Much delayed Autumn post from last year lol but finally now i can sit back and finish up these series. Couldn't have been more blessed that fate allowed us to cross roads in Airbnb during my first trip to Japan ;D
Despite me blogging my first JP trip post expressing my frustrations and troubles finding last minute place to book and stay within the budget we have set. It was definitely a challenge for both of us (both sourcing from diff websites for good deals) as last minute bookings usually would easily costs double but by pure chance we came across Taka-san's listing.
But first of all, why Saitama area and not more towards the city side since i have yet to visit some of Tokyo's main attractions?
Could be a change of scenery after staying 4 days in Ikebukuro and also honestly it's much more affordable to stay slightly on the outskirt area compared to the city (duh!) so if you are planning to go for a long stay, do consider looking for accommodations near the countryside or if you don't mind sharing cramped rooms like normal backpackers since it would cost almost the same anyways expect usually these cramped hostels are purposely located within the city vicinity.
Nothing much really but that's what i like about the place, instead of the common sight of overflowing humans around the clock at the train station, over here it's somewhat more peaceful lol and there's definitely good food near Taka-san's place.
Our initial check-in time was actually 5pm but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstance and we kinda underestimated the travelling time to get from Saitama Budokan back to Ikebukuro and from there to Taka-san's place so we arrived close to 7pm instead but Yuko-san was kind enough to wait for us till we arrived, constantly sending us messages (via Airbnb) to check on our whereabouts. Yuko-san can understand decent amount of English, so if you are worried about having some language barrier with them. Don't! They have tons of westerners over as well, and everyone of their guest seem to get along just fine with them as they are gracious and friendly.
Here's the funny incident that actually occurred while we were on the way to Taka-san's place, as you all know from the start of this trip our BIGGEST mistake was not applying for a pocket WiFi prior before arriving so あなた had to use his data roaming which he claimed is about almost the same rates anyways (but still think it's not as fast & reliable since we are not in Malaysia) and the most i could do is leech off his from time to time and take note by doing this it does DRAINS alot of battery life.
So GET A DAMN POCKET WIFI.
Despite our crucial efforts of trying to conserve battery throughout our long train ride from Ikebukuro to Minami Urawa station (about 1 hour +) battery was still almost dead by the time we reached lol wtf and that was the time we needed it most. Because first of all, we need to open google maps to search for the place and 2ndly if we got lost our only hope of reaching Yuko-san is via the Airbnb app as i forgot to ask for her number *face palm*
The map did lead us halfway before we kinda got lost (missed a turning or something) overshot, turned back and by that time think a mere 20 minutes walk became almost an hour headless chicken race lol wtf. And dragging around heavy luggage really kills the arms, felt like i was dragging along my gym dumbbells lel and just as we thought we are close enough to Taka-san's house both our batteries kinda died.
Don't get me wrong guys, it's not that Taka-san's place is hard to find or anything it's just that roads can be kinda confusing at night since everything looks almost the same in the dark @@
We looked like bunch of lost goose trying to find the herd lol till i decided to approach this lady who was walking home with her son. That's how i met Shou-kun (not sure if it's 翔 or 奨) whom was super cute and playful with me that wish i could kidnap him home ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) lol.
Why all Japanese kids so well behaved one??
And you hardly find toddlers or children in general crying or throwing a tantrum in public, they somehow can be reasoned with compared to kids over here. This is what i call a real cultural shock.
Shou-kun's mom was kind enough to use her google maps to lead us to Taka-san's place, which we are forever grateful for her kindness and hope that fate allows us to meet again someday :)
Finally with their help we arrived safely in front of Taka-san's house where a very worried looking Yuko-san was seen peeking by the window lol. People here are all so kind and helpful, even to random strangers whom let alone could barely speak the language properly, miss having smiles and polite people around :P
Yuko-san showed us to our beautiful tatami room which looks superb and ready for crashing because we've been walking for more than an hour lol and told us that we'll be heading out shortly for dinner once her husband (Eiji-san) is done with work.
We weren't expecting a dinner outside really, thought her invitation to dinner was a home cooked meal haha, but still the place were we are heading too is known for their Unagi sushi!
The room is considered spacious since we only needed one futon, that's how tiny we are and during this period you don't need the air conditioner, just leave the windows ajar to enjoy the cool autumn breeze. At the back of the room was actually cupboards to put our luggage but i was too busy thinking of how i can repack my stuff to make my bag lighter pffttt *arisa's logic*.
About a 10 minutes walk from their place to the restaurant which is located on the opposite side of the road next to a udon shop and another ramen (if i remember correctly) along the line.
This has got to be the first proper sushi (aside from Kombini) i ate since i landed in Japan lol, normally people who say "eat only sushi" in Sushi-land but honestly the prices of sushi here is even expensive to the locals lol. It's considered somewhat borderline luxury food?
According to Eiji & Yuko-san the unagi here is one of the best around town, we took their word for it and gosh..I am never going to eat unagi (eel) elsewhere anymore lol. My standard Japanese food taste-buds somewhat "upgraded" throughout these 2 weeks and can't even compare what we have back home to this. Those who have been to Japan would strongly agree with me on this lol, after eating over there and trying to stomach our local ones, it's a real struggle.
Talking about good sushi, i am somewhat craving for it so badly right now lol but not matter how many plates i eat over here, i can never achieve that satisfaction >.<
It's like trying to fill an empty void that can't be filled lol, wtf getting so melodramatic over food lol, that's the first.
If it's your first stay in Japan, do consider their place! They will make you feel so welcomed that it feels like you are part of the family.
But silly me forgot to bring over some Malaysian snacks for them as a thank you gift, maybe during my next visit hopefully i will be able to meet them again :)
And if you have decided to book with them, please do so ASAP as they are usually quite packed with guests. Last i checked (early January 2016) they were already fully booked to mid year @_@ wow.
That's what you get for being rated one of the best in the area and having a super affordable rate.
RM66 per night with the whole room to yourself, after converting it's about $15-18 only, even more affordable than the city's capsule hotel.
Plus you have the freedom to enjoy the quiet town scenery without feeling so suffocated from your capsule size "bedroom" and city environment.
New to Airbnb?
Allow me to bring you guys for a brief walk through:
- Communicate. Don't be shy to inquire or share stories!
- Always clean up after yourself, you are an adult so be responsible!
- If you are going to be late or early make sure to inform your host before hand so they are ready to welcome you.
- Study the map of the area to avoid getting lost like i did lol.
- Before leaving, try cleaning up the room and leaving it the way you arrived as this helps the hosts prepare for their next guest arriving.
Next stop is Kaminarimon in Asakusa, before that Ikebukuro stop (again) and how we ran to Tokyo Skytree tower before their closing time lel. Heck of an adventure doing crazy stuff, but it's totally worth it!
Missing Japan Dearly,