JOAN IN JAPAN AT 30!

Travelling. Days when the only thing that matter is what are you going to eat for a day, and it doesn’t need to be budgeted. Everything you want.  Booking and planning all come easy for us. I know right there and then this trip is going to be a blast.

YU’s APARTMENT

The apartment greeted us with two beers and a welcome note from our hosts. Yay! Immediately, I knew I’d love our stay here. Since Yu and Taka weren’t there to welcome us, we received special instructions on how to let ourselves in prior to our trip. Challenging, isn’t it? We do really feel at home and we survived. A variety of liquors, food in the fridge, comics, and a lot of vinyl records are available, but yeah, food and drinks are not for free. I wonder if we’re allowed to play the LPs, because there’s a signage on the wall saying “Play music here”. But it wasn’t directly pointed to the Long playing. I should have asked Yu, but then again, I don’t know how to use that old school music player. By simply browsing their LP records, I can tell that our host had a good taste in music. They got The Beatles, Carpenters, Japanese orchestra records and a lot more. They are comfortable with the idea of allowing strangers in their house without qualms, without judging that they might be a burglar. Ha ha! Perhaps, there’s a CCTV or something. I mean, look at those comics? I can grab one without them realizing it. Plus those vinyl records.

Staying at Yu would probably one of the numerous reasons why I found my trip to be an unforgettable one. I highly recommend this apartment. Check Airbnb and message YU for reservation, quick.

SHIBUYA CROSSING

Hachiko greeted us before crossing Shibuya. Despite many people taking photos of him, we sneaked in. Got a picture with Hachiko, baby. We stayed at Starbucks for a more panoramic view of the busy city of Shibuya. Lovely. What’s the best food to have during rainy days? You bet. We walked and looked for Ramen!

ICHIRAN RAMEN

YES! We will be enjoying the rain while having our first Ramen at Ichiran. I accidentally ordered the Ramen with hard-boiled egg, as I pressed 1 instead of number 2 on their vending order machine. Whether I’m stupid to figure out that the price of the number 1 Ramen is different to the number 2 Ramen, or I get so excited to order something on the vending machine. LOL. That I would never know. Either way, it was fun. Guess what? I didn’t regret that stupid mistake. The hard-boiled egg was so worth it. If ever we’d go back, I’ll definitely order that again. 😛

ichiran ramen jaoan shibuya

One of the servers gets my order over the open space window and she immediately came back with my delicious ramen. She most definitely prepared it to perfection.

ichiran ramen japan shibuya

(A close-up shot of their yummy ramen)

Don’t tell me, this photo doesn’t dry your throat and craved for it?

Is it too early for me to judge and say it was the best food we had? Ha! Maybe, because it’s only our first day. You had me awed by your food already, JAPAN.

SHINJUKU

Strolling around Shinjuku is tiring. You should have a perfect meal in your mind after doing so. Especially if you can’t find where Godzilla head’s coming from. Just like us. The locals are so helpful, they told us where is Godzilla’s hideout. It’s standing on top of a building of a cinema — Toho Cinemas. A cool experience indeed. While making the jump shot and taking photos everywhere, we stumbled on this Robot Restaurant. “Roboto.. Roboto.. Roboto restaurant” — a catchy song from the restaurant’s speaker. Eating there is expensive, so nope.

GREAT BUDDHA OF KAMAKURA

In Kamakura, we visited the bronze statue of Amida Buddha. We stayed there while we waited for Joan with her friend Nico. Maine left her ticket to a local resto where we had our delicious lunch before exploring.

Am I that easy to please when it comes to food? As I’ve always enjoyed almost all of the food that I order.

TEMPLES, BAMBOO GARDEN, AND AJISAI

Their temples are really majestic. Witnessed the fantastic colors of flowers (Ajisai) in Hasedera and Tokeiji, but we stayed longer at the latter. The blooming of Ajisai is in the month of June, so expect the long line of people waiting to see the displays of Ajisai in Hasedera. Sorry Maine, I didn’t get to perfect your jump shot in the Bamboo Garden, huhu. Staying at their Bamboo Garden, and peaceful parks with full of flowers like Ajisai, made me feel so jealous again. I sighed and hoped to find one like this in my country, especially in the city, where you can spend your entire day thinking about life, the cosmos and etc. So peaceful.

KARAOKE NIGHT

We met Maine’s friend Mike. He treated us food (they are all delicious pulutan nomnom) and drinks. When I almost thought I already achieved the nightlife we’d planned to have. Not yet. Midnight, we ended up singing in Karaoke Bar. Yeah. Had a blast. Arigatou gozaimasu Mike! Our videoke night concealed how good singer we are (haha! blame the alcohol in my system, oh wait, I’m sober now). Silly me.

You’ll be able to pick which package that will suits your entertainment for the night. We chose the one with free ice cream, coffee, and milo. After dancing and singing like crazy, I felt tired and sleepy. My hangover already hit my head. Argh.. I need rest. We still had 2 and a half hours to rest so we took advantage their soft sofa and had a nap.  Clearly, these girls know how to party.

ODAIBA’s GUNDAM AND TOKYO TOWER

Chased the Tokyo tower in the streets, she’s so pretty. We spent quite a lot of time taking photos of Tokyo Tower. Rainbow Bridge is pretty  majestic too, very peaceful to look at.  

Then inside Diver City Tokyo’s we ate Takoyaki and Tempura something (i dunno/forgot what that is)

TAKARAGAWA ONSEN

If you have a planned travelling somewhere soon, just make sure your itinerary includes a day or two for relaxation. There’s really no better place that I could think of for us to stay in Japan during autumn and winter than Takaragawa Inn.  Experience the traditional Japanese way of living in Takaragawa Onsen, Minakami (http://www.takaragawa.com/english.html). And yes, Maine found this hidden gem deep in the mountains. While on the train travelling deep into the mountain, there have been a few magical tunnels we passed through, which made me think, is this the one that inspired Miyaki’s films?” I’m pretty sure it is. This travel does give me so much Ghibli feels. It really works up your imagination.

Shops outside Minakami Station

The days prior to our ultimate onsen experience were definitely tiring because strolling around Tokyo is no joke. Takaragawa has rewarded us with pretty amazing views in our room. We had the best room ever. There’s a certain kind of solitude in exploring a wide expanse of the bath house.

It seems like the calming Onsen was whispering our names, so we donned our bath blouses and spent the rest of the day in it. We had the mixed bath all to ourselves, well from time to time, there’s a few strangers came and joined us. Go ahead and ticked your outdoor bathhouse experience list, but wait, there’s more. Their indoor bathhouse has a lot to offer too. There’s no way an indoor bathhouse could be this rewarding, yes? Yes way! I wish we could get our camera to show you how relaxing their indoor bathhouse. We hang out and exchange stories.  Since it’s kinda late, and only two of us were left, we didn’t worry that someone might eavesdropping to our conversion. We’re free to talk (even free to shout since water is loud and flowing in the background) about anything — relationships, sex, past and present friends, It’s like we own the place. And aaah… we don’t have the luxury of doing that much often with such rewarding backdrop, and that’s for sure. A rare chance that no people beside us in the bath house, a rare chance to do it back in Manila, where many loud people are everywhere.  

You don’t want to wake up every morning with this comfortable futon bed.

takaragawa onsen futon bed

This accommodation has met my expectations in Japan, and even exceeded it.So if you ever wanted to eat your dinner in Yukata, and experience all that, this Ryokan is the place to be. From the half-board dinner and breakfast to the calming Onsen, what more can you ask for? Because of its romantic backdrop, we both think…”Is this place merely for romantic couples?” I’m quite sure this place is crowded during autumn and winter.

Food servers are so nice and approachable. Our server gave us instruction on how to eat mameshiba [see here], and she even taught us how to mix our green sauce to achieve the best dip. Oh, I would love to stay longer 😛 Haha

SUBWAYS

Amused by their subways, and handsome Japanese men! Witwiw.. I’m quite jealous for their subways and hoping we have numerous of these as well. This should be made the Japanese swell with pride for their on-time and very efficient subway. Who wouldn’t?

They are very polite. Very polite that they are just looking at their cellphones most of the time, minding their own business, while me, curious as ever, my eyes are staring at almost everything in and out of their subway. You can ride the subway even if you’re drunk as long as you don’t hurt anyone and not getting so violent. Even if your suit has a full of vomit. This was according to Mike during our inuman sessions. Which is good if you’d ask me. We can’t control someone’s behaviour, and whatever they take in their body even if it’s poison, that’s none of my business. That’s what freedom means, but you’re not free to harm other people. If you don’t like what you see, look away. That’s how they take good care of their people, and spoiling them what they want. This is why they can have all the nice things.

Anyway, there are three guys who have caught my attention. The first guy’s moles are symmetrical. They are located on his cheeks near his nose.

Interesting, isn’t it? He’s looking at his phone, so I grab the opportunity to see that detail on his face. He looks like an anime guy. Cute. lol

Before I introduced the second guy, you have to visit this blog. Yes, I saw someone who looked exactly like “master” on the subway. Hihi. My feet are tired of walking and I told myself, “My butt needs to sit.” Breaking the rules. I sat on the priority seat. (PASAWAY) My friend took a photo of me. Master was having a conversation with a friend while they were standing in front me. His friend saw my friend taking  photos of me, then he saw me in an awkward smile pose. Okay, his friend is the third guy, because after that brief encounter he got all conscious and stretching his polo out and I noticed that he’s no longer paying attention to whatever his friend (Master) is saying.  No, I’m not assuming, his reaction was really obvious. It was so obvious that even Master noticed it, plus, they did not continue whatever discussion they have, silence succumbed between the three of us. Love triangle ang peg? It was cute and awkward. I’m even smiling right now as I reminisced that day; my own brief encounter with Master and his cute friend. That’s how Japanese guys got conscious? Why is it so obvious?

Hmp.. I was actually making “pa-cute” to Master, how come I got his friend instead? Third guy is also cute, though. So bleh 😛

I don’t know how to speak their language, so how the hell I’m going to approach them? Well, I’m taken now, so bye. haha

MY CUBE AND SENSO-JI TEMPLE

There are three reasons why you would love to stay here. Firstly, free buffet breakfast. Secondly, unique and comfortable cube beds. Thirdly, they have laundry and awesome shower room .

We arrived here around 5pm. Fixed our things. We’re set again, ready to eat again.

I had this…

Eel food japan

Oh Manila, can you have a food chain selling this as well?

I set a rule for myself: to have a satisfying meal throughout the trip, I was going to order the one I’m familiar with, like ramen, sushi, tempura, takoyaki and etc. But this time, I have ordered Eel. My first time to try a new one, and my friend gave me assurance that it was good, so I go for it. It was not just good, it was deliciously good.

After that satisfying meal we had with not-so-satisfying attitude from “ate” (but hey, glad your Eel has already lifted my mood and won’t be affected by your tantrums :P). Off we went to Sensoji Temple and Nakamise shopping street, a long shopping street connecting to Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa where you can find souvenirs and Japanese snacks.

This is where I bought my babies.

My plan was to bring home any items of mameshiba, but I failed. I asked where I could find one, but the vendor said “It was hard to find because it’s already old.” 🙁 Sadly. But hey, I got Koro Sensei from Assassination Classroom. How did I find him? A group of student unanimously say “So Kawaii” while pointing at Koro Sensei. .

Because I felt so sick, I didn’t join Maine to meet his travbuddy friend. Apparently, we didn’t get to experience the revolving sushi! Too bad, isn’t it? I’m not feeling well and even bought a 1000 yen worth of medicine to make me feel better. I knew my immune system is working on it because I feel so hot. Thank you, my little minions inside me. You rock! We had an assumption that it was a hay fever, since I’m okay when we left Manila. So I did a little research about it when we got home. Symptoms include:

  • *Nasal congestion (checked)
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat.
  • Cough.
  • Sneezing,

Hmmm..  4 over 8. Maybe it is. What I do know is, it all started when there’s something itchy and rough passed through my throat which made me cough so hard. So yeah’ hello fever!

I was itching to go back and see the other part of this country. But then again, need to work my ass out. At the end , I’d realize, during these times, “It’s good to be me”.  😉

SAYONARA! <3

2 thoughts on “JOAN IN JAPAN AT 30!

  1. I sooooo love this post! Brings back memories. and omg! I didn’t even realize that the master moment was very special! A love triangle <3 😀 Photos are so cute! Would love to travel with you again. Can't wait for your Teipei post!

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