Because It’s My First Time… in Japan

I feel secured and fell in love with the country.

Last year, 2019 finally I went to Japan. I would say it was unplanned travel. Started with my cousin that randomly check air flight ticket in the travel website. Then.. BAM! Suddenly she sent a picture of cheap air-flight ticket from a well-known airline.

“7 millions rupiahs for returned tickets Jakarta – Japan – Jakarta” — What’s in my mind back then was.. “Let’s go!”

It was like October or November (hmm.. ), and after back and fourth in date, we agreed to enjoying our New Year’s in Japan. Our basic reason for travelled in high season was we want have different new year eve experience. Us — budget wise travellers :D. Not in my sane years I travelled in high season. Even in domestic, my golden budget travel tips are, booked in (far) advance and avoid peak season. This time, forget all. We only have 2 months before December, and that’s also high season.

Short story in our preparation and after back and forth in hotel and destination, I must give up some ambitious destinations since we only have 7 days for trip. Well, we planned to 3 destinations which are Tokyo, Osaka and Hakone. But, since Osaka and Tokyo took a whole night to travel, so I let go Osaka, so we can enjoyed Tokyo & Hakone more. Bye bye Hogwarts, and Hello to Disney Sea.

And the Day is come. We took Cathay Pacific airline in early morning flight. For me, early flight meaning just a delayed sleep because I couldn’t sleep at all the night before. So, before we take off from Soekarno – Hatta, I already fell asleep in the plane. Hahaha.

Reached Hong Kong for 3 hours transit, we feel a little bit fresh (after good sleep :p) and after good sleep and not so good in flight food, we’re looking for food. Thank God we have our credit card, because our cash is just too good to be spend in airport.

After another sleep and watched movie (well, another 4 hours flight), we landed in Narita, Japan. It’s night and kind of little jet lagged after long hours flight. Actually, I got nervous, because I must reached Klook counter to get our sim card before they’re close at 22:00. And we’re landed 20:30 PM. And we need that sim card because it was our only guide in this adventure.

I became more worried when reach immigration gate. There is only one counter that opened. And he has to servicing about 200 something people. I said to my cousin “I am afraid we can’t get the Klook counter on time. If we can’t get there before 22:00, we’re doomed”.

Fortunately, we got out from immigration at 21:30, and we’re saved. The Klook person still there and we got our sim card.
One thing you need to know when you choose to have sim card over wifi router. Japan sim card doesn’t work in any brand of android phone. So if you only have 1 phone (and it is android, better checked in website, whether your phone can be used in Japan). Thank God, I have iPhone, so i depends on my iPhone with my Japan ‘Docomo’ sim card. Because my Xiaomi phone (I just knew this) can’t be used at all. Not even to get wifi. So, my Xiaomi is up for the camera only. Oh, you can work with tethering the android phone from your iPhone, but that’s just so stupid.

My solo travel to Europe was really give me a lot of confidence to travel without travel bureau. I felt freedom. When I already connect to internet and google maps, I felt the rest of travel will be just fine. And I was so wrong at that. 😀

First landed in Japan soil and got my connection to google maps, we need to get our Suica card. I just loovee this suica card. Suica card is an IC card that could make your life easier. It can be used as payment for trains, bus, convenience store. Basically it’s like e-money here. But in whole another level. Suica is a brand name. There’s alot ic card other than Suica, but my choice was Suica because that’s what travel bloggers mostly used.

I won’t said it run smooth to get to our hotel from the airport, no sir! First we need to get on skytrain, (Shinkansen-ish but not as expensive as them) And it only took us until down town. From there we need to travel with JR (subway/MRT/Metro) to get to the hotel. This is when we get confused. To get on in JR train, we need that suica card. But first we need to get out from platform skytrain to platform JR train. But we didn’t know that. I thought change platform just get out and get in since we already paid such expensive price for Skytrain.
So, I used my Skytrain to get out from platform and enter other platform. Actually, the gate was not allowed me. But I tress-passed that.

That’s when the station officer called me even I already in another platform. My cousin just laughed to see what I did. Mr. Train Station officer just caught me in the act. Luckily, he knew we’re just landed, and forgive us and let us go and told us to get suica first. But it’s a hell of looping. We asked to train station officer, he told us to get to counter, we asked counter, they said they don’t sell card, only top up, so they directed us to machine. and the machine they pointed turned out only for top up not for new suica card. So we asked people again, and it went like that. Gosh, I think we spent almost one hour just to get suica card.

Yeah, we finally got the card (after long confusing asked the other train station officer that is younger) and understood english a bit better. Yeay! It’s another Paris moment. We’re round and round just to get to hotel. But we did reach our hotel and before we can screaming and jumping that finally we were in Japan, we already gave up in the bed and sleep.

Disney Sea, Tokyo Tower and New Year’s

If you like theme park, go to Japan (in case you can’t afford to US). They have Disneyland and Universal Studio. Their Disneyland is much bigger than the Euro Disneyland in Paris. I knew, been there too (hehe, not very humble of me. Sorry). Anyway, in Japan, you can choose, whether you want to Disneyland – the land of a fairy tale, prince and princess or you want little bit adventure which means — Disney Sea. Since my cousin and I already passed that princess phase and we don’t like to have competitions with babies, we choose Disney Sea. :p

So, low and behold, we have fun with so many queue lines (well, the queue was not the fun part). But we expected there will be so many queues. We went on last day in 2019 — 31st December. So you can imagine, every freakin time we want to try a ride, we must get in line. And the queue could take almost 1,5 hour for 5 minutes ride. What an adventure right! But though we have tired feet, and freezing weather, we were happy. I think that was the best day of our trip.

Okay, maybe I make a too early conclusion about the best day’s part. After Disney Sea, around 18:00 we were going home. Actually I don’t want to, but we only have a day pass, and people with after 6 tickets already waiting in the front of the gate. They were literally sitting in the parking lot in line waiting patiently. That evening, the wind wasn’t nice at all. It’s freezing and windy. But they were all sat there, waiting patiently. Yes, they have prepared it well to celebrate new year’s eve in Disney. I don’t know, but someday I will experience it too.

Short story, we finally spent our new year’s eve in front of shrine. We follow the crowd, and the crowd just get us there. A shrine that I forgot the name. We were attracted because we saw Japanese monks get ready for a ceremony according Shinto’s. They’re all wearing robes with attractive colours. They were beautiful robes. Seriously. And my cousin and I were just stand there waiting for 00:00.

We saw them chanting praying, and when finally the clock show 00:00, the monks rings the big bells. Happy New Year! The crowd cheered and say happy new year’s to their friends, their partners, their couple whose with them or calling them by phone.

Happy New Year 2020! And we are among strangers, just the two of us. We are finally made it happened. Celebrating New Year in Japan, but that fact also struck me. Though we are make it our dream happened, personally, I feel lonely and miss home.

Shibuya, Kimono and Mount Fuji

One thing that I most looking forward in our trip in Japan was Shibuya crossroads, Mount Fuji and wearing kimono. Hmm, okay that’s three :).
Finally we were at Shibuya. What a surprised to me was, it is just a crossroad well, big crossroads. What makes it’s interesting is passengers green light turn on all at once. So all pedestrians were crossing in the same time in all directions like ants. That’s why Shibuya is famous. And many tourists were trying to take picture with all that crossing people in the background.

Shibuya crossroads at nigh time

When you were in Japan, it’s not right when you’re not give yourself a chance to try kimono. Seriously. or at least in my point of view. We luckily have a chance to do that.
Actually, I have fever there, and seriously I got cold (fever, cough and runny nose). I didn’t spend a lot of time outside because I was in fever, but I manage to get to the Meiji Shrine and some pictures in kimono.

somewhere with Tokyo Skytree as backround

One thing for sure, Mount Fuji is beautiful. I don’t care that it took a long journey to get there, but it was worth it.

To get to mount Fuji, we must go to Hakone. We take JR to i forgot the name, and from there we take shinkansen or bullet train. Shinkansen is not cheap. It cost around 5000 yen just for single trip. Though we can’t reach Gotemba, but it’s okay. Because on that day, we were witnessing Hakone Ekiden.
It was awesome and I’d say ‘Woooww’. People in Hakone are comeout to the street and filling the side street to give cheers the Ekiden participants. Though roads were blocked because of that, we’re quite lucky to witnessing the event.

In Hakone, there is Owakudani, it’s a black boiled egg. It is believed when your eat one egg, it adds 7 years to your life. I ate 3 eggs.. hahaha. I guess not just adding 21 years, but my cholesterol level also increase to above safe line. Hahaha…

My first Snow and Snow fall

Typical tropical creature like me when visiting 4 season country is we want to see the snow. It’s cliché I know, but I need to taste it, feel it. That’s the reason we had trip in January. I just want to make snow angle in that fluffy white snow.

So, our next trip in Japan is find the place that have snow, since Tokyo doesn’t have snow, though the cold is the same. We went to GALA Yuzawa Ski Area to get the snow. We again must use Shinkansen return trip because it’s quite far from Tokyo.

And though I still have my fever, the excitement got me. My cousin and I just enjoying our time with snow and snow fall. It still felt sureal when I think about it now. But that’s happened, my and my first snow.

Another Visit

It’s just 7 days trip but my trip to Japan it feels just a greetings. Somehow I feel Japan is very convenience to long visit. Though the whether is undeniably cold, and the living cost is pricey, but I like it there, the people, the food and the ambience. I am very much curious for summer in Japan. Enjoying fireworks festival in Yukata.
Someday.. yes someday and somehow, I know I will be back to Japan and visit longer. That’s my promise to myself.