Osaka Bound: Day Two

My dad is the very opposite of a Japanese person. He is loud, blithe, bouncy and obnoxious. On top of all that, he won’t stop making what he believes is a funny joke but what actually is, a highly inappropriate comment. God save me. And my mom, my mom keeps telling me mom-stuff like “slow down around the bends” and “always carry a cardigan.” They’re both annoying as hell but I couldn’t be happier.

Pics from top to bottom: a giraffe made entirely of lego at Lego Land, Osaka aquarium (on the schedule solely for my father because he loves fish), okonomiyaki for lunch which my parents told me they didn’t really like or didn’t like as much as ramen (no shit!) only after, and my favourite part of the day, shopping at Lucua. It was so nice to shop with my parents! For one year I’ve had no one to ask if jeans make my butt look big and guess what? Turns out they do tehehe.

Lastly dear follower, I want to share with you something unreal: I bumped into my Kiwi ex. In Osaka Station, in a city with a population of more than 3 million. And, during Sakura (cherry blossom) season when the peoples quadruply. What are the chances? It was fate. It must of been fate. For you know what I felt? I felt absolute and utter confirmation. That it ended for all the right reasons. That I am exactly where I need to be, that I did exactly what I needed. In the words of Rudy Francisco:

“Instead of asking
why they left,

now I ask,
what beauty will i create
in the space they no longer

The accuracy! I am so proud of myself and the beautiful life I live. John Green is right, “grief does not change you… It reveals you.” And in the words of Mary Maxwell:

“…under duress great things are born. Diamonds form in molten stone. The sweetest flowers of man’s spirit have most often been watered by tears. To struggle gives strength, to endure breeds a greater capacity for endurance. We must not run away from our heartbreaks in life; we must go through them, however fiery they may be, and bring with us out of the fire a stronger character, a deeper reliance on ourselves”.

I hope you too, can find the strength and courage to create beauty in place of life’s inevitable heartaches.image[3]image[4]imageimage[1]image[6]image[9]image[8]image[5]image[10]

Two Days!

I can’t believe how fast time flies. My parents bought their tickets to Japan 8 months ago! I remember texting my mother and saying  I couldn’t wait that long! Now they’re arriving in just 2 days! I literally cannot wait to share my life in Japan with them and our time in Japan, with you!

Here are some pics from the past few days… First, yours truly, all dressed up for the end of year staff party wearing the necklace my student gifted me. Next, the dinner set up.. isn’t it adorable? It’s sakura themed. That night, we ate many things which I didn’t photograph because 1. I wanted to enjoy the moment and 2. It was really bad lighting. Okay, mostly 2 hehehe. Anyways, we ate sashimi (raw fish), salad, rice balls, fried chicken, fried squid, fried octopus, fries and okonomiyaki (a savoury pancake). Third picture is a perfect example of how unhealthy some Japanese eat, an entire basket of ramen. Second last, banana and cacao nib muffins rising… Last but not least, pics of today’s stove-top granola, made for my parents. If you’ve read my bio then you’ll know my mum is the healthiest eater in our family. This granola is basically all she eats hehe. Recipe HERE.



Sister visit, final day 9.

As Deli and Andy were departing from Kansai airport, we spent our last day together in Osaka visiting Delaram’s high-school friend and now, my dear dear friend Yuka sensei and her adorable family. We shopped, sight-seed, sight-seed? is that a word? ate Osaka-style okonomiyaki, takoyaki (octopus balls) and kushikatsu (not pictured) and people-watched from the upstairs Starbucks lounge all in Shinsaibashi, Osaka’s main shopping area and thus busiest district.

have you heard of the great okonomiyaki debate?

Which is better? Hiroshima-style (layered) or Osaka-style (mixed)?
I vote layered! Gimme more! Gimme gimme more.

Here is a vague and probably unhelpful (noggin required) 10 steps to okonomiyaki bliss:

1: thin crepe layer
2: cabbage
three: meat / seafood
4: a ladle or two of pancake batter on top (to make it all stick together)
5: cover and let cook for a few minutes
6 flip and cook a little more
7:lift and crack an egg underneath
8:flip back (fried-egg side up) then top with corn and cheese
9:once cheese is melted, brush with okonomiyaki sauce then mayo,
10:finish with fish flakes and dried seaweed.

sometimes pictures speak louder than words!



Some words:
-Every single restaurant in Japan, without exception will give you a damp white cloth to wipe your hands and face with before gobbling your meal.
-Slurping is OK so don’t be surprised when you hear it and I guarantee you will!
-99% of restaurants serve Japanese green tea (hot or cold depending on the weather/restaurant/time) with each meal which is heavenly for digestion – definitely one to learn from!

all you need to know about okonomiyaki and a recipe


Okonomiyaki, the low down:

The word okonomiyaki is derived from the Japanese words okonomi meaning “as you like” and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”. In short, it’s a savoury pancake filled to the brim with deliciousness (to your liking, of course).

When it comes to Okonomiyaki there’s no one distinct style. In fact; each Japanese region will have their own unique way of making it. In saying that; the many variations are often narrowed down to two main styles: the Hiroshima Okonomiyaki (from Hiroshima) or the Osaka-style Okonomiyaki (from Osaka).

Both styles includes batter, which is made up of flour and water and/or milk and dashi, shredded cabbage, egg, and green onion alongside your choice(s) of protein, including; bacon, calamari, shrimp or prawn. Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki differs because the ingredients used are layered rather than mixed into the batter (as is the case with Osaka-style). In addition, “Hiro-yaki” contains fried egg(s) and yakisoba noodles (or sometimes udon noodles) as well! In other words, the Hiroshimians (is that a word?) combine all the best foods into one! Actually, sometimes an Osaka-style okonomiyaki is made with the addition of noodles called Modan-yaki -just to confuse you even more but basically, one’s mixed (Osaka) whilst the other is layered (Hiroshima).

The savoury pancake is then topped with a delicious sweet and sour Okonomi sauce, aonori (green seaweed flakes), fish flakes (which smell like fish food – just don’t sniff the bottle like I did) and mayonnaise – yep, it just keeps getting better!

Okonomiyaki, often described as Japanese “soul food” is eaten by the locals at okonomiyaki restaurants that specialise in the dish (as opposed to just any old place) where you can sit around a hot iron griddle (teppan) while the food is prepared in front of you or, alternatively, one can sit at a private table equipped with its own hot plate with the luxury (or burden – whichever way you want to look at it) of mixing and cooking the okonomiyaki themselves! Obviously, this can be a lot of fun and various types of okonomiyaki can be ordered and tried! Nom nom.

Also, there’s another style which I believe is worth mentioning here called monjayaki. The batter for this version is much softer than the others and is spread evenly throughout the iron plate and is often eaten when only partially cooked – so, be prepared to have some chopstick trouble!

A simple Osaka-style recipe to get ya’ll started on the Okonomiyaki craze! (makes two large pancakes but feel free to half the recipe if flying solo).

1 cup of self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup dashi (or chicken or vegetable stock)
4 small free-range eggs, beaten
pinch of salt and pepper
4 cups finely chopped white cabbage
4 spring onions, sliced
1 cup raw prawns, chopped
4 slices of bacon
1 cup raw calamari, chopped

If you can/want the real authentic flavour/are just too lazy, buy Okonomi sauce from your nearest Asian supermarket or simply mix together:
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp caster sugar

Toppings (optional):
Aonori flakes
Dried bonito flakes

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, milk, dashi, eggs, salt and pepper.

Next add and mix in cabbage and spring onion.

Heat some oil in a large frying pan over medium heat then drop the egg mixture into the pan.

Top with bacon, prawn and calamari.

Cook until bubbles start appearing on the surface then turn over and cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until thoroughly cooked through.

To finish, brush the top with okonomi sauce, sprinkle with aonori and bonito flakes and last but definitely not least, MAYONNAISE.

Of course, you can make a vegetarian version by omitting the meat – sorry so Captain Obvious, I know.