The Zaru Soba in Japan You MUST Eat!

When you travel to a place like Japan, the one thing you really need to dedicate yourself to is…

THEIR FOOD.

No questions about it.

The Japanese cuisine is world renowned for good reason; it has it’s own unique and original flavour, yet every chef does it differently – and when you dine Japanese-style, they believe that the meal should also be a feast for the eyes.

Singapore might be an awesome foodie hub – but I’d say that our food isn’t served too prettily. You’d hardly expect our hawker uncle to put a parsley or whatsoever on your plate of char kuey tiao to make it look more presentable.

Mark and I had LOADS of incredibly good food while in Japan. We even ate when we weren’t hungry, simply because we weren’t there for a long time… And the food was too good to pass up! 😍

Actually gained 3kg within the 9 days we were there. 😩

However the one place I couldn’t get out of my head was this little unassuming hut in the middle of nowhere where we had the most amazing Zaru Soba.

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

Zaru Soba is actually chilled noodles made from buckwheat flour. You dip the noodles into a sauce and slurp it right up from there!
Note that when eating noodles in Japan, it’s polite to slurp your noodles as loudly as possible to show the chef that you’re enjoying your meal! ✌🏻

Truth be told, I was always more inclined to Cha Soba – which is noodles made from green tea flour.

However this place?
Made me sway my opinion effortlessly.

Plus, cold noodles are traditionally a summer dish. It was freezing then, but I had no complaints whatsoever… Because it was SO GOOD!!!

Mark is simply amazing at finding such off-the-books places when we travel – much thanks to our good friend, Google. 😁

So he entered the coordinates into the car’s GPS and stopped right here where we trekked through a bit of snow to the restaurant!

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

Once we entered the restaurant, there was a receiving area and right inside where customers sit is abundantly ornamented with traditional Japanese interiors.

That large mask gave me the creeps a little bit… but everything else was simply lovely and cosy!

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

And we got to enjoy our meal next to this gorgeous winter view! ❤️

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

The place is not very touristy – so their menu is entirely in Japanese. And handwritten too! 😯

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

First to arrive at your table are a couple of small condiments – and very important… The sauces!

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

Later on you will receive a kettle of hot water, which is actually the water that was used to boil your buckwheat noodles.

After you’re done with your noodles, pour the hot water into the remaining dipping sauce… And drink it up!

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

It might not look like much… but it was delicious! Plus it was a great way to calm your tummy after all the cold-noodle-slurping.

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

As you can tell – I was thoroughly pleased with my meal! ☺️ *burp*

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan

Mark was probably even more pleased… because he bought a packets of the owner’s ready-made noodles and sauce.

After some reading, we found that this humble restaurant holds quite a bit of history! The chef makes the buckwheat noodles himself, and the restaurant has been passed down from generation to generation (if I got it right, 19 generations to be exact)! The owner (also the chef) moved to his location back in 1972.

Okay, to be entirely honest – don’t even know if I got it right… because everything about them is in Japanese and my Japanese is hardly decent. 😔

But the important thing to me was, the entire dining experience was AMAZING. The service was warm & polite (like most Japanese people), the food was absolutely delightful, the restaurant’s ambience was scintillating and the view was simply gorgeous.

We were there in winter, and I wish we could be there during the other seasons too!

そば処,三百坊, zaru soba restaurant, yamagata, japan
There I am looking deliriously happy

If you’re ever in Japan, do check them out! You’re definitely going to need a car though!

Restaurant Name: 三百坊 300 Bou | www.300bou.net

Address: 453-2 Tsuchizaka, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata-ken 990-2405, Japan (Google Map here!)

Have a slurp-tastic time, peeps! 🍜

XOXO, Gera. 

#GeraTravels: Otaru; BEST Seafood In the World!

24-25 March 2016

As usual, I jumped out of bed pretty early! Found it quite an annoying oxymoron… Especially since I’m on holiday. Why can’t I be this perky going to work? 😩

Well, today Mark and I had quite an exciting day planned out. We were driving out of Sapporo and into Otaru! So we made sure to fuel up nicely on breakfast.

And had a tray of choco-powdered mochi to munch on during the ride! 🍡

And lets not forget the beer.

It was a very enjoyable ride! Traffic wasn’t as congested (maybe because it isn’t as densely populated) and such gorgeously scenic views too!

See the snowy mountains in the distance? That was our stop!

First time Mark looked so happy and fresh after a long drive.

Otaru is a hidden gem that Mark discovered. Absolutely not touristy at all and is famous for its utterly fresh seafood!

Being a small town, their buildings are mostly quite short. The roads were very clear, the people were neighbourly and it’s all next to the big blue ocean.

Our first meal simply had to be seafood. Anything else would be a carinal sin. We went to the centre of town and headed straight to the market like we were on a mission! 😎

Down this road, we were bombarded with an endless stream of unbelievably fresh seafood that will have you going, “Oii-shi! (Delicious!)” even before you put it in your mouth.

Most of those shops actually had their own restaurant as well! So you could pick out your food and they will cook it nicely for you.

At the end of it, we chose this place!

It was already about 2-3PM, so people already had their lunch… Rather quiet. But we liked it that way!

And it was nice to listen to the television that was broadcasting a baseball match.

Of course, we picked our lunch.

Mark pointed out this one right here… And the shop lady insisted that I carry it! *gasp!* Was a tad petrified because the crabs in Singapore would’ve snipped my fingers right off! But these were completely docile.

The reason seems to be that they have no real natural predators in the wild, so therefore haven’t developed any form of aggressiveness since it’s unnecessary. Probably in a few more generations they’ll realise, “HUMANS WANT OUR MEAT!!!” And then they get crazy fierce.

But for now, we can enjoy them.

Okay, readers. Get ready to drool.

It was a glorious meal. Ahh~

Even just thinking about it now makes me feel like booking the next flight back.

The seafood is crazy there! Look at this picture of the shop owner and a catch he made! 😱!!!

With stuffed tummies, we drove up the mountainous areas and to our inn!

This inn was located high up along the snowy ski areas.

And it’s so cute how they actually printed out the names of the guests on the board at the lobby!

Mark’s name, right there! 👇🏻

The room was like a pretty movie set. ❤

And at night we had a guy who introduced himself as “Japanese bed-maker” come in. He opened the storage cupboards and expertly laid out our futons.

He did it so nicely, I almost didn’t bear to lie on the bed and spoil it…

Anyway, the main reason why we went to this inn was for the onsen (hot springs). The last time we went to Arima Onsen, it was summer. I still enjoyed the soaking… but winter would definitely be a better time!

Through our stay there, we soaked every chance we had. I loved it!

It felt amazing to soak in the hot water in the cold season… And what I love about onsens is that, it’s somehow liberating to just go naked in a private yet public area.

No one looks at you, really. Everyone has what you have; at least in those gender-separated ones. Albeit during my visit to Arima previously, a fellow guest from China commented she loved my butt… I just assumed that it’s because of the saying about certain types of butts being good for child-bearing. And maybe she wanted her son to have a wife with good child-bearing features…? Well, anyway. Yes. And I don’t know anyone there… I most probably won’t ever see them again.

So there. It’s liberating and relaxing. I felt so amazing after soaking! ❤

After our night soak, we drove down the hills a little to the town area again where we had some supper!

I had a head of messy locks, makeup-less, hungry and super blissful! 😌

Here’s a shot Mark took of me while I was trying to teach him how to take photographs. Honestly he’s horrible at it.

“Rotate it, then it’ll become portrait.”

The night passed by super quickly and after a morning soak, we had to get ready to catch our flight back to Tokyo!

Shuttle bus to the airport after returning the rented car!
P.S. I simply loved the Toyota we rented! But Mark said they don’t sell it in Singapore, because well… Singapore has a small market and only a few models are brought it every round. 😔

I’m going to end this post with this picture of the restaurant owner with this HUGE tuna that he caught.

Absolutely in awe at how large that fish is! 😱 😱 😱

And then suddenly the Bible story about Jonah being in a fish’s belly doesn’t seem all that unfeasible anymore…

XOXO, G. 

#GeraTravels: 21.03.2016: Forever and Ever, Babe

21 March 2016 – Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

So from my previous post, Mark and I officially made our way to Hokkaido!

It was about 3 degrees there; strong winds and snow-filled streets! Put on our layers, booted up…

And off we went!!!

Mark constantly stopping to take in the natural beauty around 🙂

So since we’re in Japan, simply must have some Japanese fast food right?

Believe it or not, I was getting a tad sick of fresh sashimi… #FirstWorldProblems

I was craving some cheeseburger and fries!!! SO OFF TO MOS BURGER WE WENT!

Helloooooo, baby
Soup served up in a porcelain bowl!

The food was wonderful, as usual. 🙂 Satisfaction fulfilled, thanks!

I love how FLUFFY the pigeons were!

Okay, so today our plans were to see the Hokkaido Shrine, Maruyama Zoo and the Hokkaido Ropeway! All geared up to be touristy.

Love the pretty art! ❤

Just the day before, it was Mark’s first winter. He was still going all happy over the white, fluffy things!

The surroundings of the shrine were very serene and calm. Even with the existence of man walking around; it was like as if the nature of man was programmed to respect that serenity. No one was loud, nasty or even nasty.

It was really quite amazing.

…Or maybe it was really the culture of Japanese people. If it were Singapore, I won’t be confident of the same result. :/

When we walked in, there was this little shrine. You have the option of throwing money in and then saying a prayer. Then you bow.

I really just watched how some locals did it, then mimicked them. I prayed for love, health and peace to be with the people I care about. ❤ And I said my thanks for having Mark love me.

After that little shrine, we walked through more gorgeously snow-covered fields. You could tell spring was on its way, because while most trees were still bare from winter – some already had little bits of green sprouting from their branches.

The main shrine was rather huge. And outside was this little hut where you ‘cleanse’ yourself.

There’s this water fountain, and you pick up a little scoop. Take some water from the fountain (it’s amazingly refreshing and clean!), pour on your hands gently, then pour some onto your cupped hand and drink some.

Probably psychological – but I felt cleansed inside-out! 😀

The inside of the shrine was spacious and glorious! I didn’t really want to snap so many pictures, because everyone looked like they just wanted to enjoy the serenity of the place. Pointing my camera lens around wasn’t going to respect that, I felt…

So anyway, after that we went to Maruyama Zoo!!!

To be honest, I’ve gotten quite sick of zoos. But Mark totally got me into believing that the animals are trained to bow like Japanese…

And the pathetic part of it was; even though I knew it was obviously a lie… A huge part of me wanted to believe it. Ugh.

Tourist and tickets look alike

As a Singaporean, I’m ashamed to say this… I’ve never been to the Jurong Bird Park. So when I saw this HUGE eagle in real life, I was amazed.

He was later fed a bald smaller fowl… Mark told me to go away, or else he must rip the animal apart and then splatter some juice on me through the cage.

There was a petting zoo area!

Which smelled really foul compared to the fowls… Hehehe, wordplay!

But really, the area smelled like a million hamster cages combined. And it was in the winter air! Things smell nicer during winter.

The villain in Zootopia!!!

Didn’t see many of the enclosures in the petting area, Mark looked like he was going to barf. You’d think he’d have more tolerance for the stench, since we have a cat litter box in our room.

I was wondered why this little fella was called red panda instead of racoon…

Red panda!

A distance away from the snow leopard enclosure, we heard rather loud sounds… And they were coming from this one right here!

Pacing up and down…

Sounded very much like she was squealing, whining and crying at the same time. Some other people thought she was feeling lonely because she was separated from the others… but Mark and I guessed otherwise.

Y’see, that’s the sound Meowster (our female cat) makes when she’s in heat.

We got her when she was very young, so she wasn’t sterilised – and there were moments when she would make such sounds to get Oreo and Milkie (our male cats) to screw her. We watched some cat documentaries on it… It was basically her screaming, “SCREW ME NOWWWW~~”

They should put a sign outside that cage saying, “We’re not abusing her – she’s just horny.”

And it makes sense because during the winter to spring, they’re in heat and all. She went up to the gate that separates she and her peers a couple of times, making a lot of sounds… but they just continued sleeping.

Probably going like…

Snow Leopard 1: Oh gawwwd, she’s horny again. It’s that time of the year…

Snow Leopard 2: Don’t move… She’ll think we’re asleep!

Horny Snow Leopard: SCREW MEEEEE!!!

Snow Leopard 1: I’m too tired for this shit…

Just reminds me of Futurama, death by snu snu!

That enclosure had another pussycat!

This huge tiger was easily 200KG. And he reminded me of my own Oreo… #CrazyCatLady

Animals aside, I thoroughly loved the ambience of the zoo itself.

The area was clean and air was reinvigorating!

I love how adorable those stands are!

And I love how Mark just obliged when I told him to pose like the bear… 😀

And while the horny snow leopard, huge hungry eagle and other animals were quite adorable… The cutest things I saw were this set of twins!!!

SO FREAKING CUUUUUTE!!!

wobble wobble

After all that touristy stuff, my feet were killing me.. and my stomach was lodging a complaint of neglect.

So we headed to Ramen Street! A whole street filled with different ramen stalls… It was like a dream come true.

Our ramen, with gyoza and Sapporo beer! Yums!

It was to our final stop at the Sapporo Ropeway Mount Moiwa!

Rode on the street car to the base of the mountain… Where we still had to climb up a steep slope to get to the cable car.

I was positively dying. I’m not used to all the walking… And melted snow becomes water; then water freezes over to become slippery ice. Walking around during winter isn’t all pretty and nice… I slipped a few times and had to grab onto Mark for my dear life.

My uncle always called me 不倒翁… Because I keep on rocking back & forth… And round & round. Simply cannot keep a straight stance. 😦

But anyway, we managed to get there!

But we got up there and everything was worth it.

Just look at the spectacular view!!! Everything that night… The view and the company I had was perfect.

I sometimes cannot believe how lucky I am; because I’m so used to people leaving me. But for whatever that’s within his power, Mark stayed by me and has promised me time and time again he’ll never leave me.

Thank you, God. ⭐

XOXO, G. 

#GeraTravels: Mark Goes To Hokkaido For His Virgin Winter Experience

20th March 2016

Winter is a wonderful season!

Probably because I live on tropical island Singapore where it’s perpetually Summer and the humidity really gets to everyone… but one of the reasons I love to travel is to experience winter!

So I was super stoked when I got to bring Mark to his virgin winter experience! 😀

But first we had to say goodbye to our cosy Tokyo apartment!

A run to the airport and a 2-hour flight away – we landed in Hokkaido!

Personally found it so amazing how we can fly for 2 hours over land, and still be in the same country. While I can fly for an hour, and I will already leave Singapore and land in Kuala Lumpur.

Must travel more often to digest that this world is actually quite huge.

Mark feels his attire was super fashionable because he sees Running Man’s Yoo Jae-suk in a similar outfit…

:/

Anyway!

Because taxi rides cost me a leg, both arms and occasionally a liver… I always exhaust a list of alternative transports. We found this awesome airport bus service that goes to just about anywhere you want to for prices ranging from approximately S$10-S$25.

Everyone is allowed to put 1 luggage piece in the bus’ storage compartment! So it’s really a lot more convenient than having to hold onto it on the train rides.

Plus you get to see heaps more on bus rides!

Mark was super high when he got to see winter in real life!

I always told him that Singapore’s Snow City just doesn’t count! Sorry if I sound rude or whatever – but it’s true! The experience is entirely different.

Hokkaido is known to be significantly colder than the other prefectures of Japan. As soon as we alighted from the bus, I felt like I walked into the fridge where I keep ice-cream.

And that fridge also had a strong fan installed.
The winds were blowing like nobody’s business!

But Mark really enjoyed walking along the snow-white streets to our next apartment!

And our next apartment was lovely as well!

Houses in Hokkaido are typically bigger than Tokyo’s; with the simple reason that the population isn’t so concentrated and naturally properties are more affordable.

However it’s said that Hokkaido is also not as ‘advanced’ as Tokyo – so it was the only house that didn’t give a portable Wi-Fi hotspot for us to carry around.

I was pretty worried at first… How to find proper directions or get quick translations!

But somehow I actually preferred it without getting any Internet connection. It makes enjoying the trip a lot easier. 😉

Right next to our apartment is a whole market area of SUPER FRESH seafood. I never saw anything like it!

And we decided to stop by this little restaurant for lunch.

I ordered a bowl with fish roe, crabmeat and sea urchin.

One bite into it and I knew I could never eat Japanese seafood in Singapore again. I’d just be upset and demand for a refund from the restaurant.

Mark’s creepy “ooh-baby” eyes when he bit into his food.

I wasn’t only ruined for other seafood in the world… I was ruined for beer as well.

Honestly never fancied beer much in Singapore; always just tasted like bitter, gassy and foamy stuff. But the draft Sapporo beer was… Oooh. I had an alcoho-gasm.

So what do you after lunch?

We walk the winter streets!

It snowed here and there; and Mark was so intrigued and amazed at how beautiful winter is.

Sapporo Factory!

However despite all his crazy happiness, my man still acted cool in front of the camera.

While I went waddling away glamorously in the snow…

Short legs problem. 😦
At least my hair looks nice. Hehehehe!

We walked around for about 30 minutes in the cold and walked to the other Sapporo Factory! 😀

And while I was at that tourist-y place… I got mistaken for being Japanese, Filipino or Chinese-Indonesian. It was amusing how people came up to me rambling in their Mother Tongue and I just went :?:.

Now because the walk back was going to be murderous, Mark and I decided that we had to get our bellies ready!

Remember… We walked 30 whole minutes! And we bought lots of souvenirs and other random stuff. Plus the night was only getting colder and windier.

Sooooo, we went to this super awesome restaurant located at the basement of the Sapporo Factory!

Yebisu!

We saw the advertisement at the souvenir shop and I wanted to make sure it was a buffet.

Now, my Japanese is super limited… And I didn’t really know how to ask if it was a buffet in Japanese.

So here’s how it went down –

Me: Do you speak English?
Clerk: Little.
Me: Alright. This restaurant, is it a buffet?
Clerk: Sorry?
Me: Erm… This restaurant… Eat little, one price. Eat many many, one price. Yes?
Clerk: Ah, so-desu! (Yes)

So Mark and I went nuts in there.

Ordering like he’s never eaten before

Endless supply of fresh lamb meat, crab and other ala carte dishes! It was amazing.

But the really awesome thing that had was this special dipping sauce!

The damage.

T’was a fantastic night.

Even though I wanted to cry while walking home… The walk was taking a long time, the night was quite merciless and roads were slippery with ice. Carrying huge bags didn’t help either. 😦

But then I took another look at the winter scene and realised deep down, I was enjoying myself thoroughly. And so was Mark. 🙂

XOXO, G.

#GeraTravels: “Are We Too Old For Disneyland??”

Yup, still in Japan! Right now in the outskirts of Tokyo and will be flying to Hokkaido tomorrow. *excited*

You can probably guess from my title… Today Mark and I spent our day at Disneyland!!! It’s one of those tourist-y things to do and we missed it out during our previous visit.

Somehow the Sun rises super early here… Guess that’s why they call it the Land of the Rising Sun. :/

Ha! No lah. Countries with four seasons tend to have it this way. Their Sun disappears on them a lot during winter, then it comes back rampant during spring. Probably going, “Did you guys miss me?? I know you all did during the cold, dark winter… So now I do overtime.”

Well, because the Sun rose early – I felt obligated to as well.
Mostly because I just couldn’t sleep anymore when it felt like it was late during the day. Why can’t I be this alive on normal work days? -_-

View from my room at 6AM this morning

After some rolling around my futon, freezing on the apartment balcony because I didn’t want to change out of my shorts… Mark and I got ready to make our way down to Tokyo Disney Sea!

We really weighed between Disneyland and Disney Sea… and most reviews were more inclined to Sea.

I remember choosing this apartment specially because its location is not only quiet (and cheap, lets not forget that)… but also it has a direct train line down to Disneyland/Sea! About 20-30 minute ride.

Having our breakfast before hopping onto the train!

When I asked him to strike a candid pose…
One-day train tickets!
Getting ready to board the magic train! ❤

They have some super gorgeous hotels! Omg. Look at this princess-looking place!

My Baymax

Those of you who love flowers like I do will really enjoy these! They also have such a lovely aroma emitting from them… Sigh.

Notice the ponchos and umbrellas? It was a wet day! Pretty quickly, Mark and I get drenched.

Within the hour, we decided to leave. Mainly because my boots weren’t made for walking… :/ So they were utterly killing me.

We just grabbed a FastPass ticket for one ride and went out to have lunch.

What’s FastPass? Well, it’s basically like booking an appointment for a ride. So you scan your park ticket at this machine, which will generate another ticket for you for that particular ride. It’ll give you a specific timeframe to come back to enjoy the ride. So you get to skip the queue! Pretty innovative and smart, I’d say.

But yes, simply walking in the rain and in boots… I was dying.

So we took the train out to reality for a bit. Mainly to do some shopping… I bought these AMAZING boots. So friggin’ comfortable, I love them so much. Everyone should go for Japan’s own Top Dry shoes! Cannot stand… SO AMAZINGLY COMFORTABLE!!! If only I can wear them in Singapore without being asked by everyone if I have a cold/fever or a mental problem.

Anyway, one of Mark’s favourite Japanese restaurants back in Singapore is Saboten. My mister loves his quality fried pork and the free flow of cabbage is his ultimate love.

So when he saw the ‘authentic’ one in Japan itself, he threw all other options out the window.

 

Now, my Japanese is rusty as hell. I can speak super little and hardly understand anything. I mostly read body language… Which in my opinion, is often more accurate than spoken languages… Heh heh.

Well, I’m also good at acting like I understand whatever people are saying.
When honestly my brain is just going, “Error 404. Word not found. No, wtf? What was that? Omg. Okay. Smile and nod. Just smile and nod!”

So I had Japanese curry…

And I was served this cup of iced water along with it. I obviously drank it…

What Mark told me later on was…. IT WASN’T MEANT TO BE DRUNK!!! Apparently the Japanese would wash their spoon in that glass to remove the thick curry, so the spoon won’t be dirty or something…

I Googled it… And some people claimed for it to be true! I asked a friend who has been living in Japan, he said it’s not true.

But I don’t know. If it was meant to be cleaning water… It was delicious! 😀

After some shopping and eating, we hopped our way back to Disney Sea! With my new pair of boots, I felt like I was ready to take on the world.

However the queues were crazy! At about 3 hours each… My FastPass which I got at 10+AM, asked me to go back at 3:40PM… Can you imagine the crazy loads of people?

The good thing was, the crowd comprised 95% of Japanese locals from different parts of Japan. So not much crude rowdiness from a particular group of tourists we all know too well and hate as well. (Was I subtle enough for this?)

I was thoroughly happy! Other than the FastPass ride, we didn’t get to sit any other ride. But it was okay… we walked around and enjoyed the sights! We were actually okay with it.

And Mark was getting tired every 10 minutes, we had to stop to take a sitting break. So I cannot imagine him having to stand in a queue for 3 hours.

Enjoying sights… Getting tired too quickly… It quickly dawned upon us…. “Omg dear, we’re getting too old for this shit.”

*SOBSSSSS!!!*

Okay, I shall distract myself with the beautiful sights.

 

Behold the Tower Of Terror! The one ride we managed to get the FastPass to.

The only terror involved was the queue we managed to escape.

And this is why Mark is an awful being.

Taking picture of me just being my usual happy self
Me: Oh, picture? I pose!
Me: Oei, why come so close? You even taking picture or not?
Me: I kill you.

SO AWFUL RIGHT! I viewed pictures to find he took everything! Annoying max, this Baymax.

The mastermind
During one of the many sitting breaks Mark had to take…

We didn’t even bother staying for the fireworks.

Mark bought me a mug because I needed one. And then we left.

And went to the supermarket, where I picked out ingredients to cook for dinner!

Tonight I prepared… Miso soup with golden mushrooms, beef and pork stew and bolognese-mushroom pasta.

Mark loves mushrooms. 🙂

My body is aching as well. Super tired out… I even bought some bath salts to soak! Yay!

And need to pack to get ready to head out tomorrow. 🙂

Till next time, guys!

 

XOXO, G.

#GeraTravels: Post-foodpanda Vacation Begins!

Just some time last year, Mark and I spent 2 weeks in the lands of Nippon as celebration for his graduation!

This time… Well, he claims it’s to reward me for all the work I put into my work at foodpanda. 🙂

Yes, Japan is evidently a favourite choice for the both of us.

And yes, I have left foodpanda officially. It was definitely one of the most difficult decisions and heart-wrenching letters I had to write… Kind of felt like I was breaking up with someone I care deeply about; but I’m mature enough to understand that our time together is up. Better for things to be fond memories than bitter ones, yes?

So at about 4AM, Mark and I lugged out luggages onto the car, and his mom delivered us right to Changi Airport. My face was still utterly swollen… Gah.

And because McDonald’s breakfast was simply too passé… We decided to be really Asian about it and have congee with siew mai.

Some of the most freaking expensive congees I’ve ever had!

Plus wasn’t even tasty. PLUS wasn’t even warm! I don’t understand the theory… It’s not like my seat is halfway across the world. It’s literally lesser than 10 feet away from him. How did hot congee become room temperature that quickly?

My buay song + sleepy face.
“I paid so much for this??”

So Mark decided to work for a while to earn back the money we lost on such a breakfast…

Haha! Kidding, kidding. Just those typical emails.

After 6 painstaking hours on the plane…

It was horrible, really. I decided to watch The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 and Part 2. Seeing that I missed it in the cinemas.

I barely survived part 1… but I figured, “I cannot just not continue this! No matter how crappy, I need to give this closure.”

Believe it or not, I was constantly dozing off during part 2. It was like F.O.R.E.V.E.R.R.R.R.R. Very painful… Just made the flight feel even longer than it already was. I just went, “F**k it, the closure is just closing my eyes.”

After the customs and all that jazz, we immediately made our way to Narita Station. Honestly we have sworn off taxis when we spent about S$200 the last time we took one from our apartment to the airport.

When the meter was like 18,950‎¥ (approx. S$200), I thought it was broken! Turns out the only thing broken was my bank account and desire to take taxis in Japan again.

But anyway, if you really look at it – Japan’s train lines are much like Singapore’s. Just a lot more complicated… but with a little bit of thinking, you’ll get it. 

Still kept my PASMO card!

One of the coolest things I love about the train stations in Japan is that they have these vending machines inside.

And these FamilyMart ones have quite a comprehensive range of drinks and pastries to snacks. Crazy love!

Mark being all gangsta because he gets to eat a snack openly at the train station… In Singapore, he’d be slapped with a 3-digit fine and probably a complimentary feature on STOMP.

Finally arriving at my apartment!

Mark and I booked this apartment on Airbnb. Last time we stayed in Shibuya, which was great! But we wanted to try somewhere more ‘outskirt-ish’ this time.

They’re such a sweet neighbourhood, they have these little projects all over. The station has community flowers planted outside and the seats are donned with knitted cushions!

The apartment we are at now is simply amazing!!!

It’s super comfortable for the 2 of us, with enough space for our chubby bodies to move about, while still giving us the intimacy of a couple. 🙂

The place is considered quite spacious, actually. It’s nowhere like a shoebox apartment. We have a comfortable kitchen cum living room and even a tatami bedroom to boot!

Our host is really quite awesome. Through my stays at Airbnb homes, this is easily one of the best. 🙂 She really puts in thought into the place.

There’s music, some DVDs, clean sponges, snacks…

She even labelled the recycling bins in English! Recycling is a huge thing in Japan; it’s practically a part of their lifestyle. So my previous time here, I had problem sorting out the trash.

But this really helped out!

She even left behind a booklet with information on how to use the home appliances and a useful map on the amenities around the place!

And when I finally got hooked up onto the Wifi, I realised she was trying to get in touch with me to see if I checked in okay.

I haven’t met this woman yet and I love her already. Hahaha!

Really recommend this place!

View from outside the apartment

All my friends know what a pee monster I am.

I’m always pee-ing. It’s a bit unhealthy, really. But it’s what I do. I pee.

So no one can really blame me when I think it’s important I love features of the washroom. 😀

I’ve always loooooved this part of the toilet bowls in Japan!

Okay, so above all the toilet bowls there’s this tap.

And so once you’re done with your business, you flush by twisting the knob.
“Small” is up, “Big” is down.

And then water will flow out of the tap and flow into the flushing system!!!

So basically the water used to wash your hands are recycled into flushing your waste out!!!

I love this feature so much I keep on telling Mark our new house has to have this! …if it’s available in Singapore, that is.

Well anyway, for dinner we put on our shoes and did something a little different. 😉

We stopped by the supermarket and picked out items to cook for dinner! ❤ Instead of going to some restaurant, we wanted to do something homely and simple.

It was pretty interesting, this supermarket. The cashier didn’t pack any of my purchases for me. Instead, he simply moved my items from a grey basket to a yellow basket to indicate that I’ve paid for them. So I will then move myself to a counter where I will pack my own things with the number of plastic bags provided.

But anyway, COOKING TIME!!!

We spent only about S$30 for a bowl full of fresh vegetables, beef and our own little bento bowls.

Yummy to the tummy and the bank account!

We had a feast!!!

Our dinner was amazing, our apartment is amazing… Tomorrow Mark has plans awaiting! 🙂

Really cannot wait! Till next time, guys! ❤

XOXO, G. 

#GeraTravels to 東京 (Tokyo): Ramen + Fancy Washrooms

28-29 June 2015

Officially my very first time in the land of Nippon! 😀 Super excited – needless to say!

And while Mark was lining out where to visit in Japan, we had to stop at Tokyo. For 2 reasons:

1. His all-time favourite ramen was there.
They were in Ramen Champion in Singapore and Mark became a die-hard fan. So when they officially left the country, he was utterly devastated. He actually boycotted ramen for a good month. It’s quite impressive in Mark-time.

2. Visit my dear little brother.
We were close back in the old days when we were still in school uniforms and our lives revolved around the sound of bells. Then he left to study in Japan and we didn’t see each other for years!

Continue reading #GeraTravels to 東京 (Tokyo): Ramen + Fancy Washrooms