It all started here...

It all started here...

Thursday, October 17, 2019


2019 Summer Trip to Asia
July 16, 2019 -- Osaka, Japan, RCCL Voyager of the Seas (10:00AM ~ 5:00AM July 17)

We have been to Osaka a few times, this is the first time that we are here with just the two of us. Without big groups, we should be able to move faster and more flexible. We also have a long day here too, with our ship leaving port at 5:00AM tomorrow morning. No rush getting back to the ship as long as we get back before the last operating train. We were told that the last trains should run at 11:00PM.

Waiting for the ship to dock at Tempozan terminal.

Tempozan Passenger Terminal and the giant ferris wheel.

This time we purchased our one-day pass from one of the service desks inside the terminal before we headed out to the subway station. A good move on our part. Later when we reached the subway station we saw dozens of people crowding around the ticket machines while we just walked right through. From the terminal to the subway station (Osakako) was just a short 7-minute walk. Very straight forward, literally.
We took the Chuo Line (green) to  Hommachi Station and switched to the Sakaisuji Line (brown) to Ebisucho Station, walked a couple of blocks and found this little restaurant that I have read about. It's just across the street from the Aizenbashi Hospital. This restaurant is famous for their eel rice and double-decker pork chop rice. We waited for a few minutes before a table was available, and that was before the lunch hour.

Menu. I believe they also have menu in English if I remember correctly.

Name of the restaurant?

Address of this little restaurant: 
5 Chome-20-3 Nipponbashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0005, Japan

Some had to sit at the counter. Seemed to be family-run and they were all very friendly.

Highly recommending the eel rice, good price for that delicious whole set.

I ordered the double-decker pork chop rice which was OK, with lots of meat. My problem is that I don't usually like 'wet' stuff so I prefer the drier kind of tonkatsu even though I like eggs very much. To me it just doesn't make sense to make the crispy fried food wet and soggy with sauce or whatever. Just my two cents.

A huge bowl of food.

Obviously we were the only 'tourists' in this restaurant that day. The rest of their clientele were locals with many who were on their lunch break. I was pleased with this find and we enjoyed a delicious meal that didn't cost us an arm and a leg.

A few still waiting in line outside the restaurant.

Then we went to the Osaka Kizu Market, a wholesale fresh produce market. I was told that this is the place to get fresh produce, like fresh fruits, in Osaka. Unfortunately, by the time we got there the wholesale market was closing down for the day with only a couple of vendors left. I believe most vendors close at 2:00PM.

Very expensive grapes.

We bought two huge Japanese peaches for 700Y, the most juicy and sweet peaches I've ever had!

Our next stop was the Tsutenkaku Tower, the famous landmark with an observation deck.
We have never been to this part of Osaka so we were determined to be here on this trip.

I suppose it was a little early still.

Plenty of restaurants to choose from.

Seems like a smaller version of Dotonbori.

We did all of the above by walking and by the time we took the subway to Namba Station, we realized how tired we were and quickly found a coffee shop to rest our feet.

Inside the underground coffee shop.

After resting for a little, we continued our exploration by getting out of the underground and went towards the Hozenji Temple area. Again, we have been to Dotonbori a few times but this time we decided to see the nooks and crannies of this area. 

Gate to the Hozenji Temple.

Eye-catching figure outside a famous restaurant across from the entrance.

I was told that this little eatery on the right serve great red bean mochi dessert but we did not try it since we try to avoid sweets as much as possible for health reasons.

Little shrine outside the temple.

Alley neighboring the temple. This was where we found the restaurant for dinner that afternoon. We would come back for an early dinner later on.

Just got to have a picture with this billboard.

After walking around and browsing through some stores, including making some purchases at Daiso, we returned to the alley and waited for this restaurant to open its door. We did not have reservation and we figured the best we could do was to get there early. We were seated right away once they opened and we were the only customers there at that time so we were well-taken care of by the owner himself.

I believe we chose the Premium Course.

Orders taken using this screen by the table. Very convenient. 

Self-service grill meat.

Wyagu beef sushi, excellent!

We were busy grilling and eating and did not have time to take pictures of all the different kinds of meat we had. We had an enjoyable and fantastic meal.

After dinner we decided to go to the Osaka-Umeda area where we have never visited before. This is a huge place with train/subway stations and department stores, which can be quite confusing. We happened to lose each other at one point and I was worried sick for about 10 minutes. Fortunately, we found each other and all was well.

This is the HEP FIVE ferris wheel.

Busy intersection across from HEP FIVE.

After a while, we decided that was enough for our day and took the subway back to port. 
This is the ferris wheel at Tempozan terminal with VOTS in the background. The ship won't leave port until 5:00AM in the early morning, so we still have plenty of time.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are Trustworthy, making wise the simple. "  -- Psalm 19:7

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Relaxing Day at Sea

2019 Summer Trip to Asia
July 15, 2019 -- At Sea, RCCL Voyager of the Seas (2:00~10:00 PM)

With a late on board time with the ship leaving Naha last night, many took advantage of this sea day to catch up on their sleeps. Then I was surprised to see how crowded the buffet was even at this early hour in the morning. This was the one thing about this ship that I did not like, the buffet. It was always busy and difficult to find tables and it became a chore just having to deal with that.

We usually like to stay away from our cabin in the morning just so the cabin steward can take their time and go in cleaning the room. So after our hurried breakfast (trying to make room for others looking for tables at the buffet), we just wandered around the ship and enjoy this sunny day.

A beautiful day on deck indeed!

What else can you ask for? Sailing on the peaceful, calm sea with perfect weather.

Later that morning we were back in our cabin. From our window we could watch the zumba class and other activities that were going on down on the promenade deck.

We found ourselves having lunch at the main dining room again.

We asked and were taken to a nice quiet table for two.

Soup of the day

Grilled Open Steak Sandwich

The hot rod outside the promenade cafe.

Didn't do much that afternoon, mostly just relaxing in our cabin preparing my lessons for the upcoming teacher training courses.

Soon it was time for dinner in the main dining room.

Loved these rolls!

Seafood Soup

Crab cake

I believe this was my Chicken Cordon Bleu

MOR's fish dish
Not sure if it was a thing to fit the needs of Asian passengers. There seemed to be a ball of rice in every main dish. That was fine and all but the problem was the rice was not cooked right for my taste. I just don't like mushy rice!

The ship is still beautiful even though she is old.

Get ready for the night. We should be in Osaka the next morning.

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." -- Psalm 5:11