Saturday, January 25, 2014

Travel to Japan: Tokyo (Disney Sea, Shinjuku, Shibuya)

"I wonder if you know,  how they live in Tokyo. If you seen it then you mean it, then you know you have to go."
- Tokyo Drift by Teriyaki Boyz (Fast & Furious 3)

TOKYO. Acknowledged as one of the most expensive city to live in for many years. Yes I made it, in my own affordable way.

After a long almost 10 hours journey from Osaka, we finally arrived at Tokyo on Friday morning around 08.20. We got off from Willer Bus Express near Tokyo Station (Kajibashi parking lot, across Yaesu Fujiya Hotel). Even though Tokyo Station is just 5 mins away, we chose to walk to Kyobashi Station to take subway to reach Tawaramachi Station (near Asakusa). Main reason? We didn't need to transfer since both stations are on the same subway line. Since we brought some heavy luggages, we tried to avoid subway's stairs :)

Morning exercise to Kyobashi Station (p)
For getting around via subway in Tokyo we couldn't use our ICOCA card that we bought in Osaka, so we bought another transportation card called PASMO or SUICA. You can buy PASMO on ticket machine at subway station or SUICA at JR station. Truthfully, we can use our ICOCA card to ride JR trains at Tokyo too, but not for subway. We need to move fast in Tokyo, so we decided to buy another transportation card. Read here for more information about Tokyo transportation cards.

Thanks God there's an entrance with elevator at Kyobashi Station. We also bought our PASMO card at this station with some help from a nice officer on duty. We arrived at Tawaramachi Station 15 minutes later. There's no elevator here, so be brave and embraced the stairs. Fortunately, I met a very kind Spanish tourist who helped me to bring my heavy luggage through the exit. I owe you big one surprisingly helpful stranger. 

We stayed at Khaosan Tokyo Laboratory. A very nice hostel in Asakusa area. Khaosan Tokyo has some branches around Asakusa: Ninja, Original, Samurai, Kabuki, Laboratory, and the newest one World Asakusa (open late Nov last year). The Laboratory branch was also recently open last year too. 
This hostel offers many 3 bed rooms' space with colorful walls, so pretty! A private bath room is attached inside. We paid 3,400 JPY per person per night. This hostel also offers 4 bedroom's space and dormitory room. 

Entrance (k)
Reception, information, and free internet corner (k)
Dining area and kitchen (k)
Our bright pink room! (k)
We arrived too early from our check-in time, but Tsubasa (hostel staff) nicely allowed us to use the public bathroom to freshen up. It was a day after Halloween and there are lots of costumes and accessories on the reception lounge, we tried some of them too.

Scary crab and silly rabbit (p) 
We had a yummy lunch at a japanese restaurant nearby. I can't recall the name, it's something started with "T". Tenya if I'm not mistaken. Tsubasa recommended us to try this place because the food came in big portion, delicious and the price is affordable. Yes we skipped breakfast, yes we hungry, yes we need biggie lunchie before our happiest journey to Disney Sea.

Tempura set and tasty soba, yummsterrr (p)
Disney Sea here we go! We took subway Ginza Line from Tawaramachi Station to Ueno, transferred to Hibiya Line and got off at Hatchobori, transferred to Keiyo Line and made our stop at Maihama, walked to Disney Resort then rode the Disney Train to Disney Sea. It's a long journey. 

We arrived at Disney Sea around 2 pm and have a plan to stay until the fireworks on 8 pm. I didn't ride any attractions while I was there because the place was too packed of people, my friends were able to ride 2-3 attractions though. I chose to stroll around and watched some shows instead.


We already bought our Disney Sea ticket through Tokyo Disney Resort web. It saved us sometimes because we don't have to queue in front of ticket counter anymore. We just had to print our e-ticket and showed it at the entrance gate. You have to pay 6,200 JPY for one day passport ticket to Disney Sea.

I wasn't aware that it's forbidden to use a tripod or even a monopod in Disney Sea and Disneyland. Another thing that I just knew was you can't watch fireworks at Disney Sea, because there's a show called Fantasmic to close your day there. You can only get fireworks if you go to Disneyland.

Food and drinks in Disney Sea are quite expensive. I spent nearly 120 JPY just to get a churros, minnie popsicle, and a bottle mineral water. 

We're going to Shin-Okubo Korea Town for an early lunch on the next day. Another cheap but tasty japanese (with a bit fusion taste from Korea) restaurant chain similar to Yoshinoya called Sukiya. I ate a bowl of kimchi gyudon. After that we went to Shinjuku and visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building to get a view of Tokyo and its surrounding from the observatory deck. I didn't have to spend any penny since it's free!

and building
Another buildings
The weather was too cloudy that day. It's been said that on good weather you can see Mount Fuji from up there. But I was able to catch a glimpse of Tokyo Dome and Tokyo Sky Tree though.

We went around and found a garden near TMGO. It's Saturday and lucky for us there's a flea market there!

Got myself a fluffy little Elmo at Shinjuku flea market for 200 JPY only!
I left Shinjuku around 1 pm and rushed to Saitama (a prefecture near Tokyo) to catch CNBLUE concert in Japan that held at Saitama Super Arena. I'll have another post for my Saitama trip in Japan (CNBLUE Arena Tour in Japan & Kawagoe).

CNBLUE "One More Time" Arena Tour in Japan
I met my friends again later that night at Shibuya. We had our dinner at a curry place, once again I forgot the restaurant name. But it wasn't Coco or Go Go Curry. 

Similar with Shinjuku, I didn't spend lots of my time in Shibuya. The district was too busy for me to enjoy. We revisited Shibuya on our last night in Tokyo and I did spend quite some time at Tower Records Shibuya to buy some CDs. They also have a nice little cafe and book store inside. Music, books, and coffee at one place: perfecto. As an addition we closed our Tokyo trip with a warm big plate of Coco Curry. I'm getting addicted to japanese curry.

Shibuya is popular for its crossing in front of Shibuya Station - Hachiko exit. We surely made our way and crossed that busy street :)

(k) pictures courtesy of Khaosan Tokyo Laboratory
(p) picturs courtesy of Purti

Saturday, January 18, 2014


When I started to browse about introvert and introversion last year, there's a book that always popped up on my search result. "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain. This book received lots of good reviews.

Daily Mail said it's remarkable. 
Lynne Truss (English writer & journalist) said that Quiet is the most important book publish for decade.
Gretchen Rubin (the author of Happiness Project) said that Quiet is an extraordinary book that will change for ever the way society views introverts.
Naomi Wolf (the author of The Beauty Myth, feminism activist) said that Quiet will make quiet people see themselves in a whole new light.

For me, the title is enough to raise my curiosity. After read Quiet, I understand why this book gained a lot of praises. Well at least for an introvert like me, this book has solved so many questions in my head. I'm not a weirdo, I'm just an introvert. And introversion is not something that need to be cured :)

On this post, I'll share some of my favorite words from the book.

"We're told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts - which means that we've lost sight of who we really are."

"Introversion - along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness - is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between disappointment and pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like woman in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are."

"Introverts are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling, extroverts to the external lives of people and activities....Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone; extroverts need to recharge when they don't socialize enough."
- Carl Jung, Introduction

"Extroverts tend to tackle assignments quickly. They make fast (sometimes rash) decisions, and are comfortable multitasking and risk-taking....Introverts often work more slowly and deliberately. They like to focus on one task and can have mighty powers of concentration."

"Introverts prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feels as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions."

"Introverts are uniquely good at leading initiative-talkers. Because of their inclination to listen to others and lack of interest in dominating social situations, introverts are more likely to hear implement suggestions...Introverted leaders creative a virtuous circle of proactivity."
- Adam Grant, Chapter 2: The Myth Of Charismatic Leadership

"Studies have shown that, indeed, introverts are more likely than extroverts to express intimate facts about themselves online that their family and friends would be surprised to read, to say that they can express the "real me" online, and to spend more in certain kinds of online discussions. They welcome the chance to communicate digitally."
-Chapter 2: The Myth of Charismatic Leadership

"The type that is 'sensitive' or 'reactive' would reflect a strategy of observing carefully before acting. It's a strategy of 'betting on a sure thing' or 'looking before you leap."
-Elaine Aron, Chapter 3: Franklin Was a Politician

"The introverts are much better at making a plan, staying with a plan, being very disciplined."
-Chapter 7: Why Did Wall Street Crash and Warren Buffet Prosper?

"If you're an introvert, find your flow by using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear-sightedness to avoid pitfalls that trip others up...when you're focused on a project that you care about, you probably find that your energy is boundless. So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don't let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don't force yourself to seek breadth."
-Chapter 7: Why Did Wall Street Crash and Warren Buffet Prosper?

"According to Free Trait Theory, we are born and culturally endowed with certain personality traits - introversion, for example - but we can and do act out of character in the service of "core personal projects"...introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly."
Chapter 9: When Should You Act More Extroverted Than You Really Are?

"A Free Trait Agreement acknowledges that we'll each act out of character some of the time - in exchange for being ourselves the rest of the time."
Chapter 9: When Should You Act More Extroverted Than You Really Are?

"'It can be hard for extroverts to understand how badly introverts need to recharge at the end of a busy day...It's also hard for introverts to understand just how hurtful their silence can be."
Chapter 10: The Communication Gap

"Introverts like people they meet in friendly contexts; extroverts prefer those they compete with."
Chapter 10: The Communication Gap

"Introverts are just as likely the next kid to seek others' company, though often in smaller doses."
Chapter 11: On Cobblers and Generals

"Respect your loved ones' need for socializing and your own for solitude (and vice versa if you're an extrovert). Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you're supposed to."

The last one, on A Note on the Words Introvert and Extrovert.
"This book is about introversion as seen from a cultural point of view. It's primary concern is the age-old dichotomy between the "man of action" and the "man of contemplation", and how we could improve the world if only there were a greater balance of power between the two types. It focuses on the person who recognizes him - or herself somewhere in the following constellation of attributes: reflective, cerebral, bookish, unassuming, sensitive, thoughtful, serious, contemplative, subtle, introspective, inner-directed, gentle, calm, modest, solitude-seeking, shy, risk-averse, thin-skinned. Quiet is also about this person's opposite number: the "man of action" who is ebullient, expansive, sociable, gregarious, excitable, dominant, assertive, active, risk-taking, thick-skinned, outer-directed, lighthearted, bold, and comfortable in the spotlight."

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