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)

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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!

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Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Three

I’m so looking forward to a week here in Tokyo!!

One thing that continues to amaze me is the way the locals can fall asleep in an instant on the train. Hubby thinks they may be faking. While some may be, I think they’ve just trained themselves, or gotten into the habit of falling asleep as soon as they sit down.
I’m so jealous!! I wish I could fall asleep like that!

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As we were leaving our apartment this morning I noticed that it wasn’t quite built to cater for someone of hubby’s height…

We wanted to visit Sky Tower today and thought we’d help burn off those holiday food IMG_3566calories by walking there.

I’d found out there was a Hello Kitty store there and I really wanted to buy something from that store!

It actually took quite a bit of walking around to find it. You’d think I would have googled it earlier seeing as we had pocket wifi available (So handy!!) but even after I found out where it was via google, it still took a bit of walking around and back tracking.

We went through an area of shops and noticed that the owners, or workers, were standing at the front of the store and as we walked by, the all bowed to us! They put their heads down and they stayed down until we were past! One by one, as we passed, they all did it.
It was really a little unsettling. I wanted to tell them, no, you don’t have to do that!!
I’m sure it must be some sign of respect but I’d really prefer they didn’t do that.

Finally, my little kitty heaven store appeared before my eyes.
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Everything was outrageously priced as expected but hubby got me a little personal fan thing which I just love. Whatever it was, I would have loved it, coming from the Hello Kitty store!

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Back on the streets and we nervously looked over our shoulders for the bicycle riders. Just about everyone and their grandmother is on a bike.

Even mums can be seen transporting their toddlers and babies (yes both at the same time) via bike.

This lady must have been on her way to work..

Finally we stopped at a cafe that had a French name although I didn’t see anything French in there.
We got a couple of delicious pastries (no clue what they were) and a couple of drinks to fuel us for the next hour or so.

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That cake/muffin looking thing at the top was so incredibly light!! And when you bit into it, it felt like you were biting into cream yet there was no cream to be seen!
It was a banana/sesame flavour and it was just so delicious. I’ve never had anything like it.

After a decent walk we were in Ueno and had a look at the interesting shops and markets that are located there.
At one point we walked past a group of people that were taking photos. I’m sure there wasn’t anyone over five feet in that group. Hubby was standing behind them and I called out “Photo bomb them, photo bomb them!!!”
Hubby didn’t know what I was saying but the photographer all of a sudden looked up and just started laughing. Hubby’s 6’7” frame must be something quite different for them.

We stopped in a food court close to the train station. Hubby was pretty disgusted in my choice for lunch.

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Honestly these guys go crazy for Italian over here!!! It’s not the “Italian” as I know it but I didn’t mind this plate of pasta. He thought I should have had a local dish.

He went for a pork/rice bowl.

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He wins the food bravery award for today. If they’d had a beef bowl I would have had it but I just think Pork = Fat and it puts me off. Just because I love food and I love to eat doesn’t mean I’m food adventurous!!!

We stopped at the grocery store on the way back to our apartment to recharge our devices and I snapped a couple of photos of the frozen food section in the store. They have frozen pasta!!

I’m almost curious to try it… almost…

Later this evening we found another supermarket close to our apartment and I just wanted to share some of the items for sale. I just don’t know how this can be food safe. These packages are not refrigerated and as you can see, one even has an egg in it! I mean I guess it works otherwise they wouldn’t do it but I just see food poisoning waiting to happen!


For dinner hubby and I ended up buying some things from the supermarket and cooking at home. This kitchen here is tiny but we make it work.

I’ll just leave you with this pic of an ad I saw today. What the????

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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…

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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.
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They are just everywhere! Everyone rides a bike.

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We got home and ate our grocery goodies….

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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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!!

Turning Japanese – Part Eight

We woke up to a drizzly day in Osaka. The first day we’ve had here with rain.
Not to worry, our airbnb host has umbrellas in our room so after googling a few places we wanted to visit, we were off… on foot…

I think you get to see a lot more if you go on foot. The only thing you have to be conscious of are the people on bicycles. I would love to know what the accident rate is here.

Our first stop was the Kuromon Market. This place is just amazing!!! Wall to wall people. We were there on a Sunday and I’m not sure how that compares to other times during the week but it was difficult to walk through!
I’ve heard that vendors come here to purchase produce for their restaurants.
If you were a seafood lover you would NOT want to leave this place!
Unfortunately, I’m not a seafood lover and the smell was making me feel ill, however, for everyone else, it was heaven.
I’ll share a few pics I took while in the market with you.

 

After wandering through the markets we found a place to have some lunch. I’ve seen this chain around the place in Tokyo and in Osaka – Italian Tomato – Yes, we went Western again.

Although I’ve been told Italian food is not that great here, I didn’t mind it.
I have been craving pasta and bread though so maybe that had something to do with it.
I chose a spaghetti bolognese
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The menu says that the meat is angus beef.

As I told hubby while I was eating it, if I’d been served this in Fasta Pasta, I probably wouldn’t have been happy however everything was ok. The pasta was ok, the sauce was ok… the parmasen cheese on top was ok…

As “ok” as it was, it was exactly what I wanted so I was happy with it.

Even as it repeated on me for the next couple of hours,  I was happy.

I love my pasta…

 

Hubby chose the doria with hashed beef and soft boiled egg. What is doria I hear you ask… Doria was originally created in France however now is found almost exclusively in Japan. It’s basically a rice gratin. The rice is either flavoured or topped with other ingredients such as bolognese sauce or sauteed prawns, covered in white suace and cheese and then grilled.FullSizeRender-32

 

Hubby was really happy with this. The egg was gloriously runny.

Unfortunately we hadn’t ordered bread with it otherwise it would have been good to mop up that egg with some bread.

There were quite a few people in this restaurant and all were using forks…. another comfort for me even though I’m becoming quite a pro with chopstickts.

 

 

 

FullSizeRender-40I’ve got to show you a pic of the napkins in this place as I thought they were pretty cute.

 

Don’t you just love them!! Loving, singing, eating.

 

It’s all about me and not necessarily in that order either!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we left that place we got a scrumptious cake from the bakery next door.

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How could I go past it? It has my initial on the top!!!

It was filled with smooth sweet custard and such great value! This cake was only 100 yen.

The food here is just amazing.
Hubby and I walked to another food market which was about two kilometers away. Again, wall to wall people. Where do they all come from!!! We got another pastry from there and then walked back to our room for a little rest before dinner.

For dinner, we went to the same place we went to yesterday. We’d seen these enormous bowls of noodles going out of there yesterday and we wanted what they were having!
This time, when the server saw us coming up, he immediately got one of his work mates. Apparently the workmate spoke English.
I really applaud him for trying but we didn’t communicate. I pointed to what we wanted on the menu but I had no idea what it was. If I’d thought about it I would have taken a picture to share with you guys, then someone might have been able to tell me what we’d eaten!

In any case, two enormous bowls came out. They were full of noodles and veggies and it was so goddam tasty!! I just loved it!
I left my hand in the pic so you can get some perspective of how big this bowl was.

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And look at me using those chopsticks like a champion!! (Not really but it’s a photo and I can get away with writing that)

Tomorrow we’re hoping to get to Kyoto!! Can’t wait!