Friday, August 8, 2014

Japan Culture & Vending Machine Introduction


I grew up watching Japanese dramas and had been falling in love with their culture and food. I always wanted to travel to Japan at least once in my lifetime but everything is so expensive and out of my budget when I had to think about the costs of a return air ticket, accommodation, riding on bullet train, etc. Japan is the only country on the Earth (that I know) has a combination of traditional and modern culture which goes hand in hand.

When my dream came true to travel to Japan recently, I was very excited and there was a lot of reading and preparation to do in order to understand the transportation system, adapt the culture and  learn some basic Japanese words. It is not difficult to learn about Japanese culture and lifestyle as you can find many short videos uploaded online to guide the first time visitors like me. For me, I was very amazed with their excellent customer service culture (hospitality or also known as Omotenashi in Japanese). Japanese staff will engage some simple friendly conversation during your checkout payment and even bow to customers before they leave the places. You will be surprised to how they pack food and presents the products in very detailed manner to ensure they become handy to carry around. This kind of hospitality is rare to find in many developed countries.  



I was even astonished to see many kinds of vending machines in Japan. The vending machine is not restricted in selling drinks only but you can find any kinds of vending machines from selling cigarette, beers, hot food, ice-cream, packed fresh bananas, etc on the streets, in the train stations and even in the hotels as well. Japanese really love animals. You can find pets on the streets. They treat their pets as part of their family members and are willing to spend on their pets. Japan is one of pet friendly countries in Asia besides, Taiwan. Japanese bring their pets for a walk in the park and taking them on public transportation, as long they are staying in their crates.

Most visitors complain about small hotel rooms but to me, it's not a big deal. We spent the whole day (until late night) strolling, shopping and eating outside rather than staying in a hotel room. A hotel room is the place where we need to rest and sleep before we continue our trip the next day. Majority of hotel rooms are small unless you are willing to pay for 5 star hotels there.  

There is a culture practice which you need to remind yourself when you are standing in front of thee counter checkout. We normally hand our cash payment on cashiers' hands but in Japan, it is slightly different culture. When you pay or get your change at the cashier counter, all the transaction have to be done by placing the cash on the small tray. The small tray is normally positioned in front of the customer at the cashier counter.

Public transportation especially the subway train and bullet train is very convenient to travel from city to city. It takes some time to digest and understand Japan Subway System and the routes. Every subway company represents a single colour code with the first letter (represents the company name) followed by numbers in order, traveling from one point to another point. For more information on the timetable and route of a bus, subway train and train ride, please refer to Hyperdia website. The alternative will be depending on the recommendation via Google Map after keying the locations from point A to point B.    

(Source: WAORYU ONLY in Japan via Youtube)

 Saying Thank you by flashing a few times with the hazard lights.
(Source: TheJapanChannelDCom via Youtube)

Welcome to Japan signboard with robot screen at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan
Welcome to Japan signboard with robot screen at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. You will be surprised to see the airport staff remove the luggage from the conveyor belt by arranging them in an order with the luggage' handlers facing up for your convenience to grab the handlers immediately before leaving the airport.

As soon as we see Tokyo Skytree, we know we are reaching Tokyo downtown from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan
As soon as we see Tokyo Skytree, we know we are reaching Tokyo downtown from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan

Typical small room with bathroom is sufficient for a place for tourists to rest before continuing your journey in Japan
Typical small room with bathroom is sufficient for a place for tourists to rest before continuing your journey in Japan

Ordering your Japanese meal by paying cash through vending machine which is located in front of the main entrance in Japan
Ordering your Japanese meal by paying cash through vending machine which is located in front of the main entrance before the meal is prepared and served in Japan

All cash transaction have to be placed on the small tray in front of the cashier machine in Japan
All cash transaction have to be placed on the small tray in front of the cashier machine in Japan

The portion of Japanese ramen and set meal are generous and the prices are reasonable too in Japan
The portion of Japanese ramen and set meal are generous and the prices are reasonable too in Japan

Japanese customer service is incredible to the extend this cake is packed with dry ice and a plastic spoon attached on the top box in Japan
Japanese customer service is incredible to the extend this cake is packed with dry ice and a plastic spoon attached on the top box in Japan


Friday, July 11, 2014

Taipei's Jiufen, YinYangHai & JinGuoShi Golden Waterfall in Taiwan - cont'd


If you followed my previous posts, I mentioned about hiring a private taxi (cab) for a day trip to outside of Taipei city of Taiwan. There is a popular day trip which includes the tour to Yehliu Geopark (Rocks Formation), Shifen Old Street, Jiufen Old Street, Yin Yang Hai and Jin Guo Shi Golden Waterfall. This is the continuation of my day trip with the private taxi (cab) to Jiufen Old Street, Yin Yang Hai (Ying Yang Sea) and Jin Guo Shi (Golden Waterfall) before heading back to Taipei City for my dinner and night shopping at Raohe Night Market.

We headed to Jiufen Old Street after visiting Shifen Old Street. Jiufen Old Street is located in Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan. This small town became developed rapidly due to a gold rush during Japanese occupation in 1893. Many buildings at Jiufen Old Street remain unchanged to this day, as to reflect Japanese influence on the architecture and the culture on the island. Jiufen Old Street becomes popular as a tourist destination from a popular Japanese animated film called Spirited Away. The Spirited Away animated movie is based on Japanese architecture concept of the old buildings from Jiufen Old Street. Jiufen Old Street is crowded with visitors who travel from within Taiwan or outside of Taiwan, to watch fantastic ocean view from Jiufen town while trying variety of delicacies there. 

After having your delicious lunch and tea at Jiufen Old Street, the day tour will move on to the next famous location at Yin Yang Hai (Yin Yang Sea) and Jin Guo Shi (Golden Waterfall). Both of these sites are located on the way heading out of Jiufen Old Street. Yin Yang Hai (Yin Yang Sea) is another spectacular view of yellow and blue sea at the gulf while Jin Guo Shi (Golden Waterfall) is a gold ecological park. Jin Guo Shi (Golden Waterfall) is named after the golden yellow of mud appears on the stream water and it sparkles like gold under the sunlight.

 
Jiufen Old Street is located in Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan which is famous for food and scenic view
Jiufen Old Street is located in Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan which is famous for food and scenic view

The unique architecture of Jiufen Old Street has become an inspiration for the Japanese animated film Spirited Away in Taiwan
The unique architecture of Jiufen Old Street has become an inspiration for the Japanese animated film Spirited Away in Taiwan


A magnificient view of Jiufen Old Street outside of Taipei city in Taiwan
A magnificient view of Jiufen Old Street outside of Taipei city in Taiwan

Marvelous view of Yin Yang Hai (Keelung Peace Island) in Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan
Marvelous view of Yin Yang Hai (Keelung Peace Island) in Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan


The spectacular view of yellow and blue sea at the gulf of Yin Yang Hai which is located near to Jiufen Old Street in Taiwan
The spectacular view of yellow and blue sea at the gulf of Yin Yang Hai which is located near to Jiufen Old Street in Taiwan


The best spot for admiring Chin-Shui Highway 「meandering winding」 attractions at Jingming Pavilion in Taiwan
The best spot for admiring Chin-Shui Highway 「meandering winding」 attractions at Jingming Pavilion in Taiwan


Jin Gua Shi (Golden Waterfall) appears golden yellow in the stream water and sparkles like gold under the sunlight in Taiwan
Jin Gua Shi (Golden Waterfall) appears golden yellow in the stream water and sparkles like gold under the sunlight in Taiwan


13 layer Heritage Site (terminal destination) for processing ore and copper during Japanese colonial nearby  Jiufen in Taiwan
13 layer Heritage Site (terminal destination) for processing ore and copper during Japanese colonial nearby Jiufen in Taiwan


My Older Post:
  • Taipei Shifen Sky Lantern - cont'd
  • Taipei Yehliu Geopark (Rocks Formation)
  • Alishan (Ali Mountain) in Chiayi County, Taiwan
  • Sun Moon Lake Temples for Blessings in Taiwan (Part 2)
  • Taiwan Sun Moon Lake, a stunning landscape view (Part 1)
  • Taroko (Marble) Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan
  • Tamsui Lover Bridge & Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Taipei 101 Observatory & Shopping in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Taipei National Palace Museum in Taiwan (one of the largest Chinese Historical collections in the World)
  • Ximending in Taipei (a busy night street for shopping and food) in Taiwan
  • An Introduction to Taiwan


  • Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    One Day Trip on Private Cab: Taipei Shifen Sky Lantern - cont'd


    Shifen Old Street was once a famous train stop along Pingxi Branch Line to transport coal in Taiwan. Now, Shifen Old Street has maintained its historical town as one of popular tourist attractions outside of Taipei city in Taiwan. Shifen Old Street is famous for sky lantern activity and souvenir shops. Visitors can purchase the sky lantern papers at souvenir shops in Shifen Old Street for about TWD200 (US$7) per piece and write down all their messages and wishes on the lanterns before releasing them on the sky. 

    It is convenient and saving your time if you hire a private taxi (cab) for a day tour to popular attraction sites such as Yeh Liu Geopark, Shifen Old Street, Jiufen etc. which I mentioned it in my previous post of Yeh Liu Geopark. All these mentioned places are located outside of Taipei city of Taiwan which require to change a few of public transportation like, trains and buses before reaching these places. 

    Shifen Old Street at Pingxi District of New Taipei City in Taiwan
    Shifen Old Street at Pingxi District of New Taipei City in Taiwan

    Seeing one of the sky lanterns flying away in the sky at Shifen Old Village at Pingxi District of New Taipei City in Taiwan
    Seeing one of the sky lanterns flying away in the sky at Shifen Old Village at Pingxi District of New Taipei City in Taiwan

    Releasing sky lanterns with your messages at Shifen Old Village in Taiwan
    Releasing sky lanterns with your messages at Shifen Old Village in Taiwan

    Visitors are busy writing their wishes on sky lanterns before releasing them in the sky at Shifen Old Village in Taiwan
    Visitors are busy writing their wishes on sky lanterns before releasing them in the sky at Shifen Old Village in Taiwan

    Shifen Station at Pingxi District of New Taipei City of Taiwan
    Shifen Station at Pingxi District of New Taipei City of Taiwan

    Jingan Suspension Bridge is located behind Shifen Station at Pingxi District of New Taipei City of Taiwan
    Jingan Suspension Bridge is located behind Shifen Station at Pingxi District of New Taipei City of Taiwan

    My Older Post:
  • Taipei Yehliu Geopark (Rocks Formation)
  • Alishan (Ali Mountain) in Chiayi County, Taiwan
  • Sun Moon Lake Temples for Blessings in Taiwan (Part 2)
  • Taiwan Sun Moon Lake, a stunning landscape view (Part 1)
  • Taroko (Marble) Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan
  • Tamsui Lover Bridge & Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Taipei 101 Observatory & Shopping in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Taipei National Palace Museum in Taiwan (one of the largest Chinese Historical collections in the World)
  • Ximending in Taipei (a busy night street for shopping and food) in Taiwan
  • An Introduction to Taiwan