Posted June 28th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »
Today one of my friend came over to my house. We’ve been friends since we were students at one of English school in Perth. She just got married with her long time boyfriend who is also from the same school, and they are having a baby! I’m soooo happy for them.
When they called me up I was so excited and I started making some cream puff (in Japan we call them “choux cream”) using ready-to-make mixture and welcomed them.
They looked so happy, and told me that they just bought a land and building a new house. This year, 90% of my friends who live here bought houses! And, 4 people (including myself) is getting married (or already married) this year, and two of them are having babies! What’s with 2009…? Happy-rush??
I’ve been also thinking to buy a house, actually. But I can’t make up my mind as somewhere in head my I’m still thinking to go back to Japan. Buying a house is a big decision and a big shopping. I’m not sure I’m ready to settle myself in this country and pay the loan for another OO years…
Anyway I think I’m spending huge amount of money this year… for my wedding, trip to Japan/Jakarta, housewarming party, wedding gifts, baby gifts etc…
My brother and I are also planning a trip to Las Vegas with my dad as he is turning to 60 next year. Being 60 is a pretty big occasion in Japan, and usually people stop working and start enjoying their life by receiving superannuation. I remember my dad saying that he wants to go to casino in Las Vegas, so I really wanna take him there to cereblare. He, as a normal Japanese man, is a hard-worker and I respect him a lot. Actually he told me that he still wants to work even after his 60th birthday, and he already got a job for next year after retiring his current job at city hall. … he sure likes working! He also takes care of our rice fields too :p That’s a man who I know as my dad. Muscular! I don’t know if we can really go on the trip to LV as he desided to continue working, but I wish someday…
Posted June 24th, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »
As my home is in Kansai area, I often go to Kyoto and Osaka while I’m in Japan. It’s about 1 hour away from my house, and just 10 minutes away from my grandma’s house to go to Kyoto by train. You can drink and eat in the train in Japan, so it’s kind of like a picnic to me.
There are many vending machines, small food court and convenience stores inside of train stations so you can just grab some hot coffee and snack and enjoy it on the train. Oh, you can only relax if you are sitting down in the train, by the way. Usually train get crowded around Kyoto station, and you can’t find any seat. Then, you will have to stand up whole trip and it will be a tiring, sleepy, boring trip.
Kyoto is one of my favorite cities in Japan. I always recommend it to my foreign friends who want to visit Japan. Kyoto has long history and you can enjoy visiting historical places and enjoy beautiful views. Kyoto is famous for its healthy food too.
To me, however, I was born in Japan and always surrounded by those things, so I didn’t really have any interests in visiting historical places while I was young. I mostly went to Kyoto for shopping and
visiting popular restaurants/cafes. Now, things changed and I like visiting old temples/shrines on my homecomings.
People I met in Kyoto
2 years ago, I was staying in Japan for few months and one of my friend (from Czechoslovakia) visited Japan. He asked me to show around Kyoto to him, so we met in front of Kyoto train station and headed to Ume’s Kyoto tour. … Actually, I didn’t really know where the famous tourist destinations and how to get there :p So, we went to tourist information concierge desk (which is located on the first floor in Kyoto train station) This place was a helper! They know everything about Kyoto: transport, bus/train/subway timetable, nice restaurants, historical buildings, etc etc. And, they gave us a map written in English. They also had maps in Korean, Chinese, French etc.
Then, we followed the map and visited lots of famous places in Kyoto. We didn’t take any bus or subway from the start point. We could just walk all the way. … We really walked a lot!! but it was very nice trip. We had delicious food, visited inside of famous temples, and took lots of photos. One day wasn’t enough, actually.
The area I went with this friend was just a part of Kyoto. There are more places that you can enjoy in Kyoto.
On this Sep, I’m planning to take my in-laws to Kyoto. They requested me that they want to see “Japanese” things, so I’m planning to take them to Gion, Kawara-machi and Arashiyama. We only have one day to spend in Kyoto, so I don’t think we can go other cities.
Gion and Kawaramachi is close and you can walk. There are things you can do&see between (eg: cafes, restaurants, department stores, Geisha town, game centre, theatre etc) so you won’t get bored. There is a famous river called Kamo-gawa River in Kawara-machi, and there’re very very nice (and expensive :p) restaurants on the river. Because the restaurants are on the river, it’s quite cool even in summer, and you can enjoy delicious food while listening to the sound of water in quiet surroundings. You will forget that you are in middle of Kyoto!
Although the distance between Gion and Kawara-machi is not that long, some people may feel it’s a very long walk. I prefer walking though, as I can look around things closely and also save some transport fee.
Arashiyama is a very popular tourist destination. You will need to take a bus, subway or taxi to get there. The scenery is beautiful, and whole town is quiet. River and tree, but it’s not like a country side. You can experience things that you imagine about Japan: experiencing traditional Japanese tea ceremony, wear kimono (Japanese traditional dress) and walk around bamboo forest, eating very traditional and expensive Japanese food (called “Kaiseki Ryori”) etc. I think my in-laws will love to see this bamboo forest. This place is so beautiful!
Posted June 24th, 2009 in Food | 2 Comments »
You don’t need to go out for a delicious Japanese curry. You can simply cook it at home.
- 1 pack Japanese curry roux
- 500g casserole beef
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 potato
- steamed rice to serve
- Cut beef into cubes. Dice onion, carrot and potato into chunky pieces.
Place potato in a bowl and cover with cold water to stop discoloration.
- Heat 1 tbs of oil in a sauce pan. Seal beef over medium high heat, and add onion and carrot. Stir, and saute over medium to low heat.
- Once onion start to look transparent, add 5 and 1/4 cups of water. Add potato and turn the heat up to bring to boil.
- Turn down the heat to very low, and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
* You can simmer curry over very low heat longer than 30 minutes. It makes curry taster if you stew awhile.
In Japan, we even cook curry the day before eating. Longer you rest curry, deeper the flavor develops.
Posted June 22nd, 2009 in Eat out in Japan | 2 Comments »
Mister Donut is my favorite donut shop in Japan. I just love their whole concept : their characters, color theme, variety of food…
They don’t only serve donuts, but also rich shakes, puddings, ramen noodle, yam cha food, pies, muffins etc. You get point every time you purchase some items, and you can exchange the points to receive character goods. The round lion (Pon De Lion) is Mister Donut’s main character, and he (she?) is so cute! I’ve collected its mug, plate, bath towel and aprons so far.
One reason I like Mister Donut is their price. Very reasonable. And, you can easily download coupons through their website. They often do campaign too – ¥100 for the regular donuts. Cheap and delicious.
Their new menu is so exciting! ”Donut Burger” and “Pote-Do” are on my things-to-eat list for Japan trip. Donut Burger is sweet – consisting donut, chocolate pate and sweet sauces.
It’s summer in Japan now, and they are doing summer noodle fare. Everything is ¥399.
Posted June 21st, 2009 in Food | No Comments »
Great items for luch, and tapas party! They are small enough for kids to grab and eat too.
- 500g beef mince
- 1/2 onion
- 1 tbs bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- chopped herbs
- salt & pepper
- Chop onion fine.
- Place mince, chopped onion, bread crumbs, egg and chopped herbs in a bowl. Season. Using a hand, mix it through until the mixture become little sticky. Move hand as if you are squeezing a wet sponge.
- Shape the mixture into little balls.
- Heat little amount of oil in a frying pan, and grill meatballs.
- Enjoy with your favorite dipping.
You can simply use pasta sauce for dipping sauce, or make home made tomato sauce for your guests ♪