Sado Island – Day 1(b)

Sado Island

Setting off from the bus station for our 45 minutes bus journey to Aikawa from Ryotsu port.

Sado Island
Almost empty streets, shutters down on most of the shops and everything just oozed of 80s feel.

Sado Island

That weekend was the Tanabata Festival celebrations, some places in Japan still follows the lunar calendar for some festivals. Some families were preparing the bamboo for hanging the wishing stars.

Sado Island
View from our onsen hotel, Mancho in Aikawa.

crawly baby

Gone are the days where you can just lie down and be a vegetable when you check in. We still have to entertain an active baby who was crawling non stop and exploring many places.

Niigata Sake
Just how much drinks we had that night with our family. I think the reason they gave was “we have to try the different Niigata flavors”

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The tip of the ice berg of how much we were to eat.

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The grilled dish

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The cold cooked dish – crab legs

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The sashimi

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The grilled beef cubes.

Onsen Dinner Day 1
Another grilled fish with sauce

Onsen Dinner Day 1
Deep fried dish of vegetable tempura and local fish head

Onsen Dinner Day 1
The hot plate dish of abalone slices with butter. Yes, Japanese love to eat the intestine of the abalone too.

Onsen Dinner Day 1

Squid ink steamed rice.

Onsen Dinner Day 1
Amond jelly with orange for dessert. Too much food right? I was super super stuffed.

Sado Island
Took a walk around the hotel

Sado traditional dance
nightly Entertainment from the hotel with traditional Sado dances.

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Sado Island – Day 1(a)

Sado Island

It was a long long journey for us to head to Sado Island for our family trip. We had to take a train from where we lived to Omiya, changed to a 1.5 hours ride on the shinkansen, then another 1 hour on the jetfoil to Sado Island and another 40 minutes of bus ride to arrive at our accomodation in Aikawa. Sado Island
It is about 15 minutes by bus from Niigata Station to the ferry terminal, but we took a taxi as we were rushing to catch the connecting jetfoil. It only takes 60 minutes by jetfoil to arrive in Sado Island (but almost 6000JPY for 1 way trip) and it is about 2 hours by ferry (but much cheaper at 2500JPY)

Sado Island

We chose to take the jetfoil so that we can arrive at our destination faster. I was initially worried that it might be a choppy ride but lucky for us, it was good weather and hence baby M enjoyed her first jetfoil cruise. Sado Island
As we were at the port area and it was their Sea summer Matsuri at that time so we got to see many decorated boats

Sado Island

Breastfeeding seats on the jetfoil which was clean and spacious, a very good gesture for mummies.

Sado Island
Finally arrived at Sado Island port, it was already 2 pm when we arrived. We were so famished!

Sado Island

Welcome to Sado Island

Sado Island
Everything on this island were pretty retro, made me feel I stepped back at least 10-15 years in time.

Sado Island

A lot of souvenirs were gold related due to their gold mining history on this island. Welcome to Sado
Off we go hunting for lunch near the Ryotsu Port.

Sado Island Day 1 lunch

See the plastic fake food also looked so weathered. Sado Island Day 1 lunch
But seafood was great on this island.

It has been a year since Baby M

Hello all, welcome to my almost dead blog. Yeah, it is really mission impossible to keep up a blog (though I love to) when you are a full time working mother. After the baby sleeps in the night, the only thing I want to do is just chill out instead of facing in front of my computer. Now that I have some free time due to a small medical reason that would keep me home bound for a few weeks. I take the time to clean up my photos and go back to writing in this blog while I can.

Being a half baby with Japanese and Singapore heritage, Baby M gets to celebrate events of both races. We try to keep up to most of the main Japanese events even though we are now living in Singapore.

Omiyamairi (初宮参り) typically done 1 month after the birth of a baby for their first visit to the shrine. We only did it 4 months after her birth. We didn’t dressed up the tradition way when we visited the shrine but we did a photoshoot to commemorate the event.

Omimari

We took family photos with us dressed in Kimono, Baby M with the traditional bib loaned from the studio but she donned the baby kimono hand sewed by great grandma and wore by her grandfather, granduncles, father, uncle and aunt. Typically, a girl would don the red/pink kimono wore by her mother but we decided that it would be more special to wear this boyish kimono instead.

Okuizume

Typically celebrated 100 – 120 days after the birth of a baby, Okuizume (お食い初め)is a ritual held at home and involves the infant being fed for the first time so that they never go without food during their life. We celebrated it for her only when she was 4 months since we were back in Japan for the New Year. The basic menu is one soup, three sides, and a whole sea bream. This combination is called an iwai-zen (“celebration meal”). The menu consists of

  • Sekihan (rice steamed with red beans) A popular dish for auspicious occasions.
  • A whole sea bream with head and tail which is also a symbol of wealth and prosperity.
  • A simmered dish
  • A pickled dish
  • A clear soup
  • A hagatame-ishi (“tooth-hardening stone”), “Biting” a smooth pebble is an act to ensure the growth of strong healthy teeth.

Okuizume
Usually fed by the oldest member in the family, so grandpa did the honors.

Repeated three times, the general order goes like this

Rice > Soup Rice > Fish Rice > Soup
Rice > Simmered dish Rice > Soup Rice > Pickled dish
Rice > Soup Rice > Hagatame-ishi Rice > Soup

However, Baby M started to fuss and hence we had to do this really quickly. The stone is usually picked up from the shrine but Sushi Papa says we would just make do with the stone from home (which was actually a piece of jade!)

Japan New Year

Receiving her first red packet in Japan. Then another month later, she received her red packets in Singapore for Chinese New Year too.

Girl Festival
March 3rd is Girl’s Day in Japan. The day is called Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival) and on this day they wish and pray for the future happiness of all girls. Families who have girls would display their special Hina Dolls but they must keep these dolls before the end of March 3 if not it would result in a late marriage for the girls. Typically, a traditional placement of dolls is about 5 platforms ranging from the Emperor and Empress etc. In our case, we just celebrated simply by buying a card that represented the 5 platforms and bought some ready made sakura mochi. (a card is easy to keep right?)

Akachan Honppon 1st Year event

We went back to Japan in early August to celebrate her 1st birthday with our Japanese family. We were lucky that during the week that we were there to grab a slot for their popular free 1st year tradition celebration in Akachan Honppo.

Akachan Honppon 1st Year event
First would be carrying the Issho Mochi (一升餅) which is about 1.8kg on the back of the baby. Issho (一升) shares the same homonym with 一生 (lifetime)so this ceremony is to wish for the child through their life to be blessed with health, food and Enman (円満).

円満 represents perfection, harmony, peace, smoothness, completeness, satisfaction as well as integrity. It is ok for the baby to fall when carrying this mochi as this is to let the child know that life is full of ups and down.

Akachan Honppon 1st Year event

However, our dear baby M did not make any attempt to stand or crawl with the load. She just moved a little with her tiny butt and just sat there looking at me. Well, at least she didn’t cry like the rest of the babies. haha

Akachan Honppon 1st Year event
The baby that successfully stood up with the mochi but she was crying hard for her mummy.

Akachan Honppon 1st Year event

Next would be choosing their own career.

  • calculator – engineering or science field of career
  • pen – writer, artist, lawyer
  • money – rich
  • ball – sportsmen
  • mixer – pastry chef or chef
  • microphone – singer or actress

Akachan Honppon 1st Year event
No surprises that she choose something food related. But she choose money during her Singapore session so I am hoping that this means she would be a rich chef? haha

We has a simple stay home birthday celebration in Singapore on her actual day and I requested for a “1” cake that I had when I was 1 too. Sometimes, really retro back in our days.

Baby wearing
Life is no longer being able to go out with just a small bag, this photo is to remind me of the time I have to carry a full backpack with a baby in front of me and another carrier filled with ice panels and expressed breastmilk

Pumping in Ueno Park
Sipping coffee at Ueno Park’s starbucks was not the same in the cold winter day with me pumping breastmilk. But at least the weather was nice and lots of cute kids in the park.

Happy FIRST birthday, thanks to you we have such a wonderful year filled with tears and laughter.

Tobu World Square – Part 3

Tobu world square
Ishiyama-dera 747

Tobu world square
Yakushi-ji 680

Tobu world square
Itsukushima Shrine 1168

Tobu world square
summer matsuri

Tobu world square
Typical town in Japan

Tobu world square

Some professional photos of the themepark all year round Tobu world square

Tobu world square

So Pretty right?

Tobu world square

Tobu world square Tobu world square

Tobu world square Tobu world square

Close up photos of the little people used in the themepark.

Tobu World Square – Part 2

Tobu world square  Tobu world square
Roman Colosseum

Tobu world square
Parthenon

Tobu world square
Leaning Tower of Pisa. 1372

Tobu world square

St. Peter’s Basilica, 1626

Tobu world square
Château de Chambord, 1547. The fountains were really spraying water.

Tobu world square

The Windmill

Tobu world square
Eiffel Tower, 1889

Tobu world square

Buckingham Palace, 1703 Tobu world square
Buckingham Palace, 1703

Tobu world square

Neuschwanstein Castle, 1886

Tobu world square
Palace of Versailles, 1772

Tobu world square

Palace of Versailles, 1772

Tobu world square
Sacré-Cœur, Paris, 1919

Tobu world square

Sagrada Família, started construction in 1882 and still undergoing construction

Tobu world square
The troop at Cover Castle in UK

Tobu world square

Arc de Triomphe 1836

Tobu world square
So now we move on to Asia at Angkor Wat

Tobu world square

Taj Mahal 1653

Tobu world square
Forbidden City

Tobu world square

Forbidden city

Tobu world square
Temple of Heaven 1420

Tobu world square

Mogao Caves

Tobu world square
Great Wall of China

Tobu world square

Gyeongbokgung

Tobu world square
The latest addition would be Taipei 101 building

Tobu world square
Gaoxiong in Taiwan

Are we done yet? No we are not, we still have some Japan sights to go! Stay tuned

Tobe World Square – Part 1

I was really excited about visiting this theme park for my Kinugawa Onsen trip as I have not traveled for almost 1 year and I thought that it would be pretty amazing to be able to “go around world” in half a day.

Tobu World Square is a theme park with 1/25th scale miniature reproductions of the historic relics and buildings around the world. It took 5 years for preparation and costed 14 billion yen, and was opened in April, 1993.
The park consists of 6 zones: Japan, modern Japan, Asia, America, Egypt and Europe. 102 buildings, architecture in 21 countries, are finely reproduced. Of those, 45 pieces are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Tobu world square
Obligatory photo at the entrance.

First we set off in Modern Japan,

Tobu world square
National Diet Building, 1936

Tobu world square
Tokyo Station, 1914

Tobu world square
don’t you feel that it is almost real life?

Tobu world square
The Tokyo crowd at Tokyo Station

Tobu world square
tokyo station train platform

Tobu world square
This could almost pass off as the real crowd in Tokyo Station

Tobu world square
Tokyo Sky Tree, 2012

Tobu world square
The shopping crowd at Tokyo Skytree.

Tobu world square
Former Imperial Hotel, 1923

Tobu world square
Narita Terminal 2, 1992

Tobu world square
Taxi pick up at Narita Airport

Tobu world square
Akasaka Palace 1909

Tobu world square
Comparing both the Tokyo Tower and the Tokyo Skytree

Tobu world square
Japan fishing port with America zone in the background.

Tobu world square
So let us move on to the America Zone.

Tobu world square
Hello NYC!

Tobu world square
Empire State Building 1931

Tobu world square
White House 1800

Tobu world square
Hello Egypt!

Tobu world square
Look like the real desert?

 

Tobu world square

Great Sphinx of Giza

Tobu world square
Abu Simbel temples, 13 century BC

Looks fun? Stay tune for part 2 when we head to other parts of the world.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay – Asaya Hotel Meals

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
My favorite when I stay in Japanese onsen hotels……the inclusive meals.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Getting ready for dinner.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
The appetizers.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel

jelly made with clear soup with some fish and bamboo shreds inside. The other one was marinated fish jelly.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
At that time which was winter, so soy bean soup based hot pot was a popular tummy warming staple.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Soup in a teapot.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
My favorite would be Sashimi with fresh wasbai (nothing chemical)

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Grilled fish.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Cold noodles.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Gosh, there is more? Clam steam rice with miso soup.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Definitely some room for dessert.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Woke up in the morning for breakfast, we chose in room dining for this trip as it was more convenient to eat in the comfort of our room with a baby. Although you have to pay more for this option but I much more prefer this.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Hot tofu cooked in water and you dip it into the saucer with soy sauce for taste.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Breakfast condiments to go with your rice.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Grilled salted salmon.

Kinugawa Onsen Stay Asaya Hotel
Breakfast desserts.

Address:Japan, 〒321-2526 Tochigi Prefecture, Nikko, 鬼怒川温泉滝 813

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