8 Days in Ja-FUN

by - December 18, 2019

If you know me personally, then you probably know that I love the Japanese culture so much. Japan is probably the place I would want to visit countless times. I grew up watching animes, loving Japanese food and is always amazed at the culture of Japanese people. This could be because I have relatives that worked in Japan that influenced me about its amazing culture. My grandmother, my uncle, and my aunt all used to work in Japan. I remember all the big boxes coming from Japan that contained all the instant noodles and chocolates. It was a lot of noodles that we can even share some with our neighbors HAHA! The days.

Then there came the time my half Japanese cousins lived in the Philippines for a while. They even went to school here. I remember every afternoon where we would just play Game Cube, DS, and PS2. And of course, what's a Nintendo console without Mario, right? Haha! It's literally a Mario Party.

Then after some time when my uncle went home here in the Philippines for good, he used to sell okonomiyaki at Marikina River Banks. Okonomiyaki wasn't a thing here on The Philippines back then.

I remember I can still talk to my Japanese cousins back then because they still know Filipino. Now, even though we want to chat, we can't just talk to each other! I really have to learn Nihonggo. :D

I could go on and on and on why I love the Japanese culture so much and why this country is on the top of my bucket list but let's not dwell in that. My plan is that when I finish traveling all Southeast Asian countries, I'll visit Taiwan, Korea, and Japan next.

So fast forward to now, here I am on my last night in Japan and writing this blog post. :)

This trip was supposed to be last March, just in time for the Cherry Blossoms, but unfortunately, I didn't have any leave credits yet back then. So when CebPac had their sale again, I booked my ticket to Osaka from Dec. 11-19. It was a long vacation, the longest I'd taken so far, but for me, this is just the right length of stay because I know I'll enjoy so much. And needless to say, I'm on the last stretch of my stay here in Japan and it's nothing but good and not enough!! Japan is freaking beautiful!!!

Also, even before I'm planning this trip, my Japanese uncle is already inviting us to visit. So for the 9 days I'm here, I am staying at my tita in Nara, Japan. Just minutes away from Osaka and Kyoto. Didn't I just save so bucks for accommodation? Hihi.

I arrived in Kansai International Airport at around 8:25PM. My tita is picking me up together with my cousin. I claimed my sim card and exchanged 100 USD just for initial money because my friends told me it’s better to withdraw money from 7eleven that to exchange money all the time. It's very convenient too because there's a lot of 7 eleven and there are ATMs to almost all train stations.

On my first night, they treat me to legit ramen! Haha! Ramen late at night. I swear I probably gained a looooot of weight. I don't eat rice but here, there's always rice for everything. Also, 3 meals a day! Which I am not used to nowadays because I don't eat breakfast anymore.

So yep, my cousin is sooooo big already haha. He's matured now. I remember I was his baby sitter when he was still a kid. LOL. While staying at my tita's house, they let me occupy Anika's room.

The next day, I was working from home  (or should I say working from Japan?) and didn't have anything planned. For lunch, my uncle treated me for some legit sushi and girl, the sushi here has a lot of varieties compared to Japanese restos we have in Manila. I mean, I don’t even know the other kinds of sushi, all I know is salmon and tuna sushi but here there's like 30 more variants. Even the wasabi is different. I also liked that they have free green tea for customers. There's a powder green tea available then there's a faucet for hot water. I won't forget that lunch.

We roam around Nara Park while waiting for my tita to finish her work. After her work, we went to fetch Anika from her school then Tito Takeshi dropped me and tita to Nara Family mall to shop for some stuff. Lucky for me, almost all shops are on sale. End of season sale it is! Haha. One thing I noticed here, they're not into international brands so much. I mean we Filipinos patronize brands that aren't Filipino made but here, almost all shops are Japanese local brands.

Can I also just say that this is my first winter experience? Haha! And I'd probably won't go back here during winter. It's freaking cold. The coldest was probably when we went to Universal Studios Japan where I can feel the cold up to my bones.

After we shop, we already went home using bikes. She taught the way to their house from the train station which to be honest until now, I can't still memorize. I always get lost and if it weren't for google maps, I'd probably be stuck looking for the right way. The street at night is very scary and there are areas with no lights. The only light I can see was the light from the bike itself so when I'm stopping to look at my phone for the correct direction, it is REALLY black. That's why I always try to go home when there's still sunlight but since it's winter, the sun sets early and I have no choice but to brave the way going home.

After going home, we went to a shabu shabu place. I was still full from the sushi but this is shabu shabu, my favorite!!  Also, the meat is sooo good.

And that's how I mostly spent my first day. On the span of 8 days, I went to Osaka twice, Went to Kobe and tried Skiing at Rokko Snow Park. We also visited the Chinatown in Kobe. Roamed around Nara Park wearing a kimono, went to USJ, and just today, I went to Kyoto.

There's just a lot of places to see. I skipped many places and just went to the usual tourist places so I really look forward to going back. Plus there's still Tokyo and other places I have to see!!!

But so far, my first visit really is amazing. All thanks to my tita and tito for hosting me. They're very nice to me and made sure I have everything I need. Asking me if there's any food I want to try, going out of their way to tour me. I can't ask for more. :)

Stay tuned for my Japan posts! :D

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