Hello Tokyo! Muji and Product Review of the Muji Hand Mixer (Model MJ-HM1A)

A trip to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without a trip to my mother-ship, Muji.  Friends who have been over to my house, laugh and say that my home is basically a Muji showroom.  In my opinion, their products are perfect for basically every corner of your home.  Especially if you live in an apartment the size of a postage stamp. Their organizers fit into the tightest of spaces, and have an unobtrusive design that fits into any pre-existing decor.  In this post, I’ll give you a glimpse of the Shinjuku Muji store,  and also a quick product review of their electric hand mixer (model MJ-HM1A), that I brought home with me.

The Muji stores in Japan are similarly laid out to the ones in Taiwan, with separate floors for clothing, bedding, kitchen, household, and of course stationery products.  However, they definitely carry products that are only available in Japan.

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For instance, the store we visited had a lovely (and thriving!) plant section.

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Hello Tokyo! Harbs Strawberry Cake (東京下午茶:Harbs 草莓蛋糕)

One joyful discovery made during this trip to Tokyo, is that strawberry season is in the winter in Japan. Every grocery store we stopped in, there were gorgeous, plump, perfectly red strawberries on display.  This particular example is in the basement of Isetan Department Store, in Shinjuku.  Each strawberry is individually nestled in a small compartment to prevent jostling.  (And at 3780 yen~ or approximately $35 USD for 12 strawberries!!)  But don’t despair, there are less expensive options in other grocery stores, and even in the convenience stores, so have a look around.  Another option is that most of the bakeries in Japan also take bountiful advantage of strawberry season, and there are lots of cakes and desserts featuring strawberries.

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Hello Tokyo 2017: Nezu Museum and Cafe 根津美術館

On my second day in Tokyo, I went to Nezu Museum, based on my friend Peter’s recommendation.  Nezu Museum is located in the Aoyoma (青山) neighborhood, in the northwest part of Minato-ward.  The museum houses approximately 4000 pre-modern Japanese and East Asian works of art, including paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and textiles.  There is also a cafe, and a garden on the grounds of the museum.

Whenever I’m traveling, I get a little nervous about finding things. I have the worst sense of direction, ever, and there does not seem to be a remedy in sight.  Whenever possible, I like really precise information about subway exits and landmarks.  So I’ll try to include these types of directions in all my posts, so maybe you can find your way more easily!

The closest subway station to Nezu Museum is Omotesandō station of the Ginza, Hanzōmon and Chiyoda lines. The museum is about an 8 minute walk from Exit A5. Please note that there are quite a few stairs to come up on, but once you emerge from the station, you will see this sign:

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Hello Tokyo! Hotel Recommendation: Sunroute Plaza, Shinjuku, and breakfast ideas at Gontrain Cherrier and Blue Bottle Cafe

In this post, I thought I would write about some of the basic amenities that made my trip so enjoyable. I’ll give you a quick review of the hotel that I stayed in, and my two recommendations for breakfast. I learned from a previous trip, that I am not one of those people who likes surprises when it comes to hotel rooms. I like to know exactly what the room will look like and what is nearby. That’s why if I find a suitable hotel, I usually will stay in the same one whenever I’m back in the country.  During my first trip to Tokyo, I stayed at Sunroute Plaza, in Shinjuku based on the recommendation of my friends, Carol and Laura, whose advice I trust with my life.  They were right, the hotel was perfect for my needs. First of all, there is an airport shuttle that goes directly to the hotel, from both Haneda and Narita airports.  The ground staff and driver help you with your luggage, and each piece is tagged and labeled before being placed in the trunk of the bus. The hotel is the last stop on the route, so you don’t have to worry about missing your stop.  At the end of your stay, you can book and purchase your airport shuttle ticket at the front desk, and that’s one less thing to worry about on your day of departure.

Once you arrive, the check-in process is smooth and efficient.  The staff is professional, friendly and bilingual.  I always want to see the inside of the hotel room when reading reviews, so here is a shot of my room:

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The room is small, but adequate.  I had to think a moment about how to open my suitcase, but after trying a few angles, I finally figured it out.  There are no drawers and just a tiny closet in this room, so you have to basically live out of your suitcase. There is a desk that faces a big window, that lets in plenty of light.  The window sill is also nice and wide, so you can store some items on it. All the electrical outlets in the room are located on this desk, so if you have a lot of gadgets that need to be charged, you might want to bring your own surge protector, or power strip.  There is free wifi in all the rooms, and also downstairs in the hotel lobby.

And the view from the window!  The glass is double-paned, so even with all that is going on inside, you don’t hear any street traffic or noise.

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Hello Tokyo! A preview of upcoming posts.

Hello everyone!

I’m back! I had such a wonderful time during my trip and I can’t wait to share my adventures with you in the upcoming weeks.  A few highlights can been seen over on my Instagram, such as my trip to the tranquil Nezu Museum, my mothership, Muji, and even a sojourn to the Traveler’s Factory, a trip that I’ve dreamed about since my friend Peggy introduced me to Traveler’s journals a few years ago.   My friend Laura joined me for part of the trip, and treated me to Harb’s strawberry cake for my birthday, which ticked off another item on my Tokyo wish list. I have series of posts planned about what I saw, ate, and of course, bought.  So I hope you will come back every Monday for the next couple of weeks, for a little glimpse of the Tokyo I experienced this time.

親愛的大家~我回來啦!從東京回來後, 感覺很滿足,收穫也很多。 我會花一點時間整理一下照片 & 文字   In the meantime, 可以先去我的 IG 看看喔! 也祝大家新年快樂 雞年好運!

Enjoy!

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Shinjuku, Tokyo

Field Trip: Short Holidays. Be back soon!

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ll be traveling for both work and pleasure for the next few weeks.  I’ll be taking a short break from blogging, but will be back with lots of new stories soon!  Meanwhile, you can see short updates over on my Instagram.  For those who celebrate Chinese New Year, Happy New Year! 大家新年快樂!

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Image source: Pinterest

Enjoy!

Field Trip: Afternoon Tea at Humble House, Taipei, La Farfalla 寒舍艾麗 La Farfalla 儀式餐廳下午茶

Taipei has really taken afternoon tea to a different level.  It’s gotten to a point where it’s no longer acceptable to just have tea, a scone, maybe a slice of cake, and/or a savory.  Instead, afternoon tea in many places actually constitutes an entire meal.  Buffet style!

Please note, some places do afternoon tea poorly.  First, you have to line up in this everlasting queue to just even set foot into the restaurant,  then you have to line up for ages just to get your food.  If that wasn’t enough, you have to go through more undignified jostling to get desserts and coffee afterwards.  The entire experience becomes a “grab what you can, while you can, before someone else gets to it first.” By the time you finish your afternoon tea, you are a grumpy, carb and sugar overloaded mess.

Thankfully, there are some places such as Lar Farfalla, at Humble House  that gets it just right.

Located on the 6th floor of Humble House Hotel, you are transported in to a bright and airy space as soon as you alight from the elevator.

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Tiny Kitchen Series: Burst Cherry Tomato Pasta 小廚房 大料理: 小番茄義大利麵

For the past few months, I’ve been working really long hours, and sometimes not even getting home until after 8 pm at night.  By then, I’m usually exhausted and starving, so I just buy a bento and eat it half heartedly before crashing to bed.  After a few weeks of this, I’m noticing that it’s having such a negative effect on my lifestyle, and I want change!  As I mentioned in this previous post, lately, I’ve been trying to make more active use of my kitchen. Even though it’s super tiny, it’s still adequate enough to cook and bake. I thought I would start a new series, “Tiny Kitchen” to document my latest adventures cooking (and baking here).  It always helps me to have a concrete (yet realistic!) goal in mind, so my goals are to make dinners at least twice a week for the next month. This pasta is the first in the series, and it was inspired by a box of cherry tomatoes that I received in my weekly fruit box delivery.  In Taiwan, cherry tomatoes  are a fruit. However, I personally consider them to be a vegetable, and thought they would be perfect for a quick, yet satisfying dinner. A quick search on the internet, and I was in luck.  How can you resist a recipe with this description? “Juicy sweet cherry tomatoes burst open in warm olive oil, creating a luxuriously silky sauce that comes together in minutes”.

最近的生活只能用一個字來形容。 就是: 忙 。很多晚上都加班到8點多才回家。一到家就在附近隨便買個便當或是麵包 吃完就差不多想睡覺了。 我其實很不喜歡這樣! 所以想從些小小的調整還有改變開始。 雖然我家廚房不大 但其實是方便;該有的設備都有, 可以舒服的做菜還有烘培的。 我下定決心~ 要每一個禮拜至少有兩天, 在家吃晚餐 ~ 而且是吃自己做的菜!

這次做的菜真的超級簡單的。 小番茄是果物配這一週送來的  看到番茄, 我就會想吃義大利麵! 一下是世上最簡單的番茄義大利麵作法。PS- 在我廚房最常用的小刀就是這個瑞士番茄刀 (除了切番茄以外 也很適合切麵包)

By the way, there is actually a knife by Victorinox, made especially for slicing tomatoes!  This knife is one of the most often used knives in my kitchen, so handy for slicing tomatoes, and bread, actually.

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