Sunday, 23 October 2016

You Have To Go To The Monster Cafe

Ebi-kun and I decided to go for a mooch around Harajuku the other day, he has never really been which is ridiculous since he is 11 and lives just over an hour away - it's only right that he understands why the rest of the world thing that the Japanese are a little bit mad!

I asked around for somewhere cool to go for lunch and one of the suggestions was the Kawaii Monster Cafe - I googled it and clicking through to the website was enough for me to be convinced we needed to visit.

We arrived about midday and expected a long wait but we were the first in line and just had to wait 5 minutes or so whilst they finished the show. I'll post a video at the bottom to show how truely crazy the place was!

Have a guess what this is....
It's the sink in the bathroom!

As you can see it's somewhat like Willy-Wonkers Chocolate Factory inside, completely over the top! Brilliant! It is a total sensory overload - the music is quite load and you have a feeling of chaos in there.

The menu is bought to you on an ipad, took us a while to realise that you can order through the ipad, you call the waitress over! Most of the staff spoke English at some level and it was packed with non-Japanese.

We went for the fries with dips - which were not as we expected them to be, Blue - sour cream, orange - cheese, green - wasabi, yellow - mustard, red - salsa.

Ebi-kun had an interesting drink which came with two test tubes, you had to pour the contents into the glass but in a specific order...

We also ordered chicken in chocolate sauce, which I admit sounds pretty grim but it was absolutely delicious!

And we had a "candy salad" not candy inside, it was a noraml healthy salad! We shared the dishes and it just about did us, we decided to get desert somewhere else a bit later. The food and drinks were all lovely, price was pretty standard but you do have to pay a seating charge of ¥500 per person, which pushes the price up.

We were also stung at the end, the staff do a show on the carousel then at the end they invite you up for photos. I didn't see the sign until it was too late... you have to pay ¥500 for the pleasure and you get a jelly lolly to help soften the blow - learn from my mistake!

All in all it was a good laugh, not somewhere we would go more than once unless we were taking friends. It's worth a visit for sure. As you leave there is also a small shop so you can buy souvenirs too.

This is the website, it's worth going to check it out!

And the video, it's a bit mad!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Of Temples and Sake

The day after our Forest Adventure, we did a bit of sight seeing. The owner of the guest house recommended visiting Seifukuji Temple, Kaizando to see the carved ceilings. I must admit I wasn't expecting much, as my mom says, once you have seen one temple, you have seen them all.

But have you?

The carvings are amazing and extremely high quality, Uncho Ishikawa is known as the  Michael Angelo of Japan. We weren't allowed to take photos inside, which seems so antiquated these days as long as a flash is not used, no damage will come of the paintwork. So here are some photos around the place...

Outside the temple gates there is a place to purify yourself, or at least wash your hands.... I loved this dragon!

These carvings have been weathered by time but you can see how much detail goes into it.

There was a small garden in the grounds and tucked in the back I spied a small staircase, so we went for a nosey, at the top was a fertility shrine, is there anywhere else in the world where you go for a walk in the woods and end up looking at a decorated giant penis?

The temple is now protected under another building structure, from the outside it looks a lot bigger than it actually is.

After the temple we headed off to a sake brewery (my husband is a big lover of sake!) and Niigata is famous for it's rice, the fresh water from the mountains and just the right soil apparently make for perfect rice growing. Of course, sake is distilled from rice and so the sake in the area is famous too!

The place is called Uonuma No Sato and it is a collection of buildings, there are a couple of shops and cafes. The staff canteen is the lovely looking building as you drive up to the complex and you can eat in there. A good hearty meal with as much miso soup and rice as you like for ¥1000.

To do a tour it's best to book ahead, we didn't and couldn't be bothered to wait around for 2 hours to join the next one. Many of the buildings there are stunning, including this kitchen that is used for demo's and lessons...

There is also a shop in the sake distillery that is kept cool using snow from the winter, it was pretty chilly in there!

It was an interesting couple of hours but we didn't get to do any of the tour stuff so I'm not sure how good that was. DH was happy to leave with some sake that is only available from that neck of the woods, so all is well in the world.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Tree Top Adventure in Niigata

This has taken me a while to get up because I wanted to post the video too, I had put it together on my laptop which then decided it didn't want to play nice - gah!

Anyway... we had a three day holiday a couple of weekends back and decided to go and try out the Forest Adventure place. This is actually at the ski resort Yuzawa Nakazato that we usually go to in the winter.

Part of it is the adventure Forest and over on the other side, a golf course.

When you arrive they give you a briefing about the equipment and then you go to a small area to try out everything before you go up to the real trees as it were. I'm not sure why but the boys made me go first!

This was OK until we got to the bit where we did the Tarzan swing, up until that point I was in control of my body and could stop if my back was hurting (it still wasn't 100% after throwing it out) so I decided the Tarzan swing was pushing it and I didn't want to end up in further pain, so I had to back track on that bit!

There are several courses, getting higher and more difficult each time. It wasn't until we had finished that DH admitted how scared he was! Heights don't bother me particularly and I did lots of climbing as a teen so the equipment was kind of second nature.

Ebi-kun did really well, he isn't a fan of heights but he just go on with it. Each course ended with a zip line, each one getting longer, it was lots of fun.

Watch the video for the full effect, I don't have a go-pro, just an iphone!

If you want to go yourself, this is the place Forest Adventure - it's recommended that you make a reservation before you go and there are rules for height/age for kids, so check those out too. The train station is a few minutes from the Forest Adventure Check In but they don't run very frequently.

We stayed over at the B&B I blogged about here, the owners are lovely and speak basic English, The food is great and if you have dietary requirements just let them know beforehand. We usually spend our New years up there and go to the ski resort several times over the winter season.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Taste tests: Ebi-kun Eats and taste tests - Genghis Khan Caramel

This is the funniest video so far, far funnier than the pickled squid and that is saying something!
Please click through to YouTube and leave him a comment, it will make his day!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Do you want to be lucky!

I'm a super happy mood this week, we had a fun weekend up in the mountains, we did one of those tree top adventures - which admittedly wasn't the most sensible thing to do with a dodgy back (I skipped a couple of parts) but it was a lots of fun and great to not have to do any housework/cooking for a couple of days. Amen to that.

The chiropractor seems to be helping with the back and I got to meet up with some of my In With A Boom Masterminders this week too. Lots of break throughs and a-ha moments... makes me all happy and jiggly on the inside!

If you have been with me for a while, you will have heard me rave on about Denise DT and her Lucky Bitch program. Denise is absolutely lovely, not one of those head-in-the-clouds woo-woo types, you can imagine sitting down and having a cup of tea and a chat with her.

Now I credit the big shift in my business when I started doing the Lucky Bitch work, it all came down to a change of mindset, woo-woo alarm bells are going off right now!

I stopped looking at things from a lack mentality and started to believe that the money would come. Huge leap of faith needed there but it worked!

We wanted to go to Laos and Cambodia for our 10th wedding anniversary (we got married at Angkor Wat) but we didn't have the spare cash. So I did what any normal, rational person would do... I booked the trip, the hotels, the Elephant sanctuary, the flights... and the money came!

I was as skeptical as the next person and my husband even more so but even he is on the woo-woo manifesting train now!

Anyway, I'm telling you all this because Denise has a free manifesting course up at the moment. It's the building blocks that her paid course is built and I wanted to share with you because, well she rocks! Go and check it out HERE and let me know if you sign up, I want to know what you manifest! (yes, I'm a nosey old bat!!)

I have a fun quiz coming up for you soon, hoping to get it finished before the weekend, so keep your eyes peeled over on facebook. I've also been hoping on FB live more often, some great conversations going on, so if you're not in Moms That Rock yet, come on over - we don't bite!

Right, I'm off to finish this quiz, I can't wait to share it!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

We discovered another new cafe

This seems to have become a new family "thing" finding and trying out new cafes. I feel a bit guilty as I am sat in my favourite cafe, writing about another place! What a traitor!

I haven't attempted it yet but this looks like it's biking distance and have lovely outdoor seating, set in a really pretty garden. The cafe is part of a garden centre and is in the middle of the rice paddies. I think it is one of those places you need to know about, you wouldn't randomly drive by.

We sat under the pagoda where the grapes were growing, to be honest, the menu was very basic. Several spaghetti dishes, most of them containing fish or seafood or waffles. But the setting was lovely which distracted from the limited menu, the drinks were very good though!

They have a lovely big garden and a small area for the kids to play hoopla etc. There were a couple of kids throwing paper airplanes and running about.

And the bees! This is a bear bee, they are really big compared to your average Japanese bee but they have no sting, I have no idea what this purple plant is but the bees loved it, which makes me thing we need some in our garden.

This isn't what it appears to be, it's the back of an open shed where they sell stuff! Although it looks like a super cute house until you get up close. 

I would love to bike over and work in the garden, I expect it would be quite a quiet place to be during the week, but I'm not sure it will be one of our weekend lunch regulars just because the menu was so limited. 

Friday, 7 October 2016

Hey, look at my new wheels...

My mama-char bike has been on it's last legs for a while, it's had a slow puncture for months, the gears slip, the breaks squeal and my hands get covered in black gunk after holding the handle bars. Sounds great right!

So I decided it was about time I upgraded to a new bike and here she is... brand colours too! It makes such a difference riding a decent bike again.

That said, I threw my bike out last week so I wasn't really up to riding anywhere! A trip to the chiropractor has helped.

Yesterday was the first time I managed to get out and give it a proper spin, I took a 12km ride through the paddies and along the cycle path. Managed to spot the kingfisher, which always brightens my day!

Not the best shot but I was just amused at seeing all these cranes hanging out in one field, maybe the frogs taste good here...

I always for get about this sign on the cycle path but it always makes me laugh when I spot it again, two headed giraffes? Just after crossing her I got sprayed with chemical god-only-knows-what by a stupid farmer. Which meant having a shower as soon as I got in, I was not amused and it kinda put a dampener on my bike ride!

This is my favourite season in Japan so I'm looking forward to more long bike rides!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

It's time for a Halloween gift...

You KNOW I love me some Halloween and the more gruesome the better - which is quite amusing since I really can't stomach horror films or ever Stephen King type books these days!

But still I get super excited when September turns to October because I can officially start thinking about Halloween, our costumes and what kind of revolting morsels I'm going to whip up!

We have friends who host a fab party each year, each family take a pot luck dish or two (hahaaha I'm sure they love it when I rock up with eyeballs and severed fingers). Each family also organises a game or activity.

I have a lot of Halloween parties and events organising under my belt from huge, sell out disco's at uni to running back to back party classes at schools, so I am somewhat a dab hand at putting it all together!

I also know what kind of games go down well, are quick to prepare and a bundle of fun, which is why I'm bringing you...

Drum roll please...

13 Fast & Fun Halloween Party Games

Why do you need this bundle of spooktacular awesomeness?

Oh yes, and did I mention that it's FREE?

Once you have signed up, go and check your inbox, click the link in the email waiting for you, then download your goodies!

Let's Get The Part Started...


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Mystery Solved...

How to make fillable PDF 

You know how sometimes you get a PDF that you can fill in online, you don't need to print it out? Well I make these all the time for my clients work and I often get asked how, it really isn't that hard. I used to use PDFescape but I recently discovered another way to do it, which is even easier! Seriously, your great-granny could do it!

Here's a techie byte showing you how, don't forget to give me thumbs up and subscribe to the channel if you want to get the latest techie bytes...

Friday, 30 September 2016

They Always Say...

Very true Andy.

This quote reminds me of the kids I grew up with back home, either you were like myself and moved away or you stayed in the village and married local, worked local. When I go back I sometime bump into old school mates and they are exactly the same, albeit a bit podgier, a bit wrinklier and a bit greyer (aren't we all!). I always get the same comment "Oh you're so lucky to have travelled and live abroad"

What absolute codswallop!

There was no luck, a unicorn didn't poop rainbow dropping at my feet and I was magically whisked off to another land.

Nope, I had to work at it, I had to take the courage to go it alone.

I had to change things for myself.

That goes the same for my job and my business. Change takes time but you have to make it happen.

One of my clients said yesterday that she came to Japan initially for a year because she felt that if she had stayed in her nice cushy job, she would have been there forever. The people she worked with are still there, 10 years on. She was the one who made the decision to change.

My version of the quote, if you want to see change, get of your arse and make it happen!

With this being Andy Warhol, it also reminded me of the Time Capsule project HERE, only 9 more years until we open it!

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