The Famous Kinana Ice Cream, Gion Kyoto

August 25th, 2014

Gion is perhaps my favourite place in Kyoto and I would only like to complain that there’s too much to see. there are not just a lot of places to visit but also a whole lot of places to eat at! other than my Jouvencelle, I visited the famous Kinana which were reviewed by many Korean bloggers. I have a friend whom had passed me their card and tell me that I must go there when I go back to Kyoto.

it’s some health ice cream I heard.

so how to get there?

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first, get to Hanami-koji! literally mean place to see flowers. I guess it’s a metaphor for a place to see Geishas hahaha.

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okay now when you walk in, you should walk for a while and turn right into the next small street. it’s on that row. just keep walking around until you find it.

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I kind of got lost since I went there looking at a map. oh well.

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here’s how the alley look like! Kinana look pretty normal and it doesn’t stand out (at all!) so you should learn how to read Japanese. I am not kidding hahaha. it’s written “(something)(something)きなな” simple yes? just remember the double hiragana at the end.

*something something because I can’t read Kanji T_T.

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Kinana had an array of desserts but I went right after some filling lunch at Izuju so I opted for something lighter. it looked like Kinana was known for their parfaits as well but oh well, there’s always a next time (and the parfait costs double! pfft.)

so how did it taste? I’d say, it tastes HEAVENLY. definitely a one of a kind ice cream shop as they have flavours barely sold anywhere else. I couldn’t remember any of the names of the ice cream by now but I had black sesame (my favourite of Japanese ice cream!) with some honey flavoured one. it was so light and fragrant I could have 2 more portions all by myself. it’s that type of ice cream which is soooo good you’d HATE to share.

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we also ordered a bowl of Honey shaved ice. the beautiful honey paste resting on top of the finely shaved ice sure look desirable but if I was given another chance, I’d order the green tea. I like honey. but I didn’t like this one as much. the red bean and plain ice cream was good though.

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oh hello =D.

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although Kinana only has 6 flavours to choose from, it’s already a lot. the 6 flavours are Matcha (green tea), Kurogoma (black sesame), Azuki red beans, plain, Kuromitsu (black honey, says google translate), Yomogi (mugwort). there is another set where you can choose 3 ice creams and if you’re going with a friend I’d recommend to ORDER ALL THE FLAVOURS!!! =3. those mochi was good but the ice cream was amazing.

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you can also buy a tub of ice cream  BUT you can only eat it inside. like, standing. because you’re not supposed to eat on the streets of Hanami-koji. and they’d not allow you to bring it out. so I guess that’s for when the place is really packed or you’re on a tighter budget =X.

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remember those writings on the cloth because they are your only clue! there are no pictures or anything outside so..

here’s the website : http://www.kyo-kinana.com

pricing : expensive but affordable. around 700yen to over 1000yen per person. the tubs were 360yen. not cheap but if you’re in Japan already, don’t skimp!

Dear Reader(s)

August 23rd, 2014

I am not a famous blogger or anything, but I do get all sort of weird things ranging from hate mails to essays of their own life to love letters. I learned to be thick skinned and forget and not even let haters affect me. but really, to those who love me overly. please stop it. it’s creeping me out and I felt like I have a psychotic follower who is going to kidnap me one day and force me to marry him.

I would like to state that..

NO. I don’t want to marry you.

stop talking to me AS IF we are already in a relationship or as if we hang out.

don’t send me pictures of random things. including your parents pictures because it creeps me out.

I don’t add random people on Facebook. it’s my own private space and I hope you respect that.

please don’t tell me you want to be me. it is a little creepy too.

what I really do appreciate are..

appreciation comments/emails

thank you(s)

compliments (I LOVE THIS!)

suggestions on how I can improve.

correcting my grammar. I need this the most. don’t worry, it wouldn’t offend me. because I want to learn too. I know I have tonnes of grammar mistakes in each and every post T_T. oh well.

 

I also don’t mind if you email me asking me questions or if you want to set a date buy me lunch in Korea (if I have time. I love free lunches! ^^. only in crowded places.)

thank you!

Kushikatsu Daruma, an Osakan specialty.

August 20th, 2014

there are a lot to eat in Osaka, and I wouldn’t lie about it. but other than the normal Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki which could easily be found worldwide, let me introduce you to Kushi-katsu, a stick of almost anything deep fried. and it is not easy to find anywhere outside of Japan.

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Kushikatsu can be found in many places in Japan but the famous (with chain restaurants!) one is kushikatsu Daruma. it is easy to spot. just look for an angry looking cartoon character outside the store!

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can you see it?

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this one’s the Namba chain (there are a few chains there too!) see the angry man now? hehehe.

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and the one at Dotonbori’s main street! look at how angry he looks! I have no idea why he’s angry though @@. frying those kushikatsu and managing such a huge business must’ve drove him nuts haha.

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I’m not sure about the other restaurants. but because Namba is FILLED with tourists and locals, they opened a huge restaurant and had it delivered to their customers with these cute “trains” and everything in the shop was pretty darn hi-tech!

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I know it does not look very appetizing here. but the Camembert cheese tastes the best! to me.

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I liked their beef and chicken too! and the chicken internal organ stuff =X. it goes very well with salt and chilli flakes!

check out the modern-ness of this awesome restaurant! and we order everything through the screen too! this way they don’t need many employees on the floor! and they can deliver much more efficiently!

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my stop was Shin-Osaka hehehehe.

and here’s the interior of the restaurant!

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okay back to the Sinsekai outlet.

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today’s special menu! (?)

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look at the amount of people here. we had to queue for it.

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very sweet cabbage, spices and the kushikatsu sauce!

NOTE : YOU CAN ONLY DIP YOUR KUSHIKATSU ONCE in the sauce. no re-dipping!

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now now, don’t it look good? it might be pretty pricey but it really did fill me up! don’t look down on them! I am not the biggest fan of fried food but when it comes to JAPANESE fried food? I’m in. it would not be something I’d like to eat daily but it’s really delicious! I’d grade it an 8/10. the dipping sauce wasn’t really my type but it’s good overall and I understand why I’d have to queue for this every time. because it’s really worth to queue for! well if your queue is over 30minutes maybe not.

Dazaifu, Fukuoka

August 14th, 2014

I took an 8 hour night bus down to Kyushu from Osaka and got off at Hakata Station, Fukuoka. it was a little bit rural but everything there was so much more peaceful and the people seemed much more nicer and patient. for this post, I’d be writing about one of the most popular place to visit in Fukuoka, Dazaifu.

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but first, here’s my tour guide of the day, Megumi! aka my best friend.

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but the tour guide and I were so busy talking that we missed our station and passed another 3 stations until we noticed. T_T. and trains in Fukuoka come pretty slowly so we wasted a lot of time T_T. well at least we took loads of pictures! hehehe.

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you will know you’re taking the right train if you see the cutest train in your life. ahahaha. ain’t it cute?!

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even the insides are!

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I just HAD to take a picture. hahaha. there are sakura on the lights too!

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my very humble friend. someone please tell her that she’s pretty! hehe.

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and finally, DAZAIFU!

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here’s some of Dazaifu’s famous treats

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and the shrine here. I think coming here during autumn would be much more beautiful but oh well..

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upon exit, we bought this rice cake wrapped with seaweed. YUMMM.

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MENTAIKO SHOP!!!

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they’d give you a small cup of rice and you can test all the mentaiko’s!!!! my favourite shop zomg. super delicious mentaiko they have. and in different spice level. ahhhh.

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they also have mentaiko spread in tubes. yum. but I prefer the raw ones.

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no matter how touristy this place may seem, Megumi told me that she never failed to come here at least once a year.

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look at the background in the shop! the gardens they have here are just so… breath taking. and while having a meal? how cool is that.

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this is like some Japanese national favourite character. you can see him EVERYWHERE. forgot his name haha. friend said its name is ANPANMAN!

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just another restaurant. another pretty restaurant. I love Japan T_T.

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do not eat this. I mean, do not get the one with the Mentaiko mayo. it isn’t just very disgusting, it’s more expensive! certified disgusting by a Japanese too.

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Senbei’s (something like roasted rice crackers? roasted everything actually. into cracker form.) very popular around here. a must eat in Fukuoka!

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and I met my love. =3.

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love these red bridges too! so Japanesey =3.

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and the trees!!! so very pretty.

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I was so happy I just ran around doing silly things. and this was one of it. “oh look at my pink hair!”

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so some kids wrote their wishes and it amounted to this. madness.

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I shall be holy after rinsing my hands with these holy water of the holy shrine~ I see some people dabbing their lips with these holy water too!

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AJISAI! the amazingly beautiful flower of the summer. =3.

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and it comes in an array of colours. don’t it look magical?

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hello cow. =D.

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an adorable old couple! ^^.

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if you come to Dazaifu, Umegaemochi is a must!

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one for 120yen! ^^.

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the famous shrine.

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oh, did you know, that Fukuoka is like.. the Mentaiko land? the mentaiko here are known to be spicy and ridiculously delicious =P.

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look at all these mentaiko goods! I have a pair of hello kitty in mentaiko costume socks too hehehehe.

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and MORE mentaiko goods. crazy much?

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totally out of my earlier mentaiko topic but TRY THIS CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM! it’s an ice cream I MUST eat every time I come to Japan. just toooooooo good.

okay that’s all!

Kyoto : Jouvencelle, a one of a kind cafe.

August 8th, 2014

after reading about this amazing cafe on kyotofoodie where he said is his favourite cafe, I told myself that I HAVE to come here one day despite how expensive it looks. Jouvencelle, which I believe means young (girl) is a cafe located at Gion, it isn’t located at the brightest place but because it is next to Yakasa Jinja, it makes it a little bit more easier to find.

Directions : basically, just get into Yasaka Jinja (or Yasaka Shrine) and head right and look for an exit on the right side. upon exit, walk straight and you’ll see Jouvencelle.

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Jouvencelle is located on the second floor to this pottery/porcelain shop. see that green cloth? that’s the entrance to Jouvencelle.

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I was pretty surprised by how small the cafe was. it was very clean-cut and hotel-like. and it became full in a bit! I went there on a weekday!

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oh hello. =D. we ordered the famous Gion greentea fondue which is kind of the only one of its kind. there was a summer set which was served with jelly-looking mochi’s and chewy jelly noodles but it was more expensive T_T. we wanted quantity since we hadn’t ate anything and it was 3pm. so we ordered another bowl of green tea shaved ice to cool us down from the heat of the summer.

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the Gion green tea fondue set and Matcha shaved ice.1,300yen (1,404yen with tax!). there was a hot guy beside me whom had this (but the summer edition) ALL BY HIMSELF. he came alone. Japanese people seemed like people whom are not afraid of loneliness/being seen dining alone. very different from people in Korea.

PS: there’s also another version sold on the Sakura season where the dip is Sakura fondue! dying to try it but Sakura season = exams for me T_T.

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the green tea fondue was much more concentrated than expected and all the fondue dips were amazing. I especially liked the see-through mochi which I believe is warabi mochi while my friend preferred the dango dip. but one thing though, even eating this amongst 2 people, we find this a little sickening at the last few bites because of how concentrated the dip was. it was yummy nevertheless, it was just that we had to keep downing cups of water.

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Uji Matcha shaved ice, 840yen.

the matcha shaved ice on the other hand, was the best shaved ice I’ve ever had. I said it, it’s literally the best. and my friend agrees. the green tea chocolate(? or just pure green tea and milk. I don’t know.) melts in your mouth like fine Belgian chocolate and the shaved ice was so yummy though the ice wasn’t super fine. there’s something about the combination which drove us crazy over it.

there was green pea paste in the middle of it too! pretty funky.

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we didn’t want to leave the cafe. it was surprising how comfortable and delectable everything in that cafe was. the view of old Gion was great and the friendly staffs made everyone feel comfortable.

and if you are going to visit, remember to check out their gold toilet. almost everything in that toilet was gold. I shall call it the Kinkaku-ji toilet. you know why. =D.

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came here with my Malaysian friend, Jia Yii whom had always haunted cheap food with me but we also share the same soft-spot for everything green tea. we splurged around a hundred ringgit just on green tea products that day ahhahaha.

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itadakimasu! Imma devour you all!!!

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my failed shot but do you see how thick those green tea fondue are?!

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at the end of your meal dessert, they will bring you hot milk for you to mix with your left over fondue for you to create green-tea latte. I think we ate too much of the fondue leaving the milk to be pretty.. bland. or just milky. it was nice though!

all in all, I’d give it 5 stars for service, taste and appearance!

the cafe sells a variety of cakes and other desserts which looked really amazing so if you come in a group, then you can try more! well I can’t wait for my next visit so I can try different desserts! but I will order that shaved ice again if it’s available!

here’s the shop’s website : http://www.jouvencelle.jp
operating hours : 10am – 6pm

I came here TWICE and it was closed pfft. once because it was a public holiday and once because I came here at 630pm. so come here early! Japanese shops close early if they are sold out too. which sucks T_T. I took almost an hour to go to some famous soba shop. it was 30minutes before it was going to close but because they were sold out they closed 30minutes earlier. bummer. ALWAYS GO EARLY!

Filial Piety

August 6th, 2014

have you ever questioned yourself, how would your perfect family be?

of course you have.

but from what I see, as people move on to their later stages in life, most tend to forget about their old ones.

as you get busier and busier with your life, your old parents sitting at home calling you would be such a bothersome thing. you just DO NOT have time for them. but heck, you have time for your friends and your kids. first ask yourself why do you not have time for them. well, stop giving excuses because what they talk about is just plain annoying to you.

have you ever thought about them? how would you feel if someone you love so dearly ignores you. you said you’ll call back but you never did. you said you will come visit more often but you see them for only a few times in a year. you visit them but you end up watching the tv. yes, your friends might be much more entertaining. but you must always always always remember that friends come and go, and you can’t choose your family. and that your family will always love you no matter what (excluding siblings, if you are not close with them.) when you do get the quality time, just spend 5 minutes. only 5 minutes, take their hand, and express your love. tell them you appreciate their sacrifice, tell them you’re all good, and most importantly, tell them you love them. what’s there to be shy at when you are one big family? how difficult is it to add the extra “I love you” in your sentence and make them happy. expressing that you appreciate their love does not take any money.

another type of not filial children is because of jealousy. “oh so you want me to love you when you have loved my other sibling so much more? please, I remembered how you’ve treated me. you barely gave me any love. I will remember how I feel so clearly and I will distribute my love for my kids in the future with no doubt. ” that used to be my biggest problem. I felt like my mother had always loved my elder sister. she gets all the new clothes, new car, love, and on top of all? my mom had told me all my life.. “why can’t you be like your sister?” and I had resented my mother. I would get 2nd hand clothes from my sister and drive her 7 year old car since our age gap is so huge and she’d get to get a brand new car, again. I’d always complain that life is not fair being the younger child.

it wasn’t until I get to live alone that I am awaken by my childish thoughts. for some people who’s not as lucky to be aware of their childish thoughts and be dreaded by it their whole life, I have to say, I really pity them. to live with hate is such a difficult thing. and to live with an extra person to love is such happiness that money can never buy. yes, I might not get a new car upon graduating secondary school, and yes, I might have to wear second hand clothes. so what? you’re one family, you share. you don’t go jealous over such petty little things. why waste when you can still use them? and there is always a SITUATION. if they are given a choice, they would be equal but it is always the situation which make them make such decisions. but you should really know that they love you just as much and it is always the given situation. and you have a part in caring for them in the future no matter what because it SHOULDN’T be a form of repayment, but a form of love, which comes without measurements.

so I chose to study overseas. can I be jealous of my sister whom has the luxury of coming back to a loving family who would set a healthy meal (with soup!) for her waiting for her to devour while I work my ass off while studying and barely eating twice a meal a day? NO. should my sister go on hating on my parents whom had sent me overseas but not her (which she insisted not to) even though she’s older? NO. because love is the reason enough for her to be glad to see me doing something I want to do. and I am now contented. I chose my path of life. and I am really glad my mother supported me and I knew my mother have always supported and cared for me even though she could not show it physically. why? because I am lucky enough to have a mother who is very good in expressing her inner feelings.

but there are parents who don’t. and they shall never be treated indifferently. especially boys. I’ve asked my classmates from China during my first year in University “so how often do you talk to your parents?” “errr… once in a month or two? normally when I need them to send me money or something.” he answered. I was gobsmacked. and then I recalled. most children, and even spouses call their parents/other half ONLY when they need something. why? because they know they’d definitely help or have a much higher chance of helping. again, WHY? because you know they love you and they’d help you no matter what. and yet you say they don’t love you.

if they don’t love you, they won’t bloody care for you since you’re a child.

maybe it is just built-in in our bodies. that we take goodness for granted and we will remember every little thing that wasn’t fair to us. forever. but again, hating is only hurting yourself. your resent will stay within you and it will eat you up. you’re going to keep thinking about it and be unhappy and not contented. maybe even being a parent yourself will not make you realise how you should treat your own parents. but only with one short call asking them about their health, if they are well, have they eaten, or just a simple “what are you doing” would change their day very much. retired old people are not just free, they are bored and they need love.

no matter how much I’ve hated confucianism for some of their really old fashioned thinking of the way to succeed through a crazy amount of burning the midnight oil with studying, I couldn’t agree more on their part on filial piety. well not every single part but most of it. family will always be family and no matter how screwed up it is, your parents will always love you (unless they are on drugs or are literally psychotic.)

I know you have seen this MANY MANY TIMES and is sick of it. but take a minute or two and give your parents a call. show them you love them. not because calling them is a responsibility, but because you want to listen to their voices. if you think they are wrong, reason with them. you’re an adult. if they are always nagging, learn how to get used to it because one day it will be you repeating those same phrases over and over again (you have your parent’s genes you know. and karma is the strongest when it comes to family!) learn how to appreciate your parents. and by learning how, life will give you an extra ounce of happiness naturally.