May 28, 2017

Cards I used in Japan

I'll be making a more useful post this time, it's about the cards I used when I was in Japan, mostly to commute but some can do even more than that! Hehe..

1. JR Pass

The holy JR Pass everyone's keep wondering if it's worth it to buy JR Pass when visiting Japan. For me, it is! Like totally! Because I landed in Kansai and traveling all the way to Tokyo and then get back home from Kansai again, it really saved my money (A WHOLE LOT) by having JR Pass, since Shinkansen can be reaaaally expensive I'd rather spend it on something else.

Honestly, when I first bought my ticket and realized that I had to buy a JR Pass I got a mental breakdown, because although it was supposed to help us save money, it still cost quite a lot too! I bought mine around 29,000 JPY (around 260 USD), as it could only be purchased outside Japan I wasn't sure if I should (but thank God I did!)

So more about this card, as I've mentioned before, can only be purchased outside Japan and for non-Japan residents only, in short, this card help tourists to explore Japan. Once you have purchased it, you can use it whenever you're traveling on JR train and other JR transportation. This includes most of the train in the city and Shinkansen. All you had to do is show this card on the exit/entrance gate (where there's an officer) and they'll check if your card is still valid, if it is, then you can go everywhere all you like~ (as long as you're using the JR lines)

So if you're going to use Shinkansen a lot like me (I traveled back and forth Osaka and Tokyo, I also visited Nagoya), I advise you to purchase it, I've said it multiple times, but it really saved me lots of money.

2. Suica/Pasmo

Bought this card when I met my friend and somehow my JR pass was rejected (they said the JR pass doesn't cover that station-but I still firmly believed that we just went to the wrong gate and showed the pass to the wrong person, I mean, it was Akihabara! No way JR pass doesn't cover that!)

Anyway, this card is useful for many things, if you don't need to purchase JR pass, then this card is the way to go. You can use this card for all train stations, including the smaller subway ones. I mostly use it for that (my station was a subway away from Shibuya).

Other than that, you can use the card for locker, and also to purchase goods in most convenience store. So I think this one is pretty much like the T-card in Korea.

I noticed there are several brands of the cards, but most of the time I saw Suica and Pasmo, guess they're the most popular ones (or the ones from biggest companies).

Bringing this card is pretty useful to lessen the amount of coins in my pocket, so I don't have to bring them everywhere and instead just tap this card and go.

3. One-day card (in Nagoya)

I'm not sure if other cities (or Tokyo) have this, too. Since I only used it when I was in Nagoya. The card costed me 740 JPY, and once purchased I can use it to go to every station in Nagoya. The concept is pretty much similar with JR Pass but this one you insert it into the machine instead of just showing it to the officer.

According to my friend, Mekkan, we saved quite a lot with this because we traveled to lots of stations back and forth. So instead of purchasing one-way ticket, if you're going to go places, you may want to consider this one-day card.

Well, that was all the cards I used in Japan. Hopefully some of you who'd planned to travel there find this useful :) If there's any misinformation, please tell me, I'll edit them since it's only based on my knowledge and experience when I was there.

Ah! Can't wait to travel and discover some more!

May 23, 2017

Konnichiwa and I think soulmate does exist

Just a week ago I finally went to Japan. I remember few years back I wrote that I really wanted to go there and Bangkok, yes! I can scratch them off my list now because I've visited them both!

I'm not really a huge fan of Bangkok, most probably because it looks and feel really similar with Jakarta, which I'm used to. But Japan... Oh Japan, what a beautifully absurd weird magical place you are!

I plan to write a more detailed post about this visit to Japan day by day, but just in case I forgot or just got carried away with life (like I did when I visited Seoul the second time), I'll write the highlight here first of what happened while I was there.

Day 1: Speedy Shinkansen and Busy Shibuya

I've heard of this speedy train since I was a kid, who would've thought I'd be given a chance to ride it one day? Feels sooo lucky! And indeed it was really fast! Like ultra super uber fast! Especially compared to the trains here back home.

I took a video when I rode one, and it was like I took the video on a time-lapse mode (while it wasn't!!!) WHOA! Hehehe... I feel like a such noobs but really, Japan is indeed steps more advanced in everything, lol.

Also, briefly visited Harajuku and Shibuya cross at night, most of the shops are closed when we got to Harajuku, but of course we could still shop in Daiso and Matumoto Kiyoshi, meheheh..

Day 2: Disneyland!

Oh the happiest place on earth, indeed! Mind you, this was the first time I visited any Disneyland, unlike you lucky fellow who lives in the US or Europe, Hongkong and Tokyo Disneyland is the closest Disneyland to my country. So please understand my giddiness arriving here. MWAHAHAH... The little kid in me jumped and soared and flied and shopped and GUH! Everything! Hehe..

Also, we got to see the crowded Tokyo subway in the morning, and by crowded I meant super-ultra crowded there's no more place to stand but you still have to enter the cars because the next subway is as crowded as this one.

Day 3: Senso-ji, Asakusa, Skytree, and Halaal Ramen

pardon my messy sweaty face lol

I met with a friend who's currently studying in Japan, so today, we're going to a popular temple in Asakusa. Met with some pretty girls wearing kimono and entered the temple. It really was a cool experience, although I didn't buy any lucky charm (because I'm pretty petty and I'm not sure what I want lol).

After that, we randomly decided to go to Skytree (just because we can see it from the temple) and walked(!) there! It was pretty far, but the scenery along the way is really pretty and clean, we went through some neighborhood and everything is just so cute!

And because we are muslim, it's kind of a challenge to find halal food in Japan (because most of them contains pork or alcohol). So my friend took us to Halal Ramen, yay!

Day 4: Shopping, shopping, and more shopping! (AKA Shibuya, Tokyo Station, and Ginza)

We dedicated this day to spend our money shopping! LOL, literally all we visited was stores after stores and areas with shops lined up. We spent most of our morning in Shibuya (again, because there are lots of shops there). then moving on to character street where we found souvenirs of almost all characters I've seen on TV on Sunday morning back then.

After that, we went to Ginza and visited GU (to buy some Sailormoon merchandise). And basically spent the rest of our night there.

Not sure if we have any pics of this day since all we did was busy shopping.

Day 5: Meet my bloggy friend: Mekkan, in Nagoya!

We rode Shinkansen again today, to Nagoya! 

This marks my short history of life, the day I finally met one of my very first bloggy friend: Mikari from My Hodgepodge. Totally didn't expect this to happen although I did inform her when I planned to go to Japan. Oh, what a happy day! I'm really totally overwhelmed with the fact that I actually met her! Will blog more details about this happy meeting in a separate post later~

We visited the Nagoya castle and Mikari, being local and volunteering as guide in the castle told me detailed stories about each place we visited, and it totally awed me how every single details have meanings, even the garden!

Also, we met NINJAS!!! Mwuahahahah...

I kinda wish I have spent more time in Nagoya with Mikari, it's really too bad that my time was limited and I had to go back to Tokyo again in the evening because we'll have to go back to Kansai the next day *sobs*

Next time I visit Japan, I plan to stay on more secluded area (compared to the busy Tokyo) like Osaka and Nagoya to experience the culture and interact more with people!

Day 6: Quick Shopping Spree and Going Back to Osaka

Because our flight will be at 11 AM tomorrow, we decided to go back to the airport in the evening and stayed the night in the airport (because who knows what kind of rush we will have to go through if we directly go from Tokyo).

So we did some (really) quick shopping spree in Harajuku and Shibuya until noon then heads to Osaka (with Shinkansen again!) and continued to Kansai to sleep in. Really fortunate that there are lots of spaces to rest in Kansai airport, also, lots of other travelers spending the night there like us, heheh...

Day 7: Going back home

Ah, the part I hate the most... I felt really sad riding the Shinkansen the day before just when the scenery passed by me, I really didn't want to go! It's actually not always like this when I travel. I guess this is the part where I talk about the soulmate I mentioned in the title. Just like Korea, Japan holds a really special place in my heart.

I'm not really sure how or why, but it just do, it clicks right in and fits like a glove. I think that's how it works with soulmate. I have traveled to some countries, but only Japan and Korea left me feeling sad and makes me want to go back for more with such strong pull. Of course I did enjoy the other countries (and cities) too, but... there's just something inexplicable... you know, like the bizarre concept of soulmate.

I guess that was it. I'll be back for more just like what I do with Seoul, got people questioning me why I travel there again and again, guess it's the chemistry between us that calls on me. Now, in addition to Seoul/South Korea, I have Japan on my list.
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