New Year in Japan

Posted December 30th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

Just like Christmas is the biggest event of a year in many countries, New Year’s Day is the biggest day of a year in Japan.  There’re many sales and events around the end of the year, and people go last-minutes-shopping to prepare for the coming year.  You can hear New Year’s song everywhere and feel that New Year is coming.

Before New Year’s Day, people usually spend busy by cleaning the house and finishing all the chores they have to do within the year.  But once New Year’s Day comes, people stay at home relaxing, eating, and spending time with families.

This year, I could experience white Christmas and normal Japan’s New Year with families.  Everything are not the same as before (e.g. Now I can’t stay awake until late because I’m very tired from looking after Hiro all day), but I enjoy this homecoming trip pretty much.  I just remembered how funny Japanese tv shows are!  Especially around this time of the year there’re many comedy shows on tv and they’re seriously funny.  I’ve been laughing as if I’ve gone crazy!

2011 was not a happy year for Japan.  Big earthquake, tsunami, and many people lost their families.  But, because of the event, people could realize somethings – importance of ECO (saving the power), and warmth of people.  We appreciate people who came and supported the victims from outside this country. We felt so close to each other.  Families are important.  Friends are important.  Mates are important.  And, “life” could be so short and fragile.  Now the things are getting better and we are about to welcome a new year in few days.  I appreciate all that, and hope 2012 will be a happier year.

Now, snowing has stopped and I can see blue sky during the day.  There’s still big chunks of snow on the side of the roads, but it seems that it’s not going to snow for awhile here.  I hope the New Year’s Day is going to be a sunny day.  We will go to a shrine to celebrate and pray for the new year (hatsumode) as an annual event, and I think there’ll be many people.  I slipped on the snow on the road and hit my head last time (2 years ago), so I hope it doesn’t happen this time!

I hear it’s around 40 degrees in Perth these days.  Being here made me realise that I prefer cold climate to hot climate.  I love winter in Japan.  I love snow, I love the clean cold air, and I love taking hot bath in a cold night (and day).  I can’t wait to go to Disney Land or Universal Studio Japan, onsen trip, and play with snow when Hiro is older.

As there is one more day to New Year’s Day, and I’ve pretty much done all the shopping.  I think I will stay home tomorrow trying to clean the house so that we can welcome a new year with clean mind and clean house 🙂

Japanese Sausage

Posted December 27th, 2011 in Food | 1 Comment »

Finally…..  I’m eating Japanese sausage!  I was having craving for Japanese sausages since I was pregnant.  Japanese sausage is processed food (smoked), and has crispy skin.

Normall sausages outside Japan are usually raw meat.  I was surprised to see them in Perth the first time, because the sausages I knew was like the photo above.

Because they are processed, you can eat Japanese sausages as they are.  But people usually grill them to add flavour and texture.  I, on the other had, love boiling them.  It’s healthier, and makes the skin crispy.

When I broke the sausage, you can almost hear the sound of breaking the skin.  Although I boiled them for 3 minutes or more, the meat inside was still juicy thanks to the skin.

Sometimes I just boil sausages and eat with seed mustard. Ummmm… yum yum.  Goes with beer, chu-hi, and even hot Japanese tea! ♨

Japanese Pickles

Posted December 26th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

Few days ago my dad bought few kinds of pickles from a pickles shop.   He knows I like pickles.  I remember eating whole takuwan (yellow, pickled daikon radish) by myself when I was a teenager. The combination of takuwan and hot Japanese tea was addictive, and I couldn’t stop eating takuwan once I started.  Pickles got lots of salt (sodium), and it’s not a good diet….  besides, one whole takuwan is about 30cm.  I don’t know how my body survived….

People make pickles so that they can keep the food edible longer.  The salty pickles goes with steamed rice, and Japanese people (in old era) used to eat just rice, pickles and miso soup.  To think about it, Japanese food contains lots of salt.  Miso is also salty, and so is soy sauce.

Back to the subject….  Here is pickled cucumber.  You can also buy it in Perth.

Rakkyo – pickled onions.  People eat it with Japanese curry rice.

Takuwan – pickled daikon.  You see it often in a bento box from Japanese restaurants in Perth, too.

Nasu-no-asazuke (lightly pickled egg plant).  Looks bit weird, but I love this.  One of popular item at  izakaya.

Gobo (burdock roots) and aka-kabu (red radish).  I never seen pickled gobo before!  It’s new….

It has vinegar-like taste, and not salty.  I love the texture.

There’re many more kinds of pickles in Japan, including cabbage, Chinese cabbage, mushroom, etc etc ……  Kyoto and Nara are famous for pickles.  If you love Japanese pickles and enjoy soshoku, try some unique one there 🙂

White Christmas in Japan

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

When I woke up this morning, outside was like this.


Hiro enjoyed his first Christmas in snow 🙂

Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

An Early Christmas Date

Posted December 24th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

Yesterday, D, Hiro and I went to Hikone city area.  Hikone is one of famous old city in Shiga, and it’s just 10 minutes from my house by car.  There is famous Hikone castle near Biwako lake, and many restaurants and shops around the castle.

It was suposed to be snowing yesterday, but it was actually a sunny day (still cold though).  There’re many tourists around the castle.

First,we came to this cafe with D which I went with my friend the other day.  This cafe is a bakery/cake shop with nice dining area.  Because the shop opens at 11am and we arrived there 15 minutes early, we went driving inside the castle first.  You can drive around the castle and moat.  We could easily kill 15 minutes by enjoying the view 🙂

I love the interior of the cafe.  No, I love the building itself.  Looks like someone’s house with lots of tabels and chairs.

They serve lunch menu and nice drinks too.

We ordered sandwich lunch plate to share.  It’s Campagne bread with prosciutto, cream cheese and salad. The plate came with soup (it was carrot soup yesterday), cold chicken salad, salad & hot chips, and a choice of drink.  (¥1050)  I LOVE the Campagne bread.  Inside is moist, soft and chewy, but the crust was very hard and crusty.  All the food on the plate was delicious.

Then we ordered strawberry tart, and Monburan (Mont Blanc).  It took me 10 minute to chose the cake because all the cakes and bread looks so cute and delicious.  I had cheese cake last time, so I chose different one to try.  They’re both DELICIOUS. (>v<)

cheese cake I had last time

(cheese cake I had last time)

Hiro was happy too.

Then, we walked around “castle road”.  It started snowing and so freezing cold…

All the buildings around “Castle Road” were refurbished to look old few years ago in order to attract tourists.  Even a bank looks like this.

We strolled around the street, and bought few souvenirs.  It was windy and the air was spiking our faces, so we decided to head home.  It was a lovely day – we had early Christmas cake together, and had wonderful time 🙂

Chicken Tazta Burger

Posted December 23rd, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

As I mentioned on the earlier posts (here & here), I had an opportunity to eat McDonald’s chicken tazta burger while I’m in Japan!!!

Chicken tazta burger is one of my favourite 🙂  I love the combination of tazta-age, cabbage and the sweet sauce.  They took it off their menu few years ago, but this burger is back on menu for a limited time.

This time, there’re two types of chicken tazta burgers – normal one, and wafu oroshi (with grated daikon radish & ponzu sauce).  I had to eat both of them!

The new flavour, tazta oroshi had tansy kick of yuzu.  I loved it.  The daikon oroshi (grated daikon) and ponzu went very well with tazta-age.  The only one thing I noticed was that the bottom bun was bit soggy and soft because of the ponzu.  Maybe they put too much ponzu sauce?  It was bit difficult to eat, but I enjoyed the flavour.  Japanese mayonnaise is so good on burgers 🙂

Hikone Friends

Posted December 20th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

We visited one of my friend’s house the other day to meet her baby.  She and I used to go to the same high school in Hikone, Shiga.  She gave birth to this beautiful boy on May (just 2 month later Hiro was born).

They live by themselves in apartment, and the house was filled with toys and baby’s photos 🙂  It’s been awhile since I met her last time, and we have many things in common (including having a baby), so we chatted for quite long time.  D came along, and there was her husband at home as well, so it was fun.

I brought some souvenir to them – just some English baby books and Tim Tam.  I didn’t expect anything from them, but they had bought souvenir to us too.  Hikone city is actually pretty famous tourist destination because of its old history, and also Hikone castle and beautiful castle road.  Castle road has many old & new shops on its side selling souvenirs and foods.  Hiko-Nyan, a name of character of Hikone city, is very popular for its cute & relaxing figure.

They gave us Hiko–Nyan goods…

The dorayaki was from famous wagashi (Japanese sweets) shop in Hikone.  I’m surprised that they have Hiko-Nyan dorayaki.  It was fluffy, and very delicious.

It’s got Hiko-Nyan sticker at the back too.  Sugoi…


Posted December 19th, 2011 in Eat out in Japan | No Comments »

Betokon is name of a small stall selling ramen noodles, gyoza, etc near my house.  I don’t know if I can call it “a stall”, or should I say “a shed”.  The place looks just like a small shed, really.  They open only at night time, and there’re only 2 staff (son & mother) working.

My dad and brother likes going there because it’s very close to home.  My dad always have one or two glasses of beer when eating out, so being close to home is very convenient for him.  (even though my brother who doesn’t drink usually drives)   Penalty for drink driving is severe in Japan too.

Another reason for them going there is, of course, the food.  They don’t have much variety on thier menu, and the place is awfully small (just counter table + 10 chairs), but they serve pretty good food.  Some say the food is bit oily, but it fills you up when you are really hungry and want to eat FOOD.

Son is in charge of cooking, and mother serves customers.  Oden is ready in front of the counter, and customers usually eat oden while waiting for other foods they ordered.

They mostly serve Chinese food, including Changhai fried noodle, but most of them are “Japanese Chinese” food.  Cha-han (fried rice), tenshin-han, gyoza, chicken karaage etc…

It was Wednesday night, and we didn’t expect to see any other customers there.  And, so did the staff.  There was only son in the shop/shed, relaxing on a chair.  He said mother’s coming at 9PM.

My dad ordered 3 x gyoza, 3 x oden, and 2 x fried rice to start.  Yes, we eat A LOT.  The staff was moving around very fast, cooking all the food we ordered and serving us at the same time.  His speed became much faster when other customers came in.  After 30 minutes we arrived, the place became full.  And, there was only one staff!  I felt sorry to place order to him… :p

I love their gyoza.  The skin is crispy and chewy, and inside got juicy meat stuffing.

Fried rice was ok.  Not the best…  but still tasty 🙂

We ordered 1 x omelet and 2 x ramen noodle too.

Their omelet contains stir-fried pork and vegetables inside.  Bit too much tomato sauce to me…

By the time ramen noodle was served, I couldn’t eat anything already.  I just watched my dad & bro eating the noodle.

Oh, I forgot to mention that D was staying at home looking after Hiro.  Hiro was sleeping tight, and we didn’t want to wake him up just to go to the narrow space.  D said he’d stay home, so we bought souvenir to him – chicken karaage and Changhai fried noodle.  Karaage was stir-fried with garlic and spring onion after being deep-fried to add aroma and also drain excess oil.  It smelled so good.  I will try it next time !

Teriyaki at McDonald’s

Posted December 18th, 2011 in Food, Japan | No Comments »

We went to McDonald’s the other day to have lunch.  Right now they are doing this campaign “buy value meal LL size and get a coke glass”.  Coke glass looks just like can of coke.

We were both hungry, and bought 2 teriyaki burger sets LL size.

Coke glass…

Ummm, yap, LL size is very big….  I couldn’t finish the potato and drink.

There’s power point for Nintendo DS.  (McD de DS)

Hmmmm  I haven’t had teriyaki burger for awhile!!  The combination of sweet teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayonaise is the vest match.

The new “Chicken Tazta Burger” starts selling from tomorrow! (related post)  I must try it…

First Snow ♥

Posted December 16th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

We had first snow today!!!  🙂

I was inside a building until 2PM, and when I went outside it was snowing.

I haven’t seen snow for 1.5 years.  I’m excited!!!

The snow stopped after awhile, and the sun was out.  The air was chilly, but I didn’t think it’d snow again, so I went out to a store nearby.  After shopping at the store, the sky looked like this ↑  The sky was dark, and it was very windy.  I got home straight away.

At 6Pm, my dad asked me to drive him to Nagahama train station which is about 15 minutes by car from my house.  He was having bounen-kai (end of the year drinking party) at a restaurant near the train station.  We left home, then it started to snow again…. pretty hard!

You can’t really see it, but some cars were carrying thick snow on their roofs.

Ummmmm  I couldn’t take nice snow photos.  It looks like raining, but it was snowing.  I hadn’t driven in snow for 8 years, and it was very scary :p

This snow isn’t gonna stack up.  Fine powder snow will, but the snow today was big, fluffy one.  It will be next year to see white world, probably.


Posted December 16th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

A temple near my house.  We go walking around the house often, and this is one of the places we’ve been.

A donguri nut on the ground.  Autumn….

It’s just a small temple, but we could walk inside.  There was a big bell which a monk will hit at 00:00 AM on the New Year’s day (Joya-No-Kane).

Hmmmm… beautiful!!

Lunch at Katsukura

Posted December 15th, 2011 in Eat out in Japan | 2 Comments »

D, Hiro and I went to Katsukura in Kusatsu city, Shiga to have lunch with my friend.  I haven’t seen her for a long time… probably around 5 years.  We used to go to same collage in Osaka, then flew to Perth to study English at same TAFE campus.  After that she went back to Japan, then came back to Australia to travel around, then went back to Japan again, flew to Europe to travel around, and now working in Japan 🙂  She brought her boy friend to lunch 🙂

I chose Katsukura because I had craving for katsu when she asked me what I wanted to eat.  Katsukura is in Kintetsu building which connects to Kusatsu train station, so easy access was another reason I chose this place (as we both traveled by train).

Inside was bit stuffy and narrow, but maybe I felt so because I had Hiro.  He didn’t want to sit still.  I thought they might have zashiki (dining area on tatami) but they only had tables and chairs.

D ordered normal tonkatsu-zen (pork katsu set meal), and I ordered wakadori-zen (young chicken katsu set meal).

First, small bowls of sesame seeds were brought to the tabel.  We need to grind the sesame seeds at the table, and pour choice of katsu sauce into the bowl.  It’s going to be the dipping sauce for katsu.  Freshly ground sesame seeds are very aromatic.



Rice was served in a big container, and we scoop into our rice bowls by ourselves.  So was pickles.  Bottles of Sauces and salad dressing were set at the table.  Rice, shredded cabbage, and miso soup are all unlimited.  Yes, you can order as many times as you want.

I could just eat rice with the katsu sauce.  Very nice.  The meat was juicy and soft too.


Posted December 13th, 2011 in Eat out in Japan | No Comments »

Hi there, happy Hiro from Mister Donut.  We’re having afternoon tea 🙂

Three donuts and OJ for ¥500.

At MisterDonut, they are selling these “Christmas donuts” right now for limited time only ↓↓↓

Snow-man-looking donuts (the face is coated with icing), and Christmas-wreath-looking churros (one is coated with icing, others are with chocolate).  The icing donut is sweet, but it’s kind of addictive!  I love the icing Christmas wreath churros.

I went back there in few days to eat another icing churros.

They’re collecting the orders for Mister Donut Christmas Set (¥1000), and I wanted to order one, but I couldn’t…..   They were all sold out by the time I went to submit the order sheet. 🙁

The donuts are yummy….  Unlimited drinks (cafe au lait etc) make afternoon tea perfect relaxing time of the day!

Big Boy

Posted December 11th, 2011 in Eat out in Japan | No Comments »

We had lunch at Big Boy the other day.

I remember staying here for hours with friends when I was a student, just by purchasing drink bar.  It’s sometimes ¥100, so it was the best place to kill time and have a chat with friends.

I ordered daily lunch menu (¥580).  It was a set of grilled chicken, prawn katsu, and stir-fried pork dish came with unlimited soup bar and a choice of rice or a bread roll.

D had big hamburg set (¥780)which came with a choice of sauce and a choice of rice or a bread roll.  The hot black stone on the right front is to sear the meat if you want to cook more.

I had ¥100 coupon for drink bar, so we ordered one.

A piece of paper was placed around the hamburg plate to avoid any oil spill.

It was pretty volumy…  I was full after having 3 cups of soup, meat plate, drinks, and bit of rice.

D was eating the hamburg as hamburger…   sandwiching slice of hamburg inside a bread roll.

Nagahama Kurokabe

Posted December 10th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

Yesterday we went to Nagahama city, a neighbouring city of where I live, to walk around the Kurokabe road.

It is a small pedestrian street with old shops and restaurant around.  It’s a very old road.street.  Now, it’s a famous tourist destination and I get to see many tourists coming here almost everyday, so the shops sell more like “souvenir”  things.

The name “Kurokabe” literary means “black wall”.  Most of the buildings on this street are with black wall.  Because of the name, there are shops and restaurants selling “black” things, such as black curry, black rolled cake, and black donburi.

There are very nice museums and atelier/studio on this street including Kurokabe Glass Museum and Kaiyodo Figure Museum.  The glass ware made here is very famous.  You can see the studio through the window inside the glass shop.  When I was there, a glass artist was making square vase.  It was amazing.  First, it was just a round transparent ball of glass, but then, it became yellow-red-green square shaped art.  The studio looked very hot and the artist was working with half sleeve.  It was pretty cold day yesterday and we’re wearing thick jackets and gloves.

There are many action figures and character toys in this building of figure museum.  Famous music box shop is located inside too.

We had a bite at a bakery on this street.  This bakery has been here since long time ago…

I had a bacon epi bread, and D had ham mayonnaise roll.  We shared a melon-pan bread and a little box of banana au leit.

I love the crusty bread!!  It was very hard to chew, but good exercise on jaw 😀

On the way home we stopped at Nagahama castle.  It was freezing, so we just had a small stroll around the park, and head home.

McDonald’s Big Mac 200yen

Posted December 9th, 2011 in Eat out in Japan | No Comments »

We went to Jusco store (a shopping centre) yesterday, and had a bite at McDonald’s.  Right now, they are selling a Big Mac for ¥200, so D ordered one.

I didn’t feel like eating burger then, so I ordered small vanilla shake. Just ¥120.

The staff was so friendly and polite 🙂  I love thick shake….  I sometimes get a craving for it.  Always vanilla flavour.

They had high chairs for babies.  Hiro had snack (milk) there too.  Looks comfy 🙂

There is one sink to wash hands, and one for little people too.

A bottle of hand soap with McDonald logo.

The tray came with some discount coupon and a flier saying that they are selling Chicken Tazta Burger again soon.  Chicken Tazta Burger!!!  My favourite….  I just love the combination of chicken tazta and shredded cabbage 🙂  And this time, they have two kinds – one is an usual Chicken Tazta Burger, and another is Chicken Tazta Wafu Oroshi (with grated daikon radish and some soysauce-based sauce).  I must try it!!  I also want to eat their limited-time-only burger, Tomato Gra-Koro Burger (a gratin-croquette burger with special tomato sauce), so I will need to come back to McDonald’s at least twice within this month!

Japan’s “Sugoi” Things I Found

Posted December 8th, 2011 in Japan | 2 Comments »

Since I’m back to Japan I’ve noticed few things that made me  think “wow….!” “Japan tte, sugoi ne”

I just want to list some of them here….

Eggs bought from a super market.  A pack of eggs is sometimes ¥98 here.  And, each egg has a sticker saying its expiry date.  Wow.

A pack of cotton buds for baby bought from a 100yen shop.  It contains 50 cotton buds, and they are individually packaged.  And, there are instruction of how to open the package, and “made in Japan” printed on each one of them. Again, the pack is just ¥100.  Wow.

Photos taken at a supermarket.  Each section sells varieties of brands.  One isle sells just sliced white bread, and one isle sells just Japanese green teas.  Wow.

I found this at my house.  A container for nikuman!  Haha, it makes it easy to store one nikuman in the fridge, indeed.  This can be a steamer to warm up nikuman in microwave, too.

A cup of instant udon noodle.  It contains chunks of pork, abura-age (fried beancurd), carrot and spring onion.  Is this an instant noodle?  These ingredients even got crunchy texture.  Oishi~

I don’t remember if public toilets in Perth are the same, but here in Japan, toilets have sink for little kids too.

And, handbag hooks inside the toilet is like this shape in Japan.  Looks strange, but this is to prevent someone outside trying to steel the bag while you are peeing (from above the door).  This crime happened so many times few years ago, and lots of public toilets use this type of hook now.

Trip to Shigaraki and Koga -Part2-

Posted December 6th, 2011 in Eat out in Japan, Japan | 2 Comments »

The restaurant was located just in front of Shiragaki train station.  We couldn’t miss the place because there’re lots of big red flags around the restaurant saying “MATSUTAKE”.  And there was loud music coming out from the restaurant.

Apparently, this place is very famous for ALL YOU CAN EAT matsutake course menu.  Matsutake is only available during Autumn, so they serve crabs and fugu dishes in winter. All-you-can-eat as well.

There’re many photos of famous actors/comedians/sumo restler taken with the owner of this restaurant at the entrance.  They came here to eat matsutake dishes!  The place was all tatami-floored, and you sit on zabuton (cushion) and eat the food.  Lucky we made booking – there’re so many people inside.  Our table was upstairs.

Our couse menu was Matsutake and Ohmi Wa-gyu Beef Sukiyaki with Matsutake Gohan (seasoned rice with matsutake), Matsutake Dobin-mushi (seasoned steamed matsutake), and dessert.  Meat, matsutake, vegetables for sukiyaki, eggs, rice were can be ordered as much as we wanted.

We were expecting them to bring warishita (sukiyaki sauce) to pour into the pan, but at this restaurant we actually cook by yourself at the table.  There were sugar, cooking sake, soy sauce and their home-made sukiyaki sauce next to the pan.

First, sprinkle sugar on the bottom of the pan, then place wa-gyu beef.  Pour soy sauce and sukiyaki sauce over the meat, and eat the meat first – by dipping into raw egg.

OH MY GOSH….  The meat was so tender, and delicious!!!  I hadn’t eaten such delicious beef for a long time!!!

Then add other ingredients such as matsutake, tofu, other mushrooms and Chinese cabbage.

We ordered lots of wa-gyu beef and matsutake to top up. Many times.

And lots of rice too.

Wa-gyu was great, and Matsutake was also great!  Great fragrance, and very thick, dense body.  The texture was amazing.

I loved the chopstick stand (racoon shaped Shigaraki ware), and they were selling many kinds of souvenirs downstairs, so we bought few things for ourselves.  My dad bought matsutake to take home, and my brother bought some sweets.  I bought the Shigaraki ware chopstick stand. 😀

They gave us a bag of gift when we left.  It was part of the course menu deal.  And, because we bought some souvenir, we could do the garapon lottery (You could win a prize in a lottery by turning a small round machine. The prize depends on a colour of the ball dropped from the hole of the machine).  We did 4 times, but didn’t get big prize.  They gave us packs of sweet chestnuts and bananas for thank-you.

The food was very very nice!  And the service was great too.  My dad loved the place, and he said we’ll come back here again on Christmas.  Around Christmas they do all-you-can-eat crabs and fugu course meal.  Despite the amount and quality of the food, the price was not that expensive.  That’s amazing too.

Trip to Shigaraki and Koga -Part1-

Posted December 5th, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

As it was D’s birthday, my dad and brother took us to one of the most historical cities in Shiga –  Shigaraki and Koga.  Shigaraki is famous for its pottery and stoneware (wiki), and Koga is an area where ninja used to live in old era (wiki).  The purpose of going there was to have matsutake (the most expensive, the most delicious, the most rare mushroom in Japan) dishes in Shigaraki, and visit ninja house in Koga.

First, we stopped at one of Shigaraki-ware store in Shigaraki.  There’re so many shops selling stonewares in this area.  The most common Shigaraki-yaki is tanuki (racoon dog), but there are many more…  including koalas and frogs.

The small ones are around ¥3000, and the big ones are around ¥400,000.  I’m not sure how much the biggest one (around 3M) is…  I don’t think anyone can bring it home!

The souvenir shop sells very cute souvenirs…  tanuki-shaped sweets and chocolates.

After having browse around this shop, we still had time until our Matsutake lunch reservation at a restaurant, so we headed to Koga (Kouka).  It was just 10 minutes drive from Shigaraki.

I remember coming here when I was little.  My dad took us here.  And, I remembered it was a big area which has lots of trick inside the houses which ninja used to use when enemies attacked them.  But, actually, this ninja palace is just someone’s house.  It’s bit hard to find….

There’re some other tourists visiting here when we arrived.  We paid the entrance fee, and had browse inside.

You can hire ninja costume (¥500 for 10 minutes).

You can relax here and have hot green tea.

You can practice throwing shuriken) here 🙂

Many ninja dolls inside the house….  They freaked me out.

The tools and sword ninja used to use were on display.

The owner of this house started talking about ninja, and showing the tricks inside the house.  I couldn’t take photos, but they’re pretty cool.  Many pitfalls and hidden panic rooms.  And, after hearing the story of ninja, I found that ninjas were not like what I imagined at all.  They didn’t kill people for no reasons –  what they did was mostly just escape from enemies.   It was so interesting to see inside the pitfall and underground tunnel.  (website)

After this, we headed to Shigaraki again to have Matsutake….


Nippon Food Subiaco December 2011

Posted December 4th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Check out what’s on sale at Nippon Food this month!

Monthly Special 01 ~ 30 November 2011

• Ra-yu Goma-Dare (chili oil sesame sauce) 210G (brand: S&B)  $8.20 → $6.00

• Ra-yu Ponzu (chili oil ponzu) 210G (brand: S&B)  $8.20 → $6.00

• Seasoning for Flavored Rice 210G  $6.20 → $5.00

• Organic Udon Noodle Dry 270G (brand: Hakubaku)  $3.50 → $2.60

• Fujicco 44G $7.90 → $6.30

• Chocolate (Milk, Black, White) 45G/58G (brand: Meiji)  $2.80 → $2.20

• Ume-Shiso Ponzu 360G (brand: Yamasa)  $6.80 → $4.50

• Pie Snack pie-no-mi 73G (brand: Lotte)  $3.80 → $3.00

New Products

• Breadcrumb with Honey 300G (brand: Shirakiku)  $3.60
…  taste same as other Japanese breadcrumb.  Honey makes it easy to get coloured.

• Mochi-mochi Hot Cake Mix 300G (brand: Showa)  $6.70
…  You only need eggs, milk, and vegetable oil.  Makes chewy (mochi-mochi) pancakes.

• DARS Chocolate 45G (brand: Morinaga)  $2.60
… Black, Milk, White

• Manna Wafer Snack 52G (brand: Morinaga)  $4.60
… Contain no egg.  Nutritious snack for people from 7 months old to adult.

• Wheat Free Soy Sauce 500ML (brand: Ichibiki)  $7.40
… Great for people with wheat allergy.  Made with 100% non-genetically-modified soy beans.

Happy 30th Birthday!

Posted December 3rd, 2011 in Food, Japan | No Comments »

Today is D’s birthday…. entering his 30th!

We are going out for big lunch today, but I will write about it later.  I bought him birthday cake from this cute cake shop.

The shop’s decoration is all Christmas!  So cute…  This shop has been popular around this area ever since I can remember.

I picked individually cut cake, not a whole cake.  I thought it’s easier to eat as there is no need to cut by ourselves.  I could pick few different flavours too.

I chose sponge and cream cake with fruits (everyone’s favorite!), monburan (cake of marrons – chestnuts), chocolate cake, fruits tart, and cheese cake.  They all look yummy!!!  Pumpkin tart looked nice too, but maybe next time…

Hmmmmm… a whole decorated cake looks also nice and delicious…  Japanese cakes are so cute.  And, the decoration is amazingly beautiful.

We probably get a whole cake on Christmas, maybe!

A Shopping Day

Posted December 2nd, 2011 in Japan | No Comments »

I’m worried…..  We’ve been shopping almost everyday, and spent money everyday.  It’s been just over a week since we came here but we’ve already spent 1/3 of cash we brought!  What did we buy??!  We should slow down…

But it’s difficult to not buy when we see something we wanted or something nice with a reasonable price.  And, when it starts snowing we can’t really go out for shopping, so I guess it’s ok…  Just try to slow down a bit, and watch what we spend for.

A tea break at Starbucks.

We ordered chicken pie and sugar donut to accompany our drinks 🙂

After another round of shopping, we accidentally came across with my dad inside a shopping mall.  He said he just bought a pair of jeans from UNIQLO.  He was suposed to be at work…  :p

We had another tea break with him at First Kitchen.

D had teriyaki burger and melon soda float.  I had milk tea float with tapioca.

Milk tea float tapioca wasn’t sweet.  The syrop was served separate so I could adjust the sweetness to my liking.  I ended up not using the syrop though.  Just trying to cut-down calories…

Tori-Kawa (Chicken Skin)

Posted December 1st, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

Stir-fried chicken skin with sweet ans salty sauce.  If you like tori-kawa (chicken skin), it’s a great dish at very cheap cost 🙂

Some people like soft texture of skin, but I like it crispy.  So I grilled the skin until golden before adding the seasoning sauce.  It goes with steamed rice, and also can be great accompaniment to alcohol drinks.

<Recipe> serves 3~4

  • 2 cups chicken skin
  • 2 cups beanshoots
  • few leaves cabbage
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs mirin


  1. Cut chicken skin into pieces.  Cut cabbage.
  2. Place chicken skin in a frying pan with no oil, and turn on the heat. When the skin starts to sizzle, turn the heat down and grill until golden and crispy.  Wipe away the excess fat with kitchen paper.  It makes the dish light and healthy.
  3. Add beanshoots and cabbage.  Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add sugar, soy sauce and mirin.  Cook until the liquid is almost gone and the skin is caramelised.