Japan Trip

My best friend and I had been planning on going on an overseas holiday, to a country we’d never been, ever since she returned from her study abroad 2.5 years ago. Our savings had only allowed us to actually make the plan real this year. Followed by 3 guy friends, we finally purchased our tickets to Japan end of last year. By the time I’m writing this post, we’ve been home for almost 2 weeks after the joyful vacation (and trying so hard to move on with our lives). So here’s to sum up our trip. *Thanks a lot to Tata for arranging things.

Day 1: 29 Apr 2016 – Tokyo to Osaka

Despite the fact that I coughed throughout the night at the plane, prohibiting me from getting appropriate sleep, I can say that the flight was smooth. We arrived at Tokyo Haneda airport on time, collected our baggage, exchanged our pre-purchased 7-day pass JRPass at the locket (I’ll get the picture later – this is somewhat a “magic” pass that got us here and there), had brunch (because I believe everyone agrees that 10:30 AM is too late for breakfast and too early for lunch), and continued our trip to Osaka by Shinkansen (the super-fast capsule-like inter-city train).

It took us 3 hours from Tokyo to Osaka, and by the time we arrived at Osaka, it was already noon (around 3 PM if I’m not mistaken). It took us another half an hour or so to find our pre-booked apartment. We then agreed to shower and get some rest before we walked around the apartment for dinner. We had the infamous Osaka Takoyaki (octopus balls) and a sip of sake near our apartment as an entree, then walked around Dotonbori area till drop (tried out Yoshinoya there!). *All stores are closed at 9 PM, so basically the stores were closed before we were.

the infamous Osaka takoyaki
Sherlock Holmes house in Kobe

Day 2: 30 Apr 2016 – Osaka Castle, Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine, and Umeda Sky Building

Second day of the trip was dedicated to get to know Osaka’s places of interest. We went to Osaka Castle in the morning (we didn’t go inside the castle though, considering the crowd), dropped by Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine in the afternoon, and to Umeda Sky Building (again, we didn’t go to the top of the building considering the ticket price and the absence of a tripod that will be required to get good pictures). Last but not least, we visited the must-see in Dotonbori: Glico Man (then tried out Pablo‘s cheese cake).

Day 3: 1 May 2016 – Kobe

Before I went to Kobe, I would’ve answered Wagyu when someone asked me the best beef I ever had. Kobe Beef has, however, changed my mind. The meat was so tender I could cry when it literally melted in my mouth. We tried the infamous Kobe beef in Kobe Steakland, the cheaper option. After we were full, we walked around Kobe area (it’s a very beautiful small city) to find a fundraising event for Kumamoto earthquake and visit the newly-opened Sherlock Holmes house. When we were back to Osaka, we sat for an afternoon snack at Max Brenner, then on the stairs in front of Osaka Central Station.

Day 4: 2 May 2016 – Osaka to Kyoto

Time to say goodbye to our very nice apartment in Osaka and move on to Kyoto on our 4th day. It took us only approximately 30 minutes by Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto. Kyoto offers different vibes in the sense that it felt more traditional and friendly. Since we could only check in at 3 PM at our hostel, we put our baggage in coin lockers and got on a bus to go around the city (we bought a 1-day bus pass so we could freely hop on and off).

Our first destination was the golden Ginkakyu-ji temple. After getting some snack at the food stall there, we went to get our baggage and check in at the hostel, and continued to Fushimi-inari, which is famous for its orange gates. By the time we got back to the bus stop, it was already dark, so we decided to have sushi for dinner at Kyoto Station.

Day 5: 3 May 2016 – Kyoto to Tokyo

Prior to heading to Tokyo, we visited the other must-see in Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera, where the temple was built on a cliff. The view was very pretty and it’s amazing how the old building can hold up until today. Being in Kyoto has somehow brought peace to our minds, especially with the old temples and traditional houses around the city.

At midday, we again hopped on Shinkansen to Tokyo. The trip from Kyoto to Tokyo took 2.5 hours, so we arrived at noon and headed straight to our pre-booked apartment in Asakusa area. Stayed near Asakusa, we visited Asakusa Temple only once at night when the iconic lantern was folded up. LOL. No regrets. Later that evening, we had sake out of curiosity.

Day 6: 4 May 2016 – Ueno Park & Hakone

My biggest curiosity about Japan has always been the hot spring (onsen), so I was so excited that Tata actually put Hakone into our itinerary. After a morning walk at Ueno Park (I always LOVE sitting in a park – I really wish we have something like this in Indonesia), we headed to Hakone. It was quite a long trip – 2 hours from Tokyo, but soaking myself in the hot water made me forget it. The onsen experience was very relaxing and lovely. The sore that I felt in my body due to the previous 5 days walk had been magically lifted by the hot water and the mountain view around the hot spring.

Day 7: 5 May 2016 – Nikko Edo Wonderland

When I suggested that we go to this place, what I had in mind was that I cannot visit Japan without seeing ninja or anything close to it. Never did I think that it would take 3 hours from Tokyo to Nikko and we should’ve left Tokyo earlier that day to maximize our day in Nikko Edo Wonderland. The half day visit to this theme park, despite the expensive entrance ticket, was totally worth it. There weren’t a lot of international tourists like us; most of the visitors are Japanese who took their kids to introduce old-day Japan to them.

Day 8: 6 May 2016 – Tokyo Disneysea

Tata is crazy about Disney, so we believed that 40% of the trip was dedicated to this day. She woke everyone up so early so we wouldn’t miss lining up at the entrance before it was even opened (we arrived there at 08:20 AM and the gates were opened at 9 AM). Good thing was she did her research for Disneysea that the order of rides has been decided and the long queuing was successfully avoided. We spent the whole day there (still we didn’t finish all rides), from 9 AM to 8 PM when Funtasmic! show finished (Tata almost cried like a baby when they cancelled the fireworks due to rain), and agreed that the best rides are Journey to the Center of the Earth and Toy Story Mania. Personally, I also like Tower of Terror, which Kifli said is less fun than the one in Disneyland Paris (OK, Disneyland Paris, wait for me!).

Day 9: 7 May 2016 – Tsukiji Market, Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Shibuya

It was the only day I didn’t have breakfast in our apartment before going out, because we were having our breakfast in Tsukiji Market!! 😀 It is basically a fresh market specializing in fish. We walked around the alleys and decided to eat at the cheapest restaurant. The fish (I had eel) was really fresh I’m drooling when I remember how the food tasted like. From Tsukiji Market, we went to Shinjuku only to buy Tokyo Milk Cheese, then continued to Harajuku to shop here and there (I bought so many stuff at Daiso – everything is sold for 100 Yen). Last but not least, we went to Shibuya to take some pictures with Hachiko statue right in front of the station, get the feeling of crossing the very crowded crossover, and again shop at Uniqlo.

Day 10: 8 May 2016 – Akihabara & Odaiba

Our first destination in Akihabara was Yodobashi – a giant “heaven” for toy and electronic lovers. It practically sells everything you want – from cellphones to camera, from stuffed animals to action figures, and even cosmetics. Tired of walking (not only that day, but the whole trip), Tata and I decided to just sit in a cafe while waiting for the boys to return from their other adventure to see similar “heaven”. At noon, after the boys have spent most of their money at Akihabara (or Akiba, in short), we went to Odaiba to see the 1:1 Gundam. Tommy was the one who got really excited by Gundam – he was literally lost for almost half an hour there. After buying some food to be taken to Jakarta, we went back to our apartment.

Day 11: 9 May 2016 – Tokyo-Jakarta

I must say it was a pretty hard last day in Tokyo, having to push ourselves into the train full of people who are going to work with all our baggage (which, trust me, have all been doubled in either weight or size). Thank God we survived it and arrived safely at Tokyo Haneda airport, not wanting to but have to be ready to go back to Jakarta. The flight was once again pretty smooth and we arrived in Jakarta safely.

I couldn’t believe that the holiday was over, but life must go on. We have to return to work in order to get more money and arrange another vacation next year. 😀

Special thanks to Nova and Dia for being our private interpreters for 3 days in Tokyo. xD

Tee-hee!

*PS: I’m gonna add some photos later.

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about suitable career

A #Leo Suitable Careers: Actor,Cardiologist,Goldsmith or Jeweller,Publicist,Theatrical Agent,Sales Consultant,CEO, Athlete,and Director.

A #Leo Suitable Careers: Educator,Movie maker,Park Ranger, Hairstylist,Professor, Principal,Publicist, Artist,and Exhibitor.

@ZodiacFacts on Twitter

It’s no secret that I like to relate things to types: zodiac, blood type, body shape, and even personality type. For things like career, can one actually decide based on the star sign? I don’t think so.

Firstly, someone’s choice of career is highly determined by his family background. Why did I (and some other family members from my mother’s side) choose electrical engineering? It’s because of my grandfather used to have this electronics repair shop at his house. A kid tends to see and follow older family members. He will look at his parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and older cousins growing up, picking the most interesting job they have, and make it his dream job. Of course, there are other aspects too, but family is the most influencing factor.

Secondly, educational background and passion are other things to influence career choice. Can someone who studies accounting at school work as a doctor? No. Whether we are aware or not, we “choose” our job the time we enrolled for college. (Thankfully my parents made me aware of it, so I wasn’t at all “lost”.) Your job doesn’t necessarily have to be in line with your major; most friends I know are working totally different jobs to their major choice, but all of which are their passion. It’s possible, but again your first job hunting (you can see my post about first job here) will be much easier if you stay in line with your major and will most likely determine your next jobs (if you don’t want to be considered as a fresh graduate over and over again).

Lastly, social environment is also a huge factor. What is the highest demand (which pay you highest) in the market? There is always a trend and you better be aware of it. For example, in the electrical engineering industry, in late 1980 to the 1990s the highest demand will be for engineers, because at the moment there are not many people taking engineering. In the next decade, after more people take engineering, the number of sales people decreased significantly that companies would look for sales. This kind of trend is important to decide your career choice.

Hence, I don’t think one’s career can be deemed suitable based on zodiac, though the success rate of someone working on the “suitable career” for his zodiac might be higher than someone who’s not. There’s no scientific evidence for this. People should pick their career path based on logical thinking rather than superstitious things like zodiac.

about your first job

I had this conversation last weekend with my sister, who’s going back to Bandung in one week to start her 7th semester. She’s only about to start her final year of college and she’s been talking about first job with her seniors. The concern was about salary. She was quite surprised that companies will only pay new employees small amount of money.

Normally, college students have some expectations from their first jobs. Well here are some facts about first job:

1. No, nothing from your 1000-page textbooks will actually be useful (unless for the 3-row of formulas which you might still use if you’re working for a technical role). I’m now working for the 3rd company ever since I graduated college and I’ve only used 5-10% of what I’ve learned in college/grad school for all jobs. The rest still needed to be learned when you first join the company.

It doesn’t mean you can be relaxed and forget all things college (if you’re still studying there now). When you’re being a student, it’s your job to study and make sure you pass, if not getting an A, all subjects and graduate as early as possible. Good grades and timely graduation are 2 most important criteria in searching for your first job (at least in a country with more people than available jobs like Indonesia).

2. Your colleagues are not your friends. Bitter truth be said. Normally guys will adapt to this condition quickly, while girls will need to learn by experience. When you’re working, your position defines you. If you’re in an important position where you report directly or work closely with someone in a high position, then people will be very nice to you. The opposite will happen if you’re working for an unimportant position and/or you have a bad attitude.

The key to survive this “jungle” is to be a nice person (means you have to be nice to everyone at work, including the office boys and the security personals – you never know when you’re gonna need them, rite?). After a while, you might or might not have real friends. If you get to meet one, then you’re a lucky person. 🙂

3. Whatever you say can be used against you. Be careful. You cannot say your mind out loud like you do when you’re in college. The freedom of speech is there, but you’re not 100% free.

4. Most companies will pay you at their minimum rate because they give you small works (at first). Nobody knows for sure how you’ll perform at your work. Sometimes they become mean by not raising your salary even after one year or more. If that’s the case, you have the right to stand up and ask for fair increment. If it doesn’t work, then it’s time to find a new company, with your experience.

5. Learn. If this is something you don’t do in college, then it’s time to learn at work. Learn what your colleagues like and are like, learn the office situation, and if you’re interested, learn the politics. Life is a never-ending learning process anyway, rite? 😀

Hope it helps. 😉