Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sayonara, Japan!

All good time must come to an end and here I am back in hazy Singapore. This morning we took a limousine bus to the airport but the nearest limousine bus was at Metropolitan Hotel. It was not that far from our hotel but we took more than 30 minutes on foot while dragging luggage and lugging the heavy Genie. It was a comfortable ride for less than 2000 JPY. Lucky I was not crazy enough to follow my initial plan to just take a taxi to the airport.

As expected, Genie was almost not allowed to enter the cabin. After a little argument, I was glad that one of the counter staff was understanding enough when he knew that it was a fragile figurine. He said "It must be something precious to you". The immigration officer was rather unfriendly, unlike the one during my arrival. The departure lounge is pretty good although it is still not as good as Changi. I decided to have my last meal in Japan: Japanese curry in the airport.

We saw Mt Fuji from the plane after take off. Great!! Weather was great after we left Tokyo. Huhuhu T_T I decided to finish watching Harry Potter (which hung during my flight last week), slept, and then ate lunch. When it reached me, I was told that the Indonesian meal was no more. No problem as I had been wanting the Japanese meal. Well, it sucked. It was terrible. During transit in Jakarta, I had to put on a pitiful face to ensure that Genie was allowed into the cabin. Haha.. The flight to Singapore was not full and guess what: I had a broken in-flight entertainment screen! What the fish!!

Some personal reflections after this trip:
1) I am not going to take Garuda for any medium or long haul flights anymore. I should have paid $100-$200 more to fly with ANA or JAL which I believe would be much better than Garuda.

2) I realise that when I am travelling, I enjoy sightseeing and camwhoring more than shopping. Shopping always leaves me with negative feelings such as: Am I going to run out of cash? Is my luggage enough? This is so damn bloody heavy and troublesome to carry? and many more. I feel much happier looking at my photos and reminiscing the good memories while camwhoring.

3) I have yet to find a suitable travel mate :( Yes it is fun to have someone with similar otaku-related hobbies but when it comes to shopping, I prefer shopping alone. My friend does not mind helping me taking photos but because he is not into photos as much as me, his skill is not as good as I want to be. Haiz.. And because he is not that into camwhoring, it feels weird if I keep camwhoring alone and ask him to help me take photos in funny places and inappropriate occasions.

4) Japan is great and I am confident to go there by myself subsequently. I went there with zero knowledge of the language and I survived. Yay!! Haha... Honesly, I can imagine going there for a few days just to hog anime/manga related stuff. There are so many cheap second hand anime/manga related goodies which are still in very good conditions.

5) Japanese customer service is really amazing and inspiring. Although I was unable to reply anything that they said (and I am pretty sure they knew I understood no Japanese), the service staff I encountered would still keep on saying those things that they usually say to the locals. In fact, it makes me want to learn Japanese language so that I am able to reciprocate their courtesy. Compare that to myself at work daily, when I am unable to converse, I will just cut short on everything, put on black face, etc. I am inspired to improve on my customer service. Let see how long I am able to emulate such excellent customer service.

6) Okay I can't believe that I am going to write the next paragraph but I am honestly glad that I work in Singapore. WOW!! Haha.. Yes Japan is great and I don't deny that I used to dream of living and working in Japan. This trip has been an eye opener. First, Japan is so big. Heck, even Tokyo is much bigger than Singapore. Being in tiny Singapore, train journey of more than 15 minutes is considered for me. Compare that to my stay in Tokyo, from my hotel at Ikebukuro, going to any major places (eg. Akiba, Tokyo, Ueno, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shimbashi) takes me at least 30 minutes. In Singapore, that is comparable to travelling from Woodlands to Toa Payoh daily and I really think that is so far. Haha... Second, Japan seems to be a more stressful and workaholic place than Singapore. So yeah, I prefer having slightly better work-life balance and go holiday a few times a year in Tokyo to enjoy myself. Third, transport cost in Japan is much higher than in Singapore. I might not feel the pinch as I used JR pass for most of my transport. There were occasions that JR pass could not be used and each tap could cost anywhere between 200-400 JPY. That is expensive! In Singapore, I think from 1 end of the island to another island cost $3 at the very most. Not to mention that taxi is much more affordable in Singapore. So yeah, I can't really complain a lot about Singapore anymore.

7) I always think that those imported Japanese food or groceries that I can find in Singapore are expensive. Now I am a changed man after seeing the real prices in Japanese. The prices in Singapore, even after conversion to SGD, are actually comparable to the prices in Japan. It is a matter of mindset. I guess when travelling and holding a foreign currency, everything seems to be more affordable. Lol.

I have to unpack now. My room is like a mess not only with the things I bought from Japan personally but also with a lot of things that I bought from Japan online. Haha.. I am so tired to do anything right now..

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