I am super excited to post about my Japan trip, but it's so hard to organize all the photos, finish my Easter wedding client projects, while attending a Holy Week recollection in the morning! But I decided earlier on that I will make time for this, while still fresh!
Everything's so interesting in this trip, it's probably one of my most favorite and babalikan ko talagang bansa. My Ate and I stayed in Japan for around 12 days, but the first and last days nakalaan lang talaga for the flights. So technically, this post is dedicated for our Day Zero in Japan (the start of a blog series)...
The little details: I got questions on how I acquired my Japan Visa, so here's a shortcut answer to it which I hope you'll find helpful. I completed all my requirements roughly around 2 months (to be sure), and these include the following:
1. Renewing my passport, a long process since may pa-schedule pa siya, etc. More on this in this site.
2. Japan Visa photo (alam na nila Kuya Photoline ang required background and size niyan so just go there).
3. Birth Certificate from NSO (which I bought super conveniently from this site at 350 pesos - and had it delivered to my house).
4. Tour itinerary - organized and printed by my OC sister by date with time and description pa!
5. Bank Balance Certificate and ITR - I submitted my Ate's.
I passed everything to my agency Friendship Tours and Resorts Corp. in Dusit Hotel Makati, paid the Php 1200 processing fee, and got a call less than a week later that my passport was ready for pick-up!
....So before I knew it, I was already at the Kansai International Airport, lugging my huge maleta and wishing I brought thicker coats! HELLOOOO JAPAN na talaga!
We already had our baon (Peso) exchanged here in Pinas by reserving Yen at Czarina in Glorietta, so when we got there, we just asked for train information from the airport going to the place where we will be staying. Maraming travel information, maps, brochures doon na very helpful. That's one of the many things I noticed and admire in Japanese people, they are always willing to help and always at your service!
To Ate, cab wasn't an option in Japan. Mahal siya, around 710 Yen ang flagdown. So even with our huge luggages, we manoeuvred our way to all our destinations via Japan's vast and accessible trains (na halos lahat naman ng main cities and streets may stops). Imagine, from the airport nag train lang kami going to the main subway for just Y1000 (exchange rate is x .37, so P350 lang). Marami rin naman kaming kasamang naka maleta, and they have elevators in most stations. Wala ding pansinan, naiimagine ko na ang hirit ni Kuya Tric or Jeep driver kung sakaling naisipan kong nag commute dito sa Pinas ng naka maleta, "Lalayas ka ba ne!?" Lol.
We got lost lang sa station na namin, na ang dami-daming exits! Everything's numbered and color coded, nakakalito lang minsan na ang exit 14D wala sa D kundi asa E.. Mga ganung bagay! :D
For our place, Ate picked an Airbnb accommodation at the heart of Osaka, just a few blocks away from Dotonbori. Peg namin talaga yung pagbaba mo ng hotel, onting lakad lang marami nang happenings, kainan, hangout, shopping, etc. Dotonbori is known for being Osaka's food mecca and nightlife destination. Doon kami sa food mecca, hehe.
We stayed in Nishi Sinsaibashi building, na nasearch lang ni Ate sa Airbnb. Ang cool kasi during our whole stay we never met the condo unit owner, they communicated lang online or through Viber. The owner just gave Ate directions and the unit number, and the amazing part e the door was left unlocked lang so when we got there we just entered the room freely.
Ate, figuring out the pocket wifi that came with renting the room!
The unit is small but clean and complete. Meron kaming tissue supply, towels, 2 beds, mini kusina:
And the CR is super tiny but maximized: Ang pag on ng shower and faucet nasa same knob lang. The owner also provided us with shampoo and shower gel.
Since late nadin, and we were tired from looking for our place, Ate and I just bought our first dinner at a nearby Family Mart. Meron ding Lawson (another Japan convenience store) na malapit sa building, which makes this a good location talaga in my books.
My weird dinner from Family Mart: walang kikoman and wasabi kaya naumay ako, hehe.
Ok, para fun I'll end this post with an interesting list of my 10 favorite finds during the trip. Ang dami pa palang iba, haha, but here are some of the firsts that I saw while browsing through my photos:
1) SNACKS. Had the best food and junk food experience while in Japan, feel ko I gained weight dito than my actual meals! My favorites are the Calbee chips and any random chocolate nila na lahat super good:
Milky in cute can, strawberry covered with white choco from Muji, a random Muji chips, plus all sorts of Coke in cute bottle or can:
Packed sushi, sashimi, omurice, and other meals available in convenience stores and groceries:
These canned drinks ... Na asa HOT ref!
2) COSMETICS HEAVEN! I saw 2 to 3 -floor stores in Osaka na puno lang ng beauty products at affordable pa! They have EVERYTHING from K-Palette to Nivea to Dolly Wink to other Japanese brands. I had to stop myself from buying since hindi naman ako ma makeup ng sobra.
3) VENDO! Lahat naka vendo! During our exhausting temple tours, I always go to these machines for a drink. Favorite ko yung Aquarius orange-flavored water nila. Natry rin namin ni Ate mag vendo ng ramen for lunch, hehe.
4) MUJI sa Family Mart! Even polo ng Muji andun lang, and I think around 800 Pesos +tax lang siya! :D
5) GU! Since I am a big fan of basic fashion pieces, I fell in love with Japanese retail brand GU! Para siyang Uniqlo, pero sobrang mas mura! Quality padin the pieces, and nalaman kong kapatid pala siya ng Uniqlo. I impulsively bought most of the midi skirts na perfect for summer and around P500 lang kasi. Ji-yu pala literally means free or free from mga mahal na damit, hehe cute.
6) QUIRKY FINDS! I always spot interesting items whenever I enter random stores. Hassle sa budget! Some of my favorites include this travel-lover's globe with sharpener sa ilalim, and this lens cap for my SLR's 50mm na may string para di na siya mawala!!!
7) UKAY! Of course, even thrift shopping in Japan is awesome because they sell classic pieces from manual film cameras, bala ng betamax, bags, Japanese toys, vintage eyewear, etc.
8) HEAT PACKS. I have to thank the heavens for inventing this weird thing resembling a huge bag of tea (haha) as recommended by Tricia. Bought several in convenience stores habang asa Osaka and temperature was still dropping. I kept them sa pockets of my coat to keep my hands warm during commutes. Life saver!
9) I love Japanese fashion magazines, but interesting din that they have a LOT of free magazines that you can just take in the train stations. Ate hoarded the free postcards and sent them to her friends, haha.
10) Cheap INSTAX and films! Films are at less than P300, and naka-ilang double check ako sa calculator coz I can't believe that the Hello Kitty shaped Instax is just around P3700 lang!
Sorry for loading this post, there's just too much to share! More stories on my next entries! Also, I am already missing Japan after seeing all the uploads of friends and artistas who booked for the cherry blossoms season / Holy Week holiday (Heart and Chiz, Bea Alonzo and Zanjoe, hehe)! Parang lahat bigla asa Japan! Ahhh... Buti nalang may photos and mga naiuwing onting Japanese snacks to keep up with this travel sepanx. :p Anyway, more photos on Instagram with hashtag #JAPANagon, hehe.
Read more of my posts for: Japan 2015.