Saturday, April 25, 2009

Modified Mee Pok dry in Owase?

In a country like Japan where there are basically only 3 types of noodles – Ramen, Udon and Soba and of cos some variations that arise from it. But there is definitely no mee pok, you mee and others.

So, what can one do when certain craving hits? Create your own!

Just this morning, Mr Tan Tan created Mushroom Bak Chor Mee, Mee Pok dry using some instant pasta from a half-priced tonkotsu italian ramen that we found in the supermarket! Yes, its half-price and the Tan Tans always buy stuff when it is price-down to save money.


In order to replicate the taste of Singapore’s famous mee pok noodle, Mr Tan Tan simmered japanese mushroom with oyster sauce, soy sauce and dry scallops for 2 days before this meal. A pity he cannot find the dry fragrant fish that is commonly used with the mushroom in Singapore.

The fish cake that the Tan Tans bought caught them by surprise when they found gobo (japanese roots of some sort) within the fish cake.

With a dash of the mushroom sauce, soy sauce, oil and ketchup (for Mr Tan Tan) or sambal chilli (for Mrs Tan Tan), Mushroom Bak Chor Mee Pok dry are ready to be served.


A hike to Tategasaki (盾ヶ崎) & Sone (曽根)

P1140207 P1140063

The Tans Tans were invited to a trip to Tategasaki, but little was known that the Tan Tans had to hike approximately 2 km to reach the place.

These signs demarked the start of our hiking trip last Sunday and well, Mr Tan Tan is not fully prepared for a hike as he was dressed in bermuda and slipper.


Halfway through where we took a break. The water was so clear and nice.


Off we go again.. and the sights at the cliff were great!!



A sneak peek at the cliff and the actual shield cliff that took our breath away.


Look at the cliff!

P1140112 a light house overlooking the vast sea.



As the area is a conservation area, there are also signs that educates visitors on the different kind of trees in the area. The picture above is a unique tree which tree bark resembles the skin of deer.


After the hike in Tategasaki,  we proceed to Sone under the suggestion by Mr Tan Tan because earlier in the week, he saw this poster of a tsutsuji (つつじ – a flower) festival in the train station in Owase. And it led to another 2 hours of hiking.

 P1140275 Fresh plum that we saw along the way!

 P1140214 P1140215

Kawaiiiiiii Japanese kids!

P1140218P1140227 P1140238  The festival which was packed with people and activities though by the time we are there, most of the activities had ceased.

P1140241 This is the Tsutsuji flower that we are there for.

 P1140248   The hike up to the castle ruins in Sone where we caught this interesting sign of a “Watch Out for the Wildboar”


A couple rock on the top of the hill after climbing more than 380 steps. And there after, it’s the castle ruins that greeted us. Well, castle ruins and since it is in ruins, there is really nothing much to see.    ;)

Well, almost nothing other than another awesome scenery!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Going Indian!

Despite the recent Indian Rojak food scare in Singapore, we decided to throw away all inhibitions and try out our first authentic Indian meal in Japan.

The venue: Jahangil, an Indian-Parkistani restaurant in Matsusaka.

Although we were a little skeptical at first, being the first customers on a Saturday night, our doubts were quickly cleared when 3 more tables subsequently came in – two of them which seemed like regulars.

Prices ranged from 1,280 to 1,780 yen (about S$20 - S$27) for a set meal consisting of nann, curry, a meat dish, a drink, dessert and salad (weird for indian cuisine but the Parkistani boss has been in Japan for 11 years. He owns 3 restaurants in Mie). Relatively expensive compared to what we can get in Singapore, but it definitely tasted authentic.

The naan was HUGE, the biggest we’ve ever seen, and Erik managed to satisfy his mutton craving (Japanese mutton dishes are not available in Honshu). Then again, perhaps it was a little too spicy for our Japanese friend, Hiro :)


1,280 yen set consisting of garlic naan, papadom, vegetables marsala, tandoori chicken, yoghurt, mango juice and salad.


1,780 yen set consisting of naan, papadom, mutton curry, skewered mutton, yoghurt, salad, mango drink and ice-cream.


Our friend Hiro downing lots of water with his meal.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sugari – The little town off Owase

Sugari is one of a small town off Owase. Its population stands at less than 200 with less than a handful of children. Most people are aged 60 and above and there are about 280 houses where a quarter are not occupied. Sad reality of an aging population.

Because of the people love for nature, they refuse to build roads as there equates to killing of trees. Hence, the fastest way to access there is by a 20mins ferry from Owase.

The Tan Tans, together with their friend in Owase, decided to pay Sugari a visit.

  Location of Sugari
Map picture



Our ride to Sugari, notice the close resemblance of their calender to our traditional chinese calender.



In Owase, everyone’s hobby is … well, you guess it. Fishing!


P1110366P1110397 P1110475P1110509P1110480 P1110486

Some sights of Sugari

P1110420 P1110423

Right: We noticed a lot of households with this handprint on it. Upon query, we were told that only when a person reaches the age of 88, will they be allow to put this on their door. Some charm for good luck I guess.

Left: Rare sight of a kid playing with her grandfather as children is a rare sight in Sugari.


P1110427 P1110429 

It seems like there might be more dogs than kids in Sugari.


But I would say that the people in the Inaka (countryside) are really friendly and warm. We met this uncle who hikes everyday and invites us to go with him. The sights are awesome and the company great!

P1110444P1110467P1110435  P1110458P1110434P1110446   

Wonderful sights!!


Oh, these are deer markings. A pity we couldn’t catch the animal in actions otherwise I will have fresh venison to eat… hee hee.



The kind uncle invited us to his house which is over a hundred years old.


Upon departing from the kind uncle’s place, the Tan Tans and their friend met an abbot of Sugari temple who is 78 and so genki! He climbs flight of stairs to his temple more than once daily and we panted as we ascend it. Wow! The abbot shows us lots of photos and told us that Sugari used to be full of activities and he hopes more people will visit Sugari in the future.

We were also told that there is also an interesting festival in Sugari in early Feb where hopes are written on a stone and these stones will be dropped into the seabed after prayers. Reporters from as far as France came to cover the story.

The abbot also treated us to some very delicious homemade soba.