yo dude/dudette. this is shuli. shooooleeee. pronunciation is impt. =D

well, this is my japan journal. eh basically about my trip to japan. its for remembrance sake lah. yess! and also to rmb the people whom i forgot to exchange contacts with. haha. well, enjoy it. and if you do happen to anyone who went to japan, 9th to 15th dec, from singapore, chan brothers, and in this 7 days japan delight thingy, SIA, tell me. here.

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all thoughts, feelings, desires, etc copyrighted me. japan trip '03.

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Feb 2, 2004

Posted at 03:50 pm by ::shoolee
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Dec 30, 2003
da basic intro.

okay. this is to help all you people who are going to read this thing and don't know what to do or know what to do. okay, that sounded weird, but even if you know what to do (read lah! duh) just read this anyway. it'll help you understand everything in this journal more easily. so basically, when you read the journal, navigate with the calendar. do NOT read from top to bottom because if you do so u'll be reading in reverse.

so basically this was a chan brothers (this travel agency) trip. It's called the 7 days Japan delight. if you find the itinary or the stuff you're reading here, or the trip interesting, you can book a similar trip. here. (this is not an advert. its a recommendation) and so basically, we were in a tour group, on a package tour, all over japan. the tour group had 46 people, not including the tour leader and tour guide. I shall try to remember who the 46 people are. and try as i might to remember their family numbers. okay seriously i cant rm any family numbers except my family number and family 12. cos we were family 11.

so these were the people on the trip. the people I can remember. not in any order. and of course the tour leader and the guide...
tour leader (mr chan)
our tour leader, mr chan, was this really really short guy. and he's been tourleading for ages and ages and so he;s really experienced. he tells a lot of jokes, and they're really funny. everyone cracks up. he insists we shouldnt sleep on the bus or anything as since we already paid so much to come here we shouldnt waste a single cent. well, he says that cos we keep falling asleep everytime the tour guide talks. haha

tour guide (mr zhang)
our tour guide came to japan years back with his 2 sisters on a scholarship. he got into one of the super famous universities in japan (like my dad was saying). makes me wonder... if he graduated from a famouss university then why waste it and go tour guiding? but anyway he said he felt that working just didn't suit him.
well, he ca't talk that well as compared to mr chan. and mr chan keeps "reprimanding him" but my dad was saying they were playing politics. mr chan that is. so well, everytime he started talking everyone would fall asleep. and he doesn't do anything about it. okay he does. he says, "hai2 shi4 wo3 de chui1 mian2 gong1 fu1 zui4 hao3" which means something like i'm still the one best at putting people to sleep or somethign arnd there. and so because of his boring talking and talk with not much info we always end up going to a place but knowing nuts about it. yeps.
my family = dad, mum, me, bro, sis
okay so this is my family. i don't think there is anything much i can say. haha

daphne's family (including cousins)= daph's dad, daph's mum, daph(sec3_rg), eugene(sec2_tchs), lynette(j2_pioneerjc), daph's cousins' mum, dad, daph's cousins' grandma.
it wasn't until like the 4th day that daphne found out i was in rgs and i found out she was also in rgs. daphne's a psl. yay. and yea, that's about all i know baout her family. no amusing incidents. oh yes. daphne met her best friend shiyun at the chinese restaurant in kyoto then again at the kiyomizu temple. at the shops i think.

family 12 = that sec 2 guy, his mum, his dad. that j1 guy, his mum, his dad.
that sec 2 guy was way tall. even taller than his j1 cousin. then he knew practically everything about mount fuji. haha. prolly studied before he went there. and then the j1 guy's dad knew this whole load of stuff on kid's brains and how you shuold develop them while the kids are still young and everything. and stuff like the shigita method etc etc. then my sis got really attached to the sec 2 guy's mum just cos she sheltered her. haha. and then my sister and bro enjoyed playing with the adults of this family. they were nicela. and besides their sons were alredi oold. and then they were family 12 and we were 11 so we were sitting like either right in front or right behind them for a coupla days.

kimberley's family= kimberley, her dad, her mum
i remember kimberley gave my bro this plushie colorful dog (which he still is keeping) because she won three plushies and then she didn't want so many and so she gave one away. at first she wanted to give it to my sis but my sis dint dare to accept and so my thick skinned brother took it. well, kimberley always had her way. her mum would get her whatever she wanted. there was once during lunch her mum was saying something about how she didn't wanted her daughter to be a backpacker and something. it was like, "when you grow up, mummy will never allow you do go backpacking, like som girls do... ...". her father's a heavy smoker. always sneaks away to smoke. cos few people on our tour grp are smokers. finsh your meal early and you'll find him smoking outside the restaurant.

this rather old couple= the guy, the lady
i remember the lady said that her children were like 20++, which means she's rather old. she puts on heavy makeup. and i think even without the makeup her complexion would be beautiful. didn't have much scars on her face la. and then she was saying that their family didn't go on tour together because if they did there wouldn't be anyone to take care of the dog and they really loved the dog. yeps.

the young couple = the guy, the lady
this couple were rather young. and they sat with our family and kimberley's family for many many meals. basically all the meals which our tour group was given 4 and a half table. cos the couple, kimberley's family, and ours made 10 people, table3. yeps. that's all i noe about the couple

vanessa's family = vanessa (sec3_tkg), her sis (j1), her mum, her dad
vanessa's in my contact list now. daphne exchanged contacts with her and i got her contacts thru daphy. well, she and her sis look wayy younger than they really are. yea. i foundout their ages at the spa la. where my mum talked to their mum. my sis also liked their mum i think. was it? can't really remember.

the guy travelling with his dad = the guy(sec4), his dad
this guy is weird. daphy told me that he jogged at night. well, he is one of the few people which we do not know how to contact. so if u recognise yourself, and if u fit into this description, email me. click on the "here" in the left column. he saw telling the tour guide that it wasn't exactly very convenient for his mum to go on tours as yea, u get the point. and his bro dint want to go so he went with his dad only.

jianyuan and his family (at first we thot he had the same name as my bro)= dad, mum, younger bro(k2), him(p3)
at the osaka castle we heard his mother shouting something that sounded somewhat like my bro's name and we were very amused. then when my mum called out for my brother his mother turned around. it was then that we found out his name and everything. my bro claims his name is jianyuan. i thought it was junyuan too but nevermind anyway. he's around my bro's height and one year older(jianyuan). and his bro is arnd my sis height but one year older too. haha. they were really quiet compared to my bro and my sis. and jianyuan looks exactly like his mum

the timberland family(i call them that cos of their jackets. the mum's as short as ms ng) = mum, dad, bro, sis
the first time i actually "saw" them was at universal studios, when we were queueing up to enter terminator 2 3d. and then i noticed almost all of them were wearing timberland jackets. prolly a rich family. i dunno about the mother. can't really remember if she was also wearing a timberland jacket. the father is really tall and the mother rather short. interesting. and their son is also very "into" gameboys. just like my brother. i guess its a passing stage. haha

grace's "family"= grace, mum
the first time i talked to grace was in the chinese restaurant in kyoto. when we were sitting at the same table. kimberley and her parents were at the same table too. it was then that i found out she was also in sec1. earlier on that day at osaka castle i was literally like. soo delightedto find someone who also wore braces. haha. hers were orange. i think. she's from bukit panjang government high. and in the same church as alicia ang.  i think i'll prolly be able to get her contacts. hope so la. i found that out when she was talking to me at the spa.

the family whose mum and daughter look the same= dad, mum, daughter, son
i didn't really like, get to know this family. they, like the timberland family, were rather distant. all i realised was that the mother and daughter really looked alike. you can see for yourself in the bigger version of the picture. they're standing at the extreme right. the daughter is in yellow. her mum is beside her. so i can't really tak much about them cause i dun really noe much. yeps.

so i believe those are all the people in the tour group. 46 altogether. i counted already. i uploaded a picture of me tour group. the group picture. kimberley and her parents aren't in the picture. i suppose they were somewhere else then. so for the group picture, you can see the enlarged version here, so as to see the faces of the people clearly. because if you just look at it like that you won't be able to see much. just click on the picture to take you to the bigger version. it opens in a new window

Free Photo Albums from Bravenet 

Posted at 03:59 pm by ::shoolee
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Dec 14, 2003
seventh day aka last day. free and easy, Tokyo Narita Airport.

okay.. so today was the last day.. sad.. yeah... morning call was at 8am that day. and i got a fake crap morning call. our family got like 3 morning calls? so irritating. and my mum lsaid there was one at 5 plus. good thing i didn't get waken up. haha. so then we went upstairs to have our breakfast. this time they didn't have a table for five. and so they broughtus to this room which is outside the restaurant but which was still part of the place. and there we ate. no view from there. and no designer stuff. haha. the interior design loked like a normal restaurant with the pink tablecloths and etc. and then my sis spilled water there. hah sigh... so then we met up with the tour guide and a bunch of other people at the lobby. and then we went to this observatory thing. two tall towers. where the top level, level 45, was made into an observatory of sorts. so we went there.. with these other people frmo the tour group. i don't really remember who was there. i remember grace was there though. yeah. and her mum and her weer taking pictures against the scenery. can see mountfuji from there you know. damn cool. oh and yes, they had women there to press the lift for us and to take us up to the 45th storey. there was anorth observatory and a south one. we wentto the north one. so when we entered the lift, the woman pressed the button and you could literally feel the lift rising and rising, going higher and higher. and till a certainpoint in time you coul;d even feel the pressure in your ears.

So after we got downfrom the observatory, we went off to takashimaya times square. the bottom floor was really cold. and they had lots and lots and lots of branded stuff. eeks. expensive. and then out of the nine floors of taka, 7 were dedicated to women's apparel. there was one whole floor dedicated to boots. i like their boots. but they were really expensive. i would have bought them if they weer cheaper. sad.. and then there was one floor for stationery, toys, andthe like. so there was this really cute notebook, which looked like th eface of a pig. yeah. and then there was one which looked like that of a duck, and many other animals lah. daphy bought the pig one for Gillian. then my bro got a cartridge there. ad now when he plays his gameboy i can take a lok at it and see if i understand the jap in there. heh. bu i take real long. i'm sloww. lol. and then my sis and i didn't get anything.

Posted at 12:00 am by ::shoolee
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Dec 13, 2003
sixth day. tokyo disneyland.

so this was the long awaited day. my brother and sis were really excited and everything. so its like in the morning we had breakfast in washington hotel. my dad wanted to go early in case we didn't get any seats or anything. and so we met vanessa and her family in the queue. cool right. and then the restaurant was really nicely fashioned. it was called Manhattan table or something like that. cant really remember the restaurant name and the pamphlet i took of "shinjuku Washington Hotel" has no mention of it at all. and so its like they had these long tubes from the ceiling to the floor. long transparent tubes. with wine glasses stacked one on top of the other. and then the design and etc was really wonderful and everything. so designer... haha. and then they claimed to offer full american vreakfast but the thing was that if they had bacon they dint have sausages and etc etc. but they always always had scrambled egg. that was practically the first time we got to eat bacon for breakfast. okay second time. the first time we had really fatty bacon. i don't really enjoy bacon cos of all the fats but i TRY to. haha. especially when i had been taking scrambled eggs as breakfast staple for the past 5 days, bacon was greatly welcomed. haha. and so after breakfast, we set off for disneyland.

Then on the way i saw this brownish building. beside disneyland. called disney resort. i don't know why i'm mentioning it but nevermind. just trying to remember as many things about japan as possible. and so the tour guide then told us that disneyland actually wasn't in tokyo but in chiba. it was just called tokyo because if they called it chiba disneyland no one would know where the hell it was. so yeah. the tour guide also said something about japs feeling great everytime they went to disneyland. so they would just buy somethign real small but carry a bi big plastic bag. like how people like to use nike plastic bags etc etc in singapore. weird human mentality. and then he even said there were these disneyland clubs that were formed and consisted of disneyland ardent fans. who would visit disneyland whenever they got the chance too. japs are weird. haha

so we reached lah. and it was real cold. the carpark was like one big plot of land with no end. i remember they classified the carpark space into like goofy, mickey etc etc. really cute. it would be like "section G-goofy" haha. and then we went to the entrance. which was really crowded. but we didn't need to queue cos we could buy thegroup ticket thingy with the number of people we had. and then mr chan was telling us later on on the bus that the other tour group from singapore had this problem because they had too little people and hence hadta queue up but in the end they still bought the group tickets, with the extra tickets unused. he was saying somehting about keeping the customers satisfied and being able to reuse the tix as long as you dont enter on that day. but on the day u reuse them you hafta pay a certain amount depending on how old the ticket already is. i think. yeah.

and so we entered. we follwed the tour guide lah. and so we din't exactly get any fast pass so yeah we didn't manage to maximize our time and everything. so first we went to this MicroAdventure thing. something somewhat liek honey i shrunk the kids. yeah. except you were the ones being shrunk. haha. so the queue was like rather logn and everything. but from the queuing place we got a good view of what was outside. my mum took a lot of picture. she's infatuated with pictures.. lol. and then after this whol long time of queuing we finally got in. and the show was nice lah. another 3d show. and then there was this part where there were rats or something. something would come out from under your cair and tickle you. really real. my brother pulled it. and then he told me it was wire. lol. then its like when the dog shakes the water off him there really is water splashing at you in the face and evrything lorh. damn cool. (this was where i saw this guy with the social studies jacket. it was orange i think)

and then after that we went to pirates of the carribean. my sis got totally freaked out. cos like the pirates' faces were like so red and evreything and it was liek so creepy. and then i only realised that it almost identical to the pirates of the carribean show after i watched it. so there was this part where you sailed through this whole chunk of water and then there was this ship at the side bombing you. well actually, it was just like spraying water at you. haha. nice la. and then there was this part fo teh dungeon thingy where these pirates were trying to lure a dog with a bone. its also in the show. and then another part with all the men chasing the women and like even the rooster was chasing the hen. and then another part where this skeleton was drinking water and you coul see the water flow through his body. really cool. and then there was this part with another skeleton standing behind this whole pile of treasures and everything. it was also in the show. basically everything was in the show. haha. and then there was this short drop. not fun larh. should have been a bigger drop. then it would have been funner. basically not much thrill though. i want thrill! sigh.

and then after the pirates of the carribean ride we kinda splitted up. meaning the tour guide went his own way lah. so liek we walked around the place and by then there were already those weird japs like picnicking by the parade route. with their mats and food and everything. yes. really scary. and so we went to watch once upon a mouse lah. the show was really wonderful. the sets were totally real and great and everything. and its like everytime after a short segment they would show this short video on the screens and once the video ended they would open the curtains and there would be a totally new set there. there was this set with minnie in this hair salon and it was like all pink and everything. it was daisy's salon i rmb. and then they even had dancing hippos with pink tutus. i dont understand why hippos always come with dancing and pink tutus but never mind. lol. my dad took a video of the whole once upon a mouse show. thank god for videos. haha

so then after the show we went for lunch. the queues were like super duper long and the people were like literally overflowing out of the place. so my mum went to queue up. disneyland very tourist friendly. like the once upon a mouse show. it was in english. with an occasional bit of japanese from mickey mouse, and jap subtitles. so this fast food restaurant was also very tourist friendly. they had this long list and there were pictures for you to choose from. so they understood what you were trying to say and you understood what they meant. and then its like practically everything was mickey mouse. they even had mickey mouse stirrers. i took two. still have both with me. and then the burgers had this 20th anniversary pink and blue wrapping. so did the coke and the fries. their fries are very cute. they come in cups. smaller cups. the burder was really really yummy. i bought terriyaki chicken. it was damn nice lah. and a million times better than those stupid pale burgers from universal studios. and so we joined in the picnickers and sat by the parade route eating our stuff. then my sis's coke accidentally spilled and we didn't notice it. and it went over to themat of this jap. but she was really nice and everything and didn't kill us. she even helped wipe away a bit of it. yeah. so maybe not all japs are that bad. and then the parade came along.

There were many many many many floats. and they were really nice. all the disney characters. my dad also caught a full video of the parade. so there were liek dancers prancing about in nice and colorful costumes and then there were people on roller blades, people in fancy costumes on board the floats, waving and dancing about. and then there were the main characters like belle, cinderella, etc waving to people from both sides and everything. then there was the song. it was rather nice. something about disney's dreams, on parade. but i cant be bothered to type it in here. its on the video. its like "dream on, dream of *something*, *something*. dream on, you're a pilot (i think), disney's dreams, on parade" yea. and it keeps repeating except the lyrics are different with each repitition. of course after like so many verses the whole thing will be repeated all over again and etc etc. yeah. so after the parade, we went on and wandered around disneyland.

so we went to toontown. (the toontown sign is really cute. i liked it. haha)and we wanted to go check out the winnie the pooh. cos the guide was saying somethign about it being new and rather nice. and so we went there and the queue was like 160 minutes and like. totally stuffed full with poeple. and so we gave up the notion and went to explore more. and then we saw this gadget's go coaster.  kiddie coaster lah. but okay since the other nice roller coasters has such long queues. so we settled for it and queues up. i remember the queue was supposed to be like an hour or something. yeah. long wait maan. and so it was finally our turn. it was really ncie with all the twists and everything. and i screamed like hell. i always scream. even when it isn't super thrilling. i love to scream. i mean, when you're given a chance to scream, why not scream? how often do you get to scream? and then this was my mum's first time on a roller coaster. she was scared stiff. haha. she said she wanted to scream but nothing came out. no sound. haha. so the go coaster, as unthrilling as it was, was practically the most thrilling ride we took in disneyland. haha yeah. pathetic as it is. lol.

and then after that we went to check out thunder mountain. cos we had the route all planned out and everything. but like when we reached there, the queue was like super long and 130 minutes. long queues everywhere. haha. and so at first we wanted to queue and eveything. we already joined in the queue, as a matter of fact. and then when we calculated a little we figured we wouldnt have enoufh time for other rides if we queued up for this. and so we left. so being desperate for rides, we just took any ride available. and so nearby there was this mark tawin riverboat. and it was just leaving. but my dad decided to take it anyway. so we went to queue up and we queued up for the full time of half an hour and like cos we queued up when the boat was leaving, we were like the first people in the queue. then there were these rafts too. another ride lah i suppose. motorised rafts. and then there were also these kayaks. with people in them kayaking. another ride again. i think the kayak one was probably much nicer than the mak twain one or the raft one. yeah. (back to queueing)so when the boat came back, we entered and rushed to the top. the top front part of the boat. there was this totally wonderful and great view from there. then there were these red indians, and these dead animals, and etc etc. and then there were ducks swimming in the water. and the boat like went over a few ducks. i dont know what happens when the boat goes over the ducks but i think they just duck under the water and they still survive. ducks ducking under the water. haha. farnie. so there was this jap boy standing beside me and my sis. and everytime the boat came near to a duck he would start shouting for the duck. yeah. lol. and then after the mark twain riverboat, we went on to wander around.

then we saw the peter ppan's flight thing. and the queue was 1h. as we had super duper little time left, i got real despo for rides and hence we just queued up for it. yeps. and so after this whole long wait. it got from day to night. as in, you get my point lah. and it was like only 4++, 5. and then that was where i saw the guy with the PMS jacket. haha. then there was this firl. probably around my age, dressed liek those hippies. haha. she had this bandanna around her head, with stars on the bandanna, and then those kind of sling bag, and then big loopy earrings.. and yeah. you get my point. and then her eyes were like those of rachel's cousin. yeah. looks asif she very unhappy about something liddat. haha. and so after thise whole long wai it was finally our turn. and then it was like 2 people per "carriage" and so my mum hadta sit alone. and so the "carriage" was supposedly some hot air ballon thingy. actually it was attached to this cable on top lah. and then you would fly through the sky and everything. then you could lok at the stuff below. there was this part where they made the hills and buildings and everything real small and it seemed as if you were flying real high above. its like we flew so close to the mountains we could almost touch them. then there was this part we flew between the mountains. haha. rather nice and everything. but not really worth the long wait. so anyway that was our last ride for the day and after that ride, we had to return to the bus and then we went back.

so we dropepd by this chinese restaurant on the way back and ad our dinner there lah. and then there were like these whole load of notice boards and on them they had the many different tour group pins and stickers from many many different countries. really cool. it was like practically all the walls they had had stickers and stuff on the notice boards and some even had small flags dangling from them. you know those small flags tour leaders wave to catch attention? yeah, you get my point. so this reataurant was located next to this family mart. and so after everybody finished, like almost everyone went to eh family mart. and then i tried to get my mum to buy chewing gum for me but she just refused. said somethign about my braces. lol. but anyway in the end i got her to buy some for me. at the familymart of washington hotel.

and then after we went back to the hotel, we went out again. can you believe this? after this whole long day of queueing and waiting and everything we went out again at night. and so we walked around the area lah. and then we saw this girl basking. she had this band and she was singing. damn cool lah. so we walked around the place, on our own and yeah, we were real tired and everything. so after walking like siao my dad finally agreed to go back. oh and yes, on our way back, i saw this really gross sight. there were these two jap girls, i think one was drunk or something. she was hugging and cuddling the other girl like siao and there weer these other guys trying to pull them apart. the other girl seemed like totally limp. eekses. and then we explored around the hotel, we went trought the underpass and found this weird place. and then there was this like... another familymart lah. yeah. that was where i got the chewing gum. yeah. and so after walking about and everything we finally went back to the hotel. and then we slept. yeah.

Posted at 12:00 am by ::shoolee
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Dec 12, 2003
fifth day. Mount Fuji, Crystal Factory(jewelry forest), Lake Kawakuchiko, *some funny place in Tokyo* [Venus Fort, Toyo Mega Web, Palette Town, Rainbow Bridge], Shinjuku Washington Hotel

so early in the morning we woek up. at first i had wanted to go to the top floor and look at mount fuji. they said you could get a good view of mount fuji there. but in the end i didn't so we just grabbed our luggages and we downstairs. oh and yes, their lift has exactly the same buttons as the hume park 1 life. haha. and there are only 3 floors. so then after we ate breakfast we left for mount fuji.

so when we reached mount fuji, it turns out that it snowed the previous night and hence we could only go up to the first station. i mean, you even had to pay to enter mount fuji. like who owns mount fuji? gee. and so the driver paid and then we went up to the first station. the tour guide said that there were nine stations altogether. they measured the stations in this really unique way. its like, in ancient times, people used oil lamps when climbing mountains. so the first station would be the place where the oil lamp ran out. and then the oil lamp would be replaced and then the second station would be the place the oil lamp ran out for the second time. and so on. the highest the bus could take you to was the fifth station. the remaining four stations had to be reached via climbing. the tour guide also mentioned that on the 31st december, japs would flock to mount fuji just to see the sunrise of the new year. yeps. but the thing that i don't understand is that its snowing! so would they be able to go up? oh well, never mind. so since we couldn't go any further than the first station, we went down to the visitor's centre.

the visitor's center was very informative. so when we first entered it, thr tour guide/leader requested for the staff to show the english versionm of their video. their video was nice. you could see like the location of mount fuji, the forming of the five mearby lakes, the stuff on mount fuji, and many other such informative stuff. and then after the video ended, we walked around the exhibits. there was this thing which really caught my eye. this 3d map thing. so there were many 3d models of mount fuji on the wall. each of them was colored differently, like maps. for example one would be a climate map and etc etc. there was one whole wall of them. they looked really cool and this was deiniftely a better idea than just putting 2d maps on the wall or boring stuff like that. and then there was this cartoon about the competition of which mountain in japan was the highest and everything. as i entered when the cartoon was almost ending, i didn't really know the storyline. all i know was that there were this bunch of cute clestial kids ( i think) and they were jumping around shouting in japanes, "mount fuji is the winner!" or something like that. and so after viewing all the exhibits we went on to the souvenir shop.

so at the souvenir shop they had softtoy mount fujis. very cute. with a nice happy face. they had blue ones (those were the male ones) and pink ones (those were the female ones and had ribbons). fujichan. but one cost 16 bucks i think. rather expensive if u ask me. and then there was this nice keychain with those square alphabet beads. it read "mount fuji" and then another line of beads (it was two lines of bead in one keychain) read "3776m". and it was done dreamcatcher style. it was threaded with a leather strap with a bead at both ends. really nice and dreamcatchery. i bought a blue one. its sitting in my tin right now. and then after walking around i saw daphne, and she showed me this really cool keychain. you look through this small pinhole and you see a picture of mount fuji. really nice la. so i bought one. purple one i think. its also sitting in my tin. and then my bro got this cute keychain with the cute mascot. fuji-chan. haha. it was cute lah. its sitting in my dad's display case right now. heh. oh and yes. just when daphy showed me the keychain, she asked me which school i was from. and then i said rgs. and she was so shocked. well, at first i thought it was just the typical reaction people get but then when she said she was also from RGS i was really really shocked. at first when i saw this [[daphy]] thing on her bag i thought it looked rather rgssey but then i dismissed the thought of her being in rgs. yea. haha. i mean, that's really coincidental that a fellow tour grouper was actually from rgs. well, then later on i found out that she's albert ng's cousin. its really a small small world. so then after that we left mount fuji.

and cos we didn't manage to go up mount fuji (i mean, first station doesn't really count right), the tour guide, and leader decided to give us some pei2 chang2 and so they brought us to this crystal factory. it was called jewelry forest i remember. i remember the spelling was cranky and i was pointing it outto my mum. yeps. and so we entered it. at the entrance there's this nice garden thingy. and then on the "grass" theres this thing with many partitions and in each partition there are crystals, many diff types of crystals. the guide (they got one of the staff to guide us) was saying that this big rock in the middle was over 2 million years old. or was it 1 billion? haha big diff. so then she said that the most "precious" crystal was the transparent one. it was just called "crystal" no name like "rose quartz" or "jade" or whateverr. just crystal. it was nice. i bought one of those pendants for 500 yen in the shop. so then the guide brought us up the stairs lah. so on the way up there was this stone. and when you touch it you'll be ensured of a safe pregnancy and delivery. and then another one which was supposed to grant you long life or something. can't really remember. so then there was this big crystal. hanging from the top. it was like, pointed at the bottom so i think if it dropped we would really die. and so we were supposed to walk through it and make a wish. okay i think i made many wishes. its too early to say if they have come true yet. but yeps, i'll see soon if that crystal was effective. haha. and so we entered the shop lah

so there was this "biggest crystal ever grown" thing. it was big and huge. and then we were taught how to tell the difference between first, second, third, and fourth grade crystals. basically in a natural crystal, the fourth grade is all the way at the bottom, then third, then second, then first. the first would be the most transparent one, around the most pointed area. you would understand if you saw. and then they showed us these load of crystal necklaces and then asked us to tell which was the real first grade one. well, i had my eyes on one but that was second grade. apparently no one got it right. haha. and then we went down the stair to the shopping place. so then they also taught us how to tell the difference between real and fake crystals. to tell if what they are selling is really crystal or is it just glass.

and then we went on to this guy who briefed us about crystal, and how it was harder than glass so if you like tried to scratch glass with it yea, it works. then after that he told us there was a grade superior to the first grade. i can't really remmeber what he called it. but anyway, he showed us a necklace of that superior grade and passed it around. passed a few around. it wa rather nice lah. glittery and everything. but very hard. and then he told us of how when buying jewellery we should always take it out of its velvet case and inspect it cos the velvet case plays an important part in the cheating. he then put the superior grade necklace and second grade necklace into two blue velvet cases. guess what. they looekd really similar. and so uh yea, he taught us this whole chunk of stuff. and then after that we were free to shop. i took this sample of mi2 jiu3. very yummy. its very concentrated, has a sake like taste, and tastes very very yummy. but we didn't get any. i regret. haha. and then there were these pendants. or beads. so then i looked around at them and i found my birthstone. or birthcrystal. cant remember what it was. something jade i think. the amethyst was really nice. but i think i still liked the transparent one (daphy... i am not a copycat *sticks out tongue* lol. we just have e same taste) and so i bought one of those transparent pendants. and then i also bought this string thingy which you could attach the crystal onto. yeps. nice lah. its sitting in my tin too, with all the other jap stuff. btw the pendant was actually 8 bucks but its like i didn't really realise tha until i got back to singapore. as in, it set in only when i went back.

so then after the crystal factory, we left to go to this restaurant by Lake Kawakuchiko. we were sitting opp kimberley and her family. or rather, i was sitting opposite kimberley's mum. that was when she said somethign about how she didn't want her daughter to grow up and be a backpacker. that meal was really filling. but i loved the steaboat thingy. as in there was lots of meat, i didn't exactly love the meat. but i loved the soup. and one thing i noticed about japanese soup is that they don't have those oil bubbles on the top like chinese soups do. really unique. that's authentic jap food. and so after eating we went downstairs to the shop. there my sis bought this cat keychain. it was basically this cat with a long long tail. then the shop nearby had a similar cat, just smaller, and it was hugging this crystal. as in, there were many types of crystals. like amethyst etc etc lah. and then after that we went out to take a few pics and to walk around. i took a picture with daphy. I'll upload it laterr. oh and yess, the ducks inthe water were so cute! my bro and sis got infatuated with them. haha. okay not infatuated. lol. i took a few pics of the duckies but i cant be bothered to scan them in and upload them. haha. well, but the ducks really good lor. its like the weather is so cold and they're actually still swimming happily in the water. i mean. like gosh. how cold would that be. so then after snapping and few pictures and everything, we went back up the bus, and then the bus took us to Tokyo.

 our lake kawakuchiko meal daphy and meee

so on our way to *some funny place*, we went onto the rainbow bridge. i tried to take a piccy of it but the bus was moving too fast and in the end the pic turned out looking like some weirdo thing. oh well. and then after travelling like for ages and ages and ages, we finally reached that *some funny place*. so there was a mini mini amusement park like thingy , with a mega drop and a ferris wheel and an arcade and stuff like that. and then there was venusfort, this shopping place, and then there was pallette town, which i suppose meant another shooping place + the amusement park thingy and then there was toyota megaweb, this huge toyota exhibition.

so then when we reached there, we followed the tour guide, who brought us to megaweb first. so we looked around. there was this environmentally friendly car thing. and i remember the tour guide had problem pronouncing its name but i can't really remember its name now. heh. and so we loked around the cars, my bro took a pic in a lexus, and after walking around for a while we got a little bored. well, we aren't car people. all except for my dad. but he just decided to tag along with us anyway. so then we went to take the ferris wheel. the guide said earlier that it took 30 minutes for the wheel to go one full round but well, it only took 15 minutes. so anyway, the view up there was beautiful. we took many many many pictures. like there was even one picture i took where you could see the streets of tokyo like some map. t was really nice and everything. but the thing was that it wasn't thrilling at all. haha. well, just that day i decided i wanted some thrill. i dunno why but i just did anyway. lol. then at first my brother had wanted to go take the megadrop thing. you noe like you sit in this seat thingaround this pole and it shoots up all the way and then it falls down and then it shoots up again and yes you get the point. so i didn't really want to take that. no one did but my brother. so we were chiding him that even if he wanted to go he couldn't because he was too short and he needed an "adult" to accompany him. so well,haha, we didn't take any rides there other than the ferris wheel. and then we walked around a bit and found this arcade thing. so we walked inside and decided that there was nothing much to do inside and so we left. and then at the netrance of this arcade there was this statue of this you noe like those haunted house creatures. well, my sis got totally freaked out by it. and then my bro and i were making the mourning noise the creature "made" just to scare her. haha. so then we left the amusement park area.

and then we went to venusfort to shop. venusforst looked nice when you entered it. its somewhat like universal and disneyland, also "furnished" to look like a street. but it was dark lah. and the stuff inside didn't really suit us. like so many of the shops were boutiques, with super super high prices, and also shops selling winterwear, which like duh we wouldnt ever need in singapore. and then there was this guy drawing caricatures. very nice. there was even one of the matrix. neo trinity and morpheus. haha and mr bean too. very cute and funny. but that was basically all there was. we walked a few rounds and like we kinda got a bit muddled. we walked with no aim and everythign and after a whole chunk of walking we's just end up where we started, which was a bit pointless but never mind anyway.

and then after walking around venusfort, we went downstairs (there was this way cool outdoor escalator. don't stare at me, i've never seen an outdoor escalator before.) and then we entered through this door. the door said palette town. so it got me really confused about what was palette town and everything. so then we bought some ice cream lah. they had many different and weird falvors but i took chocolate anyway. haha. oh okay, it was "ice milk". basically frozen milk lah. and when we got it it was so hard that we couldnt even like stick the spoon through. i mean it was really hard. we couldnt evn make a dent. okay we could. a small one. at least this one was better than the airplane one. we couldnt even make a dent on the airplane one. well anyway back to tokyo. so we walked and ate at the same time. i mean, it was darn cold lah. winterr. ice milk. haha.

and so we boarded the bus and set off for dinner in this chinese restaurant. so as expected, we were caught in a traffic jam. JAM. not congestion as mrs boey lim used to say but JAM. oh well, and they said it was common in tokyo. the tour guide was saying that because their cars were so cheap there were too many cars on the road and hence jams. ehris cars are like half the price of our cars. i mean, like. eeeee. well, after travelling for about like one hour, we reached the restaurant. okay not travelling. after being stuck in the jam. cos the restaurant was suposedly near.

that dinner was the lobster and abalone one. but of course it was just like a small sample lah. so we were given four and a half tables again. and this time the restaurant was like totally crowded. as in not crowded. crammed. the place was so small. the lobster was yummy. and it came in nice salad sauce. and then the restaurant had these two carvings of chinese women on the walls. both were similar in a sense that when the both had trees (just diff type). they both had a woman (just dif look and clothes). and they both had a house. get my point right. and then you noe in those temples they have those spirally joss sticks right. well this restaurant had some hanging above. haha i remember this place very vividly. i don't know why. i even remembered like when my dad asked for more rice, them taking away the rice to refill it, and them wearing hang ten blank shirts with their company name printed on the back. i really remember.

and then on the wayy out the woman (presumably the lao2 ban3 niang2 or something) asked the tour guide and leader if they wanted to like coperate. then she said something about the tour groups will have convenient meals and the restaurant wil earn money and like of course the guide will get commission (of course she didn't say that). and so yea after that we climbed down the super narrow stairs and went to the bus. oh and i remember, the woman had either big loopy earrings or long dangly ones. they caught my attention. haha. so then we went to hotel. Hotel Washington (Shinjuku).

So hotel washington was in shinjuku lah (i mean like duh). and so we wanted to go walk walk. or shopping lah. and so the guide brought us around so we would know how and where to go on our free and easy day and stuff lah. and so he taught us where was takashimaya times square, how to turn right at the Tahitian Noni building, and etc etc. oh and they also had outdoor escalators. nice la. so that night we went to tokyu hands. cos it was like already around 8.40 and most of the shops close by 8.30 (japs sleep early mann). and so we went tokyu hands, which closed at nine. so they had these really nice clocks and everything. there was a butterfly clock and a rectangle one. the rectangle on got numbers butthe butterfly one dun have lah. but the butterfly one the shape damn nice. it was the big type lah. wall clock. and its like there's only the outline. like for the butterfly there's only the black outline and for the rectangle on (i liked this one a lot) there was only the outline and the numbers. no backing thing. damn nice. and then we saw their finding nemo merchandise, which was wayy expensive. haha. their finding nemo only opens in like december. sloww. and then we watched this trailer of finding nemo lah. and the trailer was way long. it like practically showed them long parts of the movie. eee. i mean like. what the. and then they said finding nemo real weird. i mean it jap lah. and its supposed to be in jap but it still had resemblance to "finding nemo". well, it sounded like "finding the nemo" in indian accent. haha. funny. so anyway we walked around tokyu hands a bit and then we went back, dropping by this familymart on the way back. we met vanessa, her sis, and her mum there. haha. maybe singaporeans just love convenience stores. so after vanessa her sis and her mum left, jianyuan and his family came. HAHA. so we bought some coke lah. (it came with a finding nemo keychain. i took nemo. heh) and then we went back to the hotel and had a mini feast. haha.

Posted at 12:00 am by ::shoolee
Comments (1)

Dec 11, 2003
fourth day. Shinkansen to Hamamatsu, Peace Park, Owakudani, Yunessun Spa Park, Oohashi Hotel

so early in the morning we woke up. then after breakfast we took the hotel bus to the station. this morning we were going to take the shinkansen (bullet train) to hamamatsu where the coach was supposed to be waiting for us. so when we reached the station it was like. nice. so we paid for the ticket. gess how much it cost. 20 bucks for one station. eee. that's so expensive. then the tour guide as saying that bullet trains can go up to the speed of 200+ km/h. or he said that was the speed the bullet trains travel at lah. and then he was also saying that the record of fastest train was just set recently, which was 570km/h. hey that totally rawks. i wish i was on that train. then he said the record before that was 550km/h. wow fast. so well we went up to the station there la, where you could see the tracks and the bullet train speeding past. so its like, if the bullet train was not meant to stop at the station if would just speed past. you could hear the loud sound. imagine the how low the pressure would be in the low pressure zone next to the train. and the train was also rather long. its like even though it was speeding past us like so fast, it still took long to fully speed past. so when our train came, (i still have the ticket), we boarded it. at first the guide wanted all of us to be in the same cabin, cabin 6. but as our whole family wanted to sit together and everything there weren't enough seats so a few of our tour group people and our family went to sit in cabin 7. it was ages before the train actually left. when u look out of the window, the train doesn't seem very fast, as the ride is very smooth. in fact, it felt as if the train was gliding in midair. it was super smooth, you don't even feel vibrations. so its like the train doesn't seem to be going so fast when we're going past big fields and stuff but when you're going past house it really looks fast. its like the houses so whoosh and soon one long long row of houses are past. you cant even see the houses clearly. shows how fast the train was.  so when we reached hamamatu station, we all got our tickets manually stamped cos we wanted to keep them. and then we left for the coach. well, it was able to catch up with us *which was lucky cos the tour guide says the bus driver had to leave real early*. so then we left for peace park.

that day was badd. it rained when we went to peace park, rained when we went to owakudani. yeps. so badddd. so when we reached peace park, we got out and climbed the long upward path. there were some nice flowers near the bottom of the path. they looked totally enormous. and the thing was they looked totally fake but they were real. yes. my mum got really obsessed with the flowers. so after we climbed and climed in the rain we finally reached it. then there was this big buddha sitting all the way at the end. then on the left and the right of the path leading to the big buddha, there were many pairs of lions, from many diff countries. there were 7 pairs i tink. the guide said six but i counted. 7. maybe one of them wasn't from any country. so after looking at all those lions, looking at the buddha, and knocking the gong thing, we went back down. i didn't hit the gong thing. i refused to take my hands out of my pockets other than to take pictures. it was too cold. and so we walked back down again. pity it was raining. this was where that sec 2 guy's mum (she's called lin xinru) sheltered my sis. (which led to my sis getting real attached to her. haha.)

than after peace park we went to owakudani. the chinese name for it cane be translated into Valley of Greater Boiling. it was basically this volcano like thing. it was said that you could cook eggs with it. boil eggs lah. then the eggs would have a black shell but when cracked open it would look all white and normal inside. then it was said that when u ate the eggs it would bring you long life. so we climbed all the way to the top, expecting to at least get to see them boiling the eggs but no, the place was too crowded. so in the end we just stood outside as my dad went in and got a packet of black eggs. there was this eggish smell. some smell produced by the volcano. then we went downstairs to the visitors center.

so we opened the packet. it had 6 eggs inside. one extra. so we just gave it away. we had too many you see. one too many. yeps. haha. then they had ice cream. egg(temago) and vanilla flavor. i regret not trying the egg flavor cos there isn't any egg flavored ice cream in singapore but lots of vanilla flavored ones. so each ice cream cost 350yen ($.5.60) more than 10 times the price of a mcdonalds ice cream. and we bought four. eeks. and so after taking the ice cream (it was already so cold. whyy ever did we take ice cream), we went back to the coach which was now supposed to take us to the spa. well, spa was definitely a great idea in this cold weather.

so when we reached there there were the main characters (spakoneko) sitting on this bench. my sister thought the characters so so so cute and so she went and sat down on the bench and hgged the female character (bonjour-non). then my bro sat down beside the male character (boxappy) and then my mum took a picture. and then the picture came out and guess what? my sister was hugging the character and blindfolding it. haha. so then we enetered the spa. the system was really cool. you were given a watch, which you could use to buy stuff and food and everything. so all you needed to do was to put the watch on and you wouldn't need to bring your money along, (which would make your actions restricted). and then you were given a towel, a jacket thingy and a locker. the locker could also be opened with your watch. just put it in front of the locker and it goes "beep" and then the locker will open. so we entered the main place lah.

there were many divisions of the spa. there was this "mori no yu" (private bath, no swimsuits), and mio mall, which was the place at which we got the souvenirs. then the main spa, yunessun, had many different pools. there were basically many flavors lah. and there was outdoor and indoor. so at first wewent to the indoor one. we went to the big pool first. it was called the God's Spa. and there were three "islands" in it. so that place was very nice. swam around. yay. haven't been swimming for quite some time. then after we went to the God's Spa we walked around inside. there was this turkish style bath, which i didn't enter though i wanted to (we didn't have much time). then there was this roman style bath. and then this thing where there was a seat for you to sit on and there would be water falling down massaging your back. like jacuzzi like that. nice. and then there was this rose bath. i saw daphy there. but anyway there were two baths. so we entered the other one. is there something wrong with the japs or what. daphy's blog said something about the japanese siamming. but yeala, they had 8 ppl. so when we entered the japs also siammed. we had 3 people onlee. but then after a while more japs came. and then we left to go outside.

so there was the "rodeo mountain". basically these slides. three of them. i dunno if their course was different but i took two of them. i took the slides thrice. but my bro kept hogging the one in the middle. yeps. and then i read the brochure lah. and then there were supposed to be these cave spas around that area too but in the end we didn't go to the cave spas. and then next to it there was this playground thingy. like playground in a pool. but the place was very cold lah. i was shivering. and then running up the steps right, my feet were almost numb cos they pt the mat thingy. you noe the mat with those prickly things. yea. and then right, the rodeo mountain right, the slide was soft. and then the place where you landed was soft too. it was rubbery. like the base of the pool was rubber. cool. opposite rodeo mountain was this small pool. that was where we saw vanessa and her family. that was where i found out that vanessa was sec 3 and her sis was j1. yeps. so then after that we left the outdoors and went back in. then we walked all the way up, to this place where they had this pool which looked like some olympic swimming pool.

there was a door leading outdoors there too. and the floor was damn painful. they had those small stones on the floor. like those walks you see in fitness corners for feet reflexology. painful. and so we went out. then there was this rose bath (another one) and also a coffee bath. the coffee bath was hott, very hott, and it didn't smell much like coffee, you had to really put it in front of your nose and smell before you could smell it. haha. then we went up the stairs. there was this garden bath thingy but we didn't go in cos of time constraint. we spent too much time in the God's Spa. so then after that we went to this magnet bath thingy. there was basically thing ball in the middle with small holes, which spurted water out. spurted as in like not with so much force that it looked like some mutated water gun. but if u like lie on the ball, it feels totally comfy. then next to the magnet bath there was the sake bath. we went in. and then its like you could literally smell the sake. it was nice la. haha. and then after that we went down by the walk bath. it was just too painful. another one of those foot relexology things. my rother's brilliant idea to go that way. haha. so then after that we went to bathe la.

so then like while queuing up for the toilets daphy talked to me. and that was when i found out she was daphy lah. and then that was also when i found out vanessa's from tkg. that time i still didn't know daphy was also from rg. lol. and then after bathing, we went down to the "mio mall" place. then we shopped around. i got this tin can with some biscuits in it. the tin can had pictures of the mascots. nice la. and then the biscuits were yummy too... i still have 2 more biscuits. haha. they wee individually packed lah. and currently i'm using the tin can to contain all my japan stuff. yea. thats how little japan stuff i have. so then after some shopping, we finally selected stuff to buy lah. at first my bro and sis were supposed to have this spakoneko keychains thingy but since they didn't want it in the end its with me now. so after shopping around we left the place. i think i also bought this badge with the apskoneko characters on it. oh and just for your info, the characters have sponge heads and towel bodies. yeps.

so then after the spa we went to another hotel lah. this hotel was in the mountain district. it's called Oohashi hotel. well, it was a traditional japanese style hotel. and it was rather small. the tour guide was saying that our tour group alone and a few random guests filled up the hotel. then the tour guide also said something about wearing the yukata and how to wear it the right side. cos if u wear it the wrong side (right over left, its what the dead do), you might be mistaken for a ghost. haha. and scare ppl outta their wits. and so this hotel also had a spa. just that to enter this spa no swimsuits were allowed. our room was much bigger as compared to the double bed rooms. and much bigger than my dad and bro's room too. our room was basically like you enter the door, and to the right you have the toilets. and then there's this sliding paper door, and when you open it, there's the fridge and etc and another sliding paper door. then when u open that door its the beds. then all the way at the end of the beds there's another door. and when u open it you see this small table with stuff on it. the paper doors (all 3 of them) are parallel to each other. so you get the idea how big our room was. and so we turned on the tv and watched the steven seagull movie. there was jap and english so of course we watched it in english. haha.

and then the light, the one in the partition with the fridge, was really nice. it was basically like this round ball la, with the end open. but the thing was that there were slits on the side of the thing. so its basically like these wooden sticks bent from top to bottom. many wooden sticks. such that it formed a round thing. okay that doesn't sound that nice yet. the thing was, when the light shone out, you could see rays. if u looked at it from directly under, it would look just like a sun, with the lamp in the middle. beautiful. i took a few pictures of it but they didn't turn out. sad. then the hotel lobby had this whole load of pictures of mount fuji. taken by this famous photographer cum climber. as her was also a climber he could get nicer views of mount fuji. the pictures were very nice, esp those with sillhouettes. my mum got a postcard from their souvenir shop and we also got this whole gigantic piece of bubblegum. blueberry flavor. haha. (we bought the stuff in the morning). the dinner was rather yummy. there was sashimi. i ate all of it. it actually tastes chewy. haha. its raw fish. so well, after that we went to our room, watched a bit of tv and slept. oh and a few mtvs. their mtvs are interesting. their tv ads too. haha.

Posted at 12:00 am by ::shoolee
Comments (1)

Dec 10, 2003
third day. (Kyoto) Kimono Show, Heian Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, Hotel Nikko Toyohashi

So early i the morning we woke up lah. at KKR hotel. and then we went to have our breakfast. this was our first breakfast in japan, not counting the airplane breakfast we had the previous day. yes. so the breakfast was at the 22nd storey i think. was it? i cant really remember, feels as if it was ages ago. anyway, it was somewhere high. and so we went there and got in. there was international selection and japanese selection. the japanese selection is as typical as ever. just some salty sweet food and porridge. the "dishes" are so tasteful that you HAVE TO eat them with the porridge or you'll die. and then the international selection was nice. i took lots of scrambled eggs. blah. i loved scrambled eggs. and i still do. just not that much as before after eating scrambled eggs for breakfast everyday. so then at the restaurant the windows were full glass windows. and from there you had a great view of osaka castle. i was wondering why we didn't come back here after osaka castle to dump our stuff before going to universal and shinsaibashi. guess the schedule was too packed. and so after breakfast we left the hotel. i collected toothbrushes from every hotel except the small japanese style hotel. (i forgot what its name was).

Then after breakfast, we went off to Kyoto. where we dropped by this kimono place thingy. the tour guide was saying something about this company making lots of money. their annual turnover as dunno how many million. he said. but when we reached there and checked the figures it turned out he was wrong. haha. their annual turnover wasn't that much, just about 1 million ++ sing dollars. as in, wasn't that much as he said it was lah. he said it was 500 million US dollars. and then the place basically had two floors. the bottom floor had this big space for the kimono fashion show, which we were supposed to watch standing. japanese always watch such live shows standing. the tour guide said something about that being their culture.

so at first we went shopping upstairs. so there was this whole load of nice keychains. there was this handphone chain thing with two mini clogs attached to it. but the thing was that the clogs were plasticky. not nice. but cute. would have been totally cool if the clogs were made of wood. and then there were these japanese doll keychains selling for 350 yen, which was 5.60 and then they had 5% GST(that is a lot). and so we bought four japanese doll keychains. one for my mum one for my sis and two for me! and then i bought another keychain which said kyoto on in. and then there was this girl in a kimono. that was why i bought it. must buy something that specifically shows that you have been to kyoto. and not just something normal which you can get anywhere. yess.

then just when we selected all the keychains we wanted and were walking around the shop, the kimono fashion show started. so we rushed and then went down the stairs. i sat on the steps and watched it. at first i stood but then i decided i wanted to sit down and so i sat down. the kimonos were rather nice. i liked this greyish one with some pinkish birds at the side. well, the only difference between those kimonos was the design and the one with the birds was the one with the best design. and the color combi was great too. but the thing about the kimono show that amazed me most was the speed at which they changed. they only had 7 models and kimonos were very complicated and hard to wear (according to the tour guide but its also kinda obvious when you see them that the kimonos are complicated and hard to wear) yet they actually managed to go at a constant speed, with no model taking too long to get on stage. so one model only had a matter of around 3-5 minutes to change out of her kimono and into the new kimono? okay, maybe 5-7. but still, thats very little. lol. they're probably trained. haha.

well then after waching the kimono show, which my dad taped down (this is great i wanna watch it), we went off for lunch, at this chinese restaurant. the tour leader was syaing that the chinese restaurant which we were going to was like almost the only chinese restaurant in that area and so all tour groups went there. so to prevent jams or anything we had to go there earlier. we reached there rather early but there were already buses parked there. evidently there were people earlier than us. then the tour leader and guide were saying that that carpark was the most used carpark in kyoto. HAHA. and that was true. for when we came out after the meal the carpark was full. haha. and then they also said that the toilets there were the most used too. haha. so well, we went in for our lunch. that was when i found out grace was also sec1. cos she and her mum were at the same table at us. (kimberley and her family too). then daphne met her best fren shiyun there. haha. they were so loud( or shiyun was as daphne said) that everyone turned to stare at them. haha. so then after the meal we left for Heian Shrine.

So at heian shrine again there was this lucky water thingy. the ater was really cold so i dint get any. as in i dint use any to wash my hands cos the water was really too cold. so then my mum got really caught up with taking pictures... and so only y dad and i wandered in. on my way in this woman asked me to take a picture of her. i don't know why i mentioning this but nevermind. its best to mention everything you remember. and so we went all the way in and then we went out again. then we saw this whole load of white paper tied onto trees and fences and everything. turns out those were the bad qians1 they picked. out tour guide said that the japanese would just dump all the bad qian1s at the templae gruonds and not bring it home cos of superstition lah. and so that ended our short visit to heian shrine. so on our way to the bus there was this whole long row of shops selling stuff. keychains, headbands, etc etc. and at normal expensive japanese pricing. yeps.

and so we got on the bus and set of for Kiyomizu Temple. this really big big big temple. so the temple was built on a cliff, which means it was built on higher ground. so we had to climb up to it. so there were streets and streets of shops on the way up. so there were a lot of shops selling the same stuff. basically you could divide the shops into four types.

type one, the food type. these shops sold nice and yummy delicacies and stuff like that. basically just food lah. at first we wanted to buy but later on we decided not to. haha.
type two, the fan type. these shops ( i think i saw two or three? or was it one only? my memoryyyy) sell lots and lots of beautiful painted fans. one fan at 1000yen. that was for the fans on display outside. i suppose there were many other designs inside. with many other diff prices too. haha. we took a photo of the fan shop. with my bro and sis posgin i think. vague memory.
type three, the keychain and souvenir type. These shops were my favourite type. i got the souvenirs for lina, sherry, pagey, rachel, and yuh ying from there. i only bought five cos i was broke then. sorreee other people. i got goodies for the other people tho. wheeps. then my mum bought this load of ear diggers for 200 yen each, which is 3.20 lah, that was actually rather cheap for japan price. i bought a paper japanese doll for 3.20 sing too. cute but expensive.
type four, the toys and other shops. i saw one toy shop on our way down so i just decided to include it here. and also one shop with those hideous masks and some clothing. yeps. those are the miscellaneous shops and fall under this category. i didn't really see much of these. type three was most common.

so well, we climbed all the way to kiyomizu temple. the temple was very big. and then the view was magnificent. that was because it was built on a cliff lah. there were a lot of nicely colored and beautiful maple leaves. totally beautiful. and then the structure of the temple was unique as they said it was built without any nails. so as usual there were the white pieces if paper tied around strings and everything. just like those we saw at heian shrine. and then there were also those wooden blocks (there were also some at heian shrine) on which you would write your wishes and everything. and then when your wish came true you could come back and burn the wooden block. but one thing i don't understand was the fact that we had to pay to enter the temple. its like, its a temple. and so meaning people have to pay even to come here and pray? i dunno. japan is really too comercialized. you have to pay for everything.

and so after exploring the "upper" level we went down. so we walked all the way to the end out of curiosity and found this locked path that led to a graveyard. if you really peered beyond you coudl see he graveyard. i wonder why but that time when i peered, the tombstones looked rather christianish. yeps. anyway, the gate wasn't quite locked. you could go in if you wanted to. but duh of course we didn't want to. in case we get too freaked out. and so we went to the three springs thingy. we walked back as it was a dead end. unless you wanted to enter the graveyard. and so yes we went to the three springs thing. everyone in my family drank except for me. sigh i'm kinda regretting now. haha. so well, my mum bought a cup for 200 yen and went in to drink the water. can't really remember what the three springs stood for. one was health, one was wealth ( i think) and i cant remember. and then after my mum, bro and sis were done drinking my dad decided he wanted to drink too. and so he bought another cup and went up with my bro and sis and drank again. my bro and sis drank twice. and i didn't at all. i'm a spoilsport. heh. *^^*

so after that we went down and shopped around and then on the way to the bus, ( we were already in the carpark lah), we stopped by these persimmon trees. the tour guide mentioned them just now and my mum wanted to see them and so yea. then we took a few pictures. the persmmons looked shrunken, like all the juice was gone. they were like "slumping". it was like instead of looking fat and juicy and horizontally oval, its looked shrunken and wrinkled and vertically oval. HAHA. lol. and so we went back to the bus. and then my mum went out again. and that was when she bought the ear diggers. i regret not tasting their green tea ice cream there. blahh. thr tour guide was saying that we shud go to *somewhere* and taste that place's green tea ice cream but we never got to taste any green tea ice cream. blah.

so after kiyomizu temple we left for toyohashi. it was just a stop in between because our next destination was too far and everything. yeps. so for that night we stayed at hotel nikko toyohashi. well, the hotel was great!. okay, maybe not the hotel. the location of the hotel was great. there was a big department store and sega next to it.

so wetoo our dinner at the hotel. and then they had curry.. and my mum not knowing anything ended up pouring curry over my udon. so i ate curry udon. HAHA. and of course some other food lah. and then there i saw this guy walking around in this ri or rj shirt thingy. amused lah. oh and the hotel had this really cute christmas tree. it was made out of balloons. and there were even balloon angels and everything cute. i liked that tree.

then the department store was this Ito Yokado ( i think, my dad said something like that?) department store and so we went in. and then they had this nice small arcade corner. so i tried my luck at this softtoy grabbing thing. and i wasted 100 yen ($1.60). then we saw this new toy which just came out in japan. basically this game, which you played through hitting these two drums with your hands. once you hit a drum something would come out to shoot the fishball (i think) on th screen. so there was a certain rhythm you had to keep to. so the guy playing it was like... making music. haha. their toys section was rather small. i mean, for a supposedly huge department store. and i didn't really notice the shoes section that the tour leader was talking so much about. the tour guide also mentioned that the milk there was very strong so if u wanted a stomach upset just take the milk and you'll clear your bowels and everything. so my dad bought the milk. just for us to have a taste of it. my mum really cleared her bowels. haha. but nothing happened to the rest of my family. so we bought some titbits there. i got the foodies for my frens here too. i havent found time to give it to them yet lah. i think i'll find some time to wrap it and pass it to them the day after. that's when school reopens.

and so after that we went back to our hotel room to put down the stuff we bought and everything and then we went back down to sega. so my bro totally enjoyed it. or at least i think he did. i feel so sad. i spend 400 yen trying to get a tweety bird ($6.40). i used two tries. the second time the hand managed to grab the tweety's head but then the hand had to go and let go. so in the end i dint get my tweety bird, *sobsob*. so my bro played this game in which you used the gun and shot the villains in the screen. veh funny but yu dont get anythign outta it. no cuopons, nothing. but the japs still play anyway. haha. i think i like singapore arcades better. so after sega we went back to the hotel. and then we slept.

Posted at 12:00 am by ::shoolee
Comments (2)

Dec 9, 2003
second day. Kansai Airport, Universal Studios, Shinsaibashi, KKR Hotel Osaka

When we arrived at the airport, we took this monorail thingy to the other terminal. Its like, when walking from the plane t the airport, even in the walkway thingy, you could feel the coldness. Very the cold. Then after taking the monorail to the other station, we put on our jackets. Or rather, we put them on on the monorail. And that was was when I found out who was in our tour group. We finally made our way to the other terminal ground floor, where the tour guide was waving his hands (or was it a sign?) and shouting "Chan blather! Chan blather!" like he always does. So everyone from our tour group gathered there and then I saw who was in our group. Yesss. Then we left the airport and walked to the bus. It was real cold and the wind was blowing in my face. I repeat, in my face. And its like, so dry and cold my eyes couldn't take it. Haha. Then I decided I wanted sunglasses. Heh, which I didn't get in the end. At first I wanted to get them at night when we would be shopping. But as I told you I didn't get it in the end. So then we boarded the bus. I found it weird that inside the bus right, the thing on the seat which was supposed to support your head right, it was covered in lace. And so I found it rather interesting. And the side of the bus read "shinnihon bus". I still don't know what that means but I think I'll write it down anyway. And on the windscreen of the bus there was our tour group number thing, which read "ANA1209SCGB*something*" damn, I cant believe I forgot. Blah. Never mind. So that day we started touring.

so right after we left the Osaka Kansai airport, we took the coach to Osaka Castle. We passed by this whole load of toyota factories and many other factories on the way there. we took the highwya, so we could see all the building etc. Then when we finally reached there the tour guide gave us this short briefing thing, saying that Osaka Castle was basically built by the great general something something something. it had a moat around it, like those nice fairy tale castles. that was where we took the one and only group photo we had. Kimberley, this little girl and her family weren't in the photo cos i suppose they were already somewhere else when we took the photo. and then the entrance to this pagoda thing to view all the exhibits was 500, which is singapore 8 bucks for each adult. their adult meant anyone above high school, so i was still counted as a kid. (there were nice ticket vending machines!)and so we paid the 16 bucks (for my mum and my dad) and we all went in. it was very darn squeezy and everything, and to top things up, the japs were so rude. there was this woman who like pushed me away just to let this guy, another jap, pass. i was like so damn pissed and irritated. i mean like, push?!?! even daphne thought the japs were darn rude. stupid. well, they have given us a baad impression of japs. XP. then we had only about 15 minutes left amd we spent 5-7 minutes going to toilet. can't stand my bro and sis, always want to go to toilet at these weird timings. so irritating. and then we had 10 minutes left and we were supposed to finish seeing everything from the first floor to the eight. so in the end, we didn't see a single exhibit. okay fine, we saw a beet. like only three things, and then we climbed all the way to the eighth floor to get a good view of everything, we almost caused me a asthmas attack cos it was so cold there and climbing all the way to the top breathing in all the cold air was like, baad. and so after climbing all the way up, we had to climb all the way down. and to top things up, we were late for lunch. and so we didn't have a good seat where our family could sit together. they had to set a new table just for us. that lunch was my first lunch in japan. first meal in japan, not cunting the airplane cos i don't know where we were when we took the meal. the meal was rather nice. as per usual, japanese rice, a bit of dishes, and the steamboat thingy, and udon. the udon was nice, so was the steamboat thingy. very filling. and its like they dont have any drink with the meals other than green tea. so it was like uh. the green tea was so ot yet we were so thirsty. haha. then we went downstairs, and there was this souvenir shop. that was when we were first exposed to the harsh reality of the expensiveness of japan. scary. one keychain 350. scary... oh and did i tell you, before we entered the castle, my bro and sis were like sitting beside this lady who was feeding the pigeons, so there was this whole lot of pigeons. and then my bro and sis were like tryiong to play with the pigeons but the pigeons kept like flying away. then the woman gave my bro and sis this bit of feed and then they fed the pigeons. but they stupid lah, go put all the feed in front then the pigeons at the back cannot eat. lol. anyway that was osaka castle for you.

Then after Osaka castle and after lunch, we went to Universal studio. Universal studios was kinda sianish lahh. so basically when we reached there, i remembered to wear my glove and scarf but as my jacket zip kept sliding down, i looked weirdd. lol. so well, the place was rather nice. it was "furnished" like some american streets thingoes. then they had those american signs all over the place and american flags too. and its in JAPAN. whee. lol. and then just for salima's info there was this "Sal's pasta and grill" restaurant. there were many restaurants. and as i told you it was very european american style. very neat. so first we went terminator 2, the 3d show. shrek was closed for the day, this sign said. so we queued for ages before we could go in. and then when we went in there was this weird woman shouting stuffies in jap and like literally screaming her head off. i couldnt understand lah you see. and then like my whole family were glancing arnd, feeling cheated. like we queue up for so long just to watch this siao woman shout and scream her head off. and then when we were wallowing in sorrow, everyone was led to this room. it was THE SHOW. yea, so we weren't cheated. it was real nice lorh. cos we were sitting at the side so we got a great view of the stuff happening at the side. so at first there was this whole lot of smoke. and then these machinese appeared. damn kewl leh. but my younger sis was scared outta her wits. and then after that we watched the 3d show. the effects were wonderful. there were real people on stage and then a screen where you saw things in 3d. so it was like there were people going from the screen to the stage. they would like jump outta the stage and then appear on the screen. it was really cool. i liked it. nice. so we weren't exactly cheated, which was goooodd. and then after the terminator 2 3d, we went to backdraft.

so backdraft was this fireman thing lah. basically the movie was something about fire and firemen and etc. and so qe queued up again. and then when we went in, there were basically 3 stages. the first stage (thx daphy for reminding me), was basicall ythis woman standing there and talking. and again we didn' understand. and then the second stage (thx daphy again) was this building... on fire (yes fire) but this one was fake fire lah and then the third stage was the best. they actually had this
real fire thingy. and it was like, the ladder even collapsed and everything collapsed and we had a feel of how fires were like lah. the thing i was standing on even like tilted. i was standing on the hinge. how stupid of me. haha. it was nice lah. then you look up you see the poles like going to drop down on you like that. nice. cool.

and then after backdraft we were left on our own to go and explore the place by ourselves and everything. so it was in the afternoon la. and so we walked around the place. and then after that we went to watch the waterworld show la. it was damn nice lah. lots of stunts. people jusmping from one place to another, and then water spurting out, then fire, and all the stunts were great. they were dangerousss. and it was cold. so i dun understand how those performers could stand it. and somemore got water leh. must have been really cold and everything. then after the waterworld show, we went and continued walking around the place. we saw the jurassic park ride. it was like so kewl. when the "carriage" went down the thing right, the water splashe up to like 4 meters? it was really nice watching the water splash up. but we didn't take it. cos we had to buy this poncho thing and it cost 500 yen(8 bucks). my mum really regretted buyingponchos from singapore. at first we had wanted to but then since i was feeling lazy and everything we didn't get any ponchos in singapore. so then after that we walked around more and took more photographs. (my mum is obsessed with taking photos. of herself. of people. siao.). oh and at the jurassic ride there, my mum got some food for my sister. then it was like when my mum was queuing up i was standing beside her lah. then this jap guy just like, pushed me away cos he just bought a chicken wing and couldnt get through. gee. how rude. cant stand japs. okay maybe not all japs. just some. the rude ones who give tourists a bad impression of other japs and of their country.

then after walking around we went to snoopy studios. we walked around the shops and then we went to take the mini roller coaster. it rawked. very nice. even my bro and my sis took it. and then after we left snoopy studios we went to this nearby fast food thing. i think it was still part of snoopy studios cos it had snoopy tables and decorations. so we didn't leave snoopy studios yet. and guess what. we ordered 5 set meals, one set meal comprising of one salad, one drink, one hamburger/nuggets, and one pack of fries. and each set meal cost 16 bucks. so our meal cost 80 bucks. and for fast food. not like it was marche or anything. it was fast food. well that was way scary. and the catch is that the burgers were pale. pale. almost white. okay they looked disgusting and i couldn't really bring myself to eat them but since i was hungry i actually finshed it. pale burgers. and 16 dollars. i think having paid 16 bucks i deserved a browner burger. haha

so then after that it was almost time up and we were supposed to go back to the bus. it was already dark and really really cold. freezing. i could like hardly walk. good thing the drink was like hot tea. it helped a bit. and then in the toilets they had warm water. that helped a lot. and then we walked one whole round around universal studios just to discover that the exit was on the other side. by then i was already freezing. having walked one whole day in shoes that were really narrow my feet were numb. so i couldnt walk properly. and my hands were so cold i had to stick them in my pockets (i forgot to take my gloves down) and then hold the tea with my hands in my pockets. figure out how i did that? haha. and then after that we finally made our way to the entrance. it looked really nice in the dark. and then the famous globe had those spotlights shining all around it into the sky. you could see like the end of the spotlight rays, meaning there was a cloud there. haha. it was really nice. and then the giant mistletoe above the entrance was also really cool. and then on our way back to the bus, i saw this lady carry this laser thingy which her kid bought and shining it on the floor to show her kid. (okay i don't really know if her kid bought it). and then the laser was in the shape of the E.T. logo. it was really nice. well i really regretted not getting any souvenirs from universal studios. almost all the japs there had this cardholder, purse, thingy hung around their necks. there was elmo, cookie monster, and many others. its like almost everyone walking around universal had one of those.

then we finally made our way back to the bus. and i was freezing. totally. ee. bad experience. haha. then after that the bus took us to shinsaibashi. this longest shopping street thing in Osaka as the tour guide said.

so well, there were neon lights all around the place. it was quite a sight. the neon lights made the place look so bustling and busy and everything. cos in orchard rd there aren't many neon lights but there the neon lights were like all around you. even if you switched off all the streetlighting you would still be able to see clearly with the help of the neon lights. and then there were like all those neon light animations. like the isetan "banner" thingy had this neon light flashing and this animated isetan logo thing. i think my dad taped some of the animated neon signs.

then they did have some cheap clothes. like those roadside shops blah blah. i suppose a piece of clothing in japan selling for 16 snig bucks is kinda cheap? haha. well as in like its shocking. you would expect all their clothes to be 20+ sing dollars. and then the tour guide brought us to this ramen shop. he was syaing about them havnig nice yummy ramen. *well, personally i think he gets comission, that's why its so yummy*. but anyway we didn't try it. cos as i mentioned earlier we already had our lunch in universal studios. remember the pale burgers? haha. then after walking about the place a bit, u started to see the dark. the dark. dark side. cos we wondered a bit far in lah. and then after that we hurried out of the ulu places.

and then we went to buy takao pachi. and that was where my mum dropped her gloves. so her gloves fell onto the floor. and then this guy bent down to pick them up. and just when i saw it i told her and by the time she turned around the guy ran away. and guess what? i got the blame. the blardy blame. and it wasn't my fault. geez. i could have just not tol dher and i wouldnt have been blamed right? and blamed for what? for not telling her earlier. and i told her once i saw it. so to phrase it properly i was wrong because i didn't see the guy picking up the gloves earlier. GEE. then she dint see it either. okay fine. cant be bothered to dwell on unhappy things. okay. and then we ate the takao pachi and this eggy thing my dad bough fro the stall opposite the takao pachi stall. nice enough lah. yepsies. but we couldnt finish it and in the end a whole chunk of food was thrown away. sad right?(that was later on at the hotel when the food was thrown away). and then we gathered at the meeting place. there was this CD shop and they were playing this red hot chilli peppers song. and i also noticed that a lot of those roadside shops were actually playing english songs. when the japs couldnt even speak proper english. okay most japs. so i dunno how they understood the songs. weird. yea la. also like in singapore got people dun understand jap also buy jap songs wan lah. i suppose its just like, the music, not the language that its sung in. music is universal! yea...

and then after shinsaibashi we went to the hotel. out first night in japan. at KKR hotel. Osaka. the hotel was rather nice and was quite fine lah. the room wasn't overly small or big or anything. just fine. and then toilet. aiyo. i hate adjusting the temperature. its either too cold or too hot. and then the shampoo, which always happens to be Kao shampoo, in almost every hotel (its japanese brand mah. but even so they shud haf used lion. lion is better and its jap brand too), is bad for your hair. it's just like soap lah. so your hair becomes all tangled and everything because there's not enough "oil(?)" in your hair and everything. so my hair was very tangled throughtout the japan trip. and then that night i had this really bad sore on my lip and another sore near my nose. it was really bad. it got a little better the next day. i learnt the importance of putting on lip gloss and moisturiser.haha.

Posted at 12:00 am by ::shoolee
Comments (1)

Dec 8, 2003
first day

Hmm okay. First day. This was about 11.30 pm Singapore time lah. So we just arrived at the airport. We took 2 taxis there separately, cos we dint think the luggage could fit into one taxi, but it could if u had it tied down but nvm, we took 2 taxis anyway. So when we reached, we took a look at the departure thingo and found out our flight was at 1.30. evidently my dad rmbered the time wrongly, dunno if he remembered it as earlier or later but anyway, I posted the envelope with the popular card in the mailbox. (this was for lina cos I accidentally took her popular card ) and then we checked in. then there were lots and lots of shops in the airport. Like duh, all the duty free stuffies. And so we shopped about and walked about. My sis and bro took quite a few pictures at their fern garden. Its real cool to have a fern garden. Cos like, ferns are more hardy and wont die so easily whereas like other plants might die real easily or stuff like that. So well, we played uno twice. Once before checking in and once when we were waiting at our gate. As in, we played many games of uno but we played twice, after that I think I left my uno on the plane going there. *sobs*. Sigh. And then we saw Grace and those two cousins at the airport, but then at that time we had no idea who was in our tour group so yea. But we met mr chan. The tour leader at the check in area lah, and we also saw him on the travellator, so we basically knew he had something to o with our group, and something to do with chan brothers. Cos he was like holding this whole chunk of boarding passes and there was only one of him. So yea.

Then after this whole chunk of waiting and playing uno, which wasn't as much waiting as like, many of our previous trips, we finally could board the plane! Cos they let the families with kids board first. And so we boarded. And then its like, my bro was so happy that they had the screen on the seat in front of ours, so he could like play his playstation games or Nintendo or whatever. So he was real excited and everything. I mean, who wouldn't be. Haha, if they were fans of Nintendo that is. So then he played. And I watched matchstick men. Yay for matchstick men. At first I didn't know how to operate the system, so its like, I tried like hell to make it work. And I also didn't noe how to select which movies I wanted to watch. So I just like played around with the different channels and ended up with matchstick men. At first I was on the S.W.A.T channel but I donno what I did and I ended up watching matchstick men instead. I didn't know it was matchstick men until I read the magazine, which said something about daughter wanting to learn tricks of the con trade that I realized that show i watched was matchstick men. Haha, I'm still wondering why it was called matchstick men.

So then after the show ended, I listened to their audio. Wasn't that nice but quite fine anyway. That time I didn't know the existence of the magazine and so I also didn't know what songs they were playing. Okay, there was this song by steps, s club party, and some other song; I forgot what song it was. Spice girls I think, which means I shud have remembered the song, but never mind. Haha. Then like after listening to it for a while, I fell asleep. I turned it off before I slept though. Up to now I still can't imagine how I actually slept when it was so uncomfortable and everything. Its like, the seat couldn't go back much, and there was nothing for me to lean onto and stuff. And on the plane lah, grace and her mum were on the 3 seater beside us and the two cousins and their parents, (total of 6 people), were sitting in front of us. I don't think all 6 of them were in front of us cos it was a 4 seater was it? Or 3 seater. Don't know. Anyway, the 2 cousins were in front of us, and some other people, presumably their parents but not all their parents. Get my point right. Yea. Ah and on the plane at first my mm was planning to get us to ask for a mini mastermind set, germaine got one from SIA once so my mum wanted us to ask for one. And we didn't. I forgot. I think. Then on the return trip I wanted to ask for cards but I forgot again. Okay blast me, I'm a forgetful dope. I'll remember for a while on the plane and then after a while I'll forget. Then suddenly I'll remember again, but this time 'll choose to forget cos I can't be bothered. Well, haha. So its like after sleeping, I woke up (this is like duh, pointless telling you this).

And so I woke up and after a while they served breakfast. There was Japanese selection and international selection. I took international, which was scrambled eggs and ham, with a lot of those like fruit and etc. my bro's scrambled eggs looked weird, and so he was rather disgusted by it (he was sitting beside me) and didn't eat it. Haha, till now I'll still remember that it looked like salmon. Haha. Basically it looked so bunched up it looked more like meat than scrambled eggs. The breakfast was yummy. I liked it. The previous night we left Singapore at 1.30 and it took 6 hours to reach, making it Singapore time 7.30, which was japan time 8.30. so we started touring once we reached there.

Posted at 12:00 am by ::shoolee
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