The Wandering Continues...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Golden Week in Japan

I’ve been receiving complaints with the fact I haven’t posted this for so long. *sigh*

I must say that work has been really exhausting (but then again, when it is ever not exhausting??). Especially during this economic crisis where you’ll read everywhere in the newspaper how Detroit Big Three are in serious financial problem at this moment. And of course, being an automotive supplier, my company receives the immediate impact which obliged us to make a dozen (if not thousands!) emergency plan scenarios. The problem is, many people believe that China can help to survive this world economic crisis. Unfortunately, it is not the case! Automotive market here in China has been experiencing downward turn in the last quarter. I even spent a day browsing the internet for effect of economic crisis in China and found myself really speechless to read that there have been 67.000 factories closed in China and another 33.000 factories are expected to closed in the last quarter 2008. That is a big Problem! (with capital P!)

And not to mention that my supposed to be “retirement fund” is now down to the drain. What a life! Now I have to work twice the hard to buy that villa by the beach!! :-(

Anyway, back to the original story line, Japan.

We went to Japan to spend the October Golden Week. In the beginning, we were not too excited to go there as we thought Japan will be just one of the boring industrial countries. Also to be really honest, the only reason we decided to go there is only because the flight ticket to go back to Jakarta was really expensive. It would cost us around 25K RMB (around 2500 EUR) to go back to Jakarta for a week while, being a Finance person myself, I’ve calculated that with that money I will be able to travel to Japan for a week!

But then, to our surprise, Japan turned out to be a beautiful and relaxing trip!

There are many tips and tricks to travel smart in Japan, but the one I have to give the credit to Gutereise09, an active collaborator in Thorn Tree forum from Lonely Planet. The guy really helped us a lot to find good places to sleep, how to make the most use of our limited time and how to travel smart!

We decided to go to Japan for 8 days and we visited Hiroshima, Kyoto, Lake Kawaguchi and Tokyo. Most of the time we travelled with the Shinkansen bullet train using the Japan Rail Pass, allowing us to travel as much as possible and as fast as possible in one week.

I personally found Hiroshima is very important for me as it is one of the milestone for Indonesian Independence. If it is not for Hiroshima bombing, Indonesia will be probably under Japanese colonialism today.

Kyoto is more the old traditional Japan where you can see ladies dressed in Japanese traditional kimono on the street. In Kyoto you'll find yourself hopping from one temple to another. I found Japanese most popular temple, Kiyomizu temple is too overated! It is packed with tourists and you must pay 1000 Yen in each places you want to pray (not that I am praying but I don’t like to have to pay when I want to pray!). Our favourite was Ginkakuji Temple. It is too bad that we didn’t do the philosopher’s walk from Ginkakuji to Nyakuoji temple.

However, we were so LUCKY in Kyoto that we met the real Maiko in the back street of Gion. Again, thanks to Gutereise09!

On the way from Kyoto to Tokyo, we stayed overnight in a Japanese ryokan in Lake Kawaguchi. It was a quite funny experience for us to sleep on the floor and to sleep with Japanese Yukata which is really warm for a piece of material wrapped to your body! We were not lucky to take the sunrise photos of Mt. Fuji (we were already warned before) but we were happy when the clouds started to disappear around noon, allowing us to take as many photos as we want of the number one mountain in Japan!

The last stop for us before departing back to Shanghai was Tokyo.

The city is just a normal metropolitan city and Shanghai is much more beautiful than Tokyo. But a visit to Tsukuji Fish Market on early Saturday morning really paid off! We had sushi breakfast and ended up buying a half kilo maguro to bring back to the hotel. Jorge, who is known to be the tuna lover, was having an orgasm!!! (Ok, to be fair to Jorge, not only because of maguro but also because of the 100MB internet connection in Japan!) Jajaja…

So, stop with the story, here is the sets of pictures and of course, the famous Shibuya crossing as seen in The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift!

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  • Eveline,

    Super Photos!!! Da bekomme ich gleich Heimweh nach Japan!
    Ich kann Euch nur empfehlen, da mal eine Zeitlang zu wohnen. Japan ist viel mehr als nur Tokyo!
    Und dass ihr am Lake Kawaguchiko tolles Wetter hattet, ist ein gutes Zeichen! Dort ist es auch im Winter wunderschön, hoher Schnee und Mount Fuji spiegelt sich im Wasser! Leider habe ich diese Photos nicht digital (ich hab die im Jahr 2001 gemacht, da hatte ich / gabs noch keine Digi-cams…).

    Liebe Grüße und viel Erfolg bei der Planung weiterhin,


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