FamiCom4 Adventure: A wild Johnston clan appears!

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This Summer, Josh’s parents Randy and Teresa visited us in Japan! It was our first time to actually see a friend or family member in nearly a year! We set out together on a grand Kansai tour through Nara, Kyoto, and Osaka! Please enjoy our many pictures!

12322582_10154263284347990_5117689377781337114_oA beautiful picture of Kashihara Shrine taken by none other than Josh’s dad Randy. This shrine commemorates the spot where the first Emperor of Japan Jimmu ascended the throne. The legend itself is quite shrouded in mystery- some say Jimmu himself descended from the heavens, and that he was guided through Yamato by Yatagarasu, a mystical three legged crow. Yatagarasu is one of my favorite symbols not only because I think crows are brilliant but moreso it’s meaning of divine intervention and guidance. 13268179_10154263284137990_8899402659814650769_oJosh took this photo of me taking a quick rest at the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. I was so tired from the week’s events, so I apologize for my slightly disheveled appearance.  13301256_10154263241927990_8420198321032673419_oThis was taken inside the Kyoto Railway museum. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of trains apart from their usefulness, but the museum was a real treat for Josh’s dad, a model railway enthusiast.

This sign at the top of the building pictured reads “Nostalgic Store” and it was really neat to look inside. It reminded me a lot of the “old country stores” in Tennessee.13301272_10154263241447990_2584051619331294126_oBaby Falcon-chan!! This was at the Owl Cafe in Nara, where you can buy a drink, relax, and pet the owls! Baby Falcon-chan was for viewing only, though.  13301433_10154263241582990_7278692510672064684_oMore beautiful owls. 13304948_10154263283792990_7091248459115128563_oThis is Ken-chan, my new friend. All of the owls had special names and we were instructed to gently call out to them before attempting to pet them.  13308250_10154263242687990_7538360585935522166_oHeaven or Hell? You decide. This was the entrance to Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. Josh wanted to try traveling the path of Hell to the left (he’s got that Dante spirit), but perhaps they just wanted a cheesy ploy to make everyone easily manageable by traveling down the right path.  13308305_10154263241467990_3983271455929789615_oMore sweet owls at the Fukuro (Owl) Cafe in Nara city. 13308460_10154263283902990_392817339800086321_o 13308592_10154263284337990_7580324410657770287_o 13308652_10154263242217990_6313262786853570950_oA precious mama and baby monkey pair at the peak of Arashiyama Monkey Park in Kyoto. Arashiyama has to be my most favorite place in Kyoto- you can’t beat the beautiful mountains and wide river view, plus the entire village has a beautifully quaint and nostalgic feel to it. Plus, you get to see the adorable and feisty monkeys in their natural habitat.  13308678_10154263284197990_1522806818432832916_o 13308735_10154263284102990_4546939780503828665_o 13316824_10154263283992990_8966768812115340550_o 13316877_10154263241837990_2149117852333311379_oMore dynamic shots from the Kyoto Railway Museum. 13317007_10154263242467990_2389061237066226157_oArashiyama in all its glory. Sigh! 13320455_10154263283802990_8547194770689829349_o 13320478_10154263283937990_1527012355535370477_o 13320508_10154263242447990_3559700497648227360_oFeeding the grabby and vocal monkeys fruit and peanuts. 13320621_10154263241512990_3317076462347480625_o 13320648_10154263242352990_2605604707063366799_oA beautiful landscape of Kyoto. 13320747_10154263241932990_6362349735759978538_oThe graphic designer in me can’t get over these glorious railway liner emblems! 13320771_10154263241987990_1706034257155319982_oAnother shot from the Kyoto Railway museum. 13320854_10154263242732990_224712212709749861_o 13323193_10154263242072990_5676607592798669400_oWe got to stay in a Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in Kyoto and experience a delicious if not unique traditional Japanese breakfast!  13323237_10154263242347990_7641612595979524200_o 13323331_10154263242552990_6305777983957897786_oTaking a small rest break in the Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama. 13323379_10154263242067990_1364170662212151301_o 13323450_10154263242587990_3046646021644557677_oThe entrance of Fushimi Inari Shrine. 13323455_10154263242502990_6937116382160503807_oJosh got this beautifully composed shot in Arashiyama. I really love how it’s framed. 13323569_10154263284117990_2169797782316973448_o 13323697_10154263242462990_4028847005525743200_o 13323746_10154263242582990_1519944252762009832_oA well needed hot foot bath spa in Arashiyama. 13323801_10154263242392990_6589142437546427911_oThose feisty babies were too cute to ignore. 13329354_10154263241502990_2810423765811926660_o 13329354_10154263242617990_6111805695925598084_o 13340116_10154263241352990_6754752570701786124_oKofukuji in Nara city! 13340134_10154263242197990_4842870452583237724_o 13340134_10154263284342990_1964675968688551742_o 13340223_10154263284332990_4850260392305410590_o 13340293_10154263284232990_6197995350173683316_oFor some reason this little hideaway spot was my favorite place in the Fushimi Inari Shrine. 13340294_10154263241752990_4241021717082556080_o 13340309_10154263241937990_5694423828982971625_oInside the “Natsukashii Shouten” or Nostalgic Store in the Kyoto Railway museum. 13340330_10154263242887990_1364356971472653630_oI feel like resemble my aunt Angela in this photo. I love and miss her! 13346146_10154263242162990_2036712782012879095_o 13346185_10154263283777990_5109965353310207007_o 13346195_10154263242262990_5293370079254407839_o 13346259_10154263242047990_7703798963123677770_o 13346332_10154263242312990_6818046332227132348_o 13350238_10154263242102990_8974636836974484289_o 13350342_10154263241367990_3258093745098550681_oAt the entrance of Todaiji Temple in Nara 13350349_10154263242737990_8522764948153300787_o 13350414_10154263283797990_2611410127629826811_o 13350468_10154263241407990_5339370165599124479_oThe world’s largest bronze Buddha within Todaiji Temple. It’s always awe inspiring no matter how many times I see it. 13350533_10154263260092990_263045134456475364_oThis photo is everything. I love the little baby’s pose and the mom’s exhausted expression as she looks after him.

The Wonders of Kobe with Yuta!

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Hello all! I’m sure you remember our wonderful pal Yuta! We had recently explored Nara with him around Christmas time:

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After exploring our new “hometown” with Yuta, we met up again in the spring and got a tour of his hometown Kobe! We were awestruck by Himeji Castle, wowed by the beautiful port town scenery of the city, and left speechless by flawless teppanyaki-style Kobe beef. Thanks so much for a wonderful trip, Yuta! We can’t wait to see you again.

13305107_10154263241097990_5161641819894096537_o 13308321_10154263241107990_6210691838934683674_o 13320393_10154263241207990_8769736831603587167_o 13320421_10154263241237990_892779039108550247_o 13323812_10154263241172990_3124607716050160015_o 13346246_10154263241227990_1892059245528645209_o 13346258_10154263241327990_6500855218096619677_o 13350404_10154263241277990_327346728448352746_o

Review: McDonald’s Uji Matcha Adzuki McFlurry

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We’re continuing right back on the #MatchaTour2016 trail after a long hiatus with a review on the Limited Edition Uji Matcha Adzuki McFlurry from McDonald’s Japan.

If you recall I had a less than perfect experience with the KFC Matcha Krusher, but I was willing to put my heart on the line once again with McDonald’s. Do I find true matcha love? Let’s find out!

FIRST IMPRESSION: One thing I absolutely love about McDonald’s in Japan- gosh darnit if what you order doesn’t look just like picture. It was lovely. I think it was around 2.80 yen (maybe around $2.50 USD).

TEXTURE: Ahhh. The glorious texture of milky soft serve with soft red bean. It was really nice.

TASTE: 10/10, guys. I loved this. It was just sweet enough with a distinct matcha taste, and that red bean flavor paired perfectly with it. Unlike the Krusher, it wasn’t overly sweet or crunchy. I’m even writing this review a few months later and I am STILL thinking about how delicious it was.

IF I MADE IT MYSELF: I wouldn’t change a thing. Maybe I would add a dusting of matcha powder on top just to add to the bitterness and presentation. This is what I wrote about the aformentioned Krusher on this section, and it oddly enough applies perfectly to this situation: “I would use a matcha vanilla twist soft serve base (like the bitter kind you can get in Kyoto or other special vendors). Then put some not-too-sweet azuki on top rather than mix it through out, so that the customer could choose to blend it or not later (it also looks pretty). Lastly, by the maker, I would leave those minty things out. Haha.”

FINAL IMPRESSIONS: It was heaven in my mouth. And easy on the wallet, too. I was almost tempted to order another one right after finishing it.

Keep an eye out for any matcha treats I decide to review next! Do you guys have any favorites or treat on your to-try list? Let me know!