Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Japan Osaka || Day 2 (Honolulu Cafe, Osaka Castle, Hozenji, Ichiran, Pablo)

We woke up throughout the night because it was quite hot in the room.
Japanese take their indoor heating very seriously.
But it was quite cold outside -

Traditional ryokans provide yukatas, which is casual wear/ their preferred outdoors garb in summer.
We wear them to sleep and to visit the public bath on level 6.

After spending an hour getting ready (cousin even straightened my hair for me because she 'just can't stand the sight of your unruly hair!') we were ready to venture forth to be fed!

Osaka is known as the stomach of Japan, because Osakans love their food.
So, of course, we had a list of food we wanted to try.
For our first breakfast in Japan, we went for a decidedly non-Japanese food -

Macadamia pancake at Honolulu cafe 
Japanese does pancakes well. (Even in Sydney I only make pancakes from Morinaga mix.)
It was fluffy and the macadamia whipped cream was airy and not cloyingly sweet - maybe because we shared one.

Paired with the worst cup of soy latte, ever
When in Japan, just drink milk or black coffee like the Japanese.

After breakfast, we got sucked into the Forever 21 opposite Honolulu Cafe because somebody had ignored my advise to dress warm and needed a jacket.
But it all turned out well because I got a wool mix cape for less than 600 yen (AUD 7)!!!
Hands down, it was the best purchase of my trip.

Our first sightseeing spot for the day was Osaka Castle.

My favourite sightseeing spot throughout the entire trip was Nijo Castle, so I don't have much to say about Osaka Castle, except that they have a food truck with yummy takoyaki -

4 flavours to choose from - mayo + fish roe, traditional, spring onion and  salt'n'pepper

We couldn't decide, so we got a mixed platter.
Sitting in the cold sunshine, eating steaming hot takoyaki with another week of holiday stretched out before us - it was bliss.

After lunch we walked around the grounds and took photos at the plum garden.
All my photos have one standard pose (the Attention! pose), but my cousin had multiple. Here she is embracing spring -

(Before we left for this trip, she'd actually sent me a link Top 5 Selfie Poses as Voted by Japanese and Korean guys.
And as I was sipping my OJ at Harbs one day, she'd exclaimed, 'This is the pose! It's very trendy to take a photo of girls consuming beverages through a straw nowadays!' and whipped out her iPhone to snap a photo of me drinking OJ.
I thought I was going to die laughing.)

It turned out like this

Back to the flowers-

Because of the lack of sakura, every time a tree with blossoms clinging on appears, there will be numerous Asians clamouring for photos.
Actually we didn't see many Westerners in Osaka, although there were plenty in Kyoto.

There was even an adventurous couple taking their own wedding photos using a tripod!

After Osaka Castle we decided to drop off our Forever 21 loot (which was actually just one single jacket =.='') at our ryokan then visit 法善寺(Hozenji),a temple allegedly famous for answering prayers for relationships.

Snacks had been replenished, but we were too distracted to eat them

I was surprised by how close it was to our ryokan and the bustling Namba district.

Yujim had told me to keep go-yens (5 yen) for prayers.
Apparently it punned with 'good relationship' in Japanese, and was the preferred coin for making wishes.

There was a well with water and ladles for purifying oneself before praying, but I skipped this step and mimicked the Japanese at the temple as best as I could. My more diligent/superstitious cousin Googled the correct procedure -

After saying our prayers we went to Ichiran, which was nearby. (Seriously, if you stayed at Kaneyoshi, everything is nearby.)

We ordered using machines. Must have spent 5 minutes here, we were so confused.

Lockers provided
I love how the Japanese takes storage of customers' bags very seriously. In most restaurants, we are given small containers to store our bags in under the tables.

Ramen customisation
We filled in our ramen customisation forms - I opted for the standard recommended version, whilst Eunice had hard noodles (which tasted better.)

After you've filled in the forms, you press a call button and a waiter will pull up the bamboo blinds in front of you and get your form.

I heart, heart, heart these cubicles which allows people to eat alone.

Individual water taps in each cubicle
The concept must be 'minimum human interaction'. Like.

Behind the row of cubicles is a row of coat hangers
And of course there was a hook for our bags.

We ordered a hard-boiled egg with salt each, and when it arrived we were so distracted by the fact that we had to peel our own eggs that we forgot to open the packets of salt.

Dinner is served

How delicious does it look?! Well, it lived up to its hype, and I've had some pretty yummy ramen in Sydney!

After dinner, we had dessert at Pablo -

Limited edition takoyaki mini cheese tart.

It looks cute and the cream puffs were yummy (I love cream puffs) but we were both surprised by how savoury the tart was. I much prefer their original cheese tarts.

(There was a queue outside Pablo's for takeaway but I popped instore to check the prices and they were the same, so I'm not sure why people prefer lining up instead of dining in the cafe?)

And so, finally, day 2 has been recorded!

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