December 27, 2016

Tokyo, Japan 2016 | Arrival & Airbnb

I finally checked off one of my bucket list!

I'm not gonna lie, I first got interest in Japan because of anime and manga but slowly I got more and more interested in its culture and fashion and I thought one day I must visit this place which I only have seen through images and videos. So I took the opportunity of turning 21st and requested a trip to Japan from my parents. If you're unfamiliar, 21st birthday is celebrated grandly around this region and most people usually throw huge parties for the occasion. Since I'm not into any social gatherings or parties, I wanted a much more fulfilling experience through traveling.

There are so many things I want to share about my trip so you can expect my blog being flooded with Japan related posts...until I run out of things to write. Honestly it still feels so surreal to me because it felt like a dream come true and at the same time a dream I just woke up from as soon as I reached home. (T_T) I really miss Japan so much, the moment when I was leaving I had tears around the rim of my eyes because I don't know when will be the next time for me to come back to this amazing place. But it also motivates me to work hard after graduation so I can come back again.

Arrival at Narita Airport. I bought my tickets through JAL but I only found out that I was flying with Malaysia Airlines when I was checking in. Turns out it was operated by Malaysia Airlines so even though my receipt printed a JAL flight number, I was flying with Malaysia Airlines. Was really flustered at the moment because of all the controversies around Malaysia Airlines and I prayed hard it won't crash or go missing lol ^^;

I took a midnight flight thinking I'll probably get some rest during the 6 hours journey, but 'lucky' me, the passenger beside me decided that reading midnight was the thing to do and working on his laptop was the best choice when everyone else had their lights turned off. Even if I try to tolerate the light, the loud tapping sound on his laptop annoyed me so much throughout the night. In the end I barely got 2 hours of sleep.

First thing I did as soon as I cleared the custom was to wash my face to look less dead. (:

After collecting my pocket wifi, I hurried to buy myself a Skyliner ticket to Nippori then to Shinjuku to meet my friend, Misato who guided me around most of the days during my trip in Japan. Skyliner might not be the cheapest option but it's really fast if you want to get to central Tokyo as soon as possible. My trip took approximately 45minutes and I was able to put on some light makeup and had breakfast during the journey.

Reached Nippori then got a ticket to Shinjuku. Please excuse my ugly fingers because this smart girl here decided to dye her hair before her flight that night without wearing gloves thus staining her hands for the next few days. :)

The place I stayed at was Soshigaya-Okura. I didn't know it was also known as the Ultraman Town until I got there, which I will talk about in future a post. ;) My airbnb host Ayano-san came to welcome me at the station then we walked together to her place. Once I put down my luggage, I continued doing the rest of my makeup because OMG everyone looks so dressed up here and I felt like I need to put some effort in looking good too hahaha!

This was taken outside Ayano-san's place.

Flowers in Japan are so beautiful! These were just wild flowers along the road but their colours are so pretty! I arrived at late autumn so the first half of my trip I could still see the red leaves everywhere but during the last few days everything turned bald hahaha!

When you're new to a place everything looks so interesting to you, even traffic signs. But really, Japan is such an amazing place to take photographs, I can easily whip out my camera or my phone and take a photo and it looks so beautiful!

This was my view every morning when I walk out of my place. I miss it so much!!!

Outside the train station. Can you see traces of Ultraman?

Soshigaya-Okura is slightly further from central Tokyo but it's a really quaint neighbourhood to stay at. I chose to stay here because it's nearer to Shinjuku which is around Shibuya and Harajuku which I ended up going back a few times. There's only local train here to Shinjuku but you can transfer onto an express train if you want to get there faster. Overall it only took roughly 30 minutes to get to Shinjuku.

I feel that it's important to plan your trip beforehand and know which area you're likely to frequent to plan where to stay. Transportation cost in Japan is quite expensive so the best way to save some yen is by planning your daily journey wisely, and walk from places to places if you can. For my trip since I was mostly in Tokyo I didn't get the Japan Rail Pass because the pass only saves you money if you're planning on long distance trip out of Tokyo to let's say Kyoto or Osaka.

My airbnb place. It was really nice staying at a Japanese house and experience how it's like living with locals. There's always a difference staying at someone's place versus staying at a hotel. I wished I had took more photos of it but I only took some to show my family back home while I was staying there...

With Al and Shohei.

With Al, Ayano and Shohei. Ayano and Shohei are my airbnb hosts and Al is their roommate. Ayano is an artist and photographer and Shohei, her brother is a bike messenger. Al is a painter who came to Tokyo from New York 2 years ago and her Japanese is so good!

When I booked my airbnb place Ayano told me about herself and turns out I've seen many of her works. So meeting her was kinda like a star struck moment since I really love some of her photographs! Knowing that I was staying at her place made me even more excited and she even gave me a printed collection of her works!!! I feel so blessed hahaha~~~

I was really awkward and shy to meet them but everyone was really nice and friendly and I'm glad that they are the first few people I meet here in Tokyo and I really hope to meet up with them if I happen to visit Tokyo again. We didn't talk much at first because I'm terrible at starting conversations plus I was always out from morning till late at night but the last few days I got to chat with them and share about different experiences and opinions. I'm also happy to meet people who are interested in arts because it's always hard for me to find people who understands and wants to talk about these things with me. Al even gave me this winter limited mochi ice cream to bring home and it was really good, thank you so much! (And I will remind myself to not feel bad about my awkwardness, Al! ^^ )

These photos were taken during my last night in Tokyo. Upcoming posts will be my adventures around Tokyo!

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