Saturday, December 19, 2015

A few travelling tips for Tokyo☆

Even though I have been in Japan only once,
I thought that I should share a few things that I would have found helpful as a first-timer.
(So I'm not saying that I'm omniscient about Japan now, after just one trip to Tokyo. :'''D)

So, the tips, here you go:

1) If you want travel easy in Tokyo, get either Suica or Pasmo.
They both are rechargeable smart cards, which you can use for moving around and for paying in some stores. At least Suica is valid for JR East trains, subways and buses.
For example: you don't need to buy a ticket from a vending machine everytime you want to use subway, and you don't have to check the fares, the right amount is charged from your card. You just touch the reader with your card at the ticket gates and enter. Recharging Suica is also easy, there's even a menu in English available. So convenient, I highly recommend.
I got my Suica in JR travel service center at the same time I purchased tickets for NEX. The reason why I chose Suica over Pasmo was the cute penguin! :D 


2) The apps.
In addition to Google Maps, I used other apps too. I loaded some apps just for the trip.
The most useful one was an app called Tokyo Subway Navigation, provided by Tokyo metro co., which is super easy way to check the correct metroline and right station to drop off. It's free and it can be used offline too! I loved it so much, it made life so much easier, so combined with Suica using metro (which has often been regarded as confusing) was a piece of cake:

Another app I loaded was TripAdvisor. That app was great to plan your trip, find out the attractions and restaurants. I mainly used this for planning and to get orientated about Tokyo. The offline use is also possible, but in my opinion it wasn't very good.

Third app I loaded was called "Helppo Valuuttamuunnin", or Easy Currency. It's free and easy currency converter. I wasn't very familiar with yen so this helped a lot in the beginning.


3) An (plug) adapter
 I already had bought an adapter in Finland, only to find out that it wasn't compatible with plugs in our Japanese hotel. The package of that adapter clearly stated that it could be used in Japan too. It was an adapter for America, with two flat prongs and one round. The plugs in our hotel had holes only for two flat prongs. Luckily the hotel had an adapter to borrow, and the next day we went to buy one in Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku.

Yodobashi Camera is a chain, so you can find it all around Japan, and there is of course other electronics chains too, like Bic Camera.

I don't know if that American adapter could be used somewhere else in Japan, but at least this kind of adapter worked (and now I paid attention to plugs in anime, they were also like this):

Note that if your device is marked for example "100-240 V, 50/60 Hz", the device can be used anywhere in the world, if the plugs are compatible. So you don't necessarily need a power adapter!! Just check the devices you are going to get with you, at least chargers for my phone and camera were marked like that and worked well with just a plug adapter.


4) Use Google, you can find some many websites that provide the most useful info for tourists. The ones I specially liked were TokyoCheapo and Japan Guide. I also read travel diaries of other people. Guidebooks weren't useful for me.


5) Pick up the free maps from your hotel or tourist information centers. We found some really good maps with main attractions and big stores marked on them.


6) What else?
Just be open-minded, ready for some adventures and enjoy! :)


Monday, December 14, 2015

Purchases from Tokyo

I personally like reading shopping hauls of other people,
but if these aren't your thing you can just skip the following~
 Starting with little things I bought in Harajuku:
Nail stickers are from Wego and the lunch box is Swimmer,
the accessories from some random stores

Lace under shorts.
I already had one shorts, but these were longer and better material ♥

Cute socks from the same shop as the shorts

Lace panel shirt
(which looks better when weared :"""D I should post a picture sometime)

Manga is so cheap in Japan, a new book cost like 400 yen (3 euros),
and in Book-off you can find secondhand manga for 100 yen (75 cents). A big difference compared to what you have to pay in Finland.
But of course these prices are for manga in Japanese.
Hirunaka no ryusei 2-4. These series are one of my favourites, so much doki-doki!!♥
and Arisa 1, mystery shoujo by Natsumi Ando

My purchases from Matsumoto Kiyoshi:
Sweet Sweet Make Up Base Brush On Bright CC - 01 Light
Rosette Cleaning Foam Acne Clear
Ettusais BB Mineral white #10
Creer Beaute Sailor Moon Stick Liquid Eyeliner (Black)

The color of Ettusais Mineral White BB is so perfect♥
It's a great bb, gives you that "your skin, but better"-look, the finish is very nice. It stays on relatively well too, but a miracle is needed to keep makeup staying fully on my face...
What I got playing gachapon:

My Melody and lovely Yuu from Magical Angel Creamy Mami ♥♥♥

Sailor moon strap

I got Makoto at the first attempt!!!!♥

Second hand clothes from Shimokitazawa:

Ignore the fact that my shoes doesn't match with the dress

Only magazine I bought:

When I start, there is no end of cd hauling.
I had to restrain myself and so I bought only following 12:

Billy: Babies, Good bye
Hana shounen baddies: Breed
Guniw Tools: Dazzle
Pierrot: Finale

I'm so happy that I finally got the albums of Billy and Baddies that were missing from my collection ;___; Those guys really have developed as time has passed ;___;
Oh I love them so much~~
Gazette: Dainihon itan geishateki noumiso gyaku kaiten zekkyou ongenshuu
Kagrra,: San
Buck-tick: Taboo
Kat-tun: Queen of pirates

Most of these are from Pure sound and Book-off.
It was like circle closing when I get my hands on Madara, because Ruder and Anata no tame no kono inochi have been one of my favourite songs for so long♥

Oh but even though I bought this many cds I didn't spend too much money.
The cheapest one was 100 yen (0,75e), whilst the most expensive one was about 2300 yen (17e).

I could have bought even more but well...
I'm crying especially after those cheap cds of Kat-tun which I left in Book-off ;__;


That was that.
In conclusion, there was so much interesting things and I could have bought so much more stuff, but just didn't need all of them...
Still, a bitter advice: when in Tokyo, shop in a way that you don't have to regret that you didn't! 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Travel Diary: Tokyo part 6

Day 6: Ikebukuro.
We wondered wether to go to Ikebukuro or Koenji, and picked Ikebukuro just because I knew something about the area.

So we left for the search of the flying vending machines and headless riders.
That day was rainiest day during our trip, so I don't have much pictures.
We didn't have much plans, so just strolled around and visited interesting stores like Tokyu Hands (and Book-off again).

Starving, we decided to try an Okonomiyaki
(a Japanese savoury pancake, which consist of eggs, gabbage, flour and variable ingredients).
I have wanted to try okonomiyaki since I first time saw Ukyo making it in Ranma½! :D
the nostalgia
I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but there were stairs to basement in the corner somewhere near Uniqlo. The restaurant was almost empty; besides us there were only a bunch of high school boys.

Sneaky pictures: there you can see iron cooking plates.

First we picked what we wanted to eat, then waiter brought us two bowls of raw ingredients, which were to be mixed and grilled at tables. Waiter brushed the surface of the cooking plate with oil, then he was nice enough to show us how to cook the first one, so I was able to grill my own okonomiyaki myself.

And here it is, an okonomiyaki!! (I'm so proud)
Mine was a Kimchi version. So good~~ 
I regret not having okonomiyaki earlier, I could have eaten it more than once ;__;
There is an area called Otome road in Ikebukuro. It's full of otaku stuff aimed at women. The area isn't that big and distinguishable as Akihabara, so it took me a lot of time to find it.


We continued wandering. For a snack we went to Mister Donut, which was full of Japanese teenagers (suddenly the teens were basically everywhere).
Some of my favourite shops in a same shot:
I absolutely Love Matsumoto Kiyoshi, which is a cheap drugstore.

I can also say that about Book-off. There you can find tons of used books, manga, magazines, cds, dvds and games. It took me a long time to get rid of the earworm tune that they play at stores, and now it came back again...

 Don Quijote, Donki for short, sells a large variety of goods, like everything. The stores are full of products, from floor to ceiling, and they are real mazes. Their mascot penguin Donpen is so cute ♥ 

(you can find the stores all around Japan and Tokyo,

so you don't have to go to Ikebukuro to find them!)

Welcome to Japan, to the land of inventions:

This machine in Seibu gives a plastic bag to cover your wet umbrella. The name of the machine is kasapon, which is very Japanese too (for the onomatopoeia).

Ikebukuro was an interesting and crazy place. It has like everything you could dream of. From high-end shopping malls like Seibu and Parco, to shady hostess bars and game arcades. It also fullfils your otaku needs.

Man can't simply speak about Ikebukuro without Izaya:

The night was full of packing, since our flight back to Finland took of at 11.00 am next day.

Tokyo station from the Yaesu side - it's very different compared to other side seen in this post.

It was a great trip, a short period of time, but full of adventures!♥
I'm already planning my next trip back there!

~I hope that someone enjoyed my diaries or found them useful.
I'm going to do a haul post next~


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Travel Diary: Tokyo part 5

Day 5: Asakusa and Akihabara
We entered the temple area of Asakusa through Kaminarimon.
There was a cute (?) police box too!
 From Kaminarimon starts Nakamise shopping street, leading to another gate,
behind which is the main temple. 

It was so sunny and warm day ♥ (like most days there really)
The five-storied pagoda
There is also an old amusement park in Asakusa, called Hanayashiki.
There is many smaller temples and statues around the area!
Around the temple area, in addition to tourist shops, you can find many shops selling food:
Ningyouyaki and Suguremon
Melonpan! It was so good ♥_♥
You can eat fresh and still warm melonpan in Asakusa, it was so sweet and fuwa-fuwa~~
We also tried some age-manjuu (fried rice cake with filling). So tasty!
Mine is anko again, the another one is matcha
 The little side streets around the temple area were interesting too, and in one of those I found...
...some mochi! ♥
This is the same kind of anko mochi than before. The one I ate in Oiwake Dango in Shinjuku was so much better because it was fresher, but this was also good~
The variety food you can find there is very large; in addition to ones early mentioned, you can find nikumans, rice crackers, anmitsu, ice cream etc etc!
You can easily fill your stomach with just snacks!

It could have been nice to explore Asakusa more thoroughly, but because of the lack of time, we visites only an area nearby the temple.
From Asakusa, we headed to Akihabara, the center of otaku culture.
... First thing we did there was to eat again ^_^"
Even though I wasn't hungry I couldn't resist a taiyaki! One sees them so much in anime and manga, and now I finally got to taste it!
blub blub it was so cute~~
Maids, anime, games, and electronics everywhere!!
One of my destinations in Akiba were this store:
Gachapon Kaikan!
The store was filled with gacha machines (capsule-vending machines) like this:
Make sure that you have lots of 100 yen coins with you! The machines don't accept other coins. Most of them cost 300 yen. Playing gacha is so much fun, I could have spent more money there but I was too stingy. I even left without any Kamen riders noooo!
Also went to Book-off again. Sneaky pictures:
"Please refrain from stand-reading the comics"
 They just standed there in the aisle, reading manga the whole time, and forming a human wall. This wasn't even as bad as it was in the Book-off of Shinjuku, where they blocked the aisles completely. Lol the Japanese respecting the rules, but well, it's a common habit there :'''D
Akiba was a really fun and colorful place. Because my companion isn't interested in anime, we didn't visit many of those stores...
Instead of proper meals, we just ate the snacks... that day I really ate enough anko ^^", some food from 7/11.
Mild Strawberry au lait (looks better than it tasted),
Mushroom Inari sushi (rice in a fried tofu pocket) and
THE MOST DISGUSTING food I ate while in Japan; Mochitto Hokkaido Melon pan. I don't know what that green thing was, it was so artificial and just plain bad.... I couldn't eat even one bite.
To be continued!