Coldplay is on Asian tour and yes they will be here in Singapore for initially a 1 night only concert but due to high demand, a pre-concert night was opened after a 30 minute sold out ticket sale late last year.
I was still lucky to get a pair of the last few seats with restricted views on the pre-concert night as getting tickets for the original concert night, which is a day after, was hopeless. I queued for 6 hours after my night shift just to get those restricted views which means that we will be having a good seat at the concert night but we will be seeing ant-sized band playing with maybe some pillars or giant spot light stands blocking the view.
It will be held at the Singapore Sportshub on 31st March and 1st April.
Our Day 1 was quite not a good day. It was raining lightly as foretold. The wind is much more challenging. We need to put on 1 more layer of clothing. As for me, I was wearing a long sleeved shirt from Uniqlo, a Superdry shirt, then a sleeveless ultra light down vest also from Uniqlo and a light weight water resistant hoodie from Uniqlo as well. They all has to be lightweight and with all these layers, I can still feel cold until my ears and my hands and face feel numb from the cold wind.
Our itinerary today looked liked this.
This is actually our Day 2 itinerary but I wanted get my hands on the Mizuno Wave Cruise 11 wherein a Mizuno store can be found at Keio Department Store in Shinjuku so I decided to switch our Day 1 and Day 2 itineraries. Getting the shoes would allow me to continue training for the upcoming Sundown Marathon later this March. Yes, it is happening in less than a week. It would be nice to run a 5 or 10km in this freezing city.
First stop was at Meiji Shrine. Google map say we need to get to Yoyogi Station where Yoyogi park is and inside the park is where Meiji Shrine is located.
First things first, we need to purchase train tickets again. From my research getting a Suica card and topping up every time you are short of balance is the wisest decision. I followed this advise but as I am writing this, I realized, the subway is our main transport and getting a 2 or 3 or even 4 day passes should should have been a better choice. The Suica card needs a 500 yen deposit which you can get back after surrendering the card. We had our Suica card at Kameari Station on a ticket vending machine at 2000 yen. Looking closer to the machine, there was an option for the English language so getting the card was a breeze.
Shinjuku is so full of people walking towards every direction. You cannot just stop anytime or you will be blocking someone else’s way. We headed out of the crazy underground levels of Shinjuku Station and off the streets of Tokyo. Shinjuku area is crowded from its street levels to its underground. Fancy signs are everywhere. It is a concrete jungle with skyscrapers here and there. The NTT DoCoMo Yoyogi Building has welcomed us as we went out of the Yoyogi Station. It is a very prominent huge tower standing as the 4th tallest structure in Tokyo.
I am halfway of my 10,000 daily steps. We continued walking until the entrance Torii gate of Yoyogi park. A number of people are also exploring the place. Tokyo seems to attract a lot of people, local or tourist, everyday.
After some more walks at the inner part of the park is the Meiji Shrine. You need to cleanse yourself up by washing your hands and mouth before entering the place.
We exited the shrine and explored the area a bit more in the hope of the cherry blossoms. I have read somewhere that Yoyogi park houses a lot of those cherry blossoms but the inner gardens were not free and it costs about 300 yen to enter. Instead, we made our way to Harajuko – a very interesting place for shopaholics and the foodie.
Above photos shows how thick the crowd gets at the Takeshita-dori. A food and shoppers haven. We explored this place for an hour or more and we tried all the snacks that this street has offered.
It is from this store of colorful sweets. More photos inside this shop below.
…and more snacks.
Below street is a shoe haven. 😍😍😍 I almost bought 2 NMDs!
We are still feeling hungry even though we have been eating since we started walking in Harajuko. We found this Ramen shop called Jingu-Ramen and slurped this hot ramen to the very last drop. It is so heavenly. The staffs are friendly and the place is warm.
After becoming full we continued exploring the area and walked towards Shibuya. We came across this shop themed Alice in Wonderland. My Lil’ Miss is so familiar pointing at every item and telling me what it is about in the story.
Walking in Tokyo is never at all boring. It offers different sights be it people, building and even the smaller things in the surroundings.
Walking some more took us to this place. Lil’ Miss’s eyes grew big!
It is 5 PM and it has started getting dark when we reached Shibuya. The street signs start to light up brightly in different hues. It is time to hunt Hachiko and get a good seat at the Starbucks for the best view of the infamous Shibuya crossing.
Below. Shibuya’s play of lights.
Heading home. Tired and sleepy. We need to rest for another adventure on our Tokyo Day 2.
We arrived in Narita International Airport about 5:30 PM Tokyo time. Tokyo is an hour earlier from Singapore but I did not expect it to be so dark like we arrived at night. The weather was chilly at 5 degrees if I am not wrong. I am not used to such cold weather and so we immediately put on another layer of sweaters and scarves as soon as we felt really cold. The Airport has warmers but the moment you step out to an open area like at the train platforms, you’d feel the sudden change of air temperature specially when it is windy.
Time to check in. Our host Mizuki from AirBnB has given us a very detailed instruction on how to reach the apartment.
It did look very easy, but the smaller details specially for first time Tokyo visitors like us, it was rather complicated. From the image, it says From Narita take Kesei Sky Liner to Nippori Station. Pretty simple but boarding the train is the challenge, from purchasing the ticket either from a Japanese language ticket machine or from the manual counter. Well, the counter was easier although the language barrier is intense, we managed to get our subway tickets to Nippori.
On the Dropbox file that our host Mizuki sent us, it contains images as well on how we will walk our way from the nearest train station which is Kameari Station of the Joban line. You can find here a very helpful guide in understanding the extensive Tokyo Subway system. Adding about 10 to 15 minutes to every activity would compensate on the times wasted finding directions. That was us. It was a matter of try and try for us as we get lost every now and then. For me, life is like that. I enjoy discovering things myself, getting lost and I love the feeling when we finally get to where we wanted to go – the feeling of achievement. But then again, time is of the essence and every second counts. It does pays to study the directions well. I had no internet connection that time we reached Kameari Station and it was frigging cold, dark and windy. I didn’t get to screen cap the images our host sent us. I badly needed internet this time and luckily one of the McDonalds (there were 2) near the station has a WiFi and managed to get to the apartment. All we wanted at that point of time was to get to the apartment, get some rest and have some warm dinner.
Our compact apartment near Akihabara Asakusa. About 7 minutes to Kameari Station and just a block away from a shopping mall, a 24-hour convenient store and an average go-to food shop. You can check out more of our apartment here. It cost only about slightly above S$50 a night and I feel it was really a great deal considering that we start our day leaving the place around 8 AM or earlier and come back at almost midnight. We only used the place to rest, have quick breakfasts, and take showers. The place is not as spacious as seen on the AirBnB photo but enough space for the 3 of us. We had to restrict our movements though. The bathroom was clean and it even has a tub in it. Shampoo, conditioner and body soap and towels are provided. If you cook, an induction cooker is available, a microwave and a small personal fridge with freezer are ready as well. It is typically complete with all the basics like electric water pot, hangers, and even a blower. It has a double size bed and an extra folding bed too. It lacks a few things however like a dresser mirror and a safe. Overall, it is pretty decent. The backside is that, although I find it comfy enough, my wife found it to be dusty and with the the bed and pillow covers needs more washing. The most helpful feat was the pocket WiFi that comes with the apartment which we can bring anywhere.
Here is how our compact apartment looked like.
We haven’t had dinner yet so after a little rest and a little freshening up, we checked the hood for a quick diner and yeah, there is a very convenient 24 hour food store too, smaller than a restaurant but the food served was so much that it’s worth.
I have read somewhere during my research that eating in Tokyo is not a problem. You’ll be getting what you have paid for even at the most convenient store. You will have full flavors even when eating on corner food stalls and they all were true! Food in Tokyo is simply fantastic! We highly recommend this Gyudon Rice bowl store near Kameari Station.