Sunday, September 30, 2012

Trip to Japan ~ Simply, Food

When people ask me what I miss the most about Japan, one of the first things that comes to mind is FOOD. Seriously, isn't that a basic need and desire of human nature? There are some Japanese foods that I could buy where I live, but not like actually living there.

When I had a family trip to California a couple years ago, I made sure that we would hit the Japanese grocery stores there. I was amazed with the selections... yeah... I was in heaven!

For the first time in 11 years, I was actually in Japan. Not in California, not in little Tokyo... real Japan! You might laugh at me, but I had a list of things I wanted to eat while I was there. I felt like if I miss this chance; who knows when my next chance will be?

My family and friends laughed at the list at first, but they were really helping me to cross the items off the list.

They took me to "kaiten-sushi". It is a sushi restaurant that you sit around and a conveyor belt brings the food and you grab a dish with sushi on it. They are so much cheaper than traditional sushi restaurants. Most of the dishes are 105 yen (which is about $1.35 right now). You may not believe me, but I can really pack them in when I am hungry. :)

I was so surprised to see the restaurant. There were few things that had changed since I left; the lay out of the seating arrangement was different, I mean instead of sitting around facing the conveyor belt;, there are booths around the belt, and you can order whatever you want from a touch screen at your booth. The dish stops at your booth and the light flashes to tell you that your sushi has arrived. Things change so much in 11 years! I had to take a pictures at this new found Japanese culture.

You just order what you want, and they will make one right there for you.

There were really good selections. Yeah, they are not same as you eat at real sushi restaurant, but they are pretty good. If you take someone like me, who was starving for Japanese food in general, I was like a kid in a candy shop.

Mmm... Am I done? Well, let me rest for a minute, I think I can go for some more.

When I had small class reunion, we met at an awesome restaurant, there I had bunch of yummy food (which I was able to cross some stuff off my list as well)...

When my mom and my sister took me out for shopping, we had lunch at the restaurant as well... Oh, they were so good...

Am I done yet? No, no way, I had to eat some Japanese junk food as well.

There were LOTS more other things that I ate, but forgot to take pictures because I was too excited about it. Such as ramen, Japanese style Chinese food (oh, they are soo good), very yummy cakes, and best of all, the home cooked food by my mom and my sisters. They are all excellent cooks, and I was so spoiled while I was there. Thank you everyone for feeding me!!

Has reading about all this food given you heartburn yet? There are a couple more pictures to share with you...

Tada! You know what, they are not real food. They are actually samples made out of wax to show what you can expect when you order that dish. I believe this was invented in Japan, and pretty much any restaurant you go to, you see samples like this in front of the place.

Japanese style kid’s meals... I was missing my family and wanted to show this to my kiddos.

I ate so much while I was there. I am paying the price for it right now, but it was totally worth it!

Link Love No.83!

So, I have been sharing the stories of my trip to Japan, and there are many more to tell. Also, every year I have been doing a Tea Rose Home blogaversary giveaway in September, but I haven't done that because I have been away... I am going to do that with some goodies I brought from Japan soon! So stay tuned. :)

Are you ready for the link love for this month?

I have seen so many bookends before, but this one is such a cutie! Annemarie's Haakblog shared these crochet bookends. Things like this put a smile on my face.

Have you already decorated your house for the upcoming season? Cherished Bliss used orange and aqua to decorate her home for the fall and shared the pictures on her blog. You should visit there to see them, because they are stunning!

If you are a biker or not, you will love this picture drawn by Grow Creative. I love the use of colors, they are simply adorable.

Blue Bird Sews shared this great tutorial for stretching wonky stars to make a baby quilt. I LOVE the fabric she used for this project, and the quilt design goes so well with it.

I love projects that use something worthless or ordinary and come up with jaw dropping creations. Carolyn’s Homework has done just that... She used brown paper bags from the grocery stores and created this amazing faux bay leaf wreath! I would love to give it a try.

Thank you everyone for sharing your talents!

I will be back with more stories from trip to Japan this week, see you at the next post. :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Trip to Japan~Bite of Japanese Pop Culture "Purikura"

I shared about one of my sisters several times on my blog. I have another sister that is 20 years younger than I. Yup, you read it right, 20! I got married and moved away when she was 2, so I really wasn't there to see her grow up. Also it was hard to have a "sisterly bond" with her.

One of the things I wanted to do during the two week stay was to spend some time with her and get to know her more.

Many nights we stayed up late till 3, 4 in the morning and talked a lot. She cooked for me (she is an excellent cook!), we watched movies together, went shopping... and we did "purikura" together.

What's purikura? Basically, it is a very high tech photo booth. I found a link that explains it very well, so if you are interested you can read all about it. Purikura is VERY popular among teens, and there were lots of pictures in my sister’s room as well.

I watched a documentary about purikura once on TV, and they were saying that it is so advanced that it will automatically make your skin look prettier in the photo, allow you to play around with the photo before you print it out, and send the photo to your phone too.

So, I am a very curious being, I decided to investigate this very popular pop culture of Japan...

Well... there were lots of young girls taking pictures as they were talking and laughing in their high pitched voices... I was a little embarrassed to even be there but decided to have fun with my sister, and I did it!

These are the pictures...

There is a suggestion on the screen of what kind of pose you should do for each shot. I really didn't know what to do, I just followed the instructions.

After taking the photo, we can choose the background, add or write things on the photo.

We had so much fun doing this together, we were laughing throughout the whole thing.
I think this is actually our first photo together in so many years.

As I saw on TV, purikura took really good pictures of me with flawless skin. I think I look at least 5, 10 years younger. Though, I didn't miss my sister mumbling "fraud"! I showed the picture to several of my friends my age; they all wanted to go take pictures at the photo booth. :) Yup, I tested purikura and it was a lot of fun and a cheap way to buy "happy"(it was 400yen, which is about less than $5). I can put my seal of approval on it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Link Party No.83!

Link party time is here! Before we start, let me share a shout out for my friend Disney from Ruffles & Stuff. Disney was asked to take part in a craft contest at Pins & Needlesand the winner gets $100 donated to their favorite charity. She chose Orphan's Lifeline of Hope which is a charity that helps orphans and is dear to her heart. Check out what she came up with...

Adorable huh? The contest ends this Friday; it would be great if you could take a little time to vote for Disney's "I Love You Dots Ensemble"!

Ok, let’s start our link party for this month!

Happy linking!

1. Please post something YOU made. It doesn't matter if it is crochet, quilt, clothing, anything would be fine. I want to see it! If you use someone's idea or patterns please give them the rightful credit.

2. Link to your specific post, that way it is easier for everybody to find and read it.

3. Please grab the "Tea Rose Home" grab button, and link back from your post. If you can mention the party in your post or place the button on your side bar, that would be great! I want more people to have a chance to come and show off their creation.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Trip to Japan ~ Day Trip

One of my best friends from high school took me out for a day trip.

We used to go all over the place together after we got our driver’s license after graduating from high school (in Japan, we can start driving until 18) until I got married and moved away. We had so much fun together.

We went to "Akiu" which is a town located by the mountains. It is famous for hot springs and many resort hotels.

We visited the river side where we used to have picnics... we talked and talked...

The water was SO beautiful and clear, I was able to see all the pebbles for several feet!

Then she took me to one of the tourist spots. There are shops that sell traditional Japanese industrial arts. There are "Tansu"(chests), potteries, wooden items, etc. I wish I could have bought some plates and such.

Aren't they a beauty? I gained more appreciation for Japanese culture and my heritage after I moved out of the country. I wanted to buy a small make-up chest and looked at the price... wow... it was about $3000.00!

There are many more things that caught my eye there.

It looks like something out of an old Japanese tale; so peaceful and calm.

We rested at a cafe and had "mochi"(type of Japanese sweets).

While I was visiting Japan, my friends told me that this summer has been so hot and the summer like that happens once in 30 years... oh joy... but while we were walking, I found the first sign of fall. Some leaves changing it colors.

I love the spring in Japan with the beautiful pink of cherry blossoms everywhere. Though, the fall is also a very nice season to visit. The colors of yellow to orange and red beautify the place and I remember some breath taking scenery. That is one of the things I would love to show to my kids someday.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Trip to Japan ~ My Sister's House

During the 2 weeks in Japan, I stayed half the time at my parents' and the other half at one of my sister's house.

She and her husband bought a 50 years old, rundown house by a river for a steal a few years ago. She told me that in spring, all the cherry blossom trees along the river provide such an amazing view from her balcony. She fell in love with the location more than anything else.

They have been slowly remodeling the house by themselves. I knew my sister loved woodworking and is very crafty, but I had no idea that my brother-in-law was such a handyman. He replaced the flooring, they changed the walls, and built shelves here and there... and so on.

They are keeping some of the Japanese aspects of the house, and adding their own style to it. It might look a little mish-mash, but in my opinion, the house is a lot more interesting and fun. It totally reflects their personalities!

I had fun going through the house with my sister to see what they have done so far, and listening to her tell me what their plans are for the future.

I will share some of the pictures with you.

One of my friends is a professional stained glass artist, she gave this stained glass as a house warming gift.

They took the door to the small shed, and added shelves for their ever growing picture books of their kids.

They replaced a lot of the flooring on the main floor, but they kept some "Tatami" room. I love the window treatment, antique chest and the rug.

Their bedroom wall was in a good shape, but it was all outdated wood panel like we see from the 70's here. They painted the whole room and added a rail & hooks to hang stuff.

I loved the reading corner for her girls in the living room. The quilt was made by a family friend using an old Japanese kimono fabric.

The entrance; my brother-in-law retiled the whole thing.

Have I mention that they both graduated from agriculture collage? They are good at growing veggies and keeping a beautiful garden.

Now that I think of it, there are more areas that I should have taken pictures. Seriously, they have done a ton of work!

One of my friends who knows what the house looked like told me that she had to asked my sister if they are really serious about buying the place. In fact, my sister told me that my nieces cried when they saw the house for the first time. Was it tears of joy? No, they didn't want to live in a haunted house!

Sometimes it is hard to see the potential in things, but my sister and her husband definitely had a vision, and are making the house in to a beautiful haven for their family.

I would love it if they could come to visit us someday... I have so many things I want done around my house... hehehe... well, that is a very fun and productive way to spend time as a family; don't you agree?:)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hey, I am Home!

Hello everyone, I am back from Japan! The whole trip back from Japan took me more than 31 hours total. The plane landed in SLC around 12:30 am, by the time I got home, it was close to 2:00 am...I was dead tired... and I still am...

It was a great 2 weeks in so many ways, and I will share some things from the trip with you throughout this week and next week.

For starters, let me share some pictures from day 1.

Above the clouds, there is beautiful scenery of the blue sky, white cloud and lots of sunshine. Looking at them alone put me in a great mood. On top of that, I was reading a book called "Heaven is Here" by Stephanie Nielson from Nie Nie Dialogue. I bought the book a while back, but never had time to read it. Her outlook on life, faith, determination, and love for her family truly spoke to me through her beautiful and sincere words. I had to ask a flight attendant for extra tissue... I was filled with gratitude for my life, and at that point, my mood was literally sky high! I just had a great feeling that this trip is going to be a great one.

After close to a 10 hour ride from LA, I saw the landscape of Japan.

I had more waiting time for a connecting flight to my home town afterwards, but needless to say, I got there safely and spent 14 days with my family and friends.

I will tell you more about it in my next post.
Meanwhile, I am gonna hit my pillow and get some much needed sleep. :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest Post / Kelli from Lolly Jane

A couple weeks ago, I introduced you to the lovely twin bloggers Kristi and Kelli from Lolly Jane. Today, Kelli is sharing some of her very creative ideas to give new life to an old piece of furniture. You're gonna love what you see, enjoy the post! :)


After a fresh coat of white paint and a wallpapered back, we added new handles and filled her up with organized mason jars and more craft goods.

If you're feeling brave enough to build your own furniture, this rustic stamped bench is a good start.

We got the design from but threw in a twist to customize it. We stained one layer on the raw bench seat, added a wedding date and location then stained a second layer. The final effect was a subtle reminder of our anniversary.

Lately we've been experimenting with mixing paints and stains and this chippy dresser is a result.

We bought it for $175 on Craigslist then got to work stripping it down to the bones. A few layers of white paint, a walnut stained top and lots of chippiness completed this sturdy dresser.

The best is to take a piece of furniture that's on it's last leg and giving it a new purpose. This coffee table turned bench was so fun to revamp!

Instead of throwing the broken coffee table into the garbage pile, we secured the joints, sanded it down, painted it a new color and created a seat to make a new bench.

We hope we've inspired you to give old furniture a second chance. With a little bit of paint, you can spruce up old wood and if you hate that end result?-simply paint it again.

We'd love to catch up with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and you can even subscribe to all our posts. Thanks so much again, Sachiko, for letting us share a little of what we love!


Inspired? After reading her post, I wanted to start painting something in my house!
Thank you Kelli for your post, they are all such awesome projects, but my favorite was the cupboard. I would LOVE to give it a try someday!
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