Visiting the House of a Edo Feudal Lord in Kagoshima, Japan

Kagoshima was one of my absolute favorite stops on our Japanese cruise. We easily traveled through downtown to catch the city bus and rode it all the way to the famous Senganen Gardens, built by the wealthy Shimazu Clan, one of the most powerful feudal clans during the Edo Period.

Inside the gardens were perfectly manicured bonsai, rows of humongous chrysanthemums and the old home of the Shimazus (please take your shoes off!). The gardens were so vast, if you are interested in visiting, I would suggest getting there as soon as they open as even on a weekday, the gardens were quite busy, even Japanese tourists were excited to see this historical site.


Japanese Stationery Pack Unboxing かわいいね!! (Lucky New Year Box)

I’m a huge fan of Japanese stationary (and everything kawaii) and I received a ZENPOP subscription box for Christmas. I made a little unboxing video so you can discover this little crate of Japanese treats with me!

The December pack was filled with Lucky New Year items and it certainly did not disappoint!

Here’s a list of everything in the box:

  • Panda schedule stickers
  • Japanese food mini stickers
  • Wagashi note pad
  • Wagashi eraser
  • Lucky Cat mini pen charm
  • Mamimu memo pad
  • Cinnamoroll jewel pencil
  • Blooming Clover pencil sharpener
  • New Year of the pig postcards
  • Daruma brush pen
  • Wagashi stickers
  • Lucky Washi tape

My favorite part of the subscription box is the feeling of getting a beautiful boxed filled with surprises. Although I didn’t like my pencil sharpener, I loved everything else and I would definitely recommend trying out this subscription box.

Let me know if you like my unboxing video in the Youtube comments and I’ll do my best to try making new content like this!

Also, if you love Japanese surprises, check out the website at to get your own pack of lovely stuff! They also sell snack boxes, ramen boxes and makeup boxes. The best part is everything comes straight from Osaka, Japan. URGH I WANT THEM ALLLLL!!


Terrace House Part 5 Episode 35 & 36 Recap

Things are really starting to move quick!

The house is pretty quiet as there is only Yui, Shusuke and Aya but the new roommates start slowly trickling in one night and the first to arrive is 20 year old, Kaito. He’s a professional skateboarder who hopes to bring some skateboarding love to Japan. He is also friends with past TH members and pro surfers Guy and Makun. Makun who was also Seina’s first TH love interest! So, anyway, Guy and Makun shared their stories with him and Kaito thought it would be super fun to join TH.

Next to arrive is 19 year old, Maya who is a hafu, half Japanese and half Sri Lankian. She’s a fashion student and she’s at TH to sort of figure out her dreams for the future. And TH is like the perfect place for that. Just like Shunsuke, she also thinks she might be bisexual (but this doesn’t play a part in her plotline at all for now)

Last but not least to arrive is Sota, who is now the oldest of the group at 25. He works for an IT company that does game apps and other services. He’s at TH for research purposes, he wants to observe the members of specific age groups and hopefully get new ideas for services. It sounds pretty funny, but this is like a genius idea for a company to send someone at TH for market research. Anyway, Aya thinks he’s super hot, I’m so happy for her, already back into the game after the Taka debacle.

It’s pretty refreshing to have a group of people so young and close in age, you feel like there’s going to be so much potential for juicy storylines!

Already, Kaito admits he is surprised by meeting Yui, that he finds her unique. Kaito makes plans to research places to take her, well… actually she’ll have to take him because he doesn’t have his driving licence.

While Yui and Kato go grocery shopping, Aya gets to spend some alone time with Sota. She says, since you have a driver’s licence, you could drive us around sometime. And Sota totally takes it the wrong way and he’s like so you want me to be your driver? And like bring you where you need to go haha, but no no Aya meant like ‘dates’. It was a bit awkward.

Even though Kaito seems like a young boy, he’s a pretty good cook and he made beautiful dumplings to celebrate the first supper of the new members. The new members are all off from work and school the following morning, so they decide to do something together. Maya laughs and says hilarious and this straight face Sato turns to her and says no it’s not hilarious. It’s ok to laugh but don’t say something is hilarious when you don’t think it is. Haha I don’t know if Sato is being serious here or that’s his sense of humor, but I love it! It made a totally ordinary conversation go WTF. Come on Sato, you are here to do research on these humans, let them live a little!

The next day Shunsuke pretty out right asks Sato to go eat together. Hmm… pretty interesting. Even though Sota looks pretty stiff and strict, the members really seem interested in him!

Yui sits down one on one with Sota and he casually drops that he was married before and has a son that he hasn’t seen since the divorce. Woahhh!! So his background story is, he married at 20 years old and they had a child, it was really hard but they sticked together because they had a child. Unfortunately, it really didn’t work out and they got divorced and he agreed to not see the child because it would be strange for the kid growing up. Yui actually confesses, she’s never met her father either. I had no idea that this was becoming more and more common in Japan.

The more time that Aya gets to spend with Sato, she is convinced he’s not the person for her. She feels he’s got this cold vibe and personally, I don’t see the two together anyway. Yui on the other hand, seems to be interested in Kaito and I love the way that when she talks about him or is with him, she kind of has this youthful innocence to her, that she originally had when she first arrive to TH but then lost during the Yui vs Mayu story arc. So we are seeing Light Yui come back and it’s awesome. She’s a lot more light hearted.

Maya and Kaito go have soba together and it looks so freaking delicious. They kind of discuss Yui and how cute she is, Kaito hints that he thinks she’s good looking. Maya says she notices how he is always looking at Yui, and for a second, I thought she was playing matchmaker but then Maya says well don’t forget to look at me too. What! That subtle of a move! I think Kaito might even have missed it.

During a girl talk in the ladies’ bedroom, Yui confesses that she doesn’t know where she’s going career-wise. Since the last episode that aired, viewers have been pretty harsh with Yui on social media. We followed the process of Yui looking for work and going on interviews during the earlier TH days, so people knew she was looking for work in the bridal industry and which companies she applied for. And on social media, people were saying that she was ill fitted for a job like that and that the company must be getting wedding cancellations after seeing Yui on TV. So Yui thinks that she shouldn’t work in the bridal industry after all to not have all that negative spotlight on her and eventually on her future company. Which is why she turned down 3 job offers. Both Aya and Maya think that Yui shouldn’t give up on her career. And I totally freaking agree! It would be one thing if every bridal company hated her as well, but the fact that 3 companies offered her a position, it shows that they saw past that and recognize she was actually qualified for the job. Yea, so what if Yui was kind of a butthole on TV, we all work with buttholes at our jobs or go to school with buttholes. There’s always going to be people you don’t like, but deep down, she is a nice person, it’s just that Mayu made her go crazy!

The next day, Kaito wants to do his laundry, but there’s Aya’s bras and panties in the laundry room, and he didn’t know what to do, so he just left haha, reliable Yui is there to save the day though and removes the intimates for him.

Kaito asks Yui out to watch him skateboard. Minutes later, Maya walks in to the room, and she seems visibly like uneasy? I think you can start to tell that she IS interesting in Kaito and she doesn’t like how Yui and him are getting along so well. She even asks: how long have you guys been hanging out. Awkward.

Yui and Kaito go on their skateboarding date and they seem like two little kids. She seems genuinely interested in watching him skate. He even shows her how to skate but it starts raining and they take shelter under the skate ramp, like little kids! Yui seems to really have a crush on him and it’s kind of intriguing, cause I didn’t think that she’d be interested in him because he’s kind of childish compared to Noah.

One evening, the guys are in the dining room and talking about Sota’s experience with the female members so far. And he’s like yea I talked a bit with Yui about how I’m divorced and have a child… And the guys are like WAIT WHAT. This guy is so hilarious. Like you know it’s pretty shocking, but he says it so casually like you should’ve already known and if you didn’t, well you dumb.

It’s the night of Maya’s birthday and it’s a pizza party! The members got her fancy perfume, champagne and flowers. Now almost everyone is 20 year’s old!

And you know what else happened at 20 years old? Finally, Sota tells the remaining members his OBVIOUS story of how he got married at 20 and had a baby at 21. Good, finally everyone knows and he can stop trying to surprise people with that.

Shunsuke reveals to Aya that he finds Sota attractive and wants to get to know more about him. Wow Sota is totally a magnet! So Shunsuke’s plan is to lure him into a bath together and then discuss potential date ideas. Good luck to him!

That’s it for this week’s review! Check out my channel and subscribe to catch the next episode of Terrace House: Opening New Doors recaps!

Terrace House Part 5 Episode 33 & 34 Recap

What happened on Episode 33 and 34 of Terrace House Opening New Doors? Uh, a whole lot!

So we left off when Shunsuke arrived and Noah and Taka were home alone. He tells them he is there to kind of confirm his sexuality, because he isn’t sure if he is bisexual or not. He’s never told anyone close around him, so he’s hoping by being out in the open in the TH, living with both women and men, he’s going to discover himself. The guys take it really well, there was no awkward moment or any discussion about like the living situation or bathing situation.

Even when Seina finds out, she says ‘wow not only do you double the fun, you multiply it by 10!

Shunsuke takes a bath with Noah and when Noah got out of the bath, he patted Shunsuke on the head. Which he totally loved!! Shunsuke admits to Aya, he finds Noah attractive.

But too bad for him! Noah and Seina decide they are leaving TH together since they are an official couple. Originally, Seina came back on the show to find her last love, she found another young guy to be her boyfriend and this time, he’s rich! Noah came to TH to save money to become a pilot or something, I don’t really think he accomplished anything, but it doesn’t matter, he’s going to be known as Seina’s boyfriend now!

Taka and Seina do an adult only supper (because they are the only members that are over 22). He drops a freaking bomb that he is actually interested in a girl outside TH that he used to work with 3 years ago. WHAT! This is totally out of nowhere, and super weird now that he gave Aya body lotion and a you are beautiful towel and told her they’d go out on another date.

So when he comes back home, he asks to talk to Aya right away, which is so wrong because
1 – She is eating her ice cream and obviously this is a serious talk so she can’t finish it and it melts
2 – Now everyone knows that he was talking about Aya at his supper with Seina, so you can pretty much deduct that Seina is the one who ‘makes’ Taka break the news.

To make this conversation even worse, Taka ends it with like ‘I hope it goes well, I want to marry her, I picture my future with her. I’ll do my best. Ewww don’t tell her that. You don’t have to kick someone who’s already down! Poor Aya! All this time we thought Taka was shy or embarrassed by the attention Aya was giving him, but in reality, he liked someone else. I’m super sad for Aya.

Seina and Noah leave. Taka decides he will confess his love to this mystery girl and then leave TH the following day.

You want to hate Taka for leading Aya on, but when you see how different he is on his date with the girl he’s secretly in love with. He is completely different, he’s super talkative, romantic, like he’s another man. And the girl he’s in love with, is totally the opposite of Aya, in terms of looks and attitude. She looks like a reserved, demure type of person. Anyways, Taka asks her to be his girlfriend and she accepts. Finally, Taka is leaving!

Shunsuke looks for a part time job at a restaurant, but I guess he didn’t get it because we never see that place again.

It’s Taka’s last night and Aya shows she would’ve been an amazing girlfriend because she plans a surprise for Taka’s last supper. The doorbell rings and she answers it all excited and a male voice says Hi, I’m moving in. The door opens and it’s Shohei and THE best TH couple in the history of time: Shubasa!
Yea, that’s right, the most thoughtful girl who just got dumped by Taka, plans a heartwarming surprise for him like that. She is super classy.

And another reason I can’t hate Taka is that the morning before leaving, he freaking cut the grass on the TH property and did a huge cleaning of the bathroom and kitchen. Wow! Where the hell was Seina and Noah to do a little cleaning before they left? They should’ve sanitized the entire playroom before going.

One night the three leftover roommates, Aya, Shunsuke and Yui are watching the latest TH episode and it’s the one where Yui acts pretty harshly towards Mayu. After watching the commentary, she felt horrible and she admits she didn’t realize how bad it was. I guess a lot of people are saying horrible things about her on social media and it really affects her.   

3 new roommates are arriving next episode and they are all younger. So there is going to be an all new dynamic in the house!

That’s it for this week’s review! Check out my channel and subscribe to catch the next episode of Terrace House: Opening New Doors recaps!

Eating all of Kobe – Tasty street food in Arima Onsen and Kobe Chinatown

I love beef, I love steak, I ate it rare. I hope one day to live in Kobe, Japan and be able to eat all the beef, one day at a time. This is my retirement plan.

Our Celebrity Cruise ship stopped in Kobe and to my pleasant surprise, this beautiful town is much more than beef!
A total must visit: Arima Onsen. It is a hot spring town, it’s a bit touristic, but you will even see Japanese people come here to visit! Although I did not use an onsen, I did use a free foothbath with Arima’s ”golden water” and I could already feel invigorated after 15 minutes. There’s a lot of great tiny shops here and the town actually has maps displayed a few places so you do not get lost in the intertwining uphill roads.

There is also Kobe Chinatown, there is a lot of street food and very clean. I suggest that you be a little picky with your food choices here, a lot of restaurants have waitresses stand in front of their doors and try to wave you in. But if the restaurant or stand is empty, it might be a sign! I ate a few sub par things in Chinatown, but when I went to shops with a lineup, I was not disappointed!!

I really enjoyed the touristic areas of Kobe. Since we were there during the week, I never felt it was too crowded and I could easily stroll around at my leisure, which is the only way to travel and eat!

My personal motto: Enjoy eating everyday!

Japanese Tea Tasting in Montreal

You don’t have to travel to Japan to enjoy their beautiful culture. Earlier this month, I visited Salon de Thé Oasis in Montreal to experience their tea tasting workshop and it was amazing and authentic! 

As someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, I’ve never experience the matchmaking of wine and foods, but the tea master explained to us that tea in Asia is paired similarly. Our group of about 15 people gathered around the shop to  listen to the history of the teas we sampled and the instructions we were given to properly infused the teas on our own. 

And this is super serious business guys, different teas need to be infused at specific temperatures and times, comparable to wines that need to be chilled or uncorked before drinking.

We tasted some wonderfully luxurious teas that I will probably never drink again because they were very expensive (we’re talking about $1 = 1 gram) or very rare (Japanese red tea) but I’m just happy to have tried them all.

The tasting ended with a frothy matcha latte and beautiful mochi. 
Tea master pro tip: do not use animal milk in your lattes as the fat removes all the beneficial properties of the matcha. Instead, try almond or soy milk.

So, if you enjoy a good cup of green tea, I definitely recommend booking a spot at one of Salon de Thé Oasis‘ many workshops in 2019. 

Sipping on some delicious tea,