Traveling: See Japan for Cheap with the Seishun 18 Kippu

On a previous travel guide post, I mentioned some cheaper ways to travel around Japan.  One of the ways to to do this is with a Seishun 18 Kippu (read as “seishun juuhachi kippu“), that allows you 5 days of unlimited JR train access except for special expresses/shinkansen.  Granted you’ll need a lot of time to get around, but it’s great for backpackers, group travel, and hopping off random stations to explore…  Or people like me who don’t mind spending half a day or two on the train to save 40,000 yen ($400 USD) in travel costs.

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

That’s right!  I went to Gifu, Okayama, and back, and that’s about how much I saved with this ticket and choosing to by local/rapid trains instead of taking the bullet train.  My whole train fare for the trip (including another trip I took to Tokyo with a friend to see the Fushigi Yūgi play) cost me less than 10,000 yen ($100 USD) with a Seishun 18 Kippu.

Continue reading

Breakfast in Tokyo

Although Japan has a lot of great restaurants and serves more varieties of ethnic cuisine than you might think considering 98% of the population is Japanese, one of the first things many foreigners start to lament here is the lack of breakfast options.  Finding a restaurant that serves a proper Western breakfast all day, let alone during actual breakfast time, can be a real challenge!

Last weekend my friend K and I were hungry for a real breakfast before heading off to another edition of Hostess Club Weekender at Shin Kiba Studio Coast, and hit up the recently opened Sarabeth’s Shinagawa for brunch, located in the Atre building of Shinagawa Station.  We left with our appetites satisfied, and encourage you to check it out!

© socks lover girl

© socks lover girl

Continue reading

Music: Psycho le Cemu 15th Anniversary Live @ Zepp Diver City

© 2014 SWEET CHILD

© 2014 SWEET CHILD

I didn’t spend Valentine’s Day weekend with Mr. J, but rather hopped a bus to Tokyo with some friends to catch a two-day reunion concert of one of my favorite bands that disbanded several years ago.  So after giving him his chocolate that morning, off I went!

Little did I know I would be reuniting with some gals I used to run around with 5-10 years ago, too!  It was a really fun weekend filled with adventure, great people, old visual kei (Japan’s version of glam rock) throwbacks, and lots goods/cosplayers.  What’s more awesome than that?

Continue reading

Traveling: Discount Train Tickets

Most public transportation discounts are only available if you’re a tourist without a visa or buying a multiple trip ticket/commuter pass.  This can be a bit of a bummer if you’re a resident and would just like to save a little money on a one-time trip out somewhere.  Luckily ticket shops have the perfect answer, in the form of discount ticket vending machines. 🙂

Continue reading

Traveling: Autumn Takes Branch in Kyoto

© J // Washing Rice Blog

Kyoto tower, the first landmark you’ll see outside of Kyoto Station.
© J // Washing Rice Blog

Mr. J and I finally got internet up and running on the 3rd, woohoo!  Over that weekend a couple of friends and I decided to take a short trip to Kyoto, since the foliage is supposed to be stunning there around this time of year.   Up until now I’d only ever visited Kyoto for training with my first company, where all I saw was my hotel room, the boardroom, and a cheap mom and pop izakaya (Japanese-style pub) down the street.  So needless to say I was pretty excited to finally have a chance to actually see the old capital after so many years!

Continue reading

Last BBQ of the Summer

© J // Washing Rice Blog

© J // Washing Rice Blog

Shūbun no Hi, or Autumnal Equinox Day, passed last week marking the start of fall.  It’s not uncommon for Japanese summers to persist well into mid-October, but this year it seems we’ve caught a break and fall has visited us at its regularly scheduled time.  To mark the end of the season, Mr. J’s old schoolmates threw last BBQ chance of the year party this past Sunday in Yokohama at the Kodomo Shizen Kōen (Children’s Nature Park) BBQ/Picnic area near Futamatagawa Station on the Sōtetsu line. Continue reading