Okonomiyaki in Akihabara

DSC_0817Two years ago when I went to Japan with my parents, we were walking around Ikebukuro and we couldn’t find any place to eat. We stumbled upon a cute little local okonomiyaki restaurant… we didn’t even know what okonomiyaki was! We knew no Japanese and the waiters, waitresses and manager did not know any English. With some random stirring and a lot of staring at the table next to us, we figured it out!

Of course, when we went to Japan this time we had to hit up a big okonomiyaki restaurant with ALL the works! If you’re at Akihabara and you cross under the tunnel adjacent to the station, there’s a tall building with several floors, one of which is dedicated to food. There are a variety of restaurants but I had my heart set on okonomiyaki.

DSC_0863For those of you have never heard of okonomiyaki. Okonomiyak is a sort of Japanese pancake consisting of a selection of meats and vegetables. Okonomi means “what you like” and yaki means “cooked.” Basically, you start off with a batter consisting of egg and yam, you can choose what you’d like to have in it before mixing it all together and throwing it onto the grill. You can also have okonomiyaki with yakisoba (fried noodles) mixed into it; recipes and ingredients will vary depending on where you are.

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I did prior research to my trip and Fugetsu had many positive remarks. I’m glad to say that they didn’t disappoint. For first time okonomiyaki eaters, Fugetsu is a really great restaurant to start because there are English menus, the staff know limited English and a waiter actually makes the okonomiyaki for you as you watch and take photos with your little tourist-chic camera. The service is probably one of the best parts of the dining experience. There’s always someone checking up on you and your food to make sure it’s cooking properly. As well, there’s a button to call for service as the restaurant gets pretty loud and rowdy.

The few desserts they offer are also super tasty and cute. We had frozen cream-filled strawberries and mini chocolate truffle cakes.

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If you’re in Electric Town Akihabara and you’ve shopped till the late hours, Fugetsu is a great place for some fun Japanese cuisine!

Thank you guys for reading and bon appetite!

– Cloudy

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Aropa @ K11

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Hi guys! As promised, I’m introducing another cute travel café that you should definitely stop by at. It’s called Aropa and is located in the K11 mall within the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station in Hong Kong. I had high tea there with my parents and a Tiramisu that was TO DIE FOR! Seriously, the tiramisu is the best thing there, with a steaming hot cup of earl grey tea and you’re good to go.

IMG-20130617-00025The best thing about this high tea was that there was a good balance between finger foods and dessert. Aside from cakes and mini sandwiches, they included tarts, some biscotti and other unique pairings.

The service is really great and if you go during the week there aren’t that many people because the café is located on the uppermost level of K11. If you’re planning on travelling to Hong Kong soon are you live around the area, I strongly suggest you grab a few friends and have tea there!

– Cloudy

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How Sweet is too Sweet?

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It has been grey and gloomy since I got back to Canada and the rainy weather can really get you down. So lately, I’ve been munching on these super sweet and fruit hard candies I got from Sticky in Hong Kong. Located in K11, underground in one of the branches of Tsim Sha Tsui’s giant MTR station, these candy makers are cool and collected professionals even as they handle hot and gooey hot candy.

IMG-20130617-00035Inside the store, there are tons of flavours and designs to choose from. Every candy is made and designed to show a little picture
or words settled in the innards of the candy. The candy starts off as a giant roll and chunk of hot mouldable sugar. The candymakers keep rolling and stretching the candy till the roll becomes small and thin enough to cut into the little chunks that we pop into our mouths. The process is totally mesmerizing to watch!

K11 is a little mall within the station that specializes in confectionary and desserts. If you have a sweet tooth like me, it’s the place to go to for gourmet chocolates, specialty cupcakes and other tasty treats!

Thanks for tuning into another little travel blurb! Stay tuned for another feature found in K11!

– Cloudy

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Animate!!

DSC_1130Hi guys! Today I’m really excited to review this AMAZING store in Japan called Animate. It’s the largest retailer of anime, manga, hobby and game goods in Japan. Though I do love scoping the streets and stores for deals on figures, Animate is probably one of my favourite stops in Electric Town, Akhiabara just because it has all the new anime merchandise that I’m looking for this year (i.e. K Project or Karneval).

There are seven floors in total with each level specializing on a certain aspect of goods. The uppermost floor is a special feature floor, below that there is one floor for audio CDs, one for video and visuals, two for merchandise – separated into shonen and shojo goods, as well as one floor for manga and a ground floor for weekly manga magazines souvenirs and art books. From what they showcase in the store, you’re also given a pretty expansive outline of what animes are a hit, which games are new and what manga is being anticipated. It’s also a great place to look for cosplay!

I would definitely advise a trip to Animate if you’re looking for some sweet new merch and considering that there are thirty-eight stores spread out across Japan, it won’t be hard for you to find one wherever you happen to vacationing.

Check out these cool photos I snapped while browsing through the store!

 

– Cloudy

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When You Wish Upon a Star

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Hey guys! Today I’m also very excited to review Disneyland Tokyo! I visited both Sanrio Puroland and Disneyland in the same day so I spent a lot of time on public transportation that day. The great thing about Disneyland in Tokyo is that there’s a special discount ticket available for all ages after six in the evening which makes Disneyland not only a great tourist attraction for families, but for local couples as well.

Rating: 4/5 happy clouds4 Clouds Transparent

Of the handful of Disneylands that I’ve been too, this one is definitely small compared to the huge Disneyworld in Orland, Florida. However, despite its size, it has all the big attractions that Disneyland is known for. You can dive into Wonderland with the Alice in Wonderland teacup ride or fly through the universe in Tomorrowland with Buzz Lightyear. Whether you’re looking for laughs with Monsters Inc., hitting the Wild West, or looking for crazy rides in Adventure land, Disneyland Tokyo has all the main attractions that Disney parks are use to. I particularly liked the retelling of Snow White through ride and the story of Cinderella portrayed through the various visual art interpretations.

Due to the park’s 30 year Anniversary, there’s a wishing tree at the centre of the World Bazaar and tons of merchandise bearing 30th Anniversary golden commemorative bling. However, the highlight of my visit had to be the Electrical Parade that takes place after dark…

Be sure to check out Disneyland whenever you’re in Tokyo! There’s even fireworks at the end of the night so it’s a definitely a must on your list of attractions.  Hope you guys liked this review and thank you guys so much for reading!

– Cloudy

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A Small but Sweet World

Hi everyone! It’s been a while! I’ve just gotten back from Japan and I’m very excited to start posting reviews for you guys again. Thank you guys so much for being patient with me!

Today I’m gonna talk a bit about Sanrio Puroland. My mom’s a big Hello Kitty fan so we had to hit this little amusement park while we were in Tokyo. Sanrio Puroland is located a little far from the main area around Tokyo but it’s definitely reachable by the multiple transportation lines available in Japan that connect the cities.

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Rating: 3.5/5 happy clouds35 Clouds Transparent

Fans of My Melody, Keropi, Sugar Bunnies or other Sanrio characters will be awed and impressed by all the attractions that Puroland has to offer. The little amusement park is generally for younger spectators, and the shows include cute J-pop music and over exaggerated acting a little too enthusiastic for me. The three or four theatres showcase movies and plays all in Japanese. Foreign tourists may have trouble understanding but Japanese families with younger children anywhere from five to ten years of age will take great delight in the fairytale stories.

The highlight of my visit to Puroland would probably the Boatride. Much reminiscent of Disney’s “It’s a Small World” ride, this ride takes you through a number of different rooms each featuring a different set of characters… the last and most spectacular room features – you guessed it – Hello Kitty!! Also, collectors of Sanrio merchandise will be tickled pink by the grand gift stores that feature Sanrio character key chains, cups, plushies, bags, toys, stationary… and everything but furniture really (but only because it’d be too difficult to haul a Hello Kitty couch on the train and all the way back home LOL)

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Overall, Sanrio Puroland is worth going to see. The layout of the amusement park is indoors and despite its small size, it has much to offer. The food is all-you-can-eat Restaurant Yakata is cheap and comes with a show. As well, there interior is designed much like an enchanted forest that serve as an amazing background for some great family photos.

Hope you guys enjoyed this review. I’m very excited to share my adventures with you guys and more Japan posts are coming! Thank you so much for reading and I will talk to you guys very soon!

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– Cloudy

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Cloudy Says…

Hi everyone! For those of you wondering why I’ve suddenly gone crazy and posted three different reviews in one day, it’s because I’ve recently arrived in Japan and I may be too busy for the next few days looking for things to review to actually POST my reviews so hopefully these little rants and photos keep you guys busy. I’m so excited to check out Akihabara, Odaiba and all the other cool little stores and restaurants.

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(I promise to catch up on all my Karneval recaps and newly released manga reviews as soon as I can! I know a lot of you guys are waiting for those too)

Thank you guys so much for reading, liking and following! New ideas are popping up in my head everyday for new posts! Stay tuned for more!

– Cloudy

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House of the Dancing Waters Review

DSC_0259Hey guys! I recently visited Macau and as promised, today I’m gonna share a really awesome experience with you all. To be honest Macau never really appealed to me even as its deemed the Las Vegas of the East. Macau is filled with casinos and fancy shows. One of which is the House of the Dancing Waters, an aquatic cirque that showcases acrobatics, contortionists, beautiful dance and diving. It’s probably even more popular than Cirque de Soleil which has been running for quite a few years now.

Rating: 5/5 happy clouds 5 Clouds Transparent

I usually enjoy live performances and this show was no exception. Though tickets are a tad pricey. The production as a whole is worth the little cringe in your wallet. Relatively new, having opened for only 2-4 years, its still catering to audiences of all ages. However, from where I sat, kids and toddlers were crying left and right.

Despite the minor interruptions at the beginning of the show due to overly-excited and chatty tourists, I soon found myself thrown into a world of grand flips, spectacular dives, brilliant story-telling and stunning special effects. The music, written by Benoit Jutras fuses western and eastern to reflect the opposing elements of the story that unfold in pairs. The main theme and first song, “Dancing Water” is probably my favourite because it takes you back to the moment the lights darken and the fisherman appears, carefully rowing along the river, fate’s little incident that throws a handful of strangers into one strange story.

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The stage direction is absolutely brilliant. The production utilizes all the elements of visual art- line, shape, colour, form, balance, movement and repetition to create a three dimensional experience numerous times more exciting, extraordinary and immediate than cinema, stage or even broadway. Showcased in a 360 round theatre, spectators from any seat is able to perceive the story from their own unique perspective.

Here are some photos my dad grabbed while I was WAY too distracted to take my own photos. As always, lighting is extremely difficult to gauge on stage…

The elements of water, light and fire are manipulated in conjunction with one another to create stunning effects that lend weight to the storytelling. The transitions are utterly seamless. And that’s what stage magic should be. Due to my background as a dancer and experience on stage, I can usually deduce the workings behind stage magic. This time, I’m really stumped. One minute we’re watching the fisherman dive into the lake, next he’s crawling onto shore. The set is immensely flexible, able to transform into multiple platforms, and act as a medium for water effects as well as acrobatics

If you get the chance, take a trip to Macau, even for just a day. Try the Portuguese styled egg tarts, porkchop buns and grab some yummy souvenir samples as you shop around. Be sure to catch the House of Dancing Waters and maybe try your luck at a casino. The City of Dreams awaits!

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– Cloudy

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Café Kool Review

IMG-20130623-00153Hi everyone! I am ecstatic to share with you guys and all-you-can-eat restaurant in a hotel where the food is absolutely delish. For the many all-you-can-eat places I’ve been to, the food gets worse and worse as I return to the restaurants every few months. Cafe Kool is one of, if not THE best all-you-can-eat restaurant I’ve ever been to.

Location: Tsim Sha Tsui, inside Shangri-La Hotel

Rating: 5/5 happy clouds 5 Clouds Transparent

First of all, there is a wide selection of food. Whether you feel like Japanese sushi, Indian curry, Chinese dim sum or Mexican quesadillas, there’s something for everyone.. Salad DIY bars are super fun and at Kool there’s a noodle bar, pasta bar and sushi bar.

The layout of the restaurant is wide and flat. All the main foods are located in the far inner areas while desserts are right at the front of the restaurant, easily visible when you walk in. The room is lit with mellow amber lights for golden ambiance but you might be too busy enjoying the food to notice LOL

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The dessert bar is my favourite. Since dessert is the last part of the meal, its usually what people remember the most (well, aside from the lobster). A lot of all-you-can-eat restaurants stuff you full with the main dishes and expect you to skip dessert (which means they’re dessert probably sucks). What I love the most about his dessert bar is that its a fusion style of both western treats and Chinese sweet soups and cakes. We should scream because there’s also ice cream that follows a Tim Horton’s Coldstone style. You first select a number of flavours or toppings. Then the chef behind the counter will mix and mash everything together to create your own unique tailored sundae. Don’t forget to choose your favourite syrup!

The meal also comes with one free drink, ranging from HK styled lemon tea to English earl grey or coffee. There’s definitely something for everyone here, even the pickiest of eaters will be delighted at the different delicacies.

If you’re around Tsim Sha Tsui looking for a good meal or you need a place to plan a special dinner, go ahead and book a table at Cafe Kool. Word of warning if you’re thinking of making date night here, it gets pretty loud due to the flood of tourists staying at the hotel (and the number of screaming kids) especially in the summer months. It’s a great place for a big family dinner. Hope you guys enjoy the food here as much as I do! Cheers!

– Cloudy

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