The Life of Erin

Married life, home projects, music, travel, movies, politics, random stuff I think of on a daily basis

Tokyo Fashion May 19, 2009

Filed under: Japan,random info. — erinp @ 12:07 am
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I love my Tokyo Fashion. Here is my first love–cute peds from my mom. Please excuse my pasty white legs.



The Fashion Police do NOT like these. I want more. I think they are the best invention ever. But I’m allowed to think that because I am fashionably challenged 90% of the time.

Mine are much cuter than these Undefeated peds.

I would buy these from

Love the ankle wrap–don’t care. It’s cute.


Cherry Blossom Gala March 29, 2009


Matt and I were lucky enough to get an invitation to the Cherry Blossom Gala last night. Ironically, one of our first “dates” was to this gala back in 2003. How time flies. It was at the Union League and black tie or traditional Japanese dress were required. Matt wore his formal kimono and I just wore black tie (I think!).

dressed up


We did a lot of window shopping at the silent auction but there were some amazing Dali paintings and fine jewelry that we were eyeing!


The sushi appetizers were yummy–especially the thinly-sliced salmon.

Dinner was good (hey, it was free!) but not good enough to deserve its picture taken.
dinner menu

Sake barrel breaking and kabuki–fun!
barrel breaking

Matt’s friend, Isaburo Hanayagi, performed the dance. He brought the Tamagawa drummers and dancers to Philadelphia back in 2003 and this year is is a visiting professor at Swarthmore College.

We all got to take home this delicious fudge from Savagely Good:


Maybe in six years we’ll get another invitation! Who knows!



My Moment of Zen March 20, 2009

Filed under: Japan — erinp @ 8:49 am
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No computer this weekend, so I am leaving you with this video from Japan.

These are jizo statues at Zojo-ji Temple in Minato-ku, Tokyo. Jizo is simply the god who protects children.


I want to ride my bicycle. March 10, 2009

Filed under: Japan — erinp @ 6:15 pm
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This is one of my favorite shots from our trip to Japan because I think it captures a very integral part of the culture: bicycles and their importance. This is a truck in Inokashira-koen that is picking up all of the parked bikes with “expired” time and taking them to the bike pound. This happened to my mom a few times, right mom? Only I think that these particular bikes were very delinquent.


Bicycles and umbrellas are supposedly the two most stolen items in Tokyo because of their worth. Bikes are a way of life and it’s hard to survive without one. They usually come fully equipped with at least one basket, bell, attached lock, and light that runs on the friction from the wheel as you ride (as in, the faster you pedal, the brighter the light gets). You have to register your bicycle, just like you would a car in the U.S. My dad once got stopped by a local police officer at night because he didn’t have his light on. He had to show his alien registration card and sure enough, the officer “called in” the bike to make sure it was registered under his name.

“I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride it where I like.” –Queen


Five pounds March 2, 2009

I lost five pounds during my two weeks in Japan. I haven’t eaten nearly as well since I got home and I’m pretty sure I’ve gained it all back. I guess sitting at a desk all day instead of walking all day really does make a difference. In honor of my five pounds lost and gained again, here are the food highlights of our trip to Japan:


Shakey’s Pizza. Yes, pizza. All-you-can-eat lunch buffet for 850 yen. Crispy thin crust, lots of sauce and cheese, and toppings such as tuna fish, romaine lettuce and honey, and marshmallow. They also serve the best darned spicy potatoes in the universe. Pass the hot sauce.


Samrat Indian. I’m all about the all-you-can-eat in Japan. This one is AYCE naan or rice with two curries for 980 yen. The naan always come hot and buttery out of the oven. The deceivingly small bowls of curry really are bottomless.


Woodberry’s Frozen Yogurt. Start with plain frozen yogurt and add any mixture of fruit and cheese you want.

Mister Donut

Mister Donut. Our old standby. Favorites include ebi (shrimp) gratin and Golden Chocolate donuts. Bonus=free coffee refills! (And I was a proud member of the “Misdo Club” as a child.)

sweet potato

Sweet potato “puree” in a baked apple. Mom and I could only eat half for lunch. I wish I could have one right now. I want to go to there.


Chicken liver. This was a free appetizer–I never would have ordered it on my own. Man, these were cooked so that the texture was amazing.


Matt was so excited for dango. I wasn’t so much but I did taste it and discovered that the green tea flavor with red bean paste was mighty tasty! And filling!


Kaiseki course #1 at Nakamura-Ro. I am mainly posting this for the lightly fried and candied lotus root in front (the ones that look like pinwheels). So light and crunchy.


Tempura is one of my favorite foods, but not when it’s covered in thick batter and you don’t even know what you are eating. This wasn’t that. It was the opposite of that. Perfect. And the ball of radish made it perfect plus infinity.


Tsumetai (cold) soba is another one of my favorite foods. And this is my favorite soba, made fresh and on premises at Jindai-ji.


Ukai Toriyama. This restaurant is amazing, even if you do have to cook your own meat. This was one of many delicious courses and I especially loved the miso paste. So many meats and fish we ate on the trip had miso paste. What a simple concept–we could even try it at home!


Sasagin bamboo. This was another first try for me and it was another home run. We made fast work of the bamboo, a house specialty at this izakaya.


As unappetizing as these sweets look, mainly made of rice and sweet beans, they were made with love. I felt the love in every bite. The shop that specializes in these sweets has been around for 150 years, passed down through generations of sweet-makers.

This was a small selection of delectable foods we ate in Japan. It was very difficult for me to choose just these. I may have a follow up post one day when I am hungry but am trying to lose five pounds.


Ume-sure February 28, 2009

Filed under: Japan,photography,travel — erinp @ 8:05 pm
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Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are a big deal in Japan. So big that the news has a special weather segment on every night when cherry blossom season starts so you know when they will be in bloom. I think that plum blossoms, or ume, are equally as beautiful, and we were in Japan during prime ume viewing. I practiced using my digital macro setting. A lot. Here are some of my favorites–please vote on which one I should frame (if any)!

1. ume1

2. ume2

3. ume3

4. ume4

5. ume5

6. ume6

7. ume7


Amateurs. February 27, 2009

Filed under: food,Japan,travel — erinp @ 12:17 am
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So I am going to try to post a video that I took and then uploaded to youtube (the only way I can get videos on wordpress). I feel like this is a somewhat true depiction of what it is like walking through the streets of a Tokyo suburb near a train station trying to find hidden culinary gems. I’ll set up this clip: my mom and I are walking through Kichijoji trying to find Woodberry’s, a very small frozen yogurt shop. I ultimately take us the “long way” but it works out fine because we meet up with my dad. So, here it is, wobbly but funny: