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Singapore is like a mini Tokyo. We had Japanese schools, Japanese supermarkets, and Japanese department stores everywhere you looked (sort of like how there seems to be a Starbucks on every corner these days).  The Japanese food courts you’d find in the basements of these department stores were worth waiting in line for after a long day of shopping.  Now, we’re not talking about your ordinary greasy pizza, taco, or sub shops at these food courts; we’re talking about steaming bowls of udon, sushi and sashimi made to order, the most delicious red-bean filled pancakes, and onigiri rice balls filled with seasoned seaweed. The yummy list goes on.

Then of course there was Sanrio – the parent company for the mouth-less Japanese icon, “Hello Kitty”! I was crazy about Hello Kitty and all of her little companions over at the Sanrio shop. I had “Little Twin Stars” chopsticks (it didn’t matter if I barely knew how to use chopsticks, I just had to have them). I also had to have anything Hello Kitty: Hello Kitty coin purses, Hello Kitty erasers, Hello Kitty sticker books, and Hello Kitty pencil cases. Walking into those Sanrio stationery stores was like heaven for a child.

So when I had a chance to relive some those memories, by visiting Japan recently, I just couldn’t pass it up. Nothing was going to stop me even though it meant enduring a 14-hour flight with our 4 year old! NOTHING! I’m dedicating the next few posts to Japan, my fourth love – after my family, Singapore and chocolate.

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