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…