Sunday, August 12, 2012

Japan 2012: Off to Kansai!

WeeN's note:

It's been about two months since my Japan trip, but a part of my heart stayed there. Even now bits and pieces would randomly dislodge themselves, and fly off to join their counterparts there.

It felt as if I had never left Japan. Looking back at all the photos, scrutinizing each and every one of them patiently and picking the best ones to put up on this blog, I had a sudden rush of emotions.

I cried when the plane took off the runway of Kansai International Airport. It wasn't like my Seoul trip. True, I was sad when the plane left Incheon International Airport that I kept looking out of the window, ignoring my two friends most of the time.

But for this one, I grieved. I looked out of the window, with tears running down my face, trying my best not to cry loudly to avoid embarrassing myself in front of other passengers.

Sounds extreme, doesn't it?

But it's true.

I miss Japan.

I'd do anything to go back again.

I'd do anything to leave.

Welllllll.. ALMOST anything.

My flight to Kansai International Airport (KIX) was scheduled at 2 pm. I spent the night before having dinner with my friends and hung out with them til midnight, although I haven't pack a single thing for my 10-day trip.

Daring eh?

I slept for only an hour - not because I was excited, but I was busy packing and preparing my hotel bookings. And last minute planning.

Unlike my Seoul trip, which my two buddies thoroughly planned the itinerary, I didn't do much research. Except for how to get to my hotels and concert venues.

Hell I didn't even study the subway/metro/train map!

Honestly speaking I freaked out before leaving home, I whatsapped my buddies with:

I was nervous when my dad sent me to the LRT station, all the way during my ride to KL Sentral, and even on the bus on my way to the airport!


So much for being brave.

Anyhoos, got to LCCT, checked-in my luggage to find out that they weighed:

This is what last-minute packing does to you.

I mean. I thought I was traveling less than Seoul! I had like a backpack and a medium size carryall because I was gonna be transferring hotels a lot so I thought they weren't that bad. But still.

Lovin' the clouds here!

The whole journey took around 7 hours. The ride was pretty much ok, and I had no one sitting beside me so all was well!

at 1824 Malaysia time, not sure where this is

Reached KIX around 10 pm Japan time, rushed to pass immigration. The airport was quite quiet, there weren't any other arrivals besides us at that time.

I actually looked up and down for quite sometime to check whether I was in the correct country

Japan's immigration system requires for your hand-prints and photo to be taken at the counter when you hand in your passport. After taking your luggage you have to pass customs declaration, and a cute female officer checked my passport before asking me questions.

Officer: Are you alone?
Me: *nods* yeah..
Officer: (something like) What is your purpose here? (asked very nicely)
Me: *hesitates* (I wanted to blurt out "Watch UVERworld concert!") Tourist
Officer: *nods and passed my passport back*


Rushed and frantically tried to find the bus stop for my bus to my first hotel. I didn't bothered checking out the layout properly, so I actually went out of building, rushed through the rain to get to my stop. Then I realised there was a way to it from the inside wtf.

Yes, the rainy (梅雨) season falls during June-July in Japan. I was prepared for it, but at the same time unprepared. Couldn't buy any umbrellas since all the shops that I passed in the terminal were closed.
The bus came after half an hour (or less?) of waiting. There was only me, an old lady and a couple taking the bus and it left on time at 11 pm.

My first hotel in Japan was the Kansai Airport Washington Hotel, which is about a 10-minute drive from KIX. I know it seemed like a waste to be checking into a hotel, since I had to check out by 10 am the next day, but since I have no idea how to go about from the airport into town, and just in case if my flight gets delayed, I decided to book a night there.

I was aware of how hotels in Japan are quite small, but still I was caught off guard.

I mean the walkway from the door to the bed is just enough for one person to pass. But I got a queen-sized bed so no complaints and the room was comfortable enough. I just needed to get used to the space.

The small bathroom
Only tea. No coffee. But I don't mind! :D
Cute water boiler I want this for my own room as well!

And the necessities are complete. Heck I don't even need to bring sleeping clothes or toiletries besides my facial stuff actually!

I got my concert tickets and pocket WiFi sent to my hotel!

my saviour

The pocket WiFi is rented from this company offering rentals of pocket WiFi, data plan sim cards and also rental of iPhones! Their service is excellent, I emailed them for the first time asking whether my 3 gadgets are compatible with the pocket WiFi and they replied me in less than half an hour!

Getting the pocket WiFi was a good call, as I depended on it to use Google Maps, send e-mails, whatsapp people and get information online. Prior to my trip, I read online that free wireless network is hard to get in Japan. And true, because you need an ID to be able to use the networks available.

The only bad thing about the pocket WiFi had got to be the battery life. I was provided with an extra battery but that wasn't enough either. Maybe because I had too many gadgets connecting to it LOL


The next morning it was raining lightly..

douzo okosanaidekudasai

Was given this map by the front desk when I asked the location of the Rinku-Town station. The guy who was handling me didn't say anything and just handed me this map WITHOUT explaining anything. So put off by that. The least he could do was point and say, "Oh, it's that way Miss " or something like that. Out of the five hotels I checked into, this front desk left me the worst impression while checking in. Luckily when I checked out I was attended by a nice and polite lady.

Checked out at nearly 10 am just to get my money's worth. :P I was scheduled to take a bus that night to Fukuoka, so I had so much time to kill.

Using Google Maps, I navigated my way to the Rinku Premium Outlets.

Osaka Prefecture University, Rinku-Town Campus
thank God for signboards!
when I saw this I just smiled! even when my shoulders were aching from carrying my bags
Rinku Pleasure Town SEACLE

My first breakfast in Japan wasn't Japanese.

i needed the coffee, hence a Western breakfast

had some Tomato BLT in a herby kind of bagel. a variety of bagel for you to choose for your fillings!

It was a Sunday so towards noon there were a lot of people. Mostly were there just to walk around. And there were so many dogs! The dogs would not bother one another - the most they did was just sniff each other out and then lalalala off they go! And Japanese really pamper their dogs well - some were in clothes and carriers, and I saw one in a stroller.


I thought it was a kid but when I saw how furry the "kid" was, I thought something was off. And it was actually a dog. Can't remember what breed though.

My late lunch at Kineya, which specialises in handmade udon.

curry udon with pork cutlet topping and some kind of rice  (かやくご飯) and my favourite Japanese beer! :D The whole meal cost me 1,540 yen, which is approximately RM62 wtf so expensive now only I realise
not sure what I was daydreaming of. this was before skype-ing home.
I love Japanese vending machines though they made me spend unnecessarily hahaha

So I didn't buy anything from the outlets except for a hat and an umbrella to protect myself from the rain. I was tempted to buy something from Samantha Thavasa, but I already told myself that my purpose in Japan was not to shop!

Ah. I wish I had sat on the ferris wheel.
These girls were so cute! I actually wanted to snap photo of the sign when one of them just suddenly posed! So I gestured all of them to pose for me and they readily did! Made my day! :D

I was a little nervous since I didn't check how to get to the place where I was supposed to take my bus, which was the Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル) so I went to the りんくうタウン駅 (Rinku-Town Station) before it got dark.

when i saw this, i think my blood pressure shot up. the station names were mostly in Japanese!

I googled my way to Umeda Sky Building, bought an ICOCA card, which is something like our Touch 'N' Go and Korea's T-Money.

I was actually scared when I saw there were two tracks - one for the NANKAI line, and one for the JR. I had no idea which one to take so I decided to stick to Platform 3.

Saw the Rapi:t train stopping on the opposite side. This train connects the Kansai International Airport and the Namba Station. I think it's a little bit expensive, since it looks luxurious and they have stewardesses on the train.

I took the rapid service train to my destination, which I cannot remember what station now so just shoot me will you?

the train does not automatically open its doors at all stops. at certain stops the light will will go off and you need to press the button to open the door

The train ride was a little more than half an hour. When I reach the station (if I remember then I will tell) I was clueless as well. So Google Maps to the rescue! Randomly walked towards my destination. It wasn't even 9 pm but the streets were quite empty that it was scary.

Successfully reached Umeda Sky Building. Luckily I've seen photos of it, so I pretty much knew how it looked like.

looks like a spacecraft, doesn't it? my jaws dropped when I saw this

I had this impression that Umeda Sky Building was nothing but just floors of offices, so imagine my surprise when I saw it was so alive that night!

It was a Sunday night, and don't this people need to work the next day?

Then I found out it was the Belgian Beer Weekend, which started on the 13th, and ending that night.

I was too late, the tickets were sold out! Imagine drinking more than 80 types of Belgian beers, at only RM40! :S

this dude was made out of mint boxes!

Hope to be able to catch it again someday. Heehee.

I proceeded to the place to take my bus, which is at the East Tower of the building on the first floor. Was so amazed at the waiting area! It's like a small terminal, with all the details of the buses departing on monitors, and complete with well-dressed staff to assist you. There was even online check-in kiosks!

I actually sought help from one of the girls by showing my confirmation printout, thinking that she would guide me to the kiosk. Instead she took me to the counter and pass me to her male colleague, and he took out my boarding pass which is in English.

He told me that the bus could be boarded 10 minutes before the departure time. So I waited til it was time to go! I actually saw two women carrying UVERworld tour 2012 tote bags and got so excited to see fellow UVERfans going to Fukuoka for the show as well.

I guess I wasn't the only one traveling so far just to see them.


I booked a bus ticket to and from Fukuoka from Willer Express. The website is in English so it was a great help! Bus tickets actually cost more than 5,000 yen per trip to Fukuoka depending on the seat type, so I bought the 3-day bus pass, which is actually a waste since I'm only doing two trips (can do up to 6 trips for 3 days using the pass), but still cheaper than buying the tickets separately!

This is just the beginning, so stay tune for my Fukuoka post! :D

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