November 29, 2011

Japan - journal #1


Yes i am very lucky to have the chance to visit this sakura country for the second time :D Although the first one wasn’t really a great experience :p *lesson learned: going with a group tour only prevent you from having an adventure, and it’s money-wasting, really*
I’m quite a lazy person, but i swear when it comes to traveling, i would plan my own journey from now on :)

What i love most about traveling is that you get so many experiences on the journey. You make new friends and you get to see that there’s people who live life differently from your way of life :)

I’ve decided to write journals about my trips. I can’t say that traveling is my passion, but i sure do love to travel every once in a while :) I’m not a backpacker either. Maybe a semi-backpacker :D I can’t afford expensive airlines and hotels, but i’m also not the kind that can sleep-in-parks when i run out of money XD

So here i am, being a so-called-semi-backpacker, trying to share my experiences in this blog :)

Japan is one of the most expensive country i’ve ever known (besides Europe of course, can’t even afford to go there XD) and that’s why i have to be careful with my spending there.

The first one i would blog about, i think, is about food :D

10 days exploring Japan, i haven’t tried all the recommended food there, because it’s pretty expensive. I was traveling with my friend, and for days, we limit our spending by eating in Matsuya and Yoshinoya (the two are considered the cheapest restaurant in Japan > kalo di Indonesia udah termasuk golongan warteg euyyy) XD, and only twice a day :) It’s not that we were that poor, but they served a really generous portion, so for us, eating just two times per day is more than enough :)

What i noticed after days going to Matsuya, is that the customers are 90% male.
Mostly youngsters, some old men, and some are business men, which i assumed (personal opinion) were working out-of-town at the time. I mean, if they have a family, usually the wives would prepare a bento for them, right? :D

Personal curiosity: if most of the customers are male, why they use an actor rather than an actress for the poster? :D

The most favourite menu there is gyuudon (a bowl of white rice topped with beef and onions), and the cheapest one too. They have 3 sizes usually : Nami (standard), Omori (big), and Mega (very large). For me, nami is always more than enough :)

The gyuudon is usually served with a bowl of miso soup and a cup of hot tea. Besides gyuudon, they have other menu like buta-niku (pork), beef-kare, hambaagu (hamburger beef served with rice) and rice with poached egg and lots of spring onions. There are also side dishes like salad, sunny side up, kimchi and sausages. But i learned that we can’t order just the side dishes (tried it one day and was being laughed at by the waiters there :p well, lesson learned XD)

We don’t ask the waiter for the menu like here in Indonesia,
we have to choose ourselves what menu we like from the vending machine,
and then give the ticket to the waiter and they will serve the food soon.

If you want a takeaway meal, you should help yourself for the plastic spoons and chopsticks and sauces and plastic bags. The waiter will only prepare the food.
They are highly independent, the Japanese. So don’t expect anyone to serve you :)

So i usually have the same menu, gyuudon (240 yen),
which i sprinkled with lots of chili powder. :D

They have a set of sauce-choices there. On the picture from left to right:
1. Goma sauce : tasted like peanut butter sauce here in Indonesia, only less creamy.
2. Furensu : french dressing for salad
3. (I can’t read the kanji...anyone can help? :D) but it tasted like the plain salty soy sauce
4. Karebi: ummm i forgot what it tasted like...sorry >.<
5. Babekyu : barbeque as you can guess :)
6. Pon-something (again, can’t read the kanji, sorry) : tasted like a soy sauce, i can’t taste the
difference between the number 3 and number 6
7. Chili powder
8. Shoyu: Japanese soy sauce

There’s also mayonnaise, which tasted more sour and lemonish than the usual mayo.

This one is a buta-niku dish (350 yen).
Minced pork, poached egg, grated grilled ginger, sprinkled with nori.

This is a set dish in Yoshinoya (ask for “teishoku” if you want a set dish)
(about 440 yen if i'm not mistaken).
Rice, beef, salted salmon, miso soup, and i’m not sure what is the red thing,
maybe umeboshi? (sour plum).

Another not-so-expensive restaurant is Suki-ya. They have more varied menu, this one is gyuudon with enoki and some sauce i forgot the name.

I ordered gyuudon with mozarella cheese.
The cheese melted because the rice’s heat and tasted yummy! :D

They also have chicken menu.
Much more choices compared to Yoshinoya and Matsuya.
A bit more expensive but still affordable :) The prices starts from around 380 yen i guess.

This one is omurice (buttered rice wrapped in fried egg, with choices of sauce.
This one i ordered is tomato sauce with spring onions and cheese.

This is my friend’s choice. Omurice with enoki cream sauce.
Tasted great but i can imagine i would end up feeling nauseated if i gobbled all down XD
The price is quite expensive, almost 1000 yen for a plate of omurice
and a cup of hot chicken broth, but the portion is large.
I shared mine with a friend, and half a portion is enough to make my tummy happy :D

Dessert: pumpkin pudding with ice cream! XD

We had the chance to visit yakitori-ya in Osaka.
You can choose the fried one or the grilled one, with various choices like chicken,
squid, mushrooms, fish, etc
The fried one is usually eaten after dipped in the Japanese soy sauce.

This one’s called Dororoyaki. Some kind of okonomiyaki, but using kani (crab meat).
Basically it’s scrambled egg with crab meat, to be eaten with shoyu.

If you go to Osaka, you should try the takoyaki! They are bigger in size, and sometimes are eaten with senbei (forgot to take the picture, sorry). You can choose the topping. There are cheese, tamanegi (spring onions), katsuobushi (grated salted fish), and the original sauce.

This is ikayaki (grilled squid). Tasted like...grilled squid.
Haha sorry! I’m not good at describing food :p

Dango! Soft mochi dipped in a caramel sauce and peanut-butter powder.
300 yen for 5 skewers. Pretty nice for snacking while strolling around.
You can find many of these in Nakamise Street, Asakusa.

I took a picture of this only because the shape is funny! Didn’t get the chance to taste it.
This is a baumkuchen cake. Or so they wrote it :)

Sushi! Very fresh ones from Tsukiji fish market. A plate with choices of maguro (tuna), sake (salmon), clam, shrimp and tamago (egg). The wasabi is inside the sushi. Served with a bowl of miso soup with shrimp broth and little oysters inside. 1000 yen for 8 sushi and a bowl of soup. Quite expensive but worth the taste :)

In sushi ya, you can choose the maguro (tuna) in 4 grades: oh-toro (high class), chuu-toro (middle class), toro (standard) and akami (the lowest grade which has no fat in the meat). The tuna in the picture above is chuu-toro, because we can’t afford the oh-toro XD

These are uni, sushi topped with urchin! :D First time tasting this recommended by a Japanese friend. The urchin tasted like cold salty jelly, but it’s delicious for me (oh well i’m an asian, a chinese in particular, so i pretty much eat anything edible :p)

Here’s an interesting video of a Japanese tradition of sushi-eating XD

Tsukiji fish market, where the freshest fishes go for an auction every morning.

This is fugu (bloat fish), the most expensive culinary in Japan. 1 fish costs 10.000 yen!! And the chef must be very experienced because the fugu is poisonous. Hope to try it someday :D

Another interesting fact in Japan is that they sell warm soups in the vending machine! There are corn soup, potato soup and oshiruko (red bean soup). The red sign’s read atatakai or attakai (hot) and the blue one’s read tsumetai (cold)

Phew! I think this is it for now. This post is actually for a good friend, Opiq, who cooks better than his female friends! :D Will be back with other stories after i get my works done. Holiday’s over. Time to get back to reality *sniffs* :(


  1. うらやましい~ >,<
    ayo lagi lagi :-D

  2. woaaahh.. japan!! *envy haha.. sepertinya asik sekali

  3. Ahhh , that was fun!

    I remember Japan has vending machine lines up for everything. It was an amusing scene, considering in Malaysia, vending machines are almost extinct!


  4. ihhh asiknya cecilll.. *elus2 perut*

  5. woooo penampakannya menarik banget...tapi...tapi...kok babi...susah gak sih nyari yg halal di jepang?

  6. Ci Cecile, atau cici tipo? XD masih ingatkah padaku? LOL
    Gila baca entry ini jadi laper.....

  7. thanks for this posting, mbaak!! januari aku ke yokohama 2 bulan.. dan seneng bisa dapet bocoran makanannyaa! catet aahh.. ihihhi

  8. @ Sun: yuk bareng! XD
    @ Sabila : iya asikkk, alhamdulilah banget berkat tiket murah bisa kesana :D
    @ Azreen: i knowwww hahaha same here in Indonesia :D
    @ Uwie : *elus-elus kantong yang hampir kosong sekarang*
    @ Grandis: iya agak susah, mesti banyak nanya mana yang halal mana yang enggak XD
    @ Sisca : ingetlaaah masa enggak hehehe
    @ mbak Ria: uwaaahhh asiknyaaa :D Aku gak sempet ke Yokohama! Nanti cerita2 yaaa :D

  9. ceiiiiiii..itu foto2 makanannya mirip sama yang suka ada di film kartun 'Born to Cook' jaman dulu deh, hihi :))

    *ellllaappppeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr :p~

  10. Cil. kalo ngak ngerti kanji gimana doongg!?? kikikikik *ketawa panik