Random Findings

30 04 2009

Tokyo Shopping Adventures

26 04 2009

Today was a big day. First we rode our bikes to Kisarazu station by 9:15 to catch two trains to Minami-Funabashi, where we visited Ikea. We ordered a couch, dining table and chairs, and a rug for Benno’s desk. Also picked up some essentials like a plastic divider for our cutlery drawer, and of course some Swedish (vegan) biscuits and jam.

Next, we headed into Tokyo again and had lunch at Loving Hut in Yotsuya. On Sundays they have a Yum Cha type lunch. We feasted on many dishes including noodles, steamed buns, rice triangles, sugary donuts with bean filling, tofu and mushroom soup, cold rolls, potato slivers, sweet jelly and tea for a bargain set price of 1000 yen.They also have a small range of items for sale, so we picked up some vegan mayonnaise, instant noodles, and a vegan pocketbook with vegan-friendly restaurant listings in various parts of Japan.

Then we headed to Akihabara, famous for its electric town where basically all the shops sell some type of electronics. We picked up a wireless router, some computer speakers, and a shaver for Benno.

Back on the train to Meguro, where we visited Non, a tiny but delicious Vegan Izakaya (food-serving sake bar), believed to be the only one in Japan. We had another delicious vegan Japanese meal with satay tofu, raw avocado rolls, gyoza, brown rice with homemade tofu, iced oolong and tofu tiramasu. We ate sitting at low tables on traditional tatami mats (which means you have to take your shoes off and kneel to eat)

Train back to Tokyo, bus to Kizarazu station, bike home by 11pm. Zzz! Time for bed because Lara starts Mondays with the first lesson at 7.30am!

New Favourite Song

24 04 2009

Who needs language skills?

24 04 2009

Week three highlights:

The weeks are flying by. Soon enough we’ll be on Golden Week holidays and that’s almost the first school term gone…

Monday: I got paid on Monday- pay day is always a good day! Especially when you have a Disney bank account?!?

Tuesday: So, with yen in hand we went out to buy some more furniture. We went out riding in the rain to 2nd Street after work. We have a TV, TV cabinet and washing machine waiting to be delivered after Golden Week. The TV should help Benno acquire more language since he doesn’t leave the house much.That might change now that we have signed up on the Tokyo Vegan meetups group that have regular dinners out.

Wednesday: Benno was busy at home when I came home early from school at 4pm. So, I rode my bike to Nitori (a furniture store) on my own to buy some furniture for Benno. I went in, and with a combination of no, yes, here, thank you, and, where? spoken in Japanese (i.e. not very much at all) I was able to select, order, arrange delivery and pay for a desk and chair for Benno. Awesome!

Friday: The desk and chair were delivered. Benno’s office is complete!

The Cutty Mug

19 04 2009

cutty_mugIt reads, “Everyone loves ladybirds. Because it’s small,colorful, and cutty.”

There’s a lot of this sort of bad English around. The letter sets in particular are hilarious.

Second Week Highlights

18 04 2009

Monday: Going to the town hall after school to get a health card and not being able to get mine because they a) didn’t believe me that I lived at the address I said I did and b) didn’t think I looked like my passport photo. So they posted it and I got it in the post the day after. Dinner was curry and brown rice.

Tuesday: Benno’s birthday, eating oven baked fries for dinner and drinking soy chai lattes at Starbucks, doing 3 practicals at school with very low supplies and hearing Low Rider on the radio (*the* birthday song if you’re from Manila). Dinner was tempura stirfry.

Benno’s birthday cake

Wednesday: I decided to read some books from the Inter library and ended up reading 4 novels in as many days (they are fairly basic English novels after all). The most interesting was reading the sequel book to Howl’s Moving Castle called The House of Many Ways.

Thursday: Freedom Machine here we come – Benno bought a bicycle – with uber trendy front basket and 3 gears (about as high tech as bikes go. Shopping bicycles are practically the only bike available- in the one colour and style). Dinner was salt and pepper tofu with rice.

Friday: Getting internet installed (finally) at our house. Fibre Optic to the door is something Australia is gonna have to wait about 10 years for – pity we were so impatient having to wait 3 weeks. Dinner was mushroom stroganoff with udon. Benno stayed up until the wee hours playing on the internet while Lara went to bed as on Saturdays she starts work at 7.25am.

Saturday: Up early for a 7.30am lesson – at least the bus stop is not far from home.

ourhouse_frombusstopThis photo is taken from the bus stop, facing in the direction of school. You can see our apartment the on the ground floor of the yellow building, straight in front.

Second Freedom Machine – Lara got a bicycle from school that wasn’t being used. It has a front basket and 3 gears and is similar in style to Benno’s except that it also has a back carry rack. Benno rode his bicycle to school and when Lara finished around 1.30pm we both rode down the hill home.

Benno and Lara’s bicycles outside our apartment. It’s very safe so we can just leave them outside and no one will steal them, even in town if we’re out shopping. This photo was taken with my pink slide cell-phone/mobile/k-tai.

Yay! One day weekend!

12 04 2009

What should everybody do on their day off? Sleep in and have pancakes for breakfast.
benno_kitchen_pancakesBenno making pancakes in the kitchen.

In the afternoon we walked past the 100 yen shop to a large park up the hill called Odayama Park. We visited a traditional Edo house, the Old Anzai Family house. It was a restored farmhouse from the early 1800s. A lovely old Japanese man (volunteer tour guide) took us for a tour and spoke slowly so Benno could understand. There were two tatami rooms, dark (almost black) wooden floors in the rest of the house and massive black-wood ceiling beams with bamboo ceilings. There was a sunken pit in the middle of the room for a fire to cook food and traditional oil lanterns lit the room. In the lower half of the house it was a dirt floor and the rest of the cooking and heating water was done here.


We walked to the top of the hill and climbed Kimisarazu Tower to see the view of the city. You can see the red sign for Ks electrical store (3-5 mins walk from our house) in the distance but we couldn’t see far across the bay because it was smoggy/foggy/dusty/glarey. There were lots of drunken young punks at the tower, disturbing the serenity.


On top of the tower is Prince Yamato Takeru and Princess Ototachibana, extending their arms to each other. There’s a story that goes with it about how the prince was sailing across Tokyo bay when a storm hit. The princess threw herself into the Tokyo Bay waters to appease the water gods and saved the prince from his destruction.

We saw a wild butterfly on our walk and ate sweet potato ring chips.

Dinner was spaghetti with garlic bread and brownie with strawberries for dessert.

Benno’s birthday brownie, ordered over the internet from a veg* organic store in Saitama.