Our Adventure at Monster Hunter Bar West in Osaka

Image

41803755_314740879333442_6067643201211072512_n
A major disappointment turned into an exciting and spontaneous adventure for us last night in Osaka!

Initially, we had planned to see The Killers in concert this week. This doubled as both an early birthday present for me (September 29th!) and as a “push present” from Josh as we await the arrival of our baby next month (October!). I was so excited- I would finally be able to see my favorite band in person! However, due to severe typhoon damage at the Kansai International Airport, the concert was cancelled at the last minute. I sadly had to send the tickets back to the distributor in a hurry and hope for a full refund…

To make up for our loss, we decided to make a date in Osaka anyway. No solid plans, just a little fun in the big city together. We stopped by for a late lunch of fish n’ chips at Hub Pub (with plenty of malt vinegar!) and then explored the lovely Namba Parks (which you may have seen featured on Reddit for its amazing “forest in the middle of a concrete city” aesthetic). We chilled on the rooftop and caught some nice Pokemon while deciding what to do next.

namba-parks41682342_940627559468322_4504788933879529472_n 41697257_249238579068969_7826409030200328192_n 41698842_510331316096391_2013603358400577536_n 41709764_530127130772185_1082092241150803968_n 41811658_315540352564847_3377907214692909056_nJosh and I have recently been playing a lot of “Monster Hunter World” since I started maternity leave, and it’s been so fun going on hunts and quests together! I’ve always wanted to visit a limited themed cafe during my time in Japan, but by the time I hear about them, they are already closed (or in far-off Tokyo)! As the Capcom headquarters is stationed in Osaka and Monster Hunter World was only recently released for the PC, I idly wondered if there was some sort of themed cafe lurking about in the city.

My character Vaelyon and her trusty Palico, Tiramisu!

My character Vaelyon and her trusty Palico, Tiramisu!

To my delight, I discovered that an official “Mon Hun Bar” opened just last month right near us in Tennoji! I showed Josh some pictures of the menu and he was all for it. There was just one small problem…I had to reserve our place…by phone…in Japanese! I was shaking in my Birks as I dialed the number and tried to boost my confidence by mentally replaying my recent success with booking both a parenting class and dental appointment over the phone.

“Is 7pm available?”
“One more time, please”
“Uhh…hehe”
“Sorry, I’m a foreigner.”

Somehow, I got through it and reserved our seats! We were guaranteed commemorative coasters as well as a special snack at our table. We had an hour or so to kill so we stopped by McDonald’s for some of their new Matcha menu selections (quite good, by the way!).

The time finally arrived and we made our way towards the Bali Tower right outside of Osaka Abenobashi station! A themed diorama was placed in the lobby with directions to the cafe. As we walked up the staircase we encountered lots of framed concept artwork from the game and heard that signature music coming from inside the closed off room. The anticipation was building!

41714683_318313085640852_8393934691454943232_n 41715314_2042458225804367_5078442151960903680_nsandy
41684612_2251667955056987_8514489436996632576_n

41779817_664430890624308_6263500873914122240_n 41836322_2164370437152052_3418295270373326848_n 41801884_326597098111629_5829409010343739392_n 41761432_1076311179198778_7657786118783369216_n 41741873_2044652872513918_596309561409798144_n 41730532_248734992498358_8689672657555161088_n 41682240_1131979333631444_5755494508670222336_n 41682225_2178764019011112_3873584330852794368_n 41684510_535267950219775_3490929300561985536_n 41651276_1053999784760743_4490396528535404544_n 41656733_297380027723285_5263053478569181184_n After a sizeable crowd had gathered a man dressed as a human Meowscular Chef checked our reservations and brought us in to the cafe area. Huge armor and weapon replicas were featured on the walls, as well as a complete four-player gaming station! I loved the giant Palico looking over our table.

41668504_548254525610841_965204070535004160_n 41717073_255410815314461_8275337901244416000_n 41776438_1920296454945852_5285895158326362112_n 41685461_655020141547312_6410052047181185024_n 41667459_1758023574296218_2922222613495283712_n 41679749_296711457791578_329564063371624448_n 41776916_320544422043248_7580797391188525056_n 41741086_1065172633647160_9039409426401853440_n 41725316_474746689677475_455701287145570304_n 41856499_2022230031132702_2315733863629848576_n 41767631_2071473359831490_100942129571823616_n 41743975_547856715670813_2029155701267365888_nAs for the interior, it was gorgeous! We really felt like we had stepped into the world of Monster Hunter and were ready to settle down for a meal at the Canteen. We admired our coasters and themed candy popcorn as we browsed the menu ordering system by iPad.

41622743_2294585507441322_8028664868439588864_n 41685382_268536297326657_2153842351376695296_n 41704058_331041954138312_2438181023301763072_n 41725421_320172708563578_3773356475817132032_n 41735520_680694872314697_857712815916449792_n 41736279_2164232393816323_3629138792641724416_n 41738516_464717994023312_1647443180074827776_n41681731_252040905450968_7901106933908635648_n
41741223_345808839324775_5076104689024499712_n 41747003_1156448221177705_5224842391487250432_n

"I think there are Grimalkynes nearby, meowster!"

“I think there are Grimalkynes nearby, meowster!”

41772125_524198748005940_3980171387481358336_n 41841704_329778880926372_5733534675893223424_n 41662445_2307153535968603_1188573899281924096_n 41685388_1206142182874766_3413257995289624576_n

We started with drinks- thankfully there was a plentiful “mocktail” menu for me that was just as decorative and fun as the alcohol options! Each drink was whimsically graced with names like “Legiana Chocolate Banana Milk”, “Grimalkyne Maple Latte”, or the one I was so close to getting, the “Malfestio Float” with blue raspberry syrup, vanilla ice cream, and gold flakes!

Josh ordered the “Huntsman Highball” whisky soda, and I got the “Pilot Hare Peach Drink”!

The Huntsman/Sword Master

The Huntsman/Sword Master

The Hunstman Highball!

The Hunstman Highball!

The Pink Pilot Hare...I am still trying to catch this rare pet!

The Pink Pilot Hare…I am still trying to catch this rare pet!

The Pink Hare Peach Drink!

The Pink Hare Peach Drink!

For our main course, Josh got the “Teostra Spicy Katsu Curry”, which was truly spicy and delicious! I got the “Amatsu Cheese Risotto” featuring shrimp and basil with fried rice paper!

The fearsome Elder Dragon Teostra

The fearsome Elder Dragon Teostra

The delicious Teostra Katsu Curry!

The delicious Teostra Katsu Curry!

Amatsu

Amatsu

Tasty Amatsu Cheese Risotto!

Tasty Amatsu Cheese Risotto!

We finished things off with another round of drinks and a split dessert. Josh got the humorous “Paolumu Cassis Cocktail” and I ordered the massive “Deviljho” muscat tea soda (a Mon Hun Bar West exclusive)! Lastly, we enjoyed the “Kirin Parfait”, an electrifying chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream treat.

The "love to hate" Paolumu

The “love to hate” Paolumu

This hilariously adorable Paolumu Cassis Cocktail

This hilariously adorable Paolumu Cassis Cocktail

We laughed for a good three minutes over this!

We laughed for a good three minutes over this!

The big ole Deviljho that I am not looking forward to facing

The big ole Deviljho that I am not looking forward to facing

The massive "Deviljho" soda!

The massive “Deviljho” soda!

Cheers!

Cheers!

The Kirin is one of my favorite monsters

The Kirin is one of my favorite monsters

The "Kirin Parfait" was aptly named!

The “Kirin Parfait” was aptly named!

We couldn’t end the night without scoring some exclusive swag, and score we did! Along with our coasters, we got an awesome “Quest Cleared” keychain and three exclusive Capcom x B-Side Label stickers! We also got stamps on our “Guild Cards” along with a 100 zenny coupon for our next visit (this was a spontaneous special occasion, but we ended up having so much fun we want to go back again!)

41688244_2171561153087369_2597565752122802176_n

We got stamps on our Guild Cards!

We got stamps on our Guild Cards!

41697988_249389739101537_2001038891137630208_n

Overall, it was a memorable, magical night and a precious memory for the two of us before our own little hunter arrives in October. We may not be able to visit again before they close for their limited run, but I highly recommend you experience it at least once in either Osaka or Tokyo if you’re a fan of the series!

Until next time, happy adventuring!

41820809_370302770175303_6775918024542126080_n

An Enchanted Forest Baby Shower

Image

Josh and our beloved friend Kelly recently threw an unforgettable baby shower for me. They had been planning all the details secretly for MONTHS! I felt so loved and cherished, and I definitely cried a lot.

The theme was “Enchanted Forest” (my life theme) and the party was held at one of our favorite burger joints in Nara prefecture.

First we enjoyed a meal with all our friends both local and from the teaching community! I ordered a Bacon Avocado Cheeseburger with fries and an Oreo Milkshake and it did not disappoint. It’s so nice to have a nostalgic taste of American cuisine every now and then. 😉

41390231_234934030529603_2376628124700901376_n
I really enjoyed catching up with some friends that I haven’t seen in a while and sharing some of my unique experiences while expecting in Japan.

41100564_714044478935135_5827329425833721856_n
After food and so many thoughtful presents, a special announcement was made by Kelly! I would be set on an epic quest- not only the quest of motherhood, but a journey to unlock the secret treasure of wisdom from ages past. Kelly held up a large, locked basket in which the aforementioned treasures were sealed.

41052067_1873009996121493_8511034393505038336_n
How cool! I was absolutely giddy at this point. Josh and Kelly had really gone all out with their secret planning. The quest would consist of three portions- first, I must cast “Charm” on the party by singing a lullaby of my choice (they know I love to sing!).

I chose “Moon River”, a song that has been stuck in my head for months now and in turn became a sort of lullaby to my little one. As I was singing, I started thinking too hard about the lyrics and my baby, and I just broke down in tears in front of everyone!! The love I felt was overwhelming and I barely got through the rest of the song, haha.

Singing (and then crying)

Singing (and then crying)

Next I was given a mysteriously heavy box containing an odd device and a little blue flashlight:

cryptexIt was up to me to find the secret code by searching the room to find hidden faerie companions! Some of them were tucked into books or hidden behind shelves.

Searching through books with my shoulders hunched up like a nerd xD I was lost in my element!

Searching through books with my shoulders hunched up like a nerd xD I was lost in my element!

41089686_2038612816159122_4169983060491632640_n

41089018_2186719641609064_449569332272300032_n

I found one! Cue Zelda music- da da da DAAAH!

41210507_2057432737900859_7940336452225728512_n
By the way, Josh MADE these little faeries from origami! Remember the blue light? It revealed a secret code hidden within their wings in invisible ink.

faerie1

37616160_10216560202338907_2432634987867013120_n inkI unscrambled the secret letters supplied by the faeries and input them into the codex…only for it to unlock a tiny key which I could then use to unlock the treasure basket! <3 As you can tell from the pictures, I was too excited.

41039233_449334895576320_6782961105187635200_n

Kelly actually played the real Zelda music this time- haha!

Kelly actually played the real Zelda music this time- haha!

41229772_720448834964962_6362185594444972032_nThe basket included many more wonderful gifts for the baby from Kelly including some unexpected surprises- a postcard from New York and handmade gifts from our much adored, recently-internationally-separated expat friends, Margot and Zane! I was SO elated to hear from them (we met during their time in Japan) and the gifts- a hand knit little owl from Zane, and a lovingly crafted miniature book from Margot- were so fantastic! <3

41129138_2081282355239742_1296189261275463680_n

An adorable baby jinbei from Kelly!

41345262_2164521187120844_3958655014372638720_n 41250445_448402675567791_6630462213964431360_nHowever, there were even more secrets to be revealed! The basket had a false bottom- and underneath that was a fat folder FULL of letters from supportive friends and family members back home and across the states!! I was totally not expecting something like that and I was incredibly touched. Witness my embarrassingly candid shocked face, lol.

41096963_457271788098039_5650477700675010560_n Now I’m here with only one month to go until we meet our little one!

As I said on my Facebook page, If it takes a village to raise a child, then I’m so glad that you’re my village. I love you, Nara friends!

friends