Ichigo Daifuku Class by MCK Studio + My Gambatteru Family in Japan✨

Hello everyone~!

I just want to share these photos taken by Justin during our Japanese wagashi (Ichigo Daifuku) class last week! Finally found an opportunity to blog about Mimiclaire’s Kitchen Studio by Claire Ocampo.

To those who do not know yet, my talented sister-in-law Claire currently teaches at her own kitchen studio here in Saitama . Last year, she won first place in a national cooking contest organized by Japan Soysauce Association with her very own Adobo creation (read: Japan Times feature). My good friend Justin (who also works for JLM Store like me, Gil and Anne) is also collaborating with her as her kitchen partner / co-instructor. They work together as Chef – Food Photographer tandem. Justin got featured in Entrepreneur Philippines website last year and you can read about his passion for photography here.

I just realized that I haven’t really shared about this other business that we have on my blog (always sukajan / souvenir jacket, haha).. so here you go! 🙂

I’m just really proud that everyone in the family is “gambatteru” (always doing his/her best) & we are all achievers in life & work.

Whenever I mention “family” here in Japan, I don’t only mean about my older brother, his family & my cousin. I’m also pertaining to my friends turned family here (hi Anne & Justin!)

We all work together with different skills / talents but we all have the same & respective goals and dreams. ^_^

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With the ever-growing popularity of the Japanese Cuisine all over the world, many visitors to Japan have become eager to try out Japanese Cooking classes as one of the best ways to enjoy the local culture and experience the wonders of Japan’s food culture first-hand. Apart from the usual routine of visiting stereotype tourist spots and famous places around Tokyo, another way of getting deeper insights into Japan’s fascinating culture is to foster some local camaraderie with people who also share this Japan love. Mimiclaire’s Kitchen Studio is born out of this passion to share the love towards Japan’s food culture – carefully mixed with some Asian and Filipino food cultural perspectives and approach to cooking and making great food. Read more.

Daifukumochi (大福餅), or Daifuku (大福) (literally “great luck”), is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi (glutinous rice cake) stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans. (source)

It was my first time to make ichigo daifuku and it was so much fun! It was also Anne‘s first time! 😉

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Skulls, Angels, Cherry Blossoms and Dragons

Hi all!

Here’s the last of the photoset series that Ashley and I collaborated on. I miss her creative spirit a lot and how I wish I could do more shoots like this in the future with her too! :”) Universe, please let it happen!!

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Enjoy!

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Vintage Japanese SATORI Cherry Blossoms Sakura Skull Skeleton Hokusai Wave Embroidered Sukajan Souvenir Jacket

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Visiting Kurosuke’s House at Totoro’s Forest (トトロの森)

Hi everyone!

Yesterday, Yumi-san (a.k.a. my fairy godmother here in Japan haha) and I went on a mini hiking trip at Tokorozawa, Saitama! It’s amazing how there are SOOO many things to do, explore and discover here in Saitama Prefecture!

Been wanting to hike ever since my Poppy trip to Chichibu and coincidentally, Yumi nee-san wanted to visit Kurosuke’s house. I think that I did read about this news before (maybe from rocketnews JP? lol haha) and I also thought of visiting Totoro and Kurosuke.. but I had forgotten about it. Many thanks to Yumi nee-san for inviting me and for arranging everything! Her adventurous spirit and youthful energy are really inspiring and contagious.

Anywaaay, let’s get started! Here are the highlights of the trip! ^^

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Totoro-san contemplating about the meaning of life.

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Do watch out for the special Totoro Forest x #HobonichiWithMe video!

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Luckily, for a Saturday, it wasn’t too crowded!

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Seeing greens and trees just makes me feel more alive!

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Look how lush the trees are! They look like broccoli (and Yumi-san thinks so as well haha)~

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Many years ago, the local community started a fund for the preservation of the forests in Sayama Hills / Tokorozawa, Saitama. They called it “Totoro Fund / Totoro no Furasato Foundation”. Tourists are welcome to stay at Kurosuke’s house and you can donate by purchasing the special edition Totoro fund merch / or you can just leave any amount in their donation boxes. Up to this day, because of the pooled money, the organization has bought and acquired enough land to sustain and preserve the forests.

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Printed the maps / guides from their website. 

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Yumi-san woke up at 4:30AM to prepare our kawaii Totoro bento! OMG! *_*

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Chichibu Kogen Bokujo’s Red Carpet of Poppy Flowers (秩父のポピー)

Hello everyone!

Today, I went on a spontaneous adventure to Chichibu once again! It was actually my third time visiting Chichibu, also known as the home of the famous icicles & shibazakura. Currently, I’m on a mission to spend my “soulful” sundays alone to discover more beautiful parks & sceneries here in Saitama and its neighboring prefectures. ^^ It’s funny how I’ve changed so much over the years. Before, I would prefer going to Tokyo / Harajuku / Shibuya for the kawaii cafes and such (I’m still into cute culture of course) but now, the grandma in me would tell Kaila to just have a kawaii zen day, lolol. Your priorities in life really change when you age, hahaha.

I was actually having second thoughts whether I should run / jog as usual but my soul was craving for some nature / trees / flowers since last week…. so this adventure was ought to be fulfilled haha. I felt like I had to follow my inner voice even though my bed was hugging me so tight earlier this morning. XD

Anyway, let the photos do the narrating~! Enjoy!

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Unfortunately, there were no food vendors in the area. I was looking for a softcream / icecream stall! :))

My 2-yr. old icecream umbrella from swimmer should replace for now, haha!

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When on a journey in Japan, you must always bring folded sheets of paper with you! Stamp rally activities by JP train stations are just too fun!!

If you can’t find the stamp corner, just ask the train staff: “Eki stampu wa doko desu ka? (where is the train stamp?)” hehehe

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I always find it fascinating how these train engineers operate the train. So effortless!

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