|Look at that beautiful thing and tell me that's not amazing!
|Matsuya's gyudon beef with raw egg on top with Miso soup for those on the go!
I needed a totally different environment than what I was surrounded with, and I knew Japan would give me that! When I first flew to Japan, I already knew that there were many things I needed before I left such as knowing basics of the Japanese language called "Nihongo" (日本語). Also, I had an image already of what Japan would be like. Luckily for me, I watched anime as a kid and I also had a best friend from high school that was Japanese, along with a Japanese cousin. She taught me all the basics I know, along with the helpful phrasebook and phone apps. I have "katakana"(カタカナ) and "hiragana" (ひらがな) memorized along with a couple of "Kanji" (漢字). Japanese learners will understand this! I flew to Tokyo using ANA Airlines to Haneda Airport since it was closer to the city. I could not wait to go!
|Even their Suica value card is so animated and cute!
After the 4 hour flight and timezone change, I got to Tokyo Haneda airport. Immigration was a smooth process as the officer did not talk to me at all. All he did was scan my fingers and took a picture of me. After that, I said thank you in Japanese. Once I got my luggage and went through customs, I asked the officer how to get to the Tokyo Monorail in Japanese and he directed me to outside. Once I got to the Monorail, I bought myself a Suica value card, which I used throughout the trip. Many thanks to the English-speaking Japanese woman who helped me out. It was a long train ride, but I finally got to the train station where my cousin was at, and I finally got to meet up with her! The first meal I had in Japan was Gyudon or Gyumeshi Beef Bowl from this place called Matsuya (松屋). It's so convenient in Japan because all you have to do is to order your meal in a vending machine and your change and receipt will come out to give to the server. Your meal immediately comes out hot and fresh!
|That's the food ticket machine where you order from, open 24/7!
|Super small streets and roads like really small!
|These mochi dango balls coated in sweet shoyu are addicting!
*For a fairly priced plane ticket to go to Japan from Manila, I recommend ANA Airlines. It's one of the most affordable airlines that flies directly to Japan, and it provides great service and comfort!
Check out affordable flights to Japan at Cheap-O-Air
* To try out the Gyudon or Gyumeshi Beef Bowl at Matsuya (松屋), there are several locations of this 24-hour restaurant chain within Tokyo. Check out Matsuya Foods for more information on where is the closest branch for you. For me, the closest location for Matsuya (松屋) was at Chikatetsu-Akatsuka (地下鉄-赤塚) station at the Ikebukuro (池袋) district.