5 Things I Hate About Japan

I love Japan, I am planning to spend a lot of days in Japan but there are some things I really dislike, somethings I just can’t get behind. So be aware, be prepared, these small insignificant things might just grind your gears too. To show how small these things are I will interpolate with photos of the wonderful country that I am complaining about.

PhoebeGill-180404-010.jpgBead Pillows

There is nothing like coming home from a long day of exploring, sight seeing, eating and general frivolity and diving into bed. You want your head to hit the pillow and fall fast asleep however, you nuzzle and hug your pillow only to find a load of beans on one side! Hard plastic, crunchy and uncomfortable these spherical devils are there for comfort but it’s anything but! I’m sorry Japan but I’m going to need my synthetic, fluffy, cloud like  pillows!

PhoebeGill-180403-298.jpgToilet Paper

Japan is a country where their toilets sing and dance for you. There are so many buttons it’s like a cockpit of a airplane and yet you have 1 ply toilet paper. Now I know why this is a thing but to have such a comfortable experience only to be faced with 1 ply is a rough time. Pun very much intended!

PhoebeGill161026137.jpgTiny Towels

Maybe this is just me but I like to wrap myself up in a big fluffy towel and watch a YouTube video or have a nap. It’s post shower chill time. However  Japan has tiny body towels! Tiny! You jump out of the shower and that cool air hits you, you just want to snuggle into a big fluffy towel and you are wrapping a thin short piece of fabric around yourself. Maybe it’s a tactic to get ready really fast after your morning shower and get to work!

PhoebeGill-180415-171.jpgYour suitcase will be a burden

Japan is a land of convenience, I have never seen such innovative and logical systems in place. However, if you are travelling with a suitcase…sometimes it is not convenient at all. I found that there is not a great amount of space for bags on Shinkansens and busses. On Dublin bus, for example, there is a space for wheelchair users and prams so you can stand with your bags. Not in Japan, you have to awkwardly stand and hope that you aren’t in the way, which you always are, so you have very grumpy old men hitting you as you are trying to figure out how to get to your hotel (I still think about this incident).

PhoebeGill-180414-002Plastic Packaging

Japan what will we do with you? I have never seen such over use of plastic packaging in my life! A sealed tin of biscuits catches your eye, you think, fabulous, you open the tin to find each biscuit individually wrapped, making this tin that you can reuse, completely pointless as there is so much plastic to contend with. You get free plastic bags wherever you go. It’s a free for all. So bring one of the thousand tote bags you have and refuse a plastic bag in shops. Makes you feel slightly less guilty!

Really it’s nothing to write home about and differences are wonderful but sometimes the things your used to, your creature comforts make a big difference when you travel. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t like something, it’s a privilege to travel but it’s also your right to whinge.

Happy Travels!

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In Tokyo: The Robot Restaurant

The madness that is The Robot Restaurant.

I had heard of this place and as a solo traveller I didn’t think I’d ever go but I’m starting to realise, never say never. I learned that one of my favourite people was going to be in Japan at the same time and she asked if I want to go to the Robot Restaurant. I said yeah, lets give it a go. I probably wont have the best time but I will be with my besto, all would be fine.PhoebeGill-180403-060When you get into the central area of Shinjuku, the Robot Restaurant is pretty easy to spot, you see it’s neon, it’s in your face and it’s mental. The tickets on the official website cost 8,000 Yen plus tax (Roughly €62 before tax). Please note that the first two rows of seats come at an extra cost or you are randomly allocated seats in the back two rows. If you have a look on Go Voyagin you can get a discount, usually for about 28% off and a drink.  When you are in Japan everything can seem like it costs a lot so any amount of saving is good!

When you arrive at the Robot Restaurant you will have to queue up in different lines, as I choose to pay before hand and I chose seats, we were directed to the middle section and got to check in first. After we got our tickets we went over to the main building and were directed to the bar.

PhoebeGill-180403-025.jpgNow this is where the fun begins. Imagine a long room with plush chairs and a bar, you are probably thinking about some grand, expensive lounge. Oh no! Destroy that idea because you get out of the lift and you are greeted by so many lights it’s as if you stepped into a Las Vegas casino on steroids. Neon bulbs of every colour are the back drop for the bar entertainment. While ordering the wonderfully strong rum and cokes, a Daft Punk type robot backing band and a delightfully energetic woman signing classic hits are on the stage. After a good sing song and a shoulder dance in our gilded chairs it was time to go down to the show. Now bear in mind I was still not sure if I was going to like this show but I was curious to see what was going to happen.

PhoebeGill-180403-079.jpgLittle did I know that within the first 20 seconds I would change my tune. I loved every second. The room is small and it doesn’t look like this show will be very big. I can’t describe what actually happened in the show but’s what I will say it’s there an impressive amount of floor to ceiling robotics, lasers, pyrotechnics and never ending dancing. I think there’s a storyline to the show but to be honest I wasn’t following along, I was too enamoured with the lights and the glow sticks.

You have to go, it’s so much fun. Definitely an activity to do with friends. Have a few drinks and enjoy the madness.

Happy Travels!

In China: Hong Kong

I went to Hong Kong in 2008 as a stop over on my way to Australia. I only spent two days in Hong Kong but there is something about it that I really enjoyed. Even though there is 7 million people in this city and for someone who hates crowds, I wasn’t uncomfortable with the amount of people. One thing I noticed was that no one cared that you were there, people are just going about their day to day business, I think that really aided to my feeling of calm. It’s an odd balance of feeling alone amongst hundreds of people. PhoebeGill081221009-1The food is amazing! authentic Chinese food is my in my top three favourite foods. Packed restaurants, lots of noise, really quick service, incredible food, it was amazing!

We like visiting lots of places that really creates a better understanding of a country BUT Hong Kong was different! There was one tourist attraction we went to multiple times, this never happens when we are on a trip.The Peak is a lookout point 428m above sea level that gives you the most amazing panoramic view of Hong Kong. It is nothing like I have ever seen before. It was incredible!

PhoebeGill081221027-2

We took a taxi up to The Peak Tower. The journey winds up the side of a mountain, it was beautifully green and really enjoyable ride up! At the base of the tower you can see the harbour, watching all the silhouettes of the boats was gorgeous.

In the tower there are lots of shops and places to eat so you can really spend a lot of time there if you want. You have to pass by them all to get to the top so you might as well have a look in.

The view from the top:pmgill_20081221_0031

This view is probably one of the most amazing views of a city I have ever seen. There is a reason we went twice. You definitely have to check it out if you are in Hong Kong. Have any of you been here?

Happy Travels!