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Archive for April, 2013

One day.  That is how long me and my family has allocated for our attack and invasion of the first Universal Studios in Asia.

I was actually not excited that USJ (Universal Studios Japan) was in one of our itineraries in our journey to Japan this year.  Two weeks before our trip I and my niece Kim checked out the USJ website.  Both of us thought that it was plain, ordinary and simple run-of-the-mill theme park.

During our first visit to Osaka, we did not bother going to Universal Studios because we thought the thrill and excitement would basically be the same as that of our family’s former trip to Universal Studios in Singapore.

But we were completely, veritably and absolutely wrong!

had fun here...

had fun here…

the gang at the facade

the gang at the facade

look at how wide the streets are!

look at how wide the streets are!

As soon as we reached the façade, first thing I noticed (which is unlike the Singapore version) is that it’s huge!  The streets are wide and spacious! And the attractions do not looked cramped into a limited space.  Thus, even though there were lots of people, the park don’t feel like it’s congested and overcrowded.

But what was even greater about this theme-park-adventure was the rides and attractions.  Good thing Denden (my nephew) planned very well the sights and rides we are to take.   He seems to have plotted it in a thrill-escalating manner.  Except for the roller coaster Fantasy Ride which my nieces and nephews excitedly started with, imagine we (including Nengkoy, my 76-year old mother) commenced our adventure with the kiddie Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic program and ended with the viperous 85-feet near vertical drop of the hair-raising Jurassic Park ride.

luis with pink (not the singer but the stuffed toy)

luis with pink (not the singer but the stuffed toy)

after the amazing spiderman ride...

after the amazing spiderman ride…

the wacky photo taken during the 85 feet drop of jurassic park ride

the wacky photo taken during the 85 feet drop of jurassic park ride

Among the features of USJ, the ones that I enjoyed most were the rides of Back To The Future, The Jaws, The Spiderman and of course the Jurassic Park.  In all these amazing rides, I felt the cross-fertilization of fear, terror, shock, awe, astonishment and of course excitement hybreedizing down my spine.  That is why while on a ride, I was screaming at the top of my lungs so as to discharge these feelings.

denden, nengkoy and ate gaying loving the parade...

denden, nengkoy and ate gaying loving the parade…

And to cap the day off, USJ featured their jaw-dropping, amazingly awesome and totally fantastic Magical Starlight Parade.  It was the parade that brought the same feeling I had when I personally saw the Disney Parade in Hongkong.  I was so happy freaky tears of joy were running down my face.

Abot hanggang Pasay ang sigaw ko grabe. 

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michael bubleMichael Buble is so mainstream.  He is not your ideal fresh indie-singer or indie-band whose songs have ironically been listened to by everyone but only sold in a couple of thousands.  He is so popular, everybody loves him and he sells millions that is why he is not considered an underdog.

But having said this, you would realize that Buble being “too” mainstream in his profession could actually be categorized as the underdog.  He is an underdog because his being too mainstream means he will never be categorized as critically acclaimed. He is too mainstream he will never receive the greatest review of a prominent music critic on any of his present and future works.

And since I am not a prominent music critic, let me bestow a little accolade for the most recent work and music of Michael Buble.  His new single Its A Beautiful Day is probably one of the best anti-love song ever composed.  It’s upbeat, positive, sunny and refreshing.  Though it is a gladsome song it nevertheless did not fail to bring a message of kick-ass spunk and the naughtiness of its-your-loss-not-mine attitude.

This song can also make you realize that the messed-up and awful relationship that you may be in now which you never actually aspired for is something that can be treated as your today’s curse which can be tomorrow’s blessing.  I therefore declare that this song is my official anti-love song.

Ang kanta ng masayang sawi.

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erika: the lady with pretty good musical foresight

erika: the lady with pretty good musical foresight

This post is dedicated to my niece Erika who would frequently play this music when I and my relatives were having a fun vacation in Japan.

Last year when I was in Japan, Erika could not stop playing the song Call Me Maybe when it was still fresh and not yet a big hit.  She even fell asleep in front of the computer playing that song.

This year, while having a vacation in the same country again, Erika yet again keeps on playing a song.  This time its entitled Cups sang by the lovely Anna Kendrick.  Though not really a new track, this song was included in last year’s musical movie entitled Pitch Perfect.

As an upshot of incessantly hearing the same song over and over which is similar to a hypnotic induction, I and my relatives were actually swayed to watching the movie via web while in Japan.  And we did and we had a good laugh!  The movie was purely entertaining!

Surprisingly, while we were in Japan, Anna Kendrick last April 12 actually published/released a new (director’s cut) video of this track on YouTube which as of this writing has reached more than 2.6 million hits.  Though the acapella version is really fresh this remixed edition has some cool vibe it in.

Here’s another pretty cool version

Now that I’m back in Manila, Cups is starting to become a huge hit…

Tenks Ikang… Lavet…

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Aside from having the ardent desire to revisit my dear nieces and nephew, destiny concurred and recognized that I return to Osaka, Japan because during my first visit I failed to eat Takoyaki.

Everybody knows that a trip to Osaka won’t be complete without eating the tastiest Takoyaki in the face of the universe.  The best and most delicious is in Osaka for a simple reason that this lip smacking dish was invented right in the heart of the city.

cooking takoyaki

cooking takoyaki

that's my order...

that’s my order…

It’s actually easy to find a good Osakan Takoyaki.  Simply look for a store with a long queue selling this Japanese street-snack.  Then you’re in the right place!

my niece (kim) behind  her is one popular takoyaki store  near don quixote

my niece (kim) behind her is one popular takoyaki store near don quixote

the popular takoyaki store along dotonbori street

the often blockbuster takoyaki store along dotonbori street

Truly, a trip to Osaka won’t be complete without trying at least one ball of hot savory Takoyaki!

Pogita bols!!! Yum Yum!!

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Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Japan is probably one of my favorite shrines.  I love this temple of worship because of its aesthetics.  The color of the structures contrasts very well with nature.  It’s vermilion in color.  The red-orange color of the torii gates mixes well with the bright blue pigment of the sky as well as the lush green fauna surrounding the area.  It’s visually rich!

inari temple gate

the gang entering the main gate

nengkoy in inari shrine

nengkoy in fushimi inari shrine

 

 

 

 

 

 

inari shrine 2

beautiful and impressive

inari shrine 3

i love the colors…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe another reason why I unconsciously came to like this shrine is because it is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto religion’s God of Rice.  I guess I adore it  because I myself is a rice lover.  Close friends know that given a few numbers of meal periods, I will go nuts if there would be no rice served in any of my meals.

inari shrine 4

smile …

After going around the beautiful shrine, me and my family headed towards right beside the shrine’s local village where there were quaint restaurants aligned along the narrow street.  We entered one of the charming restos to have lunch.  Luckily, my nephew cleverly ordered the specialty of the village, the Inari Sushi.

inari sushi with a bowl of ramen

inari sushi with a bowl of ramen

yum!

yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another landmark experience I had in Japan was my tasting of the authentic, original and genuine Inari sushi.  I have tasted Inari sushi in the past but never in my wildest dream would I get the chance to eat this rice-stuffed dish in a tofu pouch in the place it was named after.

It was a no brainer!  For me it was the best Inari Sushi!

Pinaghalong ganda, hanga at sarap! 

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These photo memes are starting to become so popular here in Japan.  Since me and my family have limited time, I and my silly nieces and nephews might as well do what typical Japanese are doing.  It`s called Kamehamehaing.  This photo technique is based on Dragon Ball Z`s kamehameha powers.

inside the fukoshima inari shrine

inside the fukoshima inari shrine (with monster nephew dennis, photo taken by monster niece thatcher)

kobe tower as the background

kobe tower as the background (with monster nephew luis and niece erika, photo taken by monster niece kim)

erika kicking my butt in kobe harbor

erika kicking my butt in kobe harbor (with monster niece erika, photo taken by monster nephew luis)

In the western world the photo meme that is starting to become viral is called Vadering, based on Star Wars` character Darth Vader.

our vadering version...

our vadering version… (with monster nephew dennis, photo taken by monster niece thatcher)

Both are basically the same, but I like the drama of Dragon Ball Z better.

I`d rather do this than the silly planking or the catatonic like owling…

Nakikiuso…

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Food has always been an integral part of my travels.  Though I have a limited ability to explain my wondrous experience about food in all of my travels, I try as much as possible to describe it.

Just like what I just had.  It`s about the tastiest siopao (pork meat buns) in the face of Kobe, Japan.  Thanks to my niece Erika for bringing me and my family to have this amazing palatal experience.  At first I had doubts when she told me that we should try the best pork meat buns in Kobe.

But when we reached the middle of Chinatown of Kobe, I was surprised.  I was surprised to see that there was actually a long queue and these people were patiently waiting for their turn to have the chance to enter the very small yet infamous Rosyoki store.

blockbuster!!! pila balde ang peg!

blockbuster!!! pila balde ang peg!

waiting in line

waiting in line with kim and luis (two of my monster pamangkins)

how i wish i can bring all of these back to manila

how i wish i can bring all of these back to manila

 

packing the taste of heaven

packing the taste of heaven

happy and excited with our purchase

happy and excited with our purchase (with erika & luis)

what a palatal surprarise!!!

what a palatal surprise!!!

Rosyoki store only sells siopao (known in Japan as butaman).  It is a bite-sized pork meat bun with taste that can actually bring you to the doors of heaven.  On my first bite, I knew that Erika and the people who fell in line were all correct.  It was one of the worthy waiting that I had to do in my life.

Walang sinabi ang asado ng mamunlok at chowking…

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Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.

Nengkoy

Nengkoy is the nickname of my mom during her pre-school years. Her parents and relatives call her ‘Ang Neneng Ko’. With her pretty charm and appeal, she was usually called in a melodic way using this lovely phrase. Until it evolved for easier articulation of the phrase, Ang Neneng Ko was shorten to Nengkoy.