Japan: Otaru, Hokkaido

We did a day-trip to Otaru yesterday. A port-city that is a quick train ride away from Sapporo. It is famous for its port, canal, glassworks, fresh seafood and (like any other Hokkaido cities) dairy products.

image

We allocated almost a whole day, which was very generous. We walked around the place at a leisurely phase, looking at almost every shop, which started to look same-same after awhile πŸ™‚ We think that Otaru is trying to sell itself as a Japanese version of Venice πŸ˜‰ Also, not surprising given its location, there were a few Russians walking around the area.

image

This glassworks shop has a lot of miniature animals and things that are super duper cute! Most especially the tiny tiny baby turtle on the bottom photo, look how small it is! I wanted to spend all my life savings in that shop (like any other shop in Japan so far). Like always though, when given too many choices, I ended up with nothing. Sadface.

image

Instead of having a sit down lunch, we grazed all afternoon. I had a giant Hokkaido oyster and scallops, freshly grilled while I waited, as well as a slice of rock melon at around $5.50! The Japanese sure knows how to grow sweet and juicy melons. To balance it all off, I had the best creme brulee in my life!!! It was so so creamy, and milky, and delicious. Hokkaido cows have not disappoint me so far πŸ˜‰

image

One of the weirdest flavours ice cream I have yet in my life: Japanese sea urchin (uni) and fermented soy beans (natto). They were surprisingly alright, though I wouldn’t go back for them again πŸ™‚ When ordering this cone, I am reminded why Mr E and I are good together, our views of things in life are compatible β™‘

By the time we set off for Sapporo, I was full up to my eyeballs. The Japanese souvenir shops provide generous samples, and I am a sucker for free samples! It is very hard not to try everything in the shop, though I have learnt which looked like something I wouldn’t like (red beans, matcha green tea, etc). I enjoyed our trip to Otaru, if you’re ever in Sapporo, I recommend you going there πŸ™‚

Japan: Takayama, Gifu Prefecture

Takayama would have to be one of my top favourite destinations in Japan. We did go to Gujo and Shirakawa-go prior to going to Takayama, but all the photos are on my camera. So here are the highlights of our trip to Takayama:

image

Hida people village: a collection of original houses from the 16/17th century. We climbed through overgrown paths, across running streams, in thick humid rainy weather, to see some castle ruins. In the hour and a bit we were there, no one else came. It was definitely a memorable and hilarious experience, with the brothers fighting “stick monsters”, pointing out frogs and insects. The castle ruin itself? Not that great πŸ˜‰

image

Showa Era museum: a reconstructed scene of what 1950s Japan was like. It was so weird being there as there were things that I had when I was growing up. The water pump on the top right photo? My late auntie had it in her house! It kind of gives you an indication of how much Japan influenced Indo during their occupation.

image

We spent a great deal of time at the many vending machines scattered around the place. Each time, each person would pick a different drink. Outdoing each other in weirdness. This drink is currently at the top of the list: Yakult with black vinegar. Worst drink ever.

image

The guesthouse we stayed in celebrated its 3rd anniversary on our last night there: we had impressive sparkles (way better than what is legally available in Australia) and watermelon. It was then when I compared notes with one of our hosts who has a 2yo son, he reminded me so much of my little one πŸ™‚

image

Our delicious bento lunch boxes, these were around AUD5 each from a convenient shop. The quality is 100% better than some proper Japanese restaurants in Australia!

Takayama also has “old town” areas with shops and private houses. We spent almost all day snooping around the area. On our last night, we treated ourselves to BBQ Hida beef, it was expensive but delicious and memorable. Imagine slices of severely marbled beef, around 100g, for AUD40! We basically ate about 70g of fat that night. Indulgent, indeed πŸ™‚

Until my next post!

Japan!

We’re only on our second full day in Japan today and we have done soooo much! Summer night dancing festival, dressed up in a Yukata (a summer kimono), had a 10-course dinner banquet, did loads of sightseeing, and ate copious amounts of food. We’ve also spent heaps on the vending machines, making the difficult decision of only choosing one drink at a time πŸ™‚

IMG_0158.JPG

I am missing Little E a lot! It is difficult when I see little children around his age cuddling up to their parents. Or running around having fun. I feel like we should have brought him with us. Everything I look for at the shops are for him, and it was hard not to as everything here are just too adorable! However, my in laws are wonderful at keeping me up to date with photos and messages about him. By the sounds of it, he is behaving himself, going back to having full nights of sleeps!

IMG_0159.JPG

I also appreciate this opportunity of being me again, enjoying the company of my husband and my family members. It is nice to have undisturbed sleep and not to follow a routine πŸ™‚

I am having a great time here, Japan is almost like my (third) home. I hope to continue to post photos of this holiday and take you all with me πŸ™‚

Flip Out!!!

Flip Out
Sawmill Circuit
Hume
http://flipout.net.au/hume.php

I am soooo happy that Canberra finally got its own trampoline world! After seeing lots of fun photos online, I have always wanted to go.

image

We went to Flip Out on the weekend and the place was busy! There were children of all ages and sizes, their parents milling around, some drinking coffee, some watching intently on the side. I am glad that Flip Out has a “7 years and under” area, complete with its own foam pit. After signing an indemnity form (they take this seriously), we plonked Little E on the trampoline.

image

He wasn’t sure at first. He had been on a trampoline before, a friend has a big one in her backyard. For some reason, he didn’t like hers though, so we were relief to see that he liked the trampoline at Flip Out. There were a few older boys bouncing around, very close to Little E, sometimes getting too close that he’d fall. After watching them very intently for a few minutes, he loosened up a bit and did some sort of jumping motion (he is still working on jumping).

image

He followed a couple of them around the area, falling at almost every step but then got up again. Grinning the whole time πŸ™‚ I didn’t want to miss out, so I did small mini jumps here and there, understanding the fact that I am way over the weight limit.  It was fun!

image

The queue at the big people foam pit

I tried putting him into the foam pit, but he didn’t like it. Instead preferring using one of the foam cubes as a ball and throwing it around. He also liked gathering all the escaped foams and returning them into the pit. I have to mention the person manning the foam pit, he was so gentle and patient with all the kids there. He made sure they all queued up and wait for their turns, then interact with the kid once in the pit. It’s probably not the “coolest” job for a teenager, but he was great at it πŸ™‚

image

Little E’s love affair with hills still continues, so this ramp is perhaps his most favourite out of the whole place. He ran up and down this ramp, clutching one of the foams, quite a few times. I think Mr E needs to build a ramp for Christmas πŸ™‚

image

The big people area

After about 40 minutes, we packed ourselves up and go home. Little E didn’t even make half way the drive when he fell asleep. As Mr E’s boss once said, Flip Out is way cheaper than paying a baby sitter πŸ˜‰ Another great activity idea on a cold, rainy Canberra day for the kids!

P.s. I had been warned about the need for pelvic floor muscle strength by a friend who went when the place was first opened. She isn’t a mum and she said she realised that she needed to work on hers. I am now passing this warning on πŸ˜‰