Happiness in a Box from Japan

It started with a photo of a bowl of instant ramen on Ms. Uberneko’s instagram. A few exchanges later, we had made plans to do a food swop between the US and Japan.

We gave each other our list of requests and excitedly put together packages in the following days. Ms. Uberneko’s requests were quite specific and easy. I got most of her stuff from the ever dependable yummy snack place Trader Joe’s. I had asked for some instant ramen, sour gummies and anything that had ume (plum) or yuzu kosho (citron pepper)

On hindsight, I should have stuffed more things in the box for her because look at the difference! She got me tons of stuff! There were many little packets of yummies to tear into. Can’t decide what I like best! But if I have to choose what I am most looking forward to, it would be the Oden pack she put in. Apparently Oden from Shizuoka is quite different from the usual ones that we eat. It’s suppose to be darker in colour and have a more robust flavour.

It was really fun doing this and we hope to do again later when supplies run low.

(I find it amusing that we both each have our own food inspectors :))


Spa LaQua – A Little Piece of Heaven

This relaxing spot near Tokyo Dome came highly recommended by a colleague of mine just a few weeks before we left for Tokyo. I was totally sold on the concept of paying 1 price and staying the whole day doing nothing but massages and soaks in hot springs in the middle of the city and looked forward to it during the whole holiday.

It was obvious that this bathhouse was a popular place as a queue started to form at the entrance just before it opened at 11am (btw, this place opens 22hours a day!). We were glad to see that the customers were almost 95% local, a stamp of quality and assurance to us. Once our lift reached the lift lobby, we were ushered to remove our shoes and store them in the lockers provided. Thereafter, the friendly staff checked us in by explaining the price structure (2000+ Yen per person plus a 300Yen weekend surcharge), introduced us to the amenities and handed us an electronic bracelet that acted as our locker key as well as a contraption to allow us to buy stuff without having to carry cash around. Unfortunately, there was no way I could get more photos of the place as cameras were forbidden.

While the husband went to lounge at one of the relaxation rooms, I headed straight for the baths. There were at least 4 different baths with different temperatures so that you could choose the one most suited to you. There was no need to bring any personal toiletries as the locker room had everything from toothbrushes preloaded with tooth paste to divine smelling hair serums. If you liked any of the products, you can even buy it from a little shop located inside.

We are suckers for massages so we paid extra for 90mins worth of rubs and kneads. I loved the Lomi Lomi massage I chose and came out of it absolutely pampered and relaxed. As expected, Japanese service is impeccable and quality is never sub par. I have had many massages in my lifetime and this was by far the best. The heated massage bed covered with soft towels was a huge bonus and made drifting into dreamland so easy. I was also impressed by the care taken to wipe me down with a warm towel so that I don’t end up greasy from the massage oils at the end of the session.

We spent the rest of the day in comfy PJs issued by the spa – grabbing a bite and hanging out in the large space. The only downside was the Sunday crowd, am sure it would be much better on weekdays. Will definitely be back if we ever head back to Tokyo.


This was a gem of a day. We started out in the morning by hiking through some trails to reach the Daibutsu in Kamakura. It was a great walk, not really because of the destination we were aiming to reach, but it was peaceful and a fruitful time connecting with the husband. We held hands, he helped me climb up slippery rocks and steadied me whenever I thought I was going to fall. We talked… about various random things, with him sharing a lot of his NS stories (we were afterall in a forest area), a side of him that I never really knew about.

We took the recommendation of a recent travel write up and decided to check out the seaside town of Shichirigahama. Call me suaku but I have never heard of Bill Granger till this Tokyo trip. We (ok…I) decided to check out Bills, a restaurant right by the beach. Lunch was a Wagyu Beef Burger and a super yums Panchetta and Porcini Risotto – a good departure from all the days of Japanese food that we had been having.

The restaurant had a great chill out vibe, kinda like what you get in Australia or Dempsey Hill back in Singapore. It also had a great view of the sea and surfers chasing the waves. Weather was simply perfect too, warm and sunny.

Hope to be back again someday.

The Happy Place

I was quite prepared to give DisneyLand a miss after the not-so-nice DisneySea outing during the last trip. We must have gone during one of the busiest times of the year back then as we only took 3 rides and queued up almost 3 hours for one of them. For someone who loves rides, it was a super bummer day.

Anyway, the husband surprised me by suggesting we go to DisneyLand this round. I put on my true blue kiasu Singaporean hat this time and made sure I did all the homework I could to avoid the crowds. We decided to go in the middle of the week when people are less likely to take leave. I also double checked that the Japanese kids were still in middle of their school term. I even contemplated going on a rainy day thinking that might turn others off, heee. Although there were still lots of people in the end, it was a manageable crowd and we got to ride all the rides we wanted to. =) It was quite a breeze queuing up especially during parade times, which we didn’t exactly enjoy but the Japanese seem to love.

We overdosed on popcorn that day, almost 3 buckets full. The Pooh’s Hunny ones were the yummiest while the Soy Butter ones were a bit meh. Our favourite ride was the Toy Story Astro Blaster, which was not only a ride but an interactive laser shooting game as well. We compare scores at the end of the ride and obviously the husband did much better, twice as good in fact.

Being a scaredy cat, I was quite glad that the Haunted Mansion was not so scary. The ride adopted a “Nightmare Before Christmas” theme and was scary fun rather than creepy scary, quite different from the version I took in EuroDisney. After riding the heart stopping Battlestar Galactica in USS, I have grown quite wary of fast rollercoasters and tried to avoid them at all cost at Disney. But we still ended the day with a mild rollercoaster ride at request of husband.

It was obvious that the money spinner of the whole park was the merchandising. All the shops were full of people picking up souvenirs by the baskets. It is no wonder Tokyo DisneyLand is the most profitable park among all the parks across the word.


Breakfast Choco Cro

Breakfast wasn’t included in the hotel package this round (neither was in-room wifi hmmph!) but no matter, Tokyo is full of little cafes and eateries, not to mention well stocked convenience stores. Most days, we grabbed our breakfast at the Choco Cro cafe a street down from our hotel. A latte, a hot chocolate and a bun/pastry each. Too bad we never managed to get the chocolate croissants hot from oven the day we tried them, am sure they would have been even more wonderful.

Simple but yummy breakfast each day, wish we had such places back home in Singapore.