Thursday, August 25, 2011


Lps and I are moving soon, and given the parting of ways with his brother that is about to take place, I am slowly picking the pieces I want in the new place. Starting with dining chairs! A big purchase, I am all over these Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs in Green.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Japan - Hiroshima

And for our final Japanese destination - Hiroshima.

Prior to our visit, a friend had told me
"it's like going to Melbourne, then going to stay in Oakleigh"

I have to say I disagree. Whilst it's not set up for long stints, and you're "limited" to two main attractions - the A Dome and the A Bomb Museum, I really enjoyed our short stint there. And it was amazing (by amazing I mean somewhat chilling) to be in such a historical location, trying to fathom how on Earth the Atomic Bomb was given the green light. What a hideous experiment.
I also found the Hiroshima people the most friendly and interested in Japan.

We arrived in time for August 6th, the anniversary of the Bomb. It was really special, and should you ever get the chance whilst in the country I thoroughly reccommend it. There are memorial events staged throughout the day along the river, however the highlight would have to be in the evening when thousands of lanterns are sent off down the river, each one inscribed with messages of peace.

Folding the lanterns and sending them out on the river.

By nightfall it was a spectacular sight. Despite all the people, it was very calm, very quiet, and one of the most peaceful experiences I've had.
Other bits and pieces we saw around town, which warranted a photograph were -

The hypocentre of the bomb blast, on a backstreet between some vending machines.
This represents the actual coordinate spot.

Hiroshima Kiddyland's Bizarre Maradona vending machine.
Here is Lp's scrounging for appropriate yen to buy one.
Upstairs there was a BB gun department, with some very accutate fake guns.
Lps was dazzled!
Multilevel Pet shops- right now monkeys are the rage!
No photos allowed- they look psychotic, and I would feel most unnerved having one in my house!

In Hiroshima they are very proud of their own Okonomyaki - it's made with a layer of noodles!
There is even a multilevel Okonomyaki world- we found this stall on the 3rd level. I would call this hangover food- it's pretty intense!
The ladies whip them up skillfully over these flat grills.
Holy moly it was hot, I have no idea how they do it! Lps and I left sweating, and bright red (however that could be a description applied accross our entire holiday!)

My fav Dick Bruna character of all time is Poppy the Pig- and I found a plush poppy in a little nondescript plush toy shop!

It was really hard to find a hotel in Hiroshima because of the Anniversary, but Lps managed to get us a room at a hotel called the Sunroute. It was very compact! I felt a bit like it was a capsule on an aeroplane! In particular the bathroom...

After Hiroshima we headed back to Tokyo for a few days.. steamy as steamy!
Check out my extra excellent husband taking on all the luggage duties!
And so ends my posts from japan!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Japan - The bright lights of Osaka

After Kyoto, we took the Bullet train to took all of about 10 mins!

We hit the ground, and went straight to Spaworld.
It's a multilevel Onsen centre, with pools and waterslides on the top levels.
No cameras allowed, which is a shame because there was some magnificent signs in Engrish!
Here we are fresh off the train. Apparently the area is a bit dodgy- Spaworld is opposite the Osaka Zoo. This is the Entrance to the zoo...
Here's a sign saying you won't be admitted if you're "dead drunk"

We did the "Must see" Osaka Aquarium.

It's an amazing 8 level engineering masterpiece, with it's own whale shark! Nowhere near the size of the ones you see cruising along off the coast of WA, but it was exciting to see one nonetheless.
This souvenir book is hilariously cute.

I found Osaka was a buzzier, glitzier, visually interesting version of Tokyo.
There seemed to be a lot more going on- or at least in the eyes of a foreigner!
In Osaka we finally tried a Japanese Crepe... Caramel banana ice cream
And in keeping with our love of Japanese toys... Osaka gave Nick his boyish Favourite, "Going Places" - adorable!
In Osaka two things made me a bit sick.

This Parfait I got from Family Mart.. I was ill for hours before I could sleep!

And then, the mother of all food faux pas....

We went to a Yakitori joint advertised in the Osaka guide.
It claimed a Banquet set of delicious Yakitori and assorted Japanese goodness with All you can drink beer included in the price. I was having Yakitori cravings, Lps was having beer cravings.
They were English speaking, with an English Menu... It all made sense, right?

We arrived to an empty upstairs restaurant... there was a young guy and a young girl running the place. They seemed very surprised when we entered. They didn't speak english, nor did they carry a Japanese menu... so we had to order from the Osaka Guide.

Our Entree arrives... RAW OFFLE.
Omfg. Raw heart. Raw liver. Raw chicken. I die.
I couldn't bring myself to take photos of the rest of the courses, but sufficed to say- it got worse.
The GRILLED offle was potentially WORSE!
Yakitori sticks of all manner of gizzard. I don't know why or how, but grilled Gizzard was worse.

There's Lps trying to figure out the Japanese offle bits and pieces!

I had to secretly remove the meats from the table, into a tissue, into my bag, into the bin outside.

We couldn't get out of there fast enough!!!

I had raw liver related nightmares that night. I could picture it's slimey texture and the spots.
It was covered in spots.

Japan - Kyoto

After a week in Tokyo, we caught the Shinkansen to Kyoto.
We stayed in this gorgeous place called Hotel Monterey right near Oike Dori.
It was ye olde, but semi designery, but kind of businessy.
Bizarrely I didn't take photos of all the features- such as the little ye olde church incased in a glass building (wet weather contingency) but here I am "Hair testing" in our room.

So Kyoto is all about natural beauty, history and shrines... plenty and plenty of shrines!
So we put on our sneakers and hit the cobbled steep streets of Higashiyama.
It was hot, damn hot.

My hair struggles in heat!

Another activity we had to do was head to Mt Kurama- and check out some more.. shrines!
It was gorgeous, and well worth the 30 minute train trip out of the city.
You catch a special train with seats designed for sightseeing in Cherry Blossom season.

I'm not going to lie- I thought this was a Damn hard walk!
I am so unfit, it was so hot, the path was so steep!
All along the way there was shrines - Maybe 20 up and down the mountain.

Here we are in the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park
It was all fun and games til the heavens opened, and we were soaked down to our socks and undies.
It rained and rained and rained. we had to seek refuge in a toilet block!
Lucky they keep them so damn clean!

We saw these little Octopus in the food market.. there's a "Little egg" inside it's head.

And we tried Buckwheat noodles from the oldest Soba restaurant in Kyoto
They're served plain + cold to savour the Buckwheat flavour. Review for a non Buckwheat connasieur- boring.

Divine Sushi packs from Department store basement.
And the most extravagant parfait in Kyoto- the $500 Parfait.
As seen here on the bottom shelf...
What is it with Japan being the home of mock cream?

We found an amazing Organic Buffet.. and it was cheap! About $8 pp all you can eat.
And we did!
When it comes to fruit, why not make it kawaii!?
And speaking of Kawaii, I almost died when I spotted this cat.
Idential to my beautibelle Tinkerbelle.
Beauty spot and all!
We found it impossible to stay out of toy shops everywhere we went.

In Kyoto it was all about this Japanese kids show featuring Character CHAIRS !?
It's amazing! Stools, park benches, swivel chairs, a ...cactus!?
Of all the chairs, this is by far my favourite.

The Badass Country and Western Chair!
Isn't he Hilar!?