Japan Day 19: Goodbye Tokyo, Hello California

I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! It’s the LAST POST for my series from my trip to Japan in Summer 2015! And right now it’s Summer 2016 hahaha one year after. But I made it! Before I begin writing the actual post: To anyone and everyone who has read one (or even part of one haha) or all of my blog posts, thank you! I hope you enjoyed them and found them helpful in planning for your own trips. And thank you to my sister for filming and editing and captioning all the vlogs. I’m sorry I suck at video editing and couldn’t help you without making you mad…LOLOL.

So we woke up this morning really early with a plan in mind: Take a taxi or two to Shibuya Mark City, take the limousine bus to Narita Airport, and then fly home. I had tried booking taxis through online services but they were all in Japanese and so I asked the AirBnB lady to help me but she said they asked for bookings to be done 24 hours beforehand. She advised us to just flag down taxis on the street.

So that’s what we did. 7:30AM: me standing out almost into the street, frantically waving at the one or two taxis that drove by. Finally we got a taxi and we loaded it up with our luggage and told the driver the destination and then my cousin was the only passenger. He volunteered because with all the luggage, there was only room for one other person haha. My siblings and I walked to the hotel and met up with him. We had our backpacks on and it was a lonnggg hot walk. I never want to do that again omg.

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We were quite early for our shuttle so we just waited. And then the limousine bus was late. We got on and all immediately fell asleep. I stayed half-awake just in case we missed the stop at Narita Airport.

At the airport. My brother said that one person should watch the luggage at all times so I bought the largest coffee I could find and a chocolate croissant and a book and stayed watch. Then when my brother woke up, I told him about all the cool shops I saw while buying my coffee and my sister’s peach tea. So he got my cousin to keep watch and my brother and I shopped around!

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There was a Pokemon Center! LOOK AT THIS PIKACHU! It’s a ditto pikachu omg

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They only had children’s sizes in these Pikachu slippers 😦

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Cutest wastebasket ever. Wish I had the luggage space for this haha

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So cute I can’t handle it!!! Bye Tokyo!!

My brother bought a phone case that was made out of lacquer. Then my sister wanted to shop too so my brother went back and my sister and I shopped around and got lunch.

My sister got takoyaki and another peach tea.

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And I got a shrimp burger from McDonald’s! It was really good hahaha.

My cousin didn’t want to shop but when my sister and I got back from eating, the boys went to go eat too.

While waiting to board, my sister took all our yen and went to buy Pocari Sweat drinks and kitkats.

We took home like 6 bottles of Pocari Sweat hahaha. The kitkats we got were both regular green tea flavor and sakura green tea flavor. We try the sakura green tea flavored ones in the vlog!

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Can you guess what book I read on the plane?

Plane food. I have no recollection of what this was. I think maybe pork and rice.

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Cold soba noodles for snack.

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Salmon and rice.

ALMOST HOME!!!!!

Did you read my Tokyo Hair Makeovers post? Well I mentioned that my mom has never wanted me to dyed my hair. Lucky for her, I never really thought about coloring my hair. Until I went to Japan!! haha. After we got our hair done, we wanted to keep it a secret from my parents until we were reunited in person. So I had to keep telling my mom that our internet was so slow so I couldn’t send any pics, and phone calls were better than FaceTime….Oh man. I had to say that every single day practically! But it was worth it to see my mom’s reaction to our hair. The vlog is sooooo funny, I just crack up every time I watch it!! haha.

Anyway my cousin got picked up by his brother so we all hugged and said our goodbyes and then we went to meet our parents. I can’t describe to you the happiness I felt at seeing my mom and dad!!! It was sooo good to see them again! We missed them so much.

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When we got home my mom cooked us banh xeo, a Vietnamese dish that we all really like. It was soooo good to be eating my mom’s cooking again. Being home after a long vacation is a great feeling. My mom had changed the sheets on my bed too…it felt great to sleep in my own bed!

My trip was a long one and I felt like I changed a lot from it. I never imagined I would learn so much about the world, Japan, Japanese culture, and mostly myself, when I was planning the trip. It was my first time going out of the country, and my first time traveling without my parents. I really didn’t think about how living with the same 3 other people 24/7 for 3 weeks was going to affect me. I learned a lot about what kind of person I am and what I can and cannot tolerate, and how to react to other people. I learned to be aware in public spaces even when I am with people I feel safe around. I realize that there are so many culture differences between America and Japan and got to experience it firsthand (sorry for wearing an off-the-shoulder top…didn’t know that was low-key scandalous in Japan haha my mom approved it LOLOL). The whole trip was a learning experience that I really didn’t expect but am so grateful for. It might sound cliche, but I felt like I was a different person when I came home. I came home with a newfound appreciation for a culture that I have always respected. I came home wishing I could continue to not tip waitstaff HAHAH. I came home with a new family, and a better relationship with my siblings. And my parents too, even though they didn’t come along, my conversations with my mom and dad throughout the trip were full of advice and support that I could never thank them enough for.

After my trip to Japan, I want to visit again. I want to experience all four seasons of Japan. I want to see my Japan family and laugh together more. I want to eat more Japanese foods and fruits. I want to travel to Osaka and Nara and Kyoto. I want to have an onsen and ryokan experience! There’s still so much I want to do and I know I will visit again someday. I never knew how much traveling can open up your horizons and your view of not just the world, but of yourself. It may sound cheesy, but that’s really just how I feel.

Here’s the vlog:

Until next time,

C.


Places:

Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu

Address: Japan, 〒150-0043 Tokyo, Shibuya, Dogenzaka, 1 Chome−12−2 SHIBUYA MARK CITY 渋谷 マーク シティ 内

Narita International Airport

Address: 1-1 Furugome, Narita, Chiba Prefecture 282-0004, Japan

Japan Day 12: Pokemon Mega Center

Actually this day started off really slowly. I told everyone I was going to stay in the apartment all day today. Everyone got ready and my brother really wanted to try Freshness Burger because we’d been walking past it every single day. So my brother, sister, and cousin went down to get some food. When they were there, my sister texted me pics of the menu so I could decide what I wanted to eat. haha…spoiled LOLOL

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I remember getting a burger and fries but from looking at this menu…I have no idea which burger I picked. They all look good hahahh

After we ate, I felt a lot better, and so I decided I could make it out today. I got ready and we headed to the Pokemon Mega Center!

I always searched up multiple schedules because I was always scared we would miss a train!

Walking there was pretty nice actually. Ikebukuro is a really lovely place! We walked through a square and got to hear cicadas again lol. Actually we got lost looking for the Pokemon Mega Center. I didn’t realize that it was inside a mall and the mall was connected to a hotel. So we were walking around and then Google Maps told us we were there. So I suggested to go inside the hotel and ask for directions.

We walked into the hotel and I asked a woman behind the counter, “Excuse me, could you give us directions to the Pokemon Center?”

LOOOL IT SOUNDS SO STUPID TO SAY THAT OUT LOUD. What, did I think I was in a video game or something hahah I need to heal my Pokemon?!

To give the woman credit, she didn’t laugh or anything. She just repeated, “Pokemon Center…” while typing on her computer and then taking out a map and telling us where to go. Her English, like most people’s that we encountered in Japan, was completely understandable. We were really grateful to her help!! Because thanks to her, we made it into the mall, which is called Sunshine City (ummmm super cute name wtf)!

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I just love how Japan just has giant Pokemon hanging from the ceilings of malls and it’s totally normal.

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The Pokemon Center! There are signs all over the mall to help people get to the store. The store is pretty big, there are lots of these statues everywhere and tonsss of really cute Pokemon merchandise!

Me and my sister with the shiny Charizard!

Me and my brother with Lucario and Mewtwo. I bought that Pikachu plushie that I’m holding in this picture. My parents thought I was crazy for stuffing that into my luggage. BUT IT’S SOOO SQUISHY I LOVE IT!! I think it was around 3,000 yen.

While walking around the mall, we saw J-World which was one of the destinations on our must-see list! J-World is an indoor theme park, with the theme being anime and manga from Shonen Jump, I think. Again….as One Piece AND Hunter x Hunter  and Dragon Ball Z fans, we were pretty stoked. We grabbed info packets and decided to dedicate a whole day to spend at the park, so we would return the next day to go to J-World!

Sunshine City has a whole store that’s dedicated to Studio Ghibli! We weren’t able to get tickets to the Ghibli museum so this is the next best thing hahaha.

I think we took these Gudetama photos outside a Sanrio store.

 

Lol my sister was super excited because she’s a huge Gudetama fan.

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After we finished shopping, we met up with the boys to eat dinner. We chose to eat at a tonkatsu place called Tonkatsu Wako. My brother ordered an egg and tonkatsu bowl. He let me have a bite and it was sooo good!

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My set meal! It came with a coke! and everyone can get unlimited refills of rice and cabbage but none of us did lol.

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Here’s a shot of my meal where you can see the chawanmushi (silken egg??). It’s so creamy and light! We all enjoyed our meals.

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After dinner, we headed back to Shibuya Station, and on the way back to the apartment we got our ice creams of course haha.

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Japan found a way to package and serve soft serve ice cream that tastes good without sacrificing texture. For like 100 or 200 yen omg TAKE MY MONEYYY

At the end of the day, I was pretty glad I swallowed my annoyance and went out. I spent most of the day with just my sister and it was super chill and relaxing. She navigated us when we needed to find where Sunshine City was, and I felt a lot better not having at least that responsibility on me. And I felt like I saved the day when I suggest to go inside the hotel to ask for directions LOL.  We were all super excited to go to J-World the next day too! Yay for mood brighteners haha

Here’s our vlog about the Pokemon Mega Center:

Until next time,

C.

P.S. The next day is all about J-World and we had such a great time playing the games and seeing the attractions! We also have life-changing ramen hahah


Places:

Sunshine City Prince Hotel

Address: 3 Chome-1-5 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo 170-8440, Japan
Sunshine City (Mall)
Address: 3 Chome-1-1 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo 170-0013, Japan
Pokemon Mega Center Tokyo
Address: Japan, 〒170-0013 Tokyo, 豊島区Higashiikebukuro, 3−1−2 サンシャインシティ 2F
Tonkatsu Wako
Address: Japan, 〒171-0022 Tokyo, Toshima, Minamiikebukuro, 1 Chome−28−2
J-World
Address: Japan, 〒170-0013 Tokyo, 豊島区Higashiikebukuro, 3−1−3