Yamato Chronogate

~January 2017

There’s this story in one of the manga I’ve read – the guy asked the girl to look around, then close her eyes. He then asked her how many stars she saw. She said none. Once she opened her eyes again, she suddenly became aware that there are huge star designs in one of the stores. The moral? We tend to overlook the things we are not familiar with.

This is the Yamato case for me.

What is Yamato? It’s the impressive delivery system in Japan that delivers goods within the day. Amazon uses them, as most of the Japanese people. Their operations was amazing, and so are their customer service (but then, so do most Japanese’).

The moment I learned who they are, I began to see them EVERYWHERE! THOSE CATS ARE EVERYWHERE!

What impressed me the most was the operations – how they sort the packages and ensure that each are delivered within the required time frame. It was all automatic! Sorry, we were not allowed to take pictures, but darn, that was one of the most impressive things I’ve seen. Basically there is a system of conveyor belts in the floor, all unmanned, that automatically sorts through packages of different sizes and puts them into the right boxes. Every single one. Error rate? Practically zero.

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DBIA:China, Japan and South Korea

July 7, 2017

As part of the Doing Business in Asia program, MBA students from Hitotsubashi University (Japan), Seoul National Univeristy (South Korea), and Peking University (China) spend one week on each school during the month of August.

Only ten students are selected from each school, and as of now I don’t know how the other schools selected theirs. Heck, I don’t even know how ours are selected.

Either way, I got in! So what does that mean?

That means I pay my own share – no final amount yet.

That also means I apply for my own visa for South Korea and China. The fun part? Since we get invitation letters from basically their top schools, the visa process is easy. I know others don’t have this problem, but I’m a Filipina. Come on.

That means I get to bond with students from SNU and Peking University.

And that’s all I have to write… for now. :p

A Walk in Nago

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February 2017

The Banyan Tree

While watching Scent of a Woman, they had a scene under the Banyan Tree. So of course I wanted to see one. How special could one tree be that you can find that specific tree in google maps?!

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Apparently, it IS pretty special. It had the history and all.
Ready?

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Dum dum dum dum! Yup, that’s all there is to it.
And it’s right near the bridge with some decent flowers. Oh, and the bridge is lined up with sakura.

Walking along the bridge, I finally reach the Nago Castle Park.

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That’s the sign saying Nago Castle Park.

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See?

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There are 400 steps, if I remember correctly. And the steps are lined up with Sakura, which makes this an ideal hanami (flower viewing) spot. When I came, there was still some hints of sakura left (You can see a bit of pink in some of the pictures)

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And here’s the view from the top of the steps. Oh, and the top contains the usual shrine.
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Under The Emerald Sea of Okinawa

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March, 2017

I figured if I’m going to do activities that scare the crap out of me, I’d rather do it in Japan where safety is a pretty big deal. So. Scuba diving.

I booked the tour with Marine House SEASIR Naha through Japanican.

  • How much: JPY12,000
  • What is included: hotel pick up, boat ride, all gear rental, lunch, personal guide.
  • What do you do: three stops – two for snorkeling, one for diving. So I strongly recommend against booking snorkeling, as with a little premium, you will have diving on top of snorkeling. Oh, and they’ll take your pictures too, no worries. So you only have to bring yourself.
  • Minor detail: You cannot fly 24 hours before and 24 hours after diving, apparently. It’s due to the air pressure stuff.

So around 7 or 8 in the morning, a van with their logo picks me up at my place of accommodation, then we get our gear from the shop (based on size). We then walked to where the ship was docked, and had a quick orientation and test run (e.g. how to breathe, hand signals). Off the boat goes, and we can snorkel from the first stop to the third stop. You get to choose when you wanna do the diving – I did mine in the second stop. Around lunch they serve food, while drinks (including hot coffee/chocolate) are available the entire time.

That’s all I’m gonna say – everything else is up to you to experience. ;P

A Walk to Remember: Naha Edition

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^This is the picture in my “Where’s the bus stop” post . Because seriously – the bus stops are just small signs that is a big challenge to see! Thank goodness for google maps. But you’re screwed if your battery dies – as mine did.

February 2017

I went to Okinawa World, then on my way back, apparently you have to go through the entire park to exit!!! Grrrr! Six months later and it still makes me mad!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I was late for less than two minutes to the bus stop, and the next bus comes in after two hours. Yes, that’s how significant those precious two minutes were.

I had a choice – go back to the labyrinth of Okinawa World’s shops, or walk to the next point in my itinerary – the Peace Museum. No way am I going back to that Okinawa World.

So I started walking. It was a really long walk, guided by the trustworthy google maps. The two hour walk though per google maps turned to three hours given my speed. I walked through fields and saw different crops that they raise. For example, I passed through broccoli on my way:

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A couple of hours later, I finally saw the Peace Museum…

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Which has been closed at that time. So I just explored the grounds.

And then my phone died. And the bus schedule in the bus stop was torn. So. I decided to take a walk again, this way to go back but through the main road (so that in case a bus comes in I can just run to it). The way back was a pretty spectacular view though.

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Fortunately, I stumbled upon a new bus stop. Stumbled coz really,  you can’t see the signs from afar. So when I got to one, lo and behold, there was an updated bus schedule (for the weekend! there’s a different schedule for weekend/weekday). Guess what? I was going the wrong way. But the bus was coming in, and thankfully, the bus driver understood me when all I was saying was “Naha? Naha? Naha! Nahaaaaa!”

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So we went the other way, he took me to the bus station, and walked me to the next bus stop. Yes, walked me to the next bus stop. Because the thing is, he pointed a place and I went the wrong way, so he ran after me and decided to walk me to the next bus. haha

 

Sanrio Puroland

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March 2017

There’s plenty of themeparks in Japan. Honestly. Considering how little space they have, I wonder why. Hmmm. Actually, it’s probably because they have too little space. Rather than have the little ones go run and explore, they have these compact little places where people can have “fun”. But I digress.

This post is about three months delayed, so in terms of logistics, just google Sanrio Puroland.

Quick tips:

  • If you are willing to come after 4pm, the price is lower. Careful though, it closes around 6pm.
  • There’s an online discount, so visit their site. Again, google is your friend here. But I’ll try to make it easier for you: http://en.puroland.jp/coupon/
  • This is a family affair. But if you really love Hello Kitty and the gang, go and explore.
  • If you are only after a gift shop (like me who needs to buy a gift), there’s none outside. You have to buy the ticket and actually go inside. The thing is, even the store itself is already an experience.

They have shows throughout the day, I think I managed to catch the main one:

The moment you get off the station, it’s Hello Kitty world for you. Look at the toilet, elevator and street signs:

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and finally I see the themepark! It’s not over the top – it’s plain, good, old cute.
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The GIFT SHOP. Child for scale.
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I only managed to get into one ride. It was pretty nice…
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…and really girly.
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My favorite though is the building at night. Bye bye, Hello Kitty world!