Monday, February 29, 2016

Sake Kitkats

I spotted a box of sake flavored kitkats at 7-Eleven a few weeks ago and had to buy them. They're probably the weirdest flavor I've ever had (though thankfully not the most unpleasant).

They're coated in white chocolate with sake powder mixed into it. And they really do taste like sake. Surprisingly so. Something about the flavor combination made me think of bananas, but John thought I was crazy.

I wouldn't buy more than one package, but they're definitely worth trying once.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Continent 5: Australia

John and I have argued for a while over whether my visit years ago to Tonga counted as visiting a new continent. You can make the case that it's part of Oceana and that Oceana is really the continent that Australia is part of. But John wouldn't every really accept that argument, and now it's a moot point because we've both been to Australia!  

We only had time to visit Melbourne, though it seems like most people that visit Australia go for several weeks and travel all over. It would have been amazing to see Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef too, but we still had a great time. It was interesting because Australia felt different and foreign, but also totally familiar being an English speaking country with similar historical roots.

A lot of our time was spent on tennis. We had one whole day at the Australian Open, and another half day on the lawn outside, watching matches on the giant TV screens for free. The matches we had tickets to turned out to be great. When you buy them in advance you don't actually know who you'l be seeing, you just have to cross your fingers. And miraculously we ended up seeing Federer play Djokovic in the semi-final.

Another highlight was a day long wine tour we took that was fun, beautiful, and delicious. Not only did we visit four wineries we got to do a cheese tasting at a little country store and a chocolate tasting at a giant candy store. After the day of wine tasting we had a five course dinner at an 89th floor restaurant. As a Christmas gift John's brother and his wife made a reservation for us at this restaurant and prepaid for our meals to surprise us on the trip! It was so pretty to watch the sun going down and the lights starting to sparkle through the city while we had even more wine and lots of yummy food.

It seems like before we knew it the trip was over and we were back in Japan, and now it's almost hard to believe we were actually there. We did a terrible job of remembering to take pictures, but here's what I did manage.

Lying in the grass watching tennis and drinking beer - a perfect Australia Day!
I can't believe I've forgotten the name of the winery, it was so pretty!
The Yarra Valley
Chandon Vineyard
Super fancy dinner
Night view of Melbourne
Serena v. Radwanska
Djokovic v. Federer
You're not likely to find this in Tokyo

Friday, February 19, 2016

41 Hours in Bangkok

On our way to Australia we decided to stop over in Bangkok for two nights. I don't think either of us knew exactly what to expect, but after our time in Vietnam and Cambodia we were excited to see more of Southeast Asia. Of course two nights and one day was barely enough time to scratch the surface, but in a week of vacation it was all we could spare.

I think we would agree the food was the highlight for both of us. Honestly, every place we've gone in Southeast Asia I've been incredibly jealous of the food. That's probably ridiculous to say considering how many Japanese dishes I like, but I find myself thinking it every time.

During our time we were able to meet up with a Thai friend who lives in Bangkok, visit the Grand Palace and another temple complex - Wat Pho, drink several Thai iced coffees, lounge at the hotel pool, visit a rooftop bar on the 66th floor, take several boat rides across the river, and eat pad thai on the street. Definitely a whirlwind, but we hit a bunch of highlights.

When I blog about our trips I like to leave as many travel tips for others as I can, and while I don't have that many this time I think I can sum them up quite concisely.

1. Wat Pho was much more enjoyable and much less crowded than The Grand Palace.

2. This was the hardest time we've had with taxis. It seems helpful to have the address written in Thai AND the phone number of where your going in case the taxi driver doesn't know where the address is.

3. Traffic is supposed to be terribly congested and frustrating, but on the weekend it's much more manageable.

The city was so full of color and flowers. Unfortunately it was pretty rainy and gray while we were there, so I'm afraid the photos didn't quite capture the vibrance. But here they are all the same.


At the Grand Palace

At Wat Pho
I wish I could buy mangos on the street in Tokyo
Afternoon relaxation at the Peninsula pool
Dinner at Thip Samai
This orange juice was so fresh and amazing!
Pad Thai
Lebua Skybar - 66 floors up

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sick Days

Hello blogging world. It's been pretty quiet around here. Did you think I ran off to Thailand and Australia and decided never to come back? Not exactly. We had such a fun trip, and I really do intend to blog about it, but between all the flying and not enough sleeping I must have picked something up. A couple days after we got back I came down with a cold, and then just when I thought I was better it came back twice as bad. I don't even mind the actual sickness as much as I mind not being able to see Raku and her new baby. It's so frustrating!

Just a hint of our vacation
Baking cookies the one day I thought I was better
Spicy pork ramen is at least as healing as chicken soup