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27 December 2010

Moshi Moshi Japan – Ben and Gwen Journey to The East

AirAsia Social Media team

By AirAsia Social Media team

Before AirAsiaX launched the direct flight from KL – Tokyo, we organized an awareness campaign titled “Moshi Moshi Japan” to activate the launch message. The campaign was successful with massive interaction from our dear fans to Ben & Gwen whom were making a plan to visit Japan with AirAsiaX. We had a lot of fun reading the comments from our dear fans who love Japan, sharing a lot of useful insight on what to do, where to go and how to tour around in Japan.

Ben and Gwen have finally fulfilled their dream to go to Japan! And as promised, here is what they want to share about Japan to all of you:

Ben:

“When I heard that I got a trip to Japan with AirAsiaX, I was so excited about it and lots of thing started to build inside my head…Anime, manga, tokusatsu, sakura, Mount Fuji, shinkansen, Japanese street fashion, and last but not least the advanced technology in Japan.

During the flight, I was dreaming on and on about what should be the first thing to do when we touchdown in Haneda Airport and when I finally make it there, the first thing that pops to my mind was TOILET! I didn’t realize I was holding it for so long (the weather was freaking cold due to Winter that I didn’t actually ‘feel’ it until I entered warmer place). I quickly rushed to the restroom once I have checked through the immigration (Did i tell you the queue was actually this –> “1,2,3,4…30…50″‘s long!?)

One word for the toilet – WOW! When I went in to the toilet, the word “wow” was repeatedly spoken out from my lips. It was amazing experience – from the moment I stepped into the toilet – the light was automatically turned on as if it was welcoming me to the toilet! (Yeah, I know it is just a sensor light to save electricity, but the feeling was great!) . Next thing that amazes me are the amount of buttons next to the toilet bowl, from flush sensor, the automatic water jet (for washing *ahem*) , water temperature to even “Dryer”. I wonder if people spend their day in the toilet, just to play with the buttons. Haha!

Tokyo is a huge and busy city which my tour guide – Lisa actually describe it as “stressful”. I took a picture of the Tokyo Railway Map… There are 1 , 2, 3….I think 20 lines! AHemphmm, these only belongs to one operator named JR-East okay? Imagine the traffic! And one notably thing about Japanese train are the punctuality. Very punctual! The best choice for budget traveller to move around the town.

I love Japan – a well-known fact among my family and friends and I often watch Japanese movies. Inside the movies, there are often scenes showing a busy junction with lots of people crossing it as if they are heading to somewhere. I have always wanted to experience walking among the crowd in that busy junction. Yes, this wish has finally come true; I have finally experienced the amazing busy junction known as “Shibuya Hachiko Crossing”. Believe it or not, I did nothing but crossing from left to right, forth and back…. for “n” times! Lost count, to be honest, but I will never forget the feeling of walking among the huge and busy crowd, not to mention the experience of bumping into so many people!

Oh ya if you plan to make a trip here, remember to catch up with the famous “Hachiko” memorial statue at the East exit from Shibuya station. Hachiko, a famous dog in Japan, remembered for his loyalty to his owner whom he waited for every single day at the train station for 9 years even after his owner has passed away. Hachiko memorial statue is a famous meet-up point for many Japanese and there are a lot of people queuing up just to take photo with him.

Gwen:

Konnichiwa! I’m back from Japan! This was my very first time to Japan and it was filled with lots of surprises and wonderful experience. We went to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka on a whirlwind tour. It was tiring due to long hour walking and lack of sleeps but my mind was filled with endless happiness.

On the first day in Japan, I was attracted by the beauty of Tokyo Ginkgo trees & its fallen yellow leaves. Ginkgo trees decorated the city landscape perfectly that form bold impression on how a modern and beautiful city should be. Japanese people are polite (maybe I should use “Extremely Polite”). They will queue up and wait patiently, speak gently and help restlessly. These are something that we can learn from them.

One of my wonderful memories in Japan is experience the first ‘SNOWING’ in my life. We are the lucky tourists that day because Mt Fuji was snowing when we got there. I was very excited at the touch of snow onto my cheek. It was very soft, fluffy and cold! We gathered the snow and made it into the Mr. AirAsia Snowman!

Another never-to-be-forgotten memory was my first fully nude bath! We went to Onsen house in Isawa area and I was very shy to take off my clothes when other aunties/ladies were treating the onsen like home :P but in the end, I managed to gather my courage to join them. Apart from the embarrassing moment, I can actually feel my skin and my hair becoming smoother after the onsen hot bath. It is good to soak into hot water during winter. Try it!

The last thing that we must not miss out is the Japanese food. Sashimi, Tempura, Shabu-shabu, Ramen, Takoyaki and many more! I miss Japanese food so much, especially Yoshinoya and sushi! No local Japanese restaurants here can meet the authentic taste like the ones we tried in Japan (maybe I have not tried enough? :P)

I love Japan and I will definitely come back again! Thank you AirAsia!

——-

Yeah, both Ben & Gwen are indeed right. Japan is interesting in many ways. The People, the Culture, the Building, the way of Living, and of course, the Food! It was an unforgettable experience and we thought it will be useful if we can briefly cover a few tips here for you:

1) Transport

Flight:

Since the flight cost is critical to your total cost / budget, it is wiser to fly low fare with us (AirAsiaX). We are currently operating 3X weekly (2, 4 & 7) and the demand is high. Please book earlier to enjoy lower fare. Making the right choice could help to save thousands of ringgits.

*AirAsiaX flies to Haneda Airport which is only 20-30min away from town, which is nearer compared to Narita Airport which takes up at least 1 hour. Isn’t it great that we are flying you to Haneda Airport?

Moving Around in Japan:

Japan city is highly structured with advanced public transport network. One of the remarkable network is the JR-East. Not only it has the most advanced network within Tokyo, JR-East also owns the “Shinkansen” (Bullet Train) which is vital to travel from one city to another (e.g. Tokyo – Kyoto -Osaka). Shinkansen is certainly the recommended choice to move around cities. It is fast, efficient and it saves time.

Good news is that JR-East actually offers “JR East Pass” for foreigners so you can travel within JR network at a certain time frame without ride limits. Check out http://www.jreast.co.jp/e to explore the packages that suits you and you can book it straight from your PC. Trust us, this is the most economical and flexible way for independent traveller like you.

*Try not to rely on Taxi/Cab as the cost is superbly high and it is also subject to traffic condition unlike the metro (train) that arrives every 2 – 5 minutes. (yup, as frequent as every 2 minutes during peak hour!)

2) Accommodation

Almost everywhere follows the same logic:
a) The nearer the hotel to the downtown, the higher the price.
b) The higher rating of the hotel, the higher the price.
c) Higher price and surcharge during Japan public holidays.

Beside selecting weekdays, another option to save cost is to check out established holiday agents who have partnership with the local hotels. During our trip with Ben & Gwen, we opted for AirAsiaGO package and it was awesome. They offer varieties from budget to luxurious and you would definitely find one that you want that comes with good discount!

AirAsiaGo booking portal: http://www.airasiago.com

Tips: Sometime you could save even more when you book Flight+Hotel. (*Wink)

3) Do and Don’t as per our observation :)

i) Japanese are very polite, abide rules & regulations closely and respect the others. They frowns upon impatient behaviour, please do not cut queue when necessary as jumping off the queue is considered as a rude behaviour.

ii) Do not eat and drink when walking or riding on a train (except for long-haul journey like inside the Shinkansen). Also please stay quiet and switch your mobile to silent mode when you are on a public transport to preserve the pleasantness for the others. SMS/Email are okay.

iii) Remember to lower down TV volume after 8 p.m. as it is the time for the locals to rest. It is a bit early as compared to the normal practice in certain countries, but it is Japanese government regulation to ensure quality sleep for the children for them, to prepare them for an energetic day in school.

iv) Please keep your rubbish with you, when there isn’t any litter-bin around you. It is a community message to carry the rubbish home to preserve the environment so there aren’t a lot of litter-bins in the public area. Please look for a train station or departmental store if you want to throw your rubbish.

v) Japanese normally don’t smoke & walk at the same time. They will only smoke when there are “cigarette-bin” available for the cigarette ash to dispense properly. If not, they will carry their own portable container for smoking (widely sold in local stores). If you are a smoker, you can look for train station to locate the smoking facility or purchase a portable container at the local store.

vi) Most Japanese toilets are equipped with electronic water jet (for cleaning), seat warmer, water temperature, odour purifier, and an artificial flush’s sound button for the ladies to hide the “embarrassing sounds”. It is a unique experience and we are amused with their efforts to make toilet a pleasant and comfortable place. Remember to wipe the seat dry and clean for the ease of the next user.

vii) All shopping items have a price tag and price negotiation is null. Normally, higher price equals to higher quality (Japanese are ethical in their pricing). Therefore, please do not try to bargain as it is rude. If the price is too high, simply go for the cheaper one okay? :)

All in all, Japan is a charming place with wonderful characteristics. We can’t help but to think of going back again. We love it so much!

We hope you have enjoyed reading and we look forward to see you on board to fly to Japan.

Stay tuned for the photo albums at http://www.facebook.com/AirAsia next week!

Best Regards,
Ben & Gwen with AirAsia Social Media Team!

  • Suet Jzune

    I’m in love with Japan even more now after reading this blog post! =)

  • Voon

    Is the booking with airasiago reliable as I have come across a post saying that the some one book the hotel thru airasia go, make the payment and when they reached there, they were told that they did not received the booking.

    Can anyone who have used the airasiago services to give your feedback. I am planning to go Taiwan next year.

    Thanks.

    ps: Happy New Year!!

  • Gerald

    Coolest write up of your Japanese experiences guys. I agree with Suet and the remark – it makes you want to go. Your photo journey is just superb.
    You should both write for Lonely Planet!
    So in real life you are two of the faces behind Air Asia’s SocMed presence?
    Double accolades. I reckon Air Asia is doing Social Media well. Congrats, it is good to be along for the ride.