Sashiko Picnic

Today the weather was beautiful. I packed a lunch, hopped on my bike and peddled out for an impromptu picnic.sashiko bentospring sakura sashikoMy neighborhood has a take-away karaage (fried chicken) shop which proves irresistible at lunchtime when they stack bentos in the front window. Next door is a sweets shop, so into my bike’s basket went a sakura-shaped sugar cookie for dessert.springtime picnic lunchsakura wasanbonThe sakura trees are just starting to bloom in Tokyo. I found a few over-achieving blossoms that had already fallen and scooped them up to take along. The wasanbon cookie was stuffed with azuki red bean paste and much too sweet for my liking. It looked pretty trioThe footpath that runs through Setagaya is lined with small gardens, play areas, and occasionally a small stream. As I ate my lunch I dropped the blossoms into the water. They meandered about 5 or 6 meters before getting caught on a rock. A bit later a small girl noticed them and plucked one out, very proud of her find.floating sakuraAh, spring.

New Neighborhood = New Food!

We made it into our new apartment!  I’ll provide the full tour later, but I can give you a few tidbits now:

  • We have an automatic flush toilet.  I thought those were just for restaurants and airports, but apparently not.
  • I’m really glad we decided against a queen sized bed (it wouldn’t have fit).
  • “Blank slate” is an understatement.
  • Red bean paste waffles and a shop dedicated to kaleidoscopes are just steps from the front door.

But one of the most exciting things about my day was lunch.  I picked up a quick bento box lunch at the nearby grocery store while I waited for our mattress to be delivered, and it was the most delicious thing!  Maybe it’s just that everything tastes better when you are eating off the floor, but I thought it was worth sharing.  Here is a sneak peek of the apartment with my picnic lunch:

That is right, I also picked all of the other important things — toilet paper, rice crackers and iced coffee.  But back to my bento…

It may not look like much in its little foam container, but it had a surprise in store.  The grocery store had probably 12 different options, and I chose this one because of what I thought was a panko-fried shrimp hiding there in the top right corner.  You can’t go wrong with fried shrimp (except when you can, ahem).  But after I bit into it, I discovered it was actually Japan’s version of the crab cake!

Eastern Shore, eat your heart out.  It also had a little crab claw sticking out, like a dainty little crab cake handle.

Of course I did what any self-respecting girl in my situation should do, I cracked that little claw open and sucked all the delicious crab meat right on out.  My mother-in-law and her Maryland roots would be proud.

Because I know some of you are wondering, I’ve taken my best guess at what else was in my lunch:

And (almost) everything was tasty, particularly the sweet potato and pickle combo.  Who would of thought?!  I have to admit, I skipped the mystery cube and carrot — sorry Japan, not even you can get me to like carrots.

With that, I must unpack (again – this is the 3rd time in 3 months, for those of you who are counting).  Saké Puppets will be offline for a few days until Internet service is up in our new apartment, so in the meantime, send us your comments!  We love to hear from you!