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

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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)

 

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 Five

IMG_0229I’ve been told that since I’m here in Winnipeg, it would be a crime not to have the much talked about, Jeanne’s Cake. Jeanne’s Bakery seems to be quite famous locally.

So I looked up the different places I could get this “amazing” Jeanne’s cake from and found I could get it from our local supermarket.

They only had one choice “white” and they were only available from the freezer.

We had some for breakfast (naughty) and my verdict?

 

It was ok. I definitely liked the biscuit base. The icing wasn’t significantly different to other icing I’ve had but maybe that was because it was still a little frozen.
So yes, I did like it, but no, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to have it again.

We went back to Kildonan Park this afternoon and this time walked through. It was so warm we saw topless men. There was lots of Summer clothing out!


And we went to the popular witch’s hut but it was still closed even though it said it was opening in May


This is supposed to be the witch’s hut from the Hansel and Gretel fable and if you don’t know what that is then I feel sorry for you!

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We also came across these painted rocks which we later learned were part of a Winnipeg Community called “Winnipeg Rocks”

They have a pretty cool Facebook Page if you’re interested.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/WinnipegRocks/

Speaking of nice weather and enjoying the sun, we came across an older couple who from a distance, were sure were sunbathing in the nude. The “blue” you can see is actually a book and we weren’t sure if there was any clothing behind that.

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But as we got closer it became more clear

 

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Tonight we plan to enjoy a little piece of home and yes, I’m looking forward to it!

Oot and Aboot in Canada Eh! – Day Three

After a late night of drinking and chatting, it was especially hard to get up this morning.
The fact that we got up to listen to the Showdown at 4am probably didn’t help (Go Crows!!!) The game was over about 7am our time, so hubby and I went back to sleep and didn’t get back up until 9.30. So unusual for me.


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We took a little walk to wake our bodies up and I noticed these post boxes.

Apparently they can be up to three blocks away from your home! Very efficient for the postal company but not so convenient if you have to travel to get your mail.

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We saw a few geese by the lake and I tried to forget all the aggressive Canadian geese stories I’ve heard.

Not sure if the aggression is a seasonal thing but we were fine.

We spent a loooooong a bit of time going through the childhood haunts again this morning and then went shopping to get a few more things for the family get together tonight.

I’ll show you how we made the spanokopita later on in this entry. (I hope I’m going to remember it right!)

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I still get excited to see little squirrels even if they are considered rats here.

They just look so cute don’t they?

We went into a liquor mart and I found the Australian wine section. Not sure if you can see the prices but it’s fairly comparable to what we pay in Australia and I always thought our alcohol was more expensive than anywhere else in the world.

When we got back we started making the Spanokopita. Please don’t ask me for measurements. It’s just this much of this and that much of that. Ok?

So you saute baby spinach and cut up some spring onions. The spring onions get sauteed after the spinach.

In a separate bowl you crack some eggs, then add salt, pepper, garlic and I guess what ever other herb or spice you think would be ok to add. You also crumble in some feta and a bit of milk.

Beat the egg mixture together and once your spinach and onion is done, add the egg/cheese mixture to the egg combination and mix it all together.

Ok, now you get filo pastry and put down 2-3 sheets for your bottom layer. Put a bit of the mixture between two layers of filo and continue until you get to the height you want, or your filo runs out!


You can put a little bit more on the top layer, then a brushing of butter on top of that.

All that’s left is to set it in the oven and imagine how good it’s going to taste when it comes out!
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We had plenty of wine and home made margaritas and had so much fun.

The food was incredible and the company was fantastic.

So sad that we live so far away.

Look at some of the food we had to enjoy!!


And as it got towards the end of the day, I got a beautiful phone call from my family in Australia who are celebrating Mothers Day together. Hard to be away from them at this time of the year but how great is it that we can video chat and communicate in general so easily when we’re so far away.

Another full day here today. The weather has been beautiful!

Good night and Bonne nuit.