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2015 Trip to Japan : Day 3

Hi, it’s been a long time and much had happened, like how I quit 2 jobs and started making up.

Enough about my life, it’s time for day 3 of our short 2015 Japan trip! Day 3 is going to be a very short post as all we went to was Yokohama to eat, shop, yakiniku… okay, mostly eat. It also marks the 1st day we used our Kanto 3 days Railway passes so all trains rides are included.

We specially went to Shibuya station to get all the express trains tickets (To Fuji-san and also the N’ÉX express to the airport) in advance. Booking the tickets were a breeze, all you need is to tell them where, when and if it’s 2-way. Be sure to show them your pass before you make any bookings so that they’ll know you’re using the pass.

After a light breakfast of sandwiches and tea, which my dad was craving for (especially Lipton), we hopped onto the train bound for Yokohama and off we go!

Once we reached, all we had to do was to follow the signs to know which exit to exit.

Chinatown!

Chuukagai.

The other side of the gate.

Photo op!

We took a lot of pictures while I had nagging suspicions in my head as this gate doesn’t seems like all the pictures I saw of Yokohama’s Chinatown. Turns out I was half right. This is only the head of the path to Chinatown.

So don’t worry, you are at the correct place, you just need to walk down and follow the path.

Cross the road to get to the 2nd gate!

It’s a blue gate this time!

You’re getting closer.

Once inside, you’ll see this…

Directions.

Just keep walking down…

Now this looks more like it!

Chinatown!

While we were on our way, we spotted a lot of resturants lining all the way up selling lunch sets that were getting cheaper and cheaper by the minute. But we did try to tahan all the way till we reach the last gate and simply run into the nearest restaurant that had lunch sets.

Our breakfast.

Yes, the sets pair wanton noodles with fried rice. I, on the other hand, got myself a chili ebi lunch set.

After that filling breakfast, we started walking around. Sasuga Chinatown. Almost everyone working there is a chinese.

I got my Nanko Sensei Wallet for ¥400 here!

Panda!

After all that shopping around, we went into a cafe and got drinks. After resting for a little while, we proceed to Minato Mirei, which is just a station away.

I wanted to go to a mall which had great reviews but was a little distance away so we started making our way there.

The famous Yokohama Skyline!

The ship was an attraction but we forgo that.

Ferris wheel with a clock. All the better to see time with my dear.

I’m actually quite glad to make our way to the mall as we pass by all the famous landmarks in Yokohama.

They have swan boats, we have dino boats!

Close up of the ship.

Hard Rock Cafe.

Fancy deco.

Anyway, the mall was a dupe. There was nothing to shop except for the Disney store. I got myself a nice Chip & Dale bag and awesome hairclips of Monster Inc. Mike, Alice in Wonderland Cheshire cat and also Winnie the pooh (they comes in a set).

Pardon the picture, took it with a phone cam.

We then got ourselves some light lunch from KFC before heading back to the station as we feel that the mall there would contains a lot more.

We were right! The mall right next to the station proved to be a joy to shop! All 3 of us got things we wanted! My dad kept on pestering me to go back to shop for the next 2 days and I truly wanted to but time did not allowed that. I’ll heading back there the next time I visit Japan!

I had reservations beforehand for a Yakiniku all-you-can-eat restaurant so we started making our way there. My mum would be meeting her colleauge there and we’ll get dinner together.

Yakiniku!

Close up! Love the sausages.

I did all the ordering and we had a great dinner although we stink on the way back.

And that Day 3!

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2015 Trip to Japan : Day 2

Hi! After a few weeks of not posting, I’m here with a new post! I’m trying to get this done within a year, unlike the previous one.

Today is going to be a busy day as we are set out for Harajuku (Omotesando) > Tsukiji > Harajuku (Omotesando) > Asakusa > Tokyo Sky Tree.

As my mum’s company is at Harajuku (Omotesando), we had to bring her over. I actually planned to let my dad sleep in while I bring my mum there but after deciding to get breakfast at Tsukiji, he came along as well.

Well…due to exiting the wrong exit, we got lost and took a while to find our way to the building. We then left mum to her business and started heading to Tsukiji for breakfast.

Day 2 : Tsukiji (13th May)

I decided on strolling through the outer market so that was where we headed. We got lost, again, because we went in the opposite direction.

Tip : After exiting the station, walk to your right instead of your left. You should be walking away from the 朝日新聞 (Asahi Shinbun) building instead of towards.

After crossing through a building, we were finally there!

Tsukiji Outer Market
People people everywhere.

Scallop
Grilled Scallop / Hotate.

Looks too good so we got pulled into the queue. They take orders batch by batch which confused a lot of people so me and my dad were acting as a guide for quite a while, explaining the system.

Grilling

Grilling

Drool
Drool!

I got to admit, I think the guy doing the grilling is cute.

Dad and Scallop
Dad with one of my scallop.

All
My dad ordered a raw oyster as well.

Close Up
Here’s a close up.

It tasted quite good actually. So after that, we walked around some more and snacked on some fried tofu like stuff. Those were so-so.

Daifuku

So we came across a stall selling daifuku and I had to get one cause I can’t resist me a good strawberry. The owner specially got a freshly made one for me so the strawberry stayed chilled.

Me with my huge Daifuku

Gobbled up soon after.

That was great! Next was fried sotong for my dad and when I went away to get a cone of maccha ice cream, he sneaked off to get a few more raw oyster. He was really doing quite well for someone who can’t speak Japanese.

Oysters that entice him.

More oysters shots.

He was so chummy with the seller that they were sharing smiles and laughter by the time I got there. The price for this stall was a lot cheaper (added plus : the oysters were huge!) then the previous scallop shop we went to so he was feeling a little cheated.

Ally
Many restaurants inside.

Sunny
Rather sunny that day.

Tamagoyaki
Queuing.

We spotted a long queue and wondered what it was. Turns out to be Takagoyaki on a stick from what it looks like a famous store. Being singaporeans, we joined in.

Holding my ice cream
That’s my ice cream.

There’s a lot of pictures taken with my dad’s phone so I’ll have to extract those. In the meantime, please use your imagination.

Got it.

Grilling the tamagoyaki.

Rolling in the egg~

Adding on the oroshi daikon…

Getting a seat at the side of the stall…

Time to eat!

Anyway, the tamagoyaki tasted a little too sweet for me, should have gotten the salty version. After that, we were really full from all the snacking so we headed back to Harajuku to meet with mum.

Takeshita Dori
Takeshita Dori.

A very very wonderful place to shop. I got socks while Dad got some stationary at Daiso. Like I said, I didn’t shop much because it’s simply weird to be shopping while being with your dad.

Kiddy Land
Kiddy Land.

Since we still had time, I went to Kiddy Land.

One of Tokyo’s most famous and popular toy stores, Kiddy Land has a fantastic selection of toys and other products to amuse kids, including a Snoopy Town and Hello Kitty Shop on a total of five floors. The Omotesando store was reopened in July 2012 after being reconstructed and redesigned.

Taken from Japan Guide.

I found a picture guide on how to get there : Here

So yeah, heard stories about it. Star Wars goods graced the entrance while I browsed around, getting a Nanoblock Kamen Rider Fourze and a soft, cuddly, very cute platypus plush toy.

Omotesando Metro
Omotesando Metro

Although we walked there, there’s a metro station as well. After meeting up with mum, we then headed over to Asakusa.

Day 2 : Asakusa (13th May)

It’s Kaminarimon (雷門) time! But first of all…

Must take picture
You see it? The thing I’m obsessed with?

The golden sperm!
The golden sperm!

I had to take this whenever I come across it cause it’s so hilarious. Okay, it’s ‘Asahi Flame’ designed by Philippe Starck the year I was born and had nothing to do with fertility.

Kaminarimon
Here’s the thing you have been waiting for.

Hold it!
Dad just had to hold it.

Back of Kaminarimon
The back.

The street
Nakamise Shopping Street.

It leads to the main grounds of Sensoji Temple and sells all sorts of stuff.

Entrance
Entrance.

Nearing the temple
Nearing the temple would be another lantern.

Inner lantern
This one.

Wording
Notice the words are different.

Bottom of the lantern
The bottom of the lantern is revealed.

Temple
The Sensoji Temple.

Skytree
You can see the Skytree from here.

A bit of a tiny one.
A bit of a tiny one.

After that little bit of sight seeing, we were going to conquer the SkyTree!

Asakusa Station
Asakusa Station.

Told you.
Told you.

Moomin Cafe
The famous Moomin Cafe, located just outside the Skytree station.

The Solarmachi, connecting mall, had a very confusing layout. And we got lost in it. I knew there were many restaurants inside but I simply can’t find it so we settled for Mac instead. I went off first, thinking of buying the tickets to go up to the observatory hall in advance but wow, the queue! I then noticed that after getting the tickets, you’ll be ushered up to the observatory hall so I abandoned that idea and simply wait for my parents to finished their meal before getting the tickets together.

Luckily, the queue shrink a lot when we got there. We only waited about 15mins before we got our tickets.

Tickets
Tickets

Elevator to Observatory Hall
Elevator to Observatory Hall

Up there!
Warning, ears are going to pop on the way up.

View
The view.

We were a lot higher up then when I was at the Tokyo Tower. Everything looked so tiny! The best suitation to use my ‘Toy’ camera mode!

view

3rd Birthday
SkyTree 3rd birthday!

Interaction Screen
Interaction monitor.

Rare
Rare non-filter view.

Toy mode
Toy mode.

Rare
Another rare non-filter view.

foggy
It’s a foggy day…

Close up
Close up.

Through the looking glass
Through the looking glass.

Look down!
Look down!

Mascot
SkyTree Mascot.

It was dark when we left. We then managed to get the restaurants I had been looking for and got a great hotpot / nabe dinner before heading back.

Skytree night view
Can you see the light-up SkyTree?

And that’s it for Day 2!

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.