Tokyo in Fragments II

Ok here are some more pictures.

I’m actually writing this on a bus, I’m heading to the Shibazakura Festival at the Mt. Fuji area. The bus is so full, they made me seat on an extra seat, also, the ride was supposed to take around 30 minutes, but it’s been almost an hour now. 9 minutes till we’re there I guess (this dude across me kept on checking the maps on his phone, that’s why I know). So in short, I figured I should just be writing.

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This was taken from the Chureito Pagoda in Yamanashi Prefecture. I queued around 20 minutes just to get this shot, each person was only given 5 minutes to take photos there. I was happy with the result though, seems like this is straight from a travel brochure.

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This shot was probably one of my fave shots so far. This was still at Yamanashi Prefecture. Probably the only cafe there. The cafe’s name is Zakka Cherry Cafe, the cafe is owned by a group of very nice and cute moms. Per usual, when customers came in they greet us “いらっしゃいませ“ which is like, “welcome”, you don’t need to answer it. I had a brain fart and answered “いらっしゃいませ” as well. The moms were laughing, then I realized my mistake. Then I apologized, then we laughed again. Ha. It was very cute. The cafe also played Monkey Majik, a band I haven’t listened to since 6th grade I guess. They also played an entire Carly Rae Jepsen’s album…?

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Ok this trip to Chureito Pagoda was such a great day trip. Weather wise, mood wise etc. Photo wise it was one of the best days too. This is at the Shimoyoshida Station, my friend and me were waiting for our train to Fuji-Q Highland, which only ran every 30 minutes. This train was out of order, but it was so blue, so pretty, the sky was great, and the sakura tree was such a plus.

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I took this on the foot of the Chureito Pagoda area. I really do recommend going there, probably one of the best views of Mount Fuji. To be honest, I was quite shocked cause the Pagoda looks somewhat fake?? Cause it was built pretty new, around the 1960s. I was so used to seeing aged Pagodas, it felt unnatural because the paintwork of the Pagoda was still so nice and smooth! But thanks to that, it glows in photos, make the photos prettier.

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I randomly came across the Nakagin Capsule Tower and I got so excited. I had breakfast at Tsukiji and decided to walk to Shimbashi, and there it was. The iconic Nakagin Capsule Tower. It is a residential-slash-office building designed by Kisho Kurokawa. It’s pretty much almost dead now. It was famed because it was the symbol of the 新陳代謝 (Shinchintaisha) architecture movement. Pod hotels are probably inspired by this.

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This was at a store in Omotesando called a Sense of Place. My brother was visiting me last March. It’s a cute photo standee and it’s still up until now, I just love how colorful it is.

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Ok my mom took this. But it looks nice. We were walking from Naka-Meguro to Hiroo and came across this playground, not far from Ebisu Station. This is called the Tako (Octopus) Park, because the giant slide is shaped like an octopus! I got so happy cause I just read about it on a TimeOut article a few days before this photo was taken.

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This was taken at National Art Center Tokyo. Probably one of the most beautiful art museums here in Tokyo. I’m obsessed with the architecture, it’s also designed by Kisho Kurokawa. I took this photo on a random day actually. I visited the Tadao Ando (another amazing Japanese architect) there before class, on a weekday. It was sunny, and I felt good.

More pictures coming soon most likely.

Thanks for reading,

Alika

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Tokyo in Fragments

So it’s been a year. I’ve been mostly slacking off in this blog thing.

I got into drawing illustrated journals for a while. All of them are on my instagram.

I am right now very into taking photos I guess, they are mostly posted on my instagram stories page and also my photo page.

I still visit museums, I still visit art exhibitions. I still love Tokyo and every nook and cranny of it, I haven’t even finished exploring it yet, I’m still very, very, very in love, pretty much infatuated, with this city (I hope this feeling never ends). I just… don’t write about it.

And I don’t have any other excuses beside… me slacking off, haha.

Studying Japanese language isn’t easy. You see, I’m not a very bright student (I’m more of a doodler in class…I also laugh a lot, I stare at my phone a lot, I hang out a lot), so the process has been really tough (completely my fault! Ha!). But things are getting pretty serious the past few months, I will be taking the JLPT N3 exam this upcoming July (JLPT is Japanese Language Profiency Test, something like TOEFL).

My daily routine the past 6 months had only been, school and studying. It’s quite predictable that you can see me at Saizeriya (a very budget friendly restaurant, my fave is their tarako pasta which costs 399YEN) at the Koenji area. Probably around 2PM – 8PM. What do I there? Studying… and when I get bored, instagram. What else though? Haha. This is probably mainly the reason why I also kinda stopped drawing illustrated journals. I would like to do it again, but at night I’m always too tired, and watch animes (Saiki Kusuo please, anyone?) instead.

I still make time to walk around Tokyo though, mostly on weekends. And since now the weather is getting way less colder, I walk around a lot again. I love walking, I feel that you can get to know the city you live in by walking.

Here are some photos of some places I’ve been (plus some stories, and tiny descriptions about them), they are not in particular order. I just feel like writing right now, that’s why I’m doing this haha.

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Ok, this is Shibamata. An area in Eastern Tokyo, I found out about this area from Only in Japan. It’s a nice little town, 30 minutes from Ueno Station. I wrote/draw all about it here. I took this photo in the middle of the train track, while I was allowed to do so of course! It was actually around 5PM when my friend and I decided to head back. The area isn’t that big, so a day would do.

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I actually took this photo earlier today. I walked around the Shibuya ward today (Harajuku, Omotesando, Shibuya, Daikanyama, and so on). And, I came across this store in Ebisu. It sells toys and other goods directly from the US. Mostly are from Hot Topic. It’s actually pretty new to me seeing all these things in Japan. I mean, I go to a lot of used toy stores here (in Nakano, Koenji, and the back streets of Harajuku), but most of their stuffs are dead stock items or fancy collectible ones (I bought a 1997 Venom toy for 2000 YEN). But, at this store called Monster Japan, all the items are new! Like, really new to the point that they have the Incredibles 2 (!) toys. That’s amazing, haha.

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This was taken at a sandwich store called Buy Me Stand. My friend Sabila recommended it to me. It’s in between of Daikanyama and Shibuya. The place was cute (could be cleaner though? Haha). Also, the sandwich was actually good (We had the one called Hella Green). There was also a queue, which indicated that this restaurant has great food (this happens in Japan long queues = something good, doesn’t even have to be food).

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I played around with double exposure here. This is a mix of a bar in Roppongi, and Koinobori (鯉のぼり) under the Tokyo Tower (Tokyo Tower is located in the Roppongi area too). Koinobori, according to Wikipedia (cause I don’t know how to describe it other than “mirip layang-layang gitulah”) are windsocks that are shaped like Koi fishes. They are put up to celebrate Children’s Day here on May 5th, ok this, I actually know.

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This was actually taken inside Tokyo Tower. It was the release day of my favorite Korean group, SHINee’s brand new best of album. As a dedication, the Tokyo Tower (and other 4 towers across Japan!) was lit up in SHINee’s official color, and some people brought light sticks to the Tower, it was quite a pretty sight.

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I found this while walking from Aoyama to Harajuku, this is actually in front of a hair salon. It looks cute and I really don’t know what’s the purpose of it. But again, it’s cute anyway.

I think that’s it for today. I actually uploaded around like 13 photos on my media page here on WordPress, but it’s getting late, it’s 2AM, and I have to study tomorrow. I’ll continue again soon.

Thanks for reading,

Alika

#Destinartion #3: Japan… and more to come!

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Hi… This has been delayed for so so so long. I have my reasons, and I’ll explain later by the end of this post, I also have an announcement at the end of this post regarding my blog.

I went to Tokyo & Osaka in May last year, I actually finished writing the Japan post a day after I arrived back in Jakarta. But, something just felt off, I didn’t want to post the writing, I didn’t even know why! I had doubts since Tokyo is my favorite city, I wanted to treat the Japan post a little special, either with drawings, etc. But it never came to a point that I was satisfied, and then work came along, my thesis came along, and it was forgotten. However though, I know that I have to post it somehow, so here you go.

Note: This is a long post…

Tokyo has always been my favorite city. I’ve been there a few times before, but I never really explored the city on my own. So it has been a dream for me to go alone or with a friend, with my own money too.

So the dream came true! I went on a 10-day trip to Tokyo & Osaka with a friend of mine.

Aaaaand since it’s my favorite, I’m going to write about all the details of the trip. Not just my top spots and highlights of the trip. Here are the details of the trip (flights, things I did, things I ate, internet, accommodations).

FLIGHTS:

ANA Airlines (Bought the tickets in February 2016 at a Japan travel fair.)

Jakarta ~ Tokyo (Haneda Airport)

Osaka (Itami Airport) ~ Tokyo (Haneda Airport) ~ Jakarta

USD360/person

They were the last 2 tickets too! Always be on the lookout for travel fairs.

PEACH Airlines

Tokyo (Narita Airport) ~ Osaka (Kansai Airport)

USD 71/person (With a system like usual budget airlines, free 10kg baggage, but it’ll cost more if you have more than 10kg of baggage.)

Through my (probably very unreliable) research, to travel between cities in Japan, it’s mostly cheaper to go by planes instead of a Shinkansen. Which was why we decided to go by on a plane instead of a Shinkansen. AND, Peach Airlines has the cutest name (okay this was somewhat a priority).

ACCOMMODATIONS (Airbnb – I always search for apartments below USD 45/night)

Tokyo (6 Nights = USD 337)

Link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/8996929

A small apartment but big enough for two in the Nogata Area. Nogata is a residential area, so it’s not in the middle of everything. But the apartment is located near to a train station, which was great. Aaaand staying in an apartment not in the middle of the city means we came across a lot of random train station stops, which was fun! We got to eat and walk around in different parts of Tokyo. I actually would like to stay here again since the place was clean, I loved the area, and the host was very nice. The photos on airbnb don’t do them justice.

Osaka (3 Nights = USD 165)

Link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/9889168

A small apartment with bunk beds! It was surprisingly homey though. We stayed in an area called Ebisucho. Just right across of Shinsekai, and only 2 stops away from Dotonburi. The apartment was near a train station and it was right above a 24 Hour supermarket YAY I love food.

P.S.: Do note that prices may change at any time

ESSENTIALS (Visa, Internet, Train Tickets)

For Visa, I applied to the Jakarta Japan Embassy on my own. I got it for free too since I’m a university student.

For Internet, airbnb hosts in Japan usually provide portable hotspots. But there are also apps available such as Japan Wi-Fi and NAVITIME Japan Travel, which help you search for free wi-fi spots. However, the Indonesian provider, XL, provides quite an affordable Internet package for Japan, I paid around IDR 300,000 for a 7-day 6GB package. There are packages for 30 days, etc.

For train tickets, get a PASMO or a Suica Card, a card that works everywhere. They also work for buses, getting things from konbinis (convenience stores), or vending machines, pretty much an e-money type of thing. I got the PASMO card (no particular reason whatsoever, bought it back in 2012), the card is 1500yen, and I charged it with 12000yen, it was enough for the amount of traveling I did (which was a lot), and it was also enough for my 10 days of use.

THINGS I DID

TOKYO

 May 4:

  • Ghibli Museum at Mitaka City, Tokyo:

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Once you get off from the station, you’ll start seeing these signs along the way!

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Movie tickets as souvenirs

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Wouldn’t complain if this was my house

I have always failed getting tickets for the Ghibli Museum for the last 4 years, that is until I discovered Voyagin, which is a ticketing agent that will buy the tickets for you. I picked up my tickets at their Shibuya office.

Anyway though, Ghibli Museum is as whimsical and wonderful as any of their movies! It’s located in Mitaka City, a 40-50 minute train ride from Nogata.

The Museum is located in the middle of a park, with lots of trees and greeneries. There were small doors, which led to big doors, stairs that didn’t seem to end, a gigantic Neko Bus, and much more. It was extremely enchanting. A room stood out to me though, a room, which exhibits how the Studio Ghibli animators work, with their sketches, used pencils, etc. up on display.

Plus, the Mitaka area is really cute, I met a very cute dog….. yes.

  • Takashi Murakami’s Bar Zingaro & Art Space at Nakano Broadway:

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Look at this place though

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Always up for anything cute

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Would like to have this in my house

I went there because I’m a huge fan of Takashi Murakami’s works. I also didn’t make it to his Mori Art Museum Exhibition, since it only lasted until March. ANYWAY though, it was incredibleeeee, the art space was holding a special, a room full of his floral prints. The coffee are said to be good, but I’m not a coffeephile, so I just ordered a latte and I think it was good… My drink was around 900yen since it was a special drink with Murakami’s flower print. They have a good-looking barista too!!!! (#important)

  • Nakano Broadway:

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Some of the secondhand be@rbrick figurines

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Was very into the Neko Atsume game at the time, so I was (still am) very proud of this

It’s a mall that sells lots of new and used toys. I bought 3 used (and in good condition) Kamen Rider figures for 1500 yen, which was such a great deal!!

May 5:

  • Purikuras!:

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We took a few but this was the best one!!! We looked way too ~alien-y~ on the other ones

Took purikuras in Shinjuku & Harajuku, each is 400 yen.

  • Don Quijote at Shinjuku, but they have lots of other locations:

Bought lotsssss of random goods. This store sells clothes, socks, phone cases, undies, cosmetics, food, and sex toys, pretty much everything. Everything’s pretty much affordable, which means it will get expensive very fast. So be wise on what to buy if you’re on a budget like me.

  • Tadanori Yokoo Pop-Up @ Isetan Shinjuku

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A bunch of Tadanori Yokoo’s merchandises and prints. Most of them were expensive though, so I only bought postcards! They were only around 120 yen each.

  • EPIK HIGH at Studio Coast, Shin-Kiba:

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No photos inside the venue!!!! But the sky was really beautiful that day

Epik High is one of my fave music acts. It’s a Korean Hip Hop group. I got their tickets easily (which was such a BLESSING since my experience with Japanese concert tickets was actually very difficult, read the post on my old blog here) I got help by my airbnb hosts for buying the tickets though.

May 6:

  • DISNEYLAND all day. That was it. Ticket is USD 66 each park.

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May 7:

  • Tsukiji Fish Market

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Lots and lots and lots of people but of course we had great sushi

We didn’t go to the tuna auction since we were not that dedicated to wake up at 2AM. We arrived there at 9AM, just to eat. 9AM was too late for Tsukiji time though, there were lines everywhere, and it was pretty packed. All we did was eat a sushi set which costs around 1000yen at Sushi Sen.

  • Gudetama Airline & Neko Atsume at Sunshine City, Ikebukuro:

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Not real food

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Not real food too

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You guessed it, not real food

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Real food!!! Not

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Died and went to Gudetama heaven

Our initial plan was to eat at the Neko Atsume pop-up café/theme park at Namco Namjatown (also located at Sunshine City). But the pop-up thing was made into a game… in which we had to solve clues just to eat some Neko Atsume food. It was best for people who are fluent in Japanese. To us it was just way too much work for food. It costs 500 yen to enter Namco Namjatown.

But Gudetama came to the rescue!! There was a special exhibition called Gudetama airline. In which we were treated to a Gudetama themed “airport”, with exhibits, photo booths, and food!! It was so fun, the entry was 1000 yen.

May 8:

  • Fuji Shibazakura Festival @ Kawaguchiko:

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Sorry I ruined the photo

We spent half of the day chasing trains. It was such a tiring day, but the view of Mount Fuji with the beautiful flowers at Shibazakura Festival made the day way better. It was my first time seeing a clear view of Mount Fuji!!! The Yakisoba I got there also helped enhancing the experience I had there… lol

Anyway though, there were a few ways to go to the festival. Buses/Trains. We chose the train though.

The route was:

Shinjuku Station ~ Otsuki Station ~ Transfer to Fujikyu Railway ~ Kawaguchiko Station ~ Bus to the Shibazakura Festival site.

All in all, the transportation costs around 7000 yen, which was wayyy above our budget. This wasn’t something we planned for, but it was great.

May 9:

  • Time to say bye to Tokyo, went to Narita Airport with the Airport Friendly bus from Shinjuku. Special discounts for people under the age of 25! My ticket was 2000 yen.

OSAKA

 May 10:

  • Universal Studios Osaka! Tried out the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu ride a VR indoor roller coaster ride with the cutest graphics, and of course the Harry Potter ride too. The ticket ended up being 12000 yen each person since we purchased the express tickets to enter some rides like Harry Potter.

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Kyaryyyy love u girl

May 11:

  • Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum at Ikeda City, Osaka:

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Ramen wall!!!

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Choosing toppings for my own cup noodle!!!

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Decorated my own cup noodles!! To this day this hasn’t been eaten yet

This museum offers a history on Cup Noodle and how its founder invented the Instant Ramen. It showcased the history of it in a fun and interactive way. The place is free, but you have to pay 300 yen if you want to customize your own cup noodle. Also, I think the location of the museum is kind of unique. It’s located in a quiet upscale neighborhood (based on my very unreliable observation…..), the museum is surrounded by houses that have quite large front yards, something you don’t see everyday in Japan.

  • We cancelled our Kyoto and Kobe trip since it was raining a lot and… we ran out of money!!!! $_$. All we ate were onigiris from Lawson.

WHAT I ATE (I’ll only write the notable ones I ate lol)

TOKYO

May 4:

  • Takashi Murakami’s Bar Zingaro at Nakano Broadway:

Takashi Murakami’s coffee, that’s the only reason. But they serve some cute cookies and stuff. They are said to have good quality coffee beans… it’s not something I understand though… whoops.

  • This Sushi Place at Nakano Broadway:

I forgot the name, but it was the usual sushi-go-round restaurants. But I think, anywhere in Japan is good sushi. At least now I know how to say “Tamago kudasai! (Tamago please!)”.

May 7:

  • Sushi Sen at Tsukiji Fish Market:

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They had some great tamago!! Our initial plan was to eat around the market, but since it was too packed, we ended up eating at one of the restaurants. It was around 1000 yen for a selection of 8 sushi.

  • Gudetama Food at Sunshine City, Ikebukuro:

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I’m only putting this here because it’s Gudetama. Taste wise it was just ok. The ones I had in Hong Kong were better! Probably because they were actual buns and egg tarts. The one I had in Tokyo was simply… egg, rice, and bonito flakes. No meat whatsoever.

  • GYUKATSU MOTOMURA (!!!!) at Shibuya (I think they have other locations too):

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Hands down… the best gyukatsu (okay, I haven’t had a LOT of gyukatsu, but please let me exaggerate) I’ve ever eaten. We queued outside for 2 hours, I have never queued that long for food. The seating capacity was only 6-10 people?? Anyway, these Gyukatsus though!!! They didn’t feel greasy, they melted in my mouth… I think it’s also quite affordable for such a famous name. It costs 1300 yen for the smallest size. You can order additional meat for 800 yen.

May 8:

  • Ramen Ichiran at Harajuku (many branches though):

This is one of the places in which we had almost zero interactions with the servers there. We ordered the food via a ticket machine, and then we sat in individual booths, which were separated by a divider (though we can open the divider). Afterwards, we call a waitress with a button, to let them know if we want pork broth or not, etc. The waiters would show up in “windows” in front of us with their faces behind the window blinds.

Anyway though, despite the reviews of Ichiran being really tasty, etc. My friend and I just found it ok. It was good… but we don’t think it’s worth a long queue. That’s just our opinion though.

OSAKA

 May 9:

  • Okonomiyaki & Takoyaki at Dotonburi:

Tried out some good Okonomiyaki & Takoyaki, there were lots of restaurants serving them in Osaka, we chose at random, and we liked ours.

  • Pablo Cheese Tart at Dotonburi/Shinsaibashi:

There were already lots of people raving about how good Pablo is. The reviews are trueeeeee!! They’re THAT good. We bought the mini ones. My top favorite is the cheese tart, the green tea comes a close second.

May 11:

  • YAYOI at Ikeda City, I think there are lots of branches:

We stumbled upon this restaurant while we were walking around Ikeda. We decided to try this one cause they seem to have lots of food options. Aaaaand the result was, it was one of the best food I’ve ever eaten. I had this cheese + beef hamburg meal. Once you slice the meat open, melted cheese emerges. But I guess anything with cheese is always good for me. It was around 900 yen.

  • Gram Pancakes at Shinsaibashi:

It was an OK pancake, nothing wonderful. They actually offer these fluffy, premium pancakes, but I was too full so I didn’t order them. I’m just putting Gram here since I ate dinner here with my first ever best friend in Pre-school. She’s Japanese. She used to live in Indonesia, but moved back to Japan when we were 5. So, shout out to Kaori!

Soooo, above were all the things I did, I ate, and I spent on during my last Japan trip. I hope it’s fun and insightful! I had a great time during the trip. Japan has always been my favorite country, I wish next time I can visit more cities other than just Tokyo & Osaka (Especially Kobe & Kyoto since they’re only 40-50 minutes away from Osaka!).

***

The end!!! As I’ve said before, I had my reasons for delaying this post for so long. I also explained above that I had doubts about posting this, feeling unsatisfied with the writing, etc. I felt (still feel) like Japan is a very sacred thing for me, so I just have to make it special, I didn’t know what to do… so here comes the announcement (does anyone read this? But I’ll go ahead lol) I will be moving to Tokyo… in a few hours! As this post is posted I’ll probably be on my way to the airport.

Aside from studying Japanese, I will dedicate my time in Tokyo to visit one art museum/art exhibition/art gallery/museum/any place that excites me weekly, and also review them weekly! So there will always be a new #destinartion post every week. This feels like something that I can “give” to Tokyo, something that will assure me that I’m treating Tokyo right.

Do tune in and let’s keep in touch. I will sure notify when there’s a new post. I am very nervous to finally live in the city which is very dear to my ~heart (seriously though), yet I’m extremely excited. I can’t wait to share all the museums, exhibitions, and tons of things I see in Tokyo with the people who read my blog! Thank you so much.

Destinartion #2: HONG KONG (On A Budget) – Page One Bookstore, Streetwear Goods, K11 Art Mall, Ghibli Store + A Few Tips (Where to Stay, Eat, etc.)

Back in December, I went to Hong Kong with a friend. It all started way back when we decided that if we have the money, we’re going to go on a budget trip to Hong Kong.

After months of saving up, we finally booked flights and accommodation in June, and managed to snag a whole 6 day trip to Hong Kong for around USD360/person. I will explain the whole breakdown later in the post. As of now I’ll give some reviews on which places you should go if you’re into art and animation, like me. (I will put aside the obvious like Disneyland…)

+ Page One Bookstore

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Page One is a bookstore and publisher of select design and art books that was founded in Singapore. It now has bookstores in Hong Kong and China. If you are studying design, you probably had come across a book published by Page One.

There are two Page One stores in Hong Kong (Festival Walk & Harbour City), but I went to the one in Harbour City. The store has 2 floors, at first you’d probably think that the store is a normal sized bookstore, however, once you go up, you’d eventually realize that the store is huge.

Aside from a huge collection of children’s books, fun stationeries, and other books, the second floor houses the Page One design and art book collection. The design and art section was located in a dark room. Some copies were opened so you can browse through, however you can get a shop assistant to open one for you. The collection was of course expansive.

If you have time and if you are actually into art and design, do make time for this bookstore, it’s massive, its collection is incredible, and you’ll be in awe!

More Info: PAGE ONE BOOKSTORE WEBSITE

Access: 5 Minute walk from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station, A1 Exit

 + K11 Art Mall

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K11 Art Mall is an art concept mall located not far from Page One. K11 is a mall-slash-gallery. It has a design store, art exhibitions that run all year round, and unique lifestyle stores. There’s this one part of the mall that reminds me of Goods Dept in Jakarta, or the stores at Cathay Cineleisure, Singapore. However though, the focus of this mall is the art and design part. Works by local and international artists can be found throughout the mall. The art space there is called Chi 11K Art Space, I didn’t manage to get in because I went there way too early, and I didn’t have time afterwards. Except for Chi 11K Art Space, everything is free! So it’s perfect if you just want to kill time and look at some art.

++ This mall also has D-Mop, a store that sells things you usually find on Hybeast or other streetwear websites. Such as Yeezy (the shoes were launched here and when I was there the clothes were still available), Jeremy Scott, Puma, Y-3, Lazy Oaf, and much more.

More Info: K11 ART MALL WEBSITE – D-MOP WEBSITE

Access: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, D2 or N4 Exit

+ Ghibli Store (Donguri Republic)

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It is safe to say that I died. I’m not exaggerating! This is Donguri Republic’s first location outside of Japan!! I am a huge Ghibli fan, I’ve been to Japan a few times before and never really managed to get the tickets to the museum. So seeing this store was such a blessing.

The store is quite big, but it’s not Disney Store big. There was a huge sized Neko-bus in which people could go in, and a humungous Totoro too. The store looks like a library, a collection of DVDs and concept art books on the left, and the toys in the middle and on the right are the toys, towels, chopsticks, and some random goods. It felt like it was Hayao Miyazaki’s house (in my fantasy of course).

Do pay a visit here if you are into Ghibli and haven’t managed to go to the Ghibli Museum like me! After buying a few stuffs, I sat in Starbucks for 4 hours since I only had money for a cup of coffee! I probably got hypnotized at Donguri Republic.

More Info: DONGURI REPUBLIC FACEBOOK

Access: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, A1 Exit

Those were the great art finds I found in Hong Kong, I really wanted to go the Hong Kong Museum of Art as well but it was in renovation. I loved Hong Kong and I really enjoyed my stay there.

I feel like Hong Kong is an Asian hub. Stores you can only find in Japan are available in Hong Kong (Ghibli, Neko Atsume Pop Up Stores, Gudetama Cafes (there were 2 when I was there!), Moomin Cafe, a large scale MUJI), stores you can only find in Korea (A-LAND, Stylenanda) are also available in Hong Kong. However, despite everything opening in Hong Kong, the true roots of Hong Kong is always there. The busy and congested streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, the never-ending street food, the shining bright lights. The “newer” area of Hong Kong which is Causeway Bay, also reminded me of Tokyo’s Takeshita-Dori on weekends! Hong Kong is greatttt!

++ TIPS

My guide is probably more suitable if you’re in Hong Kong with friends or if you’re on a budget.

+ Where to Stay – ($-$$)

There are lots of hostels you can choose from in Hong Kong (both in Tsim Sha Tsui area or the Causeway Bay area), however my choice was Urban Pack. What a great decision it was! The place was located just across the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station and a mosque. Harbour City is just a walk away and Avenue of the Stars was just a 5-minute walk away too. The place is clean, and has this youthful vibe with its murals and chalkboards. It has clean bathrooms and a communal area as well.

Price: Vary, my friend stayed in a mixed room for USD30/night. I stayed in a female room (with 7 other people) for USD40/night. Pretty cheap for a city like Hong Kong, and with a super convenient location too!

Urban Pack TripAdvisor Page

+ Flights 

I used Jetstar, flight prices are probably varied depending the month you are going. I also booked 6 months prior, which explains the cheap flight. I recommend to check out Scoot airlines too. Its base is in Singapore and not Jakarta, however you can get such cheap prices!! My friend and I tried booking on Scoot, however the site was on the verge of breaking down when we wanted to book. It couldn’t handle the traffic.

+ Cheap Transportation Fares, Disneyland Meal Vouchers, Sim Cards etc.

Go to Klook to book some of the cheapest deals on MTR tickets, 4G Sim Cards, Disneyland Meal Vouchers (important since the meals at Disneyland are expensive). All of the bookings are done online, some of the vouchers can be printed at home, but some have to be picked up at the Hong Kong International Airport, like the sim card.

+ Where to Eat (not going to review Tim Ho Wan…) ($!)

Cha Chaan Tengs! Cha Chaan Tengs are basically wartegs in Indonesia or hole-in-the-wall restaurants. It typically serves Hong Kong food, such as wonton, scrambled eggs and ham (order just the eggs if you don’t eat pork!), macaroni soup, milk pudding, and much more. The services are quick (so chill if you spot a queue, you’ll probably be able to eat in 5 minutes), you also probably have to share a table with other people when the place is full. Here are the 3 cha chaan tengs I went to in Hong Kong, I visit them for breakfast and lunch almost everyday! Sorry for the crappy pictures too, we had to be quick!

+ Australia Dairy Company

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This place has the best eggs!!! I am now hungry just writing about it. The place is quite famous already. The eggs are soft and they melt in your mouth. Do order that plus a toast on the side and a hot milk tea too. It’s so filling, enough for you to walk through the day in Hong Kong.

Its Breakfast Set is around USD3.

+ Yee Shun Milk Company

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If ADC has the best eggs, this place has the best milk puddings! So good and the portion’s big too. I didn’t get the chance to try the flavored milk they had, but it’s a must visit if you want to eat a good milk pudding in Hong Kong. They have an option of having the pudding hot or cold.

Milk Pudding is around USD3.

+ Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop

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Wonton noodles!!! Which I love but only managed to eat this once since my friend and I got so obsessed with ADC! The portion was big, this was the first meal that we got in Hong Kong.

Price is around USD3.

All these cha chaan tengs are located in Jordan, one stop from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR. ADC is located next to Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop, and Yee Shun is just a block away. The picture below is the area. The lit signage with two bowls and the red typeface is the Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop.

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Plus, if you like Hong Kong Waffles, there is also North Point, a booth which sells Hong Kong Waffles. The reviews are great, I didn’t manage to get one 😦

++ TIP FOR EATING: Since almost everything are not in English, it’s easier if you browse online first. Save photos of the restaurants’ logos and the food you want to eat. Google Maps is a godsend too.

+ More Cute Things! ($-$$$)

Visit the LOG-ON store. It is a store of all things cute, the store itself is spread out around Hong Kong. It is filled with random Japanese items, cosmetics, Sailor Moon goodies, Sanrio things, and much more. A crossover of Tokyu Hands, Daiso, and a Sanrio Store. One of the biggest ones I visited was in Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay.

There’s also I.T. A place you can visit if you have lotssss of money to splurge (which I didn’t…) It reminds me of Opening Ceremony. Like a high-end Goods Dept. It sells Kenzo, Moschino, 3CE, youthful high-end fashion brands. One of the first stores I went to with English speaking sales associates. There are some stores spread around Hong Kong, but I visited the one behind Times Square HK, Causeway Bay.

Anyway, visit Hong Kong if you want some good cheap eats, great shopping (window shopping if you’re a cheapo like me, except for Ghibli :(), great design to see, and a great public transportation system!

Destinartion #1: VIENNA – MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Arts

Vienna was something new to me. I didn’t have a clue of what the city is all about. Except for the fact that it was the city where Madeline (the French cartoon character) was kidnapped to in her first movie. My family and I planned to go to another city, but at the last minute, my mother suggested “Let’s just go to Vienna, we’ve never been there.”

January 15th, we finally arrived in Vienna. The city is beautiful, and it houses many museums and galleries, perfect for me. Among some of the galleries and museums I visited, MAK would be the first museum I review.

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#1 MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Arts

First and foremost, this museum’s architecture is splendid. It was such a view for the eyes, I couldn’t help but just gawk at everything. This museum dates back to the 1800s, which explains the beautiful architecture.

When I was there MAK was holding 2 major exhibitions. World’s brightest, happiest graphic designer (according to me, who else.) Stefan Sagmeister’s “the Happy Show” and Star Wars Identities, the Star Wars exhibition had a separate ticket though. It had some more exhibitions going on too, such as the 100 Best Posters 14 – Germany Austria Switzerland which features some of the most colorful and fun poster designs compiled from a graphic design competition. Other than that, there were also the Helmut Lang Archive and the Josef Frank “Against Design” Exhibition.

Here’s a quick review of the two major exhibitions:

+ Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Show

Runs from 28 October 2015 until 28 March 2016

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Stefan Sagmeister’s graphic design work had always been mostly fun, bright, and colorful. He speaks a lot on happiness too. Which explains the ultra bright exhibition, dominated by the color yellow.

The biggest piece was at the main hall of MAK, it was right there when you get inside. Two huge monkeys holding signs saying “Everybody Always Thinks They Are Right.”

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The Exhibition then started on the basement floor and continued to the second floor. The works displayed were mostly his past typography work, which was inspired by his notes.

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The exhibition was extremely enjoyable. There were some interactive features, such as riding a bike to get an artwork to light up, moving in front of an artwork so that it would move, and a lot more. It was pure joy and happiness. Even my 8-year-old brother enjoyed it!

+ Star Wars Identities

Runs from 18 December 2015 until 16 April 2016

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Star Wars Identities is an exhibition dedicated to everything Star Wars. Costumes, concept arts, vehicles, and anything you can think of about Star Wars. The exhibition itself started back in 2012 in Canada. The exhibition is touring the world, and its first stop in Europe happens to be Vienna.

This exhibition is more on the expensive side (my father even complained, though in the end he was happy.), but it’s worth every penny, especially if you are into this legendary franchise.

I’ve only been into Star Wars not too long ago (I apologize, I am so sorry). Some people I know sometimes just assumed that I’m into Star Wars. Since I watch a lot of Marvel movies, I read comic books and watch cartoons, I visit Comic Cons, and I happen to have a few Uniqlo Star Wars t-shirts too… so yeah. However, I haven’t even watched any Star Wars movies until last year! I don’t even know why I skipped Star Wars, probably because I was introduced to Spider-Man instead when I was little, not Star Wars. Fast forward to late 2015, I finished the previous 6 movies in 2 days, and watched them again in the next 2 days. In short I was hooked. Please forget my embarrassment and let’s just move on.

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Star Wars Identities boasts about having 200 original props, costumes, etc. They were not lying. I was completely stunned, apart from the complete collection of costumes from the previous 6 movies, there were also Anakin’s podracer, droids (BB-8 as their latest addition), and most importantly, the amazing Ralph McQuirrie concept arts, which I had been looking forward to.

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A highlight to me was the concept arts. The previous sketches for each character were displayed. Each had an explanation as well. For example, how they got Yoda’s eyes from Albert Einstein, and some other versions such as a female Luke Skywalker. These were not all by Ralph McQuirrie though.

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Another fun part was the interactive features. We were able to create our own Star Wars heroes. Throughout the exhibition there were checkpoints in which we could scan our wristbands, filled in data, gave a nickname to our Star Wars Hero, and we would be asked to choose which side were we on, the dark or the light. By the end, our characters would be displayed on a screen, and its characteristics and personal info would be e-mailed to us.

It was a delightful experience, everyone was happy! Including my parents, which was great.

More Info: MAK WEBSITE

Access: 10 minute walk from Stephansplatz, or ride the U-bahn (U3-Stubbentor), the stop is across MAK, near the famous Plachutta restaurant.

Vienna Tip: Download the Qando Wien App it’s an official app by Vienna’s public transport network, gives you tram routes, subway routes, etc. Just download this one, I downloaded a few other crappy ones and got lost…

+ Check out my TripAdvisor profile to see some of the things I’ve reviewed as well!