Archive for the 'Tokyo 2012' Category

Tokyo: Day Four (Final) ☆

Sorry for the long gap between posts. It’s the busy part of the term, and there’s been a lot of dreadful situations and stress. I haven’t been in a good mood for ages, and it takes a lot of effort to do something other than whine about my predicament. But I’m slowly trying to get back on track

I’m finally rounding up my trip to Tokyo almost a month after I returned

We only had half a day left, so my dad and I just had a casual morning and afternoon together. Since he didn’t get to go around much, we went to HarajukuYep, I went again. I bought myself a neko beanie

After Harajuku, we returned to Ikebukuro and I went shopping by myself while my dad went back to the hotel. Ah, to shop in Tokyo aloneSince I didn’t have a lot of time, I mainly went to SPINNS. And it’s pretty much one of the best places ever. I want to go back there and buy more clothes

It was almost time to pack up and go, so I just went around Ikebukuro Sunshine City for another last round.

Mascarpone mille crepe: the beautiful last dessert my dad and I had

Goodbye Ikebukuro

At the airport I did a lot of last-minute souvenir shopping. That’s what airports are for, right?

I got a lot of snacks backIncluding these marvellous kitkats.

Blueberry cheesecake and strawberry!

And then we left.

I was only there for four days, but every day was full of good things and people. Going to Japan made me love it more than ever, and it was a great encouragement for me to continue learning Japanese. I think talking with the locals there was one of the most fun things

It’s a funny feeling sometimes, knowing that I’m a tourist and I have a totally polished view of Japan. The Japanese were fascinating to watch as they went about their everyday lives—travelling on the train, buying a crepe, visiting the convenience marts. It’s so intriguing to see how normal it is for them. That’s the fun of being a tourist, I thinkBut I don’t want to just stay as a tourist too, I want to be a part of that everyday life.

So for now my dream is to stay there for a monthThat might seem a short time, especially when you love Japan so much. But I’m also the kind that’s very attached to my home, so I don’t know how long I can go without being homesick. Haha.

But whatever it is, I want to live in Japan! One day


Tokyo: Day Three ☆

I can’t tell if this post is going to long or short because I only went to one place…but it’s kind of like the place.

On Saturday I went to Disneyland

My new friend Haruka brought me there by trainShe came all the way to Ikebukuro to pick me up, and then we travelled to Maihama, where Tokyo Disney Resort is. It was my first time meeting her, so I didn’t know how she was like at all before that. She’s two years older than me, but we had a great time talking with each otherShe’s really friendly and a great conversationist, even though she’s still learning English. Since she’s better at English than I am at Japanese, we mostly talked in English. Sometimes she did talk to me in Japanese, and that was fun

(you know that feeling when you clog up a paragraph with too many of the same words…yeah.)

It’s my second time coming to Disneyland. The first time I went was seven years ago…that’s kinda longSomehow it’s actually really strange. Disneyland is usually the dream land of children. But this time I found myself even more excited than my 10-year-old self was. It could be nostalgia, or the realization that grown up life is sad

We met Haruka’s mother at DisneylandShe’s one of the nicest people I have ever met. Then again, her whole family is. They, as well as Miyako-san, are each the very epitome of true Japanese hospitality. Haruka and her mother really took care of me when I was in their companyHaruka’s mother couldn’t speak English, but we still managed to communicate with the little Japanese I spoke.

Most of our bite-sized conversations went like this:

“Samu kunai?” (You’re not cold?)

“Daijoubu desu” (I’m all right)

“Nihongo umai desu ne!” (Your Japanese is good!)

“No no no”

She gave me a lot more credit than I deserved, because I just smiled and nodded most of the time. But I really enjoyed her company, and trying to talk to each other

Disney spring roll with shrimp fillingHaruka got those for us! They might possibly be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

We spent the day going around different attractionsThe waiting times were unbelievable. We waited an hour for Mickey’s PhilharMagicOf course the long queue was worth it. They don’t call it Philhar-Magic for nothing. The show was only about ten minutes long, but I was utterly enthralled.

After lunch we saved a spot to watch the paradeIt’s my first time seeing it, so it really was a brilliant experience of epic proportions. Literally, the floats towered over me.

The thing about Disneyland is that it’s almost impossible not to feel good. Everyone’s all so excited and smiling, so the atmosphere is just one big ball of euphoria and you roll along with it. I find that I appreciate this a lot more than I did when I was ten, which is why I’ve been gushing about Disney so much

Before this I might have been all ‘Disneyland is a childish place’. Now I just want to live there

Because everyone is just so happy that I become happy too.

Just look at that smile ☆

Since it was the Halloween period, guests were allowed to dress up as the charactersIt was basically an all-out Disney cosplay festival. The costumes were beyond amazing.

Tea at Sweetheart Cafe

I am a sucker for pastries that resemble anything cute

At night, we watched another paradeAlthough essentially the same, the night parade was just as amazing but a very different experience from the day one. I took too many photos, so here’s one of my favourite floats.

Which is a heavily blinged up Genie.

I loved this Goofy train too

Peter Pan blew a kiss at me! Everyone was going crazy over the Disney characters. I admit that I joined in too, so when I wasn’t taking photos I was waving and going MICKEYYYY! KOCHI! Mickey and Minnie were undeniably the most popular ones

As for the last part of the day…


There’s just something so incredibly endearing about being surrounded by people watching the iconic castle being lit up by fireworks. It really is the perfect way to end a day at Disneyland

And Disneyland in itself really is the place of dreams. There’s nothing childish about it—people go there to enjoy, and that’s the whole point of Disneyland. To give you a great time! I am so very appreciative to Haruka and her mother for bringing me on a day out thereHaruka’s younger sister (who’s my age) came in the evening, so I was able to meet her too. Making friends with them was still the best part of the day.

It seems like I’ll see Haruka again soon, so I’m looking forward to thatI still remember how she spent five minutes looking at her electronic dictionary just to tell me she had no sense of direction in English.

That’s all for Saturday—the next post is already on my last day in Tokyo!

Tokyo: Day Two ☆

I’m here to babble on about my trip again.

Saturday was a full day of walking around in Harajuku and ShibuyaWhich was entirely great, because those are two of my favourite places in Japan (and of almost every other tourist who loves shopping, I suppose). Miyako-san and her daughter Ririko brought me out

They had a whole plan for the day, which was really kind of them to take time off for me.

My outfit for that day:

It’s the set I bought from Kyoto last December!

My dad and I had breakfast together first

Wakame Soba

After that Miyako-san and Ririko picked me up and we took a train

We went to Harajuku firstHarajuku has to be the best shopping district in Tokyo. I can’t begin to express how much I love it because it’s full of colour and vibrant styles and relatively low prices.

Just walking down the street gave me a thrill

The lady in the centre is Ririko. She was really fashionable

The first stop was the official Johnny’s shop, because Ririko’s a fan of them. It was kind of awkward at first because I barely knew their groups and artistes well, but they still asked me who I liked best. And so I ended up with two Chinen Yuri photos as a gift.

Which, admittedly, I was particularly pleased with.

They took me to the AKB shop next

Costumes belonging to the girls ✿

And then purikura!

Once again I am spoiled for choice in Japan where there are sparkly new machines everywhere. What I wouldn’t give to just have this whole place transported back homeI got a bit too excited inside, haha.

We looked at a lot of shops in Takeshita-dori along the way. One of my favourite things about Japan is the amazing variety of fashion they have there—and most of it is what I love. Almost everything looked so great and so different from what I usually see here and it just makes me want to stay there much, much longer. I really don’t know how to express how fantastic the clothes made me feel

I suppose I enjoy being able to wear all the quirky things that they have. It’s fun, that’s what.


We went for lunch at a fruits and dessert placeDessert in Japan is astounding. Look at the parfait I had

And it was huge too. Now that’s a beautiful work of art! Which I ate shortly after.

It was an interesting lunch—my curry was mango-flavoured. I didn’t even know you could have mango curry. It really did taste like the fruitThere were prawns in it too. Mango curry, prawns and rice sound exotic together don’t they

After lunch we walked to ShibuyaI loved walking there because the streets were gorgeous.

If I ever have the chance I’d just sit here for an hour and relax with a cup of hot cocoa.

But we were on a tight schedule, so we passed pretty quickly

Shibuya 109We arrived! It was my first time there. Going through all eight floors of stores took an hour—and that’s with barely anything bought. I’ve never seen so many favourite brands together at once

one spo

Basically all the things I can’t afford.

But there were a pair of ANAP shorts on sale outside 109

Since I was in Shibuya, I made sure to go to the Hello! Project store tooThis time I didn’t buy a lot—I just got two Maimai sets and a Zukki photo for myself.

It was nice being in the store again, for some reason I felt so at home there haha.

The H!P store was our last stop in Shibuya! We headed to Ginza right after that for the third part of the outing…


Mission accomplished. I have finally experienced karaoke in JapanAgain, I can do nothing but gush. The best part was that the kanji in the lyrics had furigana, so I was able to sing without getting the lyrics wrong. I actually spent the night before worrying about how not to shame myself singing Japanese songs in front of two Japanese ladies. But tada furigana, problem solved

Karaoke in Japan is remarkable. In Singapore karaoke places are small, but the karaoke building we went to in Ginza had eight whole floors. And everything was so clean and classy inside I was in awe the whole time.

Also, I’m happy to finally see so many H!P songs

We spent an hour at the karaoke place, and then it was shabu shabu for dinner

I don’t think I need to say anything…just look at the meat.

It was a bit rushed, but shabu shabu was still tastyAt the end we even managed to squeeze in an ice cream each. Because dessert > everything else

And then for the last part of the day!

The Wiz

My first live musical! AKB48’s Masuda Yuka played Dorothy, and she was an amazing singer. The entire cast were. The entire musical blew me away and quite literally left me breathless, because I kept holding my breath without realising it. It was that goodThe singing and dancing were pretty much phenomenal. I’ve never been to a musical and it felt like my senses were really being opened up and bombarded—in a good way ♪

My favourite parts were mainly the dances. The first was during the storm at the beginning—a large troupe just BAM!-appeared on the stage and went straight into the explosive choreography. That was the first big scene with dancers so I was kind of shocked. But it got me really excited

My other favourite part was when the Winkies were freed and everyone did this whole hallelujah song and dance. It moved me to tearsI understand the big deal about musicals now. Haha.

Yuka, ISSA, Ehara Masahiro, Shinji Rachi〜 Thank you for being so expressive and talented that I could enjoy the musical so much without even understanding half the dialogue. And Jinnai Takenori played the Wizard! I’ve seen him in so many dramas it was kind of surreal seeing him on the stage

And with that, my day with Miyako-san and Ririko endedMost of all, I’m wholly grateful to them for the day. Seeing so much out of my favourite places, getting to do my favourite things and watching the incredible musical—本当にありがとうございます

That’s all for ThursdayMy next post will obviously be about Friday so please look forward to that.

Tokyo: Day One ☆

I’m back from Tokyo! As expected, Japan was wonderful. In fact, it exceeded my expectations again Somehow it feels like this trip was a milestone in my life because I travelled by myself for the first time. Haha.

Taking the plane was fun in a way that can only be when you’re a 17 year old all alone

First day outfit!

But landing in Tokyo was even better. It felt different from the past times—I’ve always been with my family, but this time landing in my favourite city by myself felt so good. I practically teared

I don’t think I’m overreacting either, since it’s a place I like so much. When you’re finally there, it feels like a great accomplishmentIt was also a nice thing to have gone from 33℃ weather to 18℃. Fall is certainly a fabulous season.

No particular focus, just my undying gratitude of being there

Once I arrived, I took a train to Hakone to meet my father and his colleagues who were there for a work trip

I bought a drink along the way. My first purchase

Long train journeys in Japan are the best because I get to see so much great scenery while listening to music. It’s not an experience I can ever get in my country, so I really enjoyed it.

In between train stops, I saw a giant cake tower with macarons and swiss rolls! I know what I want for my next birthday cake now.

Hakone Sweets Collection 2012

Upon reaching Hakone, my dad and his colleagues and I went straight to Owakudani. It’s popular with tourists because it has smelly volcanic bits with sulphur springs.

The smell was strong enough that you could probably safely pass some gas without anyone mindingThey use the sulphur springs to produce the famous black eggs, and we bought some to eat. They’re just regular eggs with black shells, but inside they were more bouncy than usual.

Everyone had ramen for lunchI don’t remember the exact name of mine, but it had some really stretchy mochi that took me forever to bite off.

And I had black ice cream for a cold dessert! I thought it was black sesame at first but plot twist: it’s black vanilla. Of which I can’t tell the difference between this and normal white vanilla.

After lunch we walked around Hakone for a whileTo be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to go to Hakone at first. I had a fanciful idea of shopping in the main city of Tokyo by myself, and it clearly wasn’t a sensible idea so I had to follow my dad. But I’m infinitely glad I came to Hakone in the end, because it is spectacular in that way only a countryside-ish place could be.

Beautiful! That’s rightHakone is so pleasant, so simple and so storybook-like that it sort of calms you down. There’s a beauty there that you can’t get anywhere elseSomehow you feel like you’re stepping into a Studio Ghibli movie.

If you go to Tokyo, it’s good to take a break from the city and visit Hakone

That’s all about my short stay thereI went back to Tokyo in the evening! We had dinner at a sashimi place—and by we, I mean my dad and all his work partners. So I must have been the only one under 40 then. (that didn’t bode well for conversation)

Dinner was fabulous nonethelessThe chefs chopped up the sashimi right in front of us, so it was pretty interesting to watch them hack up the meat instead of just sitting there. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much sashimi in one sitting before, but Japan’s a good place to do itWell, duh.

The dinner lasted pretty long. Considering I’d just gone on a plane journey, multiple train journeys and hikes up the mountain, I was decidedly tired. But as it was, I had to accompany my dad to go socialising with the Japanese colleagues. This was entirely exhausting and awkward, because I had to sit around the adults who were drinking (with my own cup of orange juice) and occasionally fit myself into the small talk.

I don’t know how adults do it

But no matter how much I disliked having to use my juice cup as an oxygen mask around the smoking grown ups, it was really interesting. It felt like I had one foot inside the adult world

Even the plate of Hershey kisses had such a grown up feel.

That’s all that happened in my first day

Writing this post reminded me of how much I loved Japan, and now I miss it all over againSorry it took so long to write this. School has cost me my mental capacity, and even now I feel like I have a wad of cotton wool in my head. There really are a lot of things I wanted to talk about this trip, but I’m not up to it nowSo in the next few posts, I’ll talk about my feelings bit by bit!

For now I’m going to bed.

▷ . Cheryl

A university student in Tokyo who takes pictures and puts them on the Internet

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