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Foreign Creatures

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Japan: Fukui Part 1

travelJessicaComment

Fukui is where my brother-in-law Nate lives. He's been there for about 2 years now teaching English. We were told that older people lived in this country area and they're kind of known for dinosaurs. I got this really cute blue and yellow dinosaur backpack for my nephew. Places are not that close in proximity so we rented a car. It was great staying here because we got to visit Nate's church, where he worked, and we got to do a lot of traditional stuff like making soba noodles, going to festivals, and an onsen. We spent 5 days here so we took our time and relaxed :)

See after the photos to see a list of our expenses

VISIT
Festival - there are a lot of festivals in the summer and they're free so I recommend visiting one while you're there and eat as much as you can. We tried scallops, takoyaki, egg waffle and crepe!
Lpa Shopping Center - we shopped here twice and there's a ton of stuff from clothing, gifts, food, to stationery items
Bunkyo Gospel Center - we attended this church on Sunday. It was great to see Christians worshipping God from a different country. They also had english translators and a lot of english speaking people there
Wego - clothing shop where I bought a cute skirt and top
Seria - equivalent to daiso or the dollar store in US. Tons of great stuff
Tea Ceremony - we attended a tea ceremony for the junior high and high schoolers. We decided not to participate in it and just watched
School - we went to Nate's school and they had summer class going on. We had to wear slippers indoors and got to see some students play the taiko

EAT
Hacchouya - dinner here was great! We ordered some sashimi and hot pot. We went here twice because they open late
Circle K - convenient store that you can find anywhere
Venice de Bakery - located in Fukui station, it's a great place to get bread for breakfast or anytime of the day really
Akiyashi Yakitori - we had dinner here with Nate's church friends. We tried basically every yakitori they had and it was delicious!!
Revolving sushi - it was fun going to these restaurants. One trip we got to order from a LCD screen and another place we just had to grab the fish off the revolving belt

EXPENSES (for 2) by days according to video
Day 1 - Fukui
Hacchouya dinner - 2000
Circle K ice - 498

Day 2 - Fukui
Venice de Bakery - 713
Doutor iced green tea - 340
Ham - 500
Scallop - 400
Takoyaki - 500
Egg waffle - 300
Strawberry crepe - 500
Snail shell- 300
Seven eleven - 895

Day 3 - Fukui
Venice de Bakery - 456
Rice - 300
Wego - 3218
Seria - 108
Headband - 842
Grove headband - 1512
Akiyashi Yakitori - 3827

A Break in LA

travelJessicaComment

Last Friday my friends and I took PTO to just have a day of fun...AND IT WAS FUN. We started off with make your own poke Thursday night then watched She's the Man. Friday we started off our day early and had non-stop fun.

EAT
Tacos Tumbras a Tomas (in Grand Central Market)- $3 tacos for a load of food. I tried the pork intestine and birria (goat) and so yummmyyy
Berlin Currywurst (in GCM) - we got the brat and fries
Eggslut (in GCM) - we tried the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich for $7
DTLA Cheese + Kitchen (in GCM) - afternoon cheese for snack. We tried gouda and some other soft cheese I forgot the name of
G & B Coffee (in GCM) - Iced coffee to start the day off right
Cha for Tea - my favorite boba shop. I got the honey green milk tea
Relax Massage Skincare - $18 foot massage for 1 hour. It was perfect especially since we walked for over 3 hours
Pho 79 - this is near my house so we just walked over. $6.95 for their pho soup dishes

DO
LA Flower Market - WOW love it. I don't think I ever been and I want to go again. I was able to make 8 bouquets from the flowers and greenery I bought
Pop Physique - we got a free class for checking in on yelp. It was a barre workout
WB Studio Tour - 3 hour tour and it was so fun! My favorite part was the prop part and seeing the Pretty Little Liars set. My phone died so I didn't get any photos. We weren't allowed to take photos at the PLL set because the show is still going on. It was cool cause they were also shooting the new Gilmore Girls for Netflix while we were there. We weren't allowed in that area. Another favorite was the Friends set
Think Tank Gallery - Break Bread exhibit. This was a free exhibit and it was quite cool. The artists had cake on the wall and a nice neon sign right when you enter

Japan: Kyoto

travelJessicaComment

Third day, another prefecture. KYOTO it is! This was our most sightseeing day. There's also a chance that I might not be labeling these places correctly :) But know that it's all around Kyoto anyway. We went straight to Fushimi Inari-taisha after visiting Nara Park then spent the day sightseeing. There are luggage lockers in popular tourist locations in the train stations so that's where we left our luggage while we travelled in between prefectures. I also bought a lot of handkerchiefs in Kyoto...the patterns and fabric here are great.

We stayed at an Airbnb and this is where I got royally owned. I woke up with 10+ bug bites and regretted not bringing medicine to Japan with me. After our first night in Kyoto we went to the market early morning to get breakfast and snacks for our 4 hour trip to Fukui (post to be released next). We ate our breakfast at our Airbnb then went to the train station right after that. We spent 1.5 days in Kyoto. Now watch our adventure!

See after the photos to see a list of our expenses

VISIT
Fushimi Inari-taisha - so amazing and so glad we made it here. This is the place with those orange red structures
Bamboo Forest - definitely a must see. Bamboos to the sky and it was just green everywhere. My favorite place we visited in Kyoto
Toei Kyoto Studio - this is like a universal studios park in LA in terms of how they make films but no rides or anything. There are some free shows and a lot of other shows that you have to pay more to see. We didn't pay extra for the shows and were still able to enjoy a good amount of the studio. If you're short on time, you can pass on this place
Nishiki Market - it was closed by the time we got here. We were bummed cause we really wanted to get some food there but it's okay...next time
Gion Corner - we didn't make it in time but Nate and Hannah got to go! They saw a geisha show and they said it was great

EAT
Super Daikokuya Market - we grabbed breakfast here in the morning. It was a normal grocery market and they had tempura, sushi, and some other breakfast goodies that you can grab yourself. It was pretty tasty and a fun breakfast to have
Vermillion Espresso Bar - yummy coffee and a comfort drink if you will. This place was located on the outskirts of Fushimi Inari-taisha
Buckwheat noodles (unknown restaurant, located near Fushimi Inari-taisha) - I'm not a fan of soba noodles but this was on my list of things to try in Japan. I tried the cold soba with dipping sauce and the soba noodle soup. I preferred the latter though
Ramen (unknown restaurant) - we didn't eat dinner until late at night and found this one ramen shop that was still open. The price was very good and the ramen was less intense. Good meal right before we had to sleep
Cold Stone - okay what? Yes, there's one in Japan! It was a cart so they didn't have the whole ice cream show like we do in LA, it's more like a ice cream popsicle stick with real fruits. With the weather so hot this was the perfect snack and I enjoyed it better than the Cold Stone in LA
Milk Tea - you can pass on the milk tea here. There were no good boba shops. We enjoyed Japan's tea a lot better
Family Mart - this is like LA's 7-Eleven...there's one almost every other block. We made sure to grab a big bottle of water everyday from the mart

EXPENSES (for 2)
Day 2 - Kyoto
Locker - 800
Drink mango - 190
Station to Ken Katsu - 1120
Station to Fushimi Nara - 420
Buckwheat noodles champon - 1360
Baggage hold - 600
Handkerchief - 360
Vermillion Coffee - 500
Station to Kyoto - 280
Pepsi - 100
Station to Gion - 230
Cold stone mango shortcake - 480
Milk tea - 108
Ramen - 1000

Day 3 - Kyoto
Super Daikokuya market - 1033
Kyoto locker - 700
Saga Arayashima station - 440
Ice cream green tea, shaved ice - 740
Handkerchief - 366
Station to Toei Studio Park - 280
Family Mart mango, pizza, water - 444
Toei Studio Park - 4400
To Kyoto - 40

 

Japan: Nara

travelJessicaComment

After visiting Osaka for one day, our first stop on our 2nd day in Japan was to Nara. There's a university there along with other things but we just did a quick stop to visit the deers at Nara Park. We spent a little over an hour there and it was so much fun. They were just deers but they were so entertaining. There are people who sell crackers on carts around the park so you'll just have to pay for them in order to have the deers come to you. Aaron and I were too scared to feed the deers but Aunt Jane and Hannah did. Were they brave? Check out the video to find out.

See after the photos to see a list of our expenses

Funny creatures right?

EXPENSES (for 2)
Day 2 - Nara
To Nara from Osaka - 1120
Locker - 800
Drink mango - 190

Japan: Osaka

travelJessica1 Comment

Welcome to the beginning of our adventure! I shared last week about some Japan observations but here is where the real stories begin.

We flew with Asiana Airlines and arrived at Osaka. Aaron, Hannah (Aaron's sister), and I met up with Nate (Aaron's brother) and their Aunt Jane at an Airbnb in Osaka when we arrived. After we got out of the airport we walked quite a long way to reach our destination. Our excitement to be in Japan surpassed our 15 hours of traveling grogginess. We just spent 1 day in Osaka but it was the best. My favorite was the takoyaki. Here's our Osaka recap :)

See after the photos to see a list of our expenses

Our first meal was at Ichiban Ramen (of course!) and it was my favorite ramen I had the whole trip. YUMMMMY yummy. Then we walked around some more and was in fascination of all the lights and culture.

IMG_1991.JPG

A breakfast in Japan! So simple and a great way to start off our morning.

Osaka was the perfect first destination for us in Japan. We enjoyed the street food, lights, arcades, soda machines on every corner, and the simplicity of life.

EXPENSES (for 2)
Day 1 - Osaka
Nankai station - 2000
Station - 360
Pepsi -100
Green da ja ra - 140
Green tea - 140
Takoyaki - 200
Ichiban Ramen - 1820
Zombie (arcade) - 200
Fujiya restaurant mango snow chocolate parfait - 600
Family Mart - 266

Day 2 - Osaka
Cafe Ranger egg, toast, coffee - 760

Japan: Observations

travelJessicaComment

Aaron, Hannah (Aaron's sister), Aunt Jane (Aaron's aunt) and I visited Nate (Aaron's brother) in Japan last August and I am now ready to share with you our adventure! Our version of an adventure is relaxing, site visiting, and lots of food, which we definitely did this trip. Since Nate lives in Japan, we got to experience a lot of Japan's cultural and do a lot of things we wouldn't have thought about doing if it wasn't for his expertise. I won't be sharing too much on exactly where we ate and what we did because I did not keep track of the restaurants we were at. And having signs in Japanese did not motivate me enough to log it. I'll be sharing videos I made from each city we visited so that'll give you a good idea of what we did. But let me start off with some things I noticed in Japan. 

Drinks are smaller
When we ate at restaurants, the cups were noticeably smaller.

Fewer Napkins
I'm the type that uses a lot of napkins every meal so I had to make sure not to make a mess when I ate.

People don't get mad when you run into them
Some areas in Japan are very crowded and there's no denying that you'll bump into someone. But people there are so kind and don't give you the stink eye or push you around when there is limited space.

Sweet language tone
They are so nice. They treat people with care and are very gentle.

Everything was louder
When we were at Tokyo Disneyland, it was noticeably louder - music, rides, and show effects. We found that our group were the only ones who screamed on the rides. Were we being rude?

Gestures
I only noticed one gesture that was confusing. When we waved to the workers at Disneyland, a lot of time they mistook it for a "no".

Merchandise bags are taped
All bags were taped after we purchased something. Not sure what their intent for this is but I like this idea. It made me feel like our purchases were complete.

Women making ramen
I noticed that a lot of women were making ramen. This might be true here in LA too but I felt like there were just a lot more than I thought there would be.

Bug bites
It's not uncommon to get bug bites but I wanted to share that I got so many on both my legs since the start of the trip. We tried several medications but it helped only for a short time. It was rough getting thru the days but I was in Japan...so no complaining there.

Check back next week to see our time in Osaka, our first destination :)

New Years in Lake Arrowhead

travel, filmJessica4 Comments

This year started off great because Aaron and I celebrated the new year at an Airbnb in Lake Arrowhead with our friends. This is the first time all 14 of us were able to take a trip together so that definitely made this trip amazing.

I also made pins for the trip that can only be earned. So whoever was in charge of food got a pin and whoever organized games got a pin. I also made a peanutizeme of each tripee because the Peanut gang is cute. Look at them!

We cooked all our meals, enjoyed a hot pot meal, played Scattergories, Settlers, white elephant, minute to win it games, had a devotional, watched many music videos, danced our way to more fun, enjoyed cotton snow indoors, and laughed our weekend away. I made a 5 minute recap video. It was so fun I couldn't shorten the video anymore. I want to remember everything. Celebrating and being with our church friends is something Aaron and I enjoy. We can rejoice in Christ together and serve each other outside of the church.

Film by Jess / Music by Aaron Lee

Travelling to Chicago for Work

travelJessica1 Comment
 Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate

I went to Chicago 2 weeks ago to take videos and photos at my work's event. There were about 600 people and a lot of talks and food and social interactions. It was a lot of fun but also very exhausting. Here's a quick recap of my time there. I wish I took more fun videos but there wasn't much time for that. But considering everything, we still made time to have fun.

Here's a quick guide to what we did on our downtime.

STAY
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile - we stayed here because that's where our event was. We got a suite because we had to do sit down interviews with some of our customers

VISIT
Millenium Park - where you see the famous Cloud Gate, Jay Pritzker Pavilion and a temporary blue art piece
Magnificent Mile - everything was holiday-ed up. Wreaths, huge trumpets, store fronts...everything looked like Christmas and felt like Christmas
Chicago River - you can't miss it. Just walk somewhere and you'll see it. Beautiful with the building in the background

EAT
Shake Shack - we had this twice on our trip. I recommend the vanilla concrete
Mindy's Hot Chocolate - Mac n cheese was one of the best I've had. $10 for hot chocolate was good but you know...$10...
The Publican - o my goooodness. The BEST meal in Chicago. Our group ordered nearly everything on the menu and had a tasting of each dish. My favorites were the mussels and the rib
Sidedoor - tried the meat sampler that included meat of your choice. We got prime rib, pork belly, and lamb. The brussel sprouts were also great
Pizzeria Due - our last company dinner. I liked the deep dish cheese pizza. I'm boring. I know
Downtown Dogs - we needed to try a Chicago dog. I ordered the cheese bratwurst
Eataly - a cute plaza? Not sure what this is called. They just have a lot of food and kitchen items for sale. They have a Nutella bar here

DRINK
Dollop Coffee and Tea - my 2nd time here and I love the vibe and decor. Their brie and fig bagel was delicious. After this visit, I plan to make myself fig jam
Lavazza Cafe - if you like rich...and i mean rich chocolate coffee then try this place. It was a bit too heavy for me
Public House - a bar. I didn't have anything but it was a nice place to celebrate our last day in Chicago

 Event @ Marriott

Event @ Marriott

 Marriott Suite

Marriott Suite

 Chicago River

Chicago River

 Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate

 @ Toms Shoes

@ Toms Shoes

 Shake Shack

Shake Shack

 Mindy's Hot Chocolate

Mindy's Hot Chocolate

 Mindy's Hot Chocolate

Mindy's Hot Chocolate

 Mindy's Hot Chocolate. Homemade marshmallow

Mindy's Hot Chocolate. Homemade marshmallow

 @ Eataly

@ Eataly

 Il Gelato @ Eataly

Il Gelato @ Eataly

 Nutella Bar @ Eataly

Nutella Bar @ Eataly

 @ Eataly

@ Eataly

 @ Eataly

@ Eataly

 @ The Publican

@ The Publican

 @ Sidedoor

@ Sidedoor

 @ Downtown Dogs

@ Downtown Dogs

 Cheese bratwurst @ Downtown Dogs

Cheese bratwurst @ Downtown Dogs

 @ Marriott

@ Marriott

 @ Dollop

@ Dollop

 @ Dollop

@ Dollop

I promise. We worked. We just know how to have fun too :)