A day trip to Miyajima

Hello everyone! I’m back from my summer vacation and I’m kinda suffering the post-vacation syndrome. While we were back in Y-chan’s grandma place, we don’t need to worry on what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner and we can have air-conditioner switched on while we sleep. These are almost impossible when we’re back in our own apartment. Among these, we’re so glad that grandma looks much better compared to the last visit in May last year. 😀

So anyway, we have to go Hiroshima for a night’s stay because Y-chan has to attend a friend’s wedding and I’m left alone (shopping). Took a local train from Yamaguchi to Hiroshima and that takes about 3 hours to reach. There was another choice which is to take the Shinkansen (about an hour journey), but I wanted to see the scenery of Inland Sea (瀬戸内海). So yeah, local train. 😐 On the second day, we had okonomiyaki for lunch at Hiroshima station before we head off to Miyajima. It’s our first time as a couple to visit Miyajima because the first time we went there together was with my exchange group.

Alrightsssss! Photos time!

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The city tram – Hiroden (Hiroshima Dentetsu).moneychanging

Coins changing machine/Paspy charging machine – If you don’t own a Paspy IC card, you’ll have to pay in cash. What happens if you don’t have the exact coins to pay for your fare? Use this machine. 🙂 It’ll change your 500yen coin to a few 100yen coins, 50yen coins and 10yen coins.

And oh! My dear Singaporeans, if you’re paying your fare trip in cash, it’s unlike Singapore where you have to pay first before boarding. You’ll pay when you alight at your stop. 😀okonomiyakiteppan

Okonomiyaki stall in Hiroshima station. The one I went to is Icchan (いっちゃん).

I had my first Hiroshima Okonomiyaki when I was in Secondary school? There was this stall at B2 of Takashimaya food hall near the escalator (it’s now gone because the owner went back to Hiroshima). And from then on, I’m in love with it. 😀 negiokonomiyaki

Y-chan’s Negi Okonomiyaki soba version (Okonomiyaki topped with lots of spring onions), 900yen.cheeseudonokonomiyaki

This was mine. Cheese Okonomiyaki udon version (half-size), 900yen. You may choose between soba or udon, and I chose udon. Then, if you have a small appetite (like me), you can order half-size. BUT, the price would be the same as a normal sized one. orzshikacouple

These furry messengers from heaven welcomed us after we alighted the cruiser. heartbutt

shaped butt. 😀OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Asked a guy to help us take a photo of the gigantic torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine 厳島神社 (and got photobombed by a tourist behind, that explains the awfully cropped photo). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inside Itsukushima Shrine and it was at low-tide, we could see lots of sea creatures crawling out from the bed. miyajimacoffee

Had a rest at Miyajima Itsuki Coffee (伊都岐珈琲) because the weather was hot & humid. Iced Americano at 400yen was quite a reasonable price considering it to be a touristy place. Itsuki Coffee has good ratings on TripAdvisor too, so if you’re in Hiroshima, do give it a visit.cafe

My new summer hat that I bought while shopping alone the day before. 😀miyajimagurume

Spent quite a lot on omiyage (souvenirs) and the above street food. 😉

1. Anago Chikuwa あなご竹輪 (served pipping hot!)

2. Yaki Kaki 焼き牡蠣 (grilled oysters – Hiroshima is famous for its oysters production and you need to give it a try unless you have allergies. There are some seasonings available on the table so feel free to add some.)

3. Age-manju 揚げまんじゅう (Deep-fried momiji manju)

4. Kaki kare pan 牡蠣カレーパン (I LOVE THIS! There are 2 big juicy oysters inside the deep fried curry bread.)babyshikaWhile we were heading back to the dock, this little bambi kinda sent us off. LOVE!!♥♥♥

Hiroshima holds a big big place in my heart because it was my first overseas trip (please excuse Malaysia) and I met my super nice host family and friends there (not knowing that one of them will be my future-husband).

I seldom hear of Singaporeans including Hiroshima in their itinerary which is kind of sad. 😦 No need to even mention Y-chan’s hometown, Yamaguchi. ._.

While on our way back on the local train, there was a group of ladies in their late 20s (perhaps?) who were talking so loudly that their conversations woke me up from my nap (I suspect I’m having motion sickness). I was so pissed about it that I said out to Y-chan in a tone loud enough for them to hear ‘This is so much noisier than the aeroplane we took!’ Straight after I said that, I went back to nap and woke up again to find out that they had shifted their seats away from us. LOL.

*I’m evil* 😉

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Well Spent Golden Week

The past few days were long holidays in Japan – the Golden Week (GW). It’s the week that everywhere you go, there will always be filled with people.

This year, we didn’t plan to go back Y-chan’s hometown so we just decided to relax and go for short day trips around Kanto region. 🙂

To celebrate the long holidays, we had yakiniku buffet dinner at Gyukaku. Our last yakiniku was in January after our snowboard session. :O

On another day, we went to Yanesen area as Y-chan haven’t been there before. The places we went to are similar to the ones I went last year with my friend A. (If you’re interested, you can read it here 🙂 ) As it was GW, we went early to queue for the shaved ice (at 10am) but instead of queuing up, we were given a ticket by the staff that ask us to come back at 2.30pm for it.

The crowd at Yanaka Ginza Shopping street during GW.

We were strolling along Yanesen area and I thought the sky & building were a nice match. Took a photo of it but to realise that the property was actually a cemetery. :O 

Back to the shaved ice. Y-chan ordered Strawberry Milk shaved ice (900 yen) that has a whole ichigo on it. 😀 I took a spoonful of it and stopped because it’s still toooooo milky for me. *sighs*

This was mine. A citrusy-pomelo called Amanatsu shaved ice. Just the fruits puree and shaved ice. Love it! 😀 Following that, we went to walk around Yanaka Ginza shopping street and bought some food back for dinner because it was just too wallet-friendly. 🙂

And on another day, we went to visit the zoo within Saitama perfecture. 😀 My first time to visit the zoo in Japan and I totally enjoyed it. Got to see alpacas and baby white tigers for the first time in my life. ♥♥♥ 

This sums up our GW for 2015 and we’re now looking forward to our summer holidays.

BTW.

Can you believe that this pack of Hakata Amaou strawberries cost only 400 yen? (That’s around SGD 5) 😀 😀

What a steal right! 😉 There’s actually a way in getting cheap, fresh and yummy fruits in Japan.

Avoid buying fruits from departmental stores.

The fruits lined up in these places are usually the best-looking (i.e. no dents, 100% scar-free) ones out of the crop. So prices are extremely steep compared to those selling at supermarkets.

It then comes to the next point,

Chained Supermarkets VS Stand-alone (local) Supermarkets.

Fruits’ prices are controlled in chained supermarkets whereas local supermarkets sourced for their own suppliers and get it straight from them (i.e. minus the agent cost and etc..) so their prices are cheap although it varies from time to time. For the same Amaou strawberries I got at a local supermarket in Yanaka Ginza, it will have a price-tag of at least 600 yen at the chained supermarket I frequents.

Usually these stand-alone supermarkets can be found in those old shopping street. Some examples would be Yanaka Ginza shopping street, Higashi Jujo shopping street (東十条商店街) and Sugamo shopping street (巣鴨地蔵通り商店街).

Or you can visit the more well-known Ameyoko Street in Ueno at around 6 – 7pm. The stall owners will reduce the price as they want to clear their stocks before they closing their stalls at 8pm. 🙂

I hope this tip is helpful to you if you’re planning to try the fruits in Japan. 😀

About DisneySea and Hakone Trips

Hello! I am still on my cucumber breakfast and I’m seeing very small improvements (at least my bowel movements improved). LOL

Just a month back, we went to DisneySea and Hakone but it feels like we went there 2 weeks ago. 😉 It’s Y-chan’s first time to visit DisneySea so I’m somehow in charged of navigating inside the park.

We looked super forward to this Disney trip and even booked a cheap hotel in Tokyo so that we can reach early to make full use of the day.

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BUT GUESS WHAT?

It’s has to rain/snow on that day and I think I’m the ’cause’ of it. Whenever I plan & looked forward to any outings, the weather will try to spoil my plan.

From typhoon hitting Tokyo the day I touched down in Haneda airport, to blizzard on my first snowboard experience and now, extremely cold & wet weather on our Disney trip. Really FML.

So I thought to myself that with this lousy weather, DisneySea would be kind of empty so the waiting time for attractions will be lesser.

BUT NO.

We reached 30mins after the park open and fast pass queue for Toy Story’s Mania has already cut-off (fyi, queue for that fast pass needs 3hours). Nevermind, we dashed for other attraction’s fast pass and managed to get it. *thank goodness, if not I might just curse and swear from morning till the moment we reach home*
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Ok, at least we managed to ride the attractions we wanted to so not much complaints. Just as I thought everything is good and fine, JAPANESE HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS. So pissed off at them as they have no manners at all. ;(
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Bought some souvenirs for family and friends and left the park during the night parade so as to avoid the crowd. No regrets at this choice we made. 😉

So after our Disney trip, we went to Hakone the following week with Y-chan’s friend, F-san.

It’s my first time to Hakone and has been looking forward to it too. 😀 F-san picked us up at Tokyo area off we go to Hakone.
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I thought it’ll be a good and smooth ride but… nightmare has began. We got lost in Tokyo’s highway. :O Paid unnecessary highway fares and reached Hakone 2 hours later than planned. At least we managed to reach by the dinner time and had time to soak in onsen after that. 😀
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The following day we visited Le Petit Prince Museum and Owakudani. Although I wanted to visit the Hakone Shrine but it doesn’t fits the schedule so I gave up the idea. Not too bad since I got to eat the black shell eggs at Owakudani. 😀
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Nightmare strikes back as never in my 2nth years of life, gotten car sick before. I talked to Y-chan about that on our way back after F-san dropped us at Ebisu station and Y-chan said he understand how I felt. Reason was that….. F-san’s driving was kinda unacceptable. (._.) *So sorry*

That’s the end of my February encounters and thank you for reading my complains. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at these situations. In a different meaning of my previous post, what an Exciting February!

New Challenge in 2015

Hello! Are you enjoying 2015 yet? 🙂

I’m not going to set much resolutions this year but at the very least, I’m hoping to update this space more frequent than last year to make it less boring. 😉

Anyway, I’m sure friends who have followed my instagram would know that I’ve tried out a new challenge last week. 😀

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Click to read more! 😀

Japanese New Year

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I know, I know… Half of January has passed and why am I writing about New Year right? (-_-) I’m writing this because I need to refer to this post end of the year to prepare for next year’s new year celebration. *sounds so confusing huh..* 😉

Kagami-mochi (鏡餅)

So I bought one which comes with a mini sheep object from a market in mid-December. However, the original one looks like this.

But it looks so confusing so I took the shortcut and choose the kawaii version instead. 😉 It is to offer the mochi (rice cake) to the gods and then consume it after welcoming the new year.

When to set it up? Answer is: 28th December.

Spring Cleaning

Same as the Chinese’s Lunar New Year tradition, Japanese also practise spring cleaning before welcoming the new year. Throw away unnecessary stuff and clean up the house sparkling clean.

Osechi Ryori (お節料理)

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I……… ordered this from the supermarket. 🙂 Looks awesome for 10,000yen (super value for money) and it comes along with the boxes. ♥

We didn’t consume osechi dishes for 2014 because we were still mourning Y-chan’s grandfather’s death. It’s the Japanese tradition to keep it a low-profile.

For Osechi dishes, the compulsory dishes to include would be Prawns, Datemaki (伊達巻), Kazunoko (数の子) my favorite ♥, Black soybeans, Kamaboko, Konbu, Namasu and Tazukuri. *For the explanation, read wiki here*

I love almost every items except maybe…. the chestnuts. :O

With this experience, I will try to make some of the dishes for example, the simmered vegetables, black soybeans, namasu and omelette this year. 😀

Ozoni (お雑煮)

photo credits: erecipe.woman.excite.co.jp

photo credits: erecipe.woman.excite.co.jp

There’s a lot of variations to the soup base depending of the region you’re brought up in. I asked Y-chan on what he used to have when young, he said “I can’t remember.” (-.-“)

So I made a miso-based Ozoni with chicken thigh (in bite-sized), daikon, carrots and spinach, then add in mochi to simmer till soft before serving. 🙂

Hatsumoude (初詣)

photo credits: matome.naver.jp

Hatsumoude means the first shrine/temple visit of the year, and it should be done by the 3rd day of the new year. 🙂 Long queues are a frequent sight in famous shrines/temples such as Meiji Jingu, Sensoji and Narita-san.

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We have been visiting Hikawa Shrine (武蔵一宮 氷川神社) for the past few years and it’s quite famous in the Kanto region.

We picked omikuji after the visit and both of us got 吉. LOL At least we didn’t get 凶 (bad). Hoping for the good luck to continue throughout the year. 😀

Nanakusa-gayu (七草粥)

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It’s a porridge cooked with 7 types of herbs and is to be eaten on the 7th day of the new year. There’s 2 reasons to eat this porridge.

Nanakusa-gayu is so lightly flavored or close to tasteless. During the new year, one tends to overeat and food tends to be heavily flavored. So eating this porridge would give the stomach a rest.

Another reason would be that the Japanese believes that eating nanakusa-gayu would protect one from illness and disasters throughout the year. 😉

As I am very picky on herbs (I don’t like the bitter taste), I bought this freeze-dried pack that’s so easy to handle. Just cook a pot of porridge with my rice cooker and mix the pack in. Serve it with a sprinkle of sea salt (a souvenir from a friend) to add some flavor.

Guess that’s the end of celebrating the Japanese New Year. 😀

It’s going to be the lunar new year soon and I am missing the bak kwa smell. 😥