Family & Friends, Restaurants, Vacation/Trip

Flavors of Youthful Days

We went two restaurants that I used to hang out with friends in my high school. Not exact location, but both are chain restaurants so I could feel same ambience.

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breakfast menu
MOS Burger serves burgers with freshest local ingredients. Even names of farmers are posted in front of store. I have always supported them against McDonald’s.

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lunch set: hamburg steak & aji fry
Bikkuri Donkey is a family restaurant chain where I went to chat with girls after school almost every Friday in my hometown. This is exactly the flavor of youthful days.

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Attractive sign in front of a pastry shop

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Of course, we tried it. Mmmmm, so goooood!

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Nails for a party tomorrow.

Getting tire of eating out. Feeling we were lack of vegetables. He wanted to have pizza, so we picked this place for dinner.

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First thing they serve a whole tomato. Again so hokkaido. He was not happy they poured so little of red wine. My sangria was full of many different fruits. Tasted ok tho.

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My favorite place here, Farmers’ Veggies with Bagna Càuda 1,080yen

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Steamed Clams in White Wine 680yen

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Sausages 680yen

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Margarita Pizza 780yen

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I enjoyed the clam broth with baguette 🙂

北海道農園野菜バル Veggyの家
北海道札幌市中央区南1条西7-11-2
011-272-1333
$$$
★★★

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Family & Friends, Restaurants, Vacation/Trip

Best Ramen & Best Yakiniku in Sapporo

Reunited with my hubby finally.

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breakfast at a chain coffee shop, Doutor

Then, he took us to Odori Park where he used to enjoy grilled corn where a lot of food venders were. Yes, we tasted his favorite corn. So sweet.

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Having a good ramen in Hokkaido was still not checked on “To Do” list of my friend. She had to leave Sapporo Station in a couple hours. So we rushed to the ramen place his brother recommended. We waited for 30 minutes before its open. This small place gets filled quickly.

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Here is the menu. They have two kinds of noodle, thin or thick and three kinds of broth, Sonomama (simple shrimp), HodoHodo (tonkotsu mixed with shrimp broth) or Ajiwai (more tonkotsu with shrimp broth). Also there are three seasonings, miso, shoyu (soy sauce) or shio (salt).

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I chose HodoHodo Shio with thick noodle (780yen). I was shocked…This is absolutely something! Never tasted a ramen like this. Rich shrimp flavor stands out.

Now I am so curious what Sonomama broth tastes like. Regret not to order the original one. Anyway, we are all so glad to find a ramen that is so Hokkaido where fresh seafood is available.

えびそば 一幻(Ebisoba Ichigen)
札幌市中央区南7条西9丁目1024-10
011-513-0098
www.ebisoba.com/index.htm
$
★★★★

Snacking in the hotel.
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My husband and I had dinner with his father and wife. She suggested to have good sushi, but both my husband and her husband refused…They are not sushi eater, but meat lovers!

Hokkaido is the best place to enjoy good seafood, but I didn’t get so upset because I already had good sushi in Otaru.

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Beef tongue

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Kimchi

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Wow, even yakiniku tastes so delicious in Hokkaido. All kinds of meat in Hokkaido (chicken, pork and beef) tastes different from one I usually have. Maybe weather, soil or water is different, huh?

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My favorite Morioka Reimen (盛岡冷麺)

トトリ 本店(Totori Honten)
北海道札幌市中央区南五条西7
011-531-5893
$$$
★★★★

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Watermelon at his father’s house

Family & Friends, Restaurants, Vacation/Trip

Enjoying Sushi & Cheesecake in Otaru

My friend had been wiped out by driving all day for the first time in so many years. I wish I had a license to drive in Japan.

Our initial plan was driving to Otaru (小樽)from Furano (富良野). However, she didn’t want to drive any longer. So we decided to return the rental car in Sapporo and take a train to Otaru.

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breakfast: sandwich & hot milk tea @ Seico Mart in Furano

We spent all morning to drive back to Sapporo, dropped off our luggages in the hotel where my hubby was staying and rode a train for 30 minutes to Otaru.

Here we are! Otaru!!!

Otaru (小樽)is a popular tourist destination for European Style buildings & Victorian street lamps along with beautiful canals. It’s also famous for delicious seafood and dessert.

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We first went to have sushi. It was already around 2pm. So hungry.

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Starting off with beer and some seafood appetizers.

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Horsehair crab meat & crab butter 800yen

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Unprocessed nori & jellyfish 450yen
One of best delicacies I ever had.

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These appetizers wanted us to have sake.

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Nigiri Nagomi (和)2,500yen
Good stuff.

小樽 すし耕 (Sushi Kou)
北海道小樽市色内2丁目2-6
Phone: 0134-21-5678
www.denshiparts.co.jp/sushikou/
$$$
★★★★

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When walking along the canal and enjoying sceneries after lunch, we were stopped by this guy who looked so passionate to introduce true attractions of Otaru. I usually don’t buy sales talk, but he got us successfully!

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The purple signage indicates preserved historical buildings. Otaru used to be the financial and business center of Hokkaido as the trade port with US and UK.

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These retro atmosphere makes special.

We enjoyed 20 minute-ride of Jinrikisha (man-power vehicle) and learned a little bit about the history, which cost 4,000yen, but very satisfactory.

Otaru glass craft and sweet attract a lot of people. Of course, we are not exception.

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Taking a break at one of most popular sweet shop.

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Cheesecake Sampler 1,404yen
Good cheesecake. Unfortunately, I can’t share with friends in US because its freshness lasts only for one day.

LeTAO
北海道小樽市堺町7番16号
Phone: 0134-31-4500
http://www.letao.jp
$$
★★★

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Just a glance at the Kitaichi Glass Cafe, which we wished to be there.

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Another sweet that Jinrikisha guy recommended.

I wish we had more time to spend in Otaru. I gotta run everywhere. Like a European town, most shops and cafes close at 5-6pm. Mmmm 😦

Sushi and cheesecake kept us stuffed till night. We did some shopping in Sapporo and taking it easy in the hotel room.

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snacking a bit

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Thank you my friend, I still enjoyed a little sweet from Shiga.

Family & Friends, Restaurants, Vacation/Trip

Driving to Lavender Field in Furano

Renting a car and heading to Furano, which is famous for Lavender Field. One miscalculation was that US Driver License was not good enough to drive around in Japan. I didn’t know that. OMG. I was going to drive, but my friend, who has a Japanese valid license but never drives a car, had to drive instead. Can we survive???

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Anyway, trying to get this lavender field. It took us more than three hours since she avoided freeways. Ok, that was my fault.

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breakfast @ Seico Mart, a local convenience store

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Yay, here we are!

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Beautiful flower field, but not fully bloomed 😦 You know why? It was freezing and windy out there. Less than 50 degree F. We couldn’t stay long and enjoy flowers out there in only summer cloths on.

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Lunch around 2pm: Korokke Curry Rice, Corn Chowder & Croissant, Buttered Danshaku Potato

It all tasted delicious. What surprised us most was actually potato. Simply steamed and buttered, but it was totally different from one I usually have. Fluffy and sweet. Now I remember that my father in law suggested me to have potato when I told him we were going to Furano. I really don’t care about potato, but could eat this potato every day.

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Got energy to enjoy flowers, but couldn’t stay longer than 5 minutes. Cold wind was killing us.

Farm Tomita
Kisen Kita 15-go, Nakafurano-cho,
Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido 071-0704
Phone: +81-167-39-3939
www.farm-tomita.co.jp/en/
$$
★★★

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Driving in Furano. There is nothing but farms here.

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Visiting the location of my favorite Japanese drama “Kitano Kuni Kara (北の国から)” meaning “From North County.” There was a sign warning for wild bears.

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Here is the stone house in the drama. So excited to see it.

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They must have been freezing here to shoot the drama in this middle of nowhere. That’s why the drama seemed so real and touching.

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They make some business out of a famous scene.

Ok, we were about to freeze and die. Let’s head to hotel.

Once got warm and cozy, we didn’t want to go out anywhere. Fortunately, the little hotel we stayed also runs a restaurant next door. So we just walked there for dinner.

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Beer in a frozen glass at a freezing night.

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Onion and other veggies tasted amazing. So fresh, juicy and sweet.

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Kami-Furano Pork

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BBQ! Simple is always best for best quality of ingredients. I can tell that they were happy pigs because it taste so flavorful and firm.

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Dessert for the cold night. Must try Furano’s rich milk.

焼き家 たまねぎ
北海道空知郡中富良野町字中富良野東1線北18号
0167-44-4433
$$
★★★

Family & Friends, Restaurants, Vacation/Trip

Hello Sapporo, but Not Seeing Him Yet

Little bit recap about his trip too.

While I was in Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto, he traveled by train alone to swing by 日本三景 ”Three greatest sceneries in Japan.”

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宮島 厳島神社 広島
Itsukushima, Miyajima, Hiroshima

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天橋立 京都
Amanohashidate, Kyoto

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松島 宮城
Matsushima, Miyagi

I admit I started missing him after 3 days we got separated, but I was always with friends, so it was ok.

However, I was alone in Kyoto until I met with a friend at Shin-Chitose Airport for one and a half days. Then I really really missed him.

He was actually very close to me once when taking a bullet train from Kyoto Station.

He sent me text and photos all the time. It was good to know he was having a great time.

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This blue line indicates how deep Tsunami water got on March 11, 2011 in Matsushima. It’s almost his height…

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When I landed on Shin-Chitose, he also arrived in Hakodate.  Hakodate is famous for the night view with city lights, but sorry it was too cloudy when he was up there.

Now we are both in Hokkaido! Not quite yet. It would take a couple more days till our reunion.

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Wow, he had a good one in Hakodate. I am jealous.

***************************
Going back to my trip…

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While wait for my friend who flew from Tokyo, I enjoyed ‘Soup Curry’ at Shin-Chitose Airport. Soup Curry is a newer dish developed in Hokkaido. I think it’s better to distinguish rich tastes of Hokkaido’s meat & vegetables.

Her flight landed almost around 10pm. Taking a train to Sapporo and a taxi to the hotel. It was almost midnight, but so many people were out there in すすきの(Susukino), the biggest entertainment district with restaurants & bars in Sapporo.

Since she was hungry and we needed to catch up each other, we went to an izakaya.

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Highball, whisky, soda, honey, yuzu + slimy seaweed & yum with shrimp
The yuzu highball was so good. I had two.

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Amazing raw potato salad. Crunchy and sweet!

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Tsukune
Same as soup curry, Hokkaido chicken tastes so rich.

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Grilled asparagus is fresh and juicy.

There were even more people out there when we headed back to hotel around 2am. What a town Sapporo is!

Restaurants, Vacation/Trip

Last Meal in Kyoto

It was raining on my last day in Kyoto. So I didn’t do much, but just arranged to mail green tea gift to my auntie and 長寿のお守り(lucky charm for long & healthy life) to grandma.

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breakfast: onigiri & tea from a convenience store

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The last meal in Kyoto was ramen, which a taxi driver recommended. In Japan, taxi drivers are best people who know best local ramen shops.

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Simple Shoyu Ramen 700yen

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I missed this simple ramen for a long time. It is a small place and I didn’t have to wait so long, but there was a long line when I left. He was right. This place is so popular.

本家 第一旭 たかばし本店(Daiichi Asahi)
京都府京都市下京区東塩小路向畑町845
075-351-6321
$
★★★

Good-bye to Kyoto. I flew out Osaka Itami Airport to Shin-Chitose, Sapporo in the afternoon.

Restaurants, Vacation/Trip

Walking Around Kyoto Alone

My friend got an emergency call and had to drive back to Nagoya. After saying a good-bye to her, I was climbing up little paths to 清水寺(Kiyomizu-dera).

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Wow, this is “the KYOTO” type of scenery.

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I guess I wandered more than 30 minutes and finally arrived at Kiyomizu-dera. At this point, my back was killing me!

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清水寺 本堂(清水の舞台)
Famous Stage of Kiyomizu-dera

The popular expression “to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu” is the Japanese equivalent of the English expression “to take the plunge”. (according to Wikipedia)

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I walked down the hill and needed to take a break for my back pain 😦

Taking a cab to hotel, then I went out for town to get some souvenirs for my family.

I was going to have dinner at a restaurant, but too tired to find a good one. Also, it started raining, so I just bought whatever looked delicious at Depa-Chika (デパートの地下)which means food/drink section of department store, where you can usually find good food.

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Did I get too much???

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I bought alcohol and had a party alone in the hotel room 🙂

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淡路島産玉ねぎの和さらだ
Feel like salad
local onion tastes so fresh and sweet!

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アボカドと沖縄島豆腐の和さらだ
More salad

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鱧(Hamo, daggertooth pike conger) is in season.

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Package of 押し寿司(oshizushi, Kyoto style sushi)
What an art!

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Pressed mackerel sushi wrapped in konbu seaweed 2,430yen
I loved it. It’s expensive though.

This store was established in 1781. hey The green tea company I purchased souvenir was more than 300 years old. Wow, this is Kyoto!

いづう(Izuu)
京都大丸
075-211-8111
http://izuu.jp
$$
★★★