Hey guys, im back with my 2nd post for my Japan trip but i really wonder if i should just keep it super short so you guys won't get bored from my crap writing (literally essay diarrhea lol) or i should go on doing things like i do? Let me know, as your feedbacks are very much appreciated so i can improve to entertain you guys better with my random life ramblings ;-)
I woke up early about 8am to get my make up done at the toilet, and have to say i simply LOVE Japan's toilets because in every single one you walk into, they have specific make up section with large mirror & proper lighting to do/ touch up your make up. Also some comes with plug point in case you need to curl/ straighten your hair.
But i did find the gushing water & bird chirping sound rather loud & annoying if you were to do your business lol, even after i off it tends to auto-on itself again pffttt..but it helps if you are having a bad tummy ache (can cover your kentuk sound but not smell lolol) lar :-p
Biggest regret EVER for this trip was i forgot to apply for a portable WiFi :-/
And you can't exactly get these things done on the spot, needs at least 2-3 days to process but in Haneda airport there is 2 telco centers on the 1st floor that provides on the spot service for portable WiFi, it's just that their rates are higher compared to those pre-booked. Those pre-booked it's usually much cheaper like RM25 a day for unlimited usage.
Or if you are opt to buy their local sim card package to use for their data only (like what i did for my Thailand trip) you can get those kind of sim cards (docomo) easily at the airport but not in the city convenient stores like in Malaysia as I tried asking around- Lawson, 7 eleven, Family Mart and they all don't seem carry them, even the small local phone service centers also don't have it. Kinda shocking to know i can only get this stuff at the airport. Maybe they misunderstood me when i asked kot? @_@
#Tip 1: always APPLY for portable WiFi/ data roaming before travelling.You can try these sites:
This was the day i took my first ride in their local train to reach Ikebukuro where we booked our dorm stay for 4 days, 3 nights at Sakura Hotel!
Looking at the train system while half sleepy wasn't much help at all, thank god あなた has been here twice last year so at least he knows how to read their train system, i was and still am a blur sotong everytime i see their map XD
Need to learn how to read them properly if i do want to survive in this country (someday).
Their train system isn't as easy as ours ya! When you hop onto the wrong train it isn't as easy as getting off at the next station and taking the opposite train back to your initial starting point. So if you are a visitor like me make sure to carry a map with you always! It's your frigging bible and your life depends on it (ok, that was pure exaggeration lol).
It's not as expensive as living near the famous tourist spots and train station (those located 5 mins away from the train is usually more expensive due to convenience). But Sakura Hotel is actually considered quite affordable yet strategic for those planning to just use that dorm to snooze & dump your luggage.
Make sure to buy a Suica card (Touch N Go) to make commuting hassle free especially skipping the queue at the ticketing machines. They are sold pre-loaded at 1000 ¥ credit onwards.
What i did not know is there are specific rail passes for unlimited rides catered for tourists & visitors. But before applying/ purchasing make sure you check out which lines is the card eligible for as each line might have their own individual price packages.
Find out more about them by visiting these 2 websites: Japan Rail Passes & www.jreast.co.jp
Sakura Hotel wasn't too hard to find (on google) as it's like most westerners favorite place to bunk especially those bag-packing.
Standard Check in time is 3pm and check out is at 11am, we arrived way earlier before our check in time but the staffs were nice enough to let us leave our luggage at the lobby area so we can go off to find our lunch before checking in later at 3pm.
Address: Japan, 〒171-0014 Tokyo, Toshima, 池袋2-40-7
Aside from the recommended spots within the area like:-
- Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park
- Higashi-Ikebukuro Central Park
- Tokyo Metrapoliton Theater
- Otome Road
This is a pharmacy name you should remember as it has one of the biggest branches all around Japan (almost every prefecture, you'll find one). You can find a large variety of Japanese cosmetics, skincare & other beauty stuff in there, seriously girls when you step into this place make sure you don't bring a guy along or he'll die of boredom while you shop.
Time flies when you are in here, i'm not kidding! One can't this spoilt for cosmetic choices especially if you are already a Japanese cosmetic user like me. Malaysians called it "mata rambang" because everything pun you mau (want) lol.
Oh, the area is called Nishi-ikebukuro (similar to a chinatown, petaling street), surrounded with night life (pub, bars, clubs) after the sun sets, Panchiko machines & UFO catchers which is best to stay away as they can get quite addictive! Can say quite happening also la the area.
#Tip 5: Set a budget if you want to try Panchiko & UFO catchers, so you don't overspend.
But this oji-san beside me randomly played and won the gudetama plushie i was aiming for! Darn, the fortune gods are mocking me *grrrrrr!!*
He saw my super amazed face, laughed and just gave me his prize..can't express how touched & embarrassed i was when he did that >/////< Thank you random oji-san *bows*.
The guys here are generally sweet la seriously, despite any age they are all friendly to strangers :)
Okay, enough side track lol now back to Sakura Hotel. As mentioned in my previous blogpost that i didn't know how their dormitory system work and all but soon found out upon checking in that each room has 4 bunk beds that could fit a total of 8 people in a small room lol. The only path in and out of the room is usually crowded with luggages. Imagine the struggle!
But yea, when you are in Japan most likely you won't sit in your bed the whole day because you are there to discover not sleep in :P
The only time you'll set foot back into the hotel is usually to dump off your shopping bags or to sleep.
But really, if you are travelling alone, this would be a great place to stay in as you get to meet new people from different countries and most of the time all of them speak fluent English! My room mates were from Korean and Norway, not talkative but managed to spend some time getting to learn about their countries.
Questions one might usually ask when they are a Dormitory virgin lol.
1. Is it safe to leave our belongings unattended with strangers in the same room?
Well, when you are travelling it's always best to keep your luggage locked before heading out as house keeping services do comes in whenever one of your roommates check out. I've not heard or experienced any theft cases so far, because it's Japan :-P
2. How's the hygine level like since there is so many people cramped in one room.
Surprisingly clean, no eating/ smoking allowed in the room and with Japan's current weather (autumn) you wouldn't even need to on the aircond because it's cold. No bed bugs, toilets are washed daily but their staffs. In fact their single beds are spacious, it could easily fit 2 people.
3. I don't speak Japanese, how do i communicate with the Hotel staffs if i need something?
Lol, Sakura hotel is considered like an international dorm already with the amount of foreigners from all parts of the world checking in each day. Their staffs speaks very good English & mandarin so don't worry!
4. What is provided when we stay?
Well, it isn't a luxury hotel so you'll need your own towel (can rent as well) and toiletries. There is a pantry on each floor well equipped with tableware, plates, cups, oven and a microwave but of course clean up after yourself! If you need ironing board & steam iron you may request from the front desk (G floor) & it's FOC, just return after use.
5. Are there any In-house rules we should know of?
Yes, please don't be a slob as you are living with others. Try to keep your space tidy and don't hog other's space (especially your luggage). Switch off anything electrical after using including toilet lights and last of all before you leave bring down your bedsheets with you for washing, they have baskets for you to dump them in.
If you are a light sleeper, bring an eye mask and earplugs as you might have room mates walking in and out on ungodly hours or early mornings.
Don't spend more than 10 minutes in the shower, please be considerate.
If you are looking for HALAL instant ramen, you get buy them at the front desk :D
For my 10 day stay in Japan, i don't think i've found anything to hate about this country from the first day i arrived to the day i reluctantly left :'(
Their trains are so well maintained and punctual, if there are delays it would be announced repeatedly not with machines but with staffs who are on the floor trying to regulate the crowd in an orderly manner. Anyway it's also super obvious when a train is down as the platforms will be crowded to the brim lol, this is a fast paced country and if one thing stops humans will overflow (scary sial).
But one thing i did notice in trains was there was a large population of elderly people (late 40s & above) more than young adults o.O
And the usual courtesy we try to practice of giving seats to the elderly/ pregnant/ kids but in Japan it is not a common practice which boggles my mind alot to see that kind of scenario. To the locals it might be a common sight, but for us foreigners it is indeed a culture shock lol.
Read about the reasons why it's not practiced on an article online which kinda made sense, feel free to read about it. It's also one my favorite websites to follow by the way, tons of interesting articles about Japan :D