Delicious Japanese Foods!

Posted November 30th, 2011 in Food, Japan | 4 Comments »

I’ve been eating lots n lots of foods here….   Most of them are Japanese food 🙂

I cook just simple dishes at home (such as grilled fish, simmered vegetables etc), but my dad sometimes buys us sushi, sashimi and grilled unagi (eel).

This sushi platter was from sushi bar which my dad often goes to.  It’s near my house, and we’ve been their customers since I was very little.

I visited my grand parents’ house (Hiro’s great grandparents), and they bought us sushi too.  Individually packed per person.

I told my mum that I wanted to eat buta-jiru (miso soup with pork), then she made to accompany the sushi.

Plus some small dishes including karaage and grilled chicken.

Tamago-toji Udon is one of my favorite.

Ama-ebi (sweet shrimp) sashimi.  Raw, of course.

Our usual breakfast on weekend at cafe.  I love Japanese bread!


Koala-no-March Hotel Room

Posted November 28th, 2011 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

Lotte Koala-no-March, chocolate snack in Japan, is one of my favorite.  I’ve seen Chinese and Korean version of this snack in Perth, so I don’t know if it’s originally Japanese though.  Inside, each chocolate-filled snack has different face of koala – one is smiling, one is crying, and one is angry.  Some of them are wearing sunglasses, and some of them wear kimono.

If you like this snack like me, you’ll probably want to stay in a hotel room filled with this cute koala character.  Yes, there are in Japan!  Koala-no-March theme hotel rooms.

This Koala-no-March themed hotel room has koalas everywhere – on the wall, bed cover, curtain, pajamas, and amenities.  Not only children but also adults will be exited to stay in this room, I think 😀

This Lotte City Hotel Kinshi-cho (Sumida-ku, Tokyo) has beautiful views of Tokyo Tower, Sky Tree, and also JR trains from some rooms.  And, there is a chocolate factory cafe on the ground floor where customers can enjoy chocolate making.  Curry, pizza and hamburgers contain chocolate at this cafe.

There is a chance of winning a night at this Koala-no-March hotel room.  Simply go to campaign site and answer the question, and submit the answer to the address shown on the website.


Parenting Room in Shopping Mall Japan

Posted November 26th, 2011 in Japan | 4 Comments »

I never paid attention on parenting rooms and babies/children play area in Japan until I had my own baby.  Since Hiro was born I appreciated the existence of parenting rooms in shopping centres in Perth.  They are clean, convenient, and roomy (most of them).

As I planned a homecoming trip to Japan, I was worried that there may be no such area in shopping malls in Japan.  I just didn’t remember seeing one.  So I was relieved to see such a clean, big parenting room in a small shopping mall near my house!  If a shopping centre in Shiga has like this, I’m sure there’s one as big as this or even bigger one in other prefectures.

Cushiony changing tables.

There is a scale for weight and height!

Sink to wash hand….

Inside breastfeeding area.

And, there’re many strollers for babies in shopping centres as well.  Few different kinds – the one attached to a shopping cart, the one with just a baby seat, and the one looks like a ride-on toy.


Getting Very Cold Here…

Posted November 25th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

It’s been still our morning routine to go for a walk.  Here, the difference is that the temperature is much much colder than it is in Perth.  I hear it’s very hot over there…  over 37 degrees?  Here in Shiga, Japan, it’s about 10 degrees.  Plus it’s raining and pretty windy today, so I feel very cold.

I need to wrap Hiro up with extra layers.  Hanten, winter indoor jacket, is our must item.

As everyone probably knows, we eat lots of things everyday here.  Sweets, rice, noodle, okonomiyaki, etc etc.  When we go shopping, we can’t help ourselves to not buy the food at the stall or food court.  They all look so yummy, and cheap.

D loves stall-type (yatai) food such as yakisoba, takoyaki and okonomiyaki.  We ate them 2 days in a row.  It may be because Shiga is Kansai, but there’re are many shops/stalls selling these items everywhere here.

And my favorite Sugakiya ramen noodle.  D had yakitori-donburi and takoyaki.

Hiro is eating yummy Japanese food everyday, and he smiles a lot these days 🙂


Sunny Morning

Posted November 24th, 2011 in Japan, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

It was a sunny morning so Hiro and I went outside for a short stroll.

It’s nice to go out!  It wasn’t too cold.  If it’s raining or snowing, we can’t probably go walking like this in the morning.  In Perth, going for a walk around 8AM had been our routine because while walking he always fell asleep and take nap for 1hour or so.  If he doesn’t take this morning nap around 8am (before his 10AM solid feed) he gets cranky.  So, walking using a baby carrier was a great help.  He loves the bouncy feeling, I think.

We walked pass the neighbourhood temple.  People were already working.

I can’t believe I used to swim in this river when I was a kid!  It’s all covered with grass now.

After this walk, he fell asleep as usual.  Already looks sleepy in this photo…


First Kitchen

Posted November 23rd, 2011 in Eat out in Japan, Japan | No Comments »

First Kitchen, known as City Convenience Restaurant, is fast food chain serving variety of foods including burgers, soup, and pasta.  It’s not a place I go often, but D and I had lunch inside food court in a shopping mall.  The price for burgers is bit more expensive than McDonald’s and other chains, but we both liked the food.

D ordered teriyaki burger meal, and I ordered kid’s chicken nuggets meal.  Teriyaki burger meal came with fries and drink, like other chains, but you could chose the flavour of the fries – called “flavour potato”.  It’s like shaker fries of McDonald’s.  The flavours are unique: corn potage, flame-grilled mentaiko (marinated roe of pollock), soy BBQ, sizzling butter and soy sauce, butter, consomme, and French fries.  D chose soy BBQ.  It was good 🙂

There is sauce bar at the counter where you can get any sauces as much as you want.  The sauces are BBQ sauce, mentaiko mayonnaise, cheese sauce, and garlic mayonnaise.

I love Japanese fast food because their drink menu has more varieties.  I always chose tea (usually oolong tea).  You can also get hot/iced lemon/milk tea and cocoa with meals with no additional cost.

It may be just because it was weekday and there’re not so many people around, but they made all the food on order including fries and nugget.  Crispy and super hot.  With kid’s meal I got to chose a toy from a basket, and I got Stitches stationery kit.

We were thinking of getting some sweets there as well, but didn’t.  Their tapioca coconut milk float and shiratama cream zenzai (chewy dango with stewed sweet azuki bean and soft serve) looked yummy!


Change of Things – Perth and Japan

Posted November 22nd, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

It started to be cold and windy since the second day. It’s raining, and the wind outside sounds like it will be snowing anytime soon. The air is cold – but the thing is that inside the shops, restaurants, or trains is quite warm and I don’t know what to wear. I only brought just few clothes because I wasn’t gonna go out much during the stay and also I thought I could always buy nice clothes here if I want to.

We did a bit of shopping yesterday coz we needed something urgently for Hiro. Things here are pretty much different from those in Perth. We had to change some of our rutine. First, we brought our microwave sterilizer to sterilize the bottles and pump, but the microwave in my house is too small to fit the sterilizer! I can’t even put a microwave sterilizing bag. It ‘s very short too. I don’t know why my dad bought such small microwave… I guess they don’t have anything big to warm up? Hmmm… so we can’t use microwave sterilizer, we decided to do the basic method – sterilizing in boiling water. We needed a tray, drying rack, sponge etc to wash Hiro’s bottles so we headed to Daiso nearby and bought several stuff. Men, things at 100 yen shop always remind me how cheap I could get things around the house. 🙂

As I mentioned earlier, I brought my electric pump to express milk here in Japan.  Hiro is almost 9 months old, and I think I did a good job feeding him EBM (expressed breast milk) since he was born (considering the trouble of extra cleaning and time consuming).  And I’m still thinking to continue this until my milk dries out.  But, on the day I arrived my home in Shiga, I found that the electric pump is weird.  It kept stopping while pumping. I thought it’s broken due to the air pressure on the plane or something, but it turned out that the batteries needed to be replaced.  I guess it uses lots of power.  I was using this pump connected to power while in Perth, so I didn’t know how quickly I had to replace the batteries.  When I thought the pump was broken, I was actually thinking of stoping giving breast milk to Hiro.  Somewhere in my head I want to stop because it’s troublesome to express milk.  But I also think that I want to breastfeed him as long as I have milk.  So, the broken pump could be the opportunity for me to stop, but I guess I will keep continue doing what I do now until the time comes.

By the way, Hiro loves crawling on tatami!  The house is cold, and he escapes from blanket while sleeping, so he wears pretty warm (not too warm though) clothes on this futon.  Lucky I bought this baby circle crib thing from Amazon… otherwise he would be somewhere else (not on his futon) in the morning.  All the rooms are connected in my house (just separated with paper sliding doors (sho-ji), so he could be anywhere.  He seems to enjoy sleeping on futon, and has been pretty happy since we arrived here 🙂

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First Flight with 8 Month Old Baby

Posted November 20th, 2011 in Japan | 2 Comments »

It’s 2AM, and dark and raining outside.  I should be tired and sleepy, but I’m writing this with a bottle of warm milk next to me in case Hiro wakes up for his feed anytime soon.  Everyone in this house is sleeping, except me and my bro.  I hear tv sound from his room.  It’s Saturday night (Sunday morning?) and I guess it’s the only time he can enjoy staying late during a week.

I arrived Kansai airport yesterday afternoon.  I must say I’m very happy and relieved that we are here finally.  Japan is not as cold as I thought – it’s raining, and it gets dark around 6:00 PM, but the temperature is not cold and I was kinda sweating when I arrived airport.  I’m not even wearing a jacket or pair of socks right now. (even at 2AM!)

The flight …..   was AWEFUL.  It wasn’t the worst because Hiro did sleep pretty well on the plane, but D and I (and maybe Hiro too) were exhausted.  We left Perth home around 9PM – Hiro was sleeping in his cot, but woke up in the car and stayed awake in the airport.  He seemed to be calm and quiet, and we thought he’d fell asleep with warm milk as soon as we get on the plane.  But, it didn’t happen.  He was obviously tired and sleepy, but couldn’t go to sleep and that made him very uncomfortable and irritated.  He wasn’t crying though – just wiggly and rubbing his eyes many many times.  I was trying to pad him to sleep, but you know the airplane seat is very narrow and I couldn’t really move around like I do at home.  I was moving him up to down, left to right….. and then, he started to gag and threw up everything he ate since 5PM, including pumpkin and all the milk.

It was a LOT of vomit.  He kept throwing up every 2 seconds for about 10 seconds, and I thought he was choking.  All the food came out through his mouth and nose, and my seat and clothes were completely soaked with his vomit.  I could hear everyone around me was saying “OH MY GOD…!”  I was in panic, and tried to settle him down quickly.  When I saw his smile, I was very relieved.

Luckily I brought a change clothes for him so I could change him, but I didn’t have my own.  I had to take my tops off and wear a cardigan on top of a camisole I was wearing.  Smelly….!  After changing his clothes he was still active, but in the end I managed to put him to sleep around 2AM – 2 hours after departure.  The flight was midnight so everyone was sleeping by then.  Then D and I could sleep a bit.  We book a basinet seat in advance – the seat is at the front so there’s lots of leg room, but we couldn’t put any baggage underneath or front of our seat.  We had to put everything in compartment above us.  That was bit troublesome when we wanted to get something from our bags.  This is what basinet looks like (Cathay Pacific) ↓

The another thing which was difficult during the flight was preparing milk for him.  As I don’t do breastfeed (express milk in a bottle) I had to bring formula in case I can’t express on the plane.  As soon as he sees a bottle he wanted to drink and started crying.  He didn’t stop crying so I had to feed him before the plane took off/landed.  He had to suck on something while taking-off/landing for preventing earache and he doesn’t take dummies all the time (only when he is sleepy and tired), so I was bit worried that he might finish the milk before the air pressure changed.  He cried a little, but it was ok on both flight.

From these 2 flights I learnt some lessons and now I know what I should and shouldn’t bring to an airplane when flying with a baby.  I actually had lots of baggages – 4 big bags + a baby carrier –  and some of the things I brought weren’t necessary at all. Everything was in different bags and it was so messy and stressful when I needed something and couldn’t find where it was and in which bag.  So from now on, I will prepare the followings for carry-on luggage.  Especially when using bassinet seat you’ll only get a net on the all to store your things.

  • a pouch with 1 diaper, wet wipe, 1 disposable changing mat to put in a net in front of you … when you need to rush to toilet to change his diaper, you can just garb it and go.
  • a pouch with a pair of socks, dummies, moisturizer and 1 or 2 toys

I will also prepare 1 bag containing baby bottles with 180ml of sterilized water and measured formula.  I brought few empty baby bottles and an empty thermo bottle, and got hot water from a cafe inside airport to make formula, but it was hard to cool down the boiling water when Hiro wanted milk.  It just took too long.  I found that I could ask flight attendant to warm up the water on the plane, so I thought I should have divided the sterilized water in bottles in advance and ask them to warm up to desired temperature.  It is much easier and stressless.

I brought too many diapers to the airplane.  I just used 3 diapers during 2 flights, but there’re more than 10 diapers in my carry-on luggage!  I brought an electric pump (which can be used with batteries) so I could pump at airport and on the plane, but I just didn’t have time for it.  I did it once on the plane from Perth to Hong Kong, but it was bit messy and I had to worry about washing the pumps.  I brought microwave sterilizing bags, but didn’t use it on the plane and at airport either.

We arrived Kansai airport around 3:30m PM, and reached home around 6PM.  My dad, mum and bro came to airpot to pick us up in a big car (to fit extra parson).  Hiro was awake after 6PM feed, but slept from 9PM until 6AM next morning!  He must have been so tired.   But thanks to that, D and I could get a good sleep 🙂


Birthday Cake for 2nd Birthday Boy

Posted November 17th, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

When I was asked to make a birthday cake for my friend’s toddler, I wasn’t sure if I could do it at first.  It’s just less than 1 week away till I head to Japan, and I still had lots of things to do.  Packing, cleaning the room, laundry…  But I said “sure” because it’s his 2nd birthday party and I’d already bought a birthday present for him.

My friend wanted something simple – sponge, cream, and fresh fruits.  Just like Japanese cake.  I was little worried though, because the location of the party was at the park (BBQ party) and the forecast said it’d be raining!  If outside, there might be many flies too.  Because I use fresh cream, I thought it might be ruined if it’s windy and raining.

I finished making the cake anyway,

Now it’s the most scary part – delivering the cake!  It was a quite big one, so I had to put it in a big box.

When we arrived there, the sky was all white and grey.  I quickly showed the cake to my friend, and covered it to protect from the wind and flies.

There’re so many yummy foods – hotdog, grilled veggies, and some food made by Thai chef (our old friend)!  I especially loved a spicy prawn salad she made.  I must get the recipe!

She even brought a deep-frier for spring rolls.  She said that if she cooked it at home and brought there it won’t be crispy.  It’s true…

They all seemed to love my cake too.  I was relieved.  Although it started to be drizzly while enjoying BBQ, it was a lovely day. 🙂

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Theobroma Chocolate Lounge

Posted November 15th, 2011 in Eat out in Perth | No Comments »

As I wrote about it here, I went to Theobroma Chocolate Lounge in Waterford on the weekend to try out their sweets. 🙂

The place is well-decorated and I love the colour tone of chairs, walls, and lights.  Yap, all chocolate-like colours.  It was Saturday afternoon but there wasn’t too many people inside.

I actually had a cup of hot chocolate before going there (I didn’t know we’re going to a chocolate cafe!), so I didn’t feel like chocolate drink at the cafe (which was a shame).  I ordered a mug of latte, and D ordered white chocolate milk shake.

I must admit –  I didn’t expect them to serve such perfect coffee!  White chocolate milk shake was also delicious – I could taste real white chocolate, but not too heavy.

We shared a piece of cookie’ n cream cheese cake as well, and it was another hit.  Quite sweet, and creamy.  The cookies are soft and rather chewy.

As well as other sweet drinks and cakes, they also serve savory foods such as Turkish roll, bacon and egg roll, and quiche.

The staff was friendly too.  I will definitely come back there again 🙂