Saturday, 31 December 2016

NOV '15 | 大阪市, Osaka.

I have issues. It's been over a year since my trip to Japan and I still feel need to update it in an ocd-like manner with the exact order of my visits. Ultimate laziness needs to be left behind in 2016 and replaced with organisation skills. This is my nostalgic tribute to my visit in Osaka. ヤーホー Yaho!
Dotonburi Canal |  90's style transportation
We wanted to immerse ourselves into the modern side of Japan, and we thought that Osaka was the perfect contrast to our previous destination in Kyoto, although I've got to say- the underground 'metro' (I can't think of what they're called) were old fashioned AF.  Situated in the Kansa region of Japan, we could hardly wait to get our shopping on for the day at Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Centre.

Help. It was heaven. A long outdoor arcade of endless shops filled with quirky Japanese fashion items and beauty products. The bladdy beauty products. Tax-free shopping literally sent me over the edge and I went crazy, throwing things into my basket like no tomorrow.

I was suddenly enticed by novelty items that I would never have thought of buying and now I have the receipts of my impulse buy at the pharmacy to remind me of the eye drops I once bought in 2015 stapled into my passport. Sidenote: Japanese eye drops are bleach, I'm sure of it. They sting like a b-.

The Japanese love their games, and we discovered an arcade which came hand in hand with multiple photo booths. Despite us looking like aliens as an end result, you've got to give them props for the editing opportunities. There was a 'timer' system implemented and we had 60 seconds to type our names. In Japanese characters. Say hello to Kutsuno and Fuso! 

The rest of the evening entailed a visit to Dotonburi, which was close-by. The streets were bustling with neon lights, restaurants with gigantic 3D seafood plaques attached to them and souvenir shops; those night-time vibes were everything. And the 2-man karaoke booths which let us sing to our hearts content and led to us getting three hours of sleep, perfect for our next day at Universal World. Thank goodness for hot-tea in a bottle from the vending machines.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

NOV '15 | 京都市 Kyoto, Japan.

Ticking off the last destination on the 2015 Asia to go-list, I chose to go to the land of Kawaii, where I could fulfil my Geisha dreams, eat a copious amount of sushi/ ramen and go crazy on the beauty shopping front. 京都市 Konnichiwa, Japan! 

We arrived at Kansai Airport in Osaka and caught the Haruka Express to Kyoto, also known as the thousand-year capital, with our Hello Kitty travel ICOCA cards in hand. (Hello. Kitty. Help.) Shoutout to my travel guide and itinerary planner, Sharon for working out that complex travel system with its excessive amount of lines. Shinsaibashi, Yotsubashi, Sakaisuji-Hommachi... 

We managed to find our way (after what felt like some detective work involving complicated .pdf instructions) into our little quaint apartment and we were greeted with the traditional futon life and heated toilet seats which sprayed water in places which I didn't think were possible. Wish we could have stayed longer, I swear I had a better sleep on the floor than my usual abode. 

After a hectic morning of finding a place to store our luggage during rush hour (their subway stations have lockers which is an amazing idea- England, take note) we managed to somehow bus it to visit Kinkajui Temple; not before dressing for the occasion though, which proved to be a little difficult when we couldn't find the Kimono rental place for the life of us. We decided to eventually 'Skype call' the Kimono lady out of pure desperation and despite the major language barrier problems which encountered, we quite literally bumped into the friendliest Kimono lady on the main road as she closed her shop just for to hunt down three illiterate girls who couldn't use Google Maps.

We were ushered into the prettiest Japanese machiya, which was everything I imagined a traditional Japanese housing to look like with its raised wooden walkways and picturesque gardens; it was such a dream- can I stay in Japan forever, please? 100 layers later (well not quite but effort, the effort) and off I went in my pink kimono, clomping to Kinkajui in the smallest geta shoes known to man whilst getting mistaken as part of the tourist attraction. 'Picture for Italy! Picture for Italy!' So, I guess I'm on some random Italian lady's Facebook uploads with my purple hair.