El Torito Restaurant 

Mexican food in Tokyo.

You won’t see many tourists coz who comes to Japan to eat Mexican food? But, I was told locals come in droves. Good place for large groups!

Sari-Sari Stories

A friend suggested we have Mexican food the other weekend. I haven’t had mexican food in years and been dreaming of eating carnitas!! So off we went to El Torito in Shinjuku.

There wasn’t a line during lunch time which was perfect. But there were no carnitas!!

But there was this:Buffalowings by five or ten. Quite spicy but the blue cheese dip compliments the wings superbly.

And these:Mexican Potatoes (foreground) and Nachos. They basically have the same chili sauce except for the extra jalapenos on the nachos. The nacho chips were extra crispy and oily!

We had these three appetizers while waiting for people. A lot? Not really cause the dishes are small and we were famished.

We decided to share a jumbo fajitas set (🐷🐷🐷)Looks so colorful and tasted wonderful! Grilled chicken, beef, and shrimp and enough trimmings to go into the tortilla wraps.

The server…

View original post 48 more words

New Clothes for Vintage Barbies

When we last visited Manila, Little A inherited two vintage (aka old) barbies from her aunts. These came with clothes, tons of shoes and a suitcase. The clothes are faded, the hair is frizzy, but still, Little A plays with the dolls. 

I read somewhere that conditioner works wonders.  We tried it. Little A squirts half the tube, tried to weave her fingers between the tangled golden hair, washed the greasy substance off while spraying water all over barbie (and us). We use a small towel and wrapped their hair so water doesn’t drip down the floor. She squeezed the towel. Squeeze and squeezed some more. The hair, now less tangled but very shiny. Oh well. We can still sing “flower blooms” while pretending to comb the blonde mane.

The clothes are a different story. Barbie clothes are so short and tight. It’s really hard to put them on (it’s my job so I know what I’m talking about). But the cheap mama doesn’t want to buy new barbie clothes that are just as tight. With virtually no sewing and designing skills, I set out to make new clothes for the dolls. 

I took some  scrap fabric and fabric glue and started working. 


My first experiment was a short skirt so in case I fail, I’d still have some fabric left to work on.


I made pattern out of paper to check if I got the dimensions correctly. Cut out the fabric then glued the edges so it won’t fray. Then, I placed velcro strips to fasten the clothes.


Not clean but these are prototypes (wink)


Skirt


There we go. A new outfit but still short and tight.:/


With newfound confidence, I present the two new outfits I made. 


And as a happy coincidence, the back of the star dress can be another outfit!


The glue.

The fabric glue isn’t permanent and could be washed off. As far as I know, it’s a temporary solution to sewing issues. So I guess unless I learn to sew, these new clothes won’t get washed. 

I had to do these by trial and error. Maybe I should’ve searched for patterns online or read up on doll dress making. I’m sure there’dbe something   that would’ve made it easier. If you have any tips, please feel free to leave a comment.

Hokkaido Soft Serve Ice Cream

Summer treat!

Sari-Sari Stories

Summer is definitely here and what better way to enjoy it by eating Hokkaido’s finest soft serve ice cream! Hokkaido is famous worldwide for its rich and creamy dairy products and it doesn’t hurt that Hokkaido has wide variety of sites to visit. Spend a day (or ten!) going around Hokkaido to enjoy the food and the beautiful landscapes the place has to offer. It is hard to choose just one so here are the top three soft cream brands you should definitely try!

#1: Le Tao’s Soft Cream

LeTao Soft Cream

Le Tao is famous for their Double Fromage Cheesecake which is so heavenly and light that it feels like one is eating sweetened clouds. They have magically extended this magnificence to their soft ice cream offerings by serving vanilla, cheese and chocolate ice cream flavors. They’re so good that there is always a bee line in ALL their five (yes, 5!)…

View original post 320 more words

Featured Image -- 3281

Can You Tell Me How To Get To Elmo Cafe

Past the event but posting here for uhmm… posterity

Sari-Sari Stories

Takeshita Street is the new Sesame Street– coz that’s where you will find the pop up  Elmo Cafe.Similar to the My Little Pony themed cafe in Harajuko, Elmo Cafe is a limited time restaurant that serves thematic food and drinks, with stuffed toys to play with while eating, decals and decors all over the cafe and photo booth for you to go crazy over. They sell merchandise, too!
image

They have a small sheet that lists cafe rules.  Don’t get offended with the sheet; it’s to get things moving along if there are way too many people. The most important one is that you can only stay for 1-1/2 hours, which, I think is long enough to eat, snap some souvenir photos and hug the hey out of the communal dolls. The other item that I can remember is a request to only take photos after you’ve ordered.

As an suggestion, can they please…

View original post 282 more words

Bien-Etre Patisserie

Sari-Sari Stories

There’s always room for dessert, no? Right after having lunch at home, we decided we needed to go out. We decided to try out this neighborhood cafe (far from us!) that is getting a lot of good reviews.

Bien-Etre is a small sweets shopthat sits about 10 people. When we arrived, there were already 3 couples seated and so we chose the bar seats where the drinks are being prepared. I think it was the first time Little A smelled coffee! It was wonderful but we aren’t coffee drinkers so we asked for really cold water instead.

There were about a dozen or so cakes and entremets to choose from. I chose 2 desserts and Little A chose hers. DrG doesn’t get to pick! Hahaha, oh well!

Little A’s choice is Harmonie. She likes that it’s purplish!

The innards. Theraspberry mousse sandwiched between biscuit and chiffon cake layers thencovered with…

View original post 339 more words

OFW: Overseas Filipino’s Wife

Three years ago, I got married and subsequently packed up my life in Manila and got on a plane to live in the land of the rising sun with my husband of one day. I was nervous. I was scared. But, my heart was full of excitement and my feet, ready for adventure. I was officially a trailing spouse.

 

The term “trailing spouse” is attributed to Mary Bralove who wrote an article for Wall Street Journal in 1981 about businesses adapting to the needs of expat personnel and finding professional positions for the trailing spouse. The phenomena of trailing spouses are often seen in diplomatic, military, government positions and in the private sector, too.

 

Don’t get me wrong, though. I use the term without any derogatory intent. The term has been under fire of late because it connotes mindlessness and submissiveness. It ignores the ridiculous amount of discussion that accompanied the decision to migrate to another country. People prefer using “Accompanying Spouse”, “Spouses Traveling and Relocating Successfully (aka STARS) or my favorite term “Overseas Filipino’s Wife”. Whatever the preferred name is, moving to a foreign place can be hard. I knew that I was leaving everything behind –my family and friends, my career and everything that meant something to me.

 

Sacrificing Professional Goals

Oftentimes, the trailing spouses give up their professional career (and financial independence!) to keep the family together. It was very clear right from the start that becoming an OFW family was not an option for us. We decided that giving up my work is the best choice.

 

Loss of Identity

It might be a little hard to accept the new role. The trailing spouse is labeled as just that—a spouse who is trailing along. While in a Nihongo language class, I was taken aback when the teacher referred to me as the 主婦 or “wife”. I am more than just a “wife”, aren’t I? However, the government only recognizes me as a dependent and spouse of a resident.

 

Barriers

Language, culture, mobility barriers are just some of the issues a trailing spouse have to address. Expat packages usually arrange for classes, house help and drivers, and introduce the spouse/family to community. Local hires have to handle all these by themselves.

 

But, how do I prepare myself for the many challenges ahead? The inner geek inside me did what a geek would do—read up on other trailing spouses’ experiences. Here are some of the gems I found useful:

Bring one or a handful of mementos and nothing more. It can be photos, memorabilia from your trips, a favorite book, your kid’s favorite toy and blankie or something that reminds you of home. When you have moved houses and countries often enough, you will find it easier if you only bring the essentials. Things can be bought once you’ve settled in. Also, it allows you to reinvent yourself!

 

Settle in at your own pace. There is no need to rush into getting settled immediately. Take your time to research the best places for certain things—schools, restaurants, sports clubs, or parks.

 

Join community activities. It provides you opportunities to meet the people in the neighborhood, find out information you cannot get in any handbook and at the very least, enable you to enjoy activities with like-minded people. I met good friends by joining community language lessons.

 

Explore your new surroundings. You are in a whole new place— the food, the music, the culture are all new. Enjoy it with your family and new friends.

 

Stay connected. With technology’s help, everyone is just a swipe away from you. Call, send a text, or leave a video message! Live streaming, when appropriate, would let you join in the fun. Hopefully, it would make you feel less home sick. Missing your previous home isn’t all that bad, anyway.

 

Bloom where you are and enjoy your time away!

 

 

Hanami aka Cherry Blossoms Viewing

It’s almost springtime! Sakura forecasts state that full bloom will be on March 26.

Re-read a previous post about cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo. Share your own tips on the comment section!

valchoa

It’s my third year in Tokyo and I still get super excited when spring comes. Not only because it means winter is (almost) over, but also because it means cherry blossoms viewing is near!

Whether you’re visiting or living in Japan, a certain level of preparation is important to experience the best hanami outing.

Tips on Cherry Blossoms Viewing in Tokyo
(1) Know the flower and when they bloom.
It is quite easy to mistake plum blossoms with cherry blossoms. They don’t bloom at the same time. Find out the perfect viewing time through this forecast site.

(2)Choose the appropriate park.
There are many parks to choose from and they’re all wonderful and spectacular.

image

However, I prefer Shinjuku Gyoen because they don’t allow liquor and smoking. I’ve been to some parks that allow these and the crowd does get a bit rowdy. I also don’t want to inhale second…

View original post 454 more words