Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Banana in pyjamas

Looking for some refresing desert after big lunch or dinner? 
I got some fresh deserts for my afternoon coffee time couple days ago, the firt one was a banana pancake from Bread Top bakery in the city, it's just an ordinary cake stuffed with fresh banana but it comes with a nice and unique packaging, Banana in pyjamas! wondering how did they come up with this idea? 
I almost forgot, did I ever mention that I am a cheese lover? This shop has a Hokaido Cheese cake, and it's one of the yummiest cheese cakes in town!

Banana in pyjamas.

And then came my favorite Japanese desert: mochi! I've got some posts about mochi and daifuku before, including Shu Shin Bou, the real Japanese mochi shop in the city, and there is always someting I couldn't resist getting one of those fresh mochi. This time I got the blueberry yogurt mochi and strawberry yogurt mochi. It's wrapped in soft mochi, giving the smooth mochi layer with the refreshing yogurt and fruit pieces inside.

Blueberry yogurt mochi

Strawberry yogurt mochi
Sunday, April 26, 2009

Japan's first solar-powered mobile phone

only in Japan..

Moshi moshi... here is another cool gadget from Japan, a solar-powered mobile phone! I think it's gonna be a big hit in the market, wondering how much it's gonna cost our pocket to get one? I got this news from one of my fellow bloggers, Ai//Nippon, who has linked this news on her post. 
Here are the news copied from Mainichi Japan

"KDDI Corp., in cooperation with Okinawa Cellular Telephone Co., will release Japan's first solar-powered mobile phone as early as June, the companies said.The waterproof phone, created by Sharp Corp., can be charged through a solar panel installed on the surface of the phone. About 10 minutes of sun will power the phone for about a minute of talk time and roughly two hours of stand-by time."

An image of  KDDI’s solar-powered mobile phone (courtesy of KDDI)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saap Thai

It was a windy morning and the temperature is getting cool as winter is just one month away. It's my second week attending the mass at St. Andrew's Cathedral just next to Town Hall in the city. The first time I saw this cathedral with gothic revival archithecture and its name I thought it was a roman catholic church but actually it's an anglican church, I will write about this Cathedral later on in a separate post.

Leaving church around 12 o'clock we headed to Pitt street strip to have lunch at Saap Thai. It's a local famous in the 'thainatown' district with their authentic thai homestyle food. They are quite famous for some dishes like sumtum and nooodle boat. Sumtum is thai salad comprises green papaya, cherry tomato, long bean, peanut, chili and some more spices, but be aware that this salad is super hot, so if you aren't a chili eater your tongue and stomach might get burnt!
This time we only had seafood fried rice, stir-fried seafood with pepper and chili, Pad seew with chicken (stir-fried thick rice noodle), and thai iced tea with milk is the only drink I always order in this restaurant. If you are looking for an affordable yummy thai food in the city, I would recommend this restaurant.

Pad seew with chicken

Seafood fried rice

Stir-fried seafood with pepper served with jasmine rice

Iced milk tea for $2.8

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Big Man Japan

Only in Japan..

Here is another unique movie about a giant super hero fighting monsters in Tokyo in a mock documentary style. I know it's a bit outdated talking about Big Man Japan (Dai Nipponjin) since this movie had been released in Japan couple years ago but in US this bizzarely unigue movie is coming soon in theatres May 15 this year. 

Nothing more bizzare than a giant super hero fighting weird monsters with a taiko drumstick in Tokyo! Couldn't write any coment for this, what was the point of the movie?.. Big is beautiful?.. is it true?   just 'play' the trailer below if you wanna check it out. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kaze and Kanpai

Cairns Trip - Shop & Dine

Browsing around downtown I found Japanese shops and eateries almost in every corner of the city. Kaze is an outstanding shop selling Japanese gimmicks, kimono, haori (half-length kimono), T-shirt and special suits like Zen suits and even ninja suits!  Most of the goods sold in this shop imported directly from Japan, no wonder the gimmicks like dolls, pouches, bags, mirrors, hair accesories, pottery ornaments  are really fancy and cute. Later on I found out there are two Kaze shops in town, one is located on Lake street while the other one is on Spencer street.

Kaze shop

Japanese T-shirts imported from Japan

Pre-loved Zen T-shirt priced at AUD 98!

The only T-shirt I bought for myself

My huge craving for seafood and Japanese cuisine brought me to Kanpai Japanese restaurant located at 64 Shields st, it's only 3 minutes walk from Cairns Central station and shopping centre. The outstanding menu and unique deserts made me back to this friendly restaurant on the next day.

The prawn in cheese is simply delicious

Grilled white kingfish wing was superb

Pork belly in sweet soy sauce served with wasabi

Grilled sardines in cheese

Usagami sore, it looks like a plain water but it's a mix of Japanese vodka, honey, sake and citrus.

The unique deep fried ice cream, it's a vanila ice cream inside a home made pastry and tempura, hot on the outside and amazingly cold on the inside, served with choco-sticks, fresh cream and strawberry sauce.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The village of Kuranda

Cairns Trip - Day 3

The weather was pretty much the same everyday during my stay in Cairns, cloudy and light shower in the morning and a bit muggy during the day but all of those unfriendly weather didn't make my holiday less enjoyable. 

My third day was visiting Kuranda Village, got the coach transfer around 8 o'clock in the morning from my hotel to Freshwater station where we boarded the scenic railway for 75 minutes ride to The village of Kuranda. Located on the mountain 25 km northwest of Cairns, the village is surrounded by world heritage's rainforest which you can enjoy either by scenic railway or skyrail cableway. The village offers a wide range of attraction such as Koala world, bird world, indigenous culture, art galleries, shops, markets and the rainforest itself which known as one of the oldest on this planet. Riding the skyrail cableway on the way down to smithfield station was the best part of the day, forty-five minutes ride passing through the natural beauty of rainforest, stopping at two stations in between and had a short walk in the forest was really a relaxing trip. 

The view from scenic railway

The Kuranda rail station
Skyrail station

Rainforest view from cableway

Browsing the souvenir shop and found some unique keyring made with real outback animal which known as some of the most poisonous animal in the world such as the famous Red back spider.

Aussie souvenirs

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Green Island

Cairns Trip - Day 2

It was a cloudy morning and then started to drizzle when we got to the Reef Fleet Terminal where we board the Big Cat cruise to Green Island.

Green Island is a beautiful 6000 year-old coral cay located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and only 45 minutes away from Cairns. This tropical island paradise is a National Park and home to over 120 native plant species, colourful bird life, surrounded by coral gardens and abundant marine life to explore. There are plenty of ways to enjoy your day at the island, the fun options include snorkeling, scuba diving, underwater sea walking experience, glass bottom boat, semi submarine boat, helicopter scenic flight, underwater observatory, parasailing or pamper yourself with a spa and massage at island resort hotel. You can enjoy all of those exciting activities as long as you have the time and the money. We did enjoy our semi submarine trip exploring the coral reef where we could learn and enjoy lots of marine life such as 'Nemo-like' fish, some strange creatures and giant shell. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to take good picture since it was too dark down there.

The Big Cat Cruise to Green Island

The food? no.. I didn't have Japanese food this time, instead I got Italian food for lunch, start with Lobster bisque and caesar salad for appetizer and then sirloin steak and spaghetti marinara to satisfy my seafood passion. My spaghetti marinara comes with prawn, oyster, squid, and fish fillet.

Lobster bisque, a rich, thick and creamy soup with a very smooth texture

Spaghetti Marinara

Caesar salad

The steak
Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Cairns Trip - Day 1

Cairns is a famous city of Tropical North Queensland, a beautiful coastal town with the famous Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

Good Friday, 10 April 12.45 pm, after 3 hours flight from Sydney by Virgin Blue we arrived at Cairns international airport. It's a relatively small airport yet there are some direct flights from and to Nagoya and Osaka. The airport itself is still undergoing a 200 millions makeover for all Cairns ports. Upon our arrival I phoned our hotel to get the airport transfer, thanks to the free and user friendly courtesy phone provided in the airport, a counter with the list of the hotels complete with photos and numbers on it, just dial the number and within 15 minutes we arrived at Colonial Club Resort Cairns.

It's quite a large hotel in and old colonial style, with 3 swimming pools and rain forest gardens, so when we made our way to the room just felt like walking down the trek in a rain forest but surprisingly we got a really clean and modern room with a big plasma TV mounted on the wall. I didn't expect that much when I saw the hotel from outside.

It's already around 2 pm when I walked around the city to find something for lunch, many delightful Japanese eateries and shops in almost every corner of the city. We spent our first day exploring the downtown, Japanese food hunting and just relaxing in the hotel.

My hotel for 3 nights in Cairns

Ikemen ramen for my first day lunch

My potato croquette was so crunchy

My dinner was quite light and simple ones, a set of potato croquette and sushi set at O Cha Cha Japanese Restaurant, 2nd floor of 34 Lake street.

The Esplanade at waterfront

Beautiful night view of The Esplanade

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Easter !

Easter is just around the corner!
As I live in a western country, Easter means Easter show, chocolate Easter bunnies, chocolate Easter eggs and cross buns. Even there are no parties like Christmas season but at least some offices provide some chocolate eggs and cross buns for the staffs to enjoy the Easter spirit.

Talking about cross bun, it's sweet bun made with raisins (originally) and has a cross marked on the top. The tradition of eating hot cross buns on Easter came from England when English monarchs saw the buns as a dangerous hold-over of Catholic belief in England, being baked from the dough used in making the communion wafer. Protestant England attempted to ban the sale of the buns by bakers but they were too popular, and instead Queen Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only at Easter and Christmas.

Now some bakeries sell not only raisins cross buns but also some different flavor such as chocolate cross buns with some chocolate chips as topping which is my favorite one.

My cross bun with chocolate Easter eggs

One more thing about Easter that I almost forget, long weekend! yup... starting from Good Friday to Easter Monday, that's the best part for me as I am going away this Easter long weekend :)

Well,.. Happy Easter everyone.. enjoy your long weekend.
Friday, April 3, 2009

God's fruit

Persimmon, according to ancient Greeks is also known as god's fruit. It has a yellow-orange color and varies from one to another species. Japanese persimmon or kaki is the most common species I found here during spring and summer. This god's fuit is slightly tangy, sweet but a bit bitter in its crisp firm state but tastes best when completely ripened with the sweet and jelly-like flesh.

I have been eating this fruit for years, but I just found a unique dessert made from dried persimmon filled with the full flavoured sweetness of brown sugar mochi and slowly caramelised red bean. I found this unique Japanese desert at Shu Shin Bou, a Japanese dessert shop located at Regent Shopping Centre (World Square) in the city. 

The god's fruit dessert, imported from Japan.

They also sell mochi, potato short cake, mochi-yaki, dorayaki and the most luscious desert daifuku. The mochi flavours vary from strawberry to blueberry and as well as  mango, peach, melon and taro-mousse. Their signature mochi cake or daifuku set comprises six different creations and flavours: black forrest, vanilla-chestnut, sesame-chestnut, strawberry, mango, and green tea-read bean. The filling is more like ice cream and last for about 3 weeks if you keep in the freezer.

The daifuku set