Tuesday, June 30, 2015


We went to Asheville the weekend before our wedding with the dude's family. We went to the Biltmore Estate and did some shopping. It was supposed to be a relaxed weekend, but we did a lot of walking! The Biltmore Estate was huge and it took us a while to complete the tour. I thought it was so cool that they had a pool indoors, but apparently it leaks now. It was also not filtered or treated with chemicals, so they would fill it up for parties and then had to drain it after each use. That is insane! There are no photographs allowed inside the house, and I didn't think I'd get away with sneaking a few photos because of the sheer number of people around me. For shopping, I got a couple 50's style dresses. :)
Biltmore estate

Monday, June 29, 2015

Wedding & Visa Update

I still can't believe we're married! I feel so grown up! It does still sound funny to say husband or hear wife said aloud. I never thought I'd be married before 30, it just seemed so adult. Adult-ing is for adults, haha. Anyway, it was a great day, and I just got approved for my spouse visa. It was such a relief, because I was so anxious that somehow Japan would reject my application! Here are a few quick wedding-related photos:

Flowers from our Japanese language tutors

Wedding bouquet from the language tutors. :)

Traditional wedding tea

Traditional wedding tea from a friend.

Vegan wedding cake #1 - chocolate, of course!

Vegan wedding cake - mom forgot to bring the cake topper people made by Hello Kiddo Handmade.

Cake people on vegan wedding cake #2 - again, chocolate!

Cake people!! We had a second party with some family members, so we got to use the cake people.

The Umstead hotel in Cary, NC, did a great job whipping up a vegan meal without any advanced notice! They even poured on the mushroom jous at the table, so fancy! The Umstead hotel did a great job whipping up a vegan meal without advance notice.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Hangout - Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

We can walk here, it is going to become a favorite spot. They're only open at night though. We have enjoyed all the food we've tried there, including the gyoza, fries, fried gluten, sweet and sour soy nuggets, and the tofu tartar (my favorite). Tofu tartar at The Hangout in Shibuya
Hang Out Cafe in Shibuya - vegan food in a super chill hole-in-the-wall place. :)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Eat More Greens - Azabu-juban, Tokyo, Japan

Curry and falafel plate at Eat More Greens in Azabu-juban area - the curry was better.
Vegan curry at Eat More Greens in Azabu Juban. Vegan falafel plate at Eat More Greens in Azabu Juban.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Super Secret Supper Club

The organizer of the shojin class held a small, "secret" supper club to say goodbye to Japan. The food was incredible. We had tofu "cheese" (tofu wrapped in cheesecloth, coated in miso, and allowed to age) as an appetizer. We had a tempura course. We had a sushi course. I remember there being a dessert, but I don't seem to have a photo of that.
Aged tofu brushed with miso at a shojin secret supper clubTempura course at shojin secret supper club.Sushi course at shojin secret supper club.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Shojin ryori cooking class

We went to another cooking class, but this was hosted by a non-religious group. We learned how to make shojin ryori food. The potato salad is one of my favorites. The brown-purple squares are arrowroot powder made into a gel/jello thing. The stew had potatoes, burdock root, and other savory elements. The organizer was in Japan to learn shojin cuisine by working at various temples, but he has since returned to the UK. Boo.
Shojin ryori meal :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

80's roller-skating

The dodgeball meetup held an 80's themed gathering at the Tokyo Dome skating rink!! SO FUN!!
80's rollerskating party at Tokyo Dome City The dude skates.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Because Tokyo is FULL of people, standing in a line is practically a sport. When a restaurant or shop is featured in a local magazine, the lines form as people want to try the cool, new thing. We saw a french fry shop in a local mag, and we ended up standing in line for an hour just for fries! I got puffy potato tots. They were sold out of falafel, the vegetarian-looking option for a fried "meat" to go with the fries.
The line continued to grow... We participated in the sport of queue-ing for fried potatoes. ;)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sakura - Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossom viewing is a HUGE social event. When we went to Yoyogi Park to check out the sakura, we were shocked by the sheer number of people. Japanese people are usually very reserved in public. We saw people bicycling and drinking wine, singing karoake, dancing salsa, doing marital arts with sticks, wearing costumes, and just generally being silly. It was really interesting to see people relaxed in public. We joined the Tokyo Giajin (foreigners) meetup group with some of the dude's coworkers. The sun was out, but it wasn't very warm. We had hoped some friends or family would visit for cherry blossom season, but we still had people to celebrate with thanks to the meetup group.
Sakura: cherry blossoms Hanami: viewing the cherry blossoms

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Plum Blossoms

Flowers are a big deal in Japan. People celebrate the blooming of various trees. Plum blossoms are an early spring bloom. I went with some of the dude's coworkers' wives to check them out. Gorgeous!
Plum blossom season is here. Plum blossom season is here. Plum blossom season is here. Plum blossom season is here. Plum blossom season is here.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Nikko - Toshogu Shrine

The stairs up to the emperor's tomb were intense! We saw a little old lady going slowly up the stairs with a family member holding her hand. Japanese people are still very active when old. :)
Nikko - Toshogu shrine Nikko - Toshogu shrine Nikko - Toshogu shrine Nikko - Toshogu shrine Nikko - Toshogu shrine

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nikko - Taiyuinbyo Shrine

We walked through the Taiyuinbyo shrine while in Nikko, and we really enjoyed some of the artwork. When we were leaving, we saw some monks burning ema votive tablets.
Nikko - Taiyuinbyo shrine Nikko - Taiyuinbyo shrine Nikko - Taiyuinbyo shrine Nikko - Taiyuinbyo shrine - burning old ema votive tablets Nikko - Taiyuinbyo shrine

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nikko - Rinnoji Temple

The Rinnoji temple was under construction when we were there. Some bugs ate the wood, so the temple was completely taken apart. Each piece was marked. The new temple will be really nice. We were still able to see statutes and artwork from the temple on display.
Nikko - shrine under renovations :( Nikko - Rinnoji temple - bugs eat the wood, that's why the temple is being renovated. Nikko - Rinnoji temple Nikko - Rinnoji temple Nikko - Rinnoji temple

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Nikko - Lake Chuzenji

This would be a beautiful spot to go in the spring or summer. There were paddle boats at the lake. We went up to the waterfall, but we only stayed long enough to take a selfie because it was so darn cold!
Nikko - on the way to see waterfalls! Nikko - waterfall at Lake Chuzenji Nikko - Lake Chuzenji

Monday, June 8, 2015


We went to Nikko for the dude's birthday back in December, but it was rather cold! We should have known not to go north in the wintertime. We saw many World Heritage sites, a waterfall, and a sign that monkeys may bite us and steal our food if we carry plastic bags around the Lake Chuzeni area. We did not try going into an onsen (hot spring), even though these are quite popular. We just couldn't fathom being naked around strangers!
Nikko Nikko Nikko - sign at the Lake Chuzenji bus stop Konbini lunch for the train ride Vegan lunch from a konbini (convenience store) in Nikko to take on the train - edamame, tofu stuffed with rice, mochi, pickled veggies

Thursday, June 4, 2015


We've been back in Japan for a couple weeks after a very long trip to the States for our wedding. We saw his parents and my family, went to Portland for a mini honeymoon, and went to Houston to see friends. It was a long but fun 3 weeks. I will start updating here again. :)
 photo 5c85e298-1404-4655-acbd-134ca5b49d15_zpsdnnzbxkh.jpg