“Ha Ha Ha” Cupcakes: It’s a sweet time with cupcakes!

Anyone with even the smallest sweet tooth couldn’t possibly miss the giant cupcake which popped up in Ginowan near the entrance of the bypass. Anxiously I awaited the opening of what seemed to be a cupcake shop. Finally after much anticipation and waiting I saw the “Grand Opening” flowers and knew that it was time. . . .  I then made my way to Ha Ha Ha Cupcakes.


Before you even pull into the parking lot Ha Ha Ha Cupcakes is clearly the most adorable shop in the area. The very cute cupcake entrance is one thing but the sign featuring a very happy monkey holding a delicious looking cupcake is another. There is no IMG_2948shortage of kawaii on the inside of the shop either.

The inside of the shop is sure to bring a smile to your face with it’s bubblegum pink walls and the pastel shirts work by the staff. On one wall you can find an assortment of cupcake trees featuring your favorite characters, on the other a variety of balloons. (I am not entirely sure whether or not these balloons are for sale or not.) A seating area is also available with two very small tables and only about 3 or 4 stools. That being said this is not one of those places I would visit with the anticipation of sitting in.

Finally it’s time for that moment we’ve all been waiting for. . . . the cupcakes. There were 5 or 6 flavors of cupcakes available which included Ha Ha Ha, Blueberry, Rocky Road and Red Velvet. Although there were a variety of flavors there were only a few of each flavor available. We decided to choose Ha Ha Ha and and Rocky Road. Both of these cupcakes were ¥250 each but others were as high as ¥300.

The cupcakes looked quite delectable with mile high frosting and either sprinkles or sauce topped with a mini Oreo cookie. Unfortunately the cupcakes did not taste as good as they looked. Overall the entire cupcake lacked flavor with the icing tasting of shortening and the cake itself not tasting sweet or like vanilla/chocolate.

IMG_2950Ha Ha Ha Cupcakes also serves up smoothies including a variety of flavors such as Banana and Mixed Berry but we did not try one because the cost was too high for our liking (¥600 each).

I absolutely love the look and feel of Ha Ha Ha Cupcakes, but unfortunately I think that the focus on aesthetics has taken a tole on the quality of the product. In the future I truly hope that the quality of the cupcakes and timeliness of the service improves which will undoubtable make this a “must see”. Right now though it’s just not the case.


Bras in Japan: Securely Stow Those Boobies!

Women who live in Japan long term are eventually going to find themselves with the need to purchase a new bra. . . . that’s just life. Unfortunately the task of finding a bra can be challenging enough when you’re in your home country let alone when in a foreign land where women are (there’s no better way to say this so here goes) much smaller and not as voluptuous.

In the face of such challenges most foreigners toss in the towel right away holding on to every last frayed inch of spandex and lace until they can order online or go back to the US. On the other hand, I don’t have the extra money for shipping and with no plans to go back to the US any time soon my bazookas and I went out into the battle field. Our IMG_2644mission? Find the equivalent of a 36DD and share every grueling detail of my experience.

The first thing that needs to be discussed (because it is usually the first thing on people’s minds) is sizing. The system for sizing bras in Japan is very similar to the US. There is a number which corresponds to the under band and then a letter which corresponds to the cup size. Because we use the metric system in Japan the under band is measured in centimeters. Generally speaking under bands are in 5cm increments. Cup size is also a bit different then in the US with sizes ranging from A to H without the use of double letters. (Note: Most stores I have visited only carry about A to E. . . maybe F) Cup sizes also run a bit smaller then they do in the US. For example I am a DD which one might immediately assume is an E in Japanese sizes, however, it is actually an F. Also under band sizes correspond to cup sizes. What this ultimately means is that you’re not likely to find a very small under band with a very large cup (i.e. 30DD or 75F)

Now that we’ve talked about sizing, which you have to admit is not as scary as you initially thought, it’s time to understand a few things about Japanese bras in general. For a country which is so modest they sure have a lot of “loud” bras here. Almost every bra that I saw had some type of lace, gems, pattern or ruffle on it. For some I can imagine that this would be problematic, in fact I am not often a fan of these bras which can sometimes leave your melons looking. . . . well IMG_2641lumpy. Of course there are other bras which are made of smooth materials which make them seem “barely there” but they are much more expensive and come in limited sizes.

Aside from the materials used to decorate the bras (which is relatively easy to work with) the biggest challenge that I faced finding a bra was that almost half of the bras available have some sort of padding. If you’re like me and have some bodacious bongos the last think you need is extra “va-va” in your “voom”. Unlike pushup bras that you might find at Victorias Secret or similar this padding offered more fill then shape leaving an awkward look. In fact I would go so far as to say that although the size was still 80F it was probably designed for someone with a smaller cup size but wanting to look like an F. 

Even after finding out what size I was, shuffling through the overly appliquéd designs and weeding out anything that could be described as “stuffed” I made a discovery that every woman knows but none ever really want to admit: it doesn’t matter what you think you know . . . you’re going to have to try on every damn bra anyway! I do not know what mysterious force of nature it is that can make 5 bras, all the same size, fit 5 very different ways. Some were simply too big where as others seemed to be two sizes too small and of course there was that one that fit just right. As much of a pain in the pantyhose as this was it’s something I’ve done all my life when trying to find a bra so I suppose I shouldn’t expect bra shopping in Japan to be any different. 

Having found a bra that fit for the low low price of ¥1000 I happily walked over the the check out counter where I was rung up and my new over the shoulder boulder holder was put into a brown paper bag so that no wandering eyes could get a peek. This is one of the really great things that Japan does for items which are on the “personal” side. Although it took a little bit of time and effort in actuality this was a really simple task and the effort paid off with a bra that was at least $30.00 (not counting shipping) cheaper then I would have ordered online. You can’t beat a deal like that! If you’re here in Japan and need a new bra don’t hesitate to check out your local department store or specialty shop. You never know what you might find!

8 Safety Tips For Solo Travelers via Christine Kaaloa

It wasn’t long after I arrived in Japan that I started heading out on my own and exploring. Eventually when I started sharing my journeys on YouTube I started to receive a few comments and questions regarding whether or not it was safe for a woman like myself to be exploring unaccompanied. Although some of my answers were geared to specific comments or questions the general theme remained the same; it’s safer here in Japan then it is in most US cities. In other words: There is absolutely nothing to worry about. 

Naturally because your friendly neighborhood OkiNinjaKitty says there is nothing to worry about doesn’t necessarily mean that you feel safe and content. For those people out there who want to take some extra steps to stay protected there are a few different things you can do. I could go ahead and outline a bunch of them for you but today (through a suggestion from a fellow YouTuber Steve Miller) I stumbled upon a video by Christine Kaaloa who dose a pretty great job offering up 8 tips specifically for female travelers. You can check out her video here:

Christine offers some fantastic advise, however since it is so generalized I thought that I would add a few tidbits specific to Japan and throw in some things that I do which you might also find helpful.

1. Be aware of  your surroundings

The idea is if you can see it you can deter it. As a traveler if I can see people coming in on he side of me or someone walking close to me and it’s a little too close, they are coming up a little too fast then I can think about what kind of action to make to deter a possible snatch. . .

Christine could not have made a better choice in making #1 on her list “Be aware of your surroundings”. Although this can seem daunting when you listen to someone explain it the actual act itself can be simple and within just a few short days it can become second nature.

Usually when we hear that we should be aware of our surroundings we automatically think that it is because we need to prevent some type of crime or assault. However, here in Japan (where it is unlikely you will encounter that type of situation) there are some other very important reasons to be aware of your surroundings. There are many things which are different from the way kids learn to cross the street to the way escalators are used in major cities. Being aware of your surroundings may not only prevent you from harm but it may also ensure that you don’t cause harm to others.

2. Hold valuables close to your body

. . . with my valuables in front of me I always have an eye on it. Nothing goes in or out of my bag without me seeing it.

There are many valuable points that Christine discusses in this section of the video, most of which I learned at an early age living in a rough and tumble city. However, there are a few other points I have found helpful over the years that I would like to add. First and foremost ensure that you do not store items vital to your travel (ID, credit cards, passports) in pouches which are easily accessible. Those outer pouches are easiest for others to gain access to without you noticing. In fact I usually go out of my way to put the least valuable items that I am carrying with me in the most easy to swipe spots like tissues or a spate t-shirt. Second separate important items. What happens if your wallet or purse is snatched or lost and it contains all of your important documents and money? Doing something as simple as separating your money into separate wallets, bags, pockets or a combination of the three can ensure you aren’t alone somewhere with absolutely nothing. Although these two things seems silly they have been immensely helpful to me in the past.

3. Act confident 

The trick is all in the attitude. . . . . People are going to read your body language.

Simply put: looking lost and confused is the best way for you to attract the wrong type of attention. This doesn’t always mean that people will try to find you and cause you harm (although there are some places where this may very well be the case) but can sometimes mean that they will take advantage of your confusion. This could be a cabby who charges you extra because you clearly don’t understand Japanese so you won’t confront him or a shop who takes advantage of the fact that you are a foreigner. This area is extremely important for those who are living here for a few years (particularly military members) to keep in mind because many businesses know you are coming, know what type of salary you make and are wiling to feed you information (even when it’s not accurate) in order to make a sale.

4. Trust your gut 

As a solo traveler you’re going to know who you can trust and who you can’t. Some travelers are very trusting of strangers and they want to be social and open, and that’s all good stuff, it’s just that you also have to be wise about people that you choose to get help from. . . .

Christine says “not everyone is going to be a good person” in this part of the video and it is so very important to understand. Here in Japan (particularly Okinawa) there are a lot of foreigners, there are a lot of Americans and there are a lot of military members. It is very easy to feel comfortable because of a common bond HOWEVER there should be a great deal of caution even with these types of people because they can just as easily take advantage of you and put you in a bad position.

5. Avoid giving out personal information 

You want to try and avoid giving any personal information like if you’re traveling alone, if you’re single, what motel you’re staying at. . .

Another very important point, nothing really to add.

6. Avoid dark and lonely places at night 

If you’re going out at night I would avoid any dark places, dark alleys, any place that’s closed from the public. Always stay on the main street.

I have said many times about how safe Japan is and I do not in any way retract that statement. In fact walking around, even at night, is relatively safe. There are some things, however, that I am more wearing of during the hours when the sun is down. For example as Christine mentioned staying away from areas off limits to the public is very important. I also personally prefer to avoid bars which cater to foreigners. Unlike other izakayas or Japanese bars these tend to be a bit more rowdy and have a lot of loud overly drunk men outside which makes me uncomfortable.

7. Dress Appropriately 

If you’re solo, you’re single you kinda want to meet someone maybe . . . you want to dress a little sexy but for every one guy that you consider hot there’s going to be 20 that you consider not and they’re all going to be looking at you.

Clothing is a great form of self expression but it is also a way to grab unwanted attention and that is something that every solo female traveler should keep in mind.

8. Research the country 

Research possible scams and crimes in that country.

Considering that those of you reading probably already have your sights on Japan (or already here) researching the country is only going to do so much for you. However, there is very much importance in researching where you want to go and what you want to do. Just doing this alone can help you avoid some places which might be bad news or make you aware of the scams and crimes which are likely to happen in that area. For example there are some areas of Tokyo that I am not going to visit because I know that there are a lot of chases where drinks are spiked and such. It doesn’t make sense (in my opinion) to put myself in that type of situation so I can easily avoid it. This simple task of researching will also help you become confident with your travel plans and more aware of your surroundings.

Overall the type of person you are and the type of background you come from will determine how safe and secure you feel in a particular area but taking some preventative measures can also be helpful as well. I hope that you have found this post and video helpful. Please don’t forget to give Christine’s video a thumbs up!

Baum Factory Fukugiya


“This Baum-Kuchen has been meticulously baked using Okinawan ingredients.”

I was first introduced to Baum-Kuchen by a lifelong friend from Kanazawa. She had sent me and my family, who were visiting at the time, a box of the most delicious cake I had ever eaten. Unfortunately this particular cake came from a shop located in Tokyo making it very difficult to find here on Okinawa. Thankfully one day as I was paroozing the streets of Kokusai I found a little shop called Fukugiya.

It’s not easy to miss Fukugiya mainly because of the smell of fresh baked cake billowing from the storefront. A large glass window shows the cake being prepared in it’s unique oven. If you’re lucky you can even see the batter meticulously being applied to the spinning cake which creates is distinct shape and texture.

Much like other specialty shops of it’s kind Fukugiya has a limited selection of goods. There are two (although on occasion you might find three) flavors of cake and a few other goods for purchase depending on the season. Cake can be purchased in three sizes “S”, “M”, and “L”. Prices are reasonable and each cake comes wrapped and sealed in a decorative package making it a great item to bring to your family or friends as a gift.

If you’re in the area of Kokusai Street and looking for something delicious to please the entire family try some of the delicious Baum-Kuchen available at Fukugiya. You are sure to be coming back for more!

Hub: Around the corner, down the street and on the 3rd floor!

Kokusai Street is a great place for tourists, however, for someone who has lived here long term it can be as fun as it is annoying. This is one of the reasons that I don’t often think of Kokusai Street when looking for a nice place to enjoy a sit down dinner. Yesterday, however, was an exception to the rule. You see this week is Mr OkiNinjaKitty’s birthday and his absolute favorite cake is sold in a small shop located on Kokusai Street. This year rather than going to the cake shop myself Mr OkiNinjaKitty requested that we go together and make a night of it. Sounds like fun! 

After the cake was successfully retrieved it was time to look for a place to eat dinner. This is, at least in my opinion, a harder IMG_2598task than it might seem. Sure there are an overwhelming amount of restaurants on Kokusai Street but the actual selection is limited (especially if you’re not looking for a steak dinner) and some of the prices are just outrageous. We walked up and down the street being handed flyer after flyer, none of which catching our eye, until this one guy who not only had a flyer but the entire menu. A quick flip through and we knew this was it! 

Then off across the street he flew with a flash instructing us to follow. About 3 minutes later there we were Hub. Since he had radioed in to the restaurant from his handy little head set we walked right in to a table which had already been set with an English menu for our convenience. Pretty great service if you ask me!.

We spent quite a bit of time looking at the menu because of it’s sheer size. There was so much to offer from tacos to seafood and everything in between. There was also an assortment of drinks both mixed and on tap. The only down side to the huge menu is that the English version did not have the same pictures which were in the Japanese version (common in restaurants throughout Japan).

Once we finally decided on what we wanted to eat we jingled the little bell on the table and over came out waiter. He was young, lively and very impressive in the way that he remembered our order without having to write it down. About 5 to 10 minutes later our first dish arrived.


This dish was labeled as Portuguese in the “World” section of the menu which featured various dishes from different parts of the world. The dish included some delicious beef seasoned to perfection, onions and a fried egg on rice which had some IMG_2602sort of sauce on it. Delicious! This particular dish was also served with two small plates so that it could be enjoyed family style.

Not long after we finished this dish we received our next dish, my personal favorite, fried squid. Fried squid is one of those dishes which is always enjoyable but sometimes it stands out above the crowd. These particular pieces of fried squid were absolutely fantastic!  They were fried to absolute perfection making them crunchy on the outside and perfectly chewy on the inside.

The night continued on with some more foods which included some sort of sea snail with mushrooms served with an open flame. There was also a delicious pizza which had the lightest and most crunchy crust I have ever eaten.

The most notable aspect of this restaurant, aside from the fantastic food, is the price. The dishes averaged out at around ¥500 (as did the drinks) which made it easy to order a few different things without breaking the bank. The portion sizes were also the perfect size to enjoy a little bit of everything while not getting too filled up to finish everything you ordered. Another great characteristic of this restaurant was the timeliness of the service. Your food IMG_2604was brought out to you in waves without too many items hitting the table at once so you could enjoy everything while it was still fresh out of the oven or off the skillet. The show flow of food also made it very easy to enjoy yourself without having plates overwhelm the small table (another thing that happens too often at Japanese restaurants).

If you’re planning on visiting this restaurant I highly recommend looking for the signs and staff members available on Kokusai Street as they will direct you to the restaurant without any hassle. However, if you want to check out the directions to Hub you can find a map on the website.