January 1 is the most important holiday in Japan. Most, if not all stores and department stores are closed on that day. People go to shrines and temples, and as we found out, they also flock to Universal Studios! :)
Since we knew that travel activity was going to be intense on that day, we decided to just stay in the city and go to Universal Studios. But it was crowded, too!
Here’s our group at the entrance:
It took a while before we could get tickets. There was a long queue at the ticket booth.
More family pics inside:
Once inside, we decided to go different ways and just meet up again after a few hours.
Julian and I only did one ride, i.e. Spiderman. We lined up for 2 and a half hours for this! I was giving up already (about 3 times) but Julian insisted that we go on. So we did. TWO AND A HALF hours! I kept thinking, if it was any consolation, at least we were in Japan. People weren’t cutting in line, like people in China and Hong Kong do. We also enjoyed the ride. It was great, actually! I highly recommend it! :)
Hubby, Julian and I have been here before, so after that Spiderman ride, Julian wasn’t really keen on doing any more rides. (You can read about our previous trip here and here.) He just wanted to look around the shops. (Good thing because I wasn’t up to lining up again after that Spiderman ride!)
I just took photos of the place:
We had some hotdogs here:
Our group met up again to watch the parade. But Julian and I didn’t watch the whole parade anymore. We just watched this first part, then we walked around again.:
We had a coffee break. We had this cake with our coffee.: :)
Julian collects souvenir medallions from theme parks. :)
It got sooo cold that night! T’was freezing!
We had a fun and happy new year! The kids, especially, enjoyed so much! Thanks Mom! :)
Last Jan. 2, 2014, Mom, Caron and I got the chance to try the traditional Japanese New Year’s breakfast called Osechi Ryori.
We went to NP Restaurant, located just a block away from Fraser Residence.
The place is nice and cozy! :)
Before going to the restaurant, our hotel provided us information about Osechi Ryori, the traditional New Year’s breakfast.
According to them, the Osechi Ryori is the most important meal of the year. Each dish is symbolic. The food is eaten in a special way using chopsticks with rounded ends. One side is for humans, and the other side is for the gods. New Year’s is a time for rest in Japan so according to tradition, nothing should be cooked before New Year’s Eve. Most of the dishes in the Osechi Ryori is finished before New Year’s Eve. The dishes are dried and/ or it contained sugar or vinegar to preserve the food.
Everything here is DELICIOUS!!!
Zoni (soup with rice cakes and vegetables) – This is considered a good-luck dish and is eaten at the very start of the party.:
Koya Tofu - This is named after the sacred mountain where monks discovered a method to freeze-dry the tofu. Its appearance resembles a shield that protects one from enemies and danger.:
Kohaku Kamaboko (red and white fish cake) – The color and shape are reminiscent of Japan’s rising sun. It has a celebratory and festive meaning:
Sekihan (rice cooked with red beans) – Red rice was offered to the gods in old Japan. The red color is associated with preventing sickness.:
Tazukuri (small dried sardines or anchovies cooked and dried with soy sauce and sugar) – This symbolizes abundant harvest; Kuri Kinton (sweetened chestnut) symbolizes wealth; Kuro Mame (black soybeans) symbolizes good health:
I enjoyed the Osechi Ryori. This has been one of the BEST dishes I’ve ever tried!: :)
This is my favorite hotel in Osaka! After several days of touring, and since we’re celebrating the New Year, I thought it would be nice to end our trip on a high note, hence, the nice hotel. :)
Hubby, Julian and I stayed here last March 2013 and you can read about that here. During that time, we spent about Php 7,000 per night for a 1-bedroom apartment. We always book our rooms at Booking.com.
This time, because it’s peak season, we spent about Php 10,500 per night for a 1-bedroom apartment. We were lucky that we were able to get rooms there during that season. They sell fast!
Julian and I shared and enjoyed this big room. It also made us miss hubby! :(
Breakfast is included in the room rate, and this is their restaurant on the ground floor:
On Dec. 31, Tita Mc, Bruno and Selene joined us for a New Year’s family dinner. :)
We stayed at Mom’s room.:
Mom and Tita Mc bought food from Takashimaya. Everything was delish! :)
Our mini party:
The view from Mom’s room: