Friday, October 17, 2014

12 Things I Learned About Japan

Inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka
The waiting was worth it. Japan did not disappoint the six of us who trooped to this culturally rich country last month to visit Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. It was an eight-day adventure with former workmate Jerri, sweet hearts Jeng and Chino (who by the way I just met for the first time on our departure to Osaka), my dear cousin Jheck and friend Richard. 

Months before our trip, we have had conversations over private messaging about the visa requirements and application process, where to stay, what to do, how to purchase an unlimited Japan Railway pass and everything vital for this sojourn. We even had a final meeting over dinner to collate all the data and make certain that everything on the list was done and ready.

Came September 22, 2014, the group departed Manila and landed in Osaka the same day with much excitement to explore one of many traveler's ultimate destinations. Within the duration of our trip, our group had the pleasure and luxury of time to sneak in stores (all kinds), shop a bit, satisfy our palate, speak with the locals, take pictures (this is obligatory), enter theme parks, get lost, mesmerize with the surroundings, compare things with our very own (including prices of goods and meals) and observe things revolving Japan.

So, without any further ado here's the 12 things (since it's my 12th visited country) I found out about the land of sushi, castles, temples, advance technology and cosplay.

The JR Pass, shinkansen terminal
1. Railway system in Japan is colossal. It's as vast as our galaxy. You will surely get lost. I'll bet my bottom yen.

2. Arrival and departure schedules of trains are always on the dot. You got no reason to be late. 

3. Taxi flag down rate is around 600 yen or 280 pesos. You cannot just hail a taxi anywhere. You need to call one. Can we just walk?

Nope, this is not NYC. It's Odaiba City in Tokyo.

4. No food in Japan isn't delicious. I wonder what their secret ingredients are. If you are on a diet, you may want to skip Japan on your bucket list.

5. Everywhere in Japan is practically clean.

6. Shopping goods in Japan are cheaper. So are the chocolates. Thank God for this.

Promo girl in Shibuya

7. What's cheap in the Philippines is expensive in Japan and vice versa. Except from Starbucks coffee - same price.

8. Japan has Disneysea. Enter this theme park no matter what happens. You won't regret it. Believe me.

9. In Akihabara, you will find an eight-floor building of sex toys, condoms, lingirie, sex videos, magazines, sex dolls and all that's carnal.
Ramen tasting in Tokyo

10. Only Japanese people can pull off a clothing ensemble that's weird in the public eye. This is a compliment.

11. Japanese people are very humble. So far they're the most respectful people I've encountered. Not to mention they're very appreciative and honest.

12. Mostly, Japanese people seem secure of their lives. Hence, they don't seem worried. Such may be contributed by their strong education about insurance and investing.

Here's hoping you had a glimpse of what Japan has to offer. To those who have gone there, feel free to share things you learned. You might even picked up more interesting things even quirky ones about this incredible destination during your visit.

Nijo Castle, Kyoto
To Japan, thank you for the very wonderful experience. We will never forget you. Personally, your greatest impact is on my diet. Because of your healthy food (and expensive chips) you took my junk food cravings away from me.

Again, if I may say, Japan is so worth it. It's every traveler's must do.