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The Forgotten Temple Review

Have you ever played any escape games before?

If not, you should! In boring old Singapore, it is one of the activities that breaks the mould of watching movies / singing karaoke / bowling and blah blah blah.

Escape games started out as digital games, either online or on portable devices. Basically, you are locked in a room and you will have to find clues and tools to aid you from escaping.

I first found out about real escape games when ‘The Real Escape Game’ came by. But that involves mostly sitting in a room with others and solving puzzles one after another with minimal movements.

That was when I craved for real escape game ala the ones like you played online, being locked in a room and having to scrounge for tools to break out.

Then one day, by chance, at Clarke Quay, I was handed a flyer by an employee of the newly opened LockDown.sg. I was ecstatic in finding out that they provides THE REAL escapes games I was looking for!

And I never turned back.
Or return to ‘The Real Escape Game’.

After breaking 5 of their rooms, only 1 of which I failed at breaking out (with only the 2 of us, we made it until the very end till our lack of music talent betrayed us), I completed all of their games and was on other companies escapes games, trying to find one of which matches the calibre of LockDown.sg rooms.

One thing about LockDown.sg is that their rooms are always not what they seems. The answer to solving some of the puzzles may be just right in front of you (I learned that the hard way) so it teaches us to think out of the boxes.
You also get to solve multiple puzzles at any one time instead of a linear format in which you have to solve puzzles one by one.
And there are always hidden rooms. ALWAYS. (Well… Apart from 1 room..)

So when they announced that they are adding rooms and changing up the old rooms and having new games, imagine my joy!

Which finally brings us to the main point of this post.

The Forgotten Temple is one of the newest room made available to LockDown.sg.

Taken from LockDown.sg site :
Archaeologists claimed to have discovered an ancient temple that has been forgotten for centuries. All the tomb raiders are now trying to locate it but you seem to be the first to find it after a long search. Will you be able to find any treasures before the others reach?

I rate the difficulty level to be around 3 – 3.5 stars depending on your experiences in playing in escape games.

Suitable for 3 – 8 players but I would recommend around 4 -5 players as too many cooks will spoilt the broth. The room is not too big so having too many players around will only hinder one another. The puzzles are not to the level where you would need more then 3 brains to solve.

We solved it with a group of 4 with 2 calls for hints.
(Only 1 call was really a cry for help, the other was just a misunderstanding on our part)

The first thing you would think once you step into the room is that it is beautifully designed! The walls, the flooring, the furniture are all close to the theme of an archaeology dig site or a forgotten temple, even if it’s a bit of a modern one.

They had also incorporate new gameplay that uses technology in way that amazes me! I had not had so much fun in playing an escape game in such a long time!

It’s not just puzzles, you need to use some strength and also there are things that test your coordination and memory as well.

Being an escape room, obviously I can’t spoilt you with details but rest assured that this is one room you need to experience!

It also seals the fact the LockDown.sg has some of the best escape rooms ever!

Check them out now : http://lockdown.sg/

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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!

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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.

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Trip to Japan : Day 9

And here we are at Day 9.
Time flies by so fast when you’re having fun.

BTW, do you know I’m going back to Japan soon?!? In May.
My mum’s heading over cause of work issue and she pulled me in cause I’m apparently very useful to have in Japan. And since I’m there, she pulled my dad in to make it a family trip instead. My brother is out cause of school. TOO BAD.

Day 9 Agenda : Kyoto

We are going to Kyoto today!!
There’s 2 places on our itinerary : Toei Kyoto Studio Park & Fushimi Inari Taisha/Shine.

So let’s start with our 1st stop : TOEI KYOTO STUDIO PARK

The Toei Uzumasa Eigamura (東映太秦映画村, Tōei Uzumasa Eigamura; also known as Kyoto Studio Park or Movie Land) is a film set and theme park in one. Essentially a small town from the Edo Period, the park features a collection of various traditional buildings which are occasionally used as a backdrop for filming historical movies and television dramas.

Now you know. I’ve always wanted to soak in the edo-mess thus this attraction! Besides, I kept seeing this film set in Kamen Rider!

We took a train to Kyoto and when we’re at the exchanged stop, we brought bentos to eat on the train, thinking that it would be a shinkansen … Who knew it’s only 15mins ride in a normal train. Fail.

So we can only eat our breakfast in the station. Bet the station master was thinking that we are a bunch of weirdos.

Bento
BP & Mine.

Bento
KK’s.

Food
Mine.

food
BP’s.

So there we sat, munching on our bentos, getting surprised by how good it actually is. We are so damn lucky that we were not kicked out of the station making such a racket.

Bicycle Bikepark
And look! They have a bikepark for bicycles!

So after that fulfilling breakfast, we were on our way to Toei Studio. To make it easier, I’m going to call it Edomura from now on even though there is a real Nikko Edomura park.

It’s a short 5~6 mins walk and there are signs all over so you don’t have to worry about being lost.

on the way over
On the way over.

huge sign pointing the way
Huge sign pointing the way.

Here
And we are here!

Empty
Look at how empty this place is.

The reason might be because it was a weekday + we are there quite early.

Signboard

We got our tickets when the attendant only noticed that we are foreigners when we started talking among ourselves. Yes, another successful attempt in blending in.

Tip : There’s a toilet near the ticketing counter so you can relive yourselves if necessary.

no see me
I’m not here…

So after that bit of fun with our ninja, we head inside.
To our delight it’s empty of people! It’s just a long path leading into another area to the park.

Path

It’s also littered with many carts. And it’s pre-decorated with items that you can play and pose around!

gate
The Entrance.

Behind the scene
Behind the scene.

welcome
Irasshai! Irasshai!

Drink up!
Drink up!

My Shop
I proudly presents to you my little food cart. Mine.

This is made possible by having no one around except us. We can play and laugh and do a million jumping shots and photo bombs. I love this place.

After all that playing around, we continue forward and bump into attendant. He volunteer to take a picture of all 3 of us so we took it.

rawr

” My goodness. Your poses are all so much like the guys! ” We laughed and took a few more shoots. Then KK managed to dislodged the ‘rock’ from the wall. !!!!!!!!

Fixing...
Trying hard to fix it back.

roof
Look at some of the stuff lying around.

So after that long winding path, it opens up to a big area where yes, you will get to see people for the 1st time since entering.

We spotted a sign on the wooden house nearest to us.

maze
The amazing/interesting manor where you’ll get lost!

Sounds fun. Besides, the attendants are trying hard to pull us in.
Now.
There would be an entrance fee to enter the park. However, attractions like these cost additional $$.
This is ¥500 I think. We paid, took our shoes off, stuff them in a locker and started the maze.

This is a trick house. Where illusions come out and play.

You would be blinded by spirals of colors or being unable to stand up straight.

Like this.
Like this.

Or get into a room full of mirrors or even slide down the room.

Anyway, we had loads of fun in there.

Training to be a Ninja
Ninja House of Training.

Part of the Ninja house

We skipped this as it’s full of children inside which made us had the misconception that it’s only for kids. We’re wrong. What this place does is to ‘train’ you to be a Ninja. So you get to climb up robes, throw shirikens and all that. Damn.

Mascot
This black crow here is the park’s mascot.

Oh?
Oh?

Ice
Oh yes.

We then went our separate ways as KK and I wanted to try their Ninja Maze while BP wanted to go into their Hunted house. KK and I wouldn’t even touch that place with a 10 foot pole if possible. So we queue up for the maze while BP went by her lonesome self to scare herself silly.

… Well, to see the Horror house as she isn’t someone who would be scared.

Horror House
Their Hunted House. The scariest in history.

Not surprisingly, she’s the only one who entered. According to her, the attendant ‘warned’ all others inside that that she’s by herself. So they can scare her all the more with I guess. She said that there was a part where the ‘ghosts’ would chased you and you’ll have to find the door to get out. She couldn’t locate the door and with the ‘ghosts’ chasing and hounding her, she got irritated and told them to back off her a little. LOL. Who would scold ghost one??

Anyway, when she’s out, we’re still queuing as it’s a 30mins wait, batch by batch.

” WAH. I come out liao. you all still haven’t go in yet arh? ”
” WAH. Why your haunted house so fast one?!? ”
” No one mah, me only. I still stroll through some more. ”
” You siao one. Go play with the Ninja. ”

Nin Nin
NIN NIN.

She did. And then proceed to mock him.

Short
” So short. “

Wah. Not I say one arh.

Anyway, our turn came and we had too take off our shoes again before going into a tatami-styled room. There, the instructor will teach, in Japanese, how the trick doors work. There’s even one where you take off a part of the ceiling and it’s actually a ladder!

Man, KK and I can’t wait to explore the maze!!

………….. It’s a bore. It’s all hidden sliding doors. Basically all we do is to enter one room after another through slightly hidden doors. Man, the illusion maze is so much better. Wish we haven’t spend money on this.

Kung Fu
To practice your Ninja skills on.

carts
More carts around.

carts

mask cart
Ooh, masks.

Fire Station
This is what Edo fire station looks like.

creepy
Looks creepy doesn’t it? Like someone or something will crawl out of that well…

sakura tree
A sakura tree we spotted.

sakura
Yep, I think you get it by now. Most sakura is this pale pinkish but mostly white version.

Bridge
View from a bridge.

It’s a highly arc bridge so it’s quite high up when you’re standing at the middle of it. We then went into an ‘inn’ to try some Japanese sweets.

Warabi Mochi
KK’s Warabi Mochi.

Senzai
My Shirotama Zanzai.

View
Our window seat view. Pretty isn’t it?

Ninja
Can you see what I see?

There’s a Ninja that would always be climbing from 1 end to another. As he’s quite high up, it’s rather easy to miss him.

Continuing along…

Houses
Some of the houses.

houses

Pony

We then spotted this… pony (?) in one of the stable. Children can ride on it to take a picture for ¥200.

Another Street.
Another Street.

houses

brushes
Get your top quality brushes here!!

houses.

path

We then reached an open path where a samurai is strolling. He seems to be a guide though as he’s explaining something to a bunch of people behind him.

area
THIS AREA.

1 thing. There’s this take-it-slow atmosphere in Kyoto that hits us full in the face once we step out of the train station. So throughout the entire time, we’re feeling really sleepy and lazy. Now, this area sells food. Titbits that KK & BP both were interested in.

tsukune

Me? I plonked my head on the table and dozed off, unable to fight it off any longer. Apparently, while I’m sleeping, they brought more food cause they’re too lazy to leave.

Store dino
The deco of the food stalls were adorable.

There’s also filming on the set ahead of us and the film set workers are all around this area, holding up fans with ” Please be quiet. ” words on it. So polite. Kinda meaningless if no one bother to read it though.

After I woke up from my short nap, we proceed to go off to our 2nd destination. As we walk back through the winding path, we met the same attendant that took our pictures.

” Are you going off now? But the Ninja show is starting! ”

We politely declined and told him we’re on a schedule.

2nd stop : FUSHIMI INARI TAISHA

Now this place is famous for it’s rows and rows and rows and rows of Tori gates, stacked together along a path so we’re obviously going to see it!

gate
Here we are!

gate

Fushimi Inari Shrine is the the head shrine of Inari, the god of rice, patron of business. Inari’s familiars / messengers are often foxes which explains all the fox status around.

fox


We did not wash our hands though.

business
Hanshin Tigers!!

shrine
Notice the horse on the lantern?

There’s this small shrine that is a Shrine that honour a horse or something.

What is this?
Hmm? What’s this?

Ah..
Don’t tell me it’s...

Senbazuru
Senbazuru!! Thousand Folded Origami Cranes!

An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years: That is why 1000 cranes are made, one for each year. In some stories it is believed that the 1000 cranes must be completed within one year and they must all be made by the person who is to make the wish at the end.

From Wikipedia.

Ema
Ema 絵馬. Small wooden plates to write your prayers or wishes. The art usually corresponds with the shrine.

Pictures.

Tori Gates Ema
Tori Gates Ema for sale.

tri gate ema
This is how you write on it.

Nearer
We’re getting nearer.

Now, Inari Shrine is a place where you’ll climb up and up and up and up. To reach all the way to the top, around 2 ~ 3 hrs is needed. Of course, I am not going to climb. I hate climbing. But at least till I reached the famous Tori gates path.

shops
Selling talisman and fortunes.

bad fortunes

This is where, if you get a bad fortune, you tied it up here so it wouldn’t follow you or to not let it happen.

Inari Ema
Inari Ema.

We spend sometime here cause it was very interesting to see all the different faces drawn by people on the Ema. Believe me, I saw numerous Narutos.

Map
Map of the area. Now you know why I said you’ll have to keep on climbing (stairs)?

gate
Finally! I see the gates!!

sidview of the path
Side view of the path.

THE path
WE’RE IN.

I can’t tell you how difficult it is to get a picture without too many people in it as the place is crowded! But the place is otherworldly isn’t it? Beautiful!

Business
Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business and the date states when.

Not every Tori gates is beautiful though, some of it is old and worn out and waits for a new donor to donate money for repair.

The path is not on-going. In this beginning, there are many breaks between the path but the more you climb, the longer the path is. And it’s all stairs, not road. Basically you just keep climbing up stairs.

KK & BP both wanna go to the 2nd stage where you’ll need to climb for about 1 and a half hour and I strongly disagreed. I really hate climbing. In the end they won so I’m very grumpy on the entire climb. Luckily I can crush my water bottle to nothingness to de-stress. In the end, I need even BP’s water bottle to crush for it to be enough for my temper.

Yes, I have a bad temper. Sorry about it.

More pictures.

gates

It was then we spotted a small path leading to somewhere so we took that out of curiosity.

Small path

Tied to a tree

path

Another Shrine
A hidden Shrine.

This is where we ended up. A hidden shrine tuck in a corner covered by Sakuras.

Like this
Like this.

Close up
Close up.

Ema
Emas.

Items
Their items for sale is really the cutest.

Just when I took the shot, someone came out scolding that no photo is allowed. I quickly apologised and ran off.

Reentrance
Re-entrance after a break.

That was it really. After all that climbing up we have to climb down again. There are many other pictures but they are all of the same Tori gates that you’ve seen so I’ll skipped them.

So if you fancy a climb, do head over here.

After that, we took the train back home and crashed. What a day!

And that’s day 9 gone!

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Trip to Japan : Day 8

Warning : This is going to be a ginormous post. And very image heavy.
I might split it into 2 parts.

And man! The Harry Potter attraction is not open yet when we visited!

Day 8 Agenda : Universal Studios Japan

So, theme park day!
USJ is one of the major reasons for me to spend so many days in Kansai and is also the first thing to come out of my mouth. I stubbornly wanted to go to USJ no matter the odds.

Oddly, as much as I love Mickey, I’m always gravitating more towards Universal Studios. Maybe it’s because we have one in our red dot island. Or maybe it’s because I went there close to 7 times. Anyway the force is strong within me.

And so, we woke up around 7pm and ride all the way over to USJ. Apparently everyone had the same thoughts for the train was crowded!
… Or maybe 7am isn’t really all that early.

So, like always, the park itself is a little way from the MRT station. Unlike in our sunny shores, the ‘little way’ is a lot longer.

crowdLook at all the people!

But no worries, there’s a million thing to look at as you cross : Universal CityWalk.

Citywalk There’s a Takoyaki Museum.

citywalk Moomin.

USJAnd here we are!!

As mention on Day 1, we brought our fast-pass from the awesome Loopi machine in Lawson, we can’t seem to find any ticketing counters that sells the actual tickets themselves. And no, the ones in Loopi is all sold out.

So the only thing to do : Queue up like noobs to get the tickets.

ticketsI think we queued for around 20~30mins.

And in we go!!
Of course, you can’t simply use the fast passes as it is, you’ll have to redeem it inside USJ for the fast-pass booklet.
I forgot where it is exactly but if it helps, here’s a picture of the interior :

innerI just remembered the huge Elmo cup.

So after getting that out of the way, let’s start!

USJWe’re rearing to go!

But of course, breakfast is always the No.1 priority. And so, we started walking along, looking for food carts.
We walk pass Snoopy…

snoopy wonderland

snoopy wonderlandAnd yes, we did not enter that land for the rest of the day.

Cause none of us is really interested in it and the rides that we wanted to get on took up the rest of our time.

Sesame Street
Sesame Street!

food cartFood cart!! Churros and coke!

I love Churros. We quickly queued up and not long after, we got our breakfast for the day.

churrosMine’s the choco and BP’s strawberry.

close up of my churrosJust a close up to make you drool.

macha latteWe got matcha latte as well.

After that tasty meal, we head on to the first attraction.
Amity VillageThis was just besides us when we were queueing for the churros.

No questions, we are going to Amity Village!

SharkLady, even if that shark is ‘dead’, it’s still not a good idea to feed your baby to it.

This was the first thing that greeted us. OOH! Is that the all-famous Jaw-kun??

JawsSee? I’m right.

Amity Boat rideWelcome to the 1st ride of the day.

Using our fast pass, it’s a relativity short wait.
If you’ve been to DisneyLand Jungle ride, you’ll what to expect from this. This is a boat ride with a very compressed and heavily edited Jaws story.
Well, you’ll still get startled when you realized Jaws moves in closer then you think (and from the pictures) if you’re seated at the correct side.
It’s a cute ride and a nice way to start USJ. Sorry about the lack of pictures but I don’t want to get my cameras wet and I simply can’t remember if you’re allowed to take them or not.

ShopThe shop you’ll see once you alight from the boat.

Amity VillageThe Amity Village.

PopcornThere’s also the limited One Piece theme going on in USJ.

BirdYou’ll see this bird everywhere. The amount of detail!

WaterworldWaterworld. No, we did not go for the show as we kept on missing the timings.

AceThere’s road stalls selling One Piece merchandises and this is one of them.

There’s a huge Ace thing going on. I seriously think that he’s a lot more popular then when he’s alive as compared to post-mortem. It does help that his death comes rather unexpectedly… Just when he’s saved by Luffy.

Ace Wanted PosterA fat load of help this is. You might find him if you’re dead yourself though.

Jurassic ParkOh look where we are!

Just when we entered, we heard a roar and man, this come walking our way!

DinoWOAH. Watch that tail!

We almost got hit by that tail! Looks very tamed though. Well…as tamed as a predator can be.

Caution

We did not go for the ride as it’s the same river ride as USS. We are not looking forward to being soak in this chilly weather so we decided to skip this.

OutfittersJurassic Outfitters!!

EntranceThis greeted us at the very entrance!

Bones
Decorations inside the shop.

BittenThey bite!

After that bit of posing fun with the merchandise, we continued along the road.

PostcardsJapan have these.

These are special boxes to slide postcards in (only delivered in japan) where they’ll stamp special postmark on the postcards as it’s delivered to your house. If you stay in Japan. As the theme is One Piece, the design of the stamps is related to that.

On a side note, the theme right now is Attack of the Titan. MUHAHAHAHA, drool your heart out.

We started getting peckish again as Churros won’t carry anyone the entire day, we spotted a One Piece food cart. They’re selling water bottles shaped as a wooden mug with either Luffy or Chopper on top. Needless to say, we got 1 each. BP passed on that and got herself an anime-like drumstick.

FoodLook at the drumstick! It’s turkey.

mugsAnd our characters mugs. Mine’s Luffy and KK’s Chopper.

The drink inside is melon soda. It’s in a sickening neon green color and looked like it’s some chemical experiment done wrong. The taste however, is just normal sweet not-sure-if-it’s-melon-flavoured soda. And like any normal sweet soda, it’s damn sweet.

Fire Fist Ace DogHmm…

It can’t be Ace’s fire that grilled that. I mean since he’s dead and all. Unless Sabo is the one grilling it. But that would just mean it’s the Mero Mero no Mi fire and not Ace… ARGH. I’m getting a headache.

CarAnd the Jurassic car!

Jurassic The RIDEThe ride which we passed on.

Refresh ZoneAnother reminder that coke is chockfull of chemicals.

I mean, it survived… drinkable since prehistoric times!

Attack!Attack! Attack!

And with that we moved out of the Jurassic Zone and onto San Francisco!

San Franciso USJ versionHow it looks like.

Dragon PearlHere’s a Chinese restaurant.

Dragon Pearl Close UpDo tell me if it’s good if you tried it.

BackDraftHeading for our 2nd ride! BackDraft!

Not using our fast-pass for this but it’s a short queue so we’re in luck.
Now this is a studio ride. Meaning you get to experience how a built-up set does it cinematic magic.
How the special effects people produce a set where a fire starts and gets bigger, how the backdraft happens. It’s as awesome as it sounds. The ride promises to give an experience as a scene in the movie and it did.

Happiness CafeRight outside Backdraft. De de de de de~

Stage ShowOne Piece Stage Show!

Sorry about the random One Piece stuff here and there but that’s just how it’s place all over the park. This is placed right outside the toilet.
Too bad we can’t get the tickets to this as it’s all sold out… Ah man.

Back to the Future!Back to the Future!

Waiting time : 120MINSYou see the waiting time for this?

Yes, we queued up as we used our fast pass on the Jaws ride. The queuing estimation timing is on the dot. We queued closed to 2hrs for this. 60% of it is spend queuing in the scorching sun.

Is it worth it?

Kinda. This is like our USS Transformers ride, only 1 generation down. The seats don’t move, only shake so you’ll have to rely on the graphics to bring you into the ride. It’s still quite exciting though as we travelled far and wide through space.

PizzaYes, I know, we’re eating way too much.

But you know, I kinda forget the sequence of when this happened as I simply took the order of the uploaded photos so this might happened later but eh, I don’t care.

This is a pizza place so KK ordered pizza, me and BP order pasta.

USJ GlobeThis is outside the new area we entered, NEW YORK.

This is a stage but no shows were on when we walked pass though.
On another note. NEW YORK. EQUALS SPIDER-MAN. ME. SPIDER-MAN. CAN I SCREAM AND JUMP NOW?

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF SPIDER-MAN THE RIDEKYAAAAAAAAAAAA.

The main reason for me wanting to go USJ is actually for this ride. THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF SPIDER-MAN THE RIDE. Sure, he’ll be speaking in Japanese but EH. I DON”T CARE. IT’S SPIDER-MAN.

We used our fast-pass here as the queue is freaking long and we got in soon enough. By then both KK and BP ears must be half-deaf by my fan-girling. WHAT?

This is a ride the same as Transformers in USS. Which means the car will move you from 1 place to another and moving and shaking at the same time with added heat or water splashing onto you. A 4D ride.

It ain’t bad but I am too spoiled by our own Transformers ride (IT’S TOTALLY AWESOME BY THE WAY) and Spider-Man The Ride just don’t measure up to the standard. So I’m slightly disappointed but hey, I got up close and personal to the MAN himself so it’s all good ~

We the moved on and onto the next.

The TerminatorI”LL BE BACK.

Waiting timeIf you did not notice, it’s actually a waiting time of 100mins.

HAHAHAHA. Fast Pass. Now, this is the same as Shrek 4D, which is a 4D show. So each interval is about 15 ~30mins. We went into the special queue for fast-pass holders and sat on the floor as we waited to enter the next show.

This show is hilarious. The opening I mean. Wé were ushered into a big hall where a woman will appeared on a balcony looking down to us. The way she addressed us was very amusing. Ah. 1 problem though. It’s in Japanese.

Anyway we laughed a lot in that opening skit which afterwards will be opened up to another theatre where you’ll be seated and the rest is to simply enjoy the 3D show!

So after that enjoyable bit of fun, we started on to the next ride. It’s evening by now so we decided to end things up with a roller coaster. Now KK is deadly afraid of these so we left her to the Monster Hunter exhibition that’s happening in USJ as well and BP and I strolled into the Hollywood Dream ride.

Hollywood DreamTHE ride.

We used our fast pass to override the 200mins waiting time. Man! Here it comes!
Hollywood Dream is a coaster that blasts music of your choice that fires you up even further as you loop around in break-neck speed!

I heard ‘Battery’ by SMAP (Japan Boyband) so I’m very excited for it to be blasting into my ears as we go up and round! Each seat is equipped with speakers build-in at ear level so no one will be bothered others’ music choices.

MAN! WAS THE RIDE GOOD. The music work wonders in pumping you up! The height of the music is exactly when you’re at the top and all that’s left is to fall.

So after that exhilarating ride, BP and I started making our way over to the Monster Hunter exhibition.
Once we’re in the area, a loud roar made us jumped!

Dragon!DRAGON!!

It moved and blow steam out of it’s nostrils! Woah, I did not expect this! They built a 1/2 scale of the dragon in Monster Hunter!

… At least I think it’s 1/2 scale… I mean, if it’s full scaled, then this dragon is mightily small for it’s size isn’t it?

Monhunt food cartMonhunt Food cart.

This caught both of our attention.

FoodThe Menu.

こんがり肉G – Kongari Meat G
特製肉まん – Special Meat Bun
モンスターハンタードリンクG – Monster Hunter Drink G

I’m thinking these are the food items in the Monster Hunter game. I don’t play that game so I’m clueless here. However the meat bun looks so cute with the shape as a paw!

Unable to resist, BP and I brought 1 to share. The taste is rather meh. Just a simple meat bun.
So after finishing that bun, BP and I walked into the exhibition. Since I don’t play the game, I can’t name any of the items inside but I can tell you that they made real versions of all the weapon from the game as well as the characters.

DragonOne more outside.

DragonA close up of the 3rd Dragon.

It was after that we spotted KK. It seems like she brought the drink from the food cart. As she played the game, she told me the drink is packaged exactly as the drink in the game. However, it tastes horrible.

By now it’s already 7.30 ~ 8pm plus so we decided to head back.

CityWalkNEON BRIGHT.

Now you know why I didn’t post much pictures of CityWalk in the beginning of this post?
Because it looks much better at night!

Neon

Neon

Takoyaki MuseumHere’s how the Takoyaki Museum looked at night.

Here’s when the incident happened.
When we were at the station platform, waiting for the train, we noticed it’s taking a really long time. Everyone was squatting down and looking at their watch.

It was then we started sensing something was wrong. So we kept an eye on the notice board. That’s when the notice came in.

” The train will be delayed as a personal incident had happened. ”

That, in simpler terms, is that someone committed suicide on the train tracks 1 station ahead of us. Everyone groaned when they saw the notice.

I know. Sympathy. But you can’t help feeling frustrated as well. It has been a long day and we’re tired and we have no means of knowing when the train will arrive due to this incident. Suicide is a sin. Don’t bother anyone else please.

I know I know. Shouldn’t be feeling this way. But… Sigh, I don’t know. Nothing is right about this.

Anyway, we waited for close to 1.5hr before deciding to call it quits. People are piling up on the platform as more and more people are going home but no train is coming.

We decided to take a cab despite the hefty fare, thinking that if we split it 3 ways the cab fare should be bearable. We went up and saw that the exit is crammed full of people as well, half is asking about the situation, half is trying to get out.

Just when it’s our turn to get out, an announcement came on, stating that the train will be arriving soon. We took 1 look at each other and ran down the stairs and onto the crowded platform, queuing up at what-looks-like-the-shortest-queue.

True enough, the train came after a 2mins wait and everyone squeeze into it. Miraculously, everyone managed to get into the train! It’s packed like sardines but hey! It’s an achievement!

We then made our way back to our hotel safely.

All in all, a weird ending to a fun and exciting day.

Hey! Whatdoyounknow! I managed to did it in 1 post though it took me 3 day!

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Trip to Japan : Day 6

Hi There.

I know I said about skipping day 6 but I just recently finished editing every single picture I took on this trip + some. It’s the ‘+ some’, pictures KK took, that I found some pictures of Shinsaibashi 心斎橋 hence this tiny post.

On a side note, I just migrated to wordpress. Because it seems to be prettier until I realized that to edit it nicer, I would need to fork over my money. Oh well, what’s done’s done.

Day 6 Agenda : Shopping

The header’s how Shinsaibashi 心斎橋 generally looks like. A long long long stretch of shops all the way till Dotonburi 道頓堀. Hence we went wild with shopping here. Here’s a disney shop here where I got my Dale push toy. It’s impossible to resist not buying him, I’m not kidding. Me & BB got 1 each.

There’s clothes, bags, pharmacy, books, everything you can think of, it’s here. Not figures though, those you’ll have to head over to Odaiba or Akihabara. Heck, there’s even a shop selling pianos.

No, there’s no pictures of us shopping because no one does that while shopping. You’ll twist your head trying to look at things + your camera.

So the next best thing : Food.

We went into a cafe with either ‘Fancy’ or ‘Perfect’ in it’s name that specialize in pancakes. Oh pancakes. Japan’s poisoned herself with it. It’s puking pancakes everywhere. Every. Freaking. Where. It’s either Starbucks-lite cafe or pancakes. No other choices. No matter where you turn there it is. Right in your face.
Sure, maybe we didn’t look hard enough, but we looked as hard as we could, any harder and it’s not worth the hassle.

So pancake it is.

Pancake
I might get sick of seeing pancakes but this! This is the king of savory pancakes!

This, you muggles, is the king. Chili Bean Pancake + Sausage. It’s worth puking everything in you so you’ll have space for this. And as this is so awesome, we tried it’s brother.

cheesy pancake
Meet the brother. That’s way overshadowed by his brother.

There’s no fight. None at all. Chili Bean pawns it’s pancakeiness.
And then we continue shopping. What?

Then we checked off another from our Fastfood-In-Japan-To-Eat list, MOS Burger.

ebi burger
My Ebi Burger.

mos burger
My friends’… uh… other burgers.

Looks exactly as the pictures and taste.. well just slightly better then it’s Singaporean counterpart.

Then we shop some more… And then pancakes. Again.

cafe
The cafe this time round.

menu
Menu

drinks
Our drinks

food
The pancake

It’s pretty meh, nothing earth-shattering this time round.

view
This’s the view outside the cafe, we’re on the 2nd floor.

There you go! Day 6. It’s nothing.