l'isle joyeuse

Archive for the ‘food’ Category

backlog : 2010.05.23

my final day in kyoto during my weekend trip to kansai alone was spent in a small town called 鞍馬 kurama, about 40 minutes away from the main city of kyoto! it was not a very wise move, seeing as it was a city nestled in a quiet, somber mountain area, not to mention it was raining the whole day with strong wind gusts D: but there was nothing i can do because i’ve already planned on going to 鞍馬寺 kuramadera. i had also planned to visit mount hiei as well but i gave up because it was simply impossible.

mount kurama : the home of king of the tengu, who taught swordsmanship to minamoto no yoshitsune. it’s on the border of two prefectures, kyoto and shiga, and being a mountain town, it’s pretty boring and there’s nothing actually “touristy” here, unless…

you like huge, giant tengu goblins 🙂 hiro does! incidentally, this particular statue was featured in a t no arashi corner hahah!

the demons and spritis of kurama are considered some of the most famous in the country

entrance to kurama temple, which is famous for its long winding paths of red and white bonbori lanterns

it was raining too hard and the ground was too dangerous to trek up on foot so i opted for the cable car!

the winding stone-paved path towards the main hall. you can see how eerie it was D: summer it’s this cold and misty?

main hall of the temple

🙂 where i was, with only a summer cotton tunic and a really thin cardigan. an unforgettable experience!

some of the cutest wishing plates i’ve ever seen!

coming down from the temple 🙂 in the beginning, i was tempted to trek through the jungle all the way towards 貴船神社 kifune jinja but i couldn’t even see 5 steps in front of me due to the mist and there was this moment where something hit my mind : “crap, if i get lost in here NOBODY WOULD EVER KNOW AND I WOULD MISS MY BUS BACK TO TOKYO HENCE MISSING CLASS AND I COULD DIE IN HERE AND MY BODY WOULD ONLY BE FOUND 10 WEEKS LATER OMG WHAT DO I DO!!!”

but as luck would have had it, halfway through a small area in the jungle heading towards kifune jinja my feet got caught by a huge confusing tangle of tree roots in a area that was apparently named 魔王階段 devil steps o____o;; it was at this time that i met a group of extremely nice japanese ladies (and one man) who gathered a few times each year to go on trips together! they were really worried about me because i was all alone in the heavy rain and wind in the jungle and they said that if i joined them it would bring the number of people in the group to 12, which was a nice even number hahah!

they even treated me to lunch! 😀 i had matsutake udon *O* SO DELICIOUS!

the nicest people i’ve ever met!!! they were so kind to me, some of them gave me their name cards and one of them gave me her phone number, telling me to call her if i ever go to okinawa! the nice guy (who speaks excellent english and travels around a lot) lives in odaiba apparently and he actually invited me for coffee when we were both back in tokyo but with becki‘s arrival and all there was no time. too bad, really, because i would have loved to meet him once more!

after that, i parted ways with them as they were going to kifune jinja and i opted to go try my luck at the cable car station to go to mount hiei, but we all know how that ended up 😦 the rain and wind was too strong that the cable cars were temporarily suspended and there was no knowing when they’d restart, and the people at the ticket counter told me to come again another time because the temple closes at 4:30pm anyway…

so i made my wet, tired way back to kyoto and treated myself to a nice, nice dinner since it was such a miserable day for me. i had kyoto cuisine at a really posh looking restaurant called がんこ ganko at the train station that was a lot cheaper than it looked from the outside! i ordered the やわらぎ子鍋 yawaragi konabe set (2079円) ♪

pork shabu shabu to warm myself up after a long, rainy day in the mountains with no raincoat on! it really was a surprise i didn’t fall sick 😀

the whole set was so beautifully presented, it was such a shame to eat it! it was really affordable for such great food at a nice japanese restaurant that i couldn’t resist!!! i can’t wait to go back to kyoto again so i can try the other stuff on the menu with teddy >w< he would swoon and never ever be able to look at japanese food the same again hahah!


backlog :2010.06.19

on saturday, i went to the narita express platform to pick captain up ♥ it was like a scene out from a really cheesy love drama hahah – we were running to greet each other and went all colkfneoicqhnovihn *insert spazz here*

she got me a present ♥

it comes in a pretty box!

and a nice little bag!

so pretty *O* it’s the cutest bracelet ever ;w; there’s a musical note for nino and a fish for ohchan!

after that, we went to harajuku because apparantly the softbank there is more efficient and foreigner-friendly. we got it done in less than 20 minutes omg :O

we saw the funniest vending machine EVER in one of the idol shops 😀 a vending machine that sells arashi photos!!!

we had epic purikura with our kaibutsu-kun caps and pikanchi shirts >w<

i’m sure we look crazy

after that, we went to shibuya‘s tower records to look at the kaibutsu-kun costume they have on display there >w< he's SO TINY!!!

so, so tiny hahah!

dinner time!!! all-you-can-eat sukiyaki at 1980円 per person ^^

fresh australian beef… how ironic!

pork from chiba prefecture

in to the pot it goes!

😀 yes we are happy

and dorky :p

i ♥ sukiyaki

and that’s the end of an awesome day – the first of many to come 🙂

recently i’ve been going out a lot with megan, a fellow arashi fangirl that i met on lj quite some time ago 😀 it would have been so much more fun had we gotten the courage to speak to each other earlier, because we’re both going home soon! nevertheless, it has been really fun everytime we go out together 😀

last friday we went to pasela to watch the 5×10 dvd. it’s a really nice karaoke place that has a dvd player as well, so we could watch anything we want 😀 it was so much fun, waving our penlights and doing the hand movements along with them.

they even have mouthwash for you in the washrooms :O

after that, we went looking for something to eat, and we saw this : destiny. the words crab chahan with a big “umai!” exclaimation? it is definitely very leader-ish so we went in!

we sat at the counter so we could literally watch them cook our food

it has a really warm, welcoming atmosphere and an authentic chinese ambience

we both ordered the crab chahan

we both chose different sets though. mine came with a small plate of gyoza, and hers came with a small cup of kaarage

yesterday, i met up with her again for dinner 😀 it was quite an adventure! i was supposed to meet her at shibuya but she emailed me 15 minutes before our meeting time to tell me that she had forgotten her wallet at home, her suica had run out of credit and she is now stuck in ikebukuro with no money. i went to get her, and then we had a laugh at how aiba-ish it was 😀

we went to an all-you-can-eat place called nabezo where you could choose between sukiyaki, nabe and shabu shabu (1980円 per person).

it was surprisingly quiet for an all-you-can-eat place! the service was really good too!

😀 meat! unlimited pork and beef, as well as assorted vegetables and random stuff for nabe dishes. i love harusame!!!

us 🙂 i love her red tights and black mary-janes! her dress was really colourful too – really springlike! my outfit on the other hand was a bit more subdued and it looks like winter… hahah!

on saturday last week i went out for cakes with the malaysians 😀 we met up at shibuya and it made my day to see these two huge posters outside the station >w<

i finally took a more decent photo of myself with hachiko!

deru joined us later because she woke up late so azu, kat and i had some sushi to fill up our stomachs since we have not eaten anything for lunch (and azu claimed he can’t fill his stomach with only cakes =w=)

after deru arrived we took the train to 田園調布 denenchofu because i fell in love with the cakes at l’epi dor! there was a small street festival there as well and we made the mistake of taking a look… i spent money again – a really nice bamboo-bottomed handbag for kimono (4000円), and a white heko obi (1000円).

i fell in love with the mille feuille the last time i came, but since i’ve already tried it before, i decided to order something else : the chestnut bavarois ♥ (420円)

it was unexpectedly good :O i am not a big chestnut fan but this one had just the right amount of sweetness and the subtle fragrance of chestnut >w<

the one who hides and the one who poses

the normal ones 😀 hahah just kidding XD and i’ve just realized that we were dressed to match! kat and i in white, and deru and azu in black 😀 talk about contrasts!

the hydrangeas are starting to bloom now! i’m so happy!

possibly my favourite flowers, next to casablanca lilies ♥ they are so gorgeous! *o*

backlog : 2010.05.22

the next day, i woke up around 6:00, got myself ready, and left the hostel at 7:00 to catch an early train to 高野山 mount koya, which is located in an 800 m high valley amid the eight peaks of the mountain. it took a really, REALLY long time to get there from kyoto, which is to be expected considering it’s in another prefecture… it took me no less than 3 hours to get there by train!

on the train to mount koya. i was so sleepy… the weather was cloudy and cool, and there were not many people on the trains so i managed to get a corner seat ❤

on the way there, i spotted a train station with a really amusing name and couldn’t resist getting off to take a photo!

all my reflection photos turn out really unclear that day 😦

so in the end i settled for a shot of my clothes and shoes on the train platform

there was also a buddhist priest on his way back home XD

in the cable car on the way up to mount koya. let me proclaim my love for the surutto kansai pass once again : it covers EVERYTHING on my trip, and i mean everything – even the cable cars! there were a lot of french people in the cable car though… they were chattering excitedly in french and snapping photos every single second.

my first stop was the 奥の院 okunoin, a huge maosoleum with graveyards and memorial tombs for famous (and the not so famous as well) japanese people. it’s a bit unnerving to see the japanese taking photos of the tombs and even making double peace signs in front of them, because back home in malaysia everyone’s mother and grandmother would totally get on your case for taking photos of graveyards 😀

a super cute gecko. it ran away after a small boy went too near trying to get a photo of it… i wish i could have taken a closer one too, the focus is all off in this one

one of the many tombs at okunoin. i lost count of the number of tombs and gravestones i photographed. this one belongs to the kaga family, which is really well-known in japanese history!

hiro at mount koya! the cedar trees were so tall and provided ample of shade for visitors… it helps that the weather is cool too!

amulet and charms on temple pillars

i found this really cute – the signboard next to it says “ひとりぼっち地蔵 hitoribocchi jizo” which means “lonesome jizo” 😀 he was pretty lonesome, all by himself!

the whole maosoleum was surrounded by cedar trees!

most of them date back to 2000 years ago…

origami cranes along the way

my everlasting love affair with inari gates

an intricate wooden carving of a beam supporter… really interesting!

i went to most of the important unesco sites, but i’m trying not to post photos of every single temple simply because they all look the same in photos! do not ask me why is that so, it just happens 😀

finally, reflective surface!

i love red

when in mount koya, eat traditional buddhist vegetarian food!

the amount of greenery at mount koya is so refreshing!

根本大塔 konpon daito, a pagoda that (according to wikipedia) represents the central point of a mandala covering not only mount koya but all of japan, according to shingon doctrine. it was HUGE D: i couldn’t fit myself in the photo…

still waters at the gardens of konpon daito. have i mentioned how much i love red?

like arashiyama in kyoto, mount koya is also very famous for autumn foliage

it’s so bizzare to see red leaves in spring/summer. i suppose these are the maple leaves that are red all year round?

hiro on buddha‘s right palm

a most appropriate typo

i. love. red.

after walking around in mount koya and refreshing my body and soul, it’s back to the city again…

and i headed straight to 祇園 gion for some shopping, despite being knocked off my feet

gion at night. always magical.

dinner 🙂 i love this place! this is my second time here. the sukiyaki is heavenly!

gion shines and sparkles at night 🙂 it’s so misleading because even though all the lights are on, the shops close really early, around 8:30 or 9:00 D: i want to do more shopping!

backlog : 2010.05.21

my day in 京都 kyoto after my maiko photoshoot 🙂 it was really sunny, i was sweating a lot :O i’ve been to kyoto many times but i would never get bored of this place. just as i thought, my heart belongs in kansai!

the bus stopped at a rest area on the way to kyoto at night, and i saw this on the shelves 😀 so amusing!!! also, did you know that they have memorial stamps at highway rest areas too? oh japan you amuse me…

walking up 清水坂 kiyomizuzaka 🙂

as you can see, it was really sunny. i should have brought sunscreen along…

i caught a bee! it took me a few tries to get it though, because it was moving around so restlessly

a studio ghibli merchandise store at 三年坂 sannenzaka. i feel like buying so many things…

a cute maltese outside a store, waiting for its owner to finish shopping

obligatory self-photo, the moment i find a reflective surface >w<

a common sight in kyoto

on the way to 嵐山 arashiyama. i took the bus because then i can look at the scenery fly past me outside the windows, instead of staring into the dark subway tunnels

finally, after a long bus ride! 🙂 it’s so beautiful!

the original bridge was made from wood, and even now they’ve still kept to the original design

hiro enjoying the cool wind by the riverbank

another common sight in kyoto : rickshaw pullers

the original wooden beams under the bridge were replaced with iron but the original design was kept

fresh maple leaves. arashiyama is very famous for autumn foliage, and there are maple leaves everywhere you look! i must come again in autumn next time – my favourite season is autumn! ♥

and finally, the bamboo forest path i’ve been wanting to go for such a long time! ♥

they’re really straight and tall :O i tried knocking on one and my knuckles went red 😀

it’s really a tranquil place, and you can barely hear the sounds from the streets, except from the occasional rattle from the trains nearby

it’s a good thing i went on a weekday, though, as it would probably be filled with people on the weekends

野宮神社 nonomiya shrine along the bamboo forest path.

imperial princesses who served at ise shrine first resided here for 3 years to purify themselves, before taken in a procession to ise.

nonomiya shrine has also appeared in the tale of genji, noh stories and waka poems

i know we’re supposed to read the kanji from top to bottom, but i can’t help reading it left to right…

i realized i have this sort of fascination with railroads

a really mysterious looking bamboo bridge in the middle of the bamboo forest

finally, a reflective surface in arashiyama!

after emerging from the depths of the bamboo forest, i walked back towards the river just in time to catch the sunset

so beautiful! the water surface was really calm and pretty too, despite the quick flow of water

i walked a little closer along the river bank and was overcome with the beauty of it

i had dinner at a restaurant nearby since i was starving and the bus back to gion wasn’t going to come around anytime soon 🙂 when you think about kyoto, it’s got to be kyoto cuisine! the set was supposed to come with a chawanmushi (steamed egg custard), but they ran out of it so they replaced it with agedashi tofu

a close-up of my favourite : sashimi! ♥ ♥ ♥

i took the last bus from arashiyama back to the station and back to the hostel 🙂 it’s a really cute and homey place, and they have a whiteboard at the lobby to tell you how the weather will be like the next day

and they have cute handwritten signs all over the place 🙂 there were a lot of photos on the walls, of people who used to stay there. it was interesting! maybe i should send them mine as well…

i went to 巣鴨 sugamo after lunch to look around before meeting up with alse and her sister for dinner!

instead of fashionable youngsters chilling it out on the streets, old folks chat with each other about nothing and everything

the とげぬき地蔵 togenuki jizou is really famous here so they’ve made the jizou statue the unofficial mascot of sugamo

there is definitely a LOT of old people at sugamo, they were not kidding when they called it “harajuku for the old folks”…

things i like about japan #67713057283 : the fact that they close the roads on weekends

red underwear anyone? it gives you energy and power

the temple with the togenuki jizou

the aforementioned jizou statues

an old man at a seafood produce store 🙂 i quite like this shot!

🙂 表参道 omotesando

the restaurant we picked 🙂 it was quite hidden!

a really nice japanese restaurant called 楽食酒圓 rakushokushu maru! i made a reservation for 6pm and we arrived right on time >w<

the restaurant was underground, and it looked sort of like a dive :O kind of daunting at first look, but it turned out to be the right place

the beginning of an amazing experience

pure tomato sweet marinade

lotus root soup with mochi

sashimi platter

japanese-style asparagus

sweet bamboo shoots with tofu

assorted beans with fish… thing…

tender beef cheek meat *O* it was really really soft and tender!

🙂 the pretty waitress that served us. here she is with the claypot rice!

pickled vegetables

we ate the rice with miso soup and pickled vegetables

i ate mine as ochazuke, by pouring hot green tea over it ❤

dessert! the most amazing caramel pudding

the bill came in a really pretty fabric book-cover like thing

a really thoughtful gesture! we did not finish the rice that was in our pot and in the end they made it into a riceball for us to bring home *o* oh japan, why are you so wonderful?!

it’s so nice to finally meet alse after chatting with her online for many years!!!

on the streets of omotesando at night! it was quite cool 🙂

omotesando sparkles at night!

thank you alse for the amazing treat – i’m looking forward to meeting you again!!!


slice-of-life entries of my life in japan as an exchange student :) feel free to comment... they're my daily pieces of happiness!

to read my travel posts, please click on "voyages"

thank you for dropping by, and have a nice day ♥

i ♥ nino

Powered by ジャニトモ

i ♥ ohchan

Powered by ジャニトモ