Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 16 in Japan-Osaka food

We stayed in Osaka for four nights because it is very convenient to go to Nara and Himeji by Shinkansen from there. So we came back to Osaka every evening, had dinner and went back to a hotel to sleep. 新幹線で奈良や姫路に行きやすいように今回は大阪に宿泊しました。毎晩大阪に帰ってきて夕食を食べ、ホテルへ帰って休むという感じ。

Here is a very flowery wall in a shopping mall BreezeBreeze close to our hotel. They have a giant marionette (3 street high), Bri chan and it moves in a certain time in a day. We were happen to be there for the movement but he only raised his legs and arms a little bit. Not a big deal. By the way, I look exactly the same in the pictures of this trip. It was too cold to take off my coat and hat. ここはホテルの近くにあるブリーゼブリーゼというショッピング街。3階まで届く巨大なマリオネットのブリくんがいて、決まった時間に動くのだけど、手足をちょっと上げるくらい。ちょうどその時間に居合わせましたが、何てことないスローな動きでした。お花畑のような壁がとてもきれいだったので写真を撮ってみました。それにしても今回の旅行中はことごとく同じ格好の私。寒くてコートも帽子を脱げなかったの。

Here are the dinner we had in Osaka
Dinner 1:Sumi de yakunen
The name of the restaurant means"Grill with charcoal" in Osaka dialect. One of my friends introduced this restaurant to us and it was very good! We grilled food on the table by ourselves. I liked fatty mackerel, lotus roots and sweet potatoes.
Dinner 1:炭で焼くねん
Summi de yakunen
1-6-27 Sonezaki Shinchi 2F
Kitaku, Osaka City

Dinner 2:Chibo
Okonomi yaki (Japanese savory crepe) is different in Osaka. You can add some tasty beef cartilage! We ordered some Gyoza and salad, too. We love Okonomiyaki. A lot of Okonomiyaki places make you cook on the grill on the table by yourself but not in Chibo. Professionals cook a perfect Okonomiyaki for you.
Dinner 2:千房

2-5-25 Umeda Harpis Osaka B2
Kitaku, Osaka City

Dinner 3:Chikuyo Tei
We wanted to compare the BBQ eel at Imase in Beppu with somewhere else in Kansai (West Japan) area. We don't like Kanto (East Japan) way to cook eel differently so no point doing in Kanto area. It was good. Tasted great but we didn't like the texture as much as Imase eel. Our best BBQ eel is still in Beppu.
Dinner 3:竹葉亭

Chikuyo Tei
1-1-43 Sonezaki Shinchi
Kitaku, Osaka City

Dinner 4:Tsurontan
We went to this place twice out of 5 dinners. We like noodles very much and this place is a special Udon noodle restaurant. I liked their cold udon with salted sakura blossom. The noodle has great bouncing texture and the soup is great, too. Wish they opened the restaurant in US...
Diiner 4:つるとんたん
大阪での5回の夕食のうち2回行ったくらいのお気に入り。麺類大好きな私達には麺類専門店はパラダイス。 USにいい和麺類のお店がないということもあるけれど。冷たいおうどんの上に桜の塩漬けが乗っていてなんとも春らしい。もちろんしこしこの食感とお出汁の効いたおつゆ。あー、USにも開店してくれたらなあ。

1-1-19 Sonezaki Shinchi
Kitaku, Osaka City

Before we left Osaka, we bought some lunch and got on the Shinkansen to Tokyo. 東京行きの新幹線に乗る前にランチを買って乗り込みました。

Buta man (pork dumpling at 551 Horai) and Tako musubi (octopus dumpling on rice cake). Both are just GREAT!! 551蓬莱の豚まんと駅のたこむすび。何とたこ焼きがおむすびの上にのっているの。このままでおいしかったけど温めたらさぞおいしかっただろうなあ。

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 15 in Japan - Nara

Coming soon...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 14 in Japan - Himeji Castle & Engyo Ji

Himeji Castle. Steven had been talking about this castle for 6 years and finally went there together. When he was there for the first time, the Sakura was full bloomed but this time was a little too early for that. Although we were able to see some sakura and the castle was amazing.

The castle has the second name, "white heron castle" and it was beautiful like its name.

After we enjoyed the beautiful castle, we had a lucn at Shoan where you can see an old Japanese style house. The food were healthy vegetable dishes and felt like we were visiting some body's private house for lunch. Very homey.

We took a bus from there and 30 minutes later, we arrived at a rope way station.

The place we arrived were...

Shosha Zan Engyo Ji. We walked to the main gate for 20 minutes in the mountain road looking down to the amazing views. The sign at the start point says "While people are walking on the mountain road, their spirits get purified ." Walking on slope with beautiful views and clean air really feels like it.

Mani Den is the main building of this temple. The huge building makes you say "wow!" without a doubt.

After walked a little bit from Mani Do, you can see three buildings, Daiko Do, Jiki Do and Jogyo Do where "Last Samurai" was filmed at. もう少し歩いて行くと「ラストサムライ」を撮った大講堂、 食堂、常行堂が見えてきます。

At Juki Do they were asking donation to fix their roof. You pay 1000 yen ($12) and write your wish and name on a ceder plank and it is going to be a part of the temple!! I thought it was a very cool way to do donation. I wished "peace in the house/family". I hadn't done calligraphy with a brush for a long time so the letters were not pretty but it was OK, wasn't it?

See, Ken san and Tom were here.

We stopped at overlook before we left the mountain. What a great place!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 13 in Japan-Katsura hama & Ryoma in Kochi

Last day in Kochi, we needed to go to Katsura beach where Ryoma Sakamoto loved and the place has his statue. We bought some danish including a hat bread and brought them to our bus to Katsura Beach. They also has colorful street cars for downtown trip. I used to ride this type of street car with Mom when I was a kid.

The beach was beautiful but would have been much better if it was a warm sunny day. We walked fast to see his statue, ran into the Ryoma Museum. The highlight in this museum was the screen with blood spots which was from Ryoma when he was killed. Ohhhhhhh...scary....

When we came back to the Kochi Station, there was a pavilion showing Ryoma and they had a place you can BE Ryoma. Made Steven great Ryoma. (Note:He is putting his right hand in the Kimono. This is Ryoma's signature pause.)

See, it was the same pause with real Ryoma.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 11-12 in Japan - Kochi castle

Going to Kochi by Shinkansen. I like Ekiben (lunch box sold at train stations) and had to buy it when I ride trains. This time I got Daimyo dochu kago bento at Kokura station. This lunch box has a shape of Lord carriage and the long skinny box (suuposed to be a handle for carriage) has chopsticks inside! Steven's lunch was Katsu sand (Fried pork sandwich) and beeeeeer. It is something special for him to buy beer from vending machines or carts in trains and can drink anywhere even in public.

We changed trains at Okayama to go to Kochi. This train goes through Seto Big Bridge which connects Shikoku (the smallest island of four main islands) and Honshu (the biggest island) and rivers and mountains. Very pretty.

In a cold rainy day(next day), we went to Kochi castle and it was special for us because we liked the TV drama "Komyo ga Tsuji" and its main character, Yamanouchi Kazutoyo built this castle in 1600's. Couldn't stay there long because it was so cold and Steven's cold was getting worse.

While Steven was sleeping, I enjoyed hot springs in the Inn. This place has sauna, water bath, waterfall bath, big bath and outside bath! I can easily spend a few hours here. I talked to an old lady in the bath and she told me a good restaurant for dinner. There is an old gate which was used by Lord Yamanouchi and a beautiful garden but I was not so interested in checking out in the cold rain.

By dinner time, Steven got better so I took him to Tsukasa restaurant which is in business for 80 years. We wanted to try Sawachi Ryori which is a lot of different food served on a big plate. While we were waiting, we were goofing off taking unfocused pics of each other and our camera battery was dead just before the food arrived!! Since we couldn't take any pics of this wonderful food, the one in the picture bellow is from their website. I think our food had more varieties than the pic. There were more than 10 kinds of food including pressed sushi, tempura and everything. We finished the food because we were hungry without lunch and the waitress was very surprised with the empty big dish.


Tasted soooooo good. おいしかった!

1-2-15 Hariyama Cho
Kochi City, Kochi

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 9-10 in Japan- Beppu 3

Our nephews, Gen ya and Sota are 6 and 3 years old. They are very active and friendly, too. Hope they will visit us in US someday soon...well, when they get older and settle down a little. Cute boys! 甥の弦也と奏太は6歳と3歳。やんちゃででも人なつっこいかわいい子達です。アメリカにも近いうちに遊びに来て欲しいなあ。あ、いやもう少し大きくなって落ち着いてからでもいいよ、もちろん!

Mom cooked so many good dishes for us and some of them are too good and forgot to take pics! Thank you for your heartfilled dishes, mom!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 7-8 In JapanーBeppu 2

The main reason we came back to Japan this time is attending my grandma's first memorial day. Our relatives got together and think about her. After the ceremony we had a BIG TATY obento together. Usually obento in this kind of events sucks but this was different. Mom specially ordered from a famous Inn in Beppu. Thank you, Mom!!

My brother's family couldn't make this ceremony but everybody else is here!

We also went to her cemetery site.

My brother's family has just arrived! We got kicked out from my mom's house and will stay in Shinkiya Inn for three days. Yeah, Big bath tub and great Japanese breakfast won't kill us :)
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 4-6 in Japan-Beppu

In Beppu. Ryoko also came back home and she is practicing to wear Kimono. She has been taking class for this in Tokyo so she claimed she can wear this by herself. Well, she actually did! Mom is a teacher at home and she is giving Ryoko some advices to do better.

Akiko has a week off so we three can have fun together!

One day, it was very warm so Akiko, Steven and I decided to walk to the junior high we went. It is very hilly road but has a beautiful view and a lot of Sakura trees. I didn't notice this path is so pretty when I went to the school. I just hated my heavy bag full of text books and multiple dictionaries when I climbed this hill.

One day, we went to Dad's cemetery to clean and arrange flowers. After that, we needed to stop to Imase for BBQ eel. Steven cannot leave Beppu without visiting this place. Oh, it was very delicious as usual. We will try this in Nara to compare this since Nara has some famous shops for this. 別の日にはパパのお墓のお掃除とお花をあげに行き、その帰りにいま勢でうなぎをいただきました。Stevenはここにこないことには別府を後にできないほどのファン。いつもながら、すごくおいしかった。奈良にも有名なお店があるそうなので、比べるために行く予定です。

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 3 in Japan-Kamakura

Why am I riding a bike? どうして自転車に乗っているのでしょう。

Because we biked in Kamakura! それは鎌倉でサイクリングをしたからです。

First, we went to Hokokuji aka Bamboo temple. Look how beautiful their garden is!

Walking through camellias and bamboos ...竹林と椿の間を歩いていって…

There is a tea serving place. We had Matcha tea watching a beautiful view of bamboo, Sakura and a waterfall. お茶席があったので、竹林と滝と桜を見ながらお抹茶をいただきました。

They have tombs of Ashikagas in a cave. 洞穴には足利一族のお墓があります。
Lunch was Tempura soba in downtown Kamakura. Tasty!

We biked to Kencho Ji, too. We loved the old temple buildings.

After that, we went to a few other small temples and got tired but it was a very nice day.

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