Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Eleven

I’m so sad that today is our last day here in Japan. I’ve just loved being here. I wish I could take the whole country home with me.
While I couldn’t live here permanently, I could see myself living here a few months of the year.

We packed up and left our room close to check out time. I think we just wanted to make the most of it. Our Air BNB room was just fantastic! The only thing missing was an iron which I was silently happy about because I didn’t have to iron hubby’s shirt. I hate ironing.

And I know you’re just busting to find out… yes, the television is STILL on mute. We didn’t win that battle.
IMG_0980
First thing we did was hop on a train using our wonderful JR West pass, to Osaka Station. From there it was a hop skip and a jump to Starbucks. Hubby hasn’t been as obsessed with Starbucks this trip as he has in previous years.

We walked to the Umeda Sky Building. We had no choice after a kind Japanese man saw us looking at an information board. We did want to go there, but just wanted to know what general direction it was in because apart from anything else, we wanted a bathroom break before going.
But he said “follow me” in a heavy accent and we had no choice. Every now and then he kept looking over his shoulder to see if we were following. He only had a few words in English so I didn’t know how to tell him we weren’t planning to go there just yet.

61203133_2479821235587034_6364098933655863296_n.jpg

But, the bathroom had to wait as he led us most of the way there.
This is an impressive building no doubt! I didn’t take many pics as we have done this on a previous visit.

If you want to see my previous entries showing more pics, you can click here and here

Here are a few pics I took of the building today and around it as well.


Then we walked back to the station towards the Hep 5 building.
Here’s a few pics I took along the way.


IMG_0994

Both ravenous and still in search of some Okonomiyaki, we stopped at a place in the Hep 5 building.

I thought we’d scored! There’s Okonomiyaki right there on the menu!

Now I know there’s lot of different types of Okonomiyaki. I don’t mind them as long as they don’t have anything fishy in it.

When ours came out, it was fishy. No!!!
I tried to eat it but I just couldn’t. And those little flakes on top move as if they’re alive and it’s just so off putting!!

Hubby and I asked for ours without any of the sauces because I just don’t like the heavy sauces they use. I find it ruins the taste of the food.

This is what ours looked like. Our cute little server couldn’t believe we didn’t want sauce and even brought our dishes out with sauces in little jars on the side in case she had misunderstood us.

IMG_0996

I’m not sure what that thing the Okonomiyaki is placed on is called, but I can tell you it’s more or less a rice omelette. There’s rice inside that yellow stuff and THAT part was delicious!!!!

IMG_0997

That’s what it looked like inside!!

It’s making my mouth water just looking at it.

They use egg with just about everything here!!

And meat is terribly expensive. Especially if you want anything of a half decent quality.

I’m not a big meat eater so I don’t mind but that’s probably why they have a lot of egg and fish.

We were just killing time so decided to get on the train to the airport. We’re always so unsure when we get on a train. Don’t let me put you off, it’s pretty straight forward but so often we find ourselves on the platform still waiting for the English to come up and there is the train coming! So we just trust our gut and get on.
IMG_0999
We’ve only been wrong once and that wasn’t this trip but still… And even with this train to the airport. We got on it and after a few stops we heard the announcement that the first four cars of the eight car train were going to the airport, but the last four were going to be uncoupled at some stage to go somewhere else! I mean imagine we’d been sitting back there and hadn’t heard the announcement?

So now we’re at the airport waiting for our flight back to Australia.
I’m so sad this time is over. We’ve had an amazing time here and if you have a chance to come, I’d definitely recommend it.
You’re not coming here for shopping, you’re coming here to experience a different culture. We could all learn something from the Japanese.

Japan, thanking you for having us once again and we look forward to coming back soon!

Oyasuminasai

Advertisements

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

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 Nine

60531364_2029178610544668_3933936300763119616_n

This morning I took the easy and much warmer way out and used the treadmill in the basement.

If only I’d thought to use this earlier in the week.

It’s in miles so I have to convert but keeping the mind busy makes the time go faster.

HYS-STEAKHOUSE-LOGO-2019

Today we were lucky enough to be taken out to lunch at Hy’s restaurant, downtown Winnipeg.

Just walking into the building was an impressive experience!


We couldn’t go past the NY Steak Sandwiches so all  ordered them but with different sides.


Honestly the steaks were cooked so well!! They were such a pleasure to eat! And I had the veggies and they were sweet and had lot of flavour as well.

IMG_0370

IMG_0375We also enjoyed a delicious bottle of wine as suggested by our lovely server.

For some reason, we don’t have a lot of Key Lime Pie in Australia so when I saw it on the menu, I asked hubby if he wanted to split it and it really was very good!! It was pretty sweet though so I was glad I only had a half serve.

IMG_0376We went for a walk this afternoon and noticed a carnival setting up nearby.  I’m not sure how often it comes by here but I think it’s been set up at some point every time we’ve visited.

IMG_0377
I’ve also noticed School Buses all over the place here! We don’t have those in Australia.
If anyone needs a bus, they just get on a public bus or train.
No special school buses or at least, it’s not the normal thing.

IMG_0378

And while shopping I saw some S’Mores and I’ve never had one so had to try it right?

I was so excited to try it but it was pretty sickly sweet so I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to have that again.

Our time is quickly coming to a close. Too quickly. We’ve returned our rental car and are leaving in the wee hours tomorrow morning so today really is it and we’ll be packing and organising all our stuff.

As this part of our journey comes to an end, we’ll be looking forward to our next leg that begins in Tokyo, Japan.

I hope that you’ll continue on this trip with us.

For now, Good night and konichiwa!

Dubai or Don’t I – Day One

I really can’t believe we’re here!!!

Hubby and I took some pre flight pics before we left the house. The first one was pretty boring but after that pic was taken, I said “lets take a romantic pic looking into each others eyes” but almost immediately broke out into giggles.

 


IMG_9410
We were able to relax with a drink or two in the airport lounge before our flight.

I was trying very hard not to think about the thirteen hour flight that we were about to take.

I can’t remember taking a flight this late before.
And there she is, the plane that got us turbulently safely to Dubai

IMG_9417

I’d always heard good things about Emirates and while it wasn’t a bad flight, I’d love to know why those screens don’t work half the time!! Touch screens. Mine was in danger of breaking I was pressing it so hard. No response.

After a long flight we finally were in Dubai and I have to say that getting through customs was a breeze! Why do we make it so hard in Australia? Fill this out, do this, do that.

I remembered the tip to buy alcohol from the duty free store as we wouldn’t be able to buy it in Dubai. I only got one little bottle of Rose’ so what am I going to do when that’s gone? Most of the wines in there were speciality ones. I was just after a nice little drop to have at the end of the day.

IMG_9428I couldn’t grasp the train system because I’m used to the complexity of the trains in Japan and there are only two main lines here and one main train company (I discovered).

I was surprised at the foggy haze when we got off the train. I don’t know if it’s smog or fog. It wasn’t hot, but it was muggy. It’s only supposed to hit 22 degrees Celsius today but it felt quite warm.

I should add, our plane landed at 5am so we were here really early. The walk to our hotel was about fifteen minutes and luckily I had no problems finding it even though some helpful over zealous information person at the station was trying to tell me we were going to the wrong hotel.

I spent the whole 1500 metres we walked (while dragging our luggage behind us) thinking hubby is going to kill me when we get to the hotel and they tell us that our hotel is actually the one two kilometres in the opposite direction. Same name, two different locations.

IMG_9431Turns out, my directions were right and we were in the right place.

Because we were early our room wasn’t ready (we knew it wouldn’t be) but they offered us a complimentary breakfast anyway! And it was so good!!!

Such a luxurious restaurant with tons of different food.

I wish I’d taken pictures of it but I’m still a bit unsure when I can and can’t take my camera out.

After a huge breakfast we decided to take a little tour of the hotel. I’m happy to say the gym is as good as the online pictures showed it was and the pool is even better than the photos we’d seen. Not only that, there is a cute little bar area by the pool as well! The hotel website hadn’t shown that.

 


IMG_9438Since I got myself a SIM card, we left our number with the hotel and went exploring.

We ended up going all the way to Dubai Creek.

We had a bit of a giggle at this sign. (left)

Special offer for everything in store?

We found ourselves in an area which I think is known as Old city Dubai?
I’m not sure. Most of the stores were closed and I don’t know if that’s because we were there at 9am, or if today isn’t a shopping day.
It looked like a really interesting place. I know there’s lots of accommodation along there as well as we looked at a couple of places when choosing where to stay.

 


We were forced enticed to enter one store that was open and the guy desperately wanted to sell us something but we were still air plane stinky and not in the mood for shopping.

Here’s a few pics of the creek too. We definitely want to go for a dhow tour down the creek while we’re here.

 


370D7F03-F981-483F-B563-77B99DA872B3

Oh and one last thing I’ll mention, while we’re strongly  encouraged to cover our shoulders and knees, there’s tons of these types of cards littered over the foot paths.

Makes you wonder how serious the dress code is?

I won’t be testing the boundaries while I’m here though!

We have been excited to see The Dubai Mall as we’d heard so much about it. We checked it out on Google maps and were all set to go. Luckily, when we got down to the foyer, we had to ask about our kettle (a story for another day) and while the lovely gentleman was IMG_9470talking to us he found out where we were heading. As it turns out, this hotel does a free shuttle service to the Dubai Mall!!! Fantastic! We didn’t have to faff about public transport. One less thing to argue about.

When we got to Dubai Mall, we saw there were a million and one buses trying to get into a small area. I’d be so stressed if I had to drive here!

The picture doesn’t really show how congested this area was; both of cars, buses and pedestrians.

Here are a few pics I took inside the mall. I must admit, I was dead tired while we were here. I’m sure we only saw a small part of it but we have time to come back for more.

The Burj Khalifa is a magnificent structure. I’d seen it in the clips I’d been watching on you tube but so much  more impressive in person.

Here’s one last pic I took inside the mall. Hubby decided to photo bomb. Did you spot him?

IMG_9490
Until tomorrow!