Categories
Family Food

Valentine’s Date | I Try to Blog in French #16

Pour fêter la Saint-Valentin, nous sommes allés au resto Chop. Chop est cher mais nous avions un coupon pour un repas gratuit et on veut l’utiliser.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we went to Chop restaurant. Chop is expensive but we had a coupon for a free meal and we want to use it.

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Categories
Family

Happy Birthday Poops!

My birthday message:

HBD

Haha! My real birthday message:

Categories
Life

Favorite Conversations #4

GLENIZ: Pwede ba akong mag-enroll sa French class?

KENNETH: Go.

Daling kausap.

Categories
Canada Family

Out in the Woods

01•10•21

Isang rare occasion ang nangyari! Lumabas kami ng apartment hindi para mag-grocery, kundi para mag-stroll at mamasyal ng kauntian. Thank you sa aming kapitbahay, nakita ko yung mga pics nila dito sa lugar na ‘to. Buti na lang din nasa mood akong magtanong non. Kasi nga since wala akong craving na lumabas ng apartment, useless na itanong ko kung san sila pumunta dahil wala naman kaming balak lumabas. Pero tinanong ko. At nung sinabi nya na malapit lang daw yun dito sa apartment namin, naisip ko, “Ano nga kaya? Lumabas nga kaya kami?”

At yun na nga ang nangyari. Sinama rin namin ang mga kitties kasi ang tagal na nung last family picture namin na ang setting ay sa labas ng apartment. Muntik pa nga hindi matuloy kasi Saturday yung original plano ko. Pero sabi ni Kenneth Sunday na lang daw kasi yung Sabado ay grocery day. Hindi fan si Kenneth na gawin ang mga bagay-bagay sa isang araw lang. Ang gusto nya one activity per day. Sobrang tamad talaga.

Cutie pies 😻

Pagdating ng Sunday, medyo nawala na ko sa “tara labas tayo” mood. Medyo lumipas na yung excitement. Pero alam ko, for a fact, na hindi namin ire-regret na lumabas. Kasi ang tagal na rin talaga simula nung lumabas kami ng for fun lang. So kahit medyo tamad, tumuloy kami. Binanggit din namin kila Trix and Kris na pupunta kami dun. Game din sila kaya nag-meet kami dun and kahit papano nakapag-catch up.

Ang saya ko lang talaga nung araw na yun. Ang rare kasi for us na nasa labas kami ng bahay with friends tapos ang backdrop pa is nature. Kaso nung pahuli super nag-worry kami kay Walnut. Nanginginig na sya tapos nag-poop na sya sa carrier. Super stressed na sya kaya umuwi na rin kami. Pero okay na sya ngayon. Kaya next time hindi na namin sila isasama pag ganun kalamig.

Balak ulit sana namin bumalik dun ngayon. Kaso hindi nag-cooperate ang weather. Masyadong malamig. Hindi na masaya mag-stroll.

Dito pala madaming ganito hindi na kelangan bumili

I hope magkaron pa ng madaming ganitong moments this year. Yung hindi namin papairalin yung katamaran namin na lumabas at mag-explore. Buti na lang natututo na si Kenneth na ma-appreciate yung paglabas at umalis sa comfort zone. Sana maka-travel din kami outside Manitoba. Gusto kong makapunta sa BC at Alberta. Sana soon.

Categories
Family

Favorite Conversations #3

GLENIZ: Pano kung after kong i-send sa friends ko yun and malaman nila na hindi na ko masyadong nakikipag-chat, wala nang makipag-usap sakin?

KENNETH: I’m here.

Categories
Canada Family Money

Busy Friday

Wala kaming pasok ngayon ni Kenneth pero ang busy ng araw na to.

  • Nagpacheckup ako and diniscuss kung anong nangyari dun sa surgery ko nung November 8. Ayos naman daw, mukang natanggal naman ang dapat matanggal. Plus Letrozole. Plus may binayaran kaming $650 (Php 26k) na IVF registration fee. Wala lang yun as in registration lang. Naka-lista lang pangalan mo. Napaka-mahal eh. Non-refundable pa.
  • Pumunta kami sa mall (Polo Park) at namili pa ko ng extra pasalubong. Grabe wala na talaga kaming pera. As in pa-negative na. Hindi ko matiis na hindi bumili kahit wala na talaga kaming budget. Hays.

Snowflakes 😍

  • Pumunta kami sa isa pang mall (Winnipeg Outlet). Again, pasalubong. Tapos binalik namin yung mugs na binili namin last week. Haha. Ganito kasi yun. May Christmas party sa Dec 25 yung mga Filipino community dito ng mga tito ko. It comprises of mga 8-10 families. Sabi ng tito ko, magbigay daw kami ng something sa bawat pamilya kase ganun daw sila. So kahit alam ko sa utak ko na paubos na nga yung pera namin, na-pressure ako. So nung may nakita kaming mga naka-sale na mugs na $9 (Php 360) each, yun na yung naisip kong ipang regalo sa mga pami-pamilya. So times mo sa 8, $72 din yun! Mug sya na may parang nakabalot na crochet dun sa pinakang body tapos may box of hot chocolate sa ibabaw. Basta ganun, hindi sya basta basta mug. So ayun nga. Binalik namin. Haha. Wala na kong pake kung anong sabihin ng tito ko o nila na wala kaming regalo. Na-pressure and nahiya lang talaga ko nung una. Kasi ang thinking ko kahit noon pa, bakit ka magreregalo kung alam mo namang wala kang budget. Siguro ayaw kong masabihan na kuripot ako kahit totoo namang wala lang talaga kaming extra na pera. Feeling mo kasi na hindi ka papaniwalaan. And totoong kuripot ako pag wala akong pera pero pag meron ang generous ko. Eh ang problema, nagpapaka-generous ako ngayon kahit wala na nga kaming pera. So kelangan kong pigilan ang sarili ko. Kelangan magpaka-practical. Sabi ko nga kay Kenneth, wag na kong regaluhan sa birthday ko. Kahit nasweet-an ako, medyo nainis ako na may binili pa ding regalo. Sumasakit talaga ulo kakaisip ng bayarin namin sa credit card. Umabot na sya ng $1,700 (almost Php 70k) eh uuwi pa kami ng Pilipinas next year. Hays. Hindi kasi ako sanay na may utang kaya hindi ako mapakali. Eto nagsisimula na namang sumakit. Tapos pa, meron akong need na mag-explain sa kanila (sa pamilya ko) na wala akong masyadong pampasalubong. Pwede bang matic na na maisip nila na kaya konti ang pasalubong ko is dahil kulang ang budget namin hindi dahil nagkukuripot ako? Pwede bang yun yung maisip nila? Nasstress talaga ako. Para bang sobrang kelangan kong i-defend yung sarili ko at mag-explain ng todo para mapapaniwala sila. Lalo pa nung sinabihan ako ng tita ko na, “Ang dami nyo na sigurong ipon pampasalubong.” Kahit ba sabihin na pabiro lang yun, nakakadagdag sya sa pressure. Pag sinabi mong, “Wala nga ang daming bayarin.” feeling mo hindi ka pinapaniwalaan. Pano kaya namin babayaran yung $1,700 na yun. Hays.
  •  Ganun pa man, masaya pa din in general ang araw na to. For some reason, super okay ang bonding namin ni Kenneth ngayon. Na-feel ko ulit na super love na love namin ang isa’t isa tapos tawanan lang kami. 8 years na kasi kaming magkasama so hindi mo makakaila na nag-fade na yung super kilig moments. Pero ngayon bumalik ng konti. Nakatulong din siguro yung pagkain kasi ang sarap nung mga inorder namin. Hehe. Since ang mahal nung bill namin, sabi ko yun na yung birthday celeb ko kahit 2 days to go pa bago ako mag-birthday.

Sayang saya sya sa steak nya

  • After nitong mga to, pagod na kami. Lalo na ko kasi naka-upo lang naman sya tapos ako yung nag-iikot paghahanap ng pasalubong. Paguwi namin ang sakit pa din ng ulo ko so nagpamasahe ako kay Kenneth. Nakatulog ako agad haha. Di na kami nakapag-record ni Nick ng Ketchup Pepisode. Yun talaga ang pinaka-stress reliever ko pag minamasahe ni Kenneth yung ulo ko.
  • Nagising ako ng mga past 12 midnight tapos gising pa din sya. Nanonood sya ng video ng nagluluto ng chicken. Tapos tinatawanan namin si tita kasi nakakatawa yung mga side comments nya habang nagluluto sya. Ayun masaya pa din hanggang sa pagtulog. Sana laging ganito para naman hindi miserable yung buhay namin dito sa Canada. Exaggerated lang yung miserable pero talagang mas masaya kasi sa Pinas.
Categories
Japan Osaka Travel

Japan Itinerary Day 4/7: Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Japan Day 5: Meiji Shrine, Shibuya Crossing & Tokyo Sky TreeSep 11, 2016

Eto na yung dalwa na sooobrang prepared sa pagpunta nilang Japan. *eye roll*

We bumped into them when we went out to buy some food in McDo. It was probably around 9PM. They looked so tired and hungry. Pretty much like us on our first day in Japan. 😂

B1 B2
Taken the night before with Mark

Short Rant:

From visa application up to their arrival in Kansai airport, they bring nothing but stress. They applied for their Japan visas just two weeks before their departure date. Kenneth and I applied for ours 2 months prior the trip; so I (yes I, not we) had plenty of time to prepare everything. Even after we, I mean I, booked our plane tickets last March (6 months before the trip), I’m already finished with our itinerary just a few days after. That’s why I’m super stressed with these two because I’m the one who’s going to book their bus tickets, purchase their DisneySea tickets, book their accommodation, etc (‘cos I have the credit card). I kept on bugging them to apply for their visas ahead of time so I can do all these stuff in one go. I’m not the type who does things last minute when it comes to preparing for travels. I wan’t everything planned and organized. Tapos andami pa nilang pabebe moments lalo na yung isa dyan (hello Bong). May pa-chat chat pa sakin na, “Baka hindi pa din ako tumuloy kahit ma-approve yung visa ko kasi ang busy ko ngayong September.” 🙄 I just replied, “Ok.” Di mo maintindihan kung nagpapapilit o ano. Pabebe.

But it didn’t stop there. When they arrived at Kansai Airport, pocket WiFi naman problema nila. Hays. Anyway, nakarating pa din sila sa kabila ng lahat. I’m never doing that again. Kanya kanya na lang next time ha. Bawal na pati ang pabebe. *end of rant*

Okay, back to day four. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan was the only thing in our itinerary that day. I was planning on squeezing a temple or garden before going to the aquarium but that didn’t happen due to time constraints and stuff. We needed to get back early for our bus trip to Tokyo anyway. We wouldn’t want to miss our bus. I’m sure the buses here leave on time ‘cos ‘being on time’ is so Japan. This was our last day in Osaka. Huhu.

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Didn’t expect to see this “Tuloy kayo. Tawad pwede.” sign

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Init talaga

Tempozan Ferris Wheel

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Thought of trying this out but the weather was too hot

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Not So Funny Story:

The four of us were not supposed to be together on this day because their plan is to go to USJ (which we’ve been to already) then Kyoto for their second day (also been there). However, Bong had this funny idea (more like annoying idea) of not getting into any rides because he just doesn’t feel like it (say what??). Benson was super pissed. Even I got a little pissed. I mean, what’s even the point of going to USJ and spend 3,500 pesos for the ticket? To waste money? And what’s the point of having someone go with you to a theme park (one of the best in the world btw) if the one you’re with is not willing to go and experience the different fun rides together? I really have no idea how Bong’s brain works sometimes (or most of the time). So that led to Benson cancelling their USJ trip and they just decided to tag along with us.

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

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Interesting looking building

Sobrang daming magagandang photo op dito sa Aquarium Kaiyukan. Eto yung hindi ko nabasa sa mga blogs, ang style pala nya (unless mali ako at may iba pa palang way), sakay ka ng escalator na diretso sa 8th floor. Sobrang haba nung escalator (papuntang 8th floor ba naman). Nakakalula pag tumingin ka sa likod. So pag nasa 8th floor ka na, ikot ka pababa na parang pa-spiral para makita yung mga sea creatures at ibang animals. Pag mabilis kang maningin at mag-picture, tapos ka na agad. Bye 2,500 yen. 💸

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I thought Osaka Aquarium would be like Zoobic Safari with dolphin shows and stuff. I thought wrong. That’s why I’m a bit disappointed. I would suggest to skip this one if you only have limited time in Osaka. Unless you want to have photos looking like this:

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Why didn’t I have my picture taken here? This is one of my photo goals. Huhu. Hello Benson.

Or this:

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📸: Benson

Perhaps this:

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Hello. 📸: Bong

Or maybe this:

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What am I pointing at

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Aliw.

This one also:

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Benson said he looked like a retard here. His own words.

But skipping this is just a suggestion. Because I have a friend who told me that she didn’t like DisneySea so I had doubts of going there. But when we went to DisneySea (good thing we did), I was truly mesmerized. So it depends on the person.

We were pleased that there’s a fast food restaurant inside Osaka Aquarium because we haven’t had breakfast yet. There’s like a mini mall nearby with several food options but they’re not open until 11AM.

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Pineapple twirl. Yum.

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With B1 & B2

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TRIVIA: This is the actual thickness of the acrylic glass they use in their aquariums

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I want this too

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There’s also this petting area for stingrays and some other guys

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Enjoying much Kennetski?

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And this area showcasing the bones of different sea creatures

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Interesting

More photos before saying goodbye:

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Little krabby patty

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Like a queen

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Feeding time

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A cockroach’s ancestor (made that up)

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It has a face! Cute.

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Say aahhh…

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This is the one I’d like to pet

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Fried egg jellyfish (a very well-thought-out name)

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Mr. Grumpy Face

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Aloha

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More jellies

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This is a lung fish

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Bye cutie!

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Is this even effin real??

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My favorite spot

Eating time again. Open na yung mini mall.

Tempozan Market Place

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Yummy katsu

Rinku Town

After eating, they decided to go to Rinku Town. The boys wanted to do some shopping. Apparently, it’s a place with many outlet stores. I didn’t like this idea. Plus the train fare going here was around 500 pesos each. I’d rather go to Don Quijote and buy more Japanese snacks.

Believe it or not, I forgot that we went here because I didn’t take any pictures (as a sign of my rebellion). I originally wrote, “After eating, we went straight home blah blah”. But no, we actually went here. It’s a fact.

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Boooo. 👎🏼

I was browsing Benson’s timeline for more Japan photos and if I hadn’t come across this photo, I wouldn’t have remembered. Since I’m quite disappointed with Osaka Aquarium and I’m forced to go here in Rinku Town, this is my least favorite day of our trip.

So after the boys were done with their shopping, we finally went home and packed our stuff. Before heading home, Benson changed his mind (again) about going to Kyoto for their second day. He must’ve imagined himself with lame-o Bong strolling around Kyoto and decided to just skip that lameness. He also said that he’s not really a fan of temples and shrines. Or ayaw nya lang talaga kasama si Bong na silang dalwa lang? Haha. So after much contemplation, he decided to just tag along with us to Tokyo. Then Bong followed suit. What is happening?? 😂 Problem is, their night bus tickets were for the following day kasi nga sa 3rd day pa dapat nila sila pa-Tokyo. Those tickets were already purchased online a week before their flight. Staying positive, we thought that they could just refund the tickets and just purchase same-day tickets at the bus station. We were oh so wrong. And you can’t change the date that’s indicated on the ticket either.

Balik muna tayo sa guest house. Mark (again, the Airbnb host) was surprised to know that the two will be checking out a day earlier (bye 1,500 pesos – the price of 1 night accommodation 💸😂). He even discouraged them from leaving because he’s not sure if they can buy tickets using cash. Eh laban na daw sabi ni Benson. Before leaving, we had the chance to meet Ken (the other host).

Fun Fact:

We learned through Benson that they’re not just business partners, they are also lovers. Aww. They’ve been together for 20 years I think? Inspiring. Benson also mentioned something about Ken adopting Mark? Uhm, I’m not so sure how that story goes.

Anyway, we reached the bus station at around 9:30 PM. The two immediately asked the staff and inquired about those tickets. Unfortunately, they were strict about the online reservations. Worst part is, they don’t sell tickets there. Transactions should be online. Bummer. Benson thought of Plan B: bullet train. That would cost them sooo much. And what if the tickets were non-refundable? (turned out they were refundable but it was too late to get a refund. bye 3,000 pesos.) But Benson didn’t bother. He’s really determined to go to Tokyo that night whatever it takes (whatever it takes to avoid being alone with Bong? haha). Thankfully, a good Samaritan informed them of another bus station with buses heading to Tokyo almost every 15-30 minutes. About that time, we were already on our way to Tokyo. Our bus left at 10:20 PM while they were still figuring out how to get to Tokyo themselves. Around 12 midnight, I received a message from Benson that they’re already on their way. Whew. What an ordeal.

Now let’s talk about the bus. It’s no ordinary bus. It’s the most comfortable bus ride ever. The travel time from Osaka to Tokyo by bus takes 9 hours. That’s 9 hours of just sitting and waiting for our butts to grow weeds. So that’s why they made this bus very suitable for  long travels like this. Look.

 

It has curtains for your privacy. You’ll be provided with a pillow and a blanket so you’ll be comfy while sleeping. It also has spacious leg rooms and each seat have their own outlets to charge your phones. I read somewhere that some buses have a “ladies policy” where they separate male passengers from the females. Good thing I booked the correct bus. I booked it through Willer Express btw. Alright time to get some zzz’s.

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Bye Osaka! Hello Tokyo!

This is how we spent our 7 days in JaFUN (Sep 8-14, 2016):

  • Daily Expenses (soon)
  • Personal Notes, Tips, Whatchamacallit (soon)
Categories
Japan Kyoto Travel

Japan Itinerary Day 3/7: Kyoto – Arashiyama & Fushimi Inari-taisha

Sep 10, 2016

Two of the things that I’m looking forward to see in Japan is right here in Kyoto. The moment I saw pictures of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and the torii gates in Fushimi Inari-taisha, I was completely blown away. I can’t wait to witness them with my own eyes.

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Hello Kyoto

When we reached Arashiyama, I had no idea that it was a huge place with many shrines and temples scattered around the area. The place is so zen. On our way there, I thought that this was just the location of the bamboo grove that I’m so eager to see. When we saw the map (given to us by a personnel at the train station), we saw the different tourist spots that we could check out before we can reach the bamboo forest.

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The map

First, you will be greeted by this bridge.

Togetsu-kyo Bridge

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Wishing it was fall

History Tidbit #1:

This bridge is 400 years old.

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That lush greenery

I want to go back here during the fall season. I want all these greens to turn into oranges and reds.

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Everything about this place spells “chill”

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Takoyaki at last!

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Big octopus chunks

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Takoyaki by the river

On our way to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, we got lost. We couldn’t figure out how to get there it was so frustrating. We tried asking questions and this lady was very patient explaining to us the directions. With the map in hand and the lady’s instructions, we still couldn’t seem to figure it out. The lady advised us to enter the Sogenchi Garden (for an entrance fee of 250 pesos each) and from there we could make our way to the bamboo grove. But some other person was pointing us to a different direction. Turns out, there are two routes going to the bamboo grove. One is through the garden (for a fee) and the other one doesn’t require us to pass through a temple or garden (which means no entrance fees) but it’s much farther.

Tenryu-ji Temple

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aka Temple of the Heavenly Dragon

History Tidbit #2:

One of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto. This temple is said to be caught in fire several times (8 times to be exact) and underwent major reconstructions through the years.

So clearly, we chose the shorter route and bought entrance tickets to the garden. It was a good decision because we get to see a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Sogenchi Garden is breathtaking. It looks very calm and peaceful. This garden is a piece of art.

Sogenchi Garden

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Perfect place to do some meditation or yoga

History Tidbit #3:

For 700 years, Sogenchi Garden retained it’s original form since it was laid out in the 14th century.

At this point, we were still having an argument. I was so pissed at Kenneth because he easily becomes irritable whenever we get lost. Getting lost is part of the travel! And if I’m gonna get lost, I’d rather get lost in Japan. There are so many interesting things to see along the way. He’s so focused on getting to our destination that he can’t seem to appreciate that we are in a different country and that we are being surrounded by things that we can no longer come across once we go back to the Philippines. And if we didn’t get lost, we wouldn’t be able to see this:

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No idea what this is but I find it cool

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He kind of settled down and maybe realized that I’m right (?). But that’s how we are. We argue, then we laugh it off. Sabi ko sa kanya:

“Wag ka kasing mataray.”

“Ikaw din naman mataray. Wag kang mataray.”

“Eh mataray nga ako.”

“Eh mataray nga din ako.”

Then we find ourselves laughing. It’s basically our everyday life in Japan.

Photos before reaching the bamboo grove:

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We thought this was it but it isn’t. But we are sooo close.

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Tempted to buy some charms

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So relieved to see some kind of gazebo to sit and get a short break from all the walking

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We’re almost there!

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

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* huge heart eyes *

AT LAST! The long, tiring walk and all those petty fights are so worth it! Kenneth was completely amazed. Kenneth’s not really expressive so when he likes something that I like, it makes me doubly happy.

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Can’t contain my happiness

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When you look up

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Bamboo heaven

It is true. No photo can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this bamboo grove. ❤️

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I can look at this all day

As much as I want to assemble a tent and practically live here, it’s already time to go  to our second destination. Some interesting things we saw while heading to the train station that will take us to Fushimi Inari-taisha:

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Wooden dragonfly maker

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Now I look back and think that I should have bought one. This could have been a great souvenir (or those charms perhaps).

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Monks?

We stumbled upon many shrines but this one is free to enter.

Nonomiya Shrine

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So zen

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Wishes and prayers hung on wooden plates (wooden plates not free)

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“Sana magustuhan na tayo ng mga crush natin”

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Envied these guys. We were so DEAD tired at this point.

I’m not quite happy with how I approached our trip overall. I wasn’t able to take it all in and truly experience these historic sites around me. I’m more focused on getting great pictures that I forget to stop and savor it all. All those history tidbits, I only learned about it when I tried Googling all the places that we went to. It would be so much better if I knew the meaning and the story of what’s right in front of me.

Fushimi Inari-taisha

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Fushimi Inari Shrine

Tried their street food. It was quite expensive (250 pesos) compared to our isaw which is only 5 pesos. Unfair.

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Not sure what this is

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What I ate: chicken in skewers. It was bland.

I think the reason why I bought this was because the guy selling these asked me my nationality. When I said Filipino, he replied with, “Ganda.” I was sold. LOL.

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Rice cake wrapped in strips of pork

Done with snacking. Just a few steps away and we’ll reach our final destination for the day.

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Greetings from the foxes

History Tidbit #4:

And I thought, why foxes? Upon googling, foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, resulting in many fox statues scattered across the shrine grounds. And who’s Inari? The Shinto god of rice.

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Another travel goal unlocked 😁

It’s my ultimate dream to have my picture taken with these torii gates alone. With so many tourists walking along the same path, it would be difficult to achieve this shot. Kenneth’s patience was tested while taking this photo. Before taking the shot, I instructed him to hold up the camera so the people behind us would stop and let Kenneth take my picture. It was kind of embarrassing because it took about an awkward 30-45 seconds before all the people ahead of us disappear into view. But I’m so happy with the result!

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Photo goal unlocked 📸

Kenneth is not really “the photographer” and doesn’t care if he has that perfect shot. As long as that thing or place is in the photo, it’s good enough for him. But I’m not like that, so I had a plan. A few months before this trip, I already briefed him that I want my photos to look like this and that; then I showed him sample photos so he will have an idea on how to frame the photo and stuff. And in fairness to him, he did a really good job; and I appreciate him for that (even if I can see him low-key frowning while doing it). 😅

History Tidbit #5:

So those orange things are called torii gates. Thousands of these torii gates lead to Mount Inari. (*Google Google*) These gates are donated by companies or individuals and each gate costs ¥400,000. The bigger ones could reach up to 1 million yen each. And those Japanese characters written in each gate are the names of those donors

We didn’t finish the trail because it would’ve taken us one and a half hours to reach Mt. Inari and another 1.5 hours to return. So I encouraged Kenneth to head back. Few more photos before going back to Osaka:

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Closer look at the shrine

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Idk why I get cheerful whenever I see a takoyaki stand

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Bye Kyoto! Mwahmwahmwah!

Dotonbori Part 2

Dotonbori has a lot to offer when it comes to food so a single visit wouldn’t be enough. This time, we tried okonomiyaki and soba at Mizuno.

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Looks can be deceiving

ANG SARAAP! Especially the soba. We thought we wouldn’t be able to finish everything because the servings were huge but we devoured every last bite. They were closed when we got there but we still fell in line. The manager was evidently annoyed because people kept on falling in line even if there’s already a ‘closed’ sign blocking the entrance. Thankfully, he let us into the queue. Maybe because we’re tourists and he thought that this would be our last chance to try their famous okonomiyaki. I chose the variant with minced meat, squid, shrimps, scallions and octopus bits. Sarap talagaaa.

I can say that this is the most tiring day of our 7-day trip. I’m not sure how many miles did we have to walk to accomplish our Kyoto itinerary. Even if we researched ahead of time and have all the navigation apps that you could think of, we kept on getting lost. And this resulted to countless arguments; plus the scorching heat is not helping with our tempers.

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Hoping I could see you again 😢

This is also the day when two of our friends will join us for our last day in Osaka before heading to Tokyo. It does get tiring arguing with Kenneth so it’s really fun seeing these two argue with each other for a change. 😂

This is how we spent our 7 days in JaFUN (Sep 8-14, 2016):

  • Daily Expenses (soon)
  • Personal Notes, Tips, Whatchamacallit (soon)

 

Categories
Japan Osaka Travel

Japan Itinerary Day 2/7: Osaka – Universal Studios & Dotonbori

Sep 9, 2016

USJ Day! It was a 15-minute walk to Shin-Imamiya Station (from Ken & Mark Guest House) going to Universal City Station. Some morning sightings while strolling around Osaka:

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Goodmorning lola!

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Initially thought this was a gasoline station

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They have vending machines for a lot of things

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More proof

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La lang 😅

We got off at the wrong station going to USJ. So while waiting for the next train, we (or I) had time for photo op.

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Fake buying

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I wish I have natural curly hair

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Nice one husband (but I’m the one who framed this so technically, I took this shot 😏)

Universal Studios Japan

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This entrance screams, “Heyyy youuu!”

We bought Express Passes online because I read from other blogs that waiting time for the most popular rides could take up to 2-4 hours! Especially for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. We wouldn’t want to waste time so we bought the passes for another Php 3,000 each (refer here for a step-by-step guide on how to buy it online). A total of Php 6,500 per person for the park entry ticket plus the Express pass. Sooo expensive. To think that our roundtrip tickets to Japan costed us Php 6,200 each. Anyway, no time for regrets.

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These two right here are ultimate snobs

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Surprisingly, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not the highlight of my USJ experience

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The mandatory photo with the globe of course

We rode Hollywood Dream: The Ride first.

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Then we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and took LOTS of photos.

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Aaagghhh 😍

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Choo choo

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Mr. Weasley’s car: The Flying Ford Anglia

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Fred & George 😊

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I don’t know why I didn’t buy even one thing from Honeydukes

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Should have bought this at least

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“The wand chooses the wizard” -Mr. Ollivander

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A travel blogger advised to go to Hog’s Head instead to avoid the long lines here

Second ride: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Didn’t take a picture. I’ll make it up with more photos of the wizarding world.

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Slightly annoyed that I’m the only one enjoying this and my husband’s just like, “Meh.”

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Ah, what a sight.

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Why does it have to be so expensive 😭

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I really like Voldemort’s wand for some reason

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I’ll come back for you (when??)

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Read somewhere that this ride is for kids. We’ll save this for our future son (or daughter).

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Go Gryffindor

It’s way past lunch time so we had to eat. This right here costs around 2,000 pesos. Next time, we’ll just bring snacks.

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Not that good and not worth it

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At least he’s enjoying his corn

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Frozen butterbeer! Verdict: Just okay. Tastes like caramel.

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Students from Beauxbatons Academy of Magic!

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All smiles despite the heat

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All was well indeed. See you again!

Side Note #1:

When I was trying to buy our Express Passes online, we had the option to choose what time will we be entering the wizarding world. I chose the earliest time available which was 11:50 AM. After choosing the time, another time will be given for us to be allowed to ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. In our case, it was 12:10-12:40 PM. One thing that I learned from our USJ experience is that, I should have chosen a later time to enter Harry Potter world. Maybe around 6 PM would be perfect. The line was short when we got there so we weren’t able to utilize the full potential of our Express Passes. And I’ve also read that the Harry Potter world is best viewed at night. I can only imagine. Sayang talaga. I felt that I wasn’t able to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at its best. I could have taken better photos. I say this because we also went to DisneySea and stayed there until closing time (10 PM). DisneySea at night was magical. We left USJ early (around 6 PM) because we were already done with the 7 rides that we planned. Oh well.

JAWS for our third ride.

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Ang medyo nakaka-turn off nga lang talaga eh yung mga rides na ang voice-over eh Japanese language. Although maganda yung visual, hindi mo fully ma-appreciate kase hindi mo maintindihan yung sinasabi. Tulad nung ride na to. Nakaupo kayo sa isang medyo malaking boat at may tour guide kayong kasama tapos biglang may shark na a-attack sa inyo. Medyo actor ang peg ni kuyang tour guide dito kase kunwari binabaril nya yung shark tapos mega acting sya sa pagma-maneuver nung boat para maka-iwas dun sa shark. Yung buong ride na yun, nagsasalita sya in Japanese na wala kaming maintindahan. Nagre-rely na lang kami sa mga nakikita namin at sa facial expressions nya. Mas na-enjoy siguro namin kung may naiintindihan kami sa mga sinasabi nya.

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Sulitin ang Express Pass. Cute ni ate 😁

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Tired.

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Am I still in USJ?

Side Note #2:

There’s a third lane for some rides. So there’s the regular one, the express, and then there’s a singles lane. If you’re in a group and fall in line on the singles, chances are, you won’t be sitting together. But if you’re in a hurry and don’t mind being apart, the singles lane would be the perfect choice.

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Random shot that I took. I find it cute.

Fourth ride: Flying Dinosaur. Three words. Best. Ride. Ever.

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I MISS YOU!

Instead of the usual roller coaster na nakaupo ka, dito, nakadapa ka. Medyo kakaiba yung feeling. Pagbaba namin dun sa ride, hindi pa din ako maka-move on dun sa experience. Basta ang saya. Si Kenneth medyo takot yun sa heights pero super nag-enjoy sya. Sulit daw yung 2.5 hours na pila. Matagal yung pinila namin dito kasi hindi na sya kasama sa Express Pass namin. Kung alam ko lang, sana yung Express Pass na may Flying Dinosaur na lang yung kinuha namin. Another fail.

Jurassic Park: Ride (forgettable) and The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman (same concept with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey pero mas ok to) for our 5th and 6th ride.

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One frozen mango for 250 pesos. No thanks! But I got curious I almost bought one.

Our last stop was Space Fantasy: The Ride. This one surprised us.

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Magical 😱

Touristy Moment #3:

Basing from the name (Space Fantasy) and its facade, we thought it was a kiddie ride. We almost didn’t want to continue because we couldn’t figure out how to lock the locker compartment (so we could store our bags there during the ride). The attendant told us to insert ¥100 coin. It turned out we were inserting the coin in the wrong machine. So there’s this machine nearby the lockers and I thought that’s where we could get a ticket or something for us to utilize the lockers. When I inserted a ¥500 coin, the machine dispensed five ¥100 coins. Ang labo. Kenneth already refused to continue with the ride. We were already tired. But I asked the attendant again (for the last time) and if we still can’t figure it out, we will leave already. I even suggested to put our things inside the locker and leave it unlocked, because that’s how I trust the Japanese people. Kenneth refused again. Okay. So upon asking, the attendant accompanied us and showed us how. Turned out, the coin slot for locking the compartment was beside the keyhole of the locker. The machine’s purpose was to exchange your money for ¥100 coins if you don’t have one available because the lockers are only accepting, yes, ¥100 coins. Ay sus. Buti na lang natuloy kami sa ride kasi it was unexpectedly awesome.

So a few seconds into the ride, it was slow. We were like, “Ho-hum. Boring. Pambata.” But after a few minutes, we were transported into space! Ang galing nung effects. The stars seemed real and the pace was going fast. Hayyy super ganda. I will not forget the exploding sound at the end of the ride with matching explosion of stars. Parang milky way. Hay ang ganda talaga. What a great way to end our USJ visit. Off to Dotonbori!

But first, ride ratings:

  • Hollywood Dream: The Ride ★★★★☆
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ★★☆☆☆
  • JAWS ★★☆☆☆
  • Flying Dinosaur ★★★★★
  • Jurassic Park: Ride ★★☆☆☆
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman ★★★☆☆
  • Space Fantasy: The Ride ★★★★★

More random photos before we go.

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Bye USJ!

Dotonbori

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It’s so “alive awake alert enthusiastic” here

We were so excited to eat ramen in Japan. Upon searching Google, it shows very good reviews for Ichiran (there are 2 branches in Dotonbori). Unfortunately, I liked Ramen Nagi better (or fortunately rather ‘cos they’re more accessible to us). Ramen Nagi’s broth is richer and their noodles are firmer.

Ichiran
Ramen in Japan at last!

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Takoyakiii. We’ll try this tomorrow. Still full from the ramen.

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Short Story:

I had a headache the following morning because I was up late crying (I don’t know why it led to crying. It’s just that I was so annoyed. Grr.) So after eating ramen, we saw a Don Quijote store and I got excited. Based from the numerous travel blogs I’ve read, everything here is cheap. Madaming mga nag-bilin samin ng mga gusto nilang ipabili (perfume, collagen powder, wallet, green tea, etc) so I gathered all the strength I have left to do some partial shopping. Para at least sa mga susunod na days konti na lang yung bibilhin. Sobrang pagod na pagod na pagod na talaga kami. Hindi na ko makalakad ng maayos (I’ll remember to not wear boots next time). I was literally walking like Lotus Feet (yes, that character in the movie Feng Shui). Pinilit ko na lang talaga. Tapos eto pa yung mangyayari. 😔

To cut the story short, I bought 6 pieces of collagen powder for my officemates. One piece is around 800 pesos. When we got home and upon reviewing the receipt, 10 pieces na collagen powder yung na-punch ni ateng cashier. I paid for 10 but I only got 6. Grrr. Kayo na bahala mag-compute. Medyo madami kaming pinamili kaya di ko na naisip i-check yung receipt bago umalis. Japanese language pa yung resibo. Sobrang siksikan din mga tao dun sa store kaya hindi mo na talaga maiisip. Lesson learned. You can learn from my mistake as well. I know I won’t be accepting too many requests the next time I travel anywhere.

Okay enough. Kyoto naman bukas!

This is how we spent our 7 days in JaFUN (Sep 8-14, 2016):

  • Daily Expenses (soon)
  • Personal Notes, Tips, Whatchamacallit (soon)
Categories
Japan Osaka Travel

Japan Itinerary Day 1/7: Osaka Kansai Airport & Ken and Mark Guesthouse

Sep 8, 2016

We were already at the airport three and a half hours before our flight. The plane will depart at 3:00 PM then 8:00 PM (Japan time) would be the arrival time. At first, I thought the 8:00 PM that’s indicated in our ticket is also Manila time so I thought that it would take 5 hours to get to Japan. That’s why at 6:45 PM (Manila), I was just chilling in the plane because I thought we still have one hour before arrival. But the pilot suddenly spoke and announced that we will deplane in about 15 minutes. I got excited and started to fix my things and my hair then wore my shoes.

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Hi cute photobomber 😁

Kansai International Airport

Picked up our rented pocket WiFi from Pupuru. You can return it by dropping it off in any mailbox in Japan. In our case, since we’ll exit Japan from Tokyo, we dropped it off at Narita Airport. Renting pocket WiFi is highly suggested. Worth the extra cost.

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We were already given instructions by Mark (our Airbnb host in Osaka) on how to get to our accommodation. He taught us how to buy tickets and what train line to get into. He told us to get off at Tengachaya station and that he will meet us at the exit. From that station, it will be a 15-minute walk going to our temporary house. One thing that’s great about our accommodation is that the owners don’t live in the house (unlike most of the Airbnb accommodation you’ll find). Ken and Mark have their own house just a few blocks away from the guest house. I guess it’s more comfortable that way. But even if the owners were not around, Mark is accommodating with our inquiries. I’ll just send him a private message if we have any questions on how to get from one place to another and he will respond as quick as he can.

Touristy Moment #1:

So ganito pala yun. Insert bills/coins first, choose how many passengers, then select the ticket amount. Instead of choosing the name of the station you want to go to, you choose the appropriate amount for that specific station. Siguro since sobrang daming train stations, amount na lang yung nilagay kase yung ibang stations naman same fare lang. Baka hindi na magkasya sa screen lahat ng stations.

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The intimidating ticket machine

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Our first train tickets

Downtown Osaka

We had no problems reaching Tengachaya station. Mark was already waiting for us when we got off the train. He didn’t have any pictures of us to recognize our faces but he immediately waved when he saw us (how?). The 15-minute walk from the station to the guest house with our luggages in tow was really tiring. Mark was already discussing some “things to know” while we’re on our way to the house. He speaks good English so there weren’t any problems communicating and he seemed very nice. We were already hungry when we arrived at the guest house and we just wanted to stuff our faces with Japanese food. But Mark had to tour us first around the house, discuss some house rules and help us with our itinerary and stuff (huhu so many things to remember). When Mark was done, it’s finally time to eat!

Our accommodation is in a good location and booking Ken & Mark Guest House was a really good decision. I highly highly recommend it. There is another station near the guest house which is just a 5-minute walk. Around that station, there are McDonald’s, Family Mart, some restaurants (mostly gyudon restos) and a supermarket. It was already 11 PM. Good thing there’s a 24-hour gyudon restaurant nearby. We had our really late dinner there. Before leaving us, Mark taught us how to buy the food tickets.

A quick tour around the neighborhood:

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Available in almost every corner of Japan

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Bikes everywhere

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And of course

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Staple Japanese treats

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Family Mart pastries

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Had to try at least one of these

Touristy Moment #2:

In Japan, most of the restaurants have this food ticket machine where you have to buy the food tickets first, then sit at a table, give the food tickets to the server, and wait for your food. It was kind of intimidating at first but I had gotten used to it because we almost always had to buy food tickets in every restaurant we went to in Japan. And most ticket machines have English translations so you’ll be fine.

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I think I ordered the gyumeshi.

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Food ticket machine

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Clumsy as ever

The gyudon was okay. Nothing special. What I liked was how clean and organized the restaurant was. The servers were also very courteous.

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So fresh and so clean clean…

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Hey temporary neighbors

I had my worries of eating in Japan because I really don’t know how to use chopsticks. I’ve tried using it whenever we eat at ramen places here in Manila but I always end up asking for a fork. 😁 I find it hard to use chopsticks and my hand gets tired from using it. It’s like I’m having hand tremors. But after a few days of using chopsticks in Japan, I learned that you just have to relax. I was really proud of myself when I was able to eat my food with little difficulty. But there were times when I cheat and just use the spoon (which is intended for the soup) to scoop up the rice. Hihi.

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Look at the trying hard chopsticks user (namely me)

Since we arrived in Japan late, we just went straight to bed after our late dinner and had some rest because we were going to Universal Studios in the morning; which meant I would finally get to see the wizarding world of Harry Potter! Yay! Kenneth is not a Harry Potter fan and calls Harry Potter ‘Harry F*cker’. Such a party pooper. Some photos of the guest house:

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House front

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Dying to change to these comfy slippers

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Very very (OC level) tidy living room

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Kitchen area

Toilets in Japan are very very special things. Mark said, “When you go back to the Philippines, you are going to miss our toilets here.” Yep. He’s right. Most of their toilets have automatic bidet, deodorizer, vacuum (to suck out the funky smell), fake flushing sound button (if you’re nagpupururot and want to avoid the humiliation) and buttons to change water temperature, nozzle position, and water pressure. Their really serious about their toilets.

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May massage pa!

USJ day tomorrow!

This is how we spent our 7 days in JaFUN (Sep 8-14, 2016):

  • Daily Expenses (soon)
  • Personal Notes, Tips, Whatchamacallit (soon)