Saturday, August 30, 2008

Takoyaki Party

Takoyaki (literally means fried or baked octopus) is a popular Japanese dumpling made of baby octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, konyaku, and green onion, topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, and dashi (fish shavings), originating from Osaka. 

If it’s not for Ikumi-san I wouldn’t experience cooking Takoyaki! Arigato mina-san for inviting us to join Takoyaki Party in the city, where I experienced cooking and eating a bowl full of Takoyaki (plus pop corn) and couple bottles of beer for free! What a great day having beer with great friends!
Saturday, August 23, 2008

Animania Festival

Saturday, 23 August 2008, it was a quite chilly and windy morning when I joined hundreds flock queuing outside The Australian Technology Park building for about 1 hour before getting to the registration desk and took $35 out of my pocket to enter the venue of Animania Festival 2008 in Sydney.

It’s a big exhibition hall packed with anime manias showing off their fantastic costumes, playing games on the big screen, enjoying the hip-hop dance on the stage, and some stalls selling anime arts and even a Takoyaki stall! In order to source the young talents (especially sydneysiders), some anime drawing lessons and competitions were held on different spots.

Anyone who interested to find out more about this Animania Festival could click this link.
Friday, August 22, 2008


Bento (Japanese lunch box) is very popular in Japan, in old days they served in a wooden box, today you can find Bento in plastic box sold in almost every supermarket, convenience store, station shop, airport shop and even aboard the Shinkansen (bullet train). They also called as Ekiben Bento means Station Bento since you can find this Bento in every station in Japan. This very affordable meal suits people on the go who has no time to prepare the meal at home.

Today they even create unique Bento box with all the accessories and topping which made them really cute! My Japanese friend forwarded me the above Cute Bento pictures.

Talking about Bento in Sydney, I have my favorite Bento box! Off Town Hall station, in the basement food court in Pitt Street side there is Momiji Japanese take-away selling home made style and delicious Bento box. They open Monday – Friday, 12 pm – 5 pm, and the good thing is they have happy hour between 3 pm – 5 pm when all Bento is reduced to $5 only! What a great yummy treat!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pelican Feeding at The Entrance

The Entrance.

The Entrance is one of some popular spots along Central Coast in New South Wales, also known as The Pelican Capital in the country. The most popular attraction is Pelican Feeding show which operates 3.30 pm 7 days a week, 365 days a year come rain, hail , or shine.

According to the official info, the pelican feeding started by accident over twenty years ago when staff from a local fish and chip shop would throw out scraps. It became such a ritual that whenever the staff were late in throwing their scraps out, the pelicans would cross the road and come up to the shop to be fed. The Pelicans start coming in group to the waterfront around 3.00, approaching the platform slowly and jump into the platform just before 3.30 pm when the staff ready to feed them with the fish.

If you are using public transport, just catch the train from Sydney Central station to Gosford station and then catch Red Bus service just outside the station to The Entrance for about 40 minutes ride.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

One fine day in Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest winery region and home to some famous wine makers like Lindemans and Rosemount.

Saturday, August 16,departing Sydney around 8 o’clock in the morning and arriving for first wine tasting at Rosemount around 10.30, we continued our tour for another four wine factories including the famous Lindemans, then the chocolate and cheese shop as well. The last wine tasting at Golden Grape winery we sipped a unique Chili Schnapps Wine tastes like a real hot chili! It’s worth a shot! but my favorites were the one with rich and smooth butter scotch cream and New Rosemount O for the white wine. Headed back to Sydney in the afternoon with 2 bottles of my favorite wines. Great fellas on the trip made my day perfect!

According to the official info, there are over 120 cellars doors and all have their own unique style and taste. Hunter Valley Semmilon and Shiraz are the most recognized wines in this region.

Seki - Sakauchi

Seki 関市

Christmas 2004

The beautiful Seki is a town in Gifu Prefecture, It’s about one and half hour drive from Nagoya and very famous for its production of samurai (Japanese sword) and kitchen knife, also known as The City of Sword.

It’s also my first Japanese friend’s hometown. During my first visit in Japan, he gave me a very warm welcome and great hospitality service, providing delicious feast, entertaining me for 12 days hanging around Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Gifu and Tokyo. He is a real great friend and a great traveling partner, and a ski champion! Arigato Yoshi-san!

Sakauchi, still in Gifu prefecture is a beautiful ski resort where I had my first ski experience, it became a memorable experience! I also visited many beautiful spots like Gifu Castle, Zenkoji Temple, Naritasan Shrine, The Paper Doll museum, and of course bathing in onsen (Japanese spa), a unique experience I wouldn't missed!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ketupat (Rice Cube)

Last weekend when I just missed Mom’s cooking, I got an idea to find Rice Cube in Sydney; eventually I found this mini Rice Cube in an Asian grocery, even the instant ones. I’d rather this mini size of Rice Cube rather then the normal size I got last time. I just boiled this Rice Cube for about an hour and served with fried bean curd and peanut dressing then add some topping like boiled bean sprout, sweet soy sauce and then my ‘Kupat Tahu’ is ready!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Graphic Designer

This friend of mine is a talented graphic designer, love drawing and holding architecture degree from a reputable University in Indonesia. He also is a freelance graphic designer so anyone wish to design something I would be very happy to refer him to you.

I knew him for years and I would say he is a reliable person, easy going and caring guy. One more thing, he is an Anime Mania !

This gorgeous art is one of his drawing.

Hi Mr. So Deep, thanks for giving me your drawing ! great job! wish you all the best!

Japan's Hi-tech Toilet

Only in Japan.

We know that Japan is the world leader in inventing something high-tech and unique, even a toilet!

My first time in Japan, I was trying hard to figure out how to flush the toilet! I've never seen a toilet with such control panel in colorful buttons and a key pad looks so hi-tech!

The toilet basically looks like a standard toilet, but it has a control pad and some buttons to control the water temperature , washer function, spray bidet, dryer, automatic seat warmer which is very important during the winter time, and even a button for music! I even heard that the newest model has a remote control and also digital clock to tell you how long you have been in the loo!

Wanna know the cost for that Hi-tech Toilet ? it's about $2,000-$5,000

Soft-shell Crab

Kura Japanese Dining, just right on the corner of Hay street in Chinatown.

This tiny Japanese restaurant serves affordable lunch and dinner menu, open till 10.00 pm 7 days a week which is good for people living in the city area. Deep friend soft-shell crab in mayo sauce is one of my favorites, but get ready to line up the queue since not many seats available or just ask for take away if you are in rush.

Free Will Tour Guide

One of great services from Japan tourism is Free Will Tour Guide. All you need to do is just email them and let them know your schedule and preferred places you want to visit and then they will arrange the tour guide for you. Their service is really great even during the busiest time of the year like New Year season they still managed to assist you with the best service. All their services will cost you only the transport expenses, they won’t charge you any other cost. I have experienced their great services in Osaka and Tokyo during Christmas season and I really appreciate it, arigato Kohno-san and Izumi-san !

Based on my experience above, I'd like to offer to anybody visiting Sydney who wants a free will tour guide especially on the weekend (since I am working full time), please feel free to contact me and I will be very happy to take you around the city at no cost, just anybody!

Dog Spa

Only in Japan.

I passed by this 'Dog Spa and Hotel' during my holiday in Kobe last Christmas.

Robo Cafe

Only in Japan.

Robo Cafe in Osaka, you can find any kind of Robot in this shop, pet robot, housekeeper robot, gundam robot, just any robot!

Thanks to Mr. Kohno for his effort to find this unique place for us.

Jeju Love Land

Only in Jeju.

Jeju Love Land also known as Sex Theme Park is one of many places on my 'must see' list in this island located in southern part of Korea. The park is only 10 minutes from Jeju International Airport.The park is focused on a theme of sex, running sex education films, and featuring 140 sculptures representing humans in various sexual positions. The park's website describes the location as, "a place where sexually-oriented art and eroticism meet."

This beautiful island is a perfect place for honeymoon destination, and became my favorite island on this planet!


Among many Ramen restaurant in Sydney my favorite one is Menya Noodle Bar, located in Chinatown just on ground level of Burlington Centre. They have all kind of Ramen in affordable price, you will find more than 15 different ramen besides some Soba and Udon menu as well. If you like challenge you can try Godzilla Ramen, a big bowl of Ramen weights about 2 kilos, cost you about $22 but you can have it for free if you can finish them off in 30 minutes! and your picture will be on display in the restaurant.

Jeju island

The most beautiful island I’ve ever visited: Jeju island.

This small island located in southern part of Korea has many tourist spots spread around the island. If you are a Korean drama or movie lover you will find many 'romantic spot’ where many popular Korean drama scene were taken such as All in and Dae Jang Geum. Even most of local people doesn’t speak English but they are quite friendly and they will welcome you to this island full of tangerine farm, a real good quality tangerine that tastes so sweet !

Here are some places and attraction I visited during my Christmas holiday in Jeju:

  • Korean drama shooting places (All in and Dae Jang Geum)
  • Mysterious road (a road where you can feel optical illusion)
  • Osulloc tea plantation
  • Lotte Hotel Garden
  • Tangerine and mushroom farm.
  • Seongeup Folk village
  • Sub-marine cruise
  • Mongolian horse show
  • Pony horse riding
  • Chinese circus
  • Dragon Rock (Yong Duam Rock)
  • Dongbokri woman diver (you can see and try all kind of fresh seafood)
  • Love Land.

Yong Duam Rock (Dragon rock in Jeju)


One fine Christmas day in Tokyo, 25 December 2007.
Arriving in Tokyo Station after two and half hours trip by Shinkansen from Osaka, it was a really convenient bullet train ride with great service and reliable time table, not even a minute missed at every station we passed by. Izumi-san, my free will tour guide in Tokyo, standing just right outside my carriage on the platform with her smile and warm welcome ready to take my around the city for one day tour. Off Tokyo station we headed to Roppongi Hills where I met one of my Japanese fella, having lunch in a nice traditional Japanese restaurant, soon after lunch we had to part since she had to go back to her office. Jumped on the busy buzzing subway, our first stop was Shibuya where Hachiko, the famous dog in Shibuya, has been sitting outside the subway station for years, known as the meeting point for people. We crossed the Shibuya intersection, one of the most famous intersections in the world, walked down Shibuya streets up to Yoyogi Park and then amazed by the large park of Meiji Shrine full with giant trees, it took about 15 minutes to reach the temple and another 15 minutes walk back to Harajuku station where the youngster showing off their funky costumes.
In the afternoon, we had a quick visit to Akihabara before made our way to Tokyo Station. A tasty tonkotsu ramen for our dinner before jumped on the Shinkansen to go back to Osaka. Arigato gozaimashita Izumi-san!


23 December 2007, arrived in Kobe after 1 hour driving from Kansai Airport, walked down the street in Chinatown, it was too early in the morning so only a few shops open. After having breakfast, I managed to meet my friend and it was the first time I met her, "Hajimemashte.. dozo yoroshiku !" and she gave a Japanese Cooking Book as a present! Domo Arigato!

We spent almost the whole day hanging around in Kitano area which is famous for western style cafes and building, taking photos, chatting about everything and then we had ramen for our lunch. I almost forget, if you visit Kobe especially Kitano area, you should try the home-made cheesecake! Oishii..!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Modern Toilet Cafe

Only in Taipei.

This very unique cafe only has one theme: Toilet! the seat, the table, the bowl, the dish, decoration, just everything in Toilet or toilet related style. They even serve a poop-shaped ice cream! It sounds a bit 'disgusting' but trust me the food is quite nice and the service is good too.

If you are visiting Taipei you shouldn't missed this famous cafe located in 184 Wenlin Road, Shilin district-Taipei, just take the MRT and get off at Shilin station, take exit 2 and then turn left into Wenlin road and walk for about 10 minutes and you will find the cafe on your left-hand side.

One more thing about Taipei, the MRT system has been awarded as the most reliable MRT system in the world in three years in a row! It's very convenience and affordable to go around the city by MRT.

Toro Sushi

If you are a sushi lover you might have known what is Toro sushi. I hardly found Toro sushi in town but couple month ago I found this favorite sushi! Makoto restaurant is quite famous for good quality sushi in the city, they have rolling-sushi bar and also some table's menu, above average price but still affordable. If you like seafood combo, the fisherman soup is on the menu. The restaurant is located on Liverpool road, just off the World Square area.

Here are some facts about Toro sushi: cut from tuna's belly, is usually the most expensive item on sushi menu. Toro is pink, and the chef may identify it as chutoro, which is moderately fat, or otoro, which is light pink and extraordinarily tender, indicates the highest fat content, and off course the most expensive ones! check the price tag before you order!


Last Saturday when I walked down the street headed to Surry Hills shopping village I passed by this restaurant and what grabbed my attention is okonomiyaki on the menu! which is a bit hard to find in Sydney.

One portion of 8 fresh sushi roll cost me about $7.5 and a yummy special okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) with seafood costs about $22, above average price but you get what you paid! I would say it's the best okonomiyaki in town... oishii..!

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of


Christmas 2007

23 December 2007, 12 am midnight. My best friend in a small town near Nagoya woke up after only 2 hours nap and jumped on his car. It took him about 4 hours driving all the way to Kansai Airport in Osaka to pick me up in the airport, what a real good FRIEND, Arigato Yoshi-san!

23 December, it was 5 o'clock in the morning when my flight from Singapore touched down Kansai International Airport, off the airport we headed to Kobe for about 1 hour driving. A toast with bacon &egg and a cup of coffee for my breakfast are more than enough to fill up the energy for one day self-tour in Kobe accompanied by two best friends.

My second day in Osaka: Universal Studio Japan ! It's an amazing theme park with a lot of great shows, especially the White Christmas Show. Unfortunately I missed the Peter Pan show in the evening since I had to be going to meet another friend in Umeda. It was our first meeting and we really had a good time hanging around Kaiyukan Aquarium, had dinner together in Namba before she sent me back to my hotel and handed a pack of yummy Mochi, Arigato Aki-san!

Dotonbori, another favorite hang-out place around Namba-Osaka, lucky it was only 10 minutes walk from my Hotel. Thank you Kumi-san for taking us to Dotonbori Gokuraku showtengai! I really had a good time hanging around with a good friend like you.