Monthly Archives: July 2013

The First Week Of Adventure In The Philippines

I’ve decided that from here on out my posts will be less frequent, mostly due to A) I have a 25 page paper due on August 5th for the program I just finished and B) We don’t go on daily adventures here so there is not much to report on.

Alright Philippines Day 1:
We arrived at my adopted mom’s condo and where given our room. Turns out Natasha, Remy and I will be sharing, and later in the month we will be adding another person to our room.

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Since I had one hour of sleep in the past 24 it was difficult for me to not take a nap as soon as we arrived. Afterwards Natasha and I unpacked our things. While I slept Remy was given a tour of the condo and showed her mom all the things she had purchased in Japan. Since this is my second time living here I did not require a tour, every thing felt familiar as soon as I walked in.

Our mom and her fiance were required to be in Manila later that day so they headed off to the airport before dinner. We were being left alone in the condo until Saturday…but I forgot to mention, we wouldn’t be alone, the live-in maid would be with us. Yes, that’s right, we have a live-in maid and she does more then just clean, she prepares meals and every thing. So far I feel pretty awkward about it as I am not used to having hired help.

They left us with a bunch of groceries, money to buy what ever else we needed, and a cell phone with Ralph’s number in it. We hung out with him quite a bit the last time we were here, and now he will be our go-to-man if we need some thing. So cooking is a little bit different here, to use the stove we first need to turn on the gas which is located in the maid’s room, then you need to light the elements you are using, for the first few days we asked the maid to do this for us as I really don’t want to burn the place down…and I’m convinced I will if I light it my self. It was awkward to make dinner for the three of us as the maid hovered near us in case she could be of help, I suppose she is used to doing the cooking, and we are used to doing it our selves so it was just an awkward mess. I forgot to mention, she doesn’t really speak any English so its difficult to communicate…

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The best part though is all the fresh fruit, which is also very inexpensive.

Day 2:
We really didn’t do any thing today. For the first time in 40 days I was able to sit back, paint my toe nails, and relax. I worked on catching up on all my blogs, did some reading, and chatted with some people back home.
The weather has been rather odd, its fairly warm and humid, nothing that I’m not used to by now, but every afternoon it rains those Asian rain storms I keep telling you all about. It will do this for an hour maybe? Then dry up but return to overcast skies. I really wanted to work on my tan during this portion of my trip so hopefully it clears up.
With the assistance of Ralph we had the maid purchase one of those delicious roasted chickens that the vendors here sell. Honestly the chicken here is the best I have ever had, we have tried purchasing it back home and when that ended in dissatisfaction we tried making it our selves, its just not the same. While I am here I am going to make sure to have this as often as possible! The maid served our chicken with rice she prepared, it was so weird being served food like this…I’m not royalty or any thing, this isn’t what happens back home!

Day 3:
By now I am getting fidgety being in the house so much so today Natasha and I hung out by the pool. I only managed to get two hours of sun before it dissapeared behind the clouds and rained on us, it has rained at least once every day, and each night we have these beautiful lightning shows, some times we even get thunder.
Today I also activated my Tamagochi I bought at the Tamagochi store in Tokyo, its text is all in Japanese but it’s helping me learn! So far so good, its only the ‘nano’ version so it doesn’t have as many options but I didn’t want to spend $50 on the latest version.

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I had accidentally set its clock for the time back in North America which makes it difficult to care for, its always sleeping while I’m awake, and its awake while I’m sleeping, so far its been pretty forgiving.

Day 4:
It was about time I started working on that giant paper that’s due in just over a week…I managed to grab a few sources and ended up writing a good introduction paragraph, but then all my motivation ran dry. So I spent some time re-erecting the paper-writing shrine.

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In the evening our mom returned from Manila, her fiance will be staying there until next Saturday for a course he is taking. With her she brought home another one of those roast chickens! I spent the rest of the night procrastinating from writing my paper, but I was doing some of the readings from my program that I hadn’t done earlier that may pertain to my thesis so it wasn’t completely procrastination, just the lesser of two evils.

Day 5:
After breakfast we went to a mall that might have been called ‘J Mall’ or some thing. We picked up a few groceries, some super cheap alcohol (we paid $4 for two 700ml bottles) and for some reason tried on wigs…

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This is Remy trying on a white wig, both her and my adopted mom ended up getting wigs, still not sure why.
Later in the evening the wedding planner and his entourage came over and we got to meet the bartenders for the wedding. For some reason I was put in charge of choosing the drinks that will be available at the bar for both the Saturday party before the wedding and the Sunday party after the wedding. I found out about this responsibility earlier today…

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See that, that’s my ‘not impressed’ face. The bartenders are both charismatic, I think one of them likes me, maybe I’m reading into it, perhaps I could have an August fling? Haha. The two of them put on a drink competition and served us a few sample drinks.

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Day 6:
Today we went to another mall, Ayala, I think. Here we had lunch at ‘Shakey’s’ then browsed the department store for wedding accessories. We also came across an anime store that sold alot of merchanidize from my latest favorite anime ‘Fairy Tale’. I didn’t bring my wallet with me, nor have I converted any Pesos, so NO I didn’t buy any thing. LOL. But I might go back…
Afterwards it was more working on the dreadful paper and general laziness. Our mom had to go into work tonight, she works overnights due to her position she needs to be at work when North America would be awake.
Today I concluded that I am now sick : (
At first I thought the AC in my room was just irritating my throat but today I am convinced I have finally caught some thing despite my best precautions. I have tried taking Advil, cold and flu, Hallz…nothing is helping and puts me in an overall negative space which makes being productive with my paper very difficult.
The weather also hasn’t been very pleasant, cloudy or rain all the time, I really wanted to see the sun!

Some things I would like to point out:
I’m pretty sure the condo is right beside a barn. Every morning the rooster wakes us up, last night the rooster woke me up (doesn’t it know the difference from night and day?), there are dogs that bark incessantly through out most of the day and night, and today while trying to nap I was continually interrupted by what I can only imagine is a goat.
I haven’t seen sun since the first time I went out tanning.
It gets dark really early.
There are many more Caucasian people then I remember seeing last time.
Supermarkets are called ‘Hypermarkets’, you can buy an entire pig head at these places, and they don’t seem all that sanitary…

Day 7:
I am feeling a little bit better today after giving in and taking some antibiotics, though really sleepy as we ran out of the carton that claims to be milk (I don’t think it’s milk) and couldn’t have my coffee. The maid made us this Philippine dish “Chicken Adobo” for breakfast, I don’t think it’s normally consumked for breakfast…but it was really good and I’d like to get the recipe for it. Later in the day we were sent with the maid to the hypermarket to buy groceries where we had an interesting conversation with the taxi driver. Our mom was off getting blood work done for most of the day so we haven’t seen her much.

I realize most of this probably inst exciting but for those of you who just want to keep tabs on what the three of us are up to I’ll make sure to keep you updated!


40 Days Of Trivalent Risks

Today was my fortieth day in Japan…FORTY days…where did the time go? Also of note it was my last day in Japan : (

We started our morning by packing up our entire room, we managed to get it all in one checked and one carry on bag each…but they are all really heavy and full. I don’t know how it happened but I bought so many clothes, I guess coming to Japan I didn’t think they would have sizes that fit me so I didn’t expect to buy a lot of clothing. But they did have my size in a lot more stores then I expected…and of course I had to bring home the Japanese fashions.

Another thing that I didn’t anticipate was that check out was at 10am, all my other check outs had been at 11am and it slipped my mind until the cleaning lady walked into our room and we had to quickly rush out while finishing the last of the packing. The hostel didn’t seem to mind when we checked out 30mins late as they didn’t charge us for the tardiness ❤

Our hostel stored our bags for the day as our flight doesn’t leave until 8pm, which is super awesome that we don’t have to drag them around with us every where or go sit in the airport for hours.
For our last day we went to Shinsaibashi-suji, a popular shopping street, and I know what your thinking “Why would you go to yet another shopping street when you cant fit all your things in your suitcase as it is??”, the answer…I don’t know, I think I have a problem…
Any ways! It was a lot of fun, we stopped at a cafe half way through the street for coffee and ice cream!

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Then it happened…we found another Body Line store (the one that sells knock off Lolita clothes). Natasha and Remy definitely liked this store (so did I, lol), I cant recall if I mentioned this before but the plan to make the most use of our new clothes is to have a “Lolita day” maybe once a month or some thing, in honor of Sundays in Harujuku where they all dress up. Hah, well we like the idea, maybe we can make it popular in Winnipeg, feel free to join us!

After all the lacy and frilly dresses we spent some time wandering and exploring and found Dotonbori, the famous food street!

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After exploring Dotonbori we headed back to the hostel to pick up our bags and head to the airport. Our hostel also offered discount tickets for the direct train to the Kansai airport, jackpot. It was a good thing we had headed back early as we ran into a few hick-ups on the journey. First, the Shin-Imamiya station that is serviced by the Nankai railway is not the same station we had gone to earlier…it was a bit of a walk down the street. This walk wouldn’t have been long or difficult if we weren’t dragging our heavy heavy bags with us. Then by my quick judgment to hop on the first train that arrived we ended up on the local train instead of the special rapid service train…so it took us over an hour to get there, even though the poster said it would only take 45 min. I was worried we got on the wrong train a few times but eventually we got to the airport. The Kansai airport was built on a man-made island which is kind of neat but also just a pinch worrisome. After navigating to the correct terminal etc we checked in at the Cebu Pacific desk…and that’s when it all went down hill. Cebu Pacific has very strict weight regulations and checking a bag is an additional charge on the price of your flight. I don’t recall if I mentioned this earlier but they charge you for your seat on top of the price of the flight, then we were charged to check one bag each…then our carry on bags were too heavy and we had to shift some items…then two of the three checked bags were way over our weight limit. Now Cebu Pacific charges ¥2000 for each KG over weight…we were 8 KG over weight…~$160 later…what we were to do? We couldn’t leave any thing behind, most of our items were things we were bringing out to the Philippines for our adopted mother or stuff we bought in Japan…so we had to pay what I thought was an exorbitant amount of money, later we found out our adopted mother had had to pay nearly $900 on her way home at Christmas as she had also been wayyyy overweight. Before we leave the Philippines we can purchase extra weight allowance online, just not the same day as the flight, and it will only be an addition $20 per bag or so…

Once the soul crushing was over with (I still can’t believe we paid that much) we found our gate and waited for the airplane. It was at this moment when our stomachs started to growl that I realized in my haste to check out of the hostel we had not packed any food for the plane or warmer clothes (as I am always cold on flights), at this point we just had to make do with what we had.
Then our flight was delayed an hour…this didn’t bother us so much as the Kansai airport is a fairly nice airport, we had a comfy spot to sit next to an outlet, the washrooms were clean, and there were some vending machines near by. Plus we had a 4.5 hour layover in Manila any ways so we might as well spend more time in the better of the two airports.
When we did finally get on our flight we learned another reason not to fly Cebu Pacific, ever: they don’t serve food or drinks on their international flights. Let me be more specific, they serve food and drinks for a fee…but not even a free pop or water. I’m just saying…even Air Canada gives you some sort of beverage on their shortest flights. Not to mention the seats were super tiny, their was no leg room for us long-legged people, it was an all around uncomfortable flight and I have flown a decent amount that this went beyond the general discomforts of flying.

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However it happened, we managed to survive the unbearable 4 hour flight to Manila. Customs and immigration went well with the help of our visitors visa, and they had a handy little trolly for connecting flight for your checked bags…so we didn’t have to go through more soul crushing. We stopped at a “Bistro” in the airport and got some thing to eat, honestly at 1am after not eating dinner the food was fabulous!
Then it all began again (more soul crushing), the Manila airport wouldn’t let me through security with my umbrella…they said I had to check it…but it wouldn’t fit in my bag, that’s why I was carrying it, and they already took my bags from me…and I wasn’t about to leave it behind with out a fight because I bought it in Japan and it looks all Samurai-like. Eventually they told me I could check it on its own, I was really worried though that it wouldn’t make it out unscathed, as I know what my bag looks like every time I pick it up from the conveyor belt. AND they wanted me to weigh it…AS IF…I already paid you $160 don’t you dare give me that nonsense! Plus I had no trouble bringing my umbrella on the plane in Osaka, I was just so done with this airline/place.

I apologize about the ranting but it continues…I just want every one to know what a horrid airline Cebu Pacific is and how unpleasant Manila airport is so you can make informed decisions if you decide to fly with/through them.

So then we waited for our next flight, by this time we only had two hours to wait but it was freezing in the airport…and we hadn’t didn’t have any warm cloths. We huddled together on the waiting area benches for warmth, I tried to get my cardigan to wrap around my legs but it didn’t work so well…

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Hah this photo makes me laugh…in a sad, happy-its-over kind of way.

This last flight was only an hour and some how I managed to sleep after takeoff and woke up when we were making the final decent. When we picked up our bags I was happy to find my umbrella undamaged, though a little dirty. All that was left was to wait for our ride to pick us up, and the rest of this adventure is for another post.

I would NEVER EVER recommend flying with this airline, unless it was to some one I strongly dislike..The last time we came to the Philippines we were able to fly directly into Mactan through Korean Air, the difference would have been ~$50 and I will gladly pay that if I ever fly this way again, they were such an awesome airline.

This is the end of my adventures in Japan (for now), from here on out it will be all about my adventures in the Philippines. Thank you to every one out there following my adventures, liking my blog, and making comments. I never thought I would end up enjoying my blogging experience as much as I have but you guys have really made it worth the effort I put into these updates ❤
I also hope that my experiences can help inform other travelers, I know I have learned a lot and maybe next time I can be more prepared.

Until next time.


Day 39: Revisiting Kyoto

We were up bright and early I was up bright and early to shower and get ready for our trip to Kyoto, while the other two slept…and ultimately made us leave later then I would have liked (but its ok I’m just a little bit of a control freak). I found out that our hostel had discount train tickets to Kyoto so Natasha and Remy picked up their to and from tickets and saved a few dollars each way, I still have use of my JRP. We walked down the street to Shin-Imamiya station and took the Osaka-loop line to…well Osaka station then transferred to a rapid service train to Kyoto.

I have to say it felt great to be back in Kyoto, some thing about this city I just love so much. Perhaps its the familiarity, or some thing but I felt very comfortable being here again.
Our first attraction for the day was Kiyomizu-dera, as they had expressed interest in going here. We took the bus, 206 I believe, to a stop at the base of the shopping street that leads up to the temple, fare was ¥220 each. I considered purchasing an all day bus pass for ¥500 but we would only be taking the bus twice so it wasn’t worth it.

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The architecture at this temple is beautiful and the surrounding view is stunning, plus I kept my ticket from when I came here with the school and was able to reuse it, shhhhh. We all participated in the buying of charms and trinkets while we explored the complex, though a lot more of the temple was under construction since the last time I was here and a few areas were closed off to us.

We took the bus back to Kyoto station, had lunch at a little restaurant in the underground shopping area and quickly stopped at Avanti shopping mall. Avanti is connected to the station by an underground passage and we wanted to look at inexpensive accessories and things, so it was a quick little detour. Then we bought to and from tickets to Inari station on the Nara bound JR train because our next stop is Fushimi Inari shrine!! It was only ¥280 per person in total (and I still get to use my JRP) it really wasn’t an expensive trip since the shrine doesn’t charge admission. Before starting the climb up the mountain side we stopped at the Daily (convenient store) to buy drinks and snacks.

Apparently some sort of festival was going on at Fushimi Inari as the entire place had been lined with lanterns, it looked really neat!

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The climb was a bit more difficult this time, it seemed hotter and more humid, plus we come from flat land…so we took a few more breaks this time around. At the top we each made a prayer at the main shrine, took a quick rest and headed back down. It was a bit later in the afternoon and really overcast so the path started to get dark, one part eerie one part awesome.

Back at Kyoto station it was time for a good meal so we hopped on the good ol’ Karasuma line (the line I took at least 4 times a day for 4 weeks) and got off at Imadegawa (Doshisha campus). I gave the girls a quick tour of the university then we headed to the Izakaya across the street. We enjoyed a feast of chicken skewers, edamame, alcoholic drinks, and white chocolate filled strawberries.

Even after all the good food and fun at the Izakaya we were all feeling a little worn out but Karaoke was on the agenda and Natasha and Remy still wanted to try it so we went to the Karaoke Room. Its maybe a little bit more expensive than other Karaoke places but they offer free drinks during your stay, the facility is very clean and modern looking, and the display machine can be set to English for easier navigation. AND we had a fantastic time!! I stocked up on energy at the coffee machine and we sang our hearts out, we wanted to stay longer but our throats were getting soar so back to the station we went to catch our train home.

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(Sorry this pic is pretty bad but the tower looked so nice!)

We got in rather late but that was expected, tomorrow we have to pack up ALL our stuff again and head out.

Until next time.


Day 38: Adventures With A Two Day Pass (Part 2)

So far Natasha and Remy are making good use of the plethora of vending machines in Japan, they are very handy and inexpensive. If you know which machines have good prices you can get a bottle of cold water for ~$1, I frequently buy the cold coffee drinks as well.

So far our morning schedule is as follows:
Leave hostel, pick up drinks for the morning at the vending machine outside the hostel, hit up Family Mart for breakfast and maybe some snacks or lunch, head out for the days adventures.
This allows up to spend the least amount of money on food and drinks leaving more money for shopping and fun!

Today we decided to go to the Tennoji Zoo as it is free entrance with our 2 day pass (just like Osaka Castle and the Tsutenkaku tower were). I think I liked the zoo in Tokyo better but this one still had its charms and some really neat animals. One in particular I haven’t seen before: a Hyena

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The girls also got to see an Elephant, a Rhinoceros, and a Hippopotamus, which they had wanted to see. After the zoo we quickly went back to the hostel to change outfits as we had all underestimated how hot it was today, this didn’t take up too much time as the nearest subway station to the zoo is right outside our hostel. Next we headed to the Osaka bay area, this was my favorite place the last time I was in Osaka, so I really wanted to take them back here.

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We had plenty of time to explore the area, and with the 2 day pass we had free admission to a boat ride around the harbor so we thought a good way to rest our feet while still doing some thing was to ride the Santa Maria model ship around the bay.

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Apparently admission for this boat is ~$16 ?? I have to say I wouldn’t pay that much for a 45min ride around a very industrial looking harbor but it was already included in the price we paid for unlimited subway rides so it was pretty good. We found seats in a shaded spot, enjoyed the breeze, and admired the view.

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Afterwards we visited the Osaka Aquarium, I really really wanted to visit this aquarium as it is apparently the largest in Japan and has a ginormous tank with not one, but two whale sharks! This place really lived up to my expectations, it did cost us ~$23 admission per person but I feel it was completely worth it. They had many different enclosures with animals ranging from fish, jellyfish, otters, seals, to dolphins and penguins! Most of the exhibits had an above-water viewing area and a below-water viewing area which I particularly enjoyed. Most of the animals were very active as well so you always managed to see some thing moving about.
Apparently no one likes cameras in our little group as I was the only one who had one (it was only my iPhone) but we liked the aquarium so much that between the three of us I had 500+ new photos on my phone…

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My favorite part (and Remy’s) was the tank with the whale sharks (we MAY have the opportunity to swim with them while we are in the Philippines), it was really neat to see them and they had a massive tank with a bunch of other fish like stingrays, and smaller sharks (we even saw a hammerhead shark). We got to witness a lot of feeding-times by going in the afternoon, which for the whale sharks looked really funny, they just sucked in massive amounts of water, when they did this they sort of puffed up and where more vertical than horizontal.

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Natasha’s favorite part was all the luminescent jellyfish.

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Oh and don’t forget all the turtles!!

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Overall the aquarium was my favorite so far, but there were hordes of people (we went on a Sunday afternoon) and it seemed like a popular place to bring your kids as there were little Asian monsters running around screaming and crying and banging on exhibits. For dinner we ate in the food court at the Tempozan market, Natasha and I ate from the same vendor as my first time in Osaka but this time I had curry rice, Remy ate at the ramen vendor. We wanted to ride the Tempozan giant ferris wheel but it was still pretty light out side so to pass time we checked out the shops and had ice cream. I guess all the walking from a zoo and an aquarium in the same day started to take effect, we were all tired (yes even me this time) so we chose to ride the ferris wheel not at night time, it was still really pretty, then we headed home. Tomorrow I am taking them to Kyoto and I have a lot of planning to do tonight to ensure we make it there and back.


Day 37: Adventures With A Two Day Pass (Part 1)

I figured the best way to see as much of Osaka while spending the least amount of money was to buy the 2 Day unlimited pass, like the one day pass I had bought back when I first visited Osaka. We walked down the street from our hostel to Tennoji station to buy the pass which was ~$27. I was able to find the station with ease but locating the visitors center where you buy the pass took me awhile.

Our first stop was Osaka castle museum. I feel like this should be on any one’s itinerary if visiting Osaka. It gives visitors a taste of Osaka’s history.

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Natasha and Remy enjoyed visiting the castle, so much so that Natasha even took photos in areas she wasn’t supposed to, tisk tisk.

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After the castle the girls wanted to go to the Pokemon Center so we took the subway to Umeda and walked just down the street to Daimaru, a large department store. This was now my third time at the Pokemon center and now I really want to play one of my old Pokemon games, Natasha and Remy both found plenty of items to buy. Since Uniqlo was on the same floor, and they have the best clothes, we spent some time browsing…and I bought more clothing…I don’t know where I am going to put it all.

After a quick bite to eat we headed to the Tsutenkaku tower, its total height is 103 meters.

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The view from the top was beautiful at sunset.

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Before leaving we stopped at the cafe inside the tower and shared a special parfait designed after the tower.

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By now the girls were getting pretty tired so we headed back to the hostel which happened to be a short walk from the tower. Natasha was asleep before I was even ready for bed but we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow…


Day 36: Back To Osaka

In the morning Clark and I prepared our bags for the next leg of our travels, hers home-bound, and mine just needed to make it to the air port then to Osaka. Before we checked out of the hostel we bought food and drinks for the journey, I picked up extra for Natasha and Remy as I knew they would need it. Also the staff at the hostel asked to take our picture for their website/facebook. They were all very sad to see us go and we will miss them too.

We didn’t need to be at the airport until about 2:30pm but Narita airport can take awhile to get to if you do not take an express train. Since we had to check out at 11am any ways we started our long trek with our baggage to the airport. The walk to the closest subway station (Iriya) wasn’t too bad…it was getting to the right platform which was a hassle, there was no elevator/escalator to get to the other platform so we had to bring three heavy bags each down a set of stairs, then back up another. We obviously had to do this in multiple trips though a very kind Japanese man saw us and brought one of the bags down while I wasn’t looking, he was so nice!
From Iriya we took the subway to Ueno and thankfully from there we were able to get on an express rail way to the airport (instead of needing to transfer to Tokyo station first), this definitely made our trip a lot easier.
At the airport we made good use of the baggage carts, I love baggage carts ❤

After checking Clark in for her flight all that was left to do was wait for Natasha and Remy to arrive. Their flight actually arrived a bit early so I didn’t have to wait too long. They both looked pretty tired from the trip but I had plenty of energy for the three of us.

We needed to get from the airport all the way over to Osaka where our flight to the Philippines will depart from, so we took a JR line back to Tokyo station where we then transferred to a Shinkansen. This took roughly 4 hours between the two trains and lets just say the girls did not seem happy to be doing even more travel after their flight, but they did enjoy the drinks and snacks I brought. It was just after 8pm when we got into Shin-Osaka station, from their it was a quick ride on the Midosuji line back to our old stomping grounds of Doubutsuen-mae station. Turns out our hostel is literally across the street from the hostel I had first stayed in back when this whole adventure began, we will now be staying at Hotel Mikado.

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The directions the hostel had given on their website where not the best…but they were good enough that we found it with out much difficulty. At check in we had a bit of a problem when Natasha’s credit card acted up and we were unable to pay for the room. The staff was very accommodating and let us pay for only one night in cash so that we could have some time to work out the credit card issue.
When I booked the room I was expecting the western style with bunk-beds for three people but when we got to our room we found out it was Japanese style with three futons and tatami mats lining the room. I think its better this way as it seems we have more space, though we do need to fold up the beds when they are not in use to have this extra space.
On the way to the subway we had picked up 551 Horai for dinner because A) I absolutely love their food and I wanted the girls to try it and B) we needed some thing easy for dinner. The girls were too tired to eat but did manage to eat a little bit, I on the other hand being used to this time zone and all this moving around found my self just as hungry as ever. After some food we called it a night as tomorrow we have a lot of exploring to do!


Day 35: Revisiting Ueno

Where do I even start…The female dorm was good, and it was not…It was nice in that every one was so considerate, no one was overly noisy, they asked if it was “ok” to turn off lights (instead of just doing it), and we had a bathroom right outside our room. The down side was that I missed my other pillow, this one was so flat an uncomfortable, the air conditioner was off all night (and I couldn’t find the remote to turn it on), and the room was right above the kitchen where a group of people were talking loudly late into the night.
I should also mention that the female dorm had this neat sitting area separated by a paper wall, this area had big sliding windows that let in the morning light….oh these windows…Last night it was raining, and with the rain it was windy. Honestly I thought there was an animal trying to get into our room, every time the wind blew these windows would shake and make this loud, scary, rattling noise. Though I grew up going out to the family cottage where every thing was noisy and my parents would always tell me that if I was tired enough I would eventually sleep. Lets just say I am excited to move back into the mixed dorm, I think its where I belong, lol.

Moving on…
Tony decided to hang out with “Group B” today (as we now refer to them) and didn’t invite us, so either he didn’t want us around or they didn’t…we will never know, oh well.
Today we actually made it into the Tokyo National Museum, yay! It was a really neat place to visit as it had many displays on Japan’s history, culture, religion and art in general. On the way to the museum I was actually stopped by a group of tourists trying to find the museum. Lets take a moment to think about this…They were lost…so they asked me…for directions…On the bright side I have spent enough time in Japan now that I was able to give them the right directions! That made me feel accomplished since I would be completely lost a month ago.
Then at a cross walk an older man started talking to me about our trip THEN Clark and I were stopped by a student to ask a few questions for his English assignment. So here’s the thing, this entire time I have watched others from my group get stopped ALL THE TIME by people for various reasons, but not once had I been approached. Today I was stopped not once, but THREE times!! I enjoy talking to the locals but usually when I engage them they are not prepared to try and speak English and my Japanese will not make for a good conversation.

At the museum we saw a lot of things that we had learned about in our program.

Items from different periods of per-modern Japan.

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Some items from war times.

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Some items from theater.

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And some religious items.

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Overall I enjoyed this museum a lot and would recommend it to any one who wants to sample a little bit of every thing Japan has to offer and who has an hour or two.

The museum drained our energy though…so we decided to go back to the hostel for a nap or food. With our funds running low we are starting to look forward to getting home (I never thought I’d say that…and I’m not going home for a long time still).
Before reaching the station I remembered that this brochure we had picked up “101 things to do in Tokyo” mentioned a haunted house that is remodeled every couple of months. I was able to convinve Clark (with a matcha latte) to at least go with me to the building but she might not come in with me as she does not like haunted houses. So we attempted to get to the nearest station…but couldn’t…I’m not sure if it was because of the time of day or the station we ended up at but for what ever we could not find the train that would stop at the right place! Defeated, low on energy, and with sore feet we headed home to rest and perhaps get better directions from the internet.
When I looked it up I found out the brochure neglected to tell me that this haunted house was in an amusement park that was very expensive to enter. I guess it was a good thing we couldn’t find it.

Later in the evening we went back to that restaurant for the third and final time for this trip, this time I had the curry rice. This place still remains my favorite place to eat in Japan. After dinner it was time to start packing as tomorrow we have to check out : (

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This is what we had to deal with all night…
Clark had soo many clothes to pack, she ended up buying a huge duffle bag as her second peice of checked luggage just to fit it all, and in the end she left her towel behind as it didn’t fit.
She also gave me her small bag she had bought to bring all her things over from Kyoto to Tokyo in. With this I was able to pack all my things, but I am still looking forward to when I can throw a bunch of stuff in Remy’s suitcase, Hah!
While we were packing the staff in the hostel came in and invited us to the bar to have a drink with them before we had to leave, these people have been so nice to us, I will really miss them!