Trip to Japan : Day 2

Back again for day 2! Today, it's off to the museums!

So we alight at Noborito Station and just follow the Doraemons! Or the signs, if you want to be boring. Once you got to the correct exit, the bus station is right in front.

And with it, a bright blue bus waiting to cater you off to Fujiko's land!

The sides. Pay attention to the stops.
How many do you actually recognise?

We actually have to wait for the 2nd one as the 1st one is filled to the brim. We don't mind though since it's barely a 5 mins wait.

Inside of the bus is filled with… DORAEMON~

Queuing up, waiting to go in.

You enter batches by batches at a time in order not to clog up the museum. And it works as at each point, almost a little to none crowding is encountered. Once you get off the bus though, the staffs will guide you to where you are supposed to line up. Do prepare your tickets brought from lawson as they would check it before letting you queue.

Looking at the brochure that are handed out.

Giant's / 剛田 武 Goda Takeshi's lineart on the cover with our tickets.

I'm in charged of the tickets. So when it's you turn, they will usher you into a lobby. There, they would give information on the rules and regulations. No photo taking is allowed in the museum except for certain areas and please do not shout or run about and all that. Basically, just be polite.
They would then point you to a counter where you are to change your lawson tickets to the original museum tickets (comes with a movie tix for a short movie) and audio guides are available for rental at no extra fees with 2 languages to choose from (I think… Japanese… English…).

It was an eye opener, the museum is filled to the brim with Fujiko's works and also show what his workplace is like. Awesome office by the way.
There's an exhibition that stood out : 5 – 6 panels with Doraemon and Nobita (Hologram!!) teaching about how a manga is created. I loved it. It did get a little crowded with everyone wanting to look at the panels but still manageable. So after all of that, we made our way over to the play area.

First thing we saw. Doraemon manga corner!!

It's one of the rare areas that photography is allowed. Beyond that is a play area and gachapon machines as well as a purikura machine. It is also where you get to watch the mini movie using the ticket they gave you.

Look at the cute illustrations on the wall!

The red arrow shows where you head to watch the mini movie.

Do not enter at will though, the panel you see in the pictures shows you when the next movie will start so please wait until that time and show your tickets to the staff manning.

Our tickets. You have no idea what you'll get as it's all random.

We missed 2 shows that result in us being a little behind schedule so do take notice of the timing shown! You do not want to miss the mini movie just because you ran out of time! It's about 30 ~ 45 mins between each show timing.

Look! The 'What if..? Phone Booth' !!

It's just right besides the entrance to where the mini movie is held. Time to try!!

Unfortunately, it's out-of-order at that moment… And I asked so nicely for a magical world…

Doremi's Gachapon machines!!

Close up! ¥200 per try.

And of course, what's Doremi without Doraemon!

Close up of my baby!

We went wild here on the Doremi's portion of the Gachapon machines. Both Doremi and Doraemon offers different toys so do take a look before trying. KK and me is trying to get the exact figurine of Doraemon (as seen in the manga corner, reading manga and biting into his fav. sweet). So we spend around ¥2000++ and got almost double of all except the one we are aiming for. Finally the crowning moment! And the king is me! YATTA!! I literally jumped upon having the capsule contain the Doraemon in my hands.

And since we had so many extra, BP turn to a family who is about to try and ask if they want some figurines. Their reactions are priceless. They have no idea why a group of strangers just dump them almost the entire collection of figurines. Baka Gaijin. Lol. Better to give it away then to throw them away right? Environmentalist. Like who are we kidding. \( `.∀´)/

Try the purikura machine if you can, it's an old version where's there's not much options and choices but can anyone resist a Fujiko's character background?? ¥500 per try if I'm not wrong.

Signs on the wall. Look out for them, they are bound to be magical.

Since we missed the show time, we decided to go up to the cafe area and get a bite.

Petrified Doraemon! I'm so glad the phone booth is out of order…

Only can be seen while you're climbing up the staircase so do look around but not so much that you fall and break… any parts on your body. (; ̄д ̄)

Here's Pamen and Booby! I admit it, I google their names.

Come to think of it, we got Parmen collaborating with Doraemon for our mini movie!

Do take a picture with Doremi!

Or Q-Taro!

And here's the iconic scene/place where Nobita and his friend often hangs out.

This is also where politeness comes into place. People are queuing up to take turns so please do not just bounce in and start posing. Do look around you to see if there's a queue or not before butting in.

Do take note of the forest around as there are often surprises waiting!

Dokodemo Door!! Bring me to Japan! … It works!! ヾ(@°▽°@)ノ

Ooohhhh. The statue moves!! As seen in Nobita and the Hunts of Evil~

An iconic scene from Nobita's Dinosaur.

Why hello there.

Snakes? Pipes? Bamboo? Dragons?

After that round of photo taking, we realised we are really hungry. And as the cafe has a long snaking queue and we're running out of time, we decided to pop over to the take-out area which is really a fast-food restaurant.

* A note, there's a small gift shop that specialise in selling food items that are very cute. I got doraemon shapped pasta and KK got her very own copying toast!

Entry number… 1! Inari Sushi + Korokke set.

Entry number… 2! Hamburger set.

Entry Number… 3! Sandwich set!

Close look at entry number 1. Staring Koroske.

Looks and smells really good.

Entry Number 2 Cup. Adorable isn't it?

Close up on 2. And yes, BP is eating whatever Doraemon is eating.

I got to say, the burger itself looks exactly like what's in the pictures.

Number 3. Notice how the cheese is shaped like a bamboo copter and the entire sandwich itself is the dimension pouch!

It was after breakfast that we went back down to find out we missed another show. Failures. So in order not to miss another show as we are already running late, we sat in a corner and try to wait for the next show. But it's due in another 30 minutes! So, taking extra care about the timing, we went to the gift shop located downstairs.

The gift shop is awesome. there's a lot of items available and I finally got myself another transparent doraemon umbrella to replace the one I lost only to lost it again. (;*´Д`)ノ

So after watching the mini movie, we really have to rush back to the station and started heading towards Mitaka. The reason as to why we have no allowance of time from 1 location to another is that we have another museum lined up : Ghibli Museum!! And the ticket is stated at 2pm! So we panicked a little, well I did, and try to get to Mitaka as fast as we possibly can go.

The instructions is as what you see in Noborito station, follow the signs and you'll see the bus stop soon after.

In full Ghibli style!

On our way to a magical world~

We made it on time and board the yellow friendly 'Cat Bus'. I'm pretty sure we are allowed to think that. Country to what the Fujiko shutter bus, the inside of this bus is pretty much the standard.

We arrive at this beautifully decorated place and started heading inwards to queue up. Remember kids, buy your tickets in advance or else you'll be like the uncle who is yelling to see if anyone got an extra ticket.

An escape from the wind.

For us Singaporean bodies, it's cold today.

Beautiful architecture.

The rest, as per Fujiko's Museum, no photography is allowed. I'll not state much but what I can tell you is that it is amazing. The works and exhibition they have on display amaze me to no ends. You even get to know how anime is made and how painstakingly each motion will take about 3 – 8 pages of drawing. The atmosphere is really good and it makes you feel like you're entering a magical dimension.

We got 'scolded' (as hard as the Japanese try, you guys can really try harder on the scolding part) as we went down a beautiful tiny spiral staircase only to be told when we're done that it's for kids. Ah. That explains the size.

Photography allowed area. Up the spirally staircase. Again. This time allowed.

In we go.


View from the staircase.

I'm the king of Ghibli Museum!! (((\(@v@)/)))

Right on top, you'll see Castle in the Sky robot, standing there, always guarding.

He's looking.

It's huge… and beautiful.

Same thing applies, queue to get a shot. After that, we look around and went back down to the little area.

There's a totoro sitting in front of the window and this is what's below. Snoot imps!

Yeah… It's pretty hard to resist poking at them.

They made up the entire area to be a scene that could come straight out of a Ghibli's movie.

Yea.. I'm so cold that I'm thinking about starting a fire.. Oohh! Firewood!

And after this, we went to where the cafe is, got turn off by the queue again.

This is right outside, very near to the cafe. It's for you to wash your hands as you admire Jiji.

After which our day is finished!! So we head back out to catch the shutter bus.

Us 3, waiting in the freezing wind.

Our tickets. It's cool how they include film strips in them.

Oh yes, we did catch the mini movie as well, before we exit so do not forget to catch them! The gift shop, to be honest, was not as good as the Fujiko's museum (my opinion) so I only brought a badge of the iconic Cat Bus as well as a packet of film strips bookmarks of Arrietty and Spirited Away.

And so the bus drop us off back at the Mitaka's station and we went into the attaching mall to find dinner.

Here's what we found :

Yes, people here love to pair carbo with carbo. But my goodness is it good. Pair it up with a glass of beer to complete.

That's all for now! Till day 3!!


Trip to Japan : Day 1

So after my review on the the ANA Planes, it's time to get started on what follows after.

Trip to Japan : The beginning

It begins on a Monday, in my house. I have to say, I was very successful in curbing my excitement. I woke up, cleaned up and immediately dive into the internet, slurping up my breakfast as I do so.

After the initial 3 hours of watching mindless Japan variety shows, my friends started to get excited through Line.

" STOP IT. If I get excited now, I will most likely unable to last till midnight!! "

That earned some laughter. But it got me to climbed up from my chair and started to check if I did get everything I need into my luggage. After which I checked my mail which says ANA had auto-checked me in. So all I need to do now is to endure the few hours till midnight.

It gets easier as time goes by. I showered. Rechecked my luggage. Eat. Watch TV. Eat. Rechecked my luggage. Yes, it's like groundhog day within a few hours.

But then KK arrived at my doorstep with her luggage. I ninja jumped. IT'S FINALLY HERE. THE TIME HAS COME. (Which doesn't sound good if you happen to be in a horror / thriller film.)

We groundhog day again to checked our luggage together before settling in to watch 2 variety shows before my dad arrives at the doorstep to whisked us off to the airport. Can't help but sing and be sarcastic on the way over because I am bouncing with excitement. Met up with BP in the airport. Everything then flew by. We quickly got into the line to check our luggage in and received our air tickets in about less then 15 minutes (thanks to the auto-check in ANA did). We then got our white cards to fill in on the plane and we are set!

We slide through the customs in a breeze with the machines and our thumbprints, waved last goodbye to my parents and started to walk around. I have to say, Changi Airport is really the best. It's 11pm and everything is open (trust me, not every airport have opening hours as long as Changi Airport).

Since most of us had our dinner early, we decided to something to eat (yes, again). And then started to arranged our stuff and took out all documents needed. Stuff like passport and air tickets.

BP & KK, no I'm not in this. Who else do you think is taking the picture?
Most of us have color coded items by coincidence so it's easy to know who's whose. Then the announcement started and we started moving. The funny thing is, even though we are in Singapore, the announcement is entirely in Japanese. Good thing we understand Japanese but what about the others who don't? Huge gap of logic there to fix it up people.

The rest is mostly in this post.

After we arrived in the Narita (NARITA!!), we just followed the crowd through a long hallway with random turns here and there and boom, reached the customs with a snake-like queue. Well, let's jump in! We easily spend 1 – 2 hours in that queue and luckily for us, we have everything ready with the white card filled in.

Here's how the customs in Japan goes :
-There's a person at the end of the queue to check if you have all of your items so get them all ready.
(Passport, White Card (Disembarkation/Embarkation Card), Visa if needed, your hand-held luggage)
-There's a few counters in which the person will tell you which is that you are to go to.
– Then you join this tiny queue of about 3 and once it's your turn, hand your passport, filled white card over to the person inside the counter.
– He / She will then ask you to look (abit to the left where the TV screen is) at the camera on top where it proceeds to take your mug shot.
– He will then staple and stamp somethings in your passport and you're ready to go!

I got through first, then KK and lastly BP. We then proceed to get our luggage and proceed to exit. At the exit, there will be another queue where police/customs officers will be checking your white card, passport and in some cases, your luggage as well (especially for people who came alone to Japan carrying a huge luggage in which they will unpack everything).

I went into a little trouble as I forgot to write down the name of my hotel but once I told him where, he jolt it down and let me go, despite the huge luggage. I figured he knows that I'm in a pack of 3 with my friends instead of traveling alone. Or that I seemed completely harmless. So out we go and all the way down to B2 to get our Suica + NEX' combo card.

BP has a Suica so she is only getting the NEX tickets which proved to be a wrong choice. You see, the combo cost ¥3500 in which the NEX ticket itself cost ¥3500. (This combo will be discontinued from April 1st which we are very lucky since we arrive at 25th March.) So if you get the combo, there's another ¥1500 worth of value inside the Suica which makes it more worthwhile.

Here's the suica card + all of our NEX tickets. The story : This picture is taken outside a toilet. Charming.
So since we have some time before the train departs, we went to Lawson to try to get the 7-fast pass as well as the One Piece show tickets (all within USJ). Here's when we reached into another wall of.. Japanese.

I asked the station staff if they know where Lawson is in English and she didn't understand. So I simply used the word "Lawson?". No can do. I tried about 3 times before my friend took over. " Lawson はどこですか? " "AH! Lawson! "

What the heck? Ain't it Lawson as well? Where exactly is the difference? There's no difference whatsoever in the pronunciation!

Moving on from the hiccup, we went to Lawson (convenience store, kinda like 7-11) and got some drinks, some onigiri before attacking the ticket-buying machine. It was a tough battle and we had to call for help from the staff to find out that we are better at it then her. Turns out the problem is that we are looking for something that is already sold out. So we got the 4 fast pass for USJ and leave it at that.

After the 6 hours+ flight, we are feeling a little peckish so we went into the foodcourt (which turns out to be opposite of Lawson) and got some Soba. BP took a non-alcoholic beer cause of our pressuring. " Beer? Now? First thing in the morning? " "Fine, I'll get the non-alcoholic one then. ". There's not much difference in taste from the real deal though.

Then we took a walk outside.

Our plane! I think….

Yes, we are lugging our luggage everywhere. KK's the blue one, mine's the triangle patterned one.

Look at the hair, it's really windy out there. And it's cold cold wind. Hence the jacket struggling.

NEX – Time to board!

We went back down to basement 2.

The subway.

Here's the train info.

Matching to make sure we won't end up in who-know-where. And look! Assigned seats! No jostling needed.

And it pulls nicely into the station.

Noticed the 'do not enter' yellow tape at the entry? Because the cleaning crew's inside, making it nice and comfy for you.

Here's another thing, I have no idea why but I always get all the tourists while I'm waiting for the trains regardless of my huge luggage. Always. They would come up and ask in Japanese if the trains is going OOO and I would answer that it is. In which they would then turn back to their group and repeat my answer in languages I would perfectly understand. Not poking that balloon though. It's nice to see people take the time to learn Japanese instead of expecting people to understand them. And why spoil their experience, right?

Once the cleaning crew is done with the train, they would step out and line in front. And when everybody is ready, they would then bow before leaving. That's when you can enter and take your seats. In terms of non-assigned seats, it's best to line up in front to get the seats you want, otherwise, you won't even be left with any or random seats here and there.

These kind of airport trains, they always have a space (the white part before the windows till the door) for you to place your luggage. There's not much space however, so if you missed out, you would have to squeeze in your seats with your luggage. But the seats are wide enough I believe.

Here's how it looks like inside. The seats are also turnable so you can turn them around to face each other.

Like this! BP took this picture as we turn and face her. Me and KK.

It was took when the train is already moving for a while. All of us were so tired due to the plane's sucky seats as you can see from KK's face. Though I am reading my mag for now, we all took a nice nap on the train. You cannot believe how comfy the seats were! It really recharged us for the rest of the day.

There's a board with all the information.

Close up, if anyone's interested. We're delayed though.

And it does comes in different languages.

Drinks from Lawson with my ticket. Notice the hole? A conductor will stop by to ask for it so don't misplace it.
The conductor will bow before leaving the compartment and also after entering as well.
This reminds me, please hold on to your tickets as it's costly to have to buy another one if you lost yours. The thing to note is that, after inserting your ticket into the machine to enter the subway, it will most likely spit it out on the other side so do remember to get it back as the conductor will come during the train ride to punch a hole in it and you would need it to get out as well. (Conductor only on Shinkansen Trains, not normal subway.)

The view outside. All Japanese…
All of us slept most of the way so there's not much to talk about. We got off at Shinjuku Station, which is huge by the way and started to try to figure out how to head to our hotel.

Figuring our way… Right outside the Shinjuku station.
The hotel we are staying at is Hotel Washington Shinjuku. I would recommend to get another hotel if possible. Because the station and the hotel is really far and the underpass is a little complex to figure out. Plus the route that goes to our hotel close at… 9 ~ 10pm I think. But they gave us a non-smoking room even if we forgot to indicate it when we booked it online. Most likely cause I was making a fuss… Sorry.

We finally got here with a lot of help from BP's friend who's waiting for her there as they are meeting up for dinner sans the rest of us. We checked in and then proceed to see what our room looks like.

Entry Way…

KK and I pushed our beds together because we are scaredy cats. And sorry for the blurriness.. I think I only took 1 shot..

The funny thing is, once we step into the room, even BP's friend exclaimed at how small it is even to him being a Japanese. It's really not bigger on the inside. The space/floor you see in the picture from the bed to the edge of the photo is exactly the space we have, I just didn't take the wall in together.

There's a tiny space for you to place your luggage (In front of the last bed in the last picture).

Toilet… Even smaller..

Found a better quality picture! KK, sitting on my bed.

BP left with her friend for dinner so we, KK and me, took the time to slowly empty our luggage and rest before heading to explore Shinjuku. We didn't do much anyway but we did tick off Yoshinoya from our list of ' Fast Food to try in japan '. It's totally different from what we have here. It's all counter seats and a cup of tea is served right after you seat down. After ordering, the food will arrive in just a short while and the taste is so much better. You also pay after you finished your meal. Sometimes, you have to call the waiter over to inform them that you're leaving. So much trust.

After that, we took a walk around and it finally hit us that we are in JAPAN!!

Food In Japan :

Sorry for the empty cup but I took it after I drunk it all. It's Strawberry juice and it's delicious! A tad expensive for it's size though.

KK ordered flower tea (that's not a lychee inside!) but it taste fruity and slightly sour, very nice.

Shopping malls :

A typical mall… only covered in Japanese.

If you set a budget daily for your trip in Japan, do spend it. This is our 1st day and due to us not really daring to spend the day's budget, we missed out a lot of things that we wanted but can never find again.

That's it for part 1!

My bold attempt in coloring

Finally went and done it.

Ash grey hair.

Now my hair matches my name.

You see, this is the only time for this to happen. Previously, I'm worried about the color not being accepted in the work place. But hey, my bosses are cool people who wanted the same color so I'm kinda like their first-grade science experiment to see if it flops over and explodes.

Besides, any later and I'm too old for this.

My hairstylist said that the color is going to get lighter and lighter. Yikes.

And since apparently the expiry date is due in about 3 weeks, I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.