Food in Jakarta

Posted November 9th, 2009 in Eat out in Jakarta | No Comments »

<Bakmi Ayam>

We had bakmi (noodle soup) many times during this stay.  Bakmi is not really a special food, and people eat it quite often over there.  (it’s like “ramen” in Japan)  The photo is Bakmi Ayam (chicken noodle soup) at Grand Kelinci.


<Gado Gado>

We had this gad-gado at the food court in Kelapa Gading Mall.  It was supposed to be my snack, but the portion was pretty big and it came with rice. (you could chose either nasi (steamed rice) or lontong (sticky rice cubes)  I told the shop staff not to add too much chili, but it was quite spicy…


<Hainan and Roasted Chicken Rice>

My brother-in-low took us to Plaza Senayan (a mall in CBD area) and we had lunch at a Singapore restaurant there.  I had Hainan Chicken Rice, and brother-in-low had roasted chicken rice.

<Kwe Tiau>

At the Singapore restaurant my husband had stir-fried kwe tiau.


<Satay Ikan Bali>

I had this satay ikan Bali (Bali style fish satay dish) at a food court “Food Connection” in Kelapa Gading Mall.  The fish was spicy, and nicely crusted.  Very nice!


<Satay Ayam>

Satay is one of my favorite Indonesian side dish!  Satay actually can be a main meal when you order it with nasi (steamed rice) or lontong (sticky rice cubes).  My husband likes satay kambing (lamb satay) but I prefer satay ayam (chicken satay).

Wedding Party in Jakarta

Posted November 8th, 2009 in Jakarta | No Comments »


  We had our final wedding event here in  Jakarta, and I must tell you it was all  fun!!   Not the party itself, but I experienced many funny things on this day… :p

  Around 12 pm a hair&make-up stylist came to  the house.  I was the first one to get hair and  make-up done…  I don’t speak Indonesian, so  mother and sister-in-low and my husband are  all in my room to help me out in case I want     to say something to him (stylist).  

  Right after I sat down on a chair, suddenly he  started to rub ice cubes on  my face! … it was a shock, but I knew he was going to do some weird thing  to me!  Then I saw him cutting skin-colored tape into small pieces… I knew  it was for my eye lids.  I asked everyone in the room to tell him “don’t tape my eye lids so that my eyes look like Chinese!”   I had to watch every move he does.. otherwise I had no idea how my face  is going to turn out! (>0<)  I told everyone that I don’t really want to wear fake eyelashes, but he did it anyway…  Now, my face became something that I’d never be able to walk in Japan with.  Thick, shinny, big eyes and lips.  Oh my gosh, it sure is a once-in-a-life-time experience.

After my hair and make-up was done I had to wear a wedding dress, and video and camera clues started to interview us asking “how we met” “any words for parents” etc.  We didn’t know about this interview thing and didn’t prepare anything, so I wonder how the video is going to turn out..

By the way wedding dress was really really tight!!!  Yes I have put on weight! 🙁  I couldn’t breeze, but I had to wear it until 7pm – the party starts.  It was hot and humid, and the dress was heavy, tight, I was sweating…  it was really uncomfortable.  My husband and I got in a wedding car around 4:30pm to go to a Chinese restaurant -where the party will be held.  We had quick dinner with just family first there.  The food was wonderful, but I couldn’t eat much because of this stupid dress!!  

Soon a wedding planner arrived and told us what we had to do.  Walk slowly to the alter, cut fake wedding cake, feed cake to parents, pour champagne into a tower of glass etc etc…  I was like ‘ok ok’  I just wanted the things done quickly so that I could get out from this super tight dress.  Then, when we were practicing to cut a fake wedding cake, I noticed the cake knife was samurai sword..!!  Isn’t is supposed to be an elegant looking silver cake knife or something??  The knife we were holding was long and rusty samurai sword!  It was ridiculous..  Then I found a tarantula in a champagne glass.  Oh my gosh…  everyone started to panic , and it was all fun ! 🙂

The party finished around 10pm, and then I was finally free.

Jakarta Trip

Posted November 6th, 2009 in Eat out in Jakarta, Jakarta | 2 Comments »

This time, again, our trip to Jakarta ended up to be a shopping-trip …  There are many shopping malls in Jakarta, and we did shopping everyday except for the day of our wedding party.  The weather was good throughout our stay, so it was good.  

On the day we arrived Jakarta, we went to parents’ house to rest first, then headed to a mall called “Artha Gading”.  Now I regret going there because Artha Gading Mall has Daiso (Japanese 100 yen shop) inside and we shopped there A LOT…  Besides we just came back from Japan few weeks ago and have already bought a suitcase-full of 100 yen goods from Japan.  In Jakarta, the goods in Daiso are RP 22000 (about AUD$3.00)!  We promised to each other not to go there anymore during this trip :p

After one hour of shopping at Daiso, we took a cab to parents’ apartment room to take a shower.  The apartment is actually just few hundred meters away from Artha Gading, but we wouldn’t be able to walk there.. it’s Jakarta.  

There is another huge shopping mall called “MOI (Mall of Indonesia)” right in front of the apartment.  This mall is pretty new, it was still under construction last time we were in Jakarta.  MOI is an entertainment mall for family, so it’s got many kids attractions, rides, and game centres inside as well as individual shops , cafes and restaurants.  

After refreshing in the apartment, we went to Es Teller 77 in MOI to grab a bite.  We had shoumai Ikan (shoumai with fish) (you can see the photo of shoumai at Es Teller in here , 5th from the top in “Food” section on the right side) – shoumai here is very different from the one I know.  Very chewy, and eaten with peanut chili sauce and ketchup manis (sweet thick dark color sauce).  After a while, everyone gathered up to this mall and had dinner together at a Chinese restaurant.  

I really love food in Jakarta!  Very cheap, so many kinds, and delicious!!  I ate lots of Indonesian type of food during this trip, but I never get enough!

Hair Salon in Japan and Jakarta

Posted October 29th, 2009 in Jakarta | 2 Comments »

My hair is now getting messy again and need to get trimmed …  It’s shame that I didn’t have time to go to a hair salon while I was in Japan.  I think I need to color my hair soon too..  My hair is originally dark dark black, and not straight.  My mum used to cut my hair when I was little, and I always looked like I was wearing a black helmet :p  I don’t like my hair because it’s little wavy, and go messy if I don’t take care of it using treatment and hair wax.

I’m flying off to Jakarta sometime soon and I’m thinking if I should go to a hair salon there… but I doubt if they can do the job as I expect.  I mean, I can’t speak Indonesian and they normally don’t speak English, so it’s gonna be hard to communicate and tell them how I want my hair to be done.  

If I end up going to a salon, I will be with mother-in-law.  If she goes to a salon, she offer me to get “cream bath”.  … I think I wrote about it long time ago on this blog, but when I heard about this “cream bath” thing I thought it was something like a “special treatment”.  Then I found out that hair salons in Jakarta and Japan are pretty different.  :p  I was surprised when they used cold water for shampooing too!  It was a kind of culture shock…  

I think some foreign people will experience culture shock too when they visit Japan’s salon.  I mean, there are some weird hair salons across Japan.  One of them is “maid salon”, where all the staff wear costume of maid and serve you.  It is a kind of cos-pure (short term for costume-play in Japanese)  Some of the salons have a few different kinds of costumes, and their services don’t only limit on hair-cut but also nail care, heard spa, ear cleaning…  Of course they are targeting on male customers ( ? ) though customers are not allowed to take photos inside and touch the staffs.

Well, I heard that hair salons in Perth don’t normally do shampoo and hair-blow as a service (or include in their prices).  If so, do customers go home with hair all over their clothes?  Or with wet hair?   It’s just surprising to me that Japanese salon usually does shampooing and blow-dry as a part of the procedure.

Except for the surprise of cold water, hair salon in Jakarta was fun to me.  Once they spread “cream” on my head, 2~3 staff come over to me and start to massage my arms and shoulders.  Ummm writing about this makes me want to get the massage!  Yes I think I will go to a hair salon in Jakarta.  Not for a hair cut, but a massage perhaps :p

Ryokan -4-

Posted October 9th, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

We were awaked by delicious breakfast ♪

People may be surprised by the photo above – so many dishes in the morning!  But this is a typical Japanese breakfast.  Typical Japanese breakfast items include steamed rice, miso soup, tamago-yaki (square shaped seasoned omelet), grilled fish, pickles, etc.  The breakfast in this ryokan was gorgeous 🙂

On the second day we walked around famous Lake Kinrin-Ko area.  The name of the lake means “shining shinning scales of fish in the setting sun”.  … it was bit smaller than I thought, but I guess it’s because I’m from Shiga and I know how big the Lake Biwa (the biggest lake in Japan) is. :p

There are many souvenir shops around, as well as Hello Kitty shop…

We came back to ryokan around 3pm, then stayed in room.  Taking bath, relaxing … until dinner time!

This night we had …

grilled white fish with white miso sauce – assortment of eight dishes -cabbage roll – samma sashimi – local wagyu shabushabu – chargrilled crab legs and matsutake – okowa (sticky rice) with mountain vegetables – dessert.

We throughly enjoyed it!  So full…

Ryokan -3-

Posted October 7th, 2009 in Food, Japan | No Comments »

As well as Onsen, the food was also one of my interests on this ryokan.  My friend (who recommended me this place) told me that food here is very nice, and I know that she’s been to thousands of nice restaurants around the world so it must be good!

On the first day, after enjoying onsen we left our room and headed to the dining area in the different building.  Of course, wearing yukata. 🙂  There’re numbers of private dining rooms, and a kind staff led us to one of them.  The room got a wide window on the side and we could see forrest and river right in front of us.  Staff told me that they can see fireflies around June.  That means this area is still clean, because fireflies can’t live in dirty water area.

The dinner on first day:


clear soup – fugu sashimi – assortment of eight dishes – local wagyu on hot stone – seasoned matsutake rice with hot green tea – dessert

While enjoying dinner we had two surprise visitors.  Managing director of this ryokan, and the head chef came to our table to say hello to us.  They were very polite and told us that they are so happy to have us here.  We had nothing to say!  I mean, who would expect to see those people and listen to them thanking you.  We were overwhelmed… and I felt little embarrassed because they were wearing nice suits or itamae (Japanese chef) uniform, but I was wearing room yukata with dumped hair and non make-up face :p  Anyway, we sure felt great and again shocked by their king-and-queen treatment.  Do they do that to every customer, or is it just for us ??  I have no idea…

After dinner staff told us that there’re complementary cocktails and sweets for us at a bar in downstairs.  The view from the bar was also stunning…

Ryokan -2-

Posted October 2nd, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

It was a drizzling day in Osaka. It sure wasn’t like summer anymore. We took a domestic flight from Osaka to Fukuoka, the biggest city in Kyushu island. The plane was kinda small, but packed with people. It took 1.5 hours to get to the destination. After we arrived in Fukuoka airport, we took a highway bus to Yufuin city – where the ryokan is -. It took around 2 hours.

I know, it was a long trip. We had to catch a plane and a bus to just get to this hotel, but this Yufuin city is very famous for its natural hot spring and I’ve been always wanted to go there. This long-distance-trip is not a thing we can do anytime, and I didn’t know whether I’ll ever have a chance going there if I miss this opportunity. That’s why I decided to use this “special occasion” to go to this Onsen city.

By the way, transport fee is very expensive in Japan. Before flying to Japan I searched on internet if there’re any good deals or sale fares in Japanese air companies (ANA or JAL), bus companies and shinkansen (bullet train). I compared prices and found a cheapest way to go to Yufuin from Osaka. On the way we took a plane and bus, and on the way back we took bus and shinkansen. Transport companies sometimes do limited-time-only campaigns and sale fares, so if you are thinking traveling around Japan I recommend you to browse their sites in advance. I booked our tickets and paid few months before this trip and I could save more than AUD$300.00.

Kyushu island consists of 7 prefectures, and Yufuin city is in Oita pref: top right on the map. Around this area there’re lots of sources of hot springs, therefore there’re many ryokans featuring natural hot springs. Unfortunately we could only stay in Yufuin for 2 nights because of our schedule.

As soon as we arrived the ryokan, we were SPEECHLESS. This ryokan is located in the middle of mountains.. lots of trees, rivers and very quiet as if it was an another world. SO BEAUTIFUL. And, we’re very surprised by staffs – super polite yet kind and friendly. They bowed every time they saw us and treat us like a king and a queen! :p This is Japan.

It took about 5 mins from lobby to our room. We crossed a bridge, passed many stirs… and here it was. At a glance, our room looked like a traditional Japanese house. We opened the sliding door with a key, then took off our shoes and went inside. There are 2 rooms- living room and sleeping room- and the floor was of course tataki-matted. There is a beautiful garden and one private open air onsen. (roten-buro) Yet the toilet was modern. :p

Staff brought us freshly made maccha green tea and Japanese tea snack. It was already 5pm so we could listen to Autumn insects singing… As our dinner booking time was 6:30pm, we took bath in roten-buro in the garden. The air was cool and it was so relaxing. After that we changed to yukata and lay down on wooden floor on engawa until dinner time…

Ryokan -1-

Posted October 1st, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

While staying in Japan my husband and I went on a little trip to Kyushu island, southernmost of the 4 main islands of Japan. It was actually my first time going to this island. The purpose of going to Kyushu was, the famous Onsen. I was dying to go to Onsen because I’m Japanese, but hadn’t taken proper bath for long long time… (Japanese people take bath everyday) And, I had been to Onsen just few times in my life, so I wanted to go on Onsen trip with my husband together.

I asked one of my friend -an Onsen Somurie (expert)- which Onsen we should go to. It was kind a special occasion for us (just married) and there are thousands of good Onsen around Japan. She recommended me an Onsen ryokan in Yufuin, in Ooita prefecture in Kyushu island. Ryokan is a term for a Japanese style hotel, and usually features tatami-matted rooms, sleep on futon on the tatami floor, and has everything you can imagine of “Japan”. Guests wear yukata (Japanese casual summer wear /after-bath wear) and walk around public area. Usually staying in a ryokan is more expensive than staying in a normal hotel.

Yufuin is one of famous Onsen area in Japan, and I had seen many tv programs featuring this area on tv before (like “Postcard WA” type of tv show). A ryokan my friend recommended me is called “Gettouan”, and I decided to stay there as our petit honeymoon. Because it was a special occasion, I booked a room in their annex with Honeymoon Plan. The annex is separated from its main building and we had to walk through a bridge – the view and atmosphere was magnificent!!! Sooo beautiful.

Our room – like a house – had a beautiful garden with natural mountains and river in background (of course the garden was surrounded with wooden wall for privacy), with private bathroom where we can enjoy Onsen (natural hot spa) by ourselves. Everything around this building is made un-artificial (eg: no concrete walls, no electric wires ) and I felt like I was back in samurai era!

I will write about the room, staff and food in another post. Staying in this ryokan was like a “dream” and took all my stress away!

Souvenir from Japan Sep/09

Posted September 28th, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

Here are some of the souvenirs I bought from Japan trip.

Most of them are junks from 100 yen shop. :p  In the photo, the two banana cases, pink square kitchen timer, frog looking silicon pinch, yellow shower head are from Seria – one of 100yen shop in Japan.  I actually prefer Seria to Daiso now because the products in Seria are nicer and stylish.  And Daiso sells not only 100 yen products but also 200 yen ~ 500 yen products in the shop, so it’s bit confusing…  although I bought a tea pot from Daiso for 300 yen and it was a good shopping.

The green bean looking toy and white & black square things are from local electric shop near my house.   The green bean toy is called “Puni Puni Edamame” – Electric Popping Soybean Pod Keychain.  It’s just a funny stuff…  The white & black “Human Player” is a toy that you answer 50 questions on the initial setup and create another “you”, then you can watch what another you is doing on the screen anytime.  You can also create other people like your friends or family and play games too.  The personality of another you is made based on your answers.  I bought it because it’s cheap: retail price was about 3600 yen but the shop was selling it at 300 yen!  

The round looking white machines are from Yodobashi Umeda (I wrote about this shop in my previous post).  The one in the box is “Aqua Rain”, a floating fountain with prismatic color light and quiet sound of waterfalls.  The another machine next to it is “Relaxing Spa Light”, a floating mood light with 4 different nature sounds (river, insect, bird and wave).

  Those type of machines are for Japanese people who take bath every night.  We bought them just to remember Japan, even though we hardly take bath in Perth. :p

I just love shopping in Japan.  Every time I go back, there are always something new and they are not that expensive.  In the shops I saw more interesting toys such as Bowlingual Voice – a machine which translates dog’s bowwow into message, Home Star – a home planetarium machine which projects beautiful stars on your ceiling, and you can also chose which day’s stars to be projected: eg 21/Sep/08. etc etc.

If you like these gadgets it’d be fun to just look for some “treasures” in electric shops in Japan.

September Food in Japan

Posted September 25th, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

Bi-Bim-Ba and Yakiniku at local Yakiniku-Ya (restaurant)

September is the beginning of Autumn in Japan, but I was expecting the climate to be hot as I had been told from my family and friends that it was still hot and humid around the end of August.  However, it seems that air temperature dropped very quickly: the climate was like Autumn by the time we arrived Japan.  My dad told me that it was raining everyday until the end of August, then became very hot and humid, but the air started to cool down after few days.  So basically they had summer for just one week :p  

Luckily lots of Autumn food ware already in the shops while we were there.  Nashi pears, grapes, sweet potatoes, maron (chest nuts)…  Lots of Japanese snacks and sweets had their “Autumn flavor” such as sweet potato danish and maron ice cream.  Convenience stores were selling oden already too.

I saw few shops in Kyoto and Shiga that sells white-Taiyaki.  (fish shaped cake with fillings)  Usually taiyaki is just normal pancake-like color, but someone decided to make it in white color for some reason and it became popular.  I’m sure the taste will be same as normal taiyaki though… 


And, after a boom of super sized food (eg: GIGA Pudding , Quarter-pounder Burger etc  ) in Japan, there seemed to be an another new boom this time : petit food (small size food).  In department stores, supermarkets and on tv, I saw shops selling petit taiyaki, petit donuts, and petit gyu-don (beef bowl).  Japanese people sure like new stuff.. :p


At home I could enjoy some Autumn food: grilled samma (saury), kuri-gohan (steamed rice with chestnuts) etc.   So delicious … !  Outside, the wind was slightly cool and we could hear Autumn insects singing at the garden at night.  Relaxing in the living room with my family, listening to the sound of Autumn and eating nashi pears .. it was exactly how I wanted to spend a time in Japan! 🙂

1 day in Kyoto

Posted September 23rd, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

I was actually excited to go to Kyoto as I knew that in-laws will love seeing Japanese temples/shrines, but it was a tiring day… (>0<)

We arrived JR Kyoto station around 11 am.  Kyoto station is just 3 stops away from Osaka station.  Because we only had one day to explore Kyoto (tight schedule!), I was just going to take them to Shijo-Kawaramachi and Gion area.  Then they told me that they want to go to see To-ji temple, which is just near the Kyoto station, so we all headed to the temple on foot.  According to the map To-ji temple is just across the street, but it actually took 30mins to get there.  It was very sunny day in Kyoto and sunlight was pretty strong :p  My head was burning~… should had brought a hut.

To-ji temple consists of several buildings, and each buildings has several buddha statues- most of them are Japan’s national treasures – inside.  The picture above is Goju-no-tou (five level tower), the tallest wooden structure in Japan.  It’s 55m tall, rebuilt in 1644.

Beautiful garden…

Then we headed to the nearest subway station to go to Shijo-Kawaramachi and Gion.  Map showed there’s a subway station with Shijo line near-by, and it directly takes you to Shijo station.  We walked, and walked…  and in the end we walked for about 50 mins!!  … No joking. (T_T)  We were exhausted by the time we arrived the subway station.  The map was small, so everything around the area was shown as if they’re gathered up in one area.  Hmm

Finally, away from the sunbeam, we sat down on chairs in subway plat home.  We took a subway to Shijo-Kawaramachi.  Everyone was hungry, it was already 1pm (!), so I tried to find a place to eat.  They wanted to try Mos Burgers’ teriyaki burger and rice burger, so we AGAIN walked to the nearest Mos Burgers.  … it took about 30 mins on foot. (T_T)  We were all exhausted and sweating.  Plus, unfortunately it was lunch time, so the Mos Burgers was packed with people 🙁  We had to Q, then wait for our seats.

After lunch we walked around Shijo and Gion area.  Everyone bought many souvenirs there. 🙂   And, we had a quick visit at Yasaka Shrine.

Then, finally, we decided to take taxis.  We couldn’t even take another step; our feet were seriously damaged! (*_*)  After arriving JR Kyoto station in-laws went back to Osaka, and my hubby and I went back to Shiga. (opposite direction)

It was a super tiring day for everyone… walking around for hours under the sun.  I knew I wasn’t going to be a good guide! (>o<)  But at least everyone seemed to enjoy Kyoto, so it’s ok. :p

6 days in Osaka

Posted September 22nd, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

We stayed 5 nights at Osaka Hilton.  Osaka Hilton is located in front of JR Osaka train station, and this area is called “Umeda”.  Umeda, the north centre of Osaka, is the urban transport network centre of Kyoto-Kobe-Osaka region.  You can catch trains of JR line, Hankyu line, Hanshin line, and subway & buses etc from Umeda.  There are lots of office buildings as well as department stores, restaurants and other shops.  And, Umeda has the biggest underground complex among other cities in Japan.  We couldn’t walk through this complex even though we had 6 days there.

The main thing we did in Umeda was shopping.  Yodobashi Umeda and HEP FIVE area are the places I usually go to.  Yodobashi Umeda building mainly consists of Comme Ca Store, Yodobashi Camera and cafes&restaurants.  There are also some other shops inside including clothes shops and gazette shops.  On each floor between 1F~6F the half space is Yodobashi Camera shop where huge range of electric related products are available.  I found many cool stuff there, including egg shaped digital photo flame (cute!), waterproof portable 1seg tv/radio and auto-cleaning robot.  Each floor sells different kind of products (eg: 1F = mobiles and beauty related products, 5F = toys, games and DVD) and there are huge varieties!  Even in “rice cooker” section there are 20~40 rice cookers to chose from…  I can spend a day there.

I bought a hair iron from Yodobashi camera, and clothes and zakka (gazette) stuff from UNIQLO and some individual shops.  During shopping we had a quick break at Yami Yogurt: frozen yogurt (ice creamy yogurt) shop on the 7th floor.  I actually thought Golden Spoon was much better.  Yami Yogurt had only one flavor, vanilla, and it tasted bit too sugary and sour.  At least Golden spoon has 8~12 flavors to chose from.

This time I didn’t buy anything from HEP FIVE as I had no time to walk through each floor this time.  (I had nothing to buy from there this time anyway.)  Because the ferris wheel on the top floor was under repair while I was in Umeda, and all the illumination was off, we couldn’t see where the HEP FIVE was from Yodobashi.  (I usually use the ferris wheel to get direction)  I was a terrible guide! :p

The room in Osaka Hilton was cozy.  I loved the sliding window cover made with wood and paper (Japanese thing).  I’ve stayed in four different Hilton hotels in this trip (Hilton Perth, Singapore Hilton on Orchard street, Conrad Hotel in Singapore, and Osaka Hilton), and this sliding door is the thing that was different from other Hilton hotels.  My house in Shiga has these paper sliding doors and window covers as well, and my hubby is saying that he really wants to have these in Perth.  I also want to have some Japanese-looking rooms or spaces in our house in Perth, but I guess it’s gonna happen only when we buy our own house here :p  We can’t modify his parents’ house just for ourselves!  Umm I really really want to have our own house now..

24 hours in Singapore

Posted September 17th, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

We had 24 hours to transit in Singapore, so we booked our rooms in Hilton hotel so that we can take a rest before arriving Japan and also have a little shopping there.  It was actually my first time to go out of Singapore airport.  Now Singapore is the 3rd country that I’ve been to!  (1st: Australia, 2nd: Indonesia)

Oh my gosh, Singapore is very humid…  I was wearing tight jeans, and it was so hot :p  I should had worn short pants or something…  And, I was wearing mule with heel, so my foot got tired after walking around Orchard street.  Silly me, why I chose to wear this mule..  The first thing I bought in Singapore was a pair of flat sandals.  (><)

I knew that our first day in Japan will be a very tiring day as we need to travel around, so I had a deep sleep!  Then we went out to have dinner in the food court in Takashimaya department store.



We had chicken rice, rojak, prawn & spare rib noodle soup, laksa, ice kachang, chandol, green tea egg tart, and taro potato bread.  Parents were having some food, I don’t remember..  It was good, I love Asian food 🙂 and we won’t be able to eat these type of food in Japan anyway.

At midnight we took a plane and headed to KIX (Kansai airport) in Japan.

Fremantle Chocolate Factory

Posted August 26th, 2009 in Perth WA | 1 Comment »

When my partner and I were riding around Fremantle the other day, we decided to drop by this factory and have a look around.  Although this place opens 7 days a week, and has been advertising on one of Japanese news magazines in Perth, it was my first time going there.  

While we were parking our vespa, I saw few Japanese people (I could tell!) going towards this factory.   Hmm seems that the advertising on the Japanese magazine is really effective, otherwise this place is hard to be found and no one would realize there is a chocolate factory in Fremantle – especially tourists. (‘x’)

As we entered the factory I saw Japanese news magazines on a rack, and a sign board on the wall written in Japanese!  Wow lots of Japanese people must come here often.

They sell chocolate with a wide variety of flavors, and the packaging has a logo of “Chocolate Factory Fremantle”, so they make great souvenirs.  There are free tasting chocolate (milk, dark and white), and I tasted white chocolate buttons.  They are pretty sweet.

What I found interesting is that they also sells some molded chocolate : shaped into some animals, gift basket etc.  I thought they are really cute, and I almost bought a treasure box shaped chocolate.  Then I realized “wait, who am I gonna give this to??  I can’t bring it to Japan as it might melt (as it is hot in Japan), and partner’s parents can’t have lots of sugar.”  It would be a good gift if you have someone who loves chocolate.

They also sell some handmade fudge delivered from Margaret River Fudge Factory as well as Morish Nuts products.

You can see inside of factory through windows.


Fremantle Chocolate Factory
312 South Terrace (cnr Lefroy St) South Fremantle WA 6162
08 9335 5529

Food from Jakarta and Japan’s mobiles

Posted July 22nd, 2009 in Food, Japan, Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

I try not to buy and keep lots of snacks/sweets at home otherwise I can’t control myself from eating all the time, but now my house is full of food as in-laws recently got back from Jakarta and brought so many things with them.  Sometimes I admire them for bringing so much food into this super strict country (Australia).  They just know what food can and can not to be brought into Australia very well.

One of the things they always bring here is Holland Bakery bread.  It seems that this Holland Bakery is a pretty big franchise in Indonesia.  While I was in Jakarta last time, I went to one of their shops and chose few bread from the show case.  The place looked pretty nice.  In-laws usually bring 3 boxes of Holland Bakery bread (about 10 bread / each box) here, so we have plenty …
Other things they bring here are salted nuts, cassava chips, some instant noodles, sambal, some sauces, seasoning packets, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Rotiboy bread.  Now you can imagine how big the ratio of food is in their luggage …  Sometimes 2 large carbon boxes are filled with food and one box is even bigger than their suitcase :p
I concern about my weight… but it’s always nice when someone bring something for you.
By the way..
As my plan for Japan trip is almost done, the biggest concern is yet still not solved.. mobile phone.  It’s a problem if we don’t have a mobile in Japan… what if we get lost somewhere?  or want to ask my brother to pick us up from a train station?  It’s hard to find a public phone in Japan there days…
Even though Japanese mobiles are known as very high-tech and you can do so many things with it such as internet, email, paying goods, using as boarding passes and even body-fat calculators, you can’t use it in other countries.
I read this article “Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global on The New York Times, if you are interested in this matter.
Anyway, we may have to rent mobiles or buy pre-paid type mobiles there.  Or, try to survive without them…


Posted July 19th, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Shiga is a prefecture located in the centre of the main island in Japan.  …and also, my hometown!  Prefecture means something like “suburb” “state” “county” … few people didn’t understand what “prefecture” means when I was talking about Japan, so just in case.

Shiga is not a large city, and there are lots of mountains and rice field.  so, it has a typical country side landscape.  In fact some area in Shiga is really rustic and you can see nothing but mountains.  In Japanese, we call this type of place as “inaka”.

My house is near mountains and rice fields as well, but fortunately I was more into “city side” and often went out to Kyoto/Osaka side, so I didn’t really feel like I was living in a mountain :p  That’s the thing I like about Shiga.  One side has a totally “inaka” environment, and other has a city environment.  I’m not talking about big city like Osaka or Tokyo of course, but the size of city in Shiga is just right, and it’s quite similar to Perth actually.  Wide road, nice view, not too busy…  In fact, Kusatsu-city, near the capital city of Shiga (capital city is Otsu-city) was voted as “the most livable city in Japan” few years ago.  So was Nagahama-city, which is just above Hikone-city in Shiga.

(you can see some photos I took on my last trip here.  Just scroll down to the bottom.  Also this is the photos I took near my house in 2003)

For people who might have an interest in visiting this place, I’ve listed up a few things what people can do in this prefecture ↓↓↓


The biggest lake, and one of the world’s most ancient lakes in Japan, Biwako Lake is in Shiga prefecture.  Biwako Lake is a very famous fishing spot and people from other prefectures and even from other countries visit Biwako Lake every year.  Some people might have heard this news but a 10.12kg, 73.5 cm bass was caught on the 2nd of July this year (just few weeks ago) by Manabu Kurita, a pro staffer representing Deps Tackle Co. in Japan.  Wow…   I used to swim in the lake when I was a kid!  I’m really happy that I didn’t see something like this huge fish in the water then.  Besides black basses, you can fish bluegills, sweetfishes, carps (koi) etc…  My grandpa liked fishing and I ate lots of fish (including koi) back then at home.

<Biwako Cruise>

“Michigan” cruise is one of most popular entertainment of Biwako Lake.  “Michigan” is a name of this ferry and it’s got 2~3 stories.  I’ve been on this ferry when I was little and remember enjoying popcorn and entertainment on the deck while feeling refreshing breeze.  Cruise leaves from Otsu Port, goes up north to Biwako Lake Bridge and returns back.

<Rowboat Tour>

This tour is a famous tourist attraction in Ohmihachiman-city.  The lord Toyotomi Hidetugu, about 400 years ago, was the first one who toured through the canals following a sail of royal people. Take a roofed 6-seater rowboat through winding canals running into Biwako Lake. You can enjoy seasonal changes in the scenery of Omihachiman.

<Biwako Lake Museum>

This museum is in Kusatsu-city (my grandma lives there).  I’m not really a museum person but I like going there!  There are various exhibits showing : how to think of environmental issues, how Biwako Lake was formed, the history of relationship between the lake and the people… but also lots of fish that live in Biwako Lake.  It’s like an aquarium, really.  You can see various kinds of fresh water fish and animals including turtles, ducks, deep-sea (lake?) fish and fresh water sharks.  You can experience some activities too, so it may be a good place for kids to explore.  You can see some of exhibits closely and touch some of them directly.  Videos and PC software are available for public perusal, and you can look at some specimens through the microscope at one of the galleries.  Very interesting to see how Japanese people lived in decades ago.

<Biwako Valley>

The nearest ski ground from Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe area.  .Most courses are designed for beginners and intermediates.  During the off-season, it’s also fun to explore the mountain, riding in a 120-seater ropeway car, looking for animals and flowers. I used to go there every winter while I was in elementary school for skiing.  (one of school activity)

<Ishiyama-dera Temple>

Ishiyama-dera Temple is one of the most famous holy places for Goddess of Mercy as well as Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto and Hasedera Temple in Nara.  Ishiyama-dera Temple was often described in ancient literary works such as “Suzumushi Nikki” “Sarashina Nikki” and “Makura-no-Soshi”  It has been said that Murasaki-shikibu conceived an idea for “Tale of Genji – Genji Monogatari” while she stayed at Ishiyama-dera Temple.  The temple is also known as one of views in Omi -Genji Monogatari.  Very historical place!  My high school was just near this temple.

<Hiyoshi Grand Shrine>

Hiyoshi Grand Shrine, also known as Sanno Gongen, is the head temple of Hiyoshi sect of Shinto.  Various beautiful shrines remain on the premise, such as a national treasure Higashi Hon-to and Nishi Hon-to.  Hiyoshi Osanbashi Bridge is said to be the oldest stone bridge in Japan. It is designated as an important cultural property.  Gorgeous Hiyoshi Toshogu Shrine is about 300M south from Hiyoshi Grand Shrine.  Hiyoshi Toshogu Shrine decorated with colorfully painted carvings has kept its original shape since early Edo period!

<Old Chikurin In Garden>

This is in Otsu-sity, the capital of Shiga prefecture.  The garden of Chikurin In Temple (one of the most respected temples among Enryakuji Temple) sits at the foot of Mt. Hachioji and clear water of Omiya River runs into the winding creek.  Two teahouses and a waiting room built during Tensho period (1573-1592) are designated as cultural properties by Otsu-city.  Visitors can enjoy a serving of green tea in the hall where the beautiful garden can be seen throughout the year.

Pizza around the world

Posted July 14th, 2009 in Food, Ume's Interests | No Comments »
I believe pizza is one of everyone’s favorite food.  I like crusty base with lots of toppings.  Meaty one is not really my favorite, but with something like avocado, olives and seafood really hit my appetite.
In Japan, pizzas are quite expensive.  Usually one large size pizza is about 2000 ~ 4000 yen (about AUD$20.00 ~ 45.00).  It’s quite expensive when considering the price of pizzas here in Perth ; especially cheap Tuesday $5.90 deals at Eagle Boys / Domino and $5.00 everyday deals at Pizza Hat.
It seems that different countries have different flavors of pizzas.  It might be interesting to enjoy its speciality pizza while traveling around different countries. :p
 Aussie Bacon&Egg (Australia)                        Panner EL Rancho (India)
    Australia                              India 
    Tuna Mayo (Japan)                                     Black Pepper Chicken (Singapore)
     Pulu Kogi (Korea)                                      Teriyaki Chicken (Japan)
   Curry Chicken (Singapore)                         Chicken Caesar Salad (Japan)
  Obama Pizza (Indonesia)                             Americana (Italy)
Obama pizza sounds interesting – based with rendan sauce (= Indonesian dish made from spices and coconuts eg: Beef Rengang Curry)
but I’m still attracted by pizza menu from Japan..  is it because I’m Japanese??  There are lots of unique flavors… Pizza Hut -Jp  Domino Pizza -jp  PIZZA-LA -Jp

Tea Party

Posted June 28th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

Today one of my friend came over to my house.  We’ve been friends since we were students at one of English school in Perth.  She just got married with her long time boyfriend who is also from the same school, and they are having a baby!  I’m soooo happy for them.

When they called me up I was so excited and I started making some cream puff (in Japan we call them “choux cream”) using ready-to-make mixture and welcomed them.

They looked so happy, and told me that they just bought a land and building a new house.  This year, 90% of my friends who live here bought houses!  And, 4 people (including myself) is getting married (or already married) this year, and two of them are having babies!  What’s with 2009…?  Happy-rush??

I’ve been also thinking to buy a house, actually.  But I can’t make up my mind as somewhere in head my I’m still thinking to go back to Japan.  Buying a house is a big decision and a big shopping.  I’m not sure I’m ready to settle myself in this country and pay the loan for another OO years…

Anyway I think I’m spending huge amount of money this year…  for my wedding, trip to Japan/Jakarta, housewarming party, wedding gifts, baby gifts etc…

My brother and I are also planning a trip to Las Vegas with my dad as he is turning to 60 next year.  Being 60 is a pretty big occasion in Japan, and usually people stop working and start enjoying their life by receiving superannuation.  I remember my dad saying that he wants to go to casino in Las Vegas, so I really wanna take him there to cereblare.  He, as a normal Japanese man, is a hard-worker and I respect him a lot.  Actually he told me that he still wants to work even after his 60th birthday, and he already got a job for next year after retiring his current job at city hall.  … he sure likes working!  He also takes care of our rice fields too :p  That’s a man who I know as my dad.  Muscular! I don’t know if we can really go on the trip to LV as he desided to continue working, but I wish someday…


Posted June 24th, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

As my home is in Kansai area, I often go to Kyoto and Osaka while I’m in Japan.  It’s about 1 hour away from my house, and just 10 minutes away from my grandma’s house to go to Kyoto by train.  You can drink and eat in the train in Japan, so it’s kind of like a picnic to me.
There are many vending machines, small food court and convenience stores inside of train stations so you can just grab some hot coffee and snack and enjoy it on the train.  Oh, you can only relax if you are sitting down in the train, by the way.  Usually train get crowded around Kyoto station, and you can’t find any seat.  Then, you will have to stand up whole trip and it will be a tiring, sleepy, boring trip.

Kyoto is one of my favorite cities in Japan.  I always recommend it to my foreign friends who want to visit Japan.  Kyoto has long history and you can enjoy visiting historical places and enjoy beautiful views.  Kyoto is famous for its healthy food too.
To me, however, I was born in Japan and always surrounded by those things, so I didn’t really have any interests in visiting historical places while I was young.  I mostly went to Kyoto for shopping and
visiting popular restaurants/cafes.  Now, things changed and I like visiting old temples/shrines on my homecomings.

People I met in Kyoto

2 years ago, I was staying in Japan for few months and one of my friend (from Czechoslovakia) visited Japan.  He asked me to show around Kyoto to him, so we met in front of Kyoto train station and headed to Ume’s Kyoto tour.  … Actually, I didn’t really know where the famous tourist destinations and how to get there :p   So, we went to tourist information concierge desk (which is located on the first floor in Kyoto train station) This place was a helper!  They know everything about Kyoto:  transport, bus/train/subway timetable, nice restaurants, historical buildings, etc etc.  And, they gave us a map written in English.  They also had maps in Korean, Chinese, French etc.
Then, we followed the map and visited lots of famous places in Kyoto.  We didn’t take any bus or subway from the start point.  We could just walk all the way.  …  We really walked a lot!!   but it was very nice trip.  We had delicious food, visited inside of famous temples, and took lots of photos.  One day wasn’t enough, actually.

The area I went with this friend was just a part of Kyoto.  There are more places that you can enjoy in Kyoto.

On this Sep, I’m planning to take my in-laws to Kyoto.  They requested me that they want to see “Japanese” things, so I’m planning to take them to Gion, Kawara-machi and Arashiyama.  We only have one day to spend in Kyoto, so I don’t think we can go other cities.

Gion and Kawaramachi is close and you can walk.  There are things you can do&see between (eg: cafes, restaurants, department stores, Geisha town, game centre, theatre etc) so you won’t get bored.  There is a famous river called Kamo-gawa River in Kawara-machi, and there’re very very nice (and expensive :p) restaurants on the river.  Because the restaurants are on the river, it’s quite cool even in summer, and you can enjoy delicious food while listening to the sound of water in quiet surroundings.  You will forget that you are in middle of Kyoto!

Although the distance between Gion and Kawara-machi is not that long, some people may feel it’s a very long walk.  I prefer walking though, as I can look around things closely and also save some transport fee. 🙂

Arashiyama is a very popular tourist destination. You will need to take a bus, subway or taxi to get there.  The scenery is beautiful, and whole town is quiet.  River and tree, but it’s not like a country side.  You can experience things that you imagine about Japan: experiencing traditional Japanese tea ceremony, wear kimono (Japanese traditional dress) and walk around bamboo forest, eating very traditional and expensive Japanese food (called “Kaiseki Ryori”) etc.  I think my in-laws will love to see this bamboo forest.  This place is  so beautiful!

3 months to go

Posted June 7th, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

I can’t believe… it’s already June!  Time passes really quick…

Even though my wedding and trip to Japan is just 3 months away, I haven’t prepared everything yet .. :p  I haven’t paid for my dress, I haven’t chosen flowers (bouquet etc), I haven’t even gone shopping for groom’s wedding ring.  Oh, I need to look for shoes and vail too.

Whole wedding thing is totally new to me (of course) and I don’t know what to start with.  Besides, I’m not a wedding person, so I don’t really know any procedure.  In Japan everything (dress, make-up, cake, flower, photos etc) can be prepared in one place (hotels, restaurants, wedding parks etc) and I wouldn’t need to look for each role individually (flower from this place, photographer from here, etc etc)  Very difficult, I really wanted it to be simple :p  Well, this is what groom’s side family wants, so I gotta do it.

First, I was so surprised how expensive everything can be!  Well, I don’t do any reception or party here (just church ceremony) but still it costs more than I expected.  I simply wanted just a place to get married and dress.  Umm I actually didn’t care about wearing dress either, as long as the cloth is white.  I, however, would love to wear a tiara (cute one).  

Since it’s already June and I only have 3 months to get ready for church ceremony and Japan trip, I need to start thinking about what to bring to Japan too.  My wedding is on Saturday and we are flying to Japan on Tuesday midnight.  I am working on Monday, so I need everything to be packed and ready to go to airport by Sunday night.  Ok, I need to make plan for that…

By the way, every time I go back to Japan I end up spending a lot.  So many nice things to buy and eat in Japan!  This time is going to be same…

Early Morning…

Posted May 2nd, 2009 in Food, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Today I woke up very early. (4am!)  I went to bed early last night, so I think that’s the reason…

I’ve been having thought about my family, my future etc lately.  It’s not about serious matters though, I just like to think and daydream about things.  I got tickets to Japan and am so excited to go home in September, but at the same time I’m thinking “can I not come back to Perth and live in Japan?”  Every time I fly home, I can only stay there for up to 2 weeks 🙁  I know I can’t do anything about it because it’s my company’s policy: “we can only take annual leaves up to 10 days at a time”.  I don’t wanna risk losing my job (yet), but for me, there is no enough time to spend with my family on my every homecoming.

I came to Perth in 2003 as a student.  I was going to study English for just 1 year here, and move to some other city or country to study something else.  But things changed and I decided to stay in Perth.  It was my decision and I definitely don’t regret that,  (Perth is beautiful place to live) but I think my family didn’t expect me staying in Perth for the rest of my life!  They thought I was coming back home after 1 year.  Now, since then, I can only go home once a year for just 2 weeks.  I miss them and I know they miss me too.  I really think that I need to be with my family longer than 2 weeks and talk about stuff, like “what I’m going to do” and “where I’m going to live” etc.  I couldn’t say good-bye to my grandpa when he passed away (I was in Perth) and it really break my heart 🙁

Anyway, I just want to plan things and try to spend more time at home, especially with my grandma 🙂

This morning I went walking around my house.  It was very cold!  I think winter is just around the corner already.  So fast…

I had nice breakfast: plain bagel with cream cheese and freshly brewed coffee!  Since I bought a coffee machine I feel that I drink too much coffee :p  but I love it.

Photos from Australia

Posted April 22nd, 2009 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

This is a photo blog by a Japanese who travels around Australia.  The photos on this blog are truly beautiful and take my breath away!  These images are exactly what I imagine of Australia before I came here.  Lots of nature, lots of wildlife…  This guy captured the moment of natural beauty!

And more at here!

The title of this blog “Image to Kotoba” = “Images and Words”.  Words are written in Japanese, but I’m sure that anyone can feel the moment of each scene.

Japanese Sommelier

Posted March 27th, 2009 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Since in-laws are back in Perth, I haven’t been cooking at all at home :p  Kind of nice, I just eat whatever she cooks.  But, I’m actually fussy about food:  fussy in nutrition, not in taste :p  I eat anything, but prefer healthy food.  Lots of vegetables, not oily, light food is the best! – like Japanese food…  On the other hand, she always cooks food with oil.  Deep-fry, most of the time.  I can’t eat them everyday…  make me feel not good (><)

Well, I can’t complain, I know.  She is cooking for us.  So, I keep fresh vegetables in the fridge for myself to eat with her food everyday.  

… anyway,

Change of subject.  

Do you know what “sommelier” is?  “sommelier” means trained and knowledgeable wine professional.  So, it originally supposed to be pointing at “wine person”, however there are many unique professional people called “sommelier” in Japan.

Cheese sommelier, Liquor sommelier should be common in other countries too ( I think), but there are knife sommelier, herb sommelier, rice sommelier, air sommelier, vegetable sommelier, etc… in Japan.  Recently I was surprised when one of my friend sent an email saying “hey I got a certificate for Onsen sommelier”. 

Onsen means “hot spring spa” in Japan.  I didn’t know there is such an occupation for being a professional about hot spring!  She passed the exam to be Onsen sommelier, so she must know lots of nice Onsen in Japan.  I will definitely ask her for recommendation!  I really want to go to nice Onsen in Japan.

Ume in Perth

Posted March 18th, 2009 in Japan, Perth WA, Ume's Interests | 4 Comments »

People get surprised when I tell them this, but I have never been outside of Western Australia.  I’ve been living in Australia for almost 6 years, but never been to Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast etc…  I originally love traveling, but I guess I haven’t had chance to go anywhere.  It’s surprising to me too actually, I really think I should explore outside of WA sometime soon!

More surprising thing is, I don’t even leave Perth Metropolitan area often.  Plus I’ve never been to popular tourist destinations even around WA such as Monkey MIa, Wave Rock, Ayres (Airs) Rock, Albany etc.  The places I’ve been since I came to Perth are Swan Valley, Rottnest Island, Margaret River, Pemberton, Busselton and Bunbury.  Wow..

So, I’m planning to travel somewhere this year if I can.  Does anyone have recommendation where I should go?  I’m thinking maybe Melbourne… or Gold Coast.  Melbourne, I have a friend over there and I can visit her.  Or go to Gold Coast and pretend like I’m an ordinal Japanese tourist who just flew from Kansai airport :p

By the way I’m actually going back to Japan around September (as I promised my grandma on my previous homecoming), so the trip within Australia might going to happen next year.  If I had a chance to fly to Japan I prefer it to anywhere else.  This time the Japan trip will be a different one as I’m planning traveling around Japan and stay at Ryokan (Japanese style hotel) with Onsen (natural hot spring)  (our pre-honeymoon :))  I can’t wait!  Traveling really eases my tension and stress.

(photo from lonelyplanet)


Posted January 28th, 2009 in Jakarta, Japan | No Comments »

I’ve already mentioned on my last post that I had a huge culture shock in Jakarta, and I want to talk about “toilet” here.

All public toilets in Jakarta were so dirty and unhygienic 🙁  Even in a modern-looking huge shopping centre, I didn’t want to use the toilet there.  Cleaning staffs were wiping the toilet sheets with dirty cloth over and over: it seemed that they were just spreading the bacteria.  And there was no toilet paper in any public toilets.  I was told that people just use water to clean instead of toilet paper.  The toilet floor was flooded with water, and I was wearing sandals!!  It was a nightmare :*(

I just had to compare it with Japanese toilets.  In Japan, you can almost eat food in the toilets.  I mean, public toilets in Japan are so clean! 

Lots of public toilets in Japan have automatic functions, such as…

-lid opens automatically when somebody enter the toilet … hygienic

-“disposable toilet sheet covers” and “toilet sheet cleaner” are provided in each toilet room … hygienic

-the toilet sheet is warmed for your bottom … so that your bottom doesn’t get surprised

-washlet function (water jet, dryer, massage, and you can control the strength of water, temperature and the position etc ) … relaxing!

-auto flash … hygienic

Water, soap and dryer are all automatic too. (sensor)

By the way, bathroom in my house (Japan) is also automatic.  You can control and keep the temperature of the water, refill the hot water with one button, auto cleaning…  And there is inter-phone function so you can talk to the person in the bathroom while you are preparing meal in the kitchen.  You can heat up the entire bathroom (built-up heater) too, and it was a great thing for bath time in the cold winter.

Jakarta Trip 2008 -Food-

Posted January 27th, 2009 in Eat out in Jakarta, Jakarta | No Comments »

Now I finally have time to look back my trip to Jakarta and write about it on Umeboss 🙂  I was staying in Jakarta for 6 days before flying to Japan (for my Japan trip posts, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. or see photos.)

That was my second visit to Jakarta.  The first time was one year ago (2007): I stayed there in Christmas and New Year’s day.  I have to admit that I experienced a huge culture shock in the country :p  Indonesia (Jakarta) was quite different from what I was imagining in my head.  There were actually lots of shopping malls, lots of restaurants (many cuisines: Japanese, Korean, American, Chinese, Indonesian etc) and more!  And everything was inexpensive.

Most of the famous franchises (like Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Burger King, Starbucks, etc etc….) were there.  I could even find Beard Papa\’s ! (cream puff franchise started from Osaka Japan)  You could get almost anything in Jakarta.  That was a surprise!

Since I was in Indonesia, I wanted to try original Indonesian food.  Nasi Lemak? Gado Gado? (are they Indonesian?)  Unfortunately, however, I was taken to Chinese restaurants most of the time.  I’m actually sick of Chinese:(  I eat it in Perth all the time!  I wanted to try something exotic.  So I asked them (in laws) to go to an Indonesian restaurant.  Then, they took me to this place called “Java Kitchen”.

It’s a franchise restaurant and this place serves Java food.  Nutty peanuts sauce Satay, Tahu Kacang, Sop Buntut (oxtail soup), mixed plates with a few dishes…  I had a mixed plate of coconut rice, Ayam Goreng (deep-fried chicken), Kacang (peanuts), Sambal (chili), boiled egg etc.  The sambal was really really spicy!!  I love spicy food and usually eat sambal at home in Perth too, but chili sauce in Indonesia was much spicier.  Do they use different type of chili or something? Anyway, even though I couldn’t finish those sambal, I enjoyed whole dish 🙂  Hot climate, hot food.  I love the combination!

Talking about chili sauce, I want to mention about KFC in Indonesia again.  (my previous post for KFC is here)  Yes we went to KFC again to enjoy those chicken with steamed rice.  There were 2 huge bottles of chili sauce at the counter so that customers can pour on their plates as much as they want.  According to my observations, the avarage amount of chili sauce people got on their plate was 1/2cup (125ml):1 piece of chicken + chips + steamed rice. :p


There was a place where I really wanted to go back to on this trip.  This cafe sells special coffee, called Kopi Luwak : coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Indonesian Civet.  This process takes place on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago.  It sounds little gross to drink something came from animal’s droppings, but this coffee is actually very expensive product. (few hundreds buck per pound (450g)!)

When I went to this cafe last time I didn’t try “pure” Kopi Luwak, so I went there again to try one this time.  One cup of Kopi Luwak was about AUS$7.00, I think.  It had nutty rich flavor.  Whilst drinking I was thinking “who came up with this idea??” :p  So curious…

You can browse more photos of my trip in Jakarta here


Souvenir from Japan

Posted January 6th, 2009 in Japan | 6 Comments »

These are souvenir we got from Japan.  Because it was around New Year, there’re so many New Year products in the shops.  The top right things are like Christmas wreath (called shimenawa): a decoration for Japanese New Year’s Day.  (We got them from Seria 100 yen shop)  At the centre there are few round-red ornaments; they are called daruma.  Daruma are round Japanese wish dolls with mustache and beard, but no arms or legs.  The eyes only contain the color white. Using black ink, one fills in a single circular eye while thinking of a wish. Should the wish later come true, the second eye is filled in.  On the photos there are few daruma with 2 eyes already; they are just daruma-looking toys.  The real daruma is the one with no black eye balls.

We also got some Japanese thong sandals, kokeshi (Japanese wooden doll), doraemon backpack, hachiemon (a character of Kansai Telecasting Corporation) cup, etc…

For my office, I bought this Osaka flavor cracker. (because everyone in the office is from Tokyo side)  These crackers are supposed to taste like okonomiyaki, a typical Osaka food, and they come with mayonnaise and special Okonomiyaki sauce in the box!  You can let your friends enjoy Osaka food without taking them to Osaka …  funny stuff 🙂

At the airport

Posted January 4th, 2009 in Japan | 6 Comments »

On my last day in Japan, we left home early morning and headed to Osaka Kansai airport.  We took a break at a rest stop by the freeway and arrived at the airport on time.  When I was at the check-in counter I was told that the flight has been delayed from 11:00 to 18:30!!  OMG…

The airport staffs were very nice though, they gave us a 2000 yen worth meal coupon and 5000yen cash each.  It’s like almost A$200.00!!  Sugoi…  :p

My family, fiancee and I went to have lunch at one of the restaurants at the airport and stayed there for about an hour.  After we said good-bye to my family, we started exploring Kansai airport.  There are so many restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, etc inside, so we didn’t get bored at all 🙂  We bought so many things there…  2 extra big shopping bags! :p  Killing 7 and half hours there wasn’t difficult 🙂

But a tough night started after we proceeded to the boarding gate!!  (>0<)  The flight was again delayed from 18:00 to 19:15.  Because we had to transit the plane at Bali airport, we started to worry… do we still have time to transit??  

Once the plane landed at Bali airport we ran to the transit gate.  Then we noticed that the place was delayed as well!  First, they said 2:00 am, then 3:40, 4:15 and finally 5:00am…  We had nothing to do at the Bali airport;  it was very early morning so no shop was opened.  No air-conditioner either :p  We waited and waited for about 3 hours, sitting down on the chairs.  

We got back home in Perth at 10:30 am.  It’s been 24 hours since I saw my family off at the airport.  Already miss them… 🙁

Anyway, this 18 days-holiday in Japan was wonderful!  Good to be with family 🙂  The food is nice, been with family is nice, tv shows are nice…  The time passed really quickly.  I hope I can spend the next New Year’s Eve in Japan too!

It’s snowing!

Posted December 26th, 2008 in Japan | 4 Comments »

It’s been 10 days since my partner and I arrived at Osaka Kansai airport.  Everything is great here, some of the things are changed and some are not.

Food is amazing, I keep eating a lot everyday… but I can’t help it!  (>0<)  I don’t care if I put on weight… :p

Today it was snowing.  That was the first time to see snow since we got here.  No wonder it was so cold last night 🙂

I’m not a good driver in snow, but I did try driving this Kei- Truck car (used for our rice fields) to shopping mall.

I’ve been shopping a lot!  Hope I can bring all the stuff I bought here back to Perth…  or maybe I have to send some of them by mail :p

McDonald’s in Australia and Japan

Posted October 23rd, 2008 in Food, Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

I believe that McDonald’s is the biggest fast food chain in Japan.  You can find McDonald’s everywhere, even in train stations and some sport gyms.  Apparently they have different menus in each country and there are few menus that I can’t have in Perth.

In Japan, their menu is magnificent!  Along with their standard menus, they have campaigns for new or seasonal items quite often and there are always something new/special.

Let’s talk about my favorite:)  I love their Chicken Tazta Burger!  The burger is only available in Japan (I assume so, as Tazta means a kind of karaage) The Chicken Tazta Burger is one of the standard menus and you can buy it anytime.  (There might be a possibility that they don’t sell Tazta anymore after I left Japan… :p)

They sell Teriyaki Burger as well.  Teriyaki is typical Japanese cuisine and other fast food chains like Mos Burger also sells Teriyaki Burger of their own recipe.

In Perth, we have few Mcdonald’s products which you can’t find in Japan.  They are trying to have “healthy image” on their products (I guess all McDonald’s over the world are same) and they sell Lean Beef Burger, Avocado and Tomato Mac Burger and Chicken Tandoori on Multigrain etc here.  They used to sell McOz which contains beetroots as well.  I love their concept, but the price at McDonald’s in Australia is unbelievably EXPENSIVE (>x<)

For example, I remember cheese burgers and hamburgers were less than 80 yen (about $1.20 now) in Japan.  Happy Meal was about 500 yen, I guess.  Also, you can easily download coupons from the website and get Regular French Fries, Mac Shake and more for just 100 yen each.  That was normal price in Japan.

However, here in Perth you have to pay about A$3.00 to get just a hamburger.  We rarely get a coupon or special price… actually, it’s never happened since I came here!  So we always pay at normal price :p  Since I know the price in Japan, I feel that McDonald’s products here are expensive…. although it maybe just because of the currency matter.

McDonald’s has McFlurry over the world and I’m a big consumer of it, but the variety is also different in Japan and Aus.  In Japan you can get McFlurry Caramel Macchiato (McFlurry Caramel Macchiato), McFlurry KitKat and McFlurry Oreo Cookies.  In Aus you can get McFlurry M&M’s Minis and McFlurry Oreo.  I don’t know about other countries… but I guess they have different flavors??

It’s actually interesting that you can try out the country’s specialty even at fast food chain.  I hear that there is Rendang (Indonesian Coconut Beef Curry Dish) Burger in Indonesia.  I’d love to try it out 🙂