A Trip to Japan

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Uh hello there 2014. 10 days into the new year and unlike the year before, this year I was abroad and partied away the new year.

On a bus. T_T.

It was an overnight journey from Nagano to Kyoto.

Well I went to Japan for 12 days, starting from Osaka – Tokyo – Fujiyoushida – Yokohama – Nagano – Kyoto – Kobe – Osaka.

Some of the things I’d gathered/observed during the trip.

  1. Impressive, impressive public transportation. Japan is famed for their extensive railways system, and yes the system can be so complex it is overwhelming at times. Basically in major town like Tokyo and Osaka, railways (on the ground and underground) are major source of transportation. Everyone uses it for their daily commute. The working class, the college students, families and their senior citizens too. I swear there were old people in almost all train/subway rides that I’d took, even some appeared to be close to 100 years old. Damn impressive. Well, I think that is also a factor why Japanese tend to live the longest. Just take an average Malaysian for example, once he reaches retirement age, he would vow to relax at home, maybe do a bit of gardening, house repairs etc. Seems like it is the norm thing to do. But for these Japs, retirement age means little to them as they still go about doing their routine life, such as taking subways to go places, dining out, playing Othello, going to the malls etc.
  2. They have massive train stations catering to many different subway lines, JR, shinkansen (bullet train), airport line, buses, etc. There are retail shops, high street label shops, high end shops (the likes of LV and Gucci), supermarket, restaurants, cafes, all under one station. The stations are huuugeee with many different exit points that lead to different parts of the town. As the subway stations are located underground, it kinda difficult to decide which exit to take, but fret not, there are english signs for all the exits. Note: it is extremely useful to know which exit to take beforehand, to save time and your strength too.
  3. Subways normally offers day pass, which can be purchased from their ticketing machines. For example in Osaka alone there are few subway lines, namely Hankyu, Hanshin, Kita-Osaka Kyuko, Keihan, Nankai and Kintetsu, and as the single journey fare would set you back around 200yen per trip, it is recommendable to purchase day pass 800yen, which offers you unlimited subway rides for the day. It is more economical that way. Some even combine subway pass with JR, such as in Tokyo whereby this type of ticket is fared at 1,580yen.
  4. Still on the transportation system. Everyone cycles in Japan. They use the traditional, vintage-y but very sturdy bikes. There are multi-tier bicycles parking near to railway stations.
  5. The non-existent traffic jam. It’s weird that Tokyo, as the metropolitan city has no traffic jam. Very few cars on the road.
  6. Japanese are very stylish people. It’s like they share the same motto ‘it’s better to be overdressed rather than under dressed’. Since I was there during winter I could see the nice jackets, coats, puff jackets, anorak that these Japs ladies put on. Even the stores are heavy on the items. And the ladies even paired their kimono with furs. So classy. And the men…oh damn you Japanese men, why are you so hot and ever so very stylish. Coupled with the hat, muffler, jacket and designer shoes, they’re good to go and pleasant to ogle at during train rides.
  7. The ladies are very particular on their looks. They put on heavy make up and they also have super nice skin. The hairs are always in place and it seems that they do blow outs regularly. Even the public toilets have separate section for ladies to do their make ups.
  8. All public toilets are clean.
  9. The people are very hygienic, they wear face masks and I once saw a shop worker manually hand scrubbed the pavement in front of his shop. Impressive.
  10. It goes without saying that the Japanese are very polite and nice people.
  11. No foreign workers. Even the janitors are local.
  12. Tokyo and Osaka have multiple city centres that worth venturing into. Its even cheaper to spend the nights in their neighboring towns. Take Yokohama, it’s only 30mins or so from Tokyo. Kobe is also adjacent to Osaka.
  13. There are plenty of museums in Japan, but mostly are closed between 26th Dec – 3rd Jan for their annual maintenance works.
  14. Moleskines are quite cheap in Japan.
  15. No fat people in Japan. I felt huge there.

 

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