July 31, 2005

Counting the days

I posted something the other day, turned out, I forgot to publish it :p
Anyway, alhamdulillah I've yet jumped another hurdle... And there are more to come soon and in the future...
Looks like I'll be counting the days most of the time this time around

Who would have thought, it has been 2 weeks since the second semester starts
Yet it feels like, I don't know... forever?
But then again, this weekend proved to be a relief from all the stress I've been having
And new hopes and spirit instilled within... I'm bursting with plans and energy! :D

Well, still frustratingly waiting for the modem to come...
'La taghdhob, Wani'. If I keep on thinking about the modem incident, feels like something boiling within... So I'll let the matter be dropped for a while. Hence, Trip to Japan [2] will be posted after we got the modem back...

July 8, 2005

Trip to Japan [1]

Maybe it's best to split the journal into two or three entries so you don't have to look at one VERY long entry... Enjoy reading!:

Thursday, June 23rd:
Sitting at the bench in the Departure Hall of KLIA Express in KL Central, Zirah and I waited for Ummi and Farah. We checked in our luggage, 5 in total and asked for two window seats, front and back. 28 minutes journey to KLIA was filled with laughs and excited chats. The first thing we did arriving in KLIA was BREAKFAST! (Under strict commands from our parents!)

Mak Ngah (Kakak's mom) arrived a bit late. We only had the chance to talk to her for a while before we went in. Nevertheless, someone was there to see us off. In the plane, I sat next to Ummi, Farah with Zirah. 6 hours plus journey was filled with in flight entertainments. I myself had the chance to watch The Pacifier, Hitch and Medical Investigation.

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Arriving at Narita Airport Terminal 2, the four of us checked out together. The officer seemed amused, "4 people?" He asked in Nihon-accented-English. "Yes," we nodded. "Family?" He asked more. "Cousins. Sisters," Ummi pointed to herself and Farah, "And sisters," she pointed to me and Zirah. The officer laughed, amused. "Who are you staying with in Tokyo?" He asked again. "Cousin," We answered. His eyes widen, and then he laughed again.

Funnily Farah had to be detained due to some mistakes in her passport (the amused officer's mistake). While waiting, the MAS flight attendants who were coming out cheered 'Malaysia Boleh' to her. :p

When we came out, Kakak already waited for us. We took the shuttle back to Tokyo, in Shibuya to be more exact. From there we took the cabs to Kakak's place in Malaysian Embasy's Staff Apartment in Naka Meguro. Slept quite late because everyone was excited.

Alas, we were in Tokyo!

Friday, June 24th:
Since Kakak had to go to work, we were on our own to explore Naka Meguro. Went to Yellow Hat, car accessories place and took some pictures. 2 hours of walking, we got so tired that we decided to walk back home first. Blame it on the jet lag, I guess. Around 3, we walked to the other side of Naka Meguro.

Oh yeah, it was coming into summer in Japan now- so it was hot and sticky. You can literally feel your sweat flowing down!

That night Kakak laid out the plan for us. Tomorrow we have to be on our own as well since Kakak had to pick her second hand stuff that she bought from a family who was going back to America. Then we’re going to Disneyland on Tuesday. That would be the peak of our trip!

Click here for more pictures

Saturday, June 25th:
Anyone wants to go to the Imperial Palace? One advice though: (Lesson one) Please consult the most loyal guide of all a.k.a. the map, on where the entrance and which side of the palace is open to public. Or you'd end up hours (in our case, one) walking around to find where the heck was Eastern Garden. That's one of the places in the palace that's open to the public. The rest had already given up (considering the hot weather and sore foot by now) and wanted to move on to Musashi Koyama already. But I was so persistent in finding the Eastern Garden. I mean, we're in Tokyo and for sure you want to step INSIDE the Imperial Palace, right?

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When we found it, we had to cut short the trip since we've allocated another half of the day to Musashi Koyama- or what we called Japan's own Petaling Street- not to imitation, but for cheap stuff. Our feet were so sore by this time that I’ve even lost any mood to shop!

Nevertheless, this was the day when we learned to venture out on ourselves, looking at the maps in train and subway station on where to go, act as real tourists and survive amid the hustle bustle of Tokyo.
Well, Kakak DID give an outline on what train to take and stuff though...

Click here for more pictures.

Sunday, June 26th:
Kakak took us around this time. We went to Hama Rikyu Garden- for our mom's sakes- and were brought into a garden that's situated right in the heart of Tokyo itself. A recommended garden to see that has 4 different appearances and flowers for 4 different seasons. Of course- the most amusing sight would be somewhere in April when the Sakuras are blossoming.

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Click here for more pictures on Hama Rikyu Garden.

From Hama Rikyu, we took the boat a.k.a. ferry to the other end- Amakusa- which is popular for it's large temple. But first, we need to fill on our empty stomach- Kakak's treat.

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When we've got to Amakusa, it was almost 5. The temple already closed, so we missed to step inside the big temple. After all, we were side tracked by the tempting shops along the path to the temple. If you want a list of shopping places in Tokyo, Amakusa has GOT to be in it (apart from Musashi Koyama). Ummi, Zirah and I bought shuriken keychain as souvenirs (real one for Zirah). Kakak herself bought some 'kuih' for her friends.

Oh, I forgot to mention that before we went out, I called a person whom I befriended before coming to Tokyo, Linda was her name. After quick planning, we've decided to have dinner at her place. So, from Asakusa, we took the sen or line (train or subway) to Toda-koen. Since we had Kakak, we didn’t even bother to learn which sen we take or what station we have to transfer and stop.

Bad habit, yes, I know.

One thing that I love here is the ability to survive by learning to read maps of LOTS of lines, trains and stops. Even the Japanese themselves have to stop in front of the ticket machines that provide large map and fares on where to go and how much.

Lesson 2: ALWAYS have the subway and train map with you.

Source: http://www.japan.co.jp/~pbw/graphlib/tokyosub.gif

Or go to: http://www.tokyometro.jp/network/pdf/rosen_eng.pdf#search=
to see another of Tokyo Subway Route Map. Remember, this is ONLY subway map.

Our favourite sen was Yamanote Line. Because it runs in circle, Kakak wasn't worried if we got on this train and missed our stop. We will always come back to our stop.

But of course, the downside of Yamanote-sen was it's ALWAYS filled with people. This was when I said to myself- it’s JUST like how the tv or documentaries portrayed Tokyo as- busy, packed and always moving.

I think we changed train at Shinjuku- one of the busiest station- and then changed again in Akabane for JR Saikyo Sen to Toda-koen. Another thing I like is they have fare-adjustment ticket machine- so that if you change station and have not the right amount for your journey- they’ll fix it up for you and you just have to add money. Kakak also informed us of shinkansen or the famous bullet train. It goes so fast that you’ll only see a blur. But of course in the city, it’ll slow down. Zirah and I looked at each other and smile- we’re SO gonna come back here and go to Kyoto or Hokkaido, taking the expensive shinkansen!

In Toda-koen, Linda's housemate, Lin (who happened to know Kakak) picked us up to their house. There, I met Linda for the first time and Zie- another housemate. It was a night of fun and friendly aura. Linda offered to bring us around Tokyo. Ummi invited them to come to Kakak's place tomorrow night to repay for the dinner.

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Well, after all, Ummi's our 'official' chef in the apartment!

Click here for more pictures of Asakusa.


July 6, 2005

Meet the cast!

Am back from Tokyo
Still working on the trip journal... so be patient (and that includes the lovely photos)
The journal will be uploaded in a few days more, insyaAllah...

But first, meet the cast of 'Trip to Tokyo, Japan!':

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And also not forgetting, our host: Kakak (my cousin)
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