people talk about Japan and their vacations there, it’s always the same old cliche thing – “Oh, Japan is SO beautiful! The people are so polite and everything is so tasty!”
and they start showing you their Sakura blossoms photos on facebook. ^CUE Look at mine its so picturesque and I look like I am having fun.
I am not the Majority of these people.
And I am writing this post for whoever may join me as the minority and have not been to Japan yet. If you are someone who is getting old and tired, who jaywalks, hated your school rules, is an international foodie, is a road idiot who can’t walk from Bangkit to Panjang, like to go Bangkok to sleep till 12pm with no itinerary in mind, and most importantly, IF YOU hate people who smile and live their lives like a small leaf struggling to keep calm on the placid facade of societal laws set by their country, yet inside them are a boiling hot mess kept rampant by their jaded mindsets,
READ THIS POST BEFORE YOU GO JAPAN! It’s a guide for us Minorities –
The background story: We did a 12 day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, to Osaka, and then back to Tokyo to catch the flight back to Singapore.
We went on 2-13 APRIL.
WEATHER: CHILLY BUT HOT. (Start of cherry blossoms)
I spent the least among my friends (AND IM A GIRL HELLOOO) – People be telling you they spent 5000 sgd like what the fuck.
That’s what I spent for the entire trip, excluding plane ticket and hotel, inclusive of PRESENTS for family and friends.
so if you are looking to scrimp like me, continue reading.
1. ALWAYS BRING YOUR WATER BOTTLE.
Japan’s air is super dry – Like 100 year old virgin kind of dry. You will start developing cold sores and start peeling on your face. If you want to be money-wise, bring your water bottle because many train stations in Japan comes equipped with a water cooler.
Also, Japan has potable water everywhere. EVERY. WHERE.
I am not sure why my sister still insists on boiling her water cuz POTABLE. HELLO. MEANS DRINKABLE. I refilled my bottle at their toilets – LOOK! I am still alive. Really, once you have been to Russia and consumed their water there, anywhere with “Potable” water is godsend.
2. THE RIGHT ATTIRE.
As mentioned, the weather there is crazier than a Gemini. It’s cold – chilly, like a range of 2 – 17 degrees BUT THE SUN? MOTHERFUCKING BURN YOU LIKE A PRICK.
So, hot and cold. Boys be like “Used to it cuz mah girlfriend does it every day. ” YALL. If you are going to Disneyland/sea Tokyo, its near the sea and the scientist in me is reminding you guys that winds are stronger by the sea.
If you want to thoroughly enjoy yourselves at the kiddy place please wear a good windbreaker and cover up. Because the wind there is no joke. Back in Tokyo city, it’s fine. It ain’t that cold but you shiver when the wind blows.
Kyoto is slightly cooler, but the sun is all the same fucking radiance. You may bring an umbrella like China tourists, but my suggestion is:
NO HEAT-TECH (OR INNERWEAR).
YES TO STOCKINGS & Knee-length skirts (For females).
LONG PANTS (For guys)
SUNBLOCK. Lots of it.
A Good jacket that is effective at wind-breaking but light enough to maintain airy when the sun is heating you up like a fried egg.
It’s not just the sun that will make you heat up like a Tefal frying pan –
ITS THEIR TRAINS.
Remember, you are gonna travel alot by train. Japanese people like to be “warm and toasty” so their trains literally have no air ventilation nor any kind of wind. It’s super hot and stuffy. The kind that you won’t be able to breathe much if you are wearing Heat-tech or scarves.
So you need a super versatile outfit + Jacket that enables you to be both warm and toasty when wind blows, but not asphyxiating and perspiring when in their restaurants or trains.
3. KNOW YOUR TRAIN MAP.
Japan is one hour faster than Singapore’s time. For maths idiot, if now is 9 am in Singapore, its 10 am in Japan.
I got this map from a website saying “EASY GUIDE TO TRAINS IN TOKYO”
THERE ARE MANY LINES AND TRAIN COMPANIES. I know Singapore only got MRT and LRT but ya. So good luck to you.
We wake up every day at around 8am and go to bed at 11pm. (That’s 7am in Sg BUT ONLY 10 PM IN SG – WHICH WEAKLING SLEEPS AT 10 PM?)
But my eyebags got darker and bigger as though its hatching a joey inside. So why?
You feel tired from travelling all day, and you don’t even know it until you are back in your super fucking tiny hotel soaking and crying for your poor legs in the teenie weenie bath tub. Because of your jam-packed itinerary, you travel on the train alot and you do get to sit on the trains.
SO WHY SO TIRED?
Because walking from one Line to another? It literally kills you. Think walking from Raffles MRT station through city link to Suntec city mall – 10 times a day. This is excluding you walking to and fro your places of interest. And if you go visit theme parks, WHO THE FUCK SITS DOWN?
The train rides aren’t cheap. A day of travelling usually costs us between 8 – 12 SGD. I bet you are going to start appreciating Ez-links now. People say “Buy JR pass la” Got so many different companies, you buy the JR Pass – but… how often you using JR train? PLAN AND CALCULATE FIRST!
We bought the Osaka day pass which includes 2 full days of unlimited train rides and some free and some discounted attractions.
Something like that. But we got ours from Changi Recommends.
But that was for the last two days and I’m telling you… C and I were all wrapped up in our rooms sleeping for the last two days, unable to utilize the pass because we were too drained and too tired.
4. AVOID 4.30 – 7.30 pm at subways
I hate people and I wished Thanos snapped his fingers (Even if I disappeared then fuck yeah insurance for my parents). The train stations at this timing…..
It’s not that you cannot handle the crowd, its they cannot handle you.
If you are like me and you feel the Singapore’s CBD area have a lot of cold unfeeling businessmen rushing around, trust me, Japan’s one is x1000 worse. The people absolutely hate tourists (But they know their economy atm cannot survive without tourism) but their “polite” nature forces them to just live with it.
So what do you get? They push and they “Tsk” you (YES THEY DO THAT) when you get in their way.
DO NOT BLOCK THEM.
IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING IN A GROUP, SPLIT UP AND WALK IN AN ORDERLY MANNER
DO NOT SUDDENLY STOP BECAUSE ONE OF THE MRT SHOPS SELLING KAWAII STUFF
(If you stop, your whole group stops with you, causing a traffic jam)
DO NOT USE ESCALATOR WRONGLY.
(Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto has different Keep left or Keep right if you not moving policy.)
Do not start a fight just because they scold you or they give u a fuck face. Trust me I was literally screaming inside. CUZ their fuck faces, really 10000x more fucked up than our 369 “U STARE SIMI” gang-fight starter face.
5. Their food tastes the same after awhile.
People who travel a lot, especially cabin crew or jet-setting businessmen will tell you that out of all the airports they’ve been, Singapore’s one is unbeatable. And most importantly, that Malaysia and Singapore’s food is incomparable. (See, I do not say which of our nations’ is better. Don’t fight la)
Our nasi lemak, Hokkien mee, Chicken rice, hor fun, whatever fuck you want. Cai fan, meepok, want angmoh one also have, indian, malay, even turkish, japanese, Nyonya, Portuguese, Mexican
Really – I started craving for chicken rice on day 3.
COME ON. I miss Chicken rice every single fucking time I flew as a crew last time. We all have that one local dish you will miss like crazy – Time to find out yours!
So let’s see, what does Japan have. I can say it in one quick breath –
Udon, Curry rice, Sushi, Soba, BBQ beef, katsu don, ramen.
Repeat x 100000. The food is fucking delicious no doubt. But I cannot imagine eating all these for 3 meals a day non-stop 12 days.
Anyway, since yall gonna be in city/touristy areas, the meals are about 6 – 20 dollars per meal.
How i spend so little? I eat udon w. wakame (seaweed) only. And that’s already 7$ at the train station.
Japanese cooking culture emphasizes a lot on UMAMI.
This is the 5th taste alongside sweet, sour, bitter, salty. This is the essence from mainly cooked meats and broths.
You can taste a lot of this in their cooking, but a lot of Japanese food has a sweet after taste. And also, prepare lots of water, you will feel thirsty after eating.
6. SORRY NON-HALAL BUT, TRY THEIR MACDONALDS SAUSAGE.
Breakfast – Sausage muffin with egg. Their MACDONALDS is fucking fantastic. The muffins are soft as fuck like a woman’s bosom. The sausage?
REMEMBER IKEA MEATBALLS? Why Singapore’s one tastes better than Malaysia’s? (Sorry Malaysians but this one we win)
Because our meatballs (non-halal) ones contains pork. Malaysians Ikea do not have a choice. ALL HALAL. (Want to laugh but I’m not racist)
Japan’s sausage contains pork. It’s so fucking tasty you sure be letting yourself down if you don’t try it. I cannot tell you enough of how tasty pork is because soon vegans will come after me too.
7. NATTO? NA-TO (not to) my taste.
See the pink pink thing surrounding the yolk? That’s Natto. Its fermented beans of some sort (And yes La Pi Xiao Xin eats it)
We tried it and we almost died. Definitely, if you do not like fermented stuff and you die from the smell of Smelly tofu in Taiwan
STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM NATTO.
It has a super strong after taste that lingers in your mouth longer than a shot full of semen from your boyfriend.
Sorry – this comparison is necessary albeit being gross because that’s how fucked up Natto is.
C’s face after eating Natto:
Real time capture.
8. DO NOT GIVE JAPANESE PEOPLE MORE THAN 1 QUESTION OR INSTRUCTION.
This is not to mock them or anything. Most of them cannot speak good English. Like you’d probably find 1 out of 1000 that can speak fluently and 1 out of 100 that can point point gesture gesture with simple words and 1 out of 50 that can play charades with you.
All of their staff are trained to be very polite, but….
Please do not be in the queue (ESP 7-11) , then when your turn at the cashier, your friend wants to “tompang” and combines his items with yours. The staff for some reason will get a bug in their system and will be unable to function. They start to speak to you rudely and keep gesturing asking your friend to fuck off from the queue.
Actually it isn’t that we want to do that on purpose but the stuff in 7-11 is so tasty and we want to lug alot home but our small hands are small af and there ain’t a basket so we group up to pay. ALSO CANNOT.
Their minds are not programmed to work out of the box. 1 person, 1 queue, 1 person’s items only.
I was with C at 7-11 when I was ready to pay. I did not have 100 yen coin, so I asked him to give me the coin. His hands were full so he put his items on the table looking for the coin.
The Staff at the cashier immediately malfunctioned and thought he was going to “tompang” payment with me. She immediately shouted at him and kept repeating “NO NO NO NO NO NO” and gave me back all my change in coins, ignoring the fact that I had told her “Wait please, 100 yen coin from my friend”.
I wanted to breakdown and throw the cash register on the floor. I get that some Chinese tourists or even Singaporean tourists may have bulked up a lot of bad rep. But it’s kind of unfair that your brains do not choose to develop some logic and simply stereotype us all together and give us shitty attitudes that not all of us deserve.
When the Japanese is giving you an instruction, such as
“This is the green car. Please exit. “(Green Cars in trains are like VIP carriages for selected passengers with the green card only)”
Please do not shun bian ask them “Ok ok we will leave, by the way where is the toilet?”
The staff will not entertain your question. She will pretend she did not hear it and keeps gesturing and repeating “Please leave, please leave, please leave” until all of you fuck off from the Green Car.
After you have fucked off, then you can repeat your question again. Suddenly, the bug clears and her mind is un-jammed and the smile returns to her face. She can then answer your question politely.
Sometimes I wonder if they are robots.
9. HOLD YOUR LUGGAGE TIGHTLY FOR YOUR DEAR FUCKING LIFE WHEN IN THE TRAIN.
Do you know why? Because Japanese people will scold you and judge you if your luggage just MOVES A SLIGHT OR MERE BIT.
We had to take a lot of trains as we transited between the hotels.
Thus you can rest assure this Number 9 rule? ACCURATE AS FUCK.
Personal experience: I was holding on to both of my luggage when my phone suddenly dropped on the floor. As a reflex action, I let go of my small cabin luggage to retrieve the phone.
The train jerked suddenly, and my luggage rolled SUPER GENTLY to a woman nearby, and kissed her thigh. I swear upon my grandfather’s grave and on Donald trump’s hair that it was SUPER SOFT AND DIDN’T EVEN FUCKING HURT.
Instead of doing what a normal person will do WHICH WAS TO HELP ME HOLD ONTO MY LUGGAGE, she glared at me. She didn’t move an inch to help. And then, she opened her mouth to scold me.
I apologized profusely and retrieved my bag. She scolded non-stop in Japanese.
Sorry, not exaggerating here. But NON-STOP. She was still scolding past all the stops and until she disembarked.
I APOLOGISED, STUPID WOMAN.
IT WASN’T ON PURPOSE. IT WAS AN ACCIDENT.
NO BODY DIED.
YOU COULD HAVE SCOLDED ONCE AND STOPPED.
So yes, hold on to it. Even if you doze off. But then again, WHO THE FUCK WOULDN’T HOLD ON. Stop reminding us man. ( Trust me. A lot of them will keep staring and the moment you lift your hand up to stretch or use phone, they will open their mouths)
In the end? I kiap mine with my strong legs. YEAH.
10. PEOPLE EVERY WHERE.
The shrines and what-nots are packed with so many people. You will see a lot of super pretty plates and bowls and shits there (If you are old like me, you’d start appreciating furniture and crockery)
DO NOT BUY IT THERE. Trust me. FIGHT THE TEMPTATION. You can find the same shit at those value dollar tax-free shops or even in some random shops at the MRT stations at a way lower price. Especially the chopsticks and bowls dude.
You want to get a good shot where the “coast is clear” of people? Go super early. Or you wait. wait and wait and wait and test your patience. And CLICK! when the crowd dies down for awhile.
Yes we were very patient because there isn’t anything else to do there except for spending money and eating.
11. CHERRY BLOSSOMS ARE EVERYWHERE.
Please don’t behave like a typical kongkam tourist and go camp or shake those cherry blossom trees where there are throngs of people. In fact, when it’s in season, the cherry blossoms are everywhere. By the drains, in front of schools, near houses, near toilets. Whatever.
All you need is a keen eye and creativity (which many people do not have) and most importantly, unorthodox methods (Which Japanese people do not have and do not condone obv) But please do not damage the trees! Don’t behave like the disgusting tourist that the Japanese and the rest of the world thinks you are.
By the drain:
Casual walk by the street:
(I remember there were too many tourists by some common spot and i was telling the rest why not walk down a few streets and TADAH! Whole fucking empty street to ourselves with an even nicer view – cherry blossoms by the small river.)
Outside our hotel, in front of the school
OUTSIDE A HOSPITAL LOL
12. DO NOT BUY THE BENTO AT MRT STATION B4 TAKING SHINKANSEN
Chances are, you are definitely gonna take the Shinkansen which is the bullet train. It will cost you a kidney (Lesser than iphone but still) its about 140$
if you are suay like us and the dates clash and you can’t buy the shinkansen pass then buy individually, just cry.
But moving on. You’d be thinking “Omg I wanna be like a Japanese and eat bento” FUCK. NONE OF THE JAPANESE PPL I SAW ON BOARD THE BULLET TRAINS BOUGHT THAT. They all either tabao from elsewhere, or bought bread.
ITS FUCKING COLD AS ICE.
And, its around 12-15 dollars for your Princess Elsa ice embedded meal. Sure, it still tastes good. But I can hear my stomach crying out like “ITS SNOWING!”.
My suggestion? Tabao from 7-11! They heat up their meals for you and their fried chicken? Super fantastic. Alternatively, buy from Macdonalds or just be like a thrifty Japanese and eat bread.
Make sure the Japanese behind you is not eating before you slowly and politely put your seat back and try to catch up on your rest. Good night.
Can you see the fatigue on my face.
13. THINGS – MUST EAT. AT FAMILY MART.
they have the crispy fried chicken, and it’s a must eat. Choose the most expensive one – I forgot whats the name. But its a whole tender juicy thigh.
So good. Can fight with Macdonalds. I DONT CARE what you say but Macdonald’s hashbrown 5/5. This one is 4/5.
CREAM ROLL IN A FUCKING TRAY
Sorry I can’t remember if this is from FM or 7-11. But you have to try it for sure. It’s not easy to get because always sold out. You have to make sure you try the right one. It’s in a tray. There are small ones which are individually wrapped slices but this tray one is the best. The cream is super fragrant and fluffy. The roll is soft and moist. I r8 8/8 gr8 m8.
INSTANT MISO SOUP.
Clams, seaweed, tofu, beancurd shits, you name it. That’s how I save money too. I drank one for breakfast daily. About a dollar.
14. TRY A MATCHA CLASS AT KYOTO!
I think its pointless to go to Japan and not take up a class like that to appreciate their beautiful culture and historical delights. We found this enchanting shop along the crowded streets in Kyoto’s touristy attraction, and the lovely manager in her immaculate kimono and grace really encapsulated all of Japan’s rich heritage. It’s unbecoming not to give them a mention –
The Matcha appreciation class is at 24 SGD per person and its about 40 minutes in their quaint little tea room.
She speaks perfect English but shes super gentle and I felt like a bull in the china shop when fumbling around her.
Shop’s entrance. They only recently came up with “Matcha shaved ice” because they “discovered” that tourists love shaved ice. hahaha. So adorable.
She will explain to you all about the wonders of Matcha as well as how to properly prepare it. Being someone who isn’t a great fan of hipster stuff like Matcha waffles or Matcha cheesecake etc, I felt this was a truly enjoyable lesson as I really wanted to learn what was the proper and non hipster way of enjoying this green shit.
And she says its only right to give credit to the Matcha tea farmer, and he is one of the few left in Japan who uses only ORGANIC methods to grow his leaves.
Sunning and sheltering the leaves at the right timings will determine the Umami of the tea leaves. Whoa chim stuff.
Do visit them if you are free!
I really wanted the whisk for all reasons but of course please control your temptations to buy all things quaint and cutesy. Else how to spend within budget?
http://www.chasanraku.co.jp / +81 75 354 6533
You May email them at email@example.com, the pretty manager is called Atsuko Suzuki.
That summarizes my Japan trip. Harsh, crude, but nonetheless honest.
That being said, I look forward to visiting the other parts of Japan. but none the wiser.
I HAVE LEARNT MY LESSON.
My next post will be a short story. I guess, no one will disapprose?
sorry kill me for bad pun.