2015 Trip to Japan : Day 1

My short trip to Japan this May 2015 was all thanks to my mum getting an award that she’ll have to received in Japan. So she pulled my dad and me along. There had been issues about whether my brother is going or not but in the end, nope.

So I started finding out all the different rates different airlines had for going to Japan and ANA turns out to be the cheapest. ARGH. ANA. It costed me 2 tries before someone answered and I checked if the plane had reclining seats. She said yes. I fist-plumped. This time, ANA will be different!

So I’m all done with plane tickets. Now for hotels. Hmm. I don’t know about you but I find searching for a hotel room big enough to hold 3 persons at 2 months prior is a very difficult task. And the rates are through the roof.

So I tried Airbnb. No harm right? Easily, I got an apartment at Yoyogi that’s only about 3 mins walking distance from the station at about $687 for 5D4N. Now, about that, I always mentally times 2 the walking timing as that’s usually how long I take. The house looked good and very clean in the pictures so I had a good feeling.

After all that’s done, I need to start planning my itinerary. And it’s getting increasingly difficult as my parents kept on adding stuff in. First they said they wanna go to Mount Fuji. Okay… I can arrange that. That’ll take a day… Yokohama will take a day… My mum’s business will take half a day…

Then all of a sudden they said they wanted to try a crab meal. Okay.. Not that bad, I can still arranged that. Then they said Yakiniku. Fine. Then they said they want to try strawberry picking. WHAT? I scrambled to arrange and rearrange and again and again as stuff kept on being added in.

And all that had to change again after we’ve decided to meet up with Auntie Von’s family for dinner on the first day.

It’s through a tough battle that I finally am able to confirmed everything. Phew.

Day 1 : Singapore to Narita (12th May)

We checked in at 3am with our brother driving us to the airport and roam around a bit before we boarded the plane.

Scenary
I rarely take any pictures during flight but here you go.

About the reclining seats? That’s a lie. It’s still reclining forward instead of backwards. That’s it. I’m swearing off this airline.

We had a very shaky and bumpy landing which I guess was due to strong winds. My mum’s colleague flight was unable to land in Narita due to weather and can only land in Hokkaido, forcing her to take a train back to Tokyo in order for her to be in time for the meeting. We were very blessed in that we were able land safely.

Customs was a torture as always, with their snaking queue. I got questioned about the address about where we were staying by the officer and I had to explained with my bumbling Japanese about Airbnb.

The ending : Something like a rental house.
Now you know. If you wrote a real address on your immigration slip, just answer ” Rental house” if asked in Japan.

After that, I rushed over to the JR Tickets office as I had seen snaking queues on my previous trip and I would very much like to avoid that. Amazingly, there was hardly a crowd.

Tip : Please head over there if you want to get your JR Railway pass (but first buy them online or in your own country and exchanged them here) or your 3-Day Kanto Pass (buy-on-the-spot is available) which we were getting.

Approached by a staff, I said we wanted to get the Kanto Pass and she asked for our passport. Showed all 3 of them and she wrote something on a slip before giving it to us and guide us to the queue.

Info : If you are exchanging your JR Railway pass, you’re required to fill in a form before queuing up.

As there was only 1 person in the queue, we soon got our turn.

Kanto Pass
Our Kanto Passes.

Please do not remove the tickets pasted as that will rendered it useless. We set the activation date on the 14th May and proceed to the Keisei Skyliner counter to get tickets to Nippori.

Tip : Sorry about the missing pictures but here’s how the counter looks like : Here.
There are 2 ways of getting to the city from Narita : N’EX (Narita’s Express) and Keisei Skyliner. The train you want to use depends on where you want to go and also the price. So do some research or use Hyperdia.

I had used N’EX the previous time so I’m quite excited to be on the Skyliner.

Tip : There will be 2 kinds of train stopping so do not mixed the trains up. One of them is the normal train which take a longer time.

Keisei skyliner
Keisei Skyliner – Took it from the web.

If you’ve realised, I’m quite poor at taking pictures. As in I hardly take relevant pictures.

Inner
Inside.

Mum with tickets
Mum with tickets.

It was a short 1hr+ ride before we reached Nippori. We shopped a bit looking for food, Onigiris and Warabi-mochi, as we were hungry before transferring to Yamanote Line to get to Yoyogi.

Ken, the one who rented the apartment to us, will be meeting us at Yoyogi’s station before bringing us to the apartment. We reached about 4.30pm and I safely identified Ken… Okay, it’s more like he found us but we were the only ones with luggage so it’s really not all that hard.

It’s a plus that he can walk us to the apartment as Auntie Von, who also used Airbnb, had to figure her way over to the apartment she rented. We researched the way via Google maps Street View when she was over at my house which helps a lot according to her.

The walk to the apartment yield a couple of surprises.
1. There are a lot of restaurants that lined the way and a couple of them are Yakiniku resturant! I am kinda regretting my reservation I did days prior.
2. It was really a 3mins walk.

They had 2 elevators, one of which goes up to 7th floor and another starts from the 8th floor onwards. Our apartment is on the 8th floor. I only noticed it on our 2nd day when we entered the wrong lift.

And when he opened the door and showed us the room, we were really happy to find that it was exactly how the pictures were, clean and spacious. He then guides us through all the dos and dont’s and all that before leaving. This apartment is ours for the next 4 days!

Genkan
The Genkan.

Entryway
What you’ll see standing from the Genkan.

Toliet
The door on the left hand side of the previous picture is this.

Bathroom
A very spacious bathroom, don’t you think?

Inner part of the bathroom
Inner part of the bathroom.

Nope, none of us used the bathtub. But this is the place where we dried our clothes. There’s a control panel which you can set to dryer mode for 4 ~ 6 hrs, depending on the amount of clothes. We often washes our clothes at night and let it dry overnight, resulting in a very little amount of clothes that need washing when we returned to Singapore.

Living room
Living room, entered through the right from the Genkan.

Sofa bed
It’s a sofa bed where I slept. Argh. Not a very comfortable bed if I must say..

Kitchen
The tiny kitchen that faced the sofa.

Room
A room next to the sofa where my parents slept.

Pocket wi-fi was provided but uncharged so we plug it in before heading out. We were going to meet Auntie Von at Shinjuku where she was staying for dinner. They picked すしざんまい, a Sushi restaurant and send us a link that had picture directions so it was rather easy find. It was only after that I found out that this is a chain and thus was everywhere. Really. I saw one of these at every single place I went.

In the directions, there was a line ” In front of Godzilla ” which puzzled me. Godzilla? Turns out, there was really one.

Can you spot it?
Spot it?

No?

How about now?
How about now?

Mum’s colleague was staying at this hotel.

We spotted the shop and Matthew came out to get us. We then had our dinner together. After dinner, we wanted to walk around but it started drizzling. It was also then I went to Taito Arcade and wanted to UFO a Sogeking figurine. Spend ¥3000 and got nothing. The staff working here was the worst I had even seen and they allowed nothing. They can’t moved the position for you nor allowed you to take one of the boxes away when it was all the norm at all the other arcade I had been to.

It also marked the only time I stepped into an Arcade this entire trip.

We then parted ways with Auntie Von and went our way as it started raining heavily. After a quick look around, we went back to get much need rest.

And that’s Day 1!

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2015 Trip to Japan : Feels

A very uneventful trip. I hardly did anything due to the lack of time. I also learned and faced a lot of things on this trip. This is a rant.

A few things I learned traveling Japan with my parents :

1. They don’t like Japan.
2. They hate ANA. (All Nippon airways)
3. They really prefer chinese food.

It had been hard. You see, I love Japan. So much that I really like to live there sometime. And it’s really hard hearing the people you love kept on criticising the country / culture you love. I can’t help my feel irritated and angry. Why can’t they understand? Why do they keep on saying all these things?? So yea, I was in a sour mood most of the time and I really tried to keep them underwraps but unfortunately, it shows.

I know things about Japan. I learn about their culture. They don’t speak on trains / MRT especially in the morning, unlike Singapore. So I shared this with my parents. They can talk, but try to do it softly because there had been cases where foreigners were told by by elderly Japanese for talking out loud in trains. They complained that I am cramping their styles. They said I care too much about them. That they came here to have fun and not to do all these. That they also talked on train.

Take note that most of the talking occurs at night when we are talking the train back around 9 ~ 10pm plus. It’s also when most of them are heading home after some drinking.

My mood soured. I can’t help it! And then my dad had to sit on my beautiful and only 1 huge size purple luggage and cracked it.

I used Airbnb and got us an apartment that cost $600+ for 4 nights that houses all 3 of us. We couldn’t take all the hair on the floor (our fault) and clean up every night. It was a small apartment so cleaning took less then 15mins. On the last day, they complained about why they need to clean when they don’t have to do that in a hotel.

We clean because we are the ones who can’t take all the loose hair laying around. Or the sticky floor. Besides, I am the one cleaning the entire 4 nights. First vacuum, then magic mop. All of which are in the apartment. I really don’t understand why they are complaining about it when I am the one cleaning. We really had a very comfortable time staying in that apartment. When I received a comment from Ken, the one renting the apartment to us, that thanked us for using his apartment beautifully, I feel so proud! It was when I read this comment that I know all that I’ve done was correct.

Then they complain about the food being expensive. This I can’t help. All the cheap food like ¥300 soba, they don’t eat. They don’t eat any Japan noodles at all. Most of the cheap Japan food they can’t eat. I can’t help it if it’s expensive. It really sucks when you brought them to Yokohama Chinatown and had a chinese meal and they said it’s the best meal they had since they arrived. They really cannot survive outside Singapore.

About how ANA is being a stick in the mud. I told them beforehand, before we fly and also when we are packing up on the last day. ANA allows 2 pieces of luggages each, each must weight max 23kg. When we are packing up on the last day and seeing my parents stuff a load of stuff into their huge luggage, I told them that ANA only allows 23kg per pc.

” It’s fine! Most planes allow us to merge! SIA also allow! ”
” It’s not SIA. Later they don’t allow, you have to repack everything in the airport. ”
” It’s okay one! No problem. ”

And they slammed the luggage shut. I let them be. It’s the 4th day, I learned the lesson of leaving them be. They had another hand-held luggage but I guessed they filled it up with food and don’t want it to be crushed.
And at check-in, their luggage overweigh by 6kg being at 29kg. They were told to either remove the weight or pay ¥3000. Oh, they complained very very loudly. We have to go to a side to repack.

” WAH LOU. Everyone allow us to merge, they super 死板 (stick-in-the-mud). WORST PLANE EVER. I AM NOT SITING THIS AGAIN. ”

They kept this on the entire time as they repack.

” I told you right? 23kg per luggage. ”
” No la! Is that they too 死板 (stick-in-the-mud) liao la! Everyone allow one! ”

Everyone is who? Most planes allows but it does not means that this plane allows it. There’s no logic to this argument. And then they repacked.

” Should be okay. Don’t tell me 1kg also cannot! ”

They were still overweight by 1 kg.

” WAH LOU. 1KG ALSO CANNOT. ”

They told you 23kg. Why, oh why do you keep on wanting to bend the rules?! I don’t understand!

Finally when everything is done and we finally checked in, they kept on complaining how stick-in-the-mud this airplane was. I was angered from all the negativity and also said some negative things.

MUM : ” I’ll never ride this plane again! I will never come to Japan again! ”
Me : ” Okay. I’ll still go. Next time your boss tells you to come to Japan you tell him you don’t want to come cause you hate Japan lor. ”
(I know, I am in the wrong. But it hurts cause I love Japan and you got to admit all these comments were uncalled for cause they were in the wrong it the first place. Only now after calming down then did I realised that they might be saying that in the heat of the moment as well.)
MUM : ” I will never travel with you again. ”
Me : ” Then DON’T. Me either. ”
DAD : ” HUH NA!! ” (In a super loud voice – you know he’s pissed, he already was from the luggage thing.)

That scared me a little cause a pissed dad is scary. So I try to be nice to them on the surface but I’m really boiling inside. Why do I get scolded? WHY? THIS SUCKS. WORST TRIP EVER. I then made up my mind about not ever traveling with them again to Japan. But the attraction is too much so I then changed my mind to where I stand now. I’ll travel, but I will leave them be. I’ll emotionally detach myself the next time.

Angry. I am angry. I am angry whenever I heard their complains.

I don’t want the people in Japan to look at my parents with the same disgust like we do when we look at all the (mostly china) tourists when they starts to speak loudly or behave rudely. (I know that’s how they do it in china but please, Singapore is not it.)

It’s the same thing! They don’t take the time to learn our culture, what we do and not do, and simply does things they way they always do in China. And now my parents are saying they want to do the same thing in Japan!

Maybe I am cramping their style too much, I’m sorry. But I did it cause I don’t want us to be looked down upon! Do as the romans does in Rome. Maybe my parents are too old for this. Maybe I shouldn’t bother them with all these.

Although we are really not thinking about traveling with each other for some time soon, especially to Japan, I learned some things. I am going to let them be. I’ll pay attention to myself, do my part the way I want and just let them do what they want. This way, everyone is happy. If they get scolded, they’ll learn. But not from me. Not anymore. I need to find a balance for everyone to be happy on a trip. I’m not doing anything extra anymore.

Sorry for this rant, I need this. The real Day 01 post will come soon but without all these feels.

Trip to Japan : Day 14 & 15 END

Well well, finally it has come to an end after writing this for a year and procrastinating it time after time. But! All these travelogues are not done yet as I’m just back from a 5D4N trip to Japan. AGAIN. YAY.

Day 14 Agenda : Kobe

It’s Kobe time! The main reason for visiting was that we wanted to eat Kobe beef in Kobe.

We took the train over and arrived at Kobe. Due to no planning, we had no idea where to go so we simply walk in one direction until we spotted a mall and that’s where we stayed till we went back.

Anpanmen
There’s a museum in Kobe but sad to say we did not visit it.

Mall
This is the mall.

First thing first, breakkie. We walked into a Sukiyaki restaurant and ordered a set each that contains our main reason : Kobe Beef.

Sukiyaki
Our breakfast.

You are to dip the meat into the egg, treating it as a sauce. Don’t worry, the egg is safe to consume raw.

Us and breakkie
Us with breakfast.
What do you mean it’s too heavy? Nonsense.

To torment you
LOOK AT IT.

Sides
The sides are meh. Looks pretty though.

And so after that, we took a walk around the mall, yes shopping again.

View
View.

View

We also found a bubble tea shop here! Of course we had to get a cuppa milk tea with pearls.

MAH. It taste horrible to me. It seems like they do not have pure milk tea, instead it tasted like carmel milk tea. With pearls. How sweet do they want that thing to be?? Needless to say, I refused to drink another mouthful.

After walking around a bit more, we decided to head back to catch a special variety show (TORE) instead and also to get our supper in an Izakaya, one on our must-eat list. And that’s how our day ended.

Day 15 Agenda : BACK HOME

NOooooooooo. It’s too fast! It had been way too fast! The days just flies like nobody’s business! =-=

All packed.
Luggage all packed.

So we woke up around 9.30am, do some last minute of packing before receiving a call from the front desk saying that we’re due to check out today.

BP : Yes, we’re packing up. Check out is 12pm right?
BP : ….
BP : EH?! It’s 11am??
BP : I’m so sorry! We’re coming right down now!

Yes, that last bit of news send us all into a frenzy as we started to cramped everything into our luggage and also do last minute check up to make sure we did not miss anything. After that, we rush down to check out.

Then KK realised she left her scarf in the room and had to dash upstairs to grab it while we store our luggage in the lobby to pick it up later for our flight at 7.55pm.

After all that, we were starving so we head back to where we know contains the most food, Dontonbori.

Last Breakfast - Tonkatsu
Last breakfast – Tonkatsu.

Our last item on our must-eat list.

Tonkatsu
Mine!

Rice
Our rice is served in a bucket.

Finished
Finished every last bit.

Then we proceeded back to Shinsaibashi to walk around. Our luggage is full to the max so we know we can’t shop any more so we simply did some window-shopping and arcade playing. I caught both Law and Sanji from One piece to add to my collection.

Around 5pm, we went back to our hotel, grab our huge ass luggages and started making our way to Kansai Airport. We had a connecting flight over to Haneda Airport where we have to move to Narita Airport and from there back to Singapore.

Checked in and yep, our luggages were overweight. We paid the extra fees as we had no way of taking the extra 1kg on us as our hand-held luggages were already at the 10kg limit. After that, we made our way over to the restaurants and selected pasta for our dinner.

We had about 40mins left to our boarding time so we thought it would be enough. None of us are slow eaters. What we did not expect was that the service was slow. We had only left about 20mins before the salad arrived. We finished that in 2mins and not soon after, our pasta arrived. Mine arrived first so I had a head start.

All of us just slurped up our pasta, (we did taste it properly, it was delicious) in about 5mins we were done.

The funny thing was, there were 2 girls sitting opposite us and after I was done, one lean over to another and started whispering excitedly. It was hilarious. Yes, 5mins was really an awesome feat.

We then paid and rush over to our boarding gate. It’s was about 1hr 20mins flight over to Narita where we had another 1hr 30mins stopover before continuing to Singapore.

At Narita Airport, we made our way over to the connecting flight. On the way over, there were millions of omiyage shops selling all kinds of food so we each got something. Okay, maybe a lot more. Royce was so cheap.

As the pasta portions were small, we started feeling peckish so we headed towards anywhere that was still open.

Pizza!
We got pizza to share!

I still had money left to burn so while waiting for our Pizza, I went to 7-11 to grab ¥6000 iTunes card. I hold a Singapore account, America account and a Japan account. Now I can get games and magazine from Japan iTunes!

So yeah, after that we boarded the plane, got tortured by the fixed-back seating and arrived in Singapore where we took a Taxi home. Helps that we all live within 15mins distance between each other.

And that’s that! Look forward to the new set of my Japan travelogue soon!