Saturday, 30 August 2014

Votes needed please! And maybe it's actually your lucky win!

Assalamualaikum, Konnichiwa and Hi,

I join a contest with JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organisation Singapore) and I really need your votes.  The prize is a pair of ticket to Japan!!! But what's made me more excited is that voters also stand a chance to win a pair of tickets to Japan. Yes, you heard me right!! They will have 3 winners, one with the most votes, one that their judges choose, and a lucky voter! and all will win a pair of tickets to Japan, exciting right?

So please click this link HERE then if you have not like the page yet, they will ask you to like the page first before you proceed to my entry. Then click the heart shaped icon with 'Love this' and that's a vote (refer picture with arrow heheheh). Your votes are truly appreciated, and my best wishes for you comes with that. And, who knows, maybe you'll be luckier than me!!!!!

Good luck!!!

P/S: please ignore the typo and the not-so-interesting write up. I did that from my phone so it's a little caca-merba hehehe.. still, thank you for your votes!!

Thank you so much!!!!

Japan Part 9 - Yamazaki River and Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium

Assalamualaikum, Konnichiwa and Hi!!

Notes as usual:
1. this is meant for sharing only
2. I am not a pro-traveler, just an amateur who love Japan so much
3. I know that many out there have a dream of going to Japan especially Arashist so I share my experience, hoping that it may benefit you to plan a trip to Japan, budget-wisely
4. I am losing my memory, and carving here is a solution, so bear with all the stories
5. All useful links and summary of the cost will be at the end of each entry. You may skip everything and scroll down. No hard feeling at all ^_^


We arrived in Nagoya Station Noritake around 6.30am, and 1st thing that we did was searching for coin lockers to keep our luggage and backpacks. We also made sure where the station for Meitetsu line that we should take in order to get to our hotel later. After everything settled, we took our way to the Yamazaki River. 

We chose to visit this river because it was in Spring and through our research Yamazaki River is a favourite spot to enjoy the sakura-viewing. It also has night time illumination in spring (info HERE). When we arrived at Mizuhoundojonishi Station, there were so many students with sports uniform heading the same way that we were heading. They had a sport day and the stadium was situated just near the river!! By the way, as you can see, the sakura was already past the full-bloom so the view was maybe not soooo fascinating but still beautiful for us to enjoy hehe.

yes, above right side was the only cover for manhole in Japan that I managed to capture. 
Japan 2.0 I will surely remember to capture them all insyaAllah ^_^
you can enjoy some of wonderful pictures of manholes' covers in Japan HERE

Sports day!!!! 

there was something historical here, but I forgot about the story huhu

flowers bloom beautifully in a playground that we passed by

I missed those moments walking around will all these views.. see the house above, pretty isn't it?

Then we headed Port of Nagoya to enjoy the Nagoya Public Aquarium. They have killer whales there or some may call it Orca and that was why we really wanted to go there. Luckily, all of us three love things like this hahaha..It was only 8 minutes walk from Nagoyako station. We bought some food to eat before we enter the aquarium.

My sis's favourite. We truly tawakkal for this huhu..

the excitement started to build up when we saw all these!!

haha.. we bought hot drinks to warm our bodies after breakfast and we chose three types of Nescafe that we were sure halal (we googled the ingredients) and after discussing, this black one went to my cousin (thank you for sacrifing ur taste bud dear!) haha.. but at last we drank it together because let me tell you, this was the most bitter memory that we had in Japan ahahahhahahah... so that's why we shared it. Kesian my cousin heheheheh..

Then, it's time for the aquarium!! Yattaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

Our friends, the killer whales!! Kawaiiiii!!!!

Another cute friends, dolphins!!!!

this one was actually taken from google. They sometimes release the whales here for people to watch. I forgot to capture this kind of view so I asked Mr Google for one huhu.  (the above dolphin pictures was taken by me from this audience seats)

they called this as white whale, or beluga. They also have shows here, and it was exciting and cute!

haiiiiiiiiiiiii~~ this dolphin's name is Joy! what a brilliant creature!!

We were sooooooooooo excited for this show, and our eyes keep shedding happy tears.. huhuhu... 

Then we continued to enjoy the rest of the aquarium..

they even have penguins here! and you can wait for the feeding time to watch them eat, ofcourse! caption, ahaks!

We bought the combo-tickets that also allow entrance into the nearby Nagoya Marine Museum, the Antarctic Research Vessel "Fuji," and the observation deck (top floor of the Port Building at the Port of Nagoya). So after we had fully enjoyed the aquarium, we headed to the other two places.

Sugoi ne?

ai aiii captain!!

they did this meticulously. Those brownish things came with the oily effects..hoho..

bit of creepy haha!

errr...what I was doing???

the last picture with a sakura tree!!

We spent sooooooo many hours in Port of Nagoya, and by the time we were finish, the day started to get dark, so we cancelled our plan to see the Wildflower Garden Blue bonnet and the Higashiyama Sky Tower. After discussion, we decided to search for a muslim shop for some food. But after few stations, and few more walkings, we disappointedly turned back to Nagoya station because we couldn't find the shop. It may not exist anymore, maybe.

most right is the schedule for the train and they really do follow it.. 

some more pictures to capture the memories..left below were how the coin lockers look like ^_^

So we took the meitetsu line, the special line to go to the airport. Our hotel the Toyoko Inn Chubu Kokusai Honkan Orange Sidewas just 5-10 minutes walk from the airport. The staff was so nice and even offered us 3 small free gifts (each of us got 3). The room was very comfortable and came with a large TV and  seaside view. So we washed up, ate our remaining food (we still have our Maggie and Brahim's), watch some news and variety shows, and then....... sleep. And that's how our day in Nagoya ended hehe..

picture at the right above was actually our toilet key-control. After many way more impressive toilets, only this one I remember to photograph hahahah..I will talk more about toilets in other entries heheh.. I mean toilet in Japanlaa ehhe..

Before I forgot, Nagoya also has its own unlimited pass that you can get at 600~850 yen but we did not buy it because we had already recharged our Suica for another 1000 yen before (refer previous entry).

Informational links:
4. Infor for Nagoya HERE

Other attractive places that we did not go due to time constraint
1. Nagoya castle
2. Higashiyama sky tower
3. Wildflower garden

So now it's time for cost!!!

Port of Nagoya Aquarium (packaged with Nagoya Marine Museum, the Antarctic Research Vessel "Fuji," and the observation deck).          2000 yen/pax
Food and drinks                                    ~800 yen/pax
Train fare                                                 none, included in Suica
Coin locker                                            ~800 yen/pax (the smaller your bag, the smaller the amount you need to pay)
Toyoko Inn (Room for 3, non smoking)  3160 yen/pax/night



“The journey itself is my home.” 
~Matsuo Bashō~

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Japan Part 8 - Harajuku, Akihabara and going to Nagoya..

Assalamualaikum, Konnichiwa and Hi,

1. I'm not a pro-traveler, just an amateur who love Japan so much and want to share experience so that people who dream to go to Japan can have some idea on how to plan budget-wisely.
2. I'm carving my memories here, some may not important or interesting to you, so I should apologize 1st, haha
3. I put the cost summary and useful links at the end of each entry, so feel free to skip my stories if you are only interested in the cost and info. Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!


We checked out from Anne Hostel and immediately headed to Ikebukuro. Why Ikebukuro? Because we had to check 1st the place that scheduled for us to take our overnight bus to Nagoya, so that we'll not get lost at the end of the day searching for the bus station. The Ikebukuro Sunshine bus terminal was in Sunshine city. We did not know that Ikebukuro also got many things to be explored. We don't really study much about Sunshine city because at 1st we wanted to book our bus from Shinjuku, but by the time I wanted to book, all seats were fully booked so I bought the one that departs from Sunshine City bus station. The alley from Ikebukuro station to Sunshine city is full with interesting stores. But we did not stop to any store because we were planning to go to Harajuku and Akihabara, so time was very crucial for us. We stored our luggages in Sunshine City, and then immediately headed to Harajuku.

Harajuku is quite known internationally as a center of Japanese youth culture and fashion, you can find many interesting and cute girls (and boys too) in fashion that you may not find in other parts of the world. But for people who don't really into fashion (like me huhu) Harujuku also has the largest Daiso in world, and for Johnny's fans (also like me), you can find some official merchandises of your favorite idol here at cheaper prices (cheaper for us who come from Malaysia).  

*Sentence from the useful webpage regarding Harajuku*
It is the center of Japan's most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles, but also offers shopping for adults and some historic sights. The focal point of Harajuku's teenage culture is Takeshita dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets, which are lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crepe stands and fast food outlets geared towards the fashion and trend conscious teens (info HERE). 

So, in Harajuku, you will not only enjoy fashion, but also shopping and some historical sites. So enjoy some pictures ^_^

(clockwise from left above) standing escalators that can be found easily; Takeshita dori landmark seen; Sho Sakurai in vending machine; Sho Sakurai's wifey's fingers there hahahhahahah (not me)

Left: Largest Daiso in world
Right above: see the Choc drink? It was Van Houten Chocolate drink, hot one. Surely comforted us through that cold day. (A friend of mine studying in Japan told me it's halal)

For Arashists, you can find 2-3 stores that sell Johnny's past official merchandise at good prices. It's surely will excite you to see all the photos (even at stairs). But you can't take pictures when you're in the store. And I also found a place where you can buy concert tickets (I think it's a resell or by bidding, not really sure). And to be fair, there are also shops selling K-pop merchandises too. My sis bought souvenirs for her lecturer there hihiiiii~ (disclaimer: I'm not a K-pop fan. J-pop and K-pop are totally different, please please please don't judge or assume if you don't really know things, thank you). 

At 1st we were a little afraid to enter the shops that used the Johnny's artists pictures, as you can see in the pic below, the sign was all in Japanese. We doubted a little wether it was really selling Johnny's staff or adult's staff hahahah, it's Japan you see! But after looking around, and pray in our hearts, we entered the shops and no regret! haha..


Then we walked along the Takeshita dori, and around, and halfway to Omotesando hills. We don't really have a plan to shopping there, so we decided to have another round in Takeshita dori, for buying more souvenirs and to have some crepes. Maybe in Japan 2.0 or 3.0, Omotesando Hills will be explored. Yiiiiiiiiiiihaaaaaa!!!

Tokyo plaza (left above and right)

La foret building (right above) and crepe (left above)

Well, throughout the journey, we met so maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaany nice strangers. Kind uncle, kind auntie, kind woman in Yamanakako village (Part 3 and Part 4), wonderful guesthouse and hostel owners in Osaka and Yamanakako (Part 2 and Part 3), friendly and helpful staffs of Anne Hostel and Disney Resort, and many others that may or may not written about here, so in Tokyo also we met many. Whenever we stopped for a while to look at our map, or looking at a signboard more that few minutes to figure out where should we go, there's always, always a stranger or staff asked "Daijobou?" (Is everything ok?". Still am grateful for all the chances that made me fell in love wth random kindness more. BUT, hehe, we also met a fierce auntie here in Harajuku hahah..the story went like this....

We decided to have a go at a crepe store where we read that many muslims have tried there. We saw a sign "start queue to order here" with an arrow and a chains to mark the place to queue, so we queued. Then we realized that there were few people including an auntie were queuing not at the place they should, so we thought that maybe they've ordered and were waiting for the order to be prepared. When our turn came to the counter, I could feel that somebody was poking me on my shoulder (harshly I could tell), and I looked at my back. That auntie was talking in Japanese and I could understand that she wanted to say that I cut the queue there. There were 2 young women in front of her, but they just looked at us. My sister, my cousin and I were a bit clueless, because we were the one queued at the right place, but decided to back out and said sorry (gomennasai) to the 2 young women and also to the auntie. I could see the 2 young women were smiling back but not the auntie hahaha.. well, maybe it was our mistake too, but we're foreigners so we just followed the sign ^_^

Yes, I have a store there. *facepalm*

We found a kimono seller just at the side of the street. My cousin bought some souvenirs there too for her mother (my auntie laa). There were many beautiful kimonos and yukatta sold there at good prices. 

So after hours spent in Harajuku, we departed to Akihabara, Otaku's heaven. 

Akihabara (秋葉原), also called Akiba after a former local shrine, is a district in central Tokyo that is famous for its many electronics shops. In more recent years, Akihabara has gained recognition as the center of Japan's otaku (diehard fan) culture, and many shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are now dispersed among the electronic stores in the district. (Source: HERE)

We forgot to take pictures in Akihabara, so the only pictures we had there were those two below. The AKKY ONE signboard and the feet of us tree on Akihabara (literally on). We bought some more souvenirs here as there were many Duty Free Shop, and the prices also were a little bit cheaper. So if you missed the Nakamise street, you can still buy your souvenirs here in Akihabara. You can also buy cameras, phones or watches or any electronic goods here, but if you really want to buy those electronics with a good price, some more researches need to be done. 

When the day started to get dark, we departed to Ikebukuro to wait for our bus there. Our Suica was left with few hundred yens so we topup another 1000 yen for us to go around Nagoya the next day. As we arrived early, we walked around Sunshine City (our bus was scheduled at 11.30pm). For people who love manga and anime, you can find a Mandarake store here. We paid a visit there, and it was so interesting, much more interesting if you are truly an anime lover hehe. Oh, Mandarake also can be found in other parts of Japan (link at the end).

Our place to wait for the bus was kind of like outside the building. It was in the building but not fully covered and the night was soooooooooooo cold. We thought to buy some hot Van-hauten chocolate drink but unluckily, the one that was sold in the vending machine was the cold one huhuhu..

My ichiban accompanied me while waiting for my bus ahaks!!

This two kawaii girls were fans of EXO. They had a fan meeting with EXO (and that's why the bus in Shinjuku was full, I think haha). They were so energized and cute and friendly. We told them that we're fans of Arashi and they became more excited. That's how this picture was taken. Their bus arrived first so we said our farewell. When they got onto their bus, they kept giving us the ganbatte sign. Sooooo adorable, aren't they?

And finally,

Goodbye Tokyo!! And hellooooooooooooooooooo Nagoya!! Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!!

It's time for the cost summary!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Suica topup: 1000 yen
Willer express (overnight bus) Tokyo-Nagoya : 3900 yen/person
Coin lockers : 1000 yen/locker (I put the most expensive one here, you can get the largest locker at 600~800~1000 yen). 
Food/drinks: ~800 yen
Other train/subway fares were included in the 4500 yen Suica card.
Total for Day 8 : 6700 yen

TOTAL UP TO DAY 8 : 87 720 YEN

Souvenirs were not included. 


Thanks for reading again! See you in Part 9!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

p/s: I'll give my full reviews for all the hostels, guest house and hotel that we stayed throughout the journey in another entry after I finish all the day entries.. Hope it helps!

~Ralph Waldo Emerson~