Saturday, December 20, 2014

Osaka holiday

It was a last minute plan. We weren't planning on going on a holiday but when a relative invited us to join his family on a Muslim tour to Osaka, we couldn't resist. They had planned for the trip for quite some time. We on the other hand, had about a week to book our flight ticket, hotel, pay for the tour, buy winter clothes for the kids and maid! It was tiring!

Thank God for Uniqlo, we got most of our stuff from there. 

I insisted on taking my maid along with us as we needed extra help. So we had to shop for her too. New shoes, jackets, sweaters etc. That's why I hate winter holidays. Too much stuff to buy before the holiday itself!

We took Malaysia Airlines as usual. We collect Enrich points. Flight to Osaka was full and because we bought at the last minute, it was pretty expensive too. Economy ticket for my maid cost us almost RM2700 alone. Our business class ticket was double that. We took the same flight as the others on that trip. They booked a lot earlier and got really cheap tickets. Almost RM1000 less for economy class. Bummer. 



We also booked the same hotel as the rest. They decided on Swissotel Osaka. Turns out the hotel is perfect. Especially the location as it is connected to Takashimaya and another big mall called Namba. Because it was a last minute booking, the only rooms available was the Executive Rooms on level 33 of the executive floor. We had access to the lounge too, which was pretty good. The view from our room was amazing. 



The room itself was alright. Nothing to shout about. 

The tour that they took is the Muslim tour.   I must say it was pretty good. 

Day 1
Arrive Osaka at about 7am. Then we went to this fruit orchard to experience orange picking. Who would have thought we'd be picking oranges in Japan. Never in a million years. 

The oranges were quite yummy too. We bought some and ate at the hotel. Yum.

After that they took us to Rinku Premium Outlet. It's exactly like Johor Premium Outlet but this is bigger. We had packed lunch there too. They gave us some halal Indian food and it was super delicious. We had to eat it outdoors and it was freezing cold! 

After a few hours there, we visited a Masjid (I can't remember the name) and solat there. 


Next destination was the Kaiyukan Aquarium. Spent quite a few hours there. Kids loved it. 

Finally it was dinner time and we had dinner at a nearby restaurant at Tempozan called Babul Hayat


It is sort of connected to the Kaiyukan Aquarium. Food was quite good and the best was the Turkish ice cream! 

Yum!

Day 2
We had breakfast at the hotel and tour bus picked us up at about 8.30am. We spent the whole day in the historical city of Kyoto. Kyoto is about 1 1/2 hours away or so from Osaka. 

On the way to the first destination in Kyoto. We had a game of Bingo on the bus. It was quite fun! Everyone won something. Kids got excited playing too although they don't really understand the concept!

It was my first bingo experience! Haha

First destination in Kyoto was to visit the Kiyomizu Waterfall & Sannenzaka Street.
It is actually a temple up the hill and all the way up to the temple, you'll find all these amazing little shops selling all sorts of souvenirs. 

We didn't bother going inside the temple but we did walk all the way up.

On the way up and on the way down, we stopped by some shops to get some gifts for family and friends at home. 


We also found this little shop selling this yummy snack. It's halal too! 

Next we visited the Kyoto Islamic centre and solat. This centre is a few minutes walk from Rose Cafe. A Turkish cafe we went for lunch. 

Food was ok. Simple and nice.

After lunch, they took us to the Arashiyama Japanese Garden & Bamboo Grove. It's really pretty and cute. I love the walk. But it was freezing cold! 


Amazing Japanese architecture and I love how pretty everything is. I also love the colours. 


We spent quite a few hours there just walking around exploring the garden. Nothing much for the kids to do so they were quite bored! 


The bamboo looked so clean and nice. I love it. 


Next was lunch at the Matsuya Japanese restaurant. It was a traditional Japanese bento and it was quite tasty.

It was a long walk there! My mil almost couldn't make it! Poor thing. Luckily we brought strollers with us and the kids were sitting quietly in their strollers without much fuss. They were freezing cold too.

We didn't have to order anything as everything was pre ordered for us. It was a traditional Japanese Bento.

We were also given a piece of sashimi and tempura.

I was hoping we'd get to try all sorts of sushi but didn't get to. But nonetheless, I enjoyed my bento. It was my first time eating bento as normally I would just order sushi and sashimi and whatnot so this was surely a good experience. I didn't eat everything from the bento obviously but most of it I had was quite tasty! 

That was the end of our 2 days tour. The 3rd and 4th day was free & easy. 


Day 3
We opted for universal studios for the 3rd day. The tour company arranged our transportation to and from universal studios and also took us for dinner on the third day.

Universal studio Japan was quite fun. It is a lot bigger than Singapore and lots more fun things to do especially for the younger kids. We enjoyed ourselves a lot in USJ. 

Lunch was not provided and we had to walk out to find food. Food inside USJ aren't halal and not easy to find something you can eat. I mean, we were hungry and wanted a big meal and every big meal inside USJ weren't suitable for us. We were told even before we went inside that the only thing we can eat was popcorn! LOL.

We don't mind fish & chips or things like that but we didn't find any.

Since we only wanted to go for half day and didn't want to stay all day in USJ (unlike all the other tour group members)we decided to go out and have a meal at the Indian restaurant. Once you go out, you can't come back inside so we left USJ by 2pm. Our transport was supposed to pick us up to bring us back to the hotel at 3pm.

Food was alright but it's just weird how every briani rice is made from sticky rice.

After lunch, we took a stroll to HRC and got some souvenirs there. Then off to the hotel. We slept and rested for a bit. We didn't go anywhere after that but did walk around Takashimaya shopping mall before dinner. Takashimaya is a big mall and they sell quite high end products. Pretty expensive and high quality stuff.



The kids had fun at the Takashimaya kids club. It's a small play area but for some reason they love this magnet board! 

My daughter loved it too! While they were occupied at the play club, I took a walk downstairs at their food hall! Omg I was in love! Didn't help that I was also hungry!




All their fruits look so nice and pretty! I love it and we ended up buying some fruits to eat in the hotel later.

Then we took a taxi to the halal restaurant nearby to meet up with the rest of the group. We were supposed to walk to the restaurant but mil couldn't walk anymore and so we decided to take the taxi. 



The halal restaurant was alright. Mil was excited when she saw this egg thing to put toothpicks. She loved it so much she wanted to buy it. 

After dinner, we went back to the hotel to sleep! 

Day 4
We went shopping all day at Takashimaya. A lot of damage done!

Day 5
Woke up early to get ready to go home! We had breakfast at the Lounge and then waited for our transport to come and get us.

It was a calm morning. Can't believe our short trip has come to an end. 


Their airport is pretty boring. Nothing great and nothing much compared to our KLIA. Not many shops. 


Flight back to KL was ok. Food was crazy that I couldn't finish any.
In fact, the only thing I ate was the satay and appetizer! 


Home sweet home!

I love this short trip. We did so much and saw so many things! I wish we could stay longer. I hope to come back and visit Osaka again someday!
Friday, December 19, 2014

Toilets

Sorry I am still talking about Japan. So much to share actually! 

Before we went, everyone kept telling us about how clean their toilets are. We took their word for it and true enough, they are right!

Toilets in Japan are super clean and it doesn't have to be 5 star area, they are all clean. 


This is what normal toilet seat look like in Japan. This was taken in our hotel room but pretty much everywhere we went, the toilets are this type. Many buttons and funky like this.


Good part is the toilet is always dry unlike the toilets in Malaysia. I would rather hold my pee than to go to a public toilet in Malaysia. 

I wish Malaysia can be more like Japan when it comes to taking care of public places especially the toilets. When will we change? Our toilets are so yucky.




Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Proud

During our trip to Japan, my kids behaved really well. They didn't fuss much at all. I was so happy with the both of them. Not that they're normally naughty or anything but you know how it is, with kids, it's so unpredictable. You can never know with them. 

There were other kids on the trip as well and my kids were both super friendly and super chatty with them. Everyone was really impressed with them especially since they speak so well. Everyone wanted to know if they're already in school or not because both of them were super friendly and chatty with everyone, even with the elderly.

The thing I'm most proud of is when my kids say "thank you", "please", "no thank you" "yes, please" or "excuse me"..You know everyday words which even we adults sometimes take it for granted and don't say it enough. 

I can't take credit for it though because they got it from school. Not that we don't say it at home because we do, but they really stress it in school. The teacher there really make sure kids are well behaved and have good manners. Alhamdulillah. Unfortunately, in school they behave so well but at home, it's a different story. But nonetheless they're ok  normally. I shouldn't complain to much or jinx it! 

Occasionally I will get the "I love you, mummy" from my kids and I just love that feeling.

I'm a proud mother. Children will be children. At times they are cheeky and at times they try to push your buttons. Mine are no angels that's for sure but I'm so very proud of what they've become. I hope I can take some credit from it...

I hope they will grow to be awesome kids. I need to play my part and make sure I give them the best to prepare them for the future. InsyaAllah they'll grow to be responsible adults who can make a difference. 

Amin
Monday, December 15, 2014

Homemade Scented Playdoh

My kids love to play with PlayDoh. I don't know any kid who doesn't. 

Everytime we go to toys r us, we will end up buying something and often it's a playdoh set. We have so many I recently threw some of the sets away. I kept the few big ones only. 

Recently my friend started making them and I decided to order some from her. Hers are all homemade and safe for children even if they took a bite! 
They are scented too! 


They're priced at RM20 per set and each set comes in 7 awesome colours! 

Email me if you want to order them and I'll give you her contact details!

My kids had so much fun playing with them and since they're still in the frozen fever, they told me to build Olaf.

Here's our version of Olaf the snowman! 

Then my son wanted to have his own Olaf too! 

There you go! 

Ps: not a sponsored post. Sharing is caring. Just sharing what my kids love
Friday, December 12, 2014

Black Paint


After visiting the bamboo garden on day 2 in Osaka, there's a 20 minute walk to the Japanese restaurant. On the way there, you will find many shops along the way and our tour guide brought us to this one shop called Black Paint.

It is halal Japanese facial product store. Funny because the outside looked like a restaurant to me. 
As usual, being the vain pot that I am, I got excited and ended up buying this product. It is actually just a soap bar.


Last night when I got home, I tried it and I don't know if I'm seeing things but my face immediately looked brighter. So much so that my husband also wanted to try it.

These are all handmade soap and every piece is different in hardness, colour and etc because of the natural differences in the ingredients. 

I'm not too sure what the ingredients are but I love that it doesn't dry my skin unlike other soap bar type of cleanser. 

I hope this is good! Gonna give it a try.

My mil was saying.. What if it's good.. How are we going to replenish if we run out? Bad thing is, they don't sell in KL or online. Good thing is, the closest we can get this from is Singapore. 

Love it when I discover new things to try


Halal Restaurants in Osaka

For this trip to Osaka, we were blessed to be able to join the Muslim tour.  

Our tour guide is this 27 year old Muslim Japanese guy called Riyo and he's really cool. My kids love him and he gets on with the kids really well too. Anyway...

Our package consist of 2 days tour, 1 day USJ and 2 days of free and easy.

Let me share with you the halal places to eat that we've been to for this stay

Stall at Sannenzaka Street

This yummy stuff is to die for. Especially when it's freezing cold outside and this yummy stuff is hot! It taste like Yong tou foo but yummier because you don't need to eat it with a sauce. Love it
It's seafood or potatoes.

Turkish Food



This Turkish restaurant is called Babul Hayat near Tempozan. It is next to the Kaiyukan Aquarium. Food was ok, pretty good. The Turkish ice cream was my favourite. 

Rose Cafe

I'm not sure what kind of food this is but it is similar to Turkish food too apparently but slightly different from the one we went to.


It's a small little cafe. Food was ok. Soup was good. 

Matsuya Japanese Restaurant, Kyoto


Kyoto is about an hour away from Osaka. We visited bamboo grove and Japanese garden and this restaurant is nearby that area. Food was authentic Japanese food. I'm not too sure if this restaurant is only serve 100%halal food but they are able to make halal bento for you.

Muqam
This restaurant serve halal Chinese / Uzbekistan-ish type of food. 
This salad is quite nice. And I'm not a salad person!


We had rice and some weird noodle stuff and it was quite tasty. 
Best part was this dessert. Nothing fancy. It is actually just plain yogurt with mixed nuts and raisins and sprinkled with sugar. It's so simple but yet so tasty. I asked them what this is called and the lady said it has no name. Interesting! I don't know what to call it but yogurt, I guess!

We've only had Japanese food once throughout our whole stay because it is not easy to find halal Japanese food. The population of Muslim in this country is apparently less than 1% and if I heard it correctly, only 5000 plus of Muslim so maybe that's why Muslim food is not so easy to find here.

Most of the Japanese restaurants here serve pork and a lot of it too because the meat is very cheap and popular here. Funny how we seldom see pork in Japanese restaurants back in KL. Also they use a lot of wine in their rice and food to make them shiny and to make the food look good. So even if they don't serve pork, they most likely use wine in their cooking a lot.

Funny how we eat a lot of Turkish and middle eastern food here in Japan instead of trying Japanese food but that's how it is. 

Oh and another thing that I want to mention is every rice here is like sticky rice. We had briani that day (packed food by the tour agent) and it was very delicious but they are not like those briani rice we get in Malaysia.
They're made from those sticky rice. Even the Turkish food, the rice are all sticky rice. Taste good but just weird eating sticky rice all the time. That's very Japanese.!