And as I promised, a separate entry for my Japan trip this year!
There is no way I can go in details for all the 3 weeks I spent there with just one entry so I will just go briefly and highlight the most memorable parts (so hard, majority are all amazing lol)
The live blogging (sort of) of the trip can be seen better with all the photos on my instagram.
I based myself in Tokyo and stayed at Jinxie's apartment. We also went to Osaka and Sendai during my stay in Japan. One of the aim this time is to see Sakura in action. I came to places at the incorrect timing so I only managed to see the Sakura in full bloom nearing the third end of my trip. At least i managed to see it so it's good enough.
1. Nukumori no Mori: Ghibli inspired .. We didn't get the place at the restaurant there but we tried the delicious and cute dessert they have at the cafe. I get myself a cute set of spoon and fork with its handle craved into the shaped of tree bark, and a cute necklace with acorn shaped pendant <3
2. Nara: first stop after we dropped our luggage in the hotel we stayed at Osaka. There was a mishap where my fave boots heel came off and this throw a lot of wardrobe planning out the window for my Japan trip ;-; but that aside the sightseeing was fun with the deer park. Saw traditional mochi making demonstration, ate okonomiyaki at place where one of the owner nicely made a lively chat with us.
3. Osaka: the people are kind and lively, these are the impression I left with from my short visit to Osaka. Also hot damn the food is delicious lol. My first shoot for this trip also happened at Haco stadium Osaka. It has 8 floors of goodness including its own food place and purikura section, it was a good experience with the day we went being full house. All those hours and facility for only like 2000 yen? Hot dang I am mighty jelly why don't we have this kind of place in Australia? ;A;
4. Universal studio Japan: it was raining so we went for the twilight pass. It was surprisingly small compared to Disney sea or Disney world o_o; before we enter USJ we stop at Takoyaki museum for delicious takoyaki time! Luckily the rain let up by the end of the day so we can watch the Magical Starlight parade.
5. Ryokan and Onsen: before we went to Sendai, Jinxie also took me to onsen place that near where she lived. So it onsen in Sendai's ryoukan is not my first onsen but certainly my first ryokan and natural onsen? The ryokan is beautiful and the service is amazing. The price is actually cheap (we choose the option without the kaiseki dinner one so it ends up that cheap) for ryokan and they have a restaurant inside anyway that serves amazing homemade soba and other dishes incorporating Sansai from the area. We also did some shoots in the ryokan, Bakumatsu for me and Yowapeda casual for Jinxie. Then together we did Natsume yuujinchou shoot together.
6. Sendai: before returning back to Tokyo we went on loople bus for a quick tour around Sendai. When it comes to Sendai it is DATE, GYUTAN and ZUNDA! It is kinda sad that the castle only has remnants left while Osaka castle is still fully glorious. I bring back some Zunda flavoured kitkat as souvenirs and many people love them. Zunda is edamame and soy flavour which is Sendai's speciality and mostly you can only find this flavour in Sendai.
7. Fujiko F Fujio museum: I missed this one on my visit in 2011. So glad to be able to get the ticket to this museum thanks to Jinxie's help in ordering the ticket. Doraemon is like the first Japanese animation I saw and grew up with as a kid, so going to this museum is a hell lot of nostalgia bomb. The exhibition is also amazing, it displays the raw pages of Fujio sensei works and has story of his life and about his works. They hand you this radio thing to listen to the explanation and it comes with the good english version too. So surprised to find Lupicia's limited edition Dorayaki flavour black tea sold at the museum souvenir shop XD (yeah I bought it)
8. Studio Ghibli museum: The other museum I want to visit. I missed this and Fujiko F Fujio ones last time, because ticket need to be booked way in advanced before it ran out quickly. The difference is Ghibli is much internationally well know so it was swarmed with so many other international tourist there lol. But it was amazing, gosh I understand that photography is not allowed at all inside so I bought 3 pop up post cards as souvenirs since it is a replica of the whole museum. I wish the short film showed at the time is the 'Hoshi wo katta hi' which I really want to see, but their schedule for that month is different one. It is cute but I really curious with the 'Hoshi wo katta hi' >~<;
9. Sakura: we did a small and simple hanami at the park near jinxie's place. And all over the trip I also see Sakura here and there though probably not to the fullest glory since the timing was a bit off. But the pleasant surprise was a nice patch of sakura remain at Odaiba below the small statue of liberty (no seriously it is there, wtf but the statue is there). We went there to check the Gundam statue and the small exhibition there as well. I collected stamps for the fun of it and not really wanting the prize, so at the end i gave the collected stamps to a passing by kid who seems to be wanting it. I ate heaps of Sakura falvours sweets over the trip making the most of this Japan spring trip :)
10. Swallowtail butler's cafe: so another thing that I missed last time. The infamous Swallowtail butler's cafe! I went there on my last day in Japan and lmao so nervous. But OMG they totally pampered you up to the point you are not meant to do any 'work' like pouring your tea yourself and I was failed by walking back to my table from restroom by myself. One of the butler told me to wait on red carpet area next time so he can escort me back to the table (lol fail) The butler who served our table is named Kumagawa, frankly speaking he is tall and handsome lol, glad to be served by him on my first day. I chatted about choice of tea and wanting to have ceylon base with white peach aroma, and was recommended one of the birthday tea called ARES. which turned out to be birthday tea for August, after I commented about that is perfect as mine (birthday) is also in August. He later commented about how it would be nice if we can celebrate the bday together in the future. Two girls next to our table were celebrating their birthday that day too by the way. We picked the Anne Marie afternoon tea set, it was delicious! I was kicking myself going there on my last day as I wanna go back again to experience the service again and try their full course which sounds and looked delicious! Hopefully next chance comes XD
Those are the highlights of the trips, however there are many other things happened as well. Like venturing kappabashi by myself, went to Nippori and gotten a fabric for 100 yen a metre! If I don't have luggage problem I would have buy much more fabric lololol. We went to Disney sea as well but unfortunately it was raining a bucket the whole day, and the easter parade was cancelled DX. Meeting friends and basically just the whole trip is a bundle of fun, I spent quite a bit for food and stuff though mostly food and some souvenirs, but I was determined to make this trip a blast as I know I probably will not do this kind of thing again for a long long while. Finance and time wise hey.
If future allows me to go to Japan again with Shinka, I will. I would love to go in auntumn. Fare is cheaper and seems to be less rain too, also food wise I havent stuffed my self full of auntumn foods yet lol my first trip was very limited bec I was only a temp worker lol. I want to witness the full beauty of the auntumn leaves as well :3
It was a fun and amazing trip, now it is time to go back to reality and concentrate on producing merch for artist table at SMASH this year.
For more pictures and more of the timeline details of the trip, it is better to check the photos I put up on my instagram all over during my trip: