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Useful Links for Planning Travel to Japan

Few sites I found very useful when planning travel to Japan

1. Japan Guide – almost all information you need about Japan and a useful forum to ask questions/share.

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2.  Hyperdia – super useful on checking transportation in Japan including timetable and fares. I also have the apps one installed in my phone.

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3. JNTO (Japan Nationa Tourism Organization) – useful interaction maps and itinerary suggestion.

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4. Tokyo Metro – for Tokyo Subway Maps

One thing I did not find is a site that provides a good downloadable maps of Japan. Whereas I consider this very important on planning my trips. I need to know geographically the places to decide travel route (together with subway/train maps).
I did find what I was looking for in form of brochure, when I arrived in Japan in Tourist Information Center.

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Hope this is useful for you who is going to exlplore Japan. Happy traveling!

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Lembang, July 2013

Finally had the first family trip since..well, looong time ago, I suppose. Also intended as family gathering before Ramadhan.
The venue: Mountain Spring Resort Lembang, Bandung- around 1km from Pasar Lembang. Rented two villas (2 bedrooms each) side by side.
Had barbeque at night (arrived Friday evening), some exercise and gift exchanged in the morning. Lazy lazy committee for not planning more programs xixixi

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Joining the team was mostly mom’s and madang’s family (madang = mama gadang = mom’s big sister). I lived with Madang when I was a kid so this is basically my extended core family :)
I remember the time when I shared room with my cousin, and when we started being a grown up and had a girl chitchat.
Oh…how time flies..

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Fujiko F Fujio Museum

Ever since I knew that this museum exist from my friend’s pics in FB, I was determined that I HAVE to visit the museum on my next visit to Japan :D
As a loyal viewer of Doraemon, I would love to ‘meet’ his creator, also to meet the ‘real’ Doraemon. So there it was, listed on our must-visit in our trip to Japan last April.
The thing was, the ticket museum must be purchased in advance via loppi machine in Lawson convenient store in JAPAN. To visit the museum, we need to purchase the ticket a month – 2 weeks prior the visit. And we only started to arrange itinerary around 3 weeks before the visit. We’re doomed! :D
My sister in Tsukuba helped us to purchase the ticket, so we are saved for April 25 2013, 10 am.

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Fujiko F Fujio Museum tickets

The ticket is 1000 yen for adult, and you must determine the visiting date and time when purchasing the ticket. There are 4 options of visiting time: 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, and 16:00. The website states that we need to enter the museum no later than half an hour within the reservation time.
The museum is located in Kawasaki, nearest stations are passed by JR Nanbu Line (Noborito and Shukugawara sta.) and Odakyu-Odawara Line (Mukougaoka yuen and Noborito sta.) from Tokyo.
It’s a long journey for us since we departed from Tsukuba, so we have to leave early in the morning after the exhaustion in Tokyo DisneySea the day (night) before. Aaandd..we missed the train so we need to wait for the next one and it screwed our plan. We were anxious whether we can get to the museum on time (or 10:30 am the latest).
We took the Tsukuba Express train to Akihabara then JR Chuo Line to Shinjuku, then JR Odakyu Odawara Line to Mukogaoka yuen station. It was a looong ride and we made plenty of unwise decisions here :D First, taking Chuo Line in work rush hour is very bad decision – it is packed!
Second, we should’ve gotten off in Noborito station and take the shuttle bus to the museum instead of got off in Mukogaoka yuen and walked to the station. We thought that we can still make it, but the stated 16mins walking distance from Mukagaoka yuen to the museum in the website turned out to be JAPANESE WALKING distance and the distance is actually about 1km. Hahaha
So anyone who’s visiting Fujiko Fujio Museum, please take shuttle bus from Noborito station. It’s moreee convenient and the bus is cute too :D

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Noborito Station, shuttle bus to the museum is just in front of it

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Shuttle bus to the museum. Kawaiii :D

By some miracle we made it to the museum at 10:30 and greeted warmly by the museum staff. In the front office, we were briefed what to do and must not do in Museum. The museum has 2 exhibition rooms, a theater, playing room for kids, a cafe, backyard and rooftop for taking pictures and have a walk.
The two exhibition rooms tell story about Fujiko Fujio life and masterpieces. We were lent a guiding device to hear information of each item exhibited. Taking picture is not allowed on the exhibition rooms. My favorite section in room 1 is hologramic screens showing the process of making manga :) The exhibition section also has the replica of Fujiko’s office which is packed with science fiction books, dinosaur books and figurines. Giving the thought, Doraemon is also a science fiction movie rather that ordinary “imaginary” manga. There I know where Fujiko got his inspiration and that his work resembles very much of his interest.
At the end of exhibition sections, we were asked to return the guiding device to the staff there. The drawer to store the devices is in the form of Doraemon magic pocket :D

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Would love to have similar in my house :p

The next room is play room for kids (no adult allowed to enter) and a long bench to read Doraemon manga (unfortunately in Japanese hiks).

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Meet Doraemon and Dorayaki :D

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Manga

On the 3rd floor is Doraemon cafe, the menu seems delicious and cute buuutt very expensive so we skipped this area (we bought some dorayaki for take away though). And finally the backyard and rooftop with some of Fujiko’s movie character to take picture with.

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Pintu kemana saja - it's on top of my magical wishlist

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characters

It’s been a lovely day in the museum. Downside: it’s a small small building and I expect more Doraemon to meet hehe..

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Aplikasi Visa Jepang

Sedikit berbagi tentang pengalaman mengurus aplikasi visa ke Jepang di Indonesia, semoga bermanfaat bagi yang membutuhkan.

2012 dan 2013, kami mengurus visa Jepang dari Kedutaan Jepang di Jakarta. Visa yang kami ajukan adalah 

  • Visa Kunjungan Sementara untuk Kunjungan Wisata dengan Biaya Sendiri. Untuk jenis visa yang lain, dapat dilihat disini.

Alhamdulillah, pengurusan visa Jepang termasuk ga ribet asalkan dokumen yang dipersyaratkan lengkap, proses pengurusan visa sekitar 4 hari kerja.

Persyaratan dokumen sebagai berikut (dokumen harus disusun berurutan pada saat menyerahkan aplikasi visa)

  1. Paspor (asli).
  2. Formulir permohonan visa. [download disini] dengan Pasfoto terbaru (ukuran 4,5 X 4,5 cm, terbaru, latar putih)
  3. Fotokopi KTP
  4. Fotokopi Kartu Mahasiswa atau Surat Keterangan Belajar (hanya bila masih mahasiswa)
  5. Bukti pemesanan tiket 
  6. Jadwal Perjalanan  dalam format yang telah ditentukan [download disini] – isinya tempat yang mau dikunjungi dan akan menginap dimana. Jika menginap di hotel/hostel, lebih baik bila bukti booking dilampirkan.
  7. Fotokopi dokumen yang bisa menunjukkan hubungan dengan pemohon yang lain, seperti kartu keluarga, akta lahir, dlsb – jika pengajuan aplikasi lebih dari satu orang/grup. Pada dasarnya, kalau keluarga mau mengajukan visa, cukup satu orang perwakilan yang datang memasukkan aplikasi visa, tetapi harus bisa dibuktikan hubungan kekeluargaannya.
  8. Dokumen yang berkenaan dengan biaya perjalanan – fotokopi buku tabungan 5 bukan terakhir. Apakah ada aturan saldo minimal? Tidak ada, tapi setidaknya cukup untuk menjamin biaya akomodasi/transportasi/makan di Jepang.
  9. Jika menginap di tempat teman/saudara yang tinggal di Jepang, harus melampirkan Invitation Letter dan fotokopi dokumen tinggal/ID orang yang bersangkutan. Contoh invitation letter disini.

Pengajuan visa di Kedutaan Jepang dimulai pukul 08.30-12.00 tiap hari Senin-Jumat, lebih baik jika datang pagi (sebelum pukul 8 misalnya) karena sudah mulai ada antrian walaupun gerbang kedutaan belum dibuka. Siapkan kartu identitas karena setelah gerbang dibuka, akan ada pos sekuriti untuk mengambil identitas visitor (ditukar dgn kartu identitas).

Setelah masuk, ambil nomor antrian dan tunggu giliran. Petugas di loket cukup ramah, langsung memeriksa kelengkapan dokumen. Jika ada kekurangan, akan diminta datang kembali setelah lengkap. Setelah selesai menyerahkan aplikasi lengkap, kita akan diberi tanda terima untuk mengambil visa 4 hari kemudian. Waktu pengambilan visa adalah hari Senin-Jumat pukul 13.30-15.00.

Ringkasan dan beberapa catatan penting

  • Waktu pengajuan aplikasi: Senin- Jumat 08.30 – 12.00. Waktu pengambilan visa: Senin-Jumat 13.30-15.00.
  • Pengajuan visa harus sesuai wilayah juridiksi kedutaan/konsulat Jepang (tergantung kartu identitas kita masuk wilayah juridiksi mana). Pembagian wilayah juridiksi dapat dilihat disini.
  • Pastikan dokumen lengkap dan sudah diurutkan saat mengajukan aplikasi visa di loket.
  • Biaya pembuatan visa tahun 2012 (Maret) Rp300.000, 2013 (Maret) Rp325.000. Biaya pembuatan visa terbaru bisa dilihat disini.
  • Berpakaian rapi dan memakai sepatu saat mengajukan visa.

Semoga bermanfaat dan selamat mencoba. Happy traveling in Japan! :)

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Farewell letter

I was helping some of my friends doing their emails for job offering, resignation, and recently, farewell letter.
When you receive a farewell letter, you will notice that most of them are similar, even looks like a ‘template’. And sometimes ‘template’ gives you impression of less-deep meaning, less-‘kicking’ than those created more creatively.
When i composed the farewell letter for my friend today, i tried to put myself in his position, as if today is my last day. And somehow i found those templates are now more meaningful.
Now i can understand why they put some ‘cliche’ words on them, why the wordings are similar. It is because they do share the (approximately) same feeling prior leaving the company and their friends.
Sometimes cliche is not bad, they just an improved expression that respresent many feelings hence used many times.

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Kokeshi Hunting

This is the story of how we (finally) get these two lovely Kokeshi.

I always fascinated by cute stuff, figurine, and I started collecting them a few years back. Mostly kokeshi, the irresistibly-cute Japanese wooden doll. So when we got the chance to actually visit Japan last May (owe this blog the trip story), I HAVE TO go home with (at least) one.

Our first visit was to Kyoto and there are A LOT of Kokeshi in Kyoto. Kyoto is a tourist town with lots of temples and good sightseeing places (sort like Bandung in Indonesia) so there are a lot of gift shop along the streets and near tourist spot. Well, when stuff looks near and scatters around you, there’s always tendency to postpone. That’s what happened. There are a lot of great Kokeshi around the Kiyomizu-dera Temple but I decided to wait in case we found better one in other stores :D

Our next destination was Osaka. In my mind, Osaka will be much bigger city than Kyoto and there will be more souvenir shop over there. We moved on to Osaka and I was totally wrong, there are not a single Kokeshi shop we found around the city! Near our departure date, I started panicking. How can I go home without my-most wanted souvenir when I have the chance to visit its origin place??! :( We started googling for Kokeshi stores in Osaka. There are several recommendation but they’re not convincing. Most of the results pointing out that you should by Kokeshi in Kyoto. DANG! I fainted.

Anyway, we tried and written down all the shops address. So on our last day in Osaka, we literary went store to store but found nothing. There are no Kokeshi in Osaka! *panic*. To be honest, it’s crossed my mind to go back to Kyoto to find Kokeshi :D We have an early flight the next day and I have to give up. The only hope we have is to find Kokeshi on the airport store but our flight is 8.30 in the morning, not sure if the airport store is open.

Arriving at the airport the next day, there’s no store open yet. Well, make sense since it’s only 6 in the morning. We looked around the stores and found that there are actually some stores selling Kokeshi in Kansai International Airport. We just walked around the stores (as if it will turned them open :p) waited for our boarding time. Unexpectedly, at 7 o’clock (sharp – i have to say this), all the stores are open at the same time! I looove that they open early and I love it more that the Japanese are so punctual :’)

You can guess that I finally had a chance for last minute Kokeshi shopping. Really thank God for that, almost like miracle considering we tried so bad to find Kokeshi a day before :) There’s a shop called ‘Kyoto Souvenirs’ (or so) that selling cute Kokeshi in Kansai Airport, we bought these two Kokeshi there.

Lesson learned are..  >> If you are Kokeshi lover, Osaka is not the place to get one, Kyoto is :D  >> Know what you want and never delay  >> Love Japan with its punctual habit  :D

Hope I will get another chance to visit Japan again and add some Kokeshi to my collection :)