Sunday, April 30, 2023

April 2023 recap - Zao fox village road trip, Nagoya weekend trip & Craft Gyoza Fes

We went on two different overnight weekend trips this month in opposite directions from our home base. The spring weather is so nice for exploring other areas - not too cold and not too hot, and keeping the stays to 3 days means we can pack pretty light too. 

Zao 3-day road trip (aka Spring road trip)
We started the month off (literally April 1) by driving north (or what Japan considers east lol) to do a little bit of spring exploring. Split this weekend into three recap blog posts (Day 1, Day 2 & Day 3), and I've kind of just been obsessed with it, and the photos that resulted from it. My parents joined us for this, flying in the day before and leaving a few days after we got back for a short stay in JP. Not everything went perfectly, but a lot went really well considering the distance we covered and how many stops we made!

Nagoya 3-day weekend trip
We took a little break after the Zao trip, but were back at it again for the third weekend in April. This time it's just my husband and me in the car as we head east for Nagoya. We had a last minute schedule re-arrange due to weather since it was supposed to rain steadily for all of Saturday, but still managed to get a lot done and hit all of our must-dos overall. 

Craft Gyoza Fes
My husband saw an ad for this week+ long Craft Gyoza Festival in Tokyo during Golden Week and luckily we had some time to attend! His friend also joined us and was already familiar with the venue - Komazawa Olympic Park, after living in the area previously. 
I badly circled the ones we ended up buying lol

It was a nice wide open space with all the booths set up along the perimeter. The weather was nice and clear when we went but really windy!
All gyoza were priced at 700yen for whatever each vendor chose to provide. At the stall, they accepted digital wallet-type payments only. There was a separate booth outside that allowed you to pay cash (and maybe credit card?) in exchange for a 700yen voucher if you needed to, but otherwise the transaction was supposed to go pretty quickly when actually ordering. 

The lines were moderate but expected for an event like this on a Saturday with nice sunny weather. We waited about 7-15 min in each line. Our strategy was to split up to get a variety to try and then reconvene to share and eat together which worked out pretty well! 

Because it it was windy, it was a little difficult to make sure our little trays stayed on the table lmao (my chopsticks actually flew away once FML), but we adapted.

We tried 10 different ones in total. Some were a bit more classic tasting and others had adventurous flavoring like tantan and wasabi and then others had a different frying style. We all had different favorites lol. 
汁なし担々麺 担担担's 担々餃子 & パクチーくるみ餃子 | 山水樓 八ヶ岳ぎょうざ  |  大阪餃子専門店 よしこぎょうざ  | 餃子とワイン 果皮と餡's 十勝産濃厚味噌バター牛カツ餃子 & クセになる鮮烈な辛味!北海道山わさび餃子  |  肉処 天穂肉汁本家 佐賀牛餃子  |  じゃげな's 信州味噌たれネギ餃子  |  餃子の宮でんでん小江戸黒豚ヤンニョム餃子 | 博多八助's 博多ひとくち餃子

There were 1 or 2 more that we would have wanted to try but the lines for those got crazy long later in the day (twice as long as it was when I already wouldn't get in the line to begin with lol), and we were definitely full, so we decided to call it a day.
A bit expensive but definitely a fun experience! The park itself was actually super cool as well. We had walked around and watched a few soccer games before leaving. 

What we ate
Because of our mini-vacations, most of what we ate this month is from those trips! We otherwise put in a little more effort than usually to cook at home and have leftovers to make up for it, haha.
Keema curry & Chicken curry naan lunch sets from Turban Kitakashiwa (Kashiwa - Spring road trip Day 1)

Utsunomiya Gyoza-kai Kirasse (Utsunomiya - Spring road trip Day 1)

Sanmi umen (cold) & chicken umen (hot) from Hikarian (Shiroishi - Spring road trip Day 2)

Full size completa & half size salciccia fried pizza with baba and tiramisu for dessert from 揚げピッツァ La cuccuma ラ•クックマ  (Koriyama - Spring road trip Day 2)

Hokkaido soft cream, shrimp bisque, acai bowl & cheese slice from Costco 

Premium Karubi


Mendokoro Shinya

To-go food from Yokohama Chinatown at the BayStars game

Kura Sushi

鳥開総本家 名駅西口店  (Nagoya weekend trip)

Toyoko Inn breakfast lol

Mukashinoyabaton (Nagoya weekend trip)

Nagoya Castle  (Nagoya weekend trip)

Mentsurubi Nishiki (Nagoya weekend trip)

Nagashima Spa Land (Nagoya weekend trip)

Sekai no Yamachan Joshidai-ten  (Nagoya weekend trip)

Sugakiya (Nagoya weekend trip)


Ramen Kz

Kappa Sushi

Yakiniku King

Craft Gyoza Fes selections

Lunch set A and B from 吉田製麺店

Personal life/miscellaneous
Other than the two major weekend trips (a lot of planning and logistics for me), not a lot else! We did some bowling with friends and a couple of other nights out, but otherwise we were happy to just chill out. 

Outfits for the month can be found here. It seems like the season for "spring" fashion might be a little shorter than I was thinking. It's warming up quite quickly!
With that in mind, I looked through my wardrobe and made sure I picked out some knit and long sleeve items that would have to be put away by the next month due to the rising temperatures and made it a priority to wear them while I still had the chance! I also got a few new items in April that I was excited to style and wear (EATME sandals, Dr Martens heart purse in white and MercuryDuo boots to name a few) and incorporated them where I could. 

May is looking very busy for us - but hopefully in a good way! I know I'll be delayed in timeliness with my next monthly post, but hopefully some additional content will make up for it :)