Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Best cheap sushi in Tokyo

Looking for a fun sushi experience while in Tokyo? While sushi trains in Japan are so cheap and pretty fun, nothing beats the freshness and taste of the nigiri made right in front of you by professional sushi chefs as they are called.

The place we found was a standing sushi bar and was full of business men probably on their way home. Scott ordered a beer and I got a miso soup. We then just had to tell the chef behind the glass what we wanted and he would make it up and place it down in front of us in seconds. For those who don't speak english (they had an english menu BUT), you could get away with just pointing at the fresh fish behind the glass and indicating how many pieces you want.

One serving of nigiri (two pieces) was only 150yen whereas in other sushi bars they are start at 600yen and climb fast. Scott and I were button-busting full at only 2500yen for the two of us!!

We found this tiny place near Shinjuku station West exit. It is in the same vicinity as the Electrical street (Yodobashi Camera building etc) and is on the same street as the starbucks, but a block closer to the station

Japanese ryoukan (traditional inn) dinner and breakfast

Scott and I recently spent a night at Hotel Konansou in the town of Kawaguchiko on one of the five lakes near Mt Fuji.
I wanted him to experience a traditional Japanese inn, hot spring bathing, see Mt Fuji and eat a full Japanese spread. We succeeded! Our room was all tatami flooring (woved straw) and had its very own hot spring tub outside looking out to Mt Fuji. It also had a western bathroom, toilet, tea facilities etc.

Dinner was served in our room, and as usually, was huge and varied! We had a hot pot of beef and vegies, a hot plate for the abolone, squid and wagyu and other small dishes included a crab miso soup and groud pork dumpling. Lots of seasonal vegies, some pickled, sashimi, a huge oyster, sweet potato, chestnuts and different tofus.

Breakfast was a similar afair but held in a common dining hall. As you can see, it is all about many small dishes of different things. The hot pot on the right had tofu, cabbage and some meat. Such breakfasts often include a piece of salt cooked salmon, pickled vegetable, miso soup and small egg sweet egg square.

Staying in a RYOKAN is definately reconmended to those travelling and wanting to experience something really authentic. It is much more expensive than your average hotel, but such a special experience and a memory you will have forever!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The day of the 10km race!

This morning was the Daito-City local 10km race event. I had heard about it a few months ago and since then have been running 5-6 mornings a week in hope of being able to run in it from start to finish. The last time I did a 10km race was back in Australia where I walked and ran it in about 1hr15mins.
A beautiful day for a local funrun. Right in the middle of Autumn, the wind was fresh and crisp with a cool breeze, yet the sun beat down bright and warm!

Ran into Mr Ushijima who I run with in the mornings if we happen to bump into eachother (He lapped me and must've placed fairly well in the men's division.) So many of the morning run regulars were there to chat with while warming up and shout "ganbatte anna!!" as they overlapped me haha. It made me think how great it was that I had made some friends completely seperate to host family and school life. Like I really was apart of this local community.

Me waving at hostfamily and some of Mama's students who also came to watch!

The final stretch

An awkard wave. I was secretly thinking "wonder if I can pass this guy past the finish line"

and...I did haha..different divisions but it made me push that little bit extra:p
 Could not get this image to flip over for me! But it says i ran 10000m in 57min14sec, placing 9th in the women's open division.
I ran at about 5min36secs which is on the fast end of my morning jogs. Trying to keep up with people up ahead and being cheered on by all the spectators and volunteers around me made it easier to keep up this pace
 The whole family came to watch me run. Knowing they were up ahead waiting made me keep running when it started getting tough. They would jump up and down and wave and chase me with a camera each time I came past. Was the greatest energy boost!

9th- the only name not written in kanji haha

Was great to see Baba on the side lines too:) The family often joke that my legs are almost up to her shoulders haha

Home again home again jiggity-jog.
 Pizza base being kneaded in the bread machine, and the family has just ducked out now to grab some topping ingrediants. I've had a nice hot shower and am back in the trackydacks for an afternoon of Japanese study!

Now that I've tackled the Daito-City 10km funrun, I'm thinking it's time to aim for the Goldcoast Half Marathon (Aug 2013)...maybe:p

Friday, November 2, 2012

winter, Bloglovin, pinterest, weight journey support

Hey guys. I got to uni a bit early this morning and my phones about to die so I thought I'd run up to the computer lab to charge it and fit in a blog post as it has been a while. AHH my hands are frozen I can't type fast. It's meant to be max 15degC today...coming from Australia this is like the height of our winter! Whereas it is still technically Autumn here in Japan. I struggled to find something weather-appropriate this morning but eventually managed to get some layering happening, which is serving me well so far.

Taken in the bathroom at uni to send to my boyfriend haha. He mustn't forget how cute I am...:P
Does anyone out there have any tips for winter dressing?! I have no experience what so ever.

The reason my phone is so flat is that I always spent the majority of my 1.5hr train commute flicking through recent posts of my favourite blogs through the 'Bloglovin' app and 'Pinterest'. I find this activity a great way for me to start my day. It makes me feel a little connected with the non-Japanese world. I mainly flick through health blogs, looking at recipes I could try here or when back home, yoga and running tips, which keep me motivated to keep it up while here. I stumbled across a cute blog, through a motivational Pinterest photo, that is written by a girl embarking on a new weight loss journey. Her posts are so honest and real and she seems really keen to rally up support for herself but also as a way of supporting others. I love these sorts of reads on the train. If you are looking for some support and motivation in your own new health/lifestyle journey, I recommend getting involved with her new blog here! 

Ahh late for class!!!!! ttyl

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Get out of the house!

So my running has been going great. I am now varying from 4km on a busy day to 7km on a relaxed morning. Aiming to hit the 8km mark this Saturday:) 3.5weeks til the 10km race!

Apart from that, all I've been doing is sitting at my desk trying to study Japanese (exam 4 weeks away), which is often broken up with A LOT of net-surfing different running websites, health food blogs and ideas for things to do when Scott gets here (3.5 weeks!!). So by the end of the day I feel like I've spent the WHOLE day at the computer doing..shit all. This really depresses me.

Yesterday I was up at 5:30 and went for a great 7.5 km run. Had showered, enjoyed a raw pumpkin, persimmon and oatmeal thickshake, and was at my desk, text books open by 9.

I actually did pretty well, staying pretty focussed on my grammar and kanji work books and before I knew it, it was 12:30 and I was hungry! So I went down stairs and enjoyed a deliciously bowl of orange, carrot, spinach, pumpkin and parsely soup. Yum yum, full tummy. Felt tops by this point of the day.
But I did not want to return upstairs to my room of poopy study. So I figured I should have a half a hot chocolate as I'd been so good today. This one half a hot chocolate turned into, nibbling on sugary granola in front of my laptop in the kitchen. No one was home so I felt free to raid the snack box of spiced rice crackers and salted peanuts. It hit 2:30pm and I was still down stairs netsurfing. Feeling really guilty about 1. lack of study and 2. the mindless snacking. Then the boyf rang!!

As always he saved the day. He was quite set in the opinion that I needed to get out of the house and do something that made me feel like I was giving myself enough of a break, so that by the time I was done I would feel ready for real study, and not the half-hearted stuff I've been complaining to him about all week. When Scott suggests something I always feel like I should do it even when I really don't feel like he sees things from the outside, and can see what will make me happy in the end. Grrr.

He suggested I ride my bike to the gym and spend a litle time in the sauna and hot baths. I figured that was a great idea as the bike ride would blunten my granola-guilt. As always, I took this one step furthur and spent 20mins on treddy on max incline, then did 20mins of arm strength machines. I felt healthy and alive again! I topped it off with 5 minutes in the sauna talking to some Japanese grannies about how cute the actor on Tv was, and soaked for another 10. I was pretty much smiling the whole 20min bike ride home. Felt like me again. I got home and studied PROPERLY for a good two hours before dinner...and then PROPERLY took the evening off with a movie and some blogtrolling.

Proof to Scott I was out!
Just quickly, I tried this method again today, studing PROPERLY in the morning, then when things at the desk started to get slack I picked up the books and studied across the road in the park for a good 90mins.
 Now my study is done and I am going to enjoy lunch and watch the next episode of The Compassionate Brain and go for my run. Once the run is done I'm sure I'll be in the right mindset for some a good two hours study before dinner!

Moral of the story is:

1. If you want to get things done properly you must take breaks properly.
2. Get out of the house at least once during the day to clear the mind. Not through net-surfing, channel flicking and eating!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Apple crumble breakfast thickshake

I discovered Green Thickies while drooling over food-porn on Pinterest yesterday. It is a fantastic blog full of raw food recipes using a variety of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, to make delicious, wholesome thick smoothies. The creater of the blog also shares her amazing weightloss and illness-recovery journey which she gained through switching to thick yummy smoothies for breakfast and lunch.

Not following any particular recipe, but using them as inspiration, I gave it a go for lunch yesterday. I threw together some pumpkin, carrot, cabbage, green tea, sesame paste and tuscan spices, which when heated, turned out to be a really filling, tasty and warming soup. You can control the thickness of the meal with how much water you add. I liked it thick enough to eat with a spoon.

This morning again, I just used what I could find to make a thickie for breakfast.

I'm sorry I didn't take a photo as it was sooo yummmy. Was sweet enough, had great texture and so filling! It was so good I wrote a note on my phone to send to family and friends haha.

FYI-- 351 calories, 4g fat and 9g protein (thank you soy flour).

Can't wait to try more over the next few months as it get's colder!

10km running challenge Week 3

Week 2's performance? Two thumbs up! I am very proud of myself actually.

Ended up running 5 days, and power walking only one. I hung around the 4km zone most runs until Saturday I decided to run with a duration goal as opposed to distance. I set my goal for 45mins which to my suprise got me to 6.8km! I would not have thought I was ready for a 6km run last week but apparently I was! So I tried again this morning with the 45min goal and reached 7.3km (yesterday I was stopped mid-run by some elderly women for a chat about where I came from and why I was in Japan haha).

47mins ran 7.36km

So I can officially announce that 4km is my new 'Short Run' hehe yay!

legs up in the air. clear blue sky
Recovering this morning after the 7km

Week 3's (rough) running outline

Mon- Rest day

Tue- am Power walk (40min) or short run (4km)
       - pm 30DayShredL2/own strength

Wed-  Run 6km, abs and stretch

Thur- 45 min run (7km?), stairs

Fri-    Power walk (40min), 30DayShredL2/own strength

Sat-   Run 6km, abs and stretch

Sun- Long run (8km!?!), Big stretch.

Four weeks left until the big day:)