My 25th prefecture in Japan. 22 more to go.
We wanted a snowy holiday that’s not too far from Tokyo, so we decided to visit Niigata prefecture, also nicked “Snow Country”. Niigata is most famous for two things – skii resorts with soft, powdery snow and Koshihikari rice. And we were gonna enjoy both to the fullest 😛
Junya’s entertainment for the 2-hour shinkansen ride. And the toy was a… shinkansen lol. And the name of the Shinkansen is… Sakura lol.
We got it from Tomica Shop in Tokyo Station.
Sakura wanted to play with Sakura but Junya didn’t want to share his Sakura.
We arrived at Echigo Yuzawa Station. Surrounded by snow the moment we stepped out of the station!!
one of Niigata’s Mascots – Mr Reruhi.
Charming Snow Country ♥
Lots of dreamy white color ♥
Our hotel is right across the train station. The danna picked the most convenient place so we don’t have to move around too much with two young children with us.
View from our room.
Junya took a long long nap.
When he woke, we took a stroll around this quiet little town.
Haha still sleepy face XD. By the way Sakura is wearing the down overall we bought for Junya’s first winter trip and it fits perfectly! Great choice to have kids who are exactly 2 years apart. XD
Papa planted Junya into the snow XD
He was so excited!!
We then returned to the souvenir shop in Echigo Yuzawa station for shopping. Right here you can buy the freshest, most famous rice in Japan – Uonuma Koshihikari rice.
Did you know? Even if it is the same brand from the same place, rice could taste very very different, depending on how fresh it is. Shinmai, (new-harvest rice), is one of the most treasured ingredient in Japan. We bought 5KG of fresh raw rice and had it polished at the store.
There are mini packs of Uonuma Koshihikari you can buy as souvenirs for your friends and family back home too.
I think this is a Sake-tasting shop. Don’t get as drunk as this dude.
There was even a Sake-buro (Japanese sake onsen bath)!!!! I have used a few sake-infused beauty products and I really loved them. I was dying to try this since it’s gonna make me beautiful head to toe lol but we didn’t have enough time for this.
Dinner time was at a Donburi restaurant inside the station called Uonuma No Hatake, I ordered Mochi Buta don and the danna had curry rice. The pork was so, so good!
And then the danna ordered TKG (Tamago Kake Gohan). It’s basically just steaming hot rice served with raw egg, miso soup and salted konbu.
Uonuma Koshihikari rice.
Raw egg with soy sauce
And just mix it into white rice.
We returned to our hotel, watched some TV and then went for family onsen (a private hot spring bath in the hotel for a fee).
Looks like this!
Sakura’s first sexy shot HAHA.
This is our breakfast menu. So elaborated omg.
It’s very traditional Japanese-style breakfast, and I am very impressed that most of the dishes are homemade, including the natto, tofu, yogurt, etc.
And super super healthy. After the breakfast I felt like I have eaten like 200 kinds of different vegetables and soy protein lol.
Next is skii time!!
At Yuzawa Skii Resort.
Actually it was still in early winter so there was only one open skii course, but not like I could go, so I babysit @cheesiepetit X2 while the danna went snowboarding.
Got a mini sled for Junya but he wasn’t very excited about it haha.
Papa was trying to train up a snowboard buddy for himself but
This was the one time he was on the sled then he dowan liao lol.
And then did an Snow Devil (opposite of snow angel LOLOL) because he was tired and sleepy.
coaxed him back to the stroller to nap XD.
Lunch that day was in another restaurant inside Yuzawa station! It was a sushi shop.
Our favorite of all time – Aburi engawa.
And also un-aburi engawa lol. (Basically untorched)
Overflowing 3 types of sushi
Kanimiso (crab roe) and shredded Kani. I love crab roe but most of them from other random sushi shop taste a little… stale?!. But this was super creamy and fresh!
Also, since we are at the hometown of Koshihikari, the best way to enjoy this beautiful rice is to eat it in the most unadorned manner – plain as it is or as an onigiri (with a dash of salt, wrapped with seaweed).
In this kitchen at the souvenir shop, they are selling Bakudan Onigiri (Onigiri Bomb). How is it a bomb?
Look at the size of it.
Apparrently 4 cups of rice is used to make this onigiri. @.@
Sake jelly, this is sold at the cafe adjacent to our hotel. Wonder how it tastes like!
We ordered the Onsen pudding (they delivered to our room as room service!), super yummy!
The day after…
Super healthy breakfast again. Eating 300 types of vegetables again.
Grilled fish served with 3 small appetizers.
The love of my life (for now).
The short trip was coming to an end.
Sakura trying to eat oniichan’s sock.
Before leaving home we had our last Niigata meal, at the train station again, in a ramen restaurant. Their signature is Miso Chashu Ramen. I’m not a big fan of miso ramen (I love Tonkotsu and Shio), but I finished the whole bowl!
Ready to get back to Tokyo.
Yeap. So that was Sakura’s first winter trip. She didn’t see or miss much of it haha. The whole time she was being a comfy sleepy koala stuck to me. ^^
Yeah? Where were we the past few days again?
Oh she found a pacifier on her sweater XD.
And… the end. See you next time, Niigata!
While I was compiling the post for Niigata with 70 over pictures, here’s a short video on our shinkansen and snow adventure in Niigata prefecture! ♥
Update again soon! ^^
This post is about Tokyo Station. Yes there’s a railway station called “Tokyo Station” in Tokyo, and it is the busiest train station (with most trains – the one with the most people is Shinjuku Station) in Japan with over 3,000 trains operating everyday! How crazy does that sound!
Well, Tokyo Station is more than just a station. It is a small city on its own. Even if you are not using it to move to another city/prefecture, it is worth traveling all the way to Tokyo Station just to spend an afternoon eating and shopping.
And that was what we did with extra 2 hours before boarding our Shinkansen to Niigata.
The most exciting part of Tokyo Station for people who love cute character has to be the Tokyo Character Street. It is located at the basement of “Yaesu North Exit”. Tokyo Station is huuuge so if you are not sure just ask the information counter.
We headed straight to Tomica Shop because that’s Junya’s favorite!
Wa wa wa I was probably more excited than him!
All the Tomicas you ever need!!!
JAL and ANA sets too!
A whole diorama cityscape right under your feet!
Junya didn’t want to leave that place 😛
Star wars special
Death Star special
Even TsumTsum Star Cars!
And lots of other cute TsumTsum
Dream Tomica series is my fav!! It is a series of dream collaboration with other brands including Sanrio, Nissin, Disney, etc…
Got this for Junya!
If your kids (or you :P) love trains, there’s also Plarail shop for endless track systems!
Ekiben Ya Matsuri
Do check out this bento specialty shop for your lunch-to-go for the train ride!
Ekiben Ya has more than 150 types of bento from all over the country for your selection.
You can refer to the food sample at the entrance. All of them looks soooo good!
Snowman bento, Uni gohan… *drool*
Hello Kitty Daruma bento!
Rilakkuma bento ^^
In the end I picked the Hayabusa Shinkansen bento for Junya!
That matches our train.
For me I had the Kinmedai Aji Kurabe (3 types of Kinmedai) bento.
Junya reached for the dessert right away XD
Here’s a short video on our adventure in Tokyo station!
Update again soon! ^^
Junya turns 2 years 8 months today, and Sakura is 9 months old now.
I think they are looking more and more alike in pictures!
Here’s the regular monthly update!
(Also read Junya’s 1st month , 2nd month , 3rd month , 4th month , 5th month , 6th month , 7th month, 8th month, 9th month , 10th month , 11th month , 12th month , 13th month , 14th month , 15th month , 16th month , 17th month , 18th months , 19th month , 20th month ,21st month , 22nd month , 23rd month , 24th month , 25th month , 26th month , 27th month , 28th month , 29th month , 30th month and 31st month here.)
This month I felt like Junya has grown a few years older @.@. Suddenly he talks like an adult (well, at least a childish adult haha). Maybe he picked up all sorts of “funny pattern” from school haha. But every kid behaves very differently once they start schooling so I guess it is inevitable.
He is a lot more challenging emotionally now, but I think that is because he started to understand human behaviors more and more now. He can read someone’s mood and personality, and will react accordingly for things to be in his favor.
School has been going very well. He got completely used to it and I think he is ok with it. Not sure if he enjoys it but he is definitely not against it, because every day I ask if he wants to go to school tomorrow, he says yes.
This was the last day Junya held his bottle (or so I hope haha).
I weaned him a few times off the bottle for a short period of time before but eventually gave up because to him, no bottle = no milk. I couldn’t remember how many cups of milk I wasted because he found drinking milk from a cup taste less… milky? I dunno. He would take a few small sips and then gave me this disgusted face -_-.
Anyway he was accidentally weaned when we lost his bottle in Australia (we eventually found it, but I decided to just trash it). No bottle ma, no choice lo. Too bad. Haha. Now he is addicted to drinking is Breaka Strawberry Milk from a cup.
So yeap, mommies, the winning move is to just simply throw away your child’s pacifier/binky/milk bottles.
This is a long story (written for my own reference!). If you are likely to TL;DR, feel free to skip to next point.
We are still holidaying in Australia now, and last week there was an incident that made me reflect a lot on my own parenting style. Have I been letting my own emotions get the better of me? Am I setting a bad example for my own children? Will they grow up to hate me?
It all started with Junya throwing a tantrum in our hotel living room. Literally. He flung his Tomica hard on the floor in anger. It wasn’t the first time happening, and I thought it was time he really needs to learn his lesson, so I picked the toy ambulance up, and placed it away on the top shelf where he cannot reach. And I told him no more Tomica for today because he was not kind to his toys. And then he exploded and cried. Which was normal. He said “I dowan mama.” Which was also normal. (In fact it is so normal that he even made up a song about it. It goes, “I dowan mama, I dowan mama. ♪Dowan dowan! ♫“)
So I said okay, and I went away.
He burst into tears and did not stop for the next 5 minutes. When I went back to him, his tantrum only got more escalated. Wailing at full blast, he said, “I dowan mama. Mama go away.” while signalling me to leave.
I replied “Okay, I go away, then you cry alone, okay?” and stomped straight out of the room. As expected, he cried even louder.
After 5 minutes I went back to him again thinking I could talk to him more calmly, only to see him all teary yelling “mama go away!” So I did, again.
And this cycle repeated about 5 times. Him asking me to go away and me going away to his madder screams. I kept waiting for him to calm down (which he usually does after a while), so we both could talk nicely, but he did not. It was a bad day for the both of us.
It went on for like half an hour, both of us physically tired and mentally drained. I went back to him and this time he roared, “mama go outside with Sakura!!!“, pointing at the balcony.
“And then?” I asked.
“And then Junya cry… ALONE!!!”
He said that. I mean shrieked.
And it felt like someone just stabbed my heart with a fork. I can’t express the real tones in words. But the way he said it, along with gestures and a gravely saddened expression, it felt like his heart was broken. By me.
And then I burst into tears omg. It sounds very lame but I did, because I was overwhelmed with so much emotions. I don’t know why but suddenly I could relate to him. And suddenly I saw him an adult. Suddenly I saw myself in him.
Seeing me in tears he got a shock and he yelled “Stop. STOP! mama stop!!” in panic. Because that’s what I always say when he cries lol.
For the first time I felt that he was truly upset. I hurt my 2 year old son with my words. What have I done? Reflecting back, indeed sometimes I say stuff with a threatening tone, but I thought it’s pretty normal every parents say things like “If you don’t (do this or that) then we cannot go/you stay alone. Bye bye.”
It hurt me so much and all I wanted was to give him a hug. But he pushed me away and said “mama wait outside! (the balcony)”. I did, thinking to give him time to calm down but he did not. He kept sobbing while saying “I am tired already…” (it was 3 hours past his nap time!!) and yet did not allow me to go in so he kept blabbering in a stifled voice and I really had no idea what he was saying.
In the end I made out what he was saying. He said, “mama say sorry first“. (Honestly where did he learn that from?! We have never used that phrase omg.)
I told him sorry that I made him feel upset, and his face immediately softened and he said “Nakanaori.” (In Japanese means making up/reconciling). I stretched my hand out, he shook mine and I hugged him.
He said, “sorry mama.”
My son. Just like me. Stubborn as hell. And then I realized how both of us had too much pride to apologize when we hurt each other. And all we needed was a sorry and a hug. In the end I got him to apologize and “nakanaori” with his Tomica too.
After that incident, he still say things like “I dowan mama. Mama go away. I dowan papa. Papa go to work.” on a daily basis.
Yesterday he was lying on the bed almost asleep, and he pushed Sakura who was next to him out of annoyance. Before I could even say anything he yelled (with his eyes still closed) “I dowan mama. I rough. I go outside. I dowan to be good boy. I rough and I go outside. I cry alone.” before he promptly fell asleep.
And all these while I thought I was relatively loose with disciplining compared to parents who give time-out or other punishments. But now I really learn that most of the things our kids say come from their own parents. And some things that I say stuck with him. Nice things. Not to nice things. Things that hurt which we did not realize. Things like, “I don’t like this. If you are rough, you go outside.” It was maybe harmless to me, but to him, it was hurtful. And it stay with them.
And it got me thinking, was it really necessary to say things like that? What is the alternative? Was there a better way to say it? How does one always remain calm and loving?
Other things that he says:
Junya: Mama tell Sakuchan don’t take take my things.
Junya: Mama! Mama tell Junjun secret.
Mama: *whispers a secret*
Mama: Huh but if papa and Sakura can hear then it is not a secret anymore.
Sakura turns 9 months old today!!
This month’s theme is summer beach in Australia! This picture is taken here in Gold Coast and I have used up everything we could find in our luggage haha.
The happiest thing is month is that Sakura now can understand bye bye!!! Say bye bye to her and she would wave like those plastic traffic police dummy you see at roadworks lolol.
Oh oh she also can stand steadily (holding on to something)!! But cannot pull to standing yet although she is trying very hard to 😛
Solid food wasn’t going very well 🙁
Especially now that we are on holiday I was feeding her instant baby food almost all the time, I guess eh got bored of it. She won’t even open her mouth the moment she sees the spoon with gooey food.
Buuuuuut she loves table food. Every time we adults (and oniichan) eats, she would stare at us in a way that says “how come I don’t get any?!?” hahaha. So yea I end up giving her our roast chicken, bread, sips of juices, our fav Queensland yogurt, etc… She loves it. I guess she just refuse to be a baby anymore. She wants to join the dining table fun.
We carried a real koala the other day at Currumbin Santuary and I was like, why bother, I already have one lolol.
Seriously my back is hurting like mad even with regular Chiropractic visits and now my arms are also sore like dunno what. T_T
Ok… fine. Hahaha.
Sakura has 3 teeth now!!! Well, 2.5 haha. Her top front teeth are sprouting!
And training her to brush now, because we had such a painful time getting Junya to not hate brush time.
And erm, the terrible teeth grinding is happening -_-. Her brother did it at 11 months since his teeth grew slower. Just… omg stop.
Everybody was asking me like, what’s your secret to lose weight?!什么产后瘦身秘诀？How you did it? What do you eat? What work out you do? etc etc etc.
This is my work out lo.
Really one, not I selfish don’t want to share, but it is really… nothing. Well it is not nothing, the secret is simply… to have two very young kids. Haha.
“But I also have two kids!!!!!!!!”
Okokok. Maybe your husband and in-laws treat you too well liao lolol. Ask them to leave you alone with ALL house work and errands and cooking and parenting.
Then you will become like this.
But really one, I am losing weight to the point it is a little gross. I am trying very hard to gain back some weight to look borderline healthy now ok.
Ya ya ya. I levelled up again. I never thought I would ever want to do this in my life, but I did. Reluctantly.
Cuz I always show off how I #pokeMOMgo leveling up right? So the universe is like, ok as you wish. Nah, give you brand new level to clear. So I was given a task to fly with two kids alone. HAHAHAH I love it.
Not really. I completely freaked out but it was a very very very important flight to settle some urgent matters.
I apologize to the Malaysian sitting next to us. And also probably the rest of the passenger on the same flight that day. It was your unlucky day.
Erm, level cleared. Next!!!
All parents with toddlers will know the pain. The pain when your toddlers fall down, knock into things, get scratched… the headache when you see them hurt… and we can’t help it because it is a natural process as they grow.
Maybe it is really a boy thing, but Junya gets minor scratches almost on a daily basis. He falls down so often while running that his knees are forever scratched. A new wound happens before the previous one is healed. T__T
This happens so often that I’m stocking up bandages in our home.
And we all know the dreadful moments when you have to peel a plaster off your child’s wound. Ouchie. You will have to either do it very very slowly and gently while your child protests in pain or just peel it off with force at the split of a second to a big ouch. Haha. Which one are you? I am definitely the slow, paranoid one 😛
Don’t you wish there’s a plaster that won’t hurt at all when you peel it off?
Yeap now our wishes have come true.
The 3M Nexcare Sensitive Skin wound care series gives you pain-free removal!
The 12 assorted pack is especially useful because it comes in many different sizes so you don’t have to buy many boxes.
How is Nexcare different from traditional bandages? For regular plasters or bandages adhesive, the force of removing the tape is experienced in the skin.
3M Sensitive skin silicone adhesive allows the force of removal to be experienced in the adhesive, which also means pain-free removal!
I saw one of their demo video on how gentle the removal was, but I wanted to find out myself.
So I prepared 3 different types of plasters. Beige one is a regular plaster from another brand, the white one is a sensitive skin plaster of the same brand, and the blue one is Nexcare Sensitive Skin plaster.
Now I am going to stick all of them on a piece of paper and then peel them off one by one.
Here’s the demo video!
Saw that?? I was very shocked that the so-called sensitive skin plaster (white color) did the most damage on the paper. I literally had to use force to pull it off! Imagine how much your skin will hurt!
Part of the paper was torn with the pull of the regular plaster.
Same for the sensitive plaster. Also, I hate it that plasters will leave a sticky feel on your skin. This one left some of its adhesive residue on the paper.
Absolutely smooth and perfect like before.
I must say that I was very impressed.
3M Nexcare wound care series is definitely recommended for people with sensitive skin, young children and elderly with fragile skin and also hmmm… people who are hairy haha. (Absolutely! You won’t want to wax yourself with plasters :P)
There are 1,000 samples to be given away! First 1,000 people who LIKE 3M Nexcare page, share Nexcare’s post and successfully fill up a simple form will get the samples for free!
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Nexcare.Singapore/
You may also purchase Nexcare sensitive skin range of products with the promo code “NEXCARE5” to get additional 5% discount on top of what is offered on LAZADA.
Limited time only! From 31 Jan – 31 Mar.
You may also find them in selected Guardian, Watsons and Unity outlets.
December last year, our family took a short trip to Niigata Prefecture from Tokyo.
Born and raised in a tropical country, I was always fascinated with winter and cold climate, because that was what sounded exotic to me. I think a lot of my Malaysian peers feel the same. A lot of my friends preferred to visit Japan during winter to have an entire different travel experience from our usual hot climate.
And Niigata is the perfect destination because, well, Niigata is also lovingly called the “Snow Country” across Japan. Other than the famed skii resorts with powdery snow, Niigata has many other attractive charms, surrounded with splendid nature, clean coasts with beautiful sunsets, hot springs, friendly folks and the best thing for us – absolutely delicious rice.
Check out those shiny pearls!!
Rice produced in Niigata is well-known all over Japan for their finest quality. People who have visited Niigata told me that all they needed was a bowl of steaming hot rice served with miso soup.
For me it is the simplest TKG = Tamago Kake Gohan (rice with raw egg topping). It may sound a little too adventurous for Western or South East Asian tummies, but do give it a try!
Uonuma Koshihikari is the most popular rice brand in Japan. I felt extremely lucky that we were staying in Yuzawa, a little town located in Minamiuonuma District where Uonuma Koshihikari rice is available everywhere so we had it every single meal. It was indeed the best rice we’ve ever had.
I bought lots of these mini rice packs as souvenirs!
Of course, good rice also means extra yummy sushi! <3
I’m going to share more in the following blog posts but before that, you can get a taste of the wonders of Niigata by watching a travel program, “Kembara Niigata Kami” produced by TeNY, a broadcoasting station in Niigata available on Astro Ria.
The hosts of the program, Eleena, Shenthy will show you the wondrous Niigata in winter and share their experience enjoying rice cakes, snow shoe walking, hot spring and so on!
Don’t miss it!
Title: “Kembara Niigata Kami”
English title: ‘Our Niigata Journey’
On air date: 14, 21 February 2017
Channel: Astro Ria 104ch
I hope that you guys can visit Niigata one day too! In the next travel blog post I will share more about my personal experience!^^