Friday, 11 January 2019

Coco Ichibanya - London, Newport Street

すごいね!ロンドンで CoCo壱番屋は 開きました。
Translation: It's amazing! Coco Ichibanya has opened in London. 

I wonder if the Japanese know I love curry. ¬_¬" I must have mentioned it so many times. Who would have wondered that this Japanese chain company would have started one of their chains in London. I'm quite surprised. びっくりね。。。😮

So I found out via a news article that Coco was opening a branch near China Town. It's actually taken over the site of Abeno Too (the okonomiyaki place). Not sure if that was a risk but it's sure doing so well after two weeks from opening. 

After viewing the Christmas lights in London Zoo during one Saturday, I decided to go to Coco Ichibanya. The streets was kind of quiet, but it wasn't quiet in the Piccadily / Soho area. OMG! Thinking that everyone would ease off from shopping at the end of the year - looks like I was wrong. Unfortunately when I got to Coco Ichibanya, there was already a queue. SIGH. It's one of those London epidemics when a new Japanese food chain opens. すごいね. 


Well, I queued for half an hour as luckily there was a one seater by the window that no-one had occupied yet. One of the employees asked if I wanted her to ask the people in the front if they wouldn't mind me going in before them... they said it was ok! Thank you people in the front of the queue. I only had lunch and was already starving! ありがとうごさいました!

I already knew what I wanted, so I ordered fairly quickly.

Pork tonkatsu with omurice and curry sauce. Plus side orders of eggplant (aubergine) and a hamburger. I also had an ice coffee (I said kopi to the waitress - the Korean way, whoopsie! 😅). Forrgot to ask what rice portion I wanted, so I think ended up with the standard portion.

The taste of the curry was nothing that special compared to other Japanese curries. It wasn't sweet. Had a bit of spiciness to it, even though I had forgotten to tell them what spice level I wanted. (I actually wanted a hotter level, maybe next time!).



I added the hamburger (which I think it contains beef and pork mixed) and eggplant in, so that the sauce could blend into the plate of curry. Yuuuuummmmmy!!

Look at that egg and rice (topped with cheese). I'm salivating at the moment. 😋


All of it was delicious, wish I had a bit more sauce added. All I could hear in the background was oishii 美味しい. Standard rice portion was the right amount for me.

Totally stuffed! But able to walk out the door!

Total cost came to £26.89. Quite expensive, considering that an Indian curry would cost even less. I can even make my own Japanese curry for less. 😹

My geeky rating: 4.5/5

Good points:
- Polite service
- Quite quick with the food
- Nice coffee!
- I love the food, especially the hamburger

Bad points:
- Expensive
- Queuing (unavoidable at this moment in time)


Address: 17-18 Great Newport St, London WC2H 7JE
Tel: 020 3904 5633

Website: https://ichibanya.uk/ (in construction) 
The Japanese Website: https://www.ichibanya.co.jp/

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Christmas Lights at ZSL London Zoo

Are you fed up of Christmas now? Do you still want to see more Christmas stuff on this blog?

Correct Answer: yes, I'm fed up and I probably don't want to see anymore, thanks.

This is my last post of anything Christmasy! As I usually have nothing much to do at the end of Christmas, since people want to spend loads of time with their families. I'm quite lucky, as I see my family all the time - apart from the very distant aunts, uncles and cousins who sometimes appear out of nowhere. 

I decided to go to the Christmas Lights at London Zoo. Even as a member, I had to pay for a voucher to get in... I arrived on time, queued with everyone, and then walked swiftly through the trail... Here's a few pics.








Looks like a PacMan was there...


The flamingos at night...





It was a bit like going to the Magic Lantern Festival. A bit scary as I couldn't see the events people.

I think I walked too fast as it took me a good 45 minutes, including watching the motion video near the end of the trail.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Minamoto Kitchoan 源吉兆庵 - Japanese Confectionery Store

Feel like I'm back to my old self. Shopping, eating out, and now kind of enjoying driving - not as stressed out as I was last year. Good riddance to 2018! 😎

Before Christmas, I went out with Miss Rock for our annual get-together. It's actually been almost two years since we last met. This time, we kept it local and walked from Borough all the way to Tottenham Court Road via Strand, through part of Oxford Street, into Regents Street area, then Covent Garden, Waterloo and Elephant and Castle. I thought I was walking really slow, but Miss Rock said I was walking a little too fast. Really? That's mega slow speed for me! LOL.

On our journey, we stopped by a Japanese confectionery store called Minamoto Kitchoan 源吉兆庵. It's been opened for more than two years, and this is the first time I remembered to stop by.

We were looking at the prices for most of the products, and most are a tad expensive. Japanese imported things are expensive. It's a shame, as I would have bought loads if they were at a reasonable price.

We took a while to decide what we wanted.


In the end I chose these. I like rice crackers and mochi, so I chose these.

If you know me, I like a good cheese flavoured rice cracker.



It has powdered cheese covering the whole of the cracker. It has a nice crunch to it, and it nicely softens into your mouth as you taste the last moments of the rice cracker as it disappears in your mouth. It makes you crave for more. There's only 5 packets of 2 crackers, so save them to the last minute if you can!

I've not tasted tomato flavoured rice crackers before.



This actually tastes like red tomato pesto sauce with the herbs that they've added to give it an Italian-Japanese feel. It tastes like a pizza. ^_^ Yummy!!

This is a mamedaifuku - a large bean rice cake. Basically a large version of a bean-filled mochi.



I should have bit into it rather than try to pull it apart. Shame of me. Sweet red bean paste in the middle. I would say it's not that special. It wasn't too sweet, and I think I would just purchase normal small mochi next time.

I spent £13 in this store. Expensive right? Yes it is. (The Geek has expensive taste... I was born with it 😅).

Address: 448 Strand, London WC2R 0QU
Tel: 0203 490 4747

Website: https://www.kitchoan.co.uk/

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

The International Christmas Adverts 2018 - Part 3 (IKEA)

The last of the International Christmas ads of 2018. Will try harder to find more in 2019.

IKEA always needs a separate post. In 2018, it seems a bit bleak but here's four contrasting IKEA adverts that we should have a look at.

Spain - Anuncio IKEA Navidad 2018
4 Spanish families have a question and answer session. It seems everyone knows about social media stuff but not many details on their own family members! Keep those mobile phones away and start chatting to people. Make sure to watch this with the subtitles on.

Imagination:           ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩


USA - Maybes :30
There's a lot of maybes in this ad. Maybe IKEA USA tried to hard. Maybe.

Imagination:           ⭐⭐✩✩
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐✩✩✩

Germany - IKEA Werbung: TV-Spot "Neues Weihnachten"
LOL. It's a like-father-like-son situation here. Quite cute that the son copies his father in nearly everything they do.

Imagination:           ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩


Italy - Cambia il solito Natale con IKEA
This is my favourite IKEA ad! Two male shoppers end up getting stuck in a lift during Christmas Day. They decorate the lift, and I guess they end up spending the night there... Poor guys. At least they had their shopping with them, otherwise it would've been a boring Christmas in a lift. 😂

Imagination:           ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


That's it for the Christmas ads! May we see many more brilliant ideas for 2019. Just keep them under 2 minutes. 😵

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

The International Christmas Adverts 2018 - Part 2

Happy 2019!!!

It's been a bit difficult to find lots of Christmas ads from across the world, but here's some I've been able to pick up via YouTube.

China - KFC肯德基2018圣诞季炸鸡配电脑女生周冬 (KFC 2018 Christmas fried chicken with computer girl)
So here's a Chinese girl who I believe is in Shanghai is working her way through December. She loves KFC. She can't even get away from work to go home to see her family. And so she ends up in KFC eating loads of fried chicken.

Imagination:           ⭐⭐⭐✩✩
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐⭐✩✩


Japan - LINE Xmas 2018, 何百通ぶん、好きです。(I like hundreds of sentences)
Uh. We have a school romance in Japan! Girl likes boy, but boy becomes friends or possibly in a relationship with another girl... Didn't really get the ending).

Imagination:           ⭐⭐⭐✩✩
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐✩✩
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩


Japan - 「なんだろう、このドキドキ 」2018 WINTER MOVIE: CASIO G-SHOCK (I wonder what this pounding is)
Another kind of love story from. This time it's a girl waiting for a guy. Time checking using a Casio G-SHOCK watch. Keep looking at the time peeps!

Imagination:           ⭐⭐⭐✩✩
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐⭐✩✩


Berlin - Christmas. Never out of fashion, Zalando 2018
Here we have a choir of people wearing clothes from Zalando, a high street German retail store. I thought saw a Judi Dench look-a-like towards the end of the commercial.

Imagination:           ⭐⭐✩✩✩
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐⭐✩✩


Spain - Así es el anuncio de la LOTERÍA DE NAVIDAD 2018 (This is the announcement of the Christmas Lottery 2018)
Yipee! My favourite Spanish Christmas ad! Here we have a man who goes through Groundhog Day until he gets it right when he and a cafe owner win the lottery. This man is a bit of a grumpy one.

Imagination:           ⭐⭐⭐✩✩
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩


France - Le Noël inoubliable de Bouygues Telecom (The unforgettable Christmas of Bouygues Telecom)
OMG! What's with the father's dancing?! LOL. But at least the father gets to have a new smartphone to at least video call. ^_^

Imagination:           ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩


USA - Audi Presents: New Santa
And we end it here with a wanna get fit Santa. He wants an Audi. So he needs to get fit to get into one. Or look good in one, because I'm sure even a chubby person could drive the car.

Imagination:           ⭐⭐⭐✩✩
Christmasy?:          ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My geeking rating: ⭐⭐⭐✩✩


I have one more international set of ads to go. See you back tomorrow!