Saturday, April 29, 2017

Before the month ends, let me just talk about that wondrous time we had, throwing back two years ago to the Land of the Rising Sun, also known as Japan.

For the three years that I was away from the blogging scene, certain things and places came into our playful minds and itchy feet to satisfy the call of our wanderlust selves. It is truly such a shame that I am only blogging about this now even though I have all the means to post it at the height of the trend since my husband has been trying to persuade me... until he grew tired of asking. LOL. 

The inspiration of this eventual blog posting slowly grew stronger as friends and relatives --even as early as the time we came back from it-- until TODAY, ask us about what we have come up to squeeze a full eight (8) day trip, traversing two regions, mainly three major cities.

I feel like I needed to share this information, for my convenience. Why? Because, by doing so, I would just instantly copy and paste my blog links for anyone who are planning to go to Japan. With my given tips, it would be then easy for anyone to adjust, add, omit, or just basically play around with a solid "base" itinerary. 

Personal Note:
What I totally, as in TOTALLY hate is when people tend to ask me to do a custom D-I-Y Itinerary for them, when you know that I have already made an in-depth, step by step on what to do and what not to do. Come on, guys. I can't be spoonfeeding you everything? This is not an eat-swallow-shit-and-eat-again kind of mentality, you guys...? I am not going even on the actual trip for me to experience what I may have dumped in the list with you. We all have differences in interests, and I guess it's in your core motive to "edit" my itinerary/guideline/tips or whatever because it is going to be YOUR trip after all, not mine.

Take this for an example: I am playing a game and the game has a lot of things going on but I want to reach on what they call a "true ending". I will then find a very detailed walkthrough on how to achieve it. 

I would not ask the other gamer who wrote the walkthrough to play it for me. Like, you serious? Where's the thrill on that? Why did you play the damn game in the first place?

Google is my friend and so do you.

You feel me?

--End of Personal Note--

Okay, enough on the ranting and hear me out. This is more fun than listening to my hateful shenanigans.

Disclaimer: All that I have said and done are purely based on my personal interest and personal opinion. As this experience is from 2015, there may be certain things that has changed in the two year timeskip. My intention is to at least give you an idea and help with your Itinerary making, especially when you had the same circumstance as what we had. 

Enjoy! XD



My family and friends know that me and my husband loves Japan and the Japanese culture. I think and really believe that even when we grow older, we would still be a fan of how amazing this country is, and would even revisit again many times, with our own children and hopefully even with our grandchildren. The culture, the people, the entertainment and of course, the food are just the few things why we absolutely love Japan. I grew up watching anime and playing games in any platforms. I grew up loving Sailor Moon and Rurouni Kenshin, I love Perfume, I love eating mochi and okonomiyaki as well as dreaming one day I could go to Mt. Fuji, try the onsen, wear a traditional kimono, and most especially, visit a park (just like in the dramas) that has a lot of sakura (さくら) or cherry blossoms blooming. We had prepared all the means to make this dream happen, and luckily, we did. When I say, "all means", I mean, we sincerely have prepared for it.

As much as possible, don't come back to me and ask me if there's a "budgeted trip" for this. Sure. I could, actually. But then again, as I've mentioned, we came here because we dreamt of going. The things we wanted to do could be out of the tight budget we have set. 'Biggs, this is your dream destination. One in your bucket list.', I thought to myself.

For you to sacrifice or strip off things or the experience just because you were on a budget, think again. You may not come back here again anymore, or you may get a harder time coming back for some reasons unknown (who knows?) and you only give this half-hearted preparation for the so-called "dream" you have. Then again, yes, sure, there will be a lot of budgeted trip tips out there, and you can go ahead and close this window now to check them out.

So then, my question is... why are you doing this to yourself?

All I'm saying is, if you really, really want to go on a certain place / country that you love so much, or that intrigues your interest, don't settle for less. Go for it. Prepare and save responsibly for it. Don't get broke at the end of the trip by keeping at least a pretty decent budget. Don't get broke by putting all your savings on it. Don't go to that extent. BE PRACTICAL.

As I've mentioned in this blog title, this trip happened in spring. Just perfect for the season we wanted to go... But for those who would like to go on a different time and season of the year in Japan, this guide is also adaptable, too.

Make sure you have prepared, planned, purchased and foreseen the following:

1) The most important essentials: valid passport, Japanese Visa, plane itinerary, hotel booking. I would not go into the details of how could you apply for your own passport because there are a lot of things and keywords that you can do with google search, same goes with how to apply for the Japanese visa. TIP: You wanna make sure that when you apply for the visa, you have your plane ticket booked already. Usually, the chances of getting your application approved is high when you have secured your plane ticket and you're flashing the duration of your stay. (But if you hail from a first world country, (which I am not) and you may not need to require a Visa, good for you. skip this step.)

Well, of course, pick the best timing when you want to book your trip, and pray that the tickets would go on sale. Again, be practical. We don't joke around when it comes to seat sales. (Agree with me when I say that the green light to almost all travels you've been to was when you've already booked a ticket because a) it was on sale; b) out of impulse. Yes? Yaaasss!)

2) Winter/spring wear, comfy shoes/boots/sneakers. Plan and wear what is going to be comfortable for you. Yes, yes... I know. for your #ootds and the thrill of wearing things we don't normally wear. (Sorry for people who might find this weird... We live in a tropical country) You may need to experience a lot of walking, and if you carry a heavy gear or gadget to document your trip, you have to be at least flexible. Trust me when I tell you this, because it is really based on experience XD (yes, I brought a not-so-friendly boots back then, which made me go and buy a lighter one in Harajuku.)

3) medicine especially when you're prone to flu and colds. I should've known. Whenever we travel, my husband would always submit himself to the early signs of flu especially when we're in a cold weather. True enough, we were down on Day 6 of our trip so we only had half a day to explore what we had plan out. Flu masks are encouraged. Don't be stubborn. Better be ready. 

4) JR Pass and Train Maps. Okay, foreigners are able to buy the JR pass and unlimited JR train ride access and the Shinkansen (bullet train) for a minimum of 7 days. As this is meant for tourists, you can only purchase while you're still OUTSIDE OF JAPAN. The JR Pass is best when you are going to cross regions, which is for sure, already expected on this trip. So, make the most out of your JR Pass. Also, if you can, in the agency where you'll be buying the items in #5, please do get a copy of the Japanese Railway system. If not, better save a screenshot on your phone, or get a very reliable app that tells the best routes of your planned destination, especially when you're in Tokyo. I am telling you, it is nerve wrecking! So, try to at least study that before even reaching there.

5) All your attraction tickets, booked tour tickets. As much as possible, if you can already buy it outside Japan, please do so. We bought our USJ tix here (in Singapore) since there's a special procedure (at that time) if we want to enter hogwarts (Harry Potter attraction). I hope that by this time around, it is already easy. 

6) A pocket-WIFI. Aside from stepping your Instagram Feed game into another level (and by posting it immediately), thanks to faster internet, the GPS helps you to track whether you are going in the right path of your trip. This is best especially when you wanted to find very important things like the nearest konbini or convenience store, yakkyoku or pharmacy, or just even the nearest eki / chikatetsu no eki or train station / subway station, or just simply asking google some information that piques your interest.

Please research on the airport station where will you be collecting the pocket wifi.

7) The best, yet most convenient camera you have. Of course, this is self-explanatory. You must've known by now that Albert and I love photography that we wanted to be prepared in documenting our memories together. Along with that, prepare the back-up essentials: extra batteries, extra lens, memory cards, powerbanks, what-have-you. At that time, my husband was bringing his thin laptop so for us to transfer files that we took for the day, and does that every night. If you plan to take videos, have some gadget to keep up with stabilizing the noise. If you have and if you plan to bring a drone, better check first and research more if the drones are allowed to be operated in the city. 

8) Travel insurance. If I remember correctly, this is not required in your visa application, but might as well apply for one for safety purposes. Also, it won't hurt if you'd be bringing your safety kit, both physical and spiritual needs so for you to have a blessed trip.

Whilst I've listed the things that you need to bring, below are also the things that you DON'T need to bring:

1) Negative vibes
2) Lame, Killjoy-ness
3) Work related stuff (which I hope you'd be pretty much leaving behind)
4) too much excess baggage. Since you'll be doing a cross region trip, please pack light. Small bags or trolleys that you can easily bring and carry in your overhead bins while riding the trains or shinkansen and even bags that can be easily put in the lockers are more stress-free if you ask me. I'll talk about more on the lockers on the succeeding posts.

That's it for now! And I hope tomorrow, I could post the real deal.

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