I booked my Japan's accommodation only 1-2 weeks before the trip. It's not easy to secure your accommodation during Spring, checked most of the hotels and they're either fully booked, capsule hotels or way too expensive. Also, because I had a shoestring budget, I resorted to Airbnb. Managed to book Tokyo and Osaka's in a breeze but had slight difficulty with Kyoto (fully booked even on Airbnb). Thankfully, something showed up at the very last minute.

Let's talk about Tokyo's accommodation first. I booked one in Arakawa, and it was a specialised guesthoust. I elaborated on it a little (with pictures) in my first blogpost (here).

On my last night in the guesthouse, I decided to take more pictures of the place.

The place had several flights of stairs and the owners stayed on the highest floor. You can't really tell from this photo but the steps were rather steep. Lugging huge luggage upstairs would be difficult, but most guests here are backpackers anyway.

 On every floor, there's this DIY "container" with multiple rooms inside. I'm guessing the owners cleared out the few extra floors they had, and constructed a "container" on each floor. Each container can house about 15 rooms I guess? Remember how small the rooms were?

More rooms to come maybe?

 Here's how the inside of the "container" looks like, in one of the hallway (there were about 2-3 hallways in each "container"). At the end of the hallway is a heater which is turned on at night. From here you can kind of see that the "rooms" are really really very close to each other, and there are no actual ceilings for the rooms. 

So yes, everyone hears everything. I know when someone is hungry at 1AM from the sound of chips packet being opened which then followed by crunch crunch crunch. I myself got hungry one night and decided to eat an onigiri I bought from the convenience store. Super self-conscious lor, how can this flimsy plastic wrap make so much noise?? Even my chewing sounded loud.

 The rooftop is where I find solace.The neighborhood is rather peaceful and you can the Skytree nicely lit up at night.

Verdict? 8/10.

I would come back again for a short stay. If it was a longer stay, I'd prefer somewhere more spacious. I've listed the plus point below. The not-so-plus point is the accessibility, the place is a walkable distance from a train station. But you will always have to take the train for several stations before arriving at a more popular ward (like Shibuya, Shinjuku etc.)

Here's the listing but they must have recently updated it with new photos and categories of room. The photos on the current listing does not show the category that I stayed in (economy room). If you'd like more privacy and comfort, they have single and deluxe rooms too! 

I would recommend it for the:
  • Friendliness of hosts (Tom and Kimi) - They really are the sweetest hosts you'll get. They are also very willing to assist with your travel plans if you ask.
  • Communal area - Hosting mostly backpackers, sometimes the guests just sit around and talk to each other about their experiences and plans. 
  • Affordability - The lower range rooms are really really cheap and the one I took was good enough for me. Though it may look a little messy and cramped in my photos, it's well maintained and clean.

 There are just too many styles of ladies bags these days. And they are all called differently! What's a tote? What's a envelope clutch? What's a how-do-you-even-pronounce-that

Regardless, finding the right handbag is a matter of personal choice and is really not easy ok. Your bag represents you, your lifestyle, and your sense of style. Keep reading to see which best ladies bag style is just so you.

And for the guys, best to know your bags also ya, to avoid getting scolding from your special lady when she asks you to fetch her that bag. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.

Top-handle Satchel.  
(AKA the perfect daily bag if it comes with a shoulder strap.)
This is considered as the most ladylike among all bags. It is very versatile and a great choice for girls who don’t have the time to change their bag often. It seamlessly transitions from day to night or work week to weekend.

 (AKA I'm only going to use this at dinners.)
There will be times when you only need a few essentials to bring, and that is when a clutch is all you need.

Bucket Bag 
 (AKA I won't be able to find my things in here.)
If you have so many things to carry around then opt for this bag. It is most deceptively roomy if you have tons of stuff to tote around. This trendy bag is going to be around, at least for a while, so get one!

Cross-body Bag  
(AKA I only carry at most a phone, compact powder and a card holder with me.)
Keep your hands free and make sure your belongings are safe with this type of bag. Perfect if you are on the go, this style of handbag can go from day to night. 

 (AKA I don't like something banging against my hip or torso, so I opted for this.)
Backpacks are very popular right now. If you don’t want to be called as if you have been living under a rock then get one!
April 9th, 12PM - Arakawa, Tokyo.
Again, I had nothing planned for the day but I was feeling a little nature-ry and cultu-ry. So I Googled my next destination in bed. It was between Meiji or Yoyogi Park but I read somewhere that Yoyogi is where aged people go to for exercises in the morning. Meiji it is.

April 9th, 1PM - JR Station, Tokyo.
But first, settle my JR pass amirite? I was heading to Kyoto the next morning so I guess it was about time I get my JR pass. So I walked into the JR office, ready to spend another USD 239 on the new JR pass. But when I approached the attendant, the words that came out from my mouth sounded like, "Where's the nearest pay phone?"

What??? That was my gut feeling speaking, it was telling me to call the JR info line to check on the status of my reported lost and found (though I received no call from them yet).

Well what do you know...... "We have good news for you, Lim Shin Yee. Your JR pass was found in Nippori station!"


I ran out of coins halfway talking but I caught half the instructions (that will have to do). Never mind how it ended up in that station, I literally ran to board the train there.

April 9th, 1.30PM - Nippori Station (JR), Tokyo.
EXPECTATION: A tearful reunion with my JR pass. Slow-mo of me sobbing uncontrollably at the sight of the found pass, presented by a kind looking ojisan. I then bow my way out of the Lost and Found office reciting "Domo arigatou gozaimasu" over and over. Fade-out of smiling face of the ojisan, because he's like the hero of the story.

REALITY: It was a really really small hut and the attendant didn't speak much. I settled the papers, took my found pass and left quietly after saying "Arigatou".

 Nevertheless, I'm truly grateful for the found pass and to everyone that contributed to my reunion with it. May you be blessed!

April 9th, 2.30PM - Meiji Jingu (明治神宮), Shibuya, Tokyo.
To get to Meiji Jingu, simply alight at Harajuku station and follow the crowd. Or you know, make your preparations and research earlier, don't be like me. I had to follow a few different crowds to finally find my way to the right place.

I told you a little about torii's (shrine archway like the one above) in this episode, now let me tell you more. To pay respect, a visitor bows once at the torii when entering and bows again when leaving. This is just etiquette and is independent of religious beliefs.

But then again, there are many replica torii's for aesthetic purposes these days. The one above is an example, it's simply marking the entrance of the forest path area of the shrine, and not the shrine itself.

 I had a refreshing walk to the shrine. There were quite a number of visitors, but this place is so huge that you can still feel its serenity.

Meiji Jingu's forest was created in honour of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, for their souls to dwell in and with every tree sincerely planted by hand. This forest was carefully planned as an eternal forest that recreates itself. Now after about 90 years it cannot be distinguished from a natural forest, inhabited by many endangered plants and animals. 

 Came upon another torii similar to the first. Could this be the actual torii?

 Ok never mind this should be the legit torii.

Shrine grounds.

Again, no photography inside the halls (when there is a roof above your head) but from outside ok lor.

Another torii just because.

The Temizuya.

And here's where you can write your wishes on a piece of wood and hang them.

Barrels of sake wrapped in straw.

Barrels of wine. Something to do with friendship between France and Japan.

April 9th, 5PM - Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (新宿御苑), Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Now that I've had my dose of cultural, I wanted more of nature. So I made my way to Shinjuku since I heard (thanks Google) that the blooms in Shinjuku Gyoen are rather remarkable.

Well I got there too late, it was closed. So I walked around the area for a bit and made my way to Shibuya to experience the rush hour.

April 9th, 6PM - Shibuya Crossing, Shibuya, Tokyo.

Stood by the crossings for a while (took the video above too) and crossed it a few times just because I can. I didn't bother going to Starbucks to get a good photo/video because it was probably too crowded.

Took a photo of the public smoking area though. In Japan, if you want to smoke, you will most likely have to do it in one of those boxed up areas (and end up looking like caged up animals in the zoo).

I went to the subway too and saw the crazy scene where the attendant had to shove/stuff people into train coaches so that the doors can close. It's like this, quite crazy how they remain so calm and selamba with this. So interesting!

Well I wasn't going to be pushed into a train so I waited it out, went walking around instead. Later, I did that thing. That thing where you run and jump into a train last minute. Was at the subway wanting to go back to my hostel and the train was sounding the "about-to-close-doors" alert. I don't know why but I just started running and jumped into the train a second before the doors closed.

Just casually demonstrating my secret agent skills to Tokyo. 

Stopping here, it's been a wordy one. Next up, shinkansen ride to Kyoto!

whoosh whoosh.