February 26, 2016

The Ramen Shop in Omiya: Negijiro


There is never a bad time to eat ramen. But everyone knows that it's especially good on a chilly winter day, which is exactly what we did!

We were in Omiya, a city in Saitama that I rarely go to, for my sister's wedding dress fitting. It was so much fun seeing her in all kinds of dresses! I took tons of pictures from every angle so she could review the fitting, but I am unable to disclose them due to part superstition, part too many to go through. So I thought I'd share where we went after the fitting!

Negijiro Ramen is located on the west side of Omiya Station, which is a bit more quiet than the other side. I'm not really familiar with this area, the last time I was here was in high school, but apparently it is considered a competitive ramen district by those who are "in" on the ramen scene. Obviously I am not one of them, but I happened to have a friend who recommended Negijiro Ramen if ever in Omiya.

It was our first time there, a tiny shop with maybe 10 or 12 seats around the counter. We all ordered Shoyu Ramen (soy-sauce based ramen), which is one of  two most popular dishes, the other being their Tsuke-men (ramen noodles with a separate bowl of soup). Every order came with a small plate of boiled vegetables, which is not only filling, but very healthy, too.

The shoyu ramen was so delicious, the perfect combination of thick-ish noodles and light soy-sause soup, with a hint of pepper. And I didn't even have to add an egg to it, I love when it's part of the original menu!

What do you think? Will you try this ramen?








NEGIJIRO (葱次郎)
2-331 Sakuragi-cho Omiya-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama JAPAN
埼玉県さいたま市大宮区桜木町2-331
TEL: 048 645 3711
OPEN: 11:00am to midnight
SHOYU RAMEN: 630 yen

February 23, 2016

The Blossom Season Has Begun


They came a little early this year. 

Ume blossoms against the blue sky is one of my favorite things in the world.

And also very hard to find sometimes in this mass jungle of buildings in Tokyo. Many houses have plum trees in their yard but the buildings or telephone poles/lines always get in the way. Which is why I was giddy to find ume blossoms by a river with nothing blocking the blue sky!

So pretty, don't you think? x



Has spring sprung in your neighborhood?

February 18, 2016

The Quick Visit to Oyamazumi Shrine


Isn't this tree magnificent? It stands front and center on the grounds of the Oyamazumi Shrine.

Located on the island of Omishima, Oyamazumi Shrine is said to have been built in 594. It is the head shrine to over ten thousand Yamazumi and Mishima shrines throughout Japan and many come to pray to Oyamazumi-no-kami, the God of mountains, sea and war.

The shrine itself is surrounded by many camphor trees, but there is one you can't miss. Said to be over 2,600 years old, it stretches its branches across the sky from where it stands in the center of the shrine grounds. It even has a name, "Ochi-no-mikoto-oteue-no-kusunoki (乎知命御手植の楠)," so you know it's pretty special.

It may have been due to the surrounding trees but the grounds of the shrine felt very quiet, even though there were many people about. We unfortunately didn't have time to visit the Treasure museum, which looked really interesting. I'm hoping I can visit some day. Apparently in the ancient days, whenever someone won a war after praying for victory at this shrine, they would gift their armor as a tribute to the Oyamazumi God. So they have quite the collection here, many which are designated as a National Treasure. I've heard rumors of a body armor that may or may not have belonged to a female.

Also, if you're in Japan, you may have heard of Hitori-zumo (一人角力), an important match where a sumo wrestler goes against the Spirit of Rice (稲の精霊). The outcome is said to have an affect on the year's harvest. Good thing so far the Spirit of Rice has won every time ;)


Here are some photos:






























OYAMAZUMI SHRINE (大山祇神社)
3227 Miyaura, Omishima-cho, Imabari JAPAN
愛媛県今治市大三島町宮浦3327番地
TEL: 0897 82 0032

OYAMAZUMI SHRINE TREASURE MUSEUM (大山祇神社 国宝館)
TEL: 0897 82 0032
HOURS: 8:30am-5:00pm
FEE: Adults 1,000 yen, Students 800 yen, Children 400 yen

February 15, 2016

The Valentine's Day Hearts


Nothing calms the soul like baking.

Every year I bake something sweet and make homemade cards for a certain few who feel that store-bought Valentine's Day chocolates are not meaningful enough for them. I have the quirkiest coworkers.

This year, I decided on bite size sugar cookies and had tons of fun with the frosting. What is it about gradations? I just love it.

If you've ever made frosted cookies, you'll know that frosting cookies can be time consuming. Even more so if you don't have professional frosting gear and have to use a butter knife. At the same time though, the quiet time just frosting one cookie after another can be quite therapeutic. 

Especially with Mairi Campbell singing in the background :) 

Happy Valentine's Day!



What is your favorite cookie recipe? I'd love recommendations!

February 1, 2016

The February Link Love



Hellooooooo February! 

That first month of the year really zooms on by, doesn't it? I am ready to take it slower this month, despite Valentine's Day baking and wedding dress fittings for my sister are already on the calendar. Hopefully the one extra day of February we have this year will make a difference!

Did I mention I still have not had the time to find a new computer. Although I was leaning toward a MacBook, I've just discovered this Dell computer and like that it has an SD card reader. Any thoughts?

This month will finally be the end of the in-house seminar I've been partaking in since September, which involves working in teams. I've been saying this to everyone but team work is just as difficult as an adult than it was in grade school. Maybe even more so because there are no teachers around to play referee. I am definitely learning the skills of keeping a team together and moving forward. (Whoever said Japanese are ubiquitously known for their teamwork needs to do their research over again!) Well...whatever happens, the big power point presentation to HR is coming up next week. Wish me luck!


What are you up to this month?


-------------------------------------------------------Link Love-------------------------------------------------------

This katakana font is awesome.

- Learn how to seek & accept help.

Offensive books need to be read.

- Love the Japanese version of this game!

This is hypnotizingly beautiful.

- BFFs from kindergarten the best!

- "We don't all look alike, until we do."

- This makes me want to go to an onsen immediately!