Places I want to visit in Japan: Kyoto Studio Park

Yeah, another topic for me to blab about. I’ll be listing places I want to visit, add links about the place and stuff like that.

First up is “Kyoto Studio Park”.  It’s like Universal Studio Park, only it’s of Japanese period films. COOL!! My camera batts will be drained here!

I know it’s fake but I love this sort of stuff. >o</ very excited.

I’ll definitely skip the “dress up as geisha/princess/period-drama-character”. Why spend money putting on clothes for only two hours?

And, sometimes there’s actual filming going on! I wonder if I’ll see my favourite Jdrama stars. ^_^ No way Atsuhime is going to be filmed there, but fingers crossed for Tamaki Hiroshi ;)

A map of the place

My travel plans

I’ve been reading my 6 travel books and my travelling plan is this:

Fukuoka -> Kobe -> Osaka -> Kyoto -> Uji (for Genji museum) -> Nara -> Tokyo

I also plan to use the Seishun 18 tickets during my 6 weeks in Fukuoka to visit other places in Kyushu.

To N, I might go and visit Nodame’s hometown, it’s in Okawa, Kyushu. (Secretly wish some Chiaki will ambush me.)  ha ha ha

What will I be doing in Japan

I met with some old pals from high school for a chat tonight. They asked, “What will you actually be doing in Japan?”

I couldn’t give them a straight forward reply and said, “AH! I’ve never really thought about that. At first I’m thinking of going there to have fun, but . . .” Then conticos asked in a comment the same question.

Oh… I have to make up my mind what I want to do there to get the most out of all that money.

OK, first a small intro about the programme I’m joining. It’s a summer programme called Asia in Today’s World, organised by Kyushu University. It’s a six week program where we have Japanese language classes and other humanities classes. We also have field trips to Hiroshima (where the atomic bomb was dropped), some farm (to plant rice?) and a Japanese culture experience thingy.

And for accommodation, they let us choose between: home stay, dorm and apartment. I really want to get home stay because (duh!) I’ll be able to see how the Japanese live. Dorm’s also OK because you’ll have a dorm mother and I’ll meet other students too. Apartment is so blah.

So, fo now, my aim is to have enough Japanese be able to backpack in Japan. I’m now revising my <Minna no Nihongo>, bought the textbook at a second hand shop for $12, 1/5 of a new book. :D

But if I’m only aiming for backpack-travel-Japanese, I might as well read my books until they crumble. So until then, I’ll think of some really fancy goal I want to achieve.

Stay tuned!

Did-list
*booked ticket: leaving Singapore on June 28 and leaving Tokyo on Aug 16.
will start visa application documents as have help from the very nice K sisters.

Visa Application Go Go Go

I visited the Japanese Consulate of Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday. Very lucky that it is in Sabah or else I’ll have to ask a travel agent to apply for my visa and that will take lots of time and cause other hassles.

Like I said in a previous post, Malaysians (in theory) do not have to apply for a visa because the government is (supposedly) friendly with the Japanese government. But (in reality) the Japanese authority suggests that we get a visa to enter Japan. So, it means that I can buy a ticket to fly to Japan, arrive in Narita Airport and be sent home because the officials there think I look like someone who will overstay.

It sucks. And visa applying sucks even more because of all the rubbish we have to submit.

In theory, my visa application is going to be smooth because of the documents I have from Kyushu University. And they’ll give me a 90-day visa because that’s the regular visa. Yipee! But (there is always a “but”!!) as I want to travel after the summer programme, visa is not that simple.

I went to the consulate to ask about that. I don’t want to buy an extra week free in Japan air ticket and then they say they don’t want to give me a visa. Air ticket is so exp.

Thank goodness the old man at the consulate speaks understandable English. He advised me to get the extra document to apply for visa. So the visa application journey begins!

  1. A valid passport
  2. One(1) visa aplication form     [will fill up soon]
  3. One(1) Malaysian passport size photo
  4. Confirmed flight itinerary (issued by the travel agency/airline) or a flight schedule in detail [will pay soon]
  5. Visiting relatives: Documents clarifying their relationship Visiting friends: Documents clarifying their relationship between the applicants and his/her friends in Japan
  6. Material showing your capacity to bear staying expenses in Japan (e.g. Bank statement) [yup]
  7. A letter of guarantee from your relatives or friends in Japan, guarantor’s income certificate and the residence certificate in case the guarantor bear the expenses during your staying in Japan
  8. A copy of your relative or friend’s passport and Alien Registration Certificate in case your friend is a registered foreigner residing in Japan

Gasp. I hate bureaucracy.

Youthful reads and plans

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I like to plan my travels. It makes me more secure than just plopping in some where and walk aimlessly.

But even with planning, I would walk in the opposite direction of my destination. My sense of direction falls below average in foreign places.

I’m now planning a seven day backpack trip (should I say, wheeled trolley trip). I want to stop in historical locations. I’ll skip the big cities during this solo travelling trip because my main aim is Tokyo.

Youth, priceless

A Japan Rail Pass costs ¥ 28,300. That’s about S$ 371.94 for a 7-(consecutive)-day ticket. Very expensive. It makes me bleed inside thinking about that amount of money.

But I’ve discovered another type of train ticket available during my stay in Japan! Seishun 18 Ticket (青春18きっぷ) for those who read Chinese, yes it’s the Youthful 18 Ticket (pardon my bad translation). It costs only ¥ 11,500 for 5 days. Even with bad math you can see it costs only half of a rail pass.

And that’s absolutely BRILLIANT! I wouldn’t need seven days of train ride! And I’m so youthful, I don’t mind sleeping on a train.

But, a 2-hour train from Fukuoka to Kobe will take 12 hours (with 5 transfers).

Hmm… This youthful youth will consider seriously.

Will be going to the Japanese consulate tomorrow to ask about extending my stay in Japan.

Visa Application

Since 1993,
Malaysian nationals are strongly encouraged to obtain a visa prior to entering
into Japan.

The visa-exemption arrangements between Japan and Malaysia
which stating that Malaysian nationals who meet relevant conditions can enter
into Japan without a visa for a period of stay not exceeding three (3)
consecutive months are still effective.

However, in order to cope with
the large number of Malaysians who overstay in Japan and work illegally, the
Government of Japan decided in June 1993 to encourage Malaysian nationals to
obtain visa prior to entry into Japan in order to ensure smooth entry.

Makes you wave your fist, doesn’t it?

Just received the visa application stuff from Kyushu University today. Bad luck that Monday is a public holiday and I can’t go to the Japanese consulate to ask about visa application.

I want to backpack after the summer programme but the university says that I’ll be staying till Aug 9. I want to stay for travelling!!