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!