Japan in 15 days (Project Sakura)


3 years ago I was wondering how does it feel to stay in Japan. That time, I was working in a Japanese Lifestyle & Travel Magazine in the Philippines, arranging partnerships and selling advertising spaces for the magazine and website. I was very new to the corporate world and didn’t understand business since I just moved from TV Production and everything that I told my clients about the Japanese market (culture and behaviour) were all taught by my boss, nothing was from my experience and personal knowledge. It was good but I wanted something more- experience the culture.

This year, cause I wanted to tick off a few in my bucket list before 30, I gathered courage to travel Japan from Kansai to Kanto area. I didn’t have a chance to prepare and plan cause my family visited me in Singapore a couple of months before the trip but I think how my trip happened is quite a good itinerary for those who want to spend 15 days exploring Japan.

DAY 1. OSAKA (Familiarising & Shopping)
Namba, Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori, Amerika mura, H&M,

DAY 2. OSAKA (Sightseeing and Eating)
Osaka Castle, Osaka Castle Park, Umeda Sky Building

DAY 3. KYOTO
Kyoto Sky Garden, Kyoto Tower, Arashiyama, Hanami in temple near Gion

DAY 4. KYOTO
Gion, Maruyama Park, Shimogyo, Nakagyo, Shijo, Rokakku-do

DAY 5. KYOTO
Kiyomizu-dera, Nishiki Market, Honno-ji, Museum of Kyoto

DAY 6. NARA
Oji
Fushimi Inari Taisha- on the way back to Kyoto

DAY 7. KYOTO
Nijo Castle, Kinkakku-ji, Ginkakku-ji (+ Philosopher’s walk)

OVERNIGHT BUS FROM KYOTO (KANSAI) TO TOKYO (KANTO)

DAY 8. TOKYO
Marunouchi for Imperial Palace and standing sushi
Shibuya for Monja and (Kyushu) Ramen

DAY 9. TOKYO
Hamarikyu Gardens then waterbus to Asakusa
Ryogoku, Shiodome, Shinagawa

DAY 11. TOKYO
Shibuya

DAY 12. TOKYO
Harajuku, Shibuya, Akihabara

DAY 13. TOKYO
Tokyo Disneyland
Shinjuku

DAY 14. TOKYO
Odaiba- Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Dive Center
Roponggi

DAY 15. TOKYO
Breakfast at Tsukiji
Departure

Tokyo was longer because I wanted to meet some friends whom I didn’t see for a long time. But you can squeeze in a few days to see Kobe, Nagoya and even the places near Tokyo like Yokohama, Ogasawara, Izu islands and Tama area.

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Son Tinh & Vietnam Beers

Beers are important part of a human’s life! (Please forgive that very biased statement! Haha) 

And as I explore Vietnam from South to North, please forgive me, but I didn’t find any difference between Saigon Beer and Hanoi Beer (and Saigon Beer Green and Red!). But I do find their difference among other beers that I’ve tried, they’re lighter and easy to drink. 🙂

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They’re the kind of beer that I would enjoy having in every meal, something to look forward to in every visit to Vietnam.

When we were in Hanoi, one of our friends invited us for a dinner in Highway 4. It was not just the weird food that I like about that Christmas Eve dinner but it was also the good company and the Son Tinh Premium Rice Spirits. It’s like a mixture of traditional and novel taste that complimented to the very fine Vietnamese food. I hope that this liquor will be one of Hanoi’s future tradition and that you’ll remember to try as you explore Hanoi.

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Khmer Memos

I finally realized my travel goal for this year a few weeks ago when I visited Siem Reap to see the majestic Angkor Wat. 🙂 I wasn’t able to cross the border of Cambodia and Vietnam as planned but I think it’s a good idea to visit them separately to focus more on getting to know them more.

I blogged about some little details that I remember the most about Siem Reap (please click the links to read the full details). I haven’t finished everything yet but here are some random things that I’ve compiled so far:


Since I love coffee and sitting in the cafe always help me understand the place where I am by listening and observing every passersby and their way of life, I wrote about the best cafes that I found in Siem Reap. 

The Bloom Cafe at night

The “cool lounges” of our favorite, The Blue Pumpkin

Chilling (with fast wi-fi) with Indonesian lovely friends, Dita & Chichi


I rarely shop when I travel but this is the first time that I feel so regretful that I didn’t hoard this wrap around pants. I swear, for $6, this is one of my best buy ever!


Meet the new addition to my blogging network, the forgetful blogger–Kris. 🙂

I love being Asian. I love being Southeast Asian more because there’s something unique in ASEAN’s traditional clothes that I find so elegant and full of characters. Meet some of my favorite fashionable and lovely Southeast Asian bloggers.

Traveling to Cambodia anytime soon? Then, learn some of the useful words that will save you from hunger and other more inconveniences.

Som OrKun!


Coffee in Cambodia

Having coffee in a nice cafe while reading a good book or having a beautiful conversation is my second truest form of relaxation (click here for the “first”) so wherever I go, I look for a place where I can have a quality time with my thoughts and self together with a cup of coffee.

BLOOM CAFE

A few weeks ago, I went to Siem Reap and since Cambodia uses USD a lot, I was attracted with “Air-con, Wifi, $1 Coffee” sign and with a testimony from a friend, Tonyo, I checked out Bloom Cafe.

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Aside from the $1 Coffee, Bloom Cafe offers Khmer food and popular Western dishes where it claims that NO MSG or chicken powder is used or put in every dish.

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But it’s not just what made me so interested with this cafe, it’s the opportunity for anyone to visit their workshop where they make bags from old rice and animal feed sacks.

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I am so in love with their bags and other accessories for sale which according to Tonyo (when he had the chance to talk with the owner) have been helping Cambodian mothers to earn a living for their families, raise their kids properly and develop self-esteem (through working) to help them value themselves more.

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BLOOM CAMBODIA RECYCLED BAGS started in 2006 while the cafe just opened in September 2012 (This is the time that I’m so grateful that the owner thought of opening a cafe. Yey! Haha)

But the Bloom Garden Guesthouse (since 2010) is Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s Choice 2012 and Top B&B/Inns in Asia (only one in the list that’s from Cambodia). Visit their website at www.bloomcambodia.com.

THE BLUE PUMPKIN

Everyone who came to see the majestic Angkor Wat might have been to The Blue Pumpkin in Siem Reap as well because it’s just like “Jollibee” in the Philippines… everywhere, like 7-11. 🙂

I didn’t do much research before my trip to Siem Reap but since Tonyo always tweet “We’re at Blue Pumpkin,” I got interested and tried it…not once but EVERYDAY. Haha. 

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TBP has six (6) separate locations across town now, all with Free Wi-Fi Access. You can find TBP at the following area:

  • Old market
  • Sivatha St. 
  • Airport
  • Artisan’s d’Angkor
  • Angkor Silk Farm
  • front of Angkor Wat
I first went to TBP in Old Market after a dinner in Pub Street and I couldn’t stop my excitement upon seeing this sign: (How cool is cool lounge?!)
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Upon seeing the “cool lounges,” I requested to the manager, who happened to be a Filipino, to let us sit in the cool lounge. 🙂

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Here are who I spent most of my Blue Pumpkin days and nights with (and the people who discovered that there are TBP amazingly in Phnom Penh as well), my Indonesian roommates/friends- Dita & Chichi

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The Blue Pumpkin is a cafe and bakery that also serves pasta, salad, sandwiches, burgers. Their pastries and desserts are one of the bests that I’ve ever tasted! My recommendation are Cinnamon Roll (actually try all of the pastries if possible) and Apple Pie La Mode (it’s actually an apple tart with pineapple sherbet and puff pastry), I think it’s the best in Southeast Asia!

The slices of apple are crunchy and juicy that goes well with the pineapple sherbet together with the pastry that really melts in my mouth. Oh! I wish there’ll be one branch in Manila!

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I also tried Mojito and some of their smoothies that are surprisingly cheap. I planned to drink a lot and just sleep in their “cool lounge” that didn’t happened. Haha.

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The Blue Pumpkin
563 Mondol 1
Svay Dang Kum
Siem Reap, Cambodia
TEL: (855) 063 963 574
FAX: (855) 063 760 742

e-mail: info.siemreap@tbpumpkin.com
www.tbpumpkin.com

Proof that we love The Blue Pumpkin so much, I googled The Blue Pumpkin and found that my Indonesia friend, Dita, blogged about it too. Haha. You can also read this for reference.🙂

Khmer Culinary Vocabulary

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Even though most of Siem Reap’s bars and restaurants have English menus and majority of the staff speak English, I still prefer to remember some of the useful Khmer words for eating.

I listed some words that might help you with your dining and travel adventure in the majestic Kingdom of Cambodia:

  • Hello (formal): chum ree-up soo-a
  • Hello (informal): soo-a s’day
  • How are you?: sok sa bai?
  • Excuse me: som dtoh
  • I would like…: k’nyom som…
  • Please: som
  • Thank you: Som OrKun/ Aw-ko-oon
  • Bill Please: som ket loi
  • Chicken: sait mowan
  • Pork: sair jerook
  • Beef: sait gow
  • Fish: trei
  • Fried: Cha
  • Rice: Bai
  • Grilled: ang
  • Roasted: dot
  • Water: tuk sot
  • Ice: tuk sot
  • Beer: beer
  • Red Wine: srah krohom
  • White Wine: srah sor
  • Cola: coca
  • Coffee (hot): ka-fei (gdouw)
  • Coffee (cold): ka-fei (tuk kork)
  • Tea: dtai
  • Milk: tuk duh goh
  • Sugar: skor

As a traveler, always remember that you have to keep your mind open and be more flexible to the country and people that you’re visiting. In Cambodia, since English is not their first language, there might be some point that even if you speak English slowly, they might not understand so always be patient and remember these words.

Or Kun!.

(Info from: Pocket Guide Cambodia)

Fashionably Asian

I love being Asian. I love being Southeast Asian more because there’s something unique in ASEAN’s traditional clothes that I find so elegant and full of characters and stories of the past.

Fortunately, I met some interesting beautiful ladies that continuously sharing and wearing their love for their Southeast Asian culture. 

CAMBODIAN SILK.

Please don’t sue me for taking Jessica’s photo from her blog. Please. Jessicat fans. 🙂

I love Jessica. She’s a very vibrant, fun and smart (and hot!) Malaysian. I like how she tells her adventures everyday and of course meeting her personally is a different story, conversations are longer and more fun!

In the photo above, she’s wearing a handmade printed dress from Cambodia. Check out more of her fun adventures and style at http://thejessicat.com or in twitter: @ImTheJessicat.

INDONESIAN BATIK.

Don’t be deceived by the beautiful smile, she’s tougher than you think she is. Chichi is a very pretty legal counsel, blogger and my morning ritual buddy (Why do you straighten your hair and I curl mine? Haha). A day with Chichi means a day of non-stop laughter and conversation. 

She’s wearing her casual batik dress which I want to have (though I like this more. Can I have it Chi? haha)! 

Don’t miss things about Indonesia and Indonesian fashion & lifestyle by following Chichi at http://chichiutami.com or in twitter: @ChicMe.

BURMESE LONGYI.

Yatanar is a sophisticated young lady, full of energy and opinion. The first thing I love about her when we met was her eyes, then her shoes. Haha. Yatanar is wearing Burma’s traditional skirt, longyi, which I need to see and have for myself soon! 🙂

Don’t miss the latest in Myanmar’s blogging community, follow Yatanar in twitter: .

These ladies are definitely conquering the world in style, well, Southeast Asian style. So here’s my current ASEAN Style addiction. What’s yours?