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the cutest cookies...

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

Henteco Bakery in Tokyo

I visited Japan almost six years ago and am still inspired by the attention to detail and craftsmanship there. These cookies by Henteco bakery in Tokyo are just ridiculously cute. And, they now have a book, too!

{Photos by Henteco}

simple and clever...

Torafu-architects

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I'm so inspired by architecture and love it when architects also design products for the home. This modular Kororo desk and stool by Torafu Architects is so clever with the built-in shelves and the ability to both hold and display desk items. And those colors...!

{oh joy eats} sweet treats in little tokyo...

Oh Joy | Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

When we visit our friends—especially those who have new babies—one of my favorite things to do is bring a box of treats for the new parents. And since we've had a ton of friends having babies over the past year ('tis the season!), I've been looking for something to bring other than my standard cupcakes or pies. So I took a little trip to L.A.'s Little Toyko in search of some treats for friends, as well as some for future sweet cravings of my very own.

Oh Joy | Fugetsu-do in Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Oh Joy | Fugetsu-do in Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Oh Joy | Fugetsu-do in Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

My first stop was Fugetsu-do, a family-owned staple of Little Tokyo since 1903 that specializes in the freshest mochi (rice cakes) and manju (sweet bean-filled rice cakes). In addition to the beautiful mochi and manju, Fugetsu-do has packaged and boxed candies and crackers that I stocked up on for last-minute gift and snacking needs. (And they're up with the times and offer shipping across the country and sell online!)

Oh Joy | Mikawaya in Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Oh Joy | Mikawaya in Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Oh Joy | Mikawaya in Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

For the best ice cream mochi (rice cakes filled with ice cream), Mikawaya (located in Japanese Village Plaza) was my next stop. Mikawaya has a ton of regular mochi options, but specializes in the ice-cream-filled variety. So while these might not be things I can take over to a friend's house, they are a nice treat to have while you're in the area shopping. The green tea, cookies and cream, and plum ice cream mochi were my favorites.

Oh Joy | Cafe Dulce in Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Oh Joy | Cafe Dulce in Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Oh Joy | Cafe Dulce in Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

While in the Japanese Village Plaza, I stumbled upon Café Dulcé. I'd heard great things about the green tea doughnuts, and I loved the variety of doughnut and pastry selections available—it's simply a great Japanese version of your favorite local bakery. I especially loved the tapioca roll and, of course, the green tea doughnut.

Oh Joy | Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Oh Joy | Little Toyko | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Once all was said and done, I gathered together my finds from all three places to put together a little box of treats for friends. It was such a fun morning of exploring what Little Tokyo has to offer and experiencing a bit of Japan right here in Los Angeles...

Fugetsu-do | 315 East First St. | Los Angeles, CA 90012 | 213.625.8595

Mikawaya | in Japanese Village Plaza | 335 E. 2nd St.| Los Angeles, CA 90012 | 213.346.9910

Café Dulcé | in Japanese Village Plaza | 335 E. 2nd St.| Los Angeles, CA 90012 | 213.346.9910

{Photos by Bonnie Tsang. My outfit: dress by En Soie, tote by Mar Y Sol, vintage shoes.}

a japanese cupcake...

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I recently found these gorgeous sugar flowers and leaves that I had bought during my trip to Kyoto in 2010. Needless to say—two years later—they're probably best not consumed...but they still had their shapes and colors fully intact, so I decided to use them to spruce up a carrot cupcake! Totally whimsical and fun... — Joy

{photos by Oh Joy}

bath time for baby...

Yoshii-towel-japan Uchino-ecolive-towel-japan

I've been starting to stock up on some basics for our little lady, and recently came across some amazing Japanese bath towels that seem perfect for her. I'm not super into baby pink, so subtle patterns on really soft materials feel just right. I picked up this Uchino Ecolive polka dotted towel set at Terrain and these striped Yoshii towels from Broome St. General. They feel so incredibly soft, so I can only imagine how well they'll wash too {I just might need to add these and these to the collection as well}. — Joy

{photos by Oh Joy}

kooky cookies...

Cookieboy-japan

...so fun and quirky...by Cookie Boy...

{Thanks Neal! Photos by Cookie Boy}

foodtographer love...

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...sweet, quirky, and warm...by Japanese photographer BananaGranola...

{photos by BananaGranola}

yuzu fever...

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While in Japan, I got a serious case of Yuzu Fever. While I've had yuzu in Japanese dishes before, I had never had fresh yuzu juice...mixed with water or soda and ice, yuzu juice is like the best lemonade I've ever had. It tastes and smells like a really intense, fragrant lemon...with a little something extra I can't quite describe. Now that I am back in LA, I'm determined to find some juice here {which probably only comes in concentrate}...or maybe even grow a little yuzu tree in our backyard?

{photo by Oh Joy of fresh yuzu juice from the Nishiki Market}

ramen love in {kyoto}...

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Isshindo-ramen-kyoto

We have pretty good ramen here in Southern California, but while in Japan, I was on a mission to try the real deal. A reader from Kyoto suggested Isshindo which she said was cheap and tasty...check!. Then when doing google searches it turns out Kyoto Foodie had also been there and loved it....ding, ding, we have a winner!

A few of us got on foot in search for Isshindo which was only a 5-10 minute walk from our hotel. It was easy to miss with it's lack of English signage and hole-in-the-wall location. However, the journey was certainly worth it for the lovely bowl of noodles that would follow. There were no English menus or signs, so we did our best to tell the waiter that we wanted ramen. He said there were two choices: pork or seafood. Turns out, whatever we picked had a pork broth and seafood inside {clams specifically...Kyoto Foodie gives a detailed explanation here...wish I had read this before going!}. The Isshido Soba we did have {which they call soba but is actually ramen} was delicious...rich, perfectly salty, and fragrant...the clams were an unexpected, but nice, addition. The place is tiny, but it felt so hidden and real and just perfect...

{photos by Oh Joy}

the path to green tea...

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On the path to Kiyomizu-Dera, there are a ton of little shops selling trinkets and chotchkes...and plenty of green tea treats {you already know I'm addicted right?}. Said treats include green tea soft serve, green tea soft serve on top of green tea cake, and cream puffs filled with green tea ice cream or green tea custard. Did I try them all? But, of course!

{photos by Oh Joy}