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My sweet escape: Kyoto, I'm in love!

Kyoto. Friday, 18/10/2013
It's been three weeks since I returned from my trip to Japan. Still not yet done with my 9-days-in-japan-travelogue project. hehe yes, I am such such a master of procrastination. 
Okay, let's begin!
Our itinerary for Kyoto consisted of Fushimi Inari, Arashiyama, Kiyomizudera, Gion and some other places I really couldn't recall right now since we only got to Fushimi Inari, Arashiyama and Kiyomizudera. heh Well, Kyoto simply cannot be explored in 1 day. There's so much to discover from this amaaaazing city.
That morning we headed straight to Kyoto from Osaka. The train ride took about an hour to reach Kyoto via local line. Should've taken the shinkansen for time-saving purpose.
As we arrived in Kyoto, we decided to go to Fushimi Inari Taisha first. This stunning shrine was dedicated to the gods of rice and sake and it is the most popular shrine in Japan. There's a pathway wanders 4km up the mountain and lined with thousands of red torii.
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Blend in. hehe
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There are also dozens of stone foxes.We wondered why's the foxes there. I remember watching an anime, Spirited Away (if I'm not mistaken), it is about a spirit in the form of fox coming out from the stone figure, and and is capable of possessing humans. And from what I read (just now), the fox is considered the messenger of Inari, the god of rice harvest (and, more recently, business). Of course, japanese also traditionally see the fox as sacred, mysterious figure that can possess humans. Aha, now I knowww.image
Blend in. again. hehe
During our trip, we didn't get the help from the tourist guide, so it was quite a waste, for not learning/understanding the significance of each places we visited. Basically, we're just taking photos and yeah, that's all we did. -__- Never mind, there's always next time, right? 
We explore the area, took some photos, and decided to go down and find something to eat. Fyi, we didn't even made it halfway cuz the shrine iz zooo freaking big (and my feet hurt so bad). yeah, it's a bit frustrating. 
We found a takoyaki stall near the shrine area woohooo! I've always wanted to try takoyaki in Japan! It's always been one of my favorite food :) image
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It's soooo big and delish! Inside of it was a big,fat and juicy octopus. Love! It only costs us 500yen, which is a reasonable price considered the size and the taste of it. Worth every yenn! Omnomnom
After almost an hour at the Fushimi Inari Taisha, we leave the shrine and headed to Arashiyama, which is Kyoto's second-most important sightseeing district after Higashiyama. 
We started walking toward the famous Togetsu-kyo bridge, along the way to the bridge there's a shopping street where you can buy souvenirs.
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Oh, you really really should try the ice cream, the green tea ice cream, to be exact. There's a lot of ice cream stall along the street. It was tooooo good! The flavor, texture and consistency was perfect and it just melt in your mouth! Yumm-ness!
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It was a cold day but we walked leisurely along the bridge, enjoying the view from the bridge. This Togetsu-kyo bridge spans the Oi river, and is famous for its cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. 

We then headed to Tenryu-ji Zen temple, the name tenryu (heavenly dragon) was inspired by a priest who had dreamt of a dragon rising from the nearby river, which is a sign that the emperor's spirit was uneasy, hence the temple was constructed. I see. To get inside the inner garden of the temple, an admission fee (500 yen) is required.
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The japanese garden is always the best. I will decorate my house with japanese element one day (wait till I have one! hehe).  
Just outside the north gate of the temple, there lies the Arashiyama's famous bamboo grove. We made friends with the locals on our way out from the bamboo grove. Japanese people are so warm and friendly. We're like the only people who wore headscarf there (and speaks with loud voices, too), Seriously, Japanese people are soft spoken. and very polite. Very contrary from us. So they must  be curious, "who are they, where are they from, and what they're doing here."  lol.  and again. we didn't ask for their facebook account. Meh. 
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Our next destination was the Kiyomizu-dera. It is also a temple. Indeed, Kyoto has more than 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines, imagine that! Of course, Kyoto is one of the world's most culturally rich cities. So, back to Kiyomizu-dera. We went there by bus. There's a steep pathway to the temple, known as Chawan-zaka (Teapot Lane), lined with shops selling Kyoto's handicrafts, local snacks and souvenirs. It is really steep, and my feet hurts. tottemo ittaidesu!. We all blamed Ecah, our Kyoto tourist guide slash travel buddy slash friend, for taking us to a place like this. and caused my feet sores. Hehe Jk jk:P
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This is it.
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there's the stairs leading to the waterfall Otowa-no-taki, where visitor drink sacred water believed to bestow health and longevity.


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Blend in even moree.teehee

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I don't know if it was a school holiday, but there's a lot of students there, and of course we made new friends, too haha. Japanese people sure does love their picture being taken. hehe so kawaii high school students.
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kawaii ;3 eh


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It was getting dark. We then quickly walked down the slope and headed to a Muslim-friendly restaurant near the Maruyama park. But we were quite lost. Getting lost when travelling was quite interesting. teehee. We made a new friend, again. Gosh, I forgot her name! She is from Okinawa, obviously not from Kyoto. So she didn't familiar with the place either. But, her phone is working, she used her GPS app and helped us find our way to the restaurant. But it was already dark and creepy. There's no sign of geishas either. So, we decided to go back to the bus stop and headed to Kyoto station and got on a train to Osaka. And baaaack to our hotel. 
I am so in love with Kyoto, especially the Arashiyama district. I just couldn't explain in words. I love the scenery. I love the people. The culture. The environment. I feel like I belong there. Really

Graduation day!

 

6/11/2013 was my convocation day. Woohoo! Finaalllyy graduating from this universityyy! Alhamdulillahh:) It was really a memorable one. I got all teary in the inside. I'm so happy and glad to be able to graduate together with my close friends:). 
I was given a little surprise from my dearest faculty (Fakultas Kedokteran). I got all shaken up when it happened. In front of thousands of people? Seriously? But it was pretty funny. Well, at least my dream was actually came true. 

In case you're still wondering, here it goes. When my name was called up to the stage, it went like this... 

" Siti Aisyah bt Nik Mazlan.. Dengan kepujian" 

I was likee whaaaatt? Since whennnn? Amagaddd, should I walk? Should I? I remember making weird expression on stage. Omg, everyone was watching the screen. Even my sister said that I looked nervous on stage, or more like a weird face. -_-

But it was actually, me showing 'say whaaaat' face. I didn't actually got the title, it was definitely a mistake. But after all, the whole audience gave me a big applause. It felt good, really. And also funny at the same time. 


To umi &abah, this is for you. Thank you for always be there for me through thick and thin. I love both of you to the moon and back :')


My Sweet Escape : Hiroshima (17/10/2013)


The weather that morning was pretty much perfect. It was a cloudy day, and the sun is shining somewhere. It felt surreal, like I was dreaming, still can't believe that I was actually in Japan! So excited to start the journey. Today we headed down to Hiroshima, a city which once was destructed by atomic bombs during World War II.
Happy faces before starting the journey :)

We took the train from Inage station (which is the nearest train station from our house) to Tokyo station. The train we got on was incredibly crowded. Each new stop crammed more people on board. That's what you get when you're getting on a train during rush hour. People kept pushing you to let other people getting inside. We cannot move at all. Suffocated, I was. Now I feel you, sandwiches. After about 40 minutes later, we finally arrived. It was a relief to get off. 

We rushed to the Travel Service Center, located at the station itself, to exchange our JR pass voucher.  It took about 15 minutes to get it done. We were going to Hiroshima by shinkansen (bullet train). However, there's no direct shinkansen to Hiroshima. We had to go to Osaka (Shin-Osaka station) first and change for another shinkansen to Hiroshima. We reserved a seat for Shin-Osaka - Hiroshima shinkansen, just in case we were running late. Reservation is free of charge if you're using JR pass. We wanted to reserve a seat for Hikari 507 shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka, unfortunately it was fully reserved, so we had to get on the non-reserved cars. Thank God it wasn't crowded and we didn't have to stand at the aisle! Phew
While waiting for Shinkansen to Osaka.
Why thattt facee?

On our way to Shin-Osaka, we tried not to sleep so that we were able to see Mount Fuji (since the weather was so great). Too bad, I was so crushingly sleepy that I couldn't keep my eyes open. I slept peacefully all the way to Osaka. It was a 3 hour journey. We reached Osaka at 12 pm and searched for our next shinkansen, Sakura 557 to Hiroshima. One thing about Japan that I came to realise is that they're all VERY punctual. You're late for one second, the train will already gone. So we had to move fast!

It was 2.20 pm. We arrived at Hiroshima station, quickly went looking for コイン ラカー (coin locker) to store our backpacks. Then we took JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi. From Miyajimaguchi station we walked to the jetty and got into JR Miyajima ferry to Miyajima Island. It is a place not to be missed when visiting Hiroshima. This island has been regarded as an Island of Gods, and is well known for its floating shrine and Torii gate. It took a 5-minutes walk from the port to reach the shrine and the Torii gate. As we got off the ferry, we were greeted by herds of wild deer that were roaming around the street. Deer in Miyajima are called Nihonjika (Japanese deer) and are thought of as sacred in the native Shinto religion because they are considered messengers of the Gods. We took photos with the deer and it turns out that they were very tame! Tak gigit pun :) It wasn't a lucky day for us as the tide wasn't high enough to make the shrine and the Torii looked floating on the ocean. Le sigh. 


 It was almost 4 pm, and we need to rush! Again. We walked along the shopping street and tried the grilled oyster (500¥), which is one of their famous delicacies. And omg it tasted sooo good!! I can taste the freshness, really makes me drooling while typing this. After done eating, we walked fast to catch the ferry and got on the JR train to Hiroshima station. It was about 5 pm, and we headed to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which dedicated to the people who were killed in the atomic bombing on 1945, by foot. And we got lost. Haha. 



We tried to get help from an uncle working at a workshop nearby, and it's not working. We completely did not understand a word he was saying. Tried every languages, japanese, english, the sign laguage, and malay as well. Lol (not!) He then get help from a friend and his friend called another friend who can speak "eigo-wa" or english, just to help us getting the right direction. Terharu:') " Just 2 minutes, ok. Eigo-wa tomodachi blablabla " I only can understand eigo-wa haha. At first, we assumed that he wanted to send us to that place, but we were wrong. Haha. Yasu, the guy who can speak English very fluently came down, and explain the direction. He told us to take the tram to i-don't-recall-the-station. But the memorial park was already closed, he said :( He then took us to the tram stop not too far from the workshop. However, we decided not to go to the memorial park because, 1. it was already dark  ; 2. The park was already closed. We had a real quick chit-chat with Yasu and Tomo (the one who called Yasu earlier) and we bid goodbye to them. It was really nice to meet them. Should've asked for their facebook, but blerghh, we were too shy.

So, we headed back to the station and catched the shinkansen to Shin-Osaka. Our energy was all drained, and we need to have a good rest. We stayed in Taiyo Hotel in Osaka, which is near the Shin-Imamiya JR railway station. It's a budget hotel, well not really a hotel, it's more like a hostel. Because we had to share shower room and toilets with the whole occupants. The toilets and the shower was really clean, so that's okay with me. It took about 20 mins from Shin-Osaka to Shin-Imamiya station. I was really tired and hungry. The only food I had taken all day was the oyster. Imagine how hungry I was? We checked into the hotel at 9 pm. The room was made up of 2 futon beds (which is really comfy), with tatami floors. It smelt like herbs in the room. Haha.
Ready to sleep. lo. Oyasumi nasai, minna-san! :3
*Oh, they provide yukata in each rooms. In case you're wondering :)*



The Prologue


Stepping my foot on the land of Samurai was a dream came true. I've always anticipating to experience Japan since I was in high school. Of course, I was totally psyched when Wewe asked about travelling to Japan with her! The plan was to go there with only the two of us. But as the time passes, some of our friends said they wanted to join us. Woohoo

I promised myself to write a travelogue about our previous Japan trip. So, without further ado, let's get started!

Japan is always perceived as expensive, so it is not really a destination for tourist who needed a super cozy vacation. The hotels, food, transportations are very expensive. So in our case, we are bunch of penganggur, who travel with parents' money, really need to cut budget on food (especially) and the accommodation as well. We went there for 9 days, which is from 16 Oct to 24 Oct 2013.

We departed from LCCT at 2.45 pm and arrived at Tokyo-Haneda Airport at 11.45pm. As I reached the ground, I can barely feel my foot. It was so cold! And the air was so windy, well it's must due to the  'typhoon season', that strikes Japan recently.

We spent the night at Amin's house, a malaysian student studying there, the same house we'll be staying for the rest of our days in Tokyo. It was located in Chiba prefecture, which is about 40 - 50 mins from Tokyo. Amin fetched us at the airport and by the time we reached home, it was already 1.30 am. 

The next day going to be a longg day. 



#quote


Sorrow builds up. If both of you go wallowing in sorrow, it’ll just keep on building up. So… be the ocean. Snow is sorrow. If you’re the ground, snow will accumulate. Even if it melts away, the ground will become all mushy. But if you’re the ocean, no matter how hard it snows, it won’t accumulate.
Tonbi (2013)
Sometimes I wondered why Allah gave me so much when actually I deserves less

meanwhile...