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October 15, 2016

Style Diary: Back To My Roots

After travelling 4000km away from home, I decided to make myself feel a lil bit at home again by donning this kurung modern set that is truly a keeper! I've always loved batik, but never got the chance to wear them as much as I wish I did. So today, am off to a wedding in this gorgeous number in beautiful hues of deep purple specially designed by Fleure (available in Zalora & FV).

Scarf: Unbranded
Hallway Kurung Set: Fleure (Zalora) Fleure (FV)
Purse: Vintage
T-bar heels: Nichii

It was indeed the best choice for attending occasions and weddings in Malaysia cause, ehem, the weather. In these scorching hot days, all your skin needs is a good ol cotton fabric to wrap yourself in. And since the piece is beautiful on its own, I figured I'd pair it with black accessories to help highlight them even more :D
October 11, 2016

Travel: Japanese Food That Still Lingers

I really would like to apologise in advance for this post. Drafting this post for me was hard and I'm sure that reading and watching these images would be even harder for you! XD But as all of us might be aware, Japanese food is da bomb. That's why I figured it needs its own special post!

---------[ DAY 1 ]---------

Lunch: This is the bento that I bought before riding the bullet train. Basically these types of bentos are everywhere in Japan. And is very much Muslim friendly too. All you need to do is get yourself a seafood bento and ask the seller whether it contains miring/sake (alcohol) in preparation of these dishes. If they say there's none of the above, than you're all set, insyaAllah ;)

I had myself an Inari (tofu sushi), mackerel, eel, and sweet egg sushi. Although I didn't like the eel one so much. I've never eaten it in my life before, so I'd like to maintain it that way haha. This small bento is so filling I tell ya! Trust me. It's perfect for travels.

Lunch : Bento Box
Name of restaurant : N/A
Address : Hakata Station
Contact number : N/A
Menu (overall / detailed) : Bento Box (Seafood meals)
Price : Range from JPY800-JPY1800
How to request : Can buy at Any Bullet Train Station

---------[ DAY 2 ]---------

Lunch: My favourite Japanese dishes from this trip is from Day 2! Wanna know what I'm talking about? Check these images below... We had this set which consists of everything AWESOME. There's kanpachi raw fish that can be dipped into boiling hot green tea, there's grilled salmon, soba, tempura and also veggies (pumpkin's my fave!)

Name of restaurant : Chiran Paradise
Address : Chiran-Cho Kyushu City, Kagoshima
Contact number : +81-993-83-3211
Menu (overall / detailed) : Kanpachi (Greater Amberjack), Tempura, Green Tea Buck Wheat Noodles, Rice, Soup
Price : JPY 1620
How to request : Prior to visit, request the "Muslim Friendly Meal"

Dinner: So for dinner, we actually went to a Halal joint that serves the best Ramen in town! Do note that I have never ever liked soupy noodles. And after this dish, I could say that I am now a convert. And the best part about this ramen is that you can choose the level of spiciness you would like from 1-50!!! GILAAAA. hahahaha.

Name of restaurant : Menya Kirin
Address : 1-10-5-2F Kamoike City, Kagoshima
Contact number : +81-99-204-7331
Menu (overall / detailed) : Japanese Ramen Noodles (Spicy & Soy souce)
Price : JPY 800 - JPY 1500
How to request : They have a separate "Muslim Friendly" Menu

The owner said that the highest people would dare to go usually is level 8. I chose level 3 cause I was afraid of looking like a mess if I take anything higher. The level I chose was somewhat similar to the spiciness of a Tom Yam. So go figure the rest XD

---------[ DAY 3 ]---------

Lunch: On the 3rd day, we also had a snazzy lunch which consists of so many dishes in small portion. I thought I was gonna still be hungry after eating all of this. But I thought wrong ok.

Name of restaurant : Himawri Tei
Address : 1880-2 Yaguro-cho, Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto
Contact number : +81-966-22-1044
Menu (overall / detailed) : Pickled Vegetables, Tempura, Chawanmushi, Rice, Local Soup, Mayonaised paste, Yogult
Price : JPY 1620
How to request : Prior to visit, request the "Muslim Friendly Meal"

Dinner: Funny thing that happened to me at this restaurant was that I nearly fell underneath the table while stepping in. You know those Japanese restaurants where you need to take off your shoes and sit cross-legged. I thought this was that kind, but apparently there was a hole underneath the table for your legs to hang down. It hurt ok haha. But luckily the food served there took all my pain awayyyy :D

See how scrumptious this all looks? I don't really eat sashimi, but here in Japan, I do! hahaha. Your body works in mysterious ways I tell you. suddenly I could swallow all things raw and not make a face after it. 

Name of restaurant : Higo No Jinya
Address : 1-5-20 Shitadouri, Chuo War, Kumamoto
Contact number : +81-96-211-1414
Menu (overall / detailed) : Marinated Vegetables, Sashimi, Salad, Grilled Halal Chicken, Tenpura, Cooked Vegetables, Rice, Desert
Price : JPY 3000
How to request : They have a separate "Muslim Friendly" Menu

---------[ DAY 3 ]---------

Lunch: This was the funniest lunch I had in my entire lunch. Not the food I mean, but the moment. Japanese Tourism ever so kindly decided to treat us with fine dining Japanese food at Nikko Hotel! So of course Nisa and I had to play pretend that we were Datins merely going for lunch at expensive hotels like we Datins would do.

Name of restaurant : Nikko Hotel "Le Celebriti"
Address : 2-1 Kamidouri, Chuo Ward, Kumamoto
Contact number : +81-96-211-1663
Menu (overall / detailed) : Full Course Menu
Price : JPY 3800
How to request : Prior to visit request the "Muslim Friendly Meal"

Dinner: So on the last day, our dinner consists of nothing Japanese! After a week consuming lots of seafood, we figured our tummy could use some meat :p So we head over to a halal Pakistani restaurant and helped ourselves to some good 'ol briyani, roti naan and mutton dish.

Nice, huh?
Name of restaurant : Nabi San
Address : 6-11-37 Hakozaki, Higashi Ward, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka
Contact number : +81-90-4484-4020
Menu (overall / detailed) : Biryani Rice & Etc
Price : JPY900- JPY 1600
How to request : Full Halal Restaurant
Hope you guys enjoyed my Kyushu travelogue series as much as I love sharing them with you! :D I had an amazing time in Japan and I feel like I need to travel to other parts of Japan in the near future again soon, insyaAllah. Feel free to visit the Japanese Tourism website to get any information you need with regards to travelling as a Muslim in their oh-so-beautiful country! :D
October 10, 2016

Travel: (Day 4) Kumamoto Certainly Feels Like Home

On our final day of exploring Kyushu, we did quite a lot to maximise our stay there. I mean, a week just goes on really fast, doesn't it? And it feels like there's so much exploring to do in such a short period of time!

1. Suizenji Park (More info here)

When we were on our way to this park, I looked outside the window of the van I rode and wondered to myself, where the heck is this park that my tour guide was speaking about. Cause all around me are literally building of Kumamoto city.

But as soon as we reached the park and entered the compound, lo and behold! There's paradise smack in the city centre that looks like this......

How breathtaking this landscape looks, amirite? It was windy when we reached there so that made the whole situation a million times better than it already is. We managed to walk around the park a bit while enjoying this majestic view that was built in the 17th century.

2. Kumamoto Castle (More info here)

Our next stop consists of doing something really fun, every tourist should do! We visited the XX and helped ourselves on trying the traditional Japanese costume like in the picture below. I chose this deep blue yukata while Nisa(in red) wore a Kimono worn by the royals thanks to its rich and luxurious fabric and threads used.


We weren't able to visit the actual Kumamoto Castle per se, this is because it was hit by the earthquake and is now being heavily restored seeing that the structure itself was built in the 1600s. So can you imagine how hard it is to restore them. We had the opportunity to watch a video footage of the damages that happened on one of Japan's most impressive castles. So we spent some time exploring the compound where there are rows and rows of shops for the locals and tourists to see.

3. Kumamoto Islamic Center (More info here)

As I've mentioned on my instagram, one of the best moments for a Muslim traveller is when you discover a mosque in the city you're in! I dunno why, but it makes the places a lot more closer to you in retrospect seeing that there's your place of worship there. Doesn't it? :)

And to know how the Muslims struggled to actually build these mosques, makes the visit even more worthwhile. I was told that usually Muslim students are the ones highly responsible for having the mosque standing proud here in Japan. They would gather funds, get all the approval they need, and have the place become a reality.

Of course I took the chance to perform my prayers there and spent a couple of minutes touring the mosque to see how remarkable the place is. It's not just a mosque. It's also a community centre where the Muslims who live nearby come together and celebrate Ramadhan and Eid as a family. I just love this part of my day.

4. Tosu Premium Outlet (More info here)

Lastly, we ended our day by doing something laid-back such as--shopping! haha.. We managed to visit the Tosu Premium Outlet which so reminds me of JPO in Johor! Only this one is double the size than what we get in Johor. There were so many international and local brands here that I'm beginning to question why the heck I didn't bring that much money with me hahaha.

I highly recommend you to visit this outlet if you're looking for gifts for family and friends back home. Also there were so many fashion related items that speaks so much of the Japanese modest looks that we (or mostly me) adore about. I could easily get a top for RM50-60 (the lowest). That's cheap, considering we are in Japan where the currency is slightly higher than of ours.

See you in my next post, but be sure to bring yourself a handkerchief okay! Cause we'll be talking about JAPANESE FOOD!! :D
October 9, 2016

Travel: (Day 3) From Kagoshima to Kumamoto

My third day in Kyushu saturated off pretty laid-back compared to the first two days I've been here.  The day started off gloomy and windy as expected but it was totally fine for me. So on this day, I decided to pull off an outfit where it would match the day I would go about. And as per usual, below are the list of places and things I did on the 3rd day of travelling!

1. Kirishima Shrine (More info here)

My first stop would be to visit the Kirishima Shrine on a beautiful Tuesday morning. Having reached here certainly made me felt so at home while in Kagoshima. Not sure why though. Probably because the weather was so pleasant and that I was surrounded by tall trees and nature. 

Kirishima shrine is actually one of the biggest shinto shrines here in Japan. I was told there were many shrines, but some stood out for tourists thanks to its significant structure and location.

What I enjoyed most about visiting here was that it speaks so much about the cultural aspect of the Japanese while seeing the area. Above as you can see are amulets for various prayers by the Shinto believers. And just above that is the image of their wishes written and knotted in bunches that you can see a lot of in Kirishima Shrine.

This shrine boasts a huge area and attention to detail even though it was once damaged by a volcano eruption and now moved to this location. When you visit here, you are also able to see a tree that has lived for 800 years and is considered sacred to the Japanese.

2. Kuma River Downstream Experience (More infe here)

We were told that this was part of our itinerary that day. And I for one looking forward to it so much! It was a boat ride that took us about an hour and lucky for us, even though it is said to be a rapid river boat ride experience, there were some calm moments where we could glide smoothly and not worry about splashing water haha.

I was so scared that the ride would splash us crazy that I didn't bring my camera with me on this ride. This time around I felt that I needed a go pro pronto! :D But thanks to my travel buddies, I managed to get this cool shot of us streaming down Kuma River. Thanks Abang Lan for the pic!

3. Exploring Kumamoto City (More info here)

After an adventurous day, we decided to check in our hotel and later explored Kumamoto City. Lucky for us too that the hotel was nearby Sakae Dori, so I had the opportunity to walk around town and simply observing how city life in Kumamoto feels like. I also did a bit of shopping here but it didn't take me that long cause there was so much to see!

Just beautifully hectic, isn't it? I love how calm the city felt even though it may look a bit busy with bustling streets and commercial surrounding it. This is basically the shopping arcade that I managed to walk around in before heading for my dinner afterwards.

See you in my Day 4 post! :D
October 7, 2016

Travel: (Day 2) Roller Coaster of Emotions in Kagoshima

So the following day, my journey continues albeit the rainy weather. Lucky for me I brought my windbreaker coat, so travelling in the rainy autumn day was not a problem at all.

1. Nagasakibana, Chiran City (More info here)

My first stop was to visit the southern most tip of Japan, which is to Nagasakibana located in Chiran City. This place has an amazing legendary story that comes with it explaining how this spot is adored by the locals (and tourists). It was told that a long time ago, a fisherman called Urashima Taro lived in this area. One day, he saved a turtle who was beaten by the kids in this area. The turtle expressed his gratitude towards Urashima and invited him to a palace under the sea.

Urashima followed the turtle and lived under the sea for a few years where he met Princess Toyotama. Years later, he suddenly felt like returning to the shore, and before he did, the princess gifted him with a box. She told him not to ever open the box because there is one important thing in it.

Being tempted by the box, Urashima finally opened it and found himself turning to an old man. Apparently while he was living under the sea, time actually froze for him that's why he never grew old. The Urashima realised that the most important thing the princess meant was "a span of life".

And since the ocean was where Urashima and the princess met, it was believed that Nagasakibana is a sacred place for love. Hence why everyone who came here writes their name and their loved ones on seashells and made prayers for everlasting love. I wrote mine for the fun of it though hihi..

Vessels filled with lots and lots of seashells! Can you imagine how many people have come here for visits? :D

This is how the structure of the wishing temple looks like in bright hues of red and white, facing the Kaimondake volcano mountain.

2. Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots (More info here)

The next place we went to was full of feels. This is where they compiled items and findings from the World War II that happened in 1945. The war was between America and Japan, and Japan lost the war with so many soldiers died during the attack. We couldn't take images of the museum on the inside to respect the privacy of the family of the soldiers involved, but I can tell you this visit has touched me so much.

There is a section where all the images of the deceased soldiers in black and white were portrayed and the museum has compiled all their individual letters they had sent to their loved ones knowing that they might die in the war. Lucky for us, they have it in English translations so I had the opportunity to read some of em. 

Goosebumps, man.

I even asked our tour guide if they had them compiled in a book cause I would like to get it, but sadly they don't.

Some statues and fighter jet replicas are portrayed on the compound of the museum which brings back clear imagery even though we weren't literally in the war itself. Going through the details the museum provided ultimately gave me a sense of relief and syukur that I am living in such a peaceful country and era such as Malaysia.

3. Samurai Residence, Kagoshima (More info here)

Yup, you read the subtitle right. This was one of my favourite visits while in Kyushu I tell you. I can't believe my eyes when walking around this residential area that is preserved till today for us to see. I mean, samurais, man! Their houses! Crazyyyyy! :D

Each house has a unique set of garden that they have to represent the earth while complimenting the view of the mountains they have behind this residential area. Would you look at those cutesy trees and rocks? Some were purposely shaped like a turtle, dragon and even cranes.

Classic Japanese houses that are still used till today. Probably the family from the samurai lineage still lives here to maintain the structure so that it won't die through time.

I would like a garden like this for me too please! :D

4. Satsuma Kiriko (Glass) Making Experience (More info here)

This session was highly anticipated by me! I specifically enjoyed doing DIY stuff so to have them in my itinerary was obviously the highlight of my trip. We made a visit to Karukan Factory and helped ourselves to making ourselves some glass jewelleries.

So many colours to choose from! These pieces are basically remnants from their works, so they gave us the opportunity to play with it :D

Yours truly trying out how to carve the glass with a diamond cutter, and trying to act all pro while doing this thing. It wasn't easy okay! My jewellery turned out fugly I dare not show it here hahahaha! But the experience was definitely worth it :D

Me in action, trying my best to not mess up. But I failed hahaha.

This is how the ones sold at their gallery looks like. A million times better than the one I made ok. XD

See you in my next post, dearies! :D