Local Tokyo: This Is The Burger

Hey everyone! I’ve been away for awhile, but I’m back! While I have been away, I’ve been out searching and exploring Japan with the Kid (Aeva), and we have found some fun and exciting  places.

One of those places happening to be a restaurant called This Is The Burger in Kokubunji. We literally stumbled upon this restaurant while we  were  looking for a vegan friendly grocery store in the area. Now, you are probably thinking,” You were looking for a vegan store, and decided to checkout a burger place?” Well, yes and yes! I was curious about the place and wanted to see what was on the menu. And I’m happy I did…

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* This Is The Burger is located at2 Chome-16-21 Minamicho, Kokubunji, Tokyo 185-0021

After successfully locating the grocery store, the Kid and I headed  to This Is The Burger. To my surprise,right outside of the restaurant, there was a menu posted with a veggie burger listed!

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We walked in, and I fell in love with the  place! It’s a small, smokey place with cool objects coming from  of the walls and ceiling. The owner spoke English well and was genuinely happy to serve us. Even though, he did seem pretty bummed we only ordered the veggie burger.  I mean, I understand!  There were many things to choose from: An avocado burger,  chili cheese burger, fried chicken, buffalo wings, and much more!

The veggie burger  was packed with beans, avocado, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and a green sauce. It was served with wedged fries, small pickles, and a small salad. For what it was, I thought it was delicious. The prices were decent and I’m looking forward to going back with my husband very soon!

So, if you are ever in Kokubunji, and need a bite to eat, I would suggest This Is The Burger to see how delicious it is for yourself!

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Book Review: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

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SUMMARY:

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More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered  from the horror  and heartbreak of their shared loss- a devastating wound thats cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago… and uncovering the possibility of the redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.
(Summary and photo  from Amazon)

MY THOUGHTS:

It has been awhile since I’ve read a good mystery and suspense novel. So, I was excited to crack  Pretty Girls open. I had high hopes, and for me, this book lived up to them. I will say that if you aren’t into torture and all the things that come along with it, then this book is not for you. There were times when I found myself cringing at the details, and  I had to stop reading a few times, but I personally thought it was a good read.

Even though I enjoyed the book, I only had one real issue. About more than half way through the book, when everything starts to unfold, it became long and drawn out. There was a lot of back and forth between Claire and Lydia thoughts. Maybe I was  tired, ( because you know, when having a 2 – year-old, you have to read at midnight!) but I just felt like it going on and on and wasn’t going to stop.

Have you read Pretty Girls? What did you think about it? Let me and until next time Happy reading!

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Star rating:  black-20clip-20art-black-star  black-20clip-20art-black-star  black-20clip-20art-black-star black-20clip-20art-black-starout of 5

Spring Reading Challenge 2016: March Update

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With March coming to an end, I decided to give you all a quick update on my progress with this month’s book selections! For March, I planned to read: The Last Girl by Joe Hart, Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter, and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. So far, I’ve read two books, but only one was from this list.

I read  Pretty Girls because it’s apart of my book club, and I also read Aleph by Paulo Coelho. I wasn’t suppose to read Aleph, but I had just finished The Alchemist and I was still full of the energy that it gave me, so I decided to read another book from Paulo Coelho.

I’ve learned that picking books out in advance will not work for me! I need to go with the flow, and read whatever  attracts me. I do plan to read the other two; mostly because I have already bought  them, and they are genuinely on my “to read” list.

I have one more week left in March, and with me being stuck at home recovering from wisdom teeth and tongue tie removal surgery, I’m sure I’ll be able to make my goal.

Are you taking the challenge with me? How many books have you read in March?

See ya later, and happy reading! ❤

Life in Japan: A Day in Kawagoe

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Over the weekend I met up with my friend Emiko and her daughter  at her home in Kawagoe. I have always wanted to visit Kawagoe, so I jumped at the opportunity when she asked us (myself and my daughter) to visit her.

The trip was planned three weeks in advance, so I was ready to go no matter what may happen. I woke up Thursday morning and was disappoint when I checked the weather. It said it was going to be cold and  rainy all weekend. Bummer! So I sent Emiko a message asking her if we were still on for our plans, and to my surprise, she said yes!

So with the final go, that Friday, my daughter and I traveled 1 hour to visit our friends in Kawagoe and despite the weather we had a ball!

On our first stop, Emiko took us to walk through of  Honmaru Goten of Kawagoe Castle. It was my first time ever seeing a castle. It only took us about 5 minutes to stroll around, but I was able to absorbed all of its beauty.

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On our second stop, we visited Old Town and Candy Alley. Old Town is about one block long with shops and  cozy cafes housed in old Japanese buildings made of wood. Unfortunately, most of Candy Alley was closed when we arrived, so I wasn’t able to get many pictures.

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Furin 風凛 restaurant was our third and last stop of our tour. Furin 風凛 , also known as KazeRin, has to be the best place to get sushi in the area. I’ve eaten sushi before, but I never enjoyed it. Mostly likely because I never had  “real” sushi . Furin 風凛 changed my taste buds towards sushi. Everything was as fresh as it could possibly be. I think I saw I pond out back; that’s how fresh  it was! We enjoyed a 7 course meal  in a private room located in the back of the restaurant. The scenery was absolutely  gorgeous. I wasn’t allowed to take many pictures of the inside, but I took as many as I could.

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Due to the weather, we did not see as much as I wanted to, but I enjoyed my visit to Kawagoe anyway. I’m currently planning another trip as soon as the weather breaks. I can’t want to see Kawagoe in nice warm weather!


Have you ever been to Kawagoe?
What did you do? What do you see?

Spring Reading Challenge: March 2016 Reading List

 

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Since being apart of a book club, I’ve been reading a lot more and its been fun. I love getting together with the ladies to eat and  discussion the book of the month, but I haven’t been reading any of the books on my personal list. I get busy with my two-year-old or other activities, that I hardly find the time to read the book club’s books.

February, I was so proud of myself; I read two books! The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Big Girl Panties: A Novel by Stephanie Envanovich. Yes, I understand that other people read twice as much as that in a month, but for me, that was a huge accomplishment. So I got to thinking, I should challenge myself to read more over the next few months.

Since I read two book in February,  I decided to up the ante and read THREE books each month for the next four months; March, April, May, and June! One book will be from my book club and two will be from my personal list.

Again, not too much, but just enough to get some of these books knocked off my list. If you’re having a hard time finding the time to read or looking for something new to read, I invite you to do this challenge with me! See ya soon and happy reading!

 

March 2016 Reading List:

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Pretty Girls: A Novel by Karin Slaughter (Book Club’s Pick)

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.
 
The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

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The Last Girl (The Dominion Trilogy #1) by Joe Hart (My Pick)

A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.

Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away—told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.

Captivity is the only life Zoey has ever known, and escaping her heavily armed captors is no easy task, but she’s determined to leave before she is subjected to the next round of tests…a program that no other woman has ever returned from. Even if she’s successful, Zoey has no idea what she’ll encounter in the strange new world beyond the facility’s walls. Winning her freedom will take brutality she never imagined she possessed, as well as all her strength and cunning—but Zoey is ready for war.

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The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (My Pick)

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor-there’s not much else to do in a dying small town that’s almost beyond repair.

You certainly wouldn’t open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You’d need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy’s house is full of them), and…customers.

The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel’s own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought.

A heartwarming reminder of why we are book overs, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.

(All summaries are from Amazon.)


How often do you read?
How many books do you usually read in a month?
Are you taking the challenge with me?

Psssst……Add me on Goodreads!

 

Local Tokyo: Kagetsu Arashi Ramen

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There are a lot of local Japanese chain restaurant that my family love going to, but our favorite is Kagetsu Arashi Ramen. Kagetsu (what we call it for short) is the best place, in my opinion, to get a quick, piping hot meal at a decent price.  My family goes to Kagetsu at least once a week!

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We enjoy the ramen, but the fried rice is the best. At around ¥500, the rice comes with onion soup, that is just as delicious as the rice. Sometimes when we want to splurge, we’ll order gyoza, which is  only ¥300 for 5. The  rice comes on a  sizzling hot plate with egg on the bottom, green onions, and butter on top! Once you get your food, there will be two big spoons to mix or cook your food with.

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Beside the food, the highlight for my 2-year-old daughter is ordering our food from the ticket vending machine! Not all Kagetsu restaurants  have them, but its so cool, that I wanted to mention it. Its fast and simple. Place your money into the machine, choose what you want, then a little ticket, with your order on it will pop out from the bottom!

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Kagetsu is fast, cheap, and just plain ol’ good! With so many Kagetsu restaurants around, I’m quite sure you will be able to find one without any troubles! Do you have a favorite Japanese restaurant? Let me know!

 

 

Local Tokyo: A Day at Hamura Zoo

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Since the weather has started to shape up a bit, The Kid and I took a trip to our neighborhood zoo last Monday, and like always, we had a blast! The Hamura zoo is very small, but a perfect place for a short trip out of the house, and at ¥300 for adults and free for children under four, you just can’t beat it.

Besides the fact that its cheap and near our home, we really enjoy that we can interact with some of the animals. There’s a petting zoo and for a  very small fee ( ¥100 to ¥200),  you can feed some of  the animals like, the penguins and goats.

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There is a large area where most families eat their lunches that has a  tiny snack shop,  picnic tables,  a few video game machines, and a space for children to run and climb on things.

If you are deciding to move to the Hamura area or have recently moved there, I would recommend you checking out the Hamura Zoo!

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Book Review: Big Girl Panties: A Novel by Stephanie Evanovich

 

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SUMMARY:

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Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband’s illness and death. Now she’s alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief.

Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she’s met her goals—and other men are noticing?
(Summary and photo  from Amazon)

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I knew everything that would happen  when reading the summary to Big Girl Panties, it was just so predictable. A very attractive man falls for  the unattractive woman. The unattractive woman becomes attractive and man falls for her, but messes things up in a big way, and now has to find a way to win her back.

 Since this book was apart of the book club’s selection, I decided to read it with an open mind. I started it  and found my  reading groove, but as the story progressed, I got  very bored with the storyline.( I even started  another book!) With some many books out there with this same story concept, I felt there wasn’t anything special  to set this book apart from the rest. I couldn’t relate to any of the characters, but I do think a lot of people can relate to Holly.

There was a lot of fat shaming from Logan and his friends and that was a bit unsettling.  I caught myself rolling my eyes at the way the men would refer to the women as  “little lady” or  “young lady.” I couldn’t imagine the only two very attractive male characters being so corny, but there were. 

I really hate telling spoilers, but for this I have to. SORRY!
Logan Montgomery’s best friend Chase and his wife Amanda were introduced into the story, and that’s when I had enough. In between Logan and Holly’s evolving relationship, we got a glance at Chase and Amanda’s marriage. We learned that Chase has a spanking  fetish. It threw me off a little and I didn’t understand why it was even in the book. I could only think that maybe the book needed something, and it definitely did, but just not that!  One point in the book, Chase even suggested to Logan that he should spank Holly, which was a fail and I  enjoyed the outcome of that.

I recently talked with a few of the members of my book club, and it seems to be a split reaction to this  novel. A few are really enjoying it  and some, like me, do not like it.

Star rating:  black-20clip-20art-black-star out of 5


So Have you read Big Girl Panties?
Did you enjoy the book?
Let me know what you think and until next time, happy reading!I

Add me on Goodreads!

 

Reader’s Group Discussion Questions: Big Girl Panties

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From HarperCollinsPublishers 

Book review coming soon, but until then here’s a few discussion questions…

1. Describe Holly and Logan. What misconceptions do they share about the other? How are they alike in spite of the difference in physical appearance? Are you more drawn to one of them?

2. Logan tells Natalie that “What I felt was amazingly lucky that someone like you would go out of your way to spend some of your free time with me.” What does he mean by “someone like you?” Do you think most men would feel that way about a woman like Natalie? What qualities does she have that might attract Logan besides her looks?

3. When Logan tries to draw Holly out about her eating habits, she says curtly: “I like to eat. End of story.” But why does Holly like to eat and what is Logan trying to make her aware of? Are her comfort foods really comforting to her?

4. Besides her eating habits, what other issues does Holly need to resolve before she can move on after her husband’s death? How does Logan help her to confront these painful issues? How does he complicate them?

5. How did both Holly and Logan turn the negatives of their early lives into positives? How do those experiences help them understand each other?

6. What do Logan’s best friends, Chase and Amanda Walker, think of Holly? Why do they want to see them get together? How do they each influence Holly and Logan? Is their meddling good or bad?

7. Talk about Chase and Amanda’s relationship. Choose a few adjectives to describe it. Why does it work for them?

8. Chase tells Holly, “sometimes not getting what you want is getting exactly what you need.” Explain the meaning behind his words. What does Holly truly want? What about Logan?

9. How does losing weight affect Holly? Is she the same person we met at the beginning of the story? What about Logan?

10. What qualities make a person attractive to you? Do you have a “type”? Is being an “ugly ducking” always a bad thing? 11. What made you choose to read Big Girl Panties? Explain the book’s title. How does it reflect Holly’s life at the beginning and at the end of the novel? What did you like best about the story?

 

Mickey D’s, Please!

Last weekend marked 3 years since my husband and I moved to Japan. I remember being very tired; I was almost 6 month pregnant and can you imagine the discomfort I felt on that 10 hour ride? I was miserable, but happy.

I decided to take a look  at the very first blog post I made; it was about McDonald’s and boy was I happy to discover how good it was! When I read this post it made me feel grateful that my husband and I were lucky enough to have this experience of being in another country.

So here it is, my very first blog post! ….

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Before arriving to Japan, one of the place my husband and I were most excited to try was McDonald’s. Yes I know, out of all the cool, and unique restaurants to try we were excited about McDonald’s. So, when we got off that 10+ hour flight, that was the first thing we ate!

Like many of the restaurants here in Japan, there are strange items on the menu. One burger had shrimp on it and another one had avocado, which probably isn’t bad, but the shrimp burger didn’t sound too good and I love to try new and strange things. One thing that I notice was the meal sizes. A large size meal is actually a medium size compared to America and a small is a kids size. It’s very tiny.

 

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I tried a Chicken Filet-o and it was tasty, but my favorite part of the meal was the drink. I ordered a cherry blossom flavored drink and my husband got a pineapple one. The drinks were made with cherry blossom and pineapple flavor syrup mixed with Sprite. I did not like the cherry blossom drink. It tasted like the flavored cough medicine your parents would try to get you to take as a kid. Yeah, that bad. The pineapple was great! It tasted exactly like pineapples and none of the cough medicine taste. There were other flavors but when we came back to try them, they were gone. Hopefully they will make a return, so I can share them with you!

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