Junpei

[Junpei] Things you find while spring-cleaning

I don’t know about you, but I often can’t finish my spring-cleaning. Halfway through spring-cleaning, I usually find old photos lying around and then I end up spending the next hour looking through them! This time I found these old travel photos I took with my friends.

Here’s Goma-kun as we took a train ride through the countryside.
On the way, we caught sight of this breathtaking view of Mt Fuji. (It’s said that if you get to see Mt Fuji on a cloudless day, you are blessed with good luck!)
Here is Chiyo pretending to be part of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. I don’t think the fellow museum-goer in the photo was very impressed…
And here are me and Moku-tan relaxing in an onsen! (Okay we were not supposed to take photos in the onsen but it was just the two of us there at the time though.)

I think I will share more photos next time when I find them! 🙂

Goma-kun

[Goma-kun] I tried to be a vlogger.

I love reviewing snacks, so I thought that for the next snack review, I would do a video instead. I set up all the equipment, I ate all the snacks, I had a script all written up. I was revved up and ready to go!! I hit the ‘Record’ button with purpose and then!! …I froze up.

This was all the camera caught when I tried to be a vlogger.
This was all the camera caught…

I guess it didn’t come naturally to me. This was the drink I was going to review anyway:

An illustration of Royal Milk Tea drink from Koucha Kaden.

It’s the Royal Milk Tea drink from Koucha Kaden. I first had it on a holiday in Tokyo and couldn’t find it for years afterwards. This brings back many happy memories, like how you can drink it warm from a vending machine in winter… (*´ェ`*)

I guess this wasn’t much of a review. But anyway, try it! It’s yummy!

Chiyo

[Chiyo] It’s the Year of the Tiger.

2022 is the Year of the Tiger. I happen to have a cousin who actually is a tiger. This was us when we were kids:

A picture of Chiyo the cat and Tomiko the tiger when they were children.

Tomiko is good at a lot of things. She is a fierce leader at the company she works for. She is a go-getter and the pride and joy of my aunt and uncle. Ever since we were little, we were always compared by our relatives.

I always resented her for being the superior feline. (=🝦 ༝ 🝦=) I would dread every family gathering during the Lunar New Year because it became an annual ritual to put me side by side with Tomiko, where ultimately I paled in comparison to her. (╯°□°)╯( ┻━┻

But then… in the end I still like her a lot. Because she never basks in the glory of winning this “competition”. She would shrug it off and say, “What’s the point of this?” And then she would ask me to go and play outdoors with her (where I have to say, we were both equal in our energy to play!).

This year I met up with her again, and now that we are all grown up and we can’t have large gatherings like we did in the past, nobody bothered to compare us anymore. Instead, I had a really lovely New Year meetup with Tomiko as we caught up with each other and wondered why we didn’t do this more often. (´ ᴗ`✿)

Maybe Lunar New Year celebrations aren’t so bad after all.

A selfie illustration of Chiyo the cat and Tomiko the tiger.
Moku-tan

[Moku-tan] …and this year’s new ice cream flavour is…

This week, I introduced a new ice cream flavour to my shop. It’s… Tuna ice cream! I know what you’re going to say. “This is too weird! It’ll never sell!” That’s what I used to think too. But then the year I came up with the Charcoal Sorbet flavour, business boomed. ٩(`・ω・´)و

Illustration of tuna ice cream.

It’s very rich and creamy, and I promise it doesn’t taste fishy at all.
ʕ ● ᴥ ●ʔ (Well, okay, maybe in the good way.)

To commemorate the launch of the new flavour, I also made a crochet keychain.

Illustration of Moku-tan's newly launched crochet keychain.

I hope you come and support the new flavour!! (*ˊᗜˋ*)/ᵗᑋᵃᐢᵏ ᵞᵒᵘ*

Pssst, you can buy this keychain in my store too! Click here!

Junpei

[Junpei] Work-from-home woes

It’s been two years since we started working from home and we are very slowly easing back into a new normal. I enjoyed working from home. I didn’t need to rush out the door and squeeze with everyone on public transport. I could take care of my home at the same time as I work. Working from home, however, comes with its fair share of pains.

I’m sure you have gone on many online meetings and instead of starting with, “how was your day?” Or, “how are you?”, people start the conversation with, “Can you hear me?”

That’s okay, but the version I always get is this. I would raise my hand to speak, and just when I’m about to say something, someone would say:

It is clear that I am not on mute because the ‘mute’ icon is not active on my screen. I would be lying if I said I was not annoyed by how many times this has happened. In the end, all I respond with is:

A little patience never hurt anybody. I have a quote to share for that, too.

Goma-kun

[Goma-kun] Product review: Aomori apple chips

Hello everyone, it’s me again! Every week, I like to go to my favourite supermarket to buy my weekly groceries. Can you guess which supermarket it is?

Can you hear the jingle already?!

Everybody knows I can’t resist snacks, but last week I tried my best to make an effort to zoom past the snacks section (will I make it?!). I went in with this mindset, but right at the entrance, among the fruits, I saw this…

There wasn’t just one flavour, there were three! I think they were different types of apples, one was Jonah Gold, another was Fuji, and another was Toki(?). Guess which ones I bought? (Spoiler: I bought all!) °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

I ended up going to the snack section anyway since I’d already lost my resolve right at the entrance. I also got myself a really yummy salmon don for lunch. ❤

Okay, so I immediately started trying the snacks when I got home and here is my short review of them.

To my surprise, these chips were very crispy. (✪㉨✪) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought apple chips only to be disappointed because the chips were soggy right out of the packet. Also, these chips are quite decently sized – again, I find so many other dried fruit packets having too many mini crumbs that get on the floor faster than they get in your mouth. I’m really addicted – I think I’m going to stock up when I get my groceries next week. ٩(◕‿◕。)۶

Having tried all three though, I have to say I can’t tell the difference between the three flavours. Except maybe the green one; it had salt in it. Maybe I ate too many at one go… Well it wasn’t a bummer for me, it just means that I won’t be sad if one flavour runs out; the others are just as yummy.

Here’s my obligatory selfie with every snack I review!

At the end of the snack-tasting session, I realised that I was so excited to try new snacks, I completely forgot to buy any real groceries for the week. Um, I guess I have to go back there to do groceries tomorrow…

Chiyo

[Chiyo] Insensitive people.

Do you have a friend who is a cat lover who gushes about how cute cats are all day and how they want to cuddle with them all day? Well, DON’T. If you love cats, take them seriously and treat them with respect. Just the other day I had an acquaintance come over and he was just awful.

Before I tell you the whole story, I would like to say that all my life I’ve encountered people who tell me how cute I am as a compliment – it is anything but a compliment when the implication is that I don’t get taken seriously or shown any respect when I’m “cute”!!! (๑・`▱´・๑)

Okay, so just the other day, I invited Junpei and our colleague (whom I’ll just call A-san here) to my house for tea. I tidied, by the way, so I took a photo:

Everything was fine and dandy, until A-san noticed I had an electronic keyboard in the corner of the room.

“Oh Chiyo-chan, I didn’t know you play the keyboard! Could you play something for us?” He asked.

Just so you know, I’d only just started learning how to play it recently, so I’m no Mozart. But how could you turn down a guest, right? It seemed rude. So I told him very honestly that I was an amateur and to pardon me for my poor playing.

Then I began to play a piece I was recently practising and it was Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”. I really liked this song because they often play it at weddings. (˵¯͒〰¯͒˵) It started out fine, then on the way to the chorus, I started to slip up and hit the wrong keys. A-san loudly noted this at once. He laughed jovially and said things like:

“Oh Chiyo-chan, I’m not sure the song goes like this.”

“The bride is tripping down the aisle now, haha!”

He went on and on. And on. And on. I was so angry. I am so angry. I was going to throw my keyboard at him in rage. (Am I the bad guy here?!)

I think I might have left some claw marks on the keys.

Then Junpei very calmly said, “Here, A-san, have some cookies.” And he stuffed A-san’s mouth so quickly that A-san couldn’t even laugh or say another word.

What a waste of a good cookie.

Then he looked at me and said, “I thought that was a very beautiful effort for having started learning the keyboard for only a month.” And he clapped for me and took me away from my rage.

When A-san finally spluttered back to words, Junpei promptly said it was time to leave and got up so efficiently and matter-of-factly that A-san could not protest.

What would I do without Junpei?!

Anyway, Junpei loves to collect quotes. So it was no surprise when he texted me this quote after he had left:

Who…is that?

Yeah. I’m not going to invite A-san to my home ever again.

Moku-tan

[Moku-tan] Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! I know you’re supposed to wake up all refreshed and start on a clean slate for the new year but when you’re an owner of an eatery it always feels more like you’re trying to clean up the mess from the previous year. I guess it’s my fault because instead of cleaning up properly after the last customer left my shop with celebratory ice cream, I hurriedly closed my shop so that I could also bring my celebratory ice cream to my friends’ New Year’s Eve party.

We had a Christmas gathering at Chiyo’s last week, so yesterday we went to Junpei’s apartment instead. I really like how he decorated it.

I nearly fell asleep on the beanbag.

We were having soda and chips (courtesy of Goma-kun!) and ice cream and the countdown was on TV. We didn’t plan any activities in particular. Everyone was chilling, then all of a sudden Chiyo banged her soda glass down and asked everyone what their new year resolutions were.

I panicked. Every year, I avoid making new year resolutions because I find that I get disappointed when I ultimately don’t follow through when the new year rolls around. I prefer to take baby steps throughout the year, you see…

Anyway, everybody had their turn and now they were all staring at me. I laughed nervously and said I hadn’t thought of any new year resolutions. Chiyo proceeded to bang her paw on the table and repeated, now more fiercely, “What are your new year resolutions?!” (At this point I wondered if Goma-kun had brought us beer by mistake because Chiyo was so riled up.)

This cat is on fireeeeeeee!

Under her intense glare, I started to answer in a high-pitched voice that I always wanted to sell handmade items.

“GOOD!” she shouted. “SELL THEM!”

And that is how I ended up with a new little corner in my shop before I headed home last night.

Please come and buy something from my shop!

…did I mention that yesterday a kid reached for the jar of rainbow sprinkles and shouted, “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” while tossing the sprinkles all over the shop? (His mother was horrified and tried to sweep it all up and she kept apologising. But the little boy looked so happy, I couldn’t help but understand his joy, too…) Yeah, I think I’d better run to the store now before the ants take over the place.

Here’s a group photo of us from yesterday!

Happy New Year, everybody. 🙂

Get the Charcoal Sorbet Year-end Party Sticker from my store!

Junpei

[Junpei] Merry Christmas.

Hello, my name is Junpei. It is Christmas today. I celebrated it with my most cherished friends. We went to Chiyo’s house this year, sat on the rooftop and enjoyed the sounds of different Christmas songs floating out of the neighbors’ windows.

We used to go to so many parties at this time of the year and we would panic over the last few presents we forgot to buy. We haven’t been able to go to any parties the past two years. At first, it was strange and almost sad that the mood was different. But this year, I found that it allowed me to reflect on what was most important – and that was to be grateful for the friends you have and for the relationships you hold.

My friends know that I love to collect quotes, so I’m sharing a very apt one below.

Merry Christmas everyone! May the new year hold better adventures for us all.

Goma-kun

[Goma-kun] I sat for a portrait.

Last week, I went to have my portrait done by an illustrator. I thought it would be fun because I realised all the selfies I have looked like this:

I thought for really long about how I wanted my portrait to be done. I really love goma ice cream more than anything else, so I decided that I wanted to be drawn with an ice cream cone in hand. (It won’t melt in a portrait, hurray!) I bought some from Moku-tan, of course. ^_^ (It was so hard to resist eating it before the portrait session…) Anyway, the portrait session was going to be in the artist’s studio, so I had to pack the ice cream, cones and scoop in a cooler bag and bring them all along.

Oh, I also took a photo of the studio, by the way:

I also took a photo of the artist (with permission of course):

The artist was a very nice lady. She told me to sit on the stool in front of a cloudy backdrop so she could start sketching and taking photographs. I asked her to wait a minute for me while I got my ice cream out.

I think I have never sat so still in my life before. I was in a real dilemma because while I was sitting there, I watched with a broken heart as my favourite ice cream melted in my hand… (T_T) It had better be a good portrait!

This was one of the pictures the illustrator took of me!

By the time the artist was done, my entire cone was soggy. She approached me and asked why I didn’t eat the ice cream. I told her I was afraid it would ruin the picture if I moved. She told me she needed to add some finishing touches to the portrait and that she would mail it to me as soon as she was done.

Today, I received the portrait. I don’t know how to express what I feel about it… I like it, of course, but… Here, let me show you what I mean.

The ice cream didn’t make it into the portrait at all. It was neither immortalised in a painting nor did it get in my tummy (where it should belong!). It turns out that the artist thought I brought the ice cream along in case I was bored during the portrait session. (T_T)

I think I am going to Moku-tan’s ice cream shop now for some comfort…

Get Goma-Kun’s Failed Selfies (set of 3) from my store!