Remembering moments like this

My boys

I’ll paint you mornings of gold

I’ll spin you valentine evenings

Though we’re strangers till now

We’re choosing the path between the stars

I’ll leave my love between the stars

‘As the world falls down’ by David Bowie, cover by Signe Tollefsen

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Falling in love with Osaka – The food

This January, I was determined to go somewhere… anywhere really. I had to get away, clear my mind, and feel free. I didn’t have to think about getting back to work, or what I left behind. For the first time in a long while, I could travel with no worries at all. Only problem was, A had a ton of work to clear, and my friends couldn’t get off work. Fortunately, my parents had a week to spare, so we bought three tickets to Osaka ;)

Sunrise over Osaka

I’ve travelled alone with my parents before, but never to places that needed a plan. Since I had a week to get ready, I decided to follow in my friend S’s footsteps, and organized our entire trip using Google Docs. From arrival to departure and everything in-between, I’m so glad I did because it would have been a mess otherwise!

A and I snowboard in Japan very often, and we always spend a few days in and around Tokyo. After this trip to Osaka, I ‘m thinking of spending more time around Osaka instead :p It could be the amazing food, the fact that Kobe and Kyoto are so close, or because the people we met in Osaka were so friendly.

With so many reasons to love Osaka, here is part one of my favorite moments – there are plenty more gems for you to discover ;)

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” George Bernard Shaw

Three unforgettable dinners (without scary prices)

If you’re planning a trip to Osaka, start by planning your meals first! They were the highlight for us, and the top reason why we can’t wait to go back. I’m not a brave eater. I’m usually very picky, and I can’t eat a lot. However I think that I tried more new types of food this trip, than I ever have before – and I loved every morsel. If you’re looking for an easy way to plan some meals in Osaka, here are three places you cannot miss. All three places have Michelin stars, yet none of the dinners cost more than 10,000 yen each, including sake. Pretty amazing!

Kigawa

Reserve a counter seat, and go for their omakase. You don’t need to know what you’re eating, because you’ll love every bite. Actually, I think it might be better not to know – I had blowfish  milt which tasted amazing, but I may not have tried it if I had known what I was eating ;)

TIP: Kigawa is on a lane off Shinsaibashi, so try to arrange dinner after shopping around that area. The closest train station is Shinsaibashi, take the Daimaru exit.

Tenshige

Like most fussy eaters, I only eat certain vegetables. However when you’re seated at the counter across from the stern-faced chef Nagai, you’ll eat anything he puts on your plate. I’m glad I did – it’s the first time in years I’ve had sweet potato, and definitely the first ever I’ve had lemongrass tempura. Every single piece was crisp and light, and the tempura batter complemented the fresh produce perfectly. Even my mum – who eats even less than me – finished all 11 varieties of tempura. I don’t think I’ll be ordering tempura at other Japanese restaurants any time soon.

TIP: Chef Nagai may look stern, but he’s really nice once you get to know him. Tenshige is a tiny restaurant, so reservations are essential.

Rokukaku-tei

Feeling excited at Rokukaku-tei

Kushiage (or Kushikatsu) is a Osaka dish – crumbed and fried sticks of goodness that taste amazing, especially in winter. At Rokukaku-tei, the dinner set menu comes with 20 different types of sticks – or until you ask them to stop. I was full after ten, but I couldn’t stop without trying them all! The sticks were lightly battered and fried, and not oily at all. I’m craving them right now, that’s how delicious they were. Sigh.

TIP: If you’re having Rokukaku-tei for dinner, try to have a light lunch. Your tummy will thank you.

Another reason why I love Osaka – it’s just a short train ride away to Kinosaki Onsen, Kobe and Kyoto ;) I’ll leave that for my next post!

Discovering poetry can twist your insides

Watching Korean dramas is like eating rich, dark chocolate. It tastes so good, but I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be having it – or spending my nights watching it! I guess there are worse things to be hooked onto, and at least sometimes, the dramas lead to something interesting to explore. In this case, Korean poetry. Even after translation, the words tug at my heart and make me feel kinda of bittersweet and strange. I’m not sure what it is I’m longing for, but the feelings are there. Perhaps that’s the magic of poetry – bringing out emotions that we choose to ignore, or want to forget. I wonder how the poem feels like, read in Korean…

I found an English translation of Azaleas by Kim Sowol, translated by David R. McCann (from The Silence of Love).

Azaleas

When you leave,

weary of me,

without a word I shall gently let you go.

From Mt. Yak

in Yongbyon

I shall gather armfuls of azaleas

and scatter them on your way.

Step by step

on the flowers placed before you

tread lightly, softly as you go.

When you leave

weary of me,

though I die, I’ll not let one tear fall.