Hey y’all! (Do you hear my southern twang?) There’s been a lack of posts because… I’ve moved back home to Atlanta! It’s been a whirlwind of moving and settling in. Thank you to all who have followed me in Tokyo. Although I’ll be posting less on Japan, there’ll still be lots of parties, food, travel, and DIY. My first project back was my dear friend’s son’s firefighter-inspired 4th birthday party. It was peak summer in LA so I had decor to match – bright, happy, and fun-filled! There were separate tented areas for the kids and adults, brought together with yellow and red decor.
What kind of cake do you have for a firefighter party? A fire engine of course…
.. topped off with adorable minions.
And matching water bottles!
I’m kicking myself for not taking photos of the party favors – fire house books and Diddy Reese cookies in custom-made fire engine canvas tote bags.
The topping of the party? A real fire engine complete with real firemen from 5 Alarm Fire Engine. These guys were awesome – great with the kids, prepared with tons of activities, professional, and patience galore for the 40+ (yes FORTY!) kids that attended. I highly recommend them if you’re having a similar party in the LA/OC/Inland Empire area. The kids and many of the parents were thoroughly entertained with fire hose water shooting, tug of war, dressing in all the gear, and fire engine rides around the neighborhood. Fun for everyone!
Tomorrow, the adult tables! :)
I’m dreaming about the Mast Brothers cupcake I had last month in Williamsburg. The cake itself was alright, but the frosting? Wow. Creamy, buttery, deep chocolate decadence!
I’m in love with this black and white striped bridal shower featured on The Sweetest Occasion. It’s rare to see a bridal shower decorated with mostly black, but with those pops of pink are such a great feminine contrast.
Those stripes and pops of gold? *swoon*
See more over at The Sweetest Occasion.
Spotted: awesome throwback rice packaging. I’ve been seeing this packaging more and more around town from specialty Japanese food and/or rice shops. This 2kg bag of rice from Arobo in Hiroo is a more modern take on the design.
Note: Japanese rice is a great omiyage (souvenir). It’s flavorful with a great texture that’s hard to find outside of Japan – especially if it’s from this year’s harvest! Visit one of the specialty rice shops like Suzunobu in Meguro.
Planning to escape to Taketomi? If you’re ready to splurge, Hoshinoya is the hotel for you. Being a historical island with very little development, this is a place for star gazers.
At night, it looks magical!
All photos via
You don’t think I’d post about Taketomi without some foodie posts, did you? :) My husband is a noodle fanatic so he tried to get as many bowls of okinawan soba in his stomach as possible. Sobatei Takenoko on the northwest side of ‘downtown’ Taketomi was one of our favorites. Friendly service, a homey atmosphere, great noodle texture and homemade soup make this place a must-eat! Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw from West Pier, which makes it convenient too!
There is a casual indoor area with a few tables and a tatami area and an outdoor patio with picnic tables. If you choose to eat outside, order and pay first at the cashier. Don’t forget to add awamori hot sauce that’s the specialty in Okinawa!
Yup that’s my husband’s behind. He can never wait for my photo ops when it comes to eating noodles!
そば処 竹の子 （そばどころ たけのこ）
Open 10:30-4; 6:30-12 or until noodles are sold out
It’s surprising that Taketomi is so low key. With beaches like this, I’d expect more of a Waikiki situation, but that’s not the case at all. There are no beach hawkers or over priced vendors. In fact, you won’t even find a vending machine. It’s as if you’ve discovered a pristine paradise that no one knows about yet. Just park your bike rental and enjoy.
There are a few beaches on Taketomi, but my favorite is Kondoi Beach (photo above). Even though it has crystal clear water, it’s too shallow to swim or snorkel. During low tide, you can walk to a sand island quite a ways out. With a view of both Ishigaki and Iriomote Islands and white sand, I could spend all day here. My advice? Pick up a bento from town and have a picnic.
Another beach that’s less for picnicking and more for sightseeing is the West Pier. It used to be a customs port for all boats entering the Yaeyama Islands, but it was moved to Ishigaki a few hundred years ago. A mildly-dilapidated concrete pier still stands where you can walk out to a beautiful view (photos below).
It’s a nice walk up the mossy coastline.
Further down the west coast is Kaiji Beach where you can find sand shaped like stars, broken off from ocean coral. Bring along a piece of black paper, which makes it easier to separate the stars from the regular sand. Taketomi is definitely doable in a leisurely day. It was the highlight of my trip to Ishigaki!