Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cats and Clocks in Osaka


Sometimes I like to wander.

I know I am obsessive-compulsive when it comes to my travel itineraries, but once in a while, I welcome this thing called spontaneity. 

Like this late night in Osaka.

Feeling restless in the hotel room, I grabbed my jacket, hopped on the train, and got off at the most interesting-sounding station, absolutely clueless where it will take me.

It brought me to this underpass.



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I always feel safe walking alone in Japan, even at the eeriest time of the night.



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Guessing this is a takoyaki shop



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It also brought me to this very local eatery. I wasn't able to get the name of the shop,
I don't think the shop even has a name, but if it did, it would probably be "Cats and Clocks"





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Clocks and cat photos on the wall



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More clocks and cats 



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Cat pins



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 More clocks



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Another clock!!!



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Another cat!!! 



I think the owner is obsessed!!!

They have a few vintage items on display, too.


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Old typewriter 



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Old fan



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 Old sewing machine



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EEEEEP!!!! This doll creeped me out a little.



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 This girl, too. Lol. :P



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I love discovering local independent places like this.
It's like Cafe Juanita's long lost Japanese sister. 



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People from the neighborhood come here to drink 



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I came here to eat a little midnight snack



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Gotta love the drinks menu!



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Like I said earlier, I feel totally safe in Japan, even when commuting alone at the weirdest hours.
It also helps that the metro has cars exclusively for women.



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 Caught the very last train! Whew!



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 Another thing I love about Japan - vending machines everywhere!
These were at the Namba Station.



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My favorite buys: Japanese milk and coffee


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This girl can't go to bed without having her milk


Click here to see my other Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto posts.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wakkoqu ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


When in Kobe, eat Kobe beef.

That was exactly what I did on my day trip to the city.


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Out of all the kobe beef restaurants, I chose Wakkoqu because its website promised this:

"We choose our cattle with the skill of expert ranchers. We love music like talented musicians. We select tableware with the flair of designers. When you visit Wakkoqu, our staff will bring to life the true meaning of the quotation from Brillat Savarin - By making you feel at home, we enrich your experience and enhance the flavor of the cuisine." 

And true to its word, Wakkoqu gave me an experience I will remember for years.



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I adore restaurants with a nostalgic feel




After I was seated down comfortably, the teppanyaki chef presented to me my slab of kobe beef.
Look at that dangerously handsome meat, lounging on a wooden board in all its marbled glory.




And then the chef started prepping the garlic.
Garlic is VERY important to any teppanyaki experience.



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 For dipping, dabbing and sprinkling needs



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He trimmed off the fats.
I was so worried he would throw the precious things away.



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And then he did this. WHEWWWW!!!!!!!!!



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My Kobe Sirloin Set came with pumpkin soup



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And a simple but very fresh salad



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 And then THE MEAT. He started me off with the leaner part. Yes, guys, this lovely thing you are 
staring at - this pink flesh laced heavily with adipose tissue - it was the leanest part of my steak.



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I was grateful for these vegetables that cleansed me of the sins I happily committed



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 More meat, the fattier cuts this time. This was my favorite of all. Nicely browned on the outside
and incredibly beefy, fatty, flavorful and full of umami inside. I devoured each piece topped
with a few garlic chips and every bite brought me straight to heaven.



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Sorry for the blurry picture, I fell dizzy with excitement (and probably too much cholesterol)
when I saw this.



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 How to eat your vegetables at Wakkoqu



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Seriously. I don't think I can ever eat plain bean sprouts again.



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The best rice in the world is Japanese rice



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Sweet ending to my perfect meal



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Coffee to wash all the goodness down


Do not miss kobe beef when in Kobe. It is Japan's greatest gift to the world.



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Feeling and looking like a cow after devouring the gift of cow :D


Click here to see my other Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto posts.


Wakkoqu: 1/F Hillside Terrace, 1-22-13 Nakayamate-dori, Chuo, Kobe City, Japan.
Tel: +81 078 222 0678

Wakkoqu Website


Monday, April 20, 2015

Kiyomizudera 清水寺 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


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  Kiyomizudera in Kyoto is the temple of the Goddess of Mercy. Since its foundation, the temple
has burned down so many times and most of the buildings were rebuilt during the early Edo
period between 1631-1633. It was listed a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1994
and is Jinlovestoeat's top place to visit in the former imperial capital of Japan. 



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The Deva Gate 



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The Guard of the Deva Gate. Hear her roar!
OINK!!!!! Hahaha! :D



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Three-Story Pagoda



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Next to the pagoda is the Zuigudo Hall dedicated to the mother of Buddha. Make sure to walk
through the basement where you will be enveloped in complete darkness. The pitch black
space is said to symbolize a mother's womb. There is a minimal fee involved, but do it!
It's a cool experience.



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Obligatory washing or cleaning of the hands before entering the main temple



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The Main Hall is a national treasure of Kyoto and houses the eleven-faced thousand-armed
Kannon, who is said to possess the power to grant every heart's desires.
There were too many people praying to it I gave up trying to take a decent photo.



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 But I took one of this pretty lamp :)



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Connected to the Main Hall is the Kiyomizu Stage, which is probably the most photographed site
in all of Kyoto. More than 410 cypress boards make up its floor and the whole structure was built
using 12-meter high pillars assembled without the use of a single nail! Whoa!!!



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 The view of Kyoto and its sea of colored leaves from the Stage is truly magnificent!



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Behind the Main Hall stands the Jishu Shrine, the mecca of love and matchmaking.
The Chinese character in the round signage says "Yuan" which means Fate or Destiny. 



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In front of the shrine you will find the two famous love stones, placed 18 meters apart 



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It is said that finding your way successfully from one stone to the other with 
your eyes shut will make your love wishes come true. I DID NOT DARE TRY!!! 
I am terrible enough with directions with my eyes wide open so I refused
to do this and subject my "yuan" to more delays! Lol! 



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Rules of the game



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 You see hopeful young girls with their eyes closed walking EVERYWHERE!!! 



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Those who were not walking were busy hanging up their love wishes on this board



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There's really nothing to lose by trying, plus it looked like a lot of fun, so yes, I wrote my
own personal wish, too. ;)



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Look at all the successful love stories. On this board are names of couples who came and 
prayed and lived happily ever after. And hopefully, still living happily together!



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The most amusing thing for me was this bucket of miracle water



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Miracle because you write down your troubles on a 200-yen piece of paper, drop
it into the water, watch the paper dissolve and ta-da!!! Gone are your sorrows! 
Isn't it grand???



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And what is a visit to the love shrine without buying a set of love keychains?



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Like this one, to "bind your love tightly"



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Patting the bronze Daikoku's head for more prayers to be answered



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At the base of Kiyomizudera's main hall is the Otowa Waterfall where water has been flowing
from the mountain since the temple's foundation. Visitors use a ladle to drink the sacred water, 
choosing from three different streams that represent longevity, success in school and 
luck in love. Choose only one, don't be greedy!



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On the way out I stopped and looked back so many times to marvel again and again at this beauty



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This man tried to capture the splendor in watercolor. His painting looked like a dream.



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I believe Kiyomizudera is beautiful all year round... a gentle, snowy white in the winter,
pretty cherry blossoms in the spring, but I'm glad we came during my favorite season - autumn!



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In autumn, the sky can be as feisty as szechuan peppers



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Or as romantic as a pistachio strawberry cake



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Or matcha with adzuki beans!



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There is really nothing like it.
Kiyomizudera is one of the most celebrated temples in Japan and absolutely
a must-visit when in Kyoto!



The fun actually starts on the walk up to the temple through the streets of Higashiyama District. The busy alleys are lined with restaurants and shops selling souvenirs, local delicacies, trinkets, cream puffs and whatnots. Check out my photos here.

To browse through my other Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo posts, please click here

Kiyomizudera Website


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