Thursday, July 20, 2017

551 (namba)

Untitled We got to try the main store for 551 on our way back from Nara.

The restaurant area is located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building.

It was after the lunch crowd and there was still a line for seats.

I was actually surprised that the line moved quite quickly.

I ordered their mabo eggplant yakisoba.

A combination of deep fried noodles and sauteed noodles, topped with their spicy mabo sauce, eggplant and veggies.

It was a change of pace to see cucumber and watermelon radish in there...

Untitled I tried their char siu man (bun), something only sold at this shop.

Untitled I had envisioned it to be similar to the steamed manapua (char siu bao) we have in Hawaii, but it wasn't the canton style char siu and there was lots of shiitake in there.

Still, it was better than the nikuman (meat buns) sold at the convenience stores.

Untitled Even though it is was blazing hot, Satoshi almost always never fails to order soup noodles of some sort whenever we eat at places like this.

This was their seafood ramen.

Untitled And another item he almost never fails to order is gyoza or "gee-why-oh" as he likes to call it...

I'm glad we got to try the main shop's food.

They have more items on their menu than at most other of their restaurant type shops.

I guess whenever I want to get my Cantonese char siu fix, I need to check out Ou-lou or Heichinrou.

3-6-3 Namba
Chuo, Osaka
Phone: 06.6641.0551
Hours: 11:00-22:00 open everyday

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

imai-cho, kashihara jingu, koriyama

Untitled Less than 5 minutes from where we were staying was Imai-cho, a cluster of preserved homes that are from the Edo period.

They have some homes open for viewing, but when we arrived on Saturday, we were too late to visit and on Sunday, we were too early...

Untitled How cool is the tofu/aburaage vending machines in front of a tofu shop?!

Untitled Some roadways were so narrow that cars cannot pass through.

Untitled On Sunday they were having blessings done all around their neighborhood, we happened to stumble upon this one near a preserved home.

I didn't photograph the service out of respect.

Untitled We then headed down to Kashihara Jingu, which dates back to 1889.

The buildings here are similar to those at Ise Jingu in Mie prefecture and exhibit classical Shinto architecture.

The shrine is dedicated to the mythical first emperor Jimmu.

Untitled The sun was even more blazing at this point...

From Kashihara, we backtracked to Yamato-Koriyama.

Untitled I wanted to check out this cafe...K-Coffee.

Yup that is goldfish in a telephone booth. (click on the photo to see a video).

Untitled Using an old gas station, this cafe serves coffee and shaved ice as well as other items too.

Untitled Luckily, we were there early enough to have some shaved ice.

Untitled I chose coffee while Satoshi chose ume.

The coffee shaved ice also had coffee jelly (gelatin) as well as coffee powder on it.

The ume shaved ice was super refreshing! But bummer no color though...

Untitled Apparently this area is known for goldfish breeding.

You can see goldfish farms here and there.

Untitled They were doing some brisk sales at this farm.

Untitled some goldfish were so tiny others were really huge!

Untitled cute manhole cover.

Untitled We also saw the ruins of the Koriyama Castle.

We were thankful that we had good weather but it was so blazing hot and humid that it made walking around very uncomfortable.

Hope you enjoyed our little adventure as much as we did.

4-46 Yanagi
Yamatokoriyama, Nara
Phone: 090.6986.3255
Hours: 10:00-17:00
Closed Thursdays

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

bucket list

Untitled When we stayed in Nara, I accidentally got to cross off something from my bucket list...staying at a love hotel or what the Japanese call "lah-boo-ho" for short...

When Satoshi saw the building, he said..."oh em gee"...

Apparently this love hotel had been changed to a business hotel, but upon looking at google was still categorized as a love hotel...

Untitled The building itself didn't look like some of the gaudy love hotels I've seen from the freeways, but the entrance is hidden off to the side and the lobby is quite dark.

To get up to the rooms, you use one elevator, to leave the building, you use a different elevator.

You almost never see anyone coming or going...

Untitled When we opened the door to the room, all these spotlights and the tv went on..

Untitled There was a huge jacuzzi style bath & shower area.

Untitled I'm not sure, but think if you order food & drinks, they pass it to you through this built in door...

Satoshi mentioned that this hotel had a meal plan, but we wondered where one would eat, as there wasn't a restaurant or cafe in the lobby...maybe that was what the built in door was for?!

Untitled Way more spacious than some of the hotels we've previously stayed at.

Untitled The sign telling you to use a different elevator to leave the building...

To get a feel of just how big this room was here is a video (the door after the silk flower arrangement is the toilet and the large blackish closet looking thingy is the bath area.)

While the interior of this place was overly bright with the spotlights and a bit gaudy, I appreciated the space, two televisions & two sinks.

Smoking was still a bother, but at least it wasn't coming through the walls.

Probably not an authentic lah-boo-ho experience, but it was just enough for me to cross off my bucket list.

Monday, July 17, 2017

ofusa kannon, hiroan

Untitled Saturday, after Satoshi's German class, it was the start of a 3-day weekend, so we headed to Nara to check out Ofusa Kannon's Fuurin (wind chime) Festival.

The sound of the wind chimes are supposed to evoke a "cool" feeling. (if you click on the photo, it should take you the video I shot)

Also Buddhism believe that these wind chimes ward off evil.

This temple has many rose plants and also has a rose festival during the Spring and Autumn (which I hope we will be back to see).

I think it might be a rare thing to see western rose plants on a Buddhist temple ground.

I know when we were looking for flowers for my mom's funeral, roses (her favorite) were apparently not a good choice.

Untitled Anyway, when we got there, we went to the back of the property to their tea room in hopes of having some shaved ice.

They didn't really have a system and it was chaotic, so after being blown off and then being told they had run out of ice, we made our way to the hotel we would be staying at.

I will post about this hotel in a separate post.

Untitled (one more photo to click on to see a video I shot)

After freshening up and cooling down a bit, we went to search for dinner, we were again blown off by an apparently "reservations only", when your waitress/wife looks at us as we enter, and you, the chef/owner do the same, not even saying "irrashaimase" (welcome), not even approaching to tell us it is a "reservations only" place...we leave.

In the end, we ended up at a tiny izakaya near the station called Hiroan and the food was so good!

Untitled Yuzu cocktail thingy.

Untitled Assorted sashimi.

Untitled Okra & Nagaimo (chinese yam) salad..the shiso (perilla) dressing was super refreshing!

Untitled Ume dashi soup gyoza..I didn't care for this dish as it had a very "meaty"/gamey smell but Satoshi enjoyed it.

Untitled Perfectly cooked shrimp with homemade tartar sauce.

They didn't have those amuse bouche (things you pay for but didn't order)...whoo! so our total bill (with a beer, sake & cocktail) came out to a little over 5000 yen (which is cheap for us, usually our bill comes out to 7000 or so)

thanks for today! #sunset #nara #japan #奈良 Despite the bad service at those other places and the krazy heat & humidity, I'm glad the bulk of the day was nice.

Ofusa Kannon
6-22 Ousa-cho
Kashihara, Nara
Phone: 0744.22.2212
Hours: 7:00-17:00

1-9-6 Yagi-cho
Kashihara, Nara
Phone: 0744.23.5672
Open from 17:00
Closed Tuesdays

Friday, July 14, 2017

bottle tops

Untitled Yesterday morning, I was trying to get this mirin bottle open, when I realized there were two caps built into the one.

If you open the left size, you can squeeze out a small amount.

If you open the right size, you can pour out a larger amount.

Not the best way to find out while you are cooking (and need the ingredient right away), but I thought it was cool...

Have you seen bottle tops like this where you are?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

gion matsuri

was doing a little cleaning & came upon a #furoshiki that I think my MIL gave to us...if you are nearby, brave the heat (and humidity) and check out the #gionmatsuri going on in #kyoto through the end of july❤︎ #風呂敷 #祇園祭 #京都 Was doing a little cleaning yesterday and came across this furoshiki that I think we received from my MIL of the Gion Matsuri.

The Gion Matsuri is a festival that occurs during the month of July in Kyoto.

I remember the first (and last) time we saw the Gion Matsuri.

It was 2001, our first year in Japan.

I was not used to the summer temps and it was so hot and humid that I got heatstroke...

Not to say that I am anywhere near "used to" the summer temps here.

Anyway, I will gladly watch the parade from my tv (with a/c), but if you are brave enough though, I'm sure it would be something worth checking's the schedule.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


perfectly ripened peach❤︎ #peach #blueberry #refrigeratoroatmeal #coffee #桃 #ブルーベリー #オートミール #珈琲 #大阪 Lately there are peaches at the markets.

Love the peaches here, most are perfectly ripened--the fuzzy skins just come right off.

So juicy and sweet.

Also found some local blueberries which were a little tart compared to the peaches.

What are you enjoying this summer?