During spring break, I went to Osaka with my cousins to visit my mother’s friends. We went to Universal Studios Japan on the first full day we had there. My target was the Harry Potter world. I love Harry Potter series, and have always wanted to visit this place. As I expected, the Harry Potter world was realistic and mysterious. Since we wanted to have a best of our times on our trip, and visit to USJ, we bought the express pass 7 which allows you to ride on the specified 7 attractions without lining up in the regular line. Instead we stood in the express line which moved quicker and smoother than the regular line. Still, however, we had to wait for average of 20-30 minutes for each attraction. I recommend people to purchase the express pass because without it, you will most likely be spending majority of time lining up for a ride instead of enjoying the ride. Express pass allows you to fully enjoy the rides there. The problem with express pass is that it is expensive. You must buy the separate pass in addition to the park entrance pass. However, it is worth it as if you don’t have this pass, you will be wasting your money spent on buying the entrance ticket.

On the last entry, I introduced Huis Ten Boss, a park in Kyushu area, and this week USJ, a park in Kansai Area. This weekend, I will be going to Disney Sea and Land, so I will introduce these parks in Kanto Area in the next post. After this weekend, I will have visited main parks in three areas on Japan.

 

 

Trip to Nagasaki

 

This past weekend, I traveled to Nagasaki with my relatives.

It was a two night, three days travel of which we stayed at a theme park in Kyushu area called HUIS TEN BOSCH the first day and hot spring hotel called Mikado the second.

At Huis Ten Bosch, I played some Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) games. These games are becoming popular in Japan currently and there is a VR Park in Shibuya which I recommend.

Unlike Tokyo Disney land and universal Studios Japan, Huis Ten Bosch did not have ride attractions. This theme park is more for older generation who like sightseeing. They had beautiful flower garden and illumination for the audience to see.

 

The second day, we took a car ride to a place called UNZEN which is famous for its onsen or hot spring. We stayed at a hotel called Mikado Hotel.

I personally loved his hotel. The hot spring had a great view for you to see and the buffet for breakfast and dinner was beyond amazing. They had variety of fresh food from Sashimi to meat to to noodles. Also, they offered all you can drink alcohol. Since the minimum drinking age for Japan is 20, I drank a cup of acerola rosehip alcoholic drink. Just one cup of alcoholic drink gave me a headache and I thought to myself that alcohol is still too early for me.

Illumination

 

Long time no see!

Recently I have been busy going to the doctor’s, trying to find out the cause of my cough that hasn’t stopped for 2 months. As the year gets wrapped up, your workload for school increases massively. Be prepared for that.

 

Today, I want to introduce to you a beautiful illumination spot you can go to for Christmas.

Doitsu-Mura, or German City is one of the 3 greatest illumination spot in Kanto region. I only went for the illumination, but you can also enjoy many attractions at Doitsu-Mura. One of the attractions that caught my attention was the Ferris wheel. Riding on it at night during the illumination period must have been beautiful. If I get a change to go there again during Christmas season, I would like to ride on the Ferris wheel.

 

New Yeas is approaching, and the experience you can get in Japan is far different from those you can gain in Hawaii.

  • Kouhaku Uta Gassen (Red and White Singing Festival,
  • Toshikoshi Soba
  • Hatsumoude
  • Osechi
  • Mochi-tsuki Taikai

 

There are so much to enjoy for new years in Japan.

School is important, but I recommend you to seek out the opportunity to enjoy the event culture that you can only enjoy in Japan.

 

 

 

 

 

Phone Usage in Japan

Phone access is an important matter when you’re studying abroad.

This was one of the biggest concerns I had before arriving in Japan.

My dorm mates who were also studying abroad in Japan informed me of a cheap and easy way to obtain phone and internet access in Japan.

 

I recommend you to get the SIM card from BIC CAMERA.

Bic Camera has a SIMS counter where the staff will help you choose the best plan for your stay.

You can get the sim card at any BIC CAMERA with SIM counter.

They have English speaking staff, so you don’t have to worry about communication.

The location closest to Keio University is BIC CAMERA Yurakucho store.

It is only 3 stations away from Tamachi station (closest station to Keio University) by JR Yamanote-sen.

 

BIC CAMERA has 2 sim card options that foreign students can sign the contract with an American credit card.

The SIM card I recommend you to get is the blue sim shown in the picture.

All my foreigner friends are using this SIM card, and they are satisfied with the product.

With this SIM card, price depends on the amount of data you plan to use.

 

The package price this SIM card is 2,990 yen.

They have multiple options for data usage:

  • 1,600 yen/110MB per day
  • 2,080 yen/170MB per day
  • 1,800 yen/3GB
  • 2,200 yen/5GB
  • 3,000 yen/10GB
  • 2,500 yen/15GB (500kbps)

The cost for phone calls is 10 yen/30 seconds.

 

Pros of Blue SIM:

  • Cheap compared to contracting with Japanese phone carriers
    • Typically costs about 8,000 yen and up for the same operation
  • Don’t have to pay the cancelation fee of 8,000 yen after 6 months of continued usage
  • Can pay with American credit card

 

There is a different BIC SIM card (Red one shown in the picture), but I don’t recommend this SIM because if you don’t continuously use this for 1 year, you are obligated to pay cancelation fee. Amount of cancelation fee depends on how long you use this sim card for.

 

Little Tip:

My dorm mate raised an interesting point about cancelation fee.   If your study abroad period is 1 semester, you may only need to use the sim card for only 5 months. In this case, instead of canceling the contract at 5 months, it is cheaper to pay the fee for 6th month and then cancel the contract because plan fee is cheaper than 8,000 yen.

 

Your options broaden if you have Japanese credit card.

 

CAUTION:

  • Legal Age in Japan is 20
    • Can’t sign contract if you’re under 20
    • I went to the store just to find out that I cannot sign for myself
    • The parent or guardian need to have the same last name as you for people under 20 to sign the contract
  • Can only get sim card at BIC CAMERA that has the SIM counter
    • Or you can order online

 

phone

Starting New Life in Tokyo

Long time no see!

I have a few things to update on my study abroad experience to Japan.

I arrived in Japan on August 27th and stayed at my relative’s house until the dorm move in day, which is today.

There are few process you have to take before arriving in Japan. The most important is to apply for student visa. When you receive packet of forms from Keio, it will  contain certificate of eligibility for student visa. After you complete  this form,  you will sent it to Keio University with the rest of your  application forms. Keio will then process the certificate of eligibility and sent it back to you in late July.

After you receive your certificate of eligibility, you will when go to your local  Japanese embassy to apply for your  student visa.

When you successfully receive your student visa,  you  are ready to fly to Japan!

 

When you arrive at  the airport in Japan,  they will make  your residence card.  It takes a while  to make  the residence card so be prepared  to  be the last person to pass through the gate.

If you want to do part time job in Japan, you have to fill  out the form that Keio will send you with the rest of your packet. When you turn in your form, they will stamp your residence card showing that you are allowed to take part time jobs in Japan.  Keio does not recommend international students to take on a part time job, but I personally think it is a good experience for exchange students, as long as it does not interfere with your studies.

 

I will update on my dorm room and what I’ve been doing since I arrived in Japan once I settle in.

See you again!(: