My capable cat

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Grumpy Cat is really super capable that I'm just really in awe of him (not just me hor I'm pretty sure many of his colleagues are too). How the heck does one manage to get a pay increase THREE TIMES in one calendar year (actually only 10 months), and get promoted THREE TIMES within 10 months too?!

His pay increase since the start of the year was so phenomenal that even he himself was shocked by the generosity of his company. Of course, said company is loaded, and the money that they are paying extra to Grumps annually is honestly peanuts to keep a star employee happy and not make him contemplate jumping over to another competitor in the meantime. Even more impressive is the fact that he achieved all these just by staying in the same company, and yet the increase he got by choosing to stay on was more than double the increase I got by quitting my ex-company and joining another one. Like wtf how is that even humanely possible? ;O We were discussing his options prior to the final decision made by his company, and we came to the conclusion that even if the big bosses threw their weight behind him, he would at most get an increase of 1X%, due to the fact that he had gotten his pay raise twice this year before that. Erm well, with Grumpy, all things are possible, even if it does sound super crazy to everybody.

Of course, all these do come with a price. Grumps and I flared up at each other more often in these past few months because of our conflicting work and study schedules. Grumps is a workaholic (and a damn serious one too) so I do feel neglected by him at times. We've since thrashed things out with each other and promised to be more aware of each other's feelings.

Being much better paid than before also means that Grumps has a lot of presentations to prepare (he is already in-charge of doing all the slides for his EXCO to present), a lot more business trips to go for, and a lot more projects to be involved in, so on my end, I do need to be more understanding towards him, because I know that he is working damn hard for our future.

Glad that despite the heat of our arguments, we do make it a point to always communicate with each other despite our unhappiness, and I do hope that we will never ever stop communicating, because once all communications stop, that is when the relationship will deteriorate.

I'm glad that he has never stopped fighting for us, and I will continue to fight for us as well, even if it gets tiring at times. ;)

Grateful

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As per my usual Saturday routine, I headed over to Grumpy's house for my weekly study session.

Up till Thursday, I was still ignoring Grumpy, but felt in a better mood later on at night to start replying to his messages.

All was well, until he decided to go MIA on me just as I was heading to class. In my mind, I was totally going wtf and despite his numerous calls which I eventually ignored, I walked to class myself, fuming on the way.

I was really mad, but Grumpy turned up in my class unexpectedly, which did catch me by surprise lah tbh. He knew that I was really angry because I don't usually ignore his calls, so he walked all the way down from Raffles to placate me. I couldn't find the heart to be that heartless to him anymore lol. He knows that his presence brings much joy to me, so he made himself physically available, even if it was just a short 30 minutes and he had to rush back to OT afterwards. My cold war ended with him, so since we didn't see much of each other over the past week, we just talked about how our past week had been.

My poor cat had been so tied up with work that he even had to OT till my class was over (at 10.30 pm), after which we went home together. ;)

Yesterday, him knowing that I was craving McDonald's scrambled egg burger, got me one when I headed down to his house. He sure knows the way to my heart lol.

When night fell, I decided to tell him what made me so mad at him over the past 2-3 days (please see my previous post which was written when I had PMS LOL), even if I wasn't angry with him anymore. He then assured me that it would only be for this time period as he is now juggling a few projects concurrently, and that they are currently shorthanded as a few people have been told to leave.

When all these pass, he assured me that I would be his first priority and he would make sure that he would set time aside for me once we move in together.

Now that Grumpy knows what usually triggers my unhappiness and moodiness, hopefully he'll be more 醒目 lol.

A reminder to myself not to take Grumpy for granted.

PMS rants

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I do think that I'm prone to suffering from PMS, and my mood swings do get really bad. The person who gets the brunt of it will inevitably be him. Strange how I treat the rest of the people whom I get into contact with normally (I think, at least I don't feel the rage rising up within my body), but when it comes to him, everything about him pisses me off so badly, especially in the days leading up to my period.

I tried to read up on the cause of my unexplainable rage whenever I think of him, and I think I finally got my answer. It is actually due to daily occurrences which I feel he can do with some changes here and there, but while these bothered me, they didn't bother me enough to actually make me rage during normal days.

Now that my period is here, everything is amplified many folds, including the daily occurrences. How he is not dedicating enough time to me, why isn't he doing certain actions to me when I see the romantic things that my friends' SO have done for them, and the list of dissatisfaction just goes on.

I'm not sure if I'm just needy af or what, but seeing each other for less than 2 hours during weekdays when we both work in the same area is normal meh? I usually go over to his house on Saturdays to STUDY (for real OK) and with his mum around, we obviously don't have any couple time at all, save for the time he sends me home. As we both live in opposite ends of SG, he only sends me back halfway since it would take around 2 hours for him to get back to and fro.

I have no doubt that he loves me; he checks up on me from time to time and sends me encouraging messages even when I'm completely ignoring him 'cos whatever he does just makes my blood boil during this period. But hor, I really doubt that I'm his only love.

He treats work damn seriously, and his first instinct would be to reply the email that pops up on his Outlook app, no matter the occasion. Of course, being with someone who is damn driven can be a good thing lah, but I always end up playing second fiddle to his work, even when we're on holidays together. He'd either end up replying emails or replying his NUMEROUS WhatsApp messages even if he was in the midst of talking to me. It is during times like these that I totally feel invisible in his life.

Even when I want to feel his reassuring hug just to make myself feel better, I always find myself fighting back the urge to text him to come meet me just for that 5 minutes, because well, for one, he is really busy and is always running all over SG during work hours, resulting in him having to OT in order to complete his BAU for the day. Sounds like a role reversal now eh? Second, our offices are at different exits. I feel that it doesn't make sense for him to walk that long stretch of underpass while fighting the crowds of people just to see me for that 5 minutes, not when he has shit to clear as well.

It is during these times that I feel like calling it quits, which is why I am quite insistent on ignoring his messages or not meeting him until I feel the rage in me subside a few days later, because I really, really need to keep my mouth shut. If I meet him, I may irrationally spew all sorts of nasty things, all my grievances, and to tell him to let me go, because I just really can't take this any longer. To me, he may be there physically but never quite emotionally, 'cos he's mostly fixated on his work.

I'm very well aware that he didn't ask for this, and that it is not his fault at all. Shit just happens when you're working in one of the largest organisations in SG, but how long can I wait to have his attention fully diverted to me, before I really walk away for good?

What am I staying for then, because God knows how long he needs to fix the problems in his current company??

Can I really foresee myself spending lonely nights waiting for a husband who regularly comes home after 9 pm, watch him eat dinner (if any lol) and KO for the night, and has to travel for work at least 6 times a year?

I haven't brought all these up to him, and I don't think I'll find the heart to bring this up when my PMS passes. For these few years, such thoughts have regularly been in my mind, so it felt really liberating to just vomit everything here since he doesn't know of this blog. Funny how I can rant here but not in his face, and funny how PMS forces me to revisit my insecurities and my worries. And funny, how it forces me to articulate them through this medium.

Sigh, may I continue to find the strength to support him in whatever he does.

And above of that, I need to be reminded of how well he has treated me so far, so much so that sometimes I feel that I don't deserve him at all. ;(

PMS is such a bitch.

Work

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Almost 2 months in, I'm still surviving.

In fact, work-life balance so far has been really great. I get to go home on the dot on most days, save for probably 1 or 2 days during the month-end period.

May this continue. ;)

Yokoso Nihon

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I honestly did not foresee myself returning to Japan just slightly more than 3 years after I've last been there, but when I had harboured thoughts of quitting last year, I decided that returning to Japan for a holiday would be a good idea. Coupled with the fact that I managed to successfully pass two papers at once even with my crazy workload, I felt that I really deserved a long trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, even if it was going to cost me an arm and a leg. Grumpy managed to take two weeks off, since he also had leave to clear. As for me, since I had already quitted my job, tbh, I could stay there as long as I wished, but I had already signed my new job contract before going to Japan, so oh well, a two-week break was more than good enough for me! ;)

Up till my second last day, I was still doing OT beyond 9 pm, with me even reaching home at only after 12 am on two of these days. I was beyond drained. Besides, I had night class on my last day and an afternoon class on Saturday, before flying off on Saturday night. To say that I was tired was an absolute understatement. I was literally functioning like a walking zombie. I decided to leave my afternoon class early because if not, I wouldn't have been able to do some last-minute packing and get ready my stuff before my Grab ride arrived.

Sunday 22/07/2018 (Day 1)
It was my first time on ANA, so while I've heard that it is the preferred airlines for Japan, I had booked this because it is tied to Star Alliance (we could earn miles) and also because we were intending to go to Hokkaido, which ANA offered the cheaper and more seamless option. It turned out that we were booked on the new Dreamliner 787, which is the newest plane model on the market as of now. No wonder it felt so new and clean. Besides, the leg room was really spacious as well! I couldn't really sleep well though because there was bad turbulence and also because my nose was being a bitch.

En route to Nihon!

We were each given a snack bag during the night leg of our flight. Loved how this bag contained a bottle of water, wet wipes and Lays.

Soon, day broke and we had our breakfast. Grumpy had said that ANA's food was really good, so I was raring to see how it would stand against my favourite, Thai Airways. My verdict? It wasn't as tasty as Thai Airways' LOL. ;X Cheat my feelings ah this guy.

Sunrise over the Land of the Rising Sun.

I got myself the bread pudding with pancakes. Honestly, the whole meal wasn't bad lah. The bread pudding I had tasted quite good actually, but what spoiled my experience was the jam which was slathered over the pancakes. That jam was really sour! Argh!! I would have preferred if they had provided the jam in a small tub instead.

Grumpy's porridge was really good though. The porridge was smooth and creamy, and very flavourful as well. A good choice for brekkie!

We landed at Haneda Airport at around 6.30 am. It was already so bright, and my eyes couldn't adjust to the brightness outside momentarily. We had to first clear customs before we could board our domestic flight to Sapporo. The check-in process for our domestic flight was quite seamless. Thankfully, the domestic terminal was also within the same airport, so we just needed to go through another special passage where we could board the bus that would bring us to the domestic terminal. This was also the reason why we chose ANA, because if I remembered correctly, there were flights by other airlines that actually required us to go over to Narita Airport to board our domestic flight. So folks, see carefully ah! In this aspect, I was being really careful, and triple-checked that our flights were all taking off from the same airport before I booked the tickets. The airports are more than 1 hour by car apart!

You know you're in Japan when you see so many items in the vending machine!

There were so many people going to Sapporo though, probably due to the summer holidays. I think many people were also looking to escape the heatwave that had been afflicting Tokyo since the start of summer, so we waited exceptionally long for our turn to board the plane. Once we were on, I immediately KO-ed due to me not having a restful sleep on my previous flight.

Once we landed, Grumpy proceeded to the Nippon Rent-A-Car booth at New Chitose Airport, where we had booked the car from. There was quite a long queue for the bus that would bring us to the Nippon Rent-A-Car place. In fact, we were directed to wait outside the airport after getting our queue number. Boy, the winds were really so chilly, but still, quite shiok!

Brekkie from Lawson. I've missed convenience food from Japan so freaking much! The best thing was that these tasted so good! T_T

About 1.5 hours passed from the time we landed till the time we finally got the car. Many Japanese were also renting cars, and there were very few English speakers, so Grumpy had to wait for a really long time before there was someone available who could go through the terms and conditions of the contract with him. Once all these were settled, we began to embark on our road trip to Furano, the main reason why I insisted on going to Hokkaido during this period. ;P

Along the way, we saw many mountains shrouded in fog, which reminded me so much of Taiwan. Grumpy felt the same too. We endured the 2-hour drive with a few close shaves here and there. So thankful and proud of Grumpy Cat for bringing us safely to Furano.

Our car was very new and clean. We were also given a very comprehensive manual in English on what to do in the event that we got in any accident.

So thankful to Grumpy for driving, because I can't drive at all. After I'm done with my professional exams, I will definitely find time to take driving lessons. In Singapore, I never found the need to drive because our public transport is probably one of the best in the world (though I complain sometimes, but honestly it's a lot better than in other places), but it is absolutely necessary when you go to big countries like Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Grumpy initially wasn't keen on driving as he hadn't driven since he got his driving licence, but in order to satisfy my wish of going to Furano where public transport isn't easily available, he went to borrow his uncle's car to practise driving. 我很感动。T_T The good thing is that Japan drives on the same lane as us, so in a way, it's similar to driving back in SG. Grumpy, is it can do a road trip in NZ soon? ;P

We passed by Yubari, where all the crazily-priced honeydews are from. People are willing to pay $30k for just one freaking melon leh, don't play play.

Quiet road leading to Furano.

I'm loving Furano already, and we still hadn't gotten to the main attraction.

We dropped by our AirBnB first to put down our luggages. Yume was already at the door welcoming us. Accommodation in Furano was really very expensive, especially for this time period. We paid more than $200 per person for our stay in Yume's traditional tatami room, which was already the cheapest option we could find, given the location and time period. Moreover, Japan is cracking down AirBnB listings which do not have approvals from the government, which further limited our options. Tbh, given the choice, I probably wouldn't want to stay in Yume's house in future, because toilet and bathroom facilities were shared, which meant that should we want to use them, we would have to wait till the rest of the occupants in the house are done before we could use them. It so happened that Yume's house was fully booked for this period, so yup, as you could have guessed it, we had to wait for our turn to use the toilets. This greatly inconvenienced us a lot, though it was of course, through no fault of hers, as she did mention clearly in the listing that the toilets and bathroom facilities were shared. Nonetheless, Yume's hospitality, despite her not speaking much English, made up for the less-than-stellar Wifi connection and inconvenience that we faced. She also did allow us to use her washing machine, which was really a plus point.

As we were feeling hungry and before that, had done our research on what to eat in Furano, Grumpy drove us to Yuiga Doxon, where we shared a plate of Japanese curry omurice. This place is famed for making their own curry out of 29 different spices.

Furano~

What a cute little hut.

Siao so many people even when it was already past lunchtime.

Can't imagine how cold this place will become during winter.

Our first proper meal of the day, which was super dope! I can imagine how comforting this would be during cold, wintry days. Omoooooo~ ;_; The space was quite cramped though, but I guess since Hokkaido is nearly perpetually cold throughout the year except for summer, the lack of space may provide some much-needed warmth lol.

We drove over to Furano Delice for our dessert, as it was highly recommended by many food blogs. It was quite an uphill drive, but so worth it! We ended up ordering quite a number of items here, as this would be the only time we would be paying a visit to this cafe. Apparently this cafe closes on certain days of the month, so be sure to check and plan your itinerary accordingly!

Entrance of Furano Delice. So pretty sia!

Such a charming cafe! Architecture on point!

Back (L to R): Milk pudding and milk ice-cream.
Front (L to R): Double fromage cake and honeydew tart (seasonal)
Died and went to heaven when we first ate these. How can desserts taste so pure and good here?! ;_; The initial euphoria after that wore off for the milk ice-cream and the honeydew tart though. The milk ice-cream had a very light milky taste, which may probably appeal to some, but for me, I preferred to have a stronger milky flavour for my ice-cream though. The honeydew on the honeydew tart was damn sweet, which would have tasted good by itself, but when eaten with the tart, I just felt that this combination was too "heaty" for me. The must-eats here will definitely be the milk pudding and the double fromage cake. The milk pudding reminded me a lot of Paris Baguette's famous pudding, which I really liked. The double fromage cake would be the star of this shop for me. It was so deliciously cheesy and yet, light-tasting in flavour. They got the proportion just right for this!

View from dining alfresco. We sat outside because apparently, they had switched on the heating. Hello, it's summer leh. ._.

After that, since it was still rather early, we decided to go to Farm Tomita, the main reason as to why I'm in Hokkaido. My lavendersssssss. T_T When we alighted from the car, we could smell the fragrance of the lavender permeating the air. Oh my tian that instantly perked me up (hahaha when lavenders are supposed to have calming properties). And... I finally saw the sea of purple which others have been posting on their social media for years. It was just so darn beautiful, with the lavenders swaying gently together with the winds.

En route to Farm Tomita.

Lavender + honeydew ice-cream.

Finally at Farm Tomita!

Never thought that I'd make it here, but here I am. It was just so beautiful and serene beyond words. ;_;

Dear lavenders, I love you. Should put this as my new phone wallpaper.

More sea of purple.

Glad to have you with me here, Grumpy Cat. ;D

We went over to the souvenir shops to get some keepsake, like lavender essential oil, lavender moisture spray, and basically, anything with lavender, before making our way to Ningle Terrace.

It was nearing sunset when we made our way to Ningle Terrace, which resembled a scene from the fairytale books, where all the dwarves and gnomes live. It was just that magical, and I'm pretty sure that this place would be drop-dead gorgeous during winter.

Entrance of Ningle Terrace.

I loved how they used fairy lights to light up the paths, which made the whole place look a lot more magical.

Ningle Terrace itself was pretty small, so after about 45 minutes there, we left. There were many small souvenir shops housed in log cabins, and they sold pretty exquisite-looking items, though at more expensive prices. We took pleasure in browsing through the items, but did not buy anything in the end.

It was nightfall by the time we left, so we decided to go back to town, have dinner, and call it a day.

Teppan Okonomiyaki Masaya was one of our must-eat places, so Grumpy drove us there for dinner. As it turned out, there were already so many people in line, and waited for about an hour before we were finally shown to our seats, with us being one of the last few orders. Initially, we had even harboured thoughts of leaving the queue, but thankfully we didn't, because shops in Furano close early. If we had left, we would probably end up being hungry for the rest of the night.

The restaurant looked really ordinary. We would have missed it, had we not seen the snaking queue of people at its doors. Anyway, ventilation in this restaurant was very poor, so be warned about smelling like oil and smoke after that!

Since both of us are now trying to watch what we eat, we only ordered two portions of food for ourselves. We went with the garlic fried rice and the pork and seafood okonomiyaki. Thankfully, our food didn't take long to be served. But OMO. The food was really DAMN GOOD! The garlic fried rice had so much wok hei in it that I was shook. The okonomiyaki had so much ingredients as well, and was so flavourful! Super yummy sia! We cleaned out our teppanyaki hotplates entirely LOL.

How can this garlic fried rice taste so damn yummy?!

Our okonomiyaki was so damn good as well. I'm at a loss for words.

After our yummy dinner, we drove back to the AirBnB, where we took a much-needed bath. Yume allowed us to use the washing machine. Thank God, because while our dinner was yummy, we came out of it smelling like oil and smoke.

After hanging up our washed clothes, we retired for the night.

Monday 23/07/2018 (Day 2)
We went to Furano Marche, which was located very near to our AirBnB, for brekkie. We bought a cheese bun and cheese milk sugar bread from Cazeres. Both of them tasted really damn dope, especially the cheese milk sugar bread. Why do cheese and milk taste so exceptionally good in Hokkaido?

Our delicious cheese milk sugar bread and cheese bun.

Since we were way ahead of schedule, we decided to spend some time at the supermarket, where we started our souvenir-buying. Since Furano is the land of lavenders, items that are lavender-related are all sold here. In fact, the stuff that could be gotten from the Farm Tomita souvenir shops could be bought here as well. I got some lavender cookies and crackers, along with some seafood garnishing for rice. I just love those so much.

Simi sai also lavender. This is lavender wine. We didn't get to try this though as it would definitely not be possible for us to finish it, especially when Grumps had to drive.

Grumpy die die wanted to try this, so he bought it. Tbh it was nothing outstanding? There was a lot of cream though, which I didn't really fancy.

Siao they drink so much alcohol. This is my first time seeing alcohol in 4L bottles. O.O'''

Before setting off for our road trip, we headed over to 7-11 to stock up on water and food. I'm so damn in love with the convenience stores in Northeast Asia I swear, for the variety of food and drinks they have there are just that numerous.

Just look at that variety! I love their sandwiches!

I freaking love my eggs, and this shows it.

Fuggin' favouritest thing evaaaaaaa, le tamagoyaki. I was eating it everyday in Japan LOL, and I had to buy at least 2 in one go. xD

After grabbing our food from 7-11, we embarked on our road trip again. We headed to Saika no Sato, which was another lavender farm located near to the more famous Farm Tomita. I was glad that we had heeded the suggestions on TripAdvisor to come here, because while the farm was relatively smaller, it was beautifully serene early in the morning. On top of it, we could smell the lavender once we alighted from the car. It was just so refreshing! Saika no Sato was also relatively less quiet and crowded, which made the scene more beautiful than it already was. However, this farm only had different species of lavender flowers, whereas Farm Tomita also had other types of flowers which were not just limited to lavenders.

En route to Saika no Sato. Notice the light green patch on the left? Grumpy told me that those are actually ski slopes. ._.

Lavenders are my favourite flowers.

I guess we made the right choice of going to Farm Tomita yesterday, because when we went over after Saika no Sato, Farm Tomita was crowded af. The near-empty carpark that we saw yesterday was non-existent today. The carpark was fully occupied, with cars and tour buses all over the place. It was quite a nightmare trying to get out of the place as there were many people walking in and out of the carpark as well. Thank goodness we had the foresight to visit this farm yesterday nearer to closing time. We had to give this place a miss, so we drove on to our next stop, Biei.

Biei's Blue Pond was about a 40-minute drive from Furano. The stretch of road we embarked on after that was relatively quiet, which seemed so different from the roads leading to the lavender farms in Furano. We finally reached the Blue Pond, and oh gosh, I kid you not. The pond was really a brilliant blue. It was so breathtaking! I saw it with my own eyes. o.O'''

Finally at the famous Blue Pond!

Grumpy Cat and I.

The park itself was really small though, so after around 20 minutes there, along with skillfully maneuvering hoards of selfie-stick hoarding tourists, we left the place in search for lunch. We dropped by a rest stop as there was no toilet there. This was also when I bought my first drinks from a vending machine in Japan.

Apple juice and Calpis Peach. Both of them tasted really good sia!

We had done a bit of research on the good eats in Biei (seriously, TripAdvisor has been of great help), so we decided to go over to Daimaru Family Restaurant for lunch, after reading the rave reviews on TripAdvisor. When we finally parked the car, the queue outside the restaurant was damn long. It didn't help that there were many tourists waiting in line too, and the Japanese waitress could only speak Japanese, so we were all left standing and waiting under the hot afternoon sun. Foreigners who could speak Japanese all went up to her to ask if they could be seated first (don't have to know Japanese to know what was being communicated lol) and the poor waitress was just trying to reject their requests. The wait did seem long for me. Moreover, I was hungry, and standing under the hot afternoon sun wasn't helping at all.

Thankfully, after what seemed like an eternity, the waitress finally directed us inside. As I wanted to eat some udon, I ordered the curry tonkatsu with udon while Grumps ordered the curry tonkatsu rice. Our food did not take long to arrive, and soon, we were devouring it like we hadn't eaten for days. My first reaction was totally "OMG! DAMN GOOD!". I am not a fan of fried food, hence whenever possible, I try to avoid all kinds of fried food. I initially didn't really have any hopes on this, because I did not really like tonkatsu, but this place totally changed my perception! The tonkatsu was crispy, but definitely not oily, and I couldn't taste any "oil" taste in it. The insides were wonderfully juicy and tasty too. Lean meat was used and there was minimal fats, but still, this tonkatsu was really melt-in-your-mouth good. It was then I learned that Biei pork was used, so perhaps that was part of the reason why the tonkatsu was exceptionally good. The long queue is there for a reason. Please do yourself a favour and visit this restaurant if you're in Biei. The wait will be so damn worth it!

Grumpy's curry tonkatsu rice! This was farking good please.

My curry udon with tonkatsu. The curry for my udon tasted more diluted than Grumpy's curry, but still, it was super delicious!

Close-up of the tonkatsu. Can you see the juice all oozing out? The tonkatsu here is just freaking amazeballs lah. Please come here if you're in Biei. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

After our super satisfying lunch, Grumps drove us to Patchwork Road, but honestly, I felt that there was nothing much to see here. There was a quaint little cafe called "Cafe Biei", so we decided to go in and have some homemade ice-cream.

Cafe Biei.

With their homemade ice-cream, which tasted quite good, but honestly, not mindblowingly good lah. I was fighting with a bee before that lol, so I probably didn't enjoy it as much.

Patchwork Road from some clocktower we climbed. It did look quite pretty from here though.

While on our way to Panorama Road, we passed by a little farm that housed ponies and sheep. Entrance was free although you could chill out at the cafe they had. In this place, you could literally sit amongst the farm animals. They had tables and chairs for you to just really chill here and while your time away while looking at the animals. It was just that tranquil.

So docile!


This pony kept trying to scratch itself against the fence lol.

Neigh neigh!

I love scenery like this, because I'll never get to see such a sight in the home country.

We finally got our ass moving to Shikisai no Oka after getting distracted by the little farm lol. This place was also touristy af as there were many tour buses stopping here, and lots of people walking around as well.

I nearly brought an alpaca home. ;'(

Breathtakingly beautiful!

Such prettiness everywhere! Must really salute the farmers for planting these plant by plant. It's such back-breaking work!

After deciding that we had enough of flowers for the day, we moved on to Panorama Road. When we first reached, we were like "Huh? Like that only ah?" and were quite disappointed. It turned out we had already passed the road and turned into another road instead LOL. Thankfully there weren't many cars around, so we decided to park the car there and walk to the road. What greeted me was a very beautiful long stretch of road that my jaw just dropped.

This was the road we first saw. So-so only hor?

Ah, we walked further up and saw this sign, which signals the start of Panorama Road.

Can you see where the road ends? This is the real Panorama Road HAHAHA.

Thank you Biei for the memories.

We drove back to Furano after that. We wanted to go to Popura Farm, where they sold their famed honeydew with ice-cream. As Grumpy drove too fast, we missed the turn to the cafe, so Grumps attempted to do a U-turn. As he was doing the U-turn, the car hit a lamp post and horrifyingly, our rental car got scratched quite badly! D; The scratches were too obvious and bad to be ignored lol, and our car looked really brand new, so this couldn't be covered up. Thankfully, we had bought the car excess insurance from FWD, so after reading through the terms and conditions of the car rental contract, we figured that we could file a claim on the damages we had to pay.

Oh, and guess what? We got the car scratched for nothing, because the cafe was already closed when we first passed it. -.-'''

Le scratched car. ;X

We drove back to Farm Tomita, but the farm was already closed lol. Since this was our last full day in Furano, I decided to head out of the car, take in the scent of the lavender once more, use their clean toilet, and research on places to eat for dinner.

We decided on Kaiten Sushi Topikaru, which was also highly-rated on TripAdvisor. The sushi we had were quite cheap, and pretty good quality. In fact, I had two slices of otoro sushi for only 500 yen?! This was really a steal, and oh my, the otoro was really melt-in-your-mouth!

Such fresh salmon!

Tamago all day 'err day for me!

Fuggin' worth it, this otoro! Super yums!

I can't live without tamago! T_T

I really do not fancy fried stuff, but for now, all the fried items here in Japan are done so well! This was not oily at all, but still so crispy and juicy! ;_;

Aburi salmon and aburi scallops! I love the smoky flavour that aburi gives! This was so good!

Ikura to make le lunch kaki jelly. ;P

After dinner, we went to a video game shop to find for accessories since this Grumpy Cat became an otaku and bought himself a Nintendo Switch. We were there for quite awhile, but otaku didn't get himself anything.

Nightfall in Furano.

This is a Nintendo Switch cover featuring my favourite Sumikko Gurashi. I wanted Grumpy to buy this, but he said no. T_T

We walked around a nearby supermarket, and bought some drinks to aid in digestion.

Mixed fruit smoothie, which tasted quite sour lol, and Furano milk, which tasted really full and creamy. Yummy!

After reaching back to the AirBnB, we immediately got our sleep clothes ready and rushed to the toilet before anybody else could use it. ;P

Tuesday 24/07/2018 (Day 3)
As this was our last day in Furano, we woke up really early to bathe and pack up. We left Yume's house at around 7+ am, earlier than expected.

Before that, Yume served us some honeydew, which omg, were really sweet! Sugoiiiiii~ ;_;

This honeydew was really damn sweet! And I loved how her spoon had a fork to it as well, which made scrapping of the fruit flesh much easier!

We drove to 7-11 and got our brekkie settled. I freaking love their tamago so damn much. ;_;

Are you jelly of our brekkie? ;P

This must be one of my favourite things from Japan. So much love for this.

After finishing our breakfast, Grumpy proceeded to drive us to Otaru, since we would only need to return the car at 5 pm, and it was still early in the morning.

Bye ski slopes. Bye Furano!

The drive to Otaru took about 3 hours. In the span of 3 hours, we encountered more than 15 road blockages due to road works being performed. Grumpy had to keep his eyes peeled on the road for the road signs, because crashing into any of them would spell the end of us lol. Along the way, we spotted a deer running along the the road. It was really pretty, with white spots on it.

After what seemed like a really long time (I even slept on the way, but poor Grumps couldn't sleep), we finally arrived at Premier Hotel Nakajima Park, where we would be staying for the rest of our days in Hokkaido. We got the hotel concierge to send our luggages up to the room, before Grumpy drove to Otaru.

Otaru is really a very pretty town, but it was quite hot and sunny by the time we reached. We went to Waraku for lunch, where we had conveyor belt sushi again. xD Price-wise, Waraku was more expensive than the restaurant we ate at last night.

This guy's parking is damn fail lol.

I just love conveyor belt sushi restaurants in Japan, because in Japan, we could see the sushi chefs in action in front of our eyes while we were eating.

See what I mean by seeing the sushi chefs in action?

I took this thinking that it was agedashi tofu, but omfg, imagine my utmost surprise when it was actually a hot toasty tamago cake! OH MY TIAN THIS WAS DAMN GOOOOOOOOOD I DIED AND WENT TO HEAVEN.

Shiok af!

Look at 'em salmon belly!

Featuring my lunch kaki's favourite, ikura. xD

Their fried squid was really good too! As usual, no oily aftertaste to it, which was really wow!

Free parking was abound back in Furano, but apparently, not in Otaru. We tried for 30 minutes to find a free parking lot, but to no avail. In fact, parking here was damn expensive. We ever came across one that charged 500 yen for just 20 minutes?! #siao We ended up parking somewhere where it cost 300 yen per hour, but of course, it was much further away from the main town area though.

After parking the car, we walked and toured around Otaru. Since Grumps had been to Otaru before, he explained to me that Otaru is famous for their cheese produce and glassware. There were so many windchimes lining the street lamps, which tinkled whenever there was wind. The chimes sounded really pretty and delicate.

To my surprise, I came across a Snoopy-themed shop by itself. If le sis was here, she'd sure go cray cray. In order to drive her cray, I also took a lot of photos for her. ;P I did spend a lot of time in this shop because there was just too much to see.

Otaru's famed clock.

This town is so pretty and quaint sia!

Probably my favourite brand in Otaru, because Grumpy Cat's first gift to me was a box of cheese biscuits from LeTao. Back then, I didn't know him that well, but he said that he bought me this because I had helped him a lot. ._. I was touched because this box of biscuits aint' cheap.

Outside Snoopy Chaya!

Too bad le sis wasn't here. ;)

Hokkaido is famed for their seafood, so the streets were also lined with such stalls, where they'd cook the seafood on the spot for you to enjoy the juiciness and freshness. I didn't try though, 'cos we were stuffed from lunch.

After that, we bought Otaru's famed rainbow ice-cream, which actually was just ice-cream in different flavours. Some of the flavours were really good, while the rest were so-so. As it was summer, the ice-cream started to melt quite quickly. Imagine eating this during Hokkaido's winter though... Le teeth will sure drop out LOL.

It'll be so shiok eating this during winter. I really want to come back to Hokkaido during winter, though not sure if I'll like the cold or not.

The famous Otaru canal.

We had to rush back to Sapporo after that, as our car had to be returned by 5 pm, and Sapporo was about an hour's drive away from Otaru. We reached Sapporo quite early, but panicked 'cos we couldn't find the car rental company at all. Worse still, we had to pump the petrol tank to full tank, but couldn't find any nearby petrol station. Sigh... Thankfully, once we managed to locate the car rental shop, we also found a petrol kiosk nearby it. In the end, we were late by only a few minutes, but luckily they did not charge us further for returning the car late.

The staff surveyed the damages to the car, and after a long while (they couldn't speak English well, so Grumpy had to talk through a translator on the phone), they told us to pay up the NOC of 20 000 yen. Thankfully, the amount was only that, because our car rental excess insurance could only cover us up till $300. ;P

Our hotel was located really near to the car rental place though, so we slowly made our way back, thankful that we had finally returned the car LOL.

Since we were without the car now, we had to take the public transport. We took the train to the Sapporo JR station, where we had dinner there. I can't remember the restaurant's name though, but I think it was located in the JR Tower.

The restaurant even had a placard teaching you how to eat le soba. Effort much?

My warm soba, which tasted really good. The portion felt quite small to me though.

Le Grumpy's delicious soba. The portion was a bit small as well.

As we both were feeling drained and tired, we decided to go back after le otaku had browsed his way through his video games, and after I had run my errands for various people. ._.

Wednesday 25/07/2018 (Day 4)
As we had no concrete plans for this day, we woke up really late, because we were both just that tired.

After washing up, we went to 7-11 to buy the tamago and fried rice onigiri, which were really good! I can just survive on Japan's combini food! As we were still full from the 7-11 food, we decided to walk to Susukino, where Sushi Zanmai is located. Grumps had insisted that I try this sushi chain. Kinda regretted walking to Susukino though, because it was really hot and tired die the bb liao. Moreover, Grumpy had forgotten where the restaurant was even though he had been there before. He said that was because Hokkaido looked very different in summer, so he couldn't really get his bearings. For the many times he had been to Hokkaido, he was always there during winter. x_X

After walking to and fro for about 15 minutes, we finally found the restaurant, and thankfully, the restaurant wasn't full from the lunch crowd yet. This was the first non-conveyor belt sushi restaurant that I was visiting in Japan in awhile LOL. All the sushi that we had ordered all came in one plate. Overall, I found Sushi Zanmai to be rather expensive, considering that they only served one piece of sushi for each order, whereas most restaurants in Japan would serve 2 pieces for one order.

I think it's pretty obvious which is my favourite sushi?

Omg this tamago was so thick! I DIGGGGG.

Some mayo salmon rolls. I found this so-so only, probably because I hate mayo.

Grumpy insisted on ordering this for each of us. This was the tuna set, where we had tuna done in 5 different ways. This set cost around 1500 yen, which wasn't the cheapest set around though. This was pretty good! However, for me, the otoro wasn't as melt-in-the-mouth as I had expected it to be. The best piece of sushi for me would be the aburi tuna with chives, which was divine. Sugoiiiiiii~ T_T

We just toured around the area after lunch, 'cos honestly, we didn't have any plans for this day. We both were dying under the afternoon heat, and chanced upon a McDonald's, where we ordered a Calpis Shake for only 120 yen! That thing was surprisingly good?! ;O

This was so good sia! Damn refreshing for a hot day like this.

To kill time, we dropped by a supermarket, an arcade centre and had more snacks.

I can live in Japan and just eat tamago all day sia. I'm really serious.

Favourite Korwiwi.

So kewt! But no luck.

I beat the otaku in his own game. Anyway, this otaku is intending to get this game for his Nintendo Switch.

Super good mochi doughnut from Mister Donut. It was quite sweet though, but omg, the texture of this was really very good and different from the other doughnuts that I've eaten in my life before.

We walked till we reached Tanukikoji, which reminded me a lot of Dotonbori in Osaka. This place has a long stretch of shops (of all kinds), including shops selling pets. I managed to find a drugstore, and helped my ex-colleague buy her Vitamin C serum which cost at least $100 per bottle. #richisrichlor

The shopping arcade was quite empty on a weekday afternoon though.

So sweet sia.

Aww kitty don't be sad. ;(

Cats are lyfe. Meow meow.

Soon after, we were at Pole Town, where we decided to take break from the hot weather outside and escape to the air-conditioned underground lol. It so happened that Pole Town also had Kinotoya Bake, which Grumpy said was even better than Bake's lol. Holy shit he was right sia. The cheese tart was so damn good it felt like tasting heaven. I'll never ever look at cheese tarts the same way again. The cheese milk ice-cream was super duper creamy and flavourful as well. ;D

Our ice-cream was so tall that it was on the verge of spilling over. But thankfully, it didn't, if not I would have cried. The cheese tart and ice-cream were seriously dope I swear!

Off to the supermarket we went again. I seriously have so much love for their supermarkets. Love how the entire basement is dedicated to just food, food and more food. I love "window-shopping" at SG's Japanese supermarkets as well, though of course, nothing beats being in the very place itself. ;P

My cat is very hungry, and he LOVES fried things. Fat die you. I found this so-so only though, because it was rather cold, and I could taste the oil in it. ;X

We decided to walk to Sapporo JR station. Along the way, we visited Odari Park, where we just lazed and baked ourselves under the setting afternoon sun. There were also beer tents being erected though, with beers and finger food being sold. I wasn't sure what the occasion was, but there sure were a lot of people drinking beer even when it was a weekday, and when it wasn't even nightfall yet. D;

Odari Park, along with the Sapporo Tower.

Pretty water fountain.

Pretty flowers! Hokkaido does really have many pretty flowers around.

At last, we were at the Sapporo JR underground, where we stopped by for Gindaco takoyaki. Omg I've really missed them so much. The SG franchise closed down quite a few years back, so the last time I got to eat Gindaco was when I was in BKK 2 years back. Silly me didn't bring the Gindaco card, so I couldn't redeem my free tako balls. T_T

Grumps sure knows the way to my heart, which is eggs. So here's le Gindaco takoyaki with egg mayo on 'em. ;P

We chanced upon a busker playing the violin, and oh gosh, if there is one thing I can say about Japan, it will have to be their high standard of music-playing. In fact, I do think that among all the Asian countries, Japan's standard is on par with the European countries, which traditionally have a strong music culture. When I was learning music last time, my music teacher tried to emulate the Japanese way of teaching music to the young and impressionable me. When I grew older and joined band as a CCA back in secondary school, my conductor also often tried to emulate the Japanese way of training us to play our instruments, and we often got to play music that was arranged by Japanese composers as well.

The sound that came out from this busker's violin was so clean and slick. So very Japanese. Sugoiiiii~ ;_;

As it was time for dinner, we decided to take the train back to Susukino in order to try soup curry, which Grumps had said that we couldn't leave Hokkaido without trying it. He tried to find the soup curry restaurant which he had been to a few years back, but apparently le cat here suffered from poor memory retention and therefore, couldn't remember le restaurant's name or location. ._. We ended up resorting to TripAdvisor again to help us suss out where the best soup curry restaurants were.

We ended up at Suage, which was among the top-rated restaurants for soup curry in Sapporo. The queue was this was very long, but thankfully, it moved fast, and I think it did help that we were not a big group since there were only two of us. We decided to just order one portion, but upsized our share by paying a bit more and adding in other ingredients.



So tourist-friendly! Thumbs-up!

The pear calamansi we had was so shiok!

ONE OF THE BEST MEALS EVER. This was truly freaking divine that we regretted sharing it with each other LOL. The broth was thin and didn't taste like the typical Japanese curry, but oh lord, it was damn flavourful. Even the extra pork and chicken that we added in, together with the mushrooms, tasted absolutely delicious, with the charred and smoky flavours truly coming through. The veggies in the soup curry were friggin' sweet too what sorcery is this?! D; Please do yourself a favour and come here at least once in your life. I posted this on Instagram Story and my friends who had been to Hokkaido all agreed that this meal was one of the best they have had too. It was that life-changing. So glad that Grumps forgot where the soup curry restaurant he had visited before was. He also agreed that this restaurant was better than the one he had been to.

After our really satisfying dinner, we walked over to Tanukikoji again, where we went to the Calbee souvenir shop and stocked up on Kit Kats and Calbee snacks. I had done my bit of research for Sapporo, and Gotsubo was on my list, for that roadside stall sold oysters for the cheap. After our souvenir-shopping, we walked back to Susukino, which is actually a red-light district. The whole area felt so different now as compared to daytime. There were groups of men in black waiting around to solicit customers, but I noticed that if you look foreign, they most likely won't bother you, in part due to their inability to speak English.

Friend of Miss Foxy. ;P

The shopping arcade at night.

Gotsubo is just a little shop by the roadside, but there was a queue by the time we arrived. We had to wait for about 30 minutes before the sole man manning the shop could attend to us. Gotsubo sold one oyster for 105 yen, but there was a minimum order of 5, so I just ordered 5 to try.

Pretty hole-in-the-wall. But please come here if you love oysters.

The oysters were DIVINE to say the least, and I regretted just ordering 5. I had my oysters lightly barbecued, and omo, they tasted even better than the fresh raw oysters, especially when eaten with soy sauce and lemon juice. This combination was DOPE!

Not to mention, the oysters were HUGE too. And super slurp-worthy!

We walked back to the hotel after this, where I decided to put my bath bomb from Lush to good use. My feet could do with some good warm soaking.

I first got to know about Lush when I was staying in Korea years back. I had to walk past a Lush store in Sinchon station every single time I make my way back to my accommodation. xD

Lush in Japan is so much cheaper than back in SG!

Thursday 26/07/2018 (Day 5)
Our brekkie was settled from 7-11. Well, you could now guess what I ate. ;P However, besides the tamago, we bought a few other items to try out.

We bought this thinking that it was bubble tea, because we saw the pearls on the picture. However, it turned out to be an almond drink with pearls in it. Should have read the words on the cup properly LOL. This was good though.

Japan does their milk items really well! This milk pudding was really delicious!

After leaving the hotel, we headed to Stellar Plaza for Nemuro Hanamaru, which is touted as one of the must-go restaurants in Hokkaido. Malls and stations in Japan really confused the hell out of us. We actually walked around in circles before we finally realised that the intial route we had taken was correct. -.-''' By the time we managed to locate the restaurant, it was slightly before 12 pm, but the queue to Nemuro was CRAY. In fact, we were the 72nd group in line wtf?! Thankfully, they had lots of chairs outside the restaurant, so we managed to rest our poor feet while we waited to be seated. Because both of us downloaded Maplestory M on our phones, we ended up killing time by fighting the monsters. Plus, we had eaten before we went out, so the 40-minute wait didn't feel that agonising.

Having reading rave reviews from diners and numerous blog posts about this restaurant, I did come in with expectations. And guess what? This restaurant DID live up to its expectations. Both Grumps and I agree that this restaurant served life-changing sushi. ;O The price more than justified the quality of sushi that we had, and we both left the restaurant with belly-satisfied tummies. Their aburi items were totally DA BOMB sia. The sweetness of the fish greatly complemented the smoky flavours from the aburi. Gosh, I can't stop gushing about this restaurant! Usually at such conveyor-belt restaurants, Grumps and I would eat about 10 plates between both of us before we would stop ordering because we would feel so full, but at this restaurant, we actually ordered about 16 plates for the both of us because it was just that shiok.

This aburi salmon belly was PURE CRACK.

The fresh sashimi was also damn sweet!

Their tamago was so good too!

Grumpy's favourite sushi, inari.

No idea what fish this was, but it was so sweet and fresh omo!!

The crab meat was also very sweet!

The fried squid was also damn good lah! Walao I love Japan so much I swear.

Yellowtail fish was so good too.

Squishy flying fish roe.

After lunch, we headed to the JR station to board the train to Otaru. Our one-way ticket already cost 640 yen, so damn heart pain sia. Chiong-ed Maple on the way lol.

Hot air greeted us at Otaru after we alighted at the station. The station itself is located pretty far from the main town area, so I nearly died walking there. The blazing afternoon sun made things worse lol. On top of that, we were walking towards the wrong direction until I had to repeatedly ask Grumpy if we were walking towards the main town area, 'cos our surroundings looked more and more ulu as we progressed. We quickly took refuge in an air-conditioned place, where there was Daiso and Don Don Donki.

The two bottles of drinks that we bought from Daiso. They tasted so damn artificial. Yucks. I didn't finish and poured the rest into the drain.

Apparently, Otaru had a Popura Farm shop as well. Since we didn't get to eat the honeydew ice-cream in Furano, we thought that we should give it a try here. On top of that, the weather was really hot, so any cold thing would be welcomed. I regretted coming here though, because the shop itself wasn't air-conditioned, so it was even more humid than the outside air. -.-''' Our honeydew ice-cream came up to 1400 yen, which was really pricey, considering the fact that the melon itself was really small. I honestly thought that it wasn't worth the money lah, because the melon wasn't as sweet as I had expected it to be. The honeydew that I ate back at Yume's house was way much sweeter. Perhaps I was feeling angsty from the heat, so I didn't really enjoy this a lot. I think one would have a much better experience eating this during winter though.

Our freaking expensive honeydew ice-cream, at 1400 yen leh wtf. And mind you, the melon we had was really small. I honestly couldn't believe that we scratched the car for this. -.-'''

After our dessert, we slowly made our way to the main town area.

Solar-powered jiggly paper weights. Felt so tempted to get one, but was already feeling so broke in Japan huhuhu.

We finally found Snoopy Chaya, where I had to buy a Snoopy Tsum Tsum for le beech at home lol.

I looked really damn shagged here lol, but aww, hugs for Snoopy.

I think the heat really sapped up a lot of our energy, so once we were certain that we had covered the main town area, we slowly walked our way back to the JR station.

Along the way, as this eatery was stated on our itinerary, we dropped by Kamaei, which specialises in handmade fishcakes. The fishcakes here reminded me a lot of Samjin Amook, the famous Korean fishcake bakery chain. I truly loved the fishcakes at Samjin, and I felt that the texture of the fishcakes in Kamaei resembled Samjin's a lot. The fishcakes here were really filling, and it filled us up really well. We spent quite a bit of time at Kamaei just lazing around, because it was just too hot to be outside.

We bought the top 3 bestsellers of Kamaei.

As this would be out last day in Otaru, we headed over to the canal and took more touristy shots there. It was already past 5 pm, so the sun was setting and the air became noticeably cooler. We waited patiently for our turn to take our picture with the canal, and it also wasn't as crowded as in the early afternoon.

Can't imagine how gorgeous this place would become during winter, when it's already so pretty in summer!

Mandatory touristy shot with the canal.

This bus reminds me so much of the trams in Melbourne.

We decided to head over to Tokaiya Ramen for a quick bite before we took the JR train back to Sapporo. It was in our itinerary, and it so happened that it was near the JR station. As it was still rather early for dinner, the restaurant didn't really have many people. However, as with typical Japanese ramen restaurants, the restaurant only had counter seats, and each diner there had their own bowl of ramen, so we weren't sure if we were supposed to order one bowl of ramen each. Thankfully, we were allowed to share a bowl of ramen.

The menu did include an English menu, which was really nice of them. However, the menu was rather limited. If I remembered correctly, the restaurant only sold 3 types of ramen. Of course, when you're really good at something, it only makes more sense to prepare and sell what people really love.

The outside of the restaurant.

This chilli was really dope! ;O

We had the BBQ pork miso ramen, which omg, was really very DIVINE! The pork was really melt-in-the-mouth (I realise that I've been using this word really often in this post lol) and flavourful, and the broth was really rich as well. In fact, it was so good that we finished up every drop of the broth, and left nothing in the bowl. The portion was really big too, so while it was really good, Grumps and I did not regret sharing HAHAHA. Special mention goes to the ramen egg, which was so soft and gooey, me likey.

After arriving back at Sapporo, we went to the JR Tower, where I had to continue helping peeps back in SG to run errands. But oh well, I love Japan so much that I'm more than happy to help people back at home get items which are much cheaper in Japan / exclusive to Japan.

As it was our last full day in Hokkaido, I had to eat my fill of oysters, so we walked back to Gotsubo. Grumps doesn't really like oysters (though he stole two of my oysters yesterday hmph), so this time round, we ordered 3 scallops as well. I went in for the kill and ordered 6 oysters, and the stallholder probably recognised me as the girl who visited yesterday, so he threw in 2 FREE oysters for me wtf!! Of course just take lah. xD The total for 6 (+2) oysters and 3 scallops was 1770 yen though, which was really expensive, considering that each oyster only cost 105 yen. Calculating back, the real killer was the scallop, which cost 380 yen each?! That was almost SGD$5 per scallop sia! The scallops were honestly very good though. They were barbecued in butter and some special sauce, which made them really delicious. However, I felt that the star was still the oysters, which were really cheap and tasted super duper yummy.

YASSSSSSSSSS. I couldn't resist sending these photos to my lunch kaki. ;P

LOOOOOOOK at those oysters. Damn huge hor?

The scallops were really huge too!

A close-up for all of you who can only look and not eat. ;P

We walked past the red light district of Susukino for the very last time, passing by the numerous love motels along the way huhuhu.

Friday 27/07/2018 (Day 6)
Brekkie was from Lawson. I also bought their tamago to try, but I preferred 7-11's. The sandwiches were good though, and more than enough to sustain us for our plane ride to Tokyo.

Look at our spread.

After packing up, we checked out and took the hotel shuttle bus to Sapporo JR station. From there, we took the JR train to New Chitose Airport. There were very long lines for domestic flights, and though we arrived early, the backlog was so huge that we had to cut the queues at the check-in counters and told them that we were rushing to catch a flight to Tokyo. After clearing the madness, we finally boarded the plane. Many people brought along lunch bentoes, which smelled really good. We should consider that next time, Grumpy Cat.

View from above.

Free Wifi yo! SQ please up your game. But OK lah, while the Wifi was free, it wasn't very strong though, 'cos we couldn't play Maple LOL. It was probably just enough to read emails. ;X

After finally landing, we were supposed to take the train to Okubo station to meet Yuni, our AirBnB host, but we got down at Shin Okubo instead wtf. In the end, we had to drag both our very heavy luagges along the streets to find Okubo, where Yuni was waiting for us. Luckily for us, her apartment was just a 5-minute walk from Okubo station, so our agony didn't really last long.

Yuni was really very friendly though. She was really very animated when she introduced her house to us. At first, I had thought that she was Thai because she communicated to me via WeChat, and throughout the month of communicating via WeChat with her, her English did look quite "Thai". However, when I finally heard her speak to us, I thought that she sounded really Korean LOL. And after telling us that she had been living in Japan for the past 9 years, I asked her where she was originally from, and true enough, she said she was from Korea. Gotcha! I did not speak to her in Korean during her introduction though, 'cos I haven't been using Korean for so long, so I scared I awkward turtle mah. I ended up using Korean to communicate via WeChat though, and she was surprised at my level of Korean understanding. Thereafter, we communicated entirely in Korean, up till the day we left Tokyo.

I had a long list of food I wanted to eat in Tokyo, so after settling down, we set off again to find Shake Shack. We went to the branch at Shinjuku. I was pretty excited to try it since I had heard good reviews of it. The price did shock me though, because it was way more expensive than I had thought. We ordered a classic Shack burger, a seasonal special burger, bacon and cheese fries plus a cup of cookies and cream shake. Guess how much everything cost us? At least 3300 yen leh wtf!!!! That's like SGD$40+?! For around 2500 yen, we could have gone to a decently-priced sushi restaurant in Japan, eaten our fill, and left with satisfied tummies.

Perhaps I had too high an expectation, so I felt that this was super not worth it, especially for that price we were forking out. The burgers were honestly not bad, but not life-changingly good. I've had my good share of die-die-must-try eats in Hokkaido that left me really very satisfied, so in regards to that, Shake Shack couldn't compare at all. One thing worth mentioning though, was the cookies and cream shake. That was one thing that I felt really stood out, and deserved a try, though it was really expensive af as well lol, at 750 yen.

I was so excited to finally lay my hands on a Shake Shack meal.

The classic Shack burger looked so pretty.

Fuggin' expensive meal. No wonder I'm going broke in Nihonland.

After feeling rather disappointed with what I had at Shake Shack (the price point left me feeling really sore lol), guess what Grumpy saw? A freaking Luke's Lobster food van right outside Shake Shack!!!!! Omfg Luke's Lobster was also on my must-eats list!! Ahhhhh was I going to fulfill a major part of my food wishlist today? ;D Unlike Shake Shack, Luke's Lobster did not disappoint us. In fact, at 1600 yen for a fresh, toasted, buttery lobster roll, this was worth every yen! The bun was toasted PERFECTLY with butter and probably some seasoning. The main star was definitely the fresh lobster CHUNKS, which, by the way, tasted really sweet, with a hint of the sea. Grumps and I were totally salivating throughout feasting on the roll lol. I need to go back to Chunky Lobsters in SG to fulfill my lobster roll craving. T_T

What a welcomed sight! So cute though. We had to place our order through the vending machine, in which a ticket would be dispensed after we had paid up. Only after we had shown the ticket to the staff manning the counter will she then start to prepare our food.

We ordered the US Maine lobster roll, which cost 1600 yen. This lobster roll was so damn good, shiok die us. ;D

After that, we just walked around aimlessly while I tried to familiarise myself with the chaos that defined Tokyo. Grumps brought me to the heart of Shinjuku, where wow, it was really bustling. There were lines and lines of shops that just sold almost anything. We passed by an arcade shop, so out of curiosity, we went in. Imagine my highness when I saw so many cute toys in the claw machines. I've been crazy over Sumikko Gurashi recently, and aww, I saw a cute and fluffy Neko sitting inside the claw machine, waiting for someone to bring it home.

I got Grumpy to try his luck at catching one for me. As expected, the first 5 tries were for naught. Grumps decided to push his luck further by buying 6 tries for 500 yen. Guess what? He managed to catch Neko on the 8th try wtf! I honestly wasn't expecting this at all. Like... Neko did cost a lot more on other websites I had seen, so to be able to catch an authentic Neko for just 800 yen was totally a steal. Thank you so so so much Grumpy Cat. I love chu. ❤❤❤

Grumpy Cat with kewt cat. Mai two lurves. ;D

Being the otaku that he is, Grumpy brought us to Akihabara, which is supposedly the electronics hub of Tokyo. As you guessed it, we walked around electronics shops, comparing prices for his Nintendo Switch accessories and games. o.o''' Of course, Japan is into maid cafes, and every nook and cranny of the streets in Akihabara has one of such cafes. While I really love Japan on the whole, I am not so fond of this kind of culture 'cos I find it really sexist and demeaning to women. ;X Neko was really big though, so bringing him around proved to be a little inconvenient, especially when it got really crowded, but I love Neko with all my heart still.

Akihabara at night. So vibrant and colourful, along with their really "colourful" culture hmm...

After getting back to Okubo, we shopped for groceries at 7-11, where I bought le fav tamago along with some Michelin-starred ramen noodles lol. We didn't eat anything after the lobster roll, so I bought myself a salmon onigiri, while Grumps got us some drinks and fruits.

This onigiri was really good leh, especially the rice! Even Grumps agreed.

We KO-ed after cleaning up the house, washing up and hanging up le clean clothes. I feel so domesticated now. Is it I can be housewife already? ;P

Saturday 28/07/2018 (Day 7)
We nua-ed and left the house only around 11 am, because there were no concrete plans for today. In fact, we both had nothing to do, so much so that I resorted to using the hairdryer to dry the clothes that we had washed last night, while Grumps hobo-ed in one corner and played his games.

My Chinese-inspired brekkie from 7-11. It was delicious!

When we finally got our ass out of the house, as we made our way to Shin Okubo, we passed by a Don Quijote store, which is better known as Don Don Donki back in SG. Curious to know how different it was from SG, we popped by. While the things sold were also similar to the items back in SG, Don Quijote felt a lot more cluttered and messy to me. I preferred navigating Don Don Donki haha.

No irritating song though haha.

Grumps suggested that we try to go to the places I had listed down for Tokyo, so the plan for this day was to go to Harajuku, Shibuya and the Meiji Shrine.

The start of Harajuku.

We alighted at Harajuku, where we spotted a Yoshinoya restaurant across the station. I don't fancy Yoshinoya back in SG, but Grumpy assured me that Yoshinoya in Japan would taste very different from that of SG. I decided to give it a try, and omg, he was right! In fact, why didn't I discover this earlier? Yoshinoya also made me realise that actually if you don't dine in restaurants, eating out in Japan can actually be really reasonable. At a starting price of 500 yen per beef bowl, I felt that it was really very value-for-money, and the taste was so good as well. Grumps and I decided to share a beef bowl, and added in an extra portion of pork. So yummy!

Our lunch at Yoshinoya for two.

Harajuku reminded me a lot of Ewha and Myeongdong. And for good reasons. For one, Harajuku had so many food shops and there were many other trendy shops as well. The number of people plying the streets and the atmosphere also reminded me of those Korean streets so much. I really need to plan a trip back to Korea. T_T

If you have been to Korea before, you will know what I mean.

Harajuku is well-known for their crepes, and I just couldn't leave this place without trying their crepes. As there were many crepe stores around, Grumps did a bit of research on Google, and we narrowed our choices down to two stores, Angels Hearts and Marion. We decided on Angels Hearts in the end, as I wanted a more sweet crepe instead of the savoury type, which Marion seemed to specialise in. Anyway, both the stores were located opposite each other, so it was really hard to miss the queue.

Our beautiful banana chocolate crepe, which was a very safe flavour. Yummy!

Our sweet tooth wasn't fully satisfied, so as we walked down the streets of Harajuku, we came across Zaku Zaku. While Zaku Zaku wasn't on my must-eat list as I just had too many things I wanted to eat, I did remember that it was the rage on Instagram a few years back. The smell from the shop was really good too, so while the queue was long, Grumps and I decided to queue for it. The queue did move fast, so we did not have to wait for long. Our appetite was further whetted when we could see the staff pumping in the cream into the choux pastry churros (?) and the ice-cream swirling out from the machine. Ah, good stuff.

We wanted to have the best of both worlds, so we got milk ice-cream as well as the custard choux churros. Omg this was really damn good sia, and so photogenic! The choux churros went damn well with the custard, which did not taste overly sweet. The milk ice-cream was not as milky as I had hoped though. It was the peak of summer, and as it was considered rude to walk and eat in Japan at the same time, we went to the corner outside the store and ate our melting ice-cream.

After stuffing our faces with sweets, we felt damn full, so we continued walking down, to the other side of Harajuku. Along the way, we walked passed a pet shop that sold REALLY CUTE baby pets. Being the law-abiding Singaporean that I was, I did not take any photos as the signs prohibited the use of cameras, but apparently, many other people didn't take heed of the notice huhuhu. I should have snapped a few photos of those extremely adorable pets. People walking past were just "Ah KAWAIIIIIIIII~" all the way LOL.

It so happened that the Line Friends shop was just located directly opposite, so Grumps and I crossed the road and visited the shop, in which we spent quite a bit of time in, 'cos yours truly here went cray over Brown and Cony huhuhu. Grumpy Cat truly knows the way to my heart - he bought me two handheld fans from the Line Friends shop, featuring le favourite grumpy Brown and Sally, though I would have very much liked it more if they sold a Cony fan. Thank you so much, Grumpy Cat!

We walked past a small shrine on our way back to Harajuku, where it started drizzling. Meiji Shrine is located near to Harajuku, so the initial plan was to visit the shrine after Harajuku. It turned out to be a mistake though, 'cos the rain got progressively heavier and we only had one umbrella to share, which wasn't adequate enough to shelter us fully from the rain. The shrine was further than I thought, and by then, it was raining very heavily. It didn't help that the shrine was very big, and had no shelters.

The entrance of the shrine.

The famous laterns of Meiji Shrine.

You had to wash your hands before you enter the shrine. I saw some people drinking the water from here though. Clean meh? ._.

Raining cats and dogs.

The wishing box, where one could write their hopes and wishes on the pieces of paper provided, and slot them into the envelope together with some offering.

The wishing tree.

We witnessed a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony taking place. What a sight it was!

The protection that the charm is supposed to "provide".

It was quite amusing to see this.

It was still raining by the time we left the shrine. I had suggested waiting at the shrine under the rain got smaller, but Grumps insisted on walking. I swore that I totally regretted listening to him, 'cos as we left, the rain got heavier and the winds blew even stronger, and by the time we reached the station, both of us were terribly drenched and dirty argh. On top of that, my Little Miss Keds shoes got so dirty and it was white to begin with? Wtf. I felt so unhappy that Grumps insisted on walking under the rain, but I tried to bite my tongue and hold back my words.

After trying to clean ourselves up in the station toilet, we proceeded to Shibuya, but I swore that throughout, I felt so uncomfortable with my wet clothes, wet socks and wet shoes. This was probably the most miserable day I've had in Japan lol.

Hachiko statue.

We had to seek refuge in the Muji Cafe, because the rain was so heavy and it wasn't feasible for us to continue walking in this weather. As I sat in the cafe, watching the trees sway violently, it then dawned on me that this could be the onset of the typhoon which the host had warned us about. Thinking about it just made me more scared. D;

Singapore represent at the heart of Tokyo, Shibuya!

Of course must support local overseas ventures LOL. We got the soya custard pancake, which, btw, was mindblowingly good that both of us were shook af! They even had Calpis soymilk shake, but didn't buy that as we were about to have dinner soon.

Le Shibuya crossing. It was still drizzling, but the heavy rain had subsided.

As we couldn't really predict the weather, we decided that we should just stay around the Shibuya area before we go back. As such, we did turn to TripAdvisor again to see which restaurants around the area were worth patronising. We ended up at Uobei, which is yet another sushi chain that supposedly served cheap and tasty sushi.

While Uobei did serve good sushi at mostly 108 yen per plate, the rest of the items we had ordered left much more to be desired. The fried items were soggy and quite badly done, unlike the shiok fried items we had for the past few days. The pasta and soup that Grumpy ordered also tasted really bad that he didn't finish it. Oh well. As for me, luckily I ordered sushi only, so I was spared, though I did steal some from Grumps.

Nearly everything here is automated, so we had to place our orders on the iPad ourselves. The good thing was that the menu was offered in many other languages as well, including English, so well, language barrier broken down.

Of course I had to spam le sashimi.

The fried thingy at the bottom right was weird af.

So cute! I placed 3 orders at once, and the sushi train carrying my 3 orders "arrived" right in front of me.

We headed over to Yamada 'cos Grumps' otaku side showed up again. We did not dare to stay out too late though, as there was a typhoon warning in place for tonight.

Grumps and I spent the rest of the night doing household chores, washing our soiled shoes and washing up after ourselves. Today was honestly the day where I had hoped the later part of the trip didn't happen lol. It just sucked so much to be outside when you are feeling cold and wet argh.

And... I think the hairdryer was quite overworked, especially when I left it on continuously so that our shoes could dry. Got the chao ta smell. ;X

Sunday 29/07/2018 (Day 8)
We left the house at 10.30 am, but had to turn back because apparently, my Little Miss Keds weren't completely dry (in fact, it got more and more wet as I continued walking), and it was making me very uncomfortable again. Moreover, the wet shoes did rub against my skin, which caused much irritation and pain. After heading back to the AirBnB, I switched the hairdryer on to full blast, and another 1 hour was wasted.

By the time we left the house again, it was almost 12 pm already. I was glad we left later though, because my shoes were warm and toasty, and I definitely didn't feel uncomfortable after that.

We got this pretty sweet potato tart from the JR station before taking the train to Yokohama. The train trip would be around 45 minutes.

We finally reached Yokohama after 45 minutes, where our first proper order of business would be to get lunch. We knew from researching that Yokohama is famous for its bento boxes and shumai. Therefore, after spotting a Kiyoken kiosk in the middle of Yokohama station, we bought the one with fried rice and shumai in it.

10/10 for their packaging. In fact, I do love how much effort the Japanese people put into making everything look so presentable. In fact, this looked good enough to be a souvenir.

The bento smelled really good, and it was very delicious as well! All the ingredients in the box tasted damn good, with special mention to the shumai.

It just so happened Luke's Lobster had an outlet at Yokohama as well, so since we loved the lobster roll we had in Shinjuku that day, we decided to buy it again. This time round, Grumpy bought the wasabi-flavoured one. The roll, as usual, was very good and toasty, but we both couldn't really taste the wasabi. Grumps did mention that the lobster roll here was cheaper than the one we got from the food truck though.

Still so good, as always. ;D

Chun Shui Tang was just besides Luke's Lobster, so Grumps wanted to try it. One cup was around $6 leh wtf. Why are things here so exorbitantly expensive ah? ;( Anyway, we'll be going to the original Chun Shui Tang in December, so hopefully it'll be very much cheaper. Two high-budget trips in a year walao I cannot liao lah LOL. Le wallet is crying.

We had to take the train to Minatomirai since we wanted to visit the Cup Noodles Museum. Even then, the museum was around an 8-minute walk away from the station. Given the hot and sticky weather, that 8 minutes felt like half an hour of pure torture to me. T_T The winds were occasionally gusty though, blowing my umbrella inside-out at times.

We finally reached the museum at 2.30 pm, and gosh, the museum was swarming with people. In fact, I didn't know that only limited tickets were given per day for the cup noodles-making session. Walao heng we managed to get tickets for the 4.30 pm slot, which was one of the last timings they had. Imagine coming all the way here and not being to make your own cup noodles? I'd cry man, and it would definitely become one of my regrets. T_T The ticket to the museum cost 500 yen, and since our cup noodle-making session would be about 2 hours later, we just sat around and played our games after we were done with touring the museum. It was quite interesting to know how the Nissin founder (Momofuku Ando) invented instant noodles. I legit love instant noodles (Grumpy doesn't like it a lot though) and can eat it with anything. It goes exceptionally well with le mala. ;P

Chicken instant noodles was the very first type of instant noodles that came out in 1958, hence the chicken mascot.

Instant noodles of the past.

Outside Momofuko's shed.

Thanks for the marvellous invention. T_T

Instant noodles got packaged as space food as well.

Momofuko Ando, inventor of the instant noodles.

When it was finally 4.30 pm, we lined up to enter the area where we would be making our own cup noodles. We had to pay an additional 300 yen each into the vending machine that would dispense a cup which would later be used to store our noodles. After sanitising our hands, we were shown to the tables where there were many colour markers for us to doodle our cups on.

See see so many people!

Participants who were making the original chicken instant noodles. The slots for this ran out really quickly. How cute of them to wear matching chicken hats though lol.

Spot the noodles!

Choose 4 of your favourite condiments from there. ;)

It was quite a great deal of fun. ;D

It was past 5 pm by the time we made our way out of the museum. Next on our agenda was Chinatown, which we had to take a train for. As we walked back to the train station, we inevitably also had to pass by Cosmoworld, where the giant ferris wheel was.

Such a pretty ferris wheel!

When we finally alighted at the station nearest to Chinatown, omg we still had to walk quite a distance before we reached Chinatown proper. Walao Japan why you always steal steps from me one?

I swear only Singapore's Chinatown doesn't have this lol.

Chinatown proper, in search for the famous fried buns. ._.

Finally found it, and wow, the queue was insane. Even more so when we were all feeling hot and sweaty.

We took pork and seafood. The pan fried buns were quite good, but I honestly wasn't, and still am, not a big fan of doughy skins. I still very much preferred getting my fix of fried dumplings and xiao long baos from Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao in Singapore's Chinatown.

We headed back to Tokyo after this, where we dropped by Ginza for omurice at Kissa You, which was recommended by one of the influencers I follow on Instagram. Along the way, we passed by a few Kabuki theatres and shops, which was quite an eye-opener for me. Ginza was already pretty quiet at this time though, which I found strange.

Anyway, every diner in Kissa You had to order a set each, so no sharing was allowed. We decided to get the dinner set, which cost about 1300 yen each. The set comprised of an omurice of your choice, as well as a drink.

The ginger cider I got was so good. It tasted really refreshing!

The omurice was really good! It was wobbly, fluffy, buttery and just... wow. Grumps said that this reminded him a lot of his childhood, and I totally got what he meant. It's my goal to make a proper omurice now, besides tamago huhuhu, which I haven't gotten my lazy ass moving to make it. ;X

After dinner, we decided to explore Ginza for awhile before heading back to the AirBnB.

Seen on the train back. The Japanese are so punctual, right down to the minute. ._.

Grumps insisted on buying this large matcha milk with pearls from the bubble tea shop near our accommodation. Heart pain sia nearly SGD$10 for this. O.O''' This was pretty good though. I loved the bitterness of the matcha and the milk, as well as the pearls, which tasted quite special. But... (you may refer to the next day's post) ._.

Monday 30/07/2018 (Day 9)
Our plan for today was to make it to Tsukiji Market and have an omakase experience at either Sushi Dai or Sushi Daiwa. As we had heard how the queues for both restaurants can get crazily long even during the wee hours of the morning, we both were resigned to the fact that we had to wake up extremely early in order to try and beat the queue. So, Grumpy and I woke up at around 4+ am wtf, all in the name of food. D;

I was having an acid reflux and wasn't feeling very well, all thanks to the bubble tea we had last night. It must have been too much for le stomach to bear. On top of that, we were rushing to get out of the house, which resulted in my stomach churning even more. By the time I managed to drag le feet to Okubo station and fighting a rebelling tummy, I nearly felt like vomitting and was feeling quite nauseous already. I'm like "What, don't tell me we have to head back home ah... I did not wake up so early to tio this kind of attack." I then remembered that I did have some medicine to treat all sorts of tummy ailments, so after I popped that pill and managed to get some sleep on the train, I woke up feeling a lot better, expelling a lot of gas on the way though. ;X

In the interest of time, we decided to go to Sushi Daiwa.

We took awhile to find Sushi Dai and Sushi Daiwa, which are located next to each other actually. When we reached at 5.30 am, the queue for Sushi Dai was already fuggin' long. I was in the queue for awhile while Grumps went to check out how the queue at Daiwa was like. It turned out that Daiwa also did have a queue, just that it was much shorter, so I left the queue at Dai to queue at Daiwa. Even though it had the shorter queue, we still needed to wait in line for about 40 minutes, before we were finally shown to the very small restaurant. There was not much seating space tbh, and I wasn't feeling really comfortable, especially when there was a guy beside me who took up quite a bit of my space as well. Sigh...

The old chef served us.

Look at all the fresh sashimi. Should be fresh from the auction.

First course, melt-in-the-mouth otoro omooooooooo. DAMN GOOD!!!! ;_;

The prawn was extremely sweet and fresh.

The uni was creamy af!

The mixed salmon maki, together with the tuna.

Fresh squid.

Yellowtail sashimi.

Anago sushi.

We left the restaurant, feeling extremely full and wallets significantly lighter as well. The meal cost each of us 3500 yen, making it one of the most expensive meals we have had in Japan. In fact, by the third or fourth course of the meal, my stomach was feeling extremely stretched. On top of that, I was feeling extremely squished, so I was in a rather awkward position throughout my meal there. I felt that the sushi was really fresh and tasty, and probably a good introduction to someone like me who hadn't been to an omakase before, but would I wake up at ungodly hours and pay this much again? Probably not tbh.

Lunch kaki ate some shiok 100 yen tamagoyaki from Tsukiji Market as well, so after paying up and leaving Daiwa, we walked around Tsukiji in search of that shop. It turned out that there were actually a few shops selling just tamago specifically, so when we saw the first shop selling 100 yen tamago on a stick, I thought that I had found lunch kaki's tamago.

The first shop that we passed by selling 100 yen tamago. I thought that this was really good, until...

Chefs in action, cooking my favourite.

Ah, this was the one that lunch kaki bought, and it was so much tastier than the first one we bought, which now had a bit of the chao ta taste. D;

We walked to Ginza from Tsukiji, but since it was only 7 am in the morning, obviously the shops weren't opened at all, so the streets were extremely quiet, save for a few cars on the roads. We then went to Roppongi to look and see, but haiz, it was just too damn early lah, so we ended up hobo-ing at McDonald's and playing Maple LOL.

The empty streets of Ginza.

Uniqlo flagship stall?

After that, we headed to Akihabara again so that the otaku could find his stuff. As it was nearing lunchtime, we decided to head over to Menya Musashi, which was touted as one of the best ramens in Tokyo. As we were still feeling full, we decided to share a bowl of ramen, which cost 1100 yen. As usual, we had to pay at the vending machine before a ticket stating our order would be dispensed out. As it was lunchtime, there were many office workers in the restaurant, so we had to wait for quite awhile before the counter seats were cleared.

The ramen vending machine.

We had their signature ramen (the noodles looked like udon though), and omg, this was freaking good?! In fact, what made this special was that they separated the noodles and soup, so you could take as much broth as you fancy. The pork was really melt-in-the-mouth tender, and omg, the noodles came with a whole ramen egg!! Suck on that Ichiran! I hate it when I have to pay extra for something which should rightfully be inside a meal huhuhu. ;_; The broth by itself tasted quite thick and fishy though, not the usual pork bone tonkatsu or miso broth. Some people might be put off by the fishiness I feel; even I took awhile to get used to it, but once I got past the smell, I really enjoyed this bowl very much. In fact, once you're done with your noodles and have broth left, you could actually add in hot water to the broth, and voila, a soup is created! And I swear, the soup tasted so good as well. ;_; Best thing about this is, you get free refills of noodles and broth. Say whattttt?

We went back to the AirBnB after that though, 'cos we were just too shagged lol. We woke up at 4+ am leh, don't play play. After showering, we just nua-ed in our respective corners and played games. #otakumuch?

Passed by a pet shop on our way back to le AirBnB, and aww, look at this kitty!! Wai you so kewt one?! ;D

At around 4 pm, we decided to get out of the house and went to Ginza, where we went to Eggs N' Things for teabreak.

The acai blueberry smoothie was pretty good!

We ordered the spinach omelette and a stack of pancakes to share. The portion tbh was quite little I feel. Maybe Japanese people eat less? The spinach omelette felt too thin for me. I was expecting a much thicker and fluffier omelette, but this seemed as if they only used at most 2 eggs to make this dish. The food was not bad lah, but not life-changingly good? I probably won't be craving for this anytime soon lol.

Ginza was more lively now, with a lot more people on the streets than earlier on this morning, and of course, the shops were now opened. We headed over to the huge Uniqlo, which had 12 floors of retail space? Siao hahaha. Anyway, I did not buy anything, but Grumps managed to get some clothes. We ended up going to Hermes for awhile too, 'cos Grumps needed to help a colleague buy her bags. Stress max sia walao. I'm totally not used to people in the service line treating me as if I'm made of gold. ;X I only heaved a sigh of relief after we left. And apparently, they did have a dedicated lift-presser LOL. Probably people of high SES can't personally touch the lift buttons. ;X

Ginza at night.

Since Flipper's was on our itinerary, we decided to end our day over there. However, due to Grumpy spending some time at Hermes, and us getting lost at Shibuya, we ended up reaching Flipper's after their closing time. I was internally raging lol, 'cos it was damn complicated for us to arrive at Daikanyama from Ginza. It involved us changing numerous trains and walking the life out of us before we could take the other line.

Anyway, thank goodness Family Mart was just nearby, so we settled our dinner there.

Yummy! The almond milk was good too!

Grumps originally wasn't keen on eating food from convenience stores, but I guess I've now managed to convince him that food from convenience shops can be tasty as well. Our agedashi tofu was cold though - I would have preferred if the cashier had heated it up for us (she told us that it didn't have to be heated up leh wtf). The chicken oyako rice was really legit, considering that this is convenient food. Wow Japan, just wow. ;O

After our satisfying dinner at Family Mart, we began another long walk to Ebitsu station, where there would be a direct train to Okubo. I swore my legs really died today lol.

Tuesday 31/07/2018 (Day 10)
Today was dedicated to Disneysea. If I had unlimited money and more time to spare in Japan, I would have bought the two-day Disney pass from Klook, but since I don't, I told Grumpy that if I had to choose between the two theme parks, I would choose to go to Disneysea, since I had already been to the Disneyland in Hong Kong twice. Disneysea was more special too, because while there are many other Disneylands in other countries, Japan still remains the only country in the world to have a Disneysea. Anyway, for you folks out there, I highly recommend getting your tickets from Klook. Not only is it slightly cheaper, you get to pay in your home currency and from time to time, there are promo codes which you can get to utilise.

Disney OOTD - Chip socks.

Disney OOTD - Stitch shirt.

We happily woke up at around 8 am 'cos I had thought that the park opened only at 10 am. As usual, 'cos Grumps took his own sweet time to prepare himself, we ended rushing like crazy. Moreover, Shinjuku's morning peak was damn cray and we were feeling super flustered already. After managing to find the Shinjuku bus terminal while navigating the mess that was Shinjuku, we found out that in order to board the expressway bus, we had to buy a bus ticket and couldn't use our IC card. Argh, so much for topping up our cards earlier on zzz. We were clueless about how to go about buying the bus tickets, so we fumbled quite a bit. There was only 6 minutes left before the bus would leave, and the bus ticket would be deemed invalid if we missed the bus, so after paying an additional 1000 yen each for the tickets, we tried to find our bus stop, but realised it wasn't within the terminal we were in. Time wasn't on our side, and we knew that being Japanese, the bus would leave right on the dot, so we hurriedly found a Japanese, who told us that our bus stop was outside the building. Flustered, we hurriedly rushed outside, where we already saw passengers boarding the bus. We ran for our lives, and finally managed to board the bus phew.

When we were finally on the bus, I decided to research more on what to do in Disneysea, and that was when to my horror, I realised that the theme park actually opened at 8 am?! Whuttttt? Then where did I see that it would be opened at 10 am?! D; Anyway, I found a really good website that allowed us to plan and prioritise which rides to aim for, and it was exceptionally useful for first-timers like us.

We reached exactly at 10 am, but it was already too late. The fast passes for Toy Story Mania were totally wiped out for the day. Another handy app that served me really well during our day at Disneysea was Wait Time - Tokyo Disney Disneyland Disney TDR, as shown below.

Please do yourself a favour and download this app. It was really useful and had helped us to plan which rides to take, according to the waiting times. This app even lets you know which rides still have fast passes left, and what the period of the fast pass was.

Reminded me of the Universal Studios Globe lol.

A band was playing right at the entrance. This reminded me so much of band days 10 years back, because I used to play the music that they were playing when I snapped this shot. Ah memories...

Pirates of the Caribbean was the theme for summer.

So majestic, and yet so hot!

The American Waterfront.

Since we missed the fast pass for Toy Story Mania, and it was one of the recommended rides in Disneysea, we had no choice but to queue in line for it. Guess what the waiting time was? A fuggin' 160 minutes, and that wasn't the longest waiting time ever. The longest waiting time I've seen for this ride was a fuggin' 180 minutes?! Siao liao. Thankfully, they had strong fans and sprinklers to help keep us cool, and we were queuing indoors most of the time. Apparently, those people holding fast passes had to queue out in the open, where the sun was mercilessly hot. And even with the fast passes, they had to queue at least 30 minutes out in the open. D; That was how crazy the queues for this ride were.

Anyway, because the wait was really long, Grumps even had the time to walk over to the Indiana Jones attraction and get fast passes for that! My poor Grumpy Cat had to walk to the other end of the park for it though. Thank you so much Grumpy!

This ride better be good lol.

Had too much time to kill, so just spamming pictures of Toy Story lol.

Spam.

Spam.

After more than 2 hours of waiting, we were finally in!

Guess who the noob was?

Anyway, you'll need go for the ride itself to know why it has the longest queue. It was really very fun for the both of us.

Next, we proceeded to the Tower of Terror, which was just beside Toy Story Mania. We had initially wanted to get a fast pass for this, but the waiting time for this was only 45 minutes, so we thought that we should be getting the fast passes for rides which had a longer waiting time. It was past lunchtime, and we were getting quite hungry, so we managed to grab some bites while queuing for Tower of Terror.

Tokyo Disney theme parks are celebrating their 35th anniversary this year, so it really had a very festive vibe to it.

This burrito that we had was so good? Like wtf I thought theme park food was meant to taste bad. O.O'''

Grumpy bought this strawberry-tasting sandwich thingy that was so good as well? Although we both didn't really know what we were eating LOL.

Two bottles of beverages, which were much needed in this hot weather. At 200 yen per bottle, I was much cheaper than I had thought, 'cos theme park F&B prices were usually daylight robbery. I really loved how the packaging sticker also had the 35th anniversary motif on it.

Tower of Terror was legit the scariest ride in Disneysea lol. I wouldn't want to spoil you on what happened, but the ride was really surprisingly scary. Even Grumpy was spooked by that. D;

We got some strawberry popcorns after that, on the recommendation of the staff who was manning the garlic shrimp popcorn booth LOL, and headed over to see the Pirates of the Caribbean special show after that. While waiting for the special show to start, Grumpy went over to Centre of the Earth, and got us fast passes for it.

Our strawberry popcorn was actually really tasty leh, and was quite reasonable in pricing too? We got a normal popcorn set for only 350 yen.

Pirates of the Caribbean summer special.

Centre of the Earth was also pretty interesting as well. It was the ride with the second longest queue, so it felt quite shiok when we were able to cut the queue until we reached the ride itself.

Here we are!

Our fast passes, all thanks to Grumpy for getting them.

After that, we headed over to the Arabian Coast, where we decided to take a break for awhile to recharge.

So pretty! And I thought it looked even more beautiful because of the clear blue sky.

Hey Mickey!

We read from blogs that Arabian Coast served really good food, so here we are.

We ordered one set of curry sampler to share. Guess how much this cost? Only 1280 yen sia. Although food in Japan is a lot more expensive than back in Singapore, but wow, for a theme park to be selling food that cost around the same as food outside, I thought that this was really very reasonable. Best of all, this curry sampler was really DAMN GOOD please. It was really very tasty and just had the right amount of spice! Super shiok sia!

We went for the Magic Lamp theatre, but it was quite boring to me, and probably because I was tired, I fell asleep as well. After that, we headed over to the Indiana Jones Raging Spirit roller-coaster. We nearly did not make it 'cos the Magic Lamp took longer than expected.

When we were in the park, we noticed that many people were actually eating some kind of chicken leg, which did look very big and smelled damn dope. After our Raging Spirit ride, we then realised that the booth selling the chicken legs was just located nearby. Although the queue was long, it did move rather quickly, so we managed to get our chicken leg. Omg I swear almost everything I've eaten in Japan was SO GOOD. And I honestly had not much hope for theme park food, but Disneysea was proving to be such an exception!

So damn delicious! The chicken leg was so well-marinated and best of all, it was damn juicy?! What the sorcery lol.

We saw everybody eating this purple churros too. This was too sugary for my liking haha.

It was soon nightfall, and since there weren't any fireworks programme for the whole of July (I was so sad when I knew about it), we proceeded to the Mediterranean Harbour for the last show of the day, Fantasmic! And wow, I was so enthralled by it for the whole 20 minutes. It did help to mask the disappointment I felt when I knew that there wasn't going to be any fireworks.

Love the light show so much! Along with the fireworks at the end.


After the show ended, as there was still time before the park closed for the day, we decided to queue for the Nemo & Friends SeaRider, which omg, was so kewt and interactive! Definitely worth getting the fast pass for if you can.

We then went for Whirlpool, which only had a 10 minutes wait. Got terribly drenched for this, and when night fell, the air got a bit more chilly, so I was feeling rather cold after that.

As the park was going to close at 10 pm, we hurriedly made our way to the souvenir shops and bought whatever merchandise that caught our eyes, before bidding farewell to this place.

I had walked a lot today, and I felt that my legs were about to give way. On top of that, the blisters forming on my feet did not help matters at all.

While leaving this place wasn't much of a problem at all, I nearly wanted to die when we were changing stations to the line which would bring us back to Okubo. Walao I swore I walked for about 20 minutes between one of the particular stations in order to change line?! Seriously?! I was in a lot of pain and was hungry huhuhu.

Since Ichiran is opened 24 hours a day, we decided to drop by the Shinjuku's branch for our super late dinner. Time check, 11.30 pm.

Wow, opened for 365 days in a year! ;O

Ramen vending machine. ;P

My order ticket.

Grumps ordered this plate of pork, which was quite good.

I finally got to eat Ichiran in Japan. Ah, such bliss! ;_; The warm bowl of slurpy noodles was really much needed for me. Still bitter that I had to pay extra for an egg which I had to peel by myself, but Ichiran still tasted so good, especially on such a late night.

After dinner, we took the train back to Okubo. My legs and body were really about to give way, so I washed up first. I had to run a tub of warm water, and spammed it with tea tree oil in order to dip my legs in. My feet stung from the water coming into contact with the blisters being formed. ;_;

Grumps washed up next, and we immediately KO-ed after that. We were just that tired from almost a whole day under the hot weather.

Wednesday 01/08/2018 (Day 11)
I was totally dead from Disneysea from the previous day, so I woke up only at 10.30 am. Even then, I saw still feeling really very tired. When Grumps finally convinced me to wake up, he suggested that we head over to Nemuro Hanamaru again for lunch, 'cos the experience we had back in Hokkaido was really very good. Grumps went to search up on where the nearest branch was, which turned out to be at Kitte Marunouchi, with the nearest station being Tokyo station. Hahaha, I finally got to be in Tokyo in Tokyo. xD

On a side note, I noticed that my already-dark Indian boi got even darker... Must be 'cos of being roasted under the sun at Disneysea yesterday. ._. I asked Grumps if I did get darker, he said I did, but not as obvious. See see, must be the genes.

Grumps bought this from the vending machine in the station, and omg, this was so small and tiny. Talk about being literally pocket-sized. ._. And nope, although it was Yakult, this tasted really super sour. D;

When we reached the restaurant, the restaurant was filled, but there wasn't any queue, so we got shown to our seats immediately. However, as time passed, there was a queue formed outside already! D;

Kitte looked really super atas. Very nice and sleek architecture!

Om nom nom time...

This must be my favourite sushi joint in the whole of Japan, for now. ;P

Aburi salmon belly. This was super divine, as ever.

Salmon belly in its rawest form. I diggggg.

A sac of salmon fish roe for to take photo for the lunch kaki. ;P

One slab of warm tamago caeke for Missy Au please. ;D

Aburi-ed dunno-what-kind-of fish that was so sweet and fresh!

After our satisfying lunch, we walked around Tokyo station (which looked so gorgeous btw), and bought a lot of souvenirs to bring back home.

Press Butter Sand. One biscuit already cost 170 yen though. D; It was good lah, but not something I'd crave for. 5 of it cost 1000 yen? Like huh, pay for the box ah? No thanks.

Tokyo castella banana cake. Only limited to Tokyo station, so just whack and buy lol.

We ended up in Shibuya again lol, 'cos I finally caved in and went to buy a Stitch pen that cost 864 yen wtf. That's more than SGD$10 for a pen that shakes its booty OK. But I have a soft spot for Stitch, so whatever lah, take my money. ;_;

It was fugging hot in Shibuya sia. 37°C and real feel 44°C?! We had to run into an air-conditioned place every few minutes 'cos we could totally feel the sun roasting our skin. As if le Grumps wasn't dark enough already? ;P I had to run some errands for le sis too, so we went from drugstore to drugstore to find the cosmetics she needed. After that, we just couldn't take the heat anymore, so we decided to head back to Daikanyama for Flipper's pancakes. This time round, we made sure it was still opened before we headed over.

I took this from the top of a building, and as I took this photo, I could literally feel my skin burning up. D;

Flipper's was really small, so while we didn't have to wait to be seated, we saw a queue right outside the cafe after that. It did not help that our pancakes took really long to reach our table after we placed our order. I think we waited at least 30 minutes for it, and I remembered feeling really very hungry by then. But thankfully, the wait was worth it. In fact, I enjoyed the food here more than I did at Eggs N' Things.

Thank goodness it was opened.

The matcha au lait that we had was so damn good, especially on a hot and humid day like this.

We got the summer special, which was pancakes with peach slices and peach sorbet. The peaches tasted really super legit and fresh, and the sorbet was really very refreshing as well. They were such a great complement to the fluffy and jiggly pancakes. The pancakes by themselves were really dope too.

It was around sunset by the time we were done with our teabreak at Flipper's, and as we had a lot of things to carry around, we decided to head back to le AirBnB and put down the stuff. We nua-ed for quite awhile before heading out, 'cos the weather could really kill. When the sun had set, we headed out to the supermarket since this would be our last full day in Japan. It is my holiday tradition to make a run to the supermarket, and it will never change in the near future. In fact, I relish grocery shopping more huhuhu.

Olympics was located near our AirBnB, so both Grumpy and I went crazy over household food. I stocked up on those little dried bits of seaweed that could be sprinkled on rice, instant noodles. desserts and whatnot. I love shopping at Japanese supermarkets huhuhu, the ones in Singapore included. xD In the end, even though I did buy a lot of things, the total bill was not as high as I had expected. In fact, I only spent about 3600 yen for about 20 items. ;D #happyhousewifetales

It wasn't practical for us to continue walking about with our grocery hauls, so we walked back to the AirBnB, put down our stuff, before we headed out again. Grumpy wanted to eat yakitori before we leave Japan, so we were walking up and down the streets of Okubo to see if there were any yakitori joints, but the one nearest to us didn't look very good, so since it was also on our wishlist to try the ebi fillet burger that was only exclusive to Japan McDonald's, we headed to the McDonald's next to Shin Okubo. xD

The McD was packed with people, but hmm, it looked like a meeting place for Tinder dates, because nearly everybody there was being amorous with their partners, young and OLD alike. Got quite grossed out by their actions wtf, but what to do? We had already gotten our food, so Grumps and I just chose seats that were facing the windows so that we didn't have to witness whatever things people were doing behind our backs. ._.

The ebi burger was really good! We had nuggets as well as fries too. What an unhealthy dinner, but so satisfying...

We headed over to Don Quijote that was just almost opposite McD, and spent more than an hour there, mainly because the people whom we were helping to run errands for took their own sweet time in replying us zzz. I managed to get 3 Instax films with designs for only around SGD$26 though, which was really quite a steal, considering that such Instax films costs more than SGD$15 back in SG. D; We ended up reaching le AirBnB only at 11 pm, and started packing thereafter.

Grumpy had to help me pack my luggage after that though. But oh well, he's really damn good at packing lah, you all should have seen how neat his luggage was, despite all the barang-brang lol.

Neko got all the air squished out of him.

Thursday 02/08/2018 (Day 12)
We woke up at around 10 am, and decided to finally take a bus to Shinjuku, where Grumps had been wanting to try the Go! Go! Curry. He had been intrigued ever since he saw the gorilla mascot somewhere while we were just idly walking past some street. It was already burning so in the morning though omg...

I shared this Grumpy. We got the pork katsu curry, and as an egg lover, I added an egg to it. This portion wasn't the biggest they had, but Grumps and I were struggling to finish this leh! That being said, this was really very delicious as well. Although the standard was nowhere near the heavenly tonkatsu we had back in Biei, but this meal still tasted damn good, and we left, leaving very satisfied! The curry was rich in taste, and the pork, despite being fried, was still juicy and lean inside. ;D

Otaku finally went to one of the electronics stall, and bought some accessories for his Nintendo Switch. Like walao, finally, on the day we were leaving Japan. >.>

We headed over to Sinjuku's Don Quijote again. This branch felt a lot more messy and cramped, so I did not particularly enjoy navigating this shop. They even sold high-end branded goods as well, like Hermes wtf? I bet none of you expected to find Hermes in a discount shop right?! D; Anyway, I got my Minion Instax film from here, so happy is me. We took the bus back to Okubo after that, since we had to check out.

I'll miss the craziness of Tokyo huhuhu.

Since we could check out at 3 pm and we still had some time, I decided to take a shower and rest, since we would only arrive back in Singapore at around midnight. We had to take the train from Shin Okubo station though, and the worst thing was, Shin Okubo did not have a fuggin' elevator?! Like, I thought that was a basic necessity for a train station? I ended up having to lug my 23 kg luggage up multiple flights of stairs, and there were so many people using the stairs as well wtf. On top of that, I had to handle my hand-carry bag as well? Wtf it was a nightmare. Grumps also did not have an easy time. Such inconvenience, Japan, and so not elderly-friendly.

Learning from our past mistake in Germany, this time round, we were very careful with the trains we were taking, and we took care to get down at the correct stop.

Wtf can't deal with transport in Japan. So damn expensive sia. We took the Airport Liner to Narita Airport from Nippori, in which we couldn't use our IC card. We had to buy a separate train ticket, but could pay using the IC card. Wtf? Lol. Oh, and after getting off at Narita, we had to pay another time, using our IC card. So the trip to the airport cost us nearly 3000 yen leh. And I thought that Aussie's transport was already soooooo expensive. Sigh...

Had this soy drink on the train, but it wasn't that great lol. It tasted too "green" for me. ;X

Check-in was alright though. Thankfully we did not exceed our luggage allowance hahaha. We decided to go to the transit area earlier so that we could have more time to shop inside.

Spot the Star Wars plane.

We shared a bowl of Ippudo before boarding. Grumps had mentioned that he did not really fancy Ippudo during his previous times to Japan, and I could see why. For me, I felt that while the ramen did taste nice, it wasn't as mindblowing and the broth didn't have intense flavours as compared to Ichiran or Menya Musashi.

Grumps loves fried food, so here's some fried chicken for him. I found this so-so, and to my horror, some parts of the chicken were cold argh.

Since we still had time, Grumps decided to continue helping his colleagues to run errands. They had wanted wines which were only exclusive to Japan. However, they took such a long time to reply that in the end, Grumps and I end up tio last call again wtf. Even my sis facepalmed at us lol. Besides our boarding gate being located right at the end of the terminal, we still had to board a bus shuttle to get onto our plane zzz.

After running for our lives, we managed to get our boarding passes scanned, and we were shown to the bus. Just as I thought we could move off, we were made to wait about 20 minutes in the idle bus. In my mind, I was wondering, wtf was going on? I thought our flight was supposed to take off at 6.05 pm, and the Japanese are known to be very punctual. At 6.10 pm, the bus was still not moving off, but we felt more reassured as there was an ANA staff member on the bus with us now. At the end of it, they brought in some irregularly-shaped luggages, which included a pram, and instructed the bus driver to move off. The three passengers on board the bus were like "Wtf? That's it? So we were waiting for luggages, not people ah?" -.-'''

As soon as we finally got to board the plane, nearly everybody was staring at us, and mind you, it was a full flight. There was even this Indian guy who asked us why we were so late, so I had to explain to him that we had actually arrived at the boarding gate before the stipulated cut-off time, but were held up for about 20 minutes in the bus. D;

After we had settled down, the plane began to move off, and thus began our journey back to Singapore.

As the sun set...

Look at all the planes lining up to take off.

I had the seafood rice for dinner, which I felt was really tasty. The rice was infused with the seafood juices, and to top it, there was actually real crab meat leh walao! The meal just screamed premium!

Grumps got the hamburg steak, which also tasted pretty good!

Despite our late take-off, we still managed to arrive back in Singapore on time, around 7 hours later.

Since it was already past midnight, I had no choice to begin the journey back to the west by cab. The fare came up to be slightly less than $40. I'm already bleeding money even though I haven't started on my new job LOL.

After reaching home, I did some unpacking (like putting the cold stuff into the fridge), bathed, and KO-ed.

2 weeks' worth of shopping done in the Land of the Rising Sun. ;)

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'Twas a very good break for me. In fact, I do not think that I'll be able to get such a long break in the near future. Probably the next time I'll get such a break is when I quit my job again. That being said, this was one of the most liberating trips I have ever undertaken, because for the first time in years, I went without the burden of work, without the burden of dreading the end of a holiday, and more importantly, I went, knowing that I'm finally out of the crutches of a workplace which was gradually becoming more and more toxic for my well-being. It pained me to leave my colleagues behind, but it was because I took the bold step to leave that I got to enjoy nearly 2 weeks of uninterrupted rest, got to see my lavenders in full bloom (this has been a longtime dream of mine, and my SH would definitely not have allowed me to take my leave during this time period had I continued staying on with the ex-company), got to spend quality time with Grumpy Cat and got to rejuvenate myself.

Japan isn't a cheap place. In fact, Tokyo has probably one of the highest cost of living in the world. The 2 weeks in Japan may have nearly wiped out a month's take-home pay for me, but for me, it was particularly worth it, because this was my own money which I toiled days and nights, blood and sweat for. I deserved to totally enjoy the fruits of my labour. I spent whenever, and wherever I felt like it, because this would probably be the only time in a long while that I could do this.

I felt particularly happy, because I did not have to return to somewhere which I dread waking up for, because I did not have to wake up for something which I dread doing, and because, for the first time in nearly 3 years, I felt truly free.

The 2 weeks in the Land of the Rising Sun may have been one of the longest holidays I have taken, but strangely enough, I did not dread the end to this holiday. In fact, if anything, I felt more ready to face the challenges and obstacles of my new job.

Special mention to Grumpy Cat for going beyond his comfort zone (like driving) to make sure that I enjoyed the holiday that I truly deserved. Thanks for catering to my whims and fancies, and also having to take care of a klutz like me, who keeps hurting and tripping over herself. ;X

Till our next holiday together at year-end. ;D