Fiancée Visits My Hometown

Last February, Nozomi and I had the chance to visit my family in the Philippines. It was a treat for us as we have been very busy at work just before the trip – an escape to a tropical country during the peak of winter. 🙂

Day 1: Travel from Tokyo to Manila to Tarlac City

Day 2: Attended the worship service at my home church, lunch with my family, coffee with Abcd – a good friend of mine from high school, afternoon drive to my high school, dinner with our pastor, travel back to Manila

Max's

Homecoming

Day 3.1: Sightseeing in Intramuros with the girls

Intramuros

Day 3.2: Jewelry shopping at Greenhills Shopping Center with the girls (again)

Greenhills

Day 3.3: Dinner with Ayz – a good friend of mine from college and my courtship coach! (wink)

Greenbelt

Day 4: Fly back to Tokyo

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Ikuta Ryokuchi Park

The day after Nozomi and her family came back from their vacation in Italy, we decided to go somewhere to relax and spend quality time after a week of (almost) no communication. It was a cloudy Friday morning when we headed out to a nearby park Nozomi searched that morning – Ikuta Ryokuchi Park(生田緑地). The park was about a 20-minute bus ride from Mizonokuchi station so it was very accessible for both of us.

Nice autumn day

We were astonished with the park as it did have lots of greens; it felt as if we weren’t in Tokyo! The clouds cleared and soon after, we started our short hike in our boots. We had fun watching small wild birds, taking pictures of each other and the leaves that were turning.

Short hike, turning leaves

After some more walking, we decided to take a short break and enjoy the tea we brought at a nearby view deck. We then took the elevator up the 2-floor wooden deck (seriously, it did have an elevator) where we enjoyed a beautiful view of  Tokyo, Kawasaki and even mount Fuji! We took more pictures and eventually became hungry so we looked for a place to eat.

View deck, pointed house

Walking down a long slope, we found the soba noodles place in the map. We were surprised to see that it was inside a Japanese folk house – even better!

I personally loved this house because everything about it was authentic – the door, the lights, the fireplace, the food, everything! It was probably one of the best soba noodles I’ve had in a while and it was even more special because I had it with my fiancee.♥ We were tired from the hike but nevertheless, were very happy from all the (unexpected) pleasant things we had that day. Nozomi recommended it to her parents who visited a few weeks later and I was told that they also had a great time enjoying nature like we did.

Inside the pointed house, lunch

Recommended for people who want to see nature without having to travel too far away from Tokyo.

For more information, visit their website: http://www.ikutaryokuti.jp/hp/forein_en.html

Cafe time

Paulo and I have many things we like in common but one thing that stands out… really… is that we both Love Coffee. Not just the taste and aroma of the coffee that we like but also the feel of coffee shops. I remember we shared a lot of things about life in these coffee shops in Tokyo.

Coffee shop in just few steps from Shinjuku station >>>Photo 2013-01-26 10.52.31

Chelsea Cafe. They make wonderful espresso drinks. The barista also made those arts too! How lovely…♥ They have coco and desert menu too that you can enjoy. Paulo and I had the very first wedding planning here.

Recommended for couples for good coffee and desert. We loved the sofa seat, but if it is nice out, the balcony seats are also nice and warm too!

Not recommended for family with small kids as the shop is not smoking free…

http://www.shinjuku-mylord.com/shop/chelsea/

Photo 2013-01-26 10.52.48

<<< Cafe and Restaurant in Daikanyama.

IVY PLACE. We have only tried desert and coffee. Paulo and I like the way the restaurant has different kinds of seatings – sofa, bar stools, patio and benches – this place is always packed and we need to wait at least 15 min to get our table when not reserved! We had pudding but it seems like waffle with ice cream is more famous here…!

I loved their rabbit art too!

http://www.tyharborbrewing.co.jp/en/ivy/

Le Soleil

Cosmos! Going on a small trip to see cosmos has been something we were so excited about as the summer ended last year. We did plan to see some flower parks around the area during the cosmos season but typhoons came, and more important things came up so we decided to go try again next year. But after some searching, we found this place called Le Soleil(ソレイユの丘), a park in Yokosuka city approximately 70kms south of Tokyo. And according to their website, the cosmos were in full bloom that weekend!

So on that Saturday morning, we packed our bags and headed out to Le Soleil:

Cosmos

As we walked around, we found out that it wasn’t just your ordinary flower park. It was a huge park with tons of things to do! We continued to walk around and we found a few people waiting in line for something so we walked towards the front and read the sign: “Tomato-picking starts at 1pm”. It was 12:50 and we weren’t hungry, perfect timing.

Tomato picking

We had so much fun picking tomatoes and we did have a bountiful harvest. 🙂

Next stop: the mini zoo. I remember Nozomi telling me she hasn’t seen an Alpaca before so I was planning to take her to one of the nearby zoos before it became too cold to do so. So when we saw these guys, we were ecstatic! Another pleasant surprise. 🙂

Mini zoo

This was a priceless moment for me. Seeing her smile while petting and taking pictures of the animals touched my heart in a very distinct way. At that moment, I felt like I found one of my missions in life – to make my future wife smile.

The sun was up, we were excited and had so much energy so we went forward to see a church-like tower and we were (again) surprised with what we saw; a magnificent view of the beach.

Beach, sunset

Finally, we took some more shots of  cosmos, had our picture taken, and started planning to come back next year with the rest of her family. Indeed, it was a day filled with blessings.

More cosmos, sun down
Recommended for families and couples who want to get away from the city and  enjoy nature for a day. http://soleiljapan.jimdo.com

Second Date

Photo 2013-01-24 15.33.42

What was so special about this second date is that Paulo came to pick me up from work! It was my very first experience to have someone pick me up from work… I remember Paulo was quite nervous still and on the way to the restaurant, he didn’t(or couldn’t) look into my eyes…! We had lots of dishes. We shared a lot about our families here… This is where I fell in love with him and his family.

This restaurant is recommended for anyone who loves stylish Thai. The restaurant has a water fountain and few sets of nice sofas for tea/desert time♥ I love their curry (green, red, yellow – anything!) and Gapao. My sister loves their Pad Thai too.

This  (right) is the table we had dinner together =)

Tun Ten : http://www.tun-ten.com/

Nozomi

First Date

09.06.2012

I don’t believe in coincidence; I believe there has to be a meaning and purpose to everything that happens in my life.

The spring I met Paulo, he was just one of those guys out there. I had no idea he would ask me out but I’m very glad he did… because my life has changed ever since I got to know him.

First dinner we had together was very casual after work on a weekday. We were both too nervous that we did not have beers that day, but we had an awesome time nevertheless.

Recommended for belgian beer lovers and coffee addicted. Paulo waited for me for 2 hours (I’m very sorry) and had three cups of coffee here…

blog_delirium

Photo: http://www.timeout.jp/ja/tokyo/venue/11366

http://www.deliriumcafe.jp/little/

Nozomi