Typhoon Season in Japan ..... I don't hate it....

Open Source Cafe Shimokitazawa 
It's been rainy summer-end and fall this year.    During real rainy season in late June and July, we didn't have enough rain.   Now almost every week, we have rains. 

It is a kind of depressing to see dark sky everyday, but I kind of enjoy quiet, rainy days..... I can enjoy listening to music, readings, sipping coffees ( or wines ! ) .....     

No food photo for now since I am thinking about this joint near here....... TONSUI, I think I wrote about this place before..... operated by a couple.... they have been running for 45 years.   Tiny place.... not stylish at all, but it has homey, welcoming ambience with their smile and hospitality.        They are closing this month. 
The place's owner decided to rebuild the place to taller building. 

The couple tried to find similar place w/ similar space where they can immediately move in and start, meaning kitchen is there etc..... but they couldn't find any place.
So...... sad.... I already wrote a Thank You card to them.    I wonder if they are still open today.....   Need to try their chicken cheese cutlet one more time.......


Basement of Department Store in Japan

 I have perhaps written about Japanese department stores.   If you haven't been to the basement, please do.    This one was discounted 50 % since it was already around 6p.m. and they wanted to sell before it gets spoiled.   After the discount,
it was 294 yen.....about  US$3.00 , cheaper than " reasonable"!!   

Underneath there is vinegar-flavored rice.   I just made spinach miso soup.
You will enjoy trying all kinds of food and sweets at our department stores.

Not all of them, but there are many "samples" you can taste.   This is from Tokyu Department Store in Shibuya.   There are two Tokyu Department Stores in Shibuya.   One is about 5 min. from the station, which is the main store.   This one I bought this seafood bowl is located in the station building.   Easy to go down.

Take the escalator to down stairs.    

Seafood Bowl & Miso Soup 


Green Brothers in Ebisu ---- When you need to eat greens!

Center Table
The other day, after visiting a client's office in Ebisu, I came to this place, " Green Brothers".  ( Why not sisters!?  )    They specialize in salads.   A bowl filled with greens would fill your needs of vitamin C or vegetables....
Order Counter 
 Interestingly, all the menu is written in English.    I hope they last long enough.... since this could be a bit too foreign for some people. 

I read English still, felt a bit strange... I should probably say "unique".  :-)

This Chef Hasegawa is the combination of Clam Chowder and Salad!    You may doubt if it tastes good but I enjoyed it!   Grains, clam chowder, red onion, romanesco, tomatoes, raw zucchini, farro penne and raw mushroom.   A slice of bread comes with it as a free option.   It is getting a bit cold in Tokyo.   This soup and salad bowl was just right.    I've never thought of this combination, but next time, I'd like to try it at home.   It is not a soup bowl.  It is a salad bowl with a kind of CLAM CHOWDER SAUCE over the salad.     It is from New York?   New Yorkers idea is innovative.  Perhaps somebody wanted to eat both clam chowder and soup, but they wanted to save time since New Yorkers are always busy!

Chef Hasegawa


Wagashi Master's Work ----- Clearly Different

Beautiful Work and he was also very quick to make each one.  He said " if you take too much time, the bean paste get dried or gets too soft from your hand temperature. "
These are representing seasons.

The top green ones are chestnuts sitting in shell.     The bottom is seasonal flower,  Chrysanthemum.

Japanese Sweets - Wagashi Look what I made!

Japanese Culture Class 
Before explanation, just wanted to show off ( ! ) this. 

I made them this past Saturday.

We ( Japanese ) make cookies, cakes more often , but not Japanese sweets.

One of the reasons is it is more difficult, there aren't many books explaining that.... and then I guess the reason those books are not published is because it is not that popular nowadays.     Two Japanese traditional wagashi ( sweets ) shops have torn down in the past 3 years..... so sad.    I am calling myself   " Anko Nanmin =  Sweet Bean Jam Refugee, meaning looking for authentic wagashi and wandering around...."   

I love Western sweets also, but green tea & wagashi combination is special.
Plus, wagashi ingredients are healthy, beans, mostly.     


Kawasaki Experience --- Morioka Reimen Noodle @ Lazona Kawasaki

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I had some work in Kawasaki the other day and a friend of mine recommended to try this place, which is located 1st floor of Kawasaki Station Building, called Rasona.

The dining located in food court is named " Pyon Pyon Sha " originally from Iwate prefecture.

Yes, this friend is from Iwate.    Before finding the place in food court, I was surprised by the scale of the building.   It is so spacious.   It felt like being in US or somewhere.... very different from Tokyo.   The hallway is so wide, it should be easy for young mothers and fathers to walk with strollers.

Back to the food.   It looks a little spicy?   Yes, it was.   Actually you can select your preferred spice level.    Then, a slice of watermelon helps heel your tongue.

I chose a set menu which comes with 4 pieces of Korean pancakes.   Oh, both were delicious.     Then after coming back to Tokyo, I studied their website.
Morioka Reimen Pyon Pyon Sha Story  ( in Japanese )

According to their website, ( very briefly )  Mr. Aoki created this noodle by combining the key elements of North Korean noodle soup and Korean Peninsula's noodle in 1954.    The one he created became Morioka Reimen which has Korean pickles ( daikon radish/ cabbage ), soup made from beef bones and chicken.
The noodle is translucent, a little chewy, when going down your throat, pleasant.

There were other tempting shops around this.    Tempra bowl, Sushi, Ramen noodle.....  This food court is casual, but clean and even stylish.   The prices are reasonable, not extremely cheap.   I paid about 1100 yen for this.

It says there were many Japanese Koreans in Morioka City ( Iwate Prefecture ).
It makes sense that Mr. Aoki learned Korean cuisine using local vegetables.


Flava Joint located halfway between Shimokitazawa and Sasazuka

Chicken Burrito 
Mexican Dining..... lately Mexican Cuisine or Latin Cuisine  is getting popular here.

At least in Tokyo, you can find Mexican restaurants easily.

In my town, Shimokitazawa, there are a few.

This " Flavor Joint ( Flava Joint) " ( I like this naming. ) is located on Inokashira Dori.  Almost 10 min. from Shimokitazawa Station.    Near Kitazawa Jr. High School.

Worth trying ?   Yes.    I like their decor. It feels like that you were invited to some Mexican's home.   Cozy.   Quiet.   Shimokitazawa is popular among youngsters.
Some restaurants are too crowded or too noisy to have conversation.

Here, you can relax.   If you get seated at the counter, you can enjoy watching the chefs are cooking juicy steaks, burritos, decorating your lunch plates.....

I had this lunch burrito plate.   Before this plate, they gave me a tiny zucchini potage soup, then this plate had pickles, grated carrot salad, tomato salsa and chicken burrito cut in halves.     Oh, so authentic!   I wouldn't mind to go back there again for this burrito!    Everything was fresh and tasty.

Flava Joint ---- Shimokitazawa

Come out of West exit of Shimokitazawa Station.
Take a right, you will see Seven/ Eleven, keep walking.    Just keep walking.
When you hit the end of the road, Kitazawa Jr. High is right there.
Don't cross the pedestrian crossing.    Turn left.  

Flava Joint is on your left.    They have steaks also.   I would like to try them someday.