August 11, 2020

Japan Rail Pass

I was hoping to run Nagoya Women's Marathon in March this year, as well as run the Tokyo Marathon again a week before that. But damn you Covid-19 both marathons were cancelled for mass participations.

Japan was hot in the news with Diamond Princess cruise ship cases then. Other than that, I felt the situation in the whole country was under control. So I went on with my trip, with extra precautions of course - mask on, sanitizers ready in the bag. 

Covered a few prefectures this time around cos I bought Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass).

The pass can be used only by foreign tourist and offers unlimited rides on almost all trains operated by JR nationwide, and that includes shinkansen! You can choose to buy for 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days. It is rather expensive (might be more expensive than our flight ticket) but it is really value for money if you plan to visit a lot of places.

I covered some parts of Shimane, Tottori, Hyogo, Kyoto, Shizuoka, Yamanashi, Nagano, Niigata, Yamagata and Iwate prefectures. And of course around Tokyo, and the journey to and from Narita Airport.

beautiful sunset at Lake Shinji, the 7th largest lake in Japan

Tottori Sand Dunes. Who would've thought there is a sand dunes in Japan?

Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

not my first time in Fushimi Inari Taisha but I love it

viewing Kawazakuzakura, an early-blooming cherry blossoms, in Kawazu

never bored of Fujisan

skiing at Gala Yuzawa

beautiful Ginzan Onsen

went for the snow monsters but visibility was bad in Zao Onsen

powder snow skiing at Appi Resort

I got to ride the Sunrise Izumo overnight sleeper train and Hello Kitty Shinkansen too.

gotta experience this before it disappear


I criss-crossed Japan like a boss hahaha. Totally made full use of the pass!

June 15, 2020

Skiing in Japan - part 2

Skiing in Japan - part 1

I first learnt to ski in 2014 in Gala Yuzawa, Japan.

Went back to the same place in 2016 and learnt to snowboard.

Then in 2018 I revived my skiing lesson while visiting my bestfriend in Turku, Finland.

In 2019, I managed to include a half-day skiing at Honokidaira while I was in Takayama Japan.

And earlier this year before the whole COVID-19 pandemic halts our oversea travel plans, I went for another ski adventure at Gala Yuzawa again (cos it's the easiest to reach from Tokyo). Also did a quick trip to APPI Resort in Iwate prefecture before returning home.

Nah.. my beginner run on the slope.

Only my fourth time skiing but I think I did ok. I only skied at the green slope though. Still don't have the courage to upgrade to blue haha.

Just in case you're wondering about the ski slope color, here's some guideline.
But note that it can be different depending on regions (especially US and Europe) and ski resorts.

Green - Beginner. Wide and shallow runs with gradient range of less than 20%
Blue - Intermediate. Gradient range of 20-30%
Red - Advanced intermediate. Steeper gradient 30-40% for confident skiers
Black/Black Diamond - Expert. Gradient range exceeding 40%
Double Black Diamond - Extreme

It's very important to know what color slope you're on before descending cos it can be very dangerous, or even deadly if you're a new skier or a beginner, and suddenly you go to a black slopes.

I felt snowboarding is harder than skiing so I stick to skiing for now. Will revive my snowboarding skill one day when I have more days on the slope and explore more slopes and ski resorts.

June 10, 2020

So what now?

The CMCO ended yesterday, while Recovery MCO (RMCO) takes effect until 31st August 2020.

More sectors, services and public activities are allowed, with adherence to the necessary SOPs.
Barbers and salons (I need a haircut!) are allowed to operate.
Gyms are allowed to open (yeayy I miss working out at the gym).
Pasar tani (I miss going to pasar tani every Saturday morning too haha), pasar malam, pasar minggu etc can resume with new normal.

Our nation's border will still be closed until the RMCO ends. As much as I want to travel overseas, I hope the government will extend this further until it is really safe to do so cos while the infection rates in some countries may have slowed, some other countries' infections are soaring.

Interstate travel is allowed beginning today. Which I guess Hari Raya starts now for those who couldn't balik kampung before.

Hari Raya Aidiladha celebration and korban are allowed.

School will be opened in stages.

Looks like (almost) everything is slowly going back to normal. Except for some - cinemas, theme parks, swimming pools and a few others are still not allowed to operate.. sabarlah uols.

Meanwhile, let's all be disciplined and practice the health advisory by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to break the chain of infections.

Ok enough with this annoying coronavirus updates.

Here's my updates.

Selamat Hari Raya everybody!!

Had the unusual and the usual raya. Unusual cos my family had our own Raya prayers at home. My brother-in-law imam all of us and read the khutbah. Nobody came to beraya and we also didn't go out anywhere to beraya. The usual one is because all my siblings and their families were home to celebrate together so this is one thing that didn't change.

Notice the baju raya is a bit tight? Told ya I've gained a few kgs since the start of MCO. Gonna work out more once the gym re-opens.

Oh I didn't manage to khatam Quran during Ramadhan. I am at Juz 24 now. We'll see whether I can finish this by the end of Syawal.

Finished my puasa ganti and puasa 6. So yesss... raya again! hehe

Still haven't finished a single book. OMG I am such a procrastinator.

Almost finished (or maybe still halfway there) spring cleaning my things. I guess this has something to do with the book cos the one I am reading now is the Marie Kondo book, which I bought last November and only started reading during MCO.

Finished watching all 87 episodes of Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace. Crazy marathon hahahaha. I'm so gonna take a break from watching TV and Netflix for a while.

I finally bought an Air Fryer. Been contemplating to buy this but I hesitated cos I don't really cook at home. But Lazada got sales last weekend and everybody is recommending it, so fine I bought it la. Maybe I will turn to baking after this and make the burnt cheese cake lol.

Been thinking to buy a new phone cos my current one is dying. But the one I want most probably will cost RM5000+ (it's not released yet in Malaysia but that's the price range in US/Europe). Urghhhh... I really like the phone but I don't want to spend so much on a phone. I mean sure I can afford it but my sekejap minimalist sekejap lavish confused self said no you don't need to buy such an expensive phone. But I wantttttt. Hmmmm... And also because I don't want to buy Huawei P40 Pro cos it doesn't have the GMS. And I am never a fan of iPhone. And I don't really like Samsung. Gahhh!!

Been thinking to buy a Kindle too because maybe I'll read more? Should I??

We can go cuti-cuti Malaysia now! Perhentian, Redang, Langkawi here I come!! I wanna go diving in Mabul and Sipadan (had to cancel my trip last April) but mannn.. the flight ticket to Tawau is so damn expensive. Apa ni kesian orang Sabah nak balik beraya tau.

May 18, 2020

What's up part 2

So here's my monthly update haha. 

Today is Day 62 of the MCO cos it has been extended to 9th June 2020. However, from May 4 it is a more relaxed one and called conditional MCO (CMCO) since the COVID-19 cases in our countries seem to be under control at the moment.

Almost all economic sectors and business activities can resume their operations, provided they follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) by the government.

Outdoor exercise and sports that do not involve close contact or mass gathering is permitted.

Activities which may cause a crowd to gather are still prohibited.

Mosques, churches and temples remain closed to the public.

Schools, colleges and universities remain closed.

The country's borders will remain tightly controlled.

Interstate travel is still not allowed. Which means a lot of people will be in team #takbolehbalikkampung for Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year. Be patient guys. Just remember that you're doing this to protect your loved ones. 

Basically some restrictions have been eased but we should continue with our new normal like social distancing, wearing the face mask, wash our hands regularly etc. 

What else?

I haven't downloaded Tik Tok hahaha, or turned to baking. 

Halfway through to finish my first book in 2020. So lagging at this. I am so gonna finish at least one book by the end of May. 

I am not ready for another K-Drama after CLOY so not watching any at the moment. However, I don't know how on earth did I succumb to a Chinese series. And a very long one too. This 'Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace' has 87 episodes hahahahah. Currently I am at episode 63 but now taking a break until Ramadhan is over.   

Halfway through for spring cleaning my room and part of the house. Rented an extraction and steam cleaner from a service company and boy, I've never been so happy looking at the dirt that came out.  

I have started working at the office after 52 days at home. While most of my friends still enjoy WFH, I am not complaining cos I am forever thankful to the company. At least I still receive full salary, as well as the annual bonus and increment. On top of that, the company gave a special hardship allowance for those working during this MCO/CMCO period and provided pre-packed meals for all to minimize human interaction. Alhamdulillah. 

Oh yasss! I can run outside again. Hiking is still not permitted though so my weekly Bukit Dinding hike has to wait. 

Ramadhan is fast approaching the end. I pledge to khatam Quran this Ramadhan but I fell behind since going back to office as well as that time of the month came. Will have to double up my effort to catch up. Can't go qiamullail at the mosque like I did last year but I have no problem doing it at home so far. 

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is coming in less than a week. My baju raya is not finalized yet. I bought one online from my favorite brand and guess what? I ordered S size same as last year and it is quite tight. FML my waistline has officially expanded. *cries* 

Hope it is not too late to wish you guys Selamat Berpuasa and not too early to wish Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!

April 17, 2020

What's up?

10 years down the road, when I randomly re-read my blog I'll be reminded of this.

Malaysia is under Movement Control Order (MCO) as a preventive measure towards the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The MCO started on 18th March 2020, and will go on until 28th April 2020 (as of now). 

So today is Day 31 of the MCO. 

Schools, offices, shopping malls, places of worship are closed.

Everything is closed except those involved in essential services like health, water, electricity, telco, finance, supermarket etc.

Mass gatherings are prohibited. Religious, sports, social gatherings, kenduri kahwin all cancelled. 

If you are not in essential services, you must stay at home.

The PDRM/ATM conducted roadblocks at certain places to make sure Malaysians abide by the order.

If they catch you going out without valid reasons, you can be charged in court. 

And many more...

I've been working from home (WFH) since the first day of MCO because apparently, my job is non-essential. Honestly, I'm enjoying this WFH cos I don't have to drive to work. No traffic jams! Yeayy!! I saved almost 2 hours daily. Best thing ever!

The not so best thing is my weight. I usually do Intermittent Fasting during weekdays, and have my cheat day on weekends. But since I am at home, it feels like everyday is weekend and so everyday is a cheat day now. Hmmm... Seriously guys, I can't stop myself from opening the fridge.

I don't really watch TV these days but I finally managed to watch and finished Crash Landing On You hahahahha. Little sister recommended the series to me since it started but I didn't care. Even when so many people were talking about it on social medias I still didn't give it a damn. But I was so bored on the first week of MCO and decided to watch it, and now I can't move on. Help!!

I wanted to read and finish some books but I haven't started any.

I wanted to continue spring cleaning my room and some part of the house but I haven't started any.  

I've always said I'll write something when I have time but one month has passed and I only wrote two posts.

So I guess I'm just lazy hahahahahha.

Ramadhan is coming next week and we'll celebrate the first few days in MCO. No bazaar Ramadhan, no terawih and qiamullail at the mosque (so sad!). I am lucky cos I live in KL with my dad and siblings. But yeah.. Ramadhan and Hari Raya will be different this year. 

I have flight tickets for oversea travels in July, August and September. But even the MCO is lifted then, it is not safe to travel anywhere this year. 

We've all been waiting eagerly for 2020 and COVID-19 ruined it all.  

We must adapt to the new normal. 

March 30, 2020

JJCM : Halal Wagyu Yakiniku Panga

My favorite halal place to go whenever I'm in Tokyo. Halal wagyu ftw!!

Convenient location cos it's located just about 15 minutes walk from JR Ueno station. After a day at Ueno Park, Ueno Zoo or shopping at Ameya-yokocho, this is a good place to have lunch or dinner. Or you can directly get off at Okachimachi station. It's less than 10 minutes walk from here.

I came here for a few times already (cos it's sooo good!) and noticed that they have different menu for lunch and dinner. Lunch menu is cheaper like a bento set.

lunch set

Why they serve the wagyu set with Korean side dishes is still a mystery to me. I mean, why don't they serve Japanese side dishes instead? But whatever, I don't mind actually cos I love kimchi. Anyway, the menu also have some Korean food. Perhaps Korean tourists like to come here.

For dinner, they offer the premium A5 Satsuma beef. You have to order this guys, cos it totally melts in your mouth.

Here's some of the menu.

It wasn't a cheap meal, but it's definitely good value.

Halal Wagyu Yakiniku Panga
Address: 3 Chome-27-9 Taito, Tokyo 110-0016, Japan
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 11.30am ~ 2pm / 5pm ~ 11pm (last order 10pm)
Sunday/Public Holiday 5pm ~ 10pm (last order 9pm)

February 27, 2020

Japan Endless Discovery : Shinhotaka Ropeway

Winter feeling so Imma blog about all things snow.

If you're staying in Takayama, other than the side trip to Shirakawago, do include Shinhotaka Ropeway in your itinerary. 

Got myself an Okuhida Marugoto Value Ticket at Takayama Bus Terminal.

It's a 3-days bus pass, which include Shinhotaka Ropeway return ticket, free entrance to Hirayu Onsen, drink and snack, at a discounted price of 5250 yen. It was a really good offer cos roundtrip ticket for the ropeway from the bottom to the upper station is 2900 yen. Then, roundtrip bus fare from Takayama Station costs 4320 yen. I also use it to go to Hirayu Onsen, skiing at Honokidaira and Hida Daishonyudo limestone cave so it was super worth it. Note: My visit was a year ago in February 2019 so the price might be different now.

The bus ride from Takayama took about 90 minutes. It's a long journey but trust me, the view is gonna blow you away.

Shinhotaka Ropeway is actually made up of two ropeways. The first leg of the ropeway is a short 200 meter climb from the bus stop to Nabedaira Kogen. There's a Visitor Center, restaurants, a public bath and a gift shop. You can stop here for a while or just continue to the second ropeway. I explored here on my way down and excited to find a free foot bath.

From Nabedaira Kogen, the second ropeway is a double decker ropeway (first of its kind in Japan!) and it climbs over 800 meter to the upper station at an altitude of around 2150 meters.

Go out to the observation deck and marvel at the beauty of the surrounding mountains.

Alhamdulillah the weather was great! The sky was clear blue and I had the best view over the Northern Japan Alps.

From the observation deck, you can go down to the hiking trail (in summer you can hike further into the mountains) and build a snowman. 


Access: Direct hourly bus from Takayama Station (90 minutes)
Operating hours: 8.30am ~ 4.45pm (April to November), 9am ~ 4.15pm (December to March)
Ropeway ticket price: 2900 roundtrip