[June in Japan] Day 1 in Kyoto

Good afternoon to this fine Sunday!

It’s been a really relaxing day for me so far. I’ve planned to do absolutely nothing and have managed to do that so far xD However, I thought that I’d better get on with some entries so this blog won’t be so abandoned. And then I couldn’t get the password to the account right -.- I almost gave up…

But here I am! I’ve already picked out the pictures I would like to use for this entry too so I don’t want it to go to waste.

So let’s begin!

At the end of June, I went to Japan with my best friend/wife, lune. We planned for this trip for nearly a year, booking our flights sometimes in September may be as well as some of the accommodations. May be we were both overly eager but Japan requires planning a bit beforehand if you want things at a good price. Hence the nearly year long planning xD

And actually, it was a good thing that we started planning so far ahead. As the flights and accommodations were booked, we didn’t have to worry too much about everything else as time crept by. And towards the end of May, beginning of June, the thought of this trip was the only thing that kept me going as I was being swamped with work.

After a week of rest in Bangkok, 21st of June finally arrived!

But before officially starting our trip:

(Have been trying to upload pictures so I can add them to the entry but the internet doesn’t seem to be cooperating…)

(I’d resorted to putting away some of my washing while I wait…)

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My nails for the trip 😉

I’ve always painted my nails before going on a trip to Japan but this time was a bit more special. I paid my first ever visit to a nail salon and even had a butterfly printed on 2 of my nails! Yes, printed! The rest were hand painted of course and I was so happy with the result. They used the gel paint kind too (one that needed the UV to dry) so they endured perfectly and also took less than an hour to complete my whole hand.

Our flight was at night so I was able to get my nails done during the day. I met up with lune at the airport as and we dropped our luggage together (we did an online check-in) beforehand.

I have a membership that allowed us to enjoy one of the loungers in the airport so we both went in to wait for the flight. It isn’t anything fancy but there’s always a bit of food and drinks for us to enjoy and free wifi!

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The food fest has begun! Even before we left BKK! ;D

I, of course, couldn’t help it and enjoyed the food thoroughly xD I enjoyed the noodle so much I got myself a second helping and convinced lune to have some herself too 😉

The flight was at around half past 11pm so I was a bit tired by then. The flight wasn’t full so I moved up to sit with lune (who had 2 free seats next to her) while still having an extra seat between us.

I tried to sleep but I’m not sure how much rest I got. Which was quite odd since I usually have no trouble sleeping/napping on planes (or any kind of moving vehicles). I gave up after some time and thought I should make the most of my window seat (I almost always go for the aisle seat for convenience).

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Sunrise from up above.

We were served breakfast on the plane (I think) and I believe I put Zootopia on to keep me company xD (I love that film). We landed at about 8am Osaka time at the Kansai International Airport. It was my first time at this particular airport so it was great to experience that novel experience again (I pretty much know my way around Narita Airport now xD).

After coming out to the arrival zone without much fuss (thank goodness for Japan and its efficiency), we walked to the train station which is right next to the arrival hall. We had already done our research to find out which way was best to travel into Osaka and was about to buy a Yokoso Osaka Ticket when the staff told us that the Nankai limited express rapid train into Osaka was not running at the moment.

After a brief discussion between lune and I, we decided to buy a ticket for another limited train and had to wait for a while for the train to arrive. It was a good thing that the Kansai Airport is a terminal station because so many people came on the closer we got to Osaka.

I think there must had been some sort of problem with the rail and some trains weren’t running because there couldn’t be that many people on one train everyday. I had a high school student half on my lap and he had someone else on his at some point. We were very glad to make it to Namba station…

We went to drop our bags at the hotel in Osaka first before freshening up a bit in the toilet and then headed over to Kyoto. Lune had an extra Suica card (IC card that is mainly used in Tokyo but can be used in all major cities in Japan) so that made life SO MUCH easier when travelling since I didn’t have to buy individual tickets from the machine.

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These penguins were there to greet us at the Kyoto JR station.

We arrived in Kyoto after about half an hour train ride (limited train) and I was hungry.

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I think this was the restaurant’s special and recommended set.

We had our first proper meal at a soba restaurant at Kyoto station. One of the things I like to enjoy in Japan during summer is the cold soba so I looked up good soba restaurant on the internet (thank goodness for pocket wifi!) and we found one that was in the train station, called Aoi.

After lunch, we hopped on a bus (again, we could used our Suica cards) to go to Kiyomizu dera first. There is a kimono/yukata renting place near the temple as well as a honey shop for lune.

We got off at a stop at the foot of the hill and had to walked up along a road. It was good(?) exercise after lunch I suppose xD But the sun was out and it was really warm. The hill was quite steep towards the top as well so I was panting by the time we made it up.

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Entrance to the temple. Look at that clear blue sky. The last time I was here (April 2015) it was grey and wet so this was quite a nice change.

 

There are two narrow roads leading up to Kiyomizu Dera. the one we walked up wasn’t the main one, there wasn’t a lot of people. In contrast, the main road was buzzing with people and shops. We kept an eye out both for the honey and the kimono shop.

We managed to find the kimono shop first (called Okamoto) and the place is busy with customers (mostly tourists). We chose a yukata set instead of a kimono because that should be less hot to wear in the budding summer ^^” We could pick everything ourselves so it was up to our coordination how the final look would be like.

I browsed through the whole row but still ended up with a pink/purple hue yukata, which I realised later was very similar to the first one I ever wore in Odaiba back in 2011. (That one was a lot less formal though, we wore them at an onsen attraction.)

It actually took a while to change into the yukata. There is a staff for each of us because we wouldn’t be able to put it on properly by ourselves. We also had our hair done too and I was glad that my hair was long enough to be styled.

The only time limit was that we had to get back to the shop by 6pm but it must have been nearly 3pm by the time we were done. So we quickly came out (or, well, as fast as the walking on the wooden sandals permits) and managed to find a taxi in a relatively short time.

Our next destination was the Fushimi Inari shrine. This was my third time in Kyoto but I had yet managed to get to Fushimi Inari shrine. Partly because it was at another JR station (Inari station) and I was always a bit too tired for the last destination and would give up and go back to Osaka instead.

Not this time though. This time, we hired a cab and got there without breaking much of a sweat. xD

It was pricey, the ride, but we were in a yukata and wooden sandals and this way saved us a bit of time too.

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And really, it was worth the money once we got there in our yukata and actually attempted to climb up under the thousand torii gates.

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It had started raining lightly as we were walking up so we had our umbrellas out.

We did spend at least a good hour or so walking and taking in the scenery. It was beautiful and well worth a visit.

We took a taxi back to Kiyomizu dera again but since we had a bit of time left, we made the most of our yukatas by taking lots of pictures in them around that area xD

After having returned the yukata and changed back into our (more comfortable) clothes, we contemplated where to go to next. Lune had kind of given up on finding her honey shop but I got my mobile out and search for it. It turned out that the shop was on one of my personal favourite areas in Kyoto.

On the same street that goes up to the Kiyomizu Dera, there is a side street you can turn into, where you can eventually walk back down to the main street.

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Higashiyama District is beautiful and it’s always made me feel like I was in a different time when I walked down that street. We found lune’s honey shop and went inside for a bit of a rest.

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My honey and yuzu drink. Very refreshing and just what I needed.

The rest took a bit longer than expected, but it had started raining quite seriously so we weren’t in quite a hurry. However, the late afternoon slowly turned into the evening so we ventured out and lined up for a bus back to the JR station.

The journey back to Osaka was uneventful and we ended up in Umeda area to find a sports shop for lune’s father and hopefully some dinner xD

Dinner came late though and it was only because we saw a poster advertising for the dish that caught lune’s eyes.

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Focaccia pizza toast with soup and pickle. I really, really liked the pickle.

It was tasty though and gave me a bit of a boost in energy as we hunt for dessert xD

Before going to Japan this time, both of us did a bit of research regarding places to eat. Pablo has made it on the list for numerous reasons, but mainly because both lune and I love cheese.

Now, we read that there was a special dish in Pablo in Osaka only where. A takoyaki cheese tart! Of course we had to try it out! So even though it was nearly 9pm and I was absolutely exhausted and we had a packed day ahead the next day, we went into Pablo for dessert.

We ordered the takoyaki cheese tart and lune wanted to try this cheese tart drink so we ordered that too.

I still couldn’t quite understand how they could combine such savoury and sweet components together but this was why we had to try it!

At last, the dish arrived and we both dug in eagerly.

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Looks tastey doesn’t it?

To find out that the ‘takoyaki’ was actually filled with custard and the sauce was chocolate.

But we have already ordered the dish so we might as well try to finish it. I’m not sure if we did finish it or not but at the very least, we dug out every piece of cheese and ate that.

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Lune wasn’t so impressed with the cheese tart drink, mainly because it tasted more like a yoghurt than cheese. We thought that may be they got our order wrong since there was a peach/fruit cheese tart drink too…

We ate as much as we could and then made our way back to the hotel.

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It wouldn’t be a visit to Osaka without this picture!

Overall, it was a really worthwhile day. We were in Japan, we saw some beautiful sights while wearing yukata and ate good, local food. We are now ready for the next day, USJ!

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How much walking we did. Not bad for the first day with less than 4 hours of sleep and wooden sandals!

Now, I must admit, it has been a pain trying to blog this entry. I started at around 3pm and it’s now after 6pm! I think it’s because of my internet but it takes ages for the pictures to be uploaded and the draft wouldn’t save quite a few times. So I’m not sure when I’ll get around to the next entry… I will try but there is a reason why the blog is named ‘a professional procrastinator’…

So fingers crossed!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and are feeling refreshed for tomorrow!

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I would like to end this entry with this picture. Taken by lune on her camera, thank you!

With love,

From GZ

 

PS – we went to Trivia at Rebel Rebel yesterday. So. Much. Fun. The best one I think because dancing broke out before the final score was announced! xD We then went to Party Pier after and danced some more 🙂

PPS – I’ve started the 5:2 diet once more but will try to do some exercise along side it too… It’s not so bad doing it on a Sunday but Wednesday is really going to be tough…

 

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Of a ‘new’ year. Part 2!

Hey, look! Here I am updating on the next day like I said I would! xD Mind you I’m resisting a lot of temptation at the moment, not going on YouTube because that’s a guarantee to get me distracted…

Yeap, definitely distracting.

Anyway, let’s keep on going with the list of what I was up to over the summer break.

Here’s a link to the previous part.

5. After coming back from Japan at the end of June, I had exactly 1 day rest before we went out of BKK again ^^” This time, it was a ‘road trip’ to the North Eastern part of Thailand with my extended family. It’s not exactly your typical road trip because we didn’t really make that many stops, most of them were planned and revolved around food. It was fun and peaceful. I ate too much really…

6. I had about 3 days to chill in BKK after coming back from the ‘road trip’. The first day I hit the cinema to go see ID4: Resurgence in the cinema. I really don’t care what everybody else thinks of the film, I had a blast. I really did. The visual was great, I love that they had most of the cast back. Liam Hemsworth surprised me, I actually liked him in the film! xD

7. Met up with lune (it don’t matter that we only spent 10 days together about a week earlier, a meet up with lune is always fun) on the next day.

8. Recuperated (and packed) the next day for…

9. Another trip to Japan. XDDDDDD This time, I went with my family and my aunt’s family. 12 days in Japan – 5 days in Tokyo, then 5 days in Sapporo then back to Tokyo for 2 days.

9.a. Went to Tokyo DisneySEA and DisneyLAND again. And even though it was only 2 weeks apart, there was a different theme on this time around. The first time was Tanabata before 7th of July. This time was Summer Splash in DisneySEA and Natsu Matsuri in DisneyLAND. Needless to say, I spent a small fortune there buying souvenirs for lune xD (She collects pin badges and there were new ones released…)

9.b. We also visited a Snoopy Museum in Roppongi, that was really cool. Getting to see some of the old strips as well as comments from the creator’s wife for the back story to some of them.

9.c. We went to Hokkaido via train. Thank goodness for pocket wifi or I would have been so bored on an 8 hour long trip. We had to change the train once too at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto.

9.d. We, of course, went out to Furano to see the lavender fields at Farm Tomita 🙂 Beautiful as always. We were very lucky with the weather too! Sunny but with cool breeze. It was just perfect.

9.e. We also went to Otaru. Again, perfect weather with the sun shining but cool breezes. We also ate so much I can’t even.

9.f. We didn’t realise that the day we planned to come back down to Tokyo was a bank holiday (Marine Day) so the train so packed full. The shinkansen from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto down to Tokyo was fully booked from Sendai onwards so we actually had to get off at Sendai and took a slower shinkansen down to Ueno… ^^” We also had to sit separately as well….

9.g. Overall, it was also a lot of fun (with massive amount of food involve) going on this trip. It was a bit crazy, going back to Japan so soon after my trip with lune. People were teasing me about it but honestly, I had such a blast that I really don’t care xD

9.h. I also did a calculation. There was a point where if I looked back at the previous 4 weeks, I’d spent 21 days in Japan. XD #SummerGoalAchieved #lifegoal

10. I then spent the rest of my holiday in BKK. Well, I say ‘the rest’ when it was only a week ^^”

11. Met up with lune and another close friend one last time (partly for us exchanging things). I gave her the souvenirs she has asked me to buy and she brought me my first HP Geek Gear Box! Which brings us to…

12. Lune found this website sometime in May and we were interested in finding out what it would be like. Se we both signed up for the subscription, her choosing Slytherin while I chose Ravenclaw.

12.a. I switched back to Gryffindor after not being able to find a scrunchy in the Ravenclaw house colour at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in June. We tried really hard to find it but no such luck. I took that as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be… And when I came back and did the sorting on Pottermore again, I was a Gryffindor! (And actually… the first time I did the ‘new’ sorting on Pottermore, I was actually a Hufflepuff… ^^” However, Gryffindor has always been special to me, partly because how heavily the characters in HP were from there…)

13. I tried to lose some weight too, because let me tell ya, I gained some kilos over eating in Japan. XD

14. Also got to meet up with friends from Uni which is always special. I had a fantastic time eating and catching up with all of them :)))

15. Flew back to GZ nearly 2 weeks ago with my family. And thank goodness they came with me because I found termites in the flat when I came back! ><

16. Thankfully, I had someone coming in to take care of the termites the next day and now, hopefully, the flat is ok…

17. And then, of course, work started last Monday. It was a bit weird having to wake up at 5.30am again.

18. OH. OH. HOW COULD I MISSED OUT? 31 JULY. THE RELEASED OF HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD script. This post pretty much sums up what I went through when I finally got my hand on a copy to read. Oh. My goodness. I don’t actually care that much about people who has poked holes at the plot (and there were quite a few sadly). However, the emotions I went through when I was reading it. That was real. That was what made me feel like, ‘Yeap, I’m reading Harry Potter.’

So thank you JK Rowling for another magical story.

19. We had a Level 4 Typhoon warning for Tuesday so I had the next day off. Which I appreciated but it did kind of throw off the work momentum…

20. I am just so glad I managed to survive the first week back though. Had a huge assignment to finish and now that it is done, I’m so relieved. Can now get back into the routine of things!

 

And that brings us up to the present xD I know I cheated a bit with the numbered list but I would never be able to get everything down in any other format… I will now try my best to do entries in more details with pictures for everything my summer deserves.

However, for now, I think I can finish off this entry here. xD

I hope you all have had a lovely Monday (and that it was less exhausting than mine!) and have a great week guys!

 

With love,

From GZ

 

 

Of a ‘new’ year. Part 1

I actually can’t quite believe that it has been nearly 4 months since I’ve last updated this blog… ._. How fitting was it that my last entry was about the mind of a procrastinator and then I lived up to its name. ^^”

I’ve been wanting to come and blog for nearly a whole 24 hours (again, living up to my blog’s name), only gotten around to it when my laptop’s battery is down to 39% and it’s nearly my bedtime.

Ah, my self-imposed deadline works somewhat then.

So I thought I should do a brief update of what has happened in the last 4 months. In numbered list because that seems to be easiest for me.

1. I managed to survive my first year of working in GZ. It was grueling towards the end, wasn’t sure I was going to make it a few times just because instead of work lightening up, it got worse the closer it was to the holiday. I really didn’t quite get that. I got quite stressed at the end of the year…

2. Ah, but before that, we went to HK in the end of April/beginning of May! That was a lot of fun! Went to HK Disneyland and ate loads of fantastic food and met lovely, lovely people. It was definitely one of my highlights last year. Will have to do a post to put up food photos xD

3. When the holiday finally arrived, I was so ready to head back home. Spent just over a week in BKK where we went to the beach! It wasn’t our usual beach destination and we were trying out this new hotel for the first time, but I must say I was hooked! Great accommodation at a reasonable price and we got to spend time at this ‘Sunset Lounge’ which gives you free snacks and drinks in the evening. I also hit their gym and worked out instead of swimming too so that was great for my weight. I really did try to lose a few kilos before I went to Japan with my best friend/wife, lune.

Which brings us to the next number, but because I want to go all out rambling about it, I’ll subdivide them xD

4. Definitely one of the highlights of my summer holiday this year was to go to Japan with my BFF. We’d been planning for this trip since possibly this time last year, I know we booked our plane tickets in September 2015 so to say it was our long awaited trip was an understatement xD

4.a. We flew with Thai Airways to Kansai International Airport. Landed in the morning, went to the hotel in Osaka to drop our bags then headed out to Kyoto. Managed to rent out a yukata and finally made it to Fushimi Inari Shrine! *-* Also made it to the top of the hill for Kiyomizu Dera too xD I couldn’t quite believe how much we walked (and how energised I was considering I had less than 4 hours of sleep). Mind you, it was only the first day…

4.b. USJ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Oh, my goodness. It was like a dream-come-true, being able to go to USJ and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with lune. We totally geeked out over Harry Potter together ever since, well, the start of our friendship. I still remember that when I had my right arm in a cast, it was lune who took notes in classes for me while I was reading the third Harry Potter book under the desk. It was totally a sign that we were destined to be BFF 😉 And we kinda got back into fandom again quite recently so being able to share this experience with her was unreal…

4.c. We took the Shinkasen to Tokyo. (The only reason why we went to Osaka first was for the USJ so once that was done, we were all like, ‘Yeap, let’s spend the rest of our time in Tokyo.’ xDDD) We stayed in a flat from AirBnB in Takadanobaba area. I stayed at a hotel around there in December so I am pretty familiar with the area. And of course, the first place we went to was Harajuku xDDD

4.d. Bought a 48 hours subway card the next day and then hit the Tsukiji Fish Market the next day! And then of course, Tokyo Skytree and a brief visit to the Sensoji Shrine in Asakusa and the Meiji Shrine at Harajuku in the rain.

4.e. It was an easy day the next day, went to Ginza area to check out the Henri Charpentier tea salon and then dinner at a fantastic tonkatsu (pork cutlet) restaurant in Shinjuku.

4.f. The next day found us at Tokyo Station in the late morning. We had brunch at one of the restaurants on the Ramen Street. Then we went to a cat cafe in Harajuku and finished the day at an okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza) restaurant in Shinjuku.

4.g. Another highlight on this trip is visiting Tokyo Disney Resort with lune. We went to Tokyo DisneySEA first because the weather was better that day and I wanted lune to enjoy the night show at DisneySEA. We had a fabulous time, managed to went on all of the rides we wanted. We ate some delicious food too and took loads and loads of pictures.

4.h. Of course we then went to Tokyo DisneyLAND the next day and sadly, the weather was much wetter. It was a good thing that I brought my cardigan with me because it was quite cold. Rain meant less people so we were able to go on a lot more rides here, some we even went on twice just because we had the time xD We even managed to get on a ride which is very similar to my childhood roller coaster!

4.i. The next day was spent catching up on sleep (xD). We did manage to get to Ikebukuro where we had a curry buffet for brunch, I had an apple pie earlier and lune had her choux cream. We both spent a small fortune at the gashapon machines area at Ikebukuro station because we found one that had our childhood cartoon merchandise! We then finished the day in Shinjuku where I found my latest favourite chocolate place in Tokyo *-*

4.j. I won’t lie, it was a bit gloomy on our last day because I couldn’t quite believe that the trip was nearly over. I had such a fantastic time in Japan with my best friend and we ate loads and spent a fortune shopping and laughed and smiled and created so many wonderful memories. It was, hands down, one of the best trips I have ever had. Ever. ❤

 

*Look at the time* *Look at the laptop’s battery*

I think, I have to stop here today. Darn. I knew it was going to be long, even if it was in a numbered list, since I have so many things I want to write about. Didn’t quite realise that I would actually be able to do only half of what I intended to… Ah, I shall have to come back tomorrow then. And I will try my best to come back and update part 2 tomorrow!!

For now, my sleep beckons xD I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

 

With love,

From GZ