Sunday, November 27, 2011

Purikura: Japanese Glamour Photos

 Purikura is very popular with girls in Japan. The photo booths have many capabilities! It can make your eyes bigger, it can make you look pretty and give you great skin! Who wouldn't love these booths! Plus you can draw or add little pictures to your photos! It all adds up to great fun with your friends and you get to feel like a model for about 5 minutes. (That's me in the bottom right corner, for those who don't know what I look like)

Our sheet came with 4 different sections and this was the section that I took. I took the one with little photos of all of the pictures that we had taken. The other ones had one or 2 photos that were really big like in the first photo.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Osaka, Japan: Umeda Station

This is Umeda Station in Osaka!

 The various escalators going down to the platforms.

 This is the sky bridge area that connects the 3 different buildings together, or at least I think it was 3 buildings it could have been four.

 This is a view from the opposite side of the train platforms. There these huge plexiglass windows that caused these glares in the photos, sorry about that! But, sometimes it gave off reflections like in this photo! You can see the reflection of the clock tower. The face of the clock tower is more visible in the reflection than when I was actually looking at it! (see below)

 See, it's difficult to read the face of the clock.

 They were trying to decide what we should do for dinner when they caught me taking a picture.

I liked this view of the escalators. It looks like they are criss-crossing each other. Also, in Japan most people stand inside of walking down or up the escalators like this.

After this we did a little more shopping and then enjoyed dinner at a Spanish restaurant. I know we are in Osaka and instead of eating Okonomiyaki we ate Spanish food, but you know what it was really good! Makes me look forward to my vacation in December!!! Of course, I will go into more detail about that when the time comes.

For now, this was my visit to Osaka for the day. We also had our pictures taken in a Purikura booth! The photo booth makes you look good and you can make your eyes look huge! I will post those photos next!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Osaka, Japan: Vietnamese Cafe Restaurant Angon

I had a mango smoothie like drink. It had real mango's in it! So thick I had to use a spoon!


Real fruit right there!

Some fun masks for their decoration.

I really liked these dolls they had in the cafe window. Very cute!

While we were at the cafe we planned where to go next. Since we came for shopping we decided to go to Umeda Station and visit Osaka Station City. A building with MANY shops including Topshop! This was the first time I had ever set foot in a Topshop since I started hearing about this store from all over the place. Of course, Nagoya doesn't have one since it takes forever for anything to come to Nagoya. Shockingly enough there is a Zara and United Colors of Benneton in Nagoya!

Message to Topshop "Open a store in NAGOYA next!!!", but then again it gives me an excuse to visit Osaka.....

We all bought something at Topshop. lol If you are interested in shopping then Osaka is a good place to do that. At Umeda Station there is also a big department store called Daimaru which has some interesting stores as well!

Next, a look around the station!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Osaka, Japan: Kukuru Restaurant**Takoyaki!**

 Kukuru's banner inside the restaurant.

 The seating area isn't very big so we had to wait a little bit. The good news is they entertain you (or torture, depends on how hungry you are) while you wait!

Look at those chopsticks move!

 Oiling the grill so the batter doesn't stick.

 Pouring the batter into the grill. After this he will add a piece of octopus and sliced green onions.

Of course, they have a few different options. They do offer a Russian Roulette, where 5 of the 6 takoyaki balls are regular flavors and then the 6th one has Wasabi only in it. They all look the same on the outside so you won't know until you bite into it. You could order a plate and play a game with your friends, if you are into that sort of thing. We were not so we ordered the other options!

 Octopus legs in a cauldron decoration.

 This is what came first. It is a little different from the traditional takoyaki. It has eggs in the batter so it is fluffier and you dip it into a salty soup....I want to say consomme soup, but I could be wrong......either way it was really good and I would order this next time with no hesitations.

 This was the traditional takoyaki. Sliced green onions plus a small piece of octopus. If you can't decide what to get always go for the traditional option, you can't go wrong

 This one is the takoyaki with a giant piece of octopus! You have to eat the octopus separately for this one. The octopus is just too big to eat with the takoyaki.....well I guess you could, but you do run the risk of choking on your takoyaki, just a warning.

 My handiwork of applying the sauce, mayo and seaweed to my takoyaki! Insert here! >(^0^)

 They also offered Oden. It's November, but it was still a little muggy to eat Oden. This tastes the best on a really cold day, but that's just my opinion. In Nagoya, some people like to eat Oden with miso. I have come to enjoy eating Oden with miso and hot mustard! I must be becoming a Nagoyan, "I <3 Miso!"

 This is the artwork hanging in the front of the restaurant. Very fitting for a Octopus restaurant!

If you aren't into octopus or seafood then you should try Okonomiyaki! It uses the same type of batter, but it is shaped like a pancake, but it's not sweet. They are a variety of options to add to it. There is always the basic sliced cabbage in the batter, but you can mix in beef, or pork, or cheese, or mochi, or seafood,....the list just goes on. I have seen one that had yakisoba noodles added to it. Hey whatever floats your boat! (^-^)

We also made a pit stop at a Vietnamese Restaurant for a refreshing mid-shopping fruit refreshment. We also stopped at a egg custard shop, but we ate those too quickly (hey they were small!) to take a photo of. Plus, the shop is minuscule and had no seating area so we had to stand and eat. Oh the manner rules we were breaking by doing that....the shame, oh the shame! oh well, they were good and worth the shame! (*^-^*)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Osaka, Japan: First Views of Dotonbori

 Welcome to Dotonbori! There's plenty of places to eat, shop and it's packed full of people!

 The group trying to find the Takoyaki restaurant that we decided to eat at.

 Shopping arcades are popular in Japan. Perfect for shopping even when it is raining! The only problem is when you come to a stoplight, because there is no cover getting from one side to the other. Many people were dashing across the street, when it turned green of course.

 In Osaka, Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki is very popular! There are MANY restaurants serving these two types of food and there are very few horrible restaurants. So have no fear and step into any restaurant along these streets!

 One of the reasons we came to Osaka was for shopping at H&M! In Nagoya, we don't have an H&M which is a real bummer. This H&M is 4 stories, 3 stories for women and the top floor for men! Oh happy shopping!

 Kaaru is a very good puffed corn snack! The best flavor is the cheese or curry flavor! I did try a raayu flavored one and that was pretty good! It has the texture of puffed cheetos, but without such a strong cheese flavor.

 So this is a bridge that is famous in Osaka and everyone isn't taking a picture of just the view, but of........

This Glico sign!

This sign is famous in Japan. Maybe it's because it's a funny looking sign, maybe because it's so big, or maybe it's because it has been here for so long. For whatever reason this sign is famous and when people visit (mostly Japanese people) they take a photo of this sign. Many like to pose in front of the sign. Of course, on a nice day the view of the river is lovely, but who wants to see that? lol

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Osaka, Japan: Using the Kintetsu Line

 On our way to Osaka we had the opportunity to ride a double decker train! It was older, but it had group seating! It's on the lower level so......

you have to go down some stairs and then you have a big bench and a small one around the corner. Plus a table for eating. Of course, you can only eat if you buy food from a kiosk or convenience store before getting on the train, which we didn't know. We had gotten used to the Shinkansen where they offer food and drinks for sale on carts. In other words we were hungry for the 2 hour ride to Osaka and drooling over our guidebook which had pictures of delicious looking food!

 Since we were on the lower level we had a view of the platform while we were sitting at the station.

 We were able to see all these feet walking past our window. Or in this man's case running past our window. I guess he was in a hurry.

 Now, for the views from our window as we made our way to Osaka! The sky is grey, because apparently I like to travel when there is a high chance of rain. (T-T)

I was travelling with 3 friends. Mayuka is on the left, Makiko is on the right and my third friend is Emily. At this point she was sitting next to me, so she wasn't in this shot. She is in the very first photo though! This was at the beginning of the train ride so we were all interested in the view.

At this point most of us starting discussing what we wanted to do first when we got to Osaka.....of course EAT! We just had to figure out what to eat and then where to eat it.

This train didn't stop very often, but it did stop about 4 times. This was the first stop on our way to Osaka!

In the next post, I will show you some photos of Osaka. This train dropped us off at Namba station so we were close to Dotonbori, it's the name of the area and is famous for having the Glico sign....don't worry I will show you a photo!