Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Tokyo Personal Diary | Day 1 : Arrival, Ueno Koen & Ameyokocho Local Market

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Hey everyone!

Past few months I have been so demotivated to write lol
I won't say I'd be engaging myself so actively and constantly on this blog like I used to anymore (still trying) but I'll try to come back here whenever I have some leisure time and interesting things to talk about alright. So, I've been meaning to render some posts about my trip to Japan last time, since I finally got time to do it here we go.

I visited Japan, specifically Tokyo like around early May 2017 ago. Initially, my intention of going was for some personal reasons but it did not happened so I might just as well say that those instead I took up my last trip to Japan as for sightseeing purpose.

I arrived at KLIA 2 alone at 11.00 AM, on Sun Apr 30th 2017. My flight took off at 1325. I've never flew abroad alone so this is like my world book of record, very much so.


BOARDING ON


That normal passport and the flight ticket flaunting photo while waiting to board on.

I had a little bit trouble while passing through the security gate due to beforehand I brought a mineral water in my luggage. I had forgotten that anything that has to do with liquid properties aren't allowed to be on board. It was nothing coz it was just a bottle of mineral water but best to know and be aware of what you can bring and not in the luggage to avoid hindrances in future like I did, including gouging out everything in the luggage just to take a single bottle of mineral water out from underneath of that properly folded clothes and stuff.

The Mac & Cheese I had while gazing at the clear and bright skies from outside of the window next to me.

For some reasons, I love Air Asia more than Malaysia Airlines but I really wanna try out ANA (All Nippon Airways) someday. Soon, like maybe next year if I got at least one (FREE) week off my whole busy & hectic semester? God willing.

A subtle hint of sun tails from behind of every moving and bulging clouds, for someone who really love looking at the skies, this is really exceptionally breathtaking and it was such a nice and bright day.

My 6-7 hours on flight was nothing but spent on sleeping and staring out to the clouds and skies outside. 

Spell-bindingly engrossed into this beautiful blue and dark hued skies over Okinawan continent with the misty shade of red skies farther forward because of the sunset. Among all, this is the most beautiful skies I've ever watched in my life, from thousands feet above the land.

Yea this post is all about the skies and the view from above lol
Nah actually I really have a thing for the realm above the tangible lands. So this is another shot, tad bit blurry but was taken when I was arriving in Haneda.

Reaching Haneda at around 12 am Japan time, thing to expect was non other than the quiet bustle-less atmosphere.

I already planned of taking the trains to go to my friend's place I was about to stay but since all of the subway counters and train stations already closed I had no choice but thinking to just call over the Uber, if I were really taking Uber to go there at that time the cost would choke me up to 16K JPY. A lot of people will just wait till morning sunrise greets, but I was thinking about not wasting time coz I was about to spend my time for only a week in Tokyo, and such an angel in disguise was sent to help fetching me up to the place, he (my Japanese friend) offered himself for that, he was truly a saviour on that time, so I just decided to let the travel fees be on me to return the favor, rather than burning my new JPY notes with fresh scent which were gonna be more than that lol.

Tokyo Tower! Magical moment for me to see this while my friend was driving the car.
Although it was just caught at a glimpse ( explains why the photo looks shaky and blurry, gomenasai haha)

I felt so weird sitting in the his Merc coz the front passenger's seat is positioned to right which is in Malaysia it is left.


DAY 1

Good Morning from Adachi, Tokyo!

The photo above was taken from the rooftop of the place I stayed. What a chilly comfortable breeze, I had a cozy sleep last night although reached home quite late around 3 am something. But his place was great, small but interesting and I had a good dream lol. There were other friends staying at the same house as well, a Canadian, Japanese and Korean too.


Genji-san said this spot on the rooftop can be used for a barbeque party. 

I've never wished for a good place with an access to the rooftop like this but oh well lol


Faint baby sunrise healed my heart. I love luxury and lavish place but nothing can beat a small but nice home styled living place, the house is located in the building akin to a shop house where you need to go upstairs to access. It felt like I was really born and living my life in Tokyo that moment, the atmosphere around.

Walking down from the broad rooftop which belonged to me (for a week) haha
Please excuse my ugly Pajama.

My first take on this thing called hot bed (or something I have forgotten the real name of it)
It was placed outside of the balcony, since it was chilly outside we can turn on the heater and when you get into it you will feel so protected by the warmth around you and fall asleep sooner. (cocoon concept) - Mostly used in cold seasons when you're sleeping outside. I fell asleep faster than when I was at home back in Malaysia when I tried this lol

That's a lil bit for the outside. Inside was not bad either. It was a lot more warmer, I guess there were air heaters around installed in the house. I traveled in Tokyo during the season partition between spring and summer, so it was still chilly (imagine the coldness scale around just like at that Fraser's Hill in Pahang), but too me it was still sooooo cold coz I am very sensitive to the coldness, it was warmer in the morning but I was dying frozen at night. My lips chapped a lot too [inserts shivering emoticon].

There are 3 bedrooms on the second floor, all installed with Tatami (畳) mats, Tatami is a type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms.

If you see a lot of Anime this is where the scene can get in  lol

I was living upstairs, the house has two floors apparently.

Let me just show you the pictures I managed to take for this place and just feel my peaceful atmosphere I had while staying here.



The hallway after you enter the front door.

The front gate, right after you open up the door there is a staircase to upstairs.
The residential area is so quiet and peaceful, really for those who feel like running away from problematic life. It's not as busy like those areas in the center of Tokyo. People sleeps early too here so if you are someone who can't keep a noise down they will throw you a shoe out from their windows (ofc not I am just kidding, please find it funny - but it's true on the sleep early part)

For your kind info, Genji-san is already married to his beautiful wife, Tomo-san. They both also offered their place for rental on Airbnb. I'll give you the link about this place later on so just keep reading. Tomo-san was away when I visited, so there were only Genji-san and the other friends when we had a breakfast together including myself in on my first day there.

On my first day getting around the area I had no problem like getting lost into the deep jungle or such (excitements is a bless) and I actually like the way my surrounding looked while I passed by the small roads and alleys, they look so lively and harmony during the day. Just when I leave the house there was a small road that leads onto the nearest station, Takenotsuka which only took 15 mins walk using Tobu-Isezaki line towards Kita-senju and it took me only less than 20 mins to go to my first visiting spot, Ueno.

Random anime scene came into my mind when I saw this house by the street again LOL.

Takenotsuka station that uses Tobu line to reach Kita-senju (on Chiyoda line)


UENO

First Japanese vending machine I saw on my first day in Japan, in the Ueno station haha

The main busy road I saw after going out from the Ueno station.

Because I wanted to go to the Ueno Park first before visiting the Ameyokocho (a local market) which is next to the Ueno station, so I crossed the big road to go to the park which is located at 12 o'clock from the station. There was a green building where we need to go up to the level 3, and it linked to the park. I know on that time I came, the hanami (sakura watching) was already long over but there was a lowkey voice in me hoping I could see even the remainders coz you know how much I am in love with these flowers, even my blog was named after that. There is Ueno Koen (Ueno lake) in Ueno Park and that was the reason I chose to visit the place first. Although it's far from being the city's most attractive park, Ueno Koen is where all Tokyo seems to flock during spring's cherry blossom (sakura) season. The park normally only busy during weekends.

See the Ameyokocho signboard (this one is the alley's exit, the entrance is just a bit next to it on the right side but unfortunately I forgot to picture them side by side together in this photo), it is really near with Ueno Park anw. The alley's map is like 'U' is shape.

Once the elevator is opened, few steps outside of the building and you're there at Ueno Park!

Ueno Park is all about flowers, nature and landscapes. A bit sad I did not bring along my umbrella, and extra jacket, it was raining after I walked around just about half an hour and I was freezing to death man.

Had no idea what is this but yea, I love how ancient the building behind looked like so I just clicked it.
(And I can't read a single thing on the signboard which made it more mysterious to me hah)

When I tried to find a way to access to the Ueno Lake which is very near with Shinobazu Pond, I was confused on how to get there, I am not very good with direction. I approached a Japanese guy who sat under a tree, drinking a bottle of water. Surprised me that he was the first Japanese I met who can speak well English since I first landed in Tokyo (I'm telling you there are Japanese who can speak English, just that it can be a lil bit hard but you'll find one!). Quite friendly, he told me the direction on how I can access to the Ueno Lake from there using the Hanazoni Inari through. He even complimented me as an attractive gaijin (foreigner) lol. Can't lie that it actually made my day haha

Entrance of the Hanazoni Inari

Beautiful.

From the eyes of the beholder. Somehow the rain makes it look more sentimentalic

Ueno is actually located in Taito-ku in Tokyo for your brief info.

After you walk through that Hanazoni Inari there is a pedestrian walk side by the main spacious road where a flock of people walking and taking pictures around.

Something like a lamp in ceramic that caught my attention hung at a ramen shop I dropped by for a shelter.

Rain, the cold you gave me that day was unbearable provided me being jacketless.

There were so many shrines and temples in Ueno park. But I think the main biggest ones were Benten-do (octagonal-roofted temple, dedicated to the goddess of good fortune) and Gojoten Buddhist temple, where I sat in at to wait until the horrible heavy rain slowly stop.

Correct me but I think this one is the Benten-do, since these are all the fortune telling sheets or akin.
I can't read kanji nor that I had a tour guide with me so yea.

Beautifully hand written Kanji that I can't read.

Gojoten Temple, I was sitting under a roofted section in front of temple, it was still raining tenderly when this lady came and prayed.

Before anyone pray, they need to throw in a 5 cents coin first in that provided box or container to please the God or the Goddess.

This is where I stayed in for a shelter, it is another roofted section in front of the temple in which before you go and throw in a coin and perform a prayer everyone needs to "cleanse" themselves first. They will come and scoop the clean water outta this man-made well to wash their face and hands, and even drink it.

Similar to Hanazoni Inari but this is another mini Torii (鳥居) gate around the area.

Finally! Good God, although this is probably the last sakura in that Ueno Koen, I felt tremendously happy that I actually cried when I saw it after been walking for hours inside that big area. Pretty sakura, a lil bit whitish than I'd imagined it to be.

Before deciding to leave the place, this is the exit to the main road.

Second vending machine, I thought that it is very cute so again I clicked it LOL

Since it was still considered to be in the end of spring, there were still some fresh flowers standing around, so pretty.

Mesmerising.


AMEYOKOCHO 



The bustling market area south of Ueno Station, Ameyokocho (アメ横), extends nearly half a kilometer along the west side of the levated JR train lines down to Okachimachi Station. The name is an abbreviation of "Ameya Yokocho" which means "Candy Seller's Alley". 

Rain, people swarming in and out, the coarse sandpaper voices heard from some stalls in distance shouting out their wares and inviting walking passerby to drop by.

The mood of this place dating back to the immediate postwar days when sweets were luxury and the hundreds of stalls here mostly peddled sweet potatoes coated in sugar syrup (daigakuimo). Since rationing was in force, blackmarketeers joined the candy sellers, dealing in rice and other foodstuffs, household goods and personal items. Later, American imports found their way from army stores onto the streets here, especially during the Korean War in the early 1990s, which is also when the market was legalized. Ameyokocho still retains a flavor of those early days, there's a clutch of yakitori bars under the arches, stalls specializing in everything from bulk tea and coffee to jewellery and fish line the street (my fave).

Saw a visibly pleasing and mouthwatering crepes at some corner and decided to stop by and get one.

My first take on Japanese crepe. It's topped with ichigo and chocolate syrup. Delicious!

Always saw those having a take on fresh oysters by the streets in Japan, I finally found a stall (a lot more similar stalls around that sell them) that sell fresh oysters and without thinking twice I just stepped in and ordered some. They prepared it right away so you get to savor the fresh taste.

A Taiwanese family came and sat in front of me to try the same menu too.

Fresh oysters I ordered. Not bad for my 1000JPY lol.

I had encountered a lot of predicaments for finding foods I can actually eat. Most Japanese foods I found (added to those I like) were non-halal and I faced a hardship in understanding this beautiful language, because I am not a verbally nor a writtenly prodigy in Japanese. I just learned this language in my University in about few months and although I can speak it there is just a lot more that I need to understand and not a lot of locals can understand English even for a simple question I asked. I actually starved the whole day until I came upon these foods that I can actually take a bite on. A blessing tears fell down my cheeks while I was enjoying this. Precious experience.

Rain halted my movements on that day and the time was dragged till late evening and not much I can do for that. So I just decided to just return back before the darkness of night creeps in since I have a problem with communication, getting lost in a coldness is the last thing I want (although I accidentally did that a lot in the end lol), plus being alone alarms me to that precaution thought a lot.

Still Ueno area in that late evening. What a lively city.

Ah, I actually saw a store that sells Canmake products before I head over to the station. As how you are well informed of me being a cosmetics hoarder, no second thought I just decided to burn some of my JPY inside haha

One of my fave brands!

Look at these kawaii babies! I actually bought some of these products here, still using them even now lol.

Heading back. Frankyl, I took more hours to get back because I am very suck with direction, can't remember a single thing since I made a way outside the place I stayed lol. Lucky there were some locals (even unable to speak English) walked me to my place. Amazing, Japanese are such a nice and helpful ppl indeed!

Some nice view of a shop, authentically Japanese looking from outside.

The original land where the original Aeon come from lol.

I would never forget the conversations I had after I returned back to the house. Another friend of the friend which is a Korean, Hwi also returned back and that was the first time I made a friend with a Korean. He was very nice, talkative and a bit loosed lmao, and another friend, a Japanese, Atsushi. Three of us talked to each other until it was very late and Hwi even agreed to accompany me to my first time visit to Akihabara on the next day since he made it there 10 times already based on him so I gotta need to use him as a tour guide provided he didn't had a plan for the next day. Earlier, another Japanese friend of mine which is a cosplayer was initially supposed to come with me to Akiba but he cancelled it last min because of his job (although it was in a golden week where it was a holiday for one week in Japan). Can't help it, I was very lucky Hwi offered to come with me so I did not feel as bad having to explore the Akiba alone.

The traditionally made Umeshu (Japanese Plum Sake) that Atsushi showed me, the smell was sour but this is my first time seeing it.

He told me there was an auntie, a friend of Genji-san who gave it to them, she made it 40 years back when she was very young but forgotten that she placed it on top of the wardrobe and only found later on that time so she gave it to them afterwards. I actually find that these trivial kind of things therapeutic for me to see and listen to.

A collection of liquors of Genji-san. This man sure is a fan of liquors lol.

Before I went to bed and sleep and excitedly anticipating for tomorrow for Akiba with Hwi, Atsushi showed me an amazing collection of liquors belongs to Genji-san, Genji-san was out that time. I just think that was very amazing since I don't really get to see that much of liquors from different brands. I am not a drinker and will never taste the alcohols but that was interesting to see.

My day one was well spent in Ueno & Ameyoko. Must admit as short as a day could offer, the discovery was not much and I haven't seen a lot of things in that big area but I will remember those forever. I've never walked that much, having barrier in language, and got lost freezing in cold that I could not feel my feet and hands. Such experience I am looking forward to have again, walk miles, learn better they say. I'll definitely render a continuous post for the next day too so till then. Please wait for it!

And mentioning back to Genji-san's place, if you are interested to try his Hot Bed you can visit his place using Airbnb too, click the image below to use my invitational link to get RM105 off your first booking using Airbnb!



Feel free to click the links below to read for the other days. 

Talk to you guys again on my next post!


-Pinku-




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