Monday: Japanese Curry (in an Instant Pot)

Have you guys ever heard of the Instant Pot?  It’s basically a pressure cooker that can also be a slow cooker with lots and lots of settings.  I’ve never really been a big fan of pressure cooking because it sounds rather…scary, but this Instant Pot thing has been AMAZING so far.  Guys, I cooked Shoyu Chicken (it’s a local dish–chicken cooked in soy sauce) in 15 minutes…with FROZEN CHICKEN.  Since then, I’ve been on an instant pot roll.  I’ve made cheesecake, kalua pork, lemon chicken….but my favorite thing that I’ve made recently was Japanese Chicken Curry.  (This isn’t chicken cutlet [fried]–it’s almost like the stewed chicken that you get from Curry House)

SO EASY and SO QUICK.  In all fairness, it does take a while for the instant pot to heat up (aka the countdown timer doesn’t actually tick down until it gets to temperature), but I love that it’s only in one pot and I can pretty much start cleaning up while it’s cooking!  I don’t have to do a thing!  If you come across any amazing instant pot recipes, please feel free to share.

On subscription news:   I thought I was going to be getting rid of some subscription boxes this year but I was terrible and I ended up keeping most of them.  I got my Spring 2017 Avenue A box in the mail the other day and it was AWESOME.  I got a super cool pair of shoes, an entire workout outfit, and a bag (which is super cool but it’s white [not a fan] so I’m Poshmarking it).  My RZ Box of Style is coming in later this week!



The Happenings: April 2016

How have you guys been?  I am writing this at…5AM local time (Japan)–whenever I get here, I tend to wake up in the 4AM timeframe, no matter how late I go to sleep.  I am going to pretend that we’re at a nice cafe drinking coffee while I’m filling y’all in on the happenings–OH GOSH I just want some caffeine.

BUT ANYWAY I was also here last month–Okinawa though!  It takes about two hours to get there from mainland Japan (from Fukuoka, or three from Tokyo).  Coolest thing we saw while we were there was this HUGE aquarium (Okinawa Churami Aquarium) where there are WHALE SHARKS!  Osaka also has a whale shark but there were about 4 of them in this gigantic tank.  Do you see the little fishball making a slightly heart shape?  Awwww.

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Fukuoka: Jotenji Temple

Hi guys!  Japan is….humid.  Kyushu dodged a Typhoon last week (Typhoon Enka) but the air is super thick and heavy, still.  Last weekend, my coworker and I made a quick daytrip to Fukuoka, the largest city on the island.  I woke up ridiculously early to go temple hopping (I do it in Tokyo too) and I guess I’m the only one in this city who does this because it was EMPTY!  BUT the rock garden wasn’t fully open so not a total win.

This is the zen rock garden from Jotenji Temple–it’s dedicated to the monk who brought the concept of milling to Japan.  The Japanese eventually learned how to make udon, soba, pastries, manju paste, etc, with his knowledge.  This is my first time to a zen temple, I think, usually I find Shinto Shrines.  It was really neat!

I would love to do something like this at my house–its really peaceful to me.  Unfortuntely, I have a puppy dog who would love to romp all over the patterns.  You know how they have those tiny desktop zen gardens?  Maybe I’ll just stick with that.

Hope everyone has a great week!  It’s going to be thunderstorming in my area. D:  I think I am ready to go home.

Zuko (and Frank): Doggie Yukata


A Yukata is a casual summer kimono–its lightweight and usually cotton (compared to the heavy silks of a normal kimono).

I found this doggie yukata in a pet store in Ayase and I had to get it! It fits Frank a little better since he’s not as fluffy as Zuko but omg. The cuteness, I’m dying.

Stay cool, everyone!  Honolulu broke some heat records recently, time to break out the shave ice machine…

Japanese Skincare Review: Shiseido Anessa Perfect Essence Sunscreen SPF50

After my not too great experience with Shiseido’s Anessa BB Cream, I was really hesitant to try another Shiseido Anessa product.  BUT I was in a Japanese CVS-like store, and this was on sale.  So I bought it.  At the airport, they sell this for about $30+!  But I bought it on promo for about $12, so I figured what the heck.

Introducing: Shiseido Anessa Perfect Essence Sunscreen.

And here’s some product info:

  • A weightless daily sunscreen
  • Features a sweat- & water-resistant formula
  • Provides SPF 50 to block UVA / UVB to shield skin from harmful sunrays
  • Restrains melanin to prevent freckles & uneven skin tone
  • Can be used as a makeup base
  • Skin stays comfortable & youthful looking Perfect for all skin type except ultra-sensitive skin
  • To use: Apply to face as the final skincare step.
  • Dry skin & remove excess sebum before re-application.

From what I understand, the new design for the packaging is white, but it used to be a light blue.

After applying to my face, the first thing that I immediately thought was…that this product…

IS AWESOME.  Seriously, it’s that great.  The product might look a little weird/watery out of the bottle—it almost has no body (its almost entirely liquid, the opposite of a cream)—but it dries silky smooth.  It’s extremely light weight, I’m definitely impressed.  No greasiness at all and I could barely tell that I was wearing it!

Since it’s not a water-based product, you don’t get that ‘cooling’ feeling when you apply this product (you get that matte, dry-to-the-touch feel), but I don’t mind because I feel that this is a better product to wear for things like errands, shopping, etc.  The water-based products have a tendency to build up on the skin, after time (it looks almost clumpy, after multiple re-applications).

Also, upon application, it felt really hydrating.  I put on a really light moisturizer before hand, and my skin felt a little dry still.  After I applied the Anessa sunscreen, my skin felt perfect.

It does not smell like sunscreen at all (thank you, Japanese formulas!)—it smells almost like…powder.  Its a pleasant smell, not overpowering or irritating.  The lack of a sunscreen smell is one of my criterias when it comes to these high SPF sunscreens….I hope to only smell like sunscreen when I’m at the beach or doing something outdoorsy.  I’ve come to associate the smell with greasiness.  Meh.

The only thing I didn’t try was to apply makeup over it.  I think, since the finish is so dry/matte/smooth/amazing, it’ll be totally fine to apply my BB cream (with more SPF haha) over this.

So, Shiseido, you have definitely redeemed yourself in my eyes!  I thought your BB cream was rather disappointing but dang.  This sunscreen more then makes up for it.  I wish I bought two more!  Overall, 10/10.

PS: If you want to try a smaller (not full-size) version of this product, you can buy it on Amazon for $20  or $30 for the bigger version.

UPDATE!!!  There’s a new formula on the market!  I was in Japan in August 2014 and I noticed that I couldn’t buy this watery formula anymore—now it’s like a cream—the formula is thicker.  Honestly, I prefer the watery one better (it applied significantly lighter).

Here’s a link to my other Japanese Sunscreen reviews:
Biore Aqua Rich Water Essence SPF50
Kose Suncut UV Protect Spray SPF50
Shiseido Anessa BB Cream SPF50