Sonntag, 17. November 2013

Update and Suicide Forest "Aokigahara"

Hello Everyone!!

It's been 1 1/2 months since I have left Japan. I really miss it. Luckily I already booked my next plane in January to go back again. I'm really exited about it.

Today I was browsing through Youtube and found this interesting documentary about Aokigahara forest near Mount Fuji.




While looking at this video it made me really sad. =(
Why do people come to the conclusion that suicide is a solution to all their problems?!?
This man has definitely one of the hardest jobs ever!!!
As he met that other man, I asked myself what could you say to him to stop him from committing suicide.



Samstag, 9. November 2013

日本 no okashi - Japanese sweet side


Sweet crepes

They are my all time favorites!!!
I know them only from Animes and always wanted to try them. I finally ate them and just fell in love with them. They are really delicious and everywhere available. They are in many different flavors available. In Harajuku there are tons of crepe stands situated.
I could eat them everyday sooo yummie. I wish my country had them too.
If you are in Japan you definitely have to try them.



Cakes from the petite mercerie in Lemure Shinjuku

Just look at them!?! They look sooooo delicious. It's not only the look they really are suuuper delicious. I took one with strawberry flavor really really delicious. They are a bit pricy, but it's really worth trying them. Also from that store you can look outside to the Shinjuku streets.



Hottok

It is a korean dish. Reminds me of pancakes. They are sell them sweet or salty. I once just tried a flavor without knowing what it was and ended up with a cinnamon flavor. It was sooo delicious. I really recommend to try them. They sell them in Shin-Okubo. Korean town of Tokyo.




Prezel in Ikebukuro
Next to the station in Ikebukuro there is a station called "Aunty Anne's".They were distributing small pieces to try out in front of the store. They were soooo delicious, that I got addicted to them. Every time I'm in Ikebukuro I just have to buy one. They come in different flavors. They also have salty ones and sell lemonades too.
I only knew Prezel as a salty food but never eat it sweet. I really recommend to try the vanilla milk prezel they are soooo delicious.



Taiyaki

It's a sweet pastry. I know them through animes. I badly wanted to try them since them.
They are soooooo delicious. They are filled with different flavors like anco, cream, .... Anco are sweet beans mixed to a paste. It's really delicious. They have also salty ones.



Bakery store

There are a lot of bakeries in Tokyo. They sell different pastry and bakery food. They are a bit of pricy but I really like them. They are way too yummie. They have stores in the most main stations like Shinjuku, Tokyo Eki, Ikebukuro, Akabane,..





yogorino

OMG!!! I found this stand in the AEON Mall in Saitama, where I live and it totally remind me of Italy. They are selling yoghurt ice creams and crepes in different flavors. In Italy we have similar stands too. I really love them. Actually I prefer the ice cream from Italy better, since they are bigger, pricier and the ice is softer.
But still seeing something from my home town made me sooo happy.




Donnerstag, 12. September 2013

My home - Sharehouse Hippo House


How I booked it 

Before I came to Japan, I booked through an travel agency the place where I would live. At first I planned to stay in a guesthouse. The travel agency proposed me different possibilities and I saw that staying in a sharehouse would be less expensive.

I couldn't really imagine how it looked like.
I thought maybe a lot of foreigners would live there. At the agency they told me, that not only students would live there, but also other people.

First Impression

The day I arrived at the sharehouse, the housekeeper showed me around. It actually is an entire house with about 50 rooms divided in 4 floors. At the ground there is a big kitchen and dining room. The laudry and washing room are also down there.
My room is in the 3. floor. This floor is only for women. The 4. floor is only for men. The other floors are mixed. I don't really know why they separate some floors.
On each floor there is a bathroom.


My room

I was really surprised about my room. Since Japan is known for their really small rooms, I thought I would receive a small room too. Actually it was pretty big. There was a single bed, a desk, a chair, a mirror and plenty of space for clothes. I even got a small balcony. It was really nice.
There is also internet available in the rooms, but only with cable.
I was a bit disappointed about the wall color. It's brown and it makes my room soo dark at daytime. Also the curtains aren't really darkening, so the light penetrates really easily. (Really annoying since in Japan the sun rises really early in the morning)

House situation

My sharehouse is situated in Kita-Toda,Saitama. It's outside from Tokyo. It's accessible by train with the JR Seikyo-line. It's about 30 minutes away from Shinjuku.
The last train in the evening is running around 23:30 everyday. If you don't want to stay out the whole night or pay for an expensive taxi, you always have to hurry to the last train.
This train is one of the most used trains. In the mornings and evenings it's always crowded.

My Housemates

The people in my house are all really nice. I'm often in the living room, because it's the only room where WiFi is available.
At the living room they are more or less always the same persons there. Most of them are Japanese. There are more Japanese here then foreigners. There are some people, who come to the same school as me. It's actually pretty funny with those people around.

House surroundings 

We have a lot of Conbini's around our house. My house is only 5 minutes from the train station away.
I can see the station from my balcony.
About 15 minutes from the house, there is a big shopping mall.
There is everything you need near my place.

... it could be better 

I have lived almost 6 months in this sharehouse and there were many moments that I thought about moving out.
  • I don't know what's up with those girls on my floor. The bathroom are always a mess. It's disgusting. There is no other word to describe it. There are hair everywhere and other disgusting things. There is personal who cleans the bathrooms, but they don't come everyday.  This is for me the biggest problem.
  •  I refuse to cook in the kitchen. It looks not clean at all. There are cockroaches running around. There are people that don't clean their mess. You can see the kitchen from the living room and I don't really like if people watch you while cooking.
  • For some reason they always turn the lights on at night on the floor. I can see the light through my door and it's really annoying.
  • If somebody walks on the floor you can hear everything.
  •  It's sooo far away from Tokyo. Even if it's only 30 minutes to Shinjuku, it still feels like forever. Going home from partying or from a long day and getting stucked in a full train. It is sooo depressing.
  • I wish they had Wifi in the rooms too. 
  • Because of the washing machine I had to throw away a lot of my clothes. That washing machine didn't wash properly and it also rip my clothes.

You might wonder why I never moved from there... That's because I got sooo affected to the people there. It was hard for me to leave.
Why I never complained?... I really don't know about that. I actually never thought about it before. I always accepted everything.

Soon I'm leaving this place and going back to my home. I'm definitely missing my roo back home. Can't wait to cook in my kitchen and to use my own bathroom again. =)
Still I'll miss this place too.... was definitely a great experiance. =)

Check out my room-tour video on Youtube!!

Donnerstag, 18. Juli 2013

I'm a horrible blogger..Ageha, Disney, Madame Tissauds... New Haircut!!

I feel sooo horrible!!! I specially made this blog for my travel adventures, but I'm not blogging as much as I thought I would. Just soo much is going on!!!
In these past few weeks I met so many new people, I changed my school course, visited Disneyland, went on the biggest ferris wheel in the world, went to Madame Tissauds, went partying in Ageha and other cool stuff.

School life
Until last month I was going in a conversation class for 3 month. Since I decided to stay 3 more months in Japan, I changed to the general courses. So you may ask yourself what is the difference between those two courses so I like to explain it to you: 

Conversation class:
- everyday new grammar 
- few exercises
- talking while using the new grammar
- every month a new course starts
- 5 different levels
- small classes
- no kanji exercises
- no tests
- 4 h a day
- no writing exercises

General course: 
- everyday new grammar 
- everyday kanji exercises
- listening and writing exercises
- 1 semester goes 3 months
- speaking exercises with cd
- tests
- final exam

BTW I think I never told you in what school I'm going. It's the Kai Japanese Language School in Shin-Okubo. It's 1 station away from Shinjuku with the Yamanote Line. It's situated in the korean Town.
Here is the link to the schools website: http://en.kaij.jp/

Summertime is getting crazy hot in here!!!!

Damn!!! I heard that it would be hot here in Tokyo, but feeling the real thing is crazy!!! I really am thankful for that person that invented air conditioner!! Sometimes when leaving the train it feels like entering an oven!! Be sure to carry around tissues! They will save you.
It wouldn't be that bad if it's only hot, but there are some days when it gets really humid and the clothes are sticking on your skin.















Odaiba


After 3 months I finally went to Odaiba. It's an Island in the south of Tokyo.
It's really pretty there. It is definitely the perfect place for a date!!

I went on the highest Ferris Wheel in the world. It was pretty cool. The view was amazing. Actually I want to go again when it's nighttime. =)











In Odaiba I also found the statue of Liberty!! Lol why going to New York if you can find it in Tokyo as well ;)









Disneyland

This was my first time ever in Disneyland. Just being there feels so magical!! There were a lot of shows. Most of the food had some Mickey shape.
Be prepared for long waiting times at the roller caster and no seats in the restaurants.







Madame Tissouds

It's different from the one in London. Here in Tokyo it's placed in Odaiba. Basically you could took pictures with almost every single one, because it wasn't crowded at all. I was really surprised about it. There are less wax statues than in London, but it's really cool.





AGEHA Partytiiiime!!!

Damn!! This club is sooooo cool!! They have an outside "floor" with a pool. Well you actually can't enter the pool, but still an outside floor!! How cool is that?!?

That club is huge. There are a lot of partypeople and they sometimes have some theme going on really cool. I actually went to some cosplay event. They were all dressed up. It was amazing.

Ageha is the biggest club in Tokyo and it's situated in Shin-Kiba. Quite far away from the center. Apparently they have some buses running from Shibuya that goes directly to Ageha. There is also a train station near the Club. So it's quite easy to reach it.





New Haircut

I cut my hair!! Like a lot!! I used to always have long hair, never wanted to cut them. I felt like they would be my symbol. I was so proud of them.

Recently it was getting so hot and I was always putting my hair in a bun. I got annoyed by it.
As the new song from Miley Cyrus was released, i was thinking at how much she changed optically after cutting her hair and I started to wonder how I would look with short hairs. 
Somehow while I was thinking about it I started to have that wish to change something while I'm here in Japan.
On a Friday afternoon after school I decided that it was time to cut them.
It feels sooo great. I really was asking myself why didn't I cut them earlier!!
They are so light and they dry in no time.
How I decided the length?? I just wanted an extreme change but still the possibility to tight my hairs so i decided them to be a bit longer then the shoulders and with layers.






Transportation in Tokyo / Japan

The public transportation in Japan is definitely one of the best that I've ever seen. There are so many different trains going in many directions. They also have amazing subways that are incredibly clean and not as scary looking as the ones in Europe. It's super easy traveling around Japan with the Shinkansen. They are super fast and are running really often during the day.
They also in some places Buses, Trams and of course Taxis.

Transportation in Tokyo

The most used transportations in Tokyo are the trains and subways.
At the vending machine you can purchase a ticket for the destination you want to reach.
At some stations it's possible to change the language to english.

On this website you can check when the trains are running:

http://www.hyperdia.com/en/


Suica Card

For those who stay longer than a month in Tokyo, I recommend purchasing a Suica Card.

It is a card that can be charged with money. That way it's not necessary to always purchase a train ticket.
This card can be used all over Japan.
The Suica card can also be purchased at every station vending machines.

Suica + track subscription

For those like me who have to go to the same place almost everyday, I would definitely recommend to make a track subscription. It's possible to buy them at the vending machine as well.
It's possible to have the track subscription printed on your Suica Card just like in the picture above. 

JR Rail Pass

Before coming to Japan, I was recommended to order the JR Rail Pass. It's a pass that can only be ordered outside from Japan. There are different time periods available. For 7, 14 and 21 days. The pass can be activated in Japan at the indicated train stations. Once it was activated, it's valid for the period it was ordered.
The JR pass can be activated within 3 months.

The JR Rail Pass can be ordered online. Just search for JR Pass on Google. There are different websites that sell them.

Activation of the JR Rail Pass 

It's possible to activate the JR Pass a few days earlier. I went to the information corner in Shinjuku. The lady asked me on which day I want to use it. At first you have to fill in a small document with your name and adress.
Th JR Pass must be shown to an officer at the station. It can't be scanned at the barriers.

For the Shinkansen it's possible to make a seat reservation. It is for free.
It is also possible to choose where to sit in the train.
There are a few Shinkansen that can't be used with the JR Pass. But don't worry, there are sooo many Shinkansen running throughout the day.
The JR Pass can only be used on the JR Rails and JR Shinkansen. (except for Nozomi and Mizuho)

I definitely recommend to buy the JR Pass, if you are traveling around Japan. The Shinkansen are usually really expensive, so this JR Pass is totally worth it.


I wish you all a save journey!! =)

Donnerstag, 6. Juni 2013

One week travel with the JR Pass

I finally saw more than just Tokyo!! I'm sooo proud of me that I organized all on my own.
I decided to visit Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima. I heard sooo many good things about this 3 places.
I planned everywhere a stay of 2 nights.
I booked my hotels on www.swoodoo.com. This website is really popular in my country. One night was around 55€.

Kinkakuji

Kyoto

Day 1
On Wednesday morning I went on the Shinkansen in Shinagawa, Tokyo. I reserved my seat and exchanged my JR Pass already the day before. --> see my other post "transportation in Tokyo / Japan"
After only 3 hours I arrived in Kyoto. I was there around lunchtime. After eating at a restaurant at the station, I walked through the streets in Kyoto. They are quite different from Tokyo. Less people are on the streets and the buildings are quite old.
It was quite a rainy day, so I decided to visit the Imperial Palace. Actually it was almost deserted there...
It's not possible to go inside the palace. But there was a huge, really huge park. I walked around for hours. It says that it's a wonderful park during the cherry blossom time.
With the subway I went back to Kyoto station. Buying a ticket is similar to Tokyo.

Day 2
Today I went visiting the world famous Kinkakuji (golden Temple), the Ryoanji Tempel and the Bambus forest in the Arashiyama area in west Kyoto. In the evening, I went to the Shijo area in the Higashiyama area in center east Kyoto.

The Kinkakuji was really impressive and beautiful. A lot of tourists and students are there. The entrance is for adults 400 円. As souveniers I purchased some lucky charms for my family.
Bambus Forest
The Ryoanji Tempel was near Kinkakuji. I really like the garden of the Tempel.
Everything was green and the trees were impressive.
The Bambus forest is small, but soooooo pretty. It's gives that feeling of: that moment of life!!! Really beautiful.
The Shijo area is maybe what you call the city center. It's were all the people, restaurants and shops are. There are also those areas were the Geishas are. Unfortunately I didn't see them.

Fushimi Inari Shrine



Day 3
On my last day in Kyoto, I went with the JR Nara line to Inari where the Fushimi Inari Shrine is. It's in the South Est of Kyoto. There is a shrine and a path with all those red gates that form kind of a tunnel, that leads up a mountain.
Fushimi Inari path
It was sooo hot that day!! I was almost dying. But it's really fun walking that path. I was also attacked by moskitos... In the afternoon, I walked down the streets of Gyon area. That's the place where everything is really traditional. There are also a lot of Sweets and Matcha stores. I saw few women that were wearing traditional Kimonos.
Around 5:30 I went on the way to Osaka. Instead of the Shinkansen I took the JR train. It took about 40 minutes until Shin Osaka. That's where my Hotel is.





My room in Kyoto
Hotel
I stayed at the APA Hotels & Resorts, 5 minutes from the Kyoto station away. It's a 3 star Hotel.
2 nights were 14000円 without breakfast.
I was really satisfied with it. My room was not that big, but for Japan it's quite big. Everything was really clean. It was really modern, a lot was automatic. I had my own bathroom with bathing tube. My room had a TV, Air conditioner and a fridge. Unfortunately there wasn't a safe, but I had free WLan and Lan connection in my room. It was a bit noisy in my room because it was located toward the main street and there were also the trains passing by. Around midnight it got quieter. Instead of curtains I had a door that covered up the whole window, so it was totally dark at night.

The service was good too. Thez cleaned my room everyday. 
I would definitely go there again. I really recommend it.

Transportation
Kyoto uses city buses. For taking them you need to pay extra. There are one day cards available. They cost 500円. I'm not a big fan of them since it takes a while to reach a destination, because of the traffic. There are two subway lines, also not included in the JR company. The JR lines only reaches farer away destinations.

Osaka

Osaka castle
Day 3
I arrived on Friday evening in Shin Osaka where my Hotel is.
I have no idea why I booked it in Shin Osaka, probably because the Shinkansen station is there.
Shin Osaka is already really lively. A lot of people on the streets, traffic, a lot of noise. I was surprised at how dirty the streets were.

Day 4
At the Osaka station at the tourist information corner, I received a map of Osaka, with the JR lines on it. The lady at the corner also explained me which train I should take for where I wanted to go.
Osaka is huge it has a lot of shops, restaurant and bling bling. It's really cool. The area is called Namba. As for culture I visited the Osaka castle. It's really impressive. I felt like in a chinese movie!!
Somehow I feel that something about Osaka is totally different from Tokyo. The people are dressed more c
Osaka by night
asually. They have a really special dialect and it sounds somehow really friendly.
I have to say that Osaka isn't as clean as the other places that I have seen in Japan. I even saw a girl throwing her trash out of the car!! There are many people that ride a bicicle. Maybe every 3 one.  I saw a lot of teenager practicing dancing on the street.

Hotel
As I arrived in Shin Osaka I lost myself. I went on the opposite direction. I didn't have a map of Osaka nor Shin Osaka. I only had those print screens from Google map. At the station in Shin Osaka there was a map and I mistook the main road with the train lines. 
As I realized I was wrong I went back to the station and restarted again. Actually the Hotel was indicated on the map.
It is about 5 minutes from the station away.

From the station I could see a building with the Hotel name on it. It was an old building so I was like: shiit!!! Fortunately it wasn't that building. It was a building behind the crappy one and that one look pretty ok. I was staying at the Chisun Hotel, it was a 3 star hotel. My room is probably a bit smaller and not as modern as the one in Kyoto. But the furniture and offerings are quite the same. I didn't had WLan, but Lan in my room. For WLan I had to go on a different floor where there was some kind of community room. From my room I could see the main road. It was pretty noisy in my room not just because of the street, but there were also people on the floor that were making a lot of noise until late at night. I also saw a plane passing close by. Instead of curtains I also had a door. It's not as clean as in Kyoto. I found some hairs in the toilet!!

Transportation
The JR trains go all over Osaka. But i think the subways are more used in Osaka, since the trains stations were better situated than the JR stations and there weren't as much people on the trains as they are in Tokyo. But since I didn't have to pay anything, I still took the JR trains. I just had to walk sometimes a bit until the station.

Hiroshima
Atomic bomb dome

Day 5
I arrived arround 11:00 a.m. i Hiroshima. It started to rain... First I went to eat something in hope the rain would stop. It didn't. It only stopped around afternoon.
At the station right at the Shinkansen exit, there is an information desk. I asked for a city map and a JR train map.
Hiroshima castle
I went directly to the atomic dome and the peace parc. I still was carrying my luggage with me. Since check-in was only at 2:00 p.m. I still decided to go to my hotel that was near the parc. Luckily I could hand over my luggage. I went again back to the parc and since it was raining really badly, I decided to go to the museum. The entrance only costed 50円.
Afterwards I checked in my hotel, which is right in front of the Hiroshima castle. I decided to visit the castle. It doesn't looks as nice as the Osaka castle, but it's still really nice.
In the evening I walked through the streets. They aren't as sparkling as in Õsaka and there aren't a lot of people on the streets eighter. It's a really calm city.
don't you think this looks somehow magical?!?

Day 6
I passed my second day in Miyajima. An island near Hiroshima. I saw the sea!! Is it only me or does the sea and the smell of sea water gives a calming effect?!? 
I saw the world famous O-torii Gate. The gate swimming in the sea.
Before lunchtime the gate was standing on the ground. I could go near it. In the evening it was totally covered with water.
When I came to the island, a lot of deer surprised me. They were all over the place!! They came near me and I even could touch
view from Miyajima
them. Sooooo cuute.  :)
With the rail wheel I went up to the highest spot of the island. I had such an amazing view over the sea. 
I walked down the mountain. It took me about 1 hour. It was sooooo hoot!!
The islands nature is really beautiful a lot of green spots and water.
I also got to eat the Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki when I came back to Hiroshima!! OMG!!! It's with fish and pasta... Sooooooo delicious!!!!

Deer, O-torii & sea
O-torii Gate
day 7
At my last day in Hirshima I slept until 9:30 a.m. When I woke up I packed everything and checked out at 11 a.m. I decided to go first to the station to deposit my luggage in a locker, since I didn't want to carry it with me the whole day. It was a really beautiful and hot day, so I decided to go at the river and chill a bit there. I stayed there until about 3 p.m. I walked for a bit around the city and around 16:00 I started to walk towards the station since my train was leaving at 5 p.m.

Hotel
Room in Hiroshima
OMG guys!!! I seriously thought I booked something wrong. The hotel looked sooo expensive and glamourous compared to the others. My room was huuge!! I was staying in the Rihga Royal Hotel, a 4 star hotel. The personal was really friendly. The best thing about my room was definitely the view from my room!! I could see the Hiroshima castle!! sooooo beautiful!! It was situated right in the center of the city. Everything was really close to it. I think the hotel is one of the tallest building in Hiroshima.
Everything was really clean and it was really quiet in my room. The curtains were really light reflecting. I had WLan and Lan in my room.

Transportation
To move around in the city, there were trams running, that weren't from the JR company. The tram fee costs 150円 each time. The JR line passes over Hiroshima.
For going to Miyajima I took first the tram until Hiroden-Nishi-Hiroshima. Then changed to the JR train. The ferry to go to Miyajima was free. It was a JR ferry boat.



view from my hotel room
This week was sooo amazing!! Japan is soooo beautiful and it's really easy to travel around. The people are really friendly and helpfull. It was really interesting to see how different they were from each other.
It was definitely worth buying the JR pass before coming to Japan! I would definitely recommend it to everyone that wants to travel around Japan.

Moment4Life

I'm thankful that I was able to see those beautiful places =)