Turning Japanese

One good thing about what I do is I get to travel. I have been meaning to write about my Japan trip since I have set foot in the country two years ago although I was not really sure where to begin describing this beautiful place which I adored for a long time. 
 

Japan culture has always amazed me. I loved mangas, Japanese fashion, the language, the heritage — everything! I love Japanese brands, I work for a Japanese company, some people even mistake my last name as Japanese! Anyway, enough of the obsession! 

 
Discovery 1:  Japanese food
 
I have talked about the awesome ramen experience I had in Dazaifu in my previous post but it’s not only the noodles which would make you miss Japan. Everything is so pretty from the presentation to the taste — it’s so darn perfect!
 

Never encountered so many veggie sushi  and whatchamacallits in my whole life.

Never encountered so many veggie sushi  and whatchamacallits in my whole life.


The Japanese can define what fresh is.

The Japanese can define what fresh is.

 

Beef.

Beef.

 

More beef.

More beef.

 

Mouth-watering beef in a Korean BBQ way at Dragon Kalbi restaurant. (Only in Japan, it is better. Hahaha! -overheard from a local.)

Mouth-watering beef in a Korean BBQ way at Dragon Kalbi restaurant. (Only in Japan, it is better. Hahaha! -overheard from a local.)

 

Giant, sweet strawberries served fresh in Oita Prefecture.

Giant, sweet strawberries served fresh in Oita Prefecture.

Even the bentos look nice.

Even the bentos look nice.

Next stop, the few tourist spots I have been to. 
 
Discovery 2:  Dazaifu


I went to Dazaifu on my first Japan trip and it is located at the Fukuoka Prefecture. We went to one of their attraction sites which is the Komyosen-ji Temple. 


A really geometric Starbucks at Fukuoka. 

A really geometric Starbucks at Fukuoka. 


Kawaii stalls near the temple.

Kawaii stalls near the temple.


You would not believe this. Dorae-mon!

You would not believe this. Dorae-mon!


At the temple garden with Chonx.

At the temple garden with Chonx.


"Cleansing" yourself before you go inside the temple.

“Cleansing” yourself before you go inside the temple.


Temple entrance.

Temple entrance.

The temple is surrounded by lush gardens which is characteristic of most Japanese temples. It is full of people with a mixture of locals praying and some tourists taking a snapshot of this wonderful place. 


Discovery 3: Going around Tokyo

 
The most efficient way to go around Tokyo is through the subway since cabs are very expensive. Since I was only free for several hours, I chose to get tickets on a per destination basis however, this comes out fairly expensive as well. There is a “One Day Tokyo Combination” at Y1580 or roughly PHP700.
 
The routes look complicated even if they aren’t. All stations would have the directional signage however, most of them are in Japanese. There are some who can speak English though and the people are very friendly and eager to help. There are also some foreigners who approach you especially if they see that dazed look in your eyes already ^_^.
 

Running around the busy subway of Japan with their oh-so-efficient train system.

Running around the busy subway of Japan with their oh-so-efficient train system.

 

So this is where everyone is at.  Shinjuku Station at a non-rush hour.

So this is where everyone is at.   Shinjuku Station at a non-rush hour.

 

Organized stalls everywhere. I really wonder how  they can make their surroundings so clean!

Organized stalls everywhere. I really wonder how they can make their surroundings so clean!

 

Venturing to see cosplayers at Akihabara District. FAIL.

Venturing to see cosplayers at Akihabara District. FAIL.

 

At Harajuku District looking for cosplayers.  We didn't see a single soul. Boo-hoo!

At Harajuku District looking for cosplayers. We didn’t see a single soul. Boo-hoo!

 

Wolfgang Puck's resto at the Harajuku District.. 

Wolfgang Puck’s resto at the Harajuku District.. 

Discovery 4: Oita Prefecture
 
From Tokyo to Oita, you need to take a short plane ride. Oita houses an expansive industry line-up from agriculture to food to housing factories to big Japanese companies like Canon.
 
 
Cute greeting material on the conveyor belt
at the Oita Airport.

 

Canon Oita Factory.

Canon Oita Factory.

 

Asagiri-kan. On top of the mountains.

Asagiri-kan. On top of the mountains.

 

 

Devil is in the details. Found in our room.

Devil is in the details. Found in our room.

 

 

Morning snow at the Oita mountains.

Morning snow at the Oita mountains.

 
We stayed at a private facility which exemplified the traditional Japanese way of living — from the food, to the tatamis, even my much-dreaded onsen

Traditionally, men and women bathed together at the onsen and sentō but single-sex bathing has become legalized as the norm since the opening of Japan to the West during the Meiji periodMixed bathing (混浴 kon’yoku?) persists at some special onsen in the rural areas of Japan, which usually also provide the option of separate “women-only” baths or different hours for the two sexes. Children of either sex may be seen in both the men’s and the women’s baths.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onsen

Seriously?! Good thing, we were not so traditional. Our onsen experience had separate baths for men and women. Thank God. ^_^
 
Discovery 5: Yokohama
 
At our last stop, things got really busy in Yokohama. I was not able to go around the place except the malls near the hotel. 
 

The world's largest clock in a giant ferris wheel,  Cosmo Clock 21 at Yokohama.

The world’s largest clock in a giant ferris wheel,  Cosmo Clock 21 at Yokohama.


With Chonx. Pan Pacifico Yokohama.

With Chonx. Pan Pacifico Yokohama.

 

You would not want to miss this BBQ place. Dragon Kalbi located  at Landmark Plaza, Yokohama.

You would not want to miss this BBQ place. Dragon Kalbi located  at Landmark Plaza, Yokohama.


Other Things to Remember

Most of the hotels would have your essentials already so it would be good if you pack light. There are a lot of convenience stores scattered around Japan as well so everything is accessible. Should you need internet connection all the time, there is a rental internet and mobile service at around Y5900 per week. I think this is more economical since roaming rates in Japan is incredulously high. You can check out this site for more details.

Do have your currencies exchanged at the airport since there are very few places around Japan where you can have them converted (except your hotels). 


So there you go, I hope you enjoyed a little Japanese treat! 

One day, I will be back there again. And I promise, I will find you, cosplayers! Until then!