Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Three

I want to let everyone know that I’m “sumimasen-ing” all over the place!!!  It was my phrase of the day! I’m saying it without thinking twice about it now.

i-got-the-words-jacuzzi-and-yakuza-confused-now-im-44553733
Speaking of thinking about it twice, hubby used to confuse arigato and konichiwa and now, I find that I’m confusing it also which is probably karma as I paid him out badly for it. He’d walk past someone on the street and say “arigato” then keep walking. I’d love to know what they were thinking.

This morning hasn’t started off great in that it’s been raining all night. It’s not cold. It’s pretty muggy, but the rain means we can’t go walking. The pics above were taken from our balcony. I was up early again and now can’t do anything. That’s a bit depressing.

Seeing as we were up so early, we had a second breakfast. This time courtesy of the Family Mart that’s thirty metres away (dangerous) and look at what I scored for not much more than 500 yen.

IMG_0486
Ahhh, you wonderful treats that delight my taste buds. I miss you already.

Tomorrow we’re going on a tour (won’t spoil it by saying where yet!) and the tour was booked online. Because I want to make sure everything  is correct and that we have the right meeting spot, hubby and I went to Shinjuku. The only info I had was that the pick up is from Keio Plaza Hotel but I wasn’t given the time. Inconvenient.

So we braved the weather. When we got to Shinjuku it was still raining.


IMG_0502We found the hotel the tour is leaving from and confirmed the departure time. All good.

Seeing as we were so close to the Tokyo Government Building and it was still mostly an undercover walk to get there, we decided to go on and see that.

Only to be met by the sign on the right.

No!!! They’re not allowed to be closed on a rainy day when there’s nothing much else to do!!!

We we went back to the station and walked around the shops. Looked at the food. Got hungry, got a little bored. Walked around in circles.
They’ve got one of those food areas where you can buy all kinds of food. Sadly, not many were offering samples. I would have loved to have tried some of the foods I saw. I didn’t even know what half of it was! So many people. And the food is packaged and packaged and packaged. Layer after layer of wrapping and packaging.


I’ve seen the restaurant “La Pausa” about the place here and was craving some kind of pasta. I would have had ramen but every place we went to had a line up and we didn’t want to wait. So, we went to La Pausa which is an Italian restaurant.
I took a pic of their lunch menu.
IMG_0508

 

IMG_0511They didn’t have an English menu so we had to try to decipher ourselves.

Because I wanted to try something different. I had the one on the bottom right.

And that pic to the left is what I was given. Look ok doesn’t it? I mean, it’s not Italian and the egg on top was cold which was a bit weird but it tasted pretty good. There was some sort of cheesy sauce on the bottom too.

There are so many Italian restaurants here!! But they’re all like this. It’s “Italian” but with a Japanese spin.

As it was still pouring with rain we decided to take an afternoon break – it’s supposed to clear up later today.
i79iv.jpg
I’m not sure if we are still a bit jet lagged (you can use that excuse for just about anything when travelling) but we lay down and when we stirred again it was 9pm. Changing time zones and 4am wake ups will do that to you!

We had a few museums and other indoor activities planned but that went out the window!

We went for a bit of a late night walk but there are no photos to prove it so did it really happen??

I’m so excited about tomorrow I’m barely going to be able to sleep!!!

Oyasuminasai

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

IMG_0311

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.

 

IMG_0315

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.

27577282a12c702db4029fdfee06123bcf704400693e6ec47e2168e31db2436f

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.

IMG_0319

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.

60356762_2691490527534765_7737401420743180288_n
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 Four

This morning it was so nice I had to get out and went for a short walk.


IMG_0150Something I haven’t written about yet in all the times I’ve been to Canada is the three and four way stops.

I just can’t get my head around it.

I’m not sure if you can see it in the picture to my left, but that is a T – junction and it has a three way stop.

What that means is that when you get to the intersection you stop, give way, and if you were the first (or only) car there, you can go. Whoever got there next, goes next and so on and so forth. So no matter if you’re on the straight rd, if you get there and there’s a car waiting to come out of the “t” section, you have to wait for that one to go first before you can continue going on straight.

IMG_0151

It’s the same for four way stops which are for cross roads. I definitely prefer our system in Australia although I guess it does slow traffic down.

IMG_0152
We had more family time today which including a trip to Walmart.
All I could think of was the “People of Walmart” memes but I was told, that doesn’t really apply in Canada.
So now you know.

IMG_0154

If you need a toilet/bathroom here, you’ll see it and hear it referred to as “washrooms”

Our family group had dinner at Boston Pizza. It was pretty good. I had heard a few mixed reviews so was a little apprehensive but turned out to be a good choice and my pasta was just delicious!


After dinner we finally went for a drive to the Forks. I can’t believe we’ve been here four days and are only just going down there now! Normally it’s the first place we’re taken.

60072534_414542252459466_1245484320487899136_n
There was a little chill but it was really nice and relaxing and pretty as the sun was setting.

Even found a busking station but luckily for the passers by, did not start singing.

 


There was a bit of an incident as we left The Forks.

why-is-everyone-else-driving-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-road
Hubby was busy talking about the MTS Centre and was going to show us where it was.
Now, he’s the one doing the driving and he’s used to driving like we do in Australia, on the left hand side of the road. Up till now he’s been doing well but with the distraction of hockey, as he went to make a left out of the Forks, he went into the LEFT hand side lane on Portage instead of the right hand side.
Luckily the oncoming traffic was far enough that we had time to reverse and correct our direction.

I feel like our time is going too fast now. We’ve been having such a good time with family. Tomorrow it’s supposed to hit 24 degrees!

For now Good Night and Bonne Nuit.

Dubai or Don’t I – Day Five

IMG_9721
On the Hotel Shuttle

Our last day in Dubai!

We were lucky today because as we were walking out of the hotel, the Hotel Shuttle was about to leave for Kite Beach. We hadn’t planned on going there but what a great opportunity!

Our driver is a lovely, friendly man but he drives like a maniac!! Or maybe everyone drives like a maniac here.

We didn’t know what to expect from Kite Beach except I remember seeing lots and lots of kites in the YouTube videos I’d watched before we came to Dubai.

 


First thought was, “where are the kites?” I expected to see at least some! If you’re lucky, you can see ONE kite in the pic bottom right. I realised as I got closed, that it was just fixed, marking this place as Kite Beach

There were plenty of places to get drinks and snacks in the main area.

 


And there is also a really nice board walk! There were distance markers every 100 metres.

 


IMG_9741

We saw the Burj Al Arab in the distance and decided to follow the boardwalk towards it.

It didn’t look that far but the further we went along the boardwalk, the further the Burj Al Arab seemed to get as well.

The Burj Al Arab is a seven star hotel built to look like a sailing boat.

We saw some interesting signs along the boardwalk

 


Not sure if you can read the writing. There were plenty of scantily clad men and women on this beach. I hear that it’s supposed to be OK in the tourist areas but we’ve seen lots of skin exposure even in the malls. I didn’t ever see anyone getting picked up on how they were dressed.

We stopped at an area just before the boardwalk ended, to get a cool drink. That hotel was not getting any closer!

 


That smoothie on the top right corner was super delicious and the man who made it was just so lovely. It was just cute old fashioned service. Everyone here calls me ma’am. Every one is either sir or ma’am.
This smoothie was so thick and refreshing. It was only 19 Dirham (about $7 AUD)

We kept walking toward the Burj Al Arab but when the boardwalk ended and it still seemed kilometres away, we decided to turn back.

IMG_9753Because we still had an hour or so to kill, I got a smoothie at another place.

This place was cute to look at but that smoothie was the biggest disappointment.

I can’t believe I’m on holiday in Dubai and talking about the quality of smoothies.

Seriously though, it was just like drinking a fruit juice.

What a let down.

Said goodbye to Kite Beach. It would be a really good place for families to go to and if you like to walk or run, that boardwalk is great. Can’t imagine what it would be like when the temps go over 40 degrees though.

IMG_9754
We hopped back on the Shuttle bus and as his next stop was the Dubai Mall, we thought we’d stay on it as we wanted to see the fountain dance. We missed out the last few times we were at the mall.

But first lunch, and after walking around for freak’n ages, careful consideration, went to The Cheesecake Factory.

 


I really made a mess of that first pic. Hubby ordered nachos (left) and I ordered a vegetarian pasta.
OMG we were both in heaven!! The food was soooooo good. It’s a bit strange to not have alcohol on the menu though.

After lunch we went outside towards the fountain and kept walking around the outside of the Mall. There’s lots to see around there.

 


Hubby was absolutely enthralled with Burj Khalifa (who wouldn’t be),
The Burj Khalifa is a skyscraper in Dubai. It has a total height of 829.8 m and a roof height (excluding antenna) of 828 m. The Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its topping out in 2009 (Thanks Wikipedia)

We walked all around the outside of the Mall, then entered through the “rich” area. The area where all the high end brands are AND where this lovely orchid is that doesn’t remind anyone of anything at all.

IMG_9777
Finally it was time for the fountain show!! We went outside with hundreds of others and then it started!!! I grabbed my phone to start recording. Hubby grabbed it from me as he’d get a better view with his height. I was so excited to have this wonderful experience on video. The water moves with the music as if doing a synchronised dance. It only went for a few minutes and I was sad when it was over.

IMG_9778

I was sadder still when I realised that for some reason, my phone stopped recording about 10 seconds in. That was even before the show started. So I recorded nothing (Cry)

All I have is that photo above which was taken by accident before the show started.

It was almost time for our Shuttle bus to take us back so we went to sit outside and took a few pics against the Burj Khalifa and the crescent moon.

 


So now I’m sitting in our hotel room. We’re waiting for our driver to come and take us to the airport.

I’m sad to be leaving but looking forward to being back on familiar ground.

Dubai you’ve been great and I’m certain we’ll be back.

Thanks for reading!

In search of Cherry Blossom – Part Six

Thankfully the weather wasn’t as brutally cold today! I left our little apartment just before 7am and it was quite comfortable to walk around.
I managed to walk down to the Dotonbori and took a pic to prove to hubby that I’d been there!

IMG_5666
When I got back hubby and I had some breakfast then headed for Osaka station. We were going to Kobe today!

When the conductors come into your carriage on the train, they bow, walk through, then bow again before leaving the carriage.

It wasn’t long before we got into Kobe. Hubby had looked at a few things he wanted to do there. One was the “Kawasaki Good Time” museum and another was the Shin-Kobe Ropeway up past the Nonobiki waterfall to some Herb Garden.
IMG_5667

But first, Starbucks.

I’m beginning to hate this chain as hubby can’t seem to function without it.

This Starbucks was in an interesting building (left) in an interesting area of Kobe.

We saw a few things in this area that I guess were relating to tourists?

IMG_5668

I only took a photo of the Sherlock Holmes one but there were more.

I’m sure if I searched online I’d find out the story behind this area.

After his coffee hubby was back on getting to the Rope Cars.

I just wasn’t into the rope car idea.

I hate the thought of being suspended like that.

I did really want to see the waterfall though so I persuaded hubby to just walk up there. I thought it would be a peaceful way to get up and enjoy… well enjoy the serenity!

 


There were a few steep bits but mostly it was a pretty mild climb up.

 

IMG_5686
We were able to see the waterfall from a few different levels. The sound of the water rushing past was also quite loud. I really loved it here. It was just so peaceful. I could have stayed there a little longer but it was time to move on to the next thing.
Here are a few pictures I took from a few different viewing areas.

 


What I love about Kobe is they have these beautiful hills on one side, and the water on the other. Kind of like Adelaide but even closer together than Adelaide. Really, it’s such a beautiful city.

Last time we were in Kobe, hubby and I lunched at this buffet place. It must have made a big impression on us as we found ourselves gravitating towards there again today.
There really was a great selection of foods from Japanese staples to Italian food and things like fries. It was lovely and familiar.
I’m just not adventerous when it comes to food and was really really craving pasta today.

The views from our table were pretty special too! I thought I took some photos but I can’t find them. Here are a few from the Observatory Tower that we went to earlier in the day and some while we were out and about.

 


We’ve seen a lot of naked women statues in Osaka and there were more in Kobe.

 


After lunch we were in search of the Kawasaki Good Times Museum. We saw it in the distance!

IMG_5703

But what we didn’t know is that it’s closed on Monday’s… argh!!! Will have to research that one better next time.

We decided to wander the streets a bit more and found ourselves going through China Town where hubby made a friend with one of the stall holders who really really really wanted to be Australian just like us.

IMG_5704
Sadly we did all we could do in the few hours we were there and were soon back on the train back to Osaka.

We found ourselves back at the Umeda Sky Building and went up again.

 


Riding down those escalators BETWEEN buildings at such a great height is really something!

 


IMG_5709We stopped for a drink and watched the suited people rushing by to get wherever they really needed to be.

This place was cute because it seemed none of the workers spoke any English. Hubby pointed to the drink he wanted (they had bottles behind glass).

It took two workers to understand what we were ordering.

Two minutes later they come back to us saying “sold out” and they were both holding four bottles each from which hubby could make his second choice.

They are just so accommodating here!

So sad that our trip is quickly coming to an end. How did that happen?

I’m leaving with a picture for an ad that I saw today. I don’t know what this is advertising. Perhaps you have an idea?

IMG_5692