Host clubs and UFO catchers

We started the morning with homemade sushi and glorious clam soup made by baba (grandmother). The freshly made soup was warm with fresh clams. Truly a lovely start to our day. ありがとうね ばば。

Before we made our way to Shinsaibashi and Doutonbori, we detoured to Nipponbashi once again to hunt for Kotobukiya. This time with the help of our aunt and her car, we finally were able to locate Kotobukiya!

And guess what, we saw Danboard merchandise the moment we entered! Woot. If you didn’t know, I’ve kinda got a tiny obsession with Danboard. Lol. However though, none of us except Ariel walked away empty handed on this visit.

We then headed over to Shinsaibashi and Doutonbori. The area is famous for its night clubs, as well as hosts club. I will visit one of these places, one day, one day I tell you. 😛

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Six club #shinsaibashi #visitjapan

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Then not far away, you can walk over and snap photos with the giant king crabs or infamous “Glico man”. But first, time to eat the best ramen in Osaka.

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Itadakimasu #kamukura #dotonburi #visitjapan

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The soup was light, noodles were not under nor over cooked and pork was yums. Though the best memory I had of this place, call me weird, was the ordering process before sitting. Because what we did was order using a touchscreen near the entrance, pay, and then take a seat. That’s brilliant! Especially with the problem in Malaysia eateries where many patrons “chup” their seats before bringing their food to the table. Someone please do this in Malaysia!

Back here in Japan, we walked into a building with UFO catchers, photo machines and machines which I’m not sure what to call them. You sit at these machines, put coins and get the existing coins in the machine to be pushed down. Help me out here, okay. Lol.

My bro-in-law spent quite a bit catching a figurine because it was almost going to fall, but it still challenged the catcher’s weak arm. Thankfully, it did drop in the end and I suppose it’s the desire to not let your early efforts go to waste that makes you spend a lot on a machine once you start.

Well, next time I’ll be writing will be about a great place by the sea. Till next time. 🙂

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. 😛

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.

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いってきます。#visitjapan #vscocam

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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。