A Travellerspoint blog

Aquarium, okonomiyaki, Kyoto and new hotel in Osaka

overcast

12 November 2005

Went to Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) in Osaka Bay Area. The aquarium is nice. We got to see big fish, small colourful fish, sea lions, dolphins swimming REAL fast, giant whale shark and manta... They even have penguins!!! They make the penguin's 'room' as cold as the pole. I saw them standing, walking, jumping into the water and swimming - they're so cute! At the last part we saw very beautiful, glowing, colourful jellyfish - really wonderful!

Outside the Aquarium building we could see the Giant Ferris Wheel, one of the attractions in Osaka Bay Area.

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In the evening we met up with Ayurin, whom I met on another travellers online web site. She came with her husband Hiroyuki, and her mother Takako. She had made a reservation in an okonomiyaki restaurant near Tennoji station.

Ayurin, Hiroyuki, and Takako-san are so nice. We had fun eating and chatting and taking pictures. Apparently, Ayurin had booked a karaoke box for us later that night, as she'd known I'd been curious about Japanese karaoke! So after having dinner we walked to the karaoke called Jankara (ジャンカラ). So that was the KARAOKE BOX I'd been wondering about! Not like karaoke in Jakarta where you have to sing in front of strangers (which I never went to) - which later I know to be called a 'karaoke bar', not karaoke box. Ayurin said karaoke bars usually cost higher than k'boxes - making fool of myself in front of strangers and pay more? No, thanks Surprisingly, they had so many collections songs - in English as well as in Japanese. Again, it's not like karaokes in Jakarta, from what I know. Anyway, we had fun singing together - english and japanese songs. :)

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13 Nov 2005

Been staying in Osaka but making daytrips to Kyoto :) Kemarin Didi harus pulang :( jadi kita harus bergegas pagi untuk berangkat ke Kansai Airport, pesawatnya jam 11. Naik Kansai Airport Express HARUKA ke Kyoto. Went to Gion and around. Then got a chance to make a phone home with Rani's calling card from outside Yasaka Jinja (Shrine). Then my mobile phone beeped - an email from Gelli. Since we were both free, we managed to meet up yesterday afternoon for coffee. I finally met a fellow TP member! hehehe... (Actually how would I know if it was really Gelli or Rich? hmmm...) After coffee we walked to Toji. It was already closed actually, but we just had our picture taken with the famous pagoda in the background (and with typical Japanese pose ).

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So yesterday we walked and walked, got hungry and had dinner near Kyoto Station, then went to see Pontocho, walked around through the alleys. I felt the weight of my backpack which contained my camera got heavier, Rich finally couldn't stand it and he offered to be my porter ;) I wouldn't say no. We tried to find somewhere to sit. Most bars were expensive - or is it because I'm on a tight budget? Anyway, we finally found a way to sit without paying much - we bought drinks from a vending machine and went to sit by Kamo River. After that I had to go back to Osaka because I was moving to another hotel (due to room availability) and it would be pretty late when I get to Osaka.

So I got to the station near the hotel late. Picked my backpack in the locker, and walked to find the hotel. The shops along the streets were closed. I found a few homeless sleeping on the sidewalk. I started to get nervous when I'd walked too far (from what I remembered when I tried to recall the map in my mind). A man on a bicycle rode slowly past me and talked something - I began to get a bit scared. I didn't dare to stop walking and check the map, for I would look obviously lost. Finally I saw a young couple walked from the opposite way; I stopped, took the map, and asked them about the hotel. As I rechecked the map, it turned out that I had walked too far, so I had to walk back to the direction of the station. I asked them if I could walk together with them. And how I was lucky to find them - they helped me find the hotel (I guess the boyfriend checked it on his mobile phone - maybe via the Internet or GPS?), they even walked with me till we reached the hotel. I thanked them very much - I'm so thankful I found them!

So that was yesterday.

Posted by zags 16:09 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Kyoto

rain 15 °C

At last I went sightseeing in Kyoto after the troubling first night. We moved to the hotel in Shin Osaka, fortunately we have JR Passes so we can go by shinkansen from Shin Osaka to Kyoto everyday.

November 9, 2005

Setengah hari lewat krn walopun weker bunyi (setelah tidur lagi abis subuh), gue snooze sampe berkali-kali, sdgkan Didi tidur dengan tenangnya... Akhirnya kita baru bisa mulai jalan di Kyoto siang-siang. Hari ini cuma dapet ke Toji.

Nov 10, 2005

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Hari ini ke Fushimi Inari Taisha, kuil Shinto untuk memuja dewa panen (dilambangkan dengan rubah), dan liat barisan gerbang torii yang sering gue liat di foto-foto itu; trus ke Tofuku-ji, kuil Buddha; dan ke Nijo-jo (Nijo Castle) yg diprakarsain oleh shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, di dalemnya liat bekas istananya shogun dgn ruangan2 tempat dia nerima tamu, dsb... serem deh ngebayangin jaman dulu... Ada 'contoh' patung shogun dan mentri2 dan tamu2nya seukuran manusia pula, jadi bener2 kebayang keadaan jaman dulu. Ih, serem...

Nov 11, 2005

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Hari ini ke Kiyomizu-dera, dan liat pemandangan dari atas temple dengan daun2 berwarna...; trus ke Ryoan-ji liat taman Zen yang terkenal itu... cuma taman batu terdiri dari 15 batu... cocok buat tempat meditasi cari ilham (Didi pingin cari ilham kom kayaknya)... Hari ini Kyoto ujan, untung dibekalin payungnya Rani. Jadi pas sampe Ryoanji juga sekalian istirahat n berteduh dari ujan (sambil menenangkan diri ngeliat taman Zen).

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Abis itu, ambil baju2 kotor yg udh kita taro di locker stasiun Kyoto (sengaja) untuk dibawa ke coin laundry, hehehe. Nyuci deh kita... Abis bajunya udh pada b'hari2 gak dicuci - walopun gak keringetan kan lama2 'gatel' juga rasanya...

Foto2 masih di memori kamera semua nih sejak cabut dari Utsunomiya: Tokyo Disney Sea & Disneyland, Gunung Fuji, Kyoto... Skrg tinggal 1 yg kosong, hiks... [Edit: sekarang udah di-upload]

Uds deh Dewakom udh capek... :)

Posted by zags 03:57 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Days go by in Japan

Disney Sea and Disneyland, beautiful Momiji, stunning Mt. Fuji, and a terrible accommodation in Kyoto...

sunny 18 °C

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After spending a weekend (5-6 November) in Tokyo Disney Sea & Disneyland (staying at Villa Fontaine Hotel in Tokyo - a nice budget hotel), we headed off to Ootsuki and met with Rani & Hide. Then we drove to Yamanaka. The view along the way was soooo~ beautiful!!! The leaves were colourful!! We stayed at a nice and warm bed & breakfast called ファミリーロッジ(Family Lodge) near Yamanaka-ko (Lake Yamanaka). The view was stunning. Unfortunately I haven't been able to upload any pictures from my camera right now... After staying for 1 night in Yamanaka, we spent the day sightseeing around Lake Yamanaka and Lake Kawaguchi, enjoying the view, taking pictures, and then had lunch. Then Hide & Rani drove us back to Ootsuki Station, and we went to Kyoto.

[Edit: Now the pics have been uploaded]
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Our first night at Kyoto was something to remember. Not because it was good, unfortunately. The guest house we had booked called Toji-an (東寺庵) turned out to be a horrible place !!! What you see on the web site is not what you get. When we got there we were 'greeted' by 2 guys who just woke up from sleep, smells cigarette smoke, and when we went inside toward the bed room, it smells like toilet. The toilets were at the end of the small hallway. When we enter our room, the beds were not neatly made, the sheets and blankets were not neatly folded - so I wondered if they were clean or not And there is a used towel on the hanger! We can hear the guests in the next room chatting and giggling, because it turned out to be a very small wooden house. And the room cannot be locked.

It was 10 pm and we were very tired, but we prepared our daypack, left our backpack and travel bag in our room, and we roamed in Central Kyoto night to find a place to stay. We walked back to Kyoto Station and make phone calls to some accommodations we saw in my guide book (so a guide book is very useful in that kind of situations). Most places were full! But finally we got a room at Matsubaya Ryokan (www.matsubayainn.com). We got a Japanese-style room (和室 / washitsu), nice but very expensive for us; but we were really in need to stay at a decent place so we gladly took it. We were greeted by an old woman (who answered my phone call a few minutes before), her name is Kumiko Hayashi. So last night we could finally sleep well - past midnight and very exhausted.

Rani & Hide got home in Utsunomiya at about 11 pm last night, after a very long ride from Ootsuki. They checked the internet right away to look for an accommodation for us...poor guys :( I'm very sorry to trouble them, but we couldn't find another place in Kyoto - they are full. Rani had to go for work at 6 am this morning. She is pregnant and she catched cold. I hope she and her baby are OK, and they can have a good rest tonight to recharge their batteries.

So this morning Hide found a place for us to stay, not in Kyoto but in Shin Osaka. We checked out from Matsubaya Ryokan, walked back to Toji-an and complained because we didn't get what we saw on the Internet. They say the have free shower, but the fact is they don't have a shower room. Guests have to walk a few minutes to a public bath (sento). We asked for our money back for the next nights that we had paid but they would only refunded one night.

Everyone, don't get trapped like us. Stay away from the guest house called TOJI-AN.

Posted by zags 21:36 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Lebaran in Japan (5th day)

sunny 20 °C

My first time celebrating lebaran in Japan and outside my country! This morning we did 'ied prayer at Utsunomiya University's student meeting room. The room isn't big but we managed to gather inside. There were Indonesians, Japanese, Pakistani, Jordanians,... they are students, expatriates, and trainees, and some of them brought their children :) I've met some of the Indonesians on my first evening after I arrived in Japan 4 days ago and we met again today. It's pretty funny to hear people from different countries speak to each other in Japanese! hahaha...

After the prayer, we congratulated each other, forgave and asked forgiveness of each other. Then the guys set up some tables and we had the food and drinks ready and... eat! There are food from many cultures Then we got ready to go but not before having some chat and pictures taken.

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We moved to Tuti and Arin's home and got ready for barbecue party. Konomi-san was also there. I learned that she's a member of an association of "Indonesia-lover" who cared most about Indonesians in Japan especially the students. The men prepared the barbecue, and the ladies prepared other food. The children played cheerfully and noisily. We left the house at bout 2:30 pm. When we live far away from home, our friends become our family, where we spend the happy day full of love and forgiveness together.

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Posted by zags 06:17 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Nikko - 4th day in Japan

15 °C

Today we went to Nikko. We went through the "iroha" road, the road up to the mountain with 48 curves named after Japanese alphabet. "i-ro-ha" is Japanese "ABC". The view is very beautiful!! The leaves were colourful - we were so lucky we came at the right time! We were so fascinated by the beautiful scene.

When we finally reached the "civilisation", we first went to see Kegon Falls. We saw a deer on the rocks near the falls.

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From there we went to enjoy the view of Lake Chuzenji. We walked along the beach - the water was very clear. The view was beautiful because the autumn leaves were colourful.

Then we went to see Ryuzu Falls. After that we went back down and visit Toshogu Shrine and got to see the tomb of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (after climbing so many steps which made us not cold anymore!).

We were supposed to see some monkeys after that but it was late in the afternoon, so we went back down to Utsunomiya.

Today was supposed to be the last day of fasting. Somehow I managed to fast while I'm here feeling cold and thirsty sometimes But tomorrow we will celebrate our (hopefully) victory in controlling ourselves. There will be feast

Posted by zags 03:58 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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