Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy 50th Merdeka!!

From Japan


me with lots of Japan snacks


Happy Merdeka Everybody!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Never sleep in a Tokyo TAXI!!

In fact, never sleep in any metropolitan taxi.

Let me tell you the infamous public transport in Tokyo, the Tokyo subways.

Tokyo city has probably THE MOST extensive, complicated, mind boggling underground subway network I have ever seen, surpassing the complexity of that of London, Paris and Hong Kong.

What do I mean? Well, when I first arrived in Tokyo, taking the subways was the first option I go for every time I hit a big city, that includes the few cities I mentioned above.

I walked up to the ticket machine to make my purchase, in order to do that, I have to know where I wanted to go and which line I wanted to take. Three map showed on top of the row of ticketing machines.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Tokyo Metro.

IMG_2408


And next to it, was the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line (which I found out later)

IMG_2410


]And to its left, was the KEIO line (which I found out later too)

IMG_2409


Now, combining SOME (not all) of the government lines and private lines, this is the concluding line of Tokyo Metro.

IMG_2411


I mean WTF?!!!!!

I stood there in awe and probably scared a few locals with my dumbstruck expression, and continued to spend another half an hour, if not more, or so figuring how to reach my destination. Cause you see, too add salt to water, there is no ENGLISH on these boards!! How the bloody hell am I going to know what Roppongi looks like in Kanji?! (which later I found out is 六本木), and HOW, oh god tell me HOW, the bloody hell am I going to know WHERE THE HELL AM I??!!

There’re so many lines in Tokyo I’m sure you do not need a car to get around town or anywhere out of town but just look at these!! The monstrosity of this network!!

IMG_2797
No one on land, everyone has gone underground.


The roads are so confusing, even the taxis here need satellite GPS navigation maps installed in their cars.

IMG_2414


Now yesterday, I wanted to go to this very cool retarded place (which I soon found out) located somewhere off Tokyo city, according to a local, it is almost an hour from where I am.

So I went online and check. Okay fine, the place I went to was Hello Kitty Land. Fine, go, laugh! But who could resist, it’s the only place in the world where mouthless cat is a hero to kids everywhere, and they freakin build a theme park out of it!!

According to the net, I have to take a ride to Shinjuku, the major and most developed district of Tokyo and transfer to Keio line, take the train that heads towards Hashimoto and get off Keio Tama Center, Puroland is just 5 minutes from the station.

Easy peasy.

Even 5 year old kids can do this.

I mean, 5 year old kids who can read Japanese can do this.

If you think Tokyo Metro is confusing, take a look at the overall subway network of Tokyo!

IMG_3038


o.O;;

See the black circle in the centre, that’s Tokyo Metro, yes, ONLY Tokyo Metro!!

I am supposed to get out of that circle and head west. In hell I know which stop in the west!! The English site never shows those stop names in Kanji!

I spend sometime analyzing the page and find out I am here.

IMG_3038_1
The red circle


And I need get to here.

IMG_3038_2
Shinjuku is in the blue circle


Okay fine, I know where I am and I know where I am heading. Now, which line am I suppose to take?

IMG_3038_3
Red to Blue


I continue to analyze the page for a while, before…

Walking out of the building and call for a cab.

IMG_3025
For illustration purpose only


Give me a break!! I can’t read Jap!!

Anyway, so I decide to take a cab. I mean, it’s rather near right? Right??

Taxi system in Tokyo is like this. The moment you put you delicate butt onto the back seat, 660 yen pops up on the meter bar, that’s RM20. And that will last for any 2 kilometres this fancy Nissan can bring you. Any additional 274 metres, it’s an additional 80 yen.

I am desperate. Shut up.

I hail down a taxi and hop onto it.

IMG_2413


Taxis here are so cool, you don’t even need to open or close the door, it’s all manually controlled by the driver.

Keeping in mind, Roppongi to Shinjuku looks near to me, on the map. So in the back of my mind, it is reasonable to save myself that kind of trouble to squeeze myself among the busy crowd underground when I can be all comfortable on land.

I mention Shinjuku to the taxi driver to which he responded a ‘Hai’ (means Yes) and in 5 minutes, I doze off.

Comfort, my friends,

Has a price.


What seems like an 8 minute nap (I’m sure it is just 8 minutes). I wake up to see this!

IMG_2789


HOLY JESUS MARY!!!

I want to ask the driver to stop but realize we are in the middle of a high way (or looks like some roads with no sidewalks) and it is impossible to ask him to break the law and pull over.

Besides, how do you say stop in Japanese!!!

As these queries cross my mind, for a spilt second, yes… a spilt of a second, as in half a second!!

The meter just ‘magically’ goes up.

IMG_2794


And up.

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If only you are here to see my face, cold sweat popping out and no longer in comfort I am. In fact, it is the total opposite, I am sitting on the edge of my seat clenching my fists, and purse.

The taxi finally stops in front of the Shinjuku terminal where a large KEIO sign shows.

Keio Line, Tokyo

The meter?

3450 yen.

3450!!!! That’s a whooping RM120!!

RM120!!!!! For a 10 minute drive!


Next time I’m cycling.

IMG_2790


Anyone lend me a bike?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nicole eats GOLD!!!!

Everything in Japan is insanely expensive. Just looking at price tags makes up most of my activities in Japan. Yes, price tags exploring if part of tradition and culture when visiting this country. It's a whole new tourist attraction on its own!

Every where, you see lots of zeroes. If you don’t know the currency exchange rate, RM30 is almost equivalent to 1000 yen, that is almost 10 US dollars.

And it is probably the only country in the entire world that has such small figures in their currency AND it does not mean a good thing.

Take Malaysia for example, if Singaporeans come to Malaysia, they spend like crazy, because 1 Sing Dollar is more than 2 Ringgits. They can spend twice that amount in Malaysia than when in Singapore.

Take Thailand for example, the Americans go to Thailand and spend like kings. USD10 = 350 baht. You can savour 7 good meals with that money.

The British goes to Indonesia, he will spend like an Emperor. Bring 50 quid and you are almost a millionaire! (53 GBP = 1,002,844 IDR)

But not in Japan. Uh huh.

Dining in Japan is like eating gold.

gold sashimi martini


Literally.

Yes!! Those are Gold you’re looking at.

THEY FREAKIN SPRINKLED REAL GOLD ON MY FOOD!!

REAL GOLD!!!


gold martini ikura and mackerel


OMG... I know about splurging. BUT THIS?!!!!!

COME ON! This is GOLD!!!!! 18 K 24 K PURE GOLD!!!!!

INTO MY MOUTH. MY STOMACH!! And eventually out into the TOILET!!!

HOHOHO. If Japan is not the country to splurge, I don’t know where is! I’m eating and dumping gold here!

Thin layers of beautiful gold sprinkled on this wonderfully aligned dish.

It is an exquisite dish serves in a Martini glass that cost 900 yen. Almost to RM30, for a tiny little martini dish!

menu


A combination of Ikura, raw Mackerels, Sea Urchins and some seasonings sauce.

And it is HEAVENLY.

Nothing is cheap in Tokyo, Japan. Any single simple a la carte meal price starts at RM30 (or 1000 yen) and above. And I mean any. Not talking about expensive fine dining, just normal restaurant. If you order drinks and desserts, prepare to whip out at least RM100 for each meal of two at any one time.

I can’t buy you all those food, but what I can do is show u a teaser of what this Food Paradise has to offer.

food display


food display 2


food display 3


food display 4


food display 5


food display 6


food display 7


sake


Food~~~ I see food~~~~


If you are wondering,

No, gold does not have any taste!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Japanese Blogger

Seriously, blogging has never been more difficult.

Japanese Blogger


Blardy hell, everything is in Japanese! The menu is in Japanese, the underground signs are in Japanese, even the panty vending machine is in Japanese!! (don't ask me how I know)

Thanks to my habitual blogging lifestyle, I have grown used to blogger so that I don't need to look at blogspot to understand how to 'create post' or 'save' and 'publish'.

Ahh, Japan!

Finally! I am here!

I used to think travelling across 2 countries on 4 buses over a stretch of 32 hours was crazy.

Now I can conclude that travelling in between 3 countries on 3 different airlines crossing 5 cities (that includes Krabi, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka and Tokyo) in the pass 24 hours definitely tops my chart of insanities.

What's more. I don't remember sleeping more than 12 hours over the pass 5 days!

Hello to all from sleepless Tokyo!

Blogger singing off in Jap.

jap save message


No pun intended.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Still Images of Nature

I love these photos so I'm sharing them here.

I didn't put any Nicolekiss trademark as it would ruin the photos, so if you want to use the photos, please ask kindly. :D

Crawl Above

crawl above


Rainforest

rainforest


Underneath

underneath


Shelters

under shelter


Rocky

rocky


Play Time

play time


Income Source

life


Baby

baby


Warmth

warmth


Sniff

sniff


Peace

peace


Stroll in Nature

stroll in nature


Upward View

Upward view


Spiral

spiral


Flow

flow


Rain

raining


Basic

primitive


Wonders of Nature

wonders of nature


River Bank

river bank


Cruising

cruising


And my favourite of all,

Embrace

embrace


Hallelujah~