Monday, March 26, 2012

Tokyo Trip: Day 2 - Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku

On Day 2, my lovely Japanese friend, Marina, came to meet us at the hotel at 10am.


So sweet of Marina who took a day off from work to take us around.

We took the subway to Shibuya. Before that, Marina got us PASMO cards. This card allowed us to travel on rail and bus in the metropolitan area and can also be used for payment as electronic money when making purchases at participating PASMO electronic money stores. You can buy this card from the subway ticket machine. Don't worry, you can choose English language on the machine.

Upon exiting Shibuya station, we came across the bronze statue of Hachiko. I've heard of Hachiko and his story really touches me forever. I just had to take a picture.


Hachiko statue


Waiting for the scramble crossing in Shibuya

We had our breakfast at Segafredo. It's not Japanese but that's okay.



After our breakfast, we spent quite some time shopping in H&M. We then proceeded to Shibuya 109. Apparently, Shibuya 109 is stated as a must go in the guide book. We found nothing in there. It is actually a shopping centre for "kogals". Kogal are known for wearing platform boots, a miniskirt, copious amounts of makeup, etc. It's like "la-la" in Cantonese. Not our cup of tea so we left the building to explore other places.


Shibuya 109


Around Shibuya

As we were walking around Shibuya, we saw a Pachinko centre. Jess and I wanted to try and so we went. Pachinko is a type of slot machine with metal balls like a pin ball. Basically, you must get the ball into the hole in the middle and the slot will run. You win if you get the right combination like 1-1-1, 2-2-2 and so on.



Watch the video I found on YouTube below on how to play Pachinko (he did not win):



Marina made reservations for lunch at this famous restaurant for soba. Honestly, it was the freshest soba I've ever had. According to Marina, they made the soba upon order. No wonder it took them so long to serve our food.


The picture of me by the stairs is the entrance of the restaurant. Weird because there was no signboard at all. If it's not for Marina, I wouldn't know this is a restaurant.



Something I would like to add about this restaurant is the toilet. As I walked into the toilet, the toilet cover lifted up automatically. When I sat on it, the seat was so warm it was like heaven. Omg I want a toilet like that too! Now I know why some Japanese couldn't do their business when they were here in KL. They're all so spoiled with toilets like that. Lol!

Tamawarai Address:
Kouga Bldg. 1F,4-23-8 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
(In Japanese: 東京都渋谷区恵比寿4丁目23-8)
Tel: 03-3443-5138

After lunch, we walked to Omotesando. It is a boulevard lined up with trees, designer and luxury shops, cafes and nice restaurants. We went into this mall called Omotesando Hills. It is like our Starhill in KL.


Omotesando

We continued walking to Takeshita Dori in Harajuku. Takeshita Dori, which means Takeshita Street, is a narrow pedestrian only street lined with stores containing miscellaneous character and idol goods popular among teens.


Takeshita Dori

We went to a "purikura". Purikura, is short for "Print Club", are these popular photo booths in Japan. You can add little images to the pictures and then the pictures print out as stickers. It's amazing how our pictures taken were instantly photoshopped to make our eyes bigger and skin flawless. Is there a camera like that which I can buy? Lol!


At the printout, Marina took out her mobile and place it on top of a scanner. Apparently, this machine will email her a softcopy of our purikura. That's so cool!

We wanted to go to Meiji Jingu shrine but by the time we were done in Harajuku, it was already 5.30pm and it was already dark. The shrine is only open from sunrise to sunset. So we took the subway from Harajuku Station to Shinjuku. Before that, we saw Fancl store right opposite Harajuku Station and there we went and bought lots of Fancl products. I was so happy that they are still selling Pore Cover Base. I was told that it is a limited item in Singapore. Marina heard so much good things about it from me and the promoter was telling her that it is a hot product and it's selling fast, she just had to buy it. Lol!

In Shinjuku, Marina took us to Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. This is one of Tokyo's landmarks with an observatory on the 45th floor.


Tokyo night view

Marina made dinner reservations at 8:30pm so we still had time. We went to Odakyu food mart at the lower ground floor to get some snacks. It is like Jusco Supermarket's food section except that this was far more interesting and mouth watering.



The restaurant where Marina took us for dinner is in Kabukicho. Kabukicho is a major entertainment town in Shinjuku and also the red light district of Tokyo. There are many restaurants, cinemas, hostess bars, game arcades and love hotels in this area. As we walked along this street, we get approached by men asking if we wanted men. Lol! I only had a standard answer each time when they approach me which Marina taught me - "Nihongo wakarimasen" which means I don't understand Japanese.


Kabukicho

The name of the restaurant in Kabukicho is Ajito Secret Dining. I was told that this restaurant is very popular among Japanese girls. I know why of course. Cute waiters and if you like, you can pay JPY500 to buy him a drink and maybe he'll come sit with you (I'm not sure about the "come sit with you" part though lol i'm just saying).




We were so stuffed we couldn't eat anymore but these Tamago Kake Gohan was super delicious. We ate them all!

Thank you Marina for this lovely dinner.

Ajito Address:
Building 3F, 2-37-3 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
(In Japanese: 東京都新宿区歌舞伎町2-37-3丸友ビル3F)
Tel: 03-3207 4222

After dinner, we walked around Shinjuku toward our hotel and that was it for the day. We walked so much that day that our feet hurt so bad. I got a serious lower backache the next day because of my aching feet. LOL!

Alright, that's it for Day 2. I'll blog about Day 3 soon.

My complete posts on my Tokyo Trip:
Tokyo Trip: Day 1 - Arrival
Tokyo Trip: Day 2 - Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku
Tokyo Trip: Day 3 - Hakone
Tokyo Trip: Day 4 - Tsukiji Market, Odaiba, Ginza and Roponggi Hill
Tokyo Trip: Day 5 - Asakusa and Ueno
Tokyo Trip: Day 6 - Ginza, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Departure

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tokyo Trip: Day 1 - Arrival

On March 6, Jess and I went for a holiday in Tokyo for 6 days 5 nights. It was the end of winter and the beginning of spring in Tokyo. It was still cold but it wasn't as bad as I anticipated.

We flew Air Asia. We got cheap airfare when Air Asia had their promotion last May. The cost of the return air ticket is RM1136 per person.


Jess watching HK drama on her iPad

We arrived Haneda Airport around 10:30pm. By the time we were done with immigration checks and baggage claims, it was already 11pm-ish. We had to hurry because our last train to our hotel is at 12:34am.


I just had to take picture of the toilet at Haneda Airport


The toilet buttons at Haneda Airport

At the arrival hall, we followed the sign to the Airport Limousine Bus counter. I highly recommend this for first time travelers to Tokyo. It's the most convenient but slightly expensive. Of course, the cheapest is to take the train and subway all the way from the airport to the city. But the thing is, all international flights arrive late at night and it will be a hassle to lug our luggage around the train station and figure out which directions or routes to take.

So the Limousine Bus took us to Shinjuku Station West Exit. From there, we took the subway to Higashi-Shinjuku station on Oedo Line. We almost missed our last train. Phew! The cost of the Limousine Bus is JPY1200 and the subway JPY170.


Airport Limousine Bus - JPY1200

We stayed at Hotel Sunroute Higashi Shinjuku. The cost of the hotel stay is RM1050 per person. The location of the hotel is very convenient. It's right next to the subway station (Higashi-Shinjuku stop on Oedo Line and Fukutoshin Line). The room is very small but clean and the bed is quite comfortable. I wouldn't mind staying here again. It's also walking distance to the happening area in Shinjuku.


Our hotel room toilet - Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Foam and Shiseido Facial Foam provided

After checking in, we dropped our luggage in our room and headed out for a midnight stroll. We were hungry so we went hunting for food. We passed by lots of vending machines along the way. One thing for sure, you'll never get thirsty in Tokyo because there are vending machines everywhere. They even have hot drinks in the vending machine. It was really nice to have a bottle of warm green tea in the cold weather. :)


Posing with the vending machines

Also passed by a baseball driving range where people can hit baseballs for fun.


Baseball driving range

So we randomly stopped by this ramen shop. Apparently, we had to order from the vending machine and then pass the ticket to the guys behind the counter to claim our food. The downside was that there was no pictures on the buttons for us to choose. All the buttons were written in Japanese and we had no idea what they were. Fortunately, this guy behind the counter spoke some English and he tried his best to explain some to us.


Everything about this ramen was good except for the clams - JPY850 per bowl



The street outside the ramen shop

That's it for Day 1. I will blog about Day 2 soon.

My complete posts on my Tokyo Trip:
Tokyo Trip: Day 1 - Arrival
Tokyo Trip: Day 2 - Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku
Tokyo Trip: Day 3 - Hakone
Tokyo Trip: Day 4 - Tsukiji Market, Odaiba, Ginza and Roponggi Hill
Tokyo Trip: Day 5 - Asakusa and Ueno
Tokyo Trip: Day 6 - Ginza, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Departure

Friday, March 02, 2012

Searching for solution

Sometimes, when we're stuck with a problem, we need to consult someone for advice.

But sometimes, we just need someone to listen to us talk and we will eventually find our own solution without the other party doing anything.

I'm not sure if you've been through this but I did.

This conversation between Cheh Lu and Davin in the office got Kuan and I burst out laughing.



Lol. Have a great weekend guys!

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