16 Nov 2013

DAY 7: Leaving Tokyo and arriving in Shanghai

6am alarm started ringing like crazy and I saw Maria switching it off and continuing sleeping. After 20 minutes she woke up and panicked: “Yelena, we are 20 minutes late for the sub!!” I was not so stressful cause I knew our flight is at 1:20pm and even if we lose this sub we have time to get on the next one. Also, I did not know that “Ibaraki” airport is far away.  It was a sunny morning and we were leaving from Minami Senju station, metro line. Maria said we have 15 stations and then we should take a bus to the airport. Yesterday we manage to leave our suica transportation card (at Ueno) and get 500 yens back (each) and also we bought metro tickets for today. Bus tickets we’ll get on the bus. When we arrived one local guy started chatting with us and said that we don’t have to wait the sub at 7:11am we can also go with one at 7:02am. He said it is the same. It was not. After 10 station we asked one woman for our stop and she said we should leave now and change the sub on a line 6. So we jumped out of the sub immediately. Maria said: ”I think something is wrong here, ‘cause nobody mention ever we should change 2 subs, neither I red on internet” . “Maybe we should wait that sub at 7:11am ‘cause they might not have the same route” I answered.
It is what it is.. We get into the 2nd sub full of kids. School time probably. We tried to ask few people about our final destination but nobody spoke English. And after a while one woman said that we should go on the 1st car cause those other are soon change to other directions. It was so busy, we tried to move but then we decided to go out on 1st station and get fast in front. We did it several times on each station, moaning and swearing at the same time in Serbian with our heavy backpacks, and finally we got in to the 1st car of the train. When we arrived we found easy our bus station (it was just next to the sub). Bus ticket is 600 yens each. I paid for both of us and get back to my seat wondering why I got only one ticket. After 2 minutes bus driver came to me and gave mi back 200 yens. We understood that maybe he took 400yens for himself because price on the ticket was 600. That was okay with us as long as we are paying less. 
Ibaraki is small airport, and it was not busy. In front of  "Spring" counter we saw a big sign "15 kg of baggage including the cabin one". Shit! We have to do something cause they are charging 15 us dollars per each kilogram.
We are fucked! - I said to Maria. We had 7 kilograms more. - I am not paying 100 dollars extra! - Maria panicked. So we started re-packing, putting more clothes on us.. still we were over weighted. 
We went outside to chill and decide what we should do and one Asian lady started communication with us. Her name is Yuko and she is writer from Japan traveling with two gorgeous girls (daughters) to Shanghai with the same plane. We asked her if this company is so strict with baggage and that we have more weight we should ... She offer her help. She can take some of our stuff. Is this really happening!!?? Omg! Brilliant! (Yuko, once again, thank you for helping us!).  
The flight went a bit scary with lots of turbo lances and the plane was busy so I could not wait to land. 
Shanghai airport giant and busy. For check in and passport control we needed more than 30 min. With 7 Chinese yuans we manage to come to the center, People Square and find our hostel (People Square Youth hostel) that we have booked earlier (6.5euro per person per night). We'll stay here 5 nights. 
The thing I did not like in Shanghai as a 1st expression is that generally they don't have manners. My experience in metro. If you wanna get out those who wants to get in will not wait or let you go out, they will just get in, even if they have to push you. Farting, spitting, coughing at the same time. . . I hope that in Beijing people are different.
Our dorm is ok, we were in 4 beds dorm alone. Not so clean but better than India.
1st thing in the morning - Philippine Embassy. 

Yuko, girls and us

DAY 6: JAPAN - Tokyo (Relaxing day at Ueno)

Beer Tower

Our last day in Japan, Tokyo. We saw almost everything. We wanted to visit underwater sea life park but it is not open on Wednesday. We wanted to go to Disneyland but it was too pricy for us when we calculated the transportation ('cause it is outside of center). Zoo.. nah, we did not find it attractive enough so we agreed - Chill today, no rush, no 6 hours walking, just relaxing.
Last night for the 1st time we opened YouTube to see what exactly happened in Philippines and we were shocked. 10 000 people dead after catastrophic typhoon. Is is safe for us to go there? We panicked! On 19th November we got booked flight from Beijing to Manila (Philippine's capital) and the next day early morning the other plane for Cebu island. We decided to not go. Maria was on a hot line with some guy from Bookers.gr web flight agent company trying to cancel both flights (to Philippines and from Philippines) but the money that Philippine airlines is ready to give us back is really nothing compering with what we payed. Should we go to Thailand again? Or Malaysia? Lets see what is cheaper option... At the end with all calculation we came up to a minus of 490e if we change our travel plan so we left everything for the morning..
In the morning we were in the other mood. We gonna go to Senso Ji temple again, and if we get the same good fortune (with a sticks) we'll go to Philippines if it is bad we wont. Sounds silly but we needed a sign. At the end all went well. We had best fortunes :)
Before that we went to Info building and made some nice photos of Asakusa area from the top. The entrance is free of charge.

 view of Shopping street and Senso Ji temple

Tko Sky Tree 

We also tried some weird ice cream. I took bean flavor and Maria choose potato one. Was not bad at all, we liked it.
Long walk to Ueno area to get some souvenirs and maybe have some fun in game park again.

 Serbian flag :)

Come inside and get lost

Just for us

click - click

We also returned "suica" metro card in Ueno metro station, get 500 yens back, bought train tickets for metro to take us to the airport and had nice dinner in local restaurant trying famous Tokyo dish - Tempura (shrimp, lotus, fried vegetables and rice) and small Japanese beer.

Japanese Tempura

The day passed quick and 7pm we were in our room packing up backpacks for tomorrow. Our flight  is at 1:20pm from Ibaraki airport. The main problem is that the flight company "Spring" is allowing us to take only 15kg of baggage (including hand one) and we are over weighted. We will see what is gonna happened tomorrow. If we have to pay - we pay, cause only my photo equipments are close to 7 kg.
Same night we had same talk about going to Philippines or not.. and we'll check all about safty when we got to Shanghai. We'll go to Philippine Embassy over there and find out everything..
...zzz time..   

Senso Ji Temple by night

12 Nov 2013

DAY 5: JAPAN - Tokyo (Fish market, Imperial plalace and Tokyo lights)

4am... alarm.. I could not sleep again but I woke up 'cause we decided to go. Quick coffee in our hands and way to the metro station. It was still dark outside. And cold. We change 2 trains to get to Tsukiji.

We got there, saw one fish market but Maria said:"No, it is not this one, the one I saw has big like really big fishes!" So we asked around and finally get there. Police officer said it is open after 9am and we tried to explain that it is 5am opening time but he did not speak good English and we left. What we gonna do 4 hours here on cold weather? On the way from the sub station we saw one Buddhist temple. Why don't we go there? It was Buddhist ritual and we took front seat and enjoyed peaceful atmosphere.
After that all we have done was just walking in Ginza area, watching high buildings and expensive store (such as Cartier, Prada, Apple etc..) In "Family Mart" market I've discovered so delicious pastry with vanilla cream  ... nom nom..

 Apple building 

Walk, walk and more walk.. Hopefully we will see some results after all those kilometers we passed. :)
Finaly it was 9am, we got inside and walked more. We saw many sea life that I would not even touch. And yes, Japanese people enjoy eating them. Also, we found out that we should come early, like 5am to register cause it can be very busy. We have not seen 2 meters big tuna fish but we could if we knew about registration. Anyway, we are not coming back this way again.

 Seafood anyone? :)

After fish market we took a tube to Imperial palace. The entrance is free and it is beautiful choice to skip busy city life and enjoy the nature of the park.


 Magical forest

After 2 hours sleep we needed shades 

outside of the palace

Stone bridge

Okay, the best of the best so far we left for the end of the day - Tokyo tower. There are two observatory rooms and the view is breathtaking. The entrance fee is 820 Japanese yens but is defiantly worth. Here are some moments I captured with my 2nd boyfriend Canon: 

looks familiar? Tokyo tower

Tokyo tower 

view from the 2nd observatory 


Sunset over Tokyo

view by the night

Tokyo lights

Sorry for late posts, we had many things to do while traveling. I am writing from China at the moment and access to Google is very hard. VNP is helping :)
Soon more! x


11 Nov 2013

DAY 4: JAPAN - Tokyo: City walk 2 (Uneo & Asakusa)

Tokyo Skytree and Beer Tower

I could not sleep last night 'cause I had a coffee so finally, I feel asleep around 2:30am. 4am we supposed to get up and go to that famous Fish market. Alarm was ringing and Maria asked if we gonna go.. "Nooo, please, lets leave it for the other day I could not sleep until late". I was moaning. And we stayed. We slept until 10am and after decided to visit downtown area here - Ueno and Asakusa. It was nice warm but still cloudy day. Walk next to the Sumida river was joyful and we could make nice pictures of Tokyo Skytree tower and Beer Tower. 

 Near Sumida river

TKO in colors 

When we came to Asaskusa downtown we went to the Asakusa Tourist Information Center and took some brochure about the town. The lady from the info desk was so surprised when we said we are from Serbia and she said also she would like to visit our country. :)
Just across the road is Nakamise shopping street, real tourist trap to easy spend money on souvenirs and some local snacks. Pricy. The street leads to the Senso - ji Temple. It is so nice but busy landmark and there we tried our lucky with fortune sticks. When u got inside the temple on the right side is a stand with sticks and small drawers. You put 100 yen coin, make a wish and shake the box with stick. After u take one stick and see the sign in Japanese letter, find the same sign on a drawer, open the right drawer and take the paper. on the paper is written your fortune. It can be good or bad. I was lucky to get the best fortune, but Maria was not lucky. We called it - balance :)

 my fortune

she is adorable

After the temple we went to 7/11 shop for lunch. Cheapest option for every backpacker. Few nights ago we tried some fried crabs and they were so delicious, so we bought them again. Nom - nom! In the same shop we saw Japanese porn magazine in manga comic .. :)

 Crabs with sauce 

literature :)

We were on the way to Ueno, in Asakusa street hoping that the weather will change but with all that clouds .. no chance.. After 45min we stopped in another shop 'cause I wanted to try some juice with banana and blueberry. Maria took coffee. 

500ml of happiness

In Ueno area, we saw one street that was just across the park and decided just to take a look. That was not so quick, we stayed there full hour. It was open market where you can buy souvenirs (much cheaper than in Nakamise street), fish, giant crabs and many other things.. I was feeling cold in a tiny jacket so I bought myself "puma" long sleeve shirt (for 10 dollars) on sales. After few minutes, we saw video game center. "Let's freaking go there and lost" Maria said. God that was good idea! The store was on 3 levels and each level has different type of games. 

 forever kid

We choose the photo one. Since everything is in Japanese language we did not know how to use it we asked two local girls if we can see what they are doing. You pay 400 yens,  you go inside the cabin, machine takes few snapshots of you and after you go to another cabin and create your picture through the filters and all photoshop plug ins. It was sooo funny. After you finish with that you have to type your e-mail and in few seconds you've got them. Plus you get 2 printed photos in collage style on photo paper. When we finished with all photoshop filters, we went outside of the 2nd cabin and typed our mail (40 seconds is a time) but it was not working. I called 2 girls next to us to help us. One of them said that the machine is not accepting non of usual e-mail behest (such as gmail, or yahoo or hotmail) and it has to be Japanese one. we panicked and ask her if she can put hers and after send it to us. 2nd time you have 20 seconds to put your correct email or you lose the chance to get your pictures in digital format. She typed it fast and we were saved :) Since everything is on Japanese language we could not understand nothing. She helped us. (Yumi & Senda if you ever read this - ARIGTO!!! Thank you for all your time girls).

 With Yumi and Senda

from vending machine

and another one

We did not even felt how time flew by.. had so much fun there. Outside was rainy and wet. "Nevermind" Maria said "we'll go anyway to see Ueno park".
Ueno is nice touristic area with many museums and zoo. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in spring when cherry tree is blossoming. We also had horny crow echo ... 

The weather changed. It was not warm anymore. The rain brought wind aswell. Walk in a park was nice, Zoo did not work today but we checked the ticket price (600yen adult). 
Around 7pm we return to our hotel. Sightseeing by feet was really exhausting but we were enjoying.
I am off to bed now, in 4 hours we should wake up for that Fish market. It has to be early in the morning (around 6am) 'cause after 7am is closed. Goodnight! 


10 Nov 2013

DAY 3 - JAPAN - TOKYO - City walk 1

good morning

It was around 6:30am when we woke up. We were still lying in a bed (if I could call it "bed") when, after half an hour the whole room start shaking left - right, fast then slow for less then 1 minute. We were watching each other like 'what a f**k is going on' and Maria smiled and said: "Somebody is banging or what? Is this really happening on our 1st day here!!??" We were absolutely shocked with a thought about earthquake here.. in Japan! If this happens on Zante I would not give big matter but here... When I opened the door of our room we saw other hotel guests out and we asked them if this is like, normal thing here or we should be worried. The answer was: "No, this is happening always once in a month, do not worry". And we did not... I mean, not that much. Of course I opened TV to check "breaking news" but we could not find the right channel. When we finished our Japanese coffee with toy as gift we decided to go out and do the 1st sightseeing. We wanted to go to 'that' place where all Japanese youngers are hanging out and to see their extravagant and unusual outfit. So, that means we should go to Harajuku and then Meiji park. We asked at the reception about the card for metro and got the answer that we should get "Suica" card for 500 yens and after to top up the credit on. Also, we had to go from Minami Senji station to Akihabara stop then to change to JR and go to Harajuku with that JR train. On the way to the metro station we saw one girl that we asked yesterday for a hotel direction. She said :"Hi" and we started conversation. Her name is Fira and she is from Belgium, very lovely person. She gave us few tips about our route today and we also arrange to speak with here later and maybe go out late afternoon. 
So far, so good .. Forget about morning "alarm" and lets enjoy this cloudy day. At least it was enough warm to walk without jacket. We found a small shop, asked for the public transportation card and we could not understand the lady from the shop 'cause she did not speak any English. She was really patient and tried to explain us (in Japanese hehe) that the card cost 2000 yins but we could not get an answer is there any credit on. One nice man helped us. Yes, we got 1500 yins credit on to spend on a public bus or train. Ride was just ok and we spotted very funny sign above priority seats (look the picture below).  

"Please switch off your mobile phone when you are near the priority seats."

 Akihabara station


Took us less than one hour in total to get to our "final destination" - Harajuku station. Ticket price 160 yins per a ride (320 from Minami  Senju to Harajuku). There, we discovered real Tokyo. Big buildings, busy streets, fashion and hippie, nice local restaurants and big luxury diners. We took a shopping road as our 1st option. The city of future has everything that you can imagine. Near the main road, on every 300 meters there are wifi stands. 

wifi corner

porno graffitti in Chinese Language Center

After we checked few shops and found many crazy things but we just bought the face masks, funny of course to play a bit Asian way. From all that fancy shops like Luis Vuitton, Armani etc we also saw shop for pet accessory but not the regular pet accessory shop - the posh one! There is a big nice sofa to make a photo of your nice dressed dog or to buy some expensive "clothes" for your pet. Probably with nice silk or other natural fabric. The shop that we really like was the sticker shop. With nice - funny - urban - comic stickers. But the smallest sticker cost about 300 yins. 

Sticker shop

We wanted to go to see Meiji temple and park but before that we got lost in Takeshita street (funny name though). Thats the place you can just stay and enjoy. Avoid weekend 'cause today was really crowdy. 
Here are some moments we faced there.. 


Tokyo street style for youngers 

more of their outfits 

PR from local clothes shop

sales %  % %

Meiji park with temple was something totally different. Nice, peaceful place with greenery and "horny" crows :) (aaaaaah - aaaaah sound in a background). Ok I will leave it as a joke and get back to this seriously :) 
Meiji Temple is located in Shibuya, is the Shinto Shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperior Meiji and his wife Shoken. 


Barrels of Sake Wrapped in Straw

Wedding in Meiji temple

Lake and fishes


At night we walk to Sinjuku - Ku area, place I liked a lot. With coffee in one hand and camera in the other. All day we were caring umbrellas for no need. But we trusted our hotel receptionist when he said it is going to be rainy. Sinjuku is like Time square in New York.

by night

University building

It was around 8pm when we took a ride home from JR metro station to Minami Senju (again changing 2 trains, same ticket price). We were thinking what should we get us for dinner. Sushi!! We got nice pack of sushi for 450 yins and said, we gonna eat in our hotel. Sushi on the bed and yes, Pyrros was right when he said : "There are two things you do on the bed - eat and sleep" :) 
Todays budget was around 12 dollars per person and that means - Tokyo ain't that expensive ;)

Nom, nom