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My first day in Japan mostly involved travel. We arrived at our hotel at almost 5:30pm. There wasn’t much time except eat dinner and do a bit of walking around. I was so tired… didn’t really feel all that well that evening. So DAY 2 was my first FULL day of walking, eating and sightseeing.

KOBE: Chinatown and Ramen!

It was a very cold two degrees outside. I wore between 2-4 layers of clothing; but it still felt a bit cold. We wasted no time and headed straight to Kobe to visit Chinatown (Nankinmachi and Motomachi areas). I saw an arch that is all too familiar in any Chinatown. Of course, I had to take a picture.

There were also a lot of shops lined up, ready to be explored!

We ate at a nearby Ramen place for lunch. It had a vendo machine outside where you could select then pay for your order. A slip of paper will come out; and that’s what you’ll hand in to the cooks inside. I ordered a bowl of pork chashu ramen and it set me back a mere 780 Yen (cheaper than some local ramen restaurants). The bowl was pretty huge but I finished it. It was so delicious! Perfect comfort food for the cold weather.

the vendo machine where we placed our orders and instantly paid for them. no need for waiters!

the interior was just one deep hallway where customers sat next to each other.

if you think this tastes as good as it looks, you’re absolutely right!

There was around two hours to kill after lunch; so of course I went shopping! First thing I bought (which I didn’t really plan on)… a Canon EOS M mirrorless camera. This is one of my wish list gadgets; and my brother suggested I check it out. The tag price had quite a huge difference already compared locally, the added discount for travel tax made it even cheaper! It was the right decision to purchase it right then and there. The seller gave me a free 4GB SD card to boot.

I bought the white Canon EOS M model with both lenses and flash attachment.

the store where I bought the camera from

After doing a bit of shopping, we took a taxi and headed to Europe Town (Kitano Ijinkan Foreign Residences). As the name implies, the tourist spot featured a couple of Western-style houses and structures that are really pretty. We didn’t really have time to go in; so I just took pictures. It seemed like I wasn’t even in Japan!

We then walked to the station heading back to Osaka; and I saw some more pretty sights, including a really pretty set-up for a Starbucks branch.

cute Starbucks branch


MIDOSUJI: An Apple Store and A Beard Papa

Back in Osaka, we split up. My sister-in-law and I walked along the Midosuji Avenue, hunting for the Apple Store. We were buying an iPad Mini for my mom. Along the way, we stopped to buy Beard Papa Cream Puffs, which were absolutely wonderful (warm on the outside, cool and creamy on the inside). I don’t know why the franchise here in the Philippines doesn’t have the same quality.

Jackpot! found the Apple Store where we bought an iPad Mini

Beard Papa: best cream puffs I’ve ever tasted (so far)

DOTONBORI: Sights and Food Food Food

We walked back to Dotonbori where we stopped by H&M, walked along the many shops calling our name, ate authentic takoyaki and waited for the Glicos sign to light up in the evening. Beautiful!

just one of the many huge and colorful shop signs around Dotonbori

yummy shrimp takoyaki

infamous Glicos sign in the evening

Afterwards, we had dinner at a famous local restaurant. I had some beer and ate okonomiyaki. At this point, my stomach was really full with all the scrumptious Japanese food I had! It was a great final meal to cap off a tiring day.

okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake with  a whole lot of stuff inside

okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake with a whole lot of stuff inside. you top it with sweet or spicy sauce and a drizzle of mayonnaise for added flavor. it really went well with the beer.

Next up, I’m venturing on a solo trip; and I promise to share the experience.

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