Saying goodbye to ℃-ute and my childhood

It’s rare for me to talk about things like this, but let’s do it!

℃-ute! My favourite girl group of all time and one that I’ve followed for nearly ten years. I first discovered them when I was in my first year of secondary school, so it’s pretty odd to think about how much time has passed since that one random song I stumbled on that got me into them. The members are all around my age and it kind of felt like I was growing up together with them, awkward stages and all.

I vaguely knew it would happen someday but at the same time I never thought about them disbanding until they announced that they would this year, after working for 12 years.

So two weeks ago I went to their final concert! And cried. A lot(In my defence so were a lot of people, least of all the girls themselves) My friend Reira and I went together, and I’m really glad I did because we became such good friends through our common love for these groups in the first place. Being together made the day a lot easier to survive too—we took the first train out and began queueing at the venue from 6am for goods lolIt was hardcore and I got completely roasted in the outdoors.

That was my first time ever seeing my favourite group live, and the last time. Obviously I wish I could’ve had the opportunity to see them in person much earlier…but at the same time, I’m also sort of glad that this became my one and only live memory of them. ℃-ute disbanded at their peak, so I think I saw the very best of them at the end.

I cried a lot but they weren’t so much from sadness as they were from being moved by the sheer power of their performances. Also, have you ever been to a concert in Japan? No cell phones, no recording. Just fans and their light sticks and coordinated cheers. It’s a truly magnificent organised chaos and I love it. Goosebumps! I highly recommend it

There’s something about seeing artistes you admire so much in person. There’s something else about watching your childhood come to life for a fleeting moment. I spent my school years watching them, listening to them and occasionally trying to be like them (honestly if it weren’t for ℃-ute I would still be walking around in sweatpants and a centre parting).

Watching this group disband was a little like watching a part of my childhood disappear. But as hard as that is, seeing them move on gave me some motivation to grow up too. So like I said in my last post, I’m going to properly focus on what I like to do

At the end of it, I’m just really glad that I had something I could love and enjoy so much. ℃-ute is always going to remain my favourite

Turning 22!

I turned another year older on June 16! Right in the middle of the year. I’ve always liked how neat that was. Anyway! So I’m 22 now. It’s more awareness than actualisation; there isn’t any real difference except that with every year older I get, I think more and more about what I really want to do. Getting there slowly

I was 16 when I started this blog. It’s kind of embarrassing to read the kind of stuff I wrote back then (I don’t recommend it), but at the same time it’s fun seeing all the differences and also what’s stayed the same.

Like how I’m still drinking fruit juice at restaurants…just in fancy wine glasses. I may grow inevitably older but my love for mango will never die.

This was at the beautiful place my (even more) beautiful friend took me to for dinner (check out her blog!) and it topped anything I’d ever expected for my birthday. Literally, it was way up at the top of the building in front of the Tokyo Skytree.

 

Even the appetisers came arranged on a mini Tokyo Skytree! The nicest, loftiest dinner place I’d ever been to. It was the 31st floor, but I was over the moonConversations and food under the lights in front of the tallest tower in Japan…that was a truly great scene. And everything till then just swelled up into one big mass of happiness. For lack of a better word.

To the friends who wrote me cards, gave me flowers, let me eat my favourite cakes or just simply thought of me in some way—my heart is so full because of you

So. Twenty-two! My goals are cheesy but important. I want to grow up and be less shy, more daring to show the friends around me how much I love them. To smile at people more and be brave about it. I’m so cautious I always end up expressing how I really feel in a long roundabout way (that the message kind of gets lost halfway through), but I’m going to try harder now.

And well the other goal is to study hard I guessAlready almost halfway through university life!

One last thing—I want to be able to blog more intimately and candidly like I used to when I was 16 and just wanted to share with people about my day. I don’t know when I started becoming less carefree about blogging and just churning out post after post about cafe reviews; I enjoy that, but I also miss being a little more personal with myself. A long time ago I made this space online for myself, so I’m going to use it as much as I can!

Thank you for coming to this blog.

Mugimaru 2: Steamed Buns in a Secret Alley

More hidden places! I’m starting to spend my free time just digging these up around Tokyo.

I found this place called Mugimaru 2—a tiny cafe along a narrow alley in Kagurazaka that serves traditional manju.  Lots of flavours and lots of fillings; they’re all handmade by the lady owner and delivered to you straight from the steamer.

The first time I actually walked right past because I didn’t see the entrance shrouded in all that ivy. How’s that for a hidden spot?! It was kind of like a treehouse, but on the ground. What a mysterious feel. You can’t even go inside without crouching so you don’t hit the low door frame.

But once you’re inside it’s a real gem of a placeEverything’s cosy and worn out, with lots of knick-knacks spilling out everywhere. The owner decorates the space with things she received from customers, so it was fun thinking about where it all came from. There’s supposed to be a cat too, apparently, but it wasn’t there that day I went.

This is my favourite bit! A Mount Fuji wall panel, plus a little round table and cushions to make you feel like you’re having tea by Mount Fuji haha.

Like I said last week, the ice cream cravings are starting for real. I’ll trade up my usual tea for a matcha float if it means getting a big scoop of soft serve ice cream in it. The debate is, do I eat my ice cream before it melts or the manju before they get cold?

I ate the ice cream first. But even though the manju did cool off a little while waiting they were still soft and fluffy with some warmth left in the thick bean paste. I just really love anything sweet and squishable. Plus I got a good combination of flavours—uguisu bean paste and chocolate.

I haven’t had this much fun coming to a cafe in a while. Mostly because there weren’t any other customers, so it just felt like I was at home surrounded by plants and rugs and the smell of buns steaming in kitchen downstairs. It’s not the most pristine or modern of interiors, but it’s full of soulI mean, those cracks in the paint don’t come without years of history.

Kosoan: Hidden Japanese Tea House in Tokyo

We’re on the cusp of summer, which means I’m going to be consuming a lot of ice cream for the next few months till we’re back to sweater weather. And Japanese desserts in the summer are just so good at cooling you downI went to Jiyugaoka to check out the teahouse Kosoan, mostly because it’s such a beautiful place and also because I wanted to eat some anmitsu.

It’s quite literally hidden. The place is just so shrouded with greenery you miss it if you don’t pay attention. It was built in 1954, so the traditional aesthetic is off the charts. Sitting inside made me feel like I was visiting someone’s old Japanese house, complete with tatami and potted plants.

They served the daintiest slice of cake I’d ever seen. I can’t even remember what flavour it was because my portion was gone in two bites, but it was a good side to the strawberry smoothie. And that was kind of underwhelming, but that’s Japanese sweets for you. Less pizzazz, more comfort.

The anmitsu was the real starThere’s nothing more attractive than a bowl snugly packed with fruits, chunky red bean and a big scoop of ice cream. I love having lots of colours and different tastes and textures, so this was a winner for me.

I’d willingly travel to Jiyugaoka again just for teatime at Kosoan, because it’s such a pretty enclave tucked away in the streets (plus with good dessert to boot). Plus the neighbourhood has tons of things to do and see, so you could really just spend a few hours walking around and looking at the shops.

May Conbini Favourites

Top picks from the convenience store for the month of May (which is already almost over, HOW?)—ready, get set, go.

When you can’t afford fancy macarons, get them cheap from the conbini. Family Mart’s always coming up with new macaron series, so once in a while I get them when I find a craving coming on and I only have that much spare change. These new ones have twice as much cream as usual, so they look bigger and prettier in the box

Here’s Kumamon with his own Pocky, proudly packaged in support of Kumamoto. I don’t know why I like him so much, but if he comes on a snack box I’m buying it. My friends make fun of Kumamon but I think he’s just trying his hardest to be cute. And that’s endearing! Anyway, the Pocky was good

Next up on the weird characters lineup. Gudetama mochiThis was basically mochi with a kind of custard pudding filling inside—a lot better straight out of the fridge, because one time I ate them in the middle of the day and they’d melted inside. But they tasted great when they were nice and cold and firm.

I love it when conbini actually put effort into jazzing up their desserts. Lawson had this lion-shaped roll cake for Children’s Day in Japan, so of course I tried it. The lion’s face was one big mound of custard! That was delicious. Plus I don’t often eat mikan, so it was nice having so many juicy ones all around the cake.

Last one. Kuromitsu and kinako-flavoured sweet potato chips from Calbee, here one minute and gone the next. It’s actually scary how fast these disappear once you open the lid. But I really like these Japanese flavours! I’m always a fan of kuromitsu (black honey syrup? Literally, anyway) so it was really the perfect combination.


And that’s all for May! Life is getting even busier…but then again what’s new. At least there’re always different things to look at in the convenience store.

Pretty in Purple: Wisteria Festival at the Shrine

Now that the cherry blossoms are long gone, it’s time to give these unsung heroes some attention.

These big, bright purple boas draping down from trees—wisteriaThey bloom later in spring, which is just as good because you get to enjoy it right after all the sakura disappears. They’re not poofy like a sakura tree, but hang downwards from their branches. Kind of like the threes are growing violet hair.

There was a festival going on at the Kameidoten Shrine near Asakusa, while all the wisteria flowers were in bloom. Lots of trees, lots of peopleOn occasions like this I don’t mind the crowd so much—if anything it makes the event livelier and even better.

Japan seriously has nice nature all year round. In Singapore everything’s just green all the time, so seeing all this pink and purple everywhere gets me real excited. And what a shade of purple it is! (My favourite colour, by the way.)

Iconic red bridge for that postcard look (except of course once you’re actually on that bridge it’s just kind of overstuffed with people crossing). The touches of red in the shrine made the purple wisteria look extra vibrant.

It was a weekend, so there were lots of families around! At the risk of sounding like an grandma, seeing all the little kids having fun really brightens the place up.

Not to mention the food stallsThe last time I went to a big festival was in the summer, so it was great seeing all the different stalls. Lots of frying and grilling around, and the clunk of the shaved ice machine. Festive! I got a fried meat bun.

There were a bunch of Japanese sweetfish being cooked around a fire; it’s too bad I didn’t get one, but next time I definitely want to. I’ve had these fish on sticks a couple of times before and they’re actually really tasty (plus, fun to eat).

The sun was in a great mood that day

The Farm in the City: Mr.FARMER Cafe

I get frequent assumptions that I live on a diet of pancakes and cafe sweets in Japan, but (once in a while) I actually go out of my way to have salad for lunch. Welcome to Mr.FARMER, a cafe in Tokyo that has successfully gotten lots of people to eat their veggies.

Healthy food, stylish ambience, and full of appropriately sophisticated customers—it’s a trendy place to be even for a neighbourhood like Omotesando. Plus you know a place is really putting itself out there when they serve water infused in three different combinations of fruits and vegetables.

(The only reason why I can’t come to places like this more often is because one salad could buy me a week of meals from the convenience store)

So while I’m here I need to get the best out of it. I had the Cobb salad plate, packed with ingredients and with a fancy arrangement of bread and baked potatoes on the side. My rule of thumb when it comes to salad: the more colours there are, the more likely I am to eat it. It was like eating a collage

And then because I am who I am, I couldn’t stop there and went on to get dessert. Their sweets are a lot more dinky than their massive salad bowls, but I very much enjoyed that stick of tiramisu

It was sunny, so lots of people were taking advantage of the weather and having their lunch out on the terrace.

Since it’s so popular, there was a queue all afternoon.

Health is wealth, which might explain the pricey meals at this cafe. But then everything was delicious, and the atmosphere had a way of making you feel like you belonged in that charming, airy aesthetic. I’d definitely want to go again the next time I want a nutrition splurge


Welcome ♡

▷ . Cheryl

I'm a university student in Tokyo blogging every weekend about cute food and cute places in Japan٩( ᐛ )و

Read my About Me ☆ to know more.

はじめまして!
大学一年生のシェリルです
毎週日本の可愛い食べ物や場所についてブログ更新していますヽ(´_`) /♪

よろしくお願いします

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