I miss Japan so badly! Meh. I’ve got wanderlust in my heart again but so since I can’t just book a flight ticket on a whim and jet off, I shall indulge in all the memories of last year’s trip! I know it seems strange that I went in march this year and I went in Nov last year but I guess I love the country so much that while I don’t want to live in it forever, (Singapore! You’ll always have my heart xx) it’s definitely my favourite country to visit! If you are going too as well, I hope these little entries help you in planning for your trip and do leave me a note if you do blog about your trip so I can live vicariously through you! (Now you know what I do when I am bored, haha)
There’s not much to blog actually since I’ve been there so many times but this time I went with 3 very special people in my life and for the guys, it was their first time there so I was VERY eager to show them all that I love about the city! I needn’t have been too worried about it though because Japan is the kind of country that just speaks for itself!
*entire trip taken with an Iphone 5!
Say hi to my travel companions everyone! 😀 Here’s us after the red eye flight to Tokyo from Singapore’s Changi Airport to Tokyo via Taipei! ( We bought tickets during a scoot sale so our average price per ticket was only $250+! Score!) You would realise that the two on my right feature heavily on my instagram and blog because they are my foodie buddies. I think 3 of us singlehandedly raised Singapore’s GDP during our younger days because we spent SO much money on food! :/ I’ve known these people for almost 12 years now and they are people I trust with my life but put a plate of hokkien mee in front of us where there are only 2 prawns and watch our friendship crumble and the chopstick battles begin! Haha, just kidding. Everyone knows anyone who loves food are the most generous of heart and spirit and all of us REALLY love food 😉 The one of my left needs no introduction of course 🙂
On a side note, does anyone else dislike airplane food as much as I do?
This was what we were served on our flight there and everything tasted like gluey mush. I read somewhere that the altitude in the air desensitizes the tastebuds so in order to provide tasty food that doesn’t spoil, airlines add generous amounts of salt and fat to preserve and enhance the taste. While I applaud the airline’s attempt to serve tasty food, I really couldn’t stomach it at all. Only the drinking water was really good! Haha.
So when we landed in Tokyo, the first thing I did was to make a beeline to for the convenience store! 😀
… #butfirstletmetakeaselfie haha
and back to Japan’s convenience stores. I LOVE THE VARIETY! This time, I realised Japan had stocked their shelves with rows and rows of GREEN SMOOTHIES!!!! It’s easy to find smoothies and juices in any country but to be able to find fibre packed green smoothies that aren’t trying to cheat you and sell you 2% greens, 98% fruit JUICE is really hard but as usual, the Japanese have gone and one upped everyone else! 😀 There are veggie chips as well and cereal with yoghurt, fruit and rice boxes and of course, my favourite, favourite grilled salted salmon onigiri!
If you are arriving at Tokyo Narita and you need to get to the city centres (say Shibuya, Shinjuku, Roppongi, etc) I would totally recommend taking the Airport Limousine buses! It’s about Y3000 and counters are easily located at both airport terminals. Alternatively, you can take the trains as well. For more information you can go here, if you are landing in Haneda or here, in you are landing in Narita!
My brother lives (lived? he’s back in Singapore already!) in Roppongi so we made our way there via public transport (Japanese train stations have very few escalators so take note of this if you have a lot of heavy suitcases!) It was pretty late already so we headed out to my all time favourite place in Tokyo for super affordable, good quality sushi!
If you ever ask me what’s the best place for cheap and affordable sushi in Tokyo, it’s definitely got to be Umegaoka Sushi no Midori Ginza (otherwise known as Midori Sushi)!!!
I usually can make my way there REALLY easily in the day but for some reason, I was hopelessly lost that night. Perhaps because the place looked so different at night or we were at a different part of Ginza but I was hopelessly, hopelessly lost. We circled the place until I accosted a couple of young women and asked them in my half past six Japanese how to get to the place. They didn’t know how to either but they googled the place on the spot and gave us directions (albeit in excited Japanese chatter). After going a little way more, we asked a couple strolling along the streets for directions and they didn’t know either yet they whipped out their phones and spent a good 10 min googling the place. They even called the restaurant for directions! By this time, I was positively wringing my hands in guilt for having stopped them, taking up their date time and inconveniencing them. As if that wasn’t enough, they insisted on personally bringing us to the place! T.T Oh you inspiring people! T.T Throughout the walk there (and it was a good 15min walk in the OPPOSITE direction of where they were going), the couple tried their best to engage in light casual conversation. I only had enough Japanese to tell them I was from Singapore and there with my friends, we had just arrived in Tokyo and we were about to go eat dinner etc but he was really nice and even showed me pictures of the Merlion on the phone and told me about his trip to Singapore and how he thought it was really nice and clean! I couldn’t thank him enough when we arrived at the place!
And that’s what I just really love about Japan. It’s not just the delicious food or the cleanliness or anything but the people! It was only my first day but even so, I was so inspired that eversince that trip whenever anyone, tourist or otherwise stops me on the road (I have a ask-for-directions-face) I try my best to get them to their place even if it means googling for more information or even guiding them all the way to their destination because I know how little it takes on my part to help take away a large amount of anxiety from someone else. And the guy didn’t even do it sullenly or of out of a sense of duty or obligation. Throughout the time that he extended his help, I could feel his genuine sincerity to go out of his way to help.
So well, that was inspiring lesson #1: Go out of your way to help and do it not for anything but a genuine sincerity to want to assist someone in their time of need. Haha.And I realised I want to do this not because someone told me I HAD to, but because someone has done it for me and it made me feel really good and I just want to pass it on. Inspiring, much!
Anyway, back to Midori Sushi. It was cold and the queue was insanely long though it was already 8:30pm at night! Midori Sushi serves good sushi but in my humble opinion, the rest of the sushi dishes are actually just average (in Japan my standards are exceedingly high). The one thing you MUST order though, when you are at Midori, is this:
The aburi sushi platter featured on the left.
The one on the right is just an assorted platter. The Aburi sushi is THE BOMB and there are some nights I dream about it. Haha. After you eat it, everything else at the store, though nice in it’s own right, PALES IN COMPARISON. Wash it down with the miso soup and green tea from this store as well. Both are excellent.
After that delicious meal, we headed back home and on the way we saw Roppongi lit up with christmas lights and I was just so happy in the cold, with the lights, with yummy food in my tummy and in the company of my closest friends.
Twas a good first day back, indeed