Monday, May 28, 2018

Doraemon x Murakami Uniqlo T-Shirts

When I saw that the Doraemon x Murakami t-shirts are launching in store in Toronto on May 24, I was sooooo excited and determined to get them. I woke up at 8am and left my house by 8:45am and got to the store at around 9:30am and there was already a lineup forming. I was lucky enough to have made it in the middle of the line before it got really long and I was part of the first set of customers to get inside once the store opened. 

But even then it was still a CRAZY MADNESS in there. As soon as they opened the doors to let people go inside, everyone just charged in and ran to the table and starting grabbing every t-shirt they could get. I almost died fighting through the massive crowd of people to get the t-shirts I wanted. I managed to get everything that I wanted except for one t-shirt that didn't have any small sizes left. There was also a limit to how many t-shirts you could buy. Each person is limited to buy 2 of the same t-shirt of the same pattern or 2 of the same t-shirt in 2 different colours only. Even the plush toy was limited to 2 per customer.

Friday, May 18, 2018

SusuMetro - Moving Tokyo! Moving Metro!

When I was in Tokyo, I noticed a lot of improvements and changes were being made especially in transportation to make travel much more convenient and smooth not only to the local citizens there but also to tourists as well! Japan is really undergoing a lot of changes in preparation for the Olympics in 2020. 

When I was taking the metro subway, I would often spot these super adorable Doraemon ads at many stations which is aimed to spread awareness of some of the new changes and improvements that Tokyo Metro is working with city developers to make its station more convenient and to make passenger flow smoother. 

Some of these changes include extending and expanding platforms to make them longer and wider to better distribute passengers traffic and make transfer smoother. There will also be more platforms and train tracks being added to alleviate congestion and train delays. If you have ever taken the trains and subways in Tokyo then you'd know how crowded it can be. During rush hour time, there would be soooooo many people on the platform that there is barely even any space for you to stand. 

More attentiveness and safety! One time when I was riding the metro, there was a passenger who was in a wheelchair and the staffs at the station helped him get on the train by asking other passengers to stand to the side and make room for him and even pushing him all the way into the train and positioning him in a spot where he is safe. Such high level of attentiveness and consideration! Also, when I took the train to the Doraemon museum, I didn't know which exit/way to go to take the special Doraemon bus to get to the museum. I saw a station staff and went up to him to ask for direction and he actually said please follow me, I will take you there! I know it may not sound like such a big deal but when you are in Tokyo and there are like a ton of exits you can take, it can be quite terrifying when you take the wrong exit and get lost easily. I was very touched by his genuine help to ensure I was heading to the right place. Compared to my encounters from my previous trips to Japan, their level of customer service has truly improved. I recall getting some very rude and unhelpful station staffs when I was lost and had to ask for directions. 

Which also brings to my next point that I have noticed there is an increase of more English speaking staffs working at the information counter. Even staffs patrolling around the gate area to provide help to passengers and tourists who are lost and need guidance. They are also super easy to spot as well as they're mostly in a blue uniform wearing a blue hat! lol.

Get comfortable and efficient. Two of the most efficient changes I've noticed was more escalators and more clean, comfortable, and multi-functional washrooms. Okay, before I really didn't think having more escalators was a needed thing in Tokyo but it does make a HUGE difference when you have to carry luggage around and climbing up those long ass stairs with the luggage is not the most ideal workout ever. Not to mention I don't know why transfer line platforms are sooooooo far apart inside train stations that it requires you to walk sooooo much to get to the other transfer line platform to take your next train. Sometimes I'm reading those signs that tell you how many metres you are away from the train line platform and it makes me want to literally scream out loud like I'm still not there yet...I thought it said 15 metres 5 minutes ago?!?! But I am soooo glad they finally got more western-style toilets, no more Japanese-style squatting toilets, lol. And there are more hand dryers!!! YASSSS. No more air drying your hand or carrying a handkerchief around. I also like that there are more benches added for passengers to sit and more elevators to conveniently move from ground level to concourse level without having to use stairs. The new LED lights and work spaces which allow use of computers, tablets and other devices is also a really neat touch as well. 

And lastly I've noticed a great increase of platform doors everywhere inside the train stations to reduce the number of passenger falls and even gap fillers between the train and the platforms to prevent slipping. And the doors are half in height so that you can see the train when it arrives. 

There are many other amazing and efficient improvements that are being made to the Tokyo Metro which you can learn about on the official website. It's also super cute and interactive with Doraemon being your guide and there are so many cute images and even videos you can watch! Do check it out!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Cherry Blossoms At Shinjuku Gyoen Park

I visited Shinjuku Gyoen Park without expecting to see cherry blossoms there because I have expected they have all fallen off already. But to my surprise, there were these different kind of sakura that were in full bloom on the day of when I decided to go to Shinjuku Gyoen Park and I was so lucky and fortunate to be able to see them.

Although I have to say it was the worst weather to see them that day as well due to this huge wind storm in Tokyo. The wind was SO STRONG that it was blowing everything off the ground. There was also several times when the wind was blowing all the petals off the sakura trees creating this "raining sakura" view that you'd see in Japanese anime, dramas, and movies and it was such a beautiful and romantic view. If only the wind was not so strong and blowing everything at my face (including all the sand and dust on the ground) that I had to close my eyes each time to prevent becoming blind. (-___-")

However, I do like how these selfies turned out with the wind blowing and messing up my hair creating this messy but natural kind of candid shot portrait. 

This type of sakura is called "yae-zakura八重桜 a double-layer type of sakura which is famous for its beauty and strength and also has more than 5 petals that is different from the common pale pink Somei Yoshino that are much more delicate and has a shorter life span. Yae-zakura also bloom around mid April to late April as well. To be honest, I like these sakura more because they are soooooooo pink, soft and fluffy!! 🌸🌸🌸

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Namie Amuro H&M Spring & Summer Collection

H&M collaborated with Namie Amuro to release a special spring and summer collection of clothes to be sold in 81 stores nationwide in Japan and online as well as other places in Asia. When I was in Japan, I made sure to snap every advertisement I see of Namie Amuro as I'll probably never be able to see them again when she retires in September this year. Unfortunately, I left Japan 3 days before the release of the clothing line was available for purchase in store. But I was happy to be able to see the advertisement and snap a few pictures of them at the H&M in Harajuku. 

Promotional pictures of her wearing the clothes from the special collection. 

Advertisement posters and display that I saw at the H&M in Harajuku. I actually quite like the long blue floral dress. 

And if you purchase items from the special collection, you'll also receive a limited edition bag with Namie Amuro's picture on it. I wish I was still in Japan to purchase them in store! =( 

If you love Namie Amuro, be sure to check it out if you are traveling to Japan or visit the Japan H&M website for more details. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Review: First Cabin Akasaka Capsule Hotel

Another review on a capsule hotel I stayed at in Tokyo. First Cabin is a little different from the other capsule hotels as it has an airport concept theme which combines compact and luxury into one. There are many branches within Tokyo and other regions of Japan and there is even one at Haneda airport as well. I stayed at the one in Akasaka 赤坂 which is located in the residential and commercial district area north of Roppongi nightlife district.

The check in front desk is located on the 2nd floor. There are quite a number of English speaking staffs so I didn't have any problems with communication. Check in actually doesn't start until 5pm but if you wanted to arrive at the hotel early and leave your luggage or bag behind, the staffs are more than welcome to help you store it there until you check in for free at no additional cost. 

One of the cooliest thing at the front desk that I got to mention is this self playing piano that plays music on its own. I didn't take notice at first and thought it was just a piano on display but it actually operates on it own and plays programmed music recorded. How incredibly amazing is that?

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