Eating Bread Everyday

Posted March 31st, 2010 in Eat out in Japan, Japan | No Comments »

I do eat rice too, of course, but, I’ve been hunting on bakeries here.  I love bread ( well, I love any food :p ) especially Japanese bread ♪

A photo from a cafe.  Going to a cafe with dad for breakfast on weekend is my routine 🙂

Normally Japanese bread loaves are sold thickly cut.  I love thick cut toast.  And, Japanese bread sold at supermarkets are somehow much tastier than those here… (to me)  There are many kinds, such as “chewy”, “double aged dough” etc  I love the chewy one (もっちり) 🙂

Here is my another favorite bread “melon-pan”.  You can buy it at most bakeries, supermarkets, convenience stores and other shops that sell bread in Japan.  You can guess how popular this bread is.

Melon-pan contains two different dough – the base is normal bread dough (sweetened) and the top is cookie dough.  It’s sweet bread and it tastes different depending on the bakery/brand.  Personally I like the cookie-part to be very crusty.  Some of them are pretty soft.

The reason why it’s called “melon-pan” is that the bread has patterns and it looks similar to a melon.  There is a character in Japanese cartoon called “melon-pan-na chan” too .

Beard Papa’s Cream Puffs

Posted March 30th, 2010 in Eat out in Japan | 2 Comments »

Beard Papa has been franchising in foreign countries (it may be in your home country too) for a while.  There used to be one Beard Papa’s shop in Centro Galleria in Perth few years ago, but it closed its door. Shame! 🙁

Being famous with the Yellow Signage and Papa’s face, Beard Papa is now known as the bakery of the “World’s Best Cream Puffs”.
Each day we bake choux pastry shells that are made up of two special layers. The inner layer is a choux pastry shell and the outer layer is a pie crust. This unique structure creates a light, crunchy shell.  They use handpicked vanilla beans from Madagascar, and their whipped custard cream takes 2 hours to prepare.

Once you are around the shop you can already smell the sweet custard 🙂

This is one of my favorite sweet in the world!  They’re selling sakura flavor for a limited time only.  Matcha and caramel are also nice 🙂

Club Harie

Posted March 29th, 2010 in Eat out in Japan | No Comments »

Taneya Group started its business in 1872, and now you can find its products across Japan, mostly at big department stores.  Taneya shops sell wa-gashi (Japanese sweets), and Club Harie sells you-gashi (Western sweets).  (I talked about Club Harie’s baumkuchen here)

As Taneya Group started from Shiga, there are many Taneya/Club Harie shops in around my house.  I went to Hikone city (15 minutes from my house) to go to its Hikone shop.  … there are 3 buildings; one is Club Harie, one is Taneya and another is cafe and museum. (these buildings are connected)  I went to the bakery to try their bagel!.

I knew they only sell bagels on weekends, so I went there on Saturday.  There are sooo many people, and only 2 bagels were left when I arrived.   They only had plain flavor.  I bought one, and tasted at home.

Again, pretty small.  As I opened the package film, I could feel the bagel was soft.  I squeezed the bagel with two fingers and the dough sprang back.  I had a bite, and it was really soft, moist and chewy.

I liked it!  I mean, I could taste the sweetness of the flour, and as I chewed the sweetness became more condensed.  The body was pretty light, and I think it’s quite different from an American style bagel.  Ummm… interesting!

Japan is “sugoi”

Posted March 28th, 2010 in Japan | 3 Comments »

There are so many thing I feel “sugoi” about Japan.  “Sugoi” means … well, “unbelievable” “great” “wow” “very” etc etc.  We use this word quite often.

One of them is the service in Japan.  Someone who’s been to Japan should know how good the hospitality service in Japan is.  Even at the plat home in train station, people who work there greet every passenger by bowing and saying “itterashaimase” “arigato-gozaimasu”.

The other day I went to a bakery shop by car.  As it was Saturday and the shop is located in a famous tourist place, there’re so many people walking around.  Luckily there were three traffic officers at the entrance and the exit in the bakery car park.  After finishing my shopping, I proceeded to the exit, then a traffic officer was giving me a sign “please wait” with body language.  As I waited, the officer suddenly walked towards the road and stop all cars coming, then waved his hands to me while bowing and screaming “arigato-gozaimashita!”.   It was only for me.

By the way,

Yesterday was my dad’s 60th birthday.  We had dinner at a sushi bar near the house, and had birthday cake together at home. It was a good day 🙂

Boulangerie Pommes de Terre

Posted March 27th, 2010 in Eat out in Japan | No Comments »

The other day I went to my favorite bakery called Pommes de Terre.  (not that famous one in Tokyo, this bakery is in Shiga :p )  My favorite at this shop is Mentaiko France (photo)!!! (>v<)/

This Mentaiko France has hard crust, and chewy body.  The mentaiko paste is seasoned with high quality butter and it is very yummy!  You can’t eat this if you like soft bread as this France-pan (baguette) is very very hard: sometimes it scratches your mouth.  I love hard bread!

… and, a happy surprise!  Their bagels just got out from the oven!  I asked the staff if I could buy them (as the bagels were still hot and couldn’t be placed in the display shelf yet), they said “ok” .

I bought a matcha bagel and a cheese bagel.  Nice and hot 🙂

As you can see, the bagel is pretty small.  Japanese bagels are about this size.  I had a bite on each bagel…

My feedback :  I thought their bagels were more like normal bread, not heavy and not really chewy.  I could taste butter in the dough. As a snack bread, it was really yummy ( good taste, sweetness and the texture) but I didn’t feel it was a bagel.

My time is running here (>0<)  I want to taste Japanese hard bagel while I’m here if I can!

Trying to Enjoy This Moment…

Posted March 26th, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

This morning, I made breakfast for Pooh (my cat) and left home to go to an electric shop to have a browse.  I wanted to buy something (enough shopping? I know! ><) but couldn’t find anything good.  On the way back I went to a shopping mall to buy something for my grandma, then ended up buying something for myself too :p  At home, I woke my brother up and had lunch together (with grandma too).  Now I’m relaxing near the window typing this.

I love the moment like this.  Just relaxing, watching Pooh…  I don’t want to go back to Perth!

… well, I have to.

I had a bite on baumkuchen that I got from my friend’s wedding. This baumkuchen is coated with white chocolate..  yum!

I love baumkuchen.  There is a famous shop near my house Club Harie and its baumkuchen is available at department stores such as Takashimaya, Hankyu and Daimaru.

Tomorrow is my dad’s 60th birthday, so we are celebrating with a big birthday cake 🙂

Current Trend in Japan Mobiles – Smart Phones-

Posted March 25th, 2010 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

Current technology is amazing….  Think about it.  The Mobile phones we were using about 10 years ago are so much different from our current mobiles.  The looks, facility, data capacity and technology on the current mobiles are amazing…

In Japan, despite the decrease of sales on the normal mobile phones, the sales for so called “smart phones” are increasing every month.  A smart phone is a mobile phone offering advanced capabilities beyond a typical mobile phone, often with personal computer like functionality. The most well-known smart phone is iPhone.  It connects to internet, and has lots of apps to do so many things.  A touch panel mobiles are also considered as ” smart phone” in Japan.

NTT docomo Japan‘s Xperia is one of those smart phones that is getting attentions. It connects to internet (WiFi), has GPS system, high quality movie display etc, and also a face recognition system.  Which means, you can browse photos on the screen, touch the face of the person and go to the person’s page.  There, you can browse all the history (phone call, emails etc) between you and the person as well as her/his photo gallery.  At the photo gallery, the screen can show the each person’s name on the photo.  Touching on the name takes you to another person’s page, or chose to make a phone call.

Fujitsu sells “style free mobile phone”.  When the phone is in the basic style, you can use it as a touch-panel mobile phone.  Once you slide it to open, you can use the keyboards.  And, you can actually separate the phone into two pieces.  This phone can be connected to a projector too.  Separating the phone into two pieces makes things easy.  You can talk while looking at the display unit, you can take a photos from a distance, you can type the keyboard away from the screen (easy use), etc.

Furthermore, this phones has 12200000 pixel camera, free touching writing facility (you can write or draw directly on the screen and it automatically translates to a letter or an icon.

Sometimes I can’t catch up with current technology…  As we can’t use Japanese mobiles in other countries (Galapagos Syndrom)I will probably continue using iPhone in Perth, but I sometimes get overwhelmed by the current apps.  You can do so many things on a piece of machine.  As the world says, ” the future is here”.

If you go to Japan…

Posted March 24th, 2010 in Japan | 2 Comments »

If you get a chance to come to Japan, there is a thing I want to say to you…  Don’t buy anything at the first glance!  Once you arrive Japan you will see so many things that you want to buy… but, you shouldn’t buy them yet!  You may find nicer / cheaper things later somewhere else.  This is my lesson :p

Yes.  I bought so many things in the beginning, and now I regret it.  After I bought a thing, I found a similar thing at cheaper price in another shop.  Sometimes better quality!  Hmmm 🙁

Now I’m in panic, to tell the truth…  I have no idea how I’m going to bring everything I bought back to Perth. (>0<)  I went to the post office today to send some of them, but they’re too heavy.  I will go to the post office again tomorrow.

I couldn’t help but shop …!  Things are much cheaper and better quality here.  I’ve been telling my friends that I’m doing shopping here so that I won’t need to buy anything in Perth for the next one year :p

… It’s been raining everyday here, and the forecast says that Friday is snowing in Shiga.  The dark weather, cold, and the news from Perth, etc etc…  bit depressing (>c<)

I will try enjoy the rest few days in Japan!

What Happened in Perth ?!

Posted March 23rd, 2010 in Perth WA, Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Some may know what happened in Perth, Western Australia few days ago.  There was blackout across the city, flood, and big ice balls were hailing.  BBC NEWS ”Power cables collapsed, hospitals were flooded. Some schools remained closed on Tuesday.”

Message from my husband:

“Lucky you’re not in Perth right now cos there seems to be a mild emergency.  There was a big storm that popped up out of the sudden, hours before I was sweaty outdoors then suddenly big rain + knocking sounds on the rooftop.”

” I was on computer when it happened and power went out.  When I checked the meter I found that it was raining ice block (hail storm) and you couldn’t see 10 meters on account of the violent rain and hail (mostly rain).

I freaked out because I couldn’t contact him for 2 days.  He said he couldn’t use computer, and now is at his sister’s house.  What a relief…

There seems that lightning struck something at WesternPower.  My friend also told me that the front grass of her car was hit by the ice cubes and is broken.  Many people was taking cold shower in the dark.  I assume all my food in the fridge is all gone by now…. but I’m happy to hear no one I know is hurt.

I hope everything goes better soon.

Friend’s Wedding in Kobe

Posted March 22nd, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

It was a really really windy day.  Not only in Kobe, a huge storm hit Japan island yesterday.

I went to Kobe to attend my friend’s wedding.  She is a friend from Osaka collage.  The ceremony and the party was held at Partire Kobe Wedding Village (near Kobe Mosaic), just few minutes walk from JR Kobe station.

Although it was cloudy in the morning, the sun started to show when the ceremony began.  She looked sooo beautiful !!! I was so happy to be there to cerebrate her special day together 😀

The whole ceremony was well organised – both groom and bride cried a lot (with happiness), so did other guests.  And, there were funny parts as well, such as groom threw a bouquet of broccoli to male guests (to compete with bride’s bouquet toss), and whoever caught the broccoli had to eat it with Japanese mayonnaise. :p  And, when the groom and bride fed wedding cake to each other, bride was holding a huge spoon and groom had to eat a huge block of cake.  (the spoon groom was holding was a normal size)  Anyway, with lots of lough and tears, the ceremony ended with outdoor dessert buffet.  There’re so many mouth-watering-looking sweets.  My friends and I took a piece of wedding cake (sponge and cream with strawberries and fruits) first then went back to get some more, but most of the sweets were gone by then :p  Everyone run to the buffet counter and took as much as they could put on a plate.  … I realized that everyone had two stomachs…

After the wedding, groom, bride and their friends normally move to another place to have another party without their parents and families.  (called “nijikai”)  I didn’t go to the “nijikai”, but had a cup of coffee with my friends at a cafe in Kobe Mosaic.  Just wanted to catch up.

It was a good night.

Date with Dad

Posted March 21st, 2010 in Japan | 2 Comments »

It is 6 AM here but the sun is already out.  Spring must be around the corner.  Usually I don’t wake up so early, but today my dad left home early to go to Vietnam with his friends.  He looked excited 🙂  I hope he has a good time and be safe.

Yesterday my dad and I went to Otsu city, which is the capital city of Shiga prefecture.  He suggested to go to Bunka Hall first then go to Otsu Prince Hotel to have a cup of coffee, and browse model houses built around the hotel.  My dad is thinking to build another house…

Bunka Hall (culture hall) is a place where Shiga museum, library and big park are gathered.   The park was beautiful!  Many people were exercising around the pond and families were sitting on the glass enjoying their time.  I took so many pictures of trees and koke (Mosses and Liverworts).

We had a quick browse at Museum, and had lunch at a cafe inside the library.  I had omu-rice set, and my dad had ebi fry teishoku (prawn katsu set)

After lunch, we went to a tea room inside the park.  We had freshly made maccha green tea and wa-gashi (Japanese sweet).

… so full! We left there and headed to Otsu Prince Hotel.  After a cup of coffee, we walked around the model houses and had a chat with sales staff.  Talking with the staff made me realized how much Japanese houses are focusing on the durability for the earthquakes, fire, and also eco.

Modern houses are now all operated with electricity (such as bath room, kitchen, floor and also air conditioning system) yet monthly electric fee is pretty cheap.  For example, you can set the water in the bathtub at the same temperature and enjoy hot bath anytime, you can add hot water, talk from bathroom to anyone in the kitchen, keep the bathroom floor warm, set air-con in the bathroom, automatic toilet sheet, air condition for the whole house, temperature controlled flooring etc etc.  There things are common nowadays.

The layout of Japanese houses are so unique and I wish I could have such house in Perth.  Modern Japanese houses are wooden floored, but have at least one wa-shitsu (tatami matted room).  It’s nice, but I know it’s very difficult to do it to houses in Perth :p

Yamashiro Onsen Trip 2

Posted March 20th, 2010 in Eat Out in Perth - Japanese Food -, Japan | 2 Comments »

Dinner was crab full-course (>v<).

Started with beer, we had crab sashimi, crab steamed board, crab chawan-mushi, frame-grilled crab, crab sushi, crab tempura, crab salad, crab soup, and crab flavored rice with crab meat.  You gotta be crab-lover to eat this dinner…

Crab season is winter, and the areas near Japan Sea, like Ishikawa prefecture, is famous for crabbing.  My family used to come to Fukui prefecture (next to Ishikawa) every winter to enjoy crab when I was a kid.

The food was delish!  We were so full and couldn’t move our bodies after eating these crabs…

In the morning, we were woken up with these breakfast.

A typical Japanese breakfast – rice, miso soup, some condiments and grilled fish…

We grilled our fish on charcoals..  There was squid sashimi, some cooked vegetables with dashi broth, pickles and Onsen Tamago.  Onsen Tamago is half-cooked egg by been immersed in natural, hot Onsen water.  It’s eaten with soy sauce and mirin based sauce.  Those 6 condiments are mentaiko, nori (seaweed paste), grilled salmon flakes, chirimen-jako (seasoned tiny fishes), walnut miso, and seasoned dry shellfish meat.

My dad and I finished the meal with Onsen coffee (brewed with Onsen water).

You can imagine how full we were!  So many seafood in 2 days….  I wonder how come Australian people don’t eat seafood as much as we (Japanese) do, we both live in island county.

Yamashiro Onsen Trip 1

Posted March 19th, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

My parents, brother and I went to Yamashiro Onsen in Ishikawa prefecture as 18th was my mum’s birthday, and my dad is turning to 60 (kanreki) on 27th.  We stayed there one night.

This area, Kaga, is very historical place and also famous for its natural onsen.  My family stayed in a room with private onsen. 🙂

Ryokan means traditional Japanese style inn/hotel.  The room is usually tatami-matted, and guests were expected to sleep on futon on the floor.

It was also a cold day and little raining.  We arrived this Ryokan around 2pm, and just relaxed until 6 pm – dinner time.  There’re also few more spas (onsen) inside of the Ryokan (non private) , so I went out of the room to enjoy bigger Roten-buro (outdoor onsen) at the ground floor.  Although those spas are not private, there’s no one there. 🙂  I was alone and enjoying 4 different Roten-buro by myself. ♪

The dinner and breakfast was gorgeous!!!!  I will post about the food later 🙂

This are is just 2 hours drive away from my house. The onsen (natural water) was so good, and I could feel my skin was so smooth after taking bath.  Everyone changed to Yukata (light cotton kimono) and played card game until dinner…

Japanese Bagels

Posted March 18th, 2010 in Eat out in Japan | 2 Comments »

Apple Tea Bagel;To tell the truth, many things in Japan surprises me... The flavors of bagels are one of those. There are sooooo many flavors of bagel available in Japan. ... very different ones.

ori (seaweed) x cheese, mentaiko (marinated fish roe) x cheese, miso paste x cream cheese, etc etc.  That’s the thing in Japan.  As there are so many shops selling bagels now, they had to come up with new flavors.

Bagel sandwiches also have many flavors…

Bagel Sandwiches

Bagel Sandwiches

Duck x Potato with Citrus Pepper Sandwich

Duck x Potato with Citrus Pepper Sandwich

I really want to try this roasted duck x potatoes x citrus pepper sandwich.  The popular flavors of bagel sandwich in Japan are mashed pumpkin x cream cheese and smoked salmon x cream cheese x spiced lemon peel.  Toasted bagel with cream cheese is also still the best for some people 🙂

Public Spa (sentou)

Posted March 17th, 2010 in Japan | 2 Comments »

Today at 11 AM my friend picked me up from my house, and we headed to a public spa located in North Shiga.  This place is like a recreation centre: it got few spas, saunas, shops and restaurants inside.

We decided to enjoy spa first then have lunch buffet.  I think it is really weird and hard thing to imagine for foreign people that Japanese people get naked in front of strangers and friends and share a bath in public.  At the changing room, people take off their clothes and become totally naked.  (no photos, of course!)  Before taking bath, you need to wash your body first as a manner, then enjoy few different types of spas and saunas.  We enjoyed ‘massaging spa’ (water jet massages your body), roten-buro (outdoor spa) and misty sauna.  The misty sauna was really nice!  Super humid and hot.  A cool air felt so nice afterwords.

We felt it was enough, so we got out from the spa and started to get dressed in the changing room.  Then suddenly my friend said ” I don’t feel good….” and a second later she was laying on the floor!  She fainted!  I guess the hot water made her dizzy.

I let her rest for a while.  Luckily there’s a “women only” relaxing room with massage chairs and a tatami flooring room upstairs.  We stayed there for about half an hour, getting massaged and laying on tatami, then moved to a buffet restaurant.

This restaurant is famous for its Ebi Fry (deep-fried prawn katsu).  😀

It was nice ♪ I enjoyed other Japanese food as well, such as kiridashi-daikon, nanohana pasta with bamboo shoots etc.

Gochiso-sama-deshita!  🙂

At Home

Posted March 17th, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

I’m waiting for my friend at the moment…..

I’ve been watching tv, and just want to post about it.

Adam Lambert (American idol 2009) came to Japan!  It seems that he is quite popular among Japanese girls too.  When I was watching American Idol in Perth, I didn’t really think anything about him, but suddenly he became attractive :p

Sawajiri Erika is back? … well I don’t know about her much, but according to Japanese Entertainment News, she had few scandals in the past.  I only remember her as an actress..

She is back to business after 2.5 years of break, and is getting a big attention for her tv CM of Takano Yuri Beauty Clinic .  I honestly think she has changed and is beautiful.

… I gotta go now!

More Shopping…

Posted March 16th, 2010 in Japan | 6 Comments »

Today was my “hitori” (alone) shopping day.  I left home around 10 AM, and came home at 4 PM.  I bought so many stuff.

I drove Kei-truck, and went to Daiso first.  I feel funny to drive Kei-truck, because the image of this car is like “a car used by grandpa & grandma for rice fields”.  I’m not embarrassed, but when i see people looking at me driving Kei-truck while they drive cool Japanese cars, I feel little funny… 😛

At Daiso, I was too excited to think about what I really wanted to buy.  I wanted to buy everything I saw.  As I was alone, no one could stop me…!  Yet I tried to buy just a few things, because I knew I’ll go to other 100 yen shops later.  I bought 30 items there, including some junks and house stuff.

Then, I headed to Viva City which is a shopping centre in Hikone (near my house).  I bought another shawl (casual looking one) at 880 yen, one clothes at 500 yen, and one hair accessory at 105 yen.  I had a break at Mister Donut.  I ordered one Honey Churros and one cup of cafe au lait (unlimited free refill!)

I actually wanted to try their new menu, but didn’t really feel like eating creamy stuff at that time.

Then I headed to my formal student’s house.  I used to be an English teacher for kids few years ago, and Kiryu, one of my students, lives near Viva City.  I actually knew no one would be there, as I called up his house this morning and had a little chat with his mother.  She and I are quite close too 🙂  She told me that she wouldn’t be home today.  They’re moving to Hokkaido at the end of this month, and busy for packing..  I went to the house anyway, and left a little souvenir at the door.  Now I have a thing to do when I go to Hokkaido in the future – visiting their house 🙂

On the way back I did a little shopping at another shop.  I bought some food and cosmetics.

I’m little tired… it was super cold today and even I couldn’t stand it.  (I normally love cold weather)  I hope I’m not catching cold!  My friend and I are going to a spa tomorrow.  🙂

Shopping Day in Gifu

Posted March 15th, 2010 in Japan | 1 Comment »

Today my friend and I went to Molera Gifu, which is a shopping mall in Gifu prefecture.  Gifu is located in the centre of Japan main island, next to Shiga prefecture.

Although Gifu is such close to Shiga, I seldom go there.  I think I’ve been to Gifu or Nagoya area just a few times in my life.  I normally go to Kyoto, Osaka side for shopping, eating … well, anything.

My friend picked me up in the morning and we arrived at Malera Gifu around 11 am.  It was very cloudy and cold today.  The sky was all white, and I couldn’t see the Sun.

This mall is apparently a gathering of outlet shops.  (like Harbour Town in Perth)  There’s a cosmetic outlet shop which sells products at 50% off  the original prices.  Perfume shop, men’s clothes, lingerie shops, etc … and many ladies clothes shops 🙂

Hunt for the bargain began!  Around 1 PM we had a pit stop at a yoshoku restaurant and I ate omu-rice with dark demi-glace sauce.  I was curious about the naming of “dark”, but it looked and tasted as same as normal demi-glace sauce. :p  It was delicious and I enjoyed it.  I love omu-rice (>v<)

We finished our shopping around 3PM.  I bought… two pairs of shoes, two shawls, one long sleeve shirt, two jeans, one mascara, one face wash and one leggings.  Total was around 10000 yen (about AS$120.00)  I think it was a good shopping!

We’re little exhausted, so bought double scoops of ice-cream at Baskin Robbins then headed home.

I heard it may snow sometime this week.  … Serious??  It’s March, it should be getting warmer!  I really can’t wait the onsen trip this Thursday…

No Shopping Yet..

Posted March 14th, 2010 in Eat Out in Perth - Japanese Food -, Japan | 2 Comments »

A photo from a room on the ground floor in my house.   All of those ornaments and furnitures (wood ornament, dolls byobu < a Japanese term for decorative screens that serve as folding room dividers> and shoji <sliding doors made of paper>) haven’t been changed.  My grandma is praying at the Buddhist alter.  (please ignore the IKEA’s heart toy near the cusion :p )

The wood makes me feel home 🙂

After breakfast at Biwako Cafe, I went home to do some cooking and shooting photos.  Then I had to leave home quickly as my appointment for a hair salon was at 12.  I was actually planning to go shopping afterward, but it took 4 hours to do my hair.  My bro picked me up at the hair salon then we headed home.

After finishing up cooking, I was about to go shopping to buy some cosmetics.    Then, someone called my name at the door.  It was my friend!  She and I are going out for shopping and eating tomorrow, and she came over to my house to discuss what time we go.

First, we were talking at the door, but ended up moving to kotatsu and eating sushi rolls that my dad bought from a sushi bar near my house.  It is toro tuna – Re: (read the toro section)  While my friend was watching her favorite tv show with my grandma and dad, I took a bath.  🙂

We’re going to Gifu prefecture to go to this new mall.  I’m going to bed now as I’m waking up early to make breakfast for my dad and bro!

Biwako Lake

Posted March 14th, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

In early morning, I sneaked out the house and headed to Biwako Lake – the biggest lake in Japan.  It is just 5 minutes away from my house.  🙂

View my old posts  :(Shiga and photos)

It was still bit dark (it maybe because of the cloudy weather) and the air was pretty cold.   There was no one around… except for these fishermen.

Biwako-Lake is a very famous fishing spot 🙂

After a morning walk, I went back home and headed to a cafe for breakfast with my dad and brother (as our usual routine for weekend mornings). I had a “morning set with brioche” which is a set of toasted brioche, one boiled egg, small salad and free-refill drink 🙂

Today is my shopping day + hair salon day!  You may think that I go to a hair salon too often, but there is a reason!  My hair is really messy now and it needs to get straight-permed.  It’s much cheaper doing it in Japan compared with Perth.  I’m in Japan now, so might as well…

First Day in Japan

Posted March 13th, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »

It was actually a good flight.  I flew wth Malaysia Airline and had to transit at Kuala Lumpur (as there is no direct flight from Perth to Osaka).  There were’nt many passangers on the plane from Perth to Kuala Lumpur, so I could chose my seat anywhere 🙂   It was comfortable, i watched 2 movies in a row 🙂  On the other hand, the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka was full, so I had to sleep in the chosen seat with strangers next to me.  Wellm overall it was a good flight.

I started to feel like I was already in Japan while on the plane from Kuala Lumpur, as there were so many Japanese people around me, and some of them were wearing maks and their own “airplane slippers”.  I think wearing face masks in public is Japanese thing :p

My family picked me up from Kansai airport, and once I stepped out from the building I could feel cold air hitting my body,  WOW it’s really cold!  But, when we had a quick freeway pitstop in Shiga, I could feel the air was even colder.  I couldn’t stand without a jacket,  Shiiiiit… I thought it was little warmer (>0<)  I only brought T-shirt.  I will have to go shopping for some cloth tomorrow!

It was a really good day… except that I had to be in front of computer for hours trying to connect internet.  I don’t know much about computer, expecially Windows 🙁  Anyway it is connected now somehow and I am writing this in my room.

Here is a photo of Kakino-ha Sushi (nigiri sushi wrapped in passimon leaves) that we picked up on the freeway pitstop.  Kakino-ha Sushi is a speciality food of Nara prefecture.

This is mackerel.

Tonight I will take a nice hot bath, and sleep in an electric blanket 🙂

Italian Udon

Posted March 11th, 2010 in Food | No Comments »

I am a person who eats anything.  … well, not ANYTHING, but I’m ok eating almost any food that is served in front of me.

My family is little different.  When they make Japanese curry rice, they always use the standard ingredients: meat, onion, carrot and potatoes.  One day, I was making curry with some reft over food in the fridge.  I put eggplant, spinach, tofu, konnyaku, boiled egg, cabbage etc.  I thought it was ok and sounded delish, as curry doesn’t always have to be made with just those 4 ingredients.  But, my family was like “you put what!?!”.  Since then, my family call my cooking “Ume’s food”.

I made this Udon Pasta just because I had some udon noodle and tomatoes at home.  It’s simply delicious and easy to make.  You can also use minced meat instead of chicken fillet to make “bolognese”.  🙂

Serves 2

  • 1 chicken breast fillet, sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato tin, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 stalk of Parsley, chop the leave part
  • 2 portions udon noodle
  1. Heat 1/2 tbs of olive oil in a pan, and grill the chicken.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add 1/2 tbs olive oil and saute the onion and garlic.  Add chicken, tomatoes, oyster sauce and Parsley stalk.  Bring to boil and then turn down the heat to simmer.   Cook for 5~10 minutes.  Season.
  3. Cook udon noodle.  Drain.
  4. Serve the sauce over udon noodle, and garnish with chopped Parsley.

Simple Food

Posted March 9th, 2010 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

It may be because I’m trying to do so in my head, but my mind is already in Japan.  Wouldn’t it better and more fun if I think about Japan a lot and tell myself “hey you are going to be there in few days!”  It’ll make myself feel more exciting once I arrive Japan.  🙂

What certainly enhanced this feeling was this sekihan (red sticky rice)

Sekihan is sticky rice cooked with azuki beans, and it’s a traditional Japanese dish for celebrations.  My friend cooked it for me when I visited her house last week 🙂   As you can tell from the photo, it was so delicious…!  

Sekihan with soup and pickles: it may look like a tiny meal, but this is how I like the meal to be!  I always thought a meal in Australia is such huge portion.  I’m even happy to just eat a bowl of steamed rice with pickles and a bowl of soup every night!  (especially after watching Grave of Fireflies)

Too much is not a good thing, I believe.  “Just right” or “little less” is the best. (腹八分目)  It’s not only for food, but other stuff as well such as toys, clothes, time, etc.  If there is a limit, whatever it is, you will appreciate it.

I’m seriously thinking to stay in a temple while I’m in Japan!  Even one day, experiencing monk’s life in a temple may clean up my mind and spirit.  … I don’t think staying in a temple will happen to me this time, but I hope to visit a temple and sit down there, listening to myself.  While I was a elementary school student, it was a school’s event that all students had to visit a temple to listen to a monk’s story.  Back then I kind of didn’t like it and thought “why we had to come here in such a hot day” etc.  I didn’t appreciate it.  So were other students.  Now, however, I miss it, and appreciate the monk who took his time to do even though we (students) weren’t keen to the story.

Light and Crispy Tempura

Posted March 8th, 2010 in Food | 2 Comments »

The keys to delicious, crispy and light tempura are:

  • Don’t mix the batter too much ( as it will develop the gluten from the flour)
  • Cold batter x hot oil 

If you do so, the tempura stays crispy even when it’s cold.


  • 45 g plain flour 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 80 ml water
  • 1/2 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 2~3 ice cubes
  1. Place water, sake and ice cubes in a bowl, and shift in the dry ingredient.  Using a pair of chopsticks, lightly mix the batter.  (there should be lumps of flour in the batter.  Don’t mix too much!)
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan to 180℃.
  3. Coat prepared vegetables or seafood with batter, drain any excess batter, and deep-fry.  (Don’t fry too many vegetables/seafood at once, as it will drop the temperature of the oil.)
  4. Drain, and serve with salt or tsuyu sauce.
* If you are making seafood tempura, you may want to dust with plain flour before coating with batter.
Tsuyu sauce:

50 ml soy sauce
50 ml mirin
200 ml water
10 g katsuo-bushi (bonito flakes)

* mix all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 2 minutes. let it cool down, and remove the katsuo-bushi.

You can keep this for 2 days in the fridge.


  • Thinly shredded onion and carrot, and chopped onion.  (equal amount) Mix into batter.  Using a spoon, scoop the mixture and carefully drop into hot oil.  Deep-fry both sides until cooked through. 
  • Fresh herbs (eg: basil, parsley, coriander etc).  Coat with batter lightly and deep-fry for 30 seconds. (both sides)
  • Silver fish, or any small fish.  
  • Camembert cheese … my favorite 🙂

Bagels from … Ham Company?

Posted March 6th, 2010 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »


The Nippon Ham group established structures for large- scale meat production, processing, and export, and it operates subsidiaries around the world.  (English site)  Most of processed meat products you get to see at supermarkets in Japan are Nippon Ham’s.

.. I wasn’t searching for this meat company, I was actually googling “bagel shop in Japan”.  Then I found this “delicious soft bagels and pizzas online shop – Nippon Ham”   … Nippon Ham = bagels??  

I clicked the Nippon Ham site, then I found that this company now doesn’t sell only ham and bacon, but also salad, pizza, bread, curry, dressing, and even bento boxes! :p


You can see bagels are now getting to be one of common food people eat at home everyday in Japan.  These bagels from Nippon Ham are well-packaged for commercial sales, and of course Nippon Ham is not the only company which sells bagels in supermarkets.  Plus, bakeries, hotels, restaurants and cafes also serve bagels as standard menu.

I will try to eat many bagels in Japan for the next few weeks 🙂

My Friends are Everywhere..

Posted March 5th, 2010 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

As I’m from Osaka College of Foreign Language, my friends from the school are all interested in other countries and traveling the world.  I was taking Studying Abroad Course (major in Animal Science) and most of my classmates flew to America to go to universities after graduation.  I, on the other hand, chose to come to Australia instead of America.  Major reason for this was that I thought Australia was surrounded by big nature and wild animals. 🙂  (which is true)

I was browsing the college website the other day and I noticed there’re photos of my classmates on the site.  It recalled the memory of my last home-coming trip – I had a small gathering with my classmates in Osaka and could catch up with them.  After that, they seem to be doing fine and some of them are again going overseas for further career 🙂

One friend, who is also from Shiga prefecture, went to America to study animal behavior at an university.  Since then she got a job at one of her work-experience place and now she is working as a dog trainer in America 🙂  It had been her dream to be a dog trainer and she seems to be so happy.

Another friend, Haru, she studied preschool education in New York and moved to Hawaii after graduating an university to work as a kindergarden assistant teacher.  Then she went back to Japan, worked in a International kindergarden for awhile, and now she is flying back to America, Portland to work as an assistant teacher for one year.  She is so determined 🙂

Another one, who also chose to come to Perth, Western Australia with me after graduating the Osaka college, worked in Japan for few years after graduating from school in Perth.  Few days ago she flew to Ireland!

I’m not planning to go overseas and work at this point.  I will probably stay in Perth and just lead my life here 🙂  But in future, maybe when I’m much older, I would like to go to other countries and do some voluntary work.  It is one of my dream! 🙂

Wait until April

Posted March 4th, 2010 in Perth WA | 6 Comments »

It’s been soooo… hot  🙁  Summer is not my season, I’m so weak against the heat and my body has been really weird.  Headache, sleepy, tired, and annoyment…   I go out for walking in the evening so that I can feel cool air on my face and body.

I have been planning to go to Tenkadori in Subiaco (please see the comments on my old post) to try their yakitori, but I heard that they are still not opened at night.

I could talk to the head chef in this restaurant.  He told me that the boss (owner) is currently in Japan, and they are still waiting for the liquor license to be approved.  All the equipments and menu has been organised already, and they assume they will get the liquor license very soon.  So, they will start opening at night with Yakitori menu after the boss comes back (after 8th of March)

Too bad, I will be in Japan by then.  Well, I will go there after I come back to Perth :p

I was thinking which Japanese restaurant I should go to with my friend. Then I thought “hey I’m going to Japan in few days.  Maybe I shouldn’t go to Japanese restaurant in Perth.  I can enjoy lots of nice food in Japan.”  That is true…  I guess I will postpone the night out and try Tenkadori after April.


Posted March 3rd, 2010 in Japan | No Comments »