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Japan travel guide: Osaka
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Americamura icedog

Well, there’s this village called Amerikamura (aka amemura) which means America village in Osaka which is near shinsaibashi and also walkable from namba.

If you come from western countries then maybe this won’t be special to you but this place is often touted as the harajuku of osaka which is not the case imo.

Amemura is boring imo they sell mostly western t shirts (Adidas anyone) and big hip hop style clothes. Is this Japan’s perception of America? I have no idea.

While you might not have anything to buy from there, it is a good place for people watching since people’s dressing are quite flashy there but since it was raining when I went there wasn’t many people out and about and hence I only went there to eat.

Other than having various takoyaki stalls (more about them in another post), amemura is home to the ganso ice dog which claimed to be the first stall in Japan selling ice dog which is a fried hotdog bun with milk ice cream in the middle.

Sounds normal right? I really wanted to try it though my mum was skeptical about it but this really exceeded my expectations (well always expect low then the possibility of you being satisfied is higher lol).

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I always thought that the bread is fried and the icecream would melt real fast (it probably would if you went in summer) but the bread is fried and when you first bite into the bread, it’s hot and crispy crispy and the inside that has contact with the milk ice cream is soft and cold. You might think that this won’t match but nooo, I thought the flavors and temperature and all might clash at first but this is really good. Only the ice cream that’s with contact with the bread melted and the ice cream (A pity that it’s so hard to find good milk ice cream in Singapore, well unless they have like Japan fairs or something.). The rest of the ice cream remains cold and in solid form and when you bite into the ice dog, it’s just so satisfying I really wished I ordered one more for myself since it’s only 300 yen.

I think the shop also sell milk ice cream from rokko farm which is a famous farm in Kobe. I had the rokko farm ice cream in Kobe and it was absolutely delicious. The one used in icedog seemed to come from Hokkaido though but still super good.

Map here.


Japan travel guide: Eggs n Things
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So this time round, I finally went to eggs n things for pancakes!

There are various branches in osaka, tokyo, Yokohama and so on but I went to the one in Tokyo which is near Harajuku. More info here

It was raining when I went there so we couldn’t dine alfresco but there’s wasn’t a long queue probably cos we went early too and so we were directed to the 2nd level which was already packed when we went in.

You can check out their menu here

When we went they were still having the Halloween special menu but I didn’t order that as I wanted to try the original pancakes with strawberry. We ordered one steak with egg and one pancakes with strawberry and whipped cream.

We were given options to pair our steak and eggs with toast or pancakes (think we have to add a couple hundred yen) or potatoes. I opted for the toast. Surprisingly, despite being a pancake restaurant, the steak still tasted quite decent and the eggs and cooked well to your liking (you can choose if you want sunny sides up, runny yolks and so on, which I thought is pretty good and considerate of them). I enjoyed the meat and eggs.

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The pancakes, well the pancakes are awesome. The whipped cream is fluffy and light although they give you loads of it, like seriously a mountain of it, I managed to finish all of the whipped cream (yes I know it is fattening but it just tastes so good). This is totally worth the calories and money.

They have various sauces on the table incase you get sick of your pancakes. Think there’s the maple, guava

and coconut or something (i can’t exactly remember all the syrups) but I think it is fine without the syrups as there’s ample whipped cream to pair the pancakes with and thurs the pancakes don’t seem dry. However, when you are halfway through the pancakes (I think there’s like 4-5 pieces if I am not wrong), you might get sick of the same rate and that’s when the syrups come in handy.

A satisfying breakfast and it’s about 20 sgd each. Don’t regret it at all seriously and if I happen to visit Japan again, I will definitely go there again early to avoid the queues.


Japan travel guide : Kobe beef
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Cos what’s a trip to Kobe without having their famed Kobe beef right?

This trip was kinda satisfying for me in terms of food I guess, despite some hiccups and arguments with my mum.

\Starts rant// Seriously I think parents are the worst travel partners if you wna travel free & easy, or at least in my case. My mum just insist on doing things her way when I already told it it’s not right to do so, like why can’t you respect other people’s cultures and norms? Then she gets angry and all when people get upset with her. I guess it is this kind of person that really give tourists a bad name. I think the least you can do when you visit a country is to respect their culture and norms and stop trying to do things your way. If you insist on doing things your way, you should have just remained in your own country and not travel at all. Respecting other countries’ cultures and norms are important no matter what you go. Not knowing the language is not an excuse when you can follow the actions of people around you. \end rants//


Anyway, we went to eat Kobe beef cos I really wanted to try it and it would have cost an arm and leg to eat it in Singapore if it’s even available here in the first place.

I went to google and while there’s the cheaper option Kobe steak land with set from 2900 yen or something? The cuts don’t look that good in terms of marbling and all but others were either too expensive (10,000 yen or more for lunch?) and so we decided to head over to Steak Aoyama which is featured in the Kobe tourism website and provide lunch set at about 5900 yen (excluding tax).

This meal might be one of the most expensive meals of the trip but we totally don’t regret it at all.

Firstly, the restaurant is actually kind of far from sannomiya station, probably about 15-20 mins walk if you don’t get lost. I would suggest getting a pocket (portable) wifi and saving the places you wna go in google maps and use it to navigate around Japan especially if you don’t know the language or is going to Japan for the first time. This is really useful and it really helped me especially since this is my first time going to the kansai areas. I will talk about the pocket wifi in a separate post.

The restaurant is kind of small, similar to many stand-alone restaurants in Japan (normally chain restaurants will be bigger) so it will be good to make reservations in advance if you are going in a big group.
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The meal started with an appetizer and a soup and then you get to choose between the sirloin and the fillet. We ordered one sirloin and one fillet and the chef helped us to split them equally so we get half sirloin and half fillet each. I personally feel the sirloin is better as it has more fats and hence will melt in your mouth more but the fillet is good enough as it is soft and tender but I guess I just prefer unhealthy stuffs? We got about 8 small cubes of beef each together with vegetables and mushrooms. They gave us pink salt for dipping and it’s really good (& it’s healthier than normal salt as well right?). You can choose either rice or toast to go along with your meal. We chose rice but the toast look so good too. The chef will cook the toast with butter on the teppenyaki grill if you ordered toast. The butter melting on the toast and all is just… I really wished I ordered and ala carte toast just cos it looks good lol but I don’t think I could finished it and I didn’t know if they sell it ala carte too.
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Ah well, after a satisfying meal which my mum said took damn long cos the chef cook the food slowly and with dedication infront of you, we were moved to another table to have our after meal coffee or tea which you can choose. I think Kobe is famous for coffee or something but I had tea though cos I’m not a coffee person lol. The meal was really good and I love the meat.

Now that’s the thing about meat in Japan, I don’t know if it’s only a Singapore thing but sometimes when eating beef and lamb, especially lamb in Singapore, there’s this smell of the meat that they can’t handle well enough which then turns people off. My mum doesn’t like to eat beef, at least in Singapore but after eating beef in Japan she kept asking me if we are going to go back to eat the Kobe beef again cos it’s just that good.

If you are not in a hurry, I will recommend you to go for a Kobe beef lunch (tips: lunch sets in Japan are definitely cheaper than dinner set even if they are the same thing. Don’t ask me why.) and enjoy the experience. I don’t know about steak land but I read online reviews and it has positive reviews as well and so if you are on a budget you might want to check that out but there’s always a long queue for steak land though and I guess the queue will be quite fast though cos it is bigger?

Anyway here’s the link for
Steak aoyama
Kobe steak land


Japan travel guide: Pablo
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There are two famous/ popular cheesecake/ cheesetart shops in Osaka and one of them is Pablo.

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Pablo cheesecake primarily come in two kinds - rare and medium and only offered in one size (about 15cm in diameter?) and is 800 yen each. The medium is slightly more cooked while the rare one is less cooked and meaning when the cake is freshly baked, the insides of the tart will flow out when you cut into it.

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They also sell pudding and seasonal cheese tarts with fruits etc on it, together with cheese snacks and so on. They also have the limited quantity premium cheesetart which sold out very quickly. The premium cheesetart and seasonal cheesetarts/ all other with toppings or fillings will obviously cost more but they are really worth it.

I got one rare cheesetart to share with my mum. At first glance, it seems very big and filling and my mum was harping on how we will never finish it as she doesn’t really like cheesecake/ cheese stuffs. However, we finished it really easily and my mum who doesn’t even like cheese that much find it nice too as the cheesetart is really light and the texture is something I have never eaten before. I was regretting that I only got one but ah well.

They have various outlets at dotonbori (namba area) alone so getting it is easy although there might be queues but I went just before closing hours and so I didn’t have to queue for long.

More info here


Osaka travel guide: Meoto Zenzai
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So, on this trip, I went to eat the meoto zenzai (literal translation: husband & wife thousand years?) at hozenji yokocho which is near dotonbori. This shop was made popular after an author wrote a novel of the same name in this shop (oh well, the shop later changed its name to the title of the novel, so..). Apparently, the novel is very popular and as spawned movies and dramas etc.

Map here

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Didn’t take a pic of the shopfront so here’s a pic that I googled.

This shop only sells one item - meoto zenzai (either hot/ cold) which is like one portion of red bean soup split into two small bowls/ servings each with one dango each which i love so much. This also comes with dried kelp as the zenzai can be sweet to some. I personally like the zenzai hehe. At 800 yen for two small bowls, this is considered steep I guess.

However, tons of tourists (locals and overseas) flock to this shop, for there’s a saying that couples who split the zenzai (one bowl each) will stay together forever. I went with my mum so we had like a portion each (I had the cold one while she had the hot one), so each of us finished two bowls ourselves since it is said that singles will have good luck in love if they finished one portion themselves

While this might be expensive, I think the zenzai taste good and for novelty’s sake and the atmosphere, it is worth going. Definitely going back again when I have a boyfriend. (more excuses to eat zenzai, why not)

Map here


Japan travel guide : Okonomiyaki in osaka
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Well, I know okonomiyaki comes from Osaka and well, during my trip I ate a lot of food, so much that I nearly don’t have stomach to chow down an okonomiyaki.

Okay, during this trip I only went to one okonomiyaki shop as my mum isn’t a fan of it and on other times, we were to full to eat them anyway.

download the map here

So let’s go:

The restaurant that I went to isn’t the mizuno that’s famous and popular among tourist, it was Ajinoya which has a long queue during dinner or lunch hour, so we went for an early dinner, about 5-ish?

Well, most of the patrons are locals which means I can safely assume that this shop serves authentic yummy okonomiyaki?

You can get to ajinoya through exit 14 of namba station. you will pass by a convenience store (family mart) and then kinryu ramen (you can spot the dragon). Turn in when you see the dragon (kinryu ramen) and ajinoya is along that stretch. very near.

Okay, first we ordered doteyaki which is beef sinew cooked in miso (?) I don’t really know the translation for it, but this is really good and even my mum who doesn’t really eat beef says it is good and even finished it. This came with bits and pieces of konnyaku and I really wished I ordered seconds for this.

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Then we ordered tonpeiyaki (bottom right in the picture below) which is probably not very popular in other parts of Japan and across the world but apparently is a staple dish in osaka and they hail it as the appetizer to eat before okonomiyaki? I didn’t see restaurants serving it in tokyo though. Cultural difference? To put it simply, tonpeiyaki is just meat rolled in egg which I thought was normal.

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For our okos, we ordered a special and a Mochi cheese. Both were really good. You can add bonito flakes and seaweed according to your liking. ^^

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Saw people ordering the yakisoba though. Thought that might be good too.

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the shopfront

download the map here

the shop website here


Japan fashion brands - shop list
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Click here for updated list
#

24Karats - EXILE

3rd byVanquish

6% Dokidoki - featured in kyarypamyupamyu ponponpon

A

ABC Mart

Alice and the pirates (sub-brand of BTSSB)

A’ Liliale - produced by Ebihara Yuri & Oshikiri Moe

American Apparel

Angelic Pretty

Ank Rouge

Apple of my eye - kids fashion produced by Watanabe Marina

Atelier-Pierrot

Avan Lily - produced by Kinoshita Yukina

Axes Femme

B

Baby the stars shine bright

Bonavoce - produced by Saeko

C

Calma - kids fashion by MEGUMI

Candydoll - produced by Masuwaka Tsubasa

Cecil Mcbee

Claire’s

Conomi (School uniform)

Crayme - produced by Kanno Yui

D

Datura

Dazzlin

Dip drops

Dollywink - produced by Masuwaka Tsubasa

E

Eatme – produced by Masuwaka Tsubasa

Emoda - produced by Matsumoto Ena

Eyemazing - produced by Komori Jun, Fujimoto Miki etc

F

F&V (Fig & Viper)

Flag-J

Forever 21

G

Galstar

Galaxxxy

Gelatopique

Glad news

Golds Inifinity

H

H&M

Honeys

Hysteric Glamour

I

Ingni

Innocent World

J

Jesus Diamante

Juge Etta

Jupiter Gold label - produced by Rinka

K

L

Labyrinth

Laguna Moon

Lip Service

Listen Flavor

Lizlisa

Lizlisa Doll

Lowrys Farm

M

Maison De Reefur - produced by Rinka

Malkomalka

Melliesh - produced by Kanno Yui

Mercuryduo

Metamorphose temps de fille

Moussy

Murua

N

Neonsoda

O

Olivedesolive

P

Peach John

Pink Latte

Plage - produced by Watanebe Emiri

Punyus – Produced by comedian Watanabe Naomi (F-6L)

Putumayo

Q

R

Ravijour

Rose Fan Fan

S

Saruru - kids fashion produced by Tsuji Nozomi

S-leg - produced by Masuwaka Tsubasa

Sex Pot Revenge

Shimamura

Shop Niko Niko

Snidel

Super lovers - can’t find official web hmm

Swankiss

Swimmer (loads of cute stuffs)

T

Titty & Co

Toucher - produced by Kanda Uno

Tralala

Tutuanna

U

Ungrid

Uno et L’etoile - wedding dress produced by Kando Uno

V

Vasilisa - produced by Rola

W

WC - produced by Wakatsuki Chinatsu

X

Y

Z

that’s all for now, will update more when we are free, some brands appear in more than one magazine, so yup…

you can access this post through our page under the column on the left - shop list


Travel guides : Osaka, Japan
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If you are visiting Osaka and is considering purchasing the enjoy eco card (800 yen/ 600 yen on PH and weekends) mentioned in previous post, you might want to consider topping up some money and get the Osaka Amazing Pass instead.

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1D pass cost 2,300 yen while a 2D pass cost 3000 yen. If you were to get a 2 days enjoy eco card (1600 yen), you might as well top up 1400 yen for this 2 Days pass, which grant you free admission to 28 tourist attractions including Osaka Castle, Tsutenkaku, Tennoji Zoo and so on. It also includes discounts such as free gifts/ discounts at selected souvenirs shops or restaurants. Quite worth it I guess, considering the fact that Osaka Castle admission is probably about 500 yen, Tsutenkaku 700 yen, Floating Garden Observatory and Hep 5 Ferris Wheel 700 yen each? Plus unlimited train rides is always welcomed in Japan, seriously.

For full list of participating outlets/ benefits, click here.

However, if you are not into some attractions and want to visit only a few places a day and no pressure about wanting or feeling that you have to visit as many attractions as possible that are included in the pass, then you might want to get the enjoy eco card instead for just the unlimited train rides. If you want to visit as many places as possible in a tight schedule, then I will recommend you to get this pass. It even includes free admission to a onsen (hot springs) too.

For more info, click here

Considering the fact that one trip cost about 180yen in Osaka , if you are visiting a few places a day, it is definitely worth to get get a pass, especially since this comes with so many discounts and free admissions too.

Travelling to Japan? Use this easy and convenient website to help plan your train routes (includes timing and price too).


Japan food guide : Pancakes in Tokyo
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Hi all,  I am going to do some write-up on food in Japan, or rather, pancakes in Tokyo.

While I know pancake is not a Japanese dish, but you can’t deny that there has been a pancake craze going on in Japan, especially in Tokyo. Hence, I am going to list some popular pancake shops with long queues and waiting time, that you might be interested in if you happen to visit Tokyo (pancakes still make good breakfast after all and they are yummy too!). Well, I am still going to make this list so it can serve as a reminder for me to eat them when I visit Japan in the future.

1.Bills

First on this list will definitely be Bills by Bills Granger (Australia), since it is the only one among the pancake shops that I have actually visited. Bills is known to serve the ‘best breakfast in the world’ and I couldn’t agree more. The pancakes are fluffy and I love the full Aussie breakfast.  Introduced this to my friends who went to Japan after me and most of them love it (well, girls love the pancakes, guys love the full Aussie breakfast more), but if you have companions, you can always order both to share. While there is a long queue, we didn’t wait as long as I expected to and you can actually make reservations online, so yay! There are currently 4 branches in Japan (2 in Tokyo) - Omotesando (which is of walking distance from Harajuku actually), Odaiba, Shichirigahama in Kamakura and red brick warehouse in Yokohama.

Check out my review on Bills.

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2. Eggs’nThings

Now, this is one that I would love to visit someday (am I the only one who absolutely love whipped cream?)

Touted as the best pancakes in Hawaii, eggs n’ things pancakes are served with a mountain of whipped cream which, according to people who have been there before, is not overly cloying and instead is light and fluffy. Now, this is something that I definitely would want to try.

Also, other than having branches in Tokyo Harajuku and ODaiba, they have branches in Osaka Shinsaibashi, Kyoto, Yokohama, Kobe, Fukuoka and Enoshima too.

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3. Cafe Kaila

Also located in the Omotesando/ Harajuku area in Tokyo, Cafe Kaila, also from Hawaii. The draw-point about this will most probably be the amount of fruits on it (2,000 yen for all the toppings if I am not mistaken) and the fact that their pancakes are made without butter or oil, which makes them healthier than other pancakes shops. Guess this appeals to girls who want to eat pancakes but do not want to feel guilty about it?

But seriously, I am tempted to eat this too, the fruits on it are… *drools*

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4. Pancake days

Pancake days actually have branches in Osaka and Tokyo too. Tokyo - Harajuku (again, well, Harajuku/ Omotesando area is like the pancakes war zone), Kichijoji, Nagoya, Osaka Universal city walk and Abeno.

I am not gonna lie, this pancakes look so cute and good and what is better than one pancake?

A stack of pancakes! I might be biased cos I love pancakes and anything sweet, but I definitely would be thrilled if someone brings me to eat this.

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5. Slappycakes

From Portland, slappycakes is a DIY shop, where you can make your own pancakes. I guess this will be fun, since you get to choose the flavors and toppings yourself and get to cook the pancakes yourself. YAY if you have artistic skills and can make cute pancakes but even if you can’t, I am sure it will still be a fun experience.

Well, I know there are more pancake shops in Japan but well, I am going to stop here and if I ever visit them in the future, I will definitely do a write-up on them.

tada~~


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