.Bla bla Things About Me.

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I thought I'm just gonna say that I'm a simple girl in this complicated world, but I think it's just what I want to be - a simple person.

Friday, August 29, 2014

.Japan Trip - Khaosan World Asakusa Tokyo.

After our first night at Haneda, we went to our hotel to drop our baggage before wandering around Tokyo. We were staying at Asakusa, area since it's already known as cheaper and budget traveler area. We chose Khaosan World Asakusa Hostel for 4 nights, before went to Kyoto afterwards. What I love about Khaosan is, they provide detailed directions from nearest station to the hostel, even with pictures!
We took the Keikyu Airport Express ( you must be use it if you want to use subway from airport), transferred at Sengakuji and stop at Asakusa Station.Do remember that Asakusa area has 2 station, the one we took was Asakusa (TOBU/SUBWAY) which used by tobu subway. There's another Asakusa Station (TSUKUBA) that used by JR railway / Tsukuba Express railway. It's quite far (for Indonesian I think, because we're lazy :P)  from Asakusa Station (TOBU/SUBWAY), and as the exit is on a big intersection, it's quite hard to find our hostel for the first time. I'll recommend to use ASAKUSA(TSUKUBA), although it means more transit in the subway station, but it's super easy afterwards.
left : lobby , right : cute open area on laundry room
We arrived early, I think it's around 8 AM. The receptionist kindly ushered us to the kitchen and common room. I loovvee the kitchen, it's fully equipped with electric stove, refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and toaster! And they also provide free coffee and tea. 
Amazing machine

There's also a food vending machine, i am super amazed by this point. Japan is crazyyy hahhaa.. On one night, we managed to try the fried rice from the machine, it only takes around 10 minutes and taadaa! Dinner is served! The rice still fluffy, and taste good...Amazing ^^
fried rice from machine? wow
Beside the common room, they also had casual bar (happy hour!), massage room (free!), comic room (free!), and coin laundry dryer room. As it's the first time I'm staying at hostel, it never thought it's going to be this cool! :P

As for the room, I pick the love hotel theme, because we can't book any love hotel from Indonesia :( well, I think it's quite gloomy for my taste, a bit horror actually with the green dimmed light haha.. sorry for the messy pictures, I forgot to take a proper one when we enter the room hehe.. The bed is semi double bed, it's good enough for 2 persons. Mr Chubby is "grande" size and i'm "tall" size (but wider T^T) so it fits us. But I think for foreigners it might me uncomfortable. They provide the sheet, but we have to make our own bed. No cleaning service guys so if you're happen to stay at hostel, keep your room clean!
sink on the right side of the bed (weird?)
Thank God the toilet is modern! Japanese usualy separate the shower and toilet room. I love bidet, it has warming feature (it's not okay to put your a** on cold toilet in the middle of the night) which i loved and of course the flowing-river-sound button to disguise the sound of your business :P
Wifi was good and stable. Amenities were only shampoo, soap and conditioner. They do not provide towels, but you can rent/buy it on the receptionist area. Overall I think it's a good place to stay, although personally the price for private ensuite room wasn't so much differ with the business hotel, but it's a nice place to start exploring the town because you can interact with many people and the information you can get on your first day, will be helping you during the trip :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

.Japan Trip - Day 1 - Haneda.

Holla! Gosh it's been so long since my last post! -_- 

As usual, work life has been super busy lately, and when it's not, it's the laziness of course :P anywayyyy, last March 2014 me and Mr Chubby went to Japan woohoo! I grew up with lots of comic books and an avid fan of Doraemon (who doesn't?), so Japan is one of my dream destinations. 

It's been several months after our trip, so maybe I forgot some of the details. Our trip was on early March 2014 for 13 days, and we managed to visit Tokyo, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Kyoto, Arashiyama, Kinosaki Onsen and Osaka, before heading back to Tokyo for our flight home. Before visiting Japan, of course you need to do some research, here's some of the information that might be useful for you.

At first, I want to submit our visa by ourselves, but due to work schedule ( aka sayang cuti ), we used travel agent. As per this date, Visa to Japan is free, but with some term and conditions (so far I only know only for the e-passport holders). But if you don't have it, it's okay since the visa doesn't cost too much (Holiday Visa cost 320K), and around 100K for travel agent fee.  

What to do 
Do visit this web before going, it's super helpful and I'm amazed with Japan Tourism Board! You can find each city/area/prefecture attractions, along with how to get there, and even its cost and operating time. Super! Every area in Japan usually also have a web, so you can find more details even in there. It might be overwhelming and exhausting when you do your search, I even felt it's too much information and too much places to see haha! But trust me, the long hours doing preparation, it's worth it.

Accommodation  (Hotel / Ryokan / Hostel)
If you want to stay at Hotel, then go to the usual Agoda or Hotels.com. Do check prices on several websites since sometimes it doesn't always the same. And especially check Trip Advisor for the reviews. 
If you're stating at Hostel, try the hostel directly or Hostel World. It only costs 2$ for each booking (no tax yayyy!), and it costs around 2000-3500 yen/pax, depends on the room type. I never went to hostel before, so I booked the private ensuite for 2 persons, so my opinions only for Japan Hostel only. The downsides are no towels (some place have towels , or you can rent it or buy it), limited amenities (usually only shampoo, soap and conditioner), and there's no cleaning up ever (if you are a messy person, and expecting your room cleaned after going out, no way). But the upsides are it's super clean, common room (Think vending machine! Clean and equipped kitchen! Free tea and coffee! People talking English!), free computers and internet to use (don't forget to bring your card reader) and of course plentiful information at the receptionist (Free tour! Recommended restaurant around the area! Day-pass! And their english is very good!). 
Alternatively, you can stayed at Ryokan (japanese style hotel), but they usually don't listed on Agoda or other web. I prefer book it via Japanican , or through the ryokan website if possible.
For our trip, we like to try different accommodations, so we tried business hotel, hostel and one night at ryokan (will post about it later). Actually we also want to try love hotel, but I can't find how to book it online hehe.. For a cheapo, you can try the capsule hotel (as long as you're not claustrophobic) or internet / manga cafe (warnet).

FYI, here's a map of Tokyo transportation.

Even Japanese sometimes get lost in it! That's why in each station beside the ticket vending machine, there's extra fare machine if the trip is more than your ticket. We got ourselves Suica for easier use, just tap and the fare will be deducted from your deposit :) And the most important thing, check Hyperdia for routes, timetable and railway. Do remember, Japanese train arrival and departure time are very precise guys.
One of my biggest question before going is should I buy JR Pass? I would say it depends. The JR Pass may give you unlimited ride for the Shinkansen or JR Railway (check the subway map for zebra line), but it costs so much! Almost 30K yen for 7 days! If you only stayed on 1 or 2 city, it's cheaper to buy the shinkansen ticket directly, rather than using the JR Pass. Since our itenary is 13 days, for the first week we traveled around Tokyo, Kawasaki and Yokohama using the ordinary Suica, besides Yokohama and Kawasaki isn't so far from Tokyo (around 500 yen). But for the second week, we activate the JR Pass and went to Kyoto (13220 yen), Kinosaki Onsen (7220 yen) and Osaka (5720 yen) and back to Tokyo (13750 yen). My rule is if the shinkansen costs you more than JR Pass, go for JR Pass. 

We were using Air Asia for our flight. Our flight was early in the morning, 06:25 and we arrived not so long at KLIA, Malaysia on 09:45. Our next flight is 14:40 to Haneda, you can get your lunch at KLIA (although not much choice). I heard KLIA2 has better dining options, but let's see on our next trip. 
it's freaking 5 degrees when we arrived *brrrr*
Btw, if you're using AA to Haneda you will be arrived around 22:30, but because the subway close around 23:00, so we choose to stay at the airport. You can stay at the airport hotel, or like us, ngemper-style mode :P besides, many Japanese also doing the same thing woohoo!

The first thing we do is visit the Tokyo Tourist Information Center. You can find many pamphlets, brochure and guidance for places to visit, for free! yayy again for freebies :P We chose to sit (and sleep, of course) in front of the tourism center.
Everyone's marked their territory

One thing I'm excited to see when we arrived at Haneda, ws the toilet! It has several buttons (even the flowing-river-sound button), so far I found this kind of toilet in Jakarta only at Kaihomaru (Blok M) and Lotte Shopping Avenue.
This is artwork!
There's squat style toilet for you who prefer some sports when doin' your thang'...

Even the nursery room is fully equipped with hot water!

We bought our first Suica at Haneda (you can buy / top up in station that has JR lines CMIIW)! It's easy to use, just click the English language first. Or you can ask the officer how to use it.
The beautiful machine

Btw, if you scared about the communication outside the hotel, don't worry. I found majority of the Japanese can understand English but they can not speak very well. Even if they can not understand your question, they are super helpful and willing to help. It's one of the things that amazed me about Japan. Commitment. Commitment to do the best in their work, commitment to help people as best as they could--it's in their blood. it's their culture. And remember, we came to this world without any language spoken, so in emergency case, use the universal language, body language :P

So, there we were. Suica in wallet, Tourist Guides in our bags, Map in our hands, ready to kick some ass (not literally). But first thing first, beauty sleep! :)