Things to Buy in Japan

Posted May 22nd, 2016 in Japan | No Comments »

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I recently came back from my holiday in Japan, and it was sooooo great.  It’d been 2 years since my previous Japan trip, and I had so many things in my head that I wanted to buy, eat and do in Japan.

It was April, and being spring, it’s sakura season in Japan.  This must be the most popular season to visit Japan – there’re so many people at the Kansai airport and my husband had to queue for 2 hours at the immigration :p  I had to wait outside for 2 hours with 2 kids…. and we arrived at Hotel Nikko (only one hotel that’s connected to Kansai airport) past midnight…  It was a tiring start but we had so much fun during our 3-week-stay.

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Our packed 3-week-holiday included visiting castles (national treasure Hikone Castle is 15 minutes drive from my house), Anpanman museum (my kids’ favourite character’s amusement park), and Tokyo Disney Resort.  And, of course lots of eating & buying.  I pre-bought many things online so I didn’t need to shop around while I was there.  On the day we arrived my house, there’re 20 boxes of things I’d bought online.  So most of my “shopping” was done before arriving Japan.  And for the rest we shopped at local shopping centres and mostly at 100 yen shops.

….

Now I’m back to Perth Australia, and I want to show people here that what people can/should buy when they go to Japan.  There’re about 30 items and I’m gonna write about them on each post.

stay tuned! :))


Say Hi to Robots When Staying in Japan

Posted July 22nd, 2015 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Henn-na (weird) Hotel….  This new hotel has just opened its door this month in Nagasaki in Japan.  As the name suggests, this hotel is not an ordinal hotel at all -it is staffed completely by robots!

You will be greeted by humanoid robots & a robot dinosaur at reception.  Functional droids are on hand to cart luggage to the hotel’s 72 rooms, staff luggage lockers and clean as well.  Guestroom doors are accessed by facial-recognition technology, and at the end of the stay guests pay on the machine at the front-desk.

This hotel is not only about having robots, it’s more about being environmentally friendly.  This is an official hotel of Nagasaki Huis Ten Bosch amusement park, and this park was opened in 1992 as an “Eco-Friendly Future City.”

The concept of this hotel needed to be environmentally friendly, including buildings and facilities.  Plus, they wanted to create a hotel featuring contrivances to provide a comfortable, even fun stay at a reasonable price. To achieve this, there are several unique features at this hotel, including… ↓

– Guest rooms do not have refrigerators.

– Guests can watch television on a tablet device.

– All rooms feature a cutting-edge “radiant panel” air conditioning system which will detect body heat in rooms and adjust the temperature.

– Keyless Stay

– No pyjamas, bathrobes etc are provided.

I think, considering the concept of this hotel and also seeing the very reasonable pricing, this sounds like a great place to stay (and visiting Huis Ten Bosch amusement park would be a bonus).  I’m sure my 4-year-old son will love being greeted by a robot dinosaur!

Huis Ten Bosch

Henn-na Hotel’s website is simple and looks easy to follow.

The hotel is currently in its first phase. A second stage is due to be completed in 2016 adding an additional 72 rooms.


New & Old …

Posted July 15th, 2015 in Japan | No Comments »

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Kyoto, seventh largest city in Japan, is one of the popular tourists’ destination in Japan and is my most favourite city of all.  I love the character, history and the uniqueness of this city! My hometown is quite close to Kyoto and I used to go out a lot to Osaka & Kyoto area while I lived in Japan.  When people ask me where to visit in Japan, I always say Kyoto because there are so many things to see and experience there – lots of temples, shrines, beautiful old cities and delicious Kyoto food.

While visiting Kyoto, if you are lucky you may encounter with real Maiko-san (an apprentice geiko (not exactly same as geisha) in Kyoto).  I’ve visited Kyoto so many times but I’ve only seen the real one once.  Don’t mistake real Maiko-san with people dressed up like Maiko-san.  It’s one of popular activities in Kyoto for tourists to dress up like Maiko and wonder around the city!  I’ve seen foreign people taking photos with tourists in kimono :p

I’m flying back to Japan next year for holiday and I’d like to take my sons to Kyoto if we have a chance.  Wonder around Kamogawa River, Arashiyawa and Gion… That would be relaxing.  And if we are lucky we may find Maiko-san hurrying to work.  If we are really really lucky, we may get to see this … ↓

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It’s kinda funny to see Maiko-san commuting on an electric vehicle but I guess it’s more practical than walking or riding a bicycle as they have to keep their outfit and make-up nice and tidy for work.  Some Maiko-san use “walking bicycle” or “Segway” which is quite cool.  New generation, really. But I still like the old fashion way! Haha

 


Hinata Cafe 2015

Posted April 14th, 2015 in Japan, Perth WA | No Comments »

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There will be another great Japanese event happening in just few weeks!

This Hinata Cafe, 5th time in Perth, will open at the same location as past years – in Bibra Lake.  This is an unique event as the concept of this event is a “temporary open cafe space to exhibit original craft and art, share experience of self expression”.    There will be Japanese artists selling their gorgeous hand-made works,  as well as food & drink stalls and live music by local and Japanese musicians.  If you love going to flea markets, love wondering your Sunday with some live music, or are looking to get some original hand-made items, you’ll love this one!

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I’ve only been to this Hinata Cafe once (they didn’t do last year), and I know there will be this artist Naoko Yamada who paints beautiful arts.  I’m hoping to find a nice painting of her as well as something pretty for my house.

The event will be on;
 (Sunday) 3rd May 2015
10:00 – 16:00
Venue:
Perth Waldorf School
14 Gwilliam Drive, Bibra Lake
What’s on:
Exotic Japanese sweets and lunches
Creative exhibition of arts
Uniquely hand made items for mother’s day gift
Live music with many talented musicians!!
Parking:
Please DO NOT park on the main street as it will block the traffic.
There are lots of parking spaces by the lake.

Hinata Cafe Facebook page

Hinata Cafe blog


Perth Japan Festival 2015

Posted February 17th, 2015 in Bagelier Bagel, Japan, Perth WA | No Comments »

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SAT 07 MARCH 2015

13:00PM – 20:00PM

FORREST PLACE, PERTH CBD

Perth Japan Festival is coming up!
For those who don’t know about this event, this matsuri is a free event with lots of fun for kids and families as well as adults.  I was there last year, and I was surprised to see the crowd.  It’s at the Forrest Place in CBD and I guess people couldn’t just pass all those stalls and shows.

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There will be lots of demonstrations including taiko, ikebana and udon making, as well as many Japanese food such as ramen, tako-yaki, kaki-gori (shaved ice with syrup), dango and more to eat at the festival.  AND!  I will be there as well selling my bagels 🙂

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Yes.  I know bagel is not Japanese food.  But I got an offer from my friend and I’ll be selling Green Tea bagels (Green Tea Anko, Green Tea Cream Cheese, Milky Green Tea) from 13pm!

It’s a shame that I can’t be enjoying the festival with my kids, but hopefully I sell out the bagels quick and join the fun.

Perth Japan Festival website

 


New Trend in Japan.. Wasabi Donburi?

Posted February 25th, 2014 in Food, Japan | 4 Comments »

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When you hear the word “donburi” you’d imagine many kinds of donburi dishes… oyako-donburi, ten-don (tempura-donburi), una-don (unagi-donburi), katsu-don (katsu donburi), kaisen-donburi etc etc.  There are many types of donburi dishes in Japan and I can’t count how many…

Donburi is one of the quick and easy dish you can have at restaurants or home – and has been one of the most popular lunch menu for office workers to grab during the short lunch break.

My favourite is oyako-donburi!! …but I also like ten-don, una-don….  hmmm writing this makes me really really hungry!!

Now, in Japan, there is a new kind of donburi dish called “wasabi donburi”.   It sounds like something you’d have to eat as a penalty of the game :p  But it appears to  be delicious!

As the name indicates, the key item is wasabi.  Wasabi donburi actually is a very simple dish – just a bowl of steamed rice, katsuo-bushi (bonito flakes), wasabi and soy sauce.

fresh wasabi

 

Sounds weird??  If you love wasabi you must try this!!

You will need fresh block of wasabi for this dish.

Imagine this…

Freshly steamed rice in a bowl.

Sprinkle katsuo-bushi.

Freshly grate wasabi and place on top of rice.

Pour the best quality soy sauce..

wasabi donburi

And eat as you mix the wasabi into rice…

Hmmmm it does sound yummy to me!!

🙂


Tokyo Disney Risort

Posted September 23rd, 2012 in Japan | No Comments »

These photos make me want to fly to Tokyo Disneyland!!!

Disney Risort Halloween 2012

little Green Men Sweet Dango

Wedding Bouquet

Cake

Mickey Minnie Rings

Halloween Black Gyoza


Obento for Picnic

Posted September 10th, 2012 in Food, Japan, Perth WA | No Comments »

We are definitely in middle of spring now.  It’s been pretty warm for the last few days – though forecast says it’ll rain again soon.  Time for lots of insects…  (yay…)

Spring makes me feel happy, sleepy, and want to do laundry everyday.  It also makes me want to go out for picnic with Hiro who always wants to get out of the house and play outdoor.

Lunch I made for Hiro the other day….  It’s not only for Hiro, by the way.  He is a big eater but I don’t think his stomach can hold this much food. :p  I made them to share with my friends.

This is one of the things I like about Perth.  In Japan…  well, in my hometown, you can hardly find park or nice place to sit down with kids and have lunch together.  There’re always cars, buildings, and people passing by.  There is park near my kindergarden, but it’s not big and the ground is covered with seaweed for some reason!!  How come?  Is it not seaweed?  Or the area used to be under water or something?  Very weird….  So I don’t want to take my kid there to play. He might try to eat it  🙁

My parents used to take me and my brother to many places for picnic when I was a child.  Near Biwako Lake, some themed parks, and some public park.  You have to drive there and is not really close to my house.  So I definitely think Perth is very family-friendly and great environment for kids.

Mixed sandwiches and omu-rice.  It’s so easy to prepare if you have the ingredients.

For Omu-rice you’ll needs:

  • 2 cups of steamed rice (preferably left-over from last night)
  •  2 tbs of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 tbs tuna, canned, drained
  • 1 tbs unsalted tomato sauce
  • bit of oyster sauce and soy sauce

Stir-fry everything!

Then, make large thin omelet.  Place on the tomato fried-rice.  Draw smily face with tomato sauce!

 


Tako Su

Posted August 18th, 2012 in Food, Japan | No Comments »

Obon has finished….!  Obon is one of holiday season in Japan where people go back to their hometown and pray for ancestors.  During Obon you are not supposed to kill any living creature (including a fly) because it may be your ancestor visiting you in a form of the creature.  I feel so bad now because I forgot about Obon and killed a small spider 2 days ago.  It’s hard to remember these things while living in Perth.  😐

Above photo is marinated octopus, cucumber and wakame seaweed in vinegar sauce.  I call it tako-to-kyuri-to-wakame-no-sunomono, but I think you can just call it tako-su.  It’s typical summer salad (or should I say side dish) in Japan.

It is hard to find octopus legs in Perth, but in Japan we eat it very often.  If you go to kaiten sushi bar you’ll see octopus sushi, which is a nigiri sushi with a slice of cooked octopus leg.  Octopus leg is always available at supermarket too.   It is usually sold cooked though.  I don’t get to see raw octopus legs much over there unless I go to a fish market.

I think octopus legs are kind of gross food here?  That’s why I can’t buy it from any grocery shops?  Most Asian grocery shops don’t sell it too.  I usually buy it from seafood shops.

<Tako Su>

  • Octopus Leg (cooked) 100g
  • Cucumber 1
  • Wakame seaweed (dry) 1 tbs
  • White Wine Vinegar 2 tbs
  • Sugar 1 tbs
  • Soy Sauce 1 tsp
  • Ginger 1 slice

 

  1. Soak wakame in water until soften, and drain well.
  2. Slice cucumber thinly. (or thick if you prefer crunchy texture)  Slice cooked octopus leg.  Slice ginger into long matchsticks.
  3. Mix vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and ginger.
  4. Marinate octopus, cucumber and wakame in the dressing in the fridge for 1 hour or more before serving.

 


Japan Eclipse 2012

Posted June 4th, 2012 in Japan, Ume's Interests | No Comments »

This may be a little old story to write about, but I just saw some photos of eclipse which was visible in Japan on May 21, and found that it interesting to actually see all the variety of sunglasses they were sold at stores.  Yes, the photo of eclipse is the most amazing thing, but so are the sunglasses/googles.

  

Eclipse sunglasses and googles were at the shops everywhere and millions of people rushed into the stores to grab one for themselves.  By the 21st, lots of shops sold out them and come people still tried to look at the eclipses with naked eyes (which was not recommended and people rushed into eye clinics afterwards).

I heard the story from my mum and friends, but I didn’t know there’re so many kinds of sunglasses and googles out there.  From character things to funny looking ones….  I just have to agree because it’s Japan!

 

 

(photos: google/rakuten.co.jp)