Fitness fest 18!

So… I actually said I wasn’t going to join this year but then again… here we go!

This year’s event was held indoor (thankfully!) to our delight, no more extreme heat wave nor flooding from rain! Also different from last year, the event this year is only 1 day instead of 2.

The line-ups were lesser but to be honest more crowd pleasing as compared to last year. Well, Casey Ho is still unbeatable. 🙂

Kayla was the main star of the day with her BBG workout. I don’t know who is she but I did had a good workout with her! Sweet lady who was overwhelmed at the end with emotion but gave an awesome pain in the ass (literally) workout that had me cursing and swearing the following day. (Ok, I admit it includes all the workout done that day but… :P)

Lunch was done at MBS foodcourt because… the only main food available during the event was grain traders which had an extremely long and slow queue. And, I’m no rabbit nor health freak when it comes to food. I was hoping that poke bowl will be available as who doesn’t like raw fish and rice?

That’s the con of this year’s event. Lousy to non-existent food choice available. And everything were pricey. A bottle of ice mountain water cost $2 (which I had to get cause I was extremely thirsty even after finish 2 bottles of water) and most drinks or food cost from $5 and aren’t satisfying at all.

This was another drink that we got because we were too lazy to head out as it’s troublesome to have our bags checked again and again when you re-enter the hall. Expensive but doesn’t taste too bad, the 3 of us had very different taste with me drinking the weirdest out of all, apple cinnamon which none of my friends like. 😡

Anyway, back to the main topic. We finally completed all thr challenges in the fitness passport this year. *Clap clap clap!

Did you know?!

I nearly gave this event a miss cause I suddenly had fever the day before halfway through teaching my classes. I was struggling with badly aching ankles during kickboxing (a sure sign that I’m running s temperature) that I texted my friend that I might have to stay at home on Sat.

Thankfully the fever subsided though I wasn’t feeling totally well, I went ahead to the event. Late. 😡

Missed Yoga but I was absolutely fine with that cause… I’m gonna fall asleep being so zen in the morning.

First workout I did was Kilter Medley. It’s really interesting though to be honest, this is more suited for small group. It’s quite a mess cause of space constraint and I gave up doing halfway cause there was an eyecandy behind us that looks amazing while doing the movements. *screammmmm*

Super smooth and just beautiful! And nope, I’m not sharing the video. Private collection. *hehehe*

Next was Kayla! Good workout. Love it and… very good ideas picked up for my own interval class. *evil grin* My members were about to murder me for it. The hosts were amazing in crowd control this year. Thumbs up!

Crowds favorite since last year. I’m not a fan of pre-choreographed classes that’s why I don’t do Les Mill but once in a while is super duper fun! And the instructors from Pure Fitness are really good. They make me miss standing on big stage even more. At least this year they gave up on body jam. Body combat, body attack and body balance in 45 mins. Fun and nice mix!

Last workout I did for the day was from Webarre! Something I wanted to try for the longest time. Not too bad but maybe trying in small group might be better.

That’s all the workouts I attended this year. As mentioned, I was unwell and 2, we needed rest in between and also to complete the fitness passport. *though I doubt we will win the lucky draw*

We finally did a super duper short spine analysis after failing to do so last year. The joke was that the machine overheated last year under the hot weather. Interesting enough. I did chiro once and based on posture analysis done, I have straight cervical spine aka neck. So… it’s not surprising for me to have tight neck or headaches once in a while. With that said, I should know better since I learnt pilates and I’m well aware of it. *opps*

Other things we tried include bouldering which was super fun, flipping tyre (and failing again without help), random challenges such as burpees, split… etc. Oh and getting fake tattoo. *ok…*

There were many vendors that provides interesting stuff but I’m sad cause I didn’t manage to try the indoor cycling nor pole trial and many other things. Time constraint and physically unable to do so.

Maybe, just maybe I will go again next year?

Signing off,

Lazy Essa

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Japan trip 四

Last two and I’m done. Although I’m considering to split the food post into 2 for it really seems too lengthy. *deep thoughts*

Although my trip was planned free and easy, I wasn’t confident to navigate my way through Kyoto. (I already had a hard time in Osaka)

So I was browsing through many sources such as Klook, KKday for a day tour but it’s either too expensive or it doesn’t cover what I want. After searching for a while, I found this 1 day kyoto bus tour from Tsunagu which led me to Hankyu travel!

Price was way more affordable and it only covers Kyoto’s 4 main locations. The price varies but since I traveled in sort of a low peak season, each person cost only Â¥4000 which is way lesser than the packages I saw which cost more than SGD$100.

Booking was easy and payment is done online. Apparently when I PM-ed them on what if there’s not enough people? They replied as long as there is 2, it’s confirmed. At least I don’t need to worry that it will be cancelled and I have to make alternate plans.

Note: This tour is only available till a certain month. They just released a new tour that includes Nara.

So the itinerary was as follows:

  • Meet at Namba Parks (9am), before setting off to Kyoto
  • 1st stop, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
  • 2nd stop, Kinkaku-ji Temple
  • 3rd stop, Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • 4th stop, Kiyomizu Temple
  • Return back to Namba

So 1st stop! Arashiyama Bamboo Forest! We had to walk from the bus parking lot to the entrance of the bamboo forest. Along the way there were shops selling souvenirs and food. I love the fresh air upon stepping into the forest. Pandas will love this place too!

This was taken at one of the shops along the street.

And in the previous post on food, I introduced this as well. Soy milk donut which I also chanced upon at this area.

There is a shrine located in the bamboo forest as well and I got myself a lucky charm and picked a rather good written oracle for whatever that I asked in my heart. We were here for about 90 minutes but it’s still too short of a duration for a proper lunch so we ate snacks instead.

Next! Kinkaku-ji Temple or also known as the Golden Pavillion. Grand and beautiful especially because it’s shining with the gold exterior.

Nothing much else to do here except to see this structure so we were only there for maybe 40 mins.

3rd stop, Fushimi Inari Shrine.

This place is 1 of the top locations that I want to visit. Beautiful sight of countless bright red gates!

We were here for about 45 minutes which doesn’t give us that much time to walk far (but it’s also too crowded with people) so after a short walk, we headed along the street and stuff ourselves silly with food.

This was also where I found this yummy crepe that’s also introduced in the previous post.

Last stop! Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Slightly disappointed but not unexpected since we already know that it’s under renovation till Mar 2020. Don’t get me wrong, we still can go in, just that the beautiful exterior has been covered up.

But it’s ok, it was still a nice walk here.

This is still available but I didn’t join in the fun. No fan of joining extremely long queues.

They were saying that this is a stone for love. If you can walk from this stone to the other with your eyes closed, apparently your wish will come true or something. But… nvm. 🙂

Behind me is the narrow street down to the bus. We were here for nearly 60 mins so we got to do some shopping for Kyoto’s goodies.

After which, we headed back to Namba to mark the end of the trip.

Our tour guide is Kimi-san, a nice lady who provides clear information and instructions. By the way, our bus driver is considered 1 of the best who safely drove us from 1 place to the other. I must say it was quite a good tour taking into consideration of the price we paid. Note that admission fee to Kiyomizu and Kinkaku-ji are not included.

Thankfully our tour group of 12 were very puncture so delays were minimum. But since this is considered a bus tour, Kimi-san will only lead us to the attraction and after which we will have to find our way back to the bus. Not a bad idea for we are free to go anywhere we want instead of waiting for the whole group but we did got a little lost here and there while locating the bus.

Will I travel with them again? Yes. If the itinerary is suitable. I do hope to visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple after the renovation is complete. But it’s going to be a long wait.

Voiceless and stuck at home,

Essa

Japan trip 三

How do I look?

I was pleasantly surprised once the makeover was done. I have no idea who was that pretty Japanese looking person staring back at me! Not that I’m bragging but this is one look that suits me the most as compared to the hanbok look I did in Korea last year.

Anyway, after researching online and filtering through all the shops that provides Maiko makeover, I finally chose Maica Kyoto.

The reviews on trip advisor (my review is there too!) was a hit and miss but 1 of the main reason why I picked Maica was the location. It’s just a few minutes walk from Gion-shijo station and there’s no need me to take a bus or cab to reach the location.

Address: 4-297 Miyagawa st, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City

Before I continue, just a short introduction of what is a Maiko.

A maiko is an apprentice geiko in Kyoto, western Japan. Their jobs consist of performing songs, dances, and playing the shamisen or the koto for visitors during feasts.

Also widely known as Geisha in general to the people outside of Japan. In Kyoto, instead of Geisha, they are called Geiko or Maiko instead. I would suggest reading this for more information. There might be a lot misconception about them but it’s not something I can explain. I love a book titled Geisha of Gion by Mineko Iwasaki who opened my eyes to the small world of Geisha. It’s an art. There are a few documents on youtube as well that will tell you more about it.

OK, done with the brief introduction!

So, I was early for my appointment which can be booked from here.

But since this is considered a low peak season, they were able to accommodate me since there was only 1 other customer. Do not expect the communication to be easy as they really only do speak the bare minimum amount of English but somehow you can still understand them.

This is their entrance with a cute doll right outside!

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1st floor is the reception and mini photo studio. 2nd floor is where the changing rooms and lockers are located. 3rd floor is where you get dressed and where all hair and makeups are done. No photographing is allowed on the 3rd floor so there’s nothing much I can show but can only write about my experience.

When we entered, we had to take off my boots and put into a plastic bag that is provided. Next, we proceeded upstairs to change into the robe and tabi provided. Everything else will be placed into the big coin locker in the changing room including your shoes and clothes that needs tprice plano be removed in order to wear the kimonos (excluding your phone and wallets, as well as makeup removal and makeup kits for those who are doing the Maiko makeover.) before we head upstairs to choose our kimonos and make our payment.

Before I continue, only I did the Maiko makeover and rent the normal kimono while my mom only rented the kimono. There are different price plan for Maiko makeover and I choose the second one because the kimonos were nicer. The plan I chose was Nagomi at ¥10 000 excluding tax. And I get to enjoy the following:

  • Free to take photos with your own camera inside of the house (max 60min.)
  • One free photo included
  • Enjoying a Japanese garden and going outside of Maica.
    Free to take photos with your own camera. (max 20 min.)

For the normal kimono, it’s Â¥3000 excluding tax. Other plans can be found here.

After choosing my kimonos for both Maiko and normal rental, I was lead to the other room for makeup.

The white makeup is… cold and feels abit like a layer of clay mask after a while. The lady who did the makeup was pretty fast and I moved on to wearing the heavy wig before putting on the outfit. My package only came with the full wig, I think my head is too small, she had to stuff some fake hair buns or something under the wig so it will not wobble. :X

Here’s a up close photo of my makeup! You can see that the wig is a little tilted here with obvious lines but can’t be picky. Photoshop skills have to be put to use if I want a perfect picture.

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Let’s be honest here, I seriously admire the professional Maikos and Geikos who have to wear it everyday for the kimono has so many layers and are tied extremely tight. AND it’s so heavy! I was struggling to breathe in it. No wonder there is such saying, 爱美是有代价的. And we are finally done after she finished tying me up! Phew… I wonder how much extra weight am I carrying with the wig and the kimono.

This is the back view of the kimono.

And the front!

After this was done, it’s time for studio photo… on the 1st floor. Yup, I was so worried that I might topple down the stairs in the full outfit as the stairways were pretty narrow. As mentioned, I didn’t like the studio photo they took for me cause it made a fat me looks even fatter and shorter. And it was overexposed. (Nope, you are not going to see the 1 free photo they gave me) But the studio photo of me and my mom that I topped up for was actually decent. Note: This is taken from my phone.

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After studio shoot was done, we headed outside to the small garden (just outside the reception area) and took a few photos as well. I was having another WHAT kind of moment because the Okobo (おこぼ) they provided is at least 8cm high. *Nervous laughter*

But that aside, I was really having fun! But I was a little cold! Because of the Maiko’s kimono, I have to remove my heat-tech top as well so I my neck and back feels super cold when the wind blows.

With the outdoor shoot done, we went back inside and took random photos with our phone as well. Total time I spent was less than what they actually gave cause… you can only take that much picture in the small space.

My Mom had to wait for me as I head back upstairs (clumsily I would say) and washed up before changing into the normal kimono. Totally relieved the moment the Maiko’s kimono was removed and I used up 5 sheets of the Biore makeup removal sheet to get everything off my face and my neck. Quick makeup by myself and I’m being wrapped up in another kimono that was tied equally tight! Hair was done by the staff (at additional cost) and it was lovely! I never thought that they would put in so much effort but they did. Kudos to them. When I’m finally done, me and my mom went out for a short stroll to Kenninji which was nearby in the geta (下駄) provided by them.

By the time we had enough of taking photos, we strolled back to the shop and got change and we were done! Photos collected and off we go to Nishiki Market!

Overall it’s a memorable experience especially for my Birthday which falls on the exact day I went for the makeover! It’s fun and I doubt I will do it again for it’s really expensive! Would I suggest this activity? Why not! There are a lot of shops providing this so do look around and see which one suits your budget/needs!

Last photo before I end this!

Ready to sleep,

Essa

Japan trip 二

いただきます!

This time round I don’t really have a plan on what to eat in advance but to just go with the flow since I’m pretty unfamiliar with the place! All my food ranges from restaurants to food streets to takeouts.

First up, Restaurant!

Wanomiya

This is the only place that I planned in advance. Reason being that I’m not doing a day tour to Kobe, so I decided to look for Kobe beef in Osaka.

Why Kobe beef? Everyone who had tried before kept telling me to go for it. Expensive but worth the price and it’s not something you can find easily.

Took the sirloin steak which already costed… Â¥10,800 per person. By the way, rice is not included. Yup the price tag is… nvm, I’m only going to try it once.

This was done Teppenyaki style and I must admit, it tasted really good! It was a good experience after all. This store is just along Dotonburi street. Apparently they have a whole building to themselves with the 1st and 2nd floor catered for Teppenyaki and the rest for Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki if I’m not wrong.

Address:
神戸牛和ノ宮 道頓堀本店 (1-5-2, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 542-0071)

Will I eat this again? Eh… nope! Once in a lifetime and I can eat more food with the price paid.


Edogawa Grilled Eel @ Nara

By far, this was one of the best place! Blown me away with something as simple as Grilled Eel rice. This was recommended by a blogger (can’t remember which one) and she was right about this being popular. I was there before 11am but they put a sign saying that operating will only start from 11.30am. By 11.15am, a small crowd were already waiting outside… in the cold. Exactly at 11.30am, they finally opened the door and we had to write our name on a list before they usher us into our seats by order. Lockers were provided for our shoes.

English menu is available and ordering was a breeze.

When our food came, the staff kindly introduce to us on how to enjoy the dish.

This was a set with different ways of enjoying the unagi rice. But i only remember this two.

1. With wasabi

2. With the dashi soup

And I love it when the rice is mixed with the dashi soup with a hint of wasabi and some pickles!

Noticed the yellow roll? It’s tamago with unagi rolled in it. おいしい!

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This was what I ordered for myself. The simplest set that have many different price tagged to it (obviously I got the least expensive since I know even the cheapest set also taste as awesome!) And seriously, I love it! I’m not a rice person but I’m proud to say that I finished the whole thing!

Address:
江戸川 ならまち店, Edogawa (43, Shimomikadocho, Nara-shi, Nara, 630-8365)

Will i eat this again? YES!


Three broomsticks @ Universal studio Japan

There’s not much choice especially when you are stuck in USJ with no chance of re-entry. But! This was worth the price and calories.

Sunday roast aka beef! Super good! And the roasted chicken wasn’t dry at all. But the best was the corn. *Drool*

I know people talked about smuggling food in because the food inside USJ is expensive but since you are already there, I don’t see why you shouldn’t enjoy to the fullest? It’s not everyday we go to USJ.

Snacks @ Universal Studio Japan

This was the highly raved “Dino leg” which is essentially just turkey leg. I never liked turkey for all I know that it’s dry. But, it’s actually quite juicy! Nearly everyone was holding on to one. But, i feel that sharing was a better decision as it was quite filling. A must try!

Must have! Butterbeer! (Yes I know it’s soda and yes I know it’s full of sugar.) You can’t say you were here without this! Taste super sweet but I love the foam part!

If I have a chance to go back to USJ, these will definitely be somethings that I will look forward to having again!

 

Minion Cookie! Don’t this look adorable? So adorable that I was hesitant to bite into it. There are a few choices and I picked the one with cream and fruits. (I was actually looking for the one without banana but tiramisu doesn’t sound very appealing.) Not too sweet and it’s balanced well with the cream and fruits! The only thing was that the taste of flour was quite obvious but the fillings overcome the short coming.


Kuromon Ichiba market! 黒門市場

2 Chome-3-2 Nipponbashi, Chuo, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0073, Japan
Do note that the only opens from 9am to 6pm daily.

Oh my god! I cannot forget the taste of these fresh Sashimi! I never liked tuna nor uni aka sea urchin in Singapore but I decided to give it a try after my friends constantly tell me it’s different in Japan! And I love it! The uni is so creamy and sweet without the weird leathery taste (which I felt when i try in SG) and the otoro is to die for! Fatty tuna that fills me up quickly after having 2! *Slurp* Most worthy amount I paid for Sashimi. Gosh, I’m so going to judge when I eat sashimi in SG. 😂

Will i have this again? No doubt yes! Loved it so much I had it a second time the day before I left Osaka!

Other snacks!

Scallops just across the sashimi shop! At ¥ 500 per piece, this is a bomb. Sweet and tasty!

Will I have this again? Yes!

Wagyu Beef skewer! Can’t recall the price but beef in Japan taste good regardless of what grade it is!

One of the creamiest and sweetest roasted sweet potato found hidden in Kuromon Market! We happened to buy from elsewhere and we ended up missing this!

This is something very common but I just wants to have it since I’m in the land where this came from. Strawberry chocolate mochi! Not too sweet and blends perfectly!

This is the most expensive yet innocent looking drink ever. (Please ignore the bad angle of the photo) White strawberry juice at ¥1000. Equivalent to est SGD$12. I was shock when I realized only at the end of the day. The only way I can tell myself is that it taste really yummy and you would have it again. 😂

This is egg tofu that taste like chawamushi. Didn’t expect it to be so smooth and good that I went back to buy another 2 more for supper. (If I could I would buy more and even bring it home!)


Namba Walk

Namba walk is this large underground shopping area that connects all the train stations in Namba.

There’s so much food here! One of my favorite is Gozen!

This shop sells a lot of the side dishes or dishes that can be put together into a Bento!

A sample of what we got. Out of the 9 days, we had this for 6 days. It’s so convenient! My favorite is the konnyaku and the burdock! They calculate by weight so how much you take equals how much you pay! I saw a lot of people buying this everyday especially office workers.

Next, we just popped by a shop that was opened before 11am on the day that I was heading to Kyoto for the maiko makeover since I wasn’t sure what was available when I reach Gion.

If I’m not wrong, this shop should be SARASHINA-HIROTAYA.

There’s no English menu so I ended up taking photo of what I want from their display and show to the staff.

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Ordered this for myself. The soba taste good! And it is enough to fill my stomach unlike what you get in Singapore.

My mom ordered this as she misses the Unagi rice from Nara. As I said, it taste equally good regardless of where you have it as long as you are in Japan!

Will I have this again? Yes!

Lastly, this was a takeout from 2 shops on the second last day!

Big prawn tempura and fried toriniku from a tempura shop! I find that shops usually uses Butaniku which is pork rather than chicken. So I was glad to find fried chicken here! It looks dark but… it’s really good!

And Takoyaki with a heap of mochi cheese mentaiko sauce. I was reluctant to eat takoyaki and okonomiyaki which are Osaka specialities because I don’t like to eat food with too much flour. But, I feel that I should at least give 1 of it a go and luckily I did. Super yummy because of the sauce but I can’t finish it as it’s really too much.

So, I would suggest trying it even if you do not like flour based food like me. You can always try it with special sauce. Totally worth the calories.


Nishiki Market 錦市場 @ Kyoto

Japan, 〒604-8054 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 富小路通四条上る西大文字町609番地

 

Visited this place after my maiko makeover. It’s within walking distance from the Gion-shijo station that I arrived in Kyoto. I was super hungry by then so we popped by this shop along the street for a hot udon and some fried skewers.

The udon comes with the Kyoto specialty: Yuba! The soup is quite thick but still tasty.

As the famous shop in Osaka is always full with long queue, so I give up and try this at any shop that sells this. Yum but to be honest, it’s the sauce that makes it taste good. And I don’t have to worry about sharing the sauce with anyone. 😁

Will I have this again? Maybe.

Squid, crab meat and beef tendon (I think) on stick. Just a small random shop along the street and it taste as good as it smells from far!


Tenjinbashi-suji street

6 Chome-4 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 532-0011, Japan

Map of Tenjin-bashi-suji, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu, Japan

This is just beside the Osaka museum of Housing and Living. And I found a rare gem at an unexpected place.

These 小笼包 puts Din Tai Fong to shame. Really! The black one is beef while the other one is shrimp. Biting into it rewards you with the sweet juice that comes with it! Just talking about it makes me hungry. I can never look at 小笼包 in the same way anymore. Nom…

Will I go back there just for this? はい!


Dotonburi (Walking distance from Namba station)

Dotonbori, Chuo, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan

Food paradise! Literally!

Interesting concept of buying tickets with vending machine before passing the the staff for them to cook. Not really a big fan of ramen cause the soup bases are always too rich and salty. Same for this but I love the texture of the ramen noodles!

Will I have this again? Not really. Too salty and rich for my liking. If only they have lighter broth.

Yakisoba and fried skewers! Eating in the cold but the food is good! Only complaint was that the noodle is too soft for my liking and they have no hot drinks!

Kobe steak that is sold outside the restaurant (Wanomiya) at a much much MUCH more affordable price. It taste equally good!

BBQ Kani! This was actually i introduced on a youtube video I saw (Battle trip) and it’s really good! Though a little unglam to eat this by the sidewalk but the meat is really sweet. Find the place with the big crab on it’s signboard for it!


Other food!

Sukiyaki at Tempozan Naniwa Kushinbo Yokocho! Best food for the cold! More than enough for 1 but if you need, you can choose to add extra udon or rice. Wanted to give the “eat all you can” sukiyaki/shabu shabu a try but I just couldn’t find a time where I’m hungry enough for it as I would had constantly filled myself up with all the street food!

Ramune flavor soft serve that is available only at Kaiyukan! I of the only ice cream I had in Japan and this is quite cool! Ramune is a soft drink that is from Japan that taste like ice cream soda so this soft serve is quite a rare find for me.

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I was just whining about why Mcdonalds in Singapore doesn’t carry these items especially rhe chocolate pie. Immediately few days after I posted this on my facebook, a news came out that they are launching the chocolate pie in SG. So coincidental. The other item is shaka shaka chicken which is a piece of chicken with the either cheese powder or pepper powder, just like shaker fries. Now can I wish for this to be available as well?

One of Nara’s specialties as well, mackerel sushi wrapped in persimmon leave. The leave gives this sushi a light fragrance which appeals to me cause I’m no fan of many types of fish. Mackerel is a little fishy for me. But! Worth a try if you are in Japan!

Yutofu, konnyaku and octopus eaten along the street in Kyoto! Yutofu is one of the food that I want to try in Kyoto. However, due to the tight schedule of the 1 day bus tour, we were unable to drop by a restaurant and have to make do with this found in a small street shop outside Arashiyama. The tofu is smooth and do not have the usual strong taste!

Soymilk donut! 1 of the must try in Kyoto as well! Taste slightly sweet and not too oily!

Not sure what this pancake is called but it’s quite common around the place. Texture is similar to mochi and filled with red bean paste. Quite sweet though.

Yuba crepe. I only saw this in Kyoto on the way up to Fushimi Inari shrine. It is said to be made with yuba and chinese yam (huai shan) though I’m not too sure about it. But, it is very tasty!


Kansai International Airport

On the night I arrived, I was… hungry.

And there wasn’t really much food joints that are opened or wasn’t packed with people. Ended up with sushi and salad from Lawson and snacks from Burger King. I don’t patronize BK in SG but hey! They have cheese sticks in Japan!

For breakfast, we had udon at one of the small shop in the domestic departure floor. I ordered a raw egg udon and it’s good though a little bland. No weird smell or whatsoever. The oden is good! The daikon and konnyaku are my top favorites!

So course, I’m not going to end my trip without having food from the airport.

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Ganko Sushi. Tasted very normal and below average. But still I don’t really have much choices once inside the gate and I really wanted sushi before I leave.

Convenience stores such as Lawson, Family Mart and 7 eleven are the best. They carry many ready-to-eat food which I envy a lot. (I wish 7 eleven in Singapore have it too, but all they have are microwavable food that just looks… you can see for yourself) One of the interesting food I found is this tofu with some extra ingredients for you to mix in with. Simple, light and low in calories.

I managed to get my hands on the seasonal sakura latte from 7 eleven. Don’t miss this if you are there during the cherry blossom season!

Didn’t expect the food post to be so long! Or should I say, didn’t expect that I ate so much food! Shall end it here while I continue with other posts! 🙂

Hungry from all the food pictures…

Essa

Japan trip 一

Second achievement unlocked for me as planned a whole trip to a place that I’m not familiar with! And, I have officially fallen in love with Japan! The culture and food! ^-^

As mentioned in the previous post, I will split everything into the following:

  1. Rough itinerary
  2. Hotels/Apartment
  3. Food
  4. Maiko makeover
  5. Everything else!

Day 1 – Monday 19th Feb

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No overnight flight this time but afternoon flight!

  • Check in at airport at 11.30am (At least 2 hours before departure!)
  • Collect wifi router at Changi Recommend Counter

Early check in as usual for lunch and window shopping! 😄

  • Depart from SG at 2.05pm (actual departure was around 2.15pm due to delays)
  • Arrive at KIX around 9+pm (Japan time is an hour faster than Singapore)
  • Check in at Hotel Nikko Kansai airport
  • Late supper with snacks from Lawson and Burger King.

Day 2 – Tuesday, 20th Feb

  • Check out of Hotel Nikko Kansai Aiport

Chose to stay at the airport hotel since we arrive late and I don’t fancy chasing running for the bus. Plus, H.I.S go counter closes at 10pm, which was too late for me since I only got through the custom near to 10pm.

  • Collect items ordered through Klook at H.I.S go counter.
  • Took the airport limo bus to OCAT Namba.
  • Early Check in at West Namba apartment (similar to Airbnb but booked through Booking.com)
  • Lunch at Kuromon Market
  • Lucky Owl Cafe
  • Walk around Dotonburi

Day 3 – Wednesday, 21st Feb

Day 4 – Thursday, 22nd Feb

Day 5 – Friday, 23rd Feb

  • Trip to Nara
  • Lunch at Edogawa Grill Eel
  • Meet the deers
  • Todaiji Temple
  • Udon dinner at Namba Walk

Day 6 – Saturday, 24th Feb (Birthday)

  • Short trip to Kyoto, Gion area
  • Maiko makeover at Maica Kyoto
  • Kimono experience
  • Nishiki Market
  • Dotonburi street food for dinner

Day 7 – Sunday, 25th Feb

  • Utilized Osaka amazing pass (2 days)
  • Brunch at Namba Walk
  • Osaka museum of History
  • Osaka Castle and museum
  • Osaka museum of Housing and Living
  • Tenjinbashi shopping street
  • 小龙包 lunch
  • Umeda Hep Five Ferris wheel
  • Whity underground shopping
  • Takeaway dinner from various shop

Day 8 – Monday, 26th Feb

Day 9 – Tuesday, 27th Feb

  • Breakfast (6.30am to 9.30am)
  • Late check out at 1pm from Hotel (1000 yen extra per hour till 2pm.)
  • Luggage left at Hotel
  • Last round of Dotonburi, shinsaibashi… etc
  • Airport limo bus to KIX
  • Shop and dinner
  • Check in for Home sweet home
  • Home bound at 11.30pm. 🙂

Similar, I will elaborate more as this is just a rough itinerary of my trip. As per the previous one, it’s very much more relaxing as compared to rushing all over the place. BUT, my legs definitely doesn’t feel relaxed from all the walking involved. Highly recommend that you wear comfortable or seasoned footwear. A tip is to avoid either seamless socks or make sure the line of the socks doesn’t rub into your toes.

Can’t really breakdown the whole cost but here are some of the things I remembered. From Air Tickets to Wifi Router, this is still slightly cheaper as compared to packaged tour based on my calculation but I could be wrong. Forgot to include the 1 day Kyoto tour price. Â¥ 8000 for 2!

2

3

Anyway, that’s all for now! Till the next one~

Tired from lack of sleep on the plane

Essa

こんいちわ!

Been planning this trip since last year for my Birthday! Shhhhhh… only a handful of people know where I’m travelling to while the rest only found out after I posted my first picture in…

JAPAN!

Japan had been on my travel list but it’s really expensive and I’m not confident to plan thus I kept pushing it back until now. Was considering between package tour or free and easy, and eventually free and easy won because:

  • Cheaper than package tour
  • More relaxing, no rush
  • More freedom

Of course a package tour might be less stressful and you don’t have to go crazy with the train systems here (I really mean CRAZY). If free and easy aren’t your thing, I actually thought Chan Brother’s offers quite a good and comprehensive tour but the price is…

As per my Korea trip last year, 1 blogpost will never be enough! The only downside? I lost track of how much I spent on food, especially in the convenient stores here!

Please don’t mind the mess but a sneak peek of the food that you can get around here! 烧卖 from the overrated Horai 551, side dishes from Gozen, Tempura rice and udon set from a shop in Namba Walk and snacks/drinks from 7eleven!

I’m going to look like this by the time I head back home. 😂

To be continued…

Essa

P.s. If you are looking for super budgeted travel, you might be at the wrong place.

Last day of 2017

Last day of 2017 and as per always… I look back at all the happenings for the past 365 days. Picking 12 pictures to represent each month is impossible so… 

Feb

Birthday was awesome. I’m always low profile and never see the need to tell anyone or show it off. No point telling the whole world how popular I am with multiple photo of cakes and stuff which (could be real or fake). No point posting pictures of expensive things that I like which eventually leads to people buying it for you. 

So I’m very blessed to be showered by all the love despite not telling anyone. And I’m thankful that there wasn’t any moments that I feel paiseh or being pushed into the limelight. 

But I wouldn’t forget being prank big time thanks to the awesome colleagues I had. 

https://happyessa.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/revenge-is-sweet/

Mar 

5 years long service award which by right should be 6 years. Anyway there isn’t any need to count anymore since I resigned. I was happy but happiness was short lived. Disappointment came fast and furious. 6 years of bottling up hits the boiling point.
Thankfully for the most relaxing trip to Korea planned by moi! Full planning done by me and with my mom and a good friend whom I’m thankful for taking the risk with me! I still miss the yummy food in Korea! 


https://happyessa.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/my-korea-trip-2017-part-1/

https://happyessa.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/my-korea-trip-part-2-food-restaurants-cafes/

https://happyessa.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/my-korea-trip-part-3-food-on-the-street-and-everything-else/

https://happyessa.wordpress.com/2017/04/16/my-korea-trip-part-4/


May

Hardest decision I ever made but no doubt a much needed one since I finally see how underappreciated I am. Oh well, I remembered crying non-stop throughout the day before I submit the letter. But when people don’t see your worth and you aren’t needed anymore… 😦

Family chalet with my cousins from States. The sad thing about relatives being scattered around the globe means these rare moments are extremely important to us. Because you won’t know when will we meet again?

Lastly, Fitness Fiesta 17 with some crazy ppl! And meeting my fitness idol, creator of Pop Pilates! 

https://happyessa.wordpress.com/2017/05/25/fitness-dayout/

Aug 

Freedom! I’m surprise that I held up well and I didn’t cry. Maybe cause i felt hurt? But whatever it is, it wasn’t the easiest time for I need time to heal and I was in a mode where I don’t bother nor want to be bothered. Everything irritates me and i just want to rebel against it.

At the same month, I finally upgraded myself with PAI pilates course! And I really mean it when I say finally. 

A super good experience I would say despite me grumbling about the additional hidden cost and the clocking of hours.

Dec

Falling sick for nearly 1 month and I aren’t joking. Actually started on the last week of November and man I was mad. I got a high fever till I literally feel like I’m dreaming and i lost my voice totally. I was desperate to get myself well but I was really down. Worst was that i had my Pilates exam and my best friend’s wedding in Dec.  

Pilates exam was stressful for me cause I lost motivation and drive to study since I was still sick. But… thankfully I survived. Was just totally amazed with myself. Knowledge gained the last 8 years don’t just disappear. Now I’m just waiting for my finally result which I hope to get my 1st 2 weeks of Jan. I know that I passed my practical. 😀

Bestie’s Wedding was the best time I ever had. Best bridesmaid experience out of the 3 I did.

https://happyessa.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/mia/

Christmas was as per always… it’s just another day. But I’m really grateful for the many gifts received despite that I can’t give much back. 
Everything else…

2017 was full of ups and downs. From nobody to another nobody. From despair,anger to healing and finding some peace. From being used to standing for myself. The journey wouldn’t be possible with the many true friends who are always by my side. I’m thankful for having them. Looking forward to 2018 with them! ❤❤❤

New year resolutions? Nah… but I do wish for a new beginning of something and of course health and happiness for me and the people around me! ❤❤❤❤❤

With lots of hope,

Essa