Archive for January, 2016

How to get good grades in Japan

By eating a bun that has the word ‘credits’ stamped on it, just in case you’re in risk of not having enough to graduate in the near future.

Japan Bread

単位 means credit, by the waykira kira

This post is kind of misleading. It’s not a useful how-to on acing your exams in school but just a personal post from me today, haha. It’s finals season in a lot of universities around Japan nowgirlFor the past week or two I’ve been studying for exams and staying up late to write essays (not so much because I’m hardworking as it is that I procrastinate during the day and binge-watch random YouTube videos instead).

This custard bread might not be useful, but it was entertaininghurhurThey were selling them at the school shop—seems like they have it at universities all over the country too! And on the nutrition facts label they listed the ingredient as brain powder, which I guess makes it sound more promising.

I generally spend my whole life in Japan appreciating their gimmicks.

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Pancakes with a view at Hoshino Coffee

I ate pancakes while looking out at one of Tokyo’s most iconic spots in Shibuya! The only real way to enjoy pancakes from now on, maybe.

Hoshino Coffee Pancakes

You probably know about Shibuya and the famous scramble crossing—there’s a massive wave of humans all day. Above that there’s a cafe called Hoshino Coffee that’s popular for its thick souffle pancakeskira kiraI might’ve blogged about it before; there’re a few branches back home in Singapore (just without the nice view).

Hoshino Coffee

Why have menus when you can have something closer to the real thing? The food samples outside the cafe already look so good. They have a lot of desserts like pancakes and french toast, but there’re also sandwiches and the like.

Hoshino Coffee

Ordered tea because it’s the classy thing to do. Also because they had a teatime set that came with the pancakes.

Hoshino Coffee Pancakes

Double souffle pancakes with apple and caramel! It’s so fluffyhappyIf you think you might struggle with eating two whole incredibly fat pancakes this would be a good thing to share with someone else. It gets you really full (or maybe I’m just used to my pancakes being skinny).

Hoshino Coffee Pancakes

This one was just a single pancake, but it had bananas and vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce and crunch drizzled over the top. So it’s a lot more than a single pancake haha. They served it hot and soft with a cold scoop of ice creamgirl love

Hoshino Coffee

I liked having a view of the Shibuya crossing more than actually being in itgirl tongueThe cafe was surprisingly not as crowded as I thought it’d be since I went on a Sunday, but maybe people don’t notice it as much because it’s hanging back with a bunch of trees and you wouldn’t see it unless you looked up. It’s at the 109MEN’s building, so if you want to eat pancakes in style go to Hoshino Coffeekira

Convenience Store in Japan: This Week’s Snacks

Happy Sunday! Now that Christmas and New Year have passed, ’tis the season of finals. But then in just a few weeks it’ll be time for spring break (aka the real deal), so that’s a comforting thought. Anyway, I’m sharing this week’s favourites from the convenience stores! I thought about it because I’ve been buying so many snacks in Japan, even though I never did back home.

(I need to reflect on myself)

Japan Conbini

Pocky midi chocolatekira

Everyone knows PockyhappyPocky isn’t even as much of Japan’s thing anymore, because it’s everywhere else in the world. But this is still the motherland, so that means lots of new quirky flavours are born here as well as commercials of pop stars dancing with Pocky sticks in their hands.

The Pocky midi’s a special version; basically it’s fatter and has more coating than the usual skinny sticks you get. It’s written as ぽってり (chubby) right on the box, which is cutesmileChubby pocky haha.

Japan Conbini

Strawberry shortcake-flavoured potato chipskira

I know this looks weird. But! If you embrace it (like I did) it’s totally yummy and will make you think it’s just common sense to have potato chips in a dessert flavour. I thought it was genius, honestlyhmmIt really did taste like strawberry shortcake, but in an interesting deep-fried form.

You learn something new about the world everydaygood

Japan Conbini

Yuki ichigokira

It’s like a soft and plump daifuku stuffed with strawberry shortcake, and the name in kanji literally translates to snow strawberry daughter. Doesn’t that just charm you? Like “buy me! Love me! Eat me!” So I ate it and it was delicious.

Japan Conbini

And after cutting my snow strawberry daughter in half, this is what it looked like inside—strawberry, cream, and sponge cake all blanketed in mochihappy

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That wraps it up! I feel like I can keep making these posts just because Japanese convenience stores are infinitely stocked with fun snacks. So look forward to the next onegirl love

Ryokan Stay in Yunishigawa Onsen

I went for an onsen trip! We stayed at a ryokan in the mountains and it probably doesn’t get any more rustic than that.

Onsen Ryokan

We went to Yunishigawa Onsen in the Nikko area, somewhere in the Tochigi prefecture (you’ll know you’re there when you start seeing lots of strawberry-flavoured souvenirs). It took us around three hours by train and bus to get there from Tokyotrain

Onsen Ryokan

What’s a long journey without ekiben? I saved on breakfast just so I could eat my train bento.

Onsen Ryokan

Eventually the bus dropped us somewhere in the mountain valley. We found our ryokan, Hana to Hana (彩り湯かしき花と華), a traditional Japanese inn a little like something out of a Ghibli movie. I’m pretty sure I’ve used that reference before; every time something’s old and Japanese I just say it looks like Ghibli.

Onsen Ryokan

I’ve never seen greater hospitality anywhere other than ryokan. They greet you at the entrance, have a special plaque with your family’s name on it, show you to your room and basically make you feel so welcome it feels like home. There’re hospitable in so many subtle ways too, like how there’ll be hot tea and a bowl of manjū (little Japanese confectionery) waiting on the table for you.

Onsen Ryokan

Ryokan rooms are the bestgirl loveThey’re spacious and clean and laid out with tatami flooring, perfect for you to just lie around on and relax. While you’re at dinner the staff come and set up the sleeping futon for you, so you can come back to a nice and cosy room with fluffy mattresses.

Onsen Ryokan

And of course you can’t miss the onsen. My friends and I went two to three times because it just felt so good to soak in a hot spring after spending a day out in the cold winter. My favourite was the big outdoor bath (rotenburo)kira

Onsen Ryokan

Dinner was a local traditional Japanese-style barbecue called okaribayaki, where everyone sat around a hearth and grilled our own meat and vegetables. It was a huge dinner course with lots of different dishes, so we were eating for a really long time.

Onsen Ryokan

The tray was arranged so nicely, and everything tasted good too! My favourite part about these kind of Japanese meals is getting to try so many different things. It’s like a sampling menu that still fills you up.

The hearth we sat around had this grill surrounded by food on skewers, kind of like our own little campfire. There were things like mochi and konnyaku and chicken which somehow tasted even better on a stick.

Onsen Ryokan

(and this fish)

Onsen Ryokan

We relaxed a lot during this triphappyI guess that’s the point of going on a trip to ryokan—enjoying simple nature and disconnecting from busy life in the city (literally, sometimes, when there wasn’t Wi-fi). Since there were several types of onsen we went as and when we wished—that night a few of us stayed up talking all night (eventually mumbling and trying hard to stay awake) until it was almost dawn. Then we went to the outdoor onsen again for a bath at sunrisekira

Onsen Ryokan

Breakfast was another grand event! They served us a course meal again with hot mochi soup and some cold tasty dishes in more pretty trays. After that we went back to the room to loll around the comfy room somewheresmileI ended up falling asleep for a bit again because I didn’t sleep the entire night.

Onsen Ryokan

Yunishigawa Onsen’s a sleepy area in the mountain valley with the bare minimum of buildings and roads, but there was gorgeous scenery instead. Like that part of the lake that was frozengirl love

Onsen Ryokan

I’m happy I got to experience an onsen getaway with friends for the first timelove girlIt was a lot of fun going as a group; being in a peaceful place makes everything and everyone feel closer, in a good way. It was just one night but I miss it already.

So I made a video in commemoration—it’s on YouTube here!

New year in Japan: Osechi-ryori and Matsuri Food

It’s 2016!

Osechi

How is everyone’s new year? This year I welcomed it for the first time in Japan. Since I didn’t go back to Singapore, I spent it with my family here! We had osechi ryori, the traditional Japanese new year food. It’s like bento, but a luxurious and extra pretty sort with a huge variety of ingredients.

Osechi

It came nicely packaged like this! Unless it’s homemade, osechi is usually expensive…they can start from a hundred dollars for a set and go up to literally several thousand dollars. We got ours on Amazon where the price was relatively reasonable; it was about ¥9000 for three tiers!

Osechi

There’re lots of ingredients inside, like rolled omelette (datemaki) and fish cake and chestnuts. 34 in total actually, stuffed into the three trays that made up the bento.

Osechi

The detail they put into it is amazing. Since it’s supposed to be the year of the monkey, they actually put it into the osechimonkeyI can’t even think about carving one little monkey out of a sweet potato, much less hundreds for mass production.

So we spent most of the time sitting at home and being cosylove girlBut outside there’re lots more activities going on for the new year! In Harajuku there was a little festival too, with the street lined with food stalls at night.

Japan Matsuri

There was the typical matsuri food, like takoyaki and yakisoba and candied appleskira kiraEven if they’re generally not the kind of stuff I usually want to eat, I get attracted way too easily to food that’s sold under a bright sign on a crowded street.

Japan Matsuri

Because they’re actually really eye-catching. Look at the colours of those fruits!

Japan Matsuri

And also these super decorative bananas on sticks. I’ve never seen a more girly fruit…In Japan bananas are dressed up even better than me. Choco bananas (チョコバナナ) are a typical matsuri treatbanana

Japan Matsuri

You know it’s 2016 when you see bananas covered by little Disney heads flashing with LED lights and singing It’s A Small World on the street. I’m not sure I understood either, but I guess this is the future…hurhur

Japan Matsuri

Back to something more old-fashioned—okonomiyaki on a huge sizzling grill! They had both Osaka and Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, and these were popular with everyone looking for something hot and savoury on a cold winter night. Also even if you don’t want to eat it, it’s fun to just look at the stall owner chopping away at the piles of okonomiyakigood

Japan Matsuri

Mochi, the quintessential Japanese snacksmile

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So yes. It’s a new year! This time I didn’t (or haven’t yet) put up a post reflecting on everything that went on in the last year…but you all know I moved to Japan anywayhappySo that was a new life event, after graduating from school. I’m starting the year still as a university freshman, so that’s excitingkiraIt’s been about 4 months since coming to live here, and I’m beginning to get a little antsy about going home to see everyone I miss haha. But I’m enjoying myself everyday heresmile

I’m going to continue posting about life in Japan and the things I get up to here. I’ve been updating every weekend about cafes and places, but once in a while I think I want to try more personal posts in between too.

Thanks for reading my blog! Have a good start to the yearkirakira


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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