Finally got my lazy butt to work. Some of you would be eager to know about my latest trip to Japan. What?! Japan AGAIN?! Yes dears, Japan again. This time armed and prepared with the cash to bring home more stuff from the Johnny’s shops, more “friends” and more experiences. Of course the main objective was to experience the summer festival there. Well, I wouldn’t say it was a super happy trip since there were quarrels and misunderstandings along the way, but it was still a nice one. Well well well…get ready for a long entry with some photos squeezed in along the way.
Gawd. I need to reflect on my actions… I miss my blog so much during the trip. So much to write, emotions to pour out but no computer/internet connection around.
Let’s see…where to begin? Per came along on this trip. Her first time to Japan. Together we spent some happy moments running around looking for cheap and good food, retracing the steps of her dear Ryo *hehe*, meeting weird people…too weird I tell you. With my family, we went all over Osaka *our homebase*, Kyoto, Kobe and Nagoya. Experienced the summer festival, stayed at 2 ryokans, ate all the good food etc… And thanks to the Inada family for letting us stay in their apartment once again.
So how was Tenjin matsuri? Fantastic! Imagine being treated to 2 whole hours of almost non-stop fireworks. Oh but it was damn crowded as well. We made an effort to get ready a few hours before the time to leave, learning from our mistake at last year’s natsu matsuri in Singapore. Just overestimated ourselves again. *sigh* Again got stuck at tying the obi (sash for kimono/yukata), making poor Kenichi wait over 2 hours for us. Haha, but it’s good practise for patience for a guy which will prove useful in the future. DO NOT question why a female takes that long to dress up. It is by society’s standards that a female dolls up herself to be approved to be seen in public. Females cannot just do what some males are guilty of, throw on a tee and a pair of jeans, forget about the hair, just hide it under a cap. Depending on the occasion, the time taken to dress up will differ.
After hours of fumbling and getting on each others’ nerves. Yes! We are finally ready to step out of the house. Took a taxi to the venue. Walked among the crowd. Stopped now and then to get some food. Tamago senbei (egg on rice cracker) and tori karaage (fried chicken). Got to the shrine where we got some omamoris (amulets), prayed/wished, got our fortune read on 2 little pieces of paper which cost 100 yen. First time I get to do the whole throw a coin, clap your hands twice and then pray/wish “routine”.
Busy busy busy. Street lined with stalls for food or games for the festival.
Did some furious walking to the riverside to watch the fireworks. Jostled our way past the neverending crowd, finally getting a good spot among some bushes just behind a stall selling ice. Sidetrack for a moment…ice is a good dessert for summer. Summer in Japan is such a killer. Ok, Singapore isn’t much different since it’s summer all year round. But Per insists that it’s different. She says that in Japan, you can feel like 100% of the sun’s rays hitting you. Hmmm…maybe coz we have more trees to shade us in Singapore? Having summer all year round in Singapore, you would expect some cooler weather on a trip, but no, all I get is still THE SUN. I think I got darker coz of that…
Back to the fireworks. It was absolutely amazing to watch the sky being lit up with the fireworks for a whole 2 hours. Even this guy standing by our side was exclaiming so loudly how wonderful it was. This was what he exclaimed…”OH! WOOAAAAHHHH~~~WOAAAAHHHHHAHAHA~~~ SUGEI! SUGEIIIIIII~~~ MECCHA KIREI!” Which just meant “wonderful! wonderful~~~ super beautiful!” I got a few clips of it on my digicam. I particularly loved this set of fireworks which ended like a golden shower raining down on us.
The golden shower. Sorry for the lousy photography skills.
Finally ending the day with a late dinner…
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Had our first experience of staying in a ryokan in Kobe. Having a dip in the hotspring. So much like what we saw on Japan Hour but what we weren’t prepared for was the mosquitoes. After a dip in the hotspring, you probably earned a few mosquito bites.
It was also in Kobe that we made some new friends with a band. They were performing near the train station and sounded so good that we decided to purchase 3 mini albums from them. I hope that Oriental New Edge makes it big soon. That their hard work pays off.
With Oriental New Edge. Should have used flash for this one but everyone seemed in a hurry so I just left it at that.
Nagoya wasn’t too bad as well. And no, we weren’t there to go to the Aichi Expo. Too expensive. But Sis was really going crazy over the 2 mascots, Kiccoro and Morizo…especially Kiccoro, the smaller green bush?
Our second time staying at a ryokan. This time making friends with a 5 year old boy, Ryotaro. All of which started with us getting fascinated by his bug collection. 2 tanks of beetles…the ones with the horns. *shudders* Ryotaro has an older sister but due to their big age gap, he ends up with no playmates. So he got very excited when Per and Sis patiently sat through his endless chatter on his bug collection. It also goes to show that even if you don’t speak each other’s language, you can still make friends.
Ryotaro led us to the seaside as well. And we discovered this gross insect called funamushi which scales the walls. Here comes the gross part…they are like cockroaches, the moment they detect you near them, they scurry away…like cockroaches. There were like hundreds of them of different sizes scaling the walls.
At night, we played with the fireworks and sparklers we bought. Haha…in Singapore you can only play with sparklers… The meals we ate were HUGE. Some of the shellfish were personally dived for by Ryotaro’s grandma.
With Ryotaro’s family. His dad was out when we took the photo.
Back in Osaka, there were 2 days where Per and I went out together. We went to Tennoji area. Trying to retrace Ryo’s footsteps coz in the NewS dvd, we saw him pass by this area. And we think he got off at a particular station.
We think Ryo got off at this station.
This is also a famous street where there are lots of shops.
Ryo came here too!
See that huge fish balloon hanging over the shop? That means that the shop sells fugu. It’s a delicacy in Japan coz most parts of the fish is poisonous. Only a certain part can be eaten and only a skilled chef is allowed to prepare it. Of course, Per and I did try it. We found a restaurant that had good food sold at a relatively cheap rate. Food in Japan is not exactly cheap. You have to walk through smaller streets to discover food sold at cheaper rates.
Oh oh! It was also here that we spotted a salon called “Masuda”. Hahaha…
Maybe Massu’s family owns this shop. *kidding*
Although we prepared ourselves to watch all the shows we could catch on tv, ended up watching only the last bits of Honjani and Gimon. Caught an episode of Dragon Sakura (YamaP’s drama). Didn’t even catch a single episode of Ganbatte Ikimasshoi. As for radio programmes, my mp3 player can’t receive AM channels which meant that we couldn’t tune in to Recomen or Kikujani. And in Nagoya where we could tune in to Tokyo radio stations, we came back late so I missed Massu’s and Shige’s programmes.
And then there were the 2 most unfortunate events. Firstly, I think it’s due to the Uchi being suspended incident, the Kanjani8 appearance at Ashiya was cancelled. Secondly, all photos, uchiwas, posters of Uchi have been removed from the Johnny’s shops. Except for the few group photos. *sigh* Kinda saw that coming…
All in all, on this trip I managed to get what I wanted. That includes the Johnny’s goods (Summary concert Massu uchiwa, Massu poster, NewS poster, lots of photos – mostly NewS and Massu with one of Okada and one of aho *Maru*), Casshern dvd boxset, some NewS singles, Arashi “One” album limited edition, 2 more hidamaris *can’t get enough of them*. Also got 2 more newsboy caps and 3 pairs of socks (2 ankle socks, one long pair).
Hidamari no Mickey & Hidamari no Minnie
Omamoris. Per bought me the one on the right
And lastly, something to make Ling jealous. =P
Pass from NANA exhibition
The exhibition for the movie NANA was held in HEP Five. 600 yen for entrance fee. The clothes and accessories the actors/actresses wore were exhibited. As well as replicas of the bathtub, table, drumsets. Photos all round etc… Hopefully the movie will be shown in Singapore.
Now that I’m back home, I kinda miss the life there. Even though the Japanese lead rather busy lives, they seem to be rushing here and there always. Since taking a taxi is way too expensive (starting fare is 660 yen), their choice mode of transport are the subways and trains. Say you are from Osaka and need to get to Tokyo for work, most probably you’ll take the subway from near your home then get on to the Shinkansen. And mind you, there are a few private railways. So you gotta get used to it…rushing around, checking train schedules. Not only that, trains have what they call local, rapid, s.rapid etc. Local trains stop at every stop. Rapid trains stop at certain stops. You get the idea.
Ok…the part I miss most is that people are considerate. People waiting to get on the train WAIT for people to alight first then they step in. And they queue up. Tell me, do you see that in Singapore? On escalators, they all stand on the right. The left is kept free for people who need to rush up. Again, do you see that in Singapore? When you bump into someone or someone bumps into you, it doesn’t matter who bumps into who, the person just says sorry. DO YOU SEE THAT IN SINGAPORE? You’ll probably hear irritated noises coming from the person and then a cold hard stare.
What I won’t miss is the cicadas. In summer, everywhere, every tree there are cicadas chirping away. And they are HUGE. *cries* It is really deafening. And it’s their daily routine to start chirping at 5am in the morning. Your personal alarm clock in Japan. -_-|||
A lesson for anyone intending to visit Japan. It is crucial to know Japanese language or at least Mandarin to guess the kanji. Most people don’t speak English. Menus are mostly in Japanese as well. Don’t be like me, learning only hiragana in poly won’t get you far. I realised that most stuff are written in katakana. So the whole time, I had to rely on Per and Sis to help me read stuff. Bleargh.