JAPAN: Tokyo Video | 2014

please watch in 720P or 1080P

whew. I’ve been back from Japan for months but the excitement is still there so is the footage I’ve captured during the trip. the filtering itself took me a month then I was caught up with school work (zzz). when I finally had time for this it’s more filtering and filtering. ==

this post is so long that as a kind person I should advice you to hit the close button and continue other more important stuffs but I AM NOT /inserts evil laughs/ because I spent a long time writing this so yea, READ.

anyway. it started from a WhatsApp group chat.

after Japan was announced as the 2020 Summer Olympic host, we (poor people like my friends and I) had a discussion about how we should really start saving money (tbh this topic pops up often hah) ’cause we gotta go attend at least one major sporting event (please see 101-to-do ^^) especially when it’s gonna be held in a country like Japan and I don’t think I have any chances or money (tragic) to visit Japan until I finish my studies and start work.

also, I was a disobedient student who brought my mobile phone to school and it would buzz in my file while I was having classes. I’d receive calls or messages from my sisters asking me questions from what cake do I prefer to more “urgent” ones like am I free during this or that period ’cause they found cheap air tixes. now who doesn’t like low air fares?

anyway, I received the news during my exam period so imagine how I had to suppress my excitement and concentrate on the remaining papers. the following three-month-long of break was made up of slacking, procrastinating and preparing. fortunately my sister “invested” in a Lonely Planet guidebook which helped out a lot and yeah, she did most of the prepping. :P

if you’ve never been to Japan and haven’t seen most of the world yet, here’s a piece of advice, do not go Japan. why? because after you’ve been to Japan, you don’t want to visit any other countries anymore. you’ll always want to go back to Japan. hahaha. actually, Kyoto is the top of my list but seeing that we had only six days there, we decided to conquer the touristy spots in Tokyo first. because aye, I’ll definitely go there again someday, talk about optimism.

yours truly happily blowing dandelions picked from the roadside

although the period we went was after Golden Week we had to miss out the chance to see the sakuras in full bloom, I actually like it more. cool-but-not-too-cold weather (ah, if only I could live in this weather for the rest of my life), less tourists and lower expenses. also, the sky was clear without any clouds interrupting the gradient of blue. and hey, I can still wear my t-shirts!

look at the sky!

the things Tokyo impressed me most are the roads and the drivers’ attitude. there aren’t any grey (or gray, whatever grah) roads. I don’t know the others but driving on patchy roads almost everyday, seeing black and new roads make me happy, ’cause aye, smooth ride. drivers stop for three seconds at least when they come to any junctions. even those where there’s only three percent of chances of a car coming. the tolls surprised me though, I thought the Japanese don’t use them anymore. hehe.

I was excited for Tokyo SkyTree ’cause I love skyscrapers and going to the second observatory deck would mean being in the highest place in my life (so far, hashtag optimism). alas, the place was crowded we had to wait for two hours. so instead of SkyTree, we went to Sunshine 60. I was totally ok with that for several reasons. one, I can see the SkyTree from there, two, Tokyo Tower, three, no time limit (think you can only stay for an hour in SkyTree) and lastly, cheaper entrance fees plus a free drink for each of us (I sound like a cheapskate wth but I’m just trying to be optmistic okay). on the downside, Sunshine 60 doesn’t have any transparent floor.

view from Sunshine 60

we may be unlucky to miss SkyTree but we’re extremely lucky to get to see Mount Fuji because the weather was good and the sky was clear for the two days (the weather after we left was bad). many of our friends who went didn’t see it. we saw it at the Fuji Moss Phlox Festival, up on top of Kachi Kachi Yama and from the window of the restaurant where we ate at thrice (yeap, thrice) while staying in Kawaguchiko but I can never get tired of the view. we even joked that we’re looking at our computer background/screensaver but this time it’s real, like right-in-front-of-us real.

panaromic view of the Fuji Moss Phlox Festival

from the three times we went to the restaurant, there’s once I wanted to eat the Japanese (Chicken) Curry Rice (read too much Murakami and I ate soba twice) but my sister ordered wrongly. the rice came with the curry but not with the chicken, fml. and that’s the only time I had Japanese Curry in Japan, so heartbreaking I know.

at that restaurant with Mount Fuji as the background and my awkward hand

Japanese curry rice (not the fail one though, this’s my sis’s)

the hostel we stayed in Kawaguchiko is a lil far from the main station but the staff suggested us to walk or cycle. apparently his hobby is walking (read that from the welcoming board hanging on the hostel’s common area wall). eventually, we cabbed (which was cheaper than renting bikes). I’m not really sure about the other pedestrians’ traffic lights around Japan but there’s one that sing near the station, right in front of the Japanese-curry-rice restaurant. and because of the number of times we ate there, the song is etched in my mind. I can still sing it now.

we took the bus provided to the Fuji Moss Phlox Festival (sorta like a public bus) and I dozed off on our way back but I could hear three teenage girls talking all the time at the back. in between dreams, I heard one of the female passengers told them to lower their voices (in Japanese of course, but understood from what happen next). I was like “whoah” because I’ve never seen people done that. in my culture, when we’re in a situation like this, we’d complained to the people around us until we reached our limits then we’d pissed on whoever’s annoying us. maybe I should start doing the Japanese way.

back to the festival. we spent the entire afternoon admiring flowers and capturing photos until almost evening as there’s really not much to do at Kawaguchiko (except for onsen, which is another twenty-minute walk from our hostel ugh). so we followed the other tourists, strolled around the place, spent ten minutes shooting with the same patch of flowers, moved on to the next patch with different colours and continued, went up to the deck for better view, and found a good spot to capture Mount Fuji so we spent another thirty minutes there doing all kinds of silly poses, just Asians being Asians. I almost lost my family while taking photos of sakuras and that’s the first almost-heart-attack during the trip (two more almost-heart-attacks if you don’t mind continue reading :P).

caption: messy hair don’t care

my turn to take care of our belongings

the next day, we spent our morning on Kachi Kachi Yama. we met a group of ladies and chatted. they’re from other parts of Japan and had also never seen the Mount Fuji before. it turned out one of them had lived in Malaysia for a few years teaching people batik (wow!). we couldn’t hail a cab back to our hostel so we walked all the way back (yes, we granted the staff’s wish). we passed by  houses and shops and I can’t stop thinking about Hebe Tien’s Missing You music video.

probably one of the best spots to sleep on Earth. apart from the view, the bench’s comfortable too, or maybe I’m just too tired

after Kachi Kachi Yama, we ate at the Japanese-curry-rice restaurant because it’s right in front of the station where we’re boarding the bus back to Tokyo. we finished the meal early and waited but there’s no sign of the bus. something’s wrong. after asking the receptionist, we’re told that the bus wasn’t coming to this station. thankfully we knew it earlier so we cabbed to the other station. it freaked us out and when we reached the station, all of them went to confirm and I was left alone to pay the cab fares (that’s a bit wtf, but I felt like an adult, lol). anyway, we managed to catch the bus and I even had time to look at more Mount Fuji’s drawing from the drawing contest sorta thing.

the contest thingy

and my submission that's not creative at all

when in Japan, grab a photo with vending machines. yes, there’re lots of vending machines around Tokyo. we saw a crazy stretch of vending machines along the wall of the bus station. however, we didn’t see any selling weird stuffs like frozen foods or neckties or umbrella. other than vending machines, there’re lots of passport photo machine (think there’s one around each station). I was eager to try it but I already took these photos thrice last year so yea, boo.

buying train tixes

one morning we arrived at the train station during the rush hour and the platform was filled with people. my sisters consider themselves highly skilled when it comes to squeezing into a tuna-packed train but we had the chance to see how the Japanese do it. it shocked us at first because the last woman who got up was nearly pressed by the doors. our tour guide (my sister) told us young men are hired to do the job of blocking the doors. now I know why the Japanese are known for being punctual.

being a person who’s impulsive, I jumped onto a train before my family could make it while we switched trains on our way to Disneyland. the last thing I heard before the doors close was my sister calling out my name. when I turned to look from the glass I could see her mouthed “Maihama”, the station we (or I) were supposed to get down. with the language barrier and no map with me, I was kinda afraid and worried. worried that I’d misread my sister, worried that the train wasn’t bound for Maihama, worried that my family couldn’t find me later, etc.. but thankfully I was smart enough to wait for them at where I got off. I actually had the dumb idea to find a stair or exit and wait for them there.

I couldn’t remember writing “go to Disneyland” in my bucket list until I looked through it again. to be frank, I’m not a huge fan of Disney, not even a fan, although some of my favourite films are from Pixar (note:Pixar) like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. however, going to Disneyland still makes one happy, after all it’s a dream come true right?

although the weather was a killjoy initially but we’re glad it drizzled in the morning. I think most of the people changed their Disneyland plan for it. upon entering Disneyland, we saw people lined up for photos with Mickey. it’s my first time seeing Mickey in a rain coat. okay, rephrase. it’s my first time to see Mickey standing right in front of me. so my sister and my parents queued while my other sister and I go grab fastpasses. we got the Monster’s Inc. fastpasses and I really like the machine for the giggles.

’cause we used the “grab any available fastpass” strategy, we got five spots for Space Mountain. if you don’t know what Space Mountain is, go YouTube it and you’ll be surprise to see my parents in line with us. thankfully half way through they left from one of those “regret exits”.

before One Man's Dream show

it’s sorta nostalgic watching these shows with my family. my parents used to bring us to circus and shows like Disney On Ice when we were young. I remember watching Beauty and the Beast and Finding Nemo (!) together. ah, dem feels.

we took photos (and autographs) with lotsa characters (even those I don’t know) although their priorities are children and babies. I don’t understand why people bring their babies to Disneyland they’re so young and strollers are parked (orderly) everywhere. while waiting for Lilo and Stitch show, we saw a lil boy in Donald Duck outfit (most of the kids wore princess outfit). he’s so cute we’d to ask for a photo with him. all the Japenese we met were friendly when asked for photos. I’m not surprised though ’cause they’re known for being polite. probably used to tourists doing that.

with the lil boy

with schoolgirls in their sailor uniform outside Meiji Shrine

with lady in kimono (?) in Meiji Shrine

we dropped by Harajuku for a while and the most exhilarating place we went is… /inserts drumroll/ Daiso! haha. the stuffs were about a ringgit cheaper so we bought pretty lotsa stuffs. then we went to Shibuya and I had my third Starbucks of my life (not a coffee lover and I prefer Milo over their choco) while people watching from the second floor and going through my phone when the pedestrians traffic light was red.

just stuff you do when free Wi-Fi is accessible

as I said before, Akihabara is practically heaven. everywhere you turn around, there’s an electrical tool, be it a normal extension plug or the latest Play Station.  I was considering getting a film camera (opting for the Diana F+ or a Blackbird Fly) but I don’t really know where to keep the processed photographs after that so. I got myself a headphone though, and it’s funny ’cause while trying the headphones, I jokingly asked my sister if the staff could change the Korean song that’s playing, and surprisingly, it changed. turned out that most of the people working in Akihabara speaks Mandarin and man, I felt so awkward.

while my dad had his last haul in Daiso

the last thing that’s noteworthy is the 7-eleven. I know it’s normal but what’s normal in overseas is what we considered as big here in Malaysia. most importantly, their 7-elevens are full of food. I can spend an entire week eating only their 7-eleven food, like seriously. the fried rice is our favourite. for drinks, I like the grape juice. yums!

and yea I know it’s weird to end a travelogue with grape juice, but who cares, I’m gonna end it with grape juice. man this is so long I can consider publishing a book aye.

sorry for your time and have a great weekend. :)