Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Silent Steps

Nikicio for Goods Plus turtleneck top, Zara white top & sandals, H&M pants

The turtleneck or high-neck seems to be all the rage lately due to the incoming colder seasons, so I'd like to include myself in the loop (while bluffing myself that I'm indulging the 15 degrees celcius of Fall). Keeping in mind to always avoid sweaty pits, this turtleneck top is the ultimate solution to my immediate desire of layering clothes. I adore this top for being a statement piece with its unexpected side panels, while still laying low in the classics group. I love items that serve these two purposes at the same time.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

After Dark

Topshop crop top, Feist shorts, Aesthetic Pleasure neoprene vest, Zara plaid shirt & sandals

It has been a week since I arrived in Singapore, but so far nothing much is worth mentioning. Right now I am adjusting to my new life here, going back and forth purchasing life essentials and attending to compulsory responsibilities, so I am not so much in the mood of exploring around. There are so many places I would love to visit but then I am not quite accustomed to my schedule yet. Gradually but surely, everything will be in their right places and I guess I could take a little breather. Anyways, it feels great to finally attend school again after months being idle at home. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Japan Travel Diary V

When we arrived in Osaka that evening, the city look completely out of context from what I've just experienced in the countryside. The streets of Dotonbori were filled with a writhing, quivering mass of people that comes from every corners of the earth. The neon lights and billboards were shimmering limitlessly, tainting the dark, cloudless night sky with a brightness so not even a twinkling of a star can flash its light down on me. I listened for the unavoidable hum of a lone cricket that echoes through the night, but instead it had been replaced by a hubbub of the hustling crowd. I couldn't seem to stay away though, it was definitely beautiful, in an urban way. 

We stayed in Cross Hotel for 4 days and 3 nights, and the hotel is literally just a few steps away from Dotonbori. We knew that we would be constantly indulging in food, shopping and more food. The unavoidable cycle. While Osaka is famous for its takoyaki and okonomiyaki, we actually had ramen for our first dinner in Osaka. After 5 days satiating our appetites with mainly seafood in the countryside, it was natural that we were craving for a bowl of piping hot yakibuta ramen. While strolling in Dotonbori looking for food, we came across Hanamaruken, a ramen shop, as the sight of the locals religiously queueing caught our attention. Eventually, we queued as well. Being all fidgety and famished, we constantly strained our necks to catch a glimpse of the shop's counter, checking whether the seats would be available soon when finally the shopkeeper called us in. I immediately ordered myself the shop's signature Shiawase Ramen. In a heartbeat, our food came, looking as appetizing as ever with its hot steam. I helped myself to take a few photos of it before wolfing the whole thing down within minutes. And boy, it was so fulfilling! It was quite the large portion for a bowl of ramen for me, which comes with generous, thick slices of the most tender chashu. I found the tonkotsu broth really scary at first, it was full of pork fat floating on the surface, but I ensured myself not to worry about those insignificance, I was on vacation after all. 

The next day, we walked around Dotonbori and Sinsaibashi area. There was nothing compelling happening, we were just looking around, shopping and eating. But the day after that, we made our way to Kobe in a whim. Our fathers wished to taste the true nature of Kobe beef, and that is the main reason why we went there. I heaved a long, quiet sigh, thinking that we could have gotten Kobe beef in Osaka which I bet, would have tasted similar. The first thing we did after we arrived was to stroll around Harborland. Harborland features a wide array of both shops and restaurants while allowing the visitors to witness a seaside view of the Kobe's ravishing harbor. As we walked through the complex, we stopped by Frantz Kobe, as per our escort's recommendation. She told us it is a sweets shop that is rather popular among the locals, and I could have guessed so because I had the best tasting custard pudding ever there. My dad seems to be a fan of their chocolate cake as well. After purchasing a whole load of souvenirs for our relatives, we headed straight to the Kobe beef restaurant where we made our reservations earlier. I figured it was teppanyaki styled beef we were having for lunch, as the chef prepared our food on a hot griddle in front of us, but he didn't seem inspired to be demonstrating any of his knife and cooking skills. But anyways, moving on to the beef itselfit literally took my standard of juicy and perfect-marbling to a whole new level. The succulent steak was thoroughly marbled, making you sigh with pleasure as you bite into the juiciest slab of beef. A side black pepper sauce was actually served, but you know it is good beef when it tasted so delicious and fresh even without any elaborate seasoning. 

On our final day, I realized that it was time to just explore Osaka. I couldn't stand any more of the stagnant shopping and eating repetitionif that had been my initial purpose of travelling, I could have just stayed in Jakarta. After breakfast, I dragged my brother to see Osaka's famous landmarkthe Osaka Castle. With just one look at the Google Maps prior to our journey, my brother, being one who is good with directions, guided me to the place without leading to any wrong route. But wow, the walk was really long. We had to walk through Osaka Castle Park to get to Osaka Castle itself, but that aside, the park is extensively filled with an oasis of lush greens. We could take a glimpse at the beautifully ornate Osaka Castle from there. When we finally arrived in the territory, I was awed by the robust, tall stone foundation that protected the castle from enemies. It was simply amazing. While we didn't had the time to get into the museum, we had a great fun inside the souvenir shop. My brother challenged himself to this shuriken-throwing game but unfortunately he did pretty bad back then, and I purchased my wall sticker and treasured mug there! After we shopped for souvenirs, we went outside to get some refreshmentsmy throat was so parched. There were several food trucks and stalls that sold food and I got myself a cup of kakigori. While we were sitting down slurping down our drinks, we were so worried about being completely unconnected from our parents, thinking whether they were waiting to get lunch with us back in the hotel. We were desperately in search of wi-fi, but it was a futile attempt, so not long after that, we headed back to our hotel. But nonetheless, it was a good brother-sister bonding time.

In the evening, we flew to Hong Kong and spent few days there before flying back to our hometown. There was nothing much worth mentioning in Hong Kong, so this marks the final instalment of my holiday. I hope you enjoyed reading this series as much as I enjoyed writing them. As I am writing my final paragraph right now, I am brimming with great nostalgia. Travelling really opens up a horizon of unlimited inspirations. No matter how many times you visit Japan, it truly is a beautiful country, and you are guaranteed to leave with fond memories that will last a lifetime.