The sun awaits you in Okinawa

Japan is known for its amazing culture, high tech toilet, delicious food and friendly people. Its cities like Tokyo and Osaka are fusion of traditional and modern atmosphere. Japan is always special, at least for me. This time, I’ve got to visit Japan with Bandi, it’s his first visit to Japan; and we decided not to start our Japan adventure in the mainland, but rather southern from the mainland, much much southern, which is…

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I will not make a post about how much I love Okinawa or reasons why you should visit Okinawa too, because trust me, OKINAWA is THE BEST beach destination for us. We love Okinawa so much that when we waited for our flight out of Okinawa, Bandi has already searched for another cheap flight ticket to Okinawa. He didn’t want to leave Okinawa so bad.

Don’t think twice to put Okinawa into your bucket list. This small Island (which surrounded by so many tiny islands) is a paradise! The food, the beach, the people…

So now let’s talk about technical stuff, because you’re going to Okinawa! No excuse!

How to reach Okinawa?

Fly there! The cheapest option would be flying from Taipei because there are a lot of budget airline from Taipei to Naha International Aiport (Okinawa). I flew with Peach Air from Taipei to Okinawa and it costed me S$100. The second cheapest would be flying local from Tokyo. I also heard there is a tourist package where you can buy from Tokyo to fly to Okinawa and return to Tokyo for only 1,000 Yen!

Another way is from Hongkong or Manila, which also have direct flight to Okinawa. But I didn’t do any search about it because I got my Taipei ticket before deciding to continue to Okinawa.

I believe there are various options to fly direct to Okinawa but usually they’re much more expensive. Singapore has direct flight to Okinawa by Silk Air, but I don’t even bother to check the price.

How to go around Okinawa Island?

Naha City is the biggest city in Okinawa and around Naha, there are trains and buses, however the public transport isn’t working so well in other parts of island like Nago and central Okinawa. (Naha is Southern Okinawa where Airport is in.) So the best choice for visitor is to rent a car! Cars are cheap to rent in Okinawa. I got mine for 18,000 yen for 4 days rent.

From Naha to Nago, it took us about 2 hours to drive if we continuously used toll road, which I found expensive. The normal road has so many traffic lights and could add another 1 hour traveling time. So your choice, time or money, literally.

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Beautiful coastline along the way… you’ll never get tired of it.

How to go from one island to another island?

There are a lot of ferry port in Okinawa main island. We got a free tourist booklet from airport which is very informative about all the islands in Okinawa and how you get there, which ferry you should take, etc. People is also friendly and you can easily ask for information or just browse google on which ferry to take.

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When we boarded the ferry.

We visited Minna Island which is located in the western part of Okinawa, it took us about 20 minutes ferry ride. Minna Island was very small, we could walk from end to end in 10 minutes! We swam, snorkeled and relaxed on the beach.

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I got seasick after snorkeled too long.

Where should I stay in Okinawa?

Hotels are common in Naha City, while Nago has only expensive resort. We booked airbnb studio apartment in Naha which costed us around $300 for 4 nights. I believe you can get the same price for 3 star hotel, but you know how I feel about airbnb. :)

Is Okinawa expensive?

Comparing to mainland Japan, Okinawa is much cheaper! But Japan itself is labeled as expensive destination (which I don’t fully agree to). Personally I think Okinawa is the most valuable destination ever. I got super cheap flight ticket to go there, cheap amazing airbnb, cheap car rental, cheap foods and… FREE BEACH! Think about it, in order to relax and have fun in amazing beaches, you have to pay some fee, and sometimes a night in a resort… but not in Okinawa! There are some beaches that require entrance fee (500 yen to 1000 yen) but there are tons on beaches that are free! We, of course, went to all the free beaches. :p

So if you compare the amount of money with the free facilities, quality of food and extremely pristine clear water beaches, Okinawa is a steal!!!

What are the highlights of Okinawa?

I think 4 days in Okinawa is definitely not enough. I seriously want to come back for 1 week or 10 days trip to Okinawa, doing island hopping and some serious laziness-related beach activity like… reading while sunbathing. But 4 days is enough to make me fall in love. :)

So here’s the highlight:

The Beaches and lookouts

Of course, duh! Okinawan beaches have white sand and sparkling pristine water, which is everyone’s dream beach. The best thing about the beaches is free facilities, like free parking, free shower, free toilet and there is no street vendor that pushes you to buy stuffs like in other Asian beaches. And… I put my phone, car key and some change under my towel which I neglected on the beach and since it’s Japan, nobody stole it. JAPAN IS THE BEEEEST!

Emerald Beach in the Northern Okinawa

Emerald Beach in the Northern Okinawa

Bandi, attempting to do weird stuffs

Bandi, attempting to do weird stuffs

What pose we should do next?

What pose we should do next?

Since we drove a car, we could easily stop by at look-out points or lighthouses, Okinawa has tons of them. If only we stayed longer there, we would’ve gone for some picnic. But watch out for snakes!

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Cape Manzano, the elephant rock.

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Oh the view!

Kokusai Street

It’s very touristy, but I kinda like it! This street is full of souvenir’s shop, restaurant and food stalls. Bandi’s favorite kind of street. If you decided to go to Kokusai Street, don’t forget to eat at Mahoroba Soba and try the Spicy Taiwanese noddle. I know it’s ironic to eat Taiwan type Soba in Okinawa. but it’s the best!!!

IMG_9014Shuri Castle

We didn’t manage to go in the castle because if time constraint, but even walking around the castle gave you an idea of how amazing this castle is.

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Kin-town (The Amerinca Town)

We went there very late evening so not much to see, but try to visit this place to try the Okinawan Taco Rice! Taco rice doesn’t originally come from Mexico, It comes from Okinawa!

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Taco Rice!

Okinawan Soba

I don’t really fancy this, but you’ve got to try at least once. It’s a thick hot soba in a clear pork broth soup with mushrooms and sliced pork cheeks/bellies. It is delicious, but when you eat it in a tropical island where the sun is as hot as Zac Efron’s abs, you can’t fully enjoy it.

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The islands around

This is the best highlight of Okinawa, the small islands around the mainland. As I mentioned before, try to search which island you’re interested in and find out which port has the ferry to bring you there.

Minna Island

Minna Island

 

Shisa

It is a legendary “animal” which is a mixture of a lion and a dog, believed to protect Okinawan villagers, that’s why you will see a lot of Shisas guarding in front of people’s home or store.

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Cute Sisha in our airbnb

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I bought a Shisa coin purse for the shisa to guard my coins! :D

There are so many other things which I haven’t explored in Okinawa which will always keep me wanting to come back. I hope this post inspires you to pack your back and go to Okinawa! It’s the most underrated place on earth. :)

Go go go!!!

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Cheers,

May, missing beaches already

On the top of Mount Fuji

I climbed Mount Fuji.

I still can’t believe I did it. It was the most horrible thing I’ve done to myself. And it’s all because internet is such a dark place full of lies! I climbed Mount Fuji because people in the internet says it’s not difficult, that grandparents and kindergarteners climb Mount Fuji. So I decided to write this post and give you the truth; like I always do.

First of all, kindergarteners did not climb mount Fuji. They hiked from 5th Station to 6th Station and then they went back. I met a lot of kindergerteners along my hike from 5th Station to 6th Station. It was a breezy long walk with amazing views.

Some grandparents do hike Mt Fuji, but only those super crazy fit grandparents who train daily. During my hike, I met some ‘older’ people, probably those with teenager kids, but no individual grandparents. The only old people I met were those who led the group of hikers (so it’s probably his professional job). So here’s a flash news: normal grandparents do not climb mount Fuji.

So, who climb mount Fuji?

Fools.

Only fools like me climb mount Fuji.

I’m trying here guys… to make you really really understand that it’s no joke. Do not climb mount Fuji expecting it’s gonna be an easy climb. It’s freaking horrible… grovels and rocks and rain and hail and fog and the cold…. oh the cold…

It’s not gonna be pleasant, it’s not gonna be rainbow and unicorn, the weather might change so fast just like teenager’s mood and the wind will tear your soul apart.

If you read this post and plan to climb Mount Fuji, I want you to be prepared. And even after you accept these ugly truths you still want to go, then go. Go conquer that beautiful mountain!

I’m not a hiker and my ECG test result came out abnormal (inherited from my Dad), even though I do yoga I know I am not generally fit person. But I decided to climb Mount Fuji with 2 persons who are so close to me, my hubby and my bestfriend. I know they would understand my weakness and will not shame me if in any case I couldn’t make it.

If you’re still interested with the story and want to know technicality on “how-to”, go ahead and read, but if you have lazy eyes, just grab the pop corn and watch the vlog instead:

So here’s a story of Bandi, Tannia and May conquering Fuji-San:

Storing our other luggage at Shinjuku Station

I tried to find in the internet on where should I store my stuffs which I didn’t want to bring to Fuji but there is no exact clear answer. I know there are a lot of coin lockers in every train station in Tokyo, but I knew that it’s only for 24 hours. What happen if I want to leave it there for 36 hours? You can do that. You just need to pay the penalty when you take out your luggage. You can leave your bags up tp 72 hours. So don’t worry about luggage!

Arriving at 5th Station – 2,305 Meters

We took the Fuji highway bus on 14th July 9:45 am from Shinjuku Express Bus Station. It’s located in the 4th Floor of Shinjuku JR Station. The bus ticket can be booked online only if your IP address is in Japan, if you’re from overseas then you can call them. We booked our outbound tickets through phone and inbound tickets through internet once we reached Tokyo one day before the hike. The price for one way ticket is 2,700 yen.

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We then exchange the booking code with the actual tickets in the bus station. It’s Japan, so everything is well planned.

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The bus ride took about 2 hours and 15 minutes, so we reached Fuji 5th Station on noon. We ate our lunch and bought the walking stick made of wood, which is a perfect souvenir from your Fuji adventure. You will know why later on!

5th Station to 6th Station – 2,390 Meters

We took Yoshida Trail (the most common trail people take) so all the stations I’m mentioning is in Yoshida Trail. The walk between 5th Station to 6th Station is nice and breezy. From the altitude you can see it’s only 85 Meters difference in altitude, so with the long walk, you don’t really realize you’re climbing a mountain.

At the end of 6th Station, you can take a selfie like us coz this is gonna be your last happy selfie.

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6th Station to 7th Station – 2,700 Meters

Most of the terrain during this climb is grovels and sands, in a long zig-zag inclined road. Just right before reaching 7th Station you will have your first spiderman climb on the rocks. It was fun!

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7th Station to 8th Station – 3,020 Meters

I think this is the most exhausting and difficult part of the climb. It’s all big rocks with sands so you have to use both your hands and your legs to climb. I stopped in every corner and I started to have difficulty yo breath properly because the thin air. The original 8th Station supposed to be on 3,360 Meters but somehow they moved here… I think it’s probably because it’s just too difficult so people won’t quit if the distance between 7th and 8th are too far from each other. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it rained! We took out our gears and wore our raincoats… and kept walking.

8th Station to Original 8th Station – 3,360 Meters

Still the same… grovels and rocks and then it stopped raining coz… it hailed! On this moment my soul has already been torn apart… I kept imagining laying down in my bed with warm tea on my hand…  but the reality is I was cold, my hands are frozen til I thought my fingers needed to be chopped off (I’m a drama queen whaaat). We started to be panic because it was already 7 pm, the sky was getting darker and darker and we haven’t reached our Mountain Hut… I knew nothing to book Goraiko-kan Hut which is located in the highest of all huts!!! Good job, May!

Original 8th Station to Goraiko-kan (8.5 Station) – 3,450 Meters

I remember it was only the 3 of us and the other 2 persons climbing up from 8th Station. Soon, the 2 persons stopped at a mountain hut before us… and there were only the three of us left, climbing slowly…

When we finally reached Goraiko-kan on 8 pm, I was so happy…. I just wanted to sit in a warm room and rest. I had better… I ate a bowl of ramen. It was the best ramen I’ve ever eaten in my life.

We were given shoe bag where we put our dirty shoes in and then shown into our sleeping bag. We were sleeping in the attic and because I drank too much water before sleeping, I had to go to the toilet in the middle of midnight and the toilet is outside the hut! Noooo!!! I had to walk out alone in the cold! brrr….

Anyway, I had about 3-4 hours sleep until one person started to turn on a torch light and made noise when he packed his stuffs. He was then followed by other people and in minutes, everyone were awake, including us. We ate breakfast in the small attic (imagine it was only 1 meters attic so you have to sit or crawl when you move), which we got from the staffs the night before. It was rice with salmon and tamago. After breakfast, we packed our stuffs and made a move. I was so scared with the cold I almost wanted to give up.

To be honest, even though I groaned a lot, I’ve been very sure I would reach the summit all along… until that morning… when I saw darkness and felt cold. I couldn’t imagine I had to climb in the cold! But of course Tannia and Bandi cheered me up and made sure it’s gonna be alright.

Goraiko-kan to Summit (3,776 Meters)

The distance between Goraiko-kan to the summit was techincally very near, but with the elevation and the cold with little rain, it took us 1 hour to reach the summit. Bad news, there were no sunrise because of the fog. But to be honest, I didn’t really care about the sunrise anymore. I JUST WANTED TO GO BACK TO A WARM PLACE AND SLEEP.

We bought a 500 yen canned drinks that were boiled in the water. Yes they put cans into this boiling water so the canned drinks were boiling hot. Great idea! We held into this small hot can and felt the instant relief of warmth… Oh…. finally… after such a wet cold climb…

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We sat inside a crowded mountain hut and everyone felt so proud of themselves, exchanging stories. I was just so sad because now I had to descend back to where we started, which seemed so horrible for me because I didn’t have any energy left and I had no appetite to eat anything; I was just so tired.

Summit to 5th Station (Descending Trail)

The descending trail is different from the ascending trail. The descend trail is longer but easier. It’s just a small zig-zag road full of rocks and grovels. We descend for 4-5hours I couldn’t remember just because I sat down to rest for every 10 minutes. LOL.

Like I told you, I was in low batter mode already.

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Aftermath

I was definitely proud of myself, no doubt. Climbing Mt. Fuji is by far the greatest physical challenge I’ve ever encountered; and completed. However if you asked me whether I will ever do it again, the answer is very easy: NO WAY in a million gazillion years.

I was left sore and beaten up and I slept the whole evening til the next noon. Bandi insisted to wake up earlier so he could go to Tsukiji Market. Crap.

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Cheers,

May, loving Japan even more.

Snakes, Nanoblock, Rainbow Hair and Chir Chir

Surprised! I’m blogging!

That’s supposed to be sarcastic coz I’ve been so lazy to blog, but I pushed myself today to open the laptop and just write whatever I feel like writing.

This post may not be in good quality, I warn you, but at least I write something.

I even had one dream about my blog when somebody screaming to my face “you’re a bad writer! your blog is rubbish!” and I woke up feeling really really sad. Yeah I mean I know I’m not a published writer or anything, but I always thought I’m a decent writer laaahh. This is the only thing I love constantly throughout my life. No matter which boyband I was obsessed with, which Final Fantasy game I was playing, which hobby I was into, I’ve always loved writing.

So when I had that dream, it was like a wake up call. Going back to writing, May! You don’t have to write a comprehensive feminist article (which is my favorite kind of writings of all btw), at least just post something!

So anywaaaay….. here I am.

Talking about dreams… Last night I dreamt I was bitten by snakes (yes plural) and it was really scary and painful. I woke up feeling so scared and insecure. I looked up in google and it turned out if you dream about snakes, there are 2 possibilities:

One: You’re scared about something. Your subconscious is afraid of some commitment.

Two: You’re healing from a fear.

Well… Guess what happened last night? Bandi and I argued about kids. He didn’t want kids right here right now but at least he wanted to know if I ever wanted to go somewhere. Sigh… I don’t want to talk more about this on my blog, it could go on and on and on for 10 pages of my excuses of why I’m not ready and trust me it’s annoying.

And just after that argument, I had nightmare about snake. Bummer! Bandi went to Jakarta for 2 weeks for business trip and thankfully we made out this morning. He promised not to be pushy about kids and wait till I’m ready and I promised not to give him mixed signal (talking about little Cahayas and stuff – yeah yeah yeah my bad.)

Anyhow… let’s switch topic to…. nano block!

Current Hobby

I’m currently loving nano blocks! I first bought one Tokyo Tower nano block from Japan for my friend as a gift. He asked me to build it for him and I became addicted!

They have other designs beside buildings.

They have other designs beside buildings.

Then I told Bandi I wanted build more and the next thing I knew, he found a toy store that carried nano blocks, and so the craziness continued…

I built them on the top of Cristiano Ronaldo fan book to cheer me up. LOL

I built them on the top of Cristiano Ronaldo fan book to cheer me up. LOL

Neuschweinstain Castle!

Neuschweinstain Castle!

Eiffel Tower!

Eiffel Tower!

I will build more this weekend! :)

If anyone of you knows where to get this in Jakarta for cheap price, let me know. I got it for $25 per box in Singapore. Please leave a comment if you know I can get cheaper in Jakarta. I know it’s much cheaper in Japan but I didn’t buy more. Hiks. :(

Current Hair Color

Since Singapore had a very long SG50 weekend I had free time to do my hair! I think I accidentally dyed the pink color permanently to my hair. I don’t know why but the pink color never fades even just a little bit! So I had an idea to add purple and blue to make it as a simple rainbow blue>>purple>>pink.

Not bad, huh?

Not bad, huh?

I even did this instagram-material-shot. LOLOL

Bought the flower headband in Japan for $3!!! a steal!

Bought the flower headband in Japan for $3!!! a steal!

For this look, I use Special effects semi-permanent dye.

The colors are Virgin Rose, Purple Smoke and Fish Bowl. See below:

You can buy them online! I did!

You can buy them online! I did!

Just take one very important note: The color won’t appear if you don’t bleach your hair.

So take the risk. :) It’s worth it.

Current Favorite Food Place

Korean fried chicken!!! Not an ordinary korean Fried Chicken, this one called Chir-Chir!

It’s located at B3 somerset 313. I heard they open at East side too but never been there.

So Bandi and I were accidentally passed this place on Friday and was surprised because there was no queue at all. Bandi told me that he read online people queued for 2 hours for this place. (Bandi uses an app called Burple, that informs him everything about food in Singapore – It’s like Bandi’s best friend now, whenever we wanted to go eating he said, “Let me ask my best friend where we should go” LOL)

Maybe because it was SG50 holiday so a lot of people were out of Singapore so Singapore was pretty empty in some places, so we went in and….

OH MY GOODNESS, Best fried chicken ever!!!! It made Chicken-Up takes like a joke, seriously!

And you know what, Bandi and I went back again on Monday to close our SG50 holiday with more fried chicken! Ahhhh! Guilty!

And that's how it's done! LOL

And that’s how it’s done! LOL

So yeah, if you happen to pass by this place, give it a try! It’s super yummy! :)

What about clean eat, you say? Well…….

*turn off laptop*

Cheers,

May, guilty. :p

The life we will remember

I went to Japan, three weeks ago.
It changed my life. :)

Yeah yeah yeah I always said that everytime I came back from a trip. Every trips change my life. True. I’m a drama queen. A drop of water could change my life. Lol.

But this trip is different! Bandi has always been my travel buddy since….. Forever. And this time I didn’t travel with him. I travel with my three best friends.

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You might know them from this post and this post and so many of other posts.
They’re my partners in crime, my soul sisters, my annoying friends.

For the sake of travel blog information, I would talk about the trip itself and the highlight.

1. Fuji-san
I went to Fuji on summer and it was climbing season! We met soon many people dressed in climbing gears about to conquer Fuji-san. It was exciting just to see them excited.

Angel and Renny were at Fuji-Q-Highland about to conquer their own version of Fuji, called Fujiyama – the king of roller coaster.

I’m not a daredevil so I chose to cycle around Lake Kawaguchiko. (Newsflash: I don’t enjoy going onto Roller Coasters or any daredevil things. Whatever has happened in the past were either stupidity or curiosity. XD)

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?

I cycled for about 2.5 hours until I hurt my bum, then I stopped in a park to watch people. Couples snuggling, kids playing baseball with their parents, dogs running around, tourist exhausted and needs a break (that’s me!)

Pretty Katsuyama

Pretty Katsuyama

And then I dozed off for about 15 minutes. Power nap! And continued with selfie sessions!

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Fun time, beautiful place. :)

Well, what about Renny and Angel? After queuing for 2 hours, they went through this:

Epic face, Renny!!!

Epic face, Renny!!!

2. Tokyo
Omg!!! I fell in love with Tokyoooooo!!! Did I tell you that London had an amazing personality as city? Well… Tokyo is her bff. In my imagination, London and Tokyo are two bff with amazing personality, Paris is also their friend, the bitchy one. Lol

Asakusa

Asakusa

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Asakusa

Epic Tsukemen!

Epic Tsukemen!

We went to Tsukiji Fish Market and met this cute uncle!

We went to Tsukiji Fish Market and met this cute uncle!

Fujiko F Fujio Musem at Kawasaki CIty

Fujiko F Fujio Musem at Kawasaki CIty

3. Shirakawa-Go
I LEFT MY HEART THERE.
Just beautiful. Just beautiful! When I travel, my favorite part is to go somewhere far away from city buzz, and Shirakawa-Go is just beautiful… beautiful… I lost words….

Photos incoming!

Get ready!

Get ready!

I loveee this photo! Himawari and Green tea ice cream! My list of favorite things!

I loveee this photo! Himawari and Green tea ice cream! My list of favorite things!

<3

<3

On an island in the sun.

On an island in the sun.

We hiked all the way up to see this!!!

We hiked all the way up to see this!!!

Another angle

Another angle

I made a simple video for our Shirakawa-Go Trip!

P.S. for my three girls: Never forget our epic moment in the cafe with the guitar and a girl asked for our photo! 10 years from now we will laugh our asses off again remembering this!

4. Kyoto
Well, as I already hooked up with Tokyo, no other city could amaze me more. But Kyoto has this feeling, especially when you’re in Gion and we saw a real Geisha!!!!
It felt like we were “kena pelet” by the Geisha inside the car!

It was raining when we went to Arashiyama, but it didn't stop us! :D

It was raining when we went to Arashiyama, but it didn’t stop us! :D

And then we spent 2 hours to do purikura (photo box) with costumes! Sailor moon and High School Project.

And then we spent 2 hours to do purikura (photo box) with costumes! Sailor moon and High School Project.

The next day we went to Fushimi Inari wearing Yukata!

The next day we went to Fushimi Inari wearing Yukata!

<3

<3

Tadaimaaaaa!!

Tadaimaaaaa!!

Our last lunch together in Osaka before one by one heading home. :(

Our last lunch together in Osaka before one by one heading home. :(

I guess those 4 is the highlight.

I didn’t mention technical part of the trip because things might always change. My suggestion is to google! :)

And here’s another cute video to close the trip!

Fun facts about Japan:

  1. They broadcast different sounds in train station, for example in Tokyo we heard birds singing in the station, for Takayama we heard some kind of fun fair themed sound in the train.
  2. JR Pass is very useful
  3. Kids playing OUT in the park on weekends. A kind of thing I rarely see. :”)
  4. There is actually people who will steal your underwear. My host told me not to dry your underwear outside.
  5. We know Japanese toilet is awesome, but there is one button that amazed me. “Privacy” button that will create sounds to cover your poop sounds. Lololol
  6. Japanese people take a bow to each cars in the train and when the bus is leaving the bus stop.
  7. There is no place like Japan…. Look how grateful they are, how they always strive for perfection. I think we all should learn to be more like Japanese people. :)

Soo…. When people asked me “how was Japan?” it’s really hard to answer…

We saw two Maikos! Seeing Maiko is considered good luck, we met two! We hiked in Shirakawa-go for the best beef we’ve ever tasted. We sang and danced like no one was watching. We were mistakenly thought as celebrities, this was super epic! We were asked to take photos many times when we were on our yukata which was fun to have such attention! #attentionhooker We jumped into Onsen, we met so many nice people, we missed trains, we got lost, we were soaked wet in the rain, but in the end… what we only remember is… WE HAD FUN. :)
And for closing, please enjoy our video clip of Avicii Song: The Nights.
I’m so proud of my video editing skill! :D go watch! (This video might be unavailable on mobile phone due to copyright issue, so if you have time watch it on laptop – with sounds!)
Cheers,
Meitori <3