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My White Lover

15/06/2011

In Hokkaido, there is a very special souvenir called “Shiroi Koibito”, which means “White Lover”.
This is a form of sweet, that is sold mostly in the winter season, and only in Hokkaido.
When I went to Hokkaido, I had to buy some of these as a souvenir for my family, and everyone loved it.
It’s a certain form of sweet biscuit that hold a filling of white chocolate, which melts on your tongue.
The taste is sweet but not repulsively so. It’s very delicious with the soft crunch of the biscuit and the soft white chocolate that melts on your tongue.  It also comes in a milky chocolate version, which I have not tried, since the white version is the “original” and I could only afford one kind.

On a trip to Osaka I found that they ALSO have a version of the “Shiroi Koibito” and so I bought a package of it, because I thought it was kind of funny that they also had it, and I was curious as to whether it would be the same content as the one from Hokkaido.
Later that same month I went to Odaiba in Tokyo, and there I found another type of the “Shiroi Koibito” specially made for Odaiba tourism. Once again I ended up buying a pack of them, with a promise in mind, that I would go home and taste the three kinds, and do a blog about them.
A month went by and I didn’t open the packages, I was planning on bringing them all back to Denmark with me, when I go back in September, but I noticed that they would go bad before I would be able to go home.

Thus I decided now was the time to try them out. And so I decided to do that long awaited blog about these sweets.

First, let us have a look at the wrappings and boxes.

de forskellige slags

The boxes

From the left: Hokkaido , Odaiba Tokyo and Osaka.
The one from Hokkaido comes with a matching plastic bag, and is wrapped nicely in special shiroi koibito gift wrapping. The ones from Odaiba and Osaka are both just wrapped in plastic and there is no nice matching bags for either. Already the Hokkaido scores points on the wrapping.

æskerne

All 3 unwrapped

All the designs are different, personally I think the original version from Hokkaido is the most interesting one of them all. Here is a picture of each of them, so you can compare.

Hokkaido

The original from Hokkaido

Osaka

Osaka version

Odaiba Tokyo

Odaiba, Tokyo Version

When you open the boxes, there is also some differences.
The one from Hokkaido, has a luxurious feel to it. The lid opens with the removal of the small seal in the bottom, and then it opens like a book or a card.
Inside, the  chocolates are wrapped one by one in small packings, and has 3 pieces wrapped together by a see through film around the middle of the sweets.

indhold Hokkaido

Hokkaido version contents

Hokkaido indhold close up

Close up of the original version

The Osaka version and Odaiba version opens the same way, you remove the lid of the box, much like a puzzle box or a board game box would open.
Both have the sweets wrapped up one by one, but the placement is a little different in each type.
Take a look at the pictures below.

Osaka box og indhold

Osaka version contents

Osaka indhold closeup

Close-up of the Osaka version contents

Odaiba indhold

Odaiba, Tokyo version contents

Odaiba indhold close up

Close up of the Odaiba, Tokyo version

Now to the good part, tasting it!
First compare each wrapping in size. Judging by the wrapping, the Osaka and Odaiba versions are slightly bigger than the Hokkaido version.  In my opinion, the one with the best looking wrapping, is the one from Odaiba, it looks like a miniature version of the box.

compare

Comparing the 3 kinds

But, when you open them up, you will find that the biggest one is in fact the one from Hokkaido, and the smallest one is that from Odaiba. The Odaiba and Osaka ones look much alike, yet the Odaiba version has a little less filling than the Osaka version. The biscuit of Odaiba and Osaka are very much alike, and thicker than the one on the Hokkaido version. the Hokkaido version is not only bigger, but also have a lot more filling and a thinner biscuit.

Comparing contents

Comparing the contents

When you bite into the Hokkaido one, it feels like it is melting on your tongue, and the taste of the white chocolate is very full and round. The biscuit  has a nice crunch too it, but it quickly melts like the chocolate when you start chewing. A very fine and delicious taste.
The Osaka and Odaiba ones are not as melty on your tongue. The biscuit is thicker and the filling lesser, and thus you get a different sensation.
The Odaiba one was rather disappointing, and nearly tasteless.
The Osaka one had a bit more taste to the chocolate, but the biscuit was a bit too much I think.

All in all, I would say the original Hokkaido version is the best out of these 3.
It has the better box wrapping, the box looks better, and it tastes a lot better than the other two.
Another plus is, you don’t have to gift wrap it before giving it to the receiver, since it has already been wrapped up.

The Osaka version comes second, because of the taste, though the box and wrapping is rather uninteresting.

The Odaiba version looses on the taste, but has a better looking wrapping than the Osaka version, though in my opinion, it is the contents that counts, and not what it looks like. That is why the Odaiba one is the looser.

1. 2. 3.

Go for the original!

I am hoping to find more different kinds of the Shiroi Koibito.
In the near future I will be travelling to Okinawa, Nagoya, Kyoto, Nara and some of the small islands outside Tokyo bay. I will look for them, and if I find some, I will definitely do a blog about them as well!

I hope you enjoyed this, and I can only say, that I recommend you to try the Shiroi Koibito from Hokkaido if you get the chance! It is really worth the money!

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HELP HOMELESS AND STRAY CATS IN JAPAN!

09/06/2011

Please HELP us HELP homeless and stray cats in Japan, by donating!
How to donate to the Japan cat network, is written on our homepage:
http://japancatnet.com/blog/donate/

We also need volunteers living in Japan. please help!

There are so many stray cats in Japan and they are all in need of care, feeding and a new home. we are trying to help by setting up homes for the strays, until they get a new owner, and by capturing and neutering stray cats! This way we can keep them from breeding and let new kitties out into the world, only to meet suffering and hunger.
THEY NEED OUR HELP!
Please, do all you can to help us, help them!

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Otaku House Cosplay competition!!

22/05/2011

PLEASE vote for me in this world wide cosplay idol competition!!

Cosplay idolLiuwina (aka. Katsuko) as C.C from Code Geass
www.otakuhouse.com/cosplay-idol

Thank you so much!!

How to vote:

Go to facebook, search for “OTAKU HOUSE” and LIKE their page!
Then open the photos and look for the folder named “EUROPE (C)” and find my picture there!!
I really hope people will help me get votes!!

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!

Love

P.S: This is my picture that I entered in the competition!

billede til Otaku House konkurrencen

C.C from the artwork "Witch and Warlock" from Code Geass -CLAMP-

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The Golden days… part 2

16/05/2011
toget til Universal

Coolest train eva!

On the 3rd day we went to Universal Studios in Osaka.
It’s my first time ever going to an Universal Studios theme park, so I was very excited! The first surprise was when our train to the Universal studios station arrived. It was completely covered in drawings from Marvel etc.
It was SO COOL!

Arriving at the park entrance, we saw that a lot of people had already gathered to stand in line, though it wasn’t as extreme as Tokyo Disney World…I am guessing, even though it was a holiday, people had chosen to go to other places that day, because there really weren’t that many people.

universal studios japan

Rollercoaster!!!

After standing in line for around 30-40 minutes, we finally got to the ticket counter, and then came another surprise..the entrance price! 6200 yen ZOMG! That hurt!
Well, after swallowing the pain of having to pay 6200 yen for the entrance (That’s the same price as the bus from Tokyo to Osaka >_<; *cough*) we finally made it inside!

me and sandy at USJ

Sandy and I

After walking for a bit, curiously looking here and there, we finally decided to try the “Back to the future” ride! There was 30 minutes waiting time, which was rather fair considering the day. The ride was pretty funny. You get this prestory of how Biff break an entry to Doc. Brown’s lab, and steals the DeLorian. In order to catch Biff, we -the audience- are sent out in another timemachine that Doc made, which he can remote control, he himself was locked up by Biff and thus cannot follow suit.
8 people at a time is then sent into the car, where you then see the adventure unfold, while Doc is controlling the machine, you are merely a spectator.
You follow Biff as he jumps through time first into the future, and then you start going back in time, and even come by giant dinosaurs that try to eat you.
A very lively 4D movie, and the “car” that you sit in, really moves according to the video. It’s nicely done!
I recommend!

THE DELORIAN

It's the DeLorian!!

Next up was “Jurassic Park”. We had to wait in line for almost an hour (which still is nothing compared to the often 2-3 hours wait at Disney World..) but it was sure worth the wait. During line up, I saw a lot of people wearing raincoats…and that…turned out to be a good idea, which we ought to have followed…
Jurassic Park is a waterslide ride, you sit in a boat that takes you through the marvel of Jurassic Park, but suddenly something goes wrong, a Dinosaur bumps the boat you’re in, and it’s turned off course, and straight into an area, where audience normally isn’t allowed.  Then you see that the raptors’ cage has been compromised, and that the raptors have escaped.
It really gives you a true eerie feeling, and the half unseen raptors a really scary!! Of course you know it’s not real, but if you have a little bit of an over active imagination, you’re going to be sucked into the story completely and that’s really cool!
The best part is when you come up a long slope, and then you see him, the T-Rex, standing all mighty and dangerous, as you draw nearer you do not notice that a huge drop is about to happen, and just as he launch at you the huge steep drop opens up and you’re splashing into the water below, coming out completely drenched if you’re sitting to one of the sides, I got quite wet on my sleves and thighs, also my hair too. But not as much as my friend, who sat to the side, he was completely drenched!
They also take  a photo just as the boat drops, so be sure to give your best smile or coolest pose..because I looked like an idiot honestly!  I didn’t know about the picture, so I was screaming my heart out! That drop really took me by surprise!
My advice to this ride is: wear a raincoat! you’ll be happy you did!

Welcome! To Jurassic Park

Welcome! To Jurassic Park

Dino's

Raptors on the loose!

Ready for the ride?

Here we go!

Of course at each ride, there was a souvenir shop, where you are able to buy a variety of goods, for example this wonderful headband…

dino headband

Get it off me!!

After this thrilling ride, we went to the biggest coaster in the park, it is called “Hollywood Dream – The ride”.
Basically it is a huge ass coaster, where you are seated and a bar is closed tightly over your legs, then, you can choose which background music you want for your ride, on the panel in front of you. I chose “Eminem- Loose yourself”, as I didn’t really know any of the other songs.
As the ride shoots off, you are blasted with your selected music, and it’s just so cool, yet kind of disturbing that the only thing holding you down, is the thing over your legs! I felt kind of uneasy about that the first 3 seconds, but soon forgot about it, and just enjoyed the several high drops and sharp turns!
It was FUN!

Tip: Go to the lockers before queuing up! since you cannot bring your bag with you on this ride!

Kitty chan mimi

Hello Kitty!

It was also possible to purchase accessories like Hello Kitty ears Clip ons, and I had to get me a pair of those! They are just too cute 😛

((To be continued… ))

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The Golden Days of Freedom

12/05/2011

is over…!
“Golden week” came and went, but the memories are still there.

I had so much fun, it was great to get out and about in Japan again, I really have missed travelling!
Osaka had more to offer than I first thought, for example, they have a place called “ROUND 1”, it’s a game paradise! You pay for x hours and play as much as you want without paying extra. You can play games like arcade games, dance dance revolution, guitar hero etc. or you can play darts, have a game of bowling, or sing karaoke. This one even had massage chairs and even better, an onsen (hot spring). Though I never got to try the hot spring, because I sat down in a massage chair, and kind of just didn’t move for an hour! haha!

delfin

A cute dolphin

We also went to the Kaiyukan Aquarium, they have  the worlds largest fish on display, the whale shark. Though my favourite was the dolphins, I just simply love them. How they frolic around playfully. They are absolutely beautiful!
For those interested to know more about the Kaiyukan, here’s a link to their homepage http://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/
The day we went there, was absolutely crowded, but who could have expected otherwise on a national holiday?
We had to fight our way through the crowd just to get a glimpse of the animals behind the glass.
If you ever go to Osaka, and want to visit this place, you should make sure that it isn’t a national holiday, OR a weekend day, because the place will be swamped.

Pariserhjulet i Osaka

Tempozan

Right next to the Kaiyukan, is one of the largest Ferris Wheels in the world, Tempozan, with a total height of 112,5 meters and a diameter of 100 meters.  The ride takes about 17 minutes and you can see a nice view of Osaka bay and surrounding areas.
It offers a spectacular view around sunset, though I did not get the chance to see the sunset, since it was cloudy that day.
Under Tempozan, there is a huge mall, with a lot of different shops and stores. There is even a  petting zoo, where you can go pet a cat(?) or maybe a woolen llama.  You can also get a hand peeling done by some small eager fish…no they’re not piranhas..

Neko

Pettingzoo cat

The place also offered an animal show, where they had trained their dogs, cats, llama etc. to do tricks. and they involved the little children.
The “house of cats” was a place where people could go in, and pet a REAL CAT….*ahem*
I felt sorry for the cats there, they wanted attention from the people who worked there, but not from the people who came visiting the place. Some of the actually tried escaping the hands of the strangers, by climbing up as much as they could. They didn’t look very interested or happy about being petted by total strangers, who obviously knew nothing about cats or how to treat them. Most people just kind of sat there, staring at the cats or trying to take pictures of them.

den lille lort

Unko-chan...yes, it's a golden turd!

The Japanese have a strange fondness for Kin no Unko.. aka the golden poop.  They are sold as lucky charms at souvenir shops around Japan.
I find this a little bit disturbing, yet also very funny. You can now gift your friends and family with this “holy shit”.  Who wouldn’t see the fun in that?
Actually there is a story behind this little fella. The name “Kin no Unko”  plays on the fact that the Japanese word for poop (unko) starts with the same “un” sound as a completely unrelated word that means “luck” (Un), and also the ending “ko” is usually used in girls names, and means “little one” or “child”.
Japanese enjoy this kind of pun, traditional storytelling is full of them,  which may help explain why more than 2.5 million of the lucky little poops have sold in the last seven years. I even got myself one!

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Golden Week

03/05/2011

It’s a national holiday week in Japan, and the Japanese are doing their favorite sport “queuing” !
In Japan, there are very few vacations for the people working at companies, the so called “white collar workers” BUT there are a LOT of National Holidays instead! On these days, everyone who has a day off (it’s mostly all companies, except for almost any kind of store, restaurant and amusement parks) has their mind set on only one thing “going somewhere”.

This results in a massive chaos throughout the countries highways and freeways; even though they have a really great train system, where you can go almost anywhere in the country by train, like shinkansen or local train lines like J.R, everyone seems to want to be going by car, at the same friggin time.
And if you feel like going somewhere during these holidays, I have one advice for you, don’t go anywhere, that would be fun..because it will be crowded AS HELL!

I made that mistake not only once, but twice during the time I’ve spent here in Japan.
I once went on a trip to Kawaguchiko near Fuji, it is in the Fuji-Five lake area in Kanagawa. We took the earliest bus from Shinjuku at 7 am, and was supposed to arrive a little before 9! The bus drove about 10 km an hour on the free/highway, because of the long queues. We arrived some 4 hours later, pretty tired and pretty pissed that we missed our tour of Fuji area!
Next mistake was going to Osaka by bus, on a night before a national holiday.
I thought that leaving by nightbus, would be a great idea, since I supposed that people would have all gone to bed around midnight, and definitely not be driving around in their cars on the freeway. But oh, was I wrong…
First off, when we left Shinjuku and out on the freeway, it was so crowded there, that the bus didn’t really move for the first 2-3 hours, then we finally got out on open road, but only to find queues at every major junction.
The bus was supposed to arrive around 8 am at Osaka, but at 8 am we had only just passed Nagoya.
At 12 pm we arrived at Kyoto, and decided to get the hell off that bus, and go by local train to Osaka, it would only take like 30 minutes, instead of the dreaded 2-3 hours that the driver had estimated it would take on the bus, because the streets was really crowded.

Other than that, I have enjoyed the sight of the marvelous  Osaka castle, and also enjoyed the company of the worlds most clingy homeless cat I’ve ever met.
She was absolutely adorable, and yet there she was, a cast away little thing in a park. Desperately looking for love from a human being.
When I saw her, I had to try and pet her, and she just sniffed my hand and then let me pet her head, after a couple of minutes, she crawled up onto my friends lap who was squatting by her side. He then put her down after a little while and then she practically jumped into my lap, and just crawled halfway up my chest and put her paws firmly around my neck as if to say “don’t leave me” and she just put her claws a little bit into my shirt to hold on to me, after a while, when I just held her and petted her, she relaxed and fell asleep in my arms.
I’ve never seen a cat yearning for human contact that much before! She just didn’t want to let go, every time I put her down, she hurried back up onto my lap so that I wouldn’t move!
I so wish that I could have helped her! She was absolutely beautiful! The fur still looked so clean, and her claws had been cut too. It seemed like she was a house cat, that had been left by the owner, at the Osaka Castle park.
This poor thing was looking like she was so hungry, and like she was begging me to bring her with me. I wish I could have.

I stayed with her for a long time, then I tried to leave, and she tried to follow for a bit, but then stopped, and I went down to a nearby stall to see if I could get a bit of food for her! I figured it was the least I could do.
She was still there, where I had left her, and I gave her the food, which she happily accepted and started to eat immediately.

How anyone can leave an animal to such a cruel fate, is beyond me.
Why are human beings so extremely heartless and thoughtless when it comes to animals? Domesticated animals are never to be released into the wild like that. They’d have so much trouble surviving.
She seemed so starved, when she was walking, she bent her back up a little, and walked as if every step hurt her. The poor one, she was probably not much more than 1 year old. As if the owner just decided to get rid of her, because she wasn’t a kitten anymore.
The cruelty! It is unbearable!
I wish I could help her! I still feel like going back there and bringing her with me.

Sleeping neko at Osakajoukoen

She just fell asleep in my arms like this

She really wanted to be held, and taken care of, you could tell by her desperate behavior, when I tried to put her down. I felt so cruel to just leave her.
I wish I could have done something, more than just giving her an extra meal.
She needed to see a vet, to get medical care, and proper nutrition, and then she needed a loving home, to give her all the love and warmth and security that she could ever need! If I could, I would have brought her home with me, but pets are not allowed in the dormitory at all, and I have no idea it if is allowed to import pets to Denmark from Japan.
I would have done it though! Without a doubt! If only I could!
I wish a nice and cat-loving person will come along and find her, and take her home.

Wild cats in Japan needs help!!
I wish I could find a way to help them!
And to improve the rules about pets in Japan, to make better animal welfare!
I wish I could do that all over the world…

I love cats, and I love animals. I wish I could help them!

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Gone too soon…

30/04/2011

On April 22nd. 2011, the world lost another brilliant light.
Mao Tezuka, a bright and wonderful girl, decided to put an end to her life.

For a long time, she had been having trouble, a depression had been holding her down, and making her unable to study properly for the entrance exam to Law school.
It was her dream to become a lawyer, to do good, and help others. She always helped others, and cared more about others than herself.
She lived with her mother and sister, at her uncle’s house. Both the mother and the sister, had a depression, and Mao felt that she had to take responsibility for everyone else, and thus did not tell her family about her problems, or her depression. She was afraid that she would only become a further disappointment to the family.
So she kept silent, about how she cut herself with a knife, whenever she felt things where just too much. How she again and again tried to kill herself, but always failed; and how much she always cried at night and the thoughts that went through her mind, thoughts that scared her more than anything.
She confessed her troubles to me in January, I tried all I could to be there for her, but soon she was fired from her job, because she was too depressed to go to work.
She tried to search for a new job, but the mother’s disapproving way of acting towards her, made it hard for her to believe that she was wanted.

Truth is, this girl was amazing. She was so smart, intelligent, sweet, cute, helpful, caring and always there if you needed help. But she herself, felt that she was worthless, useless, and in the way of everyone else. She felt it would be better to just rid this world of her being.
I tried, so hard, to tell her that she was loved, and so did everyone else who knew her. We all tried, we all told her, how much we cared about her, and how we would be destroyed if she did kill herself.
I remember the last time I saw her, she was looking kind of melancholic, tired, yet she smiled at us..we had been watching the beautiful sakura tree blossoms in Kamakura, her hometown, together. She had seemed happy, and yet kind of sad…as if the depression lurking just underneath, was ready to make her cry at any moment.
I just wanted to hold her, but we had to go back, we had to get ready for school..

I just wish she would have called out to me, when she felt the hopelessness sneak upon her…
I just wish she would have told me…
I just wish I had been there…

But she was alone, in the house, and decided to hang herself, she felt it was the best way to be sure to die..
She was on the phone with a common friend of ours, and he tried to tell her not to do anything stupid, but she put the phone away, and hanged herself..
He heard a sound like that of a chair falling… he called her immediately again, and she did not answer, then he called me, and I tried calling her, but she didn’t answer, then he called the emergency services…and asked them to go there immediately and help her, but they REFUSED to go, because her name wasn’t registered at the address, and we did not know the name of the uncle, to whom the house belonged..
So they did not go to the house..instead they called the phone registered to the house, at that moment, the mother had come back home, she answered the phone, not yet knowing what had happened to Mao. They asked her, if a girl named Mao, was living there, and what she was doing right now..the mother answered she didn’t know, she had just come back home from visiting her mother at the hospital. This was only 10-15 minutes after Mao had hung herself…
The mother went upstairs to look for Mao, and there she was in the bathroom, hanging… She tried to get her down, body still warm, trying to do CPR..but little did it help.
She called the ambulance, they took her to the hospital, but it was too late, she was gone…

if only…a few minutes earlier…she might have been saved…

The news hit me like a knife to the chest, my dear dear Mao, gone..never again would I hold her hand or see her smile and laugh at my jokes..
never again would we talk about climbing mount Fuji…never again would I be able to hold her in my arms and tell her, that everything would be alright!
I couldn’t stop crying…
It was awful..it still is…

such a waste…such a young life…
she has indeed left this world too soon…
I miss her…
That wonderful human being, who gave me so many cherished memories..
Mao…why?

Here I am, a non believer in heaven or hell, wondering what will become of her…
Did she find happiness? Did she get reborn? Did she find what she was hoping for on the other side?
Is it just darkness? nothingness?

Mao, there were so many things, I wanted to share with you, so many memories…
Now we will never sky dive  together, or climb the Fuji mountain… even though you promised me..

I know, I know how hard it must have been for you, I know..I was there once too..
So why, why didn’t you trust me, when I told you, that things, life, would become better soon…
why didn’t you…believe in me?

I guess the darkness within you had taken over completely, it pushed you over the edge, made you do this ever so STUPID thing…killing yourself..
I just wish you’d have called ME, but in the end, you stopped calling me didn’t you…you stop telling me when something was wrong..
Why did you think, I didn’t want to help you anymore? Why did you think, that I would have left you?

My dear Mao…I love you and you will be in my heart forever…
I just wish, you would have at least given me the chance to say goodbye properly… I want to see you again…I miss you.

I dedicate this song to you:

~Michael Jackson~
*Gone too soon*

Like A Comet
Blazing ‘Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too Soon

Like A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too Soon

Shiny And Sparkly
And Splendidly Bright
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like The Loss Of Sunlight
On A Cloudy Afternoon
Gone Too Soon

Like A Castle
Built Upon A Sandy Beach
Gone Too Soon

Like A Perfect Flower
That Is Just Beyond Your Reach
Gone Too Soon

Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon