Tuesday, May 15, 2012

STY 2012 Day 1

Yippee!! I am flying to Sashimiland again!! I first trip to Japan was for Tokyo Marathon 2011 and I fell in love with the place after the trip. I just love the food, the people and the place. This time I was travelling alone but I knew I will be able to make new friends who share the same passion as me. Running. :)

Cant wait to fly off. :)

The plane was not full. This meant we would have a chance to lie down and have a better rest. :p

Arrived at Narita International Airport Terminal 2.

Taking the Keisei Limited Express to town. I booked a room at Sakura Hotel Ikebukuro. I need to alight at Nippori station and change to the JR Yamanote Line to Ikebukuro.

The hotel room. Quite small in size but with all the necessities.

Just big enough for 1 person.

This was lunch. A delicious bowl of beef gyudon The beef was so soft and tender the chopsticks went through it when I just soft press the chopsticks against them.

Very, very delicious.

It was a cold and rainy Ikebukuro.

Alright, there was now a problem. When I tried to switch on my handphone on the train, it did not manage to receive any signal. It was a Iphone and I knew Iphone was able to work in Japan which used a different network from Singapore. I thought maybe it was trying to search for the network as I was now in Japan, thousands of km away from Singapore. Maybe when I reach town it would be resolved. However, there was still no signal when I checked in the hotel room.

This was a big problem. The race requirement specified each participant to have a working phone. It was a mandatory item and if any of the mandatory items are missing, the participant may be pulled out during the race or may not be allowed to start the race. So I need to get myself a working phone. From the Adventure Diva's website, they said there was a shop that rents out phones but it was located at Narita Airport Terminal 2 (the place where I came from!) and its 1.5hrs away. I searched the telco shops around the hotel but none of them had rental services. I returned to the hotel and told my problem to the counter staff. The lady tried to search on the net and fortunately she found a company in Tokyo that had mobile phone rental services. The company was called PuPuRu. They have an office near Toranomon metro station on the Ginza Line.

Inside the PuPuRu office. Its at the Tokyo News Building in front of the America Embassy.

The charges are as follows:

Daily rental: JPY$ 399
Admin charge: JPY$ 1575
Insurance (optional): JPY$ 1050

I took up the insurance as I did not want to risk paying for the whole phone in case I lost it on the trails. I rented the phone (I told them I wanted the smallest phone and the cheapest plan) from Tuesday until the next Monday and in total it costed JPY$ 5418 without call charges.

(Upon returning to Singapore what and relating what happened to my friends, I realised it was not my phone was faulty. Before I took off from Singapore, I switched off the "Cellular Data" and "Enable 3G" on my phone. I always had thought the "Enable 3G" was meant for faster surfing of internet using my phone. My friends told me it was actually meant for the reception of the signal of the phone, or something along that line. Had I switched on the "Enable 3G", I would have been able to use the phone. Silly me. Lesson learnt.)

Having settled the mobile phone issue, I had wasted almost the whole afternoon. It was already near 4pm. I planned to go visit the Imperial Palace followed by going to Shinjuku originally. Lets see how much of the original plan could I follow now.

Took the metro to Jinbochu and walked over to the Imperial Palace. I thought it would be near. In the end I walked for around 20 mins to reach it. :p

Bought a drink and one of my favourite snack in Japan.

At Hanzomon Gate of the Imperial Palace.

The moat surrounding the Palace. It started raining when I reached the Palace. Feeling cold and wet, I was mindful to protect my DSLR from the rain.

I was planning to walk around the Palace, but given the time taken to find the phone rental and the ongoing rain, going to the next item on the itinerary seems a pretty good idea. I asked the police men at the Hanzomon Gate where was the nearest metro station. He replied it was Hanzomon and it was just 2 streets away. Phew!

Arriving at Shinjuku.

Times Square.


L-Breath. A 6 stories shop which  sells everything outdoor.

It was a cold and wet night. Dinner was at one of the restaurants at Shinjuku. Very sumptuous. This looks quite a lot. Hahaha .. can you see the noodles on the right, it was in fact two bowls stacked on top of each other. :)

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