Tokyo | 3

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I finally arrived at Akihabara Station after two hours of Shinkansen ride from Kyoto. It was almost midnight and the street was quite. I enjoyed my walk toward my hostel, crossing the same bridge, slowing down my steps just to feel a yellow dim light from the street lights. Though I walked with a big smile and gratitude, memories of a day well-spent at Kyoto, plus a new black goodie bag fulfilled with souvenirs but I did feel sad cause I realised, I only had two more days in Japan.

An hour before I slept on my bed, I checked maps on my iPhone and did many screenshots to ensure myself won’t take a wrong train and stopped at somewhere.

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Checking maps could be the reason why I woke up a bit late. I moved my suitcase when I found a place where travelers dropped their suitcases and backpacks (I kept my suitcase beside a locker for shoes before) and I did repack all the souvenirs there. I did separate my remain outfits too for the rest of my stay. Oh, I’m kind of person who’s very organise and hate last-minutes things, fyi.

I let myself to pack slower tho I knew I would have a very short time to explore Ginza before my main destination that day. I had a fortuitous moment with one Austrian traveler when I was almost done with my suitcase. A fortuitous moment that made us became a very good friends till today (read about him, here).

Around 11.30am I headed to Ginza, a district of Chūō, Japan’s biggest luxury shopping and entertainment district. Exploring Ginza under the sun wasn’t a bad idea especially if you are interested with fashion, modern architecture, merchandising, or window shopping. It’s such a paradise for creative people and shopper, indeed. I stood in front of designer stores and many interesting window displays to train my eyes and took pictures as many as I could (nothing more pleasant than taking picture at some cool spots!). Should I say here one of my dream I had in mind when I was there? (read: enter Fendi store and bring some Fendi monsters home without worry how many dollars I’ll spend). I was a bit in rush to take a look at more stores cause I had a plan to pamper myself with some desserts from Henri Charpentier. Desserts for breakfast because, why not?

I putted Henri Charpentier on my list after I read this page. And it is true, it’s kind of a little heaven for a dessert lover. After I entered the shop, I could feel how excited I was looking at those desserts and pastries that I heard are awards-worthy. Forget about my dream to be a pro pastry chef (I dreamt about it years ago) cause I was happy enough sitting down at one corner in Henri Charpentier in the afternoon without worry about my bill. I picked a slice of strawberry shortcake and one chocolate cake. The last one was OMG to the max! A kind of to-die-for chocolate cake. I spent only one and half hour at Henri and walked down to the main street of Ginza.


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My main destination that day was Fujiko Museum in Kawasaki. Indonesian kids on 90’s must know Fujiko is the creator of Doraemon, one of the most well-known cartoon in Indonesia. I grew up with Doraemon as one of the most imaginative manga character I could remember. His magic pocket, Nobita and his crush, Sizuka, oh Giant who sings so pitchy, Suneo the rich kid and sure, the famous bamboo-copter. I had one vivid memory about Doraemon when I was about 7 years old. I used to run from school when I had my rest time around 9 to 10am just to watch Doraemon at home on Sunday (I was off on Friday then cause my elementary school was the Islamic one). The distance of my house and the school wasn’t that far, so it was always joyful when I could run and watched my favourite manga on TV every Sunday. Fujiko Museum has four different hours to visit from morning till afternoon. You need to reserve before you go there by buying the ticket at Lawson or online. Early in the afternoon could be the best time I to visit. Mine was for 4pm, the only schedule that was available when I bought at Lawson somewhere near Tenryū-ji temple, Kyoto.

When I was still strolling around Ginza, I was a bit worry if I didn’t have enough time to take a train to Noborito Station. I checked my wrist watch and realised I still had 1,5 hours to 4pm. And you know Japan train, it is always on time. So I said to myself not to worry too much and “let me enter two shops to grab some shirts for myself” and I actually did (*crying* :P). Believe me when I walked around Ginza I made a promise not to change my US Dollar again cause hello, there is always a life after vacation right? :P But after five seconds I thought,

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Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t enter Fendi store as I wished.

When I realised it was the time to leave Ginza for Fujiko Museum, I was running like a fat turkey. I have checked the nearest station from where I stood and it was Mizonokuchi Station instead of Noborito. I had to take a train from Ginza Station to Shibuya Station but something happened when I arrived at Mizonokuchi Station.


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My decision to take a train to Mizonokuchi Station was wrong when I found that I was blind at all with Japanese kanji. When I went down to take a bus I realized that I would not make it to Fujiko Museum but I didn’t give up yet.

I stood at the bus stop and tried to cross check the bus stops on the signage with the one on my iPhone. I just saw one queue and stood there for minutes before the bus came. But my heart wasn’t so sure with the bus even the time of arrival was the same with the one showed on my Gmaps. Asking a question to an old Japanese couple wasn’t successful too because they didn’t understand English (I used my translator to Japanese but it didn’t help them too :(). Better to try than nothing at all, right?

I entered the bus with a fickle heart. First, second, till the fourth bus stop I said,

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So, I sat by the window. I was free, confused and happy in the same time, trying to pick all the scenes that day and kept in my memory.


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You know in this life something happens for a reason. When you have prepared something and it didn’t happen like what you were expected, at least you could still pick the essence of the moment. That was the lesson I learned when I finally went down from the bus in Yokohama-Kozukuecho and found my way back to the train station. Alas, traveling has taught me to be stronger and wiser.

I headed back to Shinjuku station when I accidentally found one of my follower on my Instagram mentioned one halal ramen restaurant somewhere at Shinjuku. She was kind enough offering me a plan B sort of after I shared a picture why I couldn’t pay a visit to Fujiko Museum. Tho they way to the restaurant was a bit tricky, but I felt so fortunate could finally sit down with a bowl of spicy halal ramen again in Japan. Writing it on this post somehow, makes me think how cool if I had a friend like Doraemon, who could bring me back to Japan through his magic door right now.

I ended my day strolling around at Akihabara electric town with this song from my iPhone before headed back to the hostel. It was such a simply beautiful way to close a lovely day in Tokyo.

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A Lesson From Peony

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“Everytime I see her blooming, it reminds me how beautiful this life is.

The fact that peony is not a strong flower also reminds me how to enjoy her beauty whole-heartedly, admiring her deeply as long as she alives. That’s what we need to do while we are alive: enjoy life, make it beautiful, not only for ourselves, for somebody else too because nothing lasts forever”

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I couldn’t resist to not to attach When We Were Young lyric in the end.

To (Kem) Bali

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…then, let the memory of it sticks forever…

Raise your hand if you’re on the same page with me; we all need sharp camera to make memories. I mean, we are living in an era where capturing a moment is as easy as eating cheese cake. Please stand in the same line with me if you are having a crush with a little handsome guy called an iPhone7. Okay let me make this clearer, who doesn’t want the new iPhone and it’s JET BLACK?

I was almost, yes ALMOST, made a decision to spend my saving money for next year trip last Sunday. When I went to a store after I had a Chinese food for lunch that I believed it cooked with MSG, I saw the new iPhone was displayed and for minutes my mind was wondering how the camera would capture the beauty of Hallstatt. If you don’t have a clue what kind of dessert it is, it’s not dessert buddy, Hallstatt is a very charming village in the heart of Europe. Imagine you’re standing, ensuring you are not dreaming, because you lost words and can’t help yourself capturing the beauty of The Salzkammergut with a very-very clear camera from the new iPhone. I bet you will compete with me standing there and I’ll get 10K more pictures than you.

Ok let me continue the story. One minute later, I patted my chest as a reward cause I SAID TO MYSELF: HELL YEAH I’m still walking on the right track till today. I mean, I don’t mind buying a thousand dollars plus for an iPhone IF I’m kind of person who has no clue what should I spend my stacks of gold bars for. Then, I could easily decide to buy two, one for me and one for you. It could be three, another one for your friend, buddy. I said I won’t take a bigger iPhone here but I won’t mind for 7+ this day. I apologize if my preamble for this post is too-long and about the new iPhone. Okay I’ll be serious right now, on this post what I want to share is the memories from my family trip to Bali. And what I love from the memories here is the fact that I spent four days with my mother and my siblings, -minus my dad- and we really had such a good time together. We spent five days in Bali, two nights in Seminyak (sure I picked boutique hotel!) and two nights in Ubud.

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Kyoto | 2

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“In Kyoto, I was strolling so casually”


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The sun was high when I gazed out to the window. I could feel it though I was inside, trying to wake myself up completely by 6.30am. I was a bit tired yet I had to experience Bamboo Groove as my first destination on my second day in Kyoto. I had a conversation on the phone a night before with Aria, my friend that lived in Kyoto then (he’s back for good to Indonesia in the moment). He suggested to come as early as I could if I wanted to get beautiful photographs at Bamboo Groove. He said it won’t be too many tourists if I came in the morning before 9. As I remember, it was our first conversation since we graduated from the university seven years ago (7? damn I’m old!).

I finally arrived at Bamboo Groove few minutes after 8. The morning sun wasn’t friendly enough to me. It was worse cause I wore black jeans and D&G-ish Zara (had no option but I rushed and just found they were the clean ones). When the sun kissed my skin I swore I won’t do the same mistake if I travel on summer again.

Aria was true. It was well worth to wake up earlier and finally explored Bamboo Groove when it was quite. Like I couldn’t imagine how I would enjoy Bamboo Groove if I found many selfie sticks surround me (cause it could be happened in the afternoon). Though I still felt the sun and the humid, it didn’t stop me to breathe easy, felt the gentle breeze and the wind rustling in the bamboo leaves. And it was a serene morning indeed.

At Bamboo Groove I met with Judith, a solo female traveler from Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain, who spent three weeks exploring Japan. We met for the first time at the entrance and at the bamboo path later on when we faced the same problem a solo traveler always has, looking for somebody who can take a picture of you through your own camera (you guys too?). Speaking and sharing few things with Judith was truly made my morning. And lucky me, she dropped a post card and wished if someday we can meet again either in Spain or in Indonesia.

It was a simply joy I’ll always remember, Judith.

 


“iPhone pictures below do not do justice unless I captured with A7R then!. Arashiyama Bamboo Groove is a must if you have a chance to visit Kyoto”


 

 

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After spending two hours at Bamboo Groove, I moved to the most important temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district, Tenryū-ji Temple. Located just right after Bamboo Groove, it is mandatory to pay a visit to Tenryū-ji which registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. I have to tell you this, I know I should put more attention reading the history of Tenryū-Ji while I was there yet my eyes were more tented by all those beautiful straight lines I could find everywhere surround the temple. I wasn’t wowed by the temple itself and struggled to ensure I took symmetric pictures of the lines but stood and wondered how beautiful the zen garden would be either in spring or in autumn.

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You know sometimes I’d say “oh buddy, money is not everything” to people but sure you can SLAP MY FACE if you were with me in Kyoto on summer then. You would find me easily gave up being “oh I don’t mind to be a backpacker, huh?” and lied “this is an exception because true, summer is crazy hot!” and decided to spend my Japanese ¥ for a big bowl of shaved matcha ice along with two mochies beautifully wrapped with cherry blossom leaves.

I entered a matcha cafe right in front of Tenryū-Ji’s gate and spent an hour with cute green-guys as captured below. I remember when I went to the cafe upstairs, the first time I had in mind was I must have a seat by the window, guess what? yep, for picture purpose. Since I had a nightmare when I found my mirrorless didn’t work in Tokyo, seated by the window where I had bright natural light was significant cause I only had my iPhone 6 in hand (hello 7! sigh!). Oh come on guys, should I just sat and enjoyed my matchas without taking picture of them for this blog ? How possible?

I admit I was so shy when I was rearranging those trays to get the right composition for my picture when two Japanese women were enjoying their shaved ices beside me. You may say I shouldn’t do that cause it might be rude (MAYBE??) yet I’m such how garish this might sound a typical Instagramer nowadays when it is so IMPORTANT to snap our food before we eat them, huh? No I’m kidding. What I was thinking just to have them for my own file so that I’ll remember it as one of the memory when I was in Japan.

Don’t worry, two women beside me were typical Japanese, they were so polite and even smiled at me when I was asking to the younger woman (the older one seemed like her mother, I guessed) this question: “Konichiwa haik, do you speak English? may I ask you, are these leaves can be eaten, too?” (sure I was smiling like oh GOD, WHAT A SUCH A STUPID Q?). But when she did answer in English, I was so pleased at least I didn’t just eat the cherry blossom leaves without knowing and I would look like a fool if they could be eaten or not.

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After an hour spent in the cafe I putted on my headsets, played Rather Be, and continued my sightseeing to the central landmark of Arashiyama, Togetsukyo Bridge. Many restaurants, small shops, and attractions can be found nearby. Though the weather in the afternoon was super-duper hot, I was enjoyed every step I took. A little trick I did when I felt too-hot was stopped by the shops and enjoyed the AC. It helped for my body indeed but not for my eyes.

Stopped by two shops with a will to chill but left with some souvenirs in my hand. Japan was dangerous, tho.

Here are some Arashiyama scenes via iPhone while I was strolling casually before headed to Nara.

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Nara was my side trip with no expectation cause what I wanted just to spend the rest of that day at Nara-Koen Park. There was one thing I learnt from my trip to Nara. If I have places to see it is important to fuel myself with good food so I’ll have energy to move around.

When I was inside the train heading to Nara station, I was looking for halal restaurant nearby and my iPhone told me to stop to the next station which was JR Kyobate station. Without thinking that I would spend time an hour or two, I decided to look for a place to have a proper lunch before I went to Nara Park. I found two, one was Indian restaurant (oh, I didn’t mind for basmati rice and chicken curry) and another one was halal Japanese ramen restaurant. I picked Japanese one for a distance wise, and thought a bowl of ramen in the afternoon wasn’t a bad idea.

Stepped at Kyobate station I found myself as if I was in the corner of the country. It was very quite place. I could barely imagine how I would spend my lazy afternoon at one of those Japanese houses with a cold matcha and some dark chocolates if I had a couchsurfing host.

Even though it was past 3 and the sun was still high, it didn’t stop me looking for a halal restaurant called Naramachi Jinniyah. I enjoyed my walk to the restaurant located at Minamijodocho though I almost gave up cause hell ya the summer sun was suffocated me. Ten minutes walked and guess what? I stood in front of the restaurant with CLOSE sign on the door, plus my flat face, plus my screaming tummy, plus my salty sweat, plus a little feeling “what the hell I was looking for” and just look at the selfie I took below was my cheesy reward cause I failed looking for halal food.

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After I stopped by at Lawson in Kawaradocho for two slices fried chicken (yikes I ate part of the chicken I hate the most (read: skin) like a real hunger!) with a bottle of cold matcha drink and a vanilla cream puff, I decided to take a train back to Nara station.

When I arrived at the station my tummy was screaming for a real food for the second time. I felt like I was OK cause I took enough light food from Lawson but I forgot that moved around burned calories and made me hungry more often. I had to ask my iPhone again where I could find a restaurant with halal food on the menu but first, I stopped at Nara City Tourist Information Centre right away after I saw prayer room sign (as I wished I could find prayer room easily like that in Japan).

After I prayed I decided to walk straight to Nara Park since the day was still bright. Strolling in the afternoon in Nara could be one of my best time in Japan. Just I wished I had enough time and sure, a happy tummy then. I was a little worried if I couldn’t visit Nara Park cause the sky was cloudy and gray yet I smiled for second to admire the orange-ish afternoon light as captured below. My worry was true cause in the end of my side trip, I finally flunked to visit a home to hundreds of freely deers. I had to admit that I couldn’t manage my time precisely when in Nara but hey, it shouldn’t be regretted cause I finally found an Indonesian fried rice at one restaurant at Konishico for my dinner.

I knew it was like incomplete journey that I couldn’t see how cute those deers at Nara Park but at least, I could bring two deers home for my beloved best friend. And it was enough to end my very short visit to Nara.

I didn’t take only deers but ah, I shouldn’t say it here how I spent my Japanese ¥ in the evening at some souvenir shops at Nara before I came back to my hostel in Kyoto.

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P.S. FYI, I’m kind of person who always try to avoid eating my own food when I travel to another country cause it’s definitely an opportunity to experience local food. But that day, it was an exception for my dinner since my tummy screamed since afternoon like crazy. And, I had more and more picture I took at Arashiyama and Nara but I didn’t want to boom you with too many pictures here. So more to come!

 

In The Mood Of Flatlays

 

 

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It was started on Saturday night when I wanted to just drew something with watercolor because it’s been long since I attended basic design class years back. Been trying few times and found that it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Even just for a simple object like a leaf (sounds like I need serious practice). So it ended with abstract lines using red color. Why red? Cause it felt like I missed somebody outside there then (everyone was wondered who is E that I always mention on my Instagram page?).

From an abstract drawing to few flatlays-play, I thought I shouldn’t share these only on my IG page but here too.


 

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As I wish my day-off today could be more and more longer. Unfortunately it’s 10:03PM already.

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“Who never heard Rather Be? A song that won Grammy 2015 for Best Dance Recording? You? :)”


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Honestly speaking, first time I heard that catchy song when my silly best friend, Yuriko, sent me a hilarious lip sync video with Rather Be as a back sound. My ears were quickly catched the rhythm and I JUST LOVED IT. When I asked him who sang the song?, I knew he would abuse me (and he did) cause both of us are always compete “who is the hottest music sensation right now?”. I didn’t know who sang the song till he gave me the band’s name, Clean Bandit feat Jess Glynne. Since then, if I need mood-booster in the morning, I’ll let Rather Be resonant in the air. Oh, the scene in the clip is in Tokyo, one reason I loved too.

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I made a reservation for Shinkansen at JR office a day before I off to Kyoto. I chose 10am in the morning since I knew I would be so tired after I went to many places. At least I could wake after 8 and I would still have time in the afternoon to explore Kyoto on my third day in Japan.

Since I had to take a train from Asakusabashi to Tokyo Station I gave myself enough time in the station. I didn’t want to gamble then, cause I knew Tokyo Station is super-duper busy with all those people that spread all over the place. Confusing yet fluttering. If you are there for the first time, it is safer to give an extra time before you enter the train esp for Shinkansen. It is not funny if you have reserved a seat to Kyoto or Osaka or other destinations and you are late. Learning to be discipline as Japanese is a good thing, at least if you are in Japan as a tourist. 

Experiencing Japanese bullet train was memorable. Traveling with Shinkansen for the first time might be a bit challenging since you have to make sure all details for your journey is understood. You just need to ensure which platform your train will off from, what is your car number and your seat, and when will you off to your destination. If you are still new with Japanese train, don’t be hesitate to ask the officer you can find in the station in case you’re confuse with your platform cause in Tokyo Station people is walking and running just like marbles.

I was off from Tokyo via Shinkansen Hikari by 10:03 sharp and it took only 2,5 hours to Kyoto. For me it is a mandatory seating by the window. Enjoying the view while having breakfast with fresh-packed sushi, almond crush Pocky, green tea roll cake, and a cup of caffè latte inside Shinkansen? I couldn’t ask for more. Maybe it was a proper ‘proper’ camera I missed since capturing the scenery with an iPhone was a waste (you ask a clear picture inside a bullet train that running at speeds of up to 320 km/h?).

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“Sometimes, we just fall in love on something with no reason needed”


Just like Rather Be, I didn’t need a reason why my heart fell in love with Kyoto. From my first step, I felt I had an affair with the city thenceforth.

On a quite afternoon where I took train from Kyoto Station to Kujo Station, I finally arrived at Minami-ku Higashikujo where Lower East Nine Hostel is located. I dropped a nylon bag which was filled with my clothes for the next two days and went straight to explore Nishiki Market. Some ‘Kyoto-scenes’ around my hostel via iPhone.

 

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Arrived at the one of Japan’s most iconic market made me thought ‘why I didn’t leave my wallet in the hostel’. At Nishiki, your sense will compete seriously (not to mention that you better keep your wallet save from ‘visual-temptation’). Especially those mini-and-super mini cuties which spread all over the souvenir shops. Not only those, you’ll find beautiful handmade cookware, ceramic plates (I could be so crazy if I were a real food stylist!), yummy street food, delicious teas, fresh fishes and friends, oh look at those mini octopuses that you’ll always find on my table every time I have a treat at Sushi-Te in Indonesia, Japanese kimonos, and even pairs of limited Adidas shoes (I was saved from the last one!). You shouldn’t worry if you feel hungry after exploring this market cause you’ll find a few of sit-down restaurants along.


 

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My next destination after Nishiki Market was Gion, the most exclusive and well-known district where you could find geisha, if you are lucky. What I had in mind was a perfect evening scene where I could find old-styled Japanese houses and dreary light from Japanese lantern on the street. But I was quite exhausted after chasing some souvenirs on my first day in Kyoto. So I changed my mind to skip Gion at night and thought it wasn’t a bad idea to come back to hostel by 4pm.

There was no single regret though I couldn’t spend an evening at Gion. I remember vividly how it felt when I was staring at the window in the hostel after I bathed. It was around 6pm, heavy rain just stopped, the road was quite, I found dreary light from those street lamps, and I felt that ‘feeling’ when I was so grateful for an opportunity to visit somewhere new, an opportunity to experience something new, and an opportunity for being alive.


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After I enjoyed my dinner, I continued my evening-ritual before I went to sleep ; checking my next destination for the next day, complete with the map and subway lines. As I mentioned on this post, what I loved from my hostel in Kyoto is the loungish sitting room upstairs. I spent the rest of my evening there with a casual conversation with two Indian young ladies from The UK. How did I know where they came from? from their British accent which is very familiar with the English I use here. Poor me I couldn’t remember their names but we had an interesting conversation till I had to say goodnight to recharge myself for the next adventure.

When I entered my room before 10pm, I realised it was a mix room for boys and girls cause I didn’t see any travelers when I arrived in the afternoon. Spending my first night in Kyoto, I met with my roommates, Joe and Svewn who first met in the hostel, too. Joe is a Chinese young man who currently lives in Canada studying logistic while Svewn is a young lady from New Zealand. I didn’t really have much time to share stories with Svewn cause she was sleeping when I was having a conversation with Joe.

It was past 11pm and both of us were still sharing about our life experiences, places we had explored while we were in Japan, and some future-plans. I tucked myself with a thick brown blanket damn that too cold AC while listening to his stories why he decided to study logistic. He traveled to Japan three weeks for his summer break before he went back to China to see his family. It was a pleasure meeting with different personalities from different parts of this world indeed. When I met with Joe even just for one night, he inspired me a lot to explore and travel more often. We ended our conversation after midnight when both of us were really exhausted and our beds were waffing at us.

 

 

P.S. The only thing I regret the most from my trip to Kyoto was I didn’t even ask Joe and Svewn their contacts. I totally forgot  I shouldn’t be that fool to exchange our contacts before we were separated. Joe and Svewn were moved to another district while I was still had two more days in Kyoto. It was such a qualm I knew cause by then, we could keep in touch wherever we were. Just to let you know Joe, Svewn, it was a pleasure we could meet in Japan guys, wherever you are, be happy and don’t stop exploring this earth while we are young. Cheers, Azis.

Tokyo | 2

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“Is this 6am already?”


When you woke and found the day was so bright, it could be a sign to wake up earlier the next day. A question I asked myself almost every morning when in Japan was “how could I slept only four to five hours and found the dazzling light from the bathroom’s window by 6am? Is it 6am or 9am?”. It could be worse if you have nearsighted like me and found a harsh light early morning. Was it because I traveled in summer?

Talking about summer in Japan is YES! It is extremely hot. I’ve been living in West Africa for years so I know what is the meaning of “HOT” weather. But in Japan, summer can be unrelentingly humid. Though I had SPF50 and SPF25 with me, Japanese summer still made my skin three shades darker. If on my first day I wore my Zara jacket during the day at Sensō-ji and Tokyo Tower cause I forgot to drop it in the hostel, I already gave up on the second day. Comfortable sheer tee is a must for summer and no jeans please, khaki shorts is much better. A side from the humid, there was nothing precluded me to enjoy Tokyo.

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“Oh OK, day two was meant to be “morning guys, here is my cute caffè latte” moment on my Instagram page”


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On the second day, I left my hostel before 9am and took train to Shibuya station. I trusted Google map would drive me to a place where I could sit down and enjoying my morning coffee. I was hoping that dessert in the morning wasn’t a sin, too. Coffee and dessert could be a friend forever, at least that is what I have in my own dictionary.

When I arrived at Shibuya I was following every steps based on what Google map told me. I must confess that I’m not bad if you ask “Are you great reading a map?”. Yes, I’m not that bad but in Tokyo, where internet is extremely swift, I had to make sure that I didn’t run out of battery even I brought my power bank. I needed my iPhone and internet ‘ready’ when I had to move to the next destination. It could be a reason why I was lost and couldn’t find the coffee shop I’d been eyeing to spend my morning at.

I thanked God that Zara, Topman, Adidas, and H&M weren’t open yet when I was faffing in the morning. If not, I would call myself a liar cause “hey Azis, you said you wanted to do light travel but brough pieces of Zara home?”

Yet I was a liar that day for some pieces from Uniqlo. Apologise.

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Day two, I was still relied on Lawson and those supermarkets where I could find something easy for breakfast. Dorayaki and a cup of Starbucks latte was in my hand before I sat down to enjoy matcha shaved ice and a warm chocolate croissant at St Marc Cafe Shibuya. If you just visited this blog, you must know that I’m a huge fan of croissant :). It was still humid but drizzling outside there and I stayed inside a cafe where the smell of fresh croissants was in the air.

 

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Talking about Shibuya, it would be a shame if you travel to Tokyo and not take a walk across the famous intersection. It was an experience indeed when I was among “the scramble”. It was like marbles spilling out of a box by the time the lights turn red. Either in the afternoon or clear evening, pretty sure it’s mandatory experiencing Shibuya crossing.

After I experienced by myself I went to the Starbucks in the Tsutaya building on the crossing’s north side. It was a time for me to observe the “chaos” down there and took some pictures with my iPhone. Cloudy noon with grey lights made it a bit challenging capturing this crossing with no proper lens. But I found that is quite interesting with a cut-out effect, nah? (click on the image to zoom).

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I was enjoying my raspberry iced tea while having a conversation with a middle-age woman from Australia (a country that has kangaroos :P) at Starbucks. She took two days off from her group and enjoying Tokyo by herself before went for a day tour cruise to Mt Fuji the next day. It was so good we had a short time sharing our stories and few random things we loved about Japan.

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Right after Shibuya crossing I moved to Harajuku, the centre of Japanese youth culture and fashion. I didn’t spend time exploring Takeshita Dori and just took 2 pcs too-sweet crunchy puff pastry from Croquant Chou ZakuZaku for lunch before heading to one of the most popular shrines in Japan, Meiji Shrine.

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“I love the fact that in Tokyo, as busy as it is, we can still find a huge greens at Meiji Shrine”


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At Meiji Shrine I realised that I didn’t take single picture of myself in front of those landmarks. This could be one reason why I should have selfie stick, no? Thanks to iPhone’s front camera for two selfies but I said “come on, being a little garish in Japan is not a sin Zis, ask that man to help you with one or two shots under the Torii gate”, and I did :) I asked an Indian man after he asked me to take picture with his family, that I knew they live in Malaysia after his grandma was guessing if I speak Melayu.

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Two hours spent at Meiji Shrine and I had to move to find halal food. Sweet snacks, pastries, and those ice creams couldn’t satisfy me. I needed a time to sit down and enjoy heavy meal because in Tokyo, everyday seems like an exercise day. I mentioned on this post what I did was half-half. Half of me wanted to explore places as many as I could, another half was enjoying every moment out of my itinerary.

I must confess that I didn’t do serious research for halal food before I flew to Tokyo. Much better to look at the nearest location where I stood that day though it was a bit difficult yet challenging. Google map told me that the nearest location for halal food was at Ōyama-chō district. Well, I didn’t mind for Turkish food cause hey, I would find rice right? :) typical Indonesian. I took train to Yoyogi Uehara Station and I just realised it showed Tokyo Camii Mosque on my iPhone.

When I arrived and checked my map just to make sure I was at the right place, I was wondering where was the restaurant. While I kept looking I entered to the mosque and aw, it wowed me. The restaurant is in the ground floor while the mosque in the first floor. After I prayed and took some pictures of course I found that, “OMG the restaurant just closed and the Turkish food in my mind disappeared instantly”, I didn’t regret anything. For me, as a moslem, it was interesting I accidentally paid a visit to the largest mosque in Japan (will post the beauty of Tokyo Camii separately :)).

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“Don’t call me Azis if I’m easily give-up for something I’m looking for. Mark my words :)”


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From Tokyo Camii I took train to Shinjukugyoen-Mae station to find halal food for my dinner. I promised to myself when in Japan I had to try authentic Japanese food as much as I could, and ramen was among. It was past 7pm till I found the location of a restaurant for vegan and halal noodle called Halal Ramen Ouka. It is a very small restaurant where you really have to wait to get a seat. And I had to wait an hour+ till I could sit down and finally had a ramen for dinner. Here is the best shot of the ramen from my iPhone, I’m a bit fastidious if I have to photograph my food but for this one, it was an exception.

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“I’m thankful for my brain that can capture moment vividly with all the details”


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I still remember all the details behind the ramen picture above. When I was waiting for my seat outside, there was a bunch of five Indonesians were waiting to have a dinner too. Three women and two men. Two of them are working and other two are studying in Japan, the last one was a traveler. How do you know Zis? Oh come on, they spoke Indonesian so I understood :D.  Funny enough I kept silent and wondering in mind like “oh girl, you can’t laugh that loud in Japan, and this is past 8pm already”. You may think that Azis is introvert? Can’t talk to people? Is it not exciting if you meet your people in another part of the world? It is.

But wait, I’m not introvert :) I used to be, but how can I survive in West Africa where vibrant people live if I’m introvert? I’m very open person chiefly when I travel. I love meeting people from different countries, I love making friend. I love learning something from you, guys. But manner is important and it depends on you as a person, wherever you come from. So in my opinion, when I found someone laughed at 8 pm in Tokyo? No, for me it was not appropriate. We really have to be mindful where we are, right?  I feel more comfortable having conversation with an Indonesian lady that works in Ouka restaurant rather than joining ‘the loud team’ :P

And I still remember vividly too, when it was raining before I entered the restaurant. All those street lamps, the street scene, the rain drops, conversation I had with a father and his 20+ old daughter from Qatar and a stylish European couple. How could I still remember the huge strawberry pattern on the guy’s shirt? he was so damn stylish with light brown khaki short while the lady wore a short embroidery bralette top with high waist slim skirt in red and black. They are blonde so both outfits were looking so fantastic on them. I’m very visual so all those details were sticked on my mind :P.

I ended my day two in Tokyo with a bowl of hot spicy ramen, cold matcha, and authentic Japanese ambiance when it was still raining outside. Was it a better idea than that?

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