Thursday, January 25, 2007

Japan Winter Trip - Hotel, Toilet, Bullet Train

Let's talk abit about accomodation

In this blog I would like to introduce the variance of the comfort level during my stay in Japan. Haha.. I will point out some good feature that you should have a good laugh or grin at. ;) Ready?

21st - 24th Jan 2007 Osaka Westin Hotel (16000++ Yen per night)
Ok! After a tiring day of touring Kyoto, I checked into Westin Hotel, Osaka for 3 nights. This hotel is situated in the new area of Osaka, Shin-Umeda. There is a underground tunnel connecting this Hotel from the Umeda station. Frankly speaking, Umeda station is really huge and confusing. Remember that we stored our luggae in the paid locker? Luckily, we decided to scout the route from Umeda station to Westin Hotel first or else we will face the consequence of dragging big luggage and get lost in the maze of Umeda station. Haha....

At around 10:30pm, after engrossed in Chinese buffet in 8th floor of
Yodabashi-Umeda, Osaka, I checked in to Westin Hotel. It was indeed a very comforting feeling for me to unlock room 1909 and walk into a modern and luxurious room. Let's have a look at the several pictures that Stanley has captured before we two guys mess it up. ;)

It comes with two single beds, a TV set with paid content (I didn't touch it ok... proof in my hotel receipt), small fridge full of mini liquors, drinking water heater, bath room and cool toilet bowl!!!!!

Drinking Water Heater
Let's talk about the drinking water heater. I like it because of its size. It is short and fat. Typically, I will get water from the facial washing tap which is not too deep. As the heater is short and fat, it fits nicely into the washing sink and I can get water from the tap easily. Do you understand what I mean?

The super cool MFTB (Multi-function Toilet bowl)
Nice, of course is the cool toilet bowl. If you click on the picture above, you will notice there are a couple of buttons. Haha.. Ok. For those who has been Japan, there is no big deal for them. So, please don't say me "frog under the well" ok? I write this for others who have not been in Japan. Among these buttons, you can control how your "outlet(s)" is to be washed!!! Ya.. outlets for lady and outlet for guy. Hey.. don't say I abit hamsup here ok. It is general biology knowledge that you have been tought in form 4. Alright? Haha....

So there are the buttons to channel temperate controlled water to outlets. So, gentleman be careful here. You have to be careful here. Ok? Make sure you look at the picture correctly before you press it. To stop the water, there is a common button. Well, for lady, you should be careful also. There are two buttons and make sure you only press the button that you really need la. Haha...

Oh ya, guess what. The toilet bowl seat is heated!!! So, it is a very cool featu that I cherish because it is winter. You don't want your lower body to get too chilled in the winter, do you? Hahaha.....

The hot beverage set
Next to the TV set are free hot beverage tea begs. Among them are green tea, plum tea, english tea, coffee. One mistake that I make is to drink green tea at night. :( It makes me active at night which should not be as it is time for good rest. I tried out the plum tean. Yakk... it is salty. Not my cup of tea la... :P

19:53, 24th Jan 2007: Shinkanshen (Bullet Train) from Osaka to Tokyo (13650Yen)
After two days of hard work in Osaka, I headed to my next destination as soon as I finished my assignment. From Umeda station, I took a JR rail to Shin-Osaka station where I bought a Shinkanshen ticket to Tokyo. Luckily Meng Siong and Michelle informed us to reserve the seat for the train. Out of 12 cars, only 3 cars are open seating. The difference between reserving and not is just a mere 200Yen. So, for your comfort, do reserve the ticket la. :)

At 1953, our bullet train arrived at platform 5 and just 2 minutes after the train stop, it continues its way to Kyoto. The train stopped at Kyoto, Nagoya, Shin-Yokohama and Shinagawa before it arrived at Tokyo. The whole journey took us just 2 hours 35 minutes. Oh ya, the bullet ticket will not be kept as souvenir because it will be swollen by the machine as you exit. So, having experience in Osaka, we quickly took a picture of the ticket before it is gone. Sigh~~~

In term of comfort, the bullet train has more legspace than aeroplane. The passengers are allowed to eat in the car too. Haha.. Stanley bought us good meals (bento set) from a cheap place in Osaka near the hotel during lunch hour. It is just next to the Family Mart (convenient shop). I procured some tasty Belgian waffel too. The waffel also comes in green tea and choc-choc chip flavours. Oh ya.. if you follow doraemon, you will notice the red-bean paste japanese pancake posted below. According to Stanley, there are two types of toilet in the bullet train (Japanese and western type). The next time that I am in Tokyo, I will try it the Japanese style. :) I think wonder what is the difference.. is it the MFTB that I mentioned before? Hehehe..

24th-25th Jan 2007 Imperial Hotel Tokyo - (20xxx++Yen per night)
From Tokyo station, we took a cab to Imperial Hotel opposite Hibiya Park. Oh ya, the taxt cames with ultra cool GPS system which navigates the taxi through roads. It costed me 1050 Yen from Tokyo station to the hotel. As I checked in around 11pm, my room is upgraded!!! Yeah We were offered higher class room next to the suite. Unlike Westin Hotel in Osaka, Imperial Hotel is more of classical outlook. The current hotel was built since 1961. The interior part is still very well maintained. There is even LCD in the bath room. So I can watch CNN news while enjoying my hot bath. Haha...

Not forgetting the resting chair. It is leather made and next to it is the window which has a superb view of Tokyo city and Imperial Garden. The window curtain can be controlled by too. Haha... it is indeed a very good hotel!!!

Khaosan Tokyo Budget Hostel, 26th-29th Jan 2007 (2500Yen per person per night)
After a night stay in Imperial Hotel Tokyo, I extended my business trip for my personal vacation in Tokyo area. We checked-in to Khaosan Tokyo Budget Hostel in Akasuka after much hassle in moving luggages up and down Tokyo subway.

I found about this hostel through my favorite hostel seach engine. According to the description, it is the cheapest one can get in Tokyo. 2500Yen is about RM75, so it is not cheap from our perspective. Since the website shows that it is clean and secure, we decided to give it a try. It turned out to be not bad. The hostel has all the facility we need to clean up, check email, drink and mix around in the first floor (ground floor) of the hostel. It is actually a 3-storey hostel. The hostel is giving free accomodation for backpacker who wants to stay long period of time and willing to help up in cleaning up the hostel. Haha.. not a bad deal for 3 hours of work.

Ok. One of the pictures shows my bed in the hostel room. Do you notice the small pathway next to my bed? The room comes with a mini heater and a fridge which we never used. Each night, we would just use the plug-point for charging our camera. Hehe....

There are 3 computers with Japanese keyboard. So, typing our email by using the keyboard may require some skill. :) There is free water dispenser in the kitchen. So, this saves us money from buying mineral water.

Forgot to say there is a whiteboard that backapackers to leave message on the board. Haha.. there is this people from HK I guess that say the hostel is very small and cold and it is not as described in the website. Haha...what I want to see is: It is the cheapest in Tokyo. So, don't expect to get president suite loo.. As long as it is clean and secure and not too small. It is should be fine. Don't forget this is Tokyo the densest city in the world. What do you expect!!!!

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