be my new favorite crochet site...I love her colors and patterns.

This bikini (to match the summer bag) is from Drops. It is a bit more complicated and I made one side bigger than the other as well as I didn't think about making one side reversed from the other. I still have the bottoms to make and obviously to test out the strength of this top, but once its finished Ill let you know. Ive edited the pattern not because I thought this would look better, but because I really don't know what I am doing and fake it until it becomes something :)

Yay! I finished the top. I can't believe it is a real sunbathing bathing suit. I now have to make the bottoms...Yikes!


Mar 26, 2012

When in Japan...Sushi it up

We decided to try to make our own sushi. Here in Japan you find mostly sashimi nothing like the creative colorful and flavorful rolls found in the states. That is okay. But, we wanted to make dinner, were starving and thought we would give it a try. We actually had enough supplies to make sushi for two nights.  Our recipe included:
Yellowtail (we think)
red pepper 
We did not have a bamboo mat, but it worked out just fine...the trick I think is to have water on your fingers when you place the rice on the seaweed, but not too wet because then the seaweed gets soggy.
we borrowed a knife and the cutting board from the kitchen downstairs so we could enjoy the experience upstairs.

We finished our meal with chocolate pudding we bought at the store. It was more like the consistency of chocolate jello and definitely only the size of a shot glass.


Mar 24, 2012


We are trying to work on a way to showcase our blog/ experiences in a more artistic and organized way. So, with our free time, we are slowly designing one.
View the new blog here and let us know what you think.

Life Decisions and Updates

We have now been in Japan a total of 7 weeks, it seems like so much longer. Only several weeks after our arrival, we knew something wasn't right. The weather was bad, our attitudes were pretty negative and we couldn't seem to find things positive about being here.
One day when we left the grocery store Adam said to me that he wasn't happy, that he just didn't feel like this was the right place for us. Since he opened the can of worms, I decided to let my opinions flow too. From that moment, we couldn't stop comparing Japan and Korea...

Mar 23, 2012

Chanko Nabe

Our fellow guest house friends brought us to a Chanko Nabe restaurant on Tuesday night. There, we sat on the floor, paid $45 a person and ate like a Sumo Wrestler.

Chanko Nabe is a stew of sorts with all different types of meat and veggies. It gets is ugh caloric intake by the rice or noodles stirred in at the end and beer you are supposed to drink with it. (Along with the Sodium from the stew and mass quantities that is served.)

Edo-Tokyo Museum

Our friend Akemi took us to the Edo-Tokyo Museum the other day. It was basically the history of Edo, or old Tokyo. There were a ton of models to see of old houses and cities.
Here Adam is pulling me on a tuktuk

I highly recommend if you go, renting the recording to listen to if you don't read Japanese. There seemed to be a ton of information on each art piece or model, but I couldn't read any of it.

Mar 22, 2012

mega sexyvan appeal

.....there are two fates in my time on earth to which I will do my best to avoid. One is to ever find myself in a situation where I need to resort to canabalism for survival....the to own a minivan. Either would mean that I have found myself at the hopeless end of lifes majesty and left with an option of complete sorrow and despair.

Pretty heavy.

Mar 21, 2012

St. Patricks Day Potluck

This St. Patricks Day a Potluck in our guesthouse was put together. Everyone had to bring something to share. I made Shepherds Pie. You can find the recipe I used here

Mar 20, 2012


With special cameo appearance from the sun last Thursday, Nicole and I took the rare opportunity and break in the dreary weather pattern to check out the city of Kamakura, Japan. Similar in traditional styling and feel to Kyoto but quit a bit smaller, Kamakura has become a pretty big tourist spot for Tokyo locals and travelers to the region. The main draw being the many Temples and the famous Diabutsu statue which is a surviving piece from the great tsunami of the 15h century. Standing in front of the statues calming poise gave a sense that this statue could endure the worst and apparently did which now serves as a pillar of strength to the Japanese and tourist who visit the great Amida Buddah.

Mar 15, 2012

Smile Broadcast

You must click on the link below!
Hoops and Yoyo eCards - Smile Broadcast

How can you not love this! It puts a huge smile on my face!!!

Asahi Beer

Get creative Ladies and Gentleman. That building in the middle is the Asahi Beer main office. Doesn't the building remind you of a beer. The building represents the ice cold refreshing golden brew and the white on the top represents the head of the beer!

Such a creative marketing and yet not too tacky idea! The building was designed by a french man Phillippe Starck

Asahi Beer has 40% of the Japanese beer market according to Wikipedia. I personally like Kirin and Suntory better.


A few weeks ago we took the subway north to Asukasa. This district is part of the "old downtown." It was settled by merchants back in 1603. The entrance gate to the area is called The Kaminarimon...meaning the Gate f the God.  The street of shopping just after the gate leading to the temple is Makamise-dori. 

Mar 11, 2012

KIZUNA Nippon.....

A message of hope and a continued effort towards recovery beamed from the Tokyo skyline today to inspire the country during the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that ravaged northeastern Japan last March 11th. "KI-ZU-NA" ("Bonds-Japan" in English) seems an appropriate gesture as it symbolizes not only the coming together of the Japanese in a time of struggle, but a joining of spirit across the globe.

Although the circumstances differ greatly...drawing on our experience of 9/11 in the US allows Nicole and I a deeper understanding of how important a day of remembrance can be....especially for those who were lost at that time.

One year later Japan's displaced struggle to find a way to return to a life they once knew both emotionally and physically. The determination on the part of the people however seems unbreakable and I can only hope that the Japanese governments and local authorities do right by their people's commitment to rebuild and become stronger.

thanks for reading,

Lots of interesting reads:
NKK clip and story:

Mar 9, 2012

Not shopping at the store

980 yen is equal to $12.01 ...thats 9 strawberries. When you break it down its $1.33 a strawberry. We did not buy them. (do you see they are on sale!)

Banana Bread

Yesterday I was in the mood to bake. So after 3 stores...I found flour and sugar etc...and these awesome silicone baking dishes for $1 a piece.

Mar 8, 2012

hay whaa!!!!???

So... back in the 50's and then again in the 70's Japan thought it quite genius to plant 4.5million hectares of cedar trees only to conclude a few decades later that importing lumber was a better way to go. The result of this agricultural flip-flop....well, in very complex medical lingo "hay-fever is off the cheese" during onset of spring and steadily declining through April and May but not before leaving a mass of allergic misery in its wake throughout parts of Japan.

All on a crowded subway

We take the train almost every day to get to and from work, at least one of the campus's. It costs 150 yen each way. Some times the experience is very serene and the stations are empty.

We live on the Denentoshi Line which is the turquoise line below. You can see Fujigaoka which where we live. One school is located at Aobadai (we can walk there) The other is at TamaPlaza which is 4 stops towards Tokyo. If you catch the express train, you can be in Shibuya Tokyo in about 30 minutes. The non express takes about 45-50.

Mar 6, 2012

Mar 3, 2012

a letter from Olive....

Got a letter today from our girl back home!

Hi Mommy and Daddy:
I am doing well.  I love to climb on the kitchen table (which is okay with Grandma and PaPa) to watch the kids, cars and school buses go by.  I went for a walk with Grandma and did my thing.  For breakfast, I had an egg witch  I devoured.  You should see the back porch - oh, how I love it out there.  I would love to get at the squirrels but really, noone will let me do it. I can't run in the backyard because the slats have spaces which are too large and I might climb through and get lost.  Oh well!

Mar 2, 2012

flashback action: 9/13/2010

Pokin around on tonight I came upon some old reviews from our travels. Always fun to reminisce and even more fun when it includes a nightmare experience at a dingy hotel in Kuala Lumpur (stayOrange Hotel). Take note hotel management of the world.....i bite deeper than yo bed bugs.....i guess i've never had a chance to use this term legitimacy but check out my "scathing review" kindly written that same night from across town ;)

no free deal,

and then, we work

I figure we haven't given you guys much about our days at work here in Japan and thought it may be about time.

Basically, we teach an average of 5-6 classes a day. Most are one on one, some are two to three on one. The classes are 50 minutes long. I also teach a few times a week to little ones...under 5 years old. There may be 4-5 of them in a class and those classes are only 30-40 minutes long.

Mar 1, 2012

Adam tries natto

According to Wikipedia, Nattō (なっとう or 納豆?) is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis. It is popular especially as a breakfast food. As a rich source of protein and probiotics, nattō and the soybean paste miso formed a vital source of nutrition in feudal Japan. Nattō can be an acquired taste because of its powerful smell, strong flavor, and slippery texture. 

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