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.

IMG_0514
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.

 


IMG_0578

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!

IMG_0602
Of course, if you don’t want your fries hot, you can also buy them like this.
IMG_0608

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.


IMG_0651

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.

 
IMG_0655

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!

IMG_0660

That is, we went outside it. The inside will need to be explored another day.
IMG_0665

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!

IMG_0517

Advertisements

Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Two

We are still adjusting to the different time zone so were up at 4am this morning. Felt a lot better about the world once we’d had a good night’s sleep!

Not wanting to waste a moment, we decided to go for a decent walk and set our sights on Ueno Park. Last time we were here, we stayed within a few kilometres of the park.


Passed lots of bikes parked along the way.
As we were walking, we saw an interesting building in the distance and hubby said “That’s Tokyo Dome!”
Now I don’t know anything about Tokyo Dome but it did look like an interesting building so we took a couple of pics. It was still only 7am at this stage so we figured we’d have a better look once it was actually open. Have a look at that roller coaster though! OMG!


Ueno park was beautiful and peaceful so early in the morning. There were a few people around but not the multitudes that we’re used to.

Hubby spied the Starbucks (he said he’d plugged it into his internal google maps) and we went over there. There was a yellow chain across the entrance but hubby was sure they were open so he went in only to be told they don’t open until 8am.
It sounds so simple when I write it but when there’s a language barrier, and you’re with someone who thinks you should already be open, it’s an awkward and comical situation.

So we walked around some while we counted down the seconds until 8am. Most stores don’t open until 10am.

That sign on the bottom left says not to smoke while walking. What was funny was seconds before I took this photo, a man had walked over it while smoking.
And look at that murder of crows bottom right!! They’re everywhere here. Not threatening but geez they make an awful sound.


IMG_0431So far I haven’t gone inside a Lawson’s or Family Mart (I know, I can’t believe it either) I’m addicted to the bakery goods in these stores.

When we’ve been here before, I’ll go out early and get some goodies to eat for breakfast before hubby wakes up. He both loves and hates it.
IMG_0430

I love seeing the things they have advertised in English here.

I always wonder why they don’t get an English speaking person to double check before they make a sign.

This one isn’t bad but it’s still funny to see fries referred to as long potato.

Long potato. I guess that means just one?

IMG_0432I also giggle every time I see Calpis Soda. I mean come one. It sounds like you’re saying “Cow Piss” doesn’t it??
It tastes good by the way!! I haven’t had it yet this time but if I’m remembering correctly, it tastes like lemonade.

Diet drinks are very difficult to find here. Zero Coke is probably the most common but after that, you’re pretty much out of luck.

After our Starbucks we made our way back to Tokyo Dome City. Aside from baseball, the arena also hosts concerts etc. There’s lots of shopping, restaurants and amusements there! I wish the big rollercoaster had been going while we were there.


Oh and I’m loving seeing the “food art”. Want to order from a restaurant? Well if you don’t know what you want, the food art will tell you exactly what your order will look like!
Spaghetti pizza anyone?

IMG_0448

We stopped and got some goodies for an early lunch. I had to take pics. I just love this junk!! Love it! It’s not even a guilty pleasure. I’m not ashamed, I am in love with this food!! Gimme, gimme!


We stopped to get a few more things from the supermarket and I happened to notice a spaghetti cake. Now, I don’t know if that was real spaghetti on the cake but it sure did look like it!!!

IMG_0453
IMG_0455

And another supermarket item. You can get these potatoes and, hot dogs bits(?),  for about $2.30 Australian.

I don’t know what they taste like (and no, they weren’t refrigerated, they were just sitting on the supermarket shelf) and I probably never will.

The bathrooms at Tokyo Dome City had make up stations in them. I thought that was pretty interesting too!

IMG_0442

This evening we went to Harajuku and visited the famous Takeshita Street.

IMG_0456

People must mull over the pronunciation of it all the time. It’s pronounced like “tah-kesh-tuh” and has nothing to do with bodily functions.

This street is just amazing!! So many unique food, clothing and people. I didn’t take a lot of  pictures as we’ve been here many times already but I did take a few.

We got a couple of those things in the bottom pics. They were nice but not anything I thought would be amazing enough to go back for.

Take a look at these handbags and purses!! OMG how great are they!! I didn’t dare look at the price.  The shoes are pretty interesting too and I was going to say “but who would wear them?” but I’m in Japan and you can find someone to wear just about anything.


We read a bit about the Monster Cafe that’s here. I’d read that it was kind of like Alice in Wonderland meets Wonka on Acid and that description is probably pretty accurate!

It took us a little while to find it.  Up the escalators we went and joined the other fifty or so people that were waiting to get in. Ok, maybe there was significantly less than fifty but it did feel like it was going to be a huge wait when we got there!

After that we walked around Harajuku a little more and started to feel peckish so, being creatures of habit, we went and got a kebab (yeah I know not Japanese) from a place we’d been to last year. It was pretty tasty too!! Not as good as The Cheeky Greek at Henley Beach but they set the bar pretty high.

IMG_0478

IMG_0479
And to show hubby that I can put up pictures that he approves of even though I don’t, I’m sharing one last one of us on the escalators.

It’s been a long full day and I can’t wait to get back out there tomorrow!

For now, Oyasuminasai (oh look, a new Japanese word learnt!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greece is the Word – Day Thirteen

Today was out last full day in Greece. Though I’m sad about that, we have seen and done a lot of things in a short time here. I loved seeing all the historic sites and I loved shopping for trinkets. Today was mostly about that.

Something I’ve noticed here is that often we’ll hear loud shouting. We look around anxiously thinking people may be fighting or something may be going down but it’s usually just a couple of people being very passionate  in their conversation.

IMG_7261
We headed back into the centre of Athens. The traffic was just horrendous! I’d hate to drive here. In fact, I’m almost certain I wouldn’t

We were so looking forward to shopping but before we did that, we stopped to see the Greek Parliament which is housed in an imposing building situated at the east side of Syntagma Square.
At one point the guards started doing something. It may have been part of the “changing of the guards” ritual but I’m not sure. I didn’t ask but I did take some video and if you’re interested, you can see it here. I didn’t video the whole thing.

IMG_7240.JPG

 

I also took a few pics of that area… including of the people who actually allow these rats of the air to land and eat seed off of them!!!!!

Gross!!!

 

We stopped for a quick bite to eat. I can’t believe how cheap some of this food is here.

We got a couple of “wraps”.
That’s how they were described on the menu. I had chicken meat in mine.
They also come with fries in them. I realised too late that I didn’t take a photo of the one I was eating but it was pita bread, wrapped cone like, with the meat, chips IMG_7248(fries), tzatziki and some salad stuff in it.

It was only 2.8 Euro!

So cheap and so filling!

I did take a picture of the display in the shop window though.

You like?

We headed into the flea markets in Plaka after that.

IMG_7252

I must admit, I was a little nervous.

There are all sorts of people there trying to get money off of you one way or another.
Either they are just begging for it or trying to deceive you by offering “free” gifts.

There’s also sad cases.

We saw a couple of people afflicted by some condition and it just broke my heart to see them out on the street begging. It just doesn’t seem right.

All these people throwing away money at touristy junk while other people are fighting  for another 24 hours to live.


We had some lunch. We were told the pizza at this place we went to was amazingly different to anywhere else. It was traditional Greek pizza. I would have to agree it was different. I don’t know that I’d go out of my way for it but I did like it.
Hubby and I don’t eat seafood but I took a pic of the seafood platter that came out for those who are into that sort of thing (see above)
I ordered grilled vegetables and just absolutely loved them!!! Eggplant is fast becoming one of my favourite vegetables.

IMG_7253

Oh and I’ll just leave this here. Make of it what you will but these “items” are sold all over the place in tourist shops.

There must be some meaning, I’d imagine to do with fertility, but I haven’t looked into it.

Who are buying these things????

IMG_7264
We had had a leisurely lunch so it was quite late when we headed back.

Hubby and googled and found there was an outlet mall very close to where we’re staying.

We asked to be dropped off there but once our ride had left, we discovered it was NOT an outlet mall at all. It may have been once upon a time, but it was now very much deserted!!!

Lots of closed up shops. The only thing that was open was a Marks and Spencer Store.

IMG_7269
We walked home but not before heading into a supermarket for a few supplies to last us these next 12 hours.

You will not believe what I found…. If only I had seen this 12 days ago!!!!!!!!

Diet Lemonade I have missed you so much!

We headed into Glyfada for our last night. I’m going to miss this. Late Summer nights. The coast, the company, the atmosphere. Greece you have been good to us.

Tomorrow we are having a change of pace and it will be interesting to see how different it will be…. I’m not sure how reliable our internet is going to be but I hope to have the next post up within twenty four hours.

Where will we be this time tomorrow? Stay tuned!

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.

IMG_5136

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.
IMG_5137

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!

IMG_5139

 

 

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!

 

IMG_5138

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.

The Glenelg Club

Today on the Dining Diaries,

We were served seriously big serves
Our stomachs started hurting just seeing our plates being set down on the table
We entertained a lot of elderly diners who marveled at our ability to eat a LOT of food.

IMG_4393

 

 

Diners today were at The Glenelg Club which is at Glenelg Oval (Gliderol Stadium) on Brighton Rd. Hubby and I just wanted a quick lunch before doing the million other things we had to do that day and it seemed a quick easy place to visit.

Strange to think we’ve never been here before when we live so close. The first thing we noticed was the view of the oval as you walk into the Bistro Doors. It was a really lovely view!

 

IMG_4394
IMG_4395We were there right at the start of the lunch period and only one other table was seated. Before long, many many tables were full and they all had one thing in common; They were full of seniors! The Glenelg Club has 20% off all lunch meals Monday to Friday for seniors. Now that’s a pretty good offer right!

Looking through the menu there were lots of options on there at pretty reasonable prices. They also advertise their weekly specials and I was already thinking about when we could come back before we’d even ordered anything!

After looking through the menu for a long, long time, hubby finally decided he was going to have the Grazers Plate. It was in the starters section and we assumed it was some kind of sharing platter. The menu description didn’t say how many people the plate would reasonably feed so he just figured he’d order it for his main. This was what appeared on the menu
“Southern chicken tenders, spiced lamb skewers, seeded mustard bread, waffle fries,  chefs selected dip, olives and Australian feta”

I decided to go for the burger, I know, not very original but it was what I felt like today. I actually would have preferred the steak sandwich but I didn’t like the bread they had that on.

When I ordered the food, the server didn’t say anything. I mentioned that hubby was going to have the grazing plate as his main. She didn’t bat an eyelid. I had no clue at how big this plate was going to be.

We watched other food coming out and it all looked really good so we were looking forward to our own meals.

Finally a server starts walking over to our table with just one dish. It turns out, she had the grazers plate and it was so large, she couldn’t hold two plates. She needed two hands for it and said she’d be right back with my burger.

IMG_4396.jpg

Hubby, shy thing that he is, was just mortified at the size. Other diners had turned to look. One lady even said “oh, excuse me, what did you order there, was that something special?” I said “No it’s on the menu, it’s the Grazers plate”
You could see the relief come over her, “oh” she replied, “thank goodness. I thought that was the dips plate and we’ve just ordered that.”

I really don’t know where to start with this. Everything was really really good. Hubby begged me to share it so I had to have a try. From the chicken, to the dip and salsa, everything was very tasty. I’m sure I ate most of that dip!
This dish was $32 which I think is very reasonable for the amount of food that you get!
Hubby noticed that one of the servers would glance over and snicker every time she came by. It might have been his imagination…
Despite his embarrassment, he really wasn’t sorry he’d ordered it, perhaps just sorry that there were witnesses!!

IMG_4397

My burger looked huge. I was going to say equally huge but that wouldn’t be correct! I didn’t even know how I was going to eat it at first. I ended up taking the bacon out because (don’t be shocked) I’m not a bacon fan and that made it easier to eat.
It was really tasty and the ingredients and fillings seemed really fresh.
They really aren’t shy on portion size here!

 

It’s lucky that we came here during lunch and not later in the day. At least our bodies have time to metabolise the food somewhat before we go to bed.

Honestly I don’t know if it’s the football connection, the view of the oval, the large serves or hubby’s mortification but I loved coming here today and hope it won’t be too long before we visit again. I wonder if they’ll make that Grazing Plate dish to go?

 

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

 

Till next we chow…