It’s my second last day in Japan, and the last day we all hang out together before we part ways. We took one last drive into the country side and explored other areas before we had our final lunch together and head our own directions.
Spending the Last Night in Tokyo
Frank Bauer and I were the last men standing after we bid farewell to the rest of the gang back in Fukushima. James Brown and Stuart S. belong there. Fidens had to part ways somewhere in Tokyo and James Allen was generous enough to take time off and helped me secure a room at the Shinagawa Hotel and made arrangements with the Shuttle Bus to the Narita airport for me. (thanks a bunch, JA!) 🙂
Soon with JA heading back to the rice fields, Frank and I walked around Central Tokyo, taking pictures and yes we can proudly say “we’ve been here before!” 🙂
Frank was the last person in the gang I see and from the last night on, I was already on my own – all the way until the next day (Day 6) when I would board the MAS to fly back to Malaysia.
I think I got myself a good deal here – Shinagawa Hotel is reputedly to be a top-tier hotel, one of the top 10 in Tokyo. WOW! 🙂
No wonder it was pricey though – 16,000 yen a night (around USD160 a night)!
To be continued… the next post will be the final account on the Japan trip! 🙂
Things were a little bit different today. This time, the six of us – me, James Brown, James Allen, Frank Bauer, Stuart Stirling (rented the SUV) and Fidens Felix – took a drive in the country side of Fukushima. It was beautiful and you can’t get a view and cool weather like that in Malaysia, Cameron Highlands just don’t stand a chance to rival it.
We went off road, dip ourselves in the Onsen (hot spring), took some awesome pictures of the scenery… you name it. Again, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. 🙂
Barbeque, Hanging around Fukushima Town & McDonald’s
28th September. Big day for James and Mari. Also the main alibi reason I came to Japan to see one of my closest business associates get officially married to a beautiful girl. 🙂
Our gang and James’ family hitched a bus ride up to St. Anna’s church in the mountains at almost 11 in the morning. The bus stopped for Mari’s friends on the way, too. All of us arrived on time and the wedding ceremony went on smoothly starting 12 in the afternoon, and followed by a filling barrage of meals for lunch. 🙂
I won’t bore you with the details (partly because I’m too lazy to type right now) so just feast your eyes on these pics…
Party #2 – Karaoke
Okay NOW we’re going to the really fun part of the day night. Here, let’s kick it off with a quick intro to Pete Leong. Pete is James’ long time acquaintance and his bestman for the wedding. He snapped up quite a lot of photographs throughout the day, hope to get some from him soon on FaceBook or Flickr. No surprise; he’s a professional photographer. Go check out his website PeteLeong.com. 😉
FYI he’s half-Chinese Australian so that explains his Chinese surname. Like James Brown, James Allen, Stuart Stirling, and Fidens Felix, they’re all staying in Japan. I wonder why… 😉
So what we all did next, we had another round of party gathering right here in the Tatsumiya Hotel and after that, we went to the Karaoke to have some more fun.
And here are a couple of YouTube videos as well – the short videos we took from the Karaoke session:
And to Wrap it Up…
I gave the newly “officially” wed couple the collection of gifts from some of us back in Malaysia – Khai & Yuenn, Ladan, and myself of course.
Theeeere you go! CONGRATULATIONS, James and Mari! 🙂 We wish you all the best and happiness in your marriage and we hope that your happy union will last forever.
Want a healthy start in the day? Choose McDonald’s Breakfast. 🙂
Yep, our group ate some McD’s after we checked out of Dandy Hotel, and before we head down to Fukushima by Bullet Train. Granted, 80% of the food in the menu are similar to what you can find in almost every McDonald’s outlet from around the world but the Japanese outlets have one thing you cannot find in our local outlets back in Malaysia (or perhaps anywhere else)…
… the crew consists of mostly hot chicks! 🙂 No kidding, and this is what I found to be consistent after visiting a few different McD’s outlets later!
Bullet Train Ride to Fukushima (1.5 hours)
Having used to frequent trains on a daily basis when I was working full-time as an office boy back in 2004, I couldn’t help but compare our trains to the Japanese ones. Not a fair comparison I know, almost like comparing apple to oranges, or rather snail to cheetah. That’s exactly HOW advanced the Japanese train systems are. Being inside the Bullet Train, one couldn’t feel the speed or pressure from within. But if you would look from the outside, which I did…
WOW, the Bullet Train zoomed by with frightening speed! The group caught me with my jaw dropped open. LOL!
Boy Scout in Fukushima Town
Once we settled down in Fukushima, we stayed at the Tatsumiya Hotel. We had a quick lunch nearby and for the rest of the day time, I scouted around town alone. Temperature here is colder than in Tokyo i.e. 17 – 19 degree Celcius, and it gets colder by night. The day is shorter than the night at this time of the year, and it gets dark by around 5:30.
There are less people here compared to Tokyo and the outskirts of town had fewer people. In general, the Japanese people are nice and I would consider them exceedingly polite. 🙂 It is customary for people to exchange bows and be very polite – not an understatement by any measure.
It is also easy to strike up a conversation with people here, which made me felt rather regretful not learning at least basic Japanese to get around on my own. Most of the people here speak little to no English at all. A pity, otherwise I’d love to ask them LOTS about Japan! 🙂
Crime rarely happens here, in this part of Japan at least. Another bonus.
Dinner with Brown Family & Friends
L-R: Frank Bauer, Edmund Loh (me), Mr. Brown, Mari Wakamatsu, Katherine Brown, Rodney, Jamieson, Mrs. Brown (James Brown’s mother), James Brown.
NOTE: Finally connected to the Internet from the hotel after going 3 days without it! It’s 2:40AM here in Fukushima, Japan and it’s a HUGE relieve that I can finally go online. I wasn’t sure what the problem was, and even Frank and James Allen did their best to help me out. One quick lucky fix with the I.P. detection for the FireFox browser and what did you know? That did the trick!
Okay here are the long awaited updates with pics and all. Videos will come in later… and followed by MORE pics. This is by no means a complete post (and so will the subsequent ones) so do check back now and then for new photos and videos.
Here’s a quick run through and summary account on my journey to Japan for the first time..
(click on any of the thumbnails and open them in a new tab or browser to view them in full size)
Leaving from KLIA
Since the MAS flight was to leave Malaysia at 9:00 in the morning, and that I had to be there at least 2 hours earlier to check in my luggage, I didn’t risk phoning a public cab. My uncle from Klang offered to help fetch me to the KLIA early in the morning… thanks Uncle! 🙂
I had my breakfast at the KLIA cafeteria and after I got through the customs, I killed the last 30 minutes of waiting in the Waiting Hall by posting a quick video on YouTube. Yes, it’s the one you see in the previous post, the one before this one. 🙂
It’s been quite a while since I last fly on Malaysian Airlines. Wait, I rarely fly to other countries to begin with. It was only this year that I started traveling out of Malaysia – to places like Tehran, Bali, Jakarta, and now Narita @ Japan. 🙂
True to following “Malaysian Time”, the flight was delayed by 15 minutes. However we reached the Narita airport in Japan on time. We made a stop at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport for an hour in between. If it was a direct flight, it wouldn’t have taken 8.5 hours; maybe 7.5 hours in all.
Landing on Japanese Soil for the First Time
Reached the Narita Airport around 7:30PM local time and after a tedious immigration and check out, I was greeted by James Brown and his pops, Glynn Brown (I’m going to refer to him as Mr. Brown throughout my Japan Trip posts).
James Brown and I finally met again after our first encounter in person at Singapore last year. Great guy, knows his stuff… and very multi-dimensional thinker. Mr. Brown is a nice man too, you don’t find many sporting fathers from any age like him, I tell you that!
“You’ve gotta sell money at a discount.”
— James Eric Brown
Let’s not forget Frank Bauer – hey hey, we meet again for the 3rd time in person! He talks a lot and I mean, A LOT and I always hear the words “PayPal”, “German”, “Pattaya”, and later on, Frank would go on to add “Merry Christmas” to his frequent one-line dialogues because almost everything in Japanese sounded as if the sentence ends with ‘-mas’. 🙂
Ah yes, James B Allen too. Met up with him half way while we were jumping trains to get to Downtown Tokyo, and camp at Dandy Hotel.
This is where we spent our first night.
I have to admit that it was a culture shock I still find it hard to handle now. To begin with, this is NOT your average hotel. Instead of individual rooms, we get…
… our own morgues.
But the nice ads they’ve plastered around the ‘capsule’ rooms made good eye desserts. 😉
Later, James Allen took me and Mr. Brown and showed us around Downtown Tokyo a bit, and we had our late dinner at an English Pub down the basement nearby.