Tuesday, March 31, 2015


IMG_0957 So what to do when it rains?

For us, it depends on how heavy the rain is.

Sunday it was a steady drizzle, so after breakfast we were out in full force with our umbrellas.

We headed up the mountain to check out the ruins of the Sumoto castle.

IMG_0958 The view of Sumoto city was something to see. It's amazing to know that whoever lived in the castle had this view.

The castle replica is a great place to hide under when it rains, by the way.

A short cut path down the mountain, is quite steep, but brings you back into the city.

There are 8 tanuki(Japanese raccoon dog) statues around the city, so we walked to the various locations to check them out.

According to the legend, Shibaemon-tanuki lived near Mount Mikuma (the mountain where Sumoto castle is) with his wife Omasu. He was quite rascally and would change leaves to gold and sell them. He was also nice and would help drunks that had fallen.

One day, he used some of his "money" to see a play in Osaka. He didn't return home for a long time, so everyone thought he died.

Later, Shibaemon was revered as a deity for the theater and today is worshipped by actors such as Nakamura Ganjirou.

The 8 tanuki around the city are from Shibaemon's family.

Feeling hungry, we went to look for lunch.

There was a couple of places listed in Satoshi's guide book. We decided on Uomasu.

We got there just as they were opening. The place filled up fast...

IMG_0970 I ordered their tako ten don...1100 yen (tax included). The tako they use is caught near Awaji Island.

So much tako and the light breading gave the tako a nice crisp outside, but kept the tako tender with a nice chew.

IMG_0972 Satoshi ordered the Uomasu set...1600 yen (tax included). His lunch came with 4 different types of sashimi, plus some tako tempura.

We both agreed this place was good! as we left, there was a line to get in.

IMG_0974 Bellies full, we looked for the remaining tanuki on the map and then caught the bus back to Maiko.

Despite the weather, we did a lot of walking and eating.

It was a great short trip, I hope you enjoyed our adventure as much as we did.

2-3-2 Honmachi
Sumoto, Hyogo
Phone: 0799.22.0559
Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays
Open from 11:30-14:00 (if they run out of rice they close sooner!)

Monday, March 30, 2015

osaka-maiko-yumebutai-minami awaji-sumoto

IMG_0896 Saturday, the weather was sunny and the temperature was to go up to temps that we normally see in April or May!

We got up early and headed out to Awaji Island.

Last year, we visited the Northern part of the island.

This time, we visited the middle part.

They have a huge flower event going on at several large parks around Awaji Island.

IMG_0906 We stopped at one park near the Northern part of the island called Yumebutai.

IMG_0911 This park was in the planning stages before the 1995 Hanshin earthquake by Tadao Ando and finished shortly after the earthquake.

On the property is also a convention facility, hotel (Westin) and memorial to the earthquake victims.

IMG_0918 Because of the cold snap last week though, the flowers were blooming but not quite in full bloom.

Still, it was nice to be out in the sun!

I loved the art displays incorporating succulents, moss and sand!

IMG_0926 Lunch was at a tiny cafe on the property and we tried the roasted onion.

Awaji Island is known for their sweet onions.

Roasted and topped with oozy cheese and a meat sauce, this was fabulous and I want to re-create this.

We also shared a "meh" hamburger with demi-glace sauce...

IMG_0930 After lunch, we checked out the Hyaku-daen. The 100 flower beds is divided into 4 different zones to display the different flowers during different seasons.

According to a volunteer guide, this area was also designated as a permanent memorial for the victims of the 1995 earthquake. The cascading water and flowers truly is something to see.

We then caught the bus to the Farm Park English Hill. This is where another flower event was being held.

#awaji soft serve #hyogo #japan Instead of paying the admission to get into the park, we checked out the farmers market outside. Apparently this facility just opened. There were lots of fresh veggies. There were also food stands, so Satoshi had a soft serve and I had a "meh" cream puff.

We then caught the bus to Sumoto (the area where we would be staying).

The minshuku (family operated Japanese style B&B) we stayed at was "old"...the toilets were "Japanese style"..eep!

There wasn't even wifi coverage in the area.

We had done a lot of walking and since we were off the grid, we had a nice dinner and went to sleep "early" (21:00)!

The next day was forecast for rain...stay tuned to see what we did...

Friday, March 27, 2015

the past couple of days

suji-kon negi modanyaki @ botejyu with @tanikaze & his mom #lunch #okonomiyaki #botejyu #sanbangai #ぼてぢゅう #お好み焼き #三番街 #梅田 #大阪 Friend Greg was in town, so we had lunch at Botejyu, an okonomiyaki place.

We also did some shopping at some second-hand CD shops in the basement of the Osaka Ekimae buildings.

Thank you for all the goodies! It was great to meet up and I hope he and his mom enjoyed their trip!

similar to yesterday's lunch, but at Fugetsu #okonomiyaki #yodobashi #osaka #japan #お好み焼き#風月 Also met up with family friend, D and his family.

We had a similar lunch but at Fugetsu.

earlier... #osaka #castle #nofilter We also checked out Osaka castle.

Thank you for all the goodies! I hope they enjoy the rest of their trip around Japan!

let the show begin... #sakura #japan #minoo #桜 #箕面 #大阪 The cherry blossoms have started in Osaka...whoo!

Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

the past couple of days

ume @ nakayama-dera #梅 #中山寺 #兵庫 #ume #nakayamadera #hyogo #japan Sorry it's been quiet here.

Friday, my Aunty Marian came to Japan and stayed with us.

Saturday, the weather was sunny and WARM, so we headed to Nakayama Temple to check out the ume (apricot blossoms)...beautiful!

pupu party (it doesn't look like a lot but now we're stuffed) #dinner #pupu #party #japan #moscato #sashimi #salad #chips #salsa #avocado #maguro #cheese #katsuo Dinner that night was pupu party style...all sorts of stuff, including leftovers...

"we go picnic" #japan #picnic #lunch Sunday, the weather was again really nice, so we packed a bento and went on a little picnic at Suigetsu Park.

The ume were almost over here so it was nice to sit in the sun.

pupu party(again) #dinner #pupu #party #japan #steak #salmon #salad #maguro #cheese #chips #salsa #wine Dinner that night was again pupu party style.

This time we had 2 bottles of wine and lots of nibbles.

Monday...cold snap! we didn't do much of anything...

Tuesday, Aunty joined up with her tour group.

Lots of eating, walking and talking.

We hope she enjoys the rest of her trip around Japan!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

peach curry

arigatoen peach curry Another thing we bought were these instant peach curries from Yamanashi prefecture.

I had heard about this before and had it in the back of my mind.

I love the name of the peach farm...Ariga-to-en (it is a play on words "garden of thanks" and Ariga Peach Farm)

We bought a spicy version and a beef version.

arigatoen peach curry They incorporate peach chutney and also pieces of peach too.

Both were delicious.

The spicy version was good, the burn lingers.

I'm glad we got to try these.

Friday, March 20, 2015

fish cheese

katsuo cheese & maguro cheese Whenever we go on trips and there are "tasting" areas, Satoshi is always there "tasting".

So, on our recent trip to Mt Fuji, they brought us to a suisan (a place that sells seafood) called Ishihara.

It was actually our tour's chance to use the restroom and do a little shopping before getting back on the freeway to make our way to the Shinkansen(bullet train) station.

I'm pretty sure that no matter where you go in the world, the women's line is always longer than the men's.

So, by the time I came out and looked for Satoshi, guess where he was?

Yup, he was tasting stuff.

One thing that he got hooked on were these...cheese with seasoned katsuo (bonito) and with seasoned maguro (tuna).

The katsuo were in huge pieces whereas the maguro teeny squares...they look like candy, yeah?!

The fish is seasoned with a shoyu-sugar-mirin combo (sweet-salty) and the cheese isn't overpowering, maybe a mozzarella or gouda?

Paired together this is the perfect snack or beer chaser.

I think if we come across these again, we'll get more...so good!

Thursday, March 19, 2015


:( So, the brussels sprout plants that I had planted...had some troubles.

And then winter came which made the plants dormant...

Within the past week or so (since the temps have risen) they started to shoot up...BUT I've been noticing flowers...

Which I read online as the plant is going to seed.

:( For now it has these teeny brussels sprouts...

I think I need to wait for the "next season"...

How's your garden?