31 March 2012

Tokyo/Kinugawa Onsen March 2012 - Part IV

Continued from Part I, II and III.

This is the last part of my trip recap and my fave!! Having been to Japan so many times, I thought that I won't really have that many things to buy this time round, but I was wrong :p I managed to fill my luggage :p Well, at least it wasn't overweight or anything :ppp

So here's the shopaholic sharing some of her favourite haul =D

Starting from food stuff.

Bought these Financiers from Pierre Herme at Isetan Shinjuku. Financier is one of my favourite pastry; and even since Patisserie Mont-Blanc at Jiyugaoka stopped selling Financiers, I'm on a search for alternatives. Previously I have bought the Financiers from Patisserie noix de beurre, also at Isetan Shinjuku, but this time I thought I would try from another Patisserie.

These did not disappoint, the original and chocolate were both moist and dense and I love them!
Bought these sauces at Shibuya Tokyu Food Show. The sauce on the left is tangy and suitable as dips for deep fried food and even as salad or tofu dressing. I saw the advert on TV and thought I had to give it a try. The sauce on the right is basically ketchup made using organic tomatoes and 30% less salt. Since dear son loves ketchup now, I thought this might be healthier for him. And yep, he loves it to bits, dipping everything with it! Even hubby thinks that this ketchup tastes quite "pure" and good.
Bought this yuzu honey tea from Shibuya Tokyu Food Show. I love yuzu tea and my first drink when I land in Tokyo is usually the bottled yuzu honey tea from the vending machine :) This is actually quite light, had to mix around 2 tsp to a cup of water to get a bit of taste.
These are my favourite lozenges for sore throat except for the purple one on the right which sucked (pun intended!). The apple one tastes really light and fruity and it makes the throat a little numb so instantly feel better. Have not tried the orange one yet though. They are be found at those older-style pharmacy, usually near the cashier counter.
Shiitake mushroom for braising and konbu (kelp, seaweed) for making soup stock.
Bought these Rare Cheese Pudding at Isetan Shinjuku. There's a counter for special promo, I tried some and fell in love with the rich and creamy taste of the cheese pudding.
Same counter, these are mini fruit jelly which I thought dear son would love. They can even be frozen and eaten as sherbet or ice lollies.
Chocolate and yuzu mochi, bought at the ryokan and Kinugawa Onsen Station. Hubby absolutely loves chocolate mochi and can finish one box of 12 pieces at a go.
Potato sticks, like the Jagabee ones. But these taste so much better coz they are made with Hokkaido potato! Bought these at the airport :) I like it that they are packed in small individual packets, so I won't over-indulge :p
Sakura crackers. The one on the left was bought at the airport, it was slightly saltish with just a touch of sourness, I like! The one on the right was bought at a convenience stall, a Calbee time limited product. It was more like a prawn cracker, was ok only.
Bought these strawberry cream chocolates (found at C-store) for my mum. She tasted many years ago and said they were very very nice.

Next, fashion and accessories stuff.
Jap fashion magazine. I just couldn't resist buying one. The Japs usually have seasonal catalogues for magazines, like Spring/Summer collection or something. And the attractive part, they come with free gift. For fashion magazines, usually pouch or tote bags; cookery magazine even comes with frying pan or spatulas. Got this particular one coz yes, of the Coach accessory travel pouch. I mean, this is usual right, I can keep my jewellery in this pouch when I travel. Not sure if Coach sells something like this? Anyway, some of the magazines are imported into Singapore and can be found at Kinukuniya. But the mark-up is 75%! Like this magazine cost 1300 yen (about S$20) but sold at Kinukuniya for S$35.

Bought this compression stockings at Tokyu Hands. It's exactly the Scholl stockings that we have here, but marketed under Medi OttO. The side of the box did state Dr Scholl. This is sold at Watsons at S$46.90, I bought it at 2363 yen which is about S$36.

I've been looking for a pouch to put my sunshades and I found a cute looking one at arrivee et depart, Trainchi, Jiyugaoka.

Freezer tote from Afternoon Tea. It keeps food cold, useful when I buy dairy stuff. Best part, it can be folded into a small pouch.
Water proof tote which can be folded and kept in a small pouch, from Laura Ashley. This is useful when I go grocery shopping, I can consolidate everything into just one bag.
Toddler clothes from MUJI. I've talked about it in Part II. Although the Spring/Summer collection is not available yet, I bought a few long sleeves for the cold weather, and some PJs. They do have sleeveless tees (sold in pack of 2) meant as inner wear during winter but I thought they can be just worn as they are in our weather.

Oh, one of my fave purchases for this trip! Got this at Isetan Shinjuku. I'm into polka dots and stripes now and it's like love at first sight for this bag. But then, do I need another bag?  I thought about it for a long time before buying and in the end succumbed to the temptation. This can be slinged or carried as a tote and very roomy which is suitable for travelling or as a baby bag. Now I use it when I bring my kiddo out, where there's room for extra clothing, water bottle, diaper, wet wipes, snacks etc. And I can has 5% tax rebate, yeah!

But when I was at the airport, there's a shop called Harajuku style (can't remember exact name) selling Agnes b merchandise at 20% storewide discount. Boohoo!!

Bakeware and zakka.
Got these at Kappabashi. Few years ago when I went to Kappabashi, I didn't buy the heart-shape chiffon pan and it was a big regret. So this time, it's a must buy! And, I've been looking for a long and slender pound cake tin in Singapore to no avail. The mini chiffon pan? Yes, it can be found in SG, but since I saw it, might as well buy it right?

Wax paper, plastic bags and cupcake cases. Wax paper seems to be in-thing now, coz I saw a lot of zakka shops selling them. I couldn't resist getting the mini cupcake cases in black, which look kind of chic. The plastic bags are wide-based and specially designed for cake boxes. I always have trouble finding bags to hold my cake boxes, especially when I have orders. And I don't like to use strings or ribbons, so these are perfect!
Some tools for making bread cups and I thought it's pretty cute. Found at Kappabashi.
From Loft. First, the masher tool on the top left. Although I have a potato masher, but it's plastic and isn't sturdy enough. I love this, it's small and handy and can mash eggs and potato effortlessly. The green pea like thingy is for washing small neck bottles, just drop them into the bottle, shake and the bottle is clean. The orange sticks are my favourite Anylock and they now come in mini size! Next, the Furi Furi Boy and Girl. Well, they are used to make rice balls, just scoop some rice into the container, close and shake, and you'll get perfectly round mini balls of rice in a second. I use it to make meat balls and it works fine too! And finally the magenta calculator cum timer. I've been looking for a magnetic calculator, as sometimes I need to do cut recipe quantities by half. The timer is a bonus, coz sometimes I do need 2 timers at the same time, eg. when I'm steaming and baking at the same time.
These are from one's terrace, Trainchi, Jiyugaoka. See, more wax paper. And just look at the cutesy muffin cases and the food picks, and the coaster.
From Natural's Kitchen. 105 yen (about $1.60) each item!

Great find from Natural Kitchen! Easy to keep.
Once opened, tadah! A 2-tier pastry holder. Only 315 yen!
I know I shouldn't be buying anymore body wash or soap as I have enough to last me for 2 years. But I just couldn't resist! On the left, yuzu flavour from MUJI (I love love love anything yuzu!), Sakura liquid soap from Afternoon Tea (it's seasonal and limited) and on the right, Elder Flower body wash, which I have bought before and love to bits.
Ok, something for the kiddo. This Anpanman toy is kinda cute. Can play anyway, not just the bathroom.

Cute little Pikachu mug. Kiddo loves to shake the ball and makes confetti fly around. His favourite mug now.

So there you have it, all 4 parts of my trip recap. Hope you have enjoyed reading and drooling at the photos as much as I enjoy writing and posting them :)

28 March 2012

Tokyo/Kinugawa Onsen March 2012 - Part III

Continued from Part I and II.

Our dinner was at 7pm at a common dining room with 3 other families. There were 3 timings to choose from, 6pm, 6.30pm or 7pm and we chose the latest timing. When we arrived at the dining room, the other 3 families were already halfway through their meals.

The appetisers were already pre-set at our table. Most of the time, we didn't know the ingredients of what we were eating, but they sure tasted good!
There was a small cup of wine below the coaster. Just took a sip since I was going for onsen after dinner, and I couldn't drink anyway.
Appetiser - some kind of cold tofu topped with yuba (specialty of the Tochigi Prefecture) in some kind of barley broth/sauce. Quite light and refreshing.
Appetisers - some pickles, fishcake, sweet dried fish wrapped with kelp (the one in the centre).
Appetiser - pickled cabbage, carrot and cucumber, with brinjal and a sauce (couldn't remember what now).
Sides - Braised yuba, beancurd and bamboo shoot.
Very very fresh sashimi. The prawn (was it nama abi or ama abi, couldn't remember) was semi-cooked, cooked on the outside while inside was still raw.
Rice, soup and pickles. The rice was so fluffy but I had to resist having more as there were simply too many dishes.
Love the Japanese pickles.
Main - Grilled fish and surprisingly, the brown piece on the right tasted like cake. Initially I thought it looked like otah otah but the texture was cakey though it was not sweet.
Main - Tempura fish and veg. The fish was trout, according to the host. Very nice!
Main - Claypot beef, with leeks, mushroom, corn and veg.
And finally dessert - a jelly-like beancurd, plain and blueberry flavour. At the end of the meal, we were so full we could barely walk! It's been a long while since we had such a sumptuous and heavy meal!
We took a slow walk back to the room where the futons were already laid for us. I had an hour to go before my massage appointment. So I quickly made my way to the onsen for a quick soak, before heading for the massage, whereas hubby lazed in the room.

After a nice warm soak and 45 mins of blissful massage, I went back to the room and fell asleep very soon after.

The next morning, our breakfast was supposed to be 8.30am. Once again, 3 timings to choose from 7.30am, 8 or 8.30am and we chose the latest again :p
I woke up at 7.30am since I slept quite early. Decided to go for a pre-breakfast soak in the onsen, since we were going to check out soon after breakfast. Hubby decided to continue his sleep.

8.30am, we were back to the dining room. The other 3 families had more or less finished their breakfast.
Look at the whole table of food again! After the heavy dinner last night, we didn't really have the appetite to finish so much food! And we weren't used to such heavy breakfast anyway. But well, we tried not to waste too much lah. And the food was once again delicious.
Veg cooked in light broth. There was bamboo shoot, burdock, carrot, peas, fish ball and yam ball (the one in light brown).
Cold noodles.
Another type of yuba.
Couldn't remember what this was. I think there were some bits of fish and veg.
Jap wild roots (veg).
Smoked salmon, pickles and bacon. The bacon was nice! The little parcel at the bottom left corner was some sort of sweet bean.
Chawanmushi, very smooth and custardy. I finished the whole thing.
Soft boiled rice in light broth. Very soothing for the stomach.
Handmade tofu with a tinge of ginger.
Miso soup.

Yogurt. More watery than our usual yogurt, slightly tangy and refreshing. We finished only half the amount of food on the table :(

After breakfast, we still had about an hour before check-out. Hubby went for a dip at the onsen, whereas I walked around the garden to take some photos.

The lovely garden.

It was quite cold, but the Ojiisan was cleaning the pond.
Beautiful koi.
Someone left a snowman at the bench.
The sound from the river was quite loud, could see that current quite strong.
Is this a pine cone? We don't see this in Singapore.

Water droplets on tree branches.
Blanket of snow covering the flowers.
I love the beautiful sight of the water droplets hanging at the tips of the branches. Well, my camera couldn't capture the essence of the sight.
Pretty little flowers at the lobby area.

Soon, it was time to check out (10am). Hope we could be back some day. I thought we had a pretty good deal, for the room as well as the meals, at 26300 yen for 2 pax (about $400).

The ryokan arranged this charming bus to take us to the Kinugawa Onsen Station.
We've been here many years ago, when we went to Yunishigawa Onsen and upon departure, came to this particular station for our return train.
A free foot spa near the station.
Just as we were about to leave, the sky cleared and the weather turned warmer. So, we were really lucky to catch the last bit of snow and cold weather.

We boarded the train bound for Shinjuku and slept the most of the journey. By the time we reached Shinjuku, it was close to 1pm. I wanted to shop at Isetan first, so parted ways with hubby and agreed to meet at 3pm at Shibuya Station. After a fruitful shopping trip at Isetan, headed back to Shibuya and met up with hubby.

Our super late lunch/early dinner was at this sushi bar at Shibuya. Was famished and forgot to take any photos of the sushi we ate :p Between the 2 of us, we ate like 20 plates of sushi! Couldn't find such fresh and cheap sushi in Singapore. In Japan, when we eat sushi, the amount of rice is just a little bit with large slice of fish, but in Singapore, it is the opposite.

So after the meal, we went back to Shibuya Excel Hotel, fetched our luggage and took the airport limousine bus to Narita Airport. Finally, back home after a whirlwind 4D3N getaway, shopped and ate till we dropped and a luggage filled with precious cargo :p

Stay tuned for the final part, my shopping haul!