Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Five

IMG_0667Today is our last full day in Tokyo and it was a glorious day so we were looking forward to doing some walking. I love walking in foreign countries because you see so much more than if you’re always in a train or car.
You get a better feel of the place you’re in.

Hubby wanted to go to the Honda Welcome Plaza and Google Maps showed it was about 7.5kms away so we set off.

I had planned out the walking route and knew to look out for a “Curves” because we were going to be turning right straight after that.  I told hubby to look out for curves as we were turning right at the next intersection after that.
Tell me that’s not clear.
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We were walking and walking and I started to get confused as I thought we should have passed it by now. I even said from time to time “Still haven’t seen that Curves sign”

It just goes to show that hubby doesn’t listen to me when I talk because after about the third time I’d said that I still hadn’t seen a Curves sign, he says “oh, we passed that ages ago.”
What the heck!!!
I said “why didn’t you tell me!! I told you we were turning after Curves!”

1f644He said that he thought I meant we were turning after curves in the road.
I’m sorry to tell you dear readers, this is indeed a true story.

It’s all fine, fine… We made a new route that took us eventually by the water and we love to walk anyway so what was an extra three of four kilometres?


Finally we saw the Honda building in sight! It sort of takes you breath away as you walk in. Its a big place, not a huge display but what’s there is interesting to look at.


I even got to get on a motor bike! Who said riding was hard!

After that, we were looking for a train station to take us to the next stop when we passed a McLaren dealership. This was a much smaller place but definitely more breathtaking than the Honda place!


Very nice!! And as we left we wondered if they would have let us sat inside. I wish we’d done that now.

We passed a park that looked interesting so went inside for a little bit. I told hubby we could do with a bit more serenity in our lives. It was really pretty but within a few minutes I was ready to see something else. We both don’t know how to sit and be peaceful.


Oh and look at this sign that was at the start of the park. I’m assuming it’s a list of things not to do at the park. What’s the first one? No sleeping in the park?

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We got off at Tokyo Station. That place is CRAZY! And walked to the Imperial Palace. Last time we were here there weren’t many other tourists around, today there seemed to be heaps. There were tons of buses parked in the car park too. I’m not sure what they’re all going to see because it’s not like you can look inside. We all just walked up to the bridge, took some pics, then walked back. Lovely grounds around there too and I love the view of Tokyo from here. This is more of a business district so doesn’t have the craziness of some of the other places we’ve been to.


Everything is cute in Japan. Look at the roadworks barriers.

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We really wanted to see a themed cafe and still haven’t done that with all the times we’ve been here. That’s mainly because they haven’t been open at the times we’ve gone there.

Today we wanted to see Alice in an Old Castle (Alice in Wonderland theme) at Ikebukuro.

It took a little bit to find but unfortunately, it was not open until 5pm.

The same thing happened to us last time we were in Tokyo.
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So instead we wandered around Ikebukuro.

This place is special to us as it’s the first place we saw in Tokyo. The very first time we came, we stayed at a hotel in Ikebukuro.

Before we knew it we were in front of Shakey’s pizza.
I’ve mentioned this in a past entry but this has meaning for hubby as he and his family owned a few Shakey’s Pizza Restaurants in the past.
The Shakey’s here in Japan is not exactly as he knew it but we couldn’t help but go in- even though we knew we would be regretting it as we walked out because would surely eat too much and that’s exactly what happened.

We were hot from walking and hungry and I’m sure the staff are still talking about the crazy Westerners who couldn’t stop eating and drinking.

We even ate dessert pizzas!!!
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We realised we were less than two kilometres from our apartment so we walked back and I had to take a picture of the roses that are growing along the tramline tracks.
How pretty are they!
Much nicer in real life.

 

My photo does not do them justice.

We spent a bit of time researching things to do in Osaka this evening. It kind of already feels like we’ve left Tokyo and we’re a bit sad that this part of our vacation is quickly coming to a close but are really excited for the next bit!

For now, Oyasuminasai

 

 

 

 

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.
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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?

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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!!!

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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!

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

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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.

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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!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Two

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Another frosty but pretty morning in Winnipeg. We were meeting more family at the airport and were going to have lunch at Cora’s,

I just love the restaurants here. Big food and everything is new and different
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We don’t have the tipping system in Australia as the wages are quite generous in comparison to tipping countries.

I think you see the difference as the servers here are really invested in you having a good experience.
Our server today was so nice and he had an Australian connection so we chatted for a bit.

And look at the great food we had!!

 


It was pretty delicious.

We went shopping for the weekend and it might sound boring but I just love going to supermarkets in different counties because there are so many new and different things. I’m sure we can get a lot of these things in Australia but you’d probably have to search for it.

 

 


I’m sure we can get huge packets of chips in Australia but look!!

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Ewwww. Just Ewww. I don’t seafood.

So once we got home and unpacked, hubby took me on a tour of his childhood haunts. I couldn’t tell him that yes honey, you’ve shown me these places the last four times we were here but he’s just so excited I nod and act like it’s the first time he’s telling me.

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I didn’t take any pictures as we drove through Kildonan Park but here are a few pics I found online. There’s pretty much a bridge and a witches hut. But I can appreciate that it was the place hubby cruised up and down as a teenager showing off his car and impressing the girls.

 

We also had a Dickie Dee come past! We were sitting in the lounge and I heard some bells and said “what the hell is that?” and I couldn’t believe what I saw! A guy pushing an icecream cart in a residential street on a 13 degree day!

72314_1This evening we drove back out to the country with pizza. Now here’s something you may not know.

If you are ever wondering how much pizza you need, there are pizza calculators online.

You just need to put in how many adults and children there are, how hungry you are and what size pizza you’re ordering and it will tell you how many you need to order!
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We ended up getting pizza’s from Santa Lucia on Portage Ave and it was just delicious!
And we ordered a good amount. The one thing I didn’t know, being Australian, is that I didn’t need to tip here.

When I went to pay, the 15% tip came up automatically so I just accepted it.

Apparently I didn’t need to do that then as I was just picking up pizza.

Tipping is so confusing.

So after a lovely night with family we made the loooong drive back.
It feels like we’ve been here so long already!

We’ve almost caught up on sleep!

Good night and bonne nuit

Roman Around – Day Four

We have done so much walking today!!
It was probably as much as the other days but it felt like so much more because we really went off track…

36352971_10156480851687480_5418792849602772992_n.jpgWe started the day early, walking into the historic centre.

Had to stop for a coffee first and this place was kind of interesting!!! Something to note if you come here, if you have your coffee at the “bar” rather than at a table, you will save yourself at least 2 Euro!

We wanted to take a few pictures at the Fountain of Trevi during the day, and then continue on into Travestere.

We found the fountain ok, but even at that early hour it was full of people and hard to get a decent shot.
We still haven’t thrown a coin over our shoulder into it!! Must remember to do that.

36347765_10156480856152480_8660236558026145792_n.jpgNext stop was the Pantheon!! Another site I wanted to take day photos at. We stumbled upon it by accident. Such an impressive building.


I know we’ve seen these sights before but soon we’ll be gone and who knows when I’ll get to see them again.

Found this cute little sign on a wall.

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We passed through Piazza Navona again which, in my opinion, is underrated. I looked up at the apartments and wondered who lives there!! and what are they paying to live there? Do the constant stream of tourists bother them? So many questions!


We hadn’t really had breakfast so hubby and I decided to look for more “special” pizza to have. We didn’t find it right away, but we did see this. Have you ever seen a bigger piece of Mortadella!!!!

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I should have got hubby to stand next to it for perspective.

Before we knew it we were crossing the bridge over into Travestere


That picture on the left is not Bocca Della Verita but I really wanted it to be… so we went past it and continued over the bridge.

Oh my god was it so nice over this side!!!! It was quiet, and peaceful and just what you’d expect Italy to be. We also noticed the prices were much cheaper.
We just wanted to keep ordering food!! We got coffee at one place, dessert at another. I didn’t even photograph the dessert I was so excited to eat it! It was full of this delicious custard! Oh god, it would be worth the walk over the bridge to get that again!

And it was just so pretty over there. Please, if you find yourself in Rome, you MUST go to Travestere!


I really should have taken more photos. I felt so at home in this section.

Without any plan or guidance, we started walking south and it soon turned, not so nice.
Well , in fairness, it got average, and then not so nice.

I had been looking for a handbag since we were in Greece and didn’t see anything I really liked. There was this one bag from a street vendor in Greece I kind of liked but was not in the mood to haggle.

I noticed it on the street in Travestere and while hubby was looking at the price, the guy came up and said it was a super special morning discount. The price quoted was 40 Euro but he said he’d sell it for 30 Euro. I said I wasn’t interested and for that price, I really wasn’t.. but he was so desperate and he said “What price would you pay for it” and I answered honestly “20 Euro”. I thought that was fair. It’s not leather after all, just a nice big bag I can wear on my back.

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He tried to ask for 25 Euro but when I said I wasn’t going to pay that and started to walk away, he said “Ok 20 Euro” and started to take the paper stuffing out to prepare it for sale right away, as if he was scared I was going to change my mind about the 20 Euro.

I felt so bad.

He just seemed so desperate for money and there is such poverty in the streets here.

I love my new bag though!

As we continued walking we found ourselves in an area that could be anywhere in the world. Not old, not new, just neutral. We didn’t really know where we were, we just continued walking.

We got some pizza at a pretty good price! And a couple of arancini balls.

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We needed a bathroom break so ducked into the free washrooms at McDonalds and I took a photo of the menu – Not sure if you can see it. Interesting to see a familiar menu in a different language.

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By now we were pretty tired and had no clue where we were. We crossed the bridge back over to “our” side but still had no clue. Nothing looked familiar and we were on wide roads with tons of cars streaming past. I looked on Google Maps and told hubby I thought we should be heading in a certain direction, but he was sure it was another direction and off we trotted…. and we walked, and walked and walked… and finally I said “Please for the love of God we have to ask someone or check Google Maps”
And turns out, we were walking in the wrong direction… Probably on our way to Naples.
Not that we could tell what Google Maps was saying as we had no reference point.

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When we asked the guy at the petrol stop where to go, he pointed in the direction we had just come from and said “second left after the gate”

I think he meant this gate?

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It still felt really foreign and we passed all sorts of ruins we hadn’t seen before or even heard about.

I’m sorry I didn’t take pictures. I think I was just too tired.

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I promised hubby we would stop for icecream (haha) so as soon as we hit civilisation, (as we had been walking down a freeway for quite some time up until this point) I got us some ice cream.

It was absolutely  delicious!

When we finally got back to the apartment I had a glass or two of Limoncello and I was out like a light.

No more Limoncello for me ever again please!!!

IMG_7520Although we love pasta and pizza, we were looking for something different tonight.

Am I wrong in thinking there’s only so much pasta and pizza you can eat?

We walked past a million places and finally settled on this one place that seemed ok. I think we were just tired of walking and looking.

Hubby thought he might like some risotto and this place had it on the menu so in we went.
Most people sat outside but I kind of liked the interior. It was cute.

I don’t think you can see it in the picture but at the top of the wall there is a painting of different parts of Rome. It’s really well done.

I went for something light – Some bruschetta and minestrone soup and hubby had a risotto and cannelloni.


I wasn’t a fan of the bruschetta because it had rocket throughout it and not basil.
The minestrone was ok. Hubby was happy with his.
I feel like I need a change of cuisine tomorrow thought.

The supermarkets close at 10pm here which meant we couldn’t get any sneaky snacks to bring home! Probably just as well.

Goodnight and god bless.