I don’t know what was up with AKB48 in Japan, but let me tel you, they’re really popular. Most of the popularity is with men because they are always dancing around with little clothes on and are just really cute, which fits into Japan’s “kawaii culture”. I not going to lie when I say that I kind of like their music…maybe a lot lol, but I just don’t like the concept of wearing such little amounts of clothes and selling those pictures of themselves. Everyone should know that idols in Japan are a big market, but when you see old men in stores looking at AKB48’s picture in the store, which the members range from 12+up, it’s kind of nasty lol. Here is one of their biggest songs!! Enjoy!!
First, before you read on. Here’s a bit about Nikko from Japan-Guide.com
Nikko had been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for many centuries before Toshogu was built in the 1600s, and Nikko National Park continues to offer scenic, mountainous landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys and hiking trails.
Nikko and the Okunikko area around Lake Chuzenji, in particular, are well known for their beautifulautumn colors (koyo). In the average year the colors start descending from the higher elevations ofYumoto Onsen in early October, are best around Lake Chuzenji and the Irohazaka road in mid to late October and reach the town of Nikko in the first half of November.
Nikko is located along Japan’s Romantic Road.”
I decided to go to Nikko because I felt that even though it was spring break at ICU, I didn’t really go anywhere out of Tokyo and I really wanted to, so I did. I got a deal from my friend to buy her JR Rail pass for a low price and I took it. I also decided to go because it was highly recommended as a day trip from one of the regulars of the bars a frequented.
I left on the JR line round 6 in the morning and got to Nikko round 9 or 10am. It took some time because I missed the train I was supposed to be on and ended up taking a local. Local trains end up hitting every stop. Also the local train I went on didn’t go all the way to Utsunomiya Station so I had to transfer. I didn’t mind it though. The scenery was nice and it was quiet. I kept on recalling scenes from Kamikaze Girls, which take place in Utsunomiya. (BTW, I recommend the movie. It’s a very good example of Japanese cinema.)
When you arrive at Utsunomiya Station, most likely you’re going to have to stop wait for the Nikko line to arrive. The wait was nice through. If you have a JR Pass you can exit the station freely and enter freely so go ahead and do your thang, but I just sat in the waiting area and grabbed a green tea mocha with was delicious. I love mocha!!(Japanese sweet)
I loved the Nikko line. I was so cute. The seats where red and it felt like I was on my way to Disney land lol. It took about an hour to reach Nikko and when I did it reminded me of an old town in the wild wild west. It was uuber cool.
Please continue to the next post!!
I never really drank before I went to Japan because I just never really thought it was something I would do, but living in a foreign country can change that for a person!! I wanted to recommend one of my favorite drinking spots for you guys. It’s called, “The HUB”.
The Hub, from 4-7pm (weekdays), has something very amazing called, “Happy Hour”. Drinks during that time cost from $3-$5 and even more I believe. But that only depends on what you’re getting. The price is higher for drinks, but it all depends on what you buy.
The style of the HUB is like a pub. It really does have a foreign feel to it. There’s sports on the teli, the whole place is covered in dark wood, flags of different counties, flags and posters of sport teams, and the music is usually varied in different genres. It’s a really chill vibe you get from this place and it’s a great place to hang with friends on a Friday after a test, on the weekend, and with coworkers.
I love the HUB and I totally recommend it. It’s like everywhere, especially in Tokyo: Shibuya, Shinjuku, you name it!! Oh and they have delicious food!!!
I said most of what I needed to say about my cousin’s stay in Japan I believe. Now on to little things here and there about her stay that I feel I need to tell you about.
Tips about trying to say money whiling traveling Japan: FOOD!!!!
So when you’re in Japan, other than the fact that EVERYTHING is expensive, depending on the country you’re from, there is a way to save money during your time there.
The first step is food. Food is one of the best ways to learn about a country’s culture and one of the greatest ways to feel happy. I mean it’s true right?? You get depressed, you eat. You’re boyfriend/ girlfriend cooks you this amazing breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you eat. You’re hungry, you eat. And comes after the first bite?? This burst of Happiness from eating something sooo delicious!! Yes, now to save money on food. You’re going to have to choose at what time of day did you want to eat out at a restaurant: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Alternating? Well once you decide that, you have two times of day where you’re to have to eat elsewhere.
Places I recommend:
#1 100 Yen Shop
The “hyaku en shappu” (Japanese pronunciation for the store) you can find breakfast food, lunch food, and diner food and other random things for only 105 yen. This is equivalent to 1.34 US dollars. Yah I know, the price changes once you enter inside lol. I guess you can compare this to the 99 Cents Store within the states. It’s very convenient prices for when you’re traveling or when you are living in Japan, doing study abroad, teaching and stuff. The 100 yen shop was the go to store when I was at the International Christian Univerisity. It was right down the street. I also continuously used this store when I was traveling Kansai and staying in Asakusa.
Conbini’s in Japan range from 7 Eleven to Family Mart to Sunkus to DailyMart to other shops, but these are the main ones. It’s there that you can pick up cheap food, and not just warm-up sh*t. My cousin and I always stopped by 7 eleven to pick up an onigiri, rice ball, for breakfast. It’s quick to eat and filling-ish lol. Also onigiri’s usually have some sort of surprise in the middle, for example, tuna. We always got the tuna onigiri. The prices range from 105- less than 300 yen. It really all depends on what’s inside. ^^
#3 Fast Food
Fast food may not be the healthiest choice, but it does save money. I can’t really speak for many places for being low [rices, but I will mention the places I have gone that had a menu similar to the states “1 Dollar Menu”. First off is McDonalds. This do have a 10o yen menu, but I think the 120 yen menu is way better. The breakfast menu for those two prices are good too. Second is Lotteria. I LOVE Lotteria. I usually got some sort of pie, or the ebi (shrimp) burger. It was sooo delicious. My absolute fav!!
Let me tell you, I didn’t have to go to some top notch restaurant to get some authentic Japanese food. There are splenty of not-so-top-notch looking restaurants that see amazing Japanese food like udon, ramen, katsudon, and many more. You just have to look around. I prmise you will find something good, filling, and cheap to eat!!
PLACES TO CHECK OUT: These are chain restaurants (SUPER CHEAP) throughout Tokyo, and probably Japan that I recommend.
Matsuya, Sukiya, Yoshinoya: These are two different chains, but they sell practically the same types of foods. (i.e.beef bowls)
Gusto: This restaurant is a 24hr restaurant. They have something called, “drink bar,” where you can have access to all non-alcohalic drinks, limitless time, for like 4 bucks. It’s a good place to study!! The also have pretty cheap meals too. Check it out!!
My cousin, friend, and I were invited to go to this jamming place by the guy I met at the club the other night. I didn’t really want to go at first because I’m a shy person!!!! So what if I was interested in him??? No just kidding, I wanted to go secretly but I didn’t want to say yes without the approval of my cousin and friend because my friend came out to hang with us, all the way to our hostel, and we already kind of decided to go clubbing. Therefore I didn’t want to say yes to blue eyes because I already had plans, but my cousin and friend were down to go, so everything worked out.
We drank a bit before leaving. I think I had 2-3 shots, a ½ bottle of whiskey, and a cocktail before leaving. I’m not sure but I was feeling good and was sane. I’m a heavy weight champion what can I say?? Bwahahahahaha!!! But yah, my friend was new to drinking at the time so he got a bit tipsy after one cocktail and when he drinks he begins to speak in Keigo. Keigo is the SUPER polite way of speaking Japanese. It’s only used we speaking to someone of a higher status than you. For example, when you come to restaurant out here, the waiters and waitresses are going to speak to you in Keigo, be you as the customer are in a higher standing than them because they are serving you. It’s also used in boss and subordinate relations and teacher-student relations.
Yah but he kept speaking in Keigo and no one understood what he was talking about. I’m proficient in Japanese, but NOT when using honorifics (polite forms). It’s very difficult for me. But yah, it was funny. Nolan ended up going home that night, but my cousin and I still went to the Jamming place with them. It was called, “Hana Kawa Door”.
This place gets popping from Thursday-Sat I believe. I don’t remember what day we went though. But they usually have live music playing and performances from various underground artists and Djs, has a bar, and just lots of chill people there. It was kind of like a hippie fest lol.
The reason why I recommend this place is because I performed there with blue eyes. He played the guitar, I sang, mind you with the band still playing behind us. It was just such a cool experience for me because I love music and I love to sing. Hana Kawa Door made me get out of my shell to the max. It was a beautiful night. Also his brothers rapped, which was so cool, and the owner of the bar, her name is “Mimi” remembered me when I returned a couple of months later. She only met me once, so for her to remember me made me really happy. Both times I went there were good times.
If you plan to go, please email her to ask what’s going on that night because I did go there out of the blue one more time but there was no one there, only the bartender lol.
THIS VIDEO IS FROM TWO MONTHS AFTER MY CUZO CAME :]
Okay! So let’s talk about the place we stayed in Osaka!! It’s called Hotel Toyo. Now for a single room the price we paid for it was off the charts. But man soon as we entered the building, shivers. It literally looked like a scene out of a horror movie, the hallways that is, nope wait, so did the showers and toilets too. Girls and guys share the same toilets as in there is not isn’t a bathroom for guys and one for girls, we share the same thing and other than the door to your stall, there’s no door to the bathroom. There’s just a curtain that divides you from the hallways.
First morning there, I woke up and went to brush my teeth in the bathroom. A I was brushing my teeth, this guy came and went straight to the urinal to go and pee. FYI, the urinals don’t have walls to block it, so it’s basically him peeing nonchalantly beside me. AS I BRUSHED my teeth! Man I booked that shizz.
My scared and I were too afraid to sleep to sleep in our rooms by ourselves so she brought her futon into my room and we slept together lol. My other friend wanted to come in too, but there was no space. I was going to make space for her but she refused. (:[)
Let’s see, my friend’s Iphone got jacked in the common area. I know that this might surprise you, people stealing in Japan, but don’t worry. It’s because most of the people there were foreigners. I say this because Japan’s crime rate is very low and unlike other countries, when you leave your wallet in a shopping center, most likely it will be there when you come back. Or the owners of that place will find a way to get it back to you.
No coolers, and it was a HOT ass summer, let me tell you that. If you plan to stay at this hotel, get the AC rooms, there only like two or three dollars more. Yah, I’m cheap. I’m a cheap college student!!! Sue me!!! Actually don’t, I don’t have money to afford a lawyer, well I could always get probono haha.
The other foreigners were really cool by the way, ended up getting to know one from Australia really well. We hung out with her a day going to Umeda sky building. Also, met another girl from Seoul, South Korea. Hopefully she comes back to Japan while I’m here so we can go out to karaoke like I promised. I LOVE YOU FACEBOOK!!
Sorry but I’mma have to make a time machine. Before talking about the present I’m going to have to talk about the past because I need to catch up on that. Let’s start with Osaka.
I guess Osaka was my favorite place out of Kyoto and Osaka lol. The night life was bustling and unlike Kyoto, the trains did not stop round ten. Dotonburi was my favorite hangout. Dotonburi is a shopping place, but it has food, arcades, my new FAV, entertainment places (do like the movies? Or host clubs?), and even the famous Glico man. Standing on that bridge was my favorite part of Osaka because it felt nice to be on top of something amazing. I don’t know how to explain it but on that bridge was all kinds of people and it made me happy to stick out as Kimberly, the girl from California.
In Osaka we went to Den Den Town, which is a famous place for electronics, kind of like Tokyo’s Akihabara. It was there that I found my adapter for America’s three edged plug, the one for HP laptops. Yah, before coming here I do recommend that you buy your own adapter, especially if you have a laptop that needs it because in Japan they go by the two hole plugs (T_T). Another place we went to was Osaka castle and Umeda sky building. Both places were lovely, except the constant rain that poured down on my friend and I, which left us trapped in a shrine for almost two hours. We didn’t have umbrellas and usually I would say, “A little rain doesn’t hurt,” but that saying did not goes with the rain that was taking place. It was literally like taking a shower outside. And the rain wasn’t just flowing straight down; it was going in all sorts of directions. But hey, that shrine was beautiful. I sang the whole time.
Highlight of Osaka.
This one night, my friends and I were looking for a bar, but of course not knowing Osaka we didn’t know where to go. I mean there were a ton of izekaiyas but we didn’t have the money for that shizz. You have to pay a sitting fee on top of the charge for your drinks. That’s why we’d rather go to bar and just pay for the drinks instead. SO what did we do? We asked a group of ladies walking our way for where we could find a good bar. They told us to follow them.
And we did, follow them that is.
Turns out one of them spoke excellent English. They were wedding planners and they just got off of work. some were going home, but because my friends and I were there they ended up staying with us at the bar. A cute guy came to talk to us. And the English speaking girl kept telling him I was single and shy and she kept telling me that I should get a Japanese boyfriend lol. Yeah, um he said I was cute he-he.
I made videos for Osaka so please check them out. (>3<)