Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tokyo ’14, Day 2 – The Narita Express and Enjoying Shinjuku


Finally we were allowed to unbuckle and get our things. All the sleeping Japanese were suddenly up and ready to go (as always XD). The annoying Japanese man managed to slap two other passengers with his bag. -_- God, he was so annoying! My mom managed to get our hand luggage cases from the shelves and we got our things ready. When the plane had emptied a little, I lay down on the floor to check if we really hadn’t forgotten anything. If I don’t do that, I will worry, so I need to check. ^^’ Then, we walked after the other passengers and exited the plane. After we had left the tube, we took some pictures. Our first pictures in Japan!

First Japan Selfie
Our first selfie in Japan! ^^

Our plane looked so beautiful in the morning sun that we took some more pictures of it. It’s strange tot hink that you spent so much time in this enormous flying object and then you just leave it behind again!

Blue Plane
Bye airplane! Thank you for taking us this far! :3

We followed the signs to the immigration hall, passing various ‘Welcome to Japan!’-signs. :3 After some walking (through the hall with the shortest and most useless moving sidewalk ever) we arrived in the immigration hall and went to stand in line, passports and forms ready. There were significantly less people waiting compared to last year, but it was still the same hot temperature. XD Finally I could show my passport to the man behind the desk, have my finger prints and photo taken and walk on. My mom took a little longer: the woman behind the desk had never seen such a new passport before! My mom had it made right before we left. ^^
We arrived in the baggage hall and when we arrived at our baggage belt, I immediately spotted my mom’s suitcase, yay! I quickly dragged it off the belt, after which my own suitcase soon followed. I was so relieved! One of my worst fears is losing my baggage, but up until now it has never happened before!
We put our suitcases onto a cart. There was barely anyone waiting for the last form check, so we quickly walked up to an empty line. But when the man asked for my form, it turned out that the man at the passport check had taken it and never gave it back! Now I had to fill in the same form as in the plane again! -_- That annoyed me a little. All that information again! Oh well, I quickly went through it and we went to stand in line again. When the man checked my form, he asked me where our hotel was situated and when I answered ‘Shinjuku’, he asked me (in Japanese) if I spoke Japanese. ‘Juuust a little’ I answered. XD My mom was very impressed though. Luckily, this time we were allowed to walk on.
We walked through a small hallway, where an awesome poster that said ‘You&Tokyo’ was stuck to the wall next to the door. Of course we had to take a picture.

You & Tokyo
Me and Tokyo. I was very ready to go there!

We walked through the doors and arrived in the big hall with the arrivals sign and desks for travel advice. I quickly spotted the desk meant for train tickets and the Narita Express, the train that rides from the airport to Tokyo. When we got there, there was a note stuck to the window saying we needed to go to the desk in the downstairs hall. Since there was a woman in uniform practically standing next to it, I asked her (with some hand work) whether we needed to go downstairs and she nodded yes, so my mom and I left our cart and took our suitcases down the escalator. We arrived in the big station hall and went to look for the train tickets counter, where my dad had bought our Suica cards the year before. A Suica card is a transportation card where you deposit an amount of money on to travel. Since we had kept the ones from our previous trip, we didn’t need them, but we did need Narita Express tickets. We quickly found the counter (hard to miss, with all the red banners) and we went inside. When it was our turn, I showed the lady behind the counter the advertisement my dad had printed out about a discount ticket for foreign tourists. After we had shown our passports, we bought tickets for only 50% of the original price! *o* Unfortunately, since it was 9:10 am by now, the 9:15 am train would be hard to catch, so we chose the 9:45 am train. Finally, after paying with our fresh yens, we got our tickets! ^^

Narita Express Tickets
Tickets? Check!

My mom and I calmly went on our way to the right platform, but when we got there, the 9:15 am train was still there! For a moment we doubted about waiting for our own train, but we decided to be rebellious and take this one instead! I mean, it was right in front of us and we had tickets. Plus, on my previous trips, no one came to check on us. So we took the ‘risk’.
We stowed our suitcases, sat down in random seats, got politely chased away two minutes later by the people who officially had to sit there, chose different seats, chose different seats again for a better view from the window and finally, the train started driving. The train wasn’t quite as empty as last time and we were also a lot more awake. During our previous trip, my mom was quite sick during our first days, but this time she wasn’t, so she could enjoy the ride. ^^

The Narita Express
The Narita Express. Destination: Tokyo!

We stood still for a while in a random place and then drove on. We passed trees, houses, villages and then cities and skyscrapers. It was strange: since this was my third time in the Narita Express, the landscapes passing us by weren’t new anymore. It was almost… familiar!

Close to Tokyo
One of the many views seen from the Narita Express.

And then, after about 45 minutes, a conductor came by! Of course this had to happen the one time we decide to do something… wrong. We put on our most innocent faces and while I could hear him mumble to himself it was the wrong train, he was kind enough to not say anything about it to us! ^^ Or he didn’t know how to in English, also a possibility. XD
After passing some stops, we finally arrived in Tokyo! We passed Shibuya station (I saw the famous scramble quickly between two buildings *_*) and after that, we arrived at Shinjuku! My mom and I reunited with our suitcases again and the train stopped. We got out, checked all of our belongings and then I led the way.

Shinjuku Station
The Narita Express at Shinjuku station. Somehow I really like this picture!

It was quite warm, but that could also have been caused by the fact we were dragging heavy suitcases. We went up some escalators, walked through some quiet hallways and suddenly, we found ourselves in the big hall close to the south exit of the station, surrounded by passing Japanese people. We needed to regain breath for a moment, so we stationed ourselves near a pillar, just looking around. I already saw at least five amazingly beautiful outfits passing by! ;_; I really missed that! My mom had exactly the same!
We followed the stream of people and arrived at the ticket gates. I didn’t know how to get through them without using my Suica card, but after a brief conversation with a station man, we discovered our Narita Express tickets would let us through. Finally, we walked into the Japanese open air, into the sun, and I started crying. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t contain myself! I was so happy to be back in my beloved Shinjuku, with my mom, in the sun, in the busy atmosphere of Tokyo!
I quickly regained my dignity and we went on our way to our hotel. We had booked a room in the hotel my dad and I had stayed in during our first trip and since I really liked that hotel, I was very happy we could stay there again!
We arrived at the big crossing with the orange clock and took pictures of it while waiting for the traffic lights to turn green. We could already see our hotel in the distance!

In The Distance
I was so happy to be in Shinjuku again!

We crossed the street, waited for another green light, crossed the street again and turned left. We kept walking for about a minute, passing a McDonald’s with advertisements for interesting drinks and hamburgers I had never seen anywhere before and then arrived at the hotel. I was so happy to be back! ;_;
We walked into the (for me) wellknown lobby and went to the desk to ask what the check in time was again. It was 2 pm and since it was now 11 am, we had lots of time. My mom and I left our suitcases with the lovely suitcase ladies and then went on our way to explore Shinjuku! Well, after we visited the toilet. I love Japanese toilets, with the pre-heated seats (yes, I am crazy. XD)!
When we got outside, we walked up to the first drinks vending machine we saw. We needed a picture of it. :3

Drinks Machine
I wish we had more vending machines with cheap and amazing drinks in my country!

We crossed the street and entered the Family Market convenience store a little further away, since I wanted to check to see if there was an ATM there. Unfortunately there wasn’t, but it was fun to look around for a moment nonetheless. There were a lot of magazines, like KERA, and also some more… explicit magazines. ^^’ And of course, there was food! We found green KitKats, lots of cute desserts and ice creams and a huge amount of interesting drinks. Most packings only had Japanese writing on it, so about 85% of the time we had no idea what it contained. But it can be strangely relaxing yet adventurous to not know everything. :3

Candy and Drinks
Japanese candy and a rainbow of colourful drinks!

We left the store again and walked back to the orange clock crossing. Of course, our first set destination was MyLord, our favourite department store! We decided to cross the busy road by the bridge overhead.

Bridge to MyLord
The road to MyLord.

Before we entered MyLord, we took some pictures of both the left and right view from the bridge. Did I mention I reallly love Shinjuku? I couldn’t stop taking pictures of everything!

Views from the Bridge
The left and right side view from the bridge leading to MyLord.

We entered MyLord, where we had to take a mirror selfie of course! We walked around the first floor we had arrived on and almost nothing had changed since last time we were there. There was the cute, stuffed make up store, some cute clothing stores (one called ‘Kus kus’, which means ‘Kiss kiss’ in Dutch) and one of my mom’s favourite stores: the Grain Plaire, a shop filled with string of glittering glass beads and other DIY items.

Beads
Beads, beads and more beads! Can you believe this was only a small part of the total amount of stuff they had? *_*

We loved browsing around at Grain Plaire and my mom was already looking for colours she wanted to buy later, when suddenly I started to feel really bad. I got dizzy and really hot and we had to sit down in a quiet part on some stairs for me to feel better again. I have no idea what came over me, but thank God it didn’t last long! ^^
We went back to the Grain Plaire and I looked around for the cute Decoden items they had last year, but I couldn’t find them. Since I wasn’t planning on buying things right away, I decided to ask for it later. I had told myself to talk more Japanese this time (although my Japanese knowledge is… well quite small), but I had to build up some courage first. ^^’
We left the store, passed the cute Home&Kitchen store and walked on, to find our first display of fake food! ♥ There was a cute café called Hawaiian Pancake Factory where they had the cutest pancake dishes! We agreed to go and eat there sometime later (but we never did… ;_;).
We walked back to the escalators and explored the rest of MyLord. This department store barely has any shops I know by name, except for the Candy Stripper maybe, but that’s what makes it such a great place! There are so many cute stores with such varying contents!

Candy Love
Some of the first accessories I really loved. Look at the cuteness! ✩

I saw so many amazing outfits, both on mannequins and on shop girls, I started to think more and more: ‘We are in Tokyo!’ Tokyo and stylish people really belong together.
After a while we arrived at a shop with a surprisingly familiar name: F.i.n.t. and wow, did I fall in love with this shop! ♥ The shop girls looked amazing, with beautiful blouses and skirts and straw hats with ribbons. The items in the shop were all so dreamy and gorgeous! I entered the shop with eyes probably twice their normal size, I was so amazed! There was one shop girl who showed me some items (she was so cute!) and when she pointed out a magazine where their clothes were featured, I spotted Midori Fukasawa modelling them. I told the shop girl I loved Midori and that I was a Lolita. She was so cute and enthusiastic!
After I walked around some more (keeping myself from drooling over everything), I finally gained the courage to ask another shop girl (the most gorgeous one of all *_*) for a picture. She got all flustered and cute, iiih! ^^
Finally my mom and I had explored all the shop floors and we arrived at the first restaurant floor. We didn’t want to have a meal yet, but we liked walking around and just check the different menus.
We got a bit tired and empty, so we decided to eat something after all, but… at McDonald’s! I really wanted to try one of the avocado burgers I had seen on an advertisement, so we went back there.

Avocado Burgers
The advertisements that had drawn my attention.

We stood in line and we quickly got to order. They had an English menu, but I pointed at the avocado burgers and also ordered two diet coke. The McDonald’s lady repeated my order after me, but the way she said cola was really weird… We received our order and went up the stairs to find a place to sit. The second floor had an empty table and we sat down. I was so happy to finally have something to drink that I quickly took a sip from my coke… only to almost spit it out in the neck of the person sitting next to us! It was the nastiest surprise ever! My coke wasn’t coke, but… it was black ice coffee! It was so gross! And suddenly I realized what the lady had said. She had said ‘aisu kohi’ and not ‘aisu kora’. I quickly warned my mom before she got the same experience as I did. She tried it anyway, but didn’t like it at all either. I went downstairs and bought a big diet coke this time. Bleh...

Coffee in Disguise
You evil sucker! >_< Oh well, another experience I can add to my ‘no thank you’-list.

The avocado burgers were really nice, by the way.
We decided to go back to the hotel and sit on a bench for the remaining time we had to wait. On the way back, we passed a truck filled with bottles and cans to refill some of the vending machines. I though that was funny. :)
We picked up our suitcases, sat down until it was 2 pm and then went to the hotel desk to ask if our room was ready, but we had to wait an extra 20 minutes, so we sat down again (well, my mom sat while I used her lap as a pillow). After a while, a man and his daughter sat down across from us and my mom and I immediately spotted the amazing bag the girl was carrying. It was shaped like a camera! Perfect for my mom! My mom asked the girl where she got it and she and her dad told us they had bought it in Harajuku! While they got up, the man briefly explained where the shop was located, when the girl spotted my Sherlock shirt and started fangirling for a moment with me. That was nice. :3
Finally, we could pick up our room keys and we went upstairs, all the way to the 14th floor (yay, high with a view)! We entered our room and it looked exactly the same as the room my dad and I had during our first trip, bathroom window included! It made me very happy! =D My mom was happy to see the alarm clock she had loved so much from our pictures. XD

Hotel Room
Our beds, our window, our bathroom window and our view. :3

We went on Skype to talk to my father and brother and went to sleep for a while after that. We were so tired. x)
It was a good thing I turned my phone’s alarm on, otherwise we probably would have slept much longer. I wished we could, but since we had to get used to the new time zone, this was the only way.
We decided to go to MyLord to get something to eat and out of tradition we went to Obon de Gohan, or as we liked to call it: ‘the restaurant with the cups’. During our previous two trips we also ate there on our first night. So we went on our way.

Orange by Night
On our way to have dinner, I had just had to take more pictures of the clock!

We arrived at the restaurant and after some trouble with ordering, we received our food. It was absolutely delicious (God I had missed Japanese food)!

Japanese Food
My mom was so happy to eat in this restaurant again!

After paying we left MyLord and of course, the sensible thing to do would have been to go to the hotel, take things easy and go to sleep. But no. XD We decided to walk around Shinjuku for a bit.
We went outside, went left, walked around Tower Records and past Lumine Est. There, we encountered our first ‘weird English’. In the shop window were examples of outfits from shops inside and they had some interesting texts on them.

College and Teaspoons
The first one is kind of okay, but No. 1 teaspoon..? ^^’

We walked on until we reached the big square with the big tv screen above Studio Alta. You often see it on pictures of Shinjuku and it has always the same advertisement on top of the building.

Studio Alta
Studio Alta.

I had seen pictures and had read about Studio Alta before, but I had never been inside. So we decided to do so this time! And the first shop we encountered? Liz Lisa! *_*

Liz Lisa
The amazing Liz Lisa shop. It even smelled wonderful there!

God I love that store and their newest clothing line was absolutely to die for! Apparently it was called ‘Peaceful French Mermaid’ (yes, really) and it consisted of pastel-coloured dresses, skirts and accessories with gorgeous prints with mermaids and shells. They also had a line with divine flower prints! loved everything! ♥

Liz Lisa Outfits
The left outfit was part of the mermaid line, the right one to the flower line.

We went up the escalator to explore the rest of Studio Alta. It was quite a lot smaller than I expected, but still had a lot of stores! One store had Paris Kids’ accessories and amazing bags with different species of cats and dogs on them.

Animal Bags
Aren’t these bags so cute? *o* I especially loved the chihuahua one.

Other shops had amazing accessories and two shops were completely dedicated to wigs or hair pieces. The hair piece shop was super colourful and even had a special little house-thingy where pictures could be taken I believe. I also saw a picture of Misako, which probably indicated she wears their hair pieces as well..? ^^

Colours and Hair Pieces
The super colourful hair piece shop! *_*

Another shop sold gala dresses, where we discovered a gorgeous necklace my mom wanted to keep in mind to possibly buy later.
Despite it being quite smaller than Shibuya 109, the shops in Studio Alta made even more noise! At one point there were three shops located in a corner with different music playing and since I was already tired, I almost went crazy there! XD
Around 8:30 pm we finally went back to the hotel, where we went to sleep. It had been an amazing, but tiring, but wonderful day! ♥

16 comments:

  1. Yay, it's so nice to read your blogs about your vacation in Japan. I hope you had a great time there.

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    1. I am very happy you you like them! =D
      I really did! :3

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  2. I really enjoyed reading your report about your vacation and the pictures are great! ^_^

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    1. Thank you very much! There are many more to come! <3

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  3. I absolutely LOVE your posts about your trip! They make me so happy and excited for going back to Japan (*´ ˘ `*).。oO ( ♡ )

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    1. Thank you so muuuuuuuuuuch! <(^3^)>

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  4. I have posted on my blog about you! Here's the address again so you can see: http://dolly123diaries.blogspot.com. If there is any wrong information, or if there's something you don't like, just let me know! Thank you soooo much!

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    1. You are sooo sweet! ;0; Your words made me tear up! Thank you so much! <3

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  5. Waaahhhhh so lucky to go back to Japan! And omg you went to Liz Lisa!!!! I love their stuff ;^;
    Kieli~♥

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    1. Liz Lisa truly is amazing! But their clothes are sooo short! >___< That's the only downside...

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    2. Tell me about it! I own 2 of their dresses and I'm too scared to wear them without being with my boyfriend ^^;;;;; Definitely dresses you need with shorts underneath xD;
      Kieli~♥

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    3. I am still planning to buy something from them someday though! =D Underskirts it is! XD

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    4. You should! It would look adorable! <3 And yeah, underskirts work too xD
      Kieli~♥

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  6. I'm always having difficulty finding affordable hotels in Tokyo! What's the name of the one you guys stayed at, it looks nice!

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    1. We stayed at the Shinjuku Sunroute Plaza. It's not really cheap, but the location is ideal in my opinion. :)

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