Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Japan Osaka > Kyoto || Day 4 (Kuromon Market,石橋食品,パジャマラマ,ICE Dog,hop chou a la creme)

Today was our last day in Osaka. I had planned on not touching my purchases (in sealed bags for tax rebate purposes) but there was no way I could fit everything in my luggage, so I cut open the sealed bags and discarded all the packaging, taking some photos so I could remember what body parts the products are for.

It's totally okay to open the sealed bags because the Japanese customs doesn't check.

My poor suitcase

Lesson learned - if you have multiple stops in Japan, save your shopping for the last stop. The prices of pharma products don't vary much.

Lesson #2 buy a 4-wheeler (suitcase).

My skincare shopping strategy is looking out for the cosme stickers. I think they indicate bestsellers.
I bought a lot sunscreen because Japanese sunscreens are the most non-sticky sunscreens ever.

As a diehard GD fan, of course I had to buy Shiseido products (Shiseido's spokesperson is his ex, Kiko Mizuhara).

After packing up, taking my last dip in the public bath and checking out, we set out to explore Osaka for the last time.

Kuromon Market

We visited Kuromon Market again because Eunice hadn't been, and it was close by our ryokan.

Breakfast #1- grilled seafood

Kuromon has heaps of seafood stalls with grilling service.
We randomly selected one and sat down.

Grilled scallops
Taste - normal.

Grilled eel
After that we had more seafood at another seafood stall -

Grilled crabs

Grilled scallops
Kuromon is exploding with tourists, including aggressive Chinese ones, so one has to be slightly fierce and quick in order to score seats.

The second seafood stall had a long wait but the taste wasn't much better than the first, so I would recommend going for whichever stall has the least crowd.

Breakfast #2 - oden

Address: Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo Ward, Nipponbashi, 2 Chome−2−20
Tel: +81 6-6632-0433

Oden is similar to steamboat, except it's 1,000x more delicious.

The stock is quite concentrated and not meant for drinking, as I found out the unpleasantly salty way.
But the food items (eggs, tofu, daikon, fish cakes) absorb the taste beautifully, especially the daikon.
It was so good we kept going back to buy more, even though our tummies were full.
I can only imagine how fantabulous oden will taste in winter!

Humble-looking but exploding with flavour ((pengsan

The Japanese love their fortune-telling, as evidenced by these self-service scroll boxes throughout the city.

Intrigued, I bought one- people thinking of stealing one, you'll be cursed with bad luck, or so it says on the box's description.

It was a good scroll :))

Lunch: Japanese curry rice

パジャマラマ -  日本橋/カレーライス
Address: Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo Ward, Nipponbashi, 2 Chome−2−22
Tel: +81 90-8520-1150

Next to the scroll box is a little stall selling Japanese curry rice which was on my Osaka food list.

The stall is actually a row of barstools, sectioned off from the hustle and bustle of the market by a checked curtain. (You'll be surprised by how much difference a curtain can make.)

The menu is short, with only 4 types of curry.

I had the grilled steak, the epitome of unceremonious presentation -

Grilled steak curry rice, 980 yen
Eunice had the green onion and tendon curry, which I preferred, though both curries were delicious.

Green onion tendon curry, 790 yen
I also had a cup of coffee. The server ground the beans by hand using one of these mills -

Both beans and mills are sold at a shop nearby.
The coffee was quite good, even for a semi-coffee snob like me.

Finally, we decided to have mercy on our tummies and walked around without stuffing our faces.

Fresh soft shell crabs
The Hermes of strawberries

Ruinously expensive but gorgeous individually packed strawberries.
Eunice and I went on a bit of a strawberries bender in Japan - like Shirohato's takoyaki, they put their Aussie counterparts to shame.
Based on Eunice's market research, the cheapest strawberries you can get is approx 360 yen for an average-sized punnet. 

Teatime - ICE Dog (so much for 'having mercy on our tummies'.)

元祖 ICE Dog 
Address:大阪市中央區西心齋橋1-7-11(or just Google ICE Dog and let Google work its magic)
Trading hours:11:00-21:00

ICE Dog is basically soft serve in a deep-fried hot dog bun.
It's simple but good. Sweet potato fries were yummy as well.

Last food stop in Osaka - hop chou a la creme

ほっぷしゅうくりーむ hop chou a la creme

I had a vanilla bean - it was quite good as well, but I think I miss ICE Dog more than this.
(We used to have a cream puff shop in Sydney, but it closed down *weeps*)

We stopped by a Uniqlo - I had put off buying anything from Uniqlo Au as I was under the impression that Uniqlo JP would be cheaper, but it's the same price. 

Then it was time to get our luggage from the ryokan and catch a bus to Kyoto.

The bus wasn't packed and the 1.5h journey was quite comfortable.
Because unlike Malaysia, Japanese bus drivers don't impose their choice of music on the passengers. 

It was raining when we reached Kyoto, and we were lost, but a 7-11 cashier kindly left his shop unmanned, asked his customer to chotto matte and ran out of the station to point us in the right direction. (Perhaps because it was the capital of Japan, Kyoto residents seem more at ease with speaking English.)

After a torturous journey on foot (the cabbie we got smelt so bad and seemed even more lost than we were, so we exited the cab) we finally arrived at Capsule Ryokan, ie the budget section of our trip.

The shower and sink are in the bedroom itself. It's a bit weird and I wouldn't recommend Capsule Ryokan for travellers who don't want to see each other naked, because yes, the shower doors are not opaque. 

Eunice is sitting on the raised platform aka bed.
The platform is hollow so we can use it as luggage storage - however we left our luggage by the door as there was enough space (just!) and it is much more convenient than having to move things every time we want to retrieve something.

Capsule Ryokan is pretty hi-tech - the toilet lid automatically opens whenever you open the toilet door, and there is a maiko android by the entrance.

They also provide a sample itinerary and information on where to eat. 

Plus, the staff comes in to change our towels daily ((impressed.

The downsides are, as mentioned, the sheer shower doors; the lengthy distance away from major sights and the nonexistent Wifi. (When we complained about the Wifi, the receptionist looked so.. expressionless.. it freaked us out a little.)

Chocolate mochi with strawberry centre
After settling in, I found a mochi in my bag and ate it as a pre-dinner snack hahaha fat die! (But I'm willing!)

Then we walked to a nearby Japanese fast food chain for supper.

I had chicken and egg don -

Eunice had udon curry -

And then we rolled out the not-as-comfy-as-Kaneyoshi's-but-still-comfy futon and recharged our batteries for our first day of exploring in Kyoto~

(Honestly I'm starting to forget parts of my trip.. if I don't record this now I'll lose everything by June.)

*Food spots info from Randbb

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