Let’s go to the mall

It was a healthy helping of “yasai” (vegetable) for this morning’s breakfast with a variety of Japanese spinach, Japanese chili and cucumbers prepared in Korean style. Then a new found dish (to me), mini bun with a slice of butter and drips of maple syrup. Mmm…

Once we had our fill and cleansing of our innards, it was time to depart out to an unexplored place known as Toki Premium Outlet Mall. Think of a colonial designed mini town space filled with brand outlets. Back in Melbourne, they’re known as factory outlets.

Toki Premium Outlets surprise finding: Brooks Brothers shirts are made in Malaysia #visitjapan #vscocam

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There were numerous brands from familiar ones like LEGO to New Balance and other ones I’ve not heard before. Then I came to learn that some products are exceptionally cheaper (up to 50%) because they were last season’s collection.

One surprising observation I noticed when walking around Brooks Brothers was the shirts were, made in Malaysia. (0.0) But if you plan to purchase anything from this place, best to know your product prices to compare before hand whether you’d be getting a good deal – maybe MYR 100-200+ off.

On a separate note, I might have found a new fascination for an item in Japan – ceramics.

きれいですね。#ceramics #visitjapan #vscocam

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Their patterns can be really pretty, like the one above. And it’s made in Japan. Sorry for my fanboy-ness, I love Japan. 😀

Oh Malaysia, how-lah. I love you too, but Japan is winning me over.

An udon brunch, woodwork masterpieces and public bath

It was a pretty cold morning when I was automatically awake at 8am today. The air was still and chilly around the house, but when you stepped into the sun’s rays shining through the window, you’d feel its warmth on your skin.

Brunch japanese style and it was 美味しい‼︎ #marugame #udon #gifu #visitjapan #vscocam

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Once everyone was up and ready, we left for a place we saw advertised on the TV called; Marugame Udon. When we got to the front, there was already a queue formed going into the outlet.

What made this eatery unique was they made their own udon noodles at the place. You could either order plain udon noodles or rice to eat with your variety of tempura food, or try the newly advertised meal which was a bowl of udon noodles with 3-4 pieces of tempura meat – it was good! And a big helping.

In olden times #magomejuku #gifu #visitjapan #vscocam #japan

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After a heavy brunch, we drove to a mountainous area known as Magomejuku. Olden buildings of wood still stood strong here, they’ve a stream system with cool water from the mountains and some of them converted into cafes or selling souvenirs handmade from wood.

If you climbed a little more just after the small town, there’s a lookout point for you to sit and take in the mountain scenery. It’s nothing like the historical mesmerization you’d get looking at the Great Wall of China, but it was a very nice change of scene from staring at buildings or roads.

Dinner was at a sushi restaurant, our first visit to one since we landed in Japan. It was packed when we arrived and understood why when apparently it was an eat most of the sushi on the menu for only 100 Yen. (0.0)

Once we started eating, there were a few things to notice. Food is ordered using a touchscreen monitor beside the “kaiten” belt. After you were done eating, you place your plate into a designated “hole”. And here’s something different, 5 plates automatically enters you into a “gatchapon” draw. The prize is from the box just above your table. Wha?!

温泉いいでしょ。#gifu #onsen #visitjapan #vscocam

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To wrap this day up, we headed to experience our first public bath (onsen). The centre was pretty expensive looking from the time you keep your shoes into a locker, to the time you walk past their eating and waiting area and finally, baths.

The steps of the public bath as explained by our cousin was get naked, bring your small towel, clean up at the shower spaces and then, get into the public bath. In total, available indoor baths were at 41 degrees, 36 degrees, 16 degrees and 2 jacuzzi baths. At this centre, there was also 3 outdoor baths – lying down, 36 degrees and children’s bath.

If you’re wondering whether everyone was modest or comfortable, it was a mix of the two. Though I guess more locals were comfortable walking around without the need to cover up, as compared to the ones such as myself.

Oh oh. And the one thing we had to do, as seen in anime, was to drink milk / coffee once you’re done with the public bath. However, I never expected the drink to be cold as I always thought it was warm. But now I know. :p

Until the next time, I hope to be more comfortable in the public baths later and take in more of the Japanese culture still waiting for me on this trip.

がんばれ わたし。

Good ol Studio Ghibli

How do you pronounce “Ghibli” ? I’ve always called it “Gib-Li”. However, I learnt locals pronounce it as “Gee-Bree”. And that makes sense after reading the Japanese katakana form used to spell it.

Getting to the Ghibli museum wasn’t difficult. You can get there via a train and then wait for the specific bus to take you to the location. Note though the bus isn’t free.

We were part of the early few there before they open at 10AM. The one thing you should know if you’re a photographer / Instagram-mer is NO PHOTOGRAPHY is permitted indoors at all times.

お化け‼︎ ? #ghibli #tokyo #visitjapan #nofilter #japan

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The outdoors, however, is free to be photographed. And this big guy above stands on the rooftop. If you do manage to get to the museum before opening hours, you may want to head to the roof first once you enter and snap your shots before the queue forms for the big guy.

Inside the museum, if you’re an animation fan, artist, animator, designer or someone who appreciates fine work, you’ll love the exhibited items. And like Disneyland, there’s a store inside for you to bring back memorabilia of the Ghibli museum.

Once we were done, we decided to depart and climb the Tokyo Tower to try our luck to see Mount Fuji in the distance.

Hello Tokyo Tower. #tokyo #visitjapan #vscocam #japan

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On the main observatory deck, it was a cloudy day and I didn’t notice a sign pointing whereabout Fuji could be located, unlike others telling you where was Shibuya and etc. But since it was cloudy anyway, we wouldn’t be able to view Fuji. So we left.

Tomorrow we’re saying goodbye to Tokyo, but not Japan just yet. Thank goodness!

The happiest place on Earth (Japan version)

We woke up very early at 6.30am hoping to chow down breakfast, get to the station, take a train and reach Tokyo Disneyland just in time for the gates to open. Though we made good time, it was a large crowd already storming into the happiest place on Earth and this crowd were mainly locals.

The happiest place on Earth with Japanese in the foreground. #tokyo #disneyland #visitjapan #vscocam

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The day wasn’t moving too much in our favor because it was showers throughout the whole day. Despite it being light, moving around with a raincoat wasn’t my kind of happy. However, in comparison to Universal Studios Japan, this crowd was better.

Ooh ooh. If it does shower when you’re here, be sure to gobble down a nice warm turkey leg. It is the best thing to have during a chilly weather. Well, at least I think so.

Tastes like Twisties, kinda. #tokyo #disneyland #visitjapan #vscocam

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While following the paths, there was a familiar smell in the air – curry. We tracked the scent to a kiosk and bought some to tickle our taste buds. It kind of reminded me of a light Twisties taste.

The rides we managed to get on were Pirates of The Caribbean (PoTC) and their new jungle expedition. I must say, PoTC did very well with the movement of the puppets and environmental lighting to make them look very real. Plus, the mouth movements was not your typical jaw dropping and raising. Really well done.

But since the rain wasn’t letting up, we left Disneyland earlier than we hoped and went to another happy place – for anime and mange enthusiasts.

Homage to the mighty Gundam of Odaiba – check. #tokyo #gundam #visitjapan #vscocam

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Welcome to Diver City Plaza, Odaiba. Hello Gundam.

If you paused long enough, its head will start moving, dramatic smoke will appear from its body, its arms will stretch, and its legs will move forward. Okay, maybe its arms and legs aren’t moving yet, but they probably will someday. Then Japan will be able to split their parks and raise their robot armies deep from underground. Lol.

To wrap up the the day, we returned to Akihabara and entered the building; Radio Kaikan. It was a multi-level complex with many stores for various interests from Danboard, Nendoroid, Figma, Gundam, Volks dolls and others.

Let’s just say, I’ve a small Danboard obsession and something really good to build and share with you later. 😛

Tokyo oh Tokyo

This morning we departed from Gifu via the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Tokyo. When we bought the tickets with our aunt’s help, it didn’t seem that confusing, but it was a different story than we did on our own later.

Shinkansen ikou~ \(^o^)/ #shinkansen #visitjapan

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It was my first experience riding the train and when it arrived, it was quite interesting to see its true shape. The tickets we bought had allocated seats like an airline and during the trip, there was even a stewardess (not sure if that’s what you call the role) pushing a cart with food for passengers to purchase.

The train was really fast although when you look out the window, it may not be as obvious. At some point we were wondering whether we could view Mt. Fuji but we weren’t sure whether it was the actual thing.

Moments later when we reached Tokyo, we decided to buy our tickets back to Gifu in advance. This was when we weren’t sure what the officer selling the tickets was explaining to us, although we did still manage to buy the tickets.

Once that was done and we got out of the station to walkover to our hotel, we had to pause a few minutes because Tokyo’s “sky tree” tower was in clear view.

Hello Tokyo. #nofilter #visitjapan

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After checking in and taking a short break, we left to see the giant lantern at Shinsoji. Then made our way to the land of otaku; Akihabara.

Paying homage to Akihabara. #akihabara #tokyo #visitjapan

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It so happened when we walked out from the station, we were already walking into Yodabashi Camera. We spent at least 2 hours in there combing through the figures and continued walking around Akihabara to see what else it had to offer us.

Needless to say, we didn’t return empty handed and will probably make another trip there before we leave.

Hello Tokyo. #nofilter #visitjapan

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I hope I’ll be able to fit all of the goodies from this trip into my bag when I leave later. In the meantime, I’ll not worry about it and look forward to the happiest place on Earth soon.