#210 Scorching hot summer vacation day 1/7

Actually I wrote half of my travel log during the trip using note so I am just going to copy and paste them here and add more details. I have finished editing my photos yesterday, only day 1 though, and I really cannot imagine how much more time it will take for me to finish the photos I took that week. Lol. I really take too many pictures. But anyway, on to the travel log but it might sound awkward cause half of it was written on that day and half of it now.

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And so I set off early in the morning for Tohoku! A rare Monday without any Monday blues but I am just super super sleepy cause I slept at 12 yesterday and woke up at 4:30 this morning. Was too excited to sleep ytd I guess. Anyway I spent so much time checking my room before leaving (had to make sure it was clean if not I might go home to a bunch of creepy things) so I had to chiong to the station and was just in time for the train. I don’t know if that was a good start but I shall take it as it is since I caught the train. 

The very first photo I took after stepping out of the dorms! It’s still so early!!

Anyway this time I am going to try sth havoc and go to Tohoku without using the Shinkansen. I don’t know how it will be like but I guess it will be like a night bus just that it’s in the day and I have abit more leg space (cause I can stretch it out). Maybe abit less comfortable too cause the seats aren’t the comfy type. Anyway, start of my first long train ride (3h) and I am going to have a short nap to make up for last night.

Anyway I am writing this using iPhone note and I realized it’s quite convenient cause I get to add the photos I took right into the note.  

Omg. I just realized it’s Monday morning and the train I am on now goes to Tokyo=rush hour!!!! I must admit it feels shiok when you see people around you all squashed together and you are sitting comfortably. Heehee. Some more the person beside me is this slender lady so I have like super a lot of personal space. Perks of living in the inaka cause you get to take the train earlier. 

Ok. I’m back. The trains in Tohoku area are all very short, only 4 cars. But the interesting thing is that they all have toilet lol. Actually I’m not sure if normal trains in Tokyo have toilet in the train anot.

Anyway I am finally reaching my destination and I really cannot believe how long it took for me to get here. Super super bored and I am already v tired. No wonder people spend money to take the shinkansen lol. Taking trains like that make me feel young but actually my butt hurts from sitting. 

↑ Oops. Awkward start for the blog post but I wrote those stuff above when I was heading to my first stop. Hahaha. I was really talking to myself cause there was no one to talk too, so please forgive me for the excessive use of ‘lol’ and other singlish. Anyway, it really took me super long to reach my destination, which was Yamadera in Yamagata prefecture but it wasn’t that tiring cause I got to sit in all the trains I took.

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First building I saw when I got out of the Yamadera station. The very common old fashioned Japanese building in their sightseeing places.

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The next must-have in a sightseeing spot.

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Some AA dude was driving this bright red car and he was taking pictures of his car against the scenery. Hahaha. Travelling along makes me very sensitive of my surroundings and I tend to observe people around me more (sounds a bit stalkerish hahaha).

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Finally reached the entrance to the famous Yamadera and I am ready to climb the 1000 plus steps towards the top of the yama. It was a really hot day that day but as the budding national geographic camera woman I am (sorry already crapping at the start of the post), I thought I had to brave through the storm and the SUN.

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This is 根本中堂 and it is apparently a 重要文化財. Took a close up of it for fun. Actually I thought it will just look like a rather normal structure without the cloths. According to the guide, it is Japan’s oldest beech wood structure (but I don’t know what’s beech oops).

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I thought the direction signs looked pretty cool but upon a closer look I realized it’s the shop’s menu. Hahaha. Cool.

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Even the 便利店 also need to be old fashioned to fit in.

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Actually I keep seeing temples and stuff but I still don’t know what’s the difference. All I know is that I prefer those that look wooden-y. For example, I like the one in the third pic more than the first one.

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Finally reached the entrance to climb the mountain. Paid 300 yen for the entrance fee and started the long and arduous journey up the mountain (actually I doubt it can be really called a mountain cause 1000 steps is actually quite little hahahha. But it is a lot for the skinny and unfit me).

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I wonder why the split roads in life cannot be as easy to choose as this one. Hahaha.

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Anyway here alot of the rock statues wearing the red clothes. (I am v sorry but everytime I see this I get reminded of what the girls in the qing lou wear for their underwear. I think I watch too much 古装 already.)

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Some huge stone but luckily it’s not blocking the road.

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Actually it wasn’t that bad cause I was under the canopy.

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I entertained myself by taking lots of random photos along the way. It is really interesting how those statues are all around the mountain randomly like they are placed by different people at different time.

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I thought this was a toilet cause it has that aura to it but turned out it was just a storeroom.

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Finally reaching some building after climbing for about 15mins. The yellow leaves made it look autumn-y but don’t let it fool you cause it was really freaking hot.

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I kind of like the hole in the rock cause it’s like a natural shelter. Ok, I don’t know if it’s natural or not cause you know now even plastic surgery looks natural.

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I wonder if there’s some kind of meaning to stacking up rocks like that. There should be but I’m too lazy to find out about it. (I am not that interested in religious stuff.)

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This is the Niomon gate and apparently the two statues in the gate are some Nio guardians who will prevent those with wicked hearts from passing through. I got through it without any problem as expected hahahaha.

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Stairs, stairs and still stairs.

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I spy the famous small structure  located near the cliff. Eggcited!

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Here it is!!! Not a good picture of it cause it was against the light. It is called the Nokyodo Hall. I don’t think you can do anything in the hall cause it’s really super small and maybe can fit 3 people?

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It’s really cool how the building at really built on the rocks in the mountain!

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This is the Godaido Hall and it’s an observation deck where you can see the valley very clearly! I really like it alot cause it’s built on a cliff!

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Hahaha. Took a photo of myself using self-timer. Tried acting like I was thinking about something but all I can see is just a poser hahahha.

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My nth attempt. ;/ No wonder I always take super long to edit my photos.

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I thought this mushroom statue looked a bit out of place. (Maybe not a bit but I thought it was really cute. A bit too short to be an enoki so maybe it’s a simeji.)

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A must-have bright red post box.

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I stalked this old lady cause I thought she was super pro climbing up. I even told her Otsukaresama after she reached the top. See I so friendly hahahha.

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Finally reached the Okunoin Hall which is right at the top of the mountain. I think I probably took 45mins to 1hour to get there cause of all the photo taking.

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I like how they tied the omikuji at the top.

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Do you see him?

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So cute! And super out of place for both the setting and the season. I wonder why he hasn’t melted yet.

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Walking back down and retaking photos cause the sun was setting and it was getting easier to take photos.

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Back at the foot of the mountain! The walk down was 100000000X faster man!

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Wanted to get back to the station and catch the train only to realize that the next train was one hour later. This is the real inaka…

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This is the Kofuku no Kane (bell of good fortune). As the foreigner I am, I rang it hahahha. I was quite loud but it was ok cause no one was around me.

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Took a photo of the mountain I climbed. It looks really different from the outside cause the rocks/stones are hidden by the trees.

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The colour of the money box is v interesting! I don’t really see this colour around cause it feels abit angmoh.

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Spot me.

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The post office in Yamadera. Looks too modern for its surroundings. I went in to enjoy abit of aircon heeheehee. #truebluesingaporean #noairconnolife

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Please use your 火眼金睛 to find the tera in the yama.

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Went to the Yamadera basho memorial museum (which is at the other side of the station) although it was already closed cause I had too much free time. Took random photos of the buildings over there and I was quite amazed by the yellow-ness of the building.

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Very yellow right!!!

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I was very fascinated by the roof then (don’t ask me why I took so many photos cause I don’t know. It was just on the spur of the moment).

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Use your 火眼金睛 again. I am quite proud of myself for climbing so high then. Hahaha.

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Back at the station!!!

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I think they spent quite a lot of effort decorating the resting area in the station. Hahaha.

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I quite like this green travelling monster. Hahaha.

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Wow, a map of the place on the sign of the station name. Quite useful but too bad I only look around the station after finishing my sightseeing lol. I think most people are like that.

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My train came!!! And I slowly travelled towards my hotel for that night.

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Reflection of the sunset. I think I was quite bored on the train.

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Reached this random station where I had to wait 45mins for the next train so I decided to get myself a snack at the convenience store. But the convenience store wasn’t that convenient cause I had to walk 10-15mins to get there.

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My first time seeing this kind of machine. I think it’s for stations without station masters.

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View from the overpass in the station. I think pictures turn out nice no matter how you take them when you are in the inaka.

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Inaka toilet. Looks like some robot from some sci-fi movie.

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Spot me!

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This might be my favourite shot of the day! Hahaha. Even more than the pictures I took at Yamadera.

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Spamming photos of the sunset cause it’s もったいない not to take them when the sky is so beautiful.

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What is this for?!? I only see this in those ancient china shows when those people need to sleep in some abandoned building.

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Anyway, it was already quite late when I got back to the hotel. Spent most of my time on the train during this trip but I guess it was just nice cause my toe is still painful from my injury back then (when I kicked the stairs while walking up).

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My room for the first night and I came back to this hotel 5 day later. They gave my the exact same room lol. That’s all for day 1 and I shall move on to edit photos I took on day 2!

#207 Osaka→Nara

Typed this post one month ago but posting ago now cause of the belated photos. Hahaha. Better late then never like what they always say.

After the lecture ended and ran back to my hotel, changed out of my suit to my t-shirt jeans l, took my luggage and made my way to Nara. It’s my first time going Nara (I think it is cause that time the Osaka university people only brought us to Wakayama and Mie) so I was highly eggcited!!! Hahaha. I expected quite alot from Naramachi cause I looked at the photos in the travel guide and those pics looked quite cool but in the end it wasn’t that good hahhaha. But it’s ok cause I enjoyed how Nara’s a lot more chill than the other places. But anyway, I am going to write in detail now so that I won’t forget what I did. Seriously my memory getting really bad I can’t even rmb what I ate ytd lol.

Anyway I made a brief stop at namba so that I can try the v v famous jiggly cheesecake @rikuroojisan. Was expecting a long queue but lucky for me, it was a weekday and people are still not off work yet (it was before 1800 I think) so the queue was rather short and I got my jiggly cheesecake in no time. I think I was supposed to take vid or sth when they slice the cake to show that it’s jiggling but I only got a v noob vid (cause I wasn’t in time for it) so too bad.

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Okay. It was soft but the taste wasn’t as good as I expected. And some angmohs talked to me and they also said the taste was a bit disappointing lol. I think people like us expected a cheesier taste but maybe to the Japs fluffiness is the most impt. But like what they say, 不吃cheesecake非好汉 and I managed to be a 好汉 so I’m satisfied!

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Had to add this photo so that I can rmb the name of the shop. After that, I made my way to the station.

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Wanted to get to the Namba station but for some reason I got lost and found myself at the next station. Oh wells. No biggie but I guess I walked one station for nothing.

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As I was saying, I was chionging to Nara and on my way there I started thinking about whether it’s save to leave my baggage in the dormitaries cause some other people are also going to be staying there lol. Actually I was just worried that people might steal my bag (although I don’t have expensive things inside) and I won’t be able to write my report without the notes I got from the lecture. In the end I decided that I should just see how things are like at the dorm and if the place is havoc, I will just use some locker at the station. Turns out that I worried for nothing cause they had lockers in the room hahaha. Obviously the pros know what is necessary lol.

But anyway, I managed to find my way to the hostel without any troubles and the owner was super nice and he answered all my touristy questions v patiently hahaha.

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Left those unnecessary stuff in the locker and went out for dinner plus an evening/night walk.

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A tourist spot-styled lawsons. A little more oshare than the usual lawsons cause they try to design it to fit the surroundings.

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As usual I couldn’t resist the urge to have ramen so I got myself ramen at this shop recommended in the guide and it tasted really good. But apparently it’s not ramen but Chinese soba but whatever I am just going to call it ramen cause it tasted like ramen to me. I really really like the 味玉. Bagus!

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This sauce was really good too!!! I highly recommend adding it after you finish half your ramen to enjoy a change in the taste!

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The nara mascot right outside macs.

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I was contemplating whether I should go the shop areas (though the shops are already closed) or the temple area so take photos of the night scenery and decided to go to the temple area after checking out the photos online. I was quite satisfied (though I’m not sure if the photos will turn out as good as I expected then to cause I am actually writing this post before I edit my photos in case I forget about what I did lol) and glad that I went for a walk instead of just going back to the  hostel after dinner.

↑I typed this before editing my photos. Now I am just going to continue from here hahahhaa. Lazy me. Anyway I went to the temple area like what I said earlier and battled with the settings of the camera. It was v v hard to take photos cause one, I still don’t know how to use this camera and two, I have close to zero exp in night photography. So the shutter speed, yada yada yada I just had to anyhow adjust to get the photos I want and after uploading them onto my computers I realized more than half of the photos are screwed lol. Oh wells. No quality means I need quantity to make up for it.

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I hope the photos are ok cause I am not really sure how to edit them lol. Actually they look abit not ok right.

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Some really ulu building at some ulu place. I think it is supposed to be a library.

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Nara is really interesting cause they even have road signs to ask you to look out for blur deers jumping into the road. Lol. Anwyay I finally reached this pavilion that was recommended by the person at the tourist center and it was really quite nice! It’s called the ukimido!

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The green lights make it abit eerie though!

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Sorry for the spam but I’m just uploading all so I can have them saved in my wordpress. Anyway the last one is my favourite!

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From another angle. lol.

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I thought the design of the curtain? is quite cute!!! And very fitting! Continue my walk towards another famous place called koufukuji temple.

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The red colour of the cloth faded so much I couldn’t saturate them well. Oops. Maybe is cause I bo skill. Anyway by then I got a little tired and started making my way back.

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Anyway, when I got back, no one was there yet and I realized only people like me go back before 10pm and to other people they will be like the night is still young and havoc around lol. So I bathed, packed my things and finally this other girl came and she was my only roommate that night. Shiok. So we had the room to ourselves and being the antisocial person I am, I didn’t even try making a small talk with her (and her me so it’s not only me) and we just stayed in our beds. Cause I was too lazy to use the lockers, I just left my luggage (only one backpack so not a lot) on my bed and slept with it just next to me. Anyway I took a photo of my bed hahaha. Had the whole double decker bed to myself.

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I had quite a lot of fun cause I experienced a lot of ‘first times’ like taking a walk at night during a solo trip, staying in a hostel without anyone I know and touring Nara. Maybe I should dedicate my life to experiencing and challenging new things cause it’s super effing fun. Heehee.

#203 About Osaka again

Sorry for the repeated post on my first day in Osaka but this time round it will be less on the lecture and more on my touring hahaha. Decided to post this asap if not I will just forget all about it after a week of experiments (need to throw old data into trash to clear data space for my expt results).  Anyway I will just go straight to my adventures after day 1’s lecture ended.

So I read somewhere about how the Kuromon Ichiba was the ‘kitchen’ of Osaka (or was it the ‘supermarket’. Ok I think it was ‘kitchen’) and wanted to check it out just for the sake of checking it out. So I made my way (I kind of had to rush cause it’s supposed to be a slightly wet market and the shops usually close in the evening) there right after I changed out of my suit and luckily for me some shops were still opened. This place felt like a combination of a wet market and a shopping street, maybe contents of a wet market but layout of a shopping street or something like it.

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There were shops selling BBQ seafood and I was super tempted to buy but I decided that I wasn’t in the mood to spend SGD10 on the BBQ scallops. Hahaha. I was feeling quite cheapo that day lol. But it’s really quite ex (imo) to get a small scallop for that price leh. But I can’t deny the fact that it looks super legit and now I am feeling hungry again. Oops.

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And I was lucky (at least I think I was) to see the uncle collecting the remains of the carcasses and so some reason he was smiling quite happily doing his job (maybe he is v 敬業)  or maybe he is posing for me cause he might be already quite used to weird foreigners taking photos of dead bodies (of those fishes).

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There is also this shop selling tofu and related stuff and the thing that caught my eye was the ‘卖完了’ cause that’s like totally Chinese and I think I was in a good mood and so I was quite amused by it at that time.

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They also sold seafood like those usual markets and the thing that was recommended online was the thing in the middle. I even zoomed in to show you what it is cause it’s like super cannot see clearly in the first one. Hahahha. So actually it’s just quail egg squeezed into the small sotong head and it looks super cute (Japanese people are really super creative). Although I really wanted to eat it, there were like > 5 housewifes flying around them/ resting on them and I don’t think my stomach can tahan housefly eggs so I decided to 眼看嘴不动. Omg to the hygiene by 100 points to their artistic sense.

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So I finally satisfied my curiosity of that place and moved on to Dotonbori, where I always go to when I go Osaka, to get my dinnerrr. When in Osaka, EAT TAKOYAKI is the true blue 外人 (foreigner) way, so my first stop was of course the takoyaki shop. And I was super super surprised that there was NO QUEUE!!! Ok, there was a queue but only 2 people in front of me. Apparently this shop is supposed to be quite famous and usually have quite long queue but maybe cause it was a Thursday evening and Japanese people are still working. So lucky me didn’t have to queue too long for my takoyaki.

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And the guy in the shop really look like some china/taiwan actor to me. You know some calefare who acts as everything but the main character. Oh wait. Maybe it was some Jap calefare I had in mind. Whatever la, as long as the takoyaki he makes is nice, I don’t really care how he looks. Hahaha.

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And here’s my takoyaki, and next to it is the guidebook which brought me to it!

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So after I just walked around and took random photos of the street. I secretly think I have similar pictures in my com but nvm just take.

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I don’t know what’s so impressive about this billboard but since it’s like a ‘die die must take photo’ spot, I shall just follow the crowd and 入乡随俗. Ok I think the idiom I use wrongly.

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I always knew of the existence of this river but I think this is my first time going down to this part of the street. I didn’t even know they had this structure at the Donki Houten shop.

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After that I tried to find cheap food in Osaka and it was mentioned that there was some 140yen cabbageyaki so I went on a quest to hunt it down. #cheapthingsmusteat On the way there I saw the most sacred building which wrote ホルモン (beef or porl offal) and I secretly started drooling. Horumonyaki is seriously one of my favourite food in Japan cause I so super love intestines!

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And I finally reached! It looked so unimpressive lol.

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Looks like some singapore snack to me. You know this pastry with like peanuts on it? I forgot the name hahaha. Anyway it tasted normal and I don’t think I will recommend it unless you just have the urge to eat sth like okonomiyaki but no time to go to the shop and slowly it then maybe you can have this to temporary satisfy your craving. It is quite like a cheap substitute to the real okonomiyaki.

Anyway, considering that I still had lecture the next day, I decided to head back to the hotel to nua. On my way back, of course I spammed photos.

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Capsule hotel!!! I think I wanna try it someday!!! (scribbles it onto my ‘want to try’ list)

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The name of the shop caught my attention but I wasn’t interested enough to check out what kind of shop it was. I doubt it’s a kinky shop though (cause that part no the red light district kind leh).

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This shop gave me a Taiwan feel (Jiufen feel) but I guess it’s just the red lanterns lol.

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This is seriously the least crowded eggs n thing I have ever seen. I was really super shocked by how 冷清 it was.

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Their streetlights quite oshare.

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Yay! Back at my hotel!!! Looks super altas and super cool right!

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Sorry I was lying. Too boliao. Ok this one then is the place I am staying. Ok la. I think it’s quite good and it looks quite new inside. Somemore got some oshare cafe-like place inside. The signs are also rather oshare. Got some kind of angmoh feel to it. But inside the hotel it’s just like any other business hotels.

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And a photo of the toilet just for fun!

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Ok! Goodnight amigos! I feel so sleepy!

#201 Osaka

I think Osaka will always have a special place in my heart. Hahaha. I always feel v familiar with the places when I come to Osaka but when I go like those city areas in Tokyo I feel super lost. But actually I have only been in Osaka for one year as compared to being in Tokyo for 6 years lol. To me Osaka >>> Tokyo hahahaha. 

The Ferris wheel still look the same after so many years and my photo taking skills also still as bad after so many years. 

But anyway, I’m not here for a holiday but for work and I attended this long long lecture today from 930 to 1700 and am going to attend the part 2 tmr. Super super long and I think I am not used to listening to classes for such long hours anymore. I was totally dozing off after lunch cause of food coma and things were even worse cause the prof sounded like he was singing me lullaby. He super 咬字不清 so it’s like he talk cheek stuff I already v hard to understand plus it’s Japanese and somemore I still cannot decipher what Greek he talking. <- oops this is complain queen jasmine kwek speaking.

But there were also some interesting part and I guess I learnt some new stuff today. It would have been better if the profs didn’t spend so much time on their introductions cause most of them didn’t manage to finish teaching the stuff in their ppt and I have a feeling the parts at the back and the cheemer and more impt points. To say the truth, I was kind of irritated by some of them cause they just kept wasting time talking about the easy concepts over and over again. Oh wells, who ask them to be the prof and me the student. 

Anyway, the lecture was held at the kao building and I realized something v interesting in their toilets. Yes, you heard me right, toilets. They put so many of their products in the toilet I was really amazed and as the curious banana I am, I actually tried them and thought they were quite good.

One of the products I tried (which was placed iñ the cubicle lol) was some spray thingy for you to spray on the toilet paper so that you can wipe yourself cleaner and feel less discomfort cause it also acts as a lubricant to decrease and friction from the toilet paper. Ok I just searched for it on Google and realised that it actually came out quite long ago and maybe it’s even older than me lol.

They also had handcreams (nivea and atrix) and mouth rinse. I use nivea so I know how it feels like but it’s the first time I tried atrix. It was abit oiler and you can feel it there for a longer period of time. I think it’s good for people who like to feel their hand smooth and nice but for me I don’t really like the oily feeling so I think I prefer nivea. As for the mouth rinse, I just had to dilute it with water (they even have cups there for you to use) and it felt like any other mouth rinse I’ve used before.

That’s all for the Kao products hahaha. After the lecture, I went back to the hotel to check in. I booked this room on the girls only floor and maybe that’s why the room looks abit girly (the wallpaper). The room not v impressive but it’s only 10mins away from the Kao building the 3mins from the nearest train station Shinsaibashi!!!! So the location is actually super super good!!!

After that I changed and went out for dinner. Bought my cam along to take photos heehee. And of course I ate takoyaki!

The rest of the photos are in my cam. I feel lazy now so bye.

#191 Trip planning

I kind of found a new hobby, trip planning. It’s kind of a fun process, especially when there’s an informative and easy to use website with almost all the details you need. And when planning a trip in Japan, I highly recommend japan-guide.com cause it is so informative! I am very dependent on it now for all my trip plannings!

Trip planning is especially enjoyable when you are planning a solo trip because you can DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! And since I am a really indecisive person to start with, things are worse when I have to consider others’ needs, especially when I am not that familiar with their travelling styles. So when travelling with others, I try to shy away from the planning and just go along with what others have decided on. That works for me cause everything feels enjoyable to me if I haven’t done it before. And it is definitely the easiest to follow cause I don’t have to use my brain at all. I would recommend it if you are a busy/lazy person.

I used to think like what’s the point of planning especially if there are other people doing it  a for you. But after my trip planning, I realized that planning a trip yourself brings that ‘enjoyable’ to another level. It increases satisfaction level to the maximum and it’s definitely worth the hassle.

1. It allows for complete control over your trip

Maybe it’s too much to say it’s a complete control due to unforeseen circumstances and stuff, but you will have control on where to go, where to stay, what trains to take, where to eat how long to stay at one place, going to some ulu place just for taking one photo and so on. I truly believe that people do, in some sense, desire for control over things they do and this helps to satisfy that desire. You get to decide how to allocate your budget too, like you want to spend more on food and less on transport or things like that.

2. Less blaming

I don’t know whether this is applicable but I do feel that planning trips yourself prevents the irrational blaming of other people when the trip fails/when you have regrets on the trip. (My angmoh not good enough for my to explain this properly.) I don’t know if it’s cause of the planning or cause of travelling alone but since you are responsible for the planning, there’s nothing to do but to accept it when something goes awry. Sometimes there are cool places that you didn’t get to visit and you will be thinking ‘we could have gone there…’ and start (maybe subconsciously) blame the other person for not thinking about that and planning trips yourself prevents that from happening.

3. It allows more higher levels of anticipation

With the pre-trip research, you get a rough image of what you are going to get, allowing you to be excited about it before the trip. It means that you are going to experience longer periods of happiness (I am sorry if the direct relationship between being excited and happiness is a fallacy but to me it kind of works that way). For me, it also provides me with some form of distraction from the stress from work.

4. You know what you are missing out and why

It’s not always ‘yay we get to do everything’ for all the trips you plan. Sometimes because of the season, sometimes cause of the assessibility of the place, sometimes cause of your lack of budget and there are tons of reason for you to be NOT ABLE to do things you want. Planning trips allow you to not what you are missing out and allow you to feel regretful (and to me this is not entirely a bad thing cause I like to be in touch with all my emotions, be they bad or negative ones). Another thing is at the same time, you get to KNOW WHY and to someone like me, the reason is something that I always want to know.

5. Sense of satisfaction upon return

Last but not least, post trip satisfaction is also something to look forward to. Since you are involved in the whole process of researching, planning, making arrangements, executing and post-trip reflecting, it’s like completing one whole (big) project (all by yourself if you are going alone). Different from those projects you do at work, this one has much less pressure since you are responsible for yourself (and your travelling companion if it’s a pair/group trip). 
On the downside, you might find yourself wanting to go to many places after looking at all those nice places while doing research so this hobby might drain your pockets if you let your travelling desires ran too wild. But then again, it’s part of the package to know your limits (budget, energy and so on) when trip planning so I guess that doesn’t really count.
Try planning your trips and you might find yourself gaining a lot more from your trips!

#188 KIRAKIRA Golden Week Day 3 Part 2

I feel so sorry about the long draggy KIRAKIRA Golden week series so I decided to chiong finish the last part today. Already v tired but I wrote in my BUJO about finishing blog post on day 3 so I am going to v fasterly finish writing this and go to sleep. Actually now I am in bed wearing my pajamas and v v v ready to go to sleep anytime. So I will long talk short say (chinese).

On day 3 of GW, after my photo spamming at Gaspard and Lisa land, I took one stop to 河口湖 station. That place was seriously crowded with people trying to get to the Shibasakura festival (which I intended to go at first but gave up cause of the crowd).

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Since it was already 1130, I decided to grab lunch first before starting my sightseeing here (I planned to just walk walk along the 湖). And that proved to be v smart of me to have an early lunch because the queue became super long after 10 mins. Lol. Apparently the shop I went to was this famous shop selling the famous local dish. I saw quite a few foreigners and there were also Japanese, meaning that this shop is really famous.

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And of course, like the true blue foreigner I am, I chose the special local dish called the FUDOU HOUTOU. Looks like udon to me! Even the coaster is oshare looking. And I like how the seasoning is placed in a Mt Fuji-like thing.

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Piping hot Houtou!!! And it was really good!!! Even though I am not a veggie person, I really liked it! Especially the pumpkin!

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And after lunch I went out of the shop and saw the tip of Mt Fuji blocked by clouds. Sian but at least the weather was still fine. Aiya, just treat it was some kind of art lorh.

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So I started my walking towards the 湖.

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I see the river now!

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Getting back to the station. I like how they have Mt Fuji on the street sign!

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Back at the station! Don’t know what they have this random torii just outside the station. Like v no link but I guess that’s how things are in Japan. Weird is the norm.

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It’s this Fuji railway express train again!

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But no I’m not riding it this time hahahha. Trying out the Narita Express NEX this time. The name sounds really cool and the train looks v professional (big contrast against the kiddy Fuji train lol).

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The inside is woah… cool looking hahahhaa. I prefer the Hitachi tokkyuu train I took on the first day though.

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Obligatory shots on the outside when on the train. Took this when the train was moving ok. Not bad quite stable right hahahha.

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Changed to another train! It’s the thomas land train omg! I thought it was only for people paying extra!!! Don’t know why they let me take it!

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Brings back memories… of my niece’s childhood. This train dude is not my era one. My era is pokemon, digimon and powerpuff girls lol.

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Taken by angmoh family who offered to help me take when they saw my furiously taking photos of all the corners of the train. This time not that awkward I hope. Practice makes perfect.

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It’s かせい. But alot more inaka looking than the 開成 station near my workplace lol. #samenamedifferentlifescenery #ulupandaninakastation

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And last stop of my trip! 下吉田 station! To get to the 忠霊塔!I don’t know why the leaves so red but it’s not autumn here!

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Mt Fuji! Hahaha. With that annoying piece of cloud.

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I am eggcited about the top!!! Gonna start climbing!!

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Woah!!! Hahahha. V nice!! and it’s like only foreigners around! (I told my jap friends later and no one knew about this place lol. Conclusion: this place only recommended on english sites)

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Too bad no sakura liao. But it was really pretty! Anyway this marks the end of my GW trip. After that I was rushing back to catch the last train of the inaka line to my dorms. Super tired but super satisfied with this solo trip!

Can’t wait for my next (solo) trip!

#187 KIRAKIRA Golden Week Day 3

I am still halfway through my photos for day 3 but I have decided that I will post part one, which is on my photo spam at Gaspard and Lisa land in Fuji Q. I guess most people go to Fuji Q for the theme park, which apparently has the scariest? tallest? roller coaster but I didn’t go to the theme park at all (and it will be crazy if I did cause it was super crowded when I went (GW) and it will be kind of boring if I had to queue like 1 hour plus alone and I don’t think I still dare to take such rides. My heart’s a lot weaker now as I age). Instead, I visited the Gaspard and Lisa land recommended by my djd and I am really glad I went there cause it’s so nice. And although it’s a freaking small place, I spent 2 hours spamming photos cause I was taking my own sweet time and taking like >5 photos for every building (seriously don’t know what I am doing). But I really loved it cause the buildings looked v diff from those I saw in the last 2 days (cause they were European(Paris)-styled buildings). The weather was also really good and the photos turned out rather well imo.

後楽園→池袋→新宿→大月

Anyway my first time on Fuji railway! Took the express train which looked really cute with all the Mt Fuji with different expressions! Even the design of curtain in the train was Mt Fuji!

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大月→富士急ハイランド At Fuji Q Highland!!! It’s super super crowded and the roller coaster is really freaking big with alot of turns! X.X The weather was also super good and I could see Mt Fuji in the background. It was alot better int he morning cause after that like around, the top of Mt Fuji was hidden behind some clouds.

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Instead of joining the queue into the theme park, I walked towards the Gaspard and Lisa park instead! Even the sign looked cute! By the way, they are one of my favourite characters in Japan!

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Took this photo of the other gate for Fuji Q with the giant roller coaster. I have a feeling this is another one cause the feel is abit different from the previous one.

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Some omiyage that I wanted to get but forgot. Lol.

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I entered the park! The buildings are so different I felt as if I was in another country lol.

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Love the small details!

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Pretty little town!

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Someone offered to take a photo for me and I look HIGHLY AWKWARD.

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Nevermind. Repeated to myself’I’m cool’ 3 times before moving on from the awkwardness…

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Even at the top!

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The cashier! See that rough drawing on the wall, it’s so pretty especially the balloon with Mt Fuji and the roller coaster!

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I swear they are EVERYWHERE! Spot awkward me.

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Stairway to heaven more dogs.

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More pretty buildings and even a merry-go-round that goes really well with the feel of the whole place!

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Reflection of Mt Fuji!

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Awkward me part 2, oh I mean 3.

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Easter event!!! Find the easter eggs!!!

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Found one!

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Second one! And the third one!

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Awkward me 4 plus spastic pose increased awkwardness by 10000X.

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Looks cute and yummy at the same time!

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#overexposed

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Oshare omiyage. Looks v angmoh style.

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See, the evil clouds have arrived.

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New filter for this crepe shop.

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And I shall end off with awkward me posing with the bakers!

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So after spending 2 hours here, I went off to Kawaguchiko station of lunch and more photo taking (and I have yet to edit those photos oops). Shall update again next time!

#185 KIRAKIRA Golden Week Day 2 Part 2

Have to title my blog post properly cause it’s a continuation from the previous one. I forgot where I left off and had to go check. Oh it was the oshare restaurant. I realized it’s super hard to read my blog unless you are a singaporean who is slightly proficient in Jap cause I use Singlish, Chinese, Hanyu pinyin, Jap and Romaji. Lol. I so I digress.

Anyway shall get back to my ‘hike’ up to the upper part of the little onsen town (I think I sound a little different from yesterday). The water was really blue-green you can see from the photo.

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Map of the place just for reference.

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This 薬王寺 is supposedly one of the v few sightseeing spots in this ulu town. I have a thing of this kind of staircase (not to climb them though). The 寺 was okok only I guess, not v impressive hahahaha.

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There was this 薬師堂 next to it like a sibling structure which was also not v impressive. Hahaha. Tried to act artsy by taking photos of the structure peeking through the gate.

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Anyway there was this public onsen place here and I thought it would be nice to experience it so I went. The place was shockingly small and the bath could only fit 3 people if we sit side by side. Although I am still not used to getting naked in front of strangers, I couldn’t resist the temptation to experience this getting into a free onsen in an onsen town thing so I just did it. It was quite nice seeing how I was already quite tired from the climbing (although I thought the foot bath was much better cause it was less crowded (I was the only one there) and I didn’t have to strip naked). There was a window to look outside, but seriously, there was much to look at cause this place was still transiting from winter to spring so the outside looked a little barren. Sorry no photos cause I am not a hentai lol.

After my short onsen rest, I continued in the direction of the dam and tada! Do you see the hard solid man-made structure that is in such stark contrast to the nature all around it?

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Zoom in and you shall get…

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It’s quite huge and I felt a little dizzy after knowing that I have to climb up to the top to check out the reservoir. #woesofanondriver #tootiredonmywayuptotakeanyphotos #anywaynothingonthewayup #fastfowardtothetop

Finally saw the sign that says 0.1km to the 四万川ダム. Yayness!

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View from the top! #supersatisfiedwithmyself #有志者事竟成

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Map for reference.

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And finally the lake! So blue and nice! And I swear it’s not cause of my editing! (Photo spam again cause such places are for photos and not words)

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End of photo spam. Walked down to the central area again to grab lunch and chanced upon this retro styled shop. Even the seats in front of the game machines look old. I really like this kind of places; the atmosphere and vivid colours v v chio

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Wanted to get the famous food of this onsen town the hand-hit-soba (手打ちそば) (english translation is I anyhow make up one so please don’t take it seriously) for lunch but the queue was too long so I gave up and went to eat sauce katsu rice bowl instead. It was quite nice but nothing spectacular enough for me to go gaga over it. After lunch the time was just nice for me to catch the bus down to the station so I totally forgot about going down to the lower area of the town and until now I am still regretting over it. Lol. But too bad trip’s over and there’s nth I say do about it but to cry over spilled milk here.

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Took photos on the bus trip down again and this time the photos were abit overexposed and I shall just treat them as one of a kind photos taken by yours truly.

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Then I was back at Nakanojo station where I took a train back to Takasaki station so that I could ride the Shinkasen towards Karuizawa. Had a bit of time so I decided and go check out the SL (some cool train which I also mentioned in my previous post). Didn’t get to see it but saw other trains instead. I even got into this area (which was accessible for anyone but apparently only people who work there can enter. I don’t know why the place wasn’t enclosed) and made use of my gaijin status to take photos of the train close up lol. (I know I did it but I really don’t recommend trespassing hahaha)

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Anyway, I was thinking maybe I should get to the furthest station I could go for the Shinkansen and so I took to the stop next to Karuizawa instead (although I didn’t exactly have alot of time but I just felt like doing it).

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Anyway the inside of the shinkansen was super pretty! I loved it!

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高崎→佐久平

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I’m glad I went there cause I managed to get a few cool photos that are overexposed (maybe cause it was really bright and sunny over there). So when I reached, I checked the time for the next train to Karuizawa and started walking around that station to take photos. In the end my favourite photos out of the lot were those taken from the platform.

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Took a photo of this omiyage wanting to get it when I go back but I totally forgot about it/had no time to buy omiyage when I went back on my third day cause I was rushing (will talk more about this in my next post).

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Anyway, took the next train from 佐久平→軽井沢. I think I used my phone to take photos when I reached Karuizawa cause the photos in the cam started from this cottage which is like super random. But anyway, that place’s famous for cottages 別荘 so I took random photos of those cottages I thought looked cool.

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The architecture of that area is v nice. Like there’s a kind of western feel to it and I like how it doesn’t feel too modern with all those wooden buildings. The buildings are mainly brown/beige and I like how the souvenir shop contrasts with its surrounding.

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Love the rows of bowls. Omg. Got 押韵.

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Showed this picture to Grace and she commented why I took scary photos. Scary meh lol.

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Anyway after that I went back to Tokyo again and cause I was already v tired I decided to get back asap so I just bought bread to eat on the train. I was so tired that I was practically dozing off throughout the whole journey back. And I even managed to reach Grace’s station before her (she went out with batchmates by car but driving is a no no during golden week cause traffic jams are seriously v havoc. Like no joke). Was v shag and at that time my left foot was already abit painful.

#183 KIRAKIRA Golden Week Day 2

I am finally done with day 2’s photos. Lol. Cause I am watching drama at the same time, I take really super super super long to edit my photos. I have been feeling tired from work the past 2 days (probably cause of holiday withdrawals) and I don’t know if I can blog properly/finish writing what I wanna write for day 2 but I have decided that I should start writing if not I might start forgetting about things I wanna say. Oh ya, updated my BUJO at noon today during lunch break (a bit no link but I just wanted to write it down somewhere lol).

Anyway, last Thurs which was also Day 2 of my GW hols, I woke up super early again to set out for the 四万温泉 (Shima Onsen) in 群馬 Gunma cause I wanted to see this ryokan which is apparently the model for the one in Spirited Away (although I do not remember a ryokan like that in the animation). And also, I wanted to check out the Shimagawa Dam and the Okushimako Lake which is a reservoir lake formed by the dam. After getting to the top of the dam I was so goddamn tired that I totally forgot about checking out the Kamagafuchi Abyss. A bit wasted but I guess I wasn’t in the condition to walk down to the lower area of the onsen place anyway. After that I went to Karuizawa, which I realized I have been to before but this time round I went to check out the more ulu pandan places. Should have gone to the Ashikaga Flower Park but I didn’t have enough time and energy. I feel abit regretful cause everyone’s telling me how nice the place is. Should I go check it out this weekend? Lol. Okay, actually I don’t know why I summarized my trip in this paragraph but nvm I will just upload the photos I took!

Left my friend’s house v v early in the morning for Tokyo station to grab the only Shinkansen on Thurs morning that still had reserved seats available when I did reservations on 30th Apr. Lol. I swear GW’s crazy. Anyway took and super early Shinkansen and arrived at Takasaki! This place’s really cute cause there were so many Darumas! I don’t know what they are called in english but they are really cute right!

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The mascot of this place is quite cute too! I think is the 馬 to the 群馬. Hahaha.

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I am a train otaku who gets excited when I see things like this lol!

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Cool ekiben! Hahahhaa. Stella should totally get the HK one! Wanted to get one for myself (I mean the Daruma one) but I was rushing like mad to my next location that I totally forgot about it. So retarded. Sometimes I just get abit irritated with myself.

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More Darumas in the station!

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My favourite! They really look damn cute though they are frowning so hard! Oh man!!! Really buitahan!

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No face!

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Train otaku again lol.

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Time to catch the local train to get to the nearest station to the onsen to grab the bus! Anyway I did not 出会える with any SL so I was v disappointed.

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Mandatory shoe shot! With the SL train somemore heehee!

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Even vending machines look cool over here! Feels like SamuraiXDarth Vader style if you get what I mean.

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After a long long ride I am finally here! At the Nakanojo station (which is v ulu pandan and I don’t think it’s supposed to be well-known or anything).

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Bus!!! But not mine lol. I going to fourty thousand onsen not this zawawata? (sorry don’t know how to read) onsen.

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This one then is my bus!

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Taking photos of chio scenery outside. The place is so ulu. And the weather was really good so the pictures turned out really well although they are blur cause the bus was moving.

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And I am finally there!

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This place looks like a really old town. Hahaha. The style’s abit different from Tochigi though. Really looks v chio so I am understand why people will use this place as a model for animation.

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I drank from this place and the water is really abit salty lol. Interesting.

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The famous Sekizenkan Ryokan!

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And this is the scene apparently (from Spirited Away) but I am really not v sure cause I really don’t rmb. Maybe I will go check it out. (Too lazy to do it now lol)

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Plus me!!! Looks v autumn-y.

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Basic needs for solo traveller. Maybe not that basic (people usually don’t bring 2 phones around lol).

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End of photo spam for this area. I really took a lot of photos from a lot of angles and like different distance. Continues moving upwards towards the upper area with other buildings and the dam! I loved the streets and the old old looking shops/restaurants.

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Plus the scenery was not bad. 要山有山,要水有水.

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Anyway this place still got sakuras!

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Public footbath place! I went in and 泡脚 and it was quite shiok cause my feet were tired from all the walking hahaha.

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This trees looks nothing special but look at the flowers! They are as big as my huge hand!

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Check out this oshare restaurant! Hahahha. The outside seat looks so spastic with the dome lol.

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Abit tired now so I shall leave part 2 for next time hahahhaa. It’s hard to keep myself so high and type with lots of exclaimation marks cause I’m old liao.

 

#181 KIRAKIRA Golden Week Day 1

Have decided to use kirakira golden week since I used this term in my BUJO. Editing photos now and I took a lot more photos than usual cause I was traveling alone. Like super crazy cause I took 500 plus photos using the camera (and in addition to that I was using my iphone and nexus to take photos as well) for the first day. After editing only 125 photos left but it’s still super havoc. I think I just kept taking and taking photos of stuff I thought was interesting (some just for me to use for blogging cause I scared later I forget some of the names of places and food). I was actually looking through my past photos and realized that I used to edit my photos until they were highly contrasted and saturated and they looked really unnatural but recently I have been trying to tone down on my editing and hopefully my photos look more natural now.

Listening to BTS’ spring day while blogging about my spring days in Tochigi. Hahaha. I woke up really early on the 3rd, like around 0430 so that I can catch the first train at 0527. I know that it’s crazily early but that’s how life is when you stay so far away from everywhere and you need to take a 20min local train to the nearest interchange to get to the city. And it’s even worse if you are trying to get to another ulu pandan place. But anyway I was highly excited and on adrenaline on that day so it was still super ok for me in the money. (and also thanks to my part time job at the bakery last time, I had no trouble waking up early in the morning). No pictures were taken since there were nothing interesting but basically I travelled like that: 富士フイルム前→小田原→東京→小山→栃木 and reached my destination at 0855. After reaching that station I was pleasantly surprised that the place is actually not crowded at all (despite it being the first day of GW) and so I started my photo spamming happily. Hahaha. Lucky me! The place was seriously so empty lol. Anyway I think Tochigi station isn’t a famous tourist spot cause there’s nothing to do that except for looking at those old buildings so people usually go to more interesting places like Nikko and Utsunomiya when they go Tochigi. But since I was only planning to take photos and look around, that place was just nice for me (plus I went to Nikko and Utsunomiya before hahahha).

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A photo of me hahahaha. Traveling alone means that you are not going to get a lot of photos of yourself hahahha. But I guess I had more compared to when traveling with guys cause I don’t even zipai when I traveled with them.

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Old and 味のある building. I loved this place though there wasn’t exactly anything special.

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And then I saw this! It’s so pretty!!! I didn’t expect to see anything like this in this old boring town. Hahhaha. So I excitedly whipped out all my cameras (iphone, nexus and this camera) to spam photos although I deleted so many 微妙 ones.

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And then that was this pretty building which was owned by some rich dude last time. Didn’t go in though cause I wasn’t interested enough to spend on the tickets so I just took photos of the exterior.

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I though the two side buildings looked kind of special, a bit different from the usual jap buildings (the texture and stuff). Some random art salon? that was in the middle of the road.

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These trees also looked quite out of place hahahha.

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This hair salon looks so ancient. And it’s nice to nice 理髪館 instead of the usual サロン. I am such a cheena girl lol.

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This is actually someone’s house which was awarded some price for beautifying the area. Hahaha. I was snapping photos of it and this old man just looked out from the house towards me. Quickly walked away but went back again after the guy went into the house lol.

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The labels on the bottles look so old and maybe those bottles are really from the past.

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Some v ulu pandan shrine which had this water dispenser thing (what is it called arh hahahah). Cause no one was around I just tried it and water really came out! Only a bit came out though lol.

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The seats got no 靠背 one!

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And then I found my favourite building in this town!!! It’s actually a(n abandoned) hospital. Luckily I went in the day if not it would have been a little creepy lol. I love the old broken windows and the missing 木 at the door!

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So old building with all the crawlers on the wall.

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I think this photo is quite nice though I am not good at taking flowers!

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Walking back to the station using another route which is beside the main road.

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It’s interesting how the old and new (maybe not that new) buildings are standing side by side and there were actually quite a lot of them.

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This is actually a building with some artwork by this guy famous for drawing huge art pieces. The uncle introducing the place was v v friendly and he even gave me some papers with angmoh explanations (but I’m so sorry I am not v interested in that dude). He even asked me to go to the city office (which was across the street) to check out the real drawing (which I didn’t). Hahahah. But nice to see friendly people around esp when traveling alone.

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Some art museum again.

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Some info center and the dude in front is the mascot of Tochigi! So cute right! (I thick face and zipai-ed with it in from of the building lol. Luckily the place wasn’t crowded if not confirm kena judged.

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Another secret find! Hahahah. I was just looking everyway and then I saw this red tori gate. Don’t know why but I have a thing for tori gates so I thought I had to go take a look and saw this v v beautiful scene with the carp streamer swaying in front of the shrine! So pretty!!!

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Thought this car looked pretty cute hahahah. Don’t know what’s the name of it cause I don’t know much about cars.

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Some really old buildings.

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This is like some deserted house or sth. Love the colour contrast and it’s my current desktop wallpaper lol. 4 photos of the same thing but I thought I had to post all of them cause they are kind of different in a certain way.

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I have a thing of things placed side by side.

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This is actually a book store! Looks so 古い!!!

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Try is 名物 called じまんやき and it tasted like the normal dorayaki to me though lol. But nvm I like dorayaki lol!

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Back to the station! Tried searching but still don’t know what’s that red thing.

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Back to 小山 station and finally free to take photos. Look like some underground thingy but it’s just a station. Don’t know why got so many pipes.

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Had a quick lunch at the gyoza shop cause I was rushing to the next place.

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小山→勝田→ひたち海浜公園. Went to the hitachi seaside park to look at the nemophila. It was super super crowded and I really don’t know who to take photos when it’s so crowded. Meh.

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It’s a bee!!! By the yellow, white and black flowers!!!

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Crazy crowd here at the nemophila corner! Damn ggxxbbq. Only v few pictures of this place in this camera. I think I probably used my iphone here cause easier to choose where to focus.

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It’s the sea! That’s why it’s called the seaside park hahhaha. I was too lazy to walk down cause I was already quite tired from all the walking roars.

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Took the shuttle bus out and finally headed to my last stop.

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I know I edit abit too much but I kind of like the effects I added for this photo!

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Trying to take this lonely-look-at-the-sea shot of this girl. I am probably lonelier than her since I was alone.

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My last stop of the day!!! The kamiiso no torii! BUT WTF I saw cool photos or it and wanted to take one too so I waited until sunset only to realize that cool photos can only be taken during sunrise!??!?!!??! WTFFFFF cause this place is on the east!!!! I was really v sian diao but no choice cannot do anything about it and I doubt I would have been able to reach there at sunrise. But it was really v wtf. So just a normal photo of it I feel v 对不起 myself.

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After that I wanted to grab a bus to the 大洗 station but I realized I missed it and the next one would be 2 hours later so no choice I just walked to the station. Got myself ramen at the station (photos probably in my iphone) and after that I headed to Grace’s place at Tokyo. Reached quite late and I was already v shag when I reached her place.

Talked to her for a while about her starting work and random stuff and realized that her company’s employees’ benefits are much better than mine!!! Sad life hahahaha. Maybe I will ask her help me buy stuff.

Anyway I shall start editing photos for my second day of GW!