Sunday, September 17, 2017

Japan Trip Day 7 : We Will Miss Japan !

Breakfast at Matsuya
Sky was gloomy when we woke up in the morning. I opened the rolling glass door to the balcony just to see how the weather looked outside. Just a bit drizzle and humid.

We got ready and went for breakfast next door at Matsuya. We've been to another Matsuya in Osaka and enjoyed the Japanese style breakfast there. It came with a bowl of rice, a bowl of miso soup, a slice of salmon,  a side of pickle veggie and a piece of tofu. Simple and healthy.

Then we continued to Don Quijote (Donki) in Shinjuku. Ran across a young Japanese guy who seemed to have trouble standing straight after a night of party. Later we came across another group of Japanese men and one of them requested a hug from hubby. They sure know how to party.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sam's Kebab & Gyros - Milpitas

Chicken shawarma plate
This place is located in the Great Mall food court. It's been a while since we visited the Great Mall and I noticed the food court has been remodeled. They have bar seating area for single person, regular sitting area for families and also couches just for lounging.

We have been craving kebab so we were happy to see this place. I ordered chicken shawarma wrap and hubby ordered the chicken shawarma plate. Total order $20.69 before tips.

The plate has the same chicken as the one used for the wrap. But the plate came with yellow (saffron ?) rice and salad. The wrap came with the marinated chicken, lettuce and sauce. Very juicy and tasty.

Rating :

chicken shawarma wrap
Sam's Kebab & Gyros
172 Great Mall Dr, Milpitas, CA 95035
(408) 935-9288

7 Eleven dessert - Tokyo, Japan

Japanese cheesecake

Red bean ice cream

Cheesecake is different from New York style - similar to Uncle Rikuro cheesecake

Ice cream with the shape of flower

First bite to show the red bean inside

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Japan Trip Day 6 : Shibuya, Yoyogi Park and Shinjuku

Lunch at Genki Sushi
We started the day at Hachiko statue outside the JR station of Shibuya. It was still just before 9 and the morning shower sort of delaying the other tourists from coming out early. We continued across the street to Starbucks.

Posting about our breakfast at Starbucks can be found here.

While at Starbucks I found out that there was a Donquijote or Donki just around the corner. So left our seats at Starbukcs and found our way there. Donki is a good place to get your fill of souvenirs. They usually dedicated the ground floor just for souvenirs. And then if you have more time to spare you could make your way to the upper level for more selections of items.

For souvenirs we got matcha flavor kit kat (a must !), matcha cookies, spicy squid, spicy squid legs and rice cake. I like this Donki because it looked new and it's a Mega Donki meaning it's bigger in square footage thus carries more items. I found they have souvenirs marked as coming from different part of Japan. So those are helpful. Prices vary so you could pick one that suits your budget.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Yakisoba Kabukichi - Shinjuku Tokyo - Japan

We had time before dinner to go back to our apartment and charged our devices and did search on all available options. I suggested sukiyaki but the options was a bit more pricey due to the meat. We scratched that out and looked some more. In the end we thought of yakisoba which is a stir fry soba noodle. And it just happened that there was one restaurant just very close to our Airbnb apartment.

We followed the direction and found our way to the restaurant. But before that we were surprised by the establishments we passed through. Turned out that we lived pretty close to the entertainment district of Shinjuku. Unlike Bangkok where people sort of gather in front of the establishment either trying to entice customers or just hanging out. Over here we didn't see anyone, maybe it was too early ? The only thing we noticed was plenty of pictures of pretty men/women. All of those in innocent poses nothing raunchy.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Kona Inn Motel Anaheim - Anaheim

This was the hotel we used on our last minute road trip to Anaheim for the kangaskhan event. We got it through Expedia for a total of $86. Not bad for a hotel within 3-4 miles from Disneyland.

We checked in at around 5pm and got a room on the ground floor. The parking lot was empty except for 1 car. The parking lot was actually quite big considering the opening of the motel was pretty small just enough for one car in and one car out.

Our room was pretty big with a king size bed. A little table and chair next to bed if you need a working area. The sink was just out side the bathroom so even if one person is in the bathroom the other person could do make up, etc. I like it.

Bathroom was very clean. Towels were clean though a bit thin. Other amenities included microwave and a small refrigerator. Coffee was available in the lobby area in the morning but we didn't try it.

Our king bed came with three pillows. The blanket was still the old style furry blanket with a layer of bedsheet. Adequate and got the job done. Our AC was cold. There was a pool but we didn't try so could not comment on that.

All in all a decent hotel. Location was great on a street that offered lots of choices of food. Starbucks was almost across the street. Highly recommended.

rating :

Kona Inn Motel Anaheim
331 North Brookhurst Street, Anaheim CA 92801

Seasons Kitchen USA - Anaheim

chicken satay
Found this restaurant online just before our trip to Anaheim and decided that we needed to give it a try.

It's located about one exit before Disneyland on hwy 5. The strip mall that it was located seemed pretty new and had a variety of shops like Ranch Market, Daiso and a few other restaurants. When we walked in we were seated right away.

The paper table mat they used was sponsored by Yeo's and looked like a promotional item for Malaysian tourism. We ordered a char kway teow and noodle with roast pork. The lady (owner ?) who took our order offered appetizer. We decided to try their satay.

While waiting for our order, the same lady (owner?) brought out a ukulele and started singing and encouraged everyone to sing along. The lyrics was also on the back of the menu booklet. Interesting.

Breakfast at Starbucks - Tokyo Shibuya, Japan

Starbucks matcha scone - very good
If you are a Pokemon Go (PoGo) player you most likely know about Farfetch'd. One of our check list for Japan is to catch Farfetch'd which is this regional pokemon that only spawns in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. It had been a few days in Japan and we still had not succeeded and time was running out.

So our breakfast at Starbucks was related to Pokemon Go games but I am not going to bore you with the details here. We found out that the second floor of Starbucks actually had an amazing view of Shibuya Crossing. So while we were there we made sure to take some shots. Of course with our limited devices we could only do so much.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Genki Sushi - Shibuya, Tokyo - Japan

summer combo
During our first visit to Japan years ago we only tried sushi from a local supermarket. It was inexpensive and very good. Simple roll sushi. But this time going back I wanted to try a different kind of sushi. Sushi that got delivered to you by train !

Genki sushi in Shibuya was that kind of sushi place. When we walked in a woman at the reception assigned us to two stations side by side. There are no tables here just tracks in front of you and a tablet for ordering.

On the counter next to the ordering tablet was a stack of cups, container filled with matcha powder and spout for hot water. Help yourself with the hot drink. I checked on the other container, pickle ginger. Sweet. Chew on a piece of pickle ginger to clean your palate between each sushi dish.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tokyo Subway Pass

Add caption
Tokyo subway pass is a pass only for visitors to Tokyo. It can be used on all lines serviced by Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway. Note that it's different from JR pass that works on lines serviced by JR group. Tokyo subway pass comes in 3 different time limit - 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour. Each of the time limit has different price tag for adult and children.

Just like JR pass, you could purchase the coupon and then exchange for the pass when you arrive in Tokyo. Or you could just go to places that sell them like what we did. We bought ours from BIC Camera in Shinjuku.

The best thing I like about this card was the ease of use. You just insert it at the gate of subway station before you pass through and insert to open the gate when you arrive at the destination. It is good for 24 hours from the time of your initial use. We got ours on evening of our first night in Tokyo and started using it as soon as we receive it and it's valid till the same time the following night. All for 800 yen (USD 7.30)

Japan Trip Day 5 : Sensoji, Imperial Palace and Shibuya

Nakmise dori leading to The Thunder Gate Kaminarimon (just outside Sensoji Temple)
On my original itinerary day 5 would be the day we visit an onsen in Hakone. But we ditched that plan about two weeks prior and cancelled the reservation. We'd revisit that idea when we visit Japan in winter. So maybe there would be Japan trip part 2 in the making.

Sensoji Temple - Asakusa, Tokyo

Sensoji was in our original itinerary but on the day 6. We pushed it forward and placed it on our day 5 first spot for the day. Another blogger mentioned that most of the stores on Nakamise dori there close by 4 pm so it's best to visit in the morning. Also because it's summer and it could get pretty warm in the afternoon I tried to start our day as early as possible.

We got there around 9:30 and stores were opening on Nakamise dori. There were swarm of people taking pictures at the gates to the temple already. So we did our selfies quickly and moved on. Took a few more pictures of the inside of the temple and tried the omikuji as well (paper fortune).

As we sat down under one of the trees in the compound of the temple we were approached by a man who was doing survey on visitors' point of view of Tokyo. We did the survey and received a small souvenir. Then we continued exploring the Asakusa area outside of the temple. There were quite a few street food that one could find around Asakusa and we did try though only managed to try two -agemanju and taiyaki.

Check out story on Sensoji over on this link.
Gate before Sensoji Temple

Imperial Palace (East Garden)

This was not on my original itinerary. It was thrown in last minute and was inspired by the visitors' survey we took at Sensoji Temple. Our consideration was there is a big park surrounding the Imperial Palace so we may have chance to catch Farfetch'd. The actual palace itself is not open to public. Though some areas are open to public on New Year (Jan 2) and the Emperor's birthday. (source : wikipedia).

We found our way to the Takebashi station. There were two different exits there pointed to the Imperial Palace but I didn't remember which one we took. We got to the street level and walked about 10 minutes on a nice road planted with fully grown trees. Then we crossed the moat to the entrance of the garden. There was a security guard checking our bags and pointed to a sign that said "no drones allowed". We passed through with no issue and were issued passes.

Honestly we didn't explore far deep in the garden as sun got higher and the day got hotter. No farfetch'd sighting on our Pokemon Go games. We decided to leave and looked for lunch.
East Garden of Tokyo Imperial Palace


Ginza is the famous shopping district with stores like Burberry and Chanel. But some bloggers talked about the eight storey Uniqlo flagship store. Eight storey Uniqlo store ? What could they possibly have ? Ground floor gave preview of what's in store. Then two floors of womens, one floor of childrens, one floor of mens, one floor of pyjamas (?).

There was also another store, a clothing store called GU which offered similar items to Uniqlo but at a lower price. We bought quite a few items there.

Another store which I think worth checking out in the Ginza area was the Muji flagship store. Muji is popular for the natural look clothing but the store also carried food items, essential oils, books, stationery etc. We spent quite some times there just browsing and ended with some food for gifts.

But the most surprising thing for us was to find a restaurant that serves the best Singaporean style Hainamese chicken rice outside Singapore. And also a Bee Cheng Hiang store which is a popular brand of Singaporean style barbecue pork.

Also read posting about our lunch here.
Bee Cheng Hiang - from Singapore to Ginza, Japan
Muji matcha red bean cookies

Muji lemon lime ginger mixture


From Muji we found our way back to the subway to go to Shibuya for dinner at Torikizoku. From Shibuya we didn't do much and just went straight back to our Airbnb because our Tokyo pass will expire about 7:30 pm.

Curious about our dinner at Torikizoku ? You could read it here.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Torikizoku - Shibuya, Tokyo - Japan

One of the food that I really wanted to try on this trip was yakitori - grilled meat on skewers. Yakitori is usually served as a companion to alcohol so I was curious but since I'm not a drinker I wasn't sure if we would try it. Also from a lot of reading and researching a lot of yakitori places are tiny and run by one person with mostly Japanese menu. That was intimidating.

But then I found out about Torikizoku which is a yakitori chain restaurant with English menu ! And supposedly most of the items are 280 yen (USD 2.55). That sounded like a good deal. There were at least 2 locations I found - Shinjuku and Shibuya.

We went to the one in Shibuya. It was located on like 5th floor of a building that had a few restaurants. We saw the sign from far but when we got closer we couldn't see the entrance. It took a good 10 mins with looking around to finally locate the small entrance to the building with a non discreet sign posted on the road side.

Wee Nam Kee Singaporean Chicken Rice - Ginza, Tokyo - Japan

If you noticed the title and wondering why would I post about Singaporean chicken rice when my travel was in Japan. Yes, both me and hubby were surprised too that we ran into a restaurant that served Singaporean style chicken rice. And to make it even more surprising the taste was just as good as the one in Singapore !

So we arrived in Ginza and had no plans on where to go for lunch. Ginza was a last minute change of itinerary. So I didn't have time to research for food in Ginza. We happened to walk pass Exit Melsa which was a shopping mall but we did see some restaurants on 7th and 8th floor. We decided to go up and check it out. I didn't really pay attention to the pictures posted inside the elevator since most of the characters were kanji. But hubby and his sharp eyes were trained on spotting chicken rice since that's his fave food. He pointed it out to me so we went straight to 7th floor to look for the restaurant.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sensoji Temple - Asakusa, Tokyo - Japan

Sensoji (Asakusa Kannon Temple) is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. It's one of the popular sightseeing point for visitors to Tokyo. And because of that we decided that it's best if we reached there earlier in the morning.

The rows of shops leading to the temple known as Nakamise dori have just started opening. We decided to skip the shops and went back to them later. There were a lot of people at the entrance to the temple already. We took some pictures and moved on.

Hubby wanted to try the omikuji (paper fortune). I saw a video about this on Youtube before. Dropped your 100 yen coin as a donation/fee before you start. Pick up the aluminum tube, shake it side way until a stick comes out. The stick will have a number printed on it. Look at those wooden drawers behind with a lot of numbers on it. Match the number on the stick with the number on the drawer. Inside those drawers contain paper with your fortune. Keep the paper if you receive a good fortune or fold it and tie it at the iron rod on the side if it's bad fortune.

Do we believe the fortune ? Not really. It's just for fun.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tia Juana - Sunnyvale

camarones ala diabla - prawn in spicy sauce
I have never actually been to the restaurant. Our office is in the neighborhood and we did take out before. I was impressed with their camarones ala diabla - the devilish prawn. I wanted hubby to try it himself. So off we went on a Saturday afternoon.

It was passed lunch time, so the place wasn't too crowded. There were maybe 4 tables occupied. We got a table and our menus. Hubby chose camarones ala diabla as my recommendation. I chose 2 pork tamales.

We munched on the chips and salsa provided while waiting for the orders. Soon the orders arrived. Hubby's prawns came in a big platter with rice, bean and a dollop of guacamole. The prawns had bright red sauce around it tempting me to take a bite. My tamales came with some melted cheese and pica de gallo. Very pretty and delicious. I didn't think they will be served that way. I normally buy frozen tamales or cooked one and eat them at home. But the way they served the tamales was awesome.
Pork tamales - covered in melted cheese and pico de gallo

The prawns were pretty spicy just so you're warned. But if you enjoy spicy dishes you should definitely try this out. The price was a bit high at around $17 but the prawns were big - 15/20 size. Highly recommended.

Rating :

Tia Juana
901 E Duane Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94085
Phone: (408) 730-8578

Monday, August 28, 2017

Chaat & Currys - Sunnyvale

Spicy chicken seekh kebab wrap
A coworker ordered from this restaurant and recommended the wrap so I decided to bring hubby there. We got there on a Saturday afternoon just before lunch time. I was surprised to see the place was actually very clean and inviting. The strip mall where it was located was sort of old so I was a bit skeptical about eating in.

We ordered butter chicken wrap and spicy seekh chicken kebab wrap. Both we wanted them spicy. If you liked it less spicy just make sure to let them know. Hubby also got the mango lassi which was in the refrigerator next to the counter. Total for those was about $22.

We got a number and took a table by the window. Our view was Tasty Subs and Pizza which door was facing our window. Not long we got our order and our server told us to help ourselves with some sauces at a serving area next to the cashier. Hubby got some tamarind sauce and mint chutney (?).

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Japan Trip Day 4 : Tokyo !!

This is going to be our last day in Osaka. Saying good bye to our cute little Airbnb apartment was a bit sad for me. It's also a reminder that it's only going to be a few more days left for us in Japan.

We were going to stop by for breakfast at what looked like a fast food restaurant just across from the entrance to the Osaka station. But in the morning we decided that it's best to actually had breakfast and then went back to get our suitcase. It was drizzling a bit so it turned out to be a better decision.

Check out our breakfast story at Matsuya.

We tidied our suitcase and left the apartment walking with a suitcase and our umbrella. Suddenly I heard a voice behind. Before I had a chance to turn around to find out what happened. An older lady showed up carrying a clear umbrella and handed it to us. We tried our best explaining to her that we were leaving and not coming back. Hubby said to her that we were going to Tokyo. She was still saying something in Japanese which we didn't understand. Until finally she said to me presento which I translated as "present". I bowed down and said arigato gozaimasu (thank you) and she walked back so fast. We were both wowed by her kindness.

Matsuya - Osaka, Japan

We didn't really pay attention to this restaurant until the third day we were in Osaka. It's located just across from the East entrance of Shin Osaka station so we passed by it like twice a day. When we started looking at the menu then we realized that their price for the breakfast package was pretty decent - around 500 yen (about US$4.5). I have been wondering what a Japanese traditional breakfast tasted like so it was perfect.

We tried it on our last day in Osaka on a rainy morning. As soon as we walked in we noticed a vending machine. By now we have used this type of vending machine quite a few times already. So first thing first was to change the language setting to English. Then pick your order and insert the cash. The total amount was shown on the right hand side bottom. Once the cash was inserted, the tickets would print and any change would come out from the bottom slot. Pretty simple.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Yayoi - Osaka, Japan

Also known as Yayoi-ken. Yayoi serves set menu also known as teishoku. We actually didn't know this whole teishoku until we sat down and saw the menu. This restaurant happened to be located on our way to the Osaka station. One morning we decided to stop by and looked at the window display and was surprised to see the prices. We kept that as our back up plan for dinner since it's so close to our apartment.

The menu was sort of small. We missed our veggies intake since it's been a few days on the trip already. This restaurant only offered 1 veggie dish in the form of stir fry veggie mix with pork. I ordered a large size so we could share. Hubby opted for the stir fry ginger pork.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Japan Trip Day 3 : Osaka Castle and Shinsekai

Today we had a few tourist spots on itinerary. We put them on one day so we could make use of our Osaka Eco Card to the fullest. We started out early because I read that it would be quite a walk from the subway station to the castle. Early morning the temperature normally was around 70. A bit cool and comfortable. But by 10-ish once the sun has completely out and up it would become warmer and humid.

Osaka Castle
I think there were at least 2 different ways to reach the Osaka Castle depends on where you're coming from. We walked through a park and a building like a performance center. Then we saw the mote. From there the road seemed to go up a bit steeper before we finally walked through a gate. The castle stood up high when we finally turned the corner.

We took a few pictures before more people arrived and decided to walk to different part which turned out to be the front part. To my surprise that part was also commercialized with food stands and drink vending machines. We took a few more pictures and decided to leave before it got too hot.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kushikatsu Daruma Tsutenkaku - Osaka, Japan

Another food unique to Osaka is kushikatsu - deep fried skewers with a variety of possibility. And Kushikatsu Daruma seemed like the right place to try it out because they offer English menu.

They have quite a few locations including one at Dotonbori area but the one we went to was in Shinsekai neighborhood. There were more than 1 location at Shinsekai as far as I know. Because we were following our Google maps and then I happened to see the Daruma mascot outside even though we haven't reached the location yet.

As soon as we walked in we noticed a waiting area with a family of 3 sitting there. We took our seats as well and felt that the place was a bit too smoky from all the frying activities inside. Then one of the employees opened up some of the windows to release the smoke.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Airbnb Apartment at Center of Shinjuku

That's exactly what our Airbnb apartment was. The first day or two we thought it was located in the quiet neighborhood of Shinjuku. Only on the last night we found out it was just around the corner from Kabukicho area which was like an entertainment district with the Robot Restaurant, hostess clubs, night clubs and a lot of restaurants as well.

Anyway, the apartment itself was bigger than the apartment in Osaka. This one had a feel of hotel room but with a tiny kitchen area. It has a tiny balcony with towel hanger, perfect to hang dry towel or some laundry.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Ippudo Ramen - Ikebukuro, Tokyo - Japan

Ramen with minced pork
On our Shinkansen ride to Tokyo we had time to talk about what's for lunch and explored our options. In the end we decided on Ippudo ramen because there was one location at Ikebukuro which was our destination for the afternoon.

We took about 20 minutes to find this ramen place after getting lost. When we got there we got confused because there was no English characters on the signage. After a few Google searches we pinpoint the right business and was glad when we walked in and turned out to be correct. Phew.

This ramen restaurant was pretty big for Japan standard. We were seated and got to order from a menu instead of purchasing a meal ticket at a vending machine. We were both starving because it was already 2 pm and though we had rice for breakfast it was pretty early in the morning. I decided on a ramen with some spicy red paste. Hubby ordered a different fiery bowl of ramen with minced pork topping. And we decided to share an order of gyoza. Our friendly waiter with her limited English was trying to explain to us that it's a better deal to order from lunch combo that also came with gyoza. In the end we understood and chose that lunch combo for hubby.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Osaka - Tokyo on Bullet Train

Visiting Japan seemed to be incomplete without at least trying the Shinkansen (aka bullet train). So we incorporated a trip using Shinkansen from Osaka to our next destination which was Tokyo.

To save stress on the day of departure we got our train tickets a day prior.  I had all the information written on a piece of paper to avoid any misunderstanding. The necessary information like date, time, destination, name of train, reserved seat made the tickets purchasing process a lot easier. Those information could easily be found by looking it up on Google maps.

Once you got your tickets make sure that they were how you wanted. You don't want to find out last minute that the train you thought is going to be an hour away turned out to be leaving in 10 minutes.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Revisited : Yummy Tofu and BBQ

We first visited this restaurant around November last year. Both me and hubby liked their homey style. It's a small mom and pop restaurant run mostly by one lady and sometimes helped by her teenager daughter.

Last time we ordered their gamja jeongol (potato with pork neck bone stew) and really enjoyed it. And we noticed that they had a few more stews on the menu. Most Korean restaurants only serve popular dishes like bulgogi, korean bbq or tofu stew. But we like a more hearty stew though of course stews probably more suitable for winter. This time though we decided to try the seafood stew (haemul jeongol).

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Japan Day 2: Namba and Dotonbori

River cruise on the canal. I think they're part of the Osaka Amazing Pass
It's summer so day got brighter way early at 5 am. Added jet lag to that and I was awake by 6 am. By 7 we were already talking about breakfast. Surprisingly hubby was suggesting ramen for breakfast. At home in San Jose, he would suggest other things if I brought up ramen suggestion. So I actually thought we would not have any ramen on this trip.

I looked up Ichiran ramen and found out that they open 24 hours. That was great news because the thought of waiting till 11 for the restaurant to open just made me grew weaker. So we got ready and left our apartment.

Shin Osaka station was packed with salarymen and career women. I noticed most of men wore similar outfit, white long sleeve and black pants.Women were not as many as men. Everyone move methodically almost like half dazed. While waiting for trains everyone heads down looking at their devices.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Transportation from Osaka Itami Airport

Bus schedule next to bus ticket counter. Next to it is a bus ticket vending machine
Osaka has 2 airports - Kansai International airport (KIX) and Itami airport (ITM). If you are flying straight from abroad, you most likely will arrive at Kansai International airport. This time because we flew from Narita we actually selected Itami because it is closer to town which makes easier airport transport.

One of my concern when arriving in a foreign country is how to get to my destination. The easiest way sometimes is to hop on a taxi if it would not break your travel budget. But Japan is not the place you want to flag a taxi so lightly. So I made sure to do my homework and did research prior.

What I found out was there were three ways to get into town (different parts of Osaka). 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Japan Trip : Day 1 - SFO - Narita - Osaka

After a bad experience with United Airlines years ago on our trip to Asia I swore I will not fly with that airlines to Asia ever. But  this time because we were flying in June which is considered high season so I was a bit worry about the ticket price. As soon as I found out that United actually had a ticket for $1400 to Indonesia even with a stopover in Japan I was ecstatic. I decided to give United another chance.

The trip to Japan started at San Francisco airport. We got to airport pretty early around 9 but were able to check in our luggage right away. Then we went for a proper breakfast since we left home pretty early. To our surprise there was a Wendy's there replacing some other restaurant which we didn't even remember other than being pricey. We got a spicy chicken sandwich and a panini sandwich. Both were satisfying.

The flight to Narita was full. To my surprise since I have not been flying United internationally for a while, the inflight entertainment was pretty good. Each of us had our own personal touch-screen for movies, TV shows and games.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Do you need Osaka Eco Card ?

While researching for Japan, I came across some information about Osaka Amazing Pass. With Osaka Amazing Pass one could visit a lot of sight seeing places varies from museums, river cruises to gardens for free along with unlimited free rides on subways.

Since we were there more for the food and not much on sightseeing so I decided to go with Osaka Eco Card instead. Osaka Eco Card  allows one day (not 24 hour) unlimited rides on subway, new tram, and buses. To help you managed your trip, make sure to select subway option when looking up rides using Google maps.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Creo-ru versus Hanadako - Osaka, Japan

Original takoyaki at Creo-ru
Just like okonomiyaki, another Osaka food that one must try is takoyaki (γŸγ“η„Όγ). Takoyaki is octopus ball made off mixture of flour, tempura scraps, green onion, pickled ginger, etc.

There are so many restaurants, shops and stalls serving takoyaki in Osaka. Each of them has their own secret recipes and distinction. My plan was to try a few places but unfortunately we were only there for two full days. So we managed to only try 2 shops.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Houzenji Sanpei - Osaka, Japan

Okonomiyaki with the bonito shaving topping
This restaurant was sort of thrown in last minute as we sat there by the Dotonbori canal contemplating on dinner. I have been wondering what the okonomiyaki tasted like but hubby wasn't quite convinced to try it. I managed to talk him into it by referring to an article I read recently. If you're interested, check it out at Tsunagu Japan.

But what is okonomiyaki ? It's like a savory pancake made of shredded cabbage, mountain yams and other ingredients like seafood, meat, mushroom, etc. Just like the name okonomi which means "how you like" or "what you like", you could put pretty much anything.

The okonomiyaki restaurant mentioned in that article on Tsunagu Japan was conveniently located at Dotonbori area. Google has it on the map and off we went looking for it.

Houzenji Sanpei was located on one of those discreet alley at Dotonbori. Like most of the restaurants in Japan, the name was in Japanese with a tiny English name which could be easily missed. A couple was outside the restaurant with the guy taking pictures of the outside of the restaurant before they went in. They were the first customer and we were the second. The restaurant was very tiny with only around 20 people capacity consisted of 3 tables and some bar seatings.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rikuro Ojisan no Mise - Osaka, Japan

We came across a video on YouTube about some Japanese cheesecake that were just taken out of oven. Also shown was line of customers waiting to get hold of this cheesecake. The cake looked delicious and when we found out that it's available only in Osaka, we decided that it has to be on our must try list.

There were only about 3 locations that I known of in Osaka that sells this jiggly cheesecake. The Shin Osaka station, Namba location and Umeda. I will try to include the locations below.

We went to the Namba location early just after it was open and got ourselves a cake in less than 2 minutes. Practically no wait at all. There were another group of tourists enjoying their cake just next to the stall. We brought ours back to Dotonbori and found a seat outdoor while most of the shops haven't completely open yet.
Side look : about 2 inches thick with raisins just around edge