Tuesday, January 26, 2016

There and back again... Tokyo work traveler's tale

WAnother travel trip to Tokyo, probably my 4th in last 12 months. Reached Tuesday night, meetings at Marunouchi, Hachioji, Hachioji, and then returning to Singapore today.

Couldn't do much except having dinner with my Japanese language teacher and her kid (who is 14 y.o. and already taller than me) and a trip to Akihabara today.

After not visiting Tokyo for probably 6-7 years, I've now turned into a frequent guest... Oh well, it's not a bad place to keep coming back to~ not at all~

So how was your weekend?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Kansai Drive 2016!

Photo of a deer in Nara taken from my last trip back in 2013

Air tickets booked...
Hotel reservations done...
Rental car voucher obtained...

I think we are ready for a holiday to Kansai region soon~ My first trip back to the region after my last visit in 2013 to Kyoto, Osaka and Nara. This time round we hope to do a drive around the region and hopefully cover places we've never been to before.

Day 1 - Shirahama
Day 2 - Nara
Day 3 - Kyoto
Day 4 - Arima Onsen
Day 5 - Osaka
Day 6 - USJ

A bit of onsen on days 1 and 4, a bit of sight-seeing on days 2 and 3, a bit of fun and shopping on days 5 and 6. I think the balance is pretty good and I hope I can show little J some of the magnificent sights on offer~ I've found some interesting links below which should help me plan the detail itinerary...

Takeda Castle Ruins

Driving Guide to Osaka

Driving Guide to Kansai

Any suggestions will be much appreciated~

Friday, January 8, 2016

ili Wearable Translator - I want one!

Not exactly how I will use this device... but definitely something nice to have if you are a frequent traveler. This is supposedly a translation device which will translate your speech into the desired language on the fly. Looks like a device which will be really useful for both business and leisure travel. Just not so sure about the price...

From the website:

What is ili?

ili is the world's first wearable translator for travelers. Say goodbye to all language barriers.

Instant translation

ili contains an OS of its own, which allows it to translate words instantly. Currently supports English, Chinese, and Japanese.

No need for the internet

ili works without Wi-Fi, 3G, or any other internet connection. You can use ili anytime, anywhere.

Check out more below~

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Recap 2015 - Hokkaido Family Trip Day 7 to 9 - Sapporo

Last 3 days in Hokkaido...

And we decided to stuff ourselves silly with whatever we could stuff ourselves with~
Whenever we walked past a shop, and my eyes decided it looked good enough, we will buy something to eat~ We departed from Kiroro Piano Hotel via hotel bus, reached Otaruchikko JR Station and took the JR line to Sapporo. We quickly checked in to our hotel Sapporo Aspen Hotel
Cakes on display? All over the place!

On this day I decided that the family need to take it easy so we just ventured around Sapporo, doing very touristy stuffs like enjoying the fish market, underground shopping and going up Sapporo TV Tower!

J enjoying the cold weather~

Sapporo TV Tower

J loves the snow~

View from Sapporo TV Tower

Another view of Sapporo TV Tower

Snowy Sapporo
And soon enough it was dinner time! If you've tried Gyukaku (牛角) in Singapore you will know how much it cost! But in Japan it is really a family restaurant with affordable prices. And alcoholic all-you-can-drink for 980yen?!?! (approx S$13). 15 drinks for the grand price of around SGD40~ Tell me that's not cheap!

Best meal after a day out in the cold~

Meat galore!!!

Slightly less than 18,000yen (approx. S$220)
Surprising enough (or not really surprising to my wife), I still had room for dessert after walking back from Susukino to JR Sapporo Station~

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Next day we woke up early to visit Shiroi Koibito Park(白い恋人パーク), operated by Ishiya, the same company which produces the 白い恋人 chocolates~ It's really more of a theme park than a factory but that is where you can actually find the production line of the chocolates~

More Disney than Universal Studios~

Exhibits showing how the chocolates were made in the early days

Actual production line

Thousands and thousands of them!

Ornaments made using sugar?

Looks like flower... taste like flower?

The place also have a nice coffee house which serves many types of dessert~ Long queue though~

Soft cream in Japan... always tasty~

Feels like some place in Europe~

It was actually very very cold...
Looks like some place in Rome or Munich?
Soon it was time for lunch~ What better way to spend the last days in Hokkaido than to have a really nice lunch? The place I chose was 回転寿司 根室 花まる @ Susukino. I had so many good memories of this restaurant (though in another outlet nearer to Sapporo JR Station) from my previous trip that I must come back again. Shirako was so good~

Sushi set was sooooo good~

Not cheap but we've travelled so far~

Anyone for more Shirako? ME!!!
After lunch we decided to go up Mt Moiwa. We had to take the local tram and transfer to 2 cable cars before we reached the top...
On the way up!

View from the cable car~

View of Sapporo City

By the time we got down from Mt Moiwa it was already dark. We decided to walk back to our hotel from Susukino, along the way shopping in one of the many pharmacies to shop for stuffs like sweets and medicine which we cannot get in SGP.

J dancing out in the cold

Sapporo TV Tower at night~
After we put our bags and loot down in the hotel room we headed out for dinner~
This night it was Genghis Khan BBQ~ Basically it is mostly lamb and it was awesome~ Throw in some beer and it made for a wonderful end to the day~

Charcoal just brings out that bit more taste~


On the last day we had a good breakfast at J.S. Pancake cafe and visited the Rera Outlet near the airport.

J.S. serves lots of different pancakes~ We ordered a variety of pancakes so that we could share around and have a taste of everything~ Portion were a bit too much. I would probably go with 2 order of pancakes for every 3 person...

The outlet for me wasn't that exciting. I'm never one for shopping. I don't think the rest of the crew was excited as well~ I thought the one near to Kansai airport was better (Rinku Premium Outlet). From there we took a shuttle bus which took us to the airport.... (T_T)

Last bites at the Chitose Airport before we boarded the flight home~~~

It was time to leave Japan. One flight from Chitose to Haneda and another overnight flight from there back to Singapore

Baby J exhausted

Back in Singapore~
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