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Archive for the ‘osaka’ Category

finally, i’ve gotten off my lazy butt to finish the last part of my travelog from my kansai trip hahah!!!

you know you’re in osaka when you start seeing biliken around you

osaka, where the old shitamachi (downtown) spirit lingers on

i need to try pufferfish sashimi the next time i go to osaka

😀 osaka castle on the manhole covers

osaka, the land of weird, quirky novelty souvenirs

one of the seedier looking alleys in shinsekai

hiro with crusty old tsuutenkaku tower

comparison of my feet with biliken‘s

knitted yarn biliken o_o;;

then we headed off to good old daruma for some mouth-watering kushikatsu

the guy who was cooking in front of us

japanese liquor, anyone? there were people already half-drunk at 12pm lol!

osaka‘s famous local specialty – kushikatsu

the ukiyo-e gallery at hozenji alley… so nostalgic!

vibrant colors

hahah! the glasses look odd on me (which is how it’s supposed to be) but on azrie they look like his normal glasses lmao XD

glico man!!!

this sign was very amusing to me lol

people lining up to enter the store for a sale. osaka people love cheap bargains

musk melon icecream tastes wonderful

>w< so happy!

an unexpected find!!! an idol shop in the depths of namba!!! *O* i went in, lured by the arashi posters… but was bombarded with wall to wall of kanjani8 photos hahah

after that we went to my host family’s place for dinner >w<

i miss okaasan’s cooking!!! *o*

we had sakura mochi with matcha after dinner

after that, they sent us to the train station by car >w< i also took a bath before leaving, to warm myself up.

and that was our exhausting trip in kyoto and osaka hahah!


the aquarium deserves a post of its own! >w<

the banners and flags lead the way to the aquarium! ^o^

kansai version of odaiba hahah!!!

the tile mural at the aquarium was really pretty!


free entrance for hiro!

the normal entrance fee for an adult is 2000円 but we took advantage of the after-5 pair ticket offer of 3700円 for two people! >w< i met up with alicia as well!

japanese otters!


so adorable!

chatting in tortoise speak

the pacific ocean tank is the largest tank in the aquarium – 9 meters deep and 54,000 tons of water, with an overall area of 620 square meters!

the star of the aquarium, kai-kun! the huge but adorable whale shark >w< i can watch him swim around forever…

i love aquariums. there’s something soothing to the soul about water for me 🙂 my childhood dream was to be a marine biologist but alas, i have no brains for maths and biology. so there goes my dream hahah!

hiro is amazed at the size of the creatures in the aquarium!

huge stingray behind him!


hiro loves aquariums too!

a popular dating spot for couples!

a romantic place to have a date, if only there are no other 1392 couples all around as well hahah

they look like tetrapods :p

i love jellyfishes!

i wish i had a better camera. i want one as a pet! they look so dreamy!

we love reflective surfaces for it allows us to camwhore

it was fun!! i want to come again!!!

this really struck a chord in me

how true

osaka water XD it’s even named in kansai-ben! “ほんまや honmaya” is the kansai equivalent of “本当だ hontou da,” meaning “really” or “truly.”

when we came out, the whale sharks were all lit up!

we went to get dinner at kuishinbo yokocho! if you’re in osaka, it’s got to be this!

okonomiyaki!!! i had cheese and mochi with meat!


i was in osaka, at my host family’s house from the 28th of december till the 3rd of january! spending one whole week in a japanese household was a real eye-opener, especially since it was new year’s as well. it’s hard to blog about each day that i was there so i’m just going to summarize my one week in osaka in one entry! >w< ♥

my room for the whole week i was there ^^

dining room

the genkan, or entrance of the house

this shot represents the ideal japanese winter

the kitchen

the sunroom

front gates which are never locked

i really need a full-length mirror in my house next time

sakura ^^ she’s really obedient!

okaasan and otousan chatting on new year’s eve :3 otousan enjoys a glass of beer =w= okaasan, on the other hand, was busy preparing the new year decorations…

hiro with his own personal new year mochi

i bought this cute outfit from odaiba on christmas eve! i really like it~ it gives off a “my girl” vibe >w<

we watched kouhaku together in the dining room on new year’s eve ♥ it was a really great one this year!!! lots of my favourite artists performed, and i got to listen to a lot of new songs as well ♥ as usual, arashi was amazing >w< i'm so proud of them! their red outfits before their performance was super cute as well!

off to the shrine on the night of new year’s eve! we went there right after kouhaku was over because we didn’t want to be caught in a long line, but it seems like our fears were for nothing…

because it was so cold and the wind was so strong that nobody (sane) would come to the shrine! there WAS a line, but okaasan said it has never been this short before…

i prayed for… you know what, and then went back home after accepting some new year sake from otousan, who was helping out at the shrine

happy new year!!! the next morning, we all sat down at about 10am to have “おせち料理 osechiryouri,” traditional (and expensive) japanese new year food! this would be seabream

one of the boxes prepared by okaasan

my table setting, with a lucky charm arrow from the shrine… a present from otousan!

we had 3 boxes from a traditional japanese restaurant too, because otousan wanted to try it lol

my chopsticks case, with my name written on it in calligraphy by okaasan

after eating, we went through the whole thick stack of “年賀状 nengajou” (japanese new year postcards) that was bundled up neatly by the postman and delivered in the morning, complete with a greeting card from oguri shun!

i was pleasantly surprised to see the boys in the papers on new year’s day! *o*

a whole two-page spread!

at night, i tried drawing new year cards because okaasan was writing hers to reply those that she received… i never knew tigers were so easy to draw!

on the 2nd day of new year, i received a present from okaasan ^^ an incense pouch to go with my kimono!

all bundled up in my furisode and ready to go to the shrine with otousan! i love this furisode so much *O* it’s been in the family for generations!

in front of the train to the city >w< the cutest train ever!

at すみよしたいしゃ sumiyoshi taisha in osaka

with okaasan. she was supposed to come along but then she had to stay back to look after obaachan

with otousan who was trying to look like the godfather

on the last day, we had guests (relatives, actually) so we had a tea ceremony. here i am, helping to grind the green tea powder

then i changed into kimono for the tea ceremony!

wagashi, traditional japanese sweets to go with the thick, green tea

there was a cute tiger-shaped sweet too >w< so adorable! i bit his head off in the first 2 seconds i got my hands on it though…

with okaasan ^^ i was really happy when she commented, “it’s like i have another daughter!”

with both of them

nabe (hotpot… like malaysian steamboat <3) at night with everyone!

it was a grand spread >w< i had the chance to taste ootoro as well!! WHICH WAS AWESOME *O*

their grandson, oozora-kun. he keeps looking at me and smiling >w<;; it was like deja vu because the same thing happened with my cousin from sabah too…

with haru, okaasan’s second daughter. she’s not married yet so she lives nearby ^^ she’s an esthetician! i got a free treatment session from her ♥

before i took the night bus back to tokyo, they took me to the ritz-carlton in osaka for drinks and to listen to some jazz music

it was a really fun and relaxing week! i felt really at home, and they were all so nice to me! i don’t think i could have spent my new year’s here in japan in any other way but this ♥

a happy new year to everyone!
may the year 2010 be a fulfilling, prosperous new year for you ♥

this year, my new year was spent in japan, with my host family :3 after eating soba, we sat around the dining hall watching kouhaku, eating rice crackers and drinking hot tea. arashi was awesome as usual ♥ ^^ i’m so proud of them!!! that must have been the fastest costume change i’ve ever seen >w<

i went to the shrine just now with okaasan and haru (her daughter), to pray and receive the new year sake from otousan, who’s helping out at the shrine. it was freezing outside!!! and tomorrow, we’ll eat osechi ryouri (japanese new year food) together ♥ after that, change into kimono and visit a bigger shrine >w< i can’t wait!!!

please take care of me this year too!

on the first of april, all of us from malaysia were separated into different groups for our orientation. all of us had multiple tasks that were basically the same but we were sent to different places around 大阪 osaka. each group consists of 6 members ^▽^ it was all very exciting because it was our first time travelling by ourselves in a foreign place, and having been in japan for only 2 days prior to this outing, it was nerve-wracking and fun at the same time!

i woke up at 6am to a gloomy sky 😦 the weather forecast in japan is always right.

we all took the free shuttle bus from the center to the train station. our journey was as such : りんくうタウンrinku town –> 天下茶屋 tengachaya –> 恵美須町 ebisucho.

a familiar sight 🙂 the rinku town station, situated right next to a shopping mall called seacle.

here we go! i miss japanese trains 😦

we were unsure about which train to board at tengachaya and tried asking this schoolboy, but he was too scared of us and ran away (not literally) after mumbling “i’m not sure, i’m not from around here…”

we got off at ebisucho station and walked outside to be greeted by an awesome gust of spring wind =w= it was so cold and strong, it almost knocked us off our feet (no, not an exaggeration).

🙂 this area is called 新世界 shinsekai, meaning “new world” in japanese. although this area was considered to be one of the more “dangerous” and “seedier” places in osaka, it is actually not as dangerous as most people think it is (to me anyway).

first stop, 通天閣 tsutenkaku tower!

we were too early though, so we walked around for a bit and while waiting for the the opening time to enter the tower, we met up with another group and hung out for some time while eating osaka’s famous takoyaki! it was delicious 😀 cheap and steaming hot, fresh off the grill!

the takoyaki actually belongs to saga :p he treated me to one of his. i didn’t want to buy any because i wouldn’t be able to finish them, they were so big!

after that, we lined up to enter the tower 😀 we had a discount coupon from the booklet that was given together with our train pass so we entered for free hahah! normal visitors would have to pay from about 500円 to 600円 per person (junior high school students and senior citizens are given a discount).

unobstructed view of osaka city from the top of the tower 😀 the weather was quite cloudy so this is the best picture i could take.

inside the tower 😀 there is an observation deck on the 5th floor…

an amusing signboard written in osaka-ben.

after leaving the tower, we proceeded to have lunch at a restaurant located next to the tower 😀 at that time we didn’t really know it, but it’s a really famous store! we only went in because it began to rain, it was the nearest restaurant we could find and there were lots of people lining up outside 🙂 upon asking the lady who was lining up in front of us, it turns out that the store is very famous for a local specialty called 串かつ kushi katsu!

as you can see from all the people lining up in the rain… the store is a famous kushi katsu chain store called だるま daruma ^▽^ as you can see on the right side of the signboard, there are 3 stores in the same area alone O_O

cabbage is served as an appetizer and you can dip it in the box of soysauce on the table 😀 after eating, you put the sticks into the round wooden container so that they can count them and you will be charged accordingly.

this is how kushi katsu looks like. the cheapest kushi katsu starts from 105円 per stick and there are many types to choose from, ranging from chicken and pork to mochi and cheese. i miss this too T_T

after that we proceeded to look for the next place on our task list! we took the train to 日本橋 nipponbashi and met a very kind and helpful salaryman! we were staring at the huge map in the train station because we didn’t know which exit to take, and this plump salaryman who was dashing by saw our faces and asked in english, “do you guys need help?” we were absolutely STUNNED 😀 he was not young but the way he phrased his question was SO american hahah! we proceeded to assure him that we can speak japanese and then he look much more relieved, and after looking at the maps in our hands, he proceeded to lead us out of the station and towards the right direction. thank you so much, nice mr. salaryman!

the famous puffer fish of osaka 😀 there are many restaurants in osaka ❤ haha food paradise ftw!

the cutest takoyaki store whose mascot is that red little demon.

a cute paper lantern outside a japanese restaurant in the many alleys of osaka

osaka’s manhole lol 😀 i try my best to take a picture of every type of manhole i see in japan. this design is of the osaka castle surrounded by cherry blossoms. as you can see from the picture, it was raining… my jeans were soaked 😦

cute puffer fish lanterns >w<

our first stop was 法善寺 houzen-ji, a small temple in one of the alleys. since the area was like a maze, it took us quite some time to find this temple >o< it's a small, quiet temple that is famous for moss-covered jizo statues.

the aforementioned moss-covered statues.

おみくじ omikuji, or paper fortunes. the word literally means “sacred lottery” 😀 you can get one from the temple and if it’s not very good, you can tie it at the temple so that your luck will change for the better. if you get a good one (which is rare), you can keep it with you ^^

purify yourself before entering the shrine is considered a must 🙂

lanterns in perspective make a good photo

our next stop was directly opposite to the temple, an ukiyo-e museum called 髪形浮世絵館 kamigata ukiyo-e museum.

in front of the museum. i love the cat ❤ and i've just realized after taking the photo that my hands were clenched like a cat's paws… you can't blame me, it was freezing cold. no pictures were allowed inside the museum though… not really interesting unless you like ukiyo-e paintings, but at the top floor there is a gorgeous uchikake (wedding kimono) display, and downstairs there is a zakka (japanese handcraft) shop worth looking at, though the goods are pretty pricey! you can enter the shop by a side entrance without paying for the entrance fee to the museum. we had a coupon so it was free.

lastly, here’s a picture of me scratching biliken‘s sole for good luck 😀 biliken is everywhere in osaka! and i especially like this one because he’s wearing the hanshin tigers’ jersey ^▽^

we also visited osaka castle but i’ll write about that in another entry because it is so awesome it deserves an entry of its own 😀


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

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i ♥ ohchan

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