Friday, January 19, 2018

Travelogue: Osaka, Japan 2017


Tim and I kind of started this unspoken tradition for the past few years where we would take at least a trip together per year, and each trip we would go to places both of us never been before. :) 

2013 was our first overseas trip together to Taiwan thanks to Tim's parents :) 2015 we were in Europe, 2016 we went to Krabi, Thailand and this year we visited Osaka, Japan! I like this tradition very much and I hope we'll continue it for years to come! And I think couples should travel together whenever the chance! You get to learn a lot about the person- the good and the bad. ;)

As for Japan. Tim has always been drawn to the country but myself not so much. I like Japanese food, but for some reason visiting Japan was never on my priority list EXCEPT OF COURSE Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan! Hence out of Japan, Osaka was naturally my choice destination. People were kicking my butt for choosing Osaka as the destination of my first visit to Japan. You should visit Tokyo! How can you visit a new country without first going to the capital city? NONSENSE I WILL HAVE NONE OF IT, lol. And I'm glad Tim didn't mind. So the decision was set, we booked our flight tickets, our accommodation and then our USJ tickets, and off we go!



We flew KUL-KIX in the wee hours of the day and landed at Kansai Airport in the early morning on 07 September, 2017. 

Thank you Tim for the lovely picture! (LOL I know I know it's the back light and not his horrid photo taking skills. :P)




  

Upon landing, we got the Yokoso! Osaka Ticket for ¥1500 each, a one-day travel pass which includes a one-way trip from Kansai Airport and unlimited use of Osaka city subway and buses. From the airport it was a 30-minute express train ride to Namba station via the Nankai Railways.


  
 


First meal in Japan was at the station as it was raining like crazy when we arrived! We had to wait for the rain to stop before heading to our accommodation. Had this assorted sushi and soba set for ¥1100 and Tim had the chicken katsu set for ¥880.



Check in at our Airbnb. Again we lucked out on our choice and found an amazing Airbnb! Michi is a Superhost on Airbnb with great reviews and the real place looks exactly like the pictures. It is clean and spacious and comfortable for our 3 nights stay. You can check out the Airbnb listing here

The location is not slap right in the busy area of the city, but a 10 minutes walk from Namba station and 15 minutes walk from the shopping area Dotonbori. Also enjoy living away from the bustling location because you sort of get to experience life as a local. Every day going in and out you'd get to see people traveling on foot and on bicycle to work and school, which I really appreciate! I very much recommend this place. :)






After we settled in, we first visited the Namba Yasaka Shrine which is located directly opposite our accommodation. Osaka is not known for its shrines as compared to its neighbour Kyoto but this small one is unique for obvious reasons. The giant lion's head is a picture-must!






Sights on the Japanese subway which was our main commute during our stay. Not a single piece of litter in sight, be it on the platforms or the trains. Very admirable! Plus a loving stare from the boyfie. :)








Then we went to Osaka Castle. Entrance fee was ¥600 each. It was raining and that added to the romantic ambiance of the historic spot lol optimism at its best.





After the Castle, we then went to visit Shinsekai, Tennoji. Enroute there we passed by this hipster area full of artisan cafes, a dog park and a mart selling local produce. 

Tennoji Zoo is also located around the area which we happened to walk past. I did not include the Zoo in our itinerary because the reviews online are very much in the negative that the zoo is not well maintained and the animals are kept in poor conditions. :C





First try of local takoyaki and I immediately fell in love. I never liked takoyaki before this because whenever I tried it in Malaysia it's just MEH. But ooh, the texture here was perfect! Crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside and it tasted amazing. 





The Tsutenkaku Tower, center piece of the Shinsekai District. I also read online that Shinsekai was built back in the 1920's and was modeled after New York and Paris. If you prefer to visit a quieter, olden but golden part of town you can come visit and dine at Tennoji area. This place is so beautiful in the evening and so serene. So many eateries to choose from less the crowds of people.



We had the above ramen for dinner! It was an amazing random find. :)

We went back to Dotonbori to find dinner there but somehow we found ourselves quarrelling. I remember yelling at Tim and crying hysterically in the middle of Dotonbori LOL and when Tim failed to pacify me he got frustrated too and at one point he said, "I don't want to travel with you ever again!" TT.... which became a point of teasing I use against him when we talk about future travels. *inserts hmph emoji* Anyway that was an interesting chapter of our Japan trip lol relationships are not perfect and we're ok after that. 

After our quarrel, we didn't have dinner but decided to walk back to our accommodation to take a nap instead because we were both tired. Then I woke up at midnight starving and asked for dinner. Been craving for ramen the moment we touched down in Japan so we randomly walked into this ramen store near our accommodation. And it was amazing! The pork was so thick and tender. And damn, the broth!  Each bowl was ¥800-900. In the middle of the rainy night, eating together after we made up from a quarrel, the warm meal was extra yummy and memorable. 




I didn't know what the shop was called but thanks to Google Map here is a picture of the store! The shop is called Menya Norio. :)

Osaka Day 1, down. Till the next one!



With all the love,
Kxin

Friday, December 8, 2017

Travelogue: Gold Coast, Australia 2016 II

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Picture with a surf board to start my second Gold Coast post because why not! :)


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Second day began with beautiful view of the sunrise from our apartment. Breakfast was ham and cheese on toast and some coffee, simple but just how I like it. 


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We then went to Wet n Wild, a large water theme park here. Don't have pictures there so I'll just summarily describe the experience! It was a shame that sis didn't join us because she was feeling ill. It was August and non-peak season so weather was a bit chilly and there was little crowd. The good side was that we could easily go on all the rides more than once almost without any queue! The down side was of course the lack of exciting ambiance and energy that a water park usually has.



And who was glad this ride was not operating the day we visited? ME! LOL. (Picture credits) I don't even remotely like the idea of having the floor underneath my feet taken away and in an instant finding myself dropping to my doom.


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After the water park we got back, fetched sis from the apartment and went to the beach. :) Had a lovely time in the water even though it was not sunny that day! 


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Dinner that evening was at Costa D'oro, a famed Italian restaurant of great reviews here. Sis found this place and I'm glad she did! We had the Oysters Fiorentine, Fettuccine D'oro and Pizza Marinara to share and I had a glass of Annie's Lane with my meal. Both food and ambience were really good and I enjoyed my dining experience here.

Costa D'oro Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
27 Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise 
QLD 4217, Australia


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We saw this fortune telling machine en route to the restaurant so we stopped and asked lil bro if he wanted to try it. I took a coin out of my bag and put it into the machine, and lil bro pressed the button. The machine issued a fortune printed on a ticket. We read it and together we thought, this does not apply to lil bro at all! Even half way reading lil bro would occasionally murmur, no..? LOL. 

Then it occurred to us that I was the one putting the coin into the machine. So maybe the fortune was directed to me! Reread, and I was instantly enlightened!! LOL it was an accurate reflection of me and where I was at emotionally at that time. Specifically, it was a difficult time when I was having serious doubts about Tim and I's relationship- whether or not it would go distance and would it be worth it in the long run to continue the fight for it. This fortune struck directly to my heart and safe to say I was comforted by what I read. And everyone knows I am hot headed person with very direct speech. You may call it a coincidence but to me it was a really amusing yet fascinating experience!


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We spent our last day here at Warner Bros Movie World. Roller coasters, theme park food and all. Need I say more. :)


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Then we headed back to the hotel, check out and headed to the airport for our flight back to Melbourne and then back to Malaysia. Above pictures were taken before we left the beautiful city.


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Last picture before I sign off on my Australia posts. :)

For our theme park tickets here in Gold Coast, we got them in a bundle of four: Wet n Wild, Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World and Paradise Country. It's a shame that we didn't get to visit Paradise Country due to shortage of time. And it's a shame I didn't get to meet a kangaroo or a koala while here! :C I'm sure I've seen a kangaroo in the Singapore Zoo during my younger days however its not the same as seeing a kangaroo in its place of origin! And what's it like to hold a koala? I wouldn't know! LOL so dramatic I know. But yea, this was the only regret I have from my Australian trip.

Aside from that tiny issue, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. :) Appreciation time! Thank you mum and dad for sponsoring this trip and thank you sis for arranging everything! Since I am always away from home I really enjoyed the time spent with my siblings. And so much new found love and appreciation for this country. Would very much love to come back again.



With all the love,
Kxin