Cuddling no more?

Jan 27, 2011

I love to hug my son. That's our daily routine. I will cuddle him before sending him off to nursery or whenever I come home from work or just simply hug him before putting him to bed. A type of "skinship" that I would love to continue forever.

A few nights ago, I gave him a hug. Then turned away to continue with the house chores when I heard him saying, " ママ、おっぱいは長くなってない?(Mommy, don't you think your bosoms are getting longer)?"

What?? I asked him again, thinking I must have heard wrongly. He repeated the same sentence, only louder. Ouuchh! I was stunned and speechless. I couldn't think of a way to reply. Not a word.

Tell me anyone who would come with a good answer, after being asked that kind of question! Who would have thought her son would ask that question? And my mind kept processing each word he said...
1. Longer means what, sagging? Ohh no!
2. Since when has he been observing my chest?
3. Why didn't my hubby say about it before he did?

I turned to my hubby hoping he would lend a helping hand when I found him practically ROTFL.

I asked him seriously, "So you think they are getting longer too??", looking at him with my over extended eyes. He stopped laughing instantly. Knowing that would only bring "harm" to him, and said, "No I don't think so...". Then trying to make me feel better by adding, "Maybe they are just getting a little bigger so the word longer meant bigger to him...??"

Now, that didn't sound too convincing did it?

Argghhh....I seriously need to start doing those stretches to prevent them from getting anymore "bigger"!!!


We love Udon!

Jan 22, 2011

Udon is a type of Japanese noodle. It is a thick wheat-based noodle which is commonly eaten with broth and supplementary like eggs, leaks, fried piece of tofu or tempura. At least that is what we usually see in any Japanese restaurant. In actual fact, there are many variations to this delicacy and in some restaurants, you get to pick your own choice of side dish to go with it.

The place where I live is famous for its udon. How famous? Well, some people would drive five to six hours journey just to get a taste of this udon. Just imagine something like this, a 5~6 hours drive from KL to Kuala Terengganu, to eat that famous nasi dagang or keropok lekor! Something as irresistible as that!

Some general knowledge about Udon:

Some people thinks the soup is the better half of Udon. I live in Kansai area (where Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto are among the famous cities), which the cooking style is relatively different from Kanto area (representative prefecture: Tokyo). However it may be difficult for the average short-term visitor to spot many differences. Perhaps the most visible difference is a tendency to use light colored soy sauce instead of dark soy sauce, as in Kanto area. In short, Kansai's udon soup is very light and almost colorless whereas Kanto's udon soup is dark and has a bold and salty taste.

Teuchi udon versus machine made udon
We don't eat at restaurants that serve machine made udon unless in desperate cases where there is nothing we can eat at that restaurant. Since we have been pampered with good udon in Tokushima/Kagawa, our standard of good udon has got to be teuchi, which means hand made in Japanese. Teuchi udon may be a little expensive as compared to machine made udon. But don't get me wrong, machine made udon is good and accessible. We can find these machine made udon restaurants at train stations where we sometimes see them eat udon while standing!

たち食いうどん Eating Udon at standing and eating style restaurant

Some of Udon's vocab:

Kake udon
A simple dish with just udon and broth. The only ingredients are sliced green onions and perhaps a slice of kamaboko ( a processed seafood product). It is one of the simplest udon.

Kitsune udon
The name means"fox udon." in Japanese, and this is another common, no frills approach to udon. It's topped with Abura age, sweetened deep-fried slices of tofu.

Tsukimi udon
This kind of udon is topped with a raw egg, which poaches in the hot soup, or eat it raw after mixing with the udon and some soy sauce.

Tempura udon
This udon comes topped with tempura. Usually the accompanying tempura is shrimp, or kakiage, a type of mixed ingredient tempura fritter.

Tanuki udon
This kind of udon is topped with tenkasu, which is the deep-fried tempura batter.

Yaki udon
Fried noodle, the udon version.
Curry udon
We have never tried this. Curry udon is served in a soup made of Japanese curry. It may also be accompanied by meat or vegetables.

Being such a common food, there are a couple of interesting customs associated with it. First, it's traditional to eat cold udon in the summer and hot udon in the winter. At most noodle restaurants, you'll be able to choose between hot and cold noodles. We love both cold and hot but since cold noodle is eaten only in summer so our representative pictures of udon are all hot udons.

How do we look for good udon restaurant? Good udon means cheap and delicious. Basically we judge whether it's good by looking at the queue. The longer the queue is, the better it is. Seriously!

Good udon has its unique texture. It should be slurpilicious, chewy and springy! If you go to an udon shop, you will hear the Japanese slurping away the udon. They don't bite the udon, only occasionally chew it then swallow! We have not mastered that technique yet but making that slurping sound is real fun! Remember when you were little, your mom would warn you not to slurp cause it's not polite? Well, you can slurp your heart out without having to worry about people warning you regarding the bad manner. It's absolutely polite to slurp your udon in Udon restaurant!

Below are some of our favourite udons!

Tsukimi udon: simple udon with milky taste of soup (after mixing the raw egg with the soup)

Tsukimi tororo udon 月見とろろうどん: It contains Dioscorea opposita (yamaimo or chinese yam), which is a type of yam that can be eaten raw.

Tempura udon: Sya's favorite

Udon can be a side dish too!

Big bowl of udon that comes with shrimp donburi- ayah's favorite

The volume is really big! Two big bowls...can you finish them?

We once drove about two hours to a famous udon restaurant/shop in Kagawa prefecture. It was last year, January. There were a few famous Udon restaurants in Kagawa and this shop was listed as one of the best. People came from all over Japan just to try the udon here. We were so curious so we finally made our trip there.

It was the middle of nowhere...

There was no proper parking space. People just parked along the road.

We arrived at around 11 am but the line was already so long when we got there! The people up front came around 8am...gosh!

So we waited...

and waited...

Till Sya was so bored and decided to play with the snow...

After an hour wait, we finally arrived at the entrance, but not quite there yet as there were many people in the shop but they had only 11 seats available!

Ayah had plain udon without soup...just udon and green onions. He dipped some soy sauce to taste. It was really good!

My choice...with a raw egg. By the way, there were only two choices in the menu. Udon with or without egg!

Obviously people who came here were not looking for tempura or soup or any frills that can go along with udon. People come here to taste the real udon. The great texture, the springiness, the chewiness of the udon. 5 stars for this shop!! Hubby had three bowls and I had two bowls. It was just simply delicious. We truly understood why people would wait for hours just to taste the udon.

When we were finished with our lunch, the line was already closed.

I sincerely hope the person who stood last in the line would get a taste of the udon. It would be a shame if he didn't cause he had waited for hours!

Below is a good review by two foreigners regarding the udon shop. Whatever they say is true!

Vacation diary (Part 7)

Jan 17, 2011

This post is basically about our observation on the first day of year 2011 in Tokyo Disneyland. On that morning, we left Sheraton hotel, took the Disney resort cruiser to the Bayside station, and from there we took the monorail to Tokyo Disneyland.

Japanese New year decoration - Kadomatsu

Let's have a close look at the cruiser,

The Disney resort cruiser

A shot with the bus driver. Nice uniform!

The idea of the bus is basically Mickey...

The decoration inside the bus...

Mickey welcomes you. (Oh, they use Mickey's voice to indicate the arrival and departure!)

Mickey clock

Mickey on the seat...

Mickey handle

And fresh air from Mickey...hahaha

So we have arrived at Bayside station...

Mickey images in the shadow...awww

Even the back of the bus has interesting details...

Its got a Mickey tail!!

Mickey back lights...

Mickey exzos

Mickey side light

Mickey pointing at the entrance/exit...

We took the monorail to Disneyland station, on the monorail we saw...

Fuji mountain! The sky was so clear that even the Fuji mountain was clearly visible! Very lucky!

However the temperature was quite low. Around 0~1 degree celcius

The entrance. Since Disneyland had been opened since 2am, the entrance was clear of people!

As we entered the Disneyland, we saw many people sitting at the side of the road. These were the people who had spent their night here in Disneyland, enjoying the countdown party and the rides. They must have been exhausted.

The entrance to the bazaar (shopping complex), was decorated with Japanese new year decoration that says "Happy new year 2011" both in Japanese and English.

The Mickey Kadomatsu

We love this picture...:)

These people were waiting for the new year's greeting parade which would not start until 11.20am...

Since it was still early for the new year's greeting parade (so we thought!), we decided to have breakfast at Sweetheart cafe. As you can see, the line was very long. I had to line up for more than 40 minutes for breakfast...sigh!

A long line extended to the entrance...

Sya boring...:)

And people didn't stop coming...huge crowd that day.

Our breakfast: Kagami mochi...a must have during the Japanese new year. You get to bring home the plate too!

Sya and his imitation of Pluto...

Mickey shaped pastries...

"Mike" melon bun

One thing I have never shown before in previous posts is how cute or how weird the fashion of these Japanese when visiting Disneyland. Disneyland is a place where you can wear anything without people criticizing you.

Good friends with Chip n' Dale attire

Good friends with same hairstyle, same bags, same "Minnie" sweaters.

Someone was taking along their bunnies. Hey, it's the year of rabbit!

Mother and daughter with Disney gadgets...

Cute winter hats. There's Minnie and Donald...

Even Nemo...:)

They don't mind wearing blankets like sarong too...:)

Oh, this is our favorite food in Disneyland, Churro.

On the way to Fantasyland, we saw the starjets ride. The view was just simply awesome.

Next: "It's a small world" ride!

The Chip n' Dale we saw previously...

Happy New year 2011!

One of our favorite spots in Fantasyland is the area with "Alice in the wonderland" atmosphere...

I love the combination of pastel color decorations and beautiful flowers...

The mean looking Queen of hearts...Sya was intimidated! ;)

The Carousel ride...

Sya and ayah rode the carousel

Then we saw the fairy Godmother...

And the mouse...

At the Pooh's Hunny Hunt ride...

We found many hidden Mickeys! One way to occupy our time during long waits.

We next went to the Critter Country. In this themed land, there are only two rides, the famous Splash mountain and Beaver brothers explorers canoe. We didn't ride the Splash mountain because ayah is acrophobic! Well, we took these photos to let you see what it is like riding the Splash mountain. It is the most popular ride in Tokyo Disneyland for the past 27 years. So, if you are not acrophobic, go!

The people who sat most front were praying...hahaha

We are looking for ayah... :)

Fishing anyone?

Next, Canoe ride.
For anyone who's not fond of canoeing, skip this or not you will end up with sore arm! Haha...But it was quite fun. Sya stopped paddling halfway though, complaining it was too tiring for a kid!

Note the high school boy, isn't he cute with all the Disney gadgets?

Can you believe him eating another churro? After all that breakfast and two churros previously?

And he finished it too!

The beavers' car...Sya liked this!

Next, we went to the Adventureland for "The enchanted Tiki room". Sya is a big fan of Stitch so we had no choice but to watch the show!

Stitch show was inside the Polynesian style buildings. No photos were allowed during the show...:(


Next: Swiss family tree house from Swiss family Robinson.

Nice view of Cinderella castle from the tree top

Hidden Mickeys again...:)

It was way past the lunch time when we finished with the Adventureland.
We wanted to escape the crowd so we decided to have lunch at the Disneyland Hotel.

On the way, we saw Clarice and Daisy.

So adorable!

As we were enjoying lunch at the cafe, we noticed an elderly couple having lunch too. Beside them were a couple with three children who seemed to have great fun. Disneyland is not for young people only! People in any range of age can have fun. So, it's never too late to come to Disneyland!

Love the Stitch outfit!

We went back to Disneyland after our lunch, just on time for the New year's greeting parade. They were so many people waiting already. We couldn't find any place near the road! We had to stand at the back in order to have a good view. Served us right for coming only 20 minutes before time (People had been waiting for at least a few hours!!)

The parade has started!

Minnie in bright red kimono...

So cute!

Daisy was wearing kimono too!



And the bunnies to welcome the year of rabbit!

We witnessed Mickey and Minnie kissed! So sweet!

And then after that, "shy shy cat"...hahaha

The new year's greeting ended here...

Video of 2011 New year's greeting in Disneyland and DisneySea (from youtube)

It's always a chaos after a parade...

We waited for another 3o minutes for the next scheduled parade, The Jubilation.

Enjoy the parade!

The beautiful fairy

The beautiful princesses

The Pocahontas

Winnie the Pooh and friends

The lion king

Lilo and Stitch

Peter Pan

The Pinocchio

The clowns...

The monsters, inc.

The Toy's story

Mickey ended the parade

Video taken by hubby...due to the poor location, heads of various shapes, hair thickness and colors could be observed too. Hahaha

We didn't go around too much after that. We did some last minute shopping, buying souvenirs for family, colleagues and friends at World bazaar before we left for our hotel.

The line for a photo shot with bunnies was too long. The line was closed when we arrived.

Among the souvenirs from our trip. We did another load of shopping at the Disney store in Ikspiari the next day. Each time datang Disneyland, pokai!

Souvenirs with images of Mickey and Minnie in Japanese clothes are available only during New year holidays.

I think I am pretty done with my vacation diary. I may have left out some parts along the there is a possibility that I post about it when it pops out one day. Thank you for dropping by. Till the next entry!