Few days ago I found an interesting pen in some common stationary store in Tokyo. Name of the pen was ‘スパイペン (Spy pen).’ Click pictures below to see full size.
It just caught my eyes first time because of the cute hamster-themed design. But soon, as the name, ‘spy pen’ indicates, I realized that this was not a common pen. It was like a special pen in the movie,The Da Vinci Codewhich allows you to write secret letters in an ink that can only be read under the special light.
The special light is located on the top of the pen cap. You can turn the light on by pushing the button on the pen cap.
▴cap with the light off & cap with the light on
There was a short cartoon of how to use this pen on the packet of the pen.
As I translate it…
1. Write your secret with the spy pen!
2. You can not see anything now, but…
3. The letters will appear when you turns the special light upon the letters!
My secret letter was simply ‘Hello.’ 🙂
Below is a shot video of how to use it.
It will be fun if you write secret letters with this pen to your friends and surprise them by turning the light on the letters.
If you are interested in this pen, I could not find an exact pen at online stores, but links below will lead you to similar secret pens on Amazon and eBay.
It was last August when I met Nameko for the first time. I was wandering around Tokyo Character Street on First Avenue Tokyo Station looking for some special character goods and found an interesting character good store. The store’s name was ‘Nameko Official Shop’, and it had a variety of mushroom character goods.
The mushroom character is called, Nameko, the name of a very familiar ‘mushroom’ to Japanese people. The mushroom is used in some common Japanese cuisines (such as miso soup).
As a Korean who uses similar Asian mushrooms for cooking, I also felt familiar with the mushroom character and started to really like it from the first time I saw it in the store. But I had no idea that the character was from mobile games, ‘Mushroom Garden’ series till I talked about it to one of my Japanese friends.
Most of the mushroom character goods in the store were inspired by various mushroom characters from Mushroom Garden. Below are some pictures of the plush dolls where I put some pictures of corresponding game characters (only ones I recognized :)). You might notice that many of these mushroom characters were so modified from common Nameko mushroom character and do not look like a mushroom at all :p
On last Valentine’s Day I visited the store again and could see some special Nameko goods for Valentine’s Day. Plush toys of heart-shaped Nameko and Nameko holding heart was so adorable!!
I also took a commemorative picture with a giant Nameko at the store 🙂
I definitely fell in love with Nameko!
Below is a picture of my souvenirs from the shop. I bought a cute Nameko plush doll for decoration and a Nameko plush key chain.
I particularly like the Nameko plush doll for decoration. It is funny as it reminds me of real Nameko mushroom in Japanese soup.
A cute and silly looking mushroom character, Nameko is one of my favorite characters! (or the game character I like the most!)
The character was inspired by Pholiota Nameko, one of common mushrooms that Japanese eat (in miso soup, soba, and etc.).
Nameko showed up for the first time in a Japanese mobile game, ‘Touch Detective.’
As the mushroom character has became widely popular in Japan, different games ‘Mushroom Garden‘(or Funghi Gardening Kit) series were released, and the games also became extremely popular (In 2011 one of the game series, “Seasons had been downloaded 1 million times from iTunes” and the Android version “had reached 200 thousand downloads within a week of its release.”(wikipedia)).
Mushroom Garden series are simple and easy to play so that everybody can enjoy them. In the games you simply grow mushrooms on a log and harvest them. As your level increases, more special types of mushrooms grow on the log. You can use special items for growing mushrooms faster or having rare types of mushrooms easily.
When I read descriptions about the games for the first time, it sounded so simple that I thought I would be bored with the games, and I wondered why many people had gotten addicted to the games. I tried the game, and actually I have got addicted to it, too!
I decided to play ‘Mushroom Garden Deluxe’ as it seemed to have more variety of mushrooms than other versions of the games according to the versions’ descriptions.
Below are screen shots of the game on my smartphone and some short descriptions about them.
At the beginning of the game, you will see some normal nameko mushrooms on the log. Small ones are baby mushrooms and big ones are full-grown mushrooms can be harvested (by touching the screen).
In ‘Funghi Library,’ you can see descriptions about mushrooms you harvest.
As you play the game and get some special mushrooms,
Unknown types of mushrooms in the Funghi Library are revealed.
Gamer gets game points by harvesting mushrooms and completing game requests. With that points you can buy special items to grow mushrooms faster or get special types of mushrooms more often.
As your level increases, you can also breed different types of mushrooms to make new types of mushrooms like pictures below.
In the ‘Box Room,’ you can see mushrooms you harvest. You can decorate your mushroom collection with furniture you like.
It has been one week since I started playing this game. I do not spend much time for playing the game like I did at the beginning of it now but still occasionally check my mushroom garden and see what happened there 🙂
If you are interested in the game, just search ‘Mushroom Garden’ on App Store or Google Play(free)! If you are smart phone or tablet PC user, here are links to the game for…
Sorry if the title of this post made you confused. These spaghetti noodles do not look like Rilakkuma (or are not made of Rilakkuma (?)). Just the package design is Rilakkuma-themed! 🙂
If you do not know who Rilakkuma is, visit this post! -> Rilakkuma Store in First Avenue Tokyo Station
This is what I found in a local grocery store in Tokyo. It is called Rilakkuma Poporosupa 7 minutes (リラックマポポロスパ7分). I do not know what ‘Poporo’ means (I just assume that ‘supa’ means spaghetti.), but it is a cute name. The package clearly says that it takes only 7 minutes boiling time for cooking these noodles. This product is interesting to me because not only the package design is Rilakkuma-themed, but also the package contains 1 serving noodle bundles which makes it easier for people to cook spaghetti (I used to battle amount of spaghetti noodles whenever I cooked spaghetti in U.S.). The package says that this product is good for girls (when it comes to dieting) as the amount of 1 serving noodle bundle(80g) is less than those of other products in Japan(commonly 100g). Though I don’t think it works for me as I am a big eater; I will probably put 2 bundles of them in the boiling water instead of 1…Actually I ended up buying a different package of spaghetti noodles which has more amount of noodles in 1 serving noodle bundles. lol
Last month I went to Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in Osaka. It was pretty fun, but the theme park was SO SO SOcrowded!(even though it was neither during the weekend nor the vacation season) which made me a little tired (for example, for enjoying an attraction, ‘Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’, people had to wait 4 hours including 2 hours waiting time for “getting an express pass” on that day). If you want to visit USJ, make sure you purchase an express pass ‘before’ you get here!
Unlike Universal Studios in other countries, USJ has its unique attractions such as Hello Kitty, Evangelion, and Attack on Titan.
The most interesting attractions to me, of course, were the Hello Kitty attractions as the character, Hello Kitty is one of the main kawaii characters of Japan.
Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue is located in Universal wonderland of USJ and consists of Hello Kitty’s Ribbon Collection, Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Dream, Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Shop, Hello Kitty’s Corner Café, and Hello Kitty’s Ribbon Boutique.
Below are more detail about those featured spots in Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue. Here I categorize them into attractions, restaurants, and shop.
By the way, I should warn you that everywhere in the photos below will be so pink! lol
Hello Kitty’s Ribbon Collection
In the attraction, you can see Hello Kitty-themed fashion items (not for sale), take a ride down the High-Heel slide, and take a memorial picture with Hello Kitty.
Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Dream
This is an attraction that you can take a ride in big cupcake cups spinning to the music. When you turn the steering wheel in the center of the cup, the cup rotates faster. Experience time is about 90 seconds.
Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Shop
Here you can taste cute cupcakes inspired by the rides in Hello Kitty’s Cupcake Dream. Below is the picture of them. Look so yummy….
Hello Kitty’s Corner Café
You can taste some Hello Kitty-themed foods and other cute foods here. Below is the menu. The ‘Pink Macaroon Hot Chocolate’ looks so good in the picture!
Although they always sell Hello Kitty buns, they seem to change foods according to the season though. At least in the summer of 2013 they sold Hello Kitty’s Apple & Peach Frappe and sold Pink Macaroon Hot Chocolate in the winter of 2013 (I do not know about this year though :p).
Hello Kitty’s Ribbon Boutique
Lastly, Hello Kitty’s Ribbon Boutique has various Hello Kitty goods! Below are pictures of the store. For seeing full size click the images.
Come and visit Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue in USJ if you love Hello Kitty 🙂
Yesterday I cut my bangs again, and as always, my boyfriend teased me about my bangs saying my bangs looked like those of a ‘Japanese traditional girl child doll.’ And I told him that I was celebrating Hinamasturi, which is today. Do my bangs really look like those of the Japanese doll in picture below? 😛
What is Hinamatsuri?
According to Wikipedia, Hinamatsuri,also called Girls’s Day, is celebrated every March 3. [It is the day for celebrating girl children’s growth and wishing their happiness]. The Japanese celebrate the day by decorating platforms, covered with a red carpet, with a set of ornamental dolls called ‘hina dolls (hina ningyo in Japanese).’ Hina dolls consist of dolls representing the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional dress of the Heian period in Japan.
Here, I want to share some pictures of Hina dolls I took from some places in Japan. Although Hinamatsuri is on March 3, I have been able to see hina dolls in many stores in Tokyo and other cities in Japan since New Year’s Day.
Below are pictures of Hina dolls I took in Takashimaya, a department store in Tokyo.
They are very traditional hina dolls. These great works were done by a hina doll maker, ‘Koide Shoju.’
Various hina doll displays…
The displays in the pictures right below are my favorite hina dolls in the exhibition. The Emperor and Empress couples looked so sweet 🙂
I could also see some individual girl child dolls in the exhibition. They were cute and so delicate like real girls.
So, those were traditional hina dolls.
From now one let’s see some more Kawaiinized (or cutified) ones!
Below are pictures taken in Livin, a department store in Tokyo.
Check these Hello Kitty hina dolls out! >_<
How about miniature hina dolls? below are photos I took in the best chopstick shop in Japan, Ginza Natsuno (the headquarter store & the branch in Shin-Marunouchi building). They are almost as small as the widths of chopsticks in the picture! For more information about the store, Ginza Natsuno, go to this post -> Cute Japanese Chopstick & Chopstick Rest Store, ‘Ginza Nastuno’
It seems like hina dolls do not need to be so delicate though. Below is a picture of hina dolls in a common restaurant in Izu, Shizuoka. They seemed to be simply made of small paper boxes (it could be amazing if there were small candies inside of these tiny boxes!).
According to pictures above, it looks like hina dolls can be made of any material such as fabrics and papers. Maybe next year I will try to make my own hina dolls!
In case you don’t know who ‘Rilakkuma’ is, Rilakkuma is a cute and beloved Japanese bear(to be specific, a soft toy bear) character. His name means ‘relaxed bear,’ and like name implies, he always looks relaxed and stress-free. He is living in the apartment of one office lady named ‘Kaoru’ with his friends ‘Korilakkuma'(another bear) and ‘Kiiroitori'(a yellow chick).
Below is a photo of Rilakkuma plush toys. Every doll in the picture are wearing animal clothes. It is little funny that an animal, a bear is wearing other animal(cat) clothes ha ha. They are adorable.
Below is a picture of small plush toys for accessory uses (like a key chain, a bag accessory, and etc). Many of the dolls are also wearing animals clothes like a milk cow, a sheep, and a lion :). When you go to character good shops or souvenir shops in Japan, you can often see Japanese character plush toys wearing animal clothes or even clothes of different famous characters (a ‘Kapibara-san’ doll wearing ‘Funassyi’s’ clothes can be an example).
And below is a photo of Rilakkuma couches!
However, they are not the couches you can seat on. They are mini couches that you can seat your smart phone or Rilakkuma doll on them like pictures below. I would like to seat my hamster or guinea pig on it, too if when I have one! >_<
Here are small Rilakkuma-themed toy cars in a picture below. They are so small and cute.
I read some online shopper commented that they were so cute, but she was little disappointed that the toy was smaller than she expected when she got it from an online store. Well, always check actual sizes of products when you shop online~
Below a image of Rilakkuma-themed candy boxes with candies inside. They look like good souvenirs 🙂
Lastly, below are pictures of other Rilakkuma goods in the store. Please enjoy! >_<
Although here I put some of pictures from the Rilakkuma store, there are many more cute items of Rilakkuma in the store! So if you love Rilakkuma, don’t forget to visit here when you travel Tokyo~
One night I went to a convenient store near a subway station to buy a yummy pudding. I looked at a stand of various puddings and one very dark dessert caught my eyes. The dessert was in a cute paper cup like a pudding, and there were cute devil characters on the lid and side of the dessert. The lid of the dessert said “Devil’s Chocolate Cake(デビルズチョコケーキ).”
I really love chocolate. For any chocolate product, the darker is the better. The dessert was so tempting as it was so dark, and the part of name, ‘devil’ sounded like that cake is so yummy that it is like unrejectable temptation of the devil. So I bought one.
I opened the lid, there were some pieces of crushed chocolate on the top of the cake.
I scooped up a little bit of the cake, and milky chocolate cream showed up beneath the dark chocolate cover. The cream was so soft like a chocolate ice cream.
With one scoop, I became so happy~ *^_^*
And I scooped up more, and there was an another layer of chocolate under the layer of chocolate cream. That was a layer of chocolate cake. I think I could call it a brawny, too.
I found a good photo below showing the layers of the cake very well.
(The layers of the chocolate cake reminded me of my soil science class in my college as it looked like a cross section of soil layers. it was funny as I always thought about chocolate when I was taking the course, too)
This dessert made me very happy at that night. I will go on a diet tomorrow~ (like always lol)
I wish I could share this with you guys. When you stop by a convenient store in Japan, look for this dessert!
Strawberries are my favorite fruits. I also think strawberries are the prettiest fruits in the world! For whom loves strawberries like me, dried or hydrated strawberries can be awesome food as they can be stored long time so we can enjoy them whenever we want!
Most of commercial or home-made dried strawberries have shape of shrunken strawberries like pictures below.
To me, dried strawberries like them are not pretty enough and satisfying (even though they are tasty) by comparison to this!
This is what I found in Tekashimaya, a department store in east Shinjuku area of Tokyo. On the day I visited the department store, there was a fair where many stores from different prefectures in Japan were presenting their featured products.
I was looking around the fair and the dried strawberries caught my eyes. It was very interesting that the dried strawberries almost looked like pieces of paper printed with strawberries and cut into the shape of strawberries. They well kept the shape of sliced strawberries even though they were dried. A stand of a store named ‘Sei-ryu-an (清流庵)’ was selling these pretty dried strawberries with its other products.
An old guy staff(or owner) of the store, who looked like he was in his 60-year-old, kindly greeted me and said that his store is from Nara prefecture,and he came to Tokyo for joining the fair. He said that he joins this fair only for some period in every January. The dried strawberries were so pretty, and it sounded like I can not buy them in Tokyo easily, so I bought one packet of the dried strawberries from the stand. I remembered that it costed about 5 dollars for each packet.
Even the wrapping for the strawberries was so gorgeous!
I have no idea how he or she (whoever it was) made it. It’s an art!
The strawberries were not only pretty but also tasty! When I opened the packet of the strawberries, the sweet strawberry scent came out from it (I was surprised when I smelled it as I had thought dried fruits did not contain that strong scent). They were sweet and sour like strawberry jam and chewy.
As the staff of the store said that the dried strawberries are good for salads, I made a salad for this Valentine’s Day dinner.
Below is a photo of my Valentine’s Day dinner table 🙂 I and my boyfriend also had ‘Kobe beef’ steaks on that day! >_< They were so good but amazingly expensive lol
I was glad that I bought these dried strawberries and cannot forget the kind staff of the store. I hope his store become more successful! ^_^ If you are interesting the strawberries and the store here is a link to website: http://www.kakiekubo.com/?p=652 (you might want to run the Google translating tool on the website as it is written in Japanese), phone number: +81-743-65-3906, and address: 3042 Ichinomotochō
Tenri-shi, Nara-ken 632-0004.
location of store, Sei-ryu-an (清流庵)
But I am not sure the store is still selling the dried strawberries now as I could not find information about them in the store’s website. But you can contact and ask them! (also not sure if they can speak English…if you want me to call and ask them about it, let me know :D)
There is a small and cute store I often see when I visit Tokyo Station. The store’s name is ‘Plame Collome’.
Plame Collome is located in west part of Tokyo Station. Below is the location of the store. There are two other branches of the store in Japan if you google it, but they are kind of far away from Tokyo.
location of Plame Collome
The store was selling many kinds of cute parakeet-themed goods. Below are pictures of them. Click the photos for seeing full-sized images.
Can you see a white stuffed bird doll in the picture? That was actually a hair pin! The bird hair pin was so interesting and cute to me, so I bought one last time I visited the store.
Look at cute parakeet pouches and frames in a picture below, too 🙂
And check this out! a bird-shaped correction tape! I love it. it’s so adorable!! >_<
In addition to bird-themed goods, the store was selling other cute animal-themed goods. You can see many cute animal-themed decorative dolls in a picture below. I feel like if I buy one of them, I would want to buy every doll here to make a animal doll collection >_<
I remembered my friend bought a panda doll here for his younger sister who loves panda 🙂
Below is a picture of animal-themed calendars. OMG I didn’t know that there was a hamster-themed calendar till I write this post…Such an item is very hard to find (little sad to me because I love hamster :'( ), so I am thinking about buying it next time I visit the store again.
There were also many other cute stuff such as cute cosmetics, clothes, and accessories in this store.
If you have a chance to visit Tokyo Station for taking a train or for going shopping in the First Avenue Tokyo Station, don’t forget to stop by this store! 😀
Below are pictures of my souvenir from this store.