Sunday, June 24, 2018

Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer

I do not normally watch Conan movies but Zero the Enforcer caught my interest from the trailer. It seems exciting and action packed. More importantly, Rei Furuya aka Bourbon aka Tooru Amuro is featured quite heavily in this movie. I do not follow Conan anime as well so my knowledge about Conan is as far as the Indonesian version of the manga and at this point of time, the identity of Rei/Bourbon/Amuro is still mysterious.

Zero the Enforcer has a nice mystery plot and twists although it is less funny than usual with limited screen time of the Detective Boys and the absence of Heiji and Kazuha. The story involves Japanese police system and legal system so it can be quite educational too if someone is interested in such things. As usual, Conan movies' action scenes tend to be over-the-top, unrealistic, and unbelievable. Despite all these, the action scenes are still adrenaline pumping. The suspense is sustained throughout the movie because the characters seem to be clueless about what is happening with electronic devices everywhere mysteriously exploding. The climax is quite intense because the place expected to be a safe haven turns out to be unsafe too. Overall, Zero the Enforce is pretty good Conan movie with good mystery plot as well as exciting adventure/action component. 

I always enjoy characters that have multiple identities and have to maintain different personas. Conan is one example of such character so it is interesting to see how he is also confused when encountering people that behave similarly. Having said that, based on the current progress of Indonesian Conan manga, I actually hate all these multiple identities and disguises as it makes everything confusing. After knowing who is actually who and whether they are good or bad makes me enjoy the story more. That is quite obvious for me who prefer spoilers to being kept in suspense hahaha.. So now I am happy to know who Rei/Bourbon/Amuro is.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Incredibles 2

The Incredibles came out in 2004 and I found it groundbreaking with the theme: what if superheroes do exist in real life? Not only it deals with the usual superheroes stuff, the family theme makes the struggles more believable. It took more than a decade for Incredibles 2 and I am definitely very hyped about it.

I am not sure if I have grown up or Incredibles 2 simply lacks the novelty factor that the original has as I do not enjoy it as much as the first one. Incredibles 2 still deals with present world family issue when mum has to work and dad has to take care of kids at home. Other than this, it basically reuses whatever has been used in the Incredibles, except that this time is saving the mum instead of the dad. The characters do not exactly develop and nothing new is offered from them so seeing the same powers like in the first movie no longer extract the same sense of wonder. The conflict/threat presented seems too personal or small scale for a superhero movie and I honestly cannot be bothered about "whether superheroes are legal or not" compared to a "threat to humanity or world destruction" for example. The action scenes are not that action-packed and I do not get any adrenaline rush. Perhaps the saving grace for this movie is Edna Mode and Jack Jack but they do not get enough screen time to actually make me enjoy this movie.

I had high hope for this movie and I was hoping that this movie could help to uplift my mood a little bit. Nah..

Monday, June 4, 2018

End of holiday & Virgin Business Class experience

To mark the end of holiday, I will combine the post of my virgin experience travelling in Business Class. It should have been First Class but due to the unfortunate equipment change, I ended up with only Business Class. The consolation prize is that the flight was changed to the latest B787-10 plane (which unfortunately does not have First Class) and I got to experience the latest Business Class seat... as if I had experience the old one lol. Before I start, pardon my ungratefulness and for complaining of "first world problems".

Singapore-Tokyo SQ 638 (25 May)
There was a time when the queue for economy was too long and I was diverted to the Business Class lanes which at Changi Airport are located at totally different check in rows. That time the Business Class lanes were quite empty. Now when I had Business Class, the Business Class lanes were pretty crowded with each counter had about 3 people in the queue.

That did not dampen my excitement for the access to the SilverKris Lounge that comes with Business Class ticket. I was too excited until I forgot about my mobile wifi rental. Lol. The lounge was great but it was way too crowded. Yes.. I know it is another first world problem. I am used to the free lounges that come with credit cards and those lounges usually have sucky food options but relaxing and quiet. SilverKris Lounge was so busy like a food court but at least in the end I still managed to get a seat. The food options are quite varied although they are not food that I enjoy. Curry.. Laksa.. I do not want to risk diarrhea for my travelling. I also don't eat things with bones. But definitely the food options and drinks are better than those "free" lounges.

The experience of turning left to enter the plane was so exciting. When I was sitting at the chair for the first time, I felt so restless and could not stop grinning like a kid being excited for something for the first time. I was not familiar with the things, compartments, and various buttons which are usually non-existent in Economy. Too bad I was too shy to ask the cabin crew to help taking a picture even though I entered the plane quite early and the Business Class section was still empty.
That's all I have as a memento of this experience :(
After the plane took off and reclining was allowed, I realised that my seat was broken T_T Whut...!!! As it was a midnight flight, the cabin light was already darkened and there I was standing for about 20 minutes in the dark while watching 2 ladies crouching and bending down to manouver and try fixing my seat. Gosh.. where were the stewards? In the end, the seat was declared official spoilt. Oh well. what to do? I would just have to enjoy the rest of the flight and thinking of how to send a complaint for compensation later on.

Few minutes later, I was asked to switch seat as there was a staff travelling. I initially refused because I could emphatise with that staff. However, the air stewardess insisted as this was part of their service and responsibility to give up a staff's seat when things like this happened. The new seat was still a window seat but I preferred my 12A with the seat next to the window. The new seat has the seat next to the aisle. Honestly after standing for 20 minutes my sleepiness sort of disappeared and with the traffic along the aisle, I had difficulty sleeping. I could not get myself comfortable: it was warm with blanket but when my body came into contact with the frame of the seat, it was cold. In the end, I only managed to sleep for about 2 hours.

I chose to have my meals as breakfast and I was excited for the famed Lobster Thermidor. Despite the simplistic appearance, it was tasty. I liked it and I enjoyed it. That is a huge compliment from someone so picky about food and usually do not eat things that require peeling. Oh ya, despite the small look, it actually made me full. I also tried the free wifi on board for a short while. I could post a picture on facebook so the wifi is not that bad la. Haha.. I spent the rest of the flight watching Coco which was suprisingly great. I did not manage watching till the end.
Breakfast on air~~
On the ground, I could not find my luggage at the carousel while my sister's one was already out and she was travelling in Economy. Surprise surprise.. my luggage was actually already placed on the floor and was ready for collection. Hehe.. first time so I did not know would have such service mah.

So that is all for my first time experiencing Business Class. Despite the hiccup, the 1-2 hours of sleep on a full-flat seat (aka bed) made a huge difference from sleeping in a seating position. I felt much more refreshed and less tired on the day. I suppose the great lobster also helped. I did write a feedback because how can a seat in a new plane was already spoilt etc. I basically got 5000 miles as service recovery. Oh well.. better than nothing.

Tokyo-Singapore SQ 637 (4 June)
This was my first time leaving Tokyo from Narita (previously my return flights were always from Haneda) and I learnt to buy a return Airport Limousine bus next time as it would save 1000yen+ compared to buying 2 tickets separately.

Because of Business Class ticket, I decided to heck care and bring home the Disneyland umbrella. Each passenger was allowed to put 2 pieces of luggage in the bus storage so I had to carry 2 small bags + umbrella + backpack up to the bus. Lucky the bus was not full and I could put my barang-barang on the seat next to me.

The check-in at Narita was amazing and much better than what I experienced in Singapore. My sister was in Economy but she was allowed to check in together with me at the Business Class lane. Staff also helped with her check-in luggage. That was amazing because even I did not get that kind of treatment at Business Class check in in Singapore.

I got ANA lounge access and there were a few in the airport. We did some last minute shopping (as always!) and the ANA lounge staff was very kind to inform me that there was another lounge nearer to my gate and asked if I would like to go to that lounge instead. Wow of course!! Haha.. I enjoyed ANA lounge better than SilverKris lounge. There was crowd but it was not to the point of difficult in finding seats. To be fair, perhaps because it was a morning flight vs midnight flight at SilverKris lounge. I enjoyed the food more as they were things that I would eat (e.g sandwiches, pastries, sushi, etc). I would not compare with SilverKris lounge's offerings because some people may prefer "heavier" food options there.

I decided to be thick-skin this time and I asked cabin crew to help me take picture in the Business Class seat. Haha.. He was also nice to offer if I would need some orientation with the new seat. If only I was offered that during the flight last week, it would be much more appreciated. Guess what? I was having problem again with my seat T_T The air steward managed to get my seat into full-flat position so no more 5000 miles for service recovery. Lol. I would not mind not lying down for this flight as I decided to watch movies.

I continued watching Coco and towards the ending, it got really touching and I was holding my tears. It was so embarrassing when a stewardess happened to walk pass and asked me if everything was okay. Lol. I continued with Call Me by Your Name which I tried watching in my flight to Jakarta in April but because of the glare from the screen during that flight, I had no idea what was going on. Honestly I felt quite uncomfortable watching as there were some male x male scenes and I was concerned when people were walking pass my seat. Lol.

Lastly, I decided to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi and now I sort of understand why so much dislike towards this. I kinda liked Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which I also watched on a plane a few years ago) but The Last Jedi made me regret and I could have spent the time watching something else. There were emotional and desperate moments which unfortunately were turned into anti-climaxes because of the Jedi power. I was actually shocked and saddened when Leia died but that moment was turned into confusion when somehow she was able to survive using her Jedi power. Luke's grand entrance and his fight in the end were emotional and touching and this too was turned disappointing when he was only projecting himself and eventually he died just like that. Thank goodness I am never a Star Wars fan to begin with.

The Book-The-Cook option from Tokyo does not feature lobster so I chose Beef Curry which I have to say: disappointing. It did not look appetizing, it looked small, there are better beef curry out there, and the standard meal that my neighbour had looked more tempting than this Beef Curry. Oh well.. I was not in an adventurous mood to try alcoholic drink so the only thing I ordered was a mix of pineapple juice with something.
Appetizer.. The left plate was for bread which was not served yet when I took this photo
I already finished the bread :p and yes this is the sad looking Beef Curry
In summary, the whole Business Class experience is not as WOW as what I imagined before. I thought it would be a waste to have it for the red eye flight since it is only for sleeping but I stand corrected. A nice and comfortable sleep for a red eye flight is better than watching in-flight entertainment. The day time flight is not as attentive as I expected and that was another reason why I did not really try more drinks. One obvious reason for me to prefer Business Class will be when my trip intention is to do shopping. That extra baggage allowance and having 1 overhead compartment to myself for my stuff is great and something I will not get in Economy.

Having said those and despite all the hoohah during the booking, I still prefer collecting miles than cashback for my credit cards. Hehe.. Yes it is to "buy" the experience since there is no way I will be spending 3000k+++ just for a flight using real cash. And I have yet to experience the First Class, Suites, and the Private Room. Haha..

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Japan Trip Day 9: Shibuya, Nakano Broadway, Shinjuku, Akihabara

Last day of holiday is always contradictory. It is the last day of shopping and packing so the tendency is to rush. Yet since shopping places do not open so early, there is no need to rush in the morning and that makes the rushing during shopping hours even more.

I started the day going to Shibuya Loft because I was really interested in getting the 3D printed figurine. As the building is not exactly visible from the famous Shibuya crossing, it was my first time there and I think it is quite a hip shopping mall. It was a wasted trip since the 3D figurine counter was always unmanned and I could not tell if the staff of the mall were the same staff for this. Asking questions was also out of question since I could not speak Japanese. Honestly after seeing the sample figurines, I was not as excited. The face is not smooth like resin/PVC/clay figurines but has textile-like structure. Yet with the studio closing in August, this might be the one and only chance I can take my narcissism to this level.

Next I went to Nakano Broadway. Although it was almost 11am, I was surprised that the train was still relatively quiet and today is a Sunday. I reached at about 11am to find many shops were not open yet. Lol I was too eager because internet states the building opens at 11am but Mandarake only opens at 12am lol. I decided to have breakfast at McD first. I do not know how the Japanese ask if I want to eat there or take away so perhaps that is the next thing I need to learn.

Despite having Business Class luggage allowance, storage space will never be enough when it comes to toys and I decided to ship the things I bought at Mandarake although it means having to pay for EMS shipping and forgoing the tax refund. I bought Free! artbooks and Heero & Relena figures which were on sale due to damaged box at Surugaya that I saw yesterday. Another consideration for shipping was to have free hands for my shopping later in the day. Lol.

I still could not stop thinking about the 3D figure so I went back to Shibuya Loft and in the end I just had to give up as there was still noone manning the counter :( I went to Shinjuku and somehow found the Uniqlo store with the Doraemon statues. It was actually a Bicqlo store (Bic Camera + Uniqlo combined store) so no wonder it did not appear as Uniqlo store in google. Shinjuku is so big and I do not think I will be able to locate this place back haha but it was quite nice somehow ending in this area as it was a car-free day and people could walk on the streets.
If I were a Doraemon fan, I would be thick skin and asked a stranger to help me take a photo lol
Akihabara was also having a car-free day until 6pm and it was interesting to see people cosplaying and taking pictures on the streets. Since I was empty handed, I decided to buy food stuff at Don Quijote and Kazuya Miyuki figure. 5000 yen was not enough to get 8% tax refund so I added Ryosuke Kominato palmate figure (1000 yen) and with tax refund, it felt as if I only paid 200 yen for him.

I binged eat again for dinner. On top of buying 2 packs of paopao, I also bought Godiva drink and takoyaki from the hotel's food court. Obviously I could not finish them and I had to force my sister to help me with paopao. Lol. Packing was also a nightmare from overshopping. If I did not ship my shopping from Mandarake, there was no way I could fit everything haha.. After deciding that I would bring 2 suit cases + 1 hand carry bag to be checked in + 1 hand carry bag + 1 backpack tomorrow, I did not have enough lock. Lol. At 9pm, I walked around Shinagawa area to find kombinis and they all did not sell lock. Oh well.. lucky my sister brought 1 extra.

So that is all for this Japan holiday T_T

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Japan Trip Day 8: Kamakura, Akihabara, Tokyo Skytree

Kamakura is my mother's request. Although she is not coming for this trip, since I already spent time researching how to go and what to see, I decided not to waste the effort. There is a direct train from Shinagawa and it takes about half an hour so it is quite convenient to visit.

There are many temples and gardens in Kamakura although the most famous attraction is the Giant Buddha. In the interest of time, I decided to just take a look at Giant Buddha. The location is actually called Kotokuin Temple. I thought Giant Buddha will make Kamakura quite a major place to visit so I am quite surprised that road signs are still mostly using Kanji and there is still minimum English. With that, navigating the area is not that easy without proper preparation and I decided to walk to Kotokuin from Kamakura station. Actually the temples and gardens are within walking distance although the time taken can be 45-60 minutes. Lol. I would actually enjoy a relaxing stroll as it still feels like a traditional Japanese environment but it was rather hot today and my sunburn skin was not in the best condition to really enjoy the stroll.

I find the Giant Buddha quite underwhelming as it is not as gigantic as I imagine. The temple area is quite small too. Perhaps one highlight is that people can actually go inside the Buddha statue although there is nothing to see inside. Honestly, I think Borobudur Temple is still more amazing than this. No offence intended.
Those promo images never show the people giving the false impression that the Buddha statue is really gigantic
We continued the trip to Hase station to take Enoden to the Kamakura-koko-mae station which is famous as the rail station next to the beach. I don't know if my expectations and imagination run too wild but I find the real thing is not as romantic as what those anime/manga/drama/TV depict and it is a rare chance to take pictures with all the elements: the train (which is not so frequent), the track, the road, and the sea together.
View from platform of Kamakura-koko-mae station
However I find the Enoden stations are unique. Some stations are pretty small with only 1 platform and 1 track which is not a problem for alternating trains to both directions since the train frequency is quite low. Some stations do not have gantry but they have standing machines to tap our train cards. I find it quite refreshing to see these differences from the modern Japan.

As I am typing this, I only discover that I missed the famous spot. From the station, I walked along the road towards Enoshima island but the famous spot is actually up the hill near the school which is at the opposite direction. Oh well.. No wonder I did not really see tourists along the way.

I did not enjoy the walk towards Enoshima island. The beach is not pretty, the weather was hot, and I did not expect the actual distance was THAT long. It was quite stresful too that the direction signs are all in Kanji and I had no idea how far more to walk or if I lost my way. From map, I thought the distance was reasonable. Because of all of these, I decided not to walk across the bridge to Enoshima island but to find the nearest train station to back to Tokyo. Lol.

We took train back to Kamakura station as my sister wanted to get a tumbler from a Starbucks that we passed by earlier when we walked towards Kotokuin. This seems to be an 'atas' Starbucks since there was a staff helping us to find seat when we entered. Because of the heat, I decided to get a drink and a sandwich for lunch. Perhaps that was my first Starbucks in Japan since my first time visiting Japan in 2015. Near the station, I had a level 5 matcha ice cream. The higher level means more bitter/concentrated matcha. I am not too particular about food taste but with the heat just now, any ice cream would be nice.

I spent the afternoon at Akihabara again because I had not explored the blocks towards Don Quijote. I found that there was another Surugaya store here which sells Kazuya Mizuki figure for 5000 yen. This is really tempting as I have been trying to find this online but cannot find it especially at this price. I also found Heero & Relena figurine that I bought last year in Osaka here being sold for 2000 yen cheaper because of the box condition. Aaargh!!! Well these were put in kiv again as I still want to check out Nakano Broadway tomorrow. It is difficult to kiv things as they may be sold but at the same time what if I find something better but I already have not enough luggage space. Gosh.. Anyway Hinata figurine at Lashinbang was already sold and now Oikawa is available. Looks like something from my kiv list yesterday is gone now as I do not want to get only Kageyama without Hinata.

My loot from Akihabara today is less than yesterday. I only bought from Amiami shop today: Cloud and Zidane mini plush (1750 yen each) and Yusuke Urameshi Manga Structure Set (1340 yen).

I had dinner at MOS burger and I decided to get Christopher Robin plushie from Disney Store. I googled Disney Stores in Tokyo and I decided to go to Tokyo Solamachi. Tokyo Solamachi is near Tokyo Skytree and I had not been there before. It is not too far from Akihabara and there is a direct train to Shinagawa so it is a good new place to explore.

Tokyo Skytree is not exactly convenient to reach so I did not really explore the area. I did not even see the Tokyo Skytree and the area was already quite quiet at 730pm. Tokyo Solamachi is quite a nice shopping mall so next time I will have to explore this area. At the Tokyo Banana shop here, I saw Tokyo Banana cheese cake -something that I saw for the first time so obviously I bought a few boxes. Tomorrow is already my last day so it is a matter of time to start thinking of souvenirs.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Japan Trip Day 7: Akihabara

As much as I would like to explore Nikko, I had to listen to my aging body. I was too tired to find the way to go to Nikko last night so I decided that I would just spend the whole day shopping at Akihabara today. Shopping meant I could slept longer as there was no point going too early before shops opened.

With one whole day for shopping, I basically took my time to explore shop by shop, building by building. By mid-day, I only finished 2 buildings just outside the stations lol.

It was quite relaxing to have 1 day to stop but clearly 1 day at Akihabara is not enough. Haha.. I was so stressed trying to remember which shops sell which items at which price because so many different shops are selling same items for different prices. Obviously I will try my best to get the cheapest. With more shops, there are more items to buy so eventually the stress goes to prioritising what to buy. Not to mention that I have not visited Nakano Broadway yet and there may be other things that I will want to buy.

Most of my loots today came from this small shop called Ganking. It is located at the same building as Lashinbang. I bought a mini Q posket set (Aladdin, Jasmine, Peter Pan, Wendy) for 3500 yen, an additional Aladdin alone for 800 yen, PM figure of Tooru Amuro for 2400 yen (I prefer a cooler or more action type of figure but since I don't have any Amuro's figure, this Cafe Poirot version will do for now and it is cheap), and Conan Chokonose figure for 1250 yen (I bought the reading book version. Due to space, I kiv-ed the talking through voice changer version because the face is not so cute). Perhaps the golden treasure found today is Hakuoki Artbook set that I found in the first Surugaya store nearest to the Akihabara station. I bookmarked this item in my CDJapan account since 2012 and after that it was sold out so to find it for only 2200 yen (vs original price 4000 yen) is definitely a good bargain. I also bought Free! Starting Days artbook. Okay add 8% taxes to all the above. Lol.

In the same building, there is another shop which sells a lot of gachapon toys loose. I bought Disney Prince Bust Statue Collection: Hercules (400 yen), Aladdin (500 yen), Eric (350 yen), and the Prince from Snow White (350 yen). Don't know why Aladdin is the most expensive.  

Surprisingly, I came out empty handed from Mandarake lol. It never happened before. There are some items that I keep in my kiv list such as Cloud and Zidane Mini Plush (from Amiami), Yu Yu Hakusho - Manga Structure (from Amiami), Echizen Ryoma and Taikoubou Jump 50th Anniversary figure (from Surugaya nearest to the station), and Hinata and Kageyama figures (from Lashinbang), and a Free! poster/bromide display that I am not exactly sure what (also from Lashinbang).

I could not find the curry rice store near the station so I ate at Ginza Lion for lunch and for dinner I finally bought PaoPao for dinner. the holiday is coming to an end, there is always a shift of attention to food.

Hmm.. I thought since the whole day I was only shopping, my post would be shorter today. This turns out to be quite long too. Haha.. Okay back to laundry business again now.