Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Manhole Covers!

Rojo-kansatsu, which literally means observation on the road; is an act of watching and appreciating something that is not common or if you don't pay attention to, such as manhole covers or other not so obvious interesting things you see along the way is I guess, something I love to do.

But then again, they are a lot of Japan manhole covers fans out there!

We always love to spot interesting manhole covers during our trip in Japan and here are some we saw during last year's trip.

We didn't get that many last year as we only travelled to a few cities during our 10-day trip.
 Water strider on Nagoya's manhole cover.
 Mount Takao manhole cover depicting the Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo.
Two found in Niiza, Saitama Prefecture.
Lake Kawaguchi. With Mount Fuji in the background, of course.
Fujiyoshida City.

There were a number of other manhole covers that we've spotted in previous year, from up north in Hokkaido all the way down to Kyushu and I've shared them in this blog though I have yet made an attempt to label those posts under "manhole covers" before. Check them out here.

It's fun to look at all this lovely manhole covers not only for their design but also for the stories behind the design.
Like this one in Takamatsu which features Nasu no Yoichi of the Minamoto/Genji Clan during the Battle of Yashima.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Simple, Affordable Fare. Our Meals In Japan

OK. First of all, we have to admit that we are quite frugal about dining while vacationing in Japan.

But that didn't mean that we'd skimped much. Just that we tried our best at finding places that offers good deals for our meals.

Breakfasts : comes free with our hotel stay.

We only paid for our breakfast the morning we arrived to Tokyo from Nagoya, after taking a midnight bus.

Still, breakfast at Yayoi-ken is cheap and filling and much better for us than opting for a fast food breakfast. Who needs hotcake fr breakfast when one can have natto instead?

Lunches and dinners - Yayoi-ken is always a favourite. With their set meals ranging from 500 - below 800yen for both lunch and dinner, the place is our favourite pick.

Udon shop is good too.

And the odd Gusto.

And splurging on sushi too.

Plus coffee. Coffeeeeeee...
First night in Nagoya - dinner.
First breakfast in Tokyo at where else? Yayoi-ken, after we got or luggages at the hotel we'd checked-in later.

Absolutely adore natto for breakfast! It was only about 370yen and a bit extra with the salmon added (530yen). 
Son enjoying his clam miso soup which was an extra than normal miso soup which came free with the set.
And udon for lunch.
We were blessed to enjoyed a home cooked food when we were invited for dinner at Minoru's house. He and his wife are so generous and we are thankful.
Breakfast on the second day in Tokyo, complimentary with our hotel stay.
Dinner.

Grilled saba for Son.
Fried oyster for me.
Shima hokke for hubby.
Breakfast on the fourth day, before we went up to Mount Takao.
Got to sample a few stuff at one of the shops while hiking up Mount Takao. Even grilled sweet potato and bought some really sweet persimmons as our lunch. ^^
Dinner was still at Yayoiken. Forgot who ordered the sanma fish this time. But we didn't eat the aubergine as it was cooked with unidentified meat so we just pushed it aside.
Breakfast on the fifth day. We sure had a healthy breakfast, don't we? And I love them!

The hotel kitchen staff used to serve onigiri (rice balls) but I think they've stopped doing it now. But the other hotel of the same chain still do, so maybe it's because of the clientele? The one we stayed in, in Asakusa sees a lot of foreign tourists nowadays instead of salarymen after all.
Later, a short coffee break with Ru after our walk to Heirinji and Todai.
It was saba misoni for hubby for dinner and I enjoyed the sanma later that evening after a rush of shopping in Kappabashi.
Son didn't want to eat out so we got him something from the konbini instead.
Breakfast on the morning we were leaving for Lake Kawaguchi.
We ate lightly for lunch, eating bread sold the Fujisan Marathon REPC. Later hubby and I enjoyed dinner for two at Gusto while son wanted to just stay in the hotel room. We later bought some onigiri and bento for him to enjoy.
Breakfast the next morning, on the race day of Fujisan Marathon.
Later we had an early dinner at Gusto and enjoyed some sweet treats after dinner.
A sushi dinner when we returned to Tokyo. Kinda a splurge for us, for Son's birthday. ^^
Our last meal, and in Nagoya before we returned home after a 10-days vacation in Japan. 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Daily Trip Report - Day Nine. Last Minute Shopping On The Last Day.

Our last day in Tokyo before we headed back to Nagoya was spent doing some final shopping. First in Shinjuku.
Son had quite a list of Lego he wanted to buy, not to mention a few games and also omiyage for his primary school teachers and friends.

A stop at Takeya for some bargain chocolates.
Later a stop at Akihabara, where we managed to find bargain anime figurines sold at bargain prices.

We even managed to find phone straps sold in bulk and cheap in Kappabashi as Son wanted to buy for everyone in his class.
 Dinner at Yayoiken and Son had the fried oyster this time.
 We took a late night bus to Nagoya, and headed off to Ikebukuro t board the bus.
 Waiting for the bus to arrive.
By taking the night bus, we kinda save on hotel room for the night and also save on travelling time as we managed to get to Nagoya while we sleep!
 Son's stash.

Lego for himself. A Nintendo game.

Daruma straps for his classmates and some special anime straps and keychains for his teachers and best friends.
 Our omiyage stash.
 Mommy's stash.
Which also included running and hiking stuff. ^^

A summary of our 2014 trip :
Day Three - A Trip To The Post Office
Day Four - Morning Run By The Sumida River
Day Four - Mount Takao
Day Four - A Night Stroll and A Date
Day Five - An Important Date!
Day Five - Heirin-ji
Day Five - To Todai We Go!
Day Six - Bus Trip to Kawaguchiko
Day Six - Lake Kawaguchi and Fujisan Marathon Race Pack Collection
Dinner at Gusto
Day Eight - Fuji-Q Highland Theme Park
Birthday Dinner At Sushi Zanmai

20 blog posts about our 10-day vacation to Tokyo last year and it took me almost a year to complete it. ^^!

Now, I'm looking forward to the planning for our 2015 trip. It'll be just a short trip as we kinda have a restricted time and budget for this year's trip.

If all goes well, the next trip to Japan will be in 2018. I have to be patient for that and I definitely have to make this year's trip worthwhile. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Daily Trip Report - Day Eight. Birthday Dinner At Sushi Zanmai

After our trip to Fuji-Q Highland Theme Park, which was a treat for our Son's 12th birthday; we took the highway bus back to Shinjuku.

We had a bit of problem finding our hotel at first, which was located in the Kabukicho area and I certainly got a bit grumpy what with lugging our luggages and hunger too and was in no mood of walking too far to find a place for dinner after we checked-in to our hotel.

But as luck would have it, we found Sushi Zanmai rather nearby to the hotel we were staying in. Yeay!
We chose to sit at the counter so we could watch the chef in action. Always fun to see and interact with them.
Especially when they are friendly and funny.

And speaks English!
The chefs in action. The fella may goof about with the customers but was focused and serious when making the sushis.
Our order for the night.

13 pieces sushizanmai deluxe for 3,000yen. Comes with a huge ass bowl of miso soup. Saved me a few hundred yen from ordering one individually as I really was hankering for a warm soup.
Kaisen don for 1,480yen.
Uruoi sushimori special for 1,980yen and has 13 pieces just as the deluxe one.
The birthday boy enjoying his dinner.
And mommy really enjoyed this. Melt in my mouth anago. Om nom nom.
Us with our dinner.

The cheery chef later obliged to take photos with us diners and even kinda entertained us, when the place got less busy. How very nice of him.
Son even received a small gift when they got to know that we were celebrating his birthday that night.
The chef and staff waving us goodbye as we exited the restaurant.

Now, you don't get this often, do you?

There are plenty of Sushi Zanmais in Tokyo. We've always frequented the one in Asakusa when we were in Tokyo although the main branch is in Tsukiji.

But if I have a chance, I might want to visit the one in Shinjuku again.

As always, here's the summary of the trip reports of last year's trip to Tokyo :

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