Sunday, December 17, 2023

Delicious Cantaloupe / Melon Cup Cake - Photo Diary

Never though cantaloupe can be so delicious as cake.  The taste of cantaloupe remain perfumie even after the cake is baked.  Though, this particular "cantaloupe" looks so very much like the Japanese "Melon".
Use whole cantaloupe or store bought 2 pre-cut cantaloupe fruit bowls.  
Puree and strain cantaloupes - about 6 cups.  Separate juice and flesh.  There should be about 9 oz of puree'd flesh. 100 ml of juice.

Follow Chiffon Cake method in previous postings - KABOCHA Chiffon Cake.

Make the cantaloupe custard with cornstarch.  Boil until thick and translucent.
Cover and cool completely.
Inject into cupcake.
and or mix into whip cream and decorate cupcakes.


Finally arrived at KUMAMOTO JO (Castle).  Luckily, I was able to visit the inside.  The repair is well on its way.  There is elevator and stairways to choose.  From the parking lot, you do need to walk at least 1/8 to 1/4 of a mile to get to the castle.  You can see the earthquake damaged walls and so forth.  Never thought that I could visit one of the historic castle still.  It was very exciting to be there.
There is a castle in the middle of busy city?  Wow....

There are other events going on in autumn. Wished I had more time to check it out.

Wow! there it is.
Just imagine the immense size of the castle acreage.  How in the world did the NINJA ever got in to spy around like we see in the movies? 
The damage from the earthquake.
To get to one of the hallway, you go through the receiving waiting area. This is how the court officials' guests are received during the era that we don't see in movies where we only see them aleady taken into the court room. 

Castle model, museum
One of the presentation showing how the castle's surrounding area looked like and the size of the castle during the SHOGUN era.  The castle is now surrounded by traffics and office buldings and businesses. 
Cool interactive museum piece.  Got to ride in the royal carriage.
This is the actual full length KATANA used by the SHOGUN.   It is quite small compared to our IAITO practice KATANA - that is measured according to your height and your hand sizes.

Under restoration.  Surrounding view from the 5th floor.
Museum historic information
Roof top shachihoko
Explanation of shachihoko
The castle model is detailed all the way inside the model.

 Time to say, "See you soon." to Kumamoto Jo.  Heading back to HAKATA.

It was another long drive especially you can only drive 80 km/h with tons of Tolls.  It's only 66.3 miles, but it felt like 200 miles away.
Blurry picture but the moon lit evening was beautiful.  Almost full moon.  We tried to reach ITOSHIMA in SAGA to view the Floating TORII gates of OOUO Shrine.  It says during low tide you can walk through them.
Palm Beach?
Well, maybe next time.
We decided to check into the hotel.  Interesting car garage.
Be sure to confirm the reservation of a car garage with hotel when you book.  A spot with your name is posted for you. 
Finally, a room to rest in after long drive.
Just enough room to put your stuff.  No luggage rack large enough to even hold 22 inch luggage.  This place is very clean, however.  You can monitor the status of the laundry from the TV.  The laundry room is located on the 2nd floor where the check-in lobby is.
Guest luggage lock cage for guests who arrived early and would like their luggages stored at the hotel while they explore the city before check-in or chech-out.
Not very far from the train station.  About 15 minutes walk.
We decided to check out HAKATA's Canal City and YATAI.  We were very lucky that after going around in Taxi, the taxi driver happens to be an older gentlement who has tour guide license and is very familiar with the history of the area.  YATAI is only going on in the evening, but we get to drive through the area to view the surrounding.  When he pointed out that this area is Men's world and YATAI is where they dine, etc... "Ah! SODESUKA!" "I see".  YATAI lined the river bank right next to the ally out of the busy night district.  We decided, we've seen enough.  Returning to the hotel, we got ready to visit DAZAIFU SHRINE. 
This is a famous SAIMONBASHI bridge in HAKATA over Canal City area.

DAZAIFU shrine attracts tourists from everywhere.  It is right in the middle of neighborhood.   We saw several parking signs and interestingly some families are using their yard lot to do business.  We parked into one of house's parking yard.  We depositted money in a Box.  An elderly lady came out of the house to greet us.  She directed us where to park and how close to park, etc.  From her home, DAZAIFU's entrance is 25 steps away.  


The other gate? is the side gate where Food and Gift shops are.
Their famous Plum Mochi pastry.
Careful, Pipping hot!
I love to watch all these cooking gadgets.
Next, we headed for the tallest viewing tower - FUKUOKA TOWER in FUKUOKA city. 
I bet this is something else many years ago.  Now there are many taller office buildings.  But the view of FUKUOKA from the top is beautiful. 

And, Finally, we got to eat the famous UNAGI Meshi.  OMG! it is the most expensive lunch ever!  LOL.
Even in the State, a package of UNAGI at the grocery store is about $15 or more.  I enjoyed every bite of it.
On the way out, I saw Canneles in various flavors.   I wonder in France, they do the same or this is only in Japan?  I got to try making this MATCHA flavored Canneles.
Finally, back in Tokyo.  Good-bye to my travel mate.  Thanks so much for her 5 days of driving.  Kyushu attractions as they say is easier to reach if you drive and saves time.  The tour bus would do well as an alternative. 
Checked into APA Hotel PRIDE KOKKAIGIJIDOMAE National Diet Bldg.  It's located in a very very secure location.  Basically the Security guards surrounds the block - Not hotel, but the government building next to it.  I will stay there again.  There is mineral ONSEN that I really enjoyed.

Very next morning, I followed my friend -  classmate and her family to RAMEN Fiesta.  How lucky!  RAMEN WAR!  I experienced it once in San Jose many years ago.

We were smart to have arrive there early.  No line for the ticket sale.  For 1000 YEN, you can order a full service size RAMEN loaded with each Prefecture's specialty toppings.   I didn't really get to enjoy RAMEN when I was in KYUSHU, so, I was hoping to taste one.
And there they are.  All kinds of flavors from prefectures they representing.  Looks like a few have restaurants in California, etc.
I actually could not handle the Rich TONKOTSU flavor, so I started with dessert.  Shaved strawberries.
It was soooo delicious.  I end up eating two of those.
Here it is.  KAGOSHIMA RAMEN.  Look how cool their NORI is.  It is customized.
And their T-Shirt is a Bomb!   Too bad they didn't bring any for sale.

Next, we went to the famous SHIBUYA.  This place was our first destination in 2019 right after we arrive in Japan.  We just love to watch hundreds of people crossing the busy streets - are they all going somewhere or just crossing for the experience? LOL
There's the famous dog for its unwavering loyalty to his master.  There's a mile long line to take picture with this famous HACHIKO statue!
That Starbucks must be the most busiest coffee shop in the world.
HA! we are at the MEGA store DON KIHOTE.  It got everything!!!
Well.  I am going to stop here for my travel story to KYUSHU.  The next day, I attended Class Reunion party and tour.  We went to our classmate's brother's restaurant - SZECHUAN Restaurant - by Famous Iron Chinese Chef CHIN KENICHI (RIP); we had a great tour venturing Japan and fellowship together.  We are practically the only class - my 5th grade classmates who are still meeting up with everyone every year or every couple of years.  We travel to Las Vegas or Japan or wherever we decide.  
On our way to visit our school and tour passing by EDO JO - EDO castle's remaining outer wall surrounded by moat.  The EDO castle burned down long ago (1873).  It is part of Imperial garden and certain areas are opened as public park.  Every tree is manicured. 
Our school's train station.
Just the way I remembered it.
Our school ground. 
Touring close to FUJI mountain.


Beautiful view from our hotel room on 3rd foor.  See how large those KOI are.

Getting close to FUJI SAN.
Resorts surrounds the lake.
Goodies I picked up at Don Quijote SHIBUYA MEGA Store.
Wasabi Pistachio.
Why Japanese love KitKat? They pronounce it differently and end up meaning - You will Win for Sure.
Bagful of goodies from Mega store duty free.
(After the class reunion, I spent a day riding Shinkasen aimlessly.  I wished I planned it out but spent time roaming around the train stations.  There are so much to see.)  The order of my pic is out od synch right now.  The next 13 pictures happened on the day of my departure 9 Hrs before flight time riding SHINKANSEN to NAGOYA  and KYOTO.
Rode SHINKANSEN to KYOTO, then to NAGOYA and back to Tokyo in few hours.  Just riding...

KARE-PAN - Curry filled bread.
My lunch.  Sure looks like ZAJIAN MIEN, but this is served on SOBA.
Love Japanese food Menu Illustration

Remember which train station you exited.
The ultimate benefit of riding SHINKANSEN.  Passing by Mt. FUJI. The best view next to being there.  Took Fuji's picture from SHINKANSEN.  The picture turned out okay for taking picture from a speedy train.
Now, here is a day after the RAMEN festival before the class reunion party. Dining out with my friends at a famous tempura restaurant. 
During class reunion group tour on our way back, @ You-pick all you can eat YAMANASHI.  You cannot take anything home.  You pick, you eat at site - even if you offer to pay for the uneaten portion - really happened to one of our friend, but really?

Lunch @Vegetarian Hot Pot.
Vineyard Tour.  Check out the varieties.

They grow grape vines differently.  This is from only one to four vine trees.  They let the branches grow out.

Japan's Mochi pastry Factory tour.
Uoompa Loompas?
Hand wrap every single one? Wow!
Bottled syrup.


These branches are from 4 vines.
They grow them differently.   Interesting.

This melon piece/slice is about $5.   Right now, you are seeing my dinner in a reverse order as Google Photos seem to upload photos in reverse order as you pick them.  Very annoying.
Wagyu... thank goodness, they served it on a hotplate with sterno still on.  I can cook mine Medium well.

The chef.
Yes, the menu continues.

Hmmm... Ducks and KOI...
You can see how large those KOI are if you can see them clearly from the 3rd floor.
Autumn Leaves Festival.
Resorts surround Lake KAWAGUCHIKO
Local Jewelry store and a museum.2 carat Ruby YEN1,600,000
Mt. FUJI in the background
And it's time to return home
Using this cheat sheet that I got after arriving Tokyo on the first day, I kept it to backtrack my way back from Tokyo train station to Haneda airport.


Arrived at Haneda airport.  *The train's door does not remain open for your conveniences to offload your luggages.  Be ready one minute before the train arrive at Haneda airport station with luggages right next to you


Airport eateries are just as busy at city's.

Haneda airport - 2nd floor has Japanese NIHONBASHI model rest area and gift shops of all sorts.
Miniature NIHONBASHI that you can cross.
View of Nihonbashi from 1st floor of Haneda airport.

 Bye!  I will definitely return to KYUSHU to enjoy the Sand Onsen and hike and revisit some of the places I missed.