Green Turtle

Posted June 28th, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 2 Comments »

This green turtle is his current favourite.

A cozy afternoon…

He was crying and crying, trying to catch the turtle….

Then, dozing off…

After this, he woke up few times, crying again, and finally caught the turtle in his hand and went back to sleep while holding it.


Back Pain

Posted June 27th, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 2 Comments »

I don’t know if it’s because of my posture, or the result from having epidual, but I’ve been having this pain around my lower spine since around the time I had Hiro. It may be because of the way I sit – when he wakes up at night and doesn’t want to go back to sleep, I hold him and sit on a chair, then I kind of lean my body towards the side cushion on my left side every time. Or, it could be from carrying heavy Hiro too often? Or maybe all of them are causing me this back pain.

I used to have bad posture when I was in elementary school. I didn’t notice it, until my mum saw me walking to the stage to make a speech at a school event and told me “Ume, you walk like the Neanderthal!”. I was so shocked, and started to watch my posture since then. After awhile, I started to be said “wow Ume, you have such beautiful posture” from many people. But now, I think I stopped thinking about my posture while I walk or stand, and it’s bad again.

A masseuse who I had pregnancy massage from (post) is now my friend, and she also gave birth to a boy on March this year. Her son was supposed to be born on May, so he was (and still is) very small when he was born. He has no problem with his health now (just under weight) and we meet up sometimes to have a cup of coffee or to walk around the park with bubs.

The other day we sat at Pumpkin Cafe in Garden City to have a chat .  We both ordered a scone with clotted cream and jam.  Ummm, a combination of warm scone and these accompaniments tastes so good once in a while.  I had it with a glass of decaf latte.

I asked her about my back pain, and she said she’d check it for me at her house next time.  Unfortunately she won’t be able to give me a full massage anymore, but anything to ease this uncomfortable spine would help.


Chicken Karaage

Posted June 26th, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

Japanese fried-chicken, karaage 🙂 The best choice of meat for karaage is chicken thigh with skin and bones attached. Skin and bones do the important part to give flavour and juiciness to the meat. Other foods which are good for karaage are octopus, white fish (e.g. whiting, snapper, cod) and blue fish (e.g. sardine, mackerel). At my house in Japan, we used to eat karaage with a dipping sauce consisting 50% mayonnaise and 50% worcestershire sauce. Some people prefers eating karaage with soy sauce, salt, chili powder or ponzu. D loves eating karaage with mayonnaise and chili sauce. He loved the chili sauce at Mr Samurai on Barrack street, but we don’t know where we can get the same chili sauce from… Does anyone know?? Currently he uses Srirachang chili sauce.

Japanese Coupon Sites

Posted June 24th, 2011 in Japan | 6 Comments »

There are few coupon sites in Japan now, and I’m subscribed to their daily deal emails.  It’s just that Japanese coupon sites offer much better deals than those in Australia.  Australian coupon sites, such as Scoopon, DealMe, LivingSocial etc, offer quite same deals over and over and I’m little bored with them.

I check deals at Groupon and Ponpare at the moment, but I prefer Ponpare.  Their deals are more interesting than those at Groupon.  So far I’ve purchased 4 coupons from Ponpare:  ¥500 worth MacDonald’s voucher for ¥100, 86% off hotel stay at hotel in Osaka Umeda for ¥10000 for two, 80% off skin whitening masks for ¥1050 etc.  These things are what we may actually use!  Groupon’s offers are always discounted hotels, discounted restaurants, and discounted activities.  I like Ponpare because they have lots of free-shipping items on deals and they are pretty cheap, such as more than 50% off on organic shampoo set, electric items, photo print services and fashion items.

Sigh… after checking these interesting offers for hair salon, I wish I were there right now!  Cut, colour, perm, etc etc are so cheap and these salons are pretty well-known.  I’d pay ¥2000 hair colour package without hesitation.

I’m checking these up everyday so that I can use the coupons when we go there 🙂  I’ve ordered several ¥500 worth MacDonald’s vouchers already, so we may be probably spending lots of time at MacDonald’s this time :p


Lunch at Sizzler

Posted June 23rd, 2011 in Eat out in Perth | No Comments »

It was a beautiful day yesterday – blue sky and gentle wind. After doing laundry and going walking to the park with Hiro, I took D’s parents for lunch at Sizzler.

As I only had one Rotiboy (a sweet bun from Indonesia) at 5am, I was super hungry.  I could eat a horse… I ordered a Sizzler complete lunch which came with salad bar, drink bar, and today’s grill (Wednesday was small rump steak and chips). D had the same, and parents had basa grill and standard rump steak.

D’s dad always bring his own sambal (Indonesian chili sauce : the red bottle next to cheesy toast)) to any restaurant :p

My appetite is really huge… My bro used to say my stomach is a black hole. I had several trips to the salad bar with plateful of salads, plus 2 cups of pumpkin soup and some drinks.

And I finished my small rump steak too.

I concluded my lunch with a cup of hot camomile tea, and we all headed home with full stomach.

Hiro was sleeping through the day out. He always keep sleeping when we take him out on the travel capsule and stroller. ::)


Day Dreaming and Photo Albam

Posted June 22nd, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 4 Comments »

Hire wakes up every 4 – 5 hours at night for a feed. It was quite disturbing when someone woke me up while I was comfortably snuggling in a warm bed and having a deep sleep, but now I’m starting to like the mid-night feeding time. One of the reason might be that I’m used to be woken up by the noise Hiro makes, but I also like sitting on a chair in a dark quiet room while I’m still half asleep. While I feed him, I think (dream?) about the things that I want to do in near future, like, how I want Hiro’s first birthday to be, what to make for the party, what furniture I should buy for our new house (if we buy), the floor plan of the house, what to buy in Japan, what to make for Hiro’s first solid, etc. I can’t think about these things with busy head during the day, so the night time feeding is the perfect time for me to just day-dream about my future plan.

Before, quite a long time ago, one of my friends went back to Japan for good and she gave me some interior magazines that she collected while she was in Australia. I didn’t open these magazines to read until recently, but now they are great reading materials during Hiro’s nap time and pumping milk. Thinking about designing the house with furniture and interior is quite fun.

Recently I ordered a campus print of Hiro’s photo online and am waiting for it to be delivered. I also have a big flame of Hiro’s hands and feet sculpture. They are going to be on the wall when we buy a house 🙂

Hiro smiles and laugh a lot, and seems to have discovered his hands.  He tries to touch the turtle plush toy and also put his whole hand into him mouth and suck.   Since I take lots of photos of him, I’m been sorting out his photos to make an album online. D and I made our wedding photo album online at Blurb, and this time I’m making one for Hiro. I hope I can finish it and get delivered before we go to Japan so that we can show it to my families too 🙂


Pizza Making

Posted June 19th, 2011 in Ume and Baby | No Comments »

The other day Hiro and I visited our friends’ house.  My friend’s son is almost 1.5 years old, and I’ve known him since he was 0 day old.  They’ve also known Hiro since he was 0 day old too.  We sometimes catch up at her house, cafe or park.  Her son and Hiro can’t really play together yet as he can walk around but what Hiro does is sleeping…  I hope to see them running around together sometime next year 😀

While we were at their house, she started making pizza for lunch. (from scratch, of course)  Her husband works at a famous Italian restaurant in Perth, and he helped cutting the ingredients and making the dough (well, she ordered him to .. :p )  It’s so fun watching them talking (arguing?)

Hiro took nap shortly after we arrived their house (sleepy head…), but woke up just before the pizza is done in the oven (though he can’t yet taste the delicious food).

He is so relaxed as if it’s his own house.

Pizza is ready…

Three of us (and Hiro on the side) enjoyed the pizza and home-made pumpkin soup ♪


Japanese Grocery Shops

Posted June 17th, 2011 in Japanese Stores in Perth, Perth WA | 4 Comments »


(*** This is an old post.   Read my newer post***)

I’ve posted grocery shops that I go to in Perth here, but they need to be updated!

Super Fuji in Victoria Park closes at the end of this month, but the shop isn’t open everyday already.  And, Sushi Station Fuji no longer opens either.  It’s shame that I really wanted to eat sushi over there after I gave birth to Hiro.  🙁  These two shops were owned by same owner (Japanese couple), but they suddenly decided to close both of them for a while…

Nippon Food Supplies in Fremantle is also closing at the end of June (this month!).  From July, only Subiaco shop will operate.

There seems to be new shops selling Japanese items in Perth city, but I haven’t been there yet.

Hi Mart, Seoul Mart, and Hanaro Mart (Korean grocery shops) sell very similar items to Japanese food, and they are much cheaper.

Hi Mart :

133 Barrack Street, Perth WA 6000 – (08) 9417 7776

113 Collins Road, Willetton WA 6155 – (08) 9354 1433

346 Albany hwy, Victoria Park WA

Winthrop Shopping Centre, 131 Somerville Blvd, Winthrop WA 6150

Hanaro Mart :

Shop7, North Lake shopping Centre, 67 North Lake Rd, Myaree WA

Seoul Mart :

Shop 4-5, 544 Hay St (on Pier St) (08) 9221 0322

Shop 76 Southland Shopping Centre, Pinetree Gully Rd, Willetton, WA

And, if you want to buy some Japanese grocery directly from importer, you can call up Japan Food Corp. (JFC).  You can browse their product list on their  website. If you want to go there, I recommend to call them first and tell them when you are coming, so that staff can prepare things for you.

There are Tokyo Mart and Fuji Mart in NSW, QLD and VIC, and there will be new Tokyo Mart shop opening in WA around the end of this year!  They say the shop will be in Karawara, but exact location is unknown at the moment.


We got our tickets!

Posted June 15th, 2011 in Japan | 4 Comments »

We got out tickets… finally.

First, we were thinking to fly with Malaysian Air as I found a very good price at H.I.S. Travel.  It was $210~ + tax ($780) return!  Less than $1000 from Perth to Osaka is very very cheap.  Besides, Nov ~ Jan is high season.  I called them up to ask the details such as transit hours.  The flight time is good too – leave Perth afternoon, and arrive Osaka in the morning.  Transit hour was just 1~3 hours, so it’s good too.  But, the thing is that the ticket was open for only 35 days, which means we have to come back to Perth within 35 days.  I wanted to stay in Japan longer, so I didn’t take it.

Next, I again found a good deal at H.I.S Travel.  It’s JAL (Japan AirLine) flight, and is $235~ + tax ($804) return.  It’s just above $1000 so it’s not bad at all.  And, it’s JAL so I thought it flies direct to Osaka.  I called them up to check what the deal is.  Then, I found out that it wasn’t a direct flight – there’re actually 2 transits and we need to catch 4 planes…  Fly domestic from Perth to Sydney, then move to international terminal, fly from Sydney to Narita, then take domestic flight from Narita to Osaka.  Hmmm, even though Australia and Japan are familiar places for us and we won’t worry about what to do at the airport, but again, we have Hiro and I don’t think transiting 2 times is going to be a comfortable flight. So, I didn’t take it either.

And, as I said on earlier post, my sister-in-law offered her mileage at Garuda to us.  Why she doesn’t use the mileage is because she can’t use it for the flight from/to Australia (for some reason).  So, we can’t use the mileage for the flight from/to Australia either.  We could buy 2 tickets separately – a flight from Perth to Bali, and from Bali to Osaka, using the mileage on the flight between Bali and Osaka.  But, there’re some concerns…  Firstly, we don’t trust Garuda because it delays often.  Secondly, we didn’t really like Bali airport from our terrible experience (post), and I thought there’s no space to relax with Hiro.  Toilet was dirty too…  Thirdly, we will have to fly with Garuda between Perth and Bali too, otherwise our luggages won’t directly go to Osaka/Perth.  I checked Garuda flight details between Perth and Bali, and found out that the connection to the flight to and from Osaka is really bad.  We could pay and use the lounge at the airport, but we’re not sure if it’s really a good plan.  Sister-in-law asked us to fly from Perth to Jakarta, then stay at either airport hotel or her house, and on the next day we fly from Jakarta to Bali, then Bali to Osaka.  I didn’t like it because there’re so many flights, and we will need to buy 3 tickets!  And, I wasn’t 100% comfortable with using her mileage too. So, although it was a very generous offer, we didn’t take it.

Then, we thought why not buy that Malaysian Air cheap 35days open ticket from H.I.S for D (as he can only stay in Japan for 1 month anyway), and buy a standard fare tickets for me and Hiro. The standard ticket wasn’t so expensive considering it’s high season.  We called up H.I.S to reserve our seats first. Then we were really going to go with it.  But, D wasn’t actually 100% happy with the flight schedule… The cheap ticket only applies for the flight departing Perth before Nov 23 (or around there), which means D will have to head back here before his birthday (as this ticket is only open for 35 days). And, he will also miss spending Hiro’s first Christmas and New Year’s Day together.  Hmm… now what?

Then, D found that Cathay is not that expensive either. He checked the fare on the dates he wanted to fly, and it turned out that total for three of us is actually about same as the one with Malaysian Air. Most of all, with Cathay he gets to stay his birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s Day in Japan with us 🙂 . The flight time and transit are good too, arriving Osaka in early afternoon. Flight between Perth and HK is around 7.5 hours, and between HK and KIX is around 4 hours.  So, in the end, we decided to fly with Cathay and reserved our seats. 🙂

Now, thinking that we will be in Japan in 4 months, my head is busy planning our homecoming trip!

It’s winter, so seafood is its season!

And, I’m definitely eating one of my favorite food – Japanese omu-rice with demi glace sauce!

And, we will probably take break a lot at Misdo, McDonald’s, Mos Burger, and other fast food chains between shopping….  Can’t wait!

Japan Trip

Posted June 12th, 2011 in Japan | 4 Comments »

Hmmm… my head has been so busy thinking about the flight to Japan.  I was originally thinking to fly with Hiro and D, three of us all together and come back to Perth all together, but now I’m kind of thinking to stay in Japan little longer with Hiro.  D has to come back to Perth after 4 weeks or so due to his work.  D and I always flew together all the time when we went to Japan, or anywhere, but I think just 1 month is bit too short for me this time.  Besides, I’m not working now so I can basically go anywhere outside Australia for as much as I want!

The biggest concern is, this time we have Hiro.  I have no idea how it’s going to be…  If he stays quiet or sleeps on the plane all through the flight, it’d be great.  But, what if he keeps crying…?! 🙁  And, if I stay in Japan longer, I have to fly with Hiro by myself on the way back…!  ….. I already feel tired by just thinking about it.

It might be much easier if there’re direct flights from Perth to Osaka, but there is not, so we have to transit somewhere:  we fly to another state in Australia and fly directly to Osaka, fly from Perth and transit at another country, or fly from Perth and transit at Narita then take shinkansen (bullet train) to my hometown.  Thinking about a transit with Hiro is already a big headache to me, but I have to think which method is the easiest for us.  Oh, and, the cost also matters.

Then, D’s sister offered us to use her mileage at Garuda.  I wouldn’t think about flying with Garuda with Hiro because of our terrible experience (post), but she told us to fly with business class.  We still have to pay the difference, but after getting the quotation from her travel agent it’s actually cheaper than paying economy flights.  I’ve never flew with business class before!

We are still thinking about it though…

There’re more concerns and things I keep thinking about, like, what if Hiro gets sick in Japan, etc etc…   but who knows?  Maybe nothing bad will happen and everything may go smoothly. 🙂  Now I will just think about good stuff, like , what we do in Japan,  what to buy in Japan, what to eat in Japan, etc etc!   The damage from the earthquake (post & post) is not fully recovered yet, but I hear things are getting well, so I hope I can enjoy delicious seafoods there too.


Fruity Cinnamon Rolls

Posted June 11th, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

D and I have been having a craving for sweet rolls these days…   It’s great to wake up in the morning with freshly baked bread with a cup of coffee, isn’t it?? 🙂

I made some with lots of dried fruits and a hint of cinnamon.

It’s was a pretty cold day, but it took only 2 hours to make these.

The texture is like between bread and … ummm scone?  muffin?  It turned out to be more like cake-type bread.

<Fruity Cinnamon Rolls>


  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 10g dry yeast
  • 300ml milk, warm
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 2 cups mixed dried fruits
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2.5 tsp cinnamona


  • apricot jam


  1. Place all the ingredients from “a” in a bowl.  Using a dough hook, turn on the machine to mix the dough for 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic.  You can knead by hands, too.
  2. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 mins to prove, or until doubled in size.
  3. Punch down dough, remove from bowl and knead lightly.  Roll dough to rectangle .
  4. Sprinkle “b” all over dough.
  5. Roll up dough to enclose filling.  Cut into 2cm slices.  Place in a deep baking pan lined with baking sheet.  Prove another 30 mins.
  6. Preheat oven to 180℃. Bake for 20~30 mins, or until cooked.
  7. Place apricot jam in a heat proof cup and microwave until smooth.  While the rolls are hot, brush jam over top to glaze.

Serve warm or at room temperature. 🙂


Grilled Salmon Balls

Posted June 10th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

Looking for an easy, healthy snack?  Make these salmon balls with no hassle!

This is another recipe that makes a healthy snack in a flash.  It is grilled, not deep-fried, and all the ingredients are cooked prior to being shaped into balls so it won’t take too long to grill.  You just need to grill both sides to give delicious color and crunchy texture.

If you have left-over mashed potato, this is the snack you can make on next day 🙂

<Salmon Balls>

  • 1 tin (around 450g) salmon
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 tbs chopped herb (I used basil, but coriander will be a great one too)
  • 1 egg
  • 2~3 tbs bread crumbles

  1. Drain the salmon.
  2. Mix everything in a mixing bowl.  Season.
  3. Shape into balls.  Flatten the centre.
  4. Heat a non-stick fry pan, and lightly spray with oil.  Grill the salmon balls until coloured and crispy.


Winter Breakfast

Posted June 8th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

Today’s breakfast – chicken porridge and spring rolls 🙂
Eating hot breakfast gives you energy and power to kick start a day!

Porridge is very easy to prepare in a slow cooker, and needs just two ingredients: rice and chicken mince.  1.5 cups of rice makes about 6 serves.  (my old post → recipe)  I usually eat it with toppings of fried shallots & lemongrass, spring onions and cut chili.  Sometimes with char kwee, parsley leaves, char siu pork, or omelette, too.

I made the spring rolls with leftover vegetables from coleslaw. The weather is bit too cold for salad now, so I used the shredded cabbage and red onion to the spring roll stuffing.  Add some chicken mince and other vegetables (if you have), and season with oyster sauce, shrimp paste, sweet chili, soy sauce and ginger.  Don’t forget to thicken the liquid with cornflour + water.  Then, wrap the mixture in spring roll sheets, and deep-fry.  Here you are – a delicious crispy low-budget snack. 🙂

Now, off to mothers’ group!


Borders Closing Down Sale

Posted June 7th, 2011 in Perth WA | No Comments »

Borders is doing closing down sale for up to 40% off store wide!  I headed there on Monday afternoon, and lots of stuff were already gone..

↑↑↑ Running to the shop…  (^^;)

They sell not only books and CDs but also unique zakka stuff. I like their post cards and the cute home ware/stationery sections. I bought some gifts for my friend.

They don’t say when they (Borders in Perth) are closing the shop, but I heard it will be around the end of this month.  If you want to bag yourself a bargain, head there quick before the store closes down.


625/635 Hay Street Mall Perth

Phone: 08 9325 6600

It’s Long Weekend in Perth

Posted June 6th, 2011 in Perth WA | No Comments »

How’s everyone’s long weekend? I actually didn’t know that today was public holiday until Sunday…

On Sunday I had lunch with in-laws (sisters, brothers, and a nephew) at Gourmet on Wray.  It was such a beautiful day – I was wearing a jacket but it was pretty warm. I had a chicken burger, and D had beef burger with chili jam.

He said the chili jam tasted different from last time he tried. He’s been making his own chili jam at home, and he thinks his is the best :p

After that we went to Fremantle market to look for something for my friend in Hokkaido. There were so many people in Fremantle… especially around Cappuccino street and market area. I didn’t want Hiro to be in the crowd for too long (as he might catch some virus) so we headed home quickly.

After we got home, three of us headed to the park near the house and walked around a bit. Hiro was so curious of birds and trees… but fell asleep in the carry bag :p

Oh my gosh… look at the chubby bub.

It’s getting really cold at night and morning. Take care not to catch cold, everyone 🙂


Model House

Posted June 4th, 2011 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

I remember visiting model houses with him many times when I was little – even though he had no plan buying it. He just wanted to have a look at the design and the interior. It was kind of his hobby.

Last time I was in Japan, my dad took me to model houses in Otsu (capital city of Shiga). It was like a model house fair or festival near a big hotel, and was only for 1 week. (I don’t know what they did with the house they built afterwards…) There’re many model houses from different housing companies, and all of them looked so nice!   I wished I could live in a house like that, and I’m sure my dad did too. Very expensive, though.

In Japan, you can actually experience “life” in a new house by staying overnight at a model house. The house is fully furnished and equipped with basic and some special facilities, such as IH cooking top, automatic toilet, computerized bathroom, and floor heating. It could be a fun one-night experience.

You know, the traditional Japanese houses were made with wood, and only had tatami flooring.  But nowadays, new houses are more Westernised – there are lots of wooden floored rooms and it has some special rooms such as theatre room (surprising!) .  There is at least one tatami floored room in a house though (called wa-shitsu) to remain the Japanese tradition.   Unlike houses here, Japanese houses are usually 2 stories.  There are more 3-stories-houses nowadays due to the limited land.

As I’ve always wanted my own space, looking at them makes me think about my dream house.  If I had a chance and money (most importantly!), I want to design my own house :).  In my head, it has a genkan where people take-off their shoes before entering the house, and a tatami room where gives me a quiet and peaceful mind.  Hmmm… lotto?a


Posted June 3rd, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 9 Comments »

Hiro has been having this red rash on his forehead and around ear for a quite long time now. I thought it’s just something all babies have, so I wasn’t worried about it at all. I just put some moisturising cream in the morning and after bath.  But, at the last visit to a child health center, nurse told me it’s actually eczema.
It was very shocking to me, as I’m a healthy person and so is D.  Is he allergic to something? Is it what I eat and he gets through BM, or, the house is really dirty?? There is no one who is allergic to food and has eczema in D and my family.  But, to think about it, I’m actually allergic to some metals.  Could it be the cause?

My mum told me not to worry too much as some babies have this when they are young.  And, when I told about this to my friend, she said “don’t believe what the nurse told you!”  Her daughter also had similar rash on her face when she was a baby, but it went away eventually.  Her dermatologist recommended vaseline, she said.  I think I will visit dermatologist sometime next week to find out…  I hope it will go away from his face sometime.

Other than the skin problem, he is a very healthy boy. He weighs 5.8kg now, and the face is rounder than ever!

Miso Yakitori

Posted June 2nd, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

Yakitori, grilled skewered-chicken dish, is usually seasoned with either salt (shio) or soy sauce-based sauce (tare), but here is another option.  Brush the chicken with sweet miso paste while grilling –  it gives the shine and great sweet miso taste to the chicken 🙂

<Miso Yakitori> serves 4

  • 4 fillets chicken thigh
  • spring onion stalks / cucumber
  • 3 tbs red miso paste
  • 1.5 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 1.5 tbs mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 1.5 tbs sugar


  1. Soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Cut the chicken into cubes.  Chop onion and cucumber into 2cm.
  3. Skewer the chicken and spring onion/cucumber alternatively.
  4. Mix the miso, sake, mirin and sugar.
  5. Heat a grill pan and spray oil.  Place the chicken skewers and grill one side, then flip it around.
  6. Start brushing the miso mixture to the chicken.  (miso gets burned easily)  Brush one side, then flip it around, brush another side, … continue until the chicken is cooked.
  7. Serve with steamed rice ♪ or a glass or beer.