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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Japan Naman! (Japan This Time Around!) -- The TaDi Japan Special


New World in 2012.  When I crafted this battlecry for 2012, I didn't expect that the turnout will be that fast.  January 02 is when I heard the good news about our Japan trip!  And woah, it was just a great way to kick off the year!  After Hong Kong, Dongguan, Shenzhen, Asian Cruise in HK, Sanya City and Vietnam, Shanghai, and Singapore, foydi is now headed to a little much farther place.  This year, it's Japan Naman! (Japan This Time Around!)

At first I can't believe the trip in Japan but I guess dreams really do come true.  Finally, I'll be in the land where Godzilla, Voltes V, Ghost Fighter and even Sadako came from!  :D  I suddenly thought of what Japan has to offer (aside from the snow in Mount Fuji! hehe) -- a marvelous culture both ancient and modern (think of ninjas, shoguns, geishas, sumo wrestling and then of animes, manga, game shows, toys and hit movies), an amazing technology plus transport system, a laudable way of life and of course a great cuisine!

But bundled with the excitement is the pressure of preparing for the trip.  Applying for VISA was quite a long process but our trip's travel coordinators / agency helped us in every step of the way.  And then since we are up for a winter vacation, we needed to gear up in terms of clothes and toiletries.  It was a month long search for winter clothes but I only managed to focus on the preparation a week for the actual trip.  (Yup, blame it to my January load hehe).  I looked for winter jackets, clothes for layering, walking shoes fit for the weather, thermal underwear, lip balm, moisturizer, sunblock, and medicines among many others! 

February 05, a day before our flight, I went on a last minute shopping mission.  I started the search at 11:30 am and ended at 8:30 pm!  And when I got home, I started packing.  At 12 midnight, I was done with my 2 luggage bags and 1 back pack.  And then I went online to attend to some last minute work emails and pending blogs.  At 1:30 am, I was done with all the desk stuff.  Our flight was at 8 am but we needed to be at the airport by 5 am!  So I took a power nap from 2 to 3, took a bath and dress up from 3 to 4, and then headed to NAIA Terminal 1.  Good thing though that the flight is about 5 hours, enough time for me to have a real sleep.

And from there, we went through the tedious airport check-in process.  I just can't believe that a stone age like process still exists in the digital era.  Oh well, I just thought that I really have to go through this phase in able for me to savor the well deserved winter vacation.  

I asked for a window seat because I wanted to take some aerial view shots.  And thanks to Lolo Myke Soon who lent me his digicam, I was able to take these fabulous shots.  (My Olympus camera's flash is not working again so I borrowed a digicam for indoor shots.)

Aerial view of Northern Philippines

 In photo are aerial shots from the window of Delta Airlines.  First shows the normal weather, second shows the winter weather, third shows the plane's arrival to Narita airport.

 Window 1 is still in the Philippines, Window 2 is at South China Sea, Window 3 is in Japan.

But before the much awaited sleep, breakfast was served.

The choice was between beef and scrambled egg. I chose scrambled egg and I liked the set I got.  The spam complements the egg. 

At 12:30 (Tokyo is +1 hour), we arrived at the Narita Airport.  Unlike Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore's airports, Tokyo's was quite tranquil.  Perhaps because it's winter time.  Everyone then finally geared up for the winter clothes.  And when we finally went out of the building to get to our bus, we finally felt the winter air!  And goodness, it's really freezingly cold! 

Since we needed to proceed to Asakusa temple right away, we were given this pack to keep us full during the trip.

To give you a snapshot of what took place during the trip, please see below:

Day 1 - Narita Airport
          - Asakusa Kannon Temple
          - Pass by at Imperial Palace
          - Shinjuku
          - Hearton Hotel Higashai Shinagawa

Day 2 - Gotemba Premium Outlet
          - Lake Sahi in Hakone
          - Mount Fuji
          - Ginza District

Day 3 - Tokyo National Museum
          - Flea Market
          - Akihabara

Day 4 - Hotel Sakura Ikkebukuro
           - Meiji Shrine
           - Harajuku
           - Shibuya

Day 5 - Ueno Zoological Gardens
          - Akihabara (Gundam Cafe, Mandarake)
          - Personal Exploration of Train System

Day 6 - Odaiba Water Front
          - Narita Airport

Japan Naman is comprised of a 6-day trip / exploration so all can't be put in just one blog post.  Let me end this story for now but please do expect the Japan Naman series in the next few days that features the fantastic places I saw, the fabulous people I met and the awesome experiences I had in Japan.

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