Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Hooptie

Tiger Gyoza

Dave and I are spending the weekend in Tokyo at the New Sanno Hotel. The SRF Holiday Party is on Saturday night. I was hoping to spend Friday night enjoying illuminations in Tokyo. Unfortunately, the rain spoiled our plans. Instead, we decided to grab dinner near the hotel. We went to Tiger Gyoza.

I have heard many great reviews of the restaurant. Factoring in the rain and the proximity of the restaurant to the hotel, it made perfect sense.

We ordered the coriander (cilantro) Gyoza and fried chicken.

The Gyoza was covered with delicious fresh cilantro and a cilantro pesto. Although it was delicious, it could have been better if it was pan seared after boiling. The Gyoza was only boiled and that made it a little too mushy. I’m not sure if that was normal or it might have just been the type we ordered.

As we walked back to the New Sanno, we walked past a lot of Ginkgo Trees.

On the drive up, Dave commented that the fallen Gingko leaves looked like potato chips. He’s so right!! I couldn’t stop laughing! (And yes, we actually drove the Hooptie to Tokyo!) The scariest part was fitting into the tiny parking spot in the basement of the hotel.

I was also thought about the last time I stayed at the hotel. It was when the Cummings were visiting and we also had a rainy day. Delaney was not happy! What is it with the New Sanno and rain? I’m hoping it clears tomorrow so I can drag Dave to a couple Christmas Markets!


Dave and I have been looking for a cute cafe table and chairs to replace the set we inherited a few months ago. The weathering had caused the inherited set to become a little dilapidated. And well, I broke one of the chairs the first time I sat in it! Ha!

We attempted to have a set shipped from Amazon but, it was too large. We checked the NEX on main base and didn’t have any luck. We also looked at the Homes store in Yokosuka this weekend and the set they had wasn’t what we were looking for either. Finally, it occurred to me to check IKEA! I went to the IKEA website and was able to find a set I liked. I sent Dave this picture. He gave me a thumbs up.

Simultaneously, I asked the friend I made last week to be my co-pilot and help me navigate to Yokohama to purchase the set. Here was the driving route to Yokohama. It wasn’t too bad if you ignore the crazy circle overpasses and numerous tunnels.

I picked up Katie in the Hooptie and off we went. I should also mention, I did my research prior to heading out. On our run this morning, Dina suggested I find the measurements of the boxes and measure the Hooptie before going. Excellent advice. Everything showed evidence of fitting without a problem.

We arrived at IKEA around 12:30. We could see the iconic blue and yello sign from the road the expressway. We were thrilled to have made it! 

The outdoor furniture I was looking for was on display at the entrance!

This was the first time I have been to IKEA since I was in high school. I wasn’t really familiar with the procedure for purchasing items. However, using my amazing Japanese detective skills and Katie’s help, I was able to decode the process! I didn’t use the App, I went “old school” and wrote my items down!

I also picked up a map in case we got lost… haha.

I never found the set of chairs I originally looked at online. But, I was ok with going I for an upgrade. My American size preferred the sturdier chairs pictured on the right and I loved that the table could completely collapse down.

Although these chairs were a much better price, they were uncomfortable and not nearly as sturdy.

After following the Store route, we picked up my items and went to the checkout. The store map hanging from the ceiling made me laugh!

Easy enough! Hey, cute cat pillow! Kawaii! Yes, that was my impulse purchase. I bought two for ¥550 ($5.50) each. I mean cat pillows in Japan!

Everything fit beautifully into the Hooptie!

I spent about an hour assembling everything. I absolutely LOVE our new entertaining area on our front patio. It’s adorable and I don’t feel as though I’m going to break the chairs!

Depending on where you sit, you can have a beautiful view of the front porch garden. I’m looking forward to entertaining you soon!

Yokosuka Shobuen

I had one more garden on my list to view wisteria, Yokosuka Shobuen. Yokosuka Shobuen is actually known for being one of the largest iris gardens in Japan. The wisteria is an added bonus. The garden has over 140,000 iris. They were beginning to sprout but, not yet in bloom. Guess, I will be returning next month!

The garden opened at 9:00am. I decided to drive because my research told me there was plenty of parking. I arrived 9:30 and was ahead of the crowds. Here was my route.

The funniest part was the Japanese parking attendant coming over to my car after I parked. Following the protocol, I backed into the spot. However, I parked the Hooptie a little crooked. The attendant came over and asked me to re-park with her assistant, of course. Haha! If she only knew crooked parking is pretty much how I roll. Or stop rolling for that matter.

Moving on to the garden. The entry ticket was self-service. Fortunately, there was English.

Also, remember yesterday I mentioned the carp streamers being hung for Children’s Day. There were some at the garden entrance.

The wisteria was delightful. The garden wasn’t very large, I was able to walk around the entire garden in about an hour. I took a lot of pictures. I’ll share my favorites. Hopefully, not too many.

Here is the view when entering the garden. The beds in the foreground are the iris.

The first stop was the wisteria arbor.

The path then led to the wisteria garden. There were so many different colors. The scent was intoxicating!

The path then took me through a wisteria tunnel. So much pink and purple! It was magical.

The next area was the trellis of Japanese wisteria. There were actually several trellises. One was set up for hanami.

The others were a little lower and beautiful as well. More pink and purple!

I couldn’t resist a wisteria selfie.

My other favorite thing to do was to literally stand under / inside the wisteria.

In closing, a few close-up shots of the blooms. Do you have a favorite? Pink or purple?

I Thought You Would Get a Kick Out of This

I was asked to be the substitute teacher at an English class in Zushi. It is about a 15-minute drive from my house. It is a little bit more of a hectic drive than normal because I have to drive behind Zushi train station. In this area, there are a lot of pedestrians and bicyclists on their way to the station to catch their train. So many people combined with the narrow road sometimes makes me feel like I’m driving on a sidewalk! Also, on this route, I have to cross three different sets of train tracks. Often the traffic is blocked at these crossings making the drive take a little longer.

The class is two hours long. The structure of the class includes each person discussing an incident from the past week for ten minutes. After each person has talked, I read a story selected by the teacher. The story is loaded with a variety of idioms. I explain the idioms and then ask questions to check for their understanding of the story and idioms. One of the idioms from the story today was “to get a kick out of something.” One of my questions to each student was to tell me a time they got a kick out of something. Each shared with me an antidotal story, which were very entertaining.

The road leading up to her neighborhood was lined with beautiful Sakura. 

I thought you might get a kick out of a short video I took driving up the street. You can really hear the Hooptie engine revving as I climbed the hill! I know the video takes a little longer to load. I hope you are able to view it nonetheless. I think you will get a kick out of the Sakura tree blossom tunnel as well as me driving on the left side of the road! Please enjoy.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén