Sunday, August 16, 2015

Japan trip Summer 2015 part 1 - Osaka & Kobe: Day 1 - 2

My family and I were casually looking at plane tickets to Japan for July (hoping to get an idea of what they might be like for summer 2016) after coming back from our trip in March, and somehow my bf and I ended up booking tickets for this summer lol. This was not a planned decision much more than just looking at the prices and saying, "Let's go". Our first choice was just a 7-8 day trip in and out of Tokyo at the end of July, but because I was hesitant and wanted to wait 24 hours to think about it, we ended up not being able to book it because it sold out and had to change our plans a bit. We ended up going later for about 11 days and flying in and out of Osaka instead.

We left from HNL on July 30th at around 02:40pm and arrived at KIX on July 31st at around 09:30pm. Time difference + flight time is killer heading over there lol. It's a bit over a 9 hour flight and since we land at night, I try not to sleep too much on the plane because then I won't be able to sleep once we arrive and settle in which is when I should be sleeping, and I try to resist jetlag as much as possible wtf. This makes a 9 hour flight kind of miserable though.
Once we arrived, we still had to process through customs/immigration and that took A WHILE (definitely over an hour of just standing in the line by itself). We were actually "lucky" though because somehow the line got over twice as long after we got in it. Sorry there's no pictures on this part because photos are not allowed, and I don't want to be seen as a threat or incompliant in an airport wtf lol.
Our plan was to catch an express train straight from the airport to Shin-Osaka station which would take a bit under an hour but would only have one stop prior. KIX y u so far. This wasn't too hard to figure out for us (although it's like our 3 time being in Japan in less than 14 months so if we hadn't figured it out by now, there'd be something wrong wtf), but wow was it hot lol.
For this trip, we opted to try Airbnb (more on that in Part 9 later) and once we arrived at the station, we took a brief walk over to the apartment per instructions from the host. It was a small challenge because by then it was past 11:00pm, and therefore quite dark, but we found it without too much hassle. After getting all of our luggage in, our first order of business was to figure out the AC, then get the wifi set up and stop at the nearest convenience store for light refreshments before officially calling it a night.

On August 1, our first official day of the trip, our priority was shopping lol. I wasn't sure what stock or sales the Liz Lisa stores would have during this weekend, and I was eager to find out. My boyfriend also had a few places he wanted to check out but since his main focus store wouldn't open until 03:00pm, he let me go first lol.

First stop: Tennoji station via Osaka Subway Midosuji line with the intention of finally going to the Abeno 109 Liz Lisa store. When we were in Tennoji in the past, I'd gone to the Tennoji MIO Liz Lisa and settled at that. But once I did more research, I realized that the Abeno 109 location was just a short walk away without even needing to get on the train again. There was a really short period of uncertainty before I saw the giant Q's Mall sign that I remembered from Google Maps streetview that assured me I was walking in the right direction.

We eagerly went in (me for the store, my bf for the AC) and looked for the 109 section. It's not very big but it was obvious lol. I was excited to see a few things I wanted still in stock but took my time looking around the store because my bf was downstairs in Uniqlo anyway and the shop staff was occupied by other customers and I couldn't have checked out immediately.
I ended up purchasing two dresses that I wanted and the shop staff who was at the register somehow recognized me from following her on Twitter! She brought out the store's iPad and my Twitter profile and asked if that was me! Lol. It was a really surreal moment for me lol. She showed me her profile to remind me as well. Here it is - @Love7Piro! I also recognized her from the shop blog and staff snaps as well. I feel like that was a good start to the trip.

Afterwards, I found my bf in Uniqlo and looked for a new things my brother wanted me to buy for him. (Idk these pictures are boring and inconsequential but I took them to send to him so I decided to just post them here too lol.)

After that, we headed back towards Tennoji station to go to the Tennoji MIO Liz Lisa store. I had gone there three times during my last trip, so I felt confident that I knew where the store was (there are several entrances to MIO because it's a really large mall) but somehow got us lost wtf. We found it after a little bit and I looked around but didn't see anything I wanted in particular. Shop staff Yamada (on Twitter @1106Anntyu) I think was surprised to see me/she said the equivalent of "long time no see"? Lol not super sure because my Japanese really is that crappy. I was in the store a lot last time (especially for the MM collab dress release) but I didn't expect her to remember me lol. She's really friendly and nice and always compliments me on my nails! I didn't end up buying anything though.

By the time I was done, we decided it would be good to break for lunch. Our first real meal during this trip was a very familiar one. We just happened to eat at this restaurant during our trip last summer in Ikebukuro Parco and found it again in Tennoji MIO during the March trip. My dad likes the pasta a lot lol. I'm a really picky eater so I tend to stick with what I know which is unfortunate for my bf but he'll go along with it/accommodate me most of the time.

While we were going down the escalator (the restaurant is on the 10th floor), we decided to stop at the stationary/book store floor. We had stopped once before in March and enjoyed looking around, so we did the same again lol. I ended up purchasing the latest issue of Larme and Risa Nakamura's style book, and I think my bf got some pens. I don't know why I thought it would be idea to buy the books so early on. They don't seem heavy on their own, but after carrying them around for the next several hours + other things, it really started to get tiring wtf.
Kapibara san in the book section

Next, we headed back to Umeda for these fishing stores that my bf wanted to go to. One of them we had frequented during the last trip (1Ban) and the other we had never been to before (Konky). It was our first day, so we were still getting used to the weather and by the time we were on our way to the second store, I was really dragging lol. My feet were in pain, I was sweating like everywhere and my bags felt too heavy to carry. The store was actually quite a walk but according to my bf it was worth it lol.

I still wanted to do a few things in the Umeda area, but since we were already feeling a bit tired wtf, we decided to go back to the apartment in Shin-Osaka via JR before visiting other stores.
Apparently I got a pretzel at some point too lol. This is from the Auntie Anne's in the Eki Marche in JR Osaka station. The lemonade-like soda drink was actually really good too but it was small lol.

Items I had purchased at that point -
The Abeno 109 shop staff was super nice and gave me two fans! (One for me and one for my bf!) They were super useful throughout the rest of the trip. I had brought some with me from previous trips, but I wasn't able to get a Liz Lisa one last summer and was really sad about it lol.

After a brief rest, we headed back down to the Umeda area via JR. I had brought only one pair of sandals with me (thinking that I'd probably buy more during the trip) and my feet were already dying. I'm really not sure exactly why because I had worn them a lot last summer during that trip and they were perfectly fine. It wasn't that my feet were sore so much as the shoes were suddenly cutting my ankles open in the back and giving me blisters on the bottom of my feet. I'm going to blame the weather but seriously idk lol. Anyway, once we went back out, I knew there were two things I had to do: 1. Buy new shoes and 2. Buy bandaids, lol. To me, that meant starting at Hep Five.
I immediately went to Liz Lisa, and I was intending on trying to buy the flower applique sneakers that I had seen in the other two stores earlier that day, but just my luck, this store doesn't have any lol. I end up purchasing two Autumn 2015 items instead lol. LL Gal's Rima (@ripanyan) was actually the one to help me in the store!

Since I was still in need of new shoes, I went upstairs to Ank Rouge and lo and behold, the first thing I see are sneakers with a sale sticker on them. I tried on size L (my regular size for Japanese shoes) but they were remarkably big. The sales girl then helped me try on size M and the fit was a lot better. The sneakers weren't something I would usually purchase, and I questioned my decision almost immediately after I finished the transaction. But I was desperate and even though there are other shoe stores in the area, I was having a brand whore moment + like seriously my feet were dying, and I didn't want to have to walk around and around to find something cheaper. I actually changed into the shoes in an empty space in Hep Five lol. That's how desperate I was to change shoes wtf.
I think they look like a man with a beard in a powdered wig or something from above

Feet feeling a bit better, we walked over to the Don Quixote in Umeda which is just a few blocks behind Hep Five for bandaids and to take a look at what they had. For some reason, I'd never been there before. We usually went to the Don Quixote in Namba, I guess?
Ack sorry (going back and forth as to whether I should include the picture of my foot wtf). But I had one huge blister on the outer bottom of each of my feet wtf.  And it only got worse overnight. Bandaids were much needed tbh.

Instead of trying to look for a place to eat in Umeda, we decided to just call it a day and head back in Shin-Osaka. I had noticed a place on the route between the station and the apartment that seemed suitable so that was my suggestion for dinner.
It was a Yayoiken! It took us a little while to realize this, but this is a chain restaurant and we had actually been to one before in Shinjuku near the end of our summer 2014 trip and had liked it (for the price) lol. It's a vending machine ticket restaurant, so it's super low key. I was being stupid and I forgot that you should put the money into the machine first before trying to select your choices, and kept getting miffed when it wouldn't work lol. Fought with it for like 3 minutes before my bf finally told me I was doing it wrong lol. Simple dinners and drinks after what felt like a long, hot day.

The next day, August 2, the main goal in Osaka was to go to a fishing store in Ikeda. It doesn't open until 12:00pm, but we were awake and ready to go by 10:00am, so I suggested we try to go to the Daiso in Umeda since we had to go to Umeda station anyway (in order to get to Ikeda). Like with the Donki, we had never been to this Daiso location before (only the one in Namba and Shinsaibashi) so I wasn't exactly sure where it was or what it would be like, but I knew that it was close to Hep Five so I couldn't get too lost. As it turns out, the Daiso is in the basement of Umeda OPA. And Umeda OPA doesn't open until 11:00am -__-. We got there over half an hour early and none of the other stores in the area were open yet either! And it wasn't that great to just stand around outside in the heat, so we ended up going down into one of the underground shopping areas with AC and getting drinks from Family Mart, sitting on a bench down there and waiting for the store to open lol.
I couldn't buy very many things because it didn't make sense to drag them up to Ikeda with us, but I had wanted to take stock of what they had (or didn't have) for reference later. There were a few things I wanted to get for our stay like hangers that I knew I would return for later.

After a brief look around, we took a Hankyu train to Ikeda. Even after a 30-minute train ride, we were still a little early, so we walked around a little bit.

We saw a big watermelon with a sign asking people to guess the weight. ..and I tried to get my bf to take an outfit photo for me since we didn't have a full length mirror in the apartment.

Once the fishing store (Lure Shop ULUA) opened, we headed over there and my bf did his shopping and chatted with the owner. We asked him for a suggestion for a good place to eat (Japanese food) for lunch and he suggested a nearby sushi restaurant that we had actually passed earlier when we were killing time!

I'm really not a sushi person (in fact I don't really eat fish or seafood at all - cooked, raw or anywhere in between) but luckily I was able to order the one kind of sushi I do eat which is cucumber/kyuri/kappa maki lol.
Yeah "it's not really sushi" but whatever. I usually eat two orders of it but I wasn't super hungry at that point so I just wanted to order something small.

Having finished what we came for, we left Ikeda and went back to Umeda. There was a Uniqlo we saw while I was looking around for the Daiso, we went there first to get some things for my bf before dropping by Daiso again to get those things I wanted earlier but didn't want to carry. I think we stopped by Hep Five for a bit as well to pick something up.

My bf is a big fan of cream puffs (I think it's choux cream in Japan? pronounced like shoe cream but I'm not 100% sure of the actual spelling) so when we passed this Beard Papa in the station, he decided to get some. We used to have a few Beard Papa locations on Oahu but idk what happened to them.

Apparently we also must have gone back to the first fishing store from the previous day as well. I don't have a clear memory of it any more but I do have these photos from Tully's and the only Tully's we stopped at was the one near 1Ban (but on a different day) after stopping at the store lol.
It was super hot and I wanted something to drink besides water. I saw the sign outside the store advertising these Chocolista things, and it looked super good lol. The drink is really big on the sign but not so big irl lol. I ordered the equivalent of a small and my bf ordered the bigger size. (Idk I think they had some fancy names for the sizes but I don't remember.) The drinks were thankfully pretty good for the price. There was a lot of chocolate flakes/chunks in it which my bf didn't enjoy but I did lol. It's kind of similar to the chocolate drinks that Godiva used to make - the chocolate decadence ones. I think they (Godiva) still make them but now they're more expensive with a different name and taste more like chocolate water imo. Anyway, this thing from Tully's was pretty good imo if you like chocolate!

We headed back to the apartment to rest because we were going to go out for dinner later. Dinner was likely to be late though so we also grabbed gyudon for sustenance but essentially light snack from the Matsuya near the station our way back.

Small shopping from that day on my part -
From Daiso
From Ikeda station
Small pick up for Berri

My foot needed more bandaids

For dinner, we were to meet my host mom and her son from my study abroad in 2012 in Sannomiya in Kobe! My study abroad was in Kobe and that's where they live, so that's why it made sense to go over there lol. We usually meet up in Osaka but her son is taking these prep courses that go until like 08:00pm, so it was better to meet over there. It's no problem to get over there anyway (just hop on a Special Rapid), and I'm pretty familiar with Sannomiya, so I was happy to have a reason to go!

We were supposed to be them in JR Sannomiya station at around 07:50pm, but we decided to go a little early and do some shopping since Sannomiya is a big shopping area in Kobe. You could probably spend a whole day there by itself. We arrived about an hour early, and I headed straight for the Daiso because we had bought some things there last time that my mother wanted me to get again. Although there are a lot of Daiso locations, they don't all have the same stock and I didn't see what she had wanted in the Osaka stores we had gone to. After I got all the things I wanted (wtf now had to carry for the rest of the time but it was worth it because at least we got the things), we briefly stopped at a few other stores before returning to the station and meeting up with my host mom.

She took us to a theme restaurant! While we were walking over, she told us that it had a prison/dungeon theme. It's called "The Lockup".
And really they pulled out all the stops on all the elements. You have to open a skull and push a button to even enter and there's pretty much no part of the building that isn't part of the theme. It is like a jail/dungeon theme, but actually there are also these monsters that come out too!
I didn't get to take too many pictures because I wanted to focus on catching up and talking to my host mom and it's pretty dark inside, but there is definitely a lot going on in the restaurant lol. Every hour there's a monster show. I don't want to give away tooooo much in case you want to go and be surprised.

Ginger ale drink on the left & actually that's pasta on the right! I think it's supposed to be brains?
Red pepper and chip and dip spider & chicken karaage.
On the lower plate, it's a mix of blackened (color-wise) karaage and regular karaage. It's not burnt though lol. They just changed the color of it to match the theme I guess? We were thinking it was colored with squid ink.
Another view of the chicken and also a margherita pizza
I think this is just steak? with a little puck that you can use to cook the meat more if you want to!
Left hand chicken (wings) lol
I was so thankful my host mom took us here! This was definitely something we would have had a hard time with on our own because there are a lot of instructions (oral and written) and it's not extremely foreigner friendly that we could tell. We also probably couldn't have found it as easily or idk if we would have known about it at all lol. I believe there's also a location in Tokyo!

After that, it was pretty late, so we all walked back to the station and said our goodbyes. I think this was the latest we stayed out on any of the nights of the trip lol. Mostly because the train ride back takes about 1/2 hour and we're usually tired by like 08:30 - 09:00pm lol so we call it a night sooner. But since we had been able to rest/laze around in the early afternoon instead in preparation for a late dinner, it wasn't so bad. And it was definitely worth it to take a trip over to Kobe! It's always such a treat to see my host family. They're so nice and accommodating, and they usually have good suggestions for us!

The first two days of the trip already seem so long ago wtf. Unfortunately, from a blogging perspective, we didn't do anything too exciting, and I didn't take very many photos lol. Although the Lockup was definitely a highlight of the trip! The weather needed some time for getting used to lol, and idk why I was having such a shoe problem. That first day kind of f'd my feet up for most of the rest of the trip lol. (And somehow it did get worse.)
This trip was fun for us, but as I'm trying to start laying out the posts, I'm not sure if every one of them will be interesting for others lol. I was a bit troubled with how to organize the blog posts for this trip. What made sense for the spring trip (one post per day) doesn't make as much sense for this one. 1. because there are more days and that would make the series too long imo lol, and 2. because I didn't take as many photos this time especially on some days in particular. I'm going to attempt to organize it as a travel diary (less formal and more me just recording what we did) but sorted by general location rather than just the date but I think I may have to do some editing or restructuring later. We'll see how it goes lol. Please bear with me and some of my senseless, wordy and seeminly unimportant narration haha. I never know what information I might find helpful (for myself) in the future, and these blog posts really help me keep track!

  Japan trip Summer 2015 posts:
Part 1 - Osaka & Kobe: Day 1 - 2
Part 2 - Kyoto & Namba: Day 3
Part 3 - Tokyo-based: Day 4 - 6
Part 4 - Sendai: Day 7
Part 5 - Tokyo-based: Day 8 -9
Part 6 - Osaka: Day 10 - 11
Part 7 - Airbnb & accommodations
Part 8 - Liz Lisa purchases
Part 9 - Other shopping
Part 10 - Travel notes

  Japan trip Spring 2015 posts
  Japan trip Summer 2014 posts


  1. Hmmmmm, all the food looks so so so yummy lol. ^.^ Super excited to read the rest of your posts! ^.^

  2. Wow that looks sore! What shoes were you wearing that gave you those blisters? D:
    You are so lucky to visit Japan twice in one year! How far is it from Hawaii?

    1. It's these - lol. They're usually really comfortable and have a heel lower than I like to wear so idk why they were like that.
      There's still a lot of the Pacific Ocean between us but I guess comparatively, Hawaii is closer than the mainland US to Japan. It takes about 9.25 hours to get over there and maybe 7.75 hours to fly back?

    2. Omg that's so good! It's about 10 hours from Australia both ways @_@

    3. Haha just a little bit better. I know from like New York or something it's a lot longer. But the flight takes a different path.

  3. omg so natsukashii ;n; I miss Osaka!! it'll be two years next month since I was last there D: (although I'm sure it's more painful for my husband lol)
    I love Tennoji how there are like 3 malls right next to each other lmao. And several of the same stores in both Q's and Mio?! I mostly stick to Umeda because it's closer to my husban's parents' house (they live near Senrichuo, the last stop on the Midosuji), but Tennoji has the best shopping imo haha.

    1. When will you next be able to visit? Soon I hope! I love shopping in Tennoji as well but my bf doesn't lol. He prefers Umeda because there's stores in that area for him as well but apparently nothing in Tennoji so he's forced to just follow me around.

  4. I love the content, I love all the photos! Your blog post about these amazing cities in Japan is outstanding and very engaging. Cheers!