Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Four

I’ve just realised that before today, we’d spend two and a half days in Japan and were yet to use chopsticks!! Shame on us. And that’s not that when given a choice, we chose a fork, it’s that we haven’t really eaten any Japanese food. That changed today.

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Today we went on a tour to Mt Fuji!! I was so excited as for all the times we’ve been to Japan, we still hadn’t gone there.

We were up early to make sure we made the departure time which was going to be from a hotel in Shinjuku.

We spied the Metropolitan Government building close by and made a plan to go there later, after we got back from the tour.

We got to talking to a few people that were going on tour with us. It’s nice talking to people from around the world and hearing about their experiences in Japan.

Our tour guide, Taka, was just so cute! I could have listened to her talking all day although it did take a bit of concentrating as her accent was strong at times but she was so lovely.

I took a few pics from the bus. We drove past some gorgeous towns along the way. So green and lush and picturesque along the water. Unfortunately the highway mostly had a barrier up so I wasn’t always able to take pictures when I wanted to.


And then sooner than I expected, we saw Mt Fuji in the distance!!!
It was soon covered over with cloud again though so I was worried about what we were going to see when we got to the fifth station.

I didn’t realise how high we had driven until I started to see we were above the clouds! How did that happen!! And how gorgeous are the clouds. I felt like we were in a plane and flying instead of driving.


There were loads of people up the top!! So many tour buses!! AND, more importantly, Mt Fuji was visible. I have to admit though, I found the other side, with all the clouds, much more interesting to look at.

 


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Our guide Taka told us a story of a guy who kept climbing up Mt Fuji right up until his death at 105 years of age.
He was Masashi Toyoda, from Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture.

There’s a statue of him inside one of the stores at the Fifth Station and we posed in front of it because, well, that’s just what you do!

For lunch we were taken to a restaurant where a buffet style meal was prepared for us. There was a great array of food. Some of it Japanese and some was a little more Western but it was all really really tasty AND I got to use chop sticks for the first time on this trip! Took me thirty seconds or so to get used to it again. I just don’t understand why people persist with chopsticks when we have INVENTED AN EASIER WAY. I mean when we discover something that works better, we usually adopt it! But whatever. It’s fun to eat with chopsticks and it definitely helps the waist line because for me, it takes longer and I can’t pick up every single last morsel.


The grounds/gardens outside the restaurant were really pretty too. We had that view from our table.

After lunch we were back on the bus and our guide Taka taught us how to make an Origami Japanese warrior hat.
She was like a parent not wanting to disappoint a child who clearly is not doing well with me. She said I almost had it right then fixed it up expertly.

Our next stop was Lake Ashi where we were going to take a cruise. We had about thirty minutes in the store there before the cruise and I found a couple of interesting items.

What you see below, is a vending machine that sells HOT food!! Like chips/fries and burgers. Can you believe that!! Only in Japan I say!

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Of course, if you don’t want your fries hot, you can also buy them like this.
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Would you be game enough to drink anyone of these drinks?


No wasabi and no sweat for me thank you very much.

The views out of the lake were so breathtakingly beautiful. My photos do not do it justice at all!

And a couple more photos from the catamaran as well.


We were dropped at Hakkone and took the ropeway up to the top.
Now this seemed like a good idea when I was booking this tour. I didn’t realise how high it was going to go!!
First, a few pictures.


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And then we were in the clouds and I was freaking out a bit!!!

I definitely made a mental note to NOT sit at the front on the way back down.

 
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Our tour was just about over.

All that was left was to take the bullet train back to Tokyo.

Even though hubby and I have been here many times, we were yet to ride the bullet train so were really looking forward to it!

Turns out, it’s just a train that goes pretty fast. When you’re sitting in it though, it’s quiet so you don’t really notice how fast you’re going. I’m sure if you were standing outside and it whizzed past you, it would knock you around a bit and be impressive but apart from reaching our destination a little quicker, I’m not sure that I’d use it again.

Once we were back at Tokyo, we went back to the Metropolitan Governement building. We really wanted to see the view from the observatory and seeing as it was getting darker, thought it would be nice to see it at night.
When we got there, there was a line that went out through the door AND it was closing within thirty minutes so we missed out again.
There’s always tomorrow.

Instead we walked around Shinjuku


We even went to the “you must see this” Robot Cafe!

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That is, we went outside it. The inside will need to be explored another day.
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Finally, I found my wine bar again. I had first seen this place a few trips to Japan ago.

This is the wine bar that is dedicated to all Margot’s around the world but especially me because I say so.

It had just been such a long day and our time here is not over so we can always go back.

I feel like we saw a lot of things we have wanted to see in Japan today and we met some really nice people and made some nice memories. Thanks Japan!

Just to finish up, I’ll leave you with this signboard that we saw in a cafe. I just love Japanese English!

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Oot and Aboot in Canada Eh! – Day Two

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Another frosty but pretty morning in Winnipeg. We were meeting more family at the airport and were going to have lunch at Cora’s,

I just love the restaurants here. Big food and everything is new and different
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We don’t have the tipping system in Australia as the wages are quite generous in comparison to tipping countries.

I think you see the difference as the servers here are really invested in you having a good experience.
Our server today was so nice and he had an Australian connection so we chatted for a bit.

And look at the great food we had!!

 


It was pretty delicious.

We went shopping for the weekend and it might sound boring but I just love going to supermarkets in different counties because there are so many new and different things. I’m sure we can get a lot of these things in Australia but you’d probably have to search for it.

 

 


I’m sure we can get huge packets of chips in Australia but look!!

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Ewwww. Just Ewww. I don’t seafood.

So once we got home and unpacked, hubby took me on a tour of his childhood haunts. I couldn’t tell him that yes honey, you’ve shown me these places the last four times we were here but he’s just so excited I nod and act like it’s the first time he’s telling me.

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I didn’t take any pictures as we drove through Kildonan Park but here are a few pics I found online. There’s pretty much a bridge and a witches hut. But I can appreciate that it was the place hubby cruised up and down as a teenager showing off his car and impressing the girls.

 

We also had a Dickie Dee come past! We were sitting in the lounge and I heard some bells and said “what the hell is that?” and I couldn’t believe what I saw! A guy pushing an icecream cart in a residential street on a 13 degree day!

72314_1This evening we drove back out to the country with pizza. Now here’s something you may not know.

If you are ever wondering how much pizza you need, there are pizza calculators online.

You just need to put in how many adults and children there are, how hungry you are and what size pizza you’re ordering and it will tell you how many you need to order!
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We ended up getting pizza’s from Santa Lucia on Portage Ave and it was just delicious!
And we ordered a good amount. The one thing I didn’t know, being Australian, is that I didn’t need to tip here.

When I went to pay, the 15% tip came up automatically so I just accepted it.

Apparently I didn’t need to do that then as I was just picking up pizza.

Tipping is so confusing.

So after a lovely night with family we made the loooong drive back.
It feels like we’ve been here so long already!

We’ve almost caught up on sleep!

Good night and bonne nuit

Perth Day Three

Sorry that this entry is coming after the fact but between the Wine Tour that we did today and travelling back home, this is the first chance I’ve had to write and upload.

1Today, Friday the 5th of January as I write, is my birthday and not only is it my birthday, but it’s a milestone birthday too so I knew hubby was not going to say anything when I wanted to get up extra early to exercise.

The gym at this hotel is quite good and if you go early enough, there’s no one in there so I get the whole place to myself!
Perfect way to start a birthday!

We took our picture before heading out! (left)

The Wine Tour we were booked on started from Elizabeth Quay so we walked down there from our hotel and had a coffee at the Riverside Cafe. No champagne this morning though as I was anticipating a heavy alcohol day!

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We met our friends and boarded our boat.

It was such a relaxing cruise down the river!

We had coffee and muffins to start off with but it wasn’t long before the wine tasting started.

Here is a picture of the wine’s we sampled on the right and a few from the cruise below.
I forgot to mention the tasting plate of local cheeses that were also provided. Each tray was for two people so it was quite a generous portion!


Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the first stop. I think it was next to Sandalwood Winery? Beautiful spot anyhow and they had the BEST cider here!! It tasted more like a sparkling white than a cider! Soooo delicious but unfortunately they don’t bottle it yet so we couldn’t buy any.

The food we had was also exceptional. Unfortunately I was too overwhelmed with the place to take pictures of the food but here are a few of our surroundings. By the way, the whole time we were there having lunch there was a line of people waiting to get in!

From here we travelled by coach to another winery.  This time I took a pic of the sign outside so I know it’s Windy Creek Winery. This was another gorgeous spot!!

I tried pretty much every wine they were offering and surprisingly for me, really loved the whites. I don’t normally drink a lot, if any, of white wine.

We were a nice group and by this time, were starting to talk to each other and were getting pretty happy! I took a few pics inside and out. So gorgeous here!

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Hubby is not a wine drinker so I ended up having a few tastings on his behalf – not that you can tell by this selfie on the left…

You can imagine where this is going to lead can’t you?

Back on the coach now to our next spot.

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As per the information from our driver, this tree had been struck by lightening, but continued to grow anyhow!

It was just outside our next stop and quite interesting to look at.

So now we’re at Twin Hill Wines and I’m feeling decidedly happy. Again, I liked the whites more than the reds (surprisingly) but not as much as our last stop. This is a family run winery though and the history behind it was quite interesting. They also provided a very tasty tasting plate for us!
Here are a few pics from our time here. By the way, the ladies behind the counter are mother and daughter.


Next stop was a brewery – Mash Brewing. They also provided us some nibbles and we were able to pick one beer from their list complimentary.

I’m not a beer drinker but it seemed like an interesting place.


I’m not sure you can read it but the pic on the right shows the beer choices we had.

We had one more stop to come and I was quite excited for this one! We were going to Margaret River Chocolate Company and were going to be sampling a few chocolate liqueurs also!

Here are a few pics. Luckily, hubby took them as I was not in any state to be taking photos at this point and was happy to be wandering around about the chocolate. We bought a few things to share later.


Not sure if you can see the interesting clocks bottom right. How cute are they!!!

The chocolate liqueurs ended up being a bit disappointing. We sampled four different kinds and they were all wine based. Although I like chocolate, I wasn’t tempted to buy any of them.

Our tour came to an end and we were dropped off back into Perth CBD.

IMG_5216We had dinner at East Village.

It looked like a really interesting place and the food wasn’t bad, but there was just something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on.


We ordered some wings to share, hubby got a burger and I had a Lamb Greek salad which was ok. The bread was probably the best thing about this. Still warm from the oven!

I had been jokingly saying I still wanted birthday cake and I wanted to see the city lights from Kings Park at night. Hubby, mostly always ready to please, began hatching a plan.

We went to the store and bought some cake. He also got some matches, candles and some sparklers. I still had no idea what he was going to do with these as we couldn’t light the sparklers in our hotel room could we?

I won’t bore you with the whole story but we never made it to Kings Park with one thing going wrong after another and eventually we just walked back to our hotel. Hubby still made it special for me by singing me happy birthday and lighting the candles on my cake!


Sadly our time in Perth was now pretty much over.

I do want to share one last treat before I finish this entry.

Hubby organised for us to fly back on the A330 in Business Class. Oh my!! Look at all this room!!! We could even lie our seats flat like a bed.
The bad thing about this is that you never want to travel any other way again!!!
Thank you Qantas and thanks for reading about our few days in Perth.

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Perth Day Two

I can’t say I’m a fan of this two and a half hour time difference between South Australia and Western Australia although it did suit me this morning because I was wide awake at 5am and wandered down to the hotel Gym shortly after.

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So nice at that time of the morning as I had the whole room to myself! Hubby came down and joined me after a little while and before too long we worked up an appetite.

We started walking towards the Hay Street Mall as hubby was in search of the perfect cafe to serve us a full breakfast.
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Unfortunately, perfection is not easy to find and we were on Barrack St and on our way towards the Bell Tower when he asked me to search for “The perfect breakfast in Perth”.
I said “Haven’t you heard that if you want something done you have to do it yourself?” and took a rest while he did his thing.

So google told us to check out some place in Elizabeth Quay area but when we got there, they told us they only do breakfasts on the weekend. Bad luck for us!

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Turns out it wasn’t such a bad thing as we headed back and found The Riverside Cafe and had a decent breakfast there! Yum!

 

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Next stop was Fremantle so along Canning Hwy we went and just walked around exploring the streets, cafes, bars and shops.

 

What an interesting place this is!

 

The highlight of the day was catching up with my beautiful cousin Lisa and her family. We spent the next couple of hours solving world problems while sipping drinks and eating icecream. Nice! So sad to say goodbye though.

We stopped at some local place for food for dinner and didn’t realise until we were away from the place that they didn’t give us the chips we’d ordered! Can you imagine how upsetting it is when you have your heart set on something! Not upsetting enough to go back for them though. We’d done enough walking today! Probably better for our hips anyway.

BarZaar

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A Lamb Shank creates food envy,
A wonderful server makes us feel right at home and
Good food at a reasonable price right in Unley!

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Diners today we were at BarZaar on Unley Rd and what a good little place this turned out to be!

We had seen this place popping up on our Facebook news feed and were actually thinking it was referring to another establishment. I’m so glad we looked into it a little further today.

The first thing you notice as you walk in is that it’s like an older type dining room with a modern feel. There’s lots of orange and brown colours. I was still trying to work out if I FullSizeRender[4]liked it or not when a nice young server came and spoke with us.

He gave us some menus and said he’d be back to take our order. He was super attentive, informative and helpful and made us feel welcome and comfortable.

From our table we could see the outdoor area and noticed this cute little herb garden. There was a sign there saying the chef grows his herbs there but anyone is welcome to take what they need as well. How cool is that!!

It was way too cold to consider eating in that outdoor area today but I bet it would be a great place to sit in the Summer time… if you don’t mind traffic noise that is.

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There is some association with the SANFL Sturt Football Club but we didn’t really find out anymore about that. If you’re supporter, you probably already know about this place!

I was happy when they brought bread to our table.
It seems fewer and fewer places are doing that.
Not only did they bring bread, but it was crunchy and had those delicious sesame seeds on top.
Yum!

We decided to share a starter. Hubby chose the Lamb Kofta. I must admit, I was too busy faffing about to see it on the menu so I wasn’t really sure what he’d ordered but I thought it would probably be yummy.

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And they really were yummy!!! They brought out a sauce to have with them. I thought it was like a tzatziki but hubby thought it was more like sour cream and chives. I think I was right. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a menu online so I can’t confirm it.
Either way, these were really delicious. They were flavourful, held their shape and just glorious when dipped in that refreshing sauce!

For main I thought I’d try the Lamb Shank! It’s been ages since I’ve had one but what sold it to me was that it was served with couscous.

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It looked soooooo good when it came out! As soon as I put my fork to it, morsels of lamb fell away from the bone. It was exquisite! I could see hubby was getting jealous… I’ll get to that in a moment. Not only was the shank really well cooked, but the couscous was just so delicious! It had bits of eggplant, capsicum, onion and I think there were sultanas in there too? Such a beautiful combination of flavours. I could have had a plate full of only that!

Hubby was pretty food conservative today and went for a chicken parmigiana.

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Even though he had this pretty and colourful plate in front of him, he kept looking over at mine. I pinched one of his chips and thought they were really seasoned well!! Nice, crispy and were just tasty.
He said the meat was well cooked and there was certainly a generous amount of cheese on there! The salad was also really well dressed. I just can’t eat bits of lettuce and tomato if there’s no dressing on them but so many cafe’s do that!

Even though he was eating his meal, he was still eyeing off mine and jealousy can be a cruel master so I let him clean my shank bone. What a good wifey am I.
He eagerly took it and got the remaining bits of meat off.

BarZaar is not some fancy place, it’s an every day bistro on Unley rd and if you’re looking for a good honest meal, you just can’t go past it!

Have you been to BarZaar?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…