Monday, August 8, 2011

Japan - Day 1

Drizzly touchdown at Narita.

Apparently, in early June, nothing really goes on in Tokyo, Japan. No festivals or celebrations (I think we missed one of them by a few days). Take note, people.

What you can see however, are the usual hustle and bustle of their everyday life. Transiting through trains; to work, to school, returning home. Surprisingly, everything was absolutely normal when we took our first step into Japan three months after the earthquake and tsunami.

It was calming, soothing and utterly normal. It felt like my home country, busy with life, except that everyone's speaking a language which I did not learn from when I was born. Their culture might be slightly different too but you won't be able to know what it is unless you stepped over the line, so before you act rashly and make the wrong move, observe what others do. Best way is probably to be absurdly polite and highly courteous, I guess, while moving around in Japan.

Anyway, first day in Japan. Remember I told you that my sister and her friend and I booked to go to Japan in June? Apparently, my sister's friend had a life matter come up, so in the end she had to cancel (half the amount of what she paid couldn't be retrieved). It was a considerable loss, since she's the most advanced in Japanese. I only took up official lessons last year.

My sister had dropped Japanese for a few years, before she decided to join back after seeing me take it up for the first time( I didn't have money to join before, I was a sad, poor student). My sister is however at least a couple of levels higher than me of course.

So my sister and I travelled in Japan, just the two of us. It was our first time travelling overseas without the rest of the family, and also first time we got out of Southeast Asia. Well, actually, in Day 1, we were too tired to do anything at all. We've never been in an in-flight for that long(almost 7 hours if I remember correctly).

So after we reached the hotel in Shinagawa (Shinagawa Prince Hotel), we pretty much collapsed and did nothing for the rest of the day except watch television. The hotel was conveniently located opposite the Shinagawa station, where we planned to take the trains to transit to and fro to our destinations.

Also, if you look out of the window, at the corner, and you try hard enough, you'll catch a sight of Tokyo Tower, which will be one of our destinations later on.

Pic taken with my sis's camera -.-;

Here's what I discovered: In the afternoons, the channels don't really show anything you want to see. Its a hell lot of news no matter which channel you switch to. I'm not sure whether it's just during our stay there or that I happened to be unlucky enough, but that's the impression I got.

Oh, and food? I discovered that the ready-to-eat meals that we brought along taste terrible. I could hardly eat them! Although my sister seems to be fine with them. Hot chocolate drinks and my thermos flask are a lifesaver though.

That night of Day 1, I turned on the TV again, only to find a nostalgic anime playing on it :3 This one:

I got excited all by myself cos my sis was already asleep. I'm almost nocturnal, apparently.

So that first day, that's what I discovered about Japan. :)

P.S. The plane takes a very long time down the runway after touchdown. I remember, because I needed to use the toilet very urgently, but it just won't stop. I think it took over 10 minutes... if I'm not mistaken. T_T So please use the toilet before the plane starts to descend.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Japan - The Before Story

Let me start off by saying, I'm not someone who comes from a well-off family, with parents who can support my expenses, with a carefree life without a need to contribute my wages for the family expenses. I come from a common family background, where money is always needed, and not always there when its needed.

It is difficult. I've wanted to go Japan since what, over 10 years ago?

That desire to want to go, kept growing each year, and my envy slowly piles up every time I heard or read of people who went there so easily. What a nasty emotion. 'It's alright for them, they have money.' What about us common folks who don't have that pile of cash?

Save your own money and wait patiently. I know, its frikkin' hard, and its not a fast process, but you need patience. I wasn't really expecting to go either, but somehow... it just happened. It happens when you least expect it :3 Apparently. And it has nothing to do with luck or whatsoever. Just real patience and perseverance. And one day, it will come true.

It all began in February this year. My sister and her friend was visiting a travel fair, looking at offers for travelling to Japan in March, and they asked me if I would like to just join them(as in just to the fair).

So I joined them later on, since I had nothing else to do. I wasn't really thinking I could go that year either, as all other years. They've told me that if I want to go with them, they'd postpone it to June, when I can go, since I can't go in March due to job obligations. They wanted to see the sakura, I think. Or something.

I told them to just go without me. And so, while they were searching through the travel fair for the best option, I walked into a nearby book fair. I messaged a friend to ask her whether I should go whilst browsing around.

As I wandered around, I made one call to my sister, and asked them whether they've decided. They haven't. After browsing through more books, I made another call, asking whether they've decided, again. They have not. My friend replied me- She told me I should just go if I want to.

I walked back to the travel fair. Somehow, something in me made me tell myself, by the third call I make, and they still haven't confirmed, I shall make them postpone to June, and I would go with them.

So I called. They said something was wrong with the system, or something like that. So, trusting my gut instinct, I told them to wait for me, let's go in June.

So they agreed.

At the end of the day, we decided to book to go to Japan in June, instead of my sister and her friend booking to go during the holidays in March.

I was wondering whether I'd regret following my instincts. But in the end, it was in a way lucky for my sister and her friend, I only realised afterwards, that they did not go in March as planned... because of the tragedy that occured in Japan >_<

My heart truly goes out to the families of the victims.

Introduction Post

I shall make this short.

Life can be really challenging being what I am. I'm not saying I'm the most religious person out there. Definitely not. But I do place limits. There are things I want to do in the world that would not come easy at all, and therefore I have to take steps to overcome the hurdles in my way. Well, for me and those like me.

And so, I begin this blog with my trip as a Muslimah, to Japan.