Tuesday, September 30, 2008

OSAKA: sukiyaki

There's a electronic superstore Yodobashi Umeda in Osaka. It offers more than just the newest electronics, household items, computers, or cameras, but it also has a lot of restaurants and shops inside of it.

After shopping for my mochi maker and some other fun stuff, John and I went to this Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki place called Tajimaya on the 8th floor in Yodobashi Camera.

shabu shabu & sukiyaki
Of course everyone wanted to eat there, too, so we had to wait in line for about 25 minutes.

It was not too bad to wait in line for a while because the restaurant put out some stools for people to rest on... plust it was fun seeing how parents tried to entertain their children in line. They were cute.

sukiyaki dinner
When we finally got in, we decided to go for the Top Grade Japanese Beef course. It was like 10 more dollars to go for the Top Grade Japanese Beef compared to "regular" grade beef, and it was an all-you-can-eat (with time limits of 90 minutes). It was all worth it to spend the 10 dollars!

A cool guy lead us to a sukiyaki table where we found a cast iron pot on a holegen plate. We didn't quite know what to do, but we watched the cute couple next to us and pour in some soup stock in the pot, added some vegetables (from the buffet table) and then the cool guy was back with the beef.

japanese beef
OMG. The beef was so yummy. My camera just couldn't do it justice. It was really good.

japanese beef
It would melt in your mouth!

I loved the sukiyaki sauce and the shitake mushrooms, different vegetables, and the udon noodles that we put in the pot. They were so delicious!

And how come there were no other pictures of the cooked food or anything else at the restaurant, you ask. I was just enjoying the food too much to stop and take any more photos. That was why.

Monday, September 29, 2008

naicha's leg

Some of you know that Naicha has a funny leg, which looks a little bit "bent outward". It never really bothers her (because she can still run really fast) but a lot of times we would see her licking her leg... it probably sores a bit. We've had two surgeries on her leg already... but we might have to do another one some time.

See Naicha's bent leg?

A couple days ago Naicha started to limp. John eventually realized that she might have bumped into something and hurt her already-bent leg. :(

John puts a wrap on her leg, to prevent something (we don't quite know what) from shifting when she walks. It seems to work. She doesn't limp as much today.

Naicha lying on the kitchen floor.

naicha's legs
I'm glad Naicha hasn't been biting the wrap at all.

I think she knows we're trying to help so she doesn't try to chew on the wrap at all. We'll probably take her in to get checked out again soon if her leg doesn't get better.

Friday, September 26, 2008

motorcycle bear

I was driving home and stopped at a light on State street, and saw this cool motorcyclist and his passenger on the rear of the motorcycle... a bear with full gear to be exact.

motorcycle bear

The bear had his leather jacket, helmet, and goggles on. Too cool.

Monday, September 22, 2008

mister donut

Mister Donut is a large donut chain that sells all different types/flavors of donuts in Japan. We almost always go to Mister Donut every year we go to Japan.

mister donut
Our "usual" store is in Nara. There are always tons of yummy treats and happy people!

The Nara Mister Donut is on the first shopping street outside the Nara Station. We'd always go and have little treats before or after we visit the Nara deers, temples, and other fun spots.

mister donut
Hmm... donuts and tea.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

congrats EC!

We found out Saturday that my little sister got accepted to the U. Yay! Congrats EC!

Friday, September 19, 2008

praying mantis

praying mantis

John saw this brown praying mantis by the front glass door at the caffe this morning when he was taking the chairs out onto the patio. This little guy didn't move much at all, and we didn't quite know what to do with it.

We decided to have John wrap him up in a paper towel and brought him onto the grass area near the building next door.

I hope he finds fun things to do and/or his praying mantis-y friends out there.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I've been wanting a KitchenAid mixer for a while... but every time I bring it up to John, he'd comment that I don't bake much, and says that if I ever decide to really start baking he'd get me one.

I always say, "I can be doing more baking and making yummy goodies if I have a cool KitchenAid mixer." um...

Anyhow, with the caffe being remodeled gradually I think it'll be a great idea for me to start making treats to sell instead of getting them from other places... hence the idea of getting a KitchenAid is popping up again.

I'm eyeing the special model KitchenAid from Costco... it's a 5-quart 475-watt all metal gear super machine.

(photo from Costco web site)

I'm still doing researches, but this one looks really good.

Monday, September 15, 2008

curtain hat


Staying behind the curtains has been one of Naicha's favorite things to do around the house, and these days she's been having fun "hiding" behind the curtains and watching the kitties go by.

Sometimes she'd jump out from the curtains and chase them. Ginger sometimes gets startled, but I think she likes the attention.

It looks like Naicha's wearing a big curtain-hat on her head sometimes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

KYOTO: kyoto station

There are a lot of things to see in and out of the Kyoto station. There are many shops and restaurants underneath the station as well. It's like a big mall if you ask me.

kyoto station
While Kyoto preserves many of Japan's oldest traditions, the Kyoto Station is among the most modern in and out of the country.

kyoto station
On the Main floor inside Kyoto Station.

kyoto tower
The evening view across the station.

Also, the bus terminals are right outside the Kyoto Station as well, which makes the station really busy in and out all day long (along with the locals visiting the department stores and shops inside the station.) Oh, and you can get Hirota cream puffs at the ticket house near the front of the station also. How cool is that.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

mega tamago!

When we were in Japan last time McDonald's was offering two new sandwiches for a limited time: Mega Tamago (tamago: eggs) and Mega Tomato.

Outside a McDonald's in Osaka.

We also saw a lot of new ads about the new McPork.

McPork ad on a train.

We had to try a Mega Tamago and a McPork.

mega tamago
Mega Tamago and a standard-size drink. See the tamago (egg) in the burger?

The whole burger seemed a little small, but it was yummy.

McPork! It was pretty much a sausage sandwich. Fun.

I just think the name McPork is super cool.

I don't know if McDonald's Japan still offer these sandwiches, but there are always new interesting sandwiches and burgers coming up... It's the same in Taiwan... I've had kimchi burgers and teriyaki burgers growing up.

I wonder what new items I'll see this year?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Every year we go to Japan we enjoy the many different donburi dishes at the small eateries. Most of the donburi shops are chains, and the largest being Yoshinoya.

We've eaten there a few times... most of the time it's late, and nothing else is open... after all, these donburi shops are usually open 24 hours a day!

Another donburi chain that we see quite a bit in Osaka was Nakau. There's one in Nakatsu (near Umeda) that's really close to the hotel we usually stay at.

chicken donburi
Chicken donburi.

beef donburi
Beef donburi is a must-have in donburi shops.

The food at these shops are not super fantastic, but it is like simple home-cooked meals... plus it's always available... and that's a very good thing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

west wall seating


The seating against the west wall is all done at the caffe. Yay!

Monday, September 08, 2008

maple cake

EC made a maple cake herself and brought a few pieces to me. They are so good! The light maple flavor in the cake is amazing, and the vanilla cream on the outside is really good, too... Apparently she whipped the cream by hand with a whisk... wow.

maple cake

My only complaint on the cake was the raisins on top of the cake... raisins are not supposed to be in cakes! At least that's what I think. They do make the cake pieces look pretty, though.

Thanks EC!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

bench in progress

The new bench is being installed at the caffe today.

bench in progress


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

lotte koala's march

I've always loved the yummy Japanese treats from Lotte, and among them the "Koala's March" line of chocolate (and other flavors) filled koala bear cookies have not only been with me all through my childhood, but also been some of my favorite treats as an adult. *blush*

Anyhow, Lotte continues to come up with different flavors for the inside of the cookies, as well as different "looks" on the Koala bears. A couple weeks ago I found some limited edition "British" koalas with chestnut filling, and they were so good!

And EC brought me these cute little "baby"(?) ones where the koala bear is 1) growing a flower, 2) climbing a tree, and 3) brushing his teeth. On the other side of the packages there were the continuation of these activities. CUTE.

japanese koala chocolate cookie treats