Turning Japanese – Part Ten

Only a few more days left of this vacation and I’m sad to be leaving but also a little homesick.

I mentioned in a previous entry that Denny’s had lounge music playing while we were eating breakfast. What I’ve noticed since is that a LOT of places have lounge music playing. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin… that kind of era.
For a country that is so advanced when it comes to technology, they seem to be stuck in a bit of a time warp.
Here in Osaka we found a mall where breakdancers congregate in the basement and work through their routines. It’s quite something to watch!

Unfortunately today is raining crazily. We were going to go to the Shitennjoi temple but looks like that won’t be happening today.

We walked to our regular mall and surprise, surprise, didn’t go to the food court, but we DID go to the supermarket where we are fast becoming regulars.
We grabbed a coffee and some sweets from there and sat and had breakfast trying to figure out what we were going to do in all this rain.
I took pictures of some of the desserts/cakes. They remind me of what is sold through the Bread Top chain if you’re familiar with that..

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Very delcious and light but probably really heavily processed too. Lots of people were buying these things and eating them in the seats provided by the supermarket.

This afternoon we bought tickets for a baseball game that was happening at Kyocera Dome, right near were we’re staying.
I have never really watched a game although I did play it once or twice in Primary School. I soon found myself getting into it though!! I was chanting away with everyone else for the home team – Orix Buffalo’s. It was so exciting!

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Because it was late when the game was over, we didn’t eat anything too interesting for dinner – We ended up going back to the food mall and getting an enormous bowl of noodles – the same dish we had a couple of days ago.

I’ve seen these little desserts around the place – I’m not sure what they are, but tonight I found them in the supermarket so I bought some.
I wish I knew more about them but there are no English words on the packaging and no one who speak English that I can ask.
I took the chance and just bought them.
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They didn’t taste as I was expecting. I’m suspecting they may have lychee in them? I really don’t know. There was a bit of a rubbery taste to them. This is them cut in half

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If anyone knows what they are I’d love to know!

Hopefully it won’t be raining tomorrow so we’ll be able to get down to the temple.
Only a few more days left here and so many foods still to try!

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Turning Japanese – Part Five

I’m much more relaxed now in this wonderfully different country.
I knew exactly what to expect from our complimentary breakfast at Denny’s… and look at that meal. So Western, so good.
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You may think it’s a bit strange to have a salad at breakfast but actually I enjoyed it. You may also think it strange to have Lounge music playing while you’re eating your eggs on toast in Denny’s but that  somehow works too.
The only thing that I’m not too happy about is that the coffee they give you is an espresso size. It’s teeny tiny and I just need more coffee!! But that’s ok. I can get over it!

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Fully satisfied we headed to Shinjuku once again. Last time we were there it was evening and we were dazzled by the lights. This time it was late morning and it was still an impressive place!
We went to the Observation Deck in the Government Building then walked around being awed by sights, sounds and smells.

After a couple of hours walking thirst overtook us and hubby found a cute little place called “Brooklyn Parlour”. Once again, totally deceptive from the street. All we could see was a stairwell leading down to something. What was it going to be? No idea! It’s always an adventure.
So we went down there and were surprised by the size of the restaurant. It was large, it was loud, it was happening and it had fantastic mood lighting. The walls were lined with bookshelves creating a wonderful atmosphere. Everyone is just sooo polite and accomodating.
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We ordered a wine and cider. My wine was delicious and long overdue!!! I could have sat there sipping that for another hour or two…

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However we headed on back to our hotel – snuck in a couple of sweet treats, and rested up before heading out for our last dinner in Tokyo.

So this evening we stopped in front of a place that said it had authentic Japanese food. Not really sure what that meant, we went in.
Our waiter had limited English but we’re really happy to have anyone that can half understand us. He brought us our drinks, a hot towel and a bowl of something..
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Hubby was a bit frightened to try it but he did, and he didn’t die so i thought I’d try some. It was only afterwards that I thought… I hope we were meant to eat that? Maybe it’s for something else??
It had the consistancy of jelly. Tasted a bit like chicken broth and chicken fat. I’m not really sure but I ate it with chop sticks. I know… I’m a pro now!

We also ordered dumplings, noodles (traditional Japanese style apparantly) and skewers of meat.
When converted to Aussie dollars, it was all quite expensive and not very filling however it was very tasty and I guess it’s not their fault that the conversion rate for our dollar is not the best at the moment.

As usual the staff were bending over backwards to make sure we had the best time.
There were a line of tables around the kitchen which was in the centre of the restaurant and at one point hubby told one of the chef’s directly that he’d like a bowl of rice, and they just did it! If we weren’t being charged, it would have felt like we were dining at a friends place.

Tomorrow  we’ll be heading off to Osaka for the next leg of this adventure!

Turning Japanese – Part Four

We woke up in beautifully busy Tokyo this morning but before I get to food related topics, let me tell you a few things that have amused and delighted me…

I’ve discovered that eating or drinking while walking on the street is considered rude but picking your nose seems to be ok.
Talking on your phone on the train is extremely rude and in fact, there are service announcements on the train to tell you not to do it.
Dorky electronic music plays everywhere for all different reasons. For example, when we enter a convenience store, a ten second clip plays. We were in that store for about five minutes and by the end I wanted to punch that speaker out.
When a train arrives on the platform, the music plays again telling you to get on that train.
Maybe it’s to hurry everyone along as they’re all trying to get away from that god awful sound.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how the bathroom was stocked here in our hotel room.
Full bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash AND skin cleansing bottles too!!!

 

And another corner of the bathroom was stocked with all kind of things from razors to hair combs to toothpaste and toothbrushes….
So imagine my surprise when I saw the following packet…
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My first thought was…. is that a condom??
The fact that it was called “Lady’s set” didn’t phase me as things are labelled in interesting ways here in Japan but really, a condom?
I mean hubby and I read all about their “love hotels” before we came here because we almost booked ourselves into one of them. Luckily we found out what they were and changed our booking.

So, I opened the Lady’s set packet and this is what I found.
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Well, that’s NOT a condom but certainly very handy!

Moving right along… breakfast this morning was at Denny’s. It’s part of our hotel package and if you don’t know, Denny’s is an American chain so I was very interested to see what they’d be offering for breakfast.

The menus we were given were both in English and Japanese. I took a quick pic to give you an idea of what we were looking at.

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There was a little frustrating moment for both myself and the Japanese waiter. I ordered number three from the top line so I said “three, with the mushrooms”.
I totally accept the blame. I should have just said three but the fact that I mentioned mushrooms confused him and he thought I was saying I didn’t want them in the dish. We back and forthed a bit and honestly I wasn’t really sure what was going to come out. Thankfully, it came out as it was supposed to.

I didn’t take a picture but we’ll be back tomorrow so hopefully I’ll remember then.
The mushrooms were delicious and added a lot of flavour to that dish. The toast was thick and I was just craving bread so badly!!! It was a perfect breakfast for me today.

Hubby and I did a lot of touristy things including going to the Oeno Zoo, and we mostly grazed during the day. I can’t get over the sweet shops here.

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Their desserts are amazing. How do they stay thin??? And if you do a brief crowd sweep, you’ll notice that there are very few overweight Japanese. I wonder if they think Westerners are all fat?

And then it was time for dinner and again I find myself getting a little stressed as I have no idea what I’m going to eat or where we’re going to eat it.

We started strolling through the streets behind our hotel at Ikebukuro and lo and behold what do we see but a Shakey’s pizza!! Now hubby has a long association with Shakey’s and once we saw it, how could we not go in?
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We had to wait in line to be able to go in, and many people lined up after us as we waited.
The restaurant was full!!! And not full of tourists, but full of locals.
I was very happy that it was a buffet and hubby and I were able to finally really fill our bellies. I felt like we hadn’t eaten for a few days!

As well as pizza’s Shakey’s has beans and cornchips, mojo potatoes, salads, spaghetti, curry and rice and very interestingly, dessert pizza’s! Drinks with free refills and coffee were also included in our buffet price making this easily the best value meal we’ve had since we’ve been here. Very happy to use a regular fork to eat the spaghetti, but I had to have a little giggle when I saw a local trying to eat her pizza with a fork.

No need to visit the convenience store for snacks tonight!! In fact we walked the streets a little longer to try to help us digest the large meal we’d just consumed.
So much life in this place! No matter where you go, there are people everywhere!!

I’ll leave you with one last image. Hubby was begging me to pose with her but all I could think was the caption that would read “frumpy with fabulous”
So instead I took a pic when her back was turned. Gotta love Japan!

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