Japan honeymoon: Shin-kobe

While heading back to Osaka from Okayama, we took a longer train (no idea why, I think it stopped at more stops?) and the journey was not what we expected. So we had to forego our Yakiniku M reservation. We were sleepy and weren’t sure what to do as the plan was pretty fluid. So looking at this map, we realised that our shinkansen would pass by Shin-Kobe station. I recalled a quick Google on kobe beef places, and found one that was right at the station. We didn’t get to see Kobe per se as it was already dark and Shin-Kobe isn’t that near the city centre. But we pampered ourselves with a Kobe beef meal and had a great time watching the chef handle the exquisite pieces of meat.

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Screenshot of the Kansai Wide Area Pass map of valid trains. The only dashed one (shinkansen) led us to Okayama and Shin-Kobe.

I had an itinerary done prior to the trip but left it fluid with only the key purchased items locked down. Each day I just reviewed where I went / what I had eaten (or not, which was more important), and made sure if it’s somewhere I really wanted to visit, that I’d cut and paste it later in the itinerary. Apart from the Kameoka hot spring and Universal Studios, which were purchased in advance, we could pretty much do anything, anytime. Which was great. It seemed to work with both of us. Good job for our first trip together (*pats Immanuel’s back).

Wakkoku @ Shin-Kobe station

We opted for one normal (A4) beef sirloin set, and a A4 sirloin set at Wakkoku after the chef explained the grades of the beef on the menu. The chef recommended sirloin which was fine with me. Tenderloins, though a feast to the eyes when looking at the teppanyaki table, aren’t my favourite parts of the beef. Perhaps the A5 would’ve been very different because of the fat content. My gripe with tenderloins is that they are usually dry. But now thinking of it, it probably would not have been dry at all, eh?

Our set meals came with a smoked salmon plate, soup (just mine), salad, and coffee. But really, who needs all that when there’s beef waiting for you?

Close up of the A5 sirloin.
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So meticulously prepared, I was afraid of eating it wrong. Wasn’t an issue as the chef guided us throughout the entire process. On how to taste the beef with just salt only, and then allowing us to try it with the other condiments around. Same for the veggies. It felt like a lesson – which I enjoyed. No fluff and haughtiness, just a sincere respect for the food in front of us.
The chef even offered to take a photo for us before starting his major cooking! No airs at all. Love it.

Japanese marbled fatty beef is something we HAD to try on this trip, but decided that isn’t the best thing for us. Immanuel and I both had the super jelat feel after all our Japanese beef meals at Wakkoku (Shin-Kobe), Yakiniku M (Osaka), and Gyu-kaku (Singapore). I much prefer good chargrilled beef, the kind with the criss-cross patterns. Immanuel likes beef most ways, and loves our meal at Mortons. I’m not too into the slow-roasted beef that’s cut after the whole thing is cooked. I really like the criss-cross marks and the charred taste. With salt. Salt will do. Or miso.

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Let Hope arise, again.

Let not my heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

How does ‘letting not’ happen? By seeing the goodness of my Lord. Grace loving me and supplying me. Something that was so real to me had slowly but surely fizzed out and I found myself on numerous accounts, very tangibly and observably forgetting that I had a great God who supplies me according to the riches of His grace, and not my own strengths and abilities.

Felt a need to come back to a space where I could journal freely. I always had this embarrassment of looking at my own words, fearing that they’d sound juvenile and awkward. My past experiences with blogs have not turned out well and I’ve chucked those incidents aside at the back of my mind because simply, I’m just ashamed at how childish and self-righteous I was, in action and deed.

I turn 27 (years-young) in September this year. The fear of looking silly still gets to me. But surely, I’ve grown? From the silliness of my youth, to the breaking in 23, to the stretching in the past few years in teaching (which isn’t really teaching in my opinion at this time in this jaded state).

Chase shared at CG a few weeks back about writing our visions – and somehow while I wanted to do it, and on many occasions, tried so, there was an inertia. I would look at a piece of paper and feel a sense of defiance of sorts.

Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. (‭Habakkuk‬ ‭2‬:‭2‬ NKJV)

The flesh or enemy, regardless, really attacks what is going to be glorious for me. So last night, in my recent interest in handlettering, I amateurishly painted down the first vision.

I dated it as proof to myself. Xuan gave me a word, or rather a vision, of what she saw me. That though I feel like I’m in darkness and can’t even see a tomorrow, she saw me shining and shining. Felt encouraged by that because I know my reality – it is not these that I’m struggling with. It is not the tears that I’ve shed over silly work-related matters. It is that – I am a beloved daughter of God, and that I reign in life because of that fact. I am righteous even though I’ve done things I regret. I am victorious even though I see failures in my life. I am beautiful even though my esteem plunges when I see a person who reminds me so painfully of how I was rejected. In those realities, I am who God sees I am.

My handlettering definitely needs improvement and honing, but I’m loving this script that I used as an inspiration for my first serious attempt at writing prettily. These are traits that I see myself having because Jesus has paid for it. In and of myself, I am definitely not some of the above. I might take pride now and then in one or two, but without the Lord, I will really see how hopeless I am. May that day never come, that I take pride in something that is really not from myself.

I’m keeping it like that for now – so much blank space for me to fill in the future. Whenever I feel quite the opposite, I’m adding on to the list. But my Sunday morning mind is stopping here and not ready to start on my work, but feels the necessity.

Grace, grace – Your strength flows in my weakness, in my laziness, in my sleepiness, in my unwillingness. I have been chosen to be right where I am – amongst all the others who could have taken my place, You chose me and You have put me here.

Let Hope arise, again. 

Fill me with the meaning and purpose, again. 

Reignite the love, again.