Thursday, January 31, 2013

Winter Voyages in Tokyo

First of all, I think this is my first attempt to write in “travel” niche after 3 years building this small site. Yes, the idea was coming after I had a chance to travel to Japan – a very most East land in the world perhaps.

I went to Japan with my best friends, Khoiri and Syazwan after got an official invitation from one of leading Japanese company in green technology to do research for 10 days in their company. I should admit that this chance really triggering me as this is my very first time going out of Malaysia.


Don’t want to lie, it’s absolute!

We are going for 13 days including weekends in Tokyo and Saitama. Currently according to Weather Forecast, Japan is winter and undoubtedly it’s a reason why I can't wait for departure to Tokyo this Jan 27!

I plan to blog every day about our travel experiences in Japan and hopefully it will help some readers who also willing to go to Japan next time. Perhaps this is another useful angle of view after read those popular traveler bloggers around the world.

Visa Preparation

We are going on research & education purpose so our applications seem very ease to evaluate by Embassy’s officer. After 3 working days, the visa is done!

Since Malaysia and Japan have strong ties of diplomatic relationship, there is no fees for visa application. Maybe this reason is not strong enough but for a surface attempt after looking through the history of both countries, it might be true.

We apply for Business Meeting Visa category as we got an official invitation from Japan’s company. Yes, the Embassy ask for the invitation letter from the company as revising.

If you get any conference or meeting or any kind of invitation as long as it can be considered as “work-related” things so I pursue you guys to apply for this category. It just need an official letter, a photo (4.5’ x 4.5’) with white background and complete itinerary during at Japan.

If you plan to visit for holidays matter, it needs to apply for Holiday category. From the conversation with Embassy’s officer, to get the holiday visa category you need to prepare hotel’s confirmation document, your latest account statement with bank approval and flight’s ticket confirmation.

It's bit complicated compared to Business related category.

By the way I still confuse why Japan with such high-technology country remain and steady still with conservative-style method to apply for visa to go to their country which you still need to fill the forms downloaded via Embassy’s website and doing everything by manual.

Compare to Australia or United Kingdom and others modern countries as well, it’s already done everything via online.

With all these matter questioning me, we still proceed and make sure everything related to travel done in time.

Winter Preparation

Yes in Jan till earlier Feb Japan will enduring winter. So to travel during winter you need to do some preparation so it will prevent you from some difficulties suffering the cold. I have to say the temperature is about 6 °C in the day and reach 0 °C during at night. This I should call as winter voyages in Tokyo!

So earlier preparation is a wise move. Uniqlo is the smart choice for anyone who want budget expenses on winter appliances. You can still choose Universal Traveler or Winter Time, but it will cost you may be double of the value of the thing that give the same quality at Uniqlo.

Actually you can get some of the appliances like gloves, wool stocking and fleece with a cheap price in Japan compare in Malaysia. To have this price you need to find 100 ¥ Shop and go shop everything there till your last penny!

Light Travel?

It’s all depend on you. If you awesome then you will choose to go backpack to Japan with only bring along 3 pieces of shirts. Go travel in light backpacking, enjoy the winter and every day wore the same outfit because no one at Japan will notice or care enough to ask you why do you wore the same outfits every day.

If you are in business mode and ready for leisure travel, then go for it as well and finally I will assure that you will have nothing to do with all “bling-bling” styles because 6 °C is always ready to test your thick skin ever. I just bring 3 pieces of shirts and one set of working suit for official meeting with the company at Japan.

My Packing for 13 Days at Japan
As I said before, it depend on you. I use to have 60L of rucksack just in a case for preparation if got some additional souvenirs when I going back to Malaysia and it needed some space for it. So as Khoiri always said, go for maximum then I decide to bring 60L rucksack. One more thing since I am Muslim I need to bring some food like instant soup to survive at Japan. It’s all because of these two earlier perceptions; 1- in Japan it’s hard to found HALAL foods and 2- living cost there is too high and its usually cost you 1000 ¥ per meal.

So I do need to have a large rucksack for this thing. But actually it just perceptions and I will write about it in the next article.

Dooitashimashite Japan

It was my 4th days being here at Tokyo today and we stay at Chofu-city, the quietest city in Tokyo probably. We will move to Chiba start on Friday and stay there till last day in Japan.

Honestly, I fall in love to Chofu-city. It is just a very small city in Tokyo and probably not so famous among tourist since it has not so many tourist attractions in the other city.

I can't describe Chofu-city here. All I can say is it was totally different compared to Shinjuku and Tokyo-city itself. To reach Chofu-city, you need to take JR Line Train via Keio Lines from Shinjuku Station and it will cost you 230 ¥.

You can follow my update at Japan by viewing my pictures in Facebook here.

I need to stop here. I will be back tomorrow if there is no restriction for me to get an internet connection. Actually I use to publish this article one day before departure but since got lot of work to be done so this article is overdue now.