Ice Creams

Rainy season is over and the heat has returned. I spend the morning sitting in my apartment with the curtains closed to block out the sun. I am turning into my grandmother.

The assault of summer means I can eat more tasty cold things, like kakigori and saké passion fruit ice cream:

Ice cream is difficult to photograph — no time can be wasted in getting that deliciousness into my mouth.

Earlier this week I went the healthy route and opted for the side salad: asparagus, carrot & lemon, and tomato.

This trio can be found at Japanese Ice OUCA in Ebisu. The boozy saké ice cream was devoured in Azabu juban (across from the 7-11). Both shops change their flavors frequently and always have something a little crazy, though one of my favorites is the fresh-squeezed milk.  A friend of mine just got an ice cream maker and I used to make a lot of ice cream when I lived in the US, so we talked about crazy flavors to try at home. I suggested avocado, or honey and lavender. Anyone else have a recommendation? What unique flavors have you tried recently?

When button dreams come true…

Yesterday I bought a $20 button.

Actually, it cost ¥1,470 — with the current exchange rate, that’s $18.28 USD.

Worth every yen:

I’m not sure if this is a case of succumbing to Tokyo’s inflated prices or embracing the rare gem this city sometimes offers you.  It doesn’t actually matter, because at the moment I’m in button-love.

I’m working on a special project that needed one special detail — thankfully, a place like & STRIPE exists. A button and notions shop in hip Nakemeguro, & STRIPE has really neat stuff.  That’s right — neat.  Neat-o.  Rad.

They have a strict no-photos rule inside, so you’ll have to trust me.  & STRIPE is easy to find — from Nakemeguro station, head northwest until you hit the river.  Follow the river west and the shop is on the left side, about a 5 minute walk from the station.  (Need help getting to Nakemeguro station?  Try this site.)

1-25-3 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042   Tel. 03-3714-3733   Open 11:30 to 7:30, closed the first and third Tuesdays of each month

〒153-0042 東京都目黒区青葉台1-25-3

A second shop is now open in Kichijoji: 2-7-4 Kichijoji, Musashino, Tokyo 189-0004   Open 11-7, closed the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of each month

〒189-0004 東京都武蔵野市吉祥寺2−7−4川谷ビル1F

Looking for other craft shops in Tokyo?  Check out my Tokyo Craft Guide

Anpan Panda

Because why not, right?

This is what happens when you enter a bakery in a post-study, pre-lunch haze.  Though, I did manage to pass on the corn and hot dog pizza.  Another day, perhaps.

Sure, maybe anpan あんパン is basically a donut, but I firmly believe a woman can eat an animal-shaped, sweet-filled sweet bun in the middle of the afternoon without shame.  Mr. Panda Face here is was full of chocolate.  I’m pretty sure I was the only adult eating one.

Kiwa/Crafts

It took me a while to get around to visiting Kiwa, the bead and DIY jewelry chain. It seemed like an overwhelming place for someone (ahem, me) who doesn’t wear much jewelry, let alone make it.  My mother LOVES bling and makes her own bracelets, so I’m not sure how I missed out on that gene.  It must skip a generation.

Kiwa, as it turns out, is great.  (And so is this buck, the shop mascot.)

One of my favorite things about craft shops in Japan is that they not only stock supplies, but also kits and displays with lots of ideas for things to make yourself.  Kiwa is no exception.  Some locations even have workshops and cafes in case your crafting fingers can’t wait until they get home.

There was really something for everyone, even a jewelry dunce like me.  Loose beads, kits, hardware, hair accessories, fancy gems and plastic headbands galore.  Photos aren’t generally encouraged in craft shops, but…

… sneaky sneaky cell phone camera …

Personally, I was a fan of the blingy DIY iphone cases:

Maybe I am my mother’s daughter.

Kiwa Omotesando
La Forêt Bldg 3F, 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel. 03-3475-0411
東京都渋谷区神宮前1-11-6
You can find many other locations around Tokyo by checking their webpage.
Check out my Tokyo Craft Guide for even *more* reviews, maps, and craft magic around Tokyo.  Enjoy!

Cooking Party

Last weekend we went to a cooking party with some new friends.  We rented a large demonstration kitchen in a community center and all prepared the meal together.  Perhaps not the sort of thing to show up in a guidebook, but it was a perfect rainy season afternoon.

The theme was local and organic vegetables.

Both Dan and I were amazed by the burdock’s sticky-slimy demeanor.

On the menu: fish cooked with miso, makizushi (rolled sushi) with deep-fried vegetables, soup made with dashi (fish stock), cabbage with kombu (dried kelp), and steamed vegetables with avocado-mayo and sesame dipping sauces.

After the dishes were done we wandered across the street to a famous sweets cafe.

Oh kakigori season, how I love you so.

Kakigori is a summertime dessert made from finely shaved ice, topped with sweet syrup and occasionally, sweetened condensed milk.  This shop is famous because they get their ice from a glacier in the mountains (maybe?).  Don’t you dare call it a snow cone.

Clockwise from the top left, in varying degrees of meltyness: Fresh strawberry, very berry, honey milk, and fresh mango.  Please notice how this photo caught Dan in the act, stealing my mango ice.

If you’re near Kugenuma kaigan station be sure to stop by Kohori Noan kakigori shop. 3-5-11 Kugenuma kaigan, Fujisawa, Kanagawa

かき氷の店埜庵

神奈川県藤沢市鵠沼海岸3丁目5−11

鵠沼海岸駅

Digi-Me

When I lived in DC, I was a busy lady with a government-issued computer, and I claimed I didn’t have time for online social networks. Then I moved to Japan. I don’t know if I would have survived the leap without the magic of the Internet machine. I need video chat so my friends in the States can validate my shoe purchases. So in case you are curious, here are some of the other digital versions of me:

Follow my ramblings on Twitter.  You can also find Dan on Twitter, here.

There’s my little web shop on Etsy.

Follow Me on Pinterest

I’m in love with Pinterest.  So much to look at, too little time to kill.

Facebook – take a look, have a like.  Special news and shop discounts will pop up there on occasion.

Flickr — photos of crafts. Really.

Hope to see you out there!

On-the-Go Project Pouch Tutorial

I wrote a little how-to for the lovely sewing blog, Sew, Mama, Sew!

It just went live and I’m pretty excited.

So pop over there and check it out!  They also posted a few photos of me — gasp!  I usually like to rock it Wizard of Oz style … “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”  So enjoy it, folks.

Thanks again, Sew, Mama, Sew!  And to those visiting for the first time, いらっしい!Welcome!

New, in my shop!

The City Tote.  Perfect for running errands around town, this bag is sized to fit the essentials — keys, wallet and a phone for that quick run to the corner market, laundromat, or mail box.

A DIY sashiko kit with everything you’ll need — fabric, blue and white thread, illustrated instructions, and pattern.  With a chic chevron pattern and beautiful nani IRO linen, what’s not to love?!  Wander over to my web shop to check it out!

If you’re new to sashiko and looking for tips, you can take a peek at my new sashiko how-to page.  Over there, you’ll find all sorts of photos and tricks.  Here’s a sampling:

You can find the how-to page on the “sashiko” tab above the banner, and more sashiko kits in my Etsy shop.  Good luck, and happy stitching!