Sake to me Baby – Japan Day One

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It was so emotionally hard to leave Canada.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to family even though we know we will be back.

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We got into Vancouver quite early and had about five hours to kill before our next leg to Tokyo.

I had to share this pic that I took from the first leg of our flight. Yeah, that jacket shouldn’t be a problem to anyone at all shouldn’t it?

Luckily one of the cabin crew told her to take it down a  short while later.

We had a pretty good flight – no complaints. Got a great breakfast at Vancouver Airport. So good I had to share pics.

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Oh and the airport itself is huge and has lots to look at including these colourful fishies.
We should know, we’ve spent over ten hours  at Vancouver airport in the last few weeks.

 


I don’t think it really hit me that we were flying into Japan until we touched down! I hadn’t even really been thinking about this portion of our vacation time.

IMG_0396I was going through the Japanese phrases I know and I’m completely fluent in Hello, thank you, excuse me AND water. If the situation I’m in calls for more conversation than that, I may be in trouble.

The train trip from Narita airport took just over an hour.

The man sitting next to me must have had some sort of OCD as he was always opening and closing his luggage.

I saw tons of things I could have photographed while we were on the train but I felt like it could have stressed the OCD man out so I didn’t take many.

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I did manage to snap one of their well designed “stack em on top of each other” type car parks.

It’s pretty common here seeing as they’re space poor.

We found our apartment very easily and went straight on in. It’s very hard to describe it. Its certainly one of the roomiest (in terms of floor space) we’ve had in our many trips here but also one of the oldest.  As space is always an issue, we’re used to things being tight and awkward but this one definitely wins the prize. Although it’s roomy, the appliances are all shoved awkwardly into one small space.
I don’t want to say anything negative. It’s certainly clean. And some people don’t mind not shutting the bathroom door so if there’s not enough room for you to sit on the throne AND shut the door at the same time, it’s not a big deal is it? Hubby and I like to keep a little mystery in our marriage so we’re definitely going to have to work out a system there.

First thing to do was go shopping for some basics. As soon as I entered the supermarket I saw this.

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I’m pretty sure I heard angels singing.

We had to get milk as well. I’ve explained before how difficult it is because although we have that fab vocabulary of four words, we don’t read Japanese. So how do we know we’ve bought regular milk for coffee?? Is it Soy? Skim? Almond? We just wanted regular milk! I haven’t tried it yet so hopefully what we bought is ok.

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And speaking about buying things I have no clue about, I bought this drink (bottom left) because it was zero calories. I don’t know what it tastes like and I say that AFTER I’ve had some.
Have I told you before how difficult it is to buy diet lemonade here?? So this will have to do.

We didn’t buy sugar because finding it seemed to be an issue again and we were too tired to keep trying. Looks like we’ll be having sugarless coffees in our apartment.

We also bought our regular Milk Tea because, well, we are in Japan.

 


I’m pretty sure I’ve been up over 24 hours now so it’s time for this tired girl to get some shut eye.
Oh, I haven’t mentioned that this apartment, bigger floor space than most, doesn’t have one double bed, it has two beds that are slightly smaller than a double. So instead of putting a nice sized bed in the bedroom and allow for food traffic, somewhere to put your luggage etc, they took up the whole floor area with two beds. Hubby (all six foot seven of him) and I are going to try to sleep in one bed. This can only end badly!!!

So Sumimasen if I say Konichiwa.  By the way, do you know where I can get some mizu? Arigatō (gozaimasu)

 

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Oot and Aboot in Canada Eh! – Day Seven

This morning I took advantage of the nice weather (it’s supposed to rain later today) and went for a brisk early morning walk. I wasn’t far from home when I saw a whole heap of geese. Now anyone who knows me knows I don’t like birds in general, and some of them I’m actually fearful of (Those damn magpies!)

And I’ve mentioned previously, that I’ve heard about Canadian Geese aggression. While I was on my walk  this morning I saw a whole heap of these Geese together and honestly had to think twice about whether I wanted to continue on my walk. Especially as I saw a couple with two little baby geese crossing the road.

Take a look at this clip I found on You Tube if you want to see how they can act!

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So I did end up making it to the supermarket without being attacked, and found this little beauty.

Baileys Coffee Creamer!!
Can’t wait to have my next coffee.

I should explain to my friends in Australia, they have creamer here that they put in coffee. It’s not as thick as our cream back home, but it’s creamier than our whole milk. It tastes delicious! I wish we had an equivalent in Australia.
It normally comes in a carton that looks like a regular milk carton.

I was also looking for certain biscuits and was walking up and down the aisle looking for where they had their biscuit section until I remembered that the word I should be looking for was “cookies”
And look, they had Tim Tam’s too!! I think they’re a touch expensive here though.

 

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We went to Polo Park shopping centre after lunch and I felt like I would in any shopping centre back home.

I’ve been here so many times over the years I’m completely familiar with it and knew where all the stores where.

We drove around some then stopped in for a coffee break at, where else but Tim Hortons.


I went to the counter and asked for a couple of white coffees. The person looked at me blankly. “Two white coffees” I repeated. He said “What kind of coffee do you want?”
And the reason he was confused is that they don’t say that here. You order coffee and it’s expected to be black unless you ask for milk/creamer. So I ordered two black coffees with two “creamers”. It was delicious!

We also got some Tim Bits and a chocolate crunch cookie to tide us over until our family dinner.

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Another thing I’m having to get used to is the automatic flushing toilets.

Although we do have some of those in Australia, they have many more here and sometimes it just catches me off guard!!

And sometimes it won’t flush and I’m looking at what the heck I’m supposed to push, pull or wave my hand over to get the thing to flush.

We went to Paradise Restaurant for dinner.  When we walked in, there was a beautiful Italian cooking smell that took me right back to the seventies.
Actually it was comforting, and I really love Italian food so I was looking forward to dinner.

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This picture was of the unoccupied section. There really were people in there I promise. I loved the pictures of different parts of Italy on the walls.

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Our server brought out some bread sticks to start. They were made from pizza dough.

When I put mine on my plate my mind went somewhere it probably shouldn’t. Come on, I’m not the only one who sees it am I?????

And this was the rest of our food. We really didn’t have any complaints other than we thought the serves were a bit small. I know my fettuccine was really tasty and I loved the sauce too. I like it simple.


Sadly another day has come to an end.

Good night, bonne nuit and don’t dream of bread sticks.

 

Oot and Aboot in Canada Eh! – Day Six

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Hubby decided to join me for a walk this morning and although it was only 8-9 degrees celsius, the sun was out so he decided a short sleeved t-shirt would be good enough.
I was happy to be walking but I forgot hubby likes to make stops along the way so as soon as he saw those golden arches, we stopped.

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We came across a “stobie” pole on steriods. Actually, there were quite a few of these.

They’re called hydro poles here.

I got hubby to stand at the base so you can get an idea of how gigantic it is.

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Today we had to do a bit of personal business/banking so we went downtown.

Hubby has been loving driving this Cadillac. It does seem like we’re driving around in luxury!

Passed some Cannabis store signs along the way. Took a few pics of the downtown area which looked quite nice.

It’s funny for me to see signs in two languages wherever we go.


This pic upper right was a very funny situation. Hubby had to get a copy of his birth certificate so we went to Vital Statistics and had to get a number and wait to be called. Hubby went to get a number and violently pulled the number tab. All of a sudden, the entire roll came undone without any tabs separating. It rolled across the floor and hubby, full of embarrassment, started rolling it back up as quick as he could.
IMG_0278What made it even more funny was that there was a customer immediately to his right who saw it and started laughing uncontrollably. It was such a funny giggle because he was trying to stifle it but just couldn’t.

We walked around Portage Place looking for some other department. Lot of interesting things and people around there.

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We drove out to the country again late afternoon and stopped in at Tim Horton’s on the way and this time, we got some sweets as well!! We got a Maple Pecan Danish and a Cinnamon Scroll.

I love how here, and in the U.S too, they offer you coffee with milk or cream. I could get used to the lovely taste of cream in my coffee!!

Still not used to the fact that they display prices before the tax is applied.  You never really know how much you will be charged. The first few times I couldn’t work out why I had paid more than the ticketed price and then I was told.  Why don’t you people rebel!! This is a horrible system! The ticket price should include everything you need to pay. Price and tax! None of this add on at the end. And if you’re having a meal, you have to add on tip after that as well so you may think something is fairly cheap until all the extras are added on to it.

I had doggy cuddles this afternoon again. I could have sat here all afternoon with that little cutie.

We went with family to Portage la Prairie. It seemed like a nice place but it was so close we moved from the park to the indoor recreation centre.


Because it was easy, we went to Boston Pizza for dinner again tonight.

We started off sharing a big plate of nachos. These were great.
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In our party of five, four of us had the New York Steak Sandwich. It was so delicious!

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And we also ordered a plate of chicken tacos.

We said the first lot of goodbyes to family tonight and that’s the worst part. Always wonderful to see family and it’s never easy to say goodbye.

For now, goodnight and bonne nuit.

In search of Cherry Blossom – Part Two

I’ve woken up way too early this morning. I couldn’t sleep and thought I’d just make myself a coffee.
Coffee is interesting here. They seem to love the cold varieties… Iced Coffee. Lots of it in the street vending machines-the kind in cans. Most of the ones we’ve tried don’t seem to have sugar in them.
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When it comes to hot coffee I don’t think it’s really a thing here (Unless you got to a chain like Starbucks.)
Even in the air bnb’s we’ve stayed out, we haven’t had coffee cups provided.

Milk
We went to the supermarket last night and bought some instant coffee (no other choice) what we thought was sugar and potentially full cream milk.

When we got to the check out hubby asked the lady serving (who didn’t speak English) if this milk was good for coffee. She understood what he was saying presumably and screwed up her nose. So we said we wouldn’t take the milk and she said she’d send someone to help.

The person coming to help was going to bring us “milk for coffee”. When he came, he was holding a bag of individual milk cups. Pictured right is an example of what Milk-lakeland-whole-milk-UHTI’m talking about. The kind that is normally never enough!! Hubby and I both like a decent amount of milk in our coffees and we both said, no, give us the original carton…

But that’s Japan. Everything is packaged here. They love their packaged sugars, packaged milk, individual packages of everything!!

I can confim that the milk we bought last night was actually full cream milk but I was a little nervous before tasting it this morning!

First thing on the agenda today was walking to Osaka Castle.We’re only a couple of kilometres away from it so it was a nice easy walk.


We did start to see some Cherry Blossom but not as much as I would have liked. I suspect we’re right at the end of the season. At least we got to see some of it.

And we did see interesting sights along the way to the Castle…

 


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There were tons of people at the Castle!!

We thought we’d walk back to Osaka city and get some lunch.

I love walking everywhere.

You just get to see so much more!

After walking up and down the endless shopping and market aisles, we went into the Hep building and found a place to get some lunch. I’m not sure what we ate exactly. It seems to be a type of omlette with rice inside? At least, the one we ordered had rice inside it.
On the menu it had two sizes. SS or S. SS is super small and S is small.
Hubby and I don’t like small.
The waitress said we could also order M for medium or L for large.
Now remember, we had been walking quite a bit by this stage and we were very hungry as we didn’t really have breakfast so we both opted for large.
The waitress was visibly shocked. I should have questioned my choice right then but no, I figured I’d be able to handle it.

I was mid sentence to hubby when I saw our order coming out and I just stopped talking, stunned by what I was seeing.


That, dear readers, is the large. Consider yourselves warned!
I’m sure the servers were all giggling at us. Some of the other diners were watching us too, seeing if we were going to finish… I was so terribly embarrassed.
It tasted amazing by the way!! Although I could have done without that brown sauce which was on there. Tasted like barbecue sauce.

Unfortunately I couldn’t finish it. I really really tried but I couldn’t. We really needed to walk our meals off after that so we walked down to the Dotonbori area.

I just love this place.

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We were stopped by four people who wanted to practice their English with us. The Japanese people are too cute!

Down one of the streets we noticed a huge screen, which was showing a live feed of people walking. I just had to get myself on that big screen!! Can I say I’ve been on Japanese television now?


We have passed a few funny signs but I didn’t take a photo unfortunately. On the train there was a sign saying the train was “mildly” airconditioned. Another sign contained “hot” information. Just love the way their language translates into English!

We were checking out some stores for headphones for hubby when we saw a confident Japanese man just having a shave. Try before you buy right?

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And to finish off, we finally did find some different flavoured Kit Kat. I didn’t buy any but I did take pictures.

Tomorrow, we hope to be off to Kyoto!!

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!!