Archive for 2016_Apr_Japan

2016 Japan Sakura Trip Day 1 – Tokyo

This is our 2nd trip to the Land of Rising Sun. Together with Jevriel, we were heading to Japan for the Sakura season. Amber has seen Sakura for a few times but this would be the first for Jevriel and I.

I was down with sore throat and cough before the trip. To top things up, Jevriel was starting to have high fever just 2 days before our trip, and that made us really worried. We were thinking if he should come with us or should we cancel the trip since admission to hospital without us being around would be very worrying. Fortunately his fever subsided before the departure and we had a sign of relief that the trip could continue.

Day 1 – 27 Mar 2016 – Sun

We landed in Tokyo and took the airport monorail this time round. The time was too early for check-in and we left for Tokyo station after storing our luggage at the hotel. We were searching for food before heading towards the Imperial Palace. For some reasons we wasted much time circling the building at Tokyo station for Japanese food, only to land ourselves in a “Chinese” restaurant. Jevriel fell asleep and we had to wake up a cranky boy to ensure he doesn’t proceed the day with an empty stomach. While lunching, Jevriel started to cough, which was not a very good sign.

It was quite a distance from the station to the Imperial Palace. Our expectation of an Imperial Palace filled up blossom Sakura did not materialize. Only a handful of trees were seen with Sakura while most of them were pretty bare.

Jevriel refused to walk by himself and cried to be carried throughout the day. It became too much of a challenge for me to use my SLR while having to carry him. Amber does not have the strength to carry Jevriel for long, and I had to abandon my SLR and end up using my mobile phone camera (for the entire trip as Jevriel cried to be carried for the next 14 days). All the photos for this trip were taken using camera phone (with the quality greatly compromised). 

Amber was suffering from fatigue as she did not get to sleep much during the flight. We headed back to the hotel and checked-in at 5pm. The rest of the day was spent in the hotel room, a pretty small room with a bed that is just nice for the 3 of us.

Dinner was one of my favorite Japanese dish – Curry Rice.

Jevriel started coughing more and he started developing phlegm and running nose. We brought along his medicine but his history of Bronchitis really made us very worried at this point of time. This was really not a good way to start the holiday.

2016 Japan Sakura Trip Day 2 – Tokyo

Day 2 – 28 Mar – Mon

Jevriel’s condition did not seem to improve so we decided to cancel today’s itinerary and rest him. We made hot water steam tub and that helped in clearing his blocked nose. Not wanting to coup up in the room for the whole day, we did a short walk for lunch at a Ramen restaurant. While unwell, Jevriel is overly active at this age, and asking him to behave proved to be a challenging task. We really had a hard time trying to stop him from embarrassing us. At this point, I was starting to have a pinch of regret for bringing him along. We stocked up diapers at a nearby supermarket, Tomod’s. Price of diapers in Japan is less than half of Singapore.

We did not get to see much yesterday and I really did not wish to waste another day in Japan. Amber was still feeling fatigue and I asked her to rest with Jevriel while I headed out for self travel. During our last trip in Tokyo I missed out on the Meiji Shrine. It is a nice place and I spent about an hour walking around the Shrine and its compound. I tried doing their prayer (bow twice, clap twice, bow again). I exited at the other end of Meiji Shrine and took a slow walk towards Harajuku, another place that we did not visit previously.

At the Tourist Information Centre, I sought help from some Indonesia tourists with a photo. Next I wandered into the “cute” section (Takeshita Dori) where shops after shops filled themselves with countless Kawaii stuffs. Most of the shoppers are in their teens. The sky was getting dark by the time I reached the end of the stretch. I got dinner and headed back to the hotel, feeling really happy to be walking around alone. I decided that I will be doing a self trip soon.

After dinner with Jevriel and Amber, I headed out for Onsen. With the help from Google, I found a list of recommended Onsen in Tokyo. My pick was Saya-no-yudokoro in Maenohara, 40 minute train ride from my hotel. It is a really nice Onsen and was quite crowded even at 9/10pm. They have a few indoor and outdoor pools. I particularly like the sleeping Onsen pool where water run along my back while I lie down in a sleeping position. There is another section with buckets where I got to soak myeslf like an ancient bath. I left the Onsen around 10.40pm and decided to do a quick drink at an Izakaya known as Hinata. The owner is a lady in her 50s and I happened to be the only customer at that time. Since I was the only one around, I started chatting with the owner while sipping my cold beer. It was really a challenge with my limited Japanese language, and we ended up using Google Translator and hand signals. There were lots of laughter as most of the time we couldn’t really understand each other. We chatted for 20 minutes and I had to rush for the last train. To my surprise the bill came as ¥600, which was rather pricey as beer normally cost ¥300~¥400 in such places. My guess is I look like a cabbage with limited Japanese speaking ability, and that was an opportunity to rip me off.

Jevriel was still awake when I returned at midnight, and his condition seemed to have improved.

2016 Japan Sakura Trip Day 3 – Tokyo

Day 3 – 29 Mar – Tue

Jevriel seemed to be feeling better and we decided to venture out of the hotel room. First thing was to fill our stomach. Next we travelled towards Shibuya for Hachiko, a well known Akita dog with unwavering loyalty to his master. After snapping shots with Hachiko, we proceeded to Meiji Shrine as Amber was blaming me visiting it by myself. I didn’t mind a revisit since it is a really nice place. This time round we paid ¥500 each for the garden admission. It was a total waste of money. You can see from my photos how uninteresting it is. So don’t bother going into the garden.

It was late afternoon and time for Jevriel’s medication. We needed a cafe or some sort to feed both the milk and medicine. As usual, he made it rather difficult and we hardly get to rest our feet. Jevriel fell asleep by the time we reached KiddyLand. I ended up sitting by the roadside for an hour, with Jevriel sleeping in my arms. It was really tiring to hold that weight for an hour. He was pretty cranky even upon waking up, and we appeased him by adding more cars to his existing Tomiko fleet.

Dinner was back at Ningyocho area, the same restaurant that I have visited the past 2 nights. I could see that by now the chef has recognised me for popping in the 3rd night. It was really tiring when Jevriel wanted to be carried throughout the day. Walking with that kind of weight on my arms is kind of worse than having a heavy fieldpack resting on my shoulder during a road march. It has been 3 days in Tokyo but frankly, we have seen and done nothing much. Most of the time had been spent preparing stuffs due to Jevriel. Travelling with a kid with a personality like Jevriel – is a real god damn challenge.