Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Japan Trip - Part 2

Before proceeding to post Day 2 events, here is some good-to-know info for our friends who are going to Japan.

  • Most Japanese can't speak English well. My experience is that they may understand what I'm asking but they can't reply in English. So, it's good to learn some basic Japanese to get around. Best download some from Internet like this one japanese.about.com

  • To get around better, write down the Japanese names of the places so that when you ask for direction, it's easier. It worked many times for us.

  • Between cities, there's a railway system (called JR), which also overlaps with the underground subway system within the City. Unlike Singapore MRT stations, in some stations, if you exit from West Exit, you may not be able to go to Exit East without re-entering (hence paying again) the station.

  • It's still very cold in Hokkaido. Snowing while we were there in March. For people who live in tropical countries like Singapore, we assume Winter in Hokkaido is till early May. By the way, the start of the Cherry Blossom is the 'official' start of spring. Still, it can be chilling.

  • Oh yes, about Cherry Blossoms, you need to look for some good trees. We only caught the beginning, not the full bloom. The best way to enjoy it is not only to take pictures, but also to have a small mat/newspaper to sit down, drink coffee & enjoy the sun/sight. Very interesting to see people of all kinds having picnics.

  • Money. When the cashier took money from me, they normally will repeat the amount they receive (e.g. 1,000 Yen) so as to avoid misunderstanding with customers. Of course, I can't understand Japanese. But it's good to know that they really try to avoid getting more $$ from us.

  • When taking a domestic flight, the luggage tags given during check-in is very important. When you collect your luggage after landing, you need to produce the luggage tags before customs allow you to take them out of the airport.

  • Prepare for long queues for the theme parks. If available, go for the single rider queues. Much much faster!

The day starts with a great view on the 54th floor during breakfast time.

Osaka Airport in the background, built on a man-made island and linked to main Honshu Island by a bridge.

Then, a short visit to Osaka Castle. When SG was here in 1995, it was not open to public. Now, it is.

Next is Universal Studio!

Thanx to a good tip from our CG's friend Alex - we took the Single Riders queue for some rides.

For the new Spiderman ride, instead of waiting 100 min, we took 10 min! That gives some time to catch the parade at 11:30am!

Hmm, when is Hello Kitty part of Universal Studio??

Who move SG's university here??

The days ends with a tour to a covered shopping street in Osaka city, Shinsaibashi 心斎橋筋.

See more photos on Soo Guan's Flickr page