Japan:: Tokyo sweets ~incredible chocolate waffle

Hi Everyone!  I was thinking of doing more catching up on my Tokyo travel posts however I did a short weekend getaway where in Singapore they  call it ‘staycation’ to Sentosa.  Yep, only 20 min drive. But still nice. It feels like you are away from the city to a quiet harbor.

Anyways, one of my friend went to visit Tokyo and usually they would ask me to list restaurants to go for a good authentic Japanese food which would not be in the travel guide. But this time it was a different request. He is a sweet tooth and asked me for good sweets in Tokyo.  A bit of a difficult request as I’m not that much of a sweets person.  So I only had a short list this time but wanted to provide the best of the best. And here is one of them.

Actually this isn’t Japanese sweets.  It’s a luxe chocolate brand from Belgium.

(Details of the place at the end of the post)

There is a huge chocolate culture in Japan because a Japanese chocolate brand “Glico” started a trend where on Valentines day girls will give out chocolates to the boys.  From then on, Japan started to bring in more and more chocolate brands from all over the world and some of them only carry outlet in Japan than anywhere else besides thier country.

I love thier delicate bitter sweet chocolate.  Not too sweet and not too milky.  I tried thier waffle this time.

Oh, so good.  Cannot describe in words.  They are famous for chocolate but thier whip cream was exquisite.  I hate those whip cream that comes in pure white and really sweet.  This one is a pearl ish white. Not pure white. So you can tell that they use good cream and eggs.

If you visit Tokyo, there is a cafe in Ginza (address at the end of the post).  But if you missed it, there is also a dessert shop at the Haneda Airport Terminal 2. So you can stop by there on your way back. Or perhaps buy some sweets to take back with you!

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I had a dessert set that comes with coffee or tea.  Which was JPY 1,890. Which is about $18.00 USD at current rate.  Okay, a bit on the expensive side. But its totally worth it!

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Shop name: Pierre Marcolini
Web: http://www.pierremarcolini.jp/shop/ginza.html
Address: Tokyo, Chuo-ku, Ginza, 5-5-8
Average per person: $15-20 USD (Dessert set)

PS. Also a shop at the Haneda Airport.  Terminal 2.

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backpack trunk

Hi Everyone!  I have been trying to catch up on my Tokyo trip posts but in between hoping to do fashion posts as well.  Some of you may get a little too tired of the travel posts haha:)

After getting a dog in the fam, and taking my dog for long walks or shopping and to cafes, I need to keep my hands free and not have the hassle of having a handbag with me and hold the leash at the same time.  So I started to use a pochette, and ever since I seldom use handbags.

Lately I have been seeing a lot of trendy and chic backpacks on Instagram as well.  I love backpacks. Especially those that look very chic and functional at the same time.  And this is one of them that I discovered on Instagram.  Its called Chivote.  It’s really well designed because the zipper comes all the way down so when you open the zipper, you don’t need to dig in to find things in your bag.  With backpacks that only has a small zipper and does not open wide,, I get frustrated.

And the front and back is reversible so it also comes in two different colors.  Super functional!

I think backpacks are going to be in trend this season…I feel it!

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Japan:: Tokyo eats ~the michelin star kaiseki

Hi Everyone!  I really need to catch up more on posting my remaining Tokyo travel before I move on to my Hong Kong post.

I was really debating whether to post this favorite restaurant of mine.

The fact that it is not an easy access and you may need to take a cab to get there.  And probably when you make a booking, the staff at the restaurant will not be able to understand English.  Yes, that is the problem with most restaurants in Japan.  They don’t speak English.  I know… we are so not international!  So if you need to book somewhere, you may want to ask your hotel concierge to do this.  Or shall I start a travel agent/ coordinator to do this?  ha-ha.

I come here for really special occasions.  It is impossible to get a booking last minute so need to plan way, WAY ahead.  I love it because it is located in a very quiet neighborhood, Tokyo suburbs, where you may not even notice the place and might just pass by if you are not paying attention.

The most important thing to let you know is that they ONLY ACCEPT CASH!
And no credit card payment.  So make sure that you bring extra cash with you!

(Details of the place at the end of the post)

I’m a person who is really bad with directions.  Even if I have my Google map on, I would go completely the wrong way.  And this place is so hard to find, so I give you the entrance.

Taxi is probably going to drop you off at the main road. This is the side road on your left.

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After going in that side road, you will see this.  Yep, this is the entrance of the restaurant.

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Turn left and keep going.  Top of the restaurant is actually an apartment and they’ve used the ground floor as the restaurant.

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So this is where I usually get confused.. like all the time!  Where is the door??
Don’t keep walking after the tree on your left, because you’ll just end up nowhere.  The door is the wooden sliding door and it doesn’t have an entrance mark so watch out!

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They only have 5 counter seats and 2 private rooms. The two private rooms have 10 seating in a Japanese style room where you sit on the Tatami. And the other room is for 4 seats with table and chair.

The interior décor is basic white and wood.  Very clean cut style.

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Their food is a Japanese traditional Kaiseki.  Very healthy and non-oily.
I love each and every piece of cups and plates that they use.  Very entertaining.  Here is the lunch menu that I had.

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I think I missed 2 shots of the plates, but the final dessert is a good old Matcha with Red bean Mochi.  Very delicious.

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Oh, must not forget.  The toilet is also very white and clean.  Now this is very important for me.  No matter how the food or the restaurant is great,  if the toilet is dirty or not well taken care of… its a No No for me.  I would cross that place out for my “favorite place” list.
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Last but not least,  I was also entertained with this toothpick holder.  Steal origami folded crane.  So detailed in entertaining their guests.  From food to utensils and tableware. That is a true Japanese way of welcoming people.

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Shop name: Seisouka (青草窠
Tel: +81-3-3473-3103
Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Minamiazabu, 4-2-34, Tengenji Square 1F
Average per person: $80-100 USD (Lunch)

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Japan:: Tokyo eats ~hideout soba house

Hi Everyone!  My god.. my last post was May 1st.  I’m so bad at consistent posting.

April and this month is so busy both work and traveling. I have so many things and places I hope to share since my last two week trip to Tokyo in mid April, however the moment I came back was Easter, then my best friend from Tokyo came to visit me for a week, and last weekend I was in Hong Kong.

And — this weekend, I may be going to Malaysia.  Agh!  Since I just got back from Hong Kong, by now I wanted to share trip posts of Hong Kong… but first, Japan.  Lots of travel posts to share! 🙂

I love eating and shopping in Tokyo but sometimes I like to go out to the beach side and have a quiet and calming time.  This soba place, as much as I would like to keep it to myself (okay. so many places I do want to keep to myself..) but I really want more people, especially those who want to go to places that is NOT on the guide book and wanting to explore places where locals go to.. to know these places.

On this post, I’m sharing a place I always go for fresh traditional soba.  A bit away from Tokyo (40min train ride) but accessible.   (Details of the place at the end of the post)

The entrance. Guides you to the soba house through the bamboo garden.  Already feels like you are going to a traditional Japanese house.

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There is a hidden private house after the stairs where you would need to book in advance.  But this time, I head to the main soba house.

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I love this place not just because the soba is superb.. they make the soba everyday and its fresh,  but they also design and make their own places and kitchenware.  If you go inside, they have a gallery where you can also purchase.

 

I love this glassware.. so beautiful.

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If you go on a weekend, you may need to line up for a while as it tends to be full especially on a weekend lunch.  But there is a seating area at the gallery so I waited there for about 15min.  No big deal. 🙂

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The menu.  So the prices are really reasonable and they come from a simple soba for $10USD  up to $30USD. I usually take the soba kaiseki which I a lot of food and great soba + tempura.  However, this time I was craving for a freshly made simple soba which I cannot get in Singapore nor Hong Kong, I went for a Tenpura Soba ($25USD).

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The owner and staff wears a traditional kimono.  Very Japanese.  You can also see the glass booth where they make the soba.  It needs to be made early in the morning to be serving for lunch so the person who makes it was not there this time.

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Hot Soba tea served before meal.  And appetizer with Japanese pickles.  Gosh how I missed these pickles. They are also freshly made.

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Okay by now you must be thinking.. what took you so long to post the actual soba picture!!  But this places’ landscape is just so amazing, I had to post that first! 🙂   I love everything about this place.

Food, hand crafted plates and trays, friendly staff, reasonable pricing..

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After enjoying the soba, I head to the ”treats corner” at the cashier.  Their hand made soba bun and soba sweet crackers.  They are so good. Its always sold out by the afternoon so better get this one!

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This place has been around for so many years and I hope it stays that way.  There aren’t that many places left that has a garden and a house with an additional private guest house. A landed restaurant with a traditional Japanese feel to it.   The more I am away from Japan, I come to appreciate these traditional Japanese food and custom that we have.  These places put so much effort in entertaining/ welcoming guests.  I become to appreciate Japanese craftsmanship.  So magnificent.

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Shop name: kokonotuido (九つ井)
Tel: +81-45-851-6121
Address: Kanagawa-Ken, Yokohama City, Sakae-Ku, Tayacho 1319
Average per person: $15-30USD (Lunch)
(Japanese website) http://www.kokonotuido.com/

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defining your own style

Hi everyone!  Today is a public holiday in Singapore but I may have to work on an assignment… Oh well.

Yesterday I posted a picture on my Instagram commenting about ‘Defining your own style’.  For me it was back to basics.  All these years of exploring what my style was, that was where I ended up.  It was very simple.

Back to basics.

Quality over Quantity.

Like the picture below, a simple white shirt, ripped jeans and a tint of grey or nude item was just perfect for me. Those were the things I felt so comfortable in.  Also, I choose quality over quantity.  So I have very limited number of clothes but I’m happy with that because I know that my simple white T-shirt has the perfect structure, texture and cutting that fits just perfectly. And I know which brand to go to for a white T (after all the experiment with other brands).  Mine are James Perse and Three Dots.  Prior for casual loose look and later for office wear Ts.

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So when it comes down to jeans, there is only two of my favorite brands.  Jeans after jeans I tried out, some didn’t work at all after buying them. And when I was in my teens, I used to like really baggy jeans. Ugh. Now I only wear straight cut because that is what I feel most comfortable in. I tried boyfriend denim, but I think my body shape wasn’t for that (probably not enough length of legs haha).

Over the years I had quite a few times of ‘closet restructuring’.  Now at my age, I come to think I want to have a simple quality lifestyle.  I wanted to keep my closet simple as possible with a ‘fixed capacity’.  That was the key.  If I go a little bit over capacity, I would try to give some items away for charity or give it to anyone who wants them, to make up for that space.  Never keep adding on my closet capacity.

It was hard at first. Clinging on to things that I haven’t worn for more than 2 years.  Just emotionally attached to these stuff.  But I asked myself. Is it what you truly value?  Do you really need that in your space?  Not really.  So this is how I started to restructure.  I think it took about three years.  Then out came to the horizon,, the things that I truly value.  That was when I was able to define my own style.

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When it comes down to bags… I don’t know how many times I paid for ‘education’.  Meaning, I rushed into buying them, but in the end I realized I only bought it just because it was a trendy bag or I thought I had to have it but I really didn’t.  My well learned lesson of ‘education fund’ in several bags.  I probably had dozens and dozens of bags.  Now, I am only down to maybe ten.

The Hermes bags.  I have three and I think I’m going to keep it that way.  I do have a fixed budget.  I can’t afford so many.  So when I bought these I really carefully thought what color, size and style I wanted.   I love small bags because I only hold five things in my bag.

Wallet. iPhone. House key. Lipgloss.  Handkerchief (haha. this is so Japanese of me).   Nothing more than this.

And I actually use the black Garden Party bag the most.  This is also my plane ride bag.

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Defining my own style doesn’t limit to fashion but other things like kitchenware to household goods.

Like, towels for example.  I love towels and a good quality towel makes me feel good.  I discovered a Japanese towel brand called “imabari towel“.  Its well known in Japan,  have a history well over a century and quite affordable.  The texture, touch and quality is so unbelievable.  No other manufacture can imitate the master craftsmanship of this towel.  Various crafts work from material selection,  weaving, and dyeing put in to the process, the quality standard is amazing.  From my recent trip back to Tokyo, I bought 5 of these  handkerchief.

So, how do you define your style?

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Japan:: Tokyo eats ~midnight authentic yakitori

Hi everyone!  Friday is always a good day.

A couple of my Hong Kong and Singaporean friends had a trip down to Japan at the same time as I did and it seems like we were all there for the same reasons. Trying to get a glimpse of the Sakura bloom.  As for my friends they went at the right timing, a few days earlier than I did.  For me.. not so timely. But anyhow, I was excided to be there together with my husband, the first time in few years.

We have been traveling back to Japan but it was always in different timing.  When I was there for work, he was in HK and when he was in Tokyo, I was in Singapore.  So our travel timing was always crossed.

So what to do in Tokyo?  Eat and shop!

A lot of my friends ask me for ‘where to go recommendations’ so decided to post my favorite places in Tokyo on my blog!

The first night for dinner I really wanted to go back to this Yakitori place my husband and I always used to go after work. Both of us worked at the same building at Roppongi Hills.  The place that never sleeps!  So this Yakitori place is right across from it.

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Very local and authentic good old Yakitori.  (Details of the place at the end of the post)

It only has 1 table and probably about 10-12 counter seats.  We always squeeze in the counter and your neighbors are sitting right next to you.  For some westerners you may feel a bit uncomfortable sitting so close together but this is really the Japanese way of having Yakitori. If you are looking for a good Yakitori place where we locals go to with reasonable price, this is it!

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When we used to live in Tokyo, our work hours was hectic.  No work life balance whatsoever.  On Friday nights we would both be exhausted finishing work at around 12am plus.  At this hour, most decent restaurants are closing yet we still want good food plus some healthy ones.

And this is where we always end up in after a long day of work.  Simply because…

  • Very good yakitori with other healthy Japanese food
    Its opened until 1:30am on weekdays!!  Even at 12am you enter the place, it is really lively and gives you energy.
    So reasonable price
    The owner is friendly. haha.

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As you can tell, very crowded and that night was packed! The owner noticed us and told us wait a second, they are going to add in some chairs so we can squeeze in.  Wah, the seats were tight. But no one minds because this is what usually happens anyways.

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And here we are, back to our favorite place.  I think we ordered:

2 glasses of sake
6 glasses of beer and
probably 35-40 pieces of Yakitori

All was about $150USD

May not be able to tell from the picture but wide range of Yakitori.  Have some organic vege and beer while you wait for it to be served.

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The yakitori was so juicy and nice I forgot to take some pictures except for the one below! Its the Ume shiso maki. Ah. So delish.

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I really wanted to order my usual final meal after my yakitori, the

Chicken soup and Yaki Onigiri

But I think I had too much of the yakitori I didn’t have space for them!  But if you ever have the chance to go, have them at the end of the meal.  It is so good and satisfying!

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Shop name: Roppongi Kushiyaki Ganchan
Tel: +81-3-3478-0092
Address: Tokyo Minatoku Roppongi 6-8-23
Average per person: $40-45 USD (if you don’t drink too much haha)

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favorite ripped jeans

Hi everyone!

I am finally back from Tokyo and can’t believe its been nearly 3 weeks since my last post. Apologies for that. I think I have been too occupied with Instagram posts.  And also I ended up extending my stay in Tokyo for another week so my 7 days stay turned out to be a two week.

The moment I came back it was Easter and the weekend was crazy with parties and gatherings.  But finally back to normal and I kinda like it!

So, before I start posting my Tokyo trip favorite eating and shopping go to places… I wanted to share my recent addiction.  Ripped jeans.

So many years of searching for the right pair of jeans and few mistaken investments here and there. Finally came across the right one.

AG jeans.

All of  their cuts and styles fits perfect for me. Slim cut below the knees and well structured around the hip zone. Amazing. I couldn’t find the right cut because I have big hips but below my knees I like to keep it look slim.

So many different styles and looks you can create with the pair. Here’s some of the looks taken from my Instagram account (@simplytokyo) .  A few other more but posting my favorite basic simple casual looks.

What’s your favorite jeans brand?

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Bag: Tod’s
Shoes: NB 996
Shirt: Zara
Bracelet: Chan Luu
Sun Glasses: D&G
Jeans: AG Jeans
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Bag: Samudra
Shoes: Converse
Shirt: James Perse
Bracelet: Chan Luu
Jeans: AG Jeans
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Bag: Hermes (hiding behind me)
Shoes: NB 996
Shirt: Three Dots (navy and white stripe)
Jacket: Elizabeth and James
Jeans: AG Jeans
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Belt: Hermes
Shirt: Three Dots
Bracelet: Chan Luu
Jeans: AG Jeans
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Shoes: Repetto
Shirt: James Perse
Bracelet: Hermes
Jeans: AG Jeans
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Have a great day everyone!