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Visiting Japan (Part One)
Monday, 18 April 2016, 1:58 pm

 The past three months have been a whirllll. To summarise, I've written and rewritten my article for my school's newsletter (a very painful experience), (impulsively) withdrew from my existing law school, visited Japan, wrote my personal statement for UCAS and applied to transfer to the UK, attended my school's award ceremony (which was nice but painfully awkward). This Wednesday will be the first day of my first ever internship and I am feeling both excited and petrified. My internship will last for a month, after which I will be interning at another firm for another month. Both firms are in central KL, something which is so new to me but it's alright cos there's a first time for everything.

It took me almost a whole week to edit all of my Japan photos so today I'm finally going to share them with you! Ever since I was a kid I only had two dreams and one of them was to visit Japan (Tokyo Disneyland!!!!!). I visited Tokyo on the 27th Feb until the 5th March with my parents and my sis. We stayed in a hotel called Sotetsu Fresa Inn at Toyocho. The hotel room we got was really tiny and had a bunk bed for my sis and I (which was fun). Nonetheless, the hotel is really close to the subway station, convenience stores, and restaurants so it was really convenient! The hotel is right next to a McDonald's too. Really wish that I had taken photos of the hotel room too but we were out all day and only came back late at night. I think Toyocho is fairly quiet compared to the other areas of Tokyo so I think it's a great place to stay if you're looking to wind down after a long day in the busy city.
One thing I absolutely love about Tokyo is how safe it is. You could be taking a walk in the streets alone in the middle of the night and still feel super chill (which is what we did several times lol).
picture above blue sky and cotton clouds ft dirty airplane window.
I edited this batch of photos fairly differently from what I used to do so I hope they look alright!

Day One

We touched down in Haneda Airport at around midnight. At the airport, we were approached by a random driver who spoke to us in Chinese asking us if we were Singaporean or Taiwanese. He offered to drive us to our hotel for a significantly lower fare than how much it would have costed with a regular cab, considering that we had so much baggage with us and my parents were like lol ok. Honestly his driving was so horrendously reckless and I was pretty sure that I was not going to make it to my hotel alive and that I was going to die in Japan. I really learned a lot about taking illegal cabs but at least we made it to our hotel in a fraction of the time haha! My sister and my dad thoroughly enjoyed the ride cos the driver was like pretty cool and was showing us his photos from when he drove Chinese celebrities like Jay Chou.
We visited the Imperial Palace East Gardens on our first day so photos from day 1 mostly consists of plants lol.
picture above entrance is free but they do give you a tag which you have to return right before you leave the garden.
picture below it was towards the end of winter and the temperature was an average of 15 degrees Celsius everyday. I basically wore what I would wear to uni back home + leggings and a coat cos I was too lazy to plan my outfits and I love the cold. My Frozen Anna socks I bought from Korea last year! My Vans leopard shoes which are questionable back home are perfectly socially acceptable in Japan too! Honestly Vans are the only non-trainers that I would travel with because they are unexpectedly very comfy!! Even more than Converse shoes although I am an avid Converse wearer.

Because it was winter all that was left of most of the plants were branches! In retrospect, it would have been a lot more rewarding if we had visited during Spring. At least we got to see a bunch of cute citrus trees lol.

There were locals just casually having picnics under the sun in a lot of the places we visited lol. Although it was pretty cold it was super sunny so sunglasses are crucial.

The rest of the garden is still pretty bare but we struck lottery when we entered the Japanese garden cos the cherry blossom trees there have already started blooming!!! The major plus point of visiting Japan during winter (aka non peak season) is that touristy areas are fairly quiet. Really lucky to have taken these close up, Windows wallpaper-ish (lol) photos, which would have been impossible during spring as the area would have been swarmed with tourists. You would think that the Japanese would be sensitised to sakura considering that they see it all the time but there were plenty of locals (especially the elderly) who came with their cameras just to shoot the cherry blossom trees, which is pretty nice to know.
Honestly sakuras are as beautiful as people claim them to be and are totally worth the hype! There are many different types of sakuras but my personal favourite is in the second last photo above. I think they are called yaezakura, but do not count on me. They look really fluffy because there are many layers of petals!

Another cute thing about Japan is that there are ducks and geese all over the place! We had lunch in a nearby mall (dont know what it is called cos we got lost for a while) after we left the East Gardens. Horribly blur photo but I insist on showing you how cutely they pack their food there! The box is plastic and disposable but they went the extra mile to print on it so that it looks like an actual lunch box lol!

We spent the rest of the evening in Ginza! The Sanrio World there is located in a building called Nishi Ginza Department Store, where they sell a lot of clothes, bags, and shoes too. Only bought a tulle cos most of their clothes were still for the cold season. :(
Bought a lot of kawaii from Sanrio World which I will show you guys in a separate haul so stay tuned!!!

The shops at Ginza are mostly luxury brands. There were a lot of upscale confectionery shops which were super crowded too but nothing we tried I thought was particularly yummy. Nonetheless I thought the city lights and gorgeous architecture made Ginza worth visiting!
I honestly dont know the significance of the Seiko clock but there was a HUGE crowd of photographers who were taking photos of the clock so I did too LOL /shameless tourist.

Day Two

We visited Meiji Shrine on our second day! We visited a fair number of shrines, but Meiji Shrine is the one that I would recommend you to visit! It is huge but there is a pretty long walk in before you enter the main shrine.

There are quite a number of rules of etiquette too. For one, you have to wash your hands and rinse your mouth (in a particular order) before you enter the shrine.

You can purchase a wooden tablet and write whatever you want on it (usually a wish/prayer) and hang it on a hook together the other tablets. My sis and I bought one each. I cant remember how much it was, maybe about 300yen each. You may buy lucky charms there too!
There is a souvenir store and a restaurant outside the main shrine. We had lunch in the restaurant and the food was actually really good!! Sadly no photos to share cos my memory card ran out of space when we were exploring the shrine. :(

We spent quite an amount of time in Meiji Shrine, then we went to explore Shibuya! Visited the famous Shibuya 109 which is known for 8 floors of girly fashion!! The things there are really cute but too impractical for us living in tropical countries so we left empty handed. :(
picture above taken at the famous Shibuya crossing! This intersection is known because of the flood of people crossing the road whenever the traffic light turns red. It doesnt look too crowded in the photo cos the light just only turned green.

We had ramen for dinner!! I actually barely ever eat ramen back home cos it's not really nice but it's totally different in Japan and is actually really good!! We also ordered gyoza in almost all of the restaurants we went to cos gyozas in Japan are exceptionally good too (havent had any nice ones back home either).
In a lot of the restaurants in Japan, orders are taken via something like a vending machine. You put cash into the machine, press the button of whatever you want to order, and a ticket comes out. Then the staff at the restaurant will collect the tickets from you. So I suppose it wouldnt be much of a problem if you cant read Japanese.
Really wish I have more photos from Shibuya to share but my camera's memory card was still full! :( Luckily I managed to get one from Shibuya right before we left! We visited Tokyo Disneyland on Day 3 so stay tuned for part 2!!


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