Hey guys! I know this update is a tad late, but I’m really happy to show you guys what I have been up to while I was in Japan. I got to go with a group of my college friends, which meant that we had the freedom to go around and explore the city!
My day started at 1 am, when I had to leave for the airport. I had never gone on an early flight before, so I was pretty excited despite being sleep deprived. Once my dad (who insisted he come with me to the airport) and I arrived at the airport, and once I checked myself in, my friends and I headed to McDonald’s to have breakfast. After few more hours of waiting, we finally boarded the plane.
Okay, I have to admit, I was pretty rattled on the plane, especially with all the tragic plane incidents happening recently, but I got to relax with the company of my friends and my Spotify playlist to help ease me in. Something I realized about myself is that I’m a really bad flier (if that’s even a term). A five-hour flight was pretty hellish for me. As much as I tried to fall asleep, I just could not. It was especially saddening since my friends around me were sleeping like babies while I could only stare at them. If I could not handle a five-hour flight, then how was I supposed to go to other places such as Europe or America? Eventually, the hellish flight ended, and as soon as I got out, I was greeted by the cold winds of Japan. There’s nothing to remind you of a country like its weather, and considering Manila’s sweltering weather, Japan’s cold winds were refreshing and welcome.
Once transportation was sorted out (it was my first time riding the trains!), we took an hour and a half train ride to where we stayed in the Kachidoki area. I have to admit, our group was pretty clumsy and disruptive. I could feel the stares of people judging us for our lack of organization. We were scattered all over the place with our big suitcases, and were blocking the way. So good advice for travelers taking the trains in Japan is to wait near the walls or the posts if ever they want to stop for a breather.
Once we made it out of the trains, we made our way to the Kachidoki Kintomi Mansion, where our apartments were. The area was a good 20 minute walk away from Ginza. I can honestly say that I’ve actually lived in a legitimate Japanese apartment. Apart from being quite small and space-saving (it was difficult to raise our arms in the shower without hitting the walls), it was really well-organized and space was used well. I also got to experience sleeping on a futon, so that was fun, too!
The first day was our ‘free’ day, so we got to follow our group leader to meet some of his Japanese friends. We made our way to Shinjuku Metropolitan Building Obervatory (this place is free of charge) to look at the dazzling night view. Apart from the view, there was a toy fair happening at the observatory deck, so that was fun to look at as well. I’m not very good at describing things well, so I’ll leave it up to my first day video to do the describing for me. After that, we made our way to an area (not so sure what it’s called) with a lot of karaoke places, arcades, and restaurants! We went to a SEGA arcade and played some games, and took a purikura! For those who don’t know what a purikura is, it’s basically this sticker paper picture which you get out of a purikura machine. You get your pictures taken and you could customize them as well! It’s a must-try when going to Japan, because the results can be hilarious (they make your eyes bigger, noses and faces get smaller, etc.). When we had serious hunger pangs at night, 7-11 had a good selection of food to keep us going. Convenience store food there is amazing!!! Ranging from onigiri (rice balls), salads, pastas, sandwiches, pastries, meats and rice dishes, one can definitely live on konbini (convenience store) food when going to Japan on a budget! Needless to say, it was a day well-spent with good company. I fell asleep soundly that night and thanked the Lord for the room heater because I was shivering my socks off at night. I wonder how the Japanese women do it, wearing their high heels, short skirts and only one layer of clothing? I was bundled up in two layers of clothing and was still shivering my socks off!