Throwback Rice Packaging

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.

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Fresca: Gourmet Online Shop & Toby’s Estate Giveaway

L'Abeille Honey from Fresca.jp by oh my omiyage

Big news!!  I started working part time for Fresca – a new gourmet online marketplace in Japan.  Right up my alley, right?!  All of the food and products are thoroughly vetted for quality, taste, and brand image.  And guess who gets to do some of the vetting?  Yup – right up my alley, indeed :)

Fresca specializes in famous, hip brands, boutiques, and restaurants from Japan and abroad.  Perfect for expats or anyone who loves food and dinner parties!  Some of my favorites are Intelligentsia and Toby’s Coffee (finally.. good coffee in Tokyo!), common good, Azuman’s Sendai beef (grade 5: best in Japan) and wasabi that I wrote about before, and Nobu. Continue reading

Lately on Instagram…

Lately, my life has been filled with cooking, learning new crafts, and planning a party for this weekend! :)  Here’s some snapshots from this month:

Tokyohamster Instagram snapshots of Tokyo

  1. Homemade BBQ Sauce for Valentine’s Day Gifts
  2. I came across this adorable book on kuttari that I couldn’t put down!
  3. A new ramen shop opened by my place
  4. Peach blossoms are in season and on sale – perfect for the upcoming Girl’s Day on March 3rd.
  5. Beautiful saucers from Kappabashi – I wish I could take them all home!
  6. I found a little smiley face on my wine glass.  I love this idea for casual place cards.

Follow me on Instagram here :)

 

Japanese Washi Paper

Washi-Paper

As much as I love Japanese washi paper, I’ve never purchased it.  It’s one of those things that I’d love to have, but I know I’d cherish too much to ever use it!  Luckily, I have a sister in law who knows me very well, and she recently gifted me a washi paper set (*jumping for joy*)!   Aren’t gifts great that way?  If you’re lucky, you get things that you love but you’d never buy yourself :)

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There are a few types of washi paper.  This type is called Kozogami and is made from paper mulberry.  It’s very thick and durable and although it acts like paper, it feels like cloth!  A few of my favorite prints from the set are these adorable owls:

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… and these beautiful cranes.  They have such a wonderful shine!

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Tied with my new Japanese ribbon, each one would be equally perfect as a gift.  But there’s no way these are leaving my hands!DSC_0102

How do you use washi paper?  Or is there anything that you can’t bear to part ways with at home?

Very Personal 3-D Chocolates

3-D Chocolate Replica of your Face

It might be too late to personalize your chocolates for Valentine’s Day this year, but for next year, how about gifting 3-D chocolates of your face?  Leave it up to the Japanese to take this sweet Valentine’s Day tradition and turn it a bit too personal!  For just 6000 yen (about $68), 15 winners joined a 2-day workshop in Shibuya to make chocolate replicas of their faces using 3-D scanners, printers, and personalized silicon molds.

3-D Chocolate Replica of your Face

3-D Chocolate Replica of your Face

3-D Chocolate Replica of your Face

3-D Chocolate Replica of your Face

I’m not narcissistic enough to want my own facial mold, but I can see how this process would be great for making custom favors or decor. Personally, I find the idea of opening a box of chocolates to find my friend staring up at me a bit frightening.  And if you actually do eat the chocolate, does that mean that you really like or hate your friend?

Wishing you all a lovely Valentine’s Day :)

[all images via FabCafe]

The Liebster Award

I’m honored to have been nominated by the sweet G.E. Gallas.  So while I’m heading to the airport for my holidays vacay, I thought I’d tell you some tid bits about myself!  And for those of you not interested in me, here’s some holiday gift wrapping inspiration :)

1. What is the strangest dream you’ve ever had?
This is a dream/ghost story: I dreamt that I fell asleep on my desk and someone whispered “Jen” in a very airy, breathy manner right next to my ear.  It was so real that it woke me up immediately.  I looked around to find a closed bedroom door and an empty room.  I still vividly remember the feeling of the breath on my ear and neck and that eerie feeling that I wasn’t alone.

2. What is/was your favorite subject in school?
I loved observing people and conversations (some people call it staring and eavesdropping :P). It’s what I studied the most!

3. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My older cousin. I followed her around everywhere and was in awe of everything that she did. Our families used to call me her shadow.

4. Who is your role model?
I have 2: my parents.

5. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas. I love the month of preparation and excitement leading up to it, saying “Happy Holidays” to everyone instead of just “Thank You”, and how people are just happier during this season.

6. What is your least favorite vegetable?
I used to hate bitter melon (goya), but it’s grown on me.

7. What is your guilty pleasure?
A tradition of my ex-roommate and I: TV feasting! We would watch episodes of our favorite TV show back to back all day while feasting on a ton of take out!

8. Are you an optimist or pessimist?
Definite optimist. Pessimism annoys me.

9. What are your short-term goals/New Year’s resolutions?
Quit being lazy!

10. What did you last eat?
Oden finished by kiwi :)

11. Do you have any special and/or bizarre talents?
I’m very good at making stuffed animals come to life.

Rules

  • Post eleven facts about yourself
  • Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated
  • Choose eleven people to give this award to and link them in your post
  • Go to their page and tell them

I would like to nominate:

1. www.little-project.com
2. pdf34.wordpress.com
3. dogsmakeeverythingbetter.com
4. onmyyellowplate.wordpress.com
5. realitaliandish.wordpress.com
6. japankharma.wordpress.com
7. thefacesbox.wordpress.com
8. www.alotonyourplate.com
9. thelittleredhorse.co
10. cardinalguzman.wordpress.com
11. fukutoshin.wordpress.com

Questions to some of my favorite bloggers:
1. What food or dish could you not live without?
2. Honestly – have you tried dancing Gangnam style?
3. Salty or sweet?
4. What is the last thing you purchased?
5. If you won the lottery, what would you do first?
6. What will you do this New Years?
7. What do you love to eat but rarely do because of access, availability, lack of skill, etc?
8. Ocean or mountains?
9. If you were to write a biography, what would the title be?
10. Bath or shower?
11. Do you have a weird habit? What is it?

Yuutama Jelly “Brocade Balls”

Yuutama Agar Jellies from Japan

Yuutama Agar Jellies from Japan

One of the few omiyage I picked up this season is this paper drum filled with the most delicate sugar-coated jellies from Yuutama.  The agar used to make these jellies is derived from seaweed, giving it the crystal clear appearance.  It’s the same process invented in the 1600s for many Japanese traditional sweets.  Despite the different colors, they’re all flavored like yuzu – very refreshing and light.  I’ll just let the photos speak for itself.  They’re an amazing crystal clear jelly-jello hybrid surrounded by a very thin sugar coating.  Everything about this omiyage is beautiful.  Visit their site for even more eye candy (haha! see what i did there?).

Yuutama Agar Jellies from Japan

Yuutama Agar Jellies from Japan

Yuutama Agar Jellies from Japan