Nao Hiro Rainy "Happy" Days

Nao Hiro Rainy "Happy" Days
Nao&Hiro Rainy days Wall paper available for download!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Can the puppies help people? -Nao

"Tsuyu" is rainy season in Japanese. We'll have lots of raining in June in Japan. I really don't like rainy days, but if you put your mind in a right place, you can have fun even it's raining! Actually, it was raining for a couple of days in south cali about a week ago, and I saw a huge rainbow in the sky. I haven't seen a rainbow for a long time, so I was so excited!

Anyway, today I'd like to talk about my pets, Ninja and Buddha. They are really funny dogs. Ninja sounds like he can do lots of Ninja moves, like running really fast or jumping high, but actually my Ninja cannot even swim! I took him to a dog beach a couple of months ago, and he kind of fell in a tide pool, which wasn't deep at all. I saw his panicked face and he started to sink... I had to scoop him up from the tide pool. He was totally fine, but yeah, Ninja doesn't really live up to his name. And, Buddha, he is a barker. When you hear his name, Buddha, you imagine he would be so calm and peaceful, right? Nah, he is the aggressive one. I named him Buddha because when I got him he had the biggest belly in the puppy pan. Probably he was bullying other pups around and wasn't let them eat the food... that's maybe why he had such a big belly. But he is a very good boy and sweet puppy now. My love must have cured his mean spirits! Haha. I think it is great that there are many dog parks here. I have never seen a dog park in Japan. I think Japan is such a small country that they couldn't use the limited land to make parks for just dogs. Japanese dog owners walk their dogs in the neighborhood, so I guess it is ok, but dog parks are awesome! All the dogs can interact with each other, and make dog buddies. :-)
So, I have been thinking about making Ninja and Buddha "Therapy Dogs." There are some classes that they have to take, and they also have to pass a test to become certified therapy dogs. I don't think they can pass the test now, because they don't come when I call them... unless I have treats for them. Ha ha. But I really want to train them and take the test. When they become therapy dogs I'll volunteer at children's hospitals or nursing homes. So, they can make these unfortunate kids and elderly feel better and happier:-) My friend Jarikun thinks they might need another therapy after hanging out with Ninja and Buddha... haha Well, I will see... First, I have to find a training school for them!

"Do at least one good thing for others everyday, then you will be happier than yesterday." This is from my mom, and I believe it is true. If you are nice to others they will treat you nice as well:-)

Have a great sunday, everyone!


Monday, May 5, 2008

Kodomo no Hi (Boy's Day) -- Nao

Hello everyone!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It's so cool that Americans can enjoy the holidays of other countries all around the year. Japanese do cerebrate American holidays, like Valentine's Day, Christmas Day, but these are mostly for couples.

Well, May 5th is a boy's day in Japan. 5 years old boys usually dress up in a kimono. Oh boy, they look so cute! For the Girls' day, we decorate our houses with dolls, and for the Boy's day we place a Kabuto (Samurai helmet and armor). If there is no boys in a household people do not really do anything on this date, but it is a national holiday, so everybody can enjoy the day off. I am not sure if you ever heard of this long holiday in Japan, called "Golden Week." We have about 4-5 days off from May 3rd, and it is like spring break for everybody in Japan. No school, no work. How awesome is that?! But I can say that this is the most horrible time to travel in Japan though because everyone is on the road or at the airport trying to go to their vacation destination. So, it is not that fun traveling during this time, but hey, nothing can beat a week off!

Anyways, let's talk about Origami Kabuto. Look at the image of the month, (it’ll be updated shortly!) our pets are wearing something, right? They are supposed to be a Kabuto, which samurai used to wear way back in samurai period. It was made of metal back then, but we cannot certainly make Kabuto for all boys, so we now make it with Origami! Most Japanese have made this Origami Kabuto when they were in a preschool or a daycare. It is very easy to make, and looks so awesome! I love folding origami, and I still make something with paper napkin at a restaurant while I enjoy conversation with my friends. I invented this Sneil looking chopstick holder. It sounds funny, right? Sneil? yeah, I know, but it looks really cute. Maybe I'll show you guys how to make it in the future. But for now, I found “How to make a Kabuto (samurai helmet) with Origami,” so I made a quick direction for you guys! Check this out! Hope you will all enjoy your first Kabuto!

Be good till next time!

Hug hug,

Friday, May 2, 2008

Turning in to.... older lady... - Hiro

GoooooD Moning Everyone!

All right... l had my birthday few weeks ago and I turned .. years old!!!
Wow... time goes by pretty fast.... I don't want to get any older:(

So... today, I will give you a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake.
As I mentioned before, Japanese people often make or buy this cake to celebrate a birthday.
AND plus, there were many people who sent me e-mails and ask for the recipe!

Are you ready~~~??

Ingredients: for 18 cm cake mould
Large eggs ......................(3)
Sugar ...............................(2.8 oz / 80g)
Flour..................................(2.8 oz / 80g)
Cornstarch .......................(0.3 oz / 10g)
Milk ....................................(2 table spoon)
Butter .................................(1 oz / 30g)

- Make the eggs in the room temperature (important to make moist and sponge!!!)
- Spread butter inside of the mould and lightly sprinkle the flours.
(butter and flours are not included in the ingredients above)
- Put sugar and cornstarch together and sieve them to get the limps out.
- Melt the butter by putting in a microwave.

Step 1.
Put sugar and eggs into a large bowl and mix/whip them with hand mixer.

Step 2.
Keep whipping the eggs and sugar until the color become white and the texture become very smooth.
(the amount of the eggs and sugar should be three or four times bigger as you keep whipping them.)

Step 3.
Raise your hand mixer and if the eggs and sugar drop slowly (looks like a ribbons) and the shape stays for while, you are done!

Step 4.
Set the hand mixer in low speed. Pour milk and mix them.

Step 5.
Set the hand mixer to the side and use a rubber spatula from here.
Add flour and cornstarch in to the bowl little by little (divide to 3 times)

When you mix them, be careful not to mix it hard.
You should raise your spatular from the bottom of the bowl and flip it to the edge and mix them together.

Step 6.
After you mix all the flour, add a melted butter to the bowl and mix them carefully.

Step 7.
Poor all of them into the cake mould. (Drop the mould from 5 inch high. This will take out extra airs from the sponge)

Step 8.
Pre-heat the oven to 356F. Bake the sponge cake for 28 min. Check the sponge and if the color became golden, drop the oven temperature to 338F.

OK, that's it!!!
Now you have made a sponge cake:)
And you can decorate it as you'd like with whip cream....flutes...etc.

If you made one, send me a pic cause I would love to see your work:)


Friday, April 11, 2008

O Hanami in Japan! - Nao

Oh, it has been quite a long time… I meant to update sooner, but I had to go back to Japan for a while. It was such a crazy trip! I went to my friend’s wedding, and I had to give a speech. I’ve known this girl since I was in 4th grade. I was so happy that she could find the man of her life. It was a very touching wedding. I gave a talk in front of 120+ people and talked about our friendship. As soon as I started talking I began to feel tears filling up my eyes. I tried to hold them back, but of course I couldn’t do it. So, I was crying and talking at the same time in front of everyone… haha What I like about Japanese weddings is that they show pictures of the bride and the groom during their childhood, and this helps to describe to everyone what kind of people they are. They also tell you how the couple met, and how they became engaged and so on. If you are a friend of the bride or groom, you most likely already know how they met, but others in attendance may not. I’m telling you, Japanese weddings are very touching and emotional. At the end of the ceremony, the bride reads a letter to her parents. Oh my goodness, this it the most beautiful thing. My friend thanked her parents for her birth and she thanked her parents for their support throughout her life. Japanese really don’t express their feelings or say “thank you” to their parents, so it is very touching to hear somebody expresses respect and gratitude like that.

After the wedding party, Japanese usually have an “after-wedding” party at a local bar or restaurant. The newlyweds invite some more friends who were not invited to the wedding ceremony. My friend had her after-wedding party at a bar, and it was awesome. I saw all of my friends from Junior High school. I haven’t seen most of them for a long time, so it was great to see old friends.

I had a wonderful time in Japan. What made the trip even better was the “Cherry blossoms” (Sakura)! They were blooming like crazy and were so beautiful. In Japan, we often go to a park to enjoy cherry blossoms, and this is called “O Hanami.” We usually bring a lunch box and drinks to O Hanami. So, if you go to Japan during the cherry blossom season, you should visit a park. You will get to see how the Japanese enjoy O Hanami. If you are lucky, you’ll get to see the famous “Dojou sukui” dance. Dojou is a loach. The “Dojou sukui” dance is a dance that mimics scooping loaches, by a man that is usually drunk while doing this dance! Look at the wallpaper. Hiro’s pet, Gigi, is dancing the Dojou Sukui dance. Not that she is drunk all the time though! Haha. I took a picture of some cherry blossoms while I was in Japan, so check it out!

Have a great day, everyone!

Hug hug,

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Living Space for hiro !!!! -hiro

Good morning, everyone!!! Ok, I think I need to update everyone what I have been doing this passed few weeks.... I have been doing apartment hunting for weeks, and I have to say it wasn't easy to find the right place to live.... I was bit stressed out because it was tough for me to find a good place when I work and do training full time!!! But after all the struggle, I finally found the one that I really liked and moved to my new place this weekend:) So, yeah.... struggle is ooooooover!!!! I have to say it's so nice to have a place where you can call it yours, right? I love decorating house, so I spend all day this Sunday to set up furniture and decorations around the house. The room came our pretty nice and relaxing that I look forward to coming home everyday now!! Nao will be visiting me soon to check out my space, and I'm sure she will like it too. Oh, Jiji, my lovely cat seemed like the new place too and he's been relaxing on my couch. Okidoki, I better get going now because I have a lot to do!! I will talk to you later everyone:) Love, Hiro

Monday, March 3, 2008

Viva Girls! - Nao

Happy Hina Matsuri Day!

Hina Matsuri is the day we celebrate Girls in Japan. This celebration started out as girls just playing with dolls hundreds of years ago. The girls back then played with dolls just like the young kids play with Barbie dolls nowadays. I guess girls back then aren’t that different from girls now. Well, I played with toy cars and airplanes when I was a kid, and when I played with Barbie dolls, it was when I would take them away from my little sister and cut their hair. Yeah, I was in trouble every time I did that. Ha ha. Anyway, March is the beginning of spring in Japan, and there are peach tree blossoms everywhere over there. So, Japanese people began to combine the celebration for girls and peach tree blossoms eventually. This became “Hina Matsuri”. We would decorate our houses with Hina dolls, which are believed to take all the bad luck away from the house. They are beautiful and very detailed. There is a belief about these Hina dolls. If a family doesn’t put the Hina dolls away by the end of March, the girls in the household will marry really late in life. So the mothers of the girls usually put these dolls away before March ends. I think it is very interesting how girls playing with dolls hundreds of years ago, has now become a celebration of girls and Spring. It is also interesting how there is a connection with the dolls and when a girl will get married. I have no idea where the idea originally came from though.

Anyways, boys, don’t worry, we have a cerebration for boys in May as well. Hina Marsuri is not a holiday, but Boy’s Day is. Why? Because May has better weather than March does. A very interesting way of deciding when to celebrate a holiday, huh?

Alrighty, have a wonderful Hina Matsuri… and be nice to girls out there! he he


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Strawberry Shortcake - hiro

Good afternoon!!

Hello everyone! How have you been? It's been a while since I wrote on our blog.... i know.... but it has been crazy busy lately that I didn't really get a chance to sit down and write one:( I will try to update as much as I can though!

Lately, it's been so busy with my work and training.... so I basically come home and was trying to catch up my sleep everyday... so nothing really exciting was happening me this passed few weeks.... sad huh?

BUUUUUUT! I bake a strawberry shortcake last weekend for my friend's birthday!!
Hmmmm.... yummy! You know, I'm not trying to impress anyone here, but my cake is pretty famous among my friends and they just love it:) So, I bake a strawberry shortcake whenever I get a chance, like someone's birthday and any kinds of party. I think one of the biggest reason why my friends loves my cake so much is it is hard to buy a Japanese strawberry shortcake here in America. Of course, there are few place where you can buy it, but it always pricey for some reason... and nothing taste better than handmade cake right? haha.

So for those of you who never saw a Japanese shortcake, here is the pic.

It usually have 2 or 3 layers and we laid a lots of whipped Cream and Strawberries between sponges. Some people prefer to laid Bananas or peach instead though.
This cake is the most popular cake in Japan and we usually buy this cake for birthday or Christmas. (Of course, the cake is decorated differently for each occasions!!) If you haven't try the cake, I would love for you to try one day!!!
Hmmm~~ I really wished that I could share my cake with you:(

Oh, if you got a recipe off internet and tried to make one, make sure to buy Heavy Cream and whipped yourself. Do not use the cream that is already whipped and come in can because they melt and disappear in second once you laid on the sponges. ok?? If you desperately need my recipe, just shoot me an e-mail! I will give you my secret recipe:)

Oki-doki, I will talk to you later everyone!

Have a good one:)



Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day! - Nao

I think it is great to let your loved ones know that you love them and appreciate them, BUT, I am a believer of letting people around you, like family, friends, husbands, wives, BF, GF, or whoever else know that you appreciate them every day! It's wonderful to have a special day for it though!

So, I have been addicted to hot chocolate lately. It is so good, and I never drank hot chocolate before. I mean, I have had it, but I've never bought it at Starbucks or anywhere. I usually get a cup of coffee in the morning, but somehow I started to get hot chocolate in the morning. Could it be the Valentine spirit in the air? Haha!
Anyhow, I found out that 7-11 has the best hot chocolate! After trying hot chocolate at Starbucks, other coffee shops, AM PM, and so on, I came to this conclusion. Even better, 7-11 has shots of coffee, and I usually put 2 shots in my hot chocolate, so that I can be awake too! Try it, and tell me if I'm wrong! Hehe!

Here is a touching story I heard on the radio today. I really wanted to share this story with you guys. Enjoy...

So, this Marine was deployed to Iraq, and he found a stray dog at the base there. The dog was starved, and very unfriendly. The Marine spent lots of time with the dog, and they became friends over time. The dog gave the Marine comfort and something to look forward to while he was in Iraq. After a couple of months, the Marine had to relocate to another part of Iraq, which was 75 miles away from the base he stayed at. The Marine asked his commander if he could bring the dog with him. The answer was no, so he had to leave the dog behind.
2 days later, when the Marine relocated to the new base, he saw the dog!!!! The dog traveled through 75 miles of war zone to stay with the Marine!! Everybody was so touched that the commander allowed him to keep the dog, and he can come back to the US with the dog after his duty is over.

I cried a little, it was so touching. You know, I have 2 dogs, and I would be devastated if I had to leave them somewhere... And imagine these two short legged dogs wandering around... Well, that's kinda funny, I guess, but I was so happy to hear that the Marine could bring the dog back home. He must have to go through all these shots and examinations and everything, but hey - he will have a better life with the Marine in Camp Pendleton!

Have a happy, sweet Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What's coming soon?? - Hiro

Hi everyone!! Happy Thursday!!

Do you know what’s coming next week?!

It’s a Valentine’s Day!!!

Does anyone have any great plans for Valentine’s Day?

In Japan, people celebrate Valentine’s Day little bit differently from here in US. I believe Valentine’s Day is more like a day for couple in US right? Or it is a good opportunity for girls to be treated like princess!!!

Let me tell you how Valentine’s Day like in Japan.
2/14, I think most of men are exciting in Japan. Why? Because it is the day when girls give Chocolate to guys. But please remember that there are 2 meaning when girls prepare chocolates for Valentine’s Day. First one will be “Giri Choko”. “Choko” means a shorter way to say Chocolate, and “Giri” means “Friendly or Obligation”. So, we girls prepare multiple chocolates for guys just to show “thank you” or just being friendly. The second one will be “Honmei Choko”. “Honmei” means “Favorite”. We usually prepare one special chocolate and an additional gift for one special guy who we really like. Some of us would tell the guy how we feel about him on Valentine’s Day, but some of us are just too shy to tell at all.

So, I will bake a chocolate cake this weeks just to see how it will come out.
I used to bake cakes so often when I was in Japan, but not so much since I came here….hehe
I hope I can still bake a good cake!!!!!

Oh also, if you received chocolate or any gifts on Valentine’s Day, you must return something (candies are common) on 3/14 as a thank you gift!! This will apply for both “Giri Choko” and “Honmei Choko”. So don’t think that men don’t have to do anything at all in Japan!!!

If you have any great plan for heartwarming episode about Valentine’s Day, please send me e-mails!!!!

Good day everyone!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Happy Wednesday everyone! ( hope you are having a HAPPY Wednesday :-p)

I was watching TV the other day, and I saw this crazy basketball team called the Harlem Globetrotters. It seemed to be very popular back in 1970's.

I enjoyed watching them doing all these cool tricks with a basketball. It was a pure entertainment! I think American entertainment is spectacular. I love Japanese entertainment as well, but American ones are so over the top and! When I went to Las Vegas, I saw the Blue Man Group show. Ahhh, I think that was one of my favorite shows ever. If you haven't seen the show yet you are missing out something really gooooood!

Anyway, I just fell in love with them, so I looked online if they would come to Southern California. I was looking, looking, looking...and BAM! I found out that they'd be coming to Southern California too!! Of course I got tickets! Yay yay! I'll have so much fun like these kids at the Harlem Globetrotters' show on the TV. Oh, they looked they were having the time of their lives!

I think I've already mentioned this before, but I used to play basketball when I was in junior high school. My number was 7, and I was a forward. Oh yeah, I once received the MVP! Yes! Well, it was a loooong time ago, and I don't even think I can play one game right now. I should start playing basketball again!

Alrighty, I think I'll go to a basketball court and shoot some hoops!

See you soon! Mata ne---!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Someone hit my car!!!! - hiroSomeone hit my car!!!! - hiro

Good morning, everyone! How is your day going so far??

Well, my day started off really bad!!!!
As you can ready the title, someone hit my car over night!!

What happen was I parked my car at my friend's apartment last night and came to pick up my car this morning... and I saw a huge dent on the back of my car.... yeah, someone hit my car and didn't leave any notes to apologize.... Omg, I was so upset!!!!!

But hey, what can I do now, right?
I guess I am going to have to fix it:(
If anyone knows a good car repair shop, shot me an e-mail!! It will be a big help cause I never brought my car in to the shop.... haha

Oh, speaking of car, it seems like there is a stereo type that Asian people cannot drive.

I often hear this stereo type, and I wan to tell you something. It is not true!!!!!!!
Why?? Because in Japan, we go to driving school for few months and we have to go though so much training unlike here in US.

The driving school usually takes between 2-3 months and you have several stage that you have to go through.
First, yes, of course you enroll to the school right? Then you are entitled to attend lectures and driving classed. In lecture, you have tests every week and you have to pass the test in order for you to go to next step. At the same time, you start driving class too. The first stage of driving school, you can only drive and learn within a school field. After 30 driving classes, you can take a driving test, and you can move on to the driving classes in public roads once you pass this test. Then, you have another 20-30 driving classes on public roads. Yes, don't forget about the lecture because lecture will be continue until you pass the final test!!! After you fulfilled all the required lectures and driving school, you now have a right to take a final writing test and driving test. The driving test can be done within the driving school, but you actually have to go to police department to take a writing test. Once you passed the final writing text at police station, you can finally obtain a driver's license. Sound tough, doesn't it?? It cost a lot of money too!!!! It usually cost about $2000 for the traffic school.

In the school, you of course learn all the traffic rules and everything, but you also learn how to part your car in the parking lots and street parking. Because most the parking spot in Japan tend to be tiny, you learn how to park your car by backing up. So, most of Japanese people are really good at parking a car in tiny spaces!!! hehe.

Ok, so do you still think Asian people cannot drive?? Maybe some of them, but most definitely not Japanese people!!

Okie dokie, I think I'm going to lunch now. Yummy!!

Have a good one:)


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Coming of Age- Seijin Shiki --- Nao

How are ya guys? How was your three day weekend? Hope it was gooood!
Today, I’m gonna talk about “Coming of Age” day in Japan. We say “Seijin Shiki”, which means ceremony for adults. We used to celebrate Seijin Shiki on Jan. 15th, but they decided to change the date to the second Monday, so that we can have 3 day weekend! Isn’t it really sweet?

Seijin Shiki is for those who have turned 20 years old, which is considered an adult in Japan.

So, what do we do on the Seijin Shiki? We gather at a City Hall, a stadium, or wherever the city you live in decides to have this ceremony. Girls usually wear “Kimono”, which is a traditional Japanese outfit, and guys wear either suits or “Hakama”, kimono for guys. So, if you are at the ceremony, you’ll be amazed how 20 year old Japanese girls and guys dress up. The girls’ Kimono are very colorful and beautiful, but keep in mind, the Kimono is super complicated to wear, so all the girls have to go to places where a professional Kimono dresser works at in order to wear the Kimono properly.

Anyway, all the girls and guys gather at a City Hall, and they have to listen to a Mayor’s congratulations speech and all other “important” people’s speeches. Fun, right? :-p

Well, the fun part comes in after the ceremony. We go to elementary school and junior high school with the same people, and when we go to high school, people go to different high schools within the school district depending on their intelligence. Yeah, it is a competitive part of Japanese education, but anyhow, we all go different ways after junior high school. We have to say good bye to all these fellow students who we spent more than the past 10 years with. So, this Seijin Shiki is a great time to have a reunion! And yes, we do have a reunion after the ceremony. You can meet with your former classmates after like 5 years? Oh boy, do they really change in 5 years! At 20 years old, one can legally drink in Japan, so you know how it goes with alcohol. What happens at the reunion is that many former classmates become couples during/ after the reunion! Some of them do get married. I know a couple of my classmates went through this “tradition”, and got married happily ever after… haha

Anyway, if you ever have a chance to go to Japan in January, you should schedule your trip to make sure you’ll be in town on the second Monday. You’ll see quite an interesting sight there. Girls look most definitely beautiful! I wish I could wear Kimono everyday, but it is close to impossible… all the layers of kimono… just pain in the butt… haha

Girls, keep looking good!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Can't sleep at night.....:( -hiro

Hello! I hope all of you are having a good day so far!
I am sooooo sleepy lately.... I caught a cold last week, and I am still recovering from it.
These past few days, I've been coughing so hard at night that I can hardly fall asleep:(
Matter fact, I was up until 3am last night and had to get up 6:30am for work and training.... sight.
My mom sending me a prescription medicine from Japan, so I am hoping that would help with my coughing ...!!!

So, everyone, today is a Happy Friday, huh??
Got any exciting plan for holiday weekend??
Nao and I are going to Karaoki tomorrow and we are pretty excited about it!!
This Karaoke place has bonus hours, and it only cost $5 per person / hr !!!
So, this means that we will be there for....hmmm.....4-6 hours?! hehe.

Oh!! Nao introduced you her favorite song, so let me introduce you one of my favorite song too!!
Well, sorry guys.... the song is written in Japanese, but I though you may still enjoy the melody....

This song is called "Yasashii Kiss wo Shite", and it is written and song by a band called "Dreams Come True". Have you ever hard the band? The vocalist has amazing voice and she has been my hero since I first heard her song years ago. She is so cheerful, powerful and has always big and nice smile on her face. If you see her singing on stage, you can tell how much she loves singing!!! Search for her music video on Yu tube everyone!! hehe.

Yasashii Kiss Wo Shite

Anyway, "Yasashii Kiss wo Shite" means "Please give me a gentle kiss".
This song is telling how this lady feels about her loved one.... aaand this song is of course on my Karaoke list, and I will be singing tomorrow. Yeah!
Hope you enjoy the my favorite song!!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No Music No Life --- Nao

Let's talk about a song that makes me sing along, and makes me happy: )The song is called "No Music No Life", sung by Cocco, who is a Japanese female singer from Okinawa, Japan. Her first album came out in 1997, and I fell in love with her songs right then. I feel like she doesn't make songs to sell; she makes them because the music springs out of her, at least it seems that way to me.

I lost her first album during the course of 11 years…and oh my god, I found it on Amazon! You have no idea how excited I was when I found it, and it was almost half the price! What's better than that?! While I was listening to the song I was thinking how music could touch/ inspire/ brighten up people's lives. I believe that everybody has a "singer" in them. You don't sing well? It doesn't matter whether you sing well or not. As long as you sing with and from your heart, you are a singer. I know you sing in the shower, in a car, in your room, etc!
Anyways, music is amazing, because it brings back memories from years and years ago. Like this song, “No Music No Life,” I haven't listened to this song for more than 7-8 years, but once I listened to it again, (Thanks to Amazon!) I remembered the time I was listening to the song; I was riding a bicycle down on the street from a train station, singing along, thinking, "What does 'No Kidding' mean…?" I remembered the lyrics word for word even after 8 years. I just wish I could memorize everything like I memorize songs! Ha ha, I bet everybody has songs that are attached to special memories from the past. I hope you email me and tell me your story.

I want to share this song with you today. She sings, "No music, no life", and I'm totally with her. If there were no music, how boring our lives would be?!
Cocco sings "No Music No Life" in English, and some doesn't make any sense, but hope you all enjoy it!

No Music No Life

“No Smoking”? “No Parking”? “No Drinking”? “No Sex”? “No Kissing”? “ No Dancing”?
No! I can’t. No! I can’t stand it!
I want everything. I need everything, and I sing a song.
‘Cause that’s my life. ‘Cause that’s my life.
You know that’s my way.

“No Fighting”? “No Tears”? “No Crying”? “No Money”? “No More”?
No Kidding!
No! I can’t. No! I can’t stand it!
Baby, give me a break. I wanna go out, and I shout Yeah!
‘Cause that’s my life. ‘cause that’s my life.
You know I love you...

Keep singing!
Hugs, Nao

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tamago Kake Gohan- hiro

One of my friend who is in Ohio went back to Japan about few weeks ago for few weeks, and she was talking about how much she missed Japanese food and how much she loves Japanese food on her blog. I have to say, reading her blog made me miss one Japanese dishes the most!!

Well, have you heard of "Tamago Kake Gohan"??
"Tamago" means "Egg". "Kake" means over or cover, and "Gohan" means rice.
Yes, I miss Egg Bowl!!!!
I think most of you won't believe what I am going to say next, and some of you may feel bit grotesque...because there is not habit like that here in US.

Let me tell you how to make the Egg Bowl.
First you need to cook rice, right? I recommend you to use Japanese Rice because Japanese rice has more moist and chewy if you know what I mean.
And next step is to crack a egg in the another small bowl and add soy souse into it, and mix them together. Finally, you prepare a bowl of rice (better have small one) and put the mixed egg over the rice.
And eat them!!!!!

Yes, we use uncooked egg..... freaked out bit??
In Japan, all the eggs in store is so fresh and don't use chemical so much that we can eat egg without cooking. I have to say, this is the very best way to eat egg in Japan. BUT, please don't try this with regular egg that you can pick up at local stores here because I heard that one of my friend tried "Tamago Kake Gohan" here in US and she had pretty bad stomachache!!! You don't wanna get stomachache, do please don't try it!!!! If you want to try that bad, you can go to Japanese super market such us Mitsuwa and you can pick up fresh egg there.

It is such a simple dish, but I miss it so so much!!!!
Every time I go back to Japan, I just have to have it!!!!

Let's see.... what else I miss??
Hmm.... my mom home cooking:) I think she is the most talented chef in the whole world because she can change what ever is in refrigerator to amazing dishes!!! Hmmm... maybe I can introduce some of my favorite dishes one day with how to cook lesson.....

Love, Hiro

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Don't be a stranger ------ Nao

So, I’ve been in the U.S. for some time now, and I've faced culture shock and stereotypes towards Japanese people. I just thought I would share some of my experiences here.

OK, so the first culture shock for me was that strangers here smile at each other!! In Japan, even the friendliest people never, NEVER smile at somebody passing by on the street, or in a store, or in a hallway. Yeah, I kind of freaked out at first. All these questions were going through my mind, “Do I know this person?” “Wait, is he trying to hit on me?” “Have I met her before?” “Should I respond? I don't wanna be rude, but…I don’t know HER!” and etc.

When I first came to the U.S. I couldn't really speak English, so I was really freaked out when a stranger tried to talk to me! hahaha. But I soon learned that this is how things work here. People say hi to each other even though they don't know each other. It was even more confusing for me when cashiers would talk to me while I was paying for my things in a store. All the cashers were very cool, but when they asked me “Hi, how's your day going?”, or “Hi, how are you today?”, I seriously wondered if I should start telling them what happened that day. Hahaha But again, I soon learned that they didn't really wanna know my story; they were just being friendly and avoiding any awkwardness during the process of checking products out.

In Japanese stores, the cashers do say “Irasshai mase”, which means welcome to our store, but they certainly will never ask you how your day is. They're very polite, but their politeness sometimes seems like it is methodical or regulated. Maybe that’s just me.

After I got used to American culture, I went back to Japan for a short trip. People looked at me funny when I smiled at people in a store, or on the street, and whenever I was out. Great, now I am freaking others out. Hahaha

I have lots more funny experiences and things to say about cultural differences, but I will babble about that some other time.

Keep smiling, everyone!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I went little crazy today with...... -hiro

Okei, who doesn't like shoes??? I know most of girls LOVEs to go to shoe shopping, and I have met couple of guys who loves to go shopping for sneakers and shoes, so I am sure some of you know how exciting it is!!!!

Well, I went little crazy today with shoe shopping.... Last weekend, I went to mall by myself and found this VERY nice shoes!!! It has low heel and a little bow on the front of the shoe right by the toe, and it was purple too!!!! Okei, who doesn't know that I love purple by now?? Anyway, yes, I though it was nice, so I tried them on.... then I stood in front of the mirror.... that was it... I felt in love with it!!!!
BUT, they didn't have my size in the store, so I had to give it up and went home...
So sad, right?

When you fell in love with something, you cannot forget about it so easy... so of course the shoes was on my mind all daly long yesterday. SO, I went to couple of other malls and looked for the shoes. When I went to the third mall, I finally found my size!!! (Attention!! My feet is not unusually large... it's the other way around!)
So, I bought them:o)

And then, I saw few others shoes that I liked (almost love for the first sight) and I bought 4 pair of shoes at the same store..... yeah.... I told you I went little too crazy right?? But think about it, life is too short and you don't want to regret not buying what you love. Don't worry!!! They were all on sale, so even though I bought 4 pair of shoes, the total cost was not that bad...hehe.

Mmmmm.... i cannot wait to wear all of them!!!!!!

So, is there anyone out there who went more crazy for shopping than I did??


Monday, January 7, 2008

Daruma the Lucky Man --- Nao

Even though I don't like rain so much, I actually enjoyed the rain last couple of days here in Southern California. I hope nobody got hurt from this rain storm, though. I think it was kind of nice having rain once in a while.
I could appreciate the water supply from nature:-P

In Japan, there is a rainy season, and it rains every day… yes, every single day. I hated it. But since I got here to Southern California, the sky just doesn't seem to cry as often as the Japanese sky. Haha. I love this sunny whether so much, but I think I missed having rain a bit. I was at home listening to the rain, and it was soothing.

Oh, so you are wondering what "Daruma" is? Daruma is a doll that brings you happiness. Japanese usually go to Daruma festivals in January to buy Daruma dolls for the year. Daruma dolls are rounded body dolls with no arms and no legs. It has a distinguished beard, and its eyes have only white color. We write our wishes on the back of its head, and color one of its eyes with black ink. And when the wish is fulfilled you color in the other eye. We keep the doll for a year, and we hope that Daruma will make our wishes come true. These Daruma dolls are modeled after Bodhidharma, who is the founder of Zen. (If you'd like to know more about Daruma, visit here.)

But anyways, I used to buy Daruma dolls at a Daruma festival every year. I don't have my Daruma dolls for 2008, but I think I'll have an exciting, fun year. As you know, Japanese cherish our traditions a lot, so it kind of hurts me not having my Daruma doll, but I think I can make my wishes come true myself. I have to act to make things happen. I cannot just wish that it'll magically happen…

We need to do everything we can to make things happen. Just waiting for your wish to come true is easy and lazy. I believe that ACTING and WORKING towards your dream are essential to make things happen or making your dream come true.

Whatever you decided for your new year's resolutions, I hope you will make it, and reach your goals:

Have a great day, everybody.

Hugs, Nao

Friday, January 4, 2008

It's freezing today!!!!! -hiro

Awww.... I was just outside and, my goodness, it's freezing today!!!
I had to run inside and get my jacket. Nao told me that a storm is coming to Southern California and it will rain over the weekend.... It's getting dark and windy outside!! I hope it won't rain too hard... Stay safe everyone!

Okei... I know, I know, I could not update about how the Kakizome went on the 1st.
I was exhausted when I get home from Kakizome.... it was fun, but doing Kakizome with children took soooooo much energy from me... haha. I always forget how powerful they are!! lol

Anyway, all went very well! After the practices and writings, we picked the best piece and hung them on the walls, and I will decide who will receive awards later this week. Every year, when I do Kakizome, that reminds me my childhood. I just loved going to Calligraphy School, and my teacher used to correct my works with red India ink, and I always wanted to do that. hehe. So, now that I actually get to use red india ink is pretty cool! I want every single children to love Calligraphy just like the way I did, so it is a lot of work, but I love it!!

If you have kid, I recommend you to give them a opportunity to learn Japanese Calligraphy. Neat hand writing is always a plus, right?? hehe

I wish I could share my work with you, but the Kakizome paper is really big that I cannot scan them.... so I will write something different on small paper and post it one day, k?

Oh wow..... it is VERY windy now.... again, stay safe eveyone! Cuddle in the blanket!!

Bye bye, hiro

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ake Ome! Koto yoro! --- Nao

Ake-Ome! Koto-Yoro! (ah-keh oh-meh, ko-toh yo-ro)
This means Happy New Year, and hope to have a good year. “Ake ome! Koto yoro!” is a shorter version of “Ake mashite omedetou gozaimasu and “Kotoshimo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.” As you can see, these sentences are too long to say for busy Japanese people… hahaha Well, anyways, young Japanese people started to say just first parts of each phrase. If you have Japanese friends, you should tell them “Ake Ome! Koto Yoro!” They’ll look at you like you are a genius!

So how were your holidays? Mine was awesome! I went to this place where you can make pottery. I wanted to make my own coffee cup, but I didn’t have time to make it, so I picked up a couple of animal shaped ceramics. I painted them with lots of colors. Ah, it was so much fun! The pottery place is going to glaze my finished ceramics and I’ll pick them up this Saturday. I cannot wait to see how they turn out.

I also went to a local bar and grill with Hiro. Listening to a local band, we had our late lunch. The band was pretty cool. Nothing can beat good live band music! Oh, and I had this dish called “Rattlesnake Eggs.” They WERE actual rattlesnake EGGS!!! …. Just kidding. But seriously, I loved them. They were chicken and cheese stuffed in a Jalapeno, and wrapped with Bacon. Oh my gosh, they were so “Oishii!!”. I think I’ll try to make it at home sometime.

Anyways, hope you guys had a safe and great New Year’s Eve, and Ake Ome! Koto Yoro!

Now I'll go to bed... so sleepy... Oyasumi--! (good night)

Hugs, Nao

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!! And the Kakizome Taikai -hiro

Happy New Year eveyone!!!! How was your new years eve??? Nao and I had a great time last night, and I just woke up....yeah... we had a long night last night. hehe. I hope all of you had a great start of 2008!!!

Well, right now, I am getting ready to go to Kakizome Taikai.... Have you ever heard of it?

In Japan, we have Kakizome taikai on Jaunuray 1st, we usually write some nice words that may be being a good luck to the new year... I am going to go to have Kakizome with kids, so I will update how that went in the few hours!!! k?? Talk to you later!

Love, Hiro