Living in Tokyo, Japan – Part 7

March 11th, 2011 – 9.0 Magnitude Earthquake

Today started out as a normal Friday at school. That morning I had onigiri making for homeless people, so I missed my morning classes. I then had math, humanities and English, then finished the day with art. We had about 10 minutes left of the school day before going home. We were making pottery at the time for out Presents from the Past unit. Then, the ground began to shake very lightly, and suddenly started to shake violently. Little did I know, I was experiencing a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.

We all ducked under the tables. One table had 9 kids under it, and the table that I was under had 6. The ground continued to shake for about 3 minutes. Pottery began falling off of shelves and shattering as it hit the ground. Our school principal came over the intercom and said “please remain under your tables for another minute”, so we all did. 30 seconds later, he came back on the intercom telling everyone to get out from under their tables, pack up your bags quickly, and get on the bus if you take one home.

When we were going to pack up our bags we passed by the teachers lounge. Plates, glasses, bowls and more fell on the ground and shattered to pieces. I ran to the bus with one of my friends. When we were in the driveway to leave the school, there was more shaking of the ground.

We got to our stop and I walked to our apartment building to go home. I did not want to go upstairs because I didn’t know if mom was upstairs or not. I walked over to 7 Eleven with a neighbor and his mom and sister. I got a vitamin water because I was thirsty. At about 4:10 pm, I walked to the after school bus stop to pick up Sophie. I was waiting for the bus for about 30 minutes. When the bus arrived, Sophie was not on it. I started walking home. I ran into mom and Taylor on a walking bridge when I told her I did not know where Sophie was.

All phones were down from the damage of the shaking. Mom emailed dad to see if it would go through. Dad had run from his office to our school to pick up Sophie. From there they walked all the way home. No trains were running, and dad couldn’t take a taxi because he did not have any cash on him.

We met up with Soph and dad on the 6th floor of our apartment building. We had to climb up 24 floors to our apartment. We decided to head down the 6 floors to see if we could find something for dinner. All restaurants were closed. Broken dishes and glass everywhere. We stopped by a corner store to pick up a few snacks, and made our way back up the apartment building.

We stopped on the 16th floor which has the apartment lobby to take a break, drink some water and eat some snacks to make it another 8 floors up.

The rest of the night was scary. There were small aftershocks throughout the night. It was an eventful day.

Months After

My dad managed a store in Sendai where the epicenter of the earthquake was, and where the tsunami hit the hardest. As I do not have photos of the day of to share, below are photos from late June of 2011 showing some of the damage.

How I feel in Present Day

For the years that followed, I would be sitting on the couch watching TV, and all of a sudden I felt my body drop. It was the same sensation that I felt while an earthquake occurred while on the 24th floor of our apartment building.

While reading my journal to write this post, I immediately got an anxious stomach and started to cry. I cry every time I read it I cry. I remember so vividly crossing the bridge to tell mom I had no clue where Sophie was.

While driving and sitting on an overpass, a semi truck will drive over the bridge and it bounces. It brings back all of my feelings and emotions of the bouncing we would feel in our building when there was an earthquake.

To read more about my journey living in Tokyo, click here!

Living in Tokyo, Japan – Part 5

August 18th, 2010


Photo Credit – RJ Hill

Today we went to Disney Sea to show gramma what it was like. We would have gone to Disneyland instead but Sophie and dad really wanted to go on the Tower of Terror. We arrived at the park around 11:00 am. Sophie, Taylor and dad ran over to get fast passes for the Tower of Terror, but by the time they got there the time slot was for 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Sophie was so upset that she started crying because we did not want to stay at the park that late.

We started walking around looking at rides to go on. We passed by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but it was closed while walking past. Dad went to try to grab fast passes for it when mom yells “RJ! They just opened!” We dropped of Taylor’s stroller and got in line. It only took about 5 minutes to get on since we were one of the first people in line.

Photo Credit – RJ Hill

While we were exiting the ride we walked past a piece of paper on the ground. I asked dad if that was a fast pass, so he turns around to grab it and it was a fast pass for 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm for Journey to the Center of the Earth. We let mom take it because she had not been on that ride yet. She would have gone last time but Soph and dad ditched mom, Tay and I to go on more cool rides.

Mom and dad split off and went to wait in line for Journey to the Center of the Earth while gramma, Sophie, Taylor and I went to Mermaid Lagoon. We decided to go on Scuttles Scooters because it was only a 10 minute wait. When we were done riding Scuttles Scooters we went into King Triton Castle. When you walk in you see a statue of King Triton. When you walk in further, you see all of the fun! There are three rides in the castle. Jumping Jellyfish, Blowfish Balloon Race and the Whirlpool.

After we rode Jumping Jellyfish, we headed over to the Arabian Coast. I really wanted to go on the Caravan Carousel because it is a double decker carousel! Instead we ended up going on Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage. It is one of my favorite rides in Disney Sea. There is one scene where a light mist is dropped on you and it felt so nice because it was so hot outside. We met up with mom and dad at Sebastian’s Kitchen, had lunch and went home.

To check out some Tokyo Disneyland merchandise, click here to go to eBay!


August 23rd, 2010

Sophie and I had our school orientation today. Nothing fun. We met our teachers, homeroom teachers and all other 6th grade teachers so everyone knew each other even if you were not in their class.

On the 21st, Taylor had her school orientation. She got her school uniform. While mom was with Taylor at orientation, gramma, Sophie and I went to Ginza to do some window shopping. Ginza is a high end retail part of Tokyo.

Photo Credit – RJ Hill

Today was Sophie and I’s first day of school at Tokyo International School. I have six different periods everyday. Two periods then a morning break, two periods then a lunch, and two more then home. I love my Japanese language class!

August 24th, 2010

Today was our second day of school. It was a lot more fun than the first day. Today I had design technology, science, drama, music and a double block of math.

To read more about my journey living in Tokyo, click here!

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Top Cookies

These gluten free blueberry muffin top cookies are a perfect way to eat a cookie while eating the best part of a muffin, the tops!

Photo by Lauren Hill


  • Gluten Free Flour – flour is the base for desserts and pastries.
  • Xanthan Gum – xanthan gum is only needed if the gluten free flour does not contain it.
  • Blueberries – blueberries are packed with antioxidants.
  • Buttermilk and baking soda – buttermilk is acidic and when mixed with baking soda helps give the cookie a light fluffy texture.

If You Use Frozen Blueberries

Blueberries are best when they are in season usually between April and September. If it is the off season or maybe you prefer to buy frozen blueberries for price or to always have available to you, then frozen blueberries work as well!

If you are using frozen blueberries, you do not need to thaw them before adding them to the batter. This ensures that they do not fall apart when folding them into the batter.

Photo by Lauren Hill


Dairy – I personally try not to eat dairy when possible, even if it is a small amount that is in a cookie. I have tried this recipe with Oat milk and Coconut milk and they both turned out well. The only difference would be the slight bite is missing.

If you want to stay away from butter, there are so many alternatives out there. Some will affect the flavor of a dish, and some will be a little more mild. Applesauce is one alternative that you can substitute using the same amount of that the recipe calls for butter. Another alternative that would not alter the flavor of the cookie is coconut oil. For this you would also use the same amount that the recipe calls for of butter.

Eggs – There are many egg substitutes out there as well. You can replace an egg with 1/2 of a mashed banana, 1/4 cup of applesauce, 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of water, and more.


Storage of Muffin Top Cookies

I kept my blueberry muffin top cookies in an airtight bag for 2-3 days. I always like to throw any leftover cookies in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to heat it up and soften it before eating.

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Top Cookies

Warm and soft muffin top cookies!
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings 14 muffin tops
Calories 141 kcal


  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum (do not use if the flour blend already contains it)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk at room temperature


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Using a large baking sheet, place parchment paper on the sheet and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar.
  • Transfer one tablespoon of the dry ingredient mixture into a small bowl. Add the blueberries to the small bowl and toss until they are coated in the flour mixture.
  • Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the melted and cooled butter, egg, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix until combined. Add the blueberries and gently fold them into the batter to avoid breaking their skin.
  • Scoop the dough into a little over two tablespoon balls, and place them about 1 1/2 inches apart from one another. Wet your hands, and press each mound down lightly to form a disk. Sprinkle each top lightly with sugar.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until puffed and set in the center. There should be a light brown around the edging. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies cool for about 10 minutes before cooling on a wire rack or paper towel.


Serving: 1cookieCalories: 141kcalCarbohydrates: 18.2gProtein: 1.8gFat: 7.1gSaturated Fat: 4.3gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 111mgPotassium: 48mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 8.2gCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Keyword blueberries, breakfast, cookie, muffin
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

In Need of Sheets?

Everyone could use some new cookie sheets every once in a while, and are maybe in denial of how old and grimy their cookie sheets are. Click here to go to eBay and check out some cookie sheets!

More Delicious Treats!

There is a magnitude of delicious treats that can satisfy your sweet tooth! Try a Blueberry Oatmeal Bake for another take on a blueberry treat!


Hyperlinks on this page will lead you to eBay to check out cool products, or other posts on Colorado Sisters!

Living in Tokyo, Japan – Part 3

Journal Entry – July 21st, 2010

Wow! A lot happened today but not really yesterday. It was dad’s first day of work yesterday so mom, Sophie, Taylor and I went out for lunch and dinner because we had not bought groceries yet.

Today we moved into our apartment. It feels good to finally be in our new home but it is crazy to think that we will be here for the next 2-3 years. Our fridge and cupboards are still empty.

Journal Entry – July 22nd, 2010

We had a really relaxing day at home and managed to go to 7-Eleven twice. I cannot wait to July 28th for Taylor’s birthday cause we are going to Tokyo Disneyland again! She gets to pick out a balloon and a present under 1,000 yen as a gift from me. Hopefully we leave early enough to get to Splash Mountain to get a fast pass before they run out. They are usually out by noon.

Photo Credit – RJ Hill

Journal Entry – July 25th, 2010

A lot has happened in 3 days! We went across the street to the Aloha Table and ate some pupus. We ordered nachos, fried chicken, onion rings and fries.

The next day we finally went grocery shopping. We grabbed a bit of food to get our pantry and fridge started. We bought bacon, sliced beef, chicken breasts, a few different types of noodle, marinara sauce, green onions, hash brown patties, bagged corn and peas and like 4-6 more things. We did not need much more at the time because the leasing company gave us a gift basket with some toilet paper, body wash, tissues and water, and the building gave us a welcome basket with crackers, cheese, pate, champagne, grapefruit juice, flowers and wipes.

Photo credit, RJ Hill, @rjhill_santokyo

The next day we all went to IKEA to get any remaining furniture needed for our apartment like bed frames, mattresses, bath towels, etc. After buying everything we needed, we took the JR train line home to go to the phone store to get Sophie and I a phone. There were so many people so we decided to try the next day. On the walk home we ate at a Japanese burger chain called Mos Burger.

The following day, we finally got our phones! I got a green phone and Sophie got a pink phone. They are called Jelly Beans!

Photo credit, RJ Hill, @rjhill_santokyo

After getting our new phones we decided to go to Harajuku and go to Shakey’s for the 3rd time since moving to Tokyo. We were sat at the same table as the first time, and ordered the same pepperoni and olive pizza.

There is a store next door that we have wanted to go to since we saw it the first time we went to Shakey’s but it was always closed. It is called Kiddy Land. They have 5 different floors! They had a Hello Kitty floor, a Disney floor, a LEGO floor, a Snoopy floor, and a Japanese cartoon floor. Dad bought a lot of things from the LEGO floor.

My favorite collectible that we found at Kiddy Land was Bearbricks! They have so many different characters, sizes, and best of all they have mystery boxes so you do not know what bear you are going to get. They have artists who have designed bears, Disney bears, bands, DC and Marvel bears, and so much more! Check some out on eBay here!

For Parts 1 and 2, Click Here!

Links on this page will take you to eBay to check out some cool products, or other pages on Colorado Sisters!