Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Picturesqueness: Kyoto, Japan

K y o t o  S t a t i o n ( 京 都 駅 )
Just in front of the Kyoto station is the well lighted Kyoto Tower Hotel.
We arrived at Kyoto in the afternoon; the tower then was not that striking,
come night time it glowed. Walastik!
C o m m u t e   b y   B u s
The bus is the way to go at Kyoto (oh wow that rhymed)
The bus can take you to a lot of historical temples and shrines
They even have express bus lines that only stops at tourist spots.
So I'm assuming that Kyoto is much more tourist friendly than Osaka, I guess?
H o t e l   S e i k i
The floor and some futons (布団)...
I'll call this; trying out the traditional Japanese bedding.
Anyway, it really is comfortable.  It may be because of the soft padded wooden floor.
Hmmm, One thing is for sure; I wouldn't try this on a cement floor.
N i j o  C a s t l e ( 二 条 城 )
Yep, Tita Lili was that excited to jump
We are off to see the place where many ninjas and samurai battled and died,
Tough luck, taking pictures inside 
the castle is not allowed.
Tsk... there goes the excitement.
(Photo courtesy of Alvin Villegas)
K i n k a k u - j i   T e m p l e ( 金 閣 寺 )
When the rays of the sun strikes the temple; AMAZING!
S a n j u s a n g e n d o   T e m p l e ( 三 十 三 間 堂 )
Home to the Thousand Armed Kannons
Again, taking pictures inside the temple is forbidden
In turn I bought a couple of expensive postcards
Their marketing strategy worked on me, sheesh!
K i y o m i z u d e r a   T e m p l e ( 音 羽 山 清 水 寺 )
We didn't take the plunge since it was already prohibited :P
The path to the temple is a road full of shops and people.  Getting there is
a mere 6 minute walk.  But taking in consideration all of the distractions you'd encounter
it would probably take half an hour or more depending on one's EQ.
That cat again!
H i g a s h i   H o n g a n j i   T e m p l e ( 東 本 願 寺 )
(Ten shot photo courtesy of Dinno Mendiola)
I just converted them to an animated gif using a free photo editing software
called PhotoScape.  Cool ,huh!  Never mind the temple, watch us move!
F u s h i m i   I n a r i   S h r i n e ( 伏 見 稲 荷 大 社 )
"Parang trasher lang na tumilapon ang skateboard!"
The Inari shrine is the wow place for me at Kyoto.
Glad I decided to wear a pair of sandals despite the cold weather.
I think my feet can't bear my weight while walking these path full of orange Torii.
N a m e l e s s   M a l l
I thank you nameless mall's food court, for you have offered me the chance to
eat what I was searching for. Omurice (
オムライス) with demi glace sauce.
S a k e ( 日 本 酒 )   N i g h t s
The traditional night drinking spree that made the drunk Alvin and me cross the street
way off the pedestrian lane; just to buy  a couple of thirst quenching Suntory beer.
T r a v e l f a c t o r
How I love to travel with these guys again.
Thanks TravelFactor for another memorable trip; gaining new friends is a big reward in itself.
More power to your mission and vision. Adventure Time!
Happy birthday Atty. Genevieve Alcancia, thanks for dinner!
(Photo courtesy of Alvin Villegas)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Picturesqueness: Osaka, Japan

T e n j i m b a s h i - s u j i ( 天 神 橋 筋 商 店 街 )
Tenjimbashi-suji is near our hotel, a shopping street that is named the longest
covered arcade in Japan.  A 2.6 kilometer long street intersecting a main road
is mainly our dinner place the gyoza heaven.
H o t e l   I l   G r a n d e   U m e d a
A classic Japanese washlet and a supply of toiletries
from Shiseido amenities.  What more can you ask for?
It had a lined internet connection for each room and a wifi
connection at the lobby.
C o m m u t e   b y  T r a i n
We did our daily commute via train (day pass), I can't seem to see any
pattern on the lines so I let Tikoy our guide do her thing.
I just need to stick with the group and not get lost in the scrimmage
photo courtesy of Alvin Villegas)
O s a k a   C a s t l e ( 大 阪 城 )
Put some dark clouds and some lightning on the background and the castle looks
like something out of a video game.  This  place is grand.
You can rent out a general's uniform or a Yukata inside the castle and play pretend.
T e n n o j i   Z o o ( 天 王 寺 動 物 園 )
My unexpected first sighting of a live Koala and a full grown Hippo.
It was suppose to be a place where I would rest my feet and just
visit two areas that interest me.  I ended up circling the whole zoo. :(
S h i n s e k a i 新 世 界 )   a n d   
T s u t e n k a k u   T o w e r ( 通 天 閣 )
I really like this place, not that it has x-rated films showing daily... hehehehe
It has lots of shops that I want to browse through, a number of restaurants
I wanted to try out.  It just feels like a homey location for me.
A lot of anime characters on the streets
You can even collect seven dragon balls in just one place
Wish all you want baby!
What else?  It offers a wall full of gashapon dispensers.
A huge volume of Glico Pocky snacks with variant flavors.
S h i n s a i b a s h i ( 心 斎 橋 ) - S u j i
Another covered shopping street intersecting Dotonbori
A place crowded by locals and tourist.  We met a couple of Tagalog speaking
Japanese women at the intersection.  They were as fluent as we are, how cool is that!
D o t o n b o r i 道 頓 堀 )   C r u i s e 
Dotonbori is a shopping street along side a canal.  A cruise can be found in front of
 Don Quixote shopping mall.  Funny thing about the cruise is the Pakyu incident
 wherein the guide would coach everyone to say Pakyu and point to the large crab (like shooting 
it or something).  The crab would eventually emit smoke after the Pakyu gesture.
Oh well, we shouted Pakyu and pointed at the large crab, It's not everyday you
can freely shout Pakyu to a crowded street and get away with it. :P
T e m p o z a n   V i l l a g e
Rode the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, saw a Ninja house, visited a Sanrio store
Ate my heart out and bought some cool mecha toys. CHANGE!!!
O s a k a   A q u a r i u m   K a i y u k a n
That was the best two hour aquarium visit I had so far.
Seeing the 'Butanding' (Whale Shark) and several other fish made my day
That's not a Butanding, silly, it's a Manta Ray and your friendly
neighborhood Japanese Diver.
photo courtesy of Alvin Villegas)
S a n t a   M a r i a   C r u i s e
Riding the retro fitted pseudo sail ship around Tempozan and back
Saw the Universal Studio Theme Park from a far, visiting it did cross my mind
but my feet disagreed.
U m e d a / H E P   F i v e   F e r r i s   W h e e l
yep it's originally blurry, I was that tired.  We rode another wheel at Umeda
and I missed going around the huge electronics store
because my feet was killing me.  Enough!
K a n s a i   A i r p o r t ( 関 西 国 際 空 港 )
We didn't see much anime Cosplays and Mascots during our stay not until we got to Kansai Airport where I met Detective Conan and 
Hakaba Kitaro.  We were able to see a concert at the airport grounds, I have no idea
who the band was so it sparked no interest to me.  I learned that even in live concerts
the Japanese are that orderly.  I did wish it was L'arc~en~ciel but who am I kidding.
O s a k a   R a n d o m   S t u f f
Machines: Astro boy is far from reality but they are getting there
Kiosk for ordering a meal, an overpriced drink dispenser and a one piece toy arcade thingy.
Things I normally do during trips, take pictures with strangers,
try out things I saw on TV and do silly stuff just for the heck of it
And more importantly; drink local beer every night with my room mate,
the dare devil himself, Doc Dinno.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Whatda!: CHANGE!!!!

You ever had that moment when something caught you by surprise or an incident suddenly happened and you don't know what to do?  I just had one so I'll try to share most of them starting today.  I'll start a "Whatda!" category here at my blog so as I can organize things up.

I was at this "excited" state because I thought of assembling my cardboard robot replica and put it on display by tomorrow.  I found and bought three treasure models for myself at Osaka, Japan to fold and what not.  Namely Getter Robo (ゲッターロボ), Mazinger Z (マジンガーZ) and Great Mazinger (グレートマジンガー) all of which are childhood anime (cartoon) robot (mecha)  favorites.  Can I say I got them cheap? I even encouraged a friend to buy one for himself, hahahahaha. Good luck to us Alvin!

So here I am anxiously opening three packages from their plastic cases and carefully opening the cardboard covers so as not to damage anything.  I have no idea what to expect so I was pretty diligent not to damage anything, even the external case which I think is part of the model as well.  Although there were pictures of the finished product at the back of the case, I still don't know how can I make a five by five inch cardboard box that is a third of an inch thick be transformed to a display beauty. 

Wohoooo! Great Mazinger (グレートマジンガー), Mazinger Z (マジンガーZ
Getter Robo (ゲッターロボ)
Back panel of the cardboard models, finished product is shown
Japanese text all over 
Okay so let's try out Getter-1, opened it up.  I discovered that the external
cardboard is really just a cover and not part of the model.
W H A T D A !
Look at the instructions, look at the pieces, what glue should I use?
Then I stopped and said "Whatda!", this wouldn't take me half an hour it would probably take me days, bwahahaha. I can't do this as quickly as I imagined.  Next weekend probably...  Mon Khan are you up for the challenge!?

Wished I bought what Alvin got, a Mazinger Z robot for a fair price. Sweet!  Guess I need to work hard to get the cardboard model done, hopefully, but not today.

photo credit from Alvin Villegas (he owns it all,
the Mazinger Z toy, the MacBook Pro and the photo), sweet!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Go Not Gently Into The Night

Kakatuwa lang ang bilis lang ng transaction namen ni Monet Pura.  Andali nya kausap.

If you are a fan of the band named The Jerks, like the fan page at facebook.  I bought my shirt way back when at 70's bistro (like them also at facebook).  Problem is, the band doesn't play there anymore.  My shirt happens to be worn out and it really looks old, that is why I decided to buy a new one.  Luckily they were advertising online so I contacted Monet to order a new shirt. I inquired, she answered, I ordered (aside from the logo shirt I bought 3 more variant shirts), she replied, I paid via bank deposit, she acknowledged and the next day I got the merchandise.  Now that is what you call a smooth transaction. 

Each shirt cost PHP350 and you would need to shoulder the delivery charge.  Fair enough...

Came in two separate packages
Requested Chickoy Pura to sign the logo shirt, Monet informed me that he obliged
The shirt came in S, M, L and XL
Obviously I ordered XL but I would prefer XXL
Unluckily they don't offer them on the non-logo design

XXL logo shirt with Chickoy's signature \m/
no rest!
size stickers
another sticker for my ipod

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Foodographs: MNL.KIX.UKY

These are what I consumed during my Osaka and Kyoto, Japan backpacking trip.  I stuck with the menu being cooked rather than raw. I apologize for I did not eat sushi for the sole reason that I don't want my stomach ruining my vacation.

M N L - M a n i l a

I have to have lunch before boarding the plane so I settled for a
set meal at Pancake house at NAIA terminal 3

A i r b O r n e

A five hour plane ride would make anyone hungry
I got myself a ham and cheese croissant, a bottle of OMJ and a bag of Piattos
The flight attendant didn't have any change so she offered me a chocolate
chip cookie instead; I obliged because she was that cute.
K I X - O s a k a

The first meal (dinner) I had at Japan didn't fail me at all
Rice topped with shredded beef with everything on it
A cube of cold tofu and a hot serving of miso soup, refreshing!
I'm not a miso soup fan but this serving made me a believer.
We never had time to eat out during breakfast
So I settled filling my belly with bread from the grocery store
There are a lot of restaurant at the Shinsekai area;
The group agreed and settled for this picture-full with English translated menu restaurant
And seeing this would really encourage you to eat some skewers.
Later I discovered that a single skewer would cost as much as 70-140 yen
That was discouraging; then again I'll never know when can I try one again so  I'd rather
have one than regret it.  Conclusion: It was a so-so. :|
I ate the skewers with what I thought was miso soup. The miso soup thing turned out to be
a thick meat overload soup that I can classify as a menudo type food that goes
best with rice. The soup was tasty but not partnered with rice was  a complete failure.
Looking at the bright side of things, the waitress was kawaii!
Now this is what you call a (dinner) meal that is designed for me.
The place was near Shinsaibashi-suji, a quick right on a certain road :P
An eat all you can (for two hours, yes, they do have a timer for each table) meat platter
with unlimited potato salad and a large single serving of any non-alcoholic beverage.
It cost about 1950 Yen per person (around 1000 PHP); was well worth every yen if you ask me.
Our table was able to grub on 3 and a half orders of meat platters, that my friend
is what we call more than what we bargained for.  The restaurant has a very nice WC! ;)
The next day I was dying to try some noodles
After seeing this beauty I wasn't able to resist the urge to buy one
Some Naruto brainwashing noodle soup craving was completely satisfied that
one lunchtime at Tempozan harbor village 
And to add to that fabulous noodle soup is one plate of juicy pork and shrimp dim sum
A friend also gave me a cup of spiced rice which I believe came
from a Chinese restaurant
We also tried the really hot Takoyaki (Octopus) hype while waiting for the Dotombori Cruise
While going up, down and side to side walks at Umeda, we happen to come across
a cheese cake sample.  This pastry is to die for, lucky for us we were able to taste it.
One hand full size of that thing cost around 1400 Yen (around 700 PHP), amazing!
Unlike these beauties that only cost 105 Yen (around 50 PHP)
I liked this bread over all the bread I purchased in Japan.
Pancakes in a bag, it does have the syrup and all, again, amazing!
Best Gyoza I had to this date.  The shop was full and there is a line building outside.
A complete experience of dining in Japan.
This Gyoza deserves another picture. YUMMY!
Ice cream was expensive but I discovered a cheap one at the supermarket.
Lucky!  the thing is, it was not that sweet; I wanted a sweet one.

U K Y - K y o t o 

Hello Kyoto, sugar coated pretzels as appetizers.
Now to try the Udon soup, wohoo! taste like the first one but with thicker noodles.
I liked this better.
Remembering my SVI days having lunch at SM megamall's Komoro Soba
One of my favorite rice topped meal, Katsudon.
I enjoyed munching on this bowl of happiness.
That shredded beef followed me up to Kyoto.
Ummmm... I can still smell the chili powder
The Kyoto batch of breakfast bread.  Thanks Family mart!
With a great collection of hentai stuff, huh! That is what you call one stop shop.
A different version of the all time favorite Katsudon
It never fails to brighten up an afternoon
Some custard bread while walking away from Fushimi Inari Shrine
The much anticipated omurice with demi glace sauce.
This meal is one of the best that I had, I have always wanted to try one at Japan
Thanks 'Lunch Queen' for building up this dish it didn't disappoint my expectations,
Good thing was I was able to share the story with my friends over the said dish.
It was never as good as what I had at Osaka but this meal was still delicious
I was not able to try one full meal of curry myself, but a spoonful was enough.
Thanks for sharing Enee!  I wished I had one instead.
A complete meal for dinner, damn that tofu what was in it? (one over the noodle soup)
I never imagined tofu to taste like that, salty-sweet and it has a good texture too. Oishii!
I would definitely come back for more.
There you go.  I was playing it safe so I never did try anything out of the ordinary maybe next time.  For the meantime bear with what I had.  Thanks, remember to say 'Itadakimasu' before eating; There is no straight forward interpretation so I decided (for a roman catholic like me) it would mean 'Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen'.