Japan Trip: The Beginning

JAPAN: Day 1 – Osaka (Monday, 19 January 2015)

I have been wanting to share my travel stories since October 2013, after my previous trip to China (Hong Kong – Shenzhen – Macau) with my guy bestie, Andre. I wrote a journal during the 10-day trip and had a big intention to turn it into a book. But yeah, with all the laziness and so much work to do at the office after getting back to Bali, I totally abandoned the plan. Ah, no. Probably also because right after I got back, my current boyfriend started approaching me, so I kinda got distracted. I put the blame on you, Jutet :p


Anyway, I’m gonna share my experiences in China later in this blog. First, let me start with my recent trip to Japan.

So it all began in October 2014, when Jutet and I finally decided to buy tickets to Japan for January 2015. We had been thinking about Japan trip for a while, and honestly were doubting between Japan or Philippines at first. In the end, the choice was given to Japan. Of course. No offense to any Filipino here, it’s just that we felt that we had more connection to Japan anyway.

We bought the departing tickets from AirAsia, with the route of Bali – Osaka, transit in Kuala Lumpur (KL). For the return tickets, we chose Philippine Airlines as its fare was slightly cheaper than AirAsia’s, with the route of Tokyo – Bali, transit in Manila. Here are the details:
 
Monday, 19 January 2015
DPS – KUL : QZ 550 – ETD 06:00 (Bali time) / ETA 09:00 (KL time)
KUL – KIX : D7 534 – ETD 15:00 (KL time) / ETA 22:25 (Osaka time)

Sunday, 25 January 2015
HND – MNL : PR 421 – ETD 15:20 (Tokyo time) / ETA 19:20 (Manila time)
MNL – DPS : PR 537 – ETD 21:35 (Manila time) / ETA 01:15 on 26 Jan 2015 (Bali time)

Note:
DPS = Denpasar, Bali, INDONESIA
KUL = Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
KIX = Kansai, Osaka, JAPAN
HND = Haneda, Tokyo, JAPAN
MNL = Manila, PHILIPPINES

We didn’t buy the return tickets from the same airline company with the same departure and arrival airports because in the end it would be more expensive for the transportation cost within Japan. We wanted to move around while in Japan, and our itinerary was Osaka – Nara – Kyoto – Yuzawa – Tokyo. If we had bought the return tickets for Osaka – Bali, it would cost us more to get a train/bus/airplane from Tokyo back to Osaka. Also, cost more energy and time. That’s why, open-jaw tickets became the best option.

If you wonder how much I paid for the tickets, I would say that I didn’t get the best fare, but didn’t get the worst either. Let’s say, the normal fare for return tickets between Indonesia and Japan is around 10,000,000 IDR (or more) with both low-cost and full-board airlines. Whereas the cheapest fare I’ve ever seen was like 3,000,000 IDR for Jakarta – Tokyo (return) with AirAsia.

For my case, I paid 1,800,000 IDR for the departure, and 3,800,000 IDR for the return trip. Added with baggage fee and everything, the total cost was 6,000,000 IDR per person. So, it was not so bad. Besides, I’m not really the type who waits until the fare gets extremely low before deciding to buy tickets. If I find the fare reasonable enough, I would just go for it. For me, the travel period is more important than the airline ticket promo. I’ve been dreaming of a winter holiday (for way too long), so I knew that I must choose a period between December and February!

We departed very early on that Monday morning, and it was a sunny day in KL when we arrived in Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2). Since we had 6 hours of transit there, we decided to hit the downtown. I was thinking of having a 2-hour taxi tour to Putrajaya. However, since my boyfriend had traveled around Europe and Middle East but AMAZINGLY never visited KL downtown all his life (LMAO!), we decided to just visit the famous Petronas Towers. For me, that would be my third time visiting the area. But, well, okay… for you, my love.

We took the KLIA Ekspres from KLIA2 to KL Sentral, and it only took us around 30 minutes. You may check the fares in MYR below (also for other destinations in KL):
Photo taken from http://www.kliaekspres.com
To get to the Petronas Towers, you have to take a train from KL Sentral (KJ15) to KLCC (KJ10). So it’s only 5 stations away and only costs 1.60 MYR. This will only take a few minutes. Very short trip. Once you get off the train at KLCC station, look for the sign that shows the way to Suria KLCC, which is a shopping mall inside Petronas Towers. And there you are!
Jutet, smiling happily in front the twin towers 🙂
To go back to KLIA2, you just need to turn the previous trip backwards. Take the train from KLCC to KL Sentral, then take the KLIA Ekspres to KLIA2. The cost will be exactly the same. Very simple 🙂

Okay, enough with KL because this post is supposed to be about Osaka, haha!

So we arrived in Osaka late at night, according to the ETA. It was 7 degrees Celcius when we arrived. I was pretty shocked to realize how cold it was, since it was my first winter trip. It took a while for me that night to adjust myself with the cold. My hands were freezing. I should’ve bought better gloves for this trip…

We have booked a room in Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport to stay overnight on our first day, so we directly checked in after collecting our luggage. The hotel is just right next to the airport and in a short walking distance.
How the hotel looks like in the morning. We took this photo on the next day.
All the staff in the hotel were very friendly and welcoming, and looked very professional with their job duties. We were glad to find out that our room, even though it was not so big, was very clean and comfortable to stay in.
Thanks again, babe, for being the model 🙂 – By the way, sorry for the mess on the table…
The most interesting thing I found inside the room was the toilet. I’ve heard about Japanese toilets a lot of times before, how they normally have buttons that we don’t usually find on toilets in other countries. Sadly, on our first day, I didn’t manage to use these buttons well. I just didn’t understand how it works. First, check the picture below.
The pink button: BIDET. The green button: SPRAY.
Later during the trip, in another hotel, I finally found out how to use these buttons correctly. There was this one time that I had to ‘clear up my stomach’, and I got panicked because I didn’t know how to ‘clean myself’ afterwards. I only knew how to flush. When I was still at Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport, I didn’t understand why the water coming out very weakly everytime I pushed either the Bidet or Spray button. It couldn’t even reach, you know, my butt. Oh my. So finally, when I was sitting on the same kind of toilet in another hotel the next day (with the same problem – water not coming out strongly), knowing that somehow I had to make those buttons work properly, I googled: “How to use Japanese toilet buttons”. EPIC.

The result was funny, and I realized it was actually me who caused the toilet buttons not to work the way they were supposed to. I’m telling you, when you want to use the toilet buttons in Japan, you have to SIT BACK FULLY. Just put your WHOLE BUTT on the toilet seat, and don’t sit on the edge of it, like I normally did! Interesting, eh? It turned out that these buttons will work depending on the pressure on the toilet seat. If the toilet seat does not have enough pressure, the water won’t come out strongly, or sometimes won’t come out at all! So I did, right. I sat back and yeaaayyy… here comes the water, strongly flowing and cleansing my thing down there! The Bidet button is meant for your, um, sexual organ; while Spray button is meant for your behind 🙂

Okay, that might sound a bit gross but I’m sure that would be one of the most wonderful tips for your Japan trip. But hey, I just remembered, there was something else in the hotel room that I found as interesting as the toilet. It was… this:
Rainbow Channel
Yes, it is what you think it is. Rainbow Channel is a pre-paid TV porn channel. Later during the trip we realized that almost all hotels in Japan have this kind of channel, along with other additional channels for movies, sports, etc. The information in the brochure was mostly in Japanese, so I wasn’t quite sure what those descriptions tell about. I reckon that Haruka Hoshino (the girl on the right) was like the star of month in that particular TV channel? Maybe. If you understand Japanese, you may tell me what it says there.

To watch the channel, you have to buy a special TV card, sold in a vending machine inside the hotel. Yeah, you don’t have to go to the reception to tell the staff there that you want to enjoy some J-porn. They know that you’re gonna be too shy to do that, so they put the vending machine on another floor, different from the reception floor. Therefore, you can just bring your cash to the vending machine and get the TV card without anyone noticing your dirty plan. Genius.

We were too tired to do naughty things like that on our first night, so we just ignored this brochure and went out. We bought some onigiri and ramen in the nearest convenient store, still in the airport area. If I’m not mistaken, I think it was Lawson. Lawson is everywhere in Japan.

I guess that’s all I can tell about my Day 1 in Japan. More posts coming out later. Maria’s coming soon to my place and we’ll be going out for some healthy lunch! So, see ya! 🙂

XOXO
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