USJ, Den Den Town and an old friend

We had a late start, but never expected the crowd to be this many today. From the moment we stepped off the train, throngs of people were walking up the stairs headed towards USJ (Universal Studios Japan). I only found out what USJ meant yesterday after pondering on it for awhile. Blur me.

All ride queues had long wait times averaging 1 hour 30 mins; even to enter Harry Potter world. But in Japan they’ve got an excellent system for us to enter the Harry Potter attraction.

What you do is take your tickets to be scanned and they’ll issue you another ticket with an estimated time to enter. Ours said 12.30PM, however, we were able to enter 15 minutes earlier. When we did, the crowd was nuts.

At the sweets shop, there was a queue. At the restaurant, there was a queue. At the ButterBeer kiosk, there was a queue. At the Hogwarts castle tour, there was a longer queue. And although the merchandise store which sold the capes for around MYR 400+ didn’t have a queue, it was filled very tightly with bodies coming in and out. This was the same even at the wands shop.

Then you know what I noticed, we could actually have bought some of the Harry Potter merchandise from the store nearer to the USJ entrance. #facepalm

It was quite unfortunate due to the crowd, we only managed to go on Harry Potter’s Hogwarts tour and a Terminator show. But it was really fascinating to see many Japanese cosplaying because it was the Halloween month. I was too shy to ask for a photo, otherwise I’d have some for you here. T_T

After our USJ trip, we detoured somewhere then headed to Nipponbashi wanting to walk around Kotobukiya. However, we ended a little lost around what’s known as Den Den Town and couldn’t find the store we wanted.

We ended up in 2 other major stores (I think) called; Joshin, and Jungle Entertainment. While on the hunt for the Nendoroid Hakase, I realized prices for Nendoroid in Joshin was higher than the normal place I get my stuff online. In the end, I ended only buying a chibi Gundam at Joshin because prices were lower here than Malaysia.

Over at Jungle I managed to find Hakase, however, it was going to cost me almost 2-3 times what a normal nendoroid would cost. I couldn’t bring myself to buy it in the end. Not until I pay a visit to Kotobukiya or stores in Akihabra and see if they’ve got it there.

Nonetheless, I’m still rather happy with my purchases for today.

Got some magic wands and a chibi Gundam. The rest of the other figures belong to my bro-in-law.

As for Hakase, i will continue hunting you down!

P.S.: Almost forgot about my old friend. It so happened she was in Osaka with her bf as well, so we decided to meet up because last we did, it was like 10 years ago. ( O.O ) What were the odds. Thank you Japan!

My friend the whale shark

After a delayed arrival caused by both AirAsia and a very concerned passenger, we finally did make it safe and sound. Out of the airport, we got our first lesson in deciphering the train system.

It was a struggling start not only having to know which platform, but I guess confusion set in when you’ve signage informing you cars from 1-3 does something and cars 4-9 is something else. Though somehow we managed and successfully got to where we needed to be.

Our first meal in Japan was at a ramen shop which was no bigger than 300sq feet, probably.

The ramen reminded me a lot like the Musashi ramen taste in 1Utama. Except, it’s less oily and salty; thinner meat and only 1 slice. Despite this, I still very much enjoyed it because it was neither too heavy, nor too light.

After we were done gobbling down the food, we made our way to the first stop we wanted – Kaiyukan (Osaka Aquarium). In there I was very much excited to meet my new found friend the whale shark.

In comparison to the Singapore sea aquarium, viewing a whale shark up close is different than having experienced such a large aquarium in view. Not to mention, background music played makes viewing the whale shark so peaceful that if you didn’t rest enough during the flight, you might just fall asleep. :P

We had a light dinner of takoyaki (ball-shaped snack) when we got back, but being Malaysian means having up to 6 meals a day, we were definitely hungry soon enough.

At around 9.00pm, we decided to do the next must-do in Japan – shop at a konbi (convenience) store. I couldn’t believe the variety of bento sets and other choices of packed food you could just heat up with a microwave. This even counted for dishes like Japanese curry rice (yes, rice) which I had. And it was good!

P.S.: The konbi was a 7-11. Sigh.

Japan here I come

After months of saving, we’ve finally made it to this point where we’re able to visit Japan. A country me and my wife are intrigued and always wanted to spend time. For me, a dream, a bucket list item, a culture I’ve wanted to experience first hand. Now here I am, sitting in the lounge, waiting for the call to board the plane, to one of my dreams.

The weird part of it all, I’m neither excited nor feeling anything much of this trip. I’m not sure why. However, I hope to find myself absorbed in the country, its people and its culture when we land 7 hours later.

Japan, here I come. ほたね。

I heart my Mi

Xiaomi prizes from China arrived!

The Xiaomi Malaysia forums were holding an early photography contest and thought to myself, why not give it a go. Theme of the contest was “I Love MY Mi” in conjunction with the ongoing Visit Malaysia campaigns.

The criteria of the contest were:

  1. Phrase “I Love my Mi” must be included into the photo without being post-processed (Photoshop, mobile apps etc).
  2. Photo be someting Malaysian.

Because prizes were rather atractive, you could guess there were a ton of entries being posted in the forum. However, quite a number of entries may have not been shortlisted as criteria #1 wasn’t met accurately.

The forgotten pasar malam

After giving the critera some thought and observing what others had submitted, I decided to go with the following idea:

Before the supermarkets, “pasar malam” (night market) was an activity where many Malaysian families together with their children visited to purchase weekly groceries and spend time with each other. Sometimes, you still see parents educating their curious kids whilst they point at the fresh fish, colourful fruits or even biscuits. This family activity is slowly being replaced by the supermarkets being built nearby.

And this was my submitted entry:

I heart my Mi
I heart my Mi

After having submitted this, I was feeling worried because the landmark of Malaysia I did isn’t as glorious and famous like KLCC, nor is it historical.

Then it became encouraging to read the user comments from around the world who voted for this photo. I tip my hat and thank you truly from my heart. :)

Logistic challenges

It took almost a month to have the prizes delivered to my doorstep. From what I know having communicated with Xiaomi’s forum team, it was due to the customs here. #facepalm

Still I’m glad when it finally made it here and thank you to the team over there for following up on my case to make sure the prizes got to me. Lo and behold the winnings below.

xiaomi-gifts
Xiaomi goodies from Left: World cup t-shirt, Xiaomi 5200mAh powerbank, mobile strap, orange Mi3 cover, mousepad (below), MiBunny keychain, MiBunny soft toy, limited edition MiBunny powerbank and to the right, leather cover notebook (I love this!).

Thanks again Xiaomi Malaysia for hosting the contest and its users for allowing me to win this time. :)

No clear plastic casing

Xiaomi 5200mAh power bank

Joining the Xiaomi Malaysia online sale once again, I was determined this time to walkaway with my aimed Xiaomi 10400mAh power bank. Alas, it was wishful thinking because I had to settle for the Xiaomi 5200mAh power bank version instead.

Xiaomi Malaysia 5200mAh power bank

If you searched the power bank online, you’ll find some images which show it nicely packed in a clear plastic casing.

No clear plastic casing
No clear plastic casing

This wasn’t the case for the one I bought and had to pay MYR15 for the shipping to boot. Why? Because Xiaomi Malaysia only provides free shipping for orders above MYR50.

What you’ll get in the power bank box are:

  1. Manual
  2. Power bank
  3. Charging cable (less than 9 inches long)
xiaomi-powerbank-5200mah 002
Bottom of Xiaomi 5200mAh power bank

If you didn’t know about the 5200mAh specifications, you can find the input and output details at the bottom of the power bank. For the 5200mAh verison, its output is 1.5A – better than 1.0, but I’d prefer 2.0.

xiaomi-powerbank-5200mah 003
Top of the Xiaomi 5200mAh power bank

On the top of it, its the switch to power on the power bank. micro to USB port, USB port and the charging LEDs. Then, if I didn’t have anything better to do, I plugged the charging cable in both those ports. Yea, I’m weird that way sometimes.

But here’s a funny fact for you. The LED status is counted from the one nearest to the port toward the outside.

Xiaomi 5200mAh powerbank LED status
Xiaomi 5200mAh power bank LED status

If we took the above picture as an example, that’s the LED 1 and LED 2 being lit at this moment. This status means the power bank is only at 50% charge or less.

RTFM

Then, because we are sometimes lazy to RTFM (hover over the word to know what it means), here’s a scan of the page which tells you what the LEDs mean during charging and discharging.

Xiaomi 5200mAh powerbank manual
Xiaomi 5200mAh power bank manual

Lastly, weight of this powerbank is not heavy and not light – makes it just nice. However, I would caution you from dropping it because though the aluminium casing feels good, I can’t stop thinking a dent will happen when dropped.

I hope this quick introduction of the Xiaomi 5200mAh power bank was useful to you and best of luck grabbing one this coming Tuesday.