Wednesday, January 31, 2007

28th Bazaar subway ads

... inside Tokyo Metro Shinbashi station. (Where you transfer to the Yurikamome line.) I just had to take a picture. (Sorry my trip photos aren't very touristy.) While my Morioka friend and I were doing that, a middle aged businessman-looking gentleman offered to take a picture of both of us. That was very nice of him.

OK... there's something good after all

Just to be fair, the page element editing is a lot better than the old Blogger. (Like, adding link list etc.) But the log on name thing is still annoying me.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The new Blogger sucks!!!!!!!!!

The new Blogger sucks!!!!!!!!!
The new Blogger sucks!!!!!!!!!
The new Blogger sucks!!!!!!!!!
The new Blogger sucks!!!!!!!!!

I do not want to agree to their new user agreement.
So I didn't switch.
It's been OK for a while, but it finally happened!
I could not access my account unless I switch!
They forced me to switch! Bastards!!!!!! Bastards!!!!!! Bastards!!!!!! Bastards!!!!!!

And even after signing up for a Google accout, why is my user name with Hotmail?

And why can't I change it?

I dont' have 3 hours to waste! But at least I put in my effort to find the answer, which doesn't exist!!!!!!!

The switching process was user-unfriendly! I had to keep guessing and juggling old and new user name and passwords! First of all, calling me my hotmail account is confusing. Second, you misslead me to think the notification was sent to my newly created G-mail account! Which of course doesn't exit unless I verify with the link at my hotmail! Third, why can't you simply say, "your user name is your Hotmail account?" Then why the heck do I need a new Google account? Why? Why???? What for? So that you can dump ads on me, right? Right? Right??? You just wasted 3 hours of my time and made me extremely grumpy!!!!!! You suck, Blogger!!!!! If it isn't for the fact that a bunch of friends have linked to my blogs here, I would have switched. GRRRRR...

Oh, and my Japanese links turn into Greek! This is one reason I didn't switch! AAAAAARGH!!!!!! Give me back my old blog!!!!!

28th Hot spring

Dec28th, hot spring theme park with my Morioka friend. "Oedo Onsen Monogatari". ("Big Edo Hot Spring Story".) About 2500 yen admission ($25). Highly recommended! But of course you gotta get all naked in the hot spring...

The park is located near Odaiba, an general entertainment district.

1. First thing after entering the door, you have to take off your shoes. There are free shoe lockers with keys.
2. Line up to get a pass (wrist band). They scan your credit card number here but the actual payment happens at the very end. You'll be assigned a second locker for cloths and other belongings.
3. Pick up your yukata. There are many patterns and sizes to choose from.
4. Get changed. (Naked under the yukata.)
5. Enter the park ground. There are many vendors, services (massage etc), games, and food court. Any money you spend would be in the form of scanning your wrist band pass.
6. Enter the hot spring area after you've had enough of the vendors. Of course you can have more afterwards.
7. Pick up your towel. Take off your yukata and put it into this area's lockers. (Yup, more lockers.) Yay~ you're all naked.
8. Now the real hot spring area. Wash before you soak. Just watch what others are doing. Body wash and shampoo are free.
9. There's an exfoliating body-scrubbing service here. (Costa extra.)
10. Try the different pools. There is also an outdoor section. It was a bit cold in winter but after soaking, it's not too bad even if you're walking outside naked.
11. After you've soak enough, dry off and put the yukata back on. Amenities are quite good. Dryer, comb, lotion, hair spray, tooth brush, Q tips... You can borrow a bag to carry the towel while hanging out some more in the vendor area.
12. Back at cloths locker. Get dressed, return towel and yukata to laundry basket, proceed to check out area.
13. This is where you actually pay. Then you'll be handed fake Edo period coins. (More like a slab of metal.)
14. The fake coins will be collected at the exit that looks like an Edo period check point. No coins, no exit.

So. It's best to go with a friend of the same sex. Don't think I need to explain. Right?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

27th Ikebukuro (3)

Some bazaar ice-cream at the Nymja Town ice-cream section.
Salt ice-cream.
Cow's tongue ice-cream.
Miso ramen ice-cream.
Shark fin ice-cream.
Indian curry ice-cream.
Viper ice-cream.
Pearl ice-cream.
Squid ice-cream.
Octopus ice-cream.
Sea urchin ice-cream.
Crab ice-cream.
Natto ice-cream.
... And a high tech vending maching in the subway station. The items aren't dropped, but a mobile platform stops in front of the row and picks it up with convyer belt action.

Friday, January 26, 2007

27th Ikebukuro (2)

Dinner was at Nyamja Town (by Namco), the only food theme park in Japan. (May even be in the whole world.) You pay 300 yen admission, and then the food inside cost extra. They weren't exactly cheap, but not expensive either. (In short, it adds up.) Oops! Forgot to take a picture of the main entrance!! Argh!!

They have 3 sections. Gyoza, cake, and ice-cream. Plus a special corner featuring Oden. Each section is decorated in a different style.

Gyoza Stadium is nostalgic Showa period Japan. (BTW, the washroom is from the Mononoke Omote, "haunted ground", the game part of the park.)

Cake section is kinda European mix. Or rather, Japanese' vision of Europe. Bright and nice, nothing wrong.

Ice-cream section is modern and futuristic. Kind of cold, but it just might because of the ice-cream.

Dinner was delicious gyozas. They gather famous gyoza stores from all over Japan into one place.
Dessert was of course, cake. Same thing. Famous bakery from afar. By the time we got to the ice-cream part, my stomach had no room left. Too bad... I'd like to try the natto ice-cream! They've got over 300 flavors including bazaar and hard to come by ones!

Some weird desserts in the cake section... Boob puddings! The packaging is... speechless! There were also desserts that look like fried prawn and grilled fish. I wanted the takoyaki-lookalike cream puff I saw 2 years ago, but too bad this time the feature was cake instead of cream puff.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

27th Ikebukuro (1)

Ikebukuro! Yes! The anime and manga fan's haven! But... that day, we decided not to do anything otaku. Instead, everyone (all 5 of us) went to Sunshine City building. Mainly Nyamja Town. It was the day my companion's friends arrived too. Traffic was really bad and their airport bus got stuck for over an hour. (Lesson: the Skyliner train is a better choice. Cheaper too!)
But there was no escape from anime and manga. Ordinary household stores were selling related goods, like these Nana glasses. (And they were proudly advertised as Nana-related too!) Well, I'm not familiar with Nana so I wouldn't know. I've only read the first comic book.
The Japanese Toysr'us seems to have better stuff than ours. Oops... sorry I didn't mean this MacDonald's play set. But just look at how big cooperates are brain-washing young kids. Isn't this like, you're paying for them to brain-wash you? (Same thing applies to buying a shirt with a coke logo on it.)
Hmm... does "craft therapy" qualify as "Engrish"? Hahaha... Oh! I didn't have a chance to photograph the huge "blue ball" at the Big Sight too!
Oh there was this Moe Garden that sells a lot of Studio Ghibli goods. They had this cool 3D zoetrop! Oh well it's only neat to look at. It's too big and I'm too lazy to dusk something like that.
And of course tons of plushes. This huge Totoro is kinda creepy, though. It doesn't look like a Totoro.
There's a Disney Store next to this Moe Garden. And then after that, Sanrio House. They sure know how to keep their competitors in check.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

27th Ginza

Two friends of my companion were visiting Tokyo for the first time between the 27th to the 30th. She wanted to be their tour guide, so we went our separate ways. It was kind of weird that the way she borough it up, sounded like couples breaking up, hahahaha... Like, I'd be happier that way etc. Yes, my budget was low and she said she wanted to take them to expensive crab and beef restaurants etc... oh well, I don't feel like dwelling on that. Thanks for being honest and straight forward. That's all I can say.

Haha... this has turn into my whining about this person. Yikes!! But hey, whining is what blogs are for!!!

Anyway, it turn out fine, because that gave me time to be with my Morioka friend. She bought me a souvenir in Ginza and we had lunch. People get the impression of Ginza being expensive. Not necessary. The lunch set we had were under 1000 yen. As you can see, they were excellent!

BTW, that's where I first noticed... the ladies' room has special sound device that automatically plays water sound to mask the one you're making. But... but... it's so loud! Isn't it like, your own sound is magnified? Hahaha...! (I think the idea is stupid.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

26th Shinjuku, dinner

My Morioka friend who helped us book the hotel was meeting us for dinner in Shinjuku. We were late for half an hour, because my companion wanted to stick to subway instead of JR.

Yes JR is more expensive, I know. But for about 200 - 300 yen, you're keeping someone who gave us great help waiting. The weather didn't help either. Since she showed a lot of confidence about getting around in Japan, I didn't feel like arguing so I just shut up and followed the flow. (I shouldn't have, should I? Sigh...) Later I found out she wasn't as invincible as she seemed...

Anyway, we had dinner at a chain restaurant Goemon. At first glance, it looked like ramen. But it was actually spaghetti cooked in Japanese style. I had natto, raw egg, and some kind of vegi. It was very good! (Although very slimy.) The dinner set included a spaghetti dish, a soup, a drink, and a self-serve salad bar. At around 1700 yen, it was a great deal.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

26th Ueno, Kichijoji

There are a lot of funeral related business around the hotel... Looking at the map reveals many shrines too. Nope, I didn't visit any of them. We were only one train station away from Asakusa, but I didn't even go there... sigh. I wanted to, but my body gave up. My friend went to Asakusa on the 31st night to see the traditional Japanese new years eve, I didn't even have enough energy left for that. Oh well. (But then there were nothing else but crowds.)

It started raining in the evening of the 26th. And it turn into a rain + wind storm the next day, when we went to Kichijoji to see the Rement event. Somehow we got off one station late and were lost. It must have been an express train that skipped stations, because none of us were aware of missing any stops.

The Rement event at Kichijoji Loft was OK. There were gifts with purchase. The price at Akihabara and Nakano is probably cheaper. Nevertheless I bought one set just in case. Yup, just for the gift that isn't sold in stores.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dec 25 Ueno, hotel

There were only 12 days between departure and the notification. (We were on waiting list.) By the time we got the phone call, virtually no hotel was available. Almost all the online booking only show vacancy up to 7 days. We needed 10. No hotel had vacancy for 10 consecutive days. We had to either go for the high end expensive ones (which I can't afford) or sleep on the street.

Luckily my Japanese friend in Morioka offered a helping hand. She made some phone calls and found us a cheaper hotel in Ueno. We got a semi double room. The room size and bed size are between a single and a double. Splitting with my friend, we each pay 3500 yen per night (about $35). Which is a super deal.

Although thankful, we do get what we pay for. The place is small and dingy. But don't take me wrong, I'm not complaining. It worked out allright.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


As I couldn't expect any help, I only took one suit case with me. (And it's not the biggest type.) Ended up filling it up with toys. The gifts for friends and relatives eventually disappeared, so I had some space. And I sure pushed the capacity of this suit case to its limit! Imagine, besides these toys, I had 3 pair of pants, 6 tops, and 5 sets of inners and socks, plus one spare jacket.

I had to buy a small "dojin" suit case in Ikebukuro too. That's the type you see people dragging around to dojin events. It's quite a bit smaller than the carry-on limit. At around $10, it's a good deal. But it was broken at the airport... sob sob sob... (It fell with the handle extended, and one side of the handle broke.) Oh well...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Grey again

So grey... It's the same as that one week of getting stucked inside the house... (the ground is completely frozened.)

Monday, January 15, 2007

I'm back (half dead)

Argh! There's snow on the ground!
Argh! The vampire came that very same night!
Argh! Got carried away and had cold drinks druing the trip!
Argh! Slept 15 hours straight!
Argh! Still haven't finished unpacking after 4 days!
Argh! Ran out of room to put the toys...
Argh! Back to the same old reversed day and night.

Argh! More snow coming... sob sob sob...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Trip: Japan (4)

Last few hours in Japan. Will fly to Hong Kong late afternoon. Should have brought 2 suit cases. Luggage packing was tough. The FMA Japanese blog friends are super nice. Felt like we've known each other for years. Can't wait to see my friens in Hong Kong next!