As promised, here’s my first blog entry detailing my Japan trip with Rachel, Mark and Meiyen. Mark  can write and speak fluently in Japanese. He has been to Japan 5 times and his wife, Meiyen, 4 times. I been to Tokyo once when I was in primary school. Rachel is going there for the first time in her life.

The itinerary for the entire trip was planned by Mark, including transportation, the booking of the hotels and cars rental. I was tasked with photo-taking and recording video. Mark is also the main driver when we are on the road and I am the back-up. Rachel and Meiyen’s roles were to sleep at the back of the car and to constantly whine about the coldness.

We departed from Changi Airport at around 1am, on board a SQ flight bound for Kansai Airport in Japan.

Rachel writing her diary while on board our SQ flight

Rachel writing her diary while on board our SQ flight

Mark and Meiyen - pardon Marks stupid expression

Mark and Meiyen – pardon Mark’s stupid expression

My Western airplane meal

My “Western” airplane meal

Rachels Japanese plane meal

Rachel’s “Japanese” plane meal

Sunrise from our plane window view

Sunrise from our plane window view

From another angle, showing the wing tip

From another angle, showing the wing tip

nearing Kansai

nearing Kansai

Touch down in Kawaii land!

Touch down in Kawaii land!

Upon reaching our destination, we were to take an internal transfer flight to Hokkaido from Kansai, following a 4 hours interval where we can have lunch and do a wee bit of shopping.

Kansai Airport

Kansai Airport

Checking-in for our ANA transfer flight

Checking-in for our ANA transfer flight to Hokkaido from Kansai

Nicely packaged mochi

Nicely packaged mochi

Cutesy chick-shaped chocolates

Cutesy chick-shaped chocolates

Meiyen trying to steal some Hello Kitty toys

Meiyen trying to steal some Hello Kitty toys

Studio Ghibi toys!

Studio Ghibli toys!

Rachel loves Totoro!

Rachel loves Totoro!

Lots of cigarette brands in Japan - and they can be bought from vending machines

Lots of cigarette brands in Japan – and they can be bought from vending machines

The first place Mark went to in Japan...

The first place Mark went to in Japan…

Something not available at the MacDonalds restaurants in Singapore

Something not available at the MacDonald’s restaurants in Singapore

Waiting for lunch

Waiting for lunch

Rachels first meal in Japan... looks yucky hor?

Rachel’s first meal in Japan

Alvinologys first meal in Japan

Alvinology’s first meal in Japan

Mark and Meiyens first meal in Japan

Mark and Meiyen’s first meal in Japan

There’s no pictures of us on the ANA flight as it was a very short two hours flight. Plus all of us dozed off completely thoughout as we were really tired. In any case, we found ourselves in Hokkaido already when we woke up! First thing when we got to Hokkaido was to take a shuttle bus service to the car rental centre where our rented car – a Nissan Wingroad was waiting for us.

Oh… btw, Rachel, Meiyen and Mark saw snow for the first time in their lives upon stepping out of the airport doors.

Enquiring on the car rental

Enquiring on the car rental

Rachels first time seeing snow

Rachel’s first time seeing snow

They are happy to see snow now... but will dread it for the next week

They are happy to see snow now… but will dread it for the next week

On board the shuttle bus to the car rental centre from the airport

On board the shuttle bus to the car rental centre from the airport

At the car rental centre

At the car rental centre

A can of nice, hot coffee to warm me up

A can of nice, hot coffee to warm me up

snow everywhere...

snow everywhere…

Inspecting our rented car

Inspecting our Nissan Wingroad

Loading all our barang barang

Loading all our barang barang

Guy rental guy teaching us how to set and use the GPS

Guy rental guy teaching us how to set and use the GPS

The drive to our hotel from the car rental centre took around 7 hours in total. We stopped at a rest stop after being on the road for about 4 hours for a short break and some snack. The GPS somehow led us to a sealed road upon reaching the hotel… we have to take a long detour as a result.

Mark on the wheels

Mark on the wheels

Rachel and Meiyen in the back seat

Rachel and Meiyen in the back seat

First time driving in snow

First time driving in snow

another picture

another picture

At our first rest stop after driving like 4 hours straight

At our first rest stop after driving like 4 hours straight

Coffee break at the rest stop

Coffee break at the rest stop

Street vagabond eating an onigiri

Street vagabond eating an onigiri

Checking-in our first hotel in Hokkaido

Checking-in our first hotel in Hokkaido

Rachel warming her at an electronic fireplace at the hotel lobby

Rachel warming her at an electronic fireplace at the hotel lobby

By the time we reached our hotel, it was already very late by Hokkaido’s standard during winter times (around 6.30pm). We were worried none of the eateries will be open and we may be left hungry for the night. Hence upon unloading our luggages, we immediately took the car and drove to the nearby town centre to find food. The only place still open was a CO-OP supermarket. Sushi and sashimi were all on 50% discount as it was after 7pm – we went on a crazy sweep, buying lots of these for our first dinner in Hokkaido. 🙂

Our futons

Our futons

Going crazy at the supermarket

Going crazy at the supermarket

Sushi and sashimi are all 50% off after 7pm!

Sushi and sashimi are all 50% off after 7pm!

Our luxurious dinner

Our luxurious dinner

Dinner time!

Dinner time!

Assorted sushi

Assorted sushi

More sushi

More sushi

Salmon sashimi

Salmon sashimi

Tuna and swordfish sashimi

Tuna and swordfish sashimi

Ebi sashimi

Ebi sashimi

Mutant strawberry

Mutant strawberry

Hersheys desert

Hershey’s desert

Very nice blueberry ice cream

Very nice grapes ice cream

That’s it for now. We turned ourselves in rather early for the first night, having spend almost 36 hours travelling without much sleep. Look out for my next blog entry on day 2 of our trip.

Day 1 – Kansai Airport, Hokkaido

Day 2 – Skiing, Otaru

Day 3 – Asahikawa, Asahiyama Zoo

Day 4 – Sledding, Shiroi Koibito, Crab Buffet

Day 5 – The 60th Sapporo Snow Festival

Day 6 – Staying with the Asai, Shōnan

Day 7 – Ueno, Tokyo

Day 8 – Shibuya and Akihabara, Tokyo

Day 9 – Ikeda, Osaka

Day 10 – Kobe

Day 11 – Kyoto

Day 12 – Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and Dotonbori

Day 13 – Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge and Mt. Rokko

Day 14 – Return to Singapore

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,