Mr Samurai

Posted January 31st, 2009 in Eat Out in Perth - Japanese Food - | 10 Comments »

This Japanese fast food restaurant is located in the centre of Perth city, and popular among people of all ages.  They have been one of the cheapest place to eat around Perth, and it’s always crowded with students and office workers during lunch time.  Their signature dish is Fried Chicken: deep-fried chicken pieces with bone, served with steamed rice.  Considering the price, there is no question about the fact that people keep coming back to this place.  (Before: $4.00~$5.00, Now: $6.00.  still cheap 🙂 )

They have special chili sauce and chili powder on each table, and my fiance is crazy about this sauce.  We don’t have this type of chili sauce in Japan and it’s obviously not a Japanese thing, but it goes well with this fried chicken 🙂

I also recommend Katsu Curry, Oyako Donburi, and Special Combo.  They have Special Combo A, B and C, and A seems to be the popular one.  I believe that the price range around $6 ~ &7.

There is another reason why this place is always full of people.  They have a notice board near the entreace, and this notice board is used for classified advertising.  (mostly for Japanese people)  Most of the information are in Japanese, and Japanese people in Perth go to this place to get some information for share house, job, community activity and more.  If you are looking for Japanese sharemate, it’s probably a good idea to put the ad in Mr Samurai.

They are closed in the Weedends and that’s been a big disappointment, but Good News!  Mr Samurai will open on Saturdays from 31/Jan/09 🙂

As I mentioned above, this restaurant is kind of fast food, takeaway type of place.  The best place to get quick lunch.

83 Barrack St. Perth

Cold Soba Noodle + Japanese Chicken Salad

Posted January 29th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

It’s a soba season for Japanese people here.  Eating this buckwheat noodle with refreshing ginger dipping sauce can make you forget the hot air outside.

<Dipping Sauce> for two

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp Dashi powder (Japanese fish stock)
  • 2 tbs sake (cooking wine)
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan, and simmer it down till its half the amount.  When eating, add grated ginger into the sauce.  Enjoy with chopped spring onions and Japanese chili powder if you like.
Enjoy with cooked soba noodle 🙂

This is just an easy side dish 🙂

<Japanese Chicken Salad>

  • 50g chicken breast
  • 1 tsp sake (cooking wine)
  • 1/8 cucumber
  • 1 tbs Japanese mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper
  1. Place chicken breast in a microwave proof bowl.  Sprinkle sake, salt and pepper on the breast.  Cover with plastic wrap and steam in the microwave till it’s cooked.  (about 2~3 minutes)
  2. Slice cucumber. 
  3. Shred the chicken meat.  Mix with cucumber, mayonnaise and season.


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



Posted January 24th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

I just read an interesting article about tea 🙂

– History-

「The delicious qualities of tea were first discovered by an early Chinese Emperor.  He and his court stopped to rest whilst visiting a remote region one summer day.  As his servants began boiling water to drink, dried leaves from a nearby Camellia Sinensis plant fell into the boiling water and a brown liquid with a tempting scent began to infuse.  With both his scientific curiosity and his taste buds immediately aroused, the Emperor tasted the liquid.  He declared it to give “vigour of body, contentment of mind and determination of purpose.”」

Whilst there are so many kinds of tea in the world, people seem to think that Japanese tea = green tea only.  However there are more varieties, actually.  Ryoku-cha (green tea), Genmai-cha, Mugi-cha, Hato-mugi-cha, Houji-cha, Sen-cha, Maccha, etc etc…  They all taste different and the scent is so individual.

By the way, did you know that both English tea and Japanese Green tea all come from the same plant?  They taste different because of the manufacturing process!  And, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water.  Considering the numerous kinds of tea in the world, it’s not a surprising fact at all.

Among the variety of tea, I like Genmai-cha and Houji-cha. Those roasted tea give me an energy and calm my nerves down.  For English teas, I love Earl Grey the most.  I usually enjoy drinking it with milk, or use it for cooking (such as tea cookies, cakes and ice-cream).

Cat Power! -Pet Rescue-

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

It’s a “dog’s life” in Australia, with many people considering themselves ‘dog people’ and events and outings everywhere for dog lovers. Each day in the media happy dog stories take pride of place – we simply love our canine pals.

But I think 2009 should be the year of the cat.  Cats in Australia get a bum deal; often lumped in with ‘feral pests’ in legislation and maligned by their communities for simply being homeless orphans.  Cats really need an image makeover!  And that begins with thinking about the cats of Australia in the same way we think about dogs – great family pets and worthy of our protection!

Did you know in the UK cats are a favourite companion amongst young singles? That’s because cats thrive in apartments and are a great pet for people who work during the day.

I think many people know these websites below (click the photo) :  they make me realize how cute kittens are!

And cute photos…

Moist & Fluffy Cupcakes

Posted January 21st, 2009 in Food | 49 Comments »

You like making cupcakes, but they always turn out too dry or too doughy??  You don’t wanna follow any complicated recipes??  Then you should try this!  🙂  With just standard ingredients, you can make perfect cupcakes.

The smell is so tempting that my family starts gathering up to the kitchen and pick one or two right after I take those cupcakes out from the oven. (>u<)  They are very soft, moist inside and yet light!  You can enjoy decoration with icing of your favorite after they are cooled. (˚v˚•)¬

<Vanilla Cupcakes> about 24

  • 1 1/2 cups Self-Rising Flour
  • 1 1/4 cups Plain Flour
  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar (I used Raw Sugar)
  • 4 Eggs (large size at room temperature)
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
* Set up the oven at 175~180 Celsius
  1. Cream the butter until smooth.  Add sugar gradually, and beat well until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the egg, one at a time.  Beat well after each addition.
  3. Shift in the 1/3 of dry ingredients.  Mix it through, and then add the 1/3 of milk + vanilla.  Continue adding alternatively, and mix through at each addition.  (do not over mix)
  4. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.  Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.
  5. Bake for 20~30 mins, or until it springs back when you press lightly at the top of the cake.
  6. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes.  Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack.
* You can also make nice sponge cake with this mixture!  Bake in a cake tin, and after it’s cooled fill the cream or decorate with some frosting. 🙂
They are still soft and moist after few days, storing in the fridge in an airtight container.
Decorate cupcakes with my favorite Vanilla Butter Icing! 😉
<Vanilla Butter Icing> for 24 cupcakes
  • 225g Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cups Milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 6~8 cups Icing Sugar
  1. Place 4 cups of icing sugar in a bowl, add all other ingredients.  Using an electric mixer, beat up till smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.   (You may not need to add all of the sugar.)
* Keep the icing in an airtight container at room temperature (can last up to 3 days)
(Magnolia cupcakes)

Retro Collection

Posted January 19th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | 4 Comments »

My interest in retro things started when my fiance took me to explore an old book shop.  He originally loves vintage stuffs and has some collections at home. 

In the book shop, I found several old cooking books in a shelf.  They are secondhand.  Some of them are pretty dirty, hand-written, very old-fashioned layout and illustrations.  I wouldn’t like someone’s secondhand cooking books, but they seemed very used and loved.  Some of them are published in 1900 and still readable…

I suddenly felt something inside me.  These old books have been in people’s kitchens for more than 100 years.  By reading them, I could go back in time and felt the differences to present days…


We bought this retro-looking popcorn machine the other day.  This is actually not a real vintage stuff, but we just love its looking.


This machine makes pretty good popcorns without oil.  Actually popcorn is not my favorite snack but I’ve been enjoying it 🙂  Good accompaniment to DVDs.

Stamina Food -Japanese-

Posted January 17th, 2009 in Food | 3 Comments »

I cooked some stamina food to overcome this heat.  Although it wasn’t so hot today, the heat from last whole week (44 degrees!) really damaged my body energy :p

(BTW I feel terrible about Kings Park bush fire which happened yesterday…)

Those stamina food is kind of Japanese home cooking.  The right top is stir-fried garlic sprout with beansprouts and cabbage, top left is unagi donburi, and the one at the front is tako karaage (deep-fried seasoned octopus).

Garlic sprout and unagi are believed to give stamina.  In Japan, these food are eaten in summer when the temperatures and humidity are high.  People tend to lose their appetite and they ultimately suffer from summer exhaustion or summer lethargy.  These stamina food are great sources of nutrition for Japanese people in steamy hot weather.

I hope these food give us the strength to survive this long summer 🙂



Japanese applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch

Posted January 16th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

I have updated photos from my Japan trip.  Please click here to see 🙂


I gathered up few Japan-related iPhone/iPod Touch applications.

From the App Store:


<Koi Pond>

it’s a virtual koi pond that resides on your iPhonepod

Imagine gazing into a pond of crystal clear water.  Picture bright, playful koi swimming through its shallow depths.  So close. . . . Can you touch them?

You run your fingers across the cool  surface of the pond.  Water ripples away from your touch.  The koi, disturbed, dart away.  Only to quickly forget and swim close to you once more. . . .

There are several settings you can control, such as the hue of the water, the number of fish and number of plants.

Koi Pond was released July 30th, and has found itself #1 at the App Store in a relatively short amount of time and with good reason




In this application, traditional musical instrument “Mokugyo”(wooden gong) of Japan can be performed looking at beautiful scenery in Japan.

The wooden gong was brought by Japan hundreds of years ago.
It is possible to see in the buddhist temple etc. in modern days.
Because the sound is very Oriental, and is mysterious, it is used by the Kabuki.

You will be able to relax by hearing the sound.
In addition, beautiful scenery in Japan is displayed one after another in this contents.
As a result, you will feel a higher relaxation feeling.
(This relaxation feeling is called “Nagomi” in Japan.)

Mokugyo was released October 20th 2008.




Japanese clothing brand UNIQLO have been using their UNIQLOCK – an online timer/screensaver thing – to promote their latest wares for the past couple of years.  Now you can download it to your iPhone/iPod Touch.

This thing seems very odd… but I guess it’s a fashion??



<Furu Furu Pocky>


This is kind of a game you want to do when you want to pick one person out of several people.  It’s very simple, whoever pick the pink pocky is the winner.

eg: who is in charge of cooking dinner tonight, who will be a seeker on hide and seek etc…




Bonsai is a Japanese art!  Those miniature trees are available on your iPhonepod.  There are numbers of Bonsai apps: Bonsai Blast, Bonsai wallpaperyour own Bonsai Tree, iBonsai etc…

I have iBonsai and it’s pretty 🙂  iBonsai uses a random-number algorithm to grow infinitely diverse bonsai trees before your eyes, which you can then rotate around in 3D and save as your wallpaper.


Here is more!

Fish Head Noodle Soup

Posted January 15th, 2009 in Eat out in Perth | No Comments »

There were some food in Perth that I’d never seen in Japan.  This Fish Head Noodle Soup was one of them.

When my friend asked me ” hey, do you wanna grab Fish Head Noodle for lunch?” I didn’t know what to say :p  Fish head!?  ….

But actually this food is very delicious and now it’s one of my favorite Malay-Chinese food 🙂

This chicken-based soup is very clear and not oily at all.  The soup tastes sour because of the pickled veges and tomatoes.  One serve of noodle comes with couple pieces of deep-fried fish (not only the head, but also tail parts) so it’s pretty filling.

There are also laksa version of this noodle too.  Very nice 🙂

Unfortunately not all the Chinese restaurant has this dish on their menu.  The famous place for this Fish Head is Bateman Chinese Malaysian Cuisine (Bateman, WA), I think.  This restaurant is quite small, but has been featured in a food magazin.  Always full, this shows how nice their food is 🙂

Other restaurant I know which has Fish Head in the menu is Somerville Palace (Mellvile WA).

Grilled Red Chicken + Cheesy Risotto

Posted January 14th, 2009 in Food | 2 Comments »

Look!  My garden is booming…

I’m so in love with these color 🙂  Blight, fresh-looking sumer veggies.

I just had to create some dish using them.  Tomato…. Italian??  I love spicy food and add chili to any dishes (even pasta, stir-fried rice, cupcakes…) so I decided to make spicy Italian chicken dish 🙂

Here is the recipe…  If you don’t like chili, just don’t add it.  This dish will still taste delicious 🙂

<Italian Chicken> for two

  • chicken pieces with bone
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 garlic
  • 12 black olives
  • 4 tomatoes (I used about 12 mini tomatoes)
  • 1 tbs white wine
  • 1 chili (optional)
  • olive oil, herbs, salt & pepper
  1. Cut chicken at the joint.  Rub salt on the chicken and grill.  Set aside.
  2. Chop onion and chili.  Crush garlic.  Skin tomatoes and chop up.  (if you are using mini tomatoes, just chop them up with skin)
  3. In a sauce pan, saute garlic in olive oil until colored.  Add onion, olives and chili.  Saute till onion become transparent.
  4. Add chicken and white wine.  Once the alcohol is evaporated add 2 cups of water, tomatoes and your favorite herb.  Turn the heat to low and simmer till most of the liquid is gone.  Season.
I made cheese risotto to accompany the chicken 🙂
<Cheese Risotto>
  • 1 cup Risotto rice
  • 1/8 onion
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 tbs white wine
  • 3 cups~ chicken stock
  • 2 tbs Parmesan cheese
  • margarin, salt, pepper
  1. Chop up onion and garlic.  Heat a pan and drop 1 tablespoon of margarin.  Saute onion and garlic.
  2. Add white wine and boil the alcohol away.  Add rice, stir, and pour 1/2 cup of chicken stock.  Once the liquid is gone add some more.  Continue this until the rice is cooked.
  3. Remove from the heat.  Add Parmesan and stir through.  Season.

Laundry and Japanese Cake

Posted January 11th, 2009 in Food, Perth WA | 2 Comments »

Today, I finally had a chance to finish off the laundries from my 24 days trip.  This one week has been pretty busy; back to work, sorting up the souvenirs, cleaning the house, catching up with friends, talking to my family on the phone…

I turned on the washing machine 3 times today and all the clothes are dry and clean now:)  That’s the thing that I like about summer in Perth, it rarely rains and no moisture in the air (very dry).  Even jeans or thick winter jackets get dried in 10~20 mins!  

While I was finishing up the laundry, those clothes reminded me of cold, snowing days in Japan.  It seems like the trip was ages ago as it’s very hot summer here and my brain can’t imagine that I was in the winter just few weeks before.

Thinking about Japan, suddenly I felt like eating some Japanese.  Something that I can recall my memory in Japan.  Then, I started making some Maccha (Japanese green tea) mini cakes.  

<Maccha Mini Cakes>

Same recipe as Blueberry Cupcakes , just change the blueberry to Maccha powder 🙂

The bitterness of Maccha was perfect to me.  Enjoyed with yuzu orange condiment.  After that I called my house to chat with family 🙂

Lollipop Candy Cookies

Posted January 10th, 2009 in Food | No Comments »

Looks like lolly pops, don’t they?  It looks cute and tastes yummy 🙂  I usually make the dough in advance and keep it in the freezer.  You can just cut them and bake in the oven when you need it.


  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 25g egg (about 1/2 egg)
  1. Cream the butter.  Add icing sugar and beat with electric mixer for 3 minutes.  Add beaten egg gradually and mix well.
  2. Add sifted flour and mix.  Careful not to mix too much.  Divide the dough half and add cocoa powder to one.  Wrap the dough separately in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 30min.
  3. Remove the wrap from the dough.  Roll the dough to flat square (both about same size) and place the cocoa dough on the vanilla dough.  Roll up as if you are making sushi roll and wrap it up tight with plastic wrap or baking sheet.  (At this point you can freeze it til you want to bake. It last up to 3~4 months)
  4. Cut into 5mm thick and bake in the oven at 170.

Ice box cookies are usually coated with sugar after baked, but I don’t usually do that.

Korean Beanshoots/Carrot Side Dish (Namul)

Posted January 9th, 2009 in Food | 5 Comments »


The outside is like an oven cooking some hot food, and sunshine is spiky…  I couldn’t touch the handle of my car and had to wear gloves (not joking!) otherwise my hands get burned :p  Everything seem to be melting…

A summer day like this, I just need to eat lots of veggies.  Lots of them!  (and watermelon)  I decided to make namul as a side dish for grilled fish tonight.  I don’t feel like eating rice or pasta… outside is still bright and over 35 degrees!

This side dish Namul is a kind of Korean food, but I didn’t follow the traditional Korean recipe.  This dish can be eaten just as a salad, or accompaniment to some meat dish.  Alternatively you can add some more vegetables or seaweed.  Great source of vitamin and fiber 🙂


  • Carrots
  • Beansprouts
  • Spring Onions
  • Minced Garlic
  • Sesame Oil
  • Salt
  1. Cut carrot into matchsticks shape.  Branch in the hot water until just cooked.
  2. Branch beansprouts.
  3. Chop spring onion.
  4. Mix them in a bowl.  Season with salt, sesame oil and minced garlic to your taste.  (for one carrot, one or two handful of beansprouts and few bunches of spring onion = 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 sesame oil and 1~2 stp garlic.)

My Chopsticks -My Hashi-

Posted January 7th, 2009 in Ume's Interests | 2 Comments »

I bought plastic chopsticks from Japan for my lunch at the office.  In Japan, everywhere I looked there was this word “ECO”.  Eco bags, eco fridge, eco house etc…

Carrying your own chopsticks and not using any disposable chopsticks are getting common in Japan.  (called My Hashi = my chopsticks)  Most restaurants serve disposable chopsticks when customer orders a meal, and they are thrown away after used.  There were used to be lots and lots of rubbish everyday in food industry.  Since people started to carry their own chopsticks and use them in restaurants or for convenience store food, the amount of rubbish actually decreased!  That’s a great news 🙂

There is another merit to be an eco-person in Japan.  If you bring your own eco bag when you shop, and not use any plastic bags from the shops, you can get some points on your shopping member cards and they can be exchanged to either cash or some prizes! 🙂  You can do it everyday and good for wallet and environment.

At my office in Perth I get free lunch everyday, and used to use disposable chopsticks.  Now I’m using my own My Hashi 🙂  (← from 100 yen shop again )

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 🙂


Posted January 6th, 2009 in にほんご | 2 Comments »






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!

Zero Calorie

Posted January 4th, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »
zero calorie jelly

zero calorie jelly

 One of the things that my partner got excited about in Japan was zero calorie stuff.  Japanese people seem to care about calories; in family restaurants, izakaya etc you can actually see the calories of each items (they describe on their menu).  I think it’s nice to know how much calorie each food is, but at the same time it makes me feel difficult to decide what to eat :p

Zero calorie food are available in either jelly or drinks.  They taste good, so I used to drink them very often! 🙂  They cost about 100 yen ~ 200 yen.   

Also lots of low calorie food are available too.  At the supermarkets or convenience stores you can find “100 kcal cup noodle” “55 kcal potato chips”…  They cost about 100 yen too.

I’ve never seen such “low calorie food” “zero calorie food” in Perth.  Are they only available in Japan?  In Australia, people seem to care more about “fat” “gluten” “sugar” in food, not “calorie”.

Convenience Stores in Japan

Posted January 3rd, 2009 in Japan | No Comments »

Convenience stores are everywhere in Japan.  Even in country side, you can find them easily.

I really think that Japanese convenience stores are really really convenient!  They open 24/7, so even on midnight or early morning you can get some nice drinks and food.  

They also sell books, magazines, cosmetics, medicines, alcohols, clothes (gloves, panties etc), stamps, cigaret  etc…  Starbucks brand coffee are also available.  You can order concert tickets, movie tickets, Christmas cakes etc through convenience stores, and send some parcels from convenience stores too.  And, you can do some payment at the counter.  Basically you can do anything there! 🙂

Convenience Store Food

Convenience Store Food

The food in convenience stores are amazing.  Imagine, you sometimes order takeaway bento box from Japanese restaurants in Australia (or some other countries) and it usually costs more than $15.00.  You can get same type of food from convenience stores 24/7 at cheap price!  (eg: one typical bento box costs about 500 ~ 1000 yen)  They microwave the food if you wish, so you can eat it straight away.  They also sell bread, sandwiches, onigiri (rice balls), salad, pasta, pickles, noodle,  yoghurt, puddings, cakes, snacks….  and they cook some food there and sell at the counter too: eg karaage (deep-fried chicken), sausages, fried potatoes, etc etc.  Also niku-man, an-man (like Chinese pork buns, but in several flavors), oden (typical Japanese winter food)=only in winter), soft serves are available.

There are several kinds of convenience stores like Lawson, Seven Eleven, Family Mart, Circle K, Mini Stop, AMPM…  some convenience stores have point service : you can exchange the points to some products or service.  Since I go to Lawson and Seven Eleven so many times I applied for point cards!  (even though I was in Japan for just 3 weeks :p)

Mobile Phones

Posted January 2nd, 2009 in Japan | 6 Comments »

Every time I go back to Japan there is one thing that I feel inconvenient…  Mobile.

Because the mobile service in Japan (and Korea?) is different from its in other countries, Japanese mobiles don’t work in other countries.  Same thing, mobiles from other countries don’t work in Japan either.  so I can’t use my Australian mobile in Japan.  Every time I’m in Japan I have no mobile…. :p

It’s pretty tough not to have mobile phone in this world!  Really really inconvenient (>x<)  Besides, I won’t get to see lots of public phones in Japan theredays…  Very difficult to contact with my friends and family.  Last time I was in Japan I had to meet my friend at JR Nagoya station.  I wasn’t sure if I was at the right meeting point so I wanted to confirm with her, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t even leave the position to look for a public phone. (if I leave, she won’t be able to find me)  I asked few people around “where can I find a public phone?” but no one knew!  Surprisingly, even a staff who works at a souvenior shop inside of train station building… :p

I feel like I’m lost in this modern city.


By the way, I always get amused by Japanese mobiles.  We could do lots of things with Japanese mobiles from long time ago (since I was in Junior high) like emialing, interneting, GPS, downloading musics and games etc…  but now there are more things you can do with mobiles.

Mobile phones with pedometer, calorie counter and cholesterol counter are new to me (Sportio).  And collaboration with AQUOS (AQUOS Mobile), with famous accessory brand (4°c Mobiles), with Disney (Disney mobiles) are new too!  So cool 🙂

Happy New Year~!

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


New year 2009…

How did you spend the last minutes of 2008??  Were you out somewhere counting down to 00:00??  I was actually at home, playing Japanese card game (hana-fuda) with my dad, brother and partner over watching the music show “kohaku uta gassen”, a highly popular television program featuring many of Japan’s most famous singers in spectacular performances.  At 00:00 we ate toshikoshi-soba.  Eating soba noodle from the last minute of New Year’s Eve to New Years Day is Japanese tradition.  It’s based on our unique customary thoughts from the ancient times that we cannot finish up the old year without eating soba.  (toshikoshi = “year-passing”)

There are some reasons why we choose soba and not any other kind of food: 

1) Soba is a bringer of good luck, family fortunes, and longevity (because soba is physically long)

2) Since soba is easy to bite, it is also considered to forget and sever any carryover of hardship and disaster that may have happened during the year.

3) Soba is believed to collect fortunes; During the Edo period , a gold and silver craftsmen used balls made of kneaded buckwheat (=soba) to collect splattered gold and silver pieces in the working area, and burned the ball over hibachi (= Japanese heating appliance using charcoal as fuel) to catch residue gold and silver pieces. 

While soba maybe a Japanese style fast-food, it seems to have an additional value during the new year period.  (by

We just had these instant soba noodles… 🙂  (… my brother had udon noodle instead as he doesn’t really like soba noodle :p Against the tradition!)

Wish you all a happy happy new year~!!