japan trip part four

The final part of my trip to Japan.

2 May. First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY XIANGLIN!!! *throws confetti and dances around* I’m so sorry I’m not there to celebrate with you, babe. May God bless ya. May all your dreams come true.

We travelled to Kyoto. Stopped at Arashiyama, Kyoto. The whole street’s bustling with people coz it’s a holiday. So there’s like international tourists and their own internal tourists.

After lunch, Sis and I went to the Johnny’s shop in Kyoto. Bought a few photos, 2003 meikan and an uchiwa. Of course, it’s kakkoii Aiba-kun lahz. *I bet Per will say her Sho-kun is more kakkoii…heehee* Didn’t forget to get a little something for Per. 2 photos. One of M.A. and the other of her Sho-kun from Arashi.

Checked out the other shops. Bought small bags to go with our yukatas. It was like 1050 yen for 3. So, one for me, one for Sis and one for Mum.

Went to this traditional handicraft shop.

Sis was complaining when we went back to Osaka that she didn’t get to eat her matcha soft cream (green tea ice-cream that’s like our 7-Eleven Mr Softee). Coz the queues for soft cream were really long. I wanted to try the sakura soft cream.

3 May. Went with Sis to Tsurumi Hanaport Blossom. It’s supposedly a flower wholesale market plus there’s Snoopy Town there.

Snoopy Town. We expected it to be an amusement park. Turns out it’s just a shop and restaurant with a Snoopy theme. Bleargh.

And talk about flower wholesale market. I think it USED to be one. Coz a shopping mall stands in it’s place.

Ate ramen. My favourite!!! Oishii!

4 May. Sis and Mum shopped in the mall near the house. Dad and I went to Expoland. Thought it was a whole amusement area for Sanrio stuff. I love My Melody. If I’m filthy rich, I wouldn’t mind decorating my whole house with Melody stuff…like You Lan Lan in Xi Jie Shao Nian, except hers is everything Hello Kitty. Too bad I’m not. So I only buy small stuff.

The weather’s not too good. Raining.

Turns out Expoland is just an amusement park. The so-called Sanrio part is just an exhibition to celebrate Sanrio’s 30th Anniversary. But I still bought some Melody stuff…hehe…

I was still “bu gan yuan” about not being able to find the Johnny’s shop in Osaka. So went back to Shinsaibashi. HA HA HA. The biggest fools are Sis and I. We read the map wrongly. Well, can’t help it if the map in the meikan wasn’t detailed enough. We assumed the road on the map was a main road and not one of those small side roads.

Found the shop. Since I still had quite a bit to spend, I bought another uchiwa.

Went to Shin and Ken’s grandma’s house for dinner. Aunty Mari was away in Tokyo for something so she wasn’t there to eat dinner with us. Shinichi and Kenichi were the main cooks. Okonomiyaki was the main course. Yummy!

Uncle Inada informed us of him getting an award for his landscaping projects in Singapore. The ceremony will be held on 22 May in Shizouka…which is near Tokyo. He expressed that he would like us to be present at the ceremony. So yea…will be away in Japan again for a few days.

5 May. Woke up early to check out the mall near the house before leaving since I didn’t have the chance to yesterday. Had a good Mac breakfast. Although upon conversion of currency, the Mac meals here are more expensive than Singapore, you can choose what kind of side and drink you want at no extra cost. So if you don’t want french fries, you can opt for a salad or 5 piece McNuggets. If you don’t want coke, you can choose any other hot or cold drink. Quite flexible.

Kenichi and Aunty Mari arrives to see us off.

Living around 10 days in their small apartment, I’ve learnt that most living around here keep small dogs as pets. They bring their dogs out for a walk early in the morning then rush off to work.

The trains and subways are very convenient. Shortens travelling time. To travel to Kyoto and Kobe from Osaka, sounds like a long trip but it is shortened by a train ride which lasts around 45 minutes. The subways have around 4 marked carriages strictly for females from the time of the first train till 9.30am. Well, I realised that in the morning, the subways will be packed with people going to work. To minimise any complaints of molestation or any molesters who think they can get away with it.

Sis has concluded that maybe all the shuai and cute guys have gone to Tokyo. None seems to exist in Osaka. The only guy whom we have rated “can make it” is the one cooking Takoyaki (Octopus balls) every night in the shop on the way back to the apartment. The shops along the street close quite late. Some close at midnight or one in the morning. There’s a supermarket that closes at one in the morning too.

We have gotten used to the cool air in Osaka that the minute we reach Singapore, we complained that it’s so hot. But it really is. I never perspired in Osaka. I had to put on a jacket most of the time. Now, THAT’S the difference.

japan trip part three

Sunday 2 May 8.30am (S)/9.30am (J)

30 April. Kobe wasn’t too bad. Except we went there a little late. Managed to only go to a coffee musuem. Mum wanted to go to the Pearl musuem but by the time we completed the tour of the coffee musuem, it was too late.

Went to the Kobe Port Tower. A lookout point. Nightscape of Kobe.

1 May. I’m starting to appreciate the Japanese language CDS I took. All menus in restaurants are in Japanese. The only thing is I can read only hiragana so I still rely on Sis alot since she learnt katakana and a little kanji. The people don’t speak much of English. So it’s really tough when asking for something or directions. But the people are much more helpful. They really take you to the place if they can’t give directions in English unless the place you wanna go is really far. They’re all out to help.

Went to Kinokuniya. Bought a magazine and the Arashi Pika**nchi book. It’s much cheaper to get stuff here. Ermz…only magazines and books. Everything else is expensive.

Went to this electronic megastore. Yodobashi mall. Had a fun time collecting those product booklets. Ayumi endorses Panasonic products so the product booklets has her on the cover. Got a whole stack. Until our bags were so heavy.

Looked for this shopping mall called “The Loft”. Had trouble finding it so asked for directions. These two girls were so nice to lead us to the mall. I wanted to go there to look for any nice handphone accessories. Shinichi brought us to the one in Shinsaibashi the other time. People here never leave their handphones “bare”. That’s why they sell alot of handphone accessories.

Did I mention about the handphones? The craze or in-thing I guess are flip phones. Almost all handphones on sale are flip phones. And all have cameras. Although it’s a little big…around the size of the Panasonic GD88 but they come in different colours. So many different types…WITH CAMERA AND COLOUR SCREEN. So tempted to buy one but it’s useless coz of the frequency difference in Singapore.

japan trip part two

Friday 30 April 10.35am (S)/11.35am (J)

28 April. Mum and Dad went shopping. Had Mac for lunch. Something different, not found in Singapore. Teritama burger. Teriyaki burger with an egg. Waited for Sis to wake up, wash up then we went out.

Back to Shinsaibashi. Wanted to go to the Johnny’s shop.

The building’s gone! The shop may be relocated or doesn’t exist anymore. Anyway, the meikan I have is dated 2001 so I guess it’s very outdated already.

Went walking round. HMV. Wanted to go to the shopping mall that Shinichi took us 2 years ago. The Loft. But couldn’t find it. Didn’t want to wander around for fear of getting lost.

29 April. Went to the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium. Again. But this time, the whole family’s here. Went on the giant ferris wheel. Better this time. The last time, the weather was bad so we couldn’t see the whole of Osaka. This time managed to see everything…nightscape.

30 April. The family’s planning to travel to Kobe.

japan trip part one

The past updates you have been waiting for…

Wednesday 28 April 11.48am (Singapore time)/12.48pm (Japan time)

Haha. I haven’t been a faithful blogger. I’m just too lazy to write. Typing is so much faster.

A recap of what’s been going on so far.

25 April. In the wee hours of the morning, watching “Mona Lisa Smile” on the plane. Enjoyed the show. There’s some other great shows but I don’t get to watch all. There’s “Kill Bill” on another channel. Gross. Even the cartoon parts are so gross. But kinda stupid coz blood gushes out like a fountain which is kinda fake.

Can’t sleep. Can’t sleep upright. Feeling so tired but just can’t get a good sleep. After breakfast, I finally get a few minutes of sleep.

Arrive in Osaka. I’m feeling zombified. It feels like those nights where I never sleep ciz I’m chiong-ing some project. Haha…the Kinki Kids advertisement is still there. Different one though. Shinichi receives us. We take a bus to the central part of Osaka.

This time, we aren’t staying in a hotel. Staying in uncle Inada’s house coz their family has moved to stay with Shin and Ken’s grandparents. It’s a small apartment. Sis and I take the couches. Mum and Dad take the floor. Traditional tatami flooring.

Had chicken katsu curry rice for dinner. There’s a mall near the house. People here, travel around on bicycles and trains/subways. Taxi rides are expensive. The starting fare is 660 yen which is around S$10.60. Yes, jaws are dropping.

26 April. Travel to the central. Umeda. Where the major shopping malls are. Hankyu shopping mall. We decide to grab a bite. The whole basement is swarming with people. It’s really noisy. But there’s all sorts of food all round. It’s like Tangs basement or Taka’s basement food area. Except it’s much more. The omu rice stall is gone. But I found another stall that sells omelettes and sells omu rice too.

Went up to the rooftop to eat. The rooftop is like a children’s playground. Lots of amusement rides. Benches at the side. The weather is ok, warm when the sun is shining but a little cold still. Should have brought more tees. It’s still spring that’s why. Late spring. Cherry blossom viewing over.

Singapore has a lot to learn. The department store, on each level there’s a small information counter. The lady manning the counter is so well-dressed. And she stands. She has good attitude, polite and willing to go all out to help each customer. What about Singapore, the lady at the counter sits, doesn’t even stand when there’s a customer. Sometimes even has a bochup attitude. I’m disgusted. However, these counter girls double up as “dian ti xiao jie” too. Meaning they man the lifts too. They announce whether the lift is going up or down and what each floor sells. She presses the lift buttons for you.

Finally! I’m so happy! Got my yukata at last! Was looking for a yellow or pink one but most of them weren’t bright enough. Mum picked out a reddish pink one. Settled for that. The salesgirl taught us how to wear it. Sis picked out a black one. It’s very expensive though. Cost about S$400 for a whole set coz they sell each part seperately. Main yukata, obi and the strings to tie. But it’s a one time investment. Anyway, not I can wear that to Natsu Matsuri. If it weren’t that expensive, I would have considered getting one for Per’s birthday. So we can both wear our yukatas when we attend the Natsu Matsuri.

Went back by subway. Their lines…so many. It’s a little confusing at first but once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad.

27 April. Explored further. Shinsaibashi. It’s like Orchard Road. All the teenagers hang out here. Went to Daimaru. Mum was looking for some stuff, helping a colleague buy it. Went to Takashimaya too. Wanted to go to Sogo but it’s gone. Under renovation.

Met up with Dad then walked the streets of Shinsaibashi. So colourful at night. All the billboards. Ended up at a restaurant that specially sells crabs. Crab dinner.