Flowers in Bloom

Always good to stroll in the morning especially with these flowers around you.

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My love for Paulo

I first met Paulo when I was 18. His works have inspired me to pursue my aspirations. It started with “The Alchemist” which has the same tone as my other favorite Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. At that time, I thought it was just a one hit wonder book. But it was followed by knowing about Veronika (Veronika Decides to Die) and at that moment I know Coelho would be on top of my list to my favorite authors. I have been collecting Coelho’s books since then and each has a different tone. But have one same goal which is to evaluate one’s view towards life, love and pursuing dreams.

My Paulo Coelho Collection

Paulo Coelho Collection

 

My first book – The Alchemist

The Alchemist

My favorites

Brida

Eleven Minutes

The Devil and Miss Prym

 

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Japanese food snippets

When I first heard the word “gourmet” when I was seven years old, I instantly decided to be one. Maybe because I was the designated taste tester of the family every time my mother cooks a dish may it be for a special event or for an ordinary day. I grew up trying to be a gourmet in my own simple way. One of my favorite cuisine is Japanese even if I am not used to  eating with chopsticks. Tip: one of the best way to practice is to use chopsticks in getting peanuts from a plate it worked for me. There are many Japanese restaurants and other Japanese food stands in the local scene yet it is very interesting to know how close their cooking are compared to restaurants and food stands in Japan.

Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetable that have been battered and deep-fried. My favorite is shrimp tempura. The photo below is called tendon which is a shrimp tempura on top of a bowl of rice. While katsudon is deep fried pork cutlets, onion and egg on rice.

Tendon

Katsudon

Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish with Chinese origin. I am used to instant ramen and decided that me and my friend cannot leave Japan without trying a bowl of the famous authentic Japanese ramen at the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum.

Raumen Museum

Shoyu Ramen

Miso Ramen

Ramen @ Narita Airport

Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki

Okonomiyaki

We tried this okonomiyaki at Meiji Shrine National Park. Okonomiyaki looks like a pancake and an omelette at the same time. This consists of flour, egg, cabbage, bits of squid/octopus and my favorite bonito flakes on top and glazed with  a lot of Japanese mayo and okonomiyaki sauce. One serving is good for a quick lunch.

Same with okonomiyaki, takoyaki are sold in yatai – street food stalls. Takoyaki is a popular ball-shaped dumplings made of batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. Usually it is filled with diced octopus, pickled ginger and green onion and commonly brushed with takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, nori and bonito flakes. We tried the famous Osaka style takoyaki and it did not fail my expectation. For only 100 yen, I had three big balls of newly grilled takoyaki. Too bad I was so engrossed in eating them I forgot to take a photo.

I also tried rice cracker covered in seaweed wrapper. I like the crunch and taste of seaweed.

how to make rice cracker

yummy rice crackers

Bento is a home packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. We tried different kinds of bento during the trip. What I love bentos are how  Japanese prepare these meal in a way that all the types of food is in it already. From appetizer to main course (usually rice and some meat) and a little sweet thing too for dessert. We got bentos in a 24/7 store and railway and for me it passed my palate already or maybe I was just too hungry and never minded the taste. At least, every bento really filled my tummy so no complain there.

bento with juice @ shinkansen

ekibento with grapefruit juice

Milk Tea – my staple drink in Japan

ekibento with milk tea

first bento

I love the appearance, the taste and the delicate preparation of Japanese cuisine. Fresh ingredients are a plus too. Next time, I need to get sake together with all of these food. ITADAKIMASU!!!!

Note: Itadakimasu is a Japanese word meaning “I humbly receive”

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So what is your favorite Japanese food?

Journey to Nihon

Japan has been one of my dream destination in Asia. I am very fascinated with their history and culture. When a college friend asked me if I wanted to travel to the Land of the Rising Sun I said “YES!” We encountered little bumps along the way like getting a Japanese visa, finding the best deal for airfare and creating an itinerary for the group since it was a DIY tour.  I was so happy when my friend told me that we got our tourist visa, tickets and JR Pass already. All I need to do is prepare my autumn clothes and get enough Yen in my wallet. We travelled October 28 – November 7, 2010 across Japan. From the modern and busy Tokyo to the gardens and geishas of Kyoto, from the cool Hakone with the Mt. Fuji view to the food trips we did in Osaka. We had a very busy itinerary since we went to four major cities in Japan – Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto and Osaka. We spent more time in Tokyo and Kyoto representing the modern and old Japan. The pictures in this post did not give justice to how beautiful Japan is. The people were also very nice and accommodating even if most of the people we asked for directions were not very fluent with English, they will try to give us the correct directions or at least point us to someone who can give us the information we need. As a traveller, one of my checklist in having a great trip is how a country’s food tastes and Japan definitely got my five-star rating. From their authentic Japanese food – tempura, ramen, Japanese curry to their street food – takoyaki, okomiyaki and rice crackers which will be featured on my next post.

The Golden Temple

Kinkaku-ji

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is a Zen Buddhist temple located in Kyoto Japan.

Great Buddha at Kamakura

The Great Buddha located in Kotoku-in temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan

Shinjuku gyoen

Japanese pond

Drops of Light at Kamakura

Ohayou Yokohama

Takeshita Street

Tokyo Tower

Statue of Liberty at Odaiba

Yokohama at Night

Ghibli Museum

Ghibli Museum a museum featuring Japanese anime work of Studio Ghibli and is located in Inokashira Park in Mitaka, Tokyo.

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I was not able to capture everything in the photos (I am missing my Osaka photos)  but my memories of Nihon will last forever. It was a great journey walking the various streets of Japan. I promise myself to come back again and I will make sure it would be in Spring. 

Arigatou gozaimasu Nihon.