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Tokyo or Osaka: Where to Go for Summer Sonic

This is a legit question my friend Hazel and I agonized over once the decision to go to Japan’s annual music festival Summer Sonic was made. That was in 2015, and we picked Tokyo, and the following year headed on over to Osaka. Both were awesome trips, memorable weekends, stellar lineups ikidyounot, but we did come out of it with a solid winner. Read on and I hope our past summers will help you plan your future escapade. Continue Reading

Tourism Writing Now

Things to Do on a Weekend in La Union

It was the weekend I fell in love with the beach.

I guess it’s just a matter of finding the correct mermaid/scientist guide, the perfect company, or a strong enough motive. Having a non-itinerary itinerary surely helped. It got me back to the basics of the sun, sand, and sea and all that the beach offers. It was my first time in La Union, and the first time I truly loved spending time surrounded by water, and this was how it happened. Continue Reading

Tourism

Things to Do on a Weekend in Singapore

We were there for Chris Martin. Because Coldplay Manila tickets were slippery unicorns, and because my sister would not have any of my defeatist shrugging, and because we had a good friend in Singapore who was more than willing to play host.

So okay, we had the weekend. We knew it wasn’t enough. We knew we wanted some tita time to rest before the concert. What to do? Where to go?

Continue Reading

Tourism

Things to Do on a Spring Trip to Tokyo: Sumida Park, Nakamise Street, Tokyo Skytree,

Day 4 was our last day in Tokyo. But since we had a late flight, there was still time to go around after hotel check out. We wandered back to Nakamise Street, Sensoji Temple, then back to Sumida Park, enjoying our last full view of the sakura. There was an aptly called Sakura Plaza, an elevated area where you can sit and enjoy the view of the trees and the blooms, the river, and the people around you–grandpas in their bikes, mothers and daughters out for a Sunday morning stroll, friends picnicking under the spring sun. Continue Reading

Tourism

Things to Do on a Spring Trip to Tokyo: Tsukiji Market, Yoyogi Park, Takeshita-dori, Ueno

Day 3. I cannot not go back to Tsukiji Market. I know Tokyo had awesome sushi everywhere, but after last year’s market experience, I just had to have it again. So I led the way back to Tsukiji for a late second breakfast, finding Iwasa Sushi, the same restaurant where Hazel and I ate last year. I like that place because the line was forgiving unlike the more popular shops. We waited for only 20 minutes. Their sushi was heaven, even their free refillable green tea and miso soup were so good. Also the staff there are very nice. The okasan staff for one so kindly gave me a small sealed jar that was apparently a seaweed paste that you mix with steaming rice (thank you Ryn for explaining haha). Continue Reading

Tourism

Things to Do on a Spring Trip to Tokyo: Harajuku, Shibuya, Sumida River, Sensoji

Day 2 of my first ever spring in Tokyo had us running around Harujuku and Shibuya in search for sneakers, because the day before’s rainy trek destroyed my friend’s old pair. We found the Onitsuka Tiger flagship store and the Nike flagship store, both in Harajuku near Takeshita-dori. Then we got on the train to Shibuya and found Hachiko. He was corded off–I think there was an event–so I only got to wave at him.

We participated in the Shibuya crossing, and spent the afternoon going up and down the streets, whiling hours away inside Muji, Tokyu Hands and Tower Records. Tower Records was something I really had to see. It’s been so long since I saw so many CDs in the Philippines. And even then, record stores didn’t go as high as 6-7 floors. Japanese CDs are expensive though. I bought the Arctic Monkeys AM album and tried to check for gold slivers inside. I found none. But it’s okay, because Alex Turner <3

Said hi to Tower Records Hachiko instead. Shibuya, Japan.

Said hi to Tower Records Hachiko instead, because the original one at the Shibuya Station was corded off. Shibuya, Japan.

It's hard to explain why the sight of so many CDs excited me. But if you're a music lover from the Philippines too, you'll know what I mean. Tower Records, Shibuya, Japan.

It’s hard to explain why the sight of so many CDs excited me. But if you’re a music lover from the Philippines too, you’ll know what I mean. Tower Records, Shibuya, Japan.

"No indie, no life?" "Yuhuh." Tower Records, Shibuya.

“No indie, no life?”
“Yuhuh.” Tower Records, Shibuya.

The Arashi wall. It wasn't very hard to find. Hehe. Tower Records, Shibuya.

The Arashi wall. It wasn’t very hard to find. Hehe. Tower Records, Shibuya.

 

Before the sun set, we headed back to the hotel for some rest for our tita bones. Then we walked a good 20 minutes to the nearest hanami venue, Sumida Park. On the way, we passed Sensoji Temple, lured towards it by the bright red lights. It was deserted, as was Nakamise Street, so it was a good time to go around and take pictures of the shrine, the temple, and the famed bells of the Kaminari Gate.

Noodle vendo machine. You choose your meal, slip in your yen note, press a button and voila! Food comes out! Kidding, hehe. An order slip comes out then you go in and wait to be called. Asakusa, Japan.

Noodle vendo machine. You choose your meal, slip in your yen note, press a button and voila! Food comes out! Kidding, hehe. An order slip comes out then you go in and wait to be called. Asakusa, Japan.

My vendo meal. Noodles with a hot, spicy dipping sauce. Perfect for the cold. We asked for house tea but the kind shop man told us it's better to slurp the sauce and drink water instead. Asakusa, Tokyo.

My vendo meal. Noodles with a hot, spicy dipping sauce. Perfect for the cold. We asked for house tea but the kind shop man told us it’s better to slurp the sauce and drink water instead. Asakusa, Tokyo.

Sakura on the Sumida Bridge. Crossing it to get to Sumida Park. Asakusa, Tokyo.

Sakura on the Sumida Bridge. Crossing it to get to Sumida Park. Asakusa, Tokyo.

"Try to get a shot of the entire temple." "Okay but you'll look like an ant." "Cool." Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo.

“Try to get a shot of the entire temple.”
“Okay but you’ll look like an ant.”
“Cool.” Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo.

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Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. We were lured by its striking red color and the bright yellow lights on our way to Sumida park.

Nakamise Street, quiet and deserted for the night.

Nakamise Street, quiet and deserted for the night. Went back here in the morning of our last day and it was mad chaos.

Spring blossoms and lights at Sumida Park, lining the banks of the river. Asakusa, Tokyo.

Spring blossoms and lights at Sumida Park, lining the banks of the river. Asakusa, Tokyo.

Salarymen and women toasting the end of another work week along the Sumida River. Kanpai!

Salarymen and women toasting the end of another work week along the Sumida River. Kanpai!

When we finally reached Sumida, we found cherry blossoms lit up with garlands of fairy lights. Under the trees, in full view of the water buses floating along the river, the locals celebrated the end of the week. There were couples on dates eating from disposable wares, side by side the salarymen who were guzzling their beers with chips and yakitori. TGIF indeed. Kanpai!

All photos belong to me.