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 18: Last Day

Omg our last full day in Japan!!!  We woke up early to eat at a restaurant that I read rave reviews about on a the blog called Migrationology. Luxury sukiyaki on a budget sounds amazing to me!

It’s a quick walk from the station, but it felt longer because of the crazy heat and humidity. 18 days in Japan and we still weren’t used to it. haha. We got to the restaurant pretty early. We were the first ones there!

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The outside of the restaurant looks like this.

While waiting for the restaurant to open, we took some pics hahaha. I also talked to this couple who were waiting too. They said they were from Singapore and I wanted to ask them if they knew Xiaxue (one of my favorite Singaporean bloggers lol) but I was too shy hahahah.

Inside the restaurant, before we were seated, we were shown a laminated piece of paper indicating that non-Japanese speakers without accompanying Japanese speakers would not be served. I gave the paper back and said “daijoubu” and the woman smiled and seated us. ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!!

Also when we were given a menu all I said was “4 sukiyaki lunch sets” cause I had no idea what I was looking at LOLOL. Everyone at the communal table ordered that. No pics of our food but you can see us eat it in the vlog! It was delicious and such a new experience for us since we had never eaten anything dipped in raw egg before. I am drooling just thinking about the melt-in-your-mouth beef! Even the rice was extra tasty hahaha

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My sister got a drink from the  vending machine on the walk back since it was soo hot and the water cups at restaurants in Japan are soooo small.

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We went back to Shibuya Station and then we walked to the Shibuya Mark City Hotel so that we could arrange for tickets for the shuttle to the airport for the next day. I asked the lady behind the counter for tickets and she said we had to call a number and order them through the phone.

I went back to the rest of the group and said I was tired of making all the arrangements and could someone please make the phone call? Since I had literally arranged every single thing for the entire trip.

Silence followed.

Then, excuses.

My cousin said his phone didn’t have service. I said that was fine, he could borrow my phone. Silence.

My brother just flat out refused to and said we could take the train. What the hell, I can’t manage our luggage up and down stairs in the train station. What’s more, my brother has a broken arm and wouldn’t be able to help my sister and I out with our luggage cause he wouldn’t even be able to deal with his own??

I was getting really mad because I felt like I was asking for ONE little detail that I wouldn’t have to do, and no one would step up. My cousin just walked away from us and no amount of asking was working on my stubborn brother. He said he just didn’t want to.

My poor sister grabbed her phone and called the number and spent thirty minutes talking to a Japanese man to try and get tickets. It took so long because he kept confirming with her to make sure he didn’t make a mistake. She said his English was good but he took a while to understand but in the end everything was taken care of. I was beyond grateful that my sister took this responsibility off of my plate but absolutely livid at my brother and cousin. I felt like they were so childish for having me prepare EVERYTHING on the trip for them without helping out with one phone call. But we got over it the Asian way, by just pretending it didn’t happen, and we walked to the grocery store in Tokyu Department Store to buy more fruit LOL. No video from this part because we were still getting over our anger hahaha my sister and I walked separately from the boys and ranted to each other about how they were being babies….hhahahaha ugh.

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Perks of having an apartment in Tokyo: You have a mini kitchen with knives and cutting boards hahaha. Peeled these peaches after slicing them and it’s really cool, the peel just slides right off the fruit! It’s like it was wearing clothes LOLOL. Japanese peaches…they’re amazing on a different level. If you’re in Japan, you better try them!

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We bought more donuts from the bakery too!

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That night we went to Family Mart and spent all the money from each of our Pasmo cards (and more in cash) on candy and snacks to give as gifts to friends and family. SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT MOREEEEE. The Mitsuya Cider candy was my mom’s favorite. The chocolate biscuits we gave to my uncle. I gave a bag of the Gudetama candy to my friend Christine and the DragonBall Z candy to Chris.

That night my brother and cousin went clubbing or something in Shinjuku. And my sister and I stayed behind and finished packing and cleaning up the apartment. Then my brother came back alone!!! Turned out they went to a club where the entrance fee was like 30 USD and my brother was like no way and left after he gave his phone to my cousin (so he could use it to figure out what train to take home and text us to come down and open the apartment lobby door for him). LOL. My brother helped us clean up and vacuum and then we went to sleep.

Vlog from this day:

Until next time,

C.


Places:

Yoshihashi Sukiyaki

Address: Japan, 〒107-0051 Tokyo, 港区Motoakasaka, 1−5−25

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

Tokyu Honten Department Store

Address: 2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan

 

Japan Day 17: Foodie Adventures in Tokyo

Another super chill day in Japan for us! We started out the day heading to Omotesando to the famous Maisen Tonkatsu. I had wanted to eat there on the day we were getting our hair makeovers at NALU Salon but for some reason I didn’t see it even though they’re practically next door LOL.

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Yup, I took a picture of a laptop screen lol. Ugh I love the train system in Tokyo. It is so incredibly convenient and fast and punctual and cheap and I know it’s such a foreigner tourist thing, but the novelty of riding the train never wore off for me hahaha! It may be partly because I dislike driving?

We found Maison Tonkatsu quite easily. There are signs leading to the restaurant from the train station. We waited for a little while before we were seated. The restaurant is a lot bigger than we thought!

The menu is pretty extensive. We asked for the English menu.

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My meal!

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My sister’s meal!

I don’t have pics of my brother’s and cousin’s meals. My brother got his usual katsudon though. Theirs came with ice cream!! You can see in the vlog. All of us really enjoyed our meals.

Oh yeah, since we were nearing the end of our trip, we tried to get rid of all our coins by paying for the entire meal in coins…but they didn’t accept it LOLOL. Sad.

We walked next door to say hi to the hair-master Deji-san at NALU! It was great to just see him one more time and thank him for giving us beautiful hair before we went back to California.

Then I wanted to go to Omotesando Koffee. I had heard about it somehow and the reviews are really good. I only just started to appreciate the taste of coffee thanks to my then-coworker, Chris. Every day he drinks a black iced coffee and he would offer me some. And over time, I acquired the taste I guess? So I wanted to try this coffee place and enhance my palate haha.

The place is really hard to find even if you use a GPS/Google Maps. It is hidden, and it looks like a regular home. Well it basically is a home turned coffee shop. There’s a tiny minimalist sign that has Omotesando Koffee out in front though. And we saw a line forming out the sliding door so we knew we were in the right spot!

While in line, a fat white guy took a photo of my brother. He used his phone and the flash went off. I got really mad and wanted to confront him and tell him to delete the picture, but my brother said it was fine. He said it was probably just cause he has purple hair. I guess, but that’s no reason to take a photo of a stranger. He could’ve asked…we were speaking English so it’s not like he was afraid of us not understanding him.

My sister and brother got a frozen mocha or something. IT WAS SOOO GOOD!!! super coffee and chocolatey flavored, the whipped cream was so fluffy and sweet! No icy taste or texture at all.

I got a plain black iced coffee. It was smooth and strong and perfect. I was surprised that a coffee noob like me could taste the difference between this and a Starbucks iced coffee. Or maybe I just imagined it haha. Anyway there’s only one guy who runs the entire coffee shop at Omotesando Koffee.

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There were little toasted pastries for sale too but we didnt try them.

Actually, Omotoesando Koffee has closed permanently. Apparently, the house needed repairs that would have cost too much for the owner, so it’s no longer open for business. There is another location in Toranomon, though, and I will include the address for that location in my “Places” at the end of this post. I feel lucky that we were able to try this place out before it closed! I loved feeling like I stumbled upon the coffee shop (we almost walked past it), and it was a new experience to walk into a traditional Japanese house! And of course, watching the guy make the coffee with so much precision and passion was interesting too!

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After our coffee break, we headed to Tokyo Tower again because my mom wanted more of the Japanese doorway hangings that we bought her (I think they are called “noren”) from the little souvenir area on the second floor of the tower.

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And we saw our friend the monkey again!!! He is such a smart and cute little monkey!

Inside Tokyo Tower, I spent hours shopping for souvenirs for friends and family. I don’t remember everything we purchased, but we got our grandpa a sake set for decoration, a samurai shirt for our dad, wall hangings for our mom, keychains for friends, white chocolate mochi for my employers and co-workers, a set of decorative chopsticks for the people who wrote letters of recommendations for me, sling backpacks…and more. omg. So if you want to get people souvenirs, I think Tokyo Tower is a really good place to go! They have everything there!! And the people there are super sweet and friendly. One elderly woman complimented us on our Japanese, she was shocked when we said we were Americans haha. So cute.

Then we headed back to our apartment to set our things down and rest before dinner. My cousin really wanted to treat us all to yakiniku, which was really sweet of him! So he asked me to find a place nearby.

We couldn’t figure out the name of the restaurant we went to because it’s in Japanese characters only?? haha but it’s in the same plaza thing as Mos Burger on Dogenzaka in Shibuya.

OH JUST KIDDING I TOOK A PIC OF THE NAME OF THE RESTAURANT OMG well it’s too late to put it in the vlog now lol

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Wow I am so smart for doing this lol. Anyway we ate here cause it’s like 2 minutes walking from our apartment! We took off our shoes and they put them away for us right when we entered. We were seated and we ordered food!! Our cousin was so generous he told us to order everything we wanted including drinks and appetizers! So we went a little crazy hehe

My siblings and I got chawanmushi! It’s got seafood in it and it’s really light and fluffy egg custard that is steamed. My sister also got peach juice, and my brother and I got lemon sodas (me without alcohol though hehe).

The dinner was super crazy fun…It was definitely one of the best dinners we had just because we were laughing so much and eating so much. The quality of the meat was super good. My cousin and brother ordered SO MANY PLATES OF MEAT. The waiter was like, AGAIN?!? HAHAHA. One of the waiters was really really cute and my sister and I totally freaked out about him haha. He looks like Usuke Devil, a bishounen who’s like, Instagram famous hahah.

After dinner we stopped by combini to get some ice cream of course.

The macadamia nut one was mine and the green tea was my sister’s.

Here’s the vlog:

Until next time,

C.


Places:

Tonkatsu Maisen Aoyama Honten

Address: 4 Chome-8-5 Jingumae, 渋谷区 Tokyo 150-0001, Japan

Hair Salon NALU

Address: 4 Chome-9-2 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan

Omotesando Koffee –> Toranomon Koffee

Address: Toranomon Hills Mori Tower, 1-23-3 Toranomon, 港区 Tokyo 105-0001, Japan

Tokyo Tower

Address: 4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato, Tokyo 105-0011, Japan

Hannadaidokokoro Dougenzakaten (yakiniku)

Address: 2 Chome-29-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan (this is the address for the same plaza it’s in).

 

 

 

 

Japan Day 16: Tokyo Disney Sea AGAIN!

AGAIN?! Why did we go to Tokyo Disney Sea again?! Because it was THAT awesome the first time, of course. There were still more shows to see and rides to ride and we just really didn’t want to miss out on anything!

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Our train schedule for that morning. We purchased tickets at the door this day and So also exchanged some money at the park. The exchange rate at Tokyo Disney is apparently usually really good!

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The must-see attraction we wanted to experience was Minnie’s Tropical Splash. We had seen it when we went before, but we wanted to wait and be in the main splash zone. So we waited. In the blazing hot sun and suffocating humidity. I am a delicate flower so I escaped to the air conditioned shops nearby so that I wouldn’t pass out. While I was embracing the freezing cold air inside, my sister texted me asking to buy my brother a sun shade cover hoodie towel thing.

Like half the people inside the Disney parks were wearing those to protect themselves from the sun. My sister and I had bought Elsa and Anna hoodie towels and were soooo glad that we did! My brother finally caved and wanted one too LOL. So which one did we get him??? Olaf??

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Winnie the Pooh!!! Omg so adorable right? Like a child hahahaha

He said that right when he put it on, he felt a huge relief. Our cousin didn’t want one even when we asked him over and over lolol I guess it was too expensive for him. Later on he said he wished he’d bought one on the first day we went to the Disney Parks so that he could’ve used it all three days. True! Next time!

Anyways the show was AMAZING. Even better the second time!! Because we were in the super splash zone we got completely soaked hahha. Make sure your phones and cameras are in plastic bags! We were all drenched by the end. My brother and cousin made good use of their snorkels…check the vlog to see how haha.

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Then we went to rest and dry off.

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This cave area is near Journey to the Center of the Earth.

We got to watch the Big Band Beat show, which is like Mickey conducting a band. It was highly recommended to us by our Japan family but my sister was so tired that she fell asleep during it! The rest of us enjoyed it but it wasn’t as cool as we thought it was going to be.

I asked my cousin to pick a place for lunch and he chose a mexican place. It’s called Miguels El Dorado Cantina.

Then we got gelato!!!

I got Kyoho Grape and Melon flavors and my sister got Peach and Blueberry. We both got cones for the pic….but it got really messy cause it melted instantly. My brother got his in a cup and it was already melting all over him hahah.

We ate meat pies for dinner. Those things are bomb lol

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This automobile is so cute I had to snap a pic of it hehe

In the evening we watched a show called A Table is Waiting. It’s near the Rivers of America. I asked for help to find out where the show was located, but I had already walked right next to it…the cast member was like, “just sit down here” LOL.

The show was INCREDIBLE! We all loved it so much! It’s cute and funny and really well done! I highly recommend seeing it if you visit Tokyo Disney Sea. Part of it is in the vlog so you can get a sneak peek of what it’s like haha.

After that, we headed home for the night…

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Here’s the vlog:

Until next time,

C.


Places:

Address: 1-13 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture 279-0031, Japan

Japan Day 15: Exploring Shibuya

Omg okay so this day was dedicated to checking out the area around the apartment we were staying in. We slept in and went for lunch at the restaurant I had selected by researching online when planning the trip. We had walked there for dinner one night, but the line looked really long so we went to eat omurice across the street instead lol.

So today we came back and there was a line again but we waited and it didn’t take very long for us to get seated. The waitstaff took our orders when we were standing in line and we all just ordered what everyone in front of us had ordered. But we should’ve read the menu more carefully because there is an option for double portion. I think the boys would have wanted to get that instead of the regular lunch set haha.

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Gykatsu! There’s a couple different dipping sauces, all of which are delicious. Each person gets his or her own mini grill to cook their gyukatsu on. It got pretty hot in the restaurant from these grills despite the AC. My brother had to wipe sweat off his face with napkins LOLOL and we kept asking for the water pitcher to be refilled. But the food was really delicious! The portions were perfect for my sister and I but the boys said it was just like a snack for them.

After lunch, we really wanted dessert so we went to a cute little ice cream and fruits parlor in Shibuya. My sister and I split a sundae but the boys didn’t want anything.

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It was pretty expensive, like 1400 yen so around 14 USD but so refreshing on a hot day. Plus, the parlor is on the second floor so you can watch people cross the street at Shibuya scramble. 

Then we decided to check out the Tokyu Department Store. We walked there and split up. My sister and I went on every single floor and ended up purchasing rain boots for my sister and a pair of super comfy flats for my mom. We saw those cute backpacks that every child has in Japan and were shocked that they cost around 300 USD for one! They’re so cute!!

It was fun to browse but a lot of the things were out of our price range haha. We saw signage that had directions to a roof garden so we followed it. And the roof garden was small but really green and beautiful! Also on the roof was a little cafe and a plant nursery.

Hmm it was so hot, I wore just a men’s Airism undershirt that I bought from Uniqlo, but I wish I wore some real clothes so this pic of me in the roof garden would be cuter….hehehe.

Okay so I didn’t talk about this in my last post when the experience actually happened but a life-changing moment happened when we were guests of our Nagomi family. Our Japan mom peeled and sliced some Japanese peaches for each of us and told us not to share with her kids if they asked us (LOLOL). And we took our first bites and….OMG. It was the absolute juiciest and sweetest peach we had ever ever EVER tasted. We gobbled it down and were amazed– like we never knew fruit could taste so GOOD. We asked her why it was so delicious and juicy and sweet and she just told us that Japanese peaches taste like that. Each of us got a whole peach sliced up, and then she sent us home with a peach for each of us. T__T SHE IS SO SWEET! Thanks to her, we got to try Japanese fruit! And it is seriously fruit of the gods. Our cousin was like “now I can’t eat fruit back at home ever again” ahhaha.

 

 

So at the grocery store, we wanted to buy more Japanese peaches to add to our collection of peaches sitting in the fridge back in the apartment. So we purchased 4 more, plus an apple LOL. They cost 400 yen each if I remember correctly, so like a little less than 4 USD per peach. When we ate all the peaches later that night, the ones our Japanese mom gave us were a lot better. She probably got us gift fruit, the really expensive kind that are given as gifts in Japan. She is so thoughtful but it must have been really expensive because the gift fruit we saw had incredible prices. We saw a pyramid shaped watermelon for like 300 USD LOL.

Anyways, as a side note, I sent a really long email to my mom that night raving about the peaches and promising I would look up if I could buy some and bring some back for my mom and dad. Then I found out you can’t 😦 but my mom said it was good enough to hear my description lol. Later she told me she thought I was exaggerating until my brother and sister agreed with me that the Japanese peaches were like magic! hahaha

For dinner we decided to just grab some food from the food shops in the basement floor.

Meat skewers. The chicken meatballs were good but the beef was really weirdly soft and squishy and not good….

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Also we got yummy donuts from the bakery in the basement floor of the Tokyu Department store. Light and fluffy and not too sweet and no greasiness!

That was the end of our day! It was pretty chill but I liked just exploring the area.

Here’s the vlog:

Until next time,

C.


Places:

Gyukatsumotomura

Address: Japan, 〒150-0002 Tokyo, 渋谷区Shibuya, 3−18−10 大野ビル2号館

Shibuya Nishimura Fruits Parlor Dogenzaka

Address: 22-2 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan

Tokyu Department Store Shibuya

Address: 2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan

Japan Day 14: Tokyo Sky Tree with Our Nagomi Family

I am so behind on writing these blog posts! The vlogs have been on YouTube for weeks now and I have since traveled to more places that I need to catch up on, so I will do my best to crank out the rest of my posts on Japan. I can’t believe it has been over a year since our adventures in Tokyo!

On Day 14, we had planned to spend the whole day with the family we met through Nagomi Visit. We decided to check out Tokyo Sky Tree since none of us have gone there yet. We woke up early and had plans to meet at the train station connected to Tokyo Sky Tree, Oshiage Station.

And…it was our first time taking the wrong train. Hahah we were moving in the opposite direction. Oopsies. We corrected our mistake, though, and got on the right train and since I had given us extra time when planning, we were right on time.

It was really great to see our new friends again! We talked and walked through the shops and the kids showed us one of their favorite stores, Candy Show Time.

We got to try some of the fresh candy and watch them make it by hand!

It was both entertaining and delicious.

So cute!!!

There was a snack shop in Tokyo Sky Tree that had so many different kinds of candies and chips. My brother and I were so curious about everything that we would ask the oldest daughter what everything was. She is sooo smart, she translated everything for us. At one point though, I pointed to a package and told Sara that I loved pumpkin. She looked at me like I was crazy and said “That’s melon, not pumpkin.” Omg we all laughed so hard hahah. From that shop, our Japanese mom bought PEZ candy dispensers for the two younger kids and a Popin Cookin set for us to all do together at our house. My siblings and I got a bunch of the candy bentos you see in the video!

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Then we checked out the food court to buy some potato balls and deep fried shumai and then hopped on the train.

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It was really nice to get on the train and know for sure we were going the right way and when our stop was!

We ate ramen at a restaurant called Korakuen. There are a lot of Korakuen ramen shops all over Japan.

My sister’s ramen on the left, mine on the right. The oldest girl recommended me to get the ramen I ended up ordering. I think it was the sesame flavored ramen because I remember the sesame flavor was really strong!

We enjoyed our food a lot!! The two youngest kids got kids meals which come with a coin to get a toy from the gachapon machine in the restaurant haha. I wanted one too LOLOL.

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Our Japanese mom paid for our meals which was so sweet of her T_T

Oh I don’t remember if we did this before or after eating lunch but we walked to this Japanese supermarket and there was a 100 yen shop inside where I bought my Doraemon lanyard and some face masks. My brother and cousin bought some snorkels and swimming goggles haha…

Then we went back to their house where we did the candy sushi Popin Cookin set!

Since the instructions were all in Japanese, the oldest daughter read them and then directed us in English! It was so easy with her help!

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The sushi came out really cute too. Don’t they look just like the real thing?! Hard to believe these started out as just powder and water haha.

Then the kids brought their toys out to play with us! We had a blast and may have made a huge mess hahaha…

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The middle children lol

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Pokemon hehehe

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I LOVE THIS GIRL omg she is the sweetest and most gentle and so smart and I miss her like crazy!!!

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Man I still can’t believe my brother dyed his hair purple lol

 

tryna act kawaii haha

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:)))

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So many smiles!!

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Ahahha the littlest boy took these pics on his mom’s camera!

 

We had a delicious dinner of homemade yakisoba, onigiri, chicken wings, and corn. Everything was super tasty!

For dessert we had watermelon. Our Japan family explained to us that when they go on picnics, they blindfold the kids and take turns to whack the watermelon open with a stick??? Like a pinata! hahaha so they did a little demonstration for us. Watch the vlog cause that part is pretty funny!

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We also had a slice of sweet potato and apple pie that I bought at Tokyo Sky Tree cause it smelled so good!! And when we ate it, it tasted just as delicious. Japanese sweets are definitely not as sugary as American sweets. My cousin doesn’t like sweets too much but he really liked the pie. I have a sweet tooth, but the sweet potato and apple in the pie were super sweet and didn’t need any added sweetness that pie fillings usually have. Extremely tasty in a different way 🙂

After dinner we all just talked and played and laughed until we had to leave for the last train…The littlest boy kept asking us something in Japanese and we kept telling him yes and smiling and nodding until his mom told us that he was asking us if we were sleeping over T_T  She told him we had to go…and we all piled into the car and went to the train station.

We said our goodbyes and thank yous and hugged and shook hands and held back our tears. Our new friends were now our family members…and it was so hard to say goodbye to them!!! We had the best time together and experienced their culture in such a unique way.

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I am seriously so glad we went through with the Nagomi Visit and am sooo thankful for that website for bringing us together. Saying farewell was hard, and I still miss them a lot, but it’s not so bad because I email them once a week, and we send each other photos, and exchange gifts through the mail.

Here is the vlog for this day:

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Until next time,

C.


Places:

Tokyo Sky Tree

Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan

Candy Show Time

Address: TOKYO Solamachi, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan

Korakuen Ramen

2-16-6 Dogenzaka, Shibuya 150-0043, Tokyo Prefecture (not the same one we went to but it’s a chain so same thing)

 

 

 

 

Japan Day 10: Shopping in Odaiba

So we’d already been to Odaiba before, when we went to Joypolis on Day 8. While we were walking to the amusement park, we passed a few malls. So we decided to come back and get our shopping on in Aqua City and Diver City, two water-themed named malls on the man-made island of Odaiba.

I texted my mom to tell her I missed her and my dad and my rabbit, Killua. So she sent me a few photos of Killua.

It made me laugh and miss my mom and bunny even more :’)

We headed off to Tokyo Teleport using the JR Line! Each day I appreciated the convenience of the Japanese trains. I loved simply scanning my Pasmo card and hopping on trains that would take me to my destination with less than 10 minutes of walking. Train stations have English signage everywhere and every staff member we asked for directions spoke English well so it’s not intimidating at all. Although the stations are huge and crowded and we often got lost, we were always able to find our way around.

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I tried to take a photo of my sister in front of the train. It was a fail HAHA

Once we got off the station, we walked towards Diver City. The first thing we saw in the mall was a Starbucks. My sister wanted to try the seasonal “Peach in Peach” flavor frappuccino.

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She tried to order the venti size but they told us that it only comes in size tall haha.

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Her shirt is so funny. I think she bought it in Harajuku.

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Lol this pic is blurry but my brother looks kind of scary…

We walked towards this cute Sanrio store where everything was Hello Kitty! I bought myself some custard filled cakes. There were three flavors of custard: vanilla, chocolate, and green tea. They were fresh and warm…

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…and super cute and delicious!

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My sister and I in H&M.

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I bought a pair of heels here that were a dusty rose color for only 10,000 yen, a baseball cap for 50 yen, a scarf, a pair of tights, and two headbands. My sister bought a pair of casual lace up shoes and some athletic socks. He and my cousin split from us girls when they figured that they weren’t gonna buy anything from the store, but then my brother texted me and said that there were One Piece statues on display in the mall and to come see and also take pics of him for him hahaha. (His phone camera died from Tokyo Disney Sea during the Minnie’s Tropical Splash show).

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ASL 🙂

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err sorry didn’t save this pic without the Snapchat caption lol

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Luffy!

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Chopper!

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Lol can you spot my brother in this pic?

So as to not have a super pic heavy post…

So cool! A lot of people were taking photos with the characters.

It was so exciting to just show up at a mall and see our favorite characters in front of us, life size.

There was also a pop-up shop with One Piece merchandise, my brother got a shirt for 30,000 yen. If I remember correctly it’s a Fire Fist Ace shirt.

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Really cute One Piece socks that I regret not buying ;_;

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LOL my eyes are Beli, just call me Nami-swaaaaaaan!

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So we all went to the gourmet food court and decided to eat ramen.

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This ramen was pretty tasty! Look at that egg!

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The texture of the yolk was soooo creamy and jelly-like.

Waiting for my brother and cousin to try on pants at H&M. He and my brother didn’t fit anything…so they didn’t buy anything though. haha

We checked out a bunch of souvenir shops, a Samantha Vega shop, a grocery store…

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We ran into a Hello Kitty cafe and I had to get something!

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So cuteeee!

I wanted to go to Sanrio Puroland but this is an adequate substitute I suppose! haha

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I bought this drink just for the photo op and so I must make the most of it!!

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Okay last one I swear! hehe

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I don’t know anything about Naruto but I had to take a pic with him and Sasuke. They’re brothers right? I asked my brother that and he just laughed lolol

Haha so cute. He’s actually read Naruto unlike my sister and me.

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Here’s my brother with his real family: Naruto, his wife, and their baby Burrito hahahah

 

This huge Gundam was outside of Diver City omg.

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To see how big it was watch the vlog!!

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We stopped by Baratie Restaurant to get dessert. The staff remembered us, probably because of my brother’s crazy hair haha.

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Merry!

Siblings with Merry.

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I got a Bon Clay cake!!! IT IS SO CUTE I CAN’T STAND IT!!! AHHHHHH

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The tears T_T Not only was it adorable, it was also delicious!

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It was almost too pretty to eat…IMG_5218.JPG

My sister didn’t choose to get anything but she took photos with my dessert and then Instagrammed it LOL.

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My brother got a Devil Fruit dessert. My cousin opted out, like my sister did..

Next, we went to Aqua City Mall.

So Aqua City had these lockers that you put 200 yen into (2 USD) and you can store stuff in there until a specific time (I think 11pm). I didn’t know how to use it and lost my money cause I didn’t take the key out of the locker at the right time!!!! I was SO sad and my sister kept telling me not to think about it. But I was still sad so to stop myself from being sad, I went to the information desk and asked them to help me and the woman there was spoke English and she was so kind and helpful and she helped me use the locker so I didn’t lose my 200 yen!!!! Yay!!!! It was great not having to carry heavy shopping bags around all day at Aqua City.

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The mall had a SIM card vending machine. My cousin was essentially without a phone because he didn’t have T-Mobile like the rest of us. T-Mobile has free international service and data. I told him about this vending machine but he didn’t seem interested.

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There was a Shounen Jump pop-up shop that had some beautiful color manga displays!

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My sister…

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Since it was Shounen Jump that means…HUNTER x HUNTER! Super exciting because Hunter x Hunter is my second favorite anime of all time, after One Piece, and this was the first place that I saw selling HxH merch! I do a random-chance picking of HxH keychains. Watch the vlog to see which character I get! I also bought some clothes that have some of the significant One Piece scenes on them. My brother got a DBZ trashcan and a DBZ backpack haha.

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A devil fruit!!

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I wonder what power it will give me if I eat it!! I would totally take the risk cause nothing is as dumb as the Jacket-Jacket fruit. Or the Flag-Flag fruit HAHAH

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The mall is like a cruise ship! So cool right? Appropriate for me to be wearing my Sperry Topsiders, eh?

We went to eat dinner in the mall’s food court because my brother wanted to try Burger King. I had mentioned in an earlier post that my brother had seen an ad for some special new kind of pie they were offering. So he tried the infamous Samurai Burger and got the pies. His reaction is pretty funny (see vlog). My cousin got Burger King too.

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I got chicken curry and my sister got a Hamburg steak with fries and rice.

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I think hers was the best haha.

We also got ice cream!

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Hokkaido Melon flavor–subtly sweet and just like the real thing.

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I love Japanese desserts.

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It was time for us to head back to Shibuya! We walked back to Tokyo Teleport Station and went home.

Watch our adventures in Odaiba in our vlog:

 

Until next time,

C.

P.S. The next blog and vlog will be about the One Piece Theme Park in Tokyo Tower! If you’re a One Piece fan you will see that that place is pure HEAVEN!


Places:

AQUA CiTY ODAIBA

Address: Japan, 〒135-0091 Tokyo, Minato, 台場1丁目7番1号

Phone:+81 3-3599-4700

Diver City Tokyo Plaza
Address: Japan, 〒135-0064 Tokyo, 江東区Aomi, 1−1−10

Baratie Restaurant

Address 台場2-4-8 フジテレビ本社屋 7F Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Located In Fuji Television

Phone +81 3-5500-5843

Website http://op-bt.com/

 

 

Tokyo Disney Sea

OMG TOKYO DISNEY SEA!!! Words cannot describe how excited we were to visit the park! At the end of the day my brother said something like, “Good thing we went to Tokyo Disneyland first because Disney Sea was way too cool.”

AND IT WAS! Because Tokyo Disney Sea is more geared towards adults. Also I was excited because I really wanted to buy a Shellie May bear. Duffy and Shellie May are bears that Mickey and Minnie made for each other and only like 2 Disney parks in the world sell them, Disney California Adventure (Duffy only) and Tokyo Disney Sea (both Duffy and Shellie May). EVERYONE had a Duffy and/or Shellie May and I just had to get my hands on one too.

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We woke up like thissss.

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You might wonder why anyone would want to drink something named Pocari Sweat. The answer is that it’s delicious. And hydrating, which is a must during summer in Japan!

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Selfie with my good friend Pocari.

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Our last full day with black hair. (Wha?? This is called foreshadowing.)IMG_2934IMG_2935

Love my sister.

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The view of the apartment outside the balcony thing. Right when we opened the door, we could feel the sweltering heat gloom over us. Heat and humidity and sticky sweat that lasts the entire day, and doesn’t get much better at night. No cool California night breezes here in Japan.

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Our train schedule to get there. IMG_2973

On the train to Maihama Station!

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Unflattering pics of my sweating brother and cousin, taken from below because I had a seat on the train. But at least I captured the cute Mickey train handles LOL.

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So cute that I gave up my own seat to take a selfie with! LOL. I’m holding a special train ticket in my hand.

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So once you get off the regular train at Maihama Station, to get to Tokyo Disney Sea you have to take the Disney train.

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I can’t remember how much it costs. 490 yen or something like that. You buy it from a machine (an attendant can help you. They all speak English well) and then take a short 5 minute ride straight to the gates of Tokyo Disney Sea.

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A volcano that erupts and blows fire?! and it’s a RIDE?? It’s called Journey to the Center of the Earth. There’s a clip of it in the vlog. It was a cool and scary ride haha!

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Our FastPasses for the ride. Using our printed out tickets, we folded the paper up into eights and scanned them in the FastPass machines.

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I have no idea what this picture is of.

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My 2700 yen Shellie May!! I love it. It has a clip on it so I clipped it to my cream coloured Kate Spade purse. Matches perfectly.

The story of Duffy and Shellie May goes something like this: Mickey’s going off to war or study abroad or something and Minnie doesn’t want him to forget her so she sews him a teddy bear and names it Duffy. Mickey returns the favor by making her a bear too and they name it Shellie May. Anyway super cute right? Well even though Duffy is sold in Disney CA Adventure, almost no one knows who he is. And no one buys his merchandise.

But it’s a whole new ball game in Japan. EVERYONE LOVES DUFFY AND SHELLIE MAY. There’s even a limit on how many Duffys and Shellie Mays you can purchase at one time in Tokyo Disney Sea. Literally every girl there was clutching a bear or had a coin purse strapped to her body in the shape of a bear’s face. You just want one too! I wish I bought a bigger one, but the bigger one has no clip and also costs 4800 yen haha.

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So if you watched the video from the Tokyo Disneyland vlog, you know that my sister and I bought these hooded capes to help shade us from the sun. It was funny because when we first got to the Tokyo Disney Resort on Day 2, my brother pointed out people wearing them and was like “look, those people think they’re superheroes.” and then just a few hours of baking in the sun, my sister and I realized how smart they were for wearing them!! So we got one for ourselves, Elsa for me and Anna for my sister haha.

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I bought this drink without knowing what it was. It’s mugicha, or barley tea. It tastes like grains, basically.

IMG_2952IMG_2948This is the “American Waterfront.”IMG_2949Tokyo Disney Sea is literally right on the beach. There’s a constant breeze, which was incredibly welcome because it was so hot. It felt cooler in Tokyo Disney Sea than in Tokyo Disneyland.

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My brother and cousin got Frozen Kirin Drafts. Beer with frozen foam on top. (I keep typing “beer” as “bear” ugh).

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Sister’s hair is wet because we just went on the ride Aquatopia. No video footage of that because it was lost but it’s a really fun ride!

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My cousin got a snack.

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My sister took this pic of the Japanese coins. We didn’t know how to use them until we were already in Japan but we learned pretty fast haha.

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Lunch! Pizza of course. My brother is in love with pizza.

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Seafood and rice.

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When in Japan…must pose with the peace sign.

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I think this photo was taken when we were on the Raging Spirits ride!

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Insanely cute Mickey and Minnie Mouse couple phone cases that we didn’t buy haha

This photo was taken while we were waiting for King Triton’s Concert. It was a long wiat but totally worth it. We’d call that a must-see show!

And then we went home. Omg. We were exhausted but pleased with having experienced a crazy fun-filled day. We kept telling each other that we were going to go back to Tokyo Disney Sea before we flew back to California (this promise was kept) because there was still so much left to see and do. And we were mind-blown with how amazing every aspect of Disney Sea was! When you combine Japanese hospitality with Disney customer service, you get the best experience you’ll ever get.

 And below is our vlog for Tokyo Disney Sea! Watch us eat special flavored popcorn, shop for cute unique Disney merchandise, eat delicious themed food, and enjoy the cool shows and attractions that are nothing like we have at home…..and the best part is you can watch it all in HD! Make sure you select the 1080p resolution for best viewing.

Until next time,

C

P.S. The next post will be about Day 4 in Japan–When we ALL undergo hair makeovers (cut and bleach and color) at NALU salon in Omotesando!!!


 

Tokyo Disney Sea

Address: 1-13 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture 279-0031, Japan
Phone:+81 570-008-632

 

 

Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo Disneyland was SO much fun! My sister and I are huge Disney fans, and we were stoked to experience a park that’s bigger and (supposedly) better than its Californian counterpart. Can you believe that Disneyland in Anaheim, California is only 55 acres, and Tokyo Disneyland is 126 acres?! wtf we were basically in heaven because Tokyo Disneyland was so spacious, no need to worry about tripping over baby strollers LOLOL.

But first…we had to figure out how to get there from Shibuya.

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Selfie with my sister!

So, to find out how to get to Tokyo Disneyland, I opened up my web browser on my smartphone, went to Google Maps, and clicked on the public transportation icon. Then I typed in “Shibuya Station” for the departure location and typed “Tokyo Disneyland” for the end destination. It pulled up a train schedule and we tried to follow it…

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Warning- this blog post will be image (specifically selfie) heavy!! haha

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We got our Pasmo cards, which we used instead of buying specific train tickets for each train ride. That’s my sister’s hand holding her card haha.

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Here’s my brother, sister, and me at Shibuya station waiting for our train. We bought breakfast from 7 Eleven on our walk from our apartment. I’m eating a chicken skewer and my sister has a spam musubi I think haha.

 

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We had to stop at Shinkiba Station and change trains to get to Maihama Station, which is the station that is closest to the Tokyo Disney Resort.

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The trains are nice and clean.

Lol so since it was SO hot in Japan, and my brother’s hair was super long (he’d been growing it out for 6 months. Not a single trim!!), I tied it up for him while we were on the train. So handsome right? Actually he kind of looks like Nobunaga from Hunter x Hunter in the last pic lolol.

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Twins right? LOL.

We made it to the resort!! This is what you see when you get off at Maihama Station.

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Pro tip: don’t wear sandals to Tokyo Disneyland, no matter how comfy they are. Don’t be influenced by the thousands of Japanese girls and women wearing heels in the park. YOU WILL THANK ME!!!

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Our tickets!!

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Omg so excited to go in and see everything!

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One more hehe.

IMG_2853The first ride of the day was Splash Mountain! You might think that it’d be the same thing as Splash Mountain in Disneyland, but it really isn’t. We waited in line for 30 minutes. I bumped into a little Japanese boy and he bowed slightly and apologized to me. So polite, especially because it was my fault!!!IMG_2855

The first difference: the characters speak and sing in Japanese. It’s a no-brainer haha but still really cute! It’s also HUGE and the drop seems scarier and steeper, and the view is so breathtakingly gorgeous. Think I’m exaggerating? Watch the vlog (at the end of the post) and you’ll see for yourself.

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Can you even find me in this pic?? lolol

Did a bit of exploring the shops…

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I really wanted this Mickey hat. The fuzzy ears are so cute but it cost 6400 yen so I passed T_T Looking back I wish I got it HAHA

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My brother pointed to this painting and told me , “that’s you.” LOL MEAN

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My cousin and my brother had fun trying on the hats. They said they liked them enough to buy them, but it was just too hot and humid to wear such warm hats haha.

 

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Sorry don’t know why there’s a Snapchat text line but no text haha. These things were creepy-cute but they also cost 3400 yen so another pass.

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Sibling photo where we are all looking in different directions.

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OMG THESE PHONE CHARMS WERE SO CUTE!!! They almost made me want a boyfriend so I could buy them!! Japan you are amazing!! I considered buying them and keeping them for eventually when I DO have a boyfriend but I decided against it because I’d probably lose them and/or cause my mom to believe that I have a secret boyfriend.

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My sister saw these cute food model keychains. I got one in the curry rice and gave it to my friend Chris since we always ate at Coco Ichibanya when we used to work together :’)

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And my sister got my mom this dustplug for her iPhone! It’s so cute I can’t handle it omg

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All that shopping made us hungry.

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Lunchtime! The prices for food are less extortion-like than in Disneyland in California (hello $9 corn dogs that I always end up buying…). But the portion sizes are smaller, which was especially noticeable in the size of the drinks. The (one size only) cups are like the same size as children’s meal sized cups in America haha.

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My Mickey pizza. So cute. So yummy.

After lunch, my cousin spotted some girls eating shaved ice. We were tired and hot and shaved ice sounded amazing so we searched and found the place selling them!

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Thanks bro

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We also bought Scrump (character from Lio & Stitch) dumplings that were filled with different flavors of custard.

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IMG_4767.JPGSO GOOD

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My sister is so cute

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But not as cute as the Scrump dumplings.

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Berry shaved ice! Shared this with my sister.

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Mango shaved ice that my brother got. I forgot which one my cousin got but he accidentally ordered it with the souvenir cup, which is this plastic Stitch cup. He let me have it too!! So nice of him.

I have no idea why I have so many photos of my brother in this car. But it’s hilarious.

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This is Japan’s version of the Sistine Chapel. Okay no but like basically it is because look how beautiful! This was the ceiling of the Monsters Inc. waiting area for the ride. HUGE. The Monsters Inc. ride in Disneyland in California is a joke….This ride is really fun.

You use flashlights to find monsters so it’s like a game!

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My favorite ride!! I love It’s A Small World so much and it’s bigger and better than its Californian counterpart. The waiting area inside is so beautiful.

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Our dinner: shrimp patties on steamed buns in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s gloves. Adorable and delicious haha.

Tokyo Disneyland’s Electrical Parade. Really beautiful. Not long after this, Disneyland California came out with the Light the Night parade. Cool, but nowhere close to as awesome as Tokyo’s!

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In line for Stitch’s Encounter! It’s similar to Turtle Talk with Crush in Disney California Adventure where you can interact with the character and ask him questions and he will respond. (Once I asked him “Where’s Mrs. Crush” and it was the highlight of my summer when he answered!! ) Um but yeah obviously Stitch spoke all in Japanese but we still understood what was going on and most of his jokes since he speaks slowly and clearly and all in his cute lil voice! Super fun, we all really enjoyed this attraction a lot!

 

How to get home from the park. The trains stop running at midnight and I made sure we had enough of a time window so that if we missed a train or two we wouldn’t be stranded. Most trains have a new one coming every 3 or 4 minutes. God, if I lived in Japan I’d never drive!!!

Story time: on the way home I fell asleep on the train and my brother woke me up because apparently the Japanese guy next to me who was with his friends was creeping on me. Ugh! I guess I shouldn’t have left my guard down but I was really so sleepy, and my brother and my cousin were sitting in seats right across the train from my sister and I.

Story time #2: we took the wrong exit out of Shibuya station and got lost. I was using the navigation application on the Maps app on my iPhone (MISTAKE DO NOT USE IT DOESN’T WORK IN JAPAN. You should just look at the blue dot to see where you are in relation to your surroundings and walk towards your desired endpoint.) Anyways it was a struggle to get back home. We were walking for like ever and it was dark and unfamiliar. Even though it seemed safe because we saw lone girls walking solo along the same streets as us, I was scared because it was an unfamiliar place in a strange country and my phone had like 10% battery left. I said we should just take a taxi back to the apartment but my brother was vehemently against it because he said it’d be too expensive. We ended up getting to our apartment from the other side, where we’d never gone before because we’d always left our apartment towards the side where the train station was.

It was a long day filled with a lot of new experiences, the later ones were not so pleasant. But it was still a really fun day and I kept saying, “Disneyland in California is ruined for me now.” hahaha

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We had so many good times in this park ^^ We asked two random girls to take a photo for us in front of the castle and they took some really good ones. I was so happy we asked them LOL

Here’s our vlog from the day:

Hope you enjoyed my blog post and vlog! Leave your comments and feedback please!

Until next time,

C

P.S. My next post will be about Tokyo Disney Sea!!


Tokyo Disneyland
Address: 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture 279-0031, Japan
Phone:+81 45-330-5211