[June in Japan] Day 5 in Tokyo (second day subway-ing)

Writing these blog posts made me realised that it’s a brilliant thing I take so many photos. Or else I wouldn’t remember much about what I did on each day, unless there was a highlight to it like visiting an amusement park. As I was choosing the photos for today’s entry, I also realised that there was a gap for about a couple of hours during this day that I’m not sure what we did, lol. We’ll talk more about that when the entry reaches that point.

Anyway, back to our travelling blog post!

If this is the first time you’ve just stumbled across my blog, welcome! Here is the first part of this amazing adventure in Japan last June (2016): [June in Japan] Day 1 in Kyoto

Previously, on our adventure: [June in Japan] Day 4 in Tokyo (first day subway-ing) Part 2

So we are still in Tokyo! It probably is my favourite city in this world… It’s the fifth day of our trip and we are also still subway-ing around Tokyo because we got a lovely 48-hour subway pass.

But first! Breakfast!

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From Yoshinoya near our flat.

A pork-bowl with lots of negi (Japanese leek) and a raw egg yolk topping with a small bowl of miso soup.

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While on the subway…

Also tea to get me through the day. Here is my favourite royal milk tea found in the Japanese convenient store. I don’t think every convenient store has this brand though, Family Mart does stock them but not 7-11 I think…

And I will stop here tonight. The battery of the laptop is dying and my eyes are drooping. Will hopefully come back to this soon!

 

And then I left this entry for over a month before I can manage to come back to it ^^” I’ve left it for so long that I didn’t remember starting this entry or how much I’ve written it until I saw the entry in my draft section yesterday ^^”

So here I am, coming back to continue by adding all of the photos first, since that seems to be a way to get me to finish an entry. Plus, now I can just keep typing and not have to fiddle with adding images.

Let’s continue with our day!

As you could probably guessed, we made full use of the subway because we had the subway pass and so went to Ginza. There’s a cafe there I had been wanting to try, since Henri Charpentier is one of my favourite dessert shops in Japan

Welcome, to Ginza Maison, Henri Charpentier.

I was a little bit disappointed in the menu selection. There wasn’t anything that sprang out to grab my attention and I’m comparing the experience with their normal dessert line in department store kiosks, which usually leaves me torn with which one to choose.

In the end, I decided to go for a seasonal crepe dish with lime ice and zest, mango sauce and coconut crunch.

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I have to say, I was impressed with it. But then again, I probably wasn’t expecting much because this isn’t really my normal go-to dessert, lol. The lime ice was fantastic though and it went very well with the mango sauce and the crepes. The lime zest was a great touch too. I don’t think I was that impressed with the coconut crunch, but then I’m not that fond of them in the first place anyway.

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I, of course, also got a pot of tea. I was suffering from period cramps (it being the first day and all), hence the hot beverage. It was also probably why we didn’t do too many things on that day. I don’t think I could have coped with a lot of walking in my state.

(I am fortunate enough that I don’t suffer from sever period pains. It’s just annoying and makes me not want to do anything but to lie down, especially on the first day.)

Anyway, here are two photos of the interior inside the shop.

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Love how it spells ‘Celebration’. Woo!

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And here’s the entrance to the female toilet! How anyone could have found it without asking is a mystery. I asked or else I wouldn’t know.

 

And then I left this entry for, goodness knows how long ^^” Anyway, let’s see if I can finish this entry today.

After finishing with our lunch(?) at Ginza Maison, Henri Charpentier, we went to a building that hosts a stationary store as lune was looking for something for her cousin. I browsed around but didn’t have the budget to splurge, lol.

After that… we must have gone to Shibuya! xD I don’t remember this bit but the pictures are telling me this fact, lol.

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Here’s a picture of the famous Shibuya crossing!

I think we went to Shibuya to go buy our tickets to Tokyo Disney Resort at the Disney Store there.

After we’ve finished in Shibuya, we then went on to Shinjuku… Here’s the point where there are a few hours gap where I’m not sure where it went. I think may be we went exploring in Shibuya to look for Animate just to look at anime/manga products. We definitely did that but I’m just not sure which day that was xD

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That sign on top of this building has been there since April 2011, so I make it a point to snap a photo every time. 

Anyway, we went to Shinjuku to get some dinner and I managed to drag lune to have my favourite Japanese dish: tonkatsu (or the pork cutlet).

There is a restaurant I wanted to try out at Takashimaya Department Store hence why we ended up in Shinjuku.

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One of my favourite part of Tokyo. 

The restaurant is called Katsukura, on the 14th floor. This was the first time I’ve tried out this place, and I was excited! I think we had to queue for a bit but it didn’t take that long.

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The bowl for the sauce. The toasted sesame can be crushed in this bowl and then the sauce added.

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This was the set I got where there was a piece of pork cutlet and this vegetable, wrapped in tofu skin then covered in bread crumb and deep fried like the pork cutlet.

The pork was amazing, I was totally hooked and Katsukura definitely made it on the list of restaurants I must visit in Tokyo. 😉

So in the end, it was a pretty chill day. Here’s a summary of how much walking we did today:

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Considering that we didn’t really have a plan and that I wasn’t feeling my 100%, it’s still impressive that we managed to hit 12km of walking!

Also, here are some of the goodies I’ve bought during the trip so far. They are mostly snacks xD

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These are some fruit jellies I bought back for my little sister. She wanted a mix of flavours so I got all that were available for her. 

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This is a ‘takoyaki‘ flavoured potato chips that I loved. I tried them the last time I went to Osaka (April 2015) and made it a mission to buy it again this time around xD 

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They are kind of like croutons but triangular shaped in 53% brie cheese flavour. 

And last, but not least:

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Ritz snacks with cheese fillings. So good.

 

So here you go, finally, this entry is finally done. I wonder how many months it has been ^^” Well, it’s actually a year and a month since this trip so I really should get going with the entry….

 

Anyway, I’m going to sign off here. Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

 

With love,

From BKK

 

 

[June in Japan] Day 4 in Tokyo (first day subway-ing) Part 2

(I’ve never managed to finish this post on Saturday. Or Sunday. Or Monday. Or Tuesday. xD I’m hoping I can finish it today.)

Oh… New setting/format…? To the post page anyway… Not sure if I like this… But probably because I’m not used to it yet. Hmm…

I’m procrastinating from work. And I got cramps so the plan of going out to the coffee shop to do work is now in limbo. I will try to get some work done at some point today but the prospect is as grim as the weather outside today. (Which is pretty gloomy because it’s very foggy. Really, really foggy.)

Anyway, here’s the link to my previous post: Day 4 in Tokyo (first day subway-ing) Part 1 (WordPress makes it so convenient with the hyperlink!)

Now let’s see where I ended the post… Oh yes! The fig tart from Qu’il fait bon. (Now that I think about it, I think I bought the tart first, then saw the Tokyo Banana shop and bought the strawberry cake from Ginza after… but sat and ate them at the same time xD)

Lune and I found a small area with tables and chairs where people can just buy food from the shops around and sit and eat. So that was what we did with the tart.

Oh! I forgot another thing we got! From the Tokyo Banana shop, they were selling these. I think it says ‘Gin-no-budou Strawberry Milk Cake’.

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I believe it was a light sponge cake on the outside, and then fresh cream and some strawberry jam/puree on the inside…? It was quite nice and big but I prefer the other strawberry cake more. Though because this one got fresh cream, it can’t be kept for long. I think lune and I shared this one?

Anyway, we walked around the mall and then decided that we’d skip lunch and go straight to dessert.

Yes, even though I had a fig tart and strawberry milk cake, I still don’t think I’m full enough. xD There was actually a chocolate place lune wanted to visit so we walked around trying to find the place. Almost couldn’t find it…

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The Tanabata decorations around…

Apparently Max Brenner Chocolate Bar is well known. (I’ve actually made this spreadsheet where I typed out places I would like to visit around Tokyo, sorted by locations and colour-coded with what type of place is it. We ended going to the same places but it’s still nice having that spreadsheet ;D)

The location to this particular Max Brenner is here. We almost couldn’t find it because we actually had to get out of the building and walked around a bend to see the place.

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Chocolate lava cake with a scope of vanilla ice-cream. Oh! Found a menu! So the menu we got was called Melting Chocolate Heart Cake and Shake. I also got myself a cup of Earl Grey because I was in need of tea and that was the only blend of hot tea they served there.

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Chocolate is GOOD for you!

Such great decor 😉

We sat there for quite a while, just chilling and chatting with great chocolate dessert and tea for me.

However, there were still a few more places we would like to hit with the subway-pass so we gradually got a move on.

Our next destination was pretty close by as well so it didn’t take long at all on the subway. And it’s really popular among tourists.

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The classic red lantern in front of Sensoji Temple.

I actually can’t remember now how many times I have been to, possibly, the most popular temples in Tokyo. I definitely visited when I first went to Tokyo back in 2011 and then have taken numerous people to the place.

Asakusa was teeming with people as usual and then the rain started. ^^” Lune actually had to get some stuff from there for her family so we walked through (what I have just found out is called) Nakamise, looking at all of the stalls before coming to the main hall.

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The main hall of the Sensoji Temple.

As you can see, the umbrellas were out now…

I don’t think lune found what she was looking for but she wasn’t too worried so we went on to our next destination.

This time, it took quite a bit of time to get across Tokyo back to Harajuku again. Nestled in the middle of the buzzing city lies a huge area of so much peace that it has quickly become on of my favourite spots in Tokyo since the first time I’ve stepped inside it.

The Meiji Shrine is like a gem in Tokyo to me. The first time I’ve visited this well known shrine was, I believe, at the end of 2013. I was there with my family over Christmas and New Year so we had a lot of time to spare. I ended up wandering inside Meiji Shrine because I was looking for things to do. Imagine my surprise when I found out that what I thought was just another temple turned out to be one of the greenest, most peaceful place in Tokyo. That contrast was so jarring but it makes me love this place even more.

It was no different this time. As soon as you step through the huge wooden gate, it felt like I’ve stepped into another world.

(And this is as far as I’ve made it on Saturday. Let’s continue!)

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The main hall of Meiji Shrine.

It was even more quiet this time around because it’s been raining quite heavily for an hour or so. However, we weren’t the only one there either! I really like the atmosphere inside the Meiji Shrine, even in the rain. The rain actually made it refreshing yet peaceful.

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Every time I visit, I always pay 100 yen to get one of these poems. I believe they were written by the Emperor and I have been keeping one in my wallet ever since. This was the poem I got from this trip and I felt like the message was what I needed at the time.

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I also couldn’t help taking this photo because I’ve just never seen anything like this anywhere else. Of course you show the visitors what the gate would normally look like when it’s not undergoing reconstruction. xD It’s very considerate of them though, so that visitors who might never have a chance to visit the Shrine again will know what the gate normally look like.

After the peaceful time in Meiji Shrine, lune and I ventured out again to the bustling Tokyo for one last place to visit for the day.

Why were we there, you ask?

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For these gorgeous goodies. XDDD Yeap, we went there to line up for these Arashi‘s Waku Waku goodies. Oh! And I’ve forgotten! We actually went the day before too but they weren’t selling then because there was a baseball match!

Now we thought that if we go in the evening, surely the line would be short by then. And this was like, around 7pm already and I think the ‘shop’ was only opened till 8pm. But nope. Still a pretty long line! Lune and I had to separate to line up in different queues for different things!

But I was so happy with what we’ve gotten. Oh! The concert goodies (Japonism Arena Tour) were on sale then as well, that was why we had separate queues.

After a pretty packed day, we headed back to our AirBnB flat.

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Saw this in a convenient store and of course I had to buy and try it because of the presenter! xD

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It was very lemon-y. Though, I actually prefer the grape one more.

And that was it for our fourth day!

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As you can see, we still walked over 10 km though we did start quite late into the day xD.

We also continued to have a very chill, very relaxing weekend in Tokyo too. Hopefully I will get to the next entry very soon! But I’m yawning right now and it’s not even 8pm yet, lol. It’s been an exhausting week so far and may be it’s time to get some extra sleep.

Hope your week is going better than mine!

 

With love,

From GZ

 

PS – I forgot to mention the new toy I bought that day!

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It’s one of those clip-on lens for your phone camera. I was actually talking about this with lune before because she has one. And then we actually found it in LOFT at Tokyo Skytree Town. And it was around 500 yen AND it’s in pink! Of course I had to buy it and try it out!

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Top row: normal phone camera on the left and one with the wide lens on the right. Bottom row: normal phone camera on the left and with the macro lens on the right.

It came with two types of lens and I really should remember to bring it with me more. It’s fantastic to take on trips.

 

 

 

[June in Japan] Day 4 in Tokyo (first day subway-ing) Part 1

Oh it has been a long time for this series! xD Here is the previous entry to this trip series: Day 3 – To Tokyo we go!

And I’ve already put a ‘Part 1’ up in the title because I know I’m not going to get through to the end of the day because it’s 10 minutes to 9 and I’m sleepy but also stubborn xD And that I’m still waiting for a.) the rice to finish cooking, and b.) the laptop to finish charging. So I’m going to write and add picture till when both of those are done, click post and come back to finish it another day.

Right, here is what me and lune did on our 4th day!

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We went to get this subway 48 hours pass from Bic Camera near the West Exit of the Shinjuku JR station. They sell a slightly cheaper price for these there. I remember from the last time I went to Tokyo and they still sold it in June! You just need to show the staff your foreign passport with a tourist visa or the equivalent.

And this was an improvement from the previous 1-day/2-day/3-day pass. Those would expire at midnight no matter when you’ve started using the pass. These will only start counting the hours from the first time you’ve gone through the ticket gate. So we used the pass on the 4th, 5th and the morning of the 6th day ;D Very worthwhile!

We also got this pass because our first destination of today was the Tsukiji Fish Market! I believe we had ‘brunch’ there xD

But first thing first:

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We both love this tamagoyaki so much ❤

Lune loved them as well. She loved them so much that she ended up eating 3!! xD She got 2 first, then we went to have some food then came back and get one more. Now I felt like I should have gotten the second one with her as well… xD

And then we queued up at a restaurant and then this:

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I’ve ended up at this restaurant almost every time I go to the Tsukiji Fish Market ^^” And also ended up getting the same thing too! Especially the rice dish (on the right in the picture). I was greedy/hungry so I got the salmon plate on the right too. I normally would share this with my little sister but I think I finished this on my own this time, teehee.

After we were full, lune and I took a leisure stroll and slowly made our way back to the subway (after lune had her third tamagoyaki of course, xD).

We then head of to the tallest tower in Tokyo!

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From the subway station, coming up to the ground level. This was a common sight to see during that time, I believe these are the decorations for the Tanabata festival.

And here we are:

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Tokyo Skytree!

I really like the mall here (;D) which I believe is aptly named Tokyo Skytree Town. There are so many shops that I like as well as sweet shops that I adore *-*

For example:

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I’m not a big fan of their original ‘Tokyo Banana‘ but I love these Strawberry Cake from Ginza ❤ There are also flavours unique to Tokyo Skytree where you can only get them here too but I’ve never tried them. There is a another flavour that I love, but I think they only sell them at Tokyo Station. That, will come up later 😉

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A slice of fig tart from one of my favourite dessert places in Japan *-*

Ever since I’ve first visited Tokyo Skytree, I’ve always get one fruit tart from this place: Qu’il fait bon

I first heard of this place from a Japanese TV show that I love (Arashi ni Shiyagare) and the shop was recommended as one of the best fruit tart places in Tokyo. So I wanted to try it out. I did my research and found out that there is a branch in Tokyo Skytree and have been visiting the place ever since. This time wasn’t an exception, I looked around but when I saw that they got fig tarts, I really didn’t have any other choice xD I love fresh figs, so sad that it’s not easy to get them in Asia. I loved having them in England.

Oh! The rice is done and my laptop is fully charged! And it’s past 9pm, so I think I’ll sign off here for tonight xD Will try to come back to finish Part 2 on Saturday! I really do want to finish with this series, I’m now more motivated from the 30 day writing challenge!

Hope you are all having a good week! It’s Friday tomorrow ! Yay~

 

With love,

From GZ

 

PS – the weather was so gloomy today! Very British of GZ, lol. Rainy and grey and quite cold. But I think it will get warmer again tomorrow.

 

[June in Japan] Day 3 – To Tokyo we go!

Huh… I thought I wouldn’t be able to post this entry until I go back to Thailand. WordPress has been giving me a hard time uploading images even though I’m sitting right beside the router…

Glad they are now all up there!

So here we are, the 3rd day for our trip from last June (I know, I know, but better late than never right…? ^^”)

But first, links to my previous entries on this trip:

Day 1 in Kyoto

Day 2 in USJ Part 1

Day 2 in USJ Part 2

I don’t think it will be a long entry either because we didn’t do much that day apart from sitting in a train and ate xD

We booked an early-ish train back to Tokyo, the Nozomi shinkansen left Shin-Osaka station at 9.10 so we had to be at Shin-Osaka before 9am at least. We ended up checking out pretty early and took the subway to Shin-Osaka.

We had enough time, in fact, to have breakfast!

Cue picture:

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A classic Japanese breakfast with rice, grilled fish and miso soup.

We found a small convenient restaurant near our platform in the station itself which served Japanese styled breakfast pretty quickly so we ate there. I was happy because I wanted some Japanese styled breakfast at least once while I was in Japan.

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Also had my favourite milk tea with me! I had nearly a bottle everyday for the whole trip! I’ve tried other brands too but this one is my favourite. And it was tricky, because not every convenient stores sell them… I mostly had to hunt for Family Mart.

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Our train ticket

Lune and I talked about whether do we wanted to splurge a little bit more for the Nozomi train, which is the fastest from Osaka to Tokyo. The ones I’ve been on were Hikari ones which is the second fastest. The Nozomi trains are not included in the JR Rail Pass so never had the chance. We didn’t buy any Rail Pass this time since we only needed one trip into Tokyo so we thought, why not?

I planned on sleeping on the train, but somehow didn’t. No idea why… May be I was too excited to get to Tokyo…? ^^”

It was a smooth journey and we arrived at Shinagawa station before lunch time.

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This was the waiting area where I sat and waited for our Shinkansen during my first ever trip to Japan. That was back in April 2011 and we landed in Tokyo but took the shinkansen to the Kansai area before coming back to explore Tokyo. So seeing this scene again brought back fond memories 🙂

We then took the JR train to Takadanobaba where our AirBnB was!

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We passed by Harajuku on our way so I couldn’t help but to take a photo ;D

And look at what (or who, rather) I spotted on the train too!

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May I introduce you all to Sakurai Sho, my favourite Jpop idol ;DDD I’ve really been into Jpop for over a decade now and that pushed my interests (and shall I say, passion?) for Japan and its culture to the maximum level xD

Anyway, our room was pretty nice. We actually booked the one in Shinjuku, because I love that area and it’s been a while since I got to stay there. But there was a change in the law or something about AirBnB in Japan so the owner has to shut that one down and moved us to this one in Takadanobaba instead. Apparently it was bigger and there was a king size bed and a sofa bed. There was a small kitchen and a washing machine too so it was great for me since it was summer time and I didn’t want to save all of the laundry for 10 days…

The owners were really nice and were kind enough to let us ‘check-in’ to our room earlier than normal so we went in, dropped our luggage, freshened up a bit and headed out for lunch again!

We headed back to Harajuku because Lune and I are fangirls and I wanted ramen xD

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One of my favourite dishes to have in Japan at Jankara Ramen! This was recommended to me since my first trip but I didn’t plan on going to it. And then my family and I stumbled upon it by accident! lol It wasn’t until I sat down that I realised it was the same place as the one my friend recommended to me. And because the first time we went was in April 2011, we were the only patrons in the shop (granted it was around 2pm but the shop has never been that empty every since).

We can now request for the egg to be soft-boiled only too so it’s always heavenly to have this bowl of ramen.

IB grade: a strong 6

After a fulfilling lunch, we walked down Omotesando road to Kiddy Land. Where we proceeded to spend a few hours in, exploring each floor and Lune was shopping for a friend xD

However, the exhaustion finally caught up with me and I really needed a place to sit down so we walked back towards Harajuku JR station to Pablo cafe.

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I told you we went to Pablo more than once during this trip! xD We also tried out their classic cheese tart as well as this scrumptous cheese honey toast. I had a pot of tea to keep the exhaustion and headache at bay too…

The cheese tart was ok, we were too full to fully enjoy it but we dug out every single cheese pieces in there!

The cheese honey toast though… Om nom nom… The honey actually made the taste more conflicting so I would highly recommend you to just have the cheese toast on its own. So good.

By that time, the day was moving towards the evening so we made our way back to our room. I had an important appointment to keep too. You’ll see.

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There was a 7/11 convenient store on the way and because I’m a sucker for presenter/ads, I bought this energy drink.

Oh, it looked similar? Well, why don’t you scroll up towards the top and see.

Yeap, the same one that Sho-kun was a presenter off xDDD Solely the only reason why I bought it in the first place. And then I tasted it and was hooked! The jelly was so grape-y!!! It felt like I was eating a really delicious grape jelly drink. I bought quite a few of these during my trip.

We also bought our light dinner at the convenient store too so we can eat in our room.

So what was the appointment that made me go back so early in the evening?

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VS Arashi is normally on every Thursday at 7pm on Fuji TV. One of my favourite shows of all time. It was soooo fun!! And even though I know little Japanese, I still enjoyed it massively. ;DDDDDDDDDDDD

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And here’s dinner, salad with peach yoghurt (because you got to have peaches during a Japanese summer). I told you it was light! XD

All in all, not a busy day. We just started early so a reason to go back to our room and rest early was a good thing.

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Just to show how much we walked that day.

We pretty much chilled around Tokyo for a couple of days before hitting Tokyo Disney Resort. It was still great fun to spend time with my wife in pretty much our favourite city 😉

And I think I’ll sign off here! I’m scheduling this post to go up tomorrow instead because I want to write something about my birthday over the weekend. But it’s 7pm already! Let’s hope that my internet is strong enough so I can do something on the bed instead of in the spare bedroom….

Hope you are all having a great week!

With love,

From GZ

PS – Flying home on Thursday! Whoop whoop!!

PPS – I actually finished this entry first before yesterday’s one about my birthday. But decided to postpone publishing this entry until today…

PPPS – 25 January is actually Sho-kun’s birthday so お誕生日おめでとうございます! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and a fantastic year ahead! <3<3

PPPPS – this entry was suppose to go up on the 25th of Jan but I just found out today (1 Feb) that it didn’t happen…. Why, WordPress? Why?

[June in Japan] Day 2 in USJ Part 2

(I had actually started this post weeks ago but never managed to get passed what has now become the first line of this entry… ^^” And the internet is driving me insane again. I wonder sometimes how on earth can I just live with this all… but then laziness always win over. orz dammit.)

In the last entry, we finished at what we had for lunch. After that, the rain started -3-

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We went to the outside part of the Three Broomstick where we can see the castle clearly for some photo taking session…

True, it does kind of look pretty like this but I would like to, just once, see the Hogwarts Castle with a clear blue sky backdrop ><

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One more with the (almost) full reflection of the Castle in the water.

We, then, slowly made our way out of Hogsmead area, visiting the shops we hadn’t yet.

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So here are some giant ice-cream cones(?) at the Honeydukes shop.

And right next to the Honeydukes, where you can literally walk across as the shops are interconnected, is the Zonko’s Joke Shop.

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The shop is tiny though since the majority of the area goes to Honeydukes…

I actually bought some sweets from Honeydukes this time around, got one chocolate frog (because how could I not?) and a dark chocolate wand. Because I’m a sucker for dark chocolate.

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I have a feeling this was from the wand shop. It might have been Ollivander but not the section where the wand can ‘pick’ you. I tried my best to capture as much of the stars map as I could but it covered the whole wall. And I was mainly interested in Draco. xD (I’m a bit surprised actually that I didn’t manage to capture Sirius as well… hmm…)

Lune and I managed to come out from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter by about 1pm-ish because we had our Hollywood Dreams -The Ride – Backdrop‘s time ticket at around that time.

The last time I was at USJ back in April 2015, I remember clearly hearing the screams from this ride and seeing how long the queue was right from the start all the way through to almost the closing time. And I was only able to try out the Hollywood Dreams – The Ride (because the queue was shorter then) and it was my favourite rides at USJ from that visit. So I was adamant that we tried out the Backdrop one this time around. This was also the reason why I wanted to the get this particular Express Pass.

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What makes Backdrop so special is that the roller coaster goes backwards. Me being a roller coaster fan couldn’t wait to try it.

Sadly, it wasn’t as good as I had hoped it to be… 😦 The ride actually made me slightly nauseous because my head kept being swung back and forth. I didn’t feel as dizzy when the roller coaster moves forward because you have the backrest to keep your head pretty much in place.

After that, we thought we should walk around to recover so went into shops to browse.

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Couldn’t help snapping pictures of this wands display.

 

(It was getting past my bedtime on Monday night so I left the entry here and have been fighting my internet connection to get back on it since then… -3- I’m not sure for how long I’ll have the connection tonight so we’ll see…)

We then took a stroll around the park and came across this.

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I believe it’s for the Attack On Titan. There was a special ‘ride’ on at the time.

Neither of us are fans of the manga/anime, we mostly just took pictures of this and moved on.

We were actually trying to find a Residential Evil ‘ride’ that Lune’s brother was adamant we tried. Turns out that the event has finished. I was a bit relieved because I am not a fan of those things….

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These seems to be hand prints of famous people, most if not all Japanese, who have ever visited the park.

After this, we decided that it was time to go on more rides/attractions since we’ve already got our Express Pass anyway. It would be a waste not to use it!

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Terminator 2: 3D was next on the list because it was the closest one to where we were then. This attraction was more theatrical than a ride. The lady who played a manager or some sort was really into her character, she was the highlight of the show.

We all gathered in front of the theater first and she was introducing herself and asked where some of us were from. Mind you, all of this was all in Japanese so this was what we gathered from our limited Japanese. She made fun that some of the patrons were from Osaka. One person behind us raised their hand and said that they were from Chiba.

And then someone else said that they were from Hawaii. That got a major reaction out of her because she was very impressed with how far they have come. She even turned around and said to the group from Osaka that that group was here all the way from Hawaii. It was all very entertaining.

Anyway, I don’t want to say much about the rest in case you don’t want to spoil yourself. What I would say is that it made me feel quite nostalgic for the Terminator 2 film (which, to me, is the best Terminator out there).

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Taken while walking to our next ride. 

After Terminator 2: 3D, we went on to The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man – The Ride 4K3D. (My goodness, another mouthful isn’t it? xD)

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I didn’t go on this the first time I was at USJ because I’m not a fan of 3D and not really a fan of Spider-Man. However, Express Pass this time! xD And lune actually liked this ride the most in USJ. So do check it out if you have the chance.

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Cute name right? To match it with the ride’s name at the back. 

I really contemplated getting the hot dog but it was so expensive! Almost double the price of the one I got at Tokyo DisneySEA. So I didn’t get one. ^^”

We were slowly making our way back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when we came across this sign.

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I couldn’t help taking a picture of this because it reminds me of my two favourite Brooklyn boys! 

And beside this sign, we saw this:

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The Spider-Man circular sign is so cute. And can you spot Spider-Man himself? 

We ended up sitting by the ‘lake’ just to relax and rest a little. There had been a lot of walking that day xD

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And of course, I kept taking pictures… The tracks on the top picture are from The Flying Dinosaur I think. 

After about 20 minutes, we continued on our journey to go back to Hogsmead once more..

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The rain continued on hence all of the umbrellas… Lune has pointed out that the weather was like we were in Scotland where Hogswart is. Well, I suppose she is right but it would have been much cooler when it rains in Scotland…

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We spent a lot of time just taking photos. I wanted to document it all in my phone. We actually went by the Castle one more time to take more photos too xD

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What can I say? I love tea and cakes xD This was just a display though, the shop isn’t real. 

Lune quite wanted to try the butter beer ice-cream so we went inside The Three Broomsticks once more and the place is almost empty! I suppose that was to be expected since the park closing soon-ish.

I, of course, had to try the chocolate ice cream too.

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It was pricey, around 400JPY but hey, it was Florean Fortecue’s! xD The ice cream was quite good too. 🙂

We really didn’t want to leave but we had too because the park isn’t opened for the whole night. So we slowly made our way back out.

I almost forgot! We had to leave because we want to have enough time for one last ride. Hollywood Dream – The Ride. Again, with the Express Pass, it was almost no waiting time at all. And I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time I visited USJ. I think this would be my favourite ride of the day…

I then took Lune to see Universal Wonderland too and came across these cute Woodstocks!

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It was the second half of June so I was a bit surprised to still see the Easter display… ^^”

We then slowly made our way out to the Hollywood area, stopping to take a couple of photos of the lights as the sun was slowly setting.

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Beverly Hills? Beverly Hills! xD 

This was the first time that I left an amusement park while it was still light. xD However, the park was closing. We heard the announcement and I stayed behind to see the electrical night parade the last time I was there, it wasn’t worth staying for really.

(That was the reason why I thought the opening and closing time on the website wasn’t reliable. We stayed beyond the closing time on the internet that first time. The parade didn’t finished till nearly 8pm or something and I remembered seeing the closing time being 7.30pm on the web…)

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The famous Universal globe… 

We weren’t interested in taking a picture of/with this at all in the morning xD but in the evening as we were leaving, we had all the time in the world.

We took the same trains back to our hotel, and we happened to see a takoyaki shop right by the train station where we had to change from JR to the metro.

It wouldn’t be a proper visit to Osaka without eating takoyaki!

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So we bought this to share. Ended up eating them right there by the station because they wouldn’t have survived the metro to the hotel…

There was also a Family Mart convenient store right by our metro exit to the hotel, so I went into check if they still had oden or not and it turned out they still did!

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I got two daikon pieces and one egg roll! 

I love oden because it’s such a light but refreshing meal 😀

We made it back to the hotel not too late, which was great because we had another early morning the next day. Visiting USJ with Lune was definitely another highlight of my year this year. So happy I got to share this with her.

To finish this entry off, here are all of the things I’d spent my money on at USJ:

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:DDDDDDD

 

And here is how much we walked that day!

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Not bad, not bad at all 😉

And that’s it for this entry. I’m so happy it’s doneeeeee. So let’s post it before I can’t xD

Next stop, Tokyo~

 

With love,

From GZ

 

PS – It’s not 9pm yet but I’m so tired I will go to sleep after this. It’s also been really cool today! Cool enough that I don’t need the A/C and just has the fan on at the lowest and I’m under the duvet! xD

 

PPS – I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. OTL So packed this week and I’ve been sleeping on time! But still feel tired. Urgh.

 

 

[June in Japan] Day 2 at USJ Part 1

Good evening everyone!

It’s Wednesday again and y’all know how I like updating my blog on a Wednesday xD

Today, I bring with me a whole heaps of photos to take you all through my day at Universal Studio Japan.

We planned to leave quite early to make the most out of the day. Because I checked on hyperdia, I found out a shorter way to commute to USJ from our hotel in Namba. We had to switch from the metro to JR line, but it was without any hassle with the Suica card we had.

I believe we stopped by a convenient store (may be Family Mart because that was right on top of our subway exit) to grab a quick breakfast which we ate on the way. Though, actually, I have a memory of eating a hot breakfast burrito by the train platform so may be we stopped by at 7/11…

Anyway, we arrived at the Universal station around 8ish which was slightly later than we planned but the park wasn’t opened quite yet.

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Special decoration for their 15th year!

(I remembered from the last time I went there in April 2015 that even though I arrived before the park’s opening time on the website, I could hear screams from the roller coaster already as well as staying past the closing time on the website so I questioned how reliable the information was on the official website itself.)

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Waiting for the park to open. There were many other people who came early just like us… 

 

Lune had bought the park ticket as well as the Express pass for both of us from Thailand in advance so we didn’t have to queue up to buy a ticket.

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Yay for Harry Potter design one! This is the entry ticket. The Express pass came as a print out A4 with a QR code the staff could scan. 

The reason why we bought the ticket before hand was so that we could buy the Express pass.

The last time (which was my first time) I came to USJ, I didn’t buy any Express pass, thinking that I wouldn’t want to spend more money just to cut the queue. However, I was very intrigued to see how much more time I would save if I did buy the Express pass so we gave it a go this time around.

And well, it was worth it.

We went for the Express 7 Pass ~Backdrop~ because the Express 4 didn’t seem enough and I really wanted to try the Backdrop this time around. The queueing really was almost non-existence with the 7 rides we could enter with the Express pass so we had plenty of time to walk around, browse the shop and take photos. It also came with an entry time for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which sometimes required a time ticket. If you only bought the park entry ticket, you’d have to go get the time ticket at the booths near the entrance to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to get a designated time before you can go in.

Or this was what happened when I went in April 2015. It didn’t turn out quite like this this time around…

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s get back to the beginning first.

So we queued up and slowly made our way in after 8.30am when the park opened. Our first ride was going to be The Flying Dinosaur which is a new attraction for the 15th Anniversary.

However, I thought that we might not be able to go back into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter after we come out the first time so I thought we’d try to get a time ticket for an evening slot just in case. So we walked all the way to the Rose garden to find out that we didn’t need a time ticket for that day. *fail*

I’m not sure if they’ve stopped with the time ticket altogether or if it was just because of that time of year where there were less visitors…

We then wanted to cut through Amity Village to get to the Jurassic Park area to find out that they had closed the Amity Village (due to JAWS renovation) and we had to walk around the lake to get to the Jurassic Park area.

*Double fail*

Here’s a link to the Studio Map if anyone is interested.

Anyway, we finally made it to The Flying Dinosaur before 9am and decided to go with the Single Rider option for less queueing time. This is the one thing I like about amusement park in Japan, not sure if they have this option at other countries but I’ve never seen them before until in Japan.

It’s for filling a spare seat or two so they won’t be wasted. So even if I went with Lune, I wouldn’t get to sit next to her. The line is shorter so less queueing time though, even if it’s you can’t really say how long it will be because it really depends on the people in the normal queue and how many people are in each group.

Anyway, we went with the single rider queue and only waited for less than half an hour to get on the ride. We were lucky enough to be on the same train but in different row.

I didn’t realise that the seat would really move so that if felt like you were being carried face down towards the ground. I kept tensing because I was scared that the seat wouldn’t hold me and I would fall face first to whatever it was beneath me. Irrational, I know. But still.

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I think it was because I was so tensed, as well as the seat arrangement, the ride actually made me more nauseous than usual. One time experience really was enough for both lune and I…

After that, we decided to go on the Jurassic Park – The Ride because it was right next to The Flying Dinosaur.

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We also had the Express pass which meant almost no queueing at all 😀 yay~ The last time I went there, I surprisingly liked the Jurassic Park ride even though I hadn’t really seen the films at all.

This time, I was (and still am) a fangirl of the franchise. I went to the Jurassic World in the cinema (Chris Pratt and his raptor squad…) and came home wanting to watch the original trilogy and did. So I was able to immerse myself in the ride way more than last time.

Lune and I had also packed a rain coat because I remember how wet we got the last time and it really did help 🙂

And here’s to what we had been looking forward to since… probably forever ;p

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What is this picture of the forest you say? Well…

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It’s Hogsmeade time!!

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Can I take this train to Hogwarts please? Pretty please? 

The place was busy but not too crowded.

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Anyone need to send a post? 

Because a time ticket wasn’t needed to enter The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we went into the area around 10am. We had to wait until nearly 11am for our designated time for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3D ride (what a mouthful! xD), so we walked around from shop to shop to browse through merchandises.

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That monster book Hagrid required all students to buy for his subject xD 

As we strolled further into the area, we came to one magnificent sight…

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Hogwarts Castle *sighs happily*

When the time came, we went to the Express pass entrance and was quickly ushered into the Castle itself.

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Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in 4K3D

The Forbidden Journey ride (I ain’t gonna say the full name again, too long!) was a bit better than my first time. Probably because I was trying to be as relaxed as possible and tried not to focus my eyes on one thing in particular. I was more gazing dazedly at everything during the ride xD

After that, we went on the Flight of the Hippogriff straightaway. Again, with the help of the Express Pass, we didn’t really have to queue at all. Whoop!

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Almost didn’t have time to snap some photos because we didn’t have to stand and wait at all! 

This ride was much more fun than the Forbidden Journey one, just like I remembered… It’s a shame there isn’t an Express Pass where I can skip the Forbidden Journey and have this Flight of the Hippogriff instead… -3-

We browsed around the shops some more, spent some money and decided that we were hungry after all! xD

It was lunch time 🙂

We’d decided before even going to USJ that we would have lunch at the Three Broomsticks. I didn’t eat here when I visited the first time and so felt like I needed to make up for that xD

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Inside the Three Broomsticks… 

There was a bit of a queue (surprise, surprise) to get into the restaurant but we didn’t have to wait too long. I took this chance to take quite a few photos as well as upload them up onto my social media 8D Bless pocket wifi.

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For lunch, I went for this chicken and pork ribs platter (because I kind of wanted to try both roast chicken and the BBQ ribs). Sadly, the chicken was too dried. The ribs were ok, I would have liked to have some vegetable too. The corn cob was a bit too much for me…

I also got dessert because I’d always wanted to know what Harry’s favourite dessert tasted like.

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Treacle tart with clotted cream and raspberries.

Now this, I would get again. I think it would have been perfect with a cup of tea. (Mmmmm.) The treacle filling was sweet, chewy and I could taste a hint of lemon zest. It went extremely well with the creamy clotted cream and the sharpness of the raspberry cut through and helped lifted the dish up. I especially liked the part near the crust that was a bit burnt. Om nom nom.

 

And… my laptop is now down to 29% and it’s nearly my bed time… I didn’t realise that it would take me this long to write a post on our day at USJ so I am splitting it into 2 parts! ^^”

And hopefully, the next part will come soon-ish. Not tomorrow though, tomorrow is packed full D: And then Friday is for going out (xD) and there may be plans for Saturday… So we shall see, lol.

 

Hope you guys are having a good (and less busy) week!

 

With love,

From GZ

 

[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…