Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Seventeen

Our time, sadly, has come to an end.

IMG_4216.JPG

I was excited this morning because today we were going to Rinku Town! And the thought of all the bargains that awaited me had me full of hope that I’d be filling my suitcase with all sorts of things

It didn’t quite happen that way.

Check out from our Air Bnb place was was not till 11am so as hubby wanted to stay there till 10.59am, I decided to go for one last walk.

Again I marvel at all the things I’m not going to see when I’m back in Australia.
Every restaurant (and there are many, no matter if you’re on a “main” street or a back street alley) has “food art” outside it’s doors. They’re sculptures of the menu so you can see what you’re going to be getting. I have never been tempted by any of these and usually find them quite repulsive but I guess that’s just me because they wouldn’t do it if it didn’t inspire the locals.

I see it every day, I’ve written about it but it still amazes me, the amount of people that ride bikes and the way they whizz around on the footpaths. I’ve been tending to walk close to the shops as there doesn’t seem to be a “keep the left” rule. Bikes tend to have the right of way. At least, that’s the way it seems.

IMG_4226.JPG

And finally we were on the train to Rinku Town!!

Look at the happiness on my face!

Of course, once we got there, we had to walk around and look for a Starbucks before we could do anything else.

I was so excited to start shopping but I had to wait!

It took a little while but we did finally find one and hubby was drinking his Venti, Cafe Latte with Skim Milk – Making sure to keep his receipt so that he could get another one later that day for 216 yen instead of 486 yen.
This has been a daily ritual that I was very happy to have ending. Life will no longer revolved around Starbucks.

Rinku Town is an interesting place. Full of outlet malls but otherwise appears as a ghost town.


We started off (at the shops near the Starbucks) and walked.
I need to explain that I’m normally not a person who likes to shop for clothes, but I had it in my head that I wanted to buy something from Japan… So I was really in the mood to find something. I had worn my clothes and shoes that were easy to get in and out of on purpose!

You need to take of your shoes when you enter a dressing room in Japan. If you’re trying anything from the waist up, they’ll give you a “breast cover”. I should have taken a photo of it as I couldn’t quite work out how it was supposed to go.
I must admit, when the first guy handed me this folded up piece of something and said “please cover your breasts” I didn’t quite know what he was on about…

We had a late lunch in the foodcourt. We were enticed by this picture

IMG_4223

Looks pretty good!! Yakisoba AND Okonomiyaki…

This is what it looked like when it came.

IMG_4225.JPG

Still looked pretty delicious.

I keep forgetting how much the sauces don’t agree with me though. Luckily we had said “no mayonnaise” but there were other sauces on here.
It was really really yummy, don’t get me wrong, but afterwards my stomach didn’t feel right and I kept seeing other foods I wished we’d eaten instead….

Oh, and a little giggle at another translation fail spotted in the food court…

IMG_4224

After shopping at the Premium Outlets for a few hours, I still hadn’t really bought anything.
We walked over to the “beach” outlet part. I forgot what it was actually called, and went into this cheap looking store. Finally I was picking out things I liked!! I ended up with four items and hubby, whose patience was being tested said “Can we please get out of K-Mart now”
He was offering to pay for today’s purchases so I don’t know why he was not happy!!!

It was almost time to leave Rinku Town, when I spotted the exact outfit I’d been looking for!! One thing I haven’t mentioned is that the sizing is much smaller here. If you’re an M (medium) in Australia, you’re at least a L (large) here.
It’s not good for the ego… And “Free” size means “one size fits all” but their “fits all” would not work in Australia.

So I found the outfit. It was a medium so it was tight but I really really wanted it. I went to the counter only to be told “cash only”. What? It’s amazing how many places in Japan are cash only.
So hubby and I hurried to find an ATM to get some cash out and in doing so, came into contact with an American living in Japan. He was the friendliest guy!!
He just had story after story to tell of his experience of living in Japan (for the last two and a half years) the Japanese culture (he’s married to a Japanese woman) and much more.
He came with us as we got money from the ATM, came with us as we went back to that store (so I could buy my treasured items) and walked with us to the train station, saw us right up to the platform gate! I’m kind of sorry we didn’t exchange information after all that time together. It was only as we were parting that we gave our names.
So Jacques, if by the remotest chance you’re reading this, please get in touch!

IMG_4227

Our flight left Osaka at 10.30 pm. We had a bit of time to kill but we were too tired to walk around and look at the shops.

This instruction made me smile.

Just the fact that there’s a need to put that kind of instruction there is what I find amusing.

People hey….
IMG_4228
And finally we were on the plane bound for home. We flew to Cairns then had to wait a few hours before our trip back to Adelaide.

Just thought I’d share the meal we got on our flight back.

I think it was chicken.
Funny how things always taste different when you’re on a plane.
I didn’t take an “after” shot in Adelaide but I’ll leave you with a pic from Cairns airport.
It’s been a long journey!!!
IMG_4230

Regular restaurant reviews will be following.
Thanks for sharing this trip with us!

 

Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Ten

Today we made our way to Osaka and I was again reminded how different Tokyo and Osaka are. More of that later!

FullSizeRender[1]

We got on the train and again noticed people sleeping.

In fact they nod off so deeply it’s not uncommon to have someone leaning against you – fast asleep.

Somehow though they manage to wake up just as they reach their stop.

I think this will never cease to amaze me.

While I’m on the train I LOVE looking at the ads and trying to figure out what they’re for!
I’ve seen some beauties..

IMG_3844FullSizeRender

IMG_3905We arrived at our Air BNB in Osaka and were really happy with it!

It’s in a fantastic location, just near Namba Nankai train station and a hop skip and a jump by Dotonbori.

Hubby and I spent a lot of time here last year and now that we know what’s around, we’re doubly excited!

Osaka is known as the food lovers Paradise of Japan and I just can’t wait to get in there and try some things. I don’t know how these people stay so slim!!! Every day it’s a wonder!

IMG_3907It was raining quite heavily when we got here so we had to do most of our exploring under cover.

We walked along a covered mall looking at the shops, the food, and the people.

Lots of tourists here too.

While in Tokyo, the men mostly seemed to be in suits, here they seem to be more relaxed. They certainly are mostly dressed well but it wasn’t all suits.

In Tokyo, you could probably bank on someone having at least a few words of English but here in Osaka it’s less likely.

People are still very eager to help you though and we even had one guy pulling out his phone to use google translate to help us. Honestly, these people are just so nice!

 

We walked past this place that was selling a sweet with custard filling. How could we say no?
We got a chocolate one and a plain custard one and they were so delicious!! The custard they make here is just so light and sweet. Not gluggy but it also doesn’t run everywhere. I really like it!
The pastry… or whatever it was that was around it, was crunchy and really delicious too. I was sorry we’d only bought one each.

We saw lots of local places that we could have eaten at but I just don’t fancy sitting around a square that faces the kitchen, eating in front of other people. I like to have my own table. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for it so as we walked past “Wendy’s First Kitchen” we allowed the Japanese guy to entice us in and got Japanese, American burgers AND pasta… And chili fries which I’m sorry to say were a disappointment.

 


We walked around a bit more trying to find a supermarket to get coffee supplies for our apartment. It turned out to be way more difficult than we imagined and as it was still raining quite heavily, we didn’t want to go out exploring too much.

IMG_3914

We ended up going to a local 7/11 and buying a few things that we needed… and again, were enticed by the quick food they have on sale there.

The guy behind the counter said it was pork (isn’t every meat here pork?)

And it might have been a “cheap and nasty” bit of food from a 7/11 but it was actually alright.

Either that or we were still really hungry!!

Tomorrow we will be braver and will eat something more interesting!

It finally stopped raining and by this time hubby and I had taken a look on google maps (Our best friend) and found a decent supermarket about 800 metres from our apartment. Yay! I could spend hours in the supermarkets over here!!!

I took a few pics to share with you guys.

IMG_3915

What even is this stuff??

IMG_3916IMG_3917IMG_3918
According to the packaging, this is “salad mariage”

IMG_3919
All those foods above are sitting on a shelf. Not refrigerated or anything… just out in the open for people to breathe and sneeze all over.
IMG_3920
I guess the fish head is for broths? Either way… gross

IMG_3922
Lots of cheap (in comparasin to Australian, highly taxed, alcohol) alcohol available in all sorts of places from drugstores to supermarkets.
IMG_3924
I’m not sure if that’s sake above, but it’s in cartons?

IMG_3925

What is that above???? What??

IMG_3926

Sadly apples are quite expensive… but I’ve been eating one most days. They’re pretty delicious!

Can’t wait to see Dontonbori tomorrow!!

Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Seven

We spent a good part of this morning trying to decide what to do.
We’ve looked at day trips out of Tokyo and River Cruises but nothing really appeals within the time frame we have.

So I went online and found a market area that is supposed to be really popular with tourists and better yet, it was in “walking distance” from us (It’s all relative)

IMG_3759

The Nakamise market was a couple of kilometres from us.

As we approached we saw a whole lot of bicycles parked.

Everyone rides a bike and you’re constantly looking over our shoulder to see if one is about to whizz past you!

 

I really don’t know how there aren’t more accidents with them here.

 

 

 

IMG_3765

 

 

Before we shopped at the market we walked through Senso-ji Temple which adjoins the market.

 

 

 

There were some food stalls along there and hubby and I tried some of the Crab Meat on offer

 

 

(At least, I hope that’s what it was)

 

 


You would have a hard time being here if you don’t like crowds. Wherever you go there are just crowds and crowds of people. I found myself getting anxious a few times but you just have to go with the flow.

There are soooo many shop stalls to look at and we didn’t really get to look at everyone but we did spend a lot of time there.

IMG_3789.JPG

I had read about the many themed cafe’s here and one I particularly wanted to visit was based on Alice in Wonderland.

It was called “Alice in an Old Castle”

 

Unfortunately no one was around so I just took a few photos (it was really dark in there) and then left back through the winding staircase.

 

 

IMG_3795

It looked like a pretty cool place so I was sorry we couldn’t even just have a drink there.

 

Maybe next visit…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We wussed out at lunch time and went into an Italian place.

I seem to think we’ve eaten at this chain before but hubby says we haven’t. I love the message on their napkins!

 

 

Then it was time to walk around Ikebukuro.
There’s a department store there called Seibu and on the basement level, you will find all sorts of food that will be wrapped, packaged, then packaged again for you to take home.

 

 

The pictures I took were mostly of the desserts/cakes because that’s what we were after but they had lots of meat and savoury products too.

Hubby and I got a large share of cakes and snuck off to find somewhere to eat them.

One thing about Japan is that you can be hard pressed to find public seating and rubbish/trash bins!  Yet it is mostly always clean. We haven’t seen litter apart from the odd cigarette butt, but there are no bins around.

We walked for a bit then found a sunny spot that we thought was behind a walkway. We sat down and started greedily devouring our goodies when all of a sudden, people started rushing by.

Turns out we were in a walkway through the train station.. Whoops. So much for trying to be discreet.

But that’s ok, no one knows us here….

We walked around some more and spoke to a few locals that approached us speaking English.

So many things to see. There is always something happening.

Hubby and I often look at each other saying “Where are all these people going???” because it’s like a major rock concert or something has just let out and everyone is rushing to go home.

But in Japan it’s just another regular night where crowds, loud electronic music and dress ups are just part of everyday life.

I think today was the first day since we’ve been here that we didn’t have dumplings! Who would have thought that there is a limit to dumpling love.

I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow is going to have in store for us!

Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Two

Today was a day of travelling which ended with us in Japan!!
We went for a beautiful morning walk along the Cairns foreshore, then spent most of the rest of the day in airports or in the air.

I had to get some Japanese money at the airport to pay for our train tickets. Japanese yen… all those zeroes!! Hubby was hurrying me up because there was a line behind me but I was just trying to work out how much money I was actually getting out!!! I saw 50000 yen and I thought oh, that’s about $62. I only wanted a bit of cash for the night… Turns out, I actually took our about $620 Australian. I will get the hang of this money before we leave this country I’m sure!

We got to our Air bnb place at about 9pm. We were quite tired after a full day of travelling (that’s our excuse). Our place looks fantastic! We are so happy with our apartment but I’m not sure that the picture of the couch in the ad was to scale…

FullSizeRender

There was a funny thing that happened tonight. Instead of going out to eat, we thought we’d go to a grocery store and pick up a few things to eat in our room.
The supermarkets are just something else!!! We don’t know what a lot of products are. We walked up and down the aisles to find some butter and finally we found something that we assumed was butter but to our surprise there was only ONE type of butter/margarine.
We almost bought salt instead of sugar…..

But back to the funny thing…
We left the grocery store and were walking back to our apartment. We were just yakking away stupidly about nothing when we noticed “our” building.
“Oh, we’re here already” I said in surprise. Hubby agreed saying “I didn’t realise we were so close to it already”
We walked in and tried to use our key to get into the tenants area. It didn’t work at first however someone was coming through from the other way so the door opened..
I said to hubby “This doesn’t feel right, are we in the same building?” But there were enough similarities that we persisted. Plus, I think we were also so tired that we really really really wanted that to be our building.

We got up to the fifth floor where our apartment is and again it felt weird. Wasn’t our apartment in front of the lift? This one was slightly to the side…

Hubby put the key in and turned but the door wouldn’t unlock. I have to say, that although there were little differences, there were a LOT of similarities!! Enough that we persisted for a while then decided to go back down to the ground and retrace the whole experience.

When we got down to the ground we realised we’d walked into the wrong apartment block. The name was the same, but it was an entirely different building!!! So we’d been trying to get into someone else’s apartment! Oh geez….

Instead of carparks, the apartments and stores here have bike parks. Places where you can park your bike.
IMG_3554

They are just everywhere! Everyone rides a bike.

IMG_3559

We got home and ate our grocery goodies….

spring rolls, dim sims, dumplings, bread,
butter/margarine, some fruit etc etc.

IMG_3556

 

We wanted milk… we assume this is just normal, full cream milk

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3558

 

 

And I got some of that Tea Latte that I liked last time!

 

 

 

 

And a few more items for the supermarket… I hope that was diet cola because that’s what we were after.

Tomorrow we’ll go out exploring!!

Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part One

As you can tell from my title I’m completely delirious.
These next series of entries will be mostly about our current travels but I will try to keep them food related!
IMG_3521
Hubby and I woke up bright and early this morning to board our flight to Cairns. We’re headed to the wonderful country of Japan again but decided to spend a day in Cairns to break up our flying time.

I think the plane was lacking oxygen as hubby and I had a few strange exchanges on the way over…
Hubby : No boobs but you make up for it with your nice back. Baby got back
Me: You got the boobs in our relationship (and I then proceeded to squeeze his chest while saying “honk honk”)

We’re very classy….

Cairns was just as lovely as ever and after getting our hire car, we went straight to the beach and walked around admiring our favourite spots while having a heated discussion about Gay Marriage. Never a dull moment…


We were pretty hungry and decided to stop in at a past favourite, “Rattle and Hum” 
There’s just something about this place we like….
We were a bit naughty with our food selections….

Very delicious!!
And from where we sat we could see lots of food going out. There were a lot of burgers that’s for sure.
The pic on the left is of a steak sandwich and that meat was just so tender!!! It was really lovely and sooooo sinful to eat!

After lunch we walked some more and did a bit of window shopping. We talked a lot about our trip to Japan… I’m looking forward to being there tomorrow….

I’m not quite sure what to say about our Air BnB experience in Cairns, suffice to say that if you’re not a people person, you probably shouldn’t book rooms in other people’s houses.
But it’s all good!! We have somewhere nice and clean to spend the night and will come back with lots of stories!

An hour or so later…

I really don’t want to say anything against our Air BNB host as she was… well she was herself and unfortunately it didn’t really mix with who we are.
We spent a couple of hours in that room in her apartment then decided we’d probably be happier if we were in a hotel room so, we moved.
I can’t explain the relief.
I can’t explain in this post what we didn’t like as I’d hate for anything to get back to our host. In her way, she tried her best, it was just not for us.

Back to food….
After a day of travelling,
lots of  walking,
dealing with the anxiety of wondering where we were going to sleep,
wondering if anyone would walk into our bedroom while we were sleeping,
(or into the bathroom while we were showering)
physical and mental exhaustion took it’s toll and made us not want to leave our hotel room.

images
After recouping in our hotel room, we walked to a nearby Woolies and got a couple of baguettes, some deli meats, sundried tomatos, olives, cucumbers and other goodies and made a jumbo size roll!!!
It was magnificent and really really hit the spot!!!

Tomorrow we’ll be in Japan where I’m sure I’ll have a bit of food anxiety but that doesn’t matter, that’s what being in a new culture is all about!

Mata chikaiuchini o ai shimashou! (Blame Google translate if that doesn’t make sense!!)

IMG_3541