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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Travel - Happy, Happy Me (Part 1) Japan


When my mother was young, she used to travel in other Asian countries like, Hongkong, Japan, Bangkok, and yes, even in USA.  My two other siblings had travel experiences, too, except me and my oldest brother.  I wasn’t interested initially to travel.  I was even asked by former neighbors to join them in a pilgrimage to Jerusalem many years ago, but I declined.   I had my two old passports expired without even any single travel stamp on its pages. 

One time, when my birth month was nearing,  I told myself that I will not let my new passport go expired without having a single travel stamp on it. So I decided to celebrate my birthday in Singapore together with my mother before that day.  I decided to have 5 days day off from my office work and personally booked our flight schedule.  During our vacation,  we weren’t able to view the whole city because I noticed my mother was having difficulty in keeping up with walking already.  I decided to limit our shopping spree time, so to give my mother more time to rest when necessary.   Though it was just a short travel, I still felt happy and fulfilled because it was a memorable day being with my mother in her last travel, while it was my first travel.  She retired from traveling because of her health condition.          

Travelling is something anyone can dream of, in spite, of the costs involved.  My destiny to travel has turned into a reality at a cost that my Lord allowed me to experience first before I started my first travel to another country.  He knows my sacrifices, struggles, and pains I went through in my life.  At the end, I believe there is a prize for every sacrifice anyone has made. The prize can be received in many ways. To have a chance to travel is an awesome and great prize for me, especially through the courtesy of my own youngest daughter.   My daughter whom I never thought is the one who can make it possible.  She  likes me to enjoy the fruit of her labor and be happy in life.  Having a daughter or son who thinks of her or his parent how to make them happy is very rewarding.  It is also a matter of consolation for any parent who underwent trials in life. 

I was thrilled when my youngest daughter told me that she liked me to see her last July.  But sudden turn of event happened that prevented it from materializing.  I just came back from my country last February this year.  I have never seen her for several years because of the nature of her job.   So she decided to  reschedule my flight this last second week of November.  She took a two-week vacation  to have me on her birthday celebration in Japan.  Remember – just like when I celebrated my birthday, I asked my mother to join me in Singapore.  And this is what makes me – Happy Happy Me again and again!


             
Labyrinth
Before the initial boarding time at the airport, I noticed something that I forgot to take a picture before.   I heard the happy voices of children as they went around  the structurally-designed concaved glasses or I think they were made of plastic.  (Note: Sorry, I forgot to touch it, that’s why).  I became curious and went inside to see what was making them enjoy going around it.  I found out it’s a different kind of labyrinth.


Harmonic Labyrinth
As I stepped into the middle area, I saw this and realized it is really different because it’s a harmonic labyrinth.  As shown above, there is an instruction on how to go circling the urban musical instrument.    

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Out of curiosity, I took a video of how it produces a sound. Listen to the sound of bell as it glows its light at the same time after I stepped on it.

 Boarding Time
Just anybody wanting to board the plane as fast as you can, I was very glad that the flight wasn’t so full pack.  I took the chance of asking a cabin crew to provide me an extra space, so I could lie down because I wasn’t able to take enough sleep the night before.  Luckily, she found an area and I thanked her for the accommodation.  I was able to sleep for several hours during the flight and felt reinvigorated. 

Movie Time
I really like boarding on this plane  because it has a built-in TV screen at the back of each seat. During the 14-hour flight, the enjoyable thing I did was to watch movies.  In reality, I don’t often go to see a movie or watch TV at home.  My usual everyday routine is work-home-work even on weekends.  I always come home late in the evening. But recently, I really have to take a regular Saturday day off,  so I can fulfill my church obligation and other things I have been neglecting to do because of my job schedules.  Oh, my! I have been neglecting doing my greenecraft, crocheting, and knitting projects, cooking, and gardening.
   
Anyway,  this is my GRAND DAY to watch these movies before reaching my final destination.  I enjoy watching  animated cartoon movies.  Remember my Happy, Happy Me (Part 5)? I went to see the movies like, "Lego" and "The Croods" with my grandkids. Here are the three animated movies that I really enjoyed watching:



How to Train Dragon – Part 2
The heroic Viking named Hiccup and his faithful, little dragon,  Toothless,  discovered hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, who turned out to be his lost mother.   They both fought the battle against the evil one  to protect the peace and survival of all the dragons. 


Fire and Rescue
Though he knows that he may never race again because of its damaged gear box, Dusty proved to be not only a world-class champion plane racer, but a true hero when he decided to train with the Aerial Force Fighters at Piston Peak Air Attack Base and saved the lives of many casualties in a forest fire.  


Maleficent
After being betrayed by the man she loves, so he could  become a king, Maleficent turned against his own daughter by putting a terrible curse on her.  The child was left under the care of three small fairies by her own father and grew up to be a lovable one.   That’s why, Maleficent’s heart changed from being vindictive to being a caring fairy godmother to the girl.  But the battle between good and evil continued for the father and Maleficent. 


Going to NARITA AIRPORT
Passengers are not allowed to take pictures inside the airport. I took only this picture as shown above the way going to Narita Airport.  The plane arrived late as per schedule in Japan. My flight was delayed for more than 30 minutes.  Did I not say, I travelled for 4 days before I reach my final destination?  But at least, the most important thing in travelling is arriving safely at your final destination and being safe always during your stay in the country.


Some travel precautionary measures I like to share are the following:
  1. Don’t forget to bring your passport and visa; 
  2. Don’t forget to bring first aid medications for fever, diarrhea, allergy, disposable mask, and your daily vitamins.  Getting sick while travelling is hard and costly.  Protect yourself always from getting viral infections;  
  3. Never bring money more than what is allowed by the custom;
  4. Don’t bring items that are not allowed at the point of entry and custom area, like fresh fruits, liquids, and other banned items;
  5. Don’t lose your baggage and even money or debit /credit card and cell phone  (Note: Speaking of losing something, actually, I lost my long coat in the plane during my last travel before this);
  6. Always be ready to present your proper documents like, passport, visa, and properly filled-up embarkation card at the immigration to avoid hassles;
  7. Corresponding contact numbers of friends, family members, or airline customer support should be listed on your cell phone or notepad, as well as, the travel agency’s information, if you’re are travelling on a package tour;
  8. Lastly, In case the person who is going to pick you up at the airport is late or missing, you should have contingency plan especially, if you are travelling by yourself only.  


Final Destination
Anyway, the moment I saw my youngest daughter and her friend at the airport, I felt happy and relieved.   They both carried my two suitcases and rode on three connecting train stations before we reached the house.  The picture shown above is my final destination.  Japanese people like to bike in going to grocery stores and train station.  From the train station, we took a walk passing by four streets.  Though the weather is cold, I still like walking because it's a good exercise.


We had our late dinner and felt satisfied.  I went to bed late, feeling tired, and woke up early in the morning the following day reinvigorated.  But I went to bed early before dinner time, as my body clock was not fully adjusted yet to the new time.    Sleeping beauty first….ngork, ngork…. Thank God I’m still alive the following day.  


Simple meals
During my daughter’s birthday celebration, I prepared two simple meals only, like egg roll and noodle  soup with mixed shrimp and tofu recipes.  Any celebration need not be always grand.  It is the sense of appreciation by the receiver and the thought of the giver that matter most. Then we pray--- "Bless us, O'Lord ....


Cutest Birthday Cake
Her friend bought an additional fried chicken and a small sponge cake.  She really decorated the cake by making a funny face on top with melted chocolate and sugar. Set up little candles around, made a birthday wish, and then shazam!  It’s the thought that counts which makes it more cuter. 


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Train Ride to Yunessun
The next day, we rode a train and I took a video of the city as the train was passing by the sea area, in parallel with the long highway bridge, their community / residential areas, and the giant ferry’s wheel.   

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Japanese Foods
In one train station, there are Japanese goods being sold in small stores, like foods and souvenir items also.  I took the chance of tasting the Japanese food being offered for taste test while I took a video.  They really taste good.    


HAKONE-YUMOTO Train Station
 After passing by two more train stations, we arrived at the Hakone-Yumoto station, the final train station.

Hot Spring Bath House
We took a bus going to a place where the hot spring bathhouse called Yunessun is located. It was a three-hour long trip by train and bus ride.  The usual route is a narrow and zigzag road because it is a mountainous area.  The driver should be an expert one in driving in this type of road because accident can happen anytime. Before we reached the place, I saw this sign as the bus passed by. Take a look.

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Craft House
I love not only Japanese foods, but also their crafts.  Japanese people are very artistic.  I wish I have a time to go inside the Craft House and take a look at what kind of handicrafts they are doing (^_^)



YUNESSUN
 The building is situated in a mountainous area and the weather is really cold.  It’s no wonder Japanese people like to go to this hot spring bath house throughout the year and enjoy a relaxing dip.
  

YUNESSUN Lobby
People wait for their companions to arrive at the lobby or they also wait for the next  bus to arrive. But take a closer look at what are those hanging on the walls.
  

YUNESSUN Cartoon Characters
Wow! more cartoon characters. Yippee!  Different pictures of them are hanged around the lobby area. They are cute, funny, and adorable ones.  Maybe the owner of the building is also a cartoon lover (-.-) When my children were still young,  I made a letter holder made of wood. (Note: We call it Palo China in our native language.  Others call it simply a crate box). I drew Cookie Monster of Sesame Street on each surface of the box.  I used also the same kind of wood to make a small study table for my children and drew a picture of a Hobby Doll on its side surface.  I like drawing and that’s why I made a simple facial drawing in Pumpkin Hat (Female) and Pumpkin Hat (Male) under my Greenecraft Projects.


After gazing around those pictures, we went to the reception area and checked in to ask for our locker keys.  There are different kinds of pools and bath tubs.  At the entrance , we saw the big pool, while the slide pool is at the back area as shown in the videos below.  There is also a cave pool, but I wasn’t able to take a picture or video because it was dark inside.  

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The Big Pool


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The Slide Pool
Talking of bath tubs, who likes to dip into these different warm bath tubs with corresponding real liquid mixtures?  The name of each bath tub corresponds to what kind of liquid it has in it as shown below:


Yakult Bath Tub
I have never dipped in this kind of bath tub before. I like drinking a bottle of Yakult everyday because it promotes healthy digestion.  While in the office, there is always a woman who delivers a pack of Yakult everyday and I buy 2 packs of Yakult for my  children.  For just one day, this Yakult drink is consumed easily because they love it.  Drinking Yakult is very beneficial to our body, while soaking in this bath tub with this same liquid is really funtastic and I felt like tasting it (-.-) The temperature of the liquid is just right to bring warmth and comfort to your cold body.  There is a limit to the number of people who can soak in this bath tub.   It’s an awesome and funny feeling, though, but we really enjoyed it.  


Wine Bath Tub
This is really the funniest idea I thought about asking my daughter to pose.  It looked like my daughter is really drinking the wine from the bottle while I singly held it up for her. Funny, isn’t (-.-)

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Wine Bath Tub
In this video, the guy was really pouring real wine to all in this bath tub as its name is called.  


Coffee Bath Tub
I like the aroma of coffee.  My mother used to drink coffee every morning and I liked the taste of her coffee with cream.  When I was still in high school, whenever she prepares a coffee for herself and leave it unattended on the table for a while, I always take a sip or put two or three tablespoons of coffee to my rice.  I always do that everyday without her knowledge, until she saw me doing it one time Oops (-.-)  She just asked the reason why I was taking her coffee. I told her it tasted good with my rice, though I had  fried fish and banana on my plate.  She didn’t prohibit me from drinking her coffee, but she rather would like to give me milk rather than coffee.  She bought a Nido powder milk for me afterwards.   I’m no longer a coffee drinker, but a green-tea drinker today.  But I love using the coffee can for my greenecraft projects.  Remember, my coffee can flower pot, coffee can birdhouse, nativity scene in coffee can, coffee can hanging planters, and coffee can with upside-down tomato plant?



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Dr. Fish
This is really a funny experience being swarmed over by many fishes called Dr. Fish. They like to bite your skin and it can tickle you. They like my feet more than the others in the pool. Hmmmm, maybe my skin tastes and smells good (-.-)


The City at Night
Busy city and busy people    Mostly people walk after their train ride.  Japanese people like to take a train in going to their job. They usually park their bikes near a train station and then take the train everyday.  

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Dinner at Gyu-Kaku Restaurant
We had our dinner at Gyu-Kaku Restaurant after our Yunessun escapade.  We had barbecue, pickle relish, rice, and vegetable salad on the table. You have to cook the meat yourself on a small barbecue grill as shown in the picture. I like using chopsticks when eating in a restaurant, as my daughter likes it, too.  Disposable ones are better, but I save them for my greenecraft projects.  I did one project made of these chopsticks as shown in Oriental Showcase D├ęcor. Japanese foods are delicious, delicious, delicious …. hmmmmm (-.-)

To be continued ...

Related Personal Travels:

Happy, Happy Me Travels:
   Introduction - Happy, Happy Me                
      Part Two                                                 
  Part Three                                                              
  Part Four                                                     
  Part Five                                                     
  Part Three – Japan (2016)                         
      Part Four –Japan (2016)


Wonderful One-day Trips:
   Part Two
   Sky Ranch, Tagaytay City

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