Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Seventeen

Our time, sadly, has come to an end.

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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.

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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

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Looks pretty good!! Yakisoba AND Okonomiyaki…

This is what it looked like when it came.

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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…

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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!

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

 

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Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Five

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We’ve eaten like locals, we’ve settled in and feel right at home handling money and interacting with other Japanese people so what to do today?

So far hubby and I have gone to places we visited last time and wanted to see again. Today it was time for something different!

We didn’t get to Roppongi last time so we decided to start the day with a trip to Roppongi.

I had a quick look online and saw a couple of places I wanted to visit.

One of the places I read about was the Nogi Shrine.

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I won’t go into details  here but it’s worth having a google and a read and it made the place all the more interesting to visit.
Lastly, being slightly arachnophobic, I had to visit the great Maman!

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It was impressive!  If you look up and underneath here, you’ll notice she’s carrying eggs as well.

Now we knew we wanted to eventually get to the Rainbow bridge today but didn’t have set plans and figured we were brave enough to use public transport from wherever we were so we just walked.

IMG_3638Up to now, every place we’ve visited (mostly tourist places) were just packed with people and interesting to see. As we walked we noticed less and less people and less and less shops and restaurants. We were entering a business district? At least that’s what we assumed.

I should give a special mention to these cute Westerners risking their lives on the streets in these interesting vehicles!!

The drivers at the back were actually dressed in onesies and gave us a friendly wave as they drove past.

We walked on thinking we’d hit something interesting soon but after almost an hour of walking we set our google maps for Tokyo Tower and headed back into that direction.

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It looked pretty impressive as we approached it.

On the way we passed the Australian Ambassador’s residence and that was interesting to look at too.

Hubby and I weren’t really interested in going up the Tower, we just wanted to sit and have a look at the shops.

My eyes lit up when I saw there was a food court inside! It just makes ordering food so much easier AND they had a place that was doing beef/rice bowls! Alright!!

 


My beef bowl, topped with runny egg is in the left and hubby had some pork/rice thing. They were both delicious and both came with Miso soup which was really tasty too!

IMG_3650Once we were done with that, hubby asked which train was going to take us to the Rainbow bridge.
I checked out google maps but it was a mass of train/bus confusion and I said “You know, we’re only just under 4kms away, we should walk it!”

I can’t say that hubby agreed but we did end up walking it and I’m glad we did because I think we just see so much more when we walk.

IMG_3651Again, the structure looked impressive as we approached it. They sure don’t do things by halves here!

The pic on the right is NOT the rainbow bridge but the on-ramp to the bridge.
I did take pics of it but unfortunately didn’t load them in time for this entry.

I took a couple of pics from the middle of it though!

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It was such an experience!! Apart from the bridge itself, it was incredibly windy. So much so, I thought I was going to drop my phone a couple of times and felt unsteady on my feet! The bridge was constantly shaking and the traffic was noisy as it rushed by.

I really loved it and was glad we’d made the effort to get out here.

Once we crossed the bridge it felt like we were in a different country or even a different era! Everything was quieter and more laid back.
We walked through a couple of malls, bought some over priced frozen yoghurt then hubby begged for us to take the train back over the bridge. I really wanted to walk it again but we took the train.

We’re a bit sad that we’re not able to watch our favourite AFL team The Adelaide Crows playing tonight. Hubby has been trying to get it via anyway he can but we can’t seem to connect. Must be a country thing.

Aside from that, we enjoyed some more local foods. I think we’ve eaten dumplings every day since we’ve been here!!

 


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And the grocery store saw us once again for some bread desserts.

I bought three this time and opened one as hubby and I walked back to our apartment.
I’m not sure I bought the right thing because although it tasted nice, it was like eating raw dough so maybe I’d bought something that had to be baked some more at home?? could that be possible??
Either way it was nice!!
Now back to trying to get that Crows game happening….

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!

Turning Japanese – Part Six

Today we left Tokyo and the comfort of an included known Denny’s breakfast and headed for Osaka.
The trip involved two one hour train rides and a flight that was supposed to take just under an hour but after leaving late and circling for a good fifteen minutes, it landed.
All good.
The thing I’m most excited about so far today is our Airbnb place!! It’s amazing!! And it’s half the cost of any other hotel we had been looking at.
We’ve got six days here.

I know it’s a bit juvenile but I had to giggle at this item I saw in a gift store at the airport
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Now if they had been Red Bull balls I would have been interested!

First impressions of Osaka is that it’s a little more laid back than Tokyo. But Tokyo is on steriods so not sure if that description will mean anything to anyone who hasn’t been here.
In Tokyo if felt like we were always the oldest ones in the crowd whereas here, so far, it seems there’s more a mixture of young and old.

We haven’t sampled any foods yet but I’m dying to get out and see what’s out there.

This morning I was starting to think that the reason they’re generally thinner here is that it’s so damn hard to eat everything on your plate with chopsticks!! But now that I get to Osaka I see there is more variety. I think we were hanging with the “pretty” people in Tokyo.

But you’re reading this to find out about the food so let me tell you… tonight we went to a food court for something simple however, this is definitely the BEST food court we’ve seen since we got here!!!
Up till now, the serves have been fairly small… we kind of knew how much we’d be getting for 680 or so yen…
So we see a place that has an English menu and decide to eat there. Even though the menu was in English, we didnt really know what the items were as they had Japanese names. We tried to ask the girl who said she spoke a little English however every dish we pointed to she said was ‘pork’.
We decided to take a chance and ordered four dishes that were all about 680 yen each.
We should have known something was up when we saw the workers giggle between themselves.
This is what was given to us…
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Before we even got the food we started to get a little scared as we saw other plates coming out and they were massive. No wonder the workers were giggling… they’re probably thinking “here’s a couple of gluttonous Westerners”

I should add, that apart from breakfast, this was our only other meal today… so we had lunch and dinner together – in one go – in front of many other diners who couldn’t believe their eyes.
It really was delicious. The noodles were crispy, two of the dishes had egg in them and they were so light and fluffy. There was meat in at least two of them. Was it pork? I’d like to think so but I’m not entirely sure.

From what I’ve seen in the small amount of time we’ve been here, I’m really going to enjoy the food!!

Oh, and I should mention we also went grocery shopping for a few items like coffee and sugar. We had no idea what we were looking at. We walked up and down the aisles for ages and finally had to ask where the sugar was. It just wasn’t packaged the way I’m used to seeing it!
We also weren’t sure if it was milk we’d picked up from the fridge and had to ask the check out girl. She didn’t speak English so she called over someone else who took what we had picked up away and brought something else back. I’m not sure what it was that we’d picked up initally but I’m glad she corrected.
I also picked up some tea latte which is surprisingly tasty!

I’ll leave you from a few pics from today that are not food related, but you might find interesting anyway.

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