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October 4th, 2005 (08:12 pm)

Still haven't heard from Merrow so I don't know if she's taking some time away or if her e-mails still aren't coming through on my account. Silly me didn't think that her other (non-randomfandom) addy wouldn't make it through. Anyhow, we'll see what I'll do with the site depending on what she does.

I received shipping notice from Amazon (Canada) that Ghost Hunt Vol 1 is on its way! Yay!! Can't wait to see what Del Rey did with that title. Considering how much of an influence that title had on my deciding to learn Japanese... I'm really looking forward to it. Also in that order is Kyo Kara Maoh 3. This could be hilariously bad. ^_____^

The male parental unit seems not to have learned his lesson from last year... It's matsutake mushroom season again and as was done last year, he's ordering mushrooms again this year. Only this time, rather than contacting the J foodstore in Vancouver (we haven't had a true J foodstore here for... over a decade now at least I think) he contacted one of the suppliers in a brochure that they shipped with last year's mushrooms. Last year, he ordered 2 KG!! of mushrooms. It was absolutely hilarious when we opened the box and saw tons of mushrooms! This year, he did a *bit* better. 4lbs or 1.82kg. I suppose that's a bit of an improvement. ^^;; In any case, they're supposed to arrive by FedEx or similar on Thursday. :P

Myself, I've been at the tea ordering again. >_< Ever since I bought that single, lone tin of loose tea last year (Fauchon's Apple Tea - I bought it at Hanshin Dept Store in Osaka), I've been buying loose tea like mad but... The most recent orders are more for the male parental this time than myself. (Yeah right!) Adagio released their holiday teas a few weeks ago and as I'd been making an order for some tisanes (herbals), decided to order the sampler. Bad mistake. The sample box has 6 teas: gingerbread, pumpkin spice, autumn blend, chestnut, cranberry, and candy apple... I just ordered Gingerbread and Pumpkin Spice a couple of days ago and have no idea what I'm going to do when they arrive. (I'd just ordered 4 8oz herbals plus a few 4oz tins to try out and the seasonal teas are only available in 8oz size). The good thing is that they're seasonal so they aren't available year round. The bad thing is that they taste like gingerbread cookie and pumpkin pie in liquid form. *really* nice. ^____^ (Candy Apple - caramel-style candy apple, almost made it into the order as well but I decided to leave something for if I want to make another order in a month or so. As it is, the female sibling unit asked me to order a couple sampler sets to give as X-mas gifts). :P

The other really bad thing is that I think this makes 3 orders from Adagio in very short order. The first was a regular order and I got samplers of all the new tisanes (4 of them) free. The second was to order ALL of those tisanes because they're *so* easy to drink and very nice for late at night, as well as the holiday sampler. And now teas from that sampler... Oh well, this time, I'm getting a free book with the order so I'll be reasonably safe. :P

Also on tea, I'd ordered some more stuff from Upton, but my side really was more replenishing (Turkish Apple - they have a proper Turkish apple rather than crystal drink mix, and Creme Caramel) whereas the male parental unit was the real order. Ouch! Fukamushi (deep steam) tea and another type of sencha. As it is, since this is the third major order of green tea for him, I'm thinking about in another order or two getting him to buy me a 1GB RAM chip or something. :P (Well hey, he bought the PS2 last year when we were in Osaka).

Anyhow, the other day I noticed that the Japanese travel agency here now has a website, and being the bright eyes I'm not, I decided to take a look. Bad, bad, bad, BAD!!! JAL, ANA and AC had pretty normal fares listed, but NWA... They had insanely low prices (<$700 rtn). We'll have to be careful after last year's major "whoops". ^^; As things are looking, the male parental and I are probably going to try making a run for it for a couple of weeks early next month. We both need a break from work. :P

As it is, I suspect that on the agenda will be a brief stop in Shizuoka (fukamushi tea) and a dash all the way to Uji (gyokuro). Hopefully we'll manage the fly in to Tokyo, fly out of Kansai. That way, hopefully we'll be able to hit Shizuoka (more of an everyday tea than Uji's gyokuro) and I can go to Tsujiri in Kyoto. Maybe I'll pick up their hoji-cha as well. They have a custom blend that is absolutely wonderful! ^____^

Lastly on food... when is truffle season?? The male parental's been wanting to try truffles for the past couple of years now but I have no idea where to go to find them or what have you. I did find some being sold at a gourmet kitchen shop (in jars) but since I have no idea how to cook with them... I think it'd be much safer to try them at a restaurant. French? Italian? There's a really good Italian restaurant here that we haven't gone to for several years now (no one in this house can eat garlic or cream so we stopped going to most restaurants except for oriental) but I have no idea if they'd cook with truffles. The one place I'd *love* to go is very much a local cuisine place and truffles are *so* not local. :P

Anyhow, that's more than enough blathering about food and tea! :P


Posted by: Ysabet (umadoshi)
Posted at: October 4th, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC)
Del butterflies

The seasonal teas sound really good. *_* And that sounds like an incredible airfare--where would a flight like that leave Canada? (I'm assuming Toronto?) For some reason it never occurs to me to check non-Canadian airlines, although I guess that might have something to do with the part where I only book domestic flights. ^^ But I think of trips to Japan as being so horribly expensive . . .

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 5th, 2005 01:19 am (UTC)

The seasonal teas were just... WOW! Which is why I promptly gave in and put in another order. ^^;; (BTW, if you're ever tempted/interested, I can arrange a $5 off e-coupon for Adagio. They have an incentive program for referrals / getting new customers. Or, if you're willing to risk it, I can snail-mail you some samples of the gingerbread and pumpkin spice once they arrive. They really are wonderful and 8oz is a LOT of tea - enough to make ~100 cups IIRC. I really only wanted to order 4oz but they don't have that option for those teas. >_< FWIW, I do a 2-2.5 min steep and sweeten with Sugar in the Raw for these teas). ^_^

As for Japan, the flights were actually leaving Calgary, although the best rates are usually departing either Vancouver or Toronto. USA connections for the past couple of years have been incredibly cheap though, and I went that way last year for ~$850 tax inc. LA and NY have the best rates that I've ever seen period. ^_^

Travelling Japan... it *can* be really expensive. Next time I go, I want to go to Hakone (hotsprings) and stay at the New Miyako Hotel in Kyoto (incredible ambience). Both would probably come in at ~$200/nt/pp. However, it doesn't have to be that expensive. (It's not *cheap* though). Most places, it's fairly easy to find something reasonable for ~Y8500/nt/pp, and if you're really tight on the budget, it's possible to find places for Y5500 or 6500/nt even in Osaka & Tokyo. (I still haven't tried staying at a capsule hotel. I both want and don't want to try that one). :P

Last year, we spent a fair amount of time in Y6500-7000 range places mixed in with some really expensive ryokan/hotsprings and the low end was starting to wear on my nerves towards the end. (Very cramped even for J hotels. Thankfully the last few nights were spent at a good hotel and the rates were a reasonable Y8500-9000). Oh! Normally, accomodations over there are pp compared to North America's room rate. I've never really looked at double occupancy room rates (ryokan are all pp basis but shared room). Except for going to hotsprings/traditional style hotels, I very rarely share a room. ^^;;

One of the things I want to do is budget style travel in Japan. You can't do true shoestring travel, but I really want to try lower end minshuku (B&B class) since it would be much more colourful. I've stayed at a couple of places that are in the Y5000 range mostly off the beaten track and they were still reasonable. Okay, in one place noise from the kitchen woke me at 5:30 but I had to be out of there by 8:00/8:30 anyways (house rules). :P

In any case, it is possible to do certain things on the cheap, but there are also some things that are very worth spending a bit extra on over there. ^_^

Adagio Tea: http://www.adagio.com/
Nippon Travel: http://www.nippontravel.ab.ca/

Posted by: Ariana (arianagreenleaf)
Posted at: October 5th, 2005 01:26 am (UTC)

Oh my, Hakone is beautiful. I think you'll love it.

OH, sorry, I should probably introduce myself =x I love your website and I found out that you had an lj, so I hope it's ok that I added you ^^

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 5th, 2005 01:50 am (UTC)


I'm really hoping we'll be able to go to Hakone this time. We tried last year but couldn't get accomodations and ended up elsewhere. >_< A view of Mt. Fuji across the lake especially if it's possible from an outdoor bath... what more could you possible wish for? ^____^


Posted by: Ariana (arianagreenleaf)
Posted at: October 5th, 2005 01:55 am (UTC)

You'll definately have to take the ride up to the sulfur springs in the mountains! It smells terrible, but there's a great view of Fuji-san as long as it isn't cloudy. It was cloudy when I was there ;_;

Posted by: Ysabet (umadoshi)
Posted at: October 5th, 2005 01:50 am (UTC)
Kitty (writinchica2k)

And now I so very badly want to go . . . *_* (Saving this post for reference for sometime when we have money. ^^) It all sounds just incredible. (I remain determined to find a way to go over and earn money that *doesn't* involve being gone for a whole year.)

*wry* With domestic airfares as they are, it'd cost half again as much just to fly to the departing flight. Halifax-Toronto rates are almost $500 right now (round trip w/all the stupid fees).

Tea samples would be lovely, if it's really not an inconvenience. ^^ (D'you have my snailmail address?)

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 5th, 2005 02:06 am (UTC)

Aaah! I love that icon! XD

Ugh! I was wondering about domestic rates for you to get to a major hub. I'm sorry, but that's disgusting! >_< Rates to the maritimes don't seem to move much. :-/

......I wonder if there mightn't be some way to find a reasonable rate from PEI (Green Gables)... The other option is to try the NY route. (Flights from there are often in the $450+USD range but hitting the US means ~$75-100 in extra taxes and fees).

Anyhow, will e-mail. :D

Posted by: Ysabet (umadoshi)
Posted at: October 5th, 2005 02:16 am (UTC)
Fish (enriana

It's gotten a *lot* worse in the last year--when I checked rates recently it was $450, and last May the husband and I *both* got to Anime North for that. I think it's because Jetsgo (may it rot in its grave) really was keeping the fares down. :/

*attempts hopefulness* Maybe it'll improve by the time we can travel again--the whole next year is out (I'm unemployed and he's in school), and realistically it might be two or three years before we can think about going further than Toronto (which is mandatory for seeing-of-friends). (And by then I should have enough Aeroplan miles to cover one of us, which would be a definite bonus . . . as long as Air Canada doesn't charge TWICE as much as the Japanese airlines . . . )

Yay email! And now bed, before I keel over on the keyboard. ^^

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: October 5th, 2005 01:44 am (UTC)

Sorry. Forgot to mention that the reason I'm so particular on accomodations is that it along with airfare are two places that one can seriously trim costs. The third necessity for going (if you want to do distance travel) is the railpass which is a flat rate. Restaurant/food prices can be extremely cheap or extremely expensive (we usually eat lower end with the occasional really nice meal - fugu... *_* ), which leaves personal spending / souvenirs, and entry fees. Entry fees are usually very reasonable so it's accomodations and personal spending... which explains why the first thing we always do when travelling is hit a bookstore. >_<;;

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