Sweet Sapporo, Part 3

This will be my final part 3 for this Sapporo trip. No Hokkaido trip will be considered a good trip without fresh seafood in their fish market. We went to both, Nijo and Jyogai Fish Market. We had very fresh and reasonable-price seafood and souvenir shopping.

I start from a smaller market first, Nijo. We went there around 8am in the morning and spent about an hour.

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Fortunately my dad was able to join my brother and I for this market. His knee wasn’t in a good condition on the day my brother and I went to Jyogai market. We brought him to a clinic early in the morning and a doctor asked him to rest awhile so he chased us out to play rather than being with him (after we got him some breakfast of course). I was very happy he could visit this one market at least because he loves to go such places. You know, my old man is not getting younger and this is one of the least things we could do for him by bringing him out to travel. Ok, back to the market.

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We ordered a bit of food and they were alright and very reasonable price. But somehow I thought it could be better than what I expected.

I actually preferred Jyogai market. Both markets weren’t very far from our hotel anyway, less than 20 minutes in taxi from Sapporo Grand. I know some of us may think that all markets should be more or less the same.

However, our desire to eat fresh seafood still took us there. I had no regrets visiting this market which is bigger than Nijo; more choices of restaurants and variety of menus. Their shops look somehow more organized too; selling giant snow crabs, fish, sea urchins, scallops, oysters and etc. You can also buy famous Japanese snacks in the market. It’s a good place to walk around then have lunch at one of their seafood restaurants.

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We decided to have our lunch in a restaurant recommended by a taxi driver. And I beileve it is also the biggest restaurant in Jyogai market.

Kitanogurumetei 海鮮食堂 北のグルメ亭

Start with fresh cold beer during a winter.

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I would say their price wasn’t very low as what we thought but the quality and freshness definitely worth it. If you don’t know it yet, I’m a seafood lover and I can just eat them everyday, only good ones I mean. *chuckles*

We were also educated about melon by the stall owner and bought some back to snack in our hotel.

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Now it comes to the end of my Sapporo posts with a lot of food for temptation. haha. I came back home with souvenirs, toys, and especially a lot of amazing skincare products which I’m looking forward to share with you readers in the future.

And, Happy Chinese New Year to all of you. I wish you happiness, prosperity and lots of luck through out this year. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Love, nira

Sweet Sapporo, Part 1

This is going to be quite a long post with a lot of photos.

I just love travelling to Japan and I plan to visit many cities there. This time, Sapporo in Hokkaido! This trip was also a gift from me to my dad. I’ve always been overseas working in the past years, taking care of my daughter and I hardly have time to really spend with my parents. So I thought this would be a perfect gift. My mom passed this one but we will soon have our next trip.

We have been to a few cities in Japan and Sapporo is #5 biggest (and new) city. I did some research about Sapporo and I think it would be a great place for a relaxing trip for my dad, not too busy I would say. 6 and a half hours flight from Bangkok to Chitose Airport by Thai Airways this time. Chitose airport screening was really quite slow just to added. Think we were queuing for an hour. Weather was great at 1°C. I arranged a car from hotel which took us an hour from airport to town area.

I chose Sapporo Grand Hotel, just because of a good location as reviewed by many other tourists. And I agreed on that 100%. Everywhere we want to go is possible just by walking less than 15-20 minutes or less than 15 by taxis. However, taxis in Japan are not cheap but I did not have many choices because of my dad’s leg conditions. At least I already prepared for this in advance. I recommend this hotel if you care about location. Their rooms are not spacious but most hotel rooms in Japan are. Cleanliness and services are good enough. Choices of breakfast are great. There are 2 different buffets spots on 1st and 4th floor and one local menu breakfast sets by garden views on 4th floor. Nothing fancy about their bars so I didn’t like it.

And here is the lists of what I think it’s best to do in Sapporo. Please take note that I crossed out quite a number of very commercial places and only focused on my travelling style. I simply do not like boring or overrated places.

Hokkaido Jingu (北海道神宮)

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A beautiful place to be and to pray. It’s the biggest shrine in Hokkaido. The outlook of shrine is so great with such weather. Also to observe the local cultures. And very peaceful I would say.

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Do not mind my almost bare face. I couldn’t be bother to put so much makeup after a crazy long day before flying. Well.. at least my camera helped.

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We spent probably about 45 minutes. There is a nice huge garden around their shrine to walk around and I saw a few local feeding squirrels.

Sapporo Beer Museum (サッポロビール博物館)

I like beer so I wanted to visit this place. Sapporo beer as we know is one of the oldest and most popular beer brand in Japan; brewed in Sapporo since 1877. This museum tells you about history of beer and the making process.

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After touring the exhibitions, beer tastings are also available at a low cost. It was actually more of a tasting session at the end.

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My favourite was Kaitakushi beer on the right which is more of a easy-to-drink and quite rich kind of taste. After tasting I was told that Kaitakushi was named under a 2-story wooden brewery building and it was the first brewery in Hokkaido. But I personally prefer Belgium or Germany beer a lot more.

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However, this place is not as huge as I thought so one hour would actually be enough unless you want to sip more fresh beer.

Shiroi Koibito Park (Chocolate Factory)

It is a theme park by Ishiya, a local chocolate company. I’m sure many you know this most famous cookies for souvenirs from Hokkaido. It is wrapped in green paper and inside is a white box with light blue design.The one which consists of two thin butter cookies and a layer of white chocolate in between.

There are quite many things to do and stroll around at this park such as cafe, restaurant, shops, chocolate related exhibitions and of course the cookie production process in the factory. Opposite this park is a huge soccer field.

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I just love their park. I’m pretty sure it’d look much nicer in December to January where all the new year lightings are set up. This is your place If you like to do selfies with nice background.

Next is my favourite of all, hot-chocolate cup room.

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I could spent a few hours in this room if I were by myself. Their rooms were nicely decorated and cups were displayed in such a way that is so grand and vintage. Rare kind of luxury.

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Below are some of my favourites out of a hundred photo I took of these cups/boxes. If they do not fancy you, just skip them. How I wish to have some of this for my home. They are just so beautifully designed in different years and places. They reflects the cultures of where they are from as well.

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Next, it’s the factory itself. From far I could smell a mixed of chocolate, butter, cookies before walking in this session. Very nice impression to start with.

 

 

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And a room full of cakes, beautiful ones.

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Ended with a random stuff of old collections. They are again, rare.

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This is a must to visit place if you have a chance to be in Sapporo. Out of all places I mentioned above, this is my most favourite. We went back hotel with some souvenirs of course. Simply a good day out.

I will be back for more of what to do in Sapporo as well as where to have good food over there. I hope you enjoy reading.

Love, nira

Classy, Daniel Wellington

One of the happiest packages I’ve received so far this year is a watch from Daniel Wellington. I have been wanting to get one myself but I couldn’t decide which designs to get because I like many of them. If you don’t know about this yet, I LOVE watches. Not only the very luxurious kind of watches that cost you at least 5 digits but also those with nice and unique designs with reasonable prices too. I have to admit I’m quite fussy when it comes to all the little details about certain watches I like. Partly because my wrists are quite small and big face watches won’t look good on me.

Although I personally think DW brand is very famous for their big face watches (according to my online researches), but they also have smaller case sizes that look just nice on my wrist and thank you for making this size, really. What I like so much about their watch is a slim and classy design that can easily mix and match with everyday wear or even for a special occasion.

It was a very tough choice to pick one but I went for ‘Classy Bristol‘ in rose gold with 26mm case size. Just nice for my small wrist. And those Swarovski crystals make this watch looks even more classy and feminine. Not only that, the straps are interchangeable! Ok, I think I’m probably getting the black strap too.

I love how it compliments my whole look and I’m sure it goes really well even if I’m in T-shirt and jeans.

When I first saw DW wristwatch, I immediately knew that I need to own at least one piece and now I do. This is really a good watch to own especially for fashion lovers and their price is affordable too.

It comes in a nice leather stitched box for a USD149 worth of timepiece and not in a plastic or cardboard box. That makes me happy too.

If you think of getting one now, I have a good new specially for you my readers. You can get a special discount of 15% by using discount code ‘nira15‘ and is valid until 30th of September.

Love, Nira

Life in a New City

Sorry for the lack of updates. Some of you may already know about my family and I migrating to another city, Shanghai! For me, shanghai is one of the most interesting city (compared with other cities in China I’ve been to) where you can see China of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is also a joint of Eastern and Western cultures and the most modern city.

I’ve moved here for almost two month now and this place is still impressing me so far. There are so much to explore in this fast developing city. Terena also seems to enjoy the cold weather here more than I do but I’m kind of getting used to it now. Actually, I’m much more of a summer than winter person. We will see if I’m going to change my mind after spending more time during winter. Frankly speaking, I miss Singapore and Bangkok a lot especially family, friends and food! Fortunately, I still will be flying back to both countries very often due to business and visiting. Singapore is also like my second home after all so don’t worry my dear friends. You can see me quite often that you thought I have yet to move here. And if you are curious, I should be here in Shanghai for a few years.The very first few weeks I was pretty much occupied with household and a lot of new stuff to explore around but I’m becoming more familiar with this place now. While getting myself busy with finding a new house and kindergarden for Terena, I’m also having a new project coming up and I’m working hard on it now before putting them up.

I’ve said good things about Shanghai and yet to speak about the bad ones. Pretty sure many of you know what are the downsides of foreigner living in China (Every country definitely have at least one). So far, the thing I dislike about this city is the air, sometime it’s really bad but still better than Beijing. Next is the cautious about eating any food here. Unlike Bangkok where most street food won’t do me bad, some of Shanghai street or even can food can be dangerous for my stomach. I’ve had bad experiences for four times in two months. The worst one was the can food which wasn’t expired and yet gave me food poisoning for 2 days. But then again, they have so many good food here!

Anyway, I recently went to a Century park for a short break with baby and ayi (that’s what they called a helper/nanny here). It is the largest park of the city of Shanghai in Pudong New Area which combines British, Japanese, and Chinese gardening styles. So beautiful that I need to photograph.

In Nasty Gal knitted white dress, Massimo Dutti sweater, Burberry coat, BCBGMAXAZRIA stocking, Nine West boots and Chanel bag.

Love taking photos of these pretty flowers. I didn’t even need to use my pro but semi-pro camera to capture their beauty. Iphone 5 camera is very good for close-up shots too.

A flower in my hand was picked up from the floor and not from a tree itself.

more random things they sold at the park.

I was off to my meeting after spending an hour in a park. The weather was just nice on that day.

Cartier watch and ring, Tiffany bracelet and Korean designer jewelries. I love how the rose gold strongly compliments beige and white colour.

More random photos of my little girl. Start with da Michelin Terena all covered up in shocking pink GAP sweater.

Seriously. She is not even in white. Don’t you think she looks like a Michelin or is it just me? Actually I always call these type of sweater, the Michelin inspired. Cute enough.

and Terena da shopaholic baby.

She was actually being nice and helped me carry it all the way walking back home. Having a daughter is very sweet. Especially these days, she knows exactly how to make me melt when she wants something. But I will try my very best not spoil you simply because I love you very much. If you are a mother, you should know how hard it is to say no to your little ones but someone has to do it.

It’s late but I’m wishing you all a happy 2014. I hope all the good things be with you always.

ps. I bought quite a lot of Korea makeup and skincare from a family trip in Korea and I will be sharing some reviews once I’ve tried them all.

Love, nira

Tokyo for Food, Part 2

DAY THREE

The day started off around Harajuku and Omotesando areas. I would say I prefer these two areas than Ginza. There is a lot to see and more to buy. Most importantly, for me, lots of fashion boutiques and rare local designer clothes. It’s not possible for to name all the Japanese brands and designers I love. Too many yet never enough.

We began our shopping at Takeshita Dori, a narrow and roughly 400 meter long street. This street is very popular in Japan so it is always very busy and extremely crowded on the weekends. Many local fashion boutiques can be found here and mostly for teenagers.

Spotted one interesting shop where they sell lucky box for minimum 300yen, 500yen and so on. I bought one for my husband to try his luck.

Next was Tokyo Plaza, Omotesando Harajuku. This 7-storey shopping mall is filled with domestic Japanese brands, mostly for ladies.

They have Starbucks and Bills restaurant at the top. Food was good but the waiting time was quite long, 25-30 mins at least. I had their signature dishes; sweetcorn fritters with roast tomato, spinach and bacon (1400 yen)

One thing you shouldn’t miss at all is all the small streets with lots of shop off Omotesando. It’s not crowded at all. There is lots of cute shops and not grand or anything. I like it there very much.

For dinner we went to Ebisu and decided to go for this restaurant (below) after looking through many in that areas. It was a good choice. Food was great and affordable price.

We have seared marinated raw mackerel, grilled chicken thigh kushiyaki style 2p, barbeque squid and my most favourite, seaweed tempura.

Back to hotel right after dinner. My legs were overly tired from walking but it was all worth it.

DAY FOUR

First thing I went to 21_21 design sight to see the exhibition. It’s a small art museum located in the upscale Roppongi Midtown area. Admin fee is 1000yen.

The next time I visit Tokyo, I will check out more Museums.

In the afternoon we went to isetan and takashimaya (Shinjuku) to get some snacks and chocolate for little souvenirs. Then, headed back to hotel to get ready for a special dinner at Kozue, park Hyatt hotel 40th floor.

The view was amazing. If we were lucky enough to have good weather, we could see Fuji mountain right where we were sitting.

Their sashimi was like the best. Crunchy, soft and wonderful texture.

I wouldn’t mind going to Japan again right now. Miss their food very much, and also shopping. Pretty happy with my new purchase during this trip, especially beauty products.

And YES, some of these products below are for another GIVEAWAY, as promised.

including this pretty iphone5 case.

Just share with me one (or more) of your favourite Japanese fashion brands and why you like them. Remember to leave your email address. If you want to win iphone5 case please put *IP5* at the end of your comments. Giveaway ends 14/9/13. Thank you and good luck. x

Love.- nira