Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kawaii!!! Y/Y?

My son & his bolster :3

Just chillin'

oops he spotted me

He looks like a fierce old man here, I think I interrupted his ~special alone time~

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I'm nobody's bitch!

My dog getting annoyed.

Day 9: Disneysea

Last day in Japan and it was finally time for our Disneysea trip! Since we had to go down to the airport to catch our flight at midnight, we brought our luggage over to JR Maihama Station to save time. The lockers were really expensive, ¥700 for one and you could only stuff one piece of luggage in each one.

Passport for Disneysea given to us at the hotel. It costs ¥250 to ride on the Resort Line which brings you from JR Maihama Station to Disneysea. My mum was outraged that this wasn't already included in the price of the Passport.
I like the Mickey themed train. On the way we had a nice view of the ocean.

Once we were in the park, we immediately headed to the Tower Of Terror ride, which was our favourite ride from Disneyland Paris (DLP). There was a loooong line there and a sign outside told us that there was going to be a 50-minute long wait. So we decided to get a Fast Pass. I was shocked when we got the Fast Pass. It said that we had to wait till 6.45pm to use it! WAT. It was only about 10.30am at that time. We had to wait for 8 hours before we could use the Fast Pass? Unbelievable.

I don't know if this is pretty common for Disneyland but it was totally different from DLP! Maybe it was a slow day when I visited DLP, idk. At DLP we only had to wait for about an hour to use the Fast Pass. And on the day when there was a slight drizzle in the morning, we barely had to queue for any of the rides. In fact, we rode on the Twilight Tower Of Terror so many times we were a bit pai seh that the staff would recognize us. I'm just glad this isn't the first time I'm visiting Disneyland, otherwise I'd be so disappointed that there wasn't enough time to try all the rides.

Since we were already at the Tower Of Terror, we decided to join the queue. 50 minutes of standing in line later, we were in! The story differs from DLP's Tower Of Terror. DLP's one had more of a Twilight Zone theme, before going on the ride they'll show you a clip from the TV show. As a fan of the Twilight Zone, I loved it! But TDS's story is pretty scary as well. After telling you the story of how the guy got cursed by the statue and dies, the room turns dark and the statue cackles evilly. When the lights are turned up again, the statue is gone! And the Japanese people around me are like EHHHHHH!!! & I really want to LOL cos it reminds me of that Taiwanese magician going around the streets of Tokyo performing his street magic and the Japanese girls are all over reacting and acting as if he had just turned water into wine and brought someone back from the dead.

After 50 minutes of waiting, the ride was over in about a minute. It seemed a bit shorter than the one in DLP :( Oh well, it was fin while it lasted.

The guy in the middle looks traumatized.
With my leopard print mouse ears! Leopard prints are so hot right now. King Triton looks like Santa!
Triton's Kingdom. Most of the rides are for younger kids.
Next stop, the center of the world!

Again, there was a 50-minute wait for Journey To The Center of The Earth, most of the rides did. This time we bought some popcorn to munch on while waiting in line, it certainly helped to pass time. I liked this ride so we got a Fast Pass for it for later once we exited. This one had a slightly shorter wait, we could go back at 5.30pm.

Next, we headed off to take the Raging Spirits ride. On the way, we stopped to buy moar popcorn to munch on while standing in the queue that would inevitable be at the attraction. But alas, there was a long queue for the goddamn popcorn as well. It was kinda frustrating, bumping into long queues of people every where I turned.

We decided to look for another popcorn stand on the way to Raging Spirits, since there were stands all over the park. Lo and behold, we found one just some distance away... and there was no queue! We were patting ourselves on the back for being so smart when I noticed something. They were selling... CURRY flavoured popcorn?! What is this I don't even-

No wonder there was no queue LOL. Not feeling particularly experimentative, we decided to give it a pass. One flavour we did try later on was the Milk Tea popcorn. It had a nice, strong milk tea flavour. If you're going to get popcorn at the park, get this! I think this is the one most worthy of the ¥300. It's the first time I've ever even heard of Milk Tea popcorn.

We had queued for about 5 minutes at the Raging Spirits when I noticed that no one was getting on the ride. They were just letting empty cars go on the track. Shortly after, there was an announcement informing us that there was a technical issue and they had to shut the ride down. If this was in Singapore, everyone would be groaning and bitching. But here, the biggest reaction was just a mildly shocked EHhh~

As a form of apology, everyone in line was given a Fast Pass which they could use on any ride they wanted. We immediately used it on the Indiana Jones ride nearby.

On the way there, I spotted Indiana Jones! At least I think it was. Either it was him or just some random dressed like him. There was a cast member following him so I think there's a high chance it was him lol.

Outside the ride.
After ride meal: A hot dog
Pretty soon it was dark.
Mermaid lagoon.
Mediterranean Harbor
The place is so pretty when it lights up <3

Tbe beautiful courtyard on the Arabian Coast.

We also watched one of the Christmas shows by Mickey & friends. I think the Little Mermaid has the easiest job. She just has to sit in her shell and flap her 'tail' every once in a while. No need to memorize any of the choreography or anything.
Tower Of Terror at night.
Our second ride. A lot of people (both guys and girls) were wearing winter hats with Mickey ears like the girl in the red hat.

Duffy Christmas tree in the store!
Until we were in Tokyo Disneysea I had no idea what Duffy was. In the park, about 75% of the people were walking around with the bear, either cradled in their arms or with a mini version pinned to their bag. Many couples would each carry the male and female versions of the bear.

Christmas Set Dinner at Zambini Brothers' Ristorante.

Salad and a generous portion of turkey spaghetti with cream sauce and a chocolate cake. Really enjoyed the spaghetti. I thought the price (¥1400) was quite ok for Disneyland.

I got a bear too! Everyone had one, I didn't want to be left out :P
After dinner, we watched the fireworks for the Star Bright Christmas show and the it was off to the airport and back to Singapore.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 8: Harajuku + Ikspiari (Eggs N Things & Kua Aina Burger)

Here we are back in Tokyo again, only 2 more days and it's back to Singapore :(

After checking out and leaving our luggage at the front desk, we set off for Harajuku.

Saw this the moment we stepped off the train, a store selling football kits. Who would have thought I'd see Pep in Harajuku? Lawlz.
Takeshita dori. There was a Wolfgang Puck Express here. If we hadn't already set our minds on where to eat, I'd definitely choose to dine here. Maybe next time...

Off to look for Eggs N Things, a Hawaiian pancake house. According to the map it's somewhere behind Gap. I almost got lost as the landmark Gap store was no longer there! I think they recently closed the store at the beginning of the year. I remember this was the first store I entered the first time I was in Harajuku back in 2005. Back then, we didn't have Gap in Singapore (iirc). Luckily I knew from memory Gap was at the corner of the junction so we were able to locate the restaurant. After a short 5 minute wait, we were in the restaurant!

It looked like it was going to rain at any moment so we were glad we were given a seat indoors. However the menu was all in Japanese and there were no pictures. We called the waiter over and asked him if he spoke English and was going to ask him to recommend something but he helpfully provided us with an English menu, yay!

Inside the restaurant. I thought it was very nicely lit.
My mum's order: mushroom and spinach omelette with a side of pancakes.
My order: Fluffy pancakes with whipped cream and bananas! I was salivating at the sight of the mountain of cream.

The cream was very light and not overly sweet. It was HEAVEN!!! At the side of the table, they had 3 different syrup toppings - maple, strawberry and coconut. The strawberry syrup was not the typical ones that you find on cheap ice cream sundaes. It tasted more like the actual fruit. But my favourite was the coconut one. I'd sell my kidney just to have it again lol.

After a heavy brunch we were off to shop again! Time to work off those calories. The line outside the shop had gotten considerably longer by the time we left.

I prefer shopping in Harajuku than in Shibuya or Shinjuku. It's so much more affordable! Wish I had come here sooner. The best store IMO was Kinji Used Clothing, just outside La Foret Harajuku. They had racks and racks of dresses, shirts, pants and skirts and they were mostly going for ¥735!

Around 2pm, we had to leave as it really looked like it was going to rain and we had to switch hotels. And it was a good thing we did cos it poured almost immediately after we dragged our luggage over to the train station.

Sadly, the rain also ruined our plans to get the After 6 Pass for Disneyland. We had to settle for hanging around the hotel and Ikspiari.

The shuttle bus from JR Maihama Station to Sheraton Grande Tokyo Hotel. I love the Christmas wreath in front. On board the bus they played Disney themed Christmas songs as well.

We got a pretty sweet deal for the hotel, well, in my opinion at least. ¥27,000 for one night plus 2 passes for Disneyland. The pass for Disneyland alone costs ¥5,800 each.

Once we got off the shuttle bus, a porter quickly helped us with our luggage. During check in, the guy at the front desk informed us that he had give us a big room. Things were beginning to look up. The porter brought us to our room and helped put our luggage in the room. And it was really big! It was the corner room and it had 4 beds. I think it's supposed to be a family room and the 2 smaller beds were meant for kids. This is the biggest hotel room I've ever stayed in. Unfortunately, I forgot to take any pictures.

Once the porter had put the luggage down, my mum tried to tip the porter. In Japan, the smallest banknote they have is the ¥1,000 note so we had no choice but to tip ¥1,000 cos it seemed weird to give a ¥500 coin tip. But the guy immediately said no while backing away hurriedly. He seemed shocked that we tried to tip. My mum was like 'really?' lol. I guess tipping is not common practice in Japan. Even in restaurants, from what I've seen, everyone keeps all of the change, down to the last ¥1 coin.

After resting our legs for a while in the hotel, we took the shuttle bus again down to Ikspiari. The good thing about the bus is it comes pretty frequently, once every 15 minutes and there are shuttle buses to Bayside Station from which you can take the monorail to Disneysea. The bad thing however is there is no place to put your luggage! If you have a slightly bigger luggage, you have to drag it all the way to the back of the bus so as not to block the way of the other passengers. The aisle is very narrow so it's not easy to bring it to the back. There's not even sufficient room for a stroller.

At Ikspiari, we had dinner at Kua 'Aina Burger.

Crispy chicken fingers.
Burger with onion rings and fries. The beef was a bit dry but it was still really good! Really loved the onion rings and fries.
Tuna with avocado sandwich for my mum.
Christmas tree outside the Disney store.

It was freezing because of the rain and there wasn't much to shop for so we returned to the hotel again.

Another Christmas tree, this time in the hotel! This one was 2 stories tall.
A small version of the tree. I love my boots! Bought them at Harajuku earlier.

A hotel staff was walking past when he saw me trying to take a photo of my mum and the tree and immediately offered to take a photo of the 2 of us together. The hotel staff were all really helpful and polite. I saw another staff doing the same for some other guests as well. Any time we passed one of the staff, they'd always smile and greet us.

View from my bed. It felt like it was Christmas already :D

The beds in the hotel were super comfy. They were the signature Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds. In fact, the hotel has received so many requests from guests asking to purchase the beds that they've started selling them. There was even an order form for the bed and its sheets in the room. I managed to sleep like a baby all the way from 11pm to 7am the next day.

View from the balcony.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 7: Kiyomizudera + Namba

Hike up to Kiyomizu. There were quite a few cute little shops along the way.
But we didn't have time to shop, had to get there before even more people came. As you can see here, it was packed! Also, we spotted the two Caucasians who were trying to pick up girls at Triangle Park here as well lol.
I like this shot.
Autumn leaves littering the ground.
A tourist wearing a kimono was having a photoshoot there.

Most of the leaves have yet to turn red despite it being mid November. Probably because of the long hot summer Japan experienced previously.
Lighting an incense sticks with a candle. I don't know why there's only one candle here, usually there'll be a few candles in the box.
The main building. Can't believe this place was built without a single nail!
The water here runs from the hills behind. You have to drink from each stream for health, longevity and success in studies. There was a loooooong queue for this so we skipped this.
Went back to visit a little shop that had caught my eye as we hiked up to the temple.
...and bought these. They were so shiny! But expensive, I think they cost nearly S$60.
According to the shop assistant, the flowers are made using shells.
We had intended to go back to Tokyo after this but we had so much fun in Namba the other day so we went back to Osaka again!

Kinryu (Golden Dragon) Ramen.
I think there were only 2 choices on the menu. Ramen with char siew or Ramen with extra char siew. We bought a ticket from the machine and passed it to the waitress when she showed us to our seats. The noodles didn't taste as good as I thought it would but the char siew was very good.
We didn't get to shop as much this time as we had to drag our luggage with us as there were no lockers available due to the APEC meeting in Yokohama.

A most delicious smell greeted us as we walked down Shinsaibashi once again. We followed the smell and found this shop.

Le Croissant Shop! We could smell this from about 2 blocks away. I don't know why everyone was queuing for 40 minutes at the Krispy Kreme nearby when they could have this. Well, there was a queue here earlier but it was gone by the time we returned.

Dragging a fully packed luggage around for a full hour is not easy, we stopped to have a snack at McDonalds.

They have Iced Earl Grey Tea in McDonalds! Why don't we have it here?!
Dotonbori at night. It was quite crowded as it was Sunday.
Soon it was time for us to return to Tokyo.

With our snacks on board the shinkansen.
A sweet potato flavored croissant. We also bought the plain ones. 5 for ¥175! I think it's worth it as it's really good.
An egg tart. Can't remember the name of the shop, but it is near the entrance of Dotonbori, near Kani Doraku. There was a long queue for it in the afternoon but there was no one when I went at 5pm.

We had a small nap on the shinkansen. It was quite good for a nap cos the seats allow you to recline quite a bit.

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