Tokyo, Japan Vlog || Part 2

I don’t know whether to be happy or sad that this is my last #JapAnniversary post. I’m quite giddy since it’s been a while since I finished a series of posts in a relatively timely manner (that did not span months lol). However, I tend to use writing travel posts as a means to reminisce how much fun I had, and finishing it feels like going back to my uneventful everyday life. The bright side is I have an upcoming trip next weekend! I’m so excited about it even though it’s only for four days and I still have not gotten my visa yet [as of writing]. I pushed back the visa application to the last minute and as a result, my anxiety is threatening to bubble over from the moment I submitted the requirements. Back story: first attempt was a bust because I wasn’t feeling very well. I then contacted the agency nearest to where I live and I was told that their visa processing fee + handling fee is thrice the price of the actual visa fee (what!!!). So I made another attempt, only to realize that I had the wrong set of requirements halfway to Makati, as I had another batch of mostly the same documents addressed to another embassy in an identical clear plastic envelope. Pft. I suck. I’m hopeful that I’ll be getting good news on Monday. 🙂

I couldn’t be more grateful that my first actual visa application (non-work related) was a success, though. It got my feet walking the streets of Japan! We had another red-eye flight back to Manila, so C and I had the entire day to do our last minute shopping (I mostly bought food) and visit some sights that we missed. I had three photos in total for Day 6 and I’m including 2/3 of those photos in this post. Haha! It was weird that I got stared at more because I sported Kourt K on my lips, rather than when I was walking around with a gigantic red bow headband and tutu on (I barely even got a second glance). It says a lot about what they are used to seeing. I wanted to try out one of the Japanese beauty trends where they put blush on under your eyes because I saw tons of females with that look all over Tokyo.. but I have to stay true to who I am (ay wow!), and I’m a solid dark-lippie girl through and through.

It rained the whole day and made it hard for us to whip out our phones to take pictures. I did take a quick snap of the Hachiko statue that I dragged C to. I remember crying when I watched the movie, and this is actually always listed as one of the top things to do in Tokyo.

After paying homage to the famed statue, C and I once again got into something petty and spent a few hours fuming. He wanted to go back early to the apartment to rest, while I wanted to hunt down the Snow Dome Museum where you can create your own snow globes. One thing you should know about me is that I am not big on shopping while traveling, but I do buy a souvenir snow globe for every time I go out of the country. This started when I went on my first trip with my own hard earned money, and I plan on having a glass display case in my future home abundant with snow globes. 🙂 I’m a stubborn person by nature, and didn’t want to budge, so C begrudgingly went with me to the Setagaya Craft School. The school itself is not located near the train station, and three blocks later of walking in the rain, I almost wanted to wave my white flag. I was still seething because I nearly didn’t get my way (stubborn, I tell you) that I decided to let my pride get the best of me. I did end up apologizing first in the end when we got there and I found out that it’s crazy expensive to make your own snow globe (mine was the smallest size with a cherry blossom tree inside). We got back to the apartment on time, had lunch, and double-checked our things before leaving for the airport. C could only shake his head when we got there and found bigger snow globes that are way cheaper than what I paid for. Haha!

To end this series, here’s part 2 of our Tokyo vlog! 🙂 I really think I can do this vlogging thing whenever I’m traveling. It looks like a fun way to document future adventures. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂

Tokyo 2016 || Tokyo Disney Sea

UPDATE: This post has been edited and partially proofread. One of my friends who actually take the time to read the blog sent me a message with an opening line of “didn’t you take a writing workshop last year? Your most recent blog post will get ambushed by grammar nazis!” That’s what I get from writing a post after night shift. Ha!

I have now created enough momentum for myself to be able to post at least one post a week now, which is a drastic improvement from actually forgetting to blog for months. Ha! This feat is made harder by the fact that the machine I’ve been using for blogging, editing photos, and generally my personal use, refused to boot. I still don’t have the time now to have it fixed, but I am hopeful that it will get fixed before my next trip which is in less than two weeks! How exciting, right? 🙂 (The fact that I still don’t have a valid visa for it sucks but I’m positive I’ll be successful with the visa application *fingers crossed*)

C and I always say “you know what, let’s be kids forever”, and we found that the best way to just do exactly that is to go on at least one amusement park everytime we take a trip (granted this is only our second out of the country trip together). We decided to go all out and visit both Disneyland theme parks in the city within our six-day stay and we were not disappointed. Well, unless we count the food experience.

Instead of having our breakfast inside the park, we ordered our first meal for the day at one of the cafes lining the train station exit. Looking back now, I wish we had thought of buying our own baon from Kitchen Onigiri. There’s no denying that it’s common knowledge that food inside and within vicinities of theme parks cost dollah dollah bills (no matter the serving nor taste). Ka-ching!

We learned from Day 2 and decided to time our arrival to the park after the actual opening time (past 9 AM), hence, there were no more queues in both ticket booth and entrance.

The park though is still crowded, which is kind of a surprise, given that it is a Monday.

The entrance is nearby the area that was constructed to look like Venice, which immediately had me telling C that “this place is so much better than Disneyland”. Haha!

I wish I went to Venice instead of Japan.. kidding! But someday! 🙂

You can actually ride a gondola, and we saw a few people lining up to get in one, but we decided to first get a fast pass for one of the rides. We sat down and marked all the rides we wanted to go on (instead of exploring the entire place first) and got a fast pass for the ride that was the nearest which was the Tower of Terror. It was a good thing too because the fast pass we got at 10 AM is already for 6:30 in the evening and the waiting time displayed is 80 minutes (!!!). Meanwhile, the waiting time for fast pass holders is enough to line up for another ride. Crazy!

So excited to get my ass to Venice (although probably not within the next year because ~*money*~ but 2017, maybe?)!

That big ass structure over there is the Tower of Terror. If you plan to visit Tokyo DisneySea, do yourself a favor and get a fast pass for this ride the moment you step in the park. The waiting time was so consistent throughout the entire day at 80 minutes. On a Monday!

Now let’s pretend we’re on the streets of New York.

The setting is of vintage New York city, rather than the modern scenes I now see in movies. But what do I know, I have never been to the US. Ha!

We were trying to find the vehicle that uses the track that lines the street but we never found it until later in the afternoon. However, I just bought a big cup of dessert when we did and they do not allow food and beverages within the ride. 😦 Super sayang because the line was not bad at all.

You have to buy a toy that acts as a key for this Mickey Mouse statues(?) that lights up when you plug it in. I can’t remember how much it was but I recall telling C it was ‘bloody expensive’ and it’s Disneyland so what else would you expect. It is pretty at night, though!

When I saw the icecream stall, I went and bought a seashell-shaped icecream sandwich. ❤

The kind of photos my boyfriend likes to take of me

Our first ride was the Journey to the Center of the Earth-themed ride. To get there, just look for the volcano spouting out smoke. The line was long and had a 40 minute waiting time, but since we did not have to queue under the scorching sun, we were good. We were surrounded by Japanese teens in the queue, and although they were a bit rowdy, they were so mindful of our personal space. I swear, most Japanese people we encountered are well-mannered. Aside from the [authentic Japanese] food and the efficiency, I would like to go back to Japan because of the people. 🙂

This is the center of the Mysterious Island part of the theme park. It’s so whimsical – it feels like I’m in a movie set!

That circular pathway right there is the place to queue for one of the rides where you board a submarine and is submerged in the water. I’m pretty sure the submarine does not actually go down the water (I checked and it was dry when we got off *gullible*) but it was pretty realistic.

Mermaid Lagoon is probably the most whimsical of them all, especially with this colorful structure that had bits and pieces of actual seashells attached to it. However, the rides are more for children which could be expected as it is ‘The Little Mermaid’-themed, so we simply passed this on our way to the Lost Delta.

Within the Lost Delta is the only ride with an actual 360-degree loop and the Indiana Jones themed-ride, so we headed there next.

We also had our lunch in Lost Delta. Sorry to say, Disney does not know how to do good food. Cute, yes. But something that is worthy of the price tag? Nah. This is probably our most expensive meal in Japan but it was just meh.

Oily! I asked C how I looked and to answer that question, he took a photo of me lol

The Arabian Coast predictably had Aladdin-themed rides, and again, had children as their target audience. So we just roamed around to take photos instead of lining up for any of the rides.

I went ahead and teased C that he fits right in this place due to his Middle Eastern features. I’m not even kidding because while I mostly get mistaken as an Asian (apparently I look like a HK local, in Singapore – Indonesian, in Vietnam/Cambodia/even my home country – Korean, in Denmark I was told that I looked Asian but like a halfie), C is told he has either Middle Eastern/Indian (there were times where he was told this lol) genes. He also has an interesting middle name that’s not Pinoy at all. Our future children are gonna be cute interracial babies. 😛

Look at the water fountains! I love details like this as it really ties in with the theme.

We started walking back to the American Waterfront area and passed by the Mediterranean Harbor. That view is magic. ❤ (*hint*ADOPT ME JAPAN*hint*)

Time for another icecream break! If only I lose weight like magic, I will probably live on icecream, potatoes, and chocolates. Ahh, I need that three wishes.

They had this cup of icecream over shaved ice and blue liquid which looked and tasted interesting, until I had my hands all sticky because I’m a messy icecream eater. C bought a plate of poutine from a nearby stall, which was a bit disappointing to be honest. (Bring your own food at Disneyland kids!)

This could actually be a super romantic stroll along Venice. Bring me there!! (Hello Carlo, you read my blog, right?!)

(It wasn’t as romantic when we were walking because all I could feel are my tired toes hahaha)

We decided to leave earlier because we both knew it’s going to be harder to secure seats at the train when you leave after the fireworks show in Disneyland. Here’s a couple photo for this post! (I just realized that this post contained none until I got to the last photo)

And that’s it for our second to the last day in Tokyo! If you’re strapped in time and you’ve already been to other Disneylands, I highly suggest picking Disneysea over Disneyland. The rides are so much better (for those who like fast rides), and the themed areas are way more unique in comparison with the other Disneylands (I’ve only been to two :P).

PS For the love of God good food, pack a freaking lunch box. 🙂

Tokyo 2016 || Harajuku

Our anniversary fell on Day 4 of our Japan escapade, and to celebrate the occasion, we slept in (C’s idea of course) and woke up around noon. If our tummies weren’t rumbling so much, we would have stayed in bed longer. We have passed by this place so many times (only because it is located on the same street as Kitchen Origin) and we decided to try it out.. for a change.

This restaurant (?) was so interesting because only two people were manning it. You select your order/s in the vending machine, pay for it, and the machine prints out a receipt that you hand to one of the staff. They will call out your order once it’s ready and the rest is self-service. You can get your own water and there’s even a rug on the table so you can wipe off any spills you made. This place is so efficient! C and I both ordered Japanese curry. I’m not a big fan of curry, but it tasted okay for me. However, my picky eater of a boyfriend liked it which was surprising in itself. So far, so good with regards to our anniversary date.

C isn’t fond of packed itineraries. He likes to relax and take his sweet time while on vacation, and to compromise, I based off our anniversary date with this infographics I found online. Ha!

Take a photo at the iconic Takeshita Dori banner – done! We went on a Sunday afternoon because a lot of travel posts say that it’s the ‘ideal’ time to go. Ideal, my ass. The place was packed with tourists. We went back on a Tuesday, and it was frankly a much better experience. I don’t like big crowds, okay.

Take purikura neoprint photos – done! C was so annoyed when he saw his photos and he looked like a girl. It also took some time to figure out how to operate the purikura machines. There’s also TOO MANY to choose from, and too many girls hovering over the machines. It’s crazy.

Shop shop shop at Takeshita Dori – partially done? We went inside this store because I spotted this Choco Choco sign from outside. C was complaining that there was too much pink but bought me a phone case when I couldn’t pick one to splurge on lol.

The great news is that the Choco Choco stall actually sells chocolate. Yes, everything is edible! It looks too cute to eat so I didn’t buy any because how in hell will I be able to take a bite out of those.

Eat crepes – YES YES YES. C loved this item because he has a soft spot for crepes (we even ate crepes in Boracay – okay, linking to that post is making me sad that I was way thinner then haha).

The display was enough to hook C in. I wish this place was closer to the apartment so we could try everything!

The savory crepes were not exact replicas of the display but the sweet ones (which C ordered) are more similar.

At the opposite end of Takeshita Dori, we crossed the street to visit the actual Harajuku Street. Weirdly enough, it wasn’t as crowded as Takeshita Dori. The crowd was so much better, although the stores we went into had more pricey picks. C saw this really nice bag that cost 40,000+ YEN. Yikes.

I read that we could find Sailor Moon cosmetics in Kiddy Land and that cemented our next stop for us. On our way to Kiddy Land, we accidentally stumbled into 6% Dokidoki, crossing it off our list. It was so BRIGHT inside, it is possible to give anyone a headache. We didn’t stay for long and continued on our way. C was on Google Maps duty and was checking if we were on the right track when this girl approached us, showed a copy of the magazine where she worked, and asked if she could ask a question for the magazine. C immediately denied her, while I simultaneously said ‘okay’. Haha! It turns out the question was an entire questionnaire. She also had to clarify my English answers and translate it to Japanese. C was laughing in the background as I used Google Translate and exaggerated body language to give out explanations. After the interview(?), they asked to take a couple photos of me around the area. This obviously provided my boyfriend entertainment for the rest of the day.

Go to Kiddy Land – FINALLY! There were a couple of floors to explore which turned C and me to kids all over again.

I wanted to buy a wand, but buying from here does not seem to be as special compared to buying it in London or any of the Universal Studios’ Harry Potter-themed amusement parks. I NEED TO VISIT OSAKA EVERYONE.

Unfortunately for me, the Sailor Moon compact that I wanted was only available for preorder. Pft. It could not suck more. As a consolation for myself, I bought a cotton candy from Totti Candy Factory for 500 YEN. I got stopped while walking by several tourists to ask where they can buy one as well. Hihi.

We walked back to Meiji Shrine which was just behind the train station. Brilliant!

I was not informed that the walk to the actual shrine was so long.

I think these are barrels of rice wine?

When C sat in the waiting area and said that I should go on, I took it to mean that I will have to go to the shrine by myself. I completely misunderstood, because apparently, what he said was we should meet up at the shrine. Ha!

You can write on one of the wooden boards your wish, and people will pray for it for you. I wrote on one and wished for a lifetime of happiness for me and for my loved ones. 🙂

I went to Kiyomasa’s well to view the well, and I was not fortunate enough to see it. Pffft. I walked downhill, uphill, and all over to find it but I did not.

C and I found our way back to each other – just like in the movies. Hihi. ❤

It started to rain, hence, we went back to Ayase Station. Before we headed back to the apartment, we were initially headed to one of the hidden hole-in-the-wall yakitori places. But when we passed by Kitchen Origin, he saw freshly cooked karaage being transferred to the display case and he went inside. I decided to venture out some more and saw this place where they had a huge glass window where you can see them make sushi and sashimi. I could not resist! I’m drooling right now. Yum!

Look at all those fresh ingredients!! *drools some more* I wanna go back to Japan and EAT EVERYTHING.

I took a quick snap of some of the merchandise I have acquired the past few days in Tokyo. The cover is super cute which C bought for me in Harajuku. ❤ The Avene moisturizer was so expensive (at 3000+ YEN). I only bought it because I had forgotten to bring mine and the weather had dried my oily skin out.

Although I consider all our anniversaries special, this was the best one we’ve ever had so far! ❤ What is your ideal anniversary date? Let me know in the comments below!

Tokyo 2016 || Wearing a kimono at Asakusa

I am now half way done with this series and although it’s been a month since this trip, reliving it through writing has been awesome! I have previously mentioned that Japan isn’t placed high on my priority travel list, therefore I had a pretty short ‘Things to Do in Tokyo’ list. Up there at number one is to wear a kimono! The first thing I booked is literally kimono rentals for C and me after we got our travel visa. I had been researching for this experience for weeks and decided to rent from Sakura Photo Studio. There were a lot of rentals that were significantly cheaper but this price was a steal considering that you do not have to buy new socks (average price is at 600 yen in other rental stores) and that hairstyle is included in the price. I looked through Youtube videos of braided updos for wearing kimonos and it was not the easiest thing to do at all.

Our appointment was scheduled for 10 AM and we were staying 30 minutes away from Asakusa via the train, hence we left at around 9:30 AM. As it turns out, the store was nearer to the other train station (in the Ginza line, not the Chiyoda line) and we had to walk another 20 minutes to get there. C and I ended up 30 minutes late for our appointment but luckily, they still entertained us (it was also already paid for lol). C and I booked the Basic Plan (5000 yen/person), and we were given RACKS of kimonos to choose from. C, of course, went for the black one because I initially told him that I would try to find a ninja costume rental for him while I put on a kimono. Haha! It was overwhelming to have five racks with all the color combinations and patterns you can imagine on a kimono, and to top it all off, you also have to select the obi and bag to go with it.

There were a group of three girls that had their appointment the same time as us, and we had to wait for our turn since there were only two members of the staff that were there to dress all five of us. We had on yukatas which are made of lighter material than kimonos and is used during summer time. I don’t know how you would wear this if you were alone because there were so many things that were wrapped around my body, and the woman dressing me instructed me to stay still while I hold up my arms and keep my feet together. Midway, I was thinking why I even wanted to do this. Haha!

We left our clothes and all our other belongings that did not fit into the bag I chose in the store and proceeded to walk to Senso-ji Temple. It was noon by then, but fortunately, the slippers I had on were the comfiest I had ever worn. I was even debating whether to buy a pair for myself to take home, but the price decided for me at nearly 4000 yen. I’m not sure where else you can buy it, but that seemed to be the average price at the nearby stores.

Since we haven’t had breakfast yet, we went and ate brunch at a packed ramen place. It was pricier than the restaurants located near our apartment, but it’s to be expected given that we were in a tourist spot.

Sorry to say, the ramen was sub par. The flavors could not compare to all our previous ramen meals in Japan. We were really disappointed with it. 😦

After brunch, we headed to Senso-ji Temple! It is probably the most touristy shrine in Tokyo (granted we only went to this one and Meiji Shrine, but that’s for the next post). Traveling as a couple without a tripod is always a challenge, but we were lucky to find other Filipino tourists who quickly snapped this photo for us along Nakamise-dori.

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This almost became the Featured Image for this post 🙂

The Kaminari-mon Gate was under renovation (?) when we visited, and it was fully covered so we didn’t have any pictures with it.

The Hozo-mon Gate was intact so atleast we still got to view at least one gate?

We went on a Saturday so it was jam-packed with tourists and locals alike. We saw a couple of other folks in traditional clothing but somehow, ours look more elaborate and we garnered a bit of attention. We’ve had random tourists come up to us and literally take a photo (there were a few who even stood near us and did the classic peace sign pose while having their photo taken), or ask us where to rent their own.

I think the funniest encounter was C gasping out in surprise as three grandmas fussed over him. They fixed his kimono (apparently, it was ruffled in some places) and kept telling him “handsome, handsome” while giggling like schoolgirls. They even gave me a conspiratorial wink and said “nice body”, and I’m pretty sure that’s not directed to me. Hide yo grandmas!

We saw this knife shop, and C was contemplating if we can take home a knife with our check in luggage. He decided against it because we weren’t sure if we will have to surrender it at the airport. What a waste of money that would have been.

Aside from the Senso-ji Temple, there are so many things to see and do in Asakusa. We were given a map by the rental store marked with places of interest. Although we followed the map, C and I weren’t always completely sure where we were (we were trying to locate the Geisha village?). Hahaha!

We walked aimlessly around the neighborhood and bought so many vending machine drinks.

The kimono rental website had a few photos of hairstyles to choose from, but I saw three other girls get their hair done, and none of us had the same hairstyle. It is very nice, to say the least of it. I even did my usual braid test that I do every time I braid my hair, and it is to headbang like I’m at a rock concert – not a single hair fell out of place!

We can keep wearing the kimono and go anywhere as long as we return it by 5 PM, however, it was very constricting and we ended up giving it back after a few hours. My barely existent boobies are now free (the woman helping me undress laughed when I said that out loud)! I would miss the flat tummy, though. 😛 We missed the caricature place and only found it when we had already taken off our traditional clothes, and we agreed that it would be better if we had on our yukatas for our caricature. We keep finding reasons to go back!

We spent the entire day just exploring Asakusa because there were so many sidestreets to get into! There’s also a Don Quijote which was basically a gigantic department store full of cheap products. C and I were so engrossed into looking for items we could buy that we even lost track of each other! I ended up buying packs of Japanese snacks here. I wanted to do a cosmetics haul but there’s just too many, I was too overwhelmed to choose!

Looking for a place to have dinner in also proved to be a challenge.

Before we knew it, we had unknowingly walked back to the temple.

It is way more beautiful at night, with the Tokyo Tower lighted up in the background, and there were fewer people. The downside is that all the souvenir shops that lined the street to the shrine are already closed and it was only around 7 PM.

Only the restaurants and pubs stay open until late. There was such a stark contrast between the environment during the day and once the sun sets.

Present us with so many choices – and we end up not picking anything. For the third time in a row, C and I bought dinner from Kitchen Origin. He has fallen in deep infatuation over their different flavors of karaage while I made it my mission to try out all their varieties of onigiri. Yum! I’m drooling just writing about it now. My favorite was their tuna onigiri!

Look at what I found in the vending machine! A mashup of tea and yogurt, and it tastes similarly to Yakult lol.

Special thanks to the women of Sakura Kimono rental for my awesome braided updo (which I deconstructed later in the day). They pinned it so securely, I bet I could sleep on it and wake up with the same hairstyle.

Surprisingly, not a lot of people I know try traditional clothing whenever they visit a country. I really like this experience because I feel like it’s the only time I can do so and be culturally appropriate. What do you think? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Tokyo 2016 || Tokyo Disneyland

This post was supposed to go live a few days ago, but you know me and that thing called procrastination that has led to this crazy backlog (I haven’t even gotten close to finishing this blog’s clean up yet!). I am actually deciding on whether I should delete some of my social media accounts (or maybe just Twitter) because I sometimes feel overwhelmed with how time-consuming it is once you start scrolling down your feed. Maybe I will soon, but let’s see. 🙂

Our Day 2 in Tokyo started pretty early because I didn’t know if it was possible for Disneyland to run out of tickets for that day. Admittedly, I did not have the foresight to book the tickets in advance which would have saved us a lot of time and effort. Ha! I set up my alarm for 5 in the morning because I needed a few hours to convince myself to get my ass out of bed, take a bath, dry my hair, and fix my face. The moment that I woke, though, I saw the sun peeking at the edges of the curtains and literally scrambled off and checked the view outside, only to see people going on about their daily lives. I panicked at sleeping through my alarm, but when I checked my phone, I saw it was only 4:30. In the morning. And that my friends, is how I understood why Japan is ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’.

Getting to Tokyo Disneyland from the Chiyoda Line required one train change BUT a lot of walking. We asked for directions at Ayase Sta. but when we got off at the station we were told to get off, we forgot to which line we should transfer to and asked at the Fare Adjustment for help. We were told to ignore the previous instructions altogether, gave us the number of stops until we get to Tokyo Station (Nijubashi-mae Station in the Chiyoda Line) so we could get off there. After roughly thirty minutes of walking around until we got to the correct station, C and I finally got there!

Upon getting off at Maihama Sta., we weren’t able to find the Disney train line but found signage for those headed towards Tokyo Disneyland. We later found out that if we took the other exit, it would lead us directly to the train and for 210 YEN. Unfortunately, the cold weather from the previous day didn’t make anymore appearances throughout the day and we had to walk in scorching heat.

The queue to the ticket was very short, but since we arrived an hour before opening, we had to wait in line and just watch people. There were so many people in yukatas, costumes, and matching outfits! It wasn’t even just limited to kids but even full grown adults. Some teenagers even wore their school uniform to the park and were curling their hair with a portable curling iron (WHO KNEW THIS EVEN EXISTED!!!) while in line. We were not bored at all.

C even commented that in comparison with the rest of the park visitors, I look fairly normal in a black tutu skirt. Haha!

Look at that crowd!! As I’ve mentioned so many times before, I’m not a huge fan of big crowds. It makes me feel suffocated. T_T

Obviously, my first purchase went to buying this Minnie Mouse headband. I wasn’t planning on buying anything but I liked trying on these things, and it happened to match my lips and bag. Bye, money!

We haven’t eaten anything yet, so we went to the nearest cafeteria for breakfast. If there’s a Disneyland tip I can give to anyone, it’s BRING YOUR OWN FOOD. They have picnic areas for those who have packed lunches and the food is just not worth the yen. Bleh.

We had calzones that were nearly empty of filling.

I happen to collect snow globes for all the countries I have visited with my own money. I went inside all of the souvenir shops in search for one only to find that ALL the Disney shops do not sell anything even resembling it (they checked their database so they can redirect me somewhere to no avail). 😦

Too much cuteness in one place!!

Ice cream costs 310 yen each. It was so hot that I had to eat mine quickly before my hands got too sticky.

Who forgot to bring her sunglasses? *raises hand*

Do not let looks deceive you – it tasted average at best.

There was a race kart kind of ride where the drivers only need to rely on the line to stay on their lane. C let me drive and he kept laughing at the fact that I kept swerving (C: Just like in real life!!! Hahaha). He does let me drive his car back home, so he can’t totally deem me an unsafe driver! 😛

C bought a churro, and if you watched the vlog I posted, it was hot and I ended up spraying sugar all over my clothes. At that moment, no one can tell that I’m an adult. Hahaha!

Awesome vending machines!

The queue to the turkey leg was quite long, even though there were two stalls side by side, so I decided I want to buy one. It was okay. (Ice cream is the only amusement park food that I like okay)

This is probably the best ride in this park. I personally like the Disney Sea rides better. 🙂

We decided not to wait for the fireworks as we’ve both been to Hong Kong DisneyLand before, and at that point, our feet were so sore we just wanted to rest. Apparently, a lot of the other visitors had the same idea and the train back to Tokyo was packed with park visitors like us.

We wanted to go to the ramen bar we saw the previous day, but we got totally lost on our way back from Tokyo Station to Nijubashi-mae Station. We were tired and hangry (hungry+angry), and had resorted to arguing over who knew the right directions. I had C ask for directions, but the guy pointed us to the opposite direction of where I remembered we came from, so we ended up going in circles. It took us twice the time to go back and we spent a quiet train ride together. When we got off at Ayase Station, we decided on another takeaway dinner from Kitchen Origin. I got this discounted meal because it was already late, yay! With our tummies filled with food and our feet free from the confines of new shoes (yup, dumb enough to break in new shoes at DisneyLand), we made up while binge watching Fresh Off the Boat until we fell asleep. 🙂

I was going to end this post with something cheesy like “at the end of the day, C is still the best person ever..” (and he is!), but there really are times when we get on each other’s last nerves. I find him annoying, and he tells me I’m too stubborn and bossy – even while on vacation. Luckily, we spend considerably less time pissed at each other and it is almost always outshined by all the best fun we have. ❤

Next up, touring Asakusa in yukata! 🙂

Tokyo 2016 || Our first day in Tokyo + Omotesando + Nezu Museum

I’m gonna be honest here – I have been negligent of my blog. It’s a sad thing because I actually paid good money for this self-hosted site so I’d have somewhere in the interwebzz to store my life’s adventures for anyone to see lol. But at least it didn’t take me another year to write about my most recent trip. I’ll try to get posts out at least once a week from now on, and here’s C and I’s first day in Japan! 🙂

I am subscribed to a lot of airline newsletters because I’m always on the lookout for cheap flights. When I got the email from Jetstar during the wee hours of the morning, I could not be more thankful that I work the night shift. As I mentioned before, Japan wasn’t really up there on my travel bucket list, and I was eyeing flights to Taipei for C and I’s anniversary. In my head, Taiwan is relatively cheaper than Japan. I don’t know where I got that idea from but I’ll let you guys know if it’s true after my Taipei trip this year (woot). Going back, though, since C was asleep and I was supposedly at work, I threw caution to the wind and booked the two of us night time flights for our anniversary. I personally like red eye flights. I am of the opinion that flying during daytime is such a waste since you can spend those precious hours sightseeing instead. It also helps that red eye flights are also cheaper.

I booked the flights 4 months prior to the trip, knowing I had an expired passport and a bank account that I wasn’t sure would pass the visa application. As it turns out, DFA is fully booked months in advance and I was only able to get my passport mid-April, roughly two months before our trip. I had heard a number of horror stories where passport renewal took longer than it should have and at that point, I was just glad that I got mine in time. Once I got my passport, I tried to reign in my excitement until I got my visa. C and I decided to process ours together and he kept procrastinating whenever I nag him to give me his requirements. Long story short, we ended up going to a travel agency (we went for Discovery Tours since it was the nearest to the office I work in, and also had the cheapest handling fee among all the agencies accredited by the Japanese embassy) A WEEK before our trip. You have no idea how nerve-wracking that is.

It’s true! The airport toilet even had a tissue for disinfecting the lid and tons of bidet buttons I was hesitant to try lol

Obviously, we got approved single entry visas on time, and I finally got a head start on packing! We landed at around 6 in the morning but it took us about an hour to get through immigration and claim our luggage. There are money changer VENDING MACHINES in the airport. I swear – Japan is the testament to how efficient a country can get. The train station for Terminal 2 & 3 is at Terminal 2 which is 700+ meters away from Terminal 3. There is a covered walkway where the path is marked at how far before you get there. Amazing. (This may seem like so much praise for an airport but I come from a place where our airports are chaotic AF)

I booked an Airbnb room instead of a hotel because hotels in Tokyo are way over our budget and the rooms look like it’s going to make me claustrophobic. We took the Skyliner train out of the airport and upon seeing the prices (2470 yen/person for a one-way ticket), I initially thought how much it sucked that we didn’t get JR passes. As it turns out, the airport train is a separate one (I’m not sure how it works), because we were in the same car as a group of six loud obnoxious tourists who boarded the train without buying tickets and an inspector came to make them buy tickets.

We later found out that there are different kinds of airport trains. The cheaper one does not have reserved seating and looks similar to a metro rail. C and I still went for the more expensive one because we don’t mind paying for comfort (imagine having to find a seat while you have your luggage with you). It’s also faster than the other one since it stops at more stations.

We had about forty minutes before the train arrived which we spent utilizing the free train station wifi. There are wifi spots all over the city and you just have to register your email. It will disconnect you after thirty minutes but you can reconnect four more times within the same day. This proved to be handy! Although an alternative option would be to rent pocket wifis (they have rental stalls you would not miss in the airport) if your hotel/accommodation would not provide you one. Luckily, our Airbnb host included a pocket wifi for our use.

There’s space for your luggage near the train door, but since there was enough leg space to put our luggage with us, we figured out that it would be more convenient to just have it with us. A common theme in all our train rides is the both of us trying to fight the urge to nod off. The train ran so smoothly it was lulling us to sleep. Haha!

Our apartment is 5 minutes from Ayase Station/Chiyoda Line. Our host provided photos of how to get there which was convenient for someone like me who has the tendency to get lost in neighborhoods easily. There are so many stores below the station (vending machines aside) that it’s fairly easy to buy whatever. There were also a lot of small restaurants you can eat in around the station. But at that moment, our main priority was to get settled in the apartment and freshen up.

The moment we stepped inside our room, C exclaimed that I always end up booking ‘hipster-ish places’. The room looked exactly as advertised which was something I’m glad about. Kensuke waited for us to arrive and handed us the house manual since the buttons for AC and the rest of the appliances are in Japanese. It turned out to be useful and we had such a pleasant stay. If you’re planning to use Airbnb for the first time, here’s some credits for you!

Have I mentioned that it was drizzling when we arrived? All this time, I had in mind that the weather would be summer, so I packed skirts and summer dresses. When we arrived it was 20 degrees out (compared to Philippine summer at 35-40 degrees), and I felt like the wind is seeping through my flesh up to my bones. I ended up taking a shower and wearing the same lace sleeved dress I wore for our flight as it’s the only item of clothing I had that even had sleeves on. *shivers*

So. Many. Vending. Machines. They even have vending machines for cigarettes within designated smoking areas (there are signs that say you can’t smoke while walking) but you need an ID for that to work.

C and I walked within the vicinity of the station and found this place. C was enticed by photos of ramen outside, but we can’t be sure because everything except for the price is written in Japanese. An accommodating lady assisted us in ordering without speaking in English (ever since my trip to Vietnam, I have been versed in tourist sign language lol), and C had what we could only hope for is ramen. I had a set meal of some sort with a small bowl of noodles, rice, and three pieces of gyoza. C’s face said it all when he took his first sip of actual Japanese noodles and I knew we made the right decision. This lunch cost less than 1000 yen (for the both of us), which is why I feel sad at the fact that I don’t know how I’d ever eat expensive Japanese cuisine back home again.

I had a loose itinerary, and by that, I meant that I relied on the cute infographics I saw over at Facebook entitled ’10 things to do in..’. Haha! I would link you guys but I can’t exactly remember where I saw it, but I’d update this post for the link if I ever chance upon it again. No trip with me would be complete without stepping inside at least one museum. Since we were located on the Chiyoda line I decided to head over to a place where there wouldn’t be any train changes, and Nezu Museum was 10+ stations away. Interestingly, there is a Nezu Station but this museum was apparently nearer to Omotesando Station. So off to the station we went!

What I liked the most about being in this neighborhood is all the low-rise buildings, and their common ‘slanted’ (for lack of a better term, you can see in the photos how the top floors of the buildings are smaller, resembling pyramids without the pointed top) architecture. When we went to the business district (by accident) and the Shinjuku-Shibuya-Harajuku area, there was such a shift in the environment. Everything felt fast-paced and although it’s spacious, it felt a bit claustrophobic.

Nothing remarkable about this train ride aside from the fact that it was another battle I had lost to sleep. Haha! C usually stays awake whenever I fall asleep while traveling so he can make sure we get off where we should, but this time, we were both on the losing side. Zzzz

Picture taking is not allowed inside the museum, but it was surprisingly filled with 90% Japanese people instead of tourists. I must say though that with the location of the museum (more about this later), museum visitors are mostly well-dressed people within the late 20s onwards age group. This could also be attributed to the fact that we went on a Thursday, but you never know right. It’s just a weird observation.

The floor to ceiling glass walls and the mostly open floor plan guaranteed that the inside of the museum seemed more spacious. I literally told C I basically wanted a house version of this building. Haha!

They have an expansive garden outside, but thanks to the gloomy weather and the rain threatening to make an appearance at any minute, the bulk of the visitors stayed indoors.

One look at the museum cafe and I told C we are not having overpriced coffee. Haha!

C bought brand new walking shoes before our trip because he knew I enjoyed walking everywhere and he would undoubtedly be suffering if he’s not in comfortable footwear. He actually wanted to just wait for me instead of accompanying me in the garden, which I’m okay with, but he ended up going after me. 😛

Here’s your reward for being an awesome travel buddy (even though we argued so much because of my affinity for walking to places, I’m sorry :*).

One little tidbit I forgot to mention earlier is that the only cameras we used are the ones on our mobile phones. I knew that if I had a camera with me, I’d probably spend more time snapping away ‘immortalizing the moment’ instead of enjoying it. I’m also your basic photographer who does not really do amazing things with camera settings, but if you’re halfway decent, I swear you’d have so many pretty shots in this garden. Fortunately for the both of us, there’s this orange tree that just popped in the middle of all the greens and I had C take pictures of me. With his phone. Hahaha!

The garden was on a downhill slope, and we headed back up to the museum after taking a few more shots because our stint outside gained us insect bites. I scar easily, and I still have what my fickle memory would fondly remember as ‘souvenirs from Japan’ even though it was caused by the annoying itch that would. not. go. away. Ugh, insects.

The walk to and from the station is such an interesting one, and I wish I took a lot more photos now that I’m writing about it. But mainly, the street leading to the museum is FULL OF SHOPS. And not just shops, but designer ones at that. But I’m getting ahead of myself, look at this vending machine! My first vending machine purchase in Japan is milk tea. Typical.

Here’s the Miu Miu store, which I will be using as an example as to how most of the stores look like. Not similar in architecture and interior per se, but most of them are of the same height at maybe two-three stories high, and every single store just shouts LUXURY. Simply walking down this street in my H&M dress and ALDO flats gave me the impression that I was underdressed. Most of the people you’ll bump into looks put together even when they’re not, and that’s how you know how people made of money dresses like. (I started this paragraph trying to describe the feel of this place, and I end up rambling haha)

Most of the station guides look like these. They have the list of exits, and what the landmarks/tourist spots that are there. Most of the bigger exits have another map which makes it easier to navigate the place. If you’re at a loss, approach the Fare Adjustment booth. They have a different map (with traffic lights and other landmarks) and even though they can’t converse in English, they give great directions (example: ‘straight 3 traffic lights, left, 1 traffic light, right’).

When we got back to Ayase Station, it has already started to drizzle so I bought one of those clear umbrellas I have always wanted to own (yay Japan) but couldn’t source locally. We were thinking if we should brave the rain and go back to one of the ramen bars we wanted to try near the station (con: the blue overpass, or what we will now refer to as ‘the obstacle’) or go to the Family Mart which was nearer to the apartment. Our lazy asses decided to go to Family Mart, but dinner choices were limited and having to cook instant noodles (even if it’s Japanese) didn’t seem that much appealing when authentic Japanese cuisine is readily accessible. Off to the obstacle we go.

We found both a drug store and a pachinko establishment near us, and both are things to experience. We went inside to try and play pachinko, but I’m not comfortable getting stared at (I know why I get stared at when I’m in the PH and it’s usually because of my hair.. but when you get stared at in another country where otherwise you blend in, it’s unnerving) so we left immediately. Most of the drug stores have signs that say tax-free but do not be fooled. The price tags have two prices, and you will always get billed the higher one (with tax). I have tried asking regarding the tax-free thing but the language barrier is a bitch during all those times. Meh. Just an FYI for everyone going to Japan and impatient like me. 😛

We found Kitchen Origin which is a buffet style sort of place. There are prices for everything and they weigh it at the counter. The prices are reasonable in my opinion, but I never really skimp on food (unless it’s glaringly overpriced.. like the items from Nezu Cafe) so I wouldn’t know if it’s something that would be too expensive for someone else.

C ended up with an order of karaage and a plain onigiri (is it still called onigiri if it didn’t have anything inside?) and I had one tuna onigiri, one salmon onigiri and this yummy mix of sesame seeds, potatoes, and what seems to be bacon or ham. We also bought our drinks from the vending machine and C had an oversized can of Coke (they also had a mini can, how fun JaFUN) while I had.. milk tea of course. Ha!

So that’s it for our first day in Tokyo! We had an early night in because Day 2 would be spent on the happiest place on Earth, Tokyo Disneyland!

Tokyo, Japan Vlog || Part 1

Hello, it’s me! 🙂 I am finally back to posting after a pretty long hiatus. So if you’ve been following me over on Instagram and Twitter (the links are on the sidebar), you’d know that for our anniversary, Chicken Boy & I flew to Japan! We were there for 6 full days (red eye flights are da bomb). Honestly, although Japan was in my travel bucket list, it still hasn’t made it to the top ten. However, when we got there, I had to wonder why that was the case because JAPAN IS AWESOME.

Unfortunately, you can’t view this video on mobile because of copyright laws but you can head over to my Facebook page (it still feels a bit surreal saying that I have my own Facebook page lol). Admittedly though, quality is not as par as the one I have on Youtube. Heh!

This is the Part 1 because I have another short clip that highlights more of the scenery and less of our faces, but that one is for another day. I absolutely adored Carly Rae Jepsen’s music video of this exact same song and wanted to create something that was a bit similar for our anniv travel vlog! Let me know what you think in the comments below. 🙂