Travel: Japan part 2

Our second day in Kyoto was a full day tour. I booked a car to take us to the most touristic spots. It started with kimono dressing. So much fun

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I looked very japanese after this

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and then we went with the outfit to visit old town

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definitely it was not easy to walk around with that outfit, but worths the effort for few hours 🙂

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then we had sweets in hello kitty restaurant

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so cute!

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next stop, a golden temple Kinkaku-Ji

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Lizzy STARTED to like posing for pictures! So cute.


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final stop of the day was Fushimi Inari-Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) is the head shrine of the god Inari.




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it was a long and difficult walk with the stroller so I think we made 1/3 it and was very impressive by the magnitude of it.

Back home, making silly faces while mama prepared dinner



The following day we went to Osaka, 45 min away from Kyoto. After stopping by our airbnb we went to Osaka park

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The second day in Osaka we first went to Osaka Museum of House and Living as it was just two blocks away from where we stayed. It was a nice little museum to see how Osaka was built and how people lived then

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then we went to Osaka zoo. I know it’s not top-attraction, but it was welcomed by the kids. Although I was freezing, girls had fun feeding the animals and looking all kind of animals including Koala!

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zebra, lion, tiger. Unfortunately the animals didn’t look happy because they were in small cages and alone. I told Sofia, this would be our last zoo to visit because animals suffer here, and she agreed.

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then Tony took Sofia to child-museum (plaground) while my mom and i took Lizzy back for a nap

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After quick dinner we went out for some bath/hot spring experience in Japan. It was such a fun place, so many pools with different temperature, different saunas and steaming rooms. And outdoor hot spring. Girls were running around exploring, I had a taste of everything.

Most people inside are locals and they seem to come to this often. Well, it’s quite cheap, 800 yen per person, that’s about 7 dollars, and if you buy monthly it would be even cheaper.

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The next day we took the bullet train back to Tokyo


we stayed in another place this time, in korean town in Shinjuku. It is a lively neighbourhood, with so many stores and restaurants.

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our friend lived 15 min away so we went to their place for dinner

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that night I didn’t sleep well because the room was so bright! But Lizzy slept like a baby.


our last day in Tokyo started at a Senso-Ji temple

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it was the most crowded place we’ve ever been! So many people everywhere



My mom spent the afternoon with the girls while Tony and I departed for some shopping (separately). I got a lot of cooking items and some cosmetics.

For dinner, we went to a special restaurant for Puffer fish, the only place in world you can eat this dangerous fish. It was Tony’s #1 to-do list in Japan.


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they served the fish in different ways: sashimi, skin, fried, and grilled

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Tony was in heaven

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Final sleep in Tokyo


and I bought strawberries for the girls

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and I had my last kabocha. I’ve been having it almost every night since I arrived. So yummy and so cheap! Love love them!

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We all took a nap on our return flight (4.5 hrs), someone in a very lovely position.

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Travel: Tokyo trip part 1

We spent 10 days in Tokyo and it was a really fun trip! I haven’t been in Japan since 1991 and it was Tony and the girls’ first time in Japan. So we explored a lot and visited 3 cities.

We arrived on a Friday morning, after an hour ride by airport limousine bus (1500 yen per person) we arrived our airbnb in Shinjuku. We met with friends and then went out to explore the neighbourhood. It was still quite cold in Tokyo, especially for us coming from Manila over 30 degrees everyday, it was an adjustment.

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the next date we all went to the Tokyo marathon expo site. It was massive! So many people everywhere

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when I realised there was a line on the open area for only runners, I asked the family to wait me somewhere else but we could easily spend hours in the open

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an hour later I got my bib. Despite over 35k runners participation, the expo was super organized, all the steps were clearly signed and the staff super friendly and helpful. Very japanese style 🙂


due to the travel the day before and the whole morning spent walking and standing and not eating properly, I asked the family to leave me alone in the airbnb to chill out and eat some normal food. So they went to have dinner with friends

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I gathered from convenient store as much normal food as I could to make my pre-race dinner: rice ball, seafood, tofu, and a soup

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half hour later I made a big bowl of oatmeal while watching netflix

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the race didn’t start until 9:10am, so I had plenty time to get organized, got another bowl of oatmeal with PB, bundled up and left with Tony and Sofia to my gate entrance. Although we stayed literally 50 meter from my corral, we had to walk 15 min to get to the gate for security check and bag drop. They confiscated my beloved water bottle because it was made with aluminium. oh… well..

Got my final pre-race picture taken with my little fan


so many people!!! but yet very organized everything… impressive


when I got to my corral, I saw Tony with the girls! yey! They waited me for 20 min until i started running… lovely.


the race course was great, flat, and it shows the best part of Tokyo. I was feeling incredible good for the first 30km. I said better than I expected given that I was still exhausted from the trip to Buenos Aires, and I wasn’t eating well for the last couple of weeks, so I was feeling weak and not confident. Fortunately the vibe kept me strong for the first 2/3 of the race, despite suffering the cold a bit. They were people cheering runners all along the course, offering all kinds of homemade food. I tasted few and they were delicious. They had toilet stops every few hundred meters, so although there were lines, it went very fast. I stopped by after then first mile and very at the end.

Along the course, they offered water and sport drinks, and food (clementines, cherry tomato, bananas, aduki bean cake, candies, dry plums, sport meals, chocolates). So many varieties.

The last 10km was hard. I had to make mental game to reward myself from not stopping for 1 km to get 1 min of walking time. I did it, it was hard. I dedicated my mom, my dad, my husband, and my daughters the last 5k. At the end of the race, I couldn’t look at the people around me, their cheering was annoying, I felt that even looking around takes energy out of me that I didn’t have, so I just kept going, looking at the road.

Unfortunately my family didn’t make to meet me at designated points because there were too many people, most roads were cut, and people they asked didn’t give them the right direction. But it was okay. I knew they were there for me.

After crossing the finish line, the walk was not as it is supposed to be to cool you down. We got a large towel, a heating mat, food, water, and kept walking until the meeting area (picking up the bag on the way). Everything was well organised and clearly directed so nobody got confused. I walked by a foot bath place. Looks really funny. It must feel good to get some warmth in that cold weather.

Then I met with Tony. So nice to see him and give him a big hug. I changed with his help to cover me up because I got two layers soaked up and they were freezing me. We walked 1-2 km more to meet with the bigger crew. So lovely.

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The most surprisingly part post-race was that although I felt I was so much more exhausted during the race than my previous marathon, my recovery time was much much faster. By that night, I could walk almost normally including getting down to stairs. And then next day I was really feeling good, recovered, almost normal. The only thing I can attribute this to must be veganism because the training was the same of less this time, and physically i was not as rested this time.

The next day we took the bullet train to Kyoto, on the way, I got some famous bentos


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I must say, they look better than they taste because usually bento is cold, and they’ll never taste like freshly cooked meals.

Kyoto is such a lovely city. Traditional, boutique, quiet. My kind of place

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our airbnb is a traditional style japanese house, we got the whole house which has two floors

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the upper floor has a bedroom and a seating area, the lower floor has another bedroom, kitchen/dining, and bathroom.


our host welcomed us with a bowl of strawberries! They are freaking expensive in Japan, this bowl must cost 10 dollars! But oh man… these are the yummiest strawberries I’ve ever had in my life.

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after a quick rest we went out to explore the city. Metro is not as widespread in Kyoto as it is in Tokyo, but good enough to move around


first stop was a temple, the first of many we’ll see in this city


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on our way back we stopped by a groceries store and got some food. It was so nice to eat at traditional house in Kyoto tasting their homemade food. We got two type of soup: one with seafood for the family, one with tofu for me, a bento box with a selection of vegan dishes, and dumplings with the family.

I like japanese groceries stores because they have so many convenient food available. I wouldn’t say they’re the most healthy options, but they are quick to prepare, so many options, and relatively cheap. What surprised me was lack of fresh vegetables/fruits. They had, but so expensive! they sell them by pieces or by 100grams!

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we slept sound that night, love love tatami experience there.

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Going vegan

It’s official, I’m going vegan. Not sure for how long… but my body and mind is in peace going vegan at this moment.

It has been a while that I wanted to try vegan, not for ethical reasons but more for health reasons. I was curious to know what vegan diet would do to my body, whether all the claims are true, or which ones are trues. But going vegan means a shift in life style and it could be restrictive. I don’t like being restricted and for a long time I enjoy eggs for breakfasts, and seafood for meals. I don’t think they’re bad per se, everything in moderation works for me usually.

But since beginning of 2018, the urge to try vegan, even for few weeks, was intense. So I decided to try vegan for a month or so. I started mid-january, then during our trip in Kuala Lumpur I had some seafood, and then I started vegan for good. So I’d say I started officially in February.

Having my dad passing away due to heart attack was the final straw. Somehow I felt responsible for what happened to him. With all the nutrition knowledge I had, I didn’t help him enough, I didn’t advocate enough to change his diet for good. When he was first diagnosed with diabetes, I helped him to change his diet and he was cured after just few months of dietary change. But after his 2013 heart surgery, I didn’t advocate because I lacked knowledge of the link between heart disease and animal protein. I didn’t do proper research to help him. I shut down the thought of losing him from another heart attacked because I was too scared. So I chose to be blind of what was happening, as result, he never made the much needed change. Now, it’s too late.

Suddenly the thought of eating meat or any animal products just disgusts me. And knowing my dad is still “sleeping” in Argentina alone makes me feel really sad and guilty. I know this sounds silly and nonsense, but that’s what I feel at the moment and I’ll just go for it. So the plan is to go vegan until we bring dad back to home (shanghai), that could be 6 months, one year, or two. We don’t know yet.

For many going vegan might be hard, for me it’s not and I enjoy my meals. I used to love toasts with eggs but lately all I want is a bowl of comforting oatmeal cooked with pumpkin/banana, chia seed/flaxmeal, cacao powder, and top with almond butter and/or PB.

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when oatmeal is not accessible while traveling, I’d just have toasts with jam.

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for meals I’ve been having salad with roasted vegetables with tahini sauce

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with added beans

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or tofu and sweet potato

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with quinoa

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or simple stir-fry of veggies with tofu in spicy peanut sauce on a bed of lettuce

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sautéed zucchini, tofu, cauliflower rice, quinoa with tahini and nutritional yeast

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black rice sautéed with red cabbage, tofu, and steamed broccoli

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I wouldn’t say I’m 100% vegan because I’m not super strict. I don’t check all the labels, that would be obsessive. One time I had few spoonful of yogurt and I felt sluggish and bloated for the rest of the day. Lesson learned that diary is not my friend.

Of all the benefits of veganism, I’ve experienced the following:

  • I feel nourished, not hungry often and don’t have cravings
  • I’m no longer bloated most of the time
  • I don’t feel stuffed even though I had a big meal
  • I sleep deep and long
  • I recover faster from my running
  • my skin feels soft and clearer

In 2-3 months I’ll have a physical check, I’ll report back how my stats compared to last years.

Traveling while being vegan is more challenging, I am still trying to find a way to balance the fun of trying new food while sticking to what makes me feel the best. We are heading to Tokyo this Friday, I’ll report back my experience in Tokyo.




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