Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Seven

For those following on from yesterday’s entry, the TV is still on mute. I don’t understand why hubby is so invested in unmuting it. It’s not like we can understand Japanese.I feel like this is a decidedly male thing.

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I felt pretty Japanese today in my floral jumpsuit and cute little socks.
I couldn’t imagine wearing these back home but I love that I can wear them here.

We are still finding things to do that we haven’t done on previous trips here and one of them is visiting Arashiyama Bamboo Grove near Kyoto.

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We walked to the train station.

Look at all the bikes parked at the train station! Everyone rides here.
From 3 to 103! All on bikes!

When we got inside, I wanted to check the price of the ticket and the train lines we were going to catch. I went up to one of the service guys and said very politely “sumimasen” and asked my question. He confirmed “Train to Kyoto?” and instead of saying “yes” in Japanese or even English, I said “si”. Full credit to the Japanese who are always polite, he either didn’t notice or pretended he didn’t notice.

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Hubby and I got to talking about the language and how much we were learning and he wanted to write down the words he knew.

He said he was going to do it phonetically to help with pronunciation.

Fair enough.
Makes sense.

I still giggled when I saw his list though.

We managed to almost catch the right trains. I feel like it’s a stress every time. The only mistake we made going out was we went on a local train instead of the rapid express. That meant that it stopped at every station and took well over an hour, rather than 30 minutes or so.

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When we got to Arashiyama, we didn’t quite know what direction to walk in but we soon saw a big hint!

This is a pretty  place. There’s lots to see here and tons more than what we saw today but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see the monkeys and hubby definitely was not in the mood to walk up hill with today’s temperature so we figured we’d leave that for our next trip to Japan.

I had read so much about this bamboo forest and the pictures I’d seen online had been so beautiful that I think  I’d really built it up in my head.

What we saw was spectacular, and maybe I would have enjoyed it more if there weren’t three million other people trying to enjoy it with me. Never mind, I’m still glad we went.


I don’t know if you noticed the sign there that asks people not to touch the bamboo shoots as this will cause them to stop growing. It seemed like everyone was touching everything!

We had a look at the old trains that were right by the station. They were so big. It was pretty impressive.


After a while we headed back into Kyoto to get some lunch.  We went into the basement of the Kyoto Tower as we remembered there was a food court down there.
The food I got was amazing! It tasted so good!! Rice with some kind of meat on there. We asked for an English menu but I still didn’t really know what it was. Hubby got some kind of ramen and he was happy with his too. These dishes together cost about $15 AUD. That was pretty good value I thought!!


And from where we were sitting we could watch and listen to the cooks.

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Next stop was going to be on the other side of the canal. We wanted to find the pathway that led up to the Kiyomizu temple.

I really wanted to go there because I love the walk up. Again though, there were three million other people who had the same idea as us and although I loved being there, I can’t say I enjoyed the experience. I couldn’t even look in any of the shops because it was just too hard to get from one side to the other with all the people.
But here are some pics I took along the way from Kyoto to the temple.


We were thirsty and bone tired by the time we got back to Kyoto. We wanted to stop and get a drink in the British Pub there. We’ve seen them about the place but have never been in one. When we got in, the server told us the only room they had was standing and all we wanted to do was sit so, again we missed out on that.

I love the Kyoto station. The design and architecture are just out of this world. If I hadn’t been so tired I might have enjoyed it a little more.


We’ve been stopping in at Lawsons/Family Mart far too often for snacks. Today we really felt like we needed a treat though so we loaded up and took it back to our apartment to enjoy in comfort.

I may have complained a bit in this entry but honestly it was a great day. I loved seeing everything we did and being in Kyoto. I even didn’t mind the couple of wrong turns we made. It always makes the day more interesting.

I will definitely sleep well tonight!

Oyasuminasai!

Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Six

Today we said goodbye to Tokyo and flew to Osaka. We are so excited to be going to Osaka! It’s just so much more laid back and the food is just phenomenal.

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We were going to be leaving from Haneda airport rather than Narita. It’s the first time either of us has used Haneda and it was so smooth!! Normally when we leave from Narita there’s huge lines and throngs of people. Very long wait times. Today it just couldn’t have been easier!

We were waiting at the gate and the staff were about to announce that they were going to start boarding. They made the announcement noise then all bowed in unison before saying that boarding was about to commence. Then before they called for boarding, they all bowed in unison again. I’ve never seen anything like it!

I have to say I like this bowing thing. I think it shows respect and makes people feel good. I love that part of their culture. They look genuine when they’re doing it too. At least, that’s been my experience.

IMG_0717Because it was a full plane and hubby and I fly standby, we weren’t able to sit together.
I didn’t mind so much because it was only going to be for an hour and truly, I was looking forward to having that time to myself. He was going to be sitting directly behind me.
I turned to see how he was going and saw he was sat between two Japanese girls so he was pretty happy himself!

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I have never liked landings and take offs though and hubby was worried I’d be scared so as the plane was taking off, I feel something on my arm and realise he’d reached through the seats to reassure me.

How cute is that!!

Lucky for him, he scored a few points.

We landed at Osaka International Airport and NOT Kansai International where we’ve normally landed. This airport was pretty impressive as well!! Although, I felt it looked a bit dated. It looked like we were walking into a plush hotel of the seventies. I loved it! And it was a nice easy breezy experience to get out of there and onto the monorail that was going to take us to our station.


The monorail was good. Maybe a little pricey but you have no choice if you want to catch a train to Osaka central

We had time to kill so we rented some lockers at Umeda station and went to find somewhere to have lunch.

The place we found did not have an English menu but we’re experienced Japan travellers now so figured, how wrong could it go?


The pic on the left is one of the menus we were given. I pointed to the second one when they came to get our order, even though I didn’t know exactly what that was. Our server was trying to tell me something about that selection that involved a six and a zero. She didn’t speak English. Did she mean it would take 60 minutes to make? Or not available until 6pm? In the end I chose from another menu. I didn’t take a picture of that one but you can see how much food we got!! And all of this food cost us about 1720 yen which is currently about $23 AUD

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Yes it’s a ton of food!! We hadn’t eaten anything so we were starving.
This is the after shot…

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We did well!! I liked most of what I ate. The eggy thing with the brown and white sauce on it was sort of nice but had some strange tastes in it here and there and I really really hate those sauces. If I’d known that’s what I’d ordered I would have said no sauce.
The noodles were great! and so was the miso soup and rice.

IMG_0732They had some salt and condiments on the table, including this mayonnaise type thing. I’m pretty sure this should have been in the fridge right? I don’t understand why they don’t seem to think refrigeration is important here.

We had an hour or so, so we walked around the Hankyu and Daimaru department stores. Went into the Hep5 building. So looking forward to looking around properly. Honestly we were too tired and just looking forward to getting to our room.


We got into our air bnb room and this apartment is AMAZING!!! OMG! Probably the best air bnb apartment we’ve had. It’s spacious, it’s NEW and it’s in a great location near Dotonbori. I’m so excited to be here!!!

13rr22Hubby, being of the male variety, quickly claimed the remote even though everything here is in Japanese, and before too long, accidentally muted the television.
He didn’t know what button he pressed though so was not able to unmute it. We then spent the next hour and a bit trying to figure out how to unmute this thing. We looked online, we tried to look at the manual but to no avail. In the end we had to leave it or we wouldn’t have gone out tonight.

We’re a short walk from our favourite area in Japan and it was such a nice feeling to be back there again.
Dotonbori. There were so many tourists around!! So many people walking around in awe of what they were seeing. Shops, food, attractions and beautiful views. The canals are so pretty at night. I took a few pics along the way.


We stopped in at Daiso on the way back to our apartment because it was there. I think hubby is starting to love this store too although he would never admit it.

IMG_0752We wanted a few things for our apartment. The line to check out was so long! I was looking at the items in the shelves as the line slowly moved and picked up a few more things. I noticed they also sell wine here! I know they sell it in the supermarkets and convenience stores here but didn’t expect to find it in Daiso as well.

It’s been a long day and I’m so looking forward to getting out and about tomorrow.
By the way, we are learning so much Japanese!

Oyasuminasai

Girls Gone Mild – Day Four

Today we wanted to do something different and decided we’d be Cultural. Free Cultural to be specific.

The weather was not the best for walking around so we really had to pick indoor things to do.
My daughter had been looking online and really wanted to go to the Acmi Museum. What a lot of fun that turned out to be!!!

We walked down to Federation Square, shivering and holding on tight to our scarves and hooded jackets. It was cold and raining!!

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We were super excited to find out that the Alice in Wonderland exhibition was open at  Acmi!!! (not free)

Today was going to be perfect regardless of the weather!

It’s running until the 7th of October and I highly recommend visiting if you find yourself in Melbourne!

Click on the link to find out more about it.
https://www.acmi.net.au/events/wonderland/

I don’t know what it was about ACMI but it was just thrilling to be there. We went into the free museum first, looking at all the exhibits that showed us how film and telvision got to be what we know it as today. It was all so interesting!
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There were a few Alice in Wonderland related things in the foyer. Of course, we stuck our face in the hole…


There were so many exhibits in the free museum. Much much more than I expected. I’ll share a few pictures but I could write so much about each one of these exhibits. You could really spend hours here.


And check out the video that my daughter and I made in one of the exhibits. It truly was Matrix worthy!! (after a few false starts)

 

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So then it was time for the Wonderland Exhibition.

Only my daughter and I wanted to go so my mum, sister and sister in law waited it out in the cafe.

We were exchanging photos as we went along.

This was at the top of the stairs, at the entrance to the exhibition. It was spinning and quite mesmerising…. down the rabbit hole we went!

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We couldn’t help but squeal when we saw the room at the bottom of the stairs!!!
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We grabbed our pamphlets and listened to the instructions and then were left to decide whether we were going to go through the big door or little door…

I’ll share some pictures of the exhibit which are all related to the book. Perhaps you’ll recognise some of the areas?

Towards the end we were invited to the Mad Hatters Tea Party and what a magnificent light extravaganza it was!!! The pictures will NOT do it justice! It went for four and a half minutes and they just flew by! I was so sad when it was over.
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We walked into a room that had a table set with plates and bowls. Everything was white.

The walls behind us were blank.

Then the music started and things started appearing on the walls – Quotes from Alice in Wonderland.
Then the colours started happening and the walls started filling with amazing scenes and landscapes!


As you can see, towards the end it looked like there was food on the plates! We also saw ants and butterflies flutter across the table. It was so cool!!!

We were almost at the end. We got to the craft room where there were lots of activities for kids. There was also a place you could put your face into. A camera would take your picture then when you looked on the giant screen, your face would appear on a playing card travelling across the screen with lots of other playing cards.
Big kids that we are, we had to do that!


And if you haven’t picked us out, here’s a close up of my daughter and I

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And two last pictures from the exhibitions, ending with my favourite character, the Chesire Cat.


We felt like we’d been transported into another world so it was a bit weird to come back out and join the rest of our party.

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We walked down to Crown Casino, had an overpriced lunch then walked back down to the National Gallery of Victoria.

Check out this beautiful swan with her babies!! She was gathering them under her wing.

It was just so adorable!!


Again, my mum, sister and sister in law didn’t really want to walk around there so they decided to head on back into the CBD while my daughter and I marveled at the displays.


Thank you for persisting with this photo heavy entry! We had such a great day!!!
We got back to the room earlier than planned because it was just so cold.

It’s our last night in Melbourne and we’re celebrating by eating junk, watching Netflix, and reliving our experiences. I’m a little bit nervous as the weather is supposed to be just as bad tomorrow but… I’m sure we’ll make it fun one way or another!