It's Spring time! Time to eat something sweet!

The Spring here is already in a full swing, something is fading and something else just starts to blossom, so nice! And so we suddenly wanted something sweet but possibly a little bit tart and with a delicate taste. With a nice look of Spring colors such as pink which reminds us about beautiful blossoming trees such as plum, dogwood, cherry and others. And in one of Spring issues of the King Arthur
Flour magazine I found a Cherry cupcakes recipe that we liked, so we decided to share it with you.

The frosting recipe uses a bit of meringue powder to create a silky texture that holds its shape well. But I think if you don't have it you can skip it and make frosting without it.
So, today in the menu we have:

Tart Cherry Cupcakes
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Got a new toy

Already over a month ago I bought myself a new toy and finally got time to write about it here.

My new toy is Barnes&Noble Nook Color electronic "Book reader".

B&N Nook Color

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Day 15, part 2: Fushimi Inari Taisha

Second part of our last day is a special moment and we decided to spend it in a really special place.

That special place is Fushimi Inari Shrine, dedicated to god of fertility, rice, industry and so on. Soon you will see what's special about it.

We wanted to visit it in a second half of a day for a variety of reasons including the recommendation to visit it in the evening because it's scarier that way.

Next train Display in Kyoto
Display at the train station announcing a train and also how many cars it has and what symbol to look for to determine where those cars stop an where their doors will en up being.

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BPS visits ORNL

Do you remember our visit to SuperComuputing 2010? Today we have a follow up on its events.

Seeing as how Chinese supercomputer dethroned US as top #1 supercomputer in the world (a position US maintained for many years) and also captured #3 spot with another supercomputer, US started to make the plans to regain the leadership in this area.

Of course this is an area that BPS is interested in as well. So Akira decided it's time to fulfill the SC10 promise and visit ORNL in person.

BPS and James
Warm welcome awaited at the Lab

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Crunchy and Creamy Mashed Potatoes from Little Cook.

Not so long ago we saw one interesting story about a poor cadet Cloud, typical general Sephiroth and of course about a bag of red potatoes! We have been sorry for cadet Cloud, but thank God we are not in an army here but almost like at a restaurant, so both of as Hina-chan and me inspirited went to the kitchen to spoil everybody with a delicious crispy baked potatoes. Of course we would be glad to treat cadet Cloud for his trouble and initiative because in our case it's not punishable but even commendable.
So, to indulge ou
rselves for this recipe we will need red potatoes between 1½ to 2 inches in diameter. Not peeled but washed. ;) For those who don't happen to know how to choose red potatoes they should be firm with smooth-skinned and have bright-red coloring and with few shallow eyes. If it's available then let's begin.
Today in the menu we have:

Roasted Smashed Red Potatoes.
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Day 15, part 1: Kiyomizudera

We have already described day 14 on which we went to Tenshi no Sato.

So on to the day 15. The plan for the morning was to visit Kiyomizudera temple, a pretty popular place in Kyoto with huge crowds. To avoid the crowds we decided to get there at around 7am, so we woke up really early, quickly ate some cakes we bought a day before and went to a bus stop to catch a bus. A day before hotel clerk recommended us to take a bus 207 and get off at Gojozaka stop. But looking at a Google map we decided that getting off at the next stop (Kiyomizu-michi - the bus stop for the temple) as it seemed to be a bit closer distance.

From the bus stop we went on a street in Hagashiyama district that went uphill and after some time we have arrived to the temple.

The name Kiyomizu means clear or pure water due to the waterfall in the complex.

Gate of Deva Kings (Nio-Mon) in the morning
Nio-mon. Gate of Deva Kings. Around 7am, the sun is still pretty low and covered with some clouds.

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Day 13, part 3: Golden Pavilion

The time was already well after noon and the sun was moving toward the horizon. Our plan was to visit the Golden Pavilion before sunset to take some nice pictures of the shining building.

Originally we thought of taking a bus from Ryoanji to Kinkakuji, but it turned out there were a lot of people wanting to do the same.

People waiting for a bus near Ryoanji
The line at the bus stop.

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Day 13, part 2: Ryoanji rock garden

Next stop on the day 13 in Japan was in Ryoanji temple. It is said to be the most important place to visit in Kyoto.

The main part of the temple is a famous rock garden (zen garden) that was built at the end of 15th century and is pretty simple.

Ryoanji station
Tram line that we took. Ryoanji station.

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Day 13, part 1: Kyoto Nijo Castle

The day 13 was so long and full of visits that we decided to split it into several posts.

It all started with a breakfast, of course. The day before we ordered a breakfast in our ryokan to see how good was the kitchen.

breakfast in ryokan
That's how our traditional Japanese breakfast looked like.

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Christmas in Japanese Culture

Yay! It's Christmas time and time before New Year! That means time of bright lights, magic, meetings, fun, and of course sweets! Which child, or even an adult, would not be happy about a sweet wonder? ;) Although Christmas is not an official holiday in Japan still many Japanese people are celebrating and they even have a traditional Christmas treat. What do you think it is? It is a real "Christmas cake"! Actually this term is absolutely always means "Sponge cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream". Easy to make, very tender, sweet but not overly, it just melts in your mouth, and this taste of strawberries with whipped cream …mmmm… can you imagine? ;) Even better then imagining just try it. So let's try to make this sweet wonder which won't leave anybody indifferent!   
Let's begin?
Today in the menu we have:


Japanese Christmas cake.
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