i create. i am a creation.

Archive for July 2017

I am writing about my last Japan trip in a non-linear/non-chronological way because…just because. I have been busy with other aspects of life i.e. job, hence, the gap. 

So I already told you about my non-eventful six-day stay in Yokohama where I spent four days going back and forth my hotel and the convention center. Then the fifth day I was locked up in my hotel room writing non-stop and then it was only on my last day I was able to go around for a bit. In the morning before going out for a little bit of sight-seeing, I decided to try a fastfood chain: Mos Burger.

35790706465_3d6733342b_z

Of course I shouldn’t be surprised but still I was when I took a bite of this burger. It was good, better than the blah version I had in Singapore (because of my Singapore Mos Burger experience, I stayed away from it). And it has to be good since it is a Japanese food chain.

After my walkathon in Minatomirai, I decided to have lunch in the restaurant across my hotel.

35131447734_c7ce1491c2_z

For JPY 850, it was ok, I guess. Did not rock my world, really.

35971402735_98004a1f6e_z

In the afternoon, I took the train from Kannai to Kanda, which was about 45 mins. Then I used Google Map to locate my hotel from the Kannai station. It said I should come out of the South exit.

It was a bit of a walk but not that bad. The location is perfect because it’s walking distance from our Tokyo office (the receptionist said it was about 4 stoplights away, I just go straight). And considering its location (it’s within or near the financial district), the price was reasonable.

35131858504_a151fcc6d2_z

And the room and the bathroom are bigger than the one I booked in Yokohama (which was more expensive)

After checking in, I went straight to our Tokyo office since I had a teleconference at 4 pm (3 pm Singapore time).

I had to take note of the path I was taking since because it’s me, I may get lost. Even if the receptionist says just go straight.

I don’t know what to call this. Working holiday? I was supposed to be on holiday and yet I worked. I must be nuts. This our Tokyo office.

35621238572_cd68b2f21b_z

After the conference call and bit of a chit-chat with colleagues, I went back to the hotel to ditch my tablet-laptop hybrid (more about that later) to go to Akihabara. Yes, the land of the otakus.

But before that, I had to go to Lawson to try my luck in buying a ticket to Studio Ghibli Museum.

35131478834_df93ee13aa_z

Nope. Fully booked on my days off. And on the days available either I’m already back in Manila or I will be in Singapore. Lesson learned: book a month ahead.

After leaving my laptop in my room, I decided to walk since the map says my hotel is just near Akihabara.

35161595543_211a230cc5_z
Oh, elevator parking slots. They should have these in Makati and BGC where finding parking slots is a nightmare. 

So I walked and walked.

35838712581_e0e153050a_z

The little streets that I took were lined with little pubs that were still closed. Probably they open for the dinner crowd of office workers/salary men/women.

I realized I wasn’t getting near to where I’m supposed to be so I went back to Kanda station and took the JR and just jumped off the next station (I can’t remember what that is) and took a gamble. Hehehe. It turns out it was also Akihabara, but I had to walk farther to get to the stores I must go to.

35405047750_c15556432f_z

And I was running out of time. I learned the stores close at 8:30 pm. My girls are asking me to find them Attack on Titan stuff.

35621191002_0136501e4c_z

Look at the prices…enough to give me a heart attack.

35658856771_a91a31d76d_z

My brother would freak out at these Gundam toys.

Sailor Moon FTW!

Pokemon love

And…there it is, Attack on Titan. But they’re sooooo expensive!

I have to find cheap ones or second-hand toys. No way I will buy them toys this expensive.

I was sooo tired that I forgot to have dinner. I just grabbed one of those convenience store dinners to bring to my hotel.

This is my neighborhood in Chiyoda at night.

 

Advertisements

I am melancholic these days for some reason that I cannot comprehend (probably I’m just burnt out) so I’m listening now to the piano version of the Kimi no na wa soundtrack to ease this heartache. It’s the same music I was listening to when I was on top of a hill, surrounded by blue flowers, while I stared at the Pacific Ocean. Listening to Kataware Doki transported me back to this hill where I spent hours just gazing at the sea and the flowers last spring.

34943681175_f7b343ff0e_z

I remember it was a cloudy Thursday and I was having lunch with colleagues in some traditional Japanese restaurant not far from our Tokyo office in Otemachi. One colleague asked me where will I be going the following day, which was my last free day in Japan. I said I had no idea, probably I’ll go to Ueno. One of them laughed, “What will you be doing in Ueno?!” I then realized it was a bad idea. Then I said, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find something or somewhere else I could go.

That afternoon I was flicking through my Instagram feeds and saw a friend posted his trip that day to Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki prefecture. It was similar to this photo I took.

34133065243_2b5f4fe939_z

And it took my breath away.

(But his version had flowers that were much bluer, probably due to the filter he used).

I asked him on IG how to get there. He said they just drove there but there was a time (was it last year?) he took a bus to get there. He said it took them more than two hours by bus from Tokyo. I suddenly had the urge to go there, whatever it takes. And according to my research, I can take the Express (JR Joban line) from Ueno station (1.5 hrs) or just the ordinary line, the Tokyo Yamanote Line (2 hrs and 45 mins).

Armed only with information from the Japan Rail app I downloaded on my phone and some Google search, I hopped from my hotel to Kanda Station then took the JR line to Ueno (for JPY 140). Then took the Express going to Katsuta station from Ueno because I was later than I expected. I planned to reach Hitachi 8:30 am, but guess what? It was already 8:30 am and I was still at Ueno station. As you can see it was JPY 3820 (PHP 1,711) for a one-way trip. If you’re not taking the express, you’ll only pay for the first ticket costing about JPY 2,270.

35606954112_66cc387411_z

I just love their trains.

34556687500_2e6f5b7b1c_z

And how fascinating…their villages are powered by solar energy.

34944081225_7c00b8cc36_z

Upon reaching Katsuta, I searched for the Minato line (Hitachinaka Seaside Railway) that would take me to Ajigaura station. I had to ask the railway officers at the train station office where can I find the Minato line. He had to look for a colleague who can speak English. Note to self: Push through with plan to study Nihongo.

The Minato line was farther down the platform below the railway office. I was pleasantly surprised to see a one-car train, just like the one (albeit it was a two-car-train) in Spirited Away. I was chatting with another friend (who lived in Japan for years for his PhD in Tsukuba University, also in Ibaraki prefecture) via FB Messenger while I was on my way to Ajigaura and he told me that whenever he rode this train, it felt like he was going to be transported to some mysterious fantasy anime land.

The ticket was JPY 1,000, including the entrance to Hitachi Seaside Park.

35736177036_824d41e708_z

spirited-9-1024x515

So there in Ajigaura station, there is already a bus (free) waiting for passengers alighting from the train to bring to Hitachi. About 5-10 minute drive.

Well, hello there, 10-hectare park!

 

I rented a bike for JPY 300 for 4 hrs I think, can’t remember exactly. Because the nemophilia (baby blue eyes) hill was really far from the entrance. The best way to get around Hitachi is by bicycle.

34780196232_1f31f2480c_z

There is a train going around the entire park but of course your mobility is limited by the schedule of the train. Better take the bike so you can be free to move around.

And finally, the baby blue eyes!

34779705112_23c5f91706_z

Thousands and thousands of them…

 

And spent a few hours just sitting on top of that hill and listen to songs on my iPod.

34811710971_d62bdfda9f_z

34943638835_956c0f983f_z

It felt like I was in some movie. It was so ethereal.

The nemophilia was the main attraction for me but there are other places in the park where I spent dreaming away my day.

34943453115_193ac44253_z34943459265_b6c22e2760_z

34556175690_60cea53083_z34779910862_f5f21e5ffa_z34100855554_030a5632aa_z34133405263_975f5deabc_z34903467886_11067222ff_z

If you’re hungry, don’t worry. There is a place near the nemophilia area where your can buy your lunch. It was not that expensive as I thought it would be. But you can bring your own food there, too.

34556058950_dacbb21477_z

And I had my lunch here among the oldies.

34967582463_b78b3d1d1b_z

And of course, I had to have my ramen. I think this was JPY 400-450.

34937010864_3b41305fda_z

I got lost riding my bike. So basically I was able to go around the entire park because I got lost looking for the entrance. And I saw that there was an amusement area there complete with Ferris wheel and roller coasters and all those things to keep children happy. Because what kid would be happy hiking among flowers?

So before I took the bus to take me back to Ajigaura station (3:45 pm), I bade the sea goodbye with a kiss.

34556536220_61fb6361a4_z

I want to go back in autumn to see these:

66171376e4368d38beb0bfe2336cb170-754x4016203_02

It’s like being in a movie.

Flowers make me really happy but I am allergic to them (they trigger allergic rhinitis that lead to asthma). Oh the irony!