First impression of Bangkok

mcdonald bangkok

mcdonald bangkok
Ronald greets us with a wai

Hello, I’m still in Bangkok and I’ll be returning to Singapore on a 6.30pm plane this evening.

I quite like Bangkok. I love the Skytrain. Any city with a metro system gets one thumbs up for me. Two thumbs if it doesn’t smell like pee.

I love the shrines along every street. I love how the king is loved so much that I see as many of his posters as I would a regular celebrity.

Unfortunately, I’ve only eaten one meal since I have arrived. Yes, the Glutton ate ONE meal in Bangkok. It’s a long story: I had to wait 1.5 hours for a massage and I was too lazy to find food. Plus, having a full stomach is not conducive for the wrestling moves I had to do.

Here’s a video I did before I head out into the streets.

Stayed Hotel Maruchu, Tokyo review

Room of Hotel Maruchu Tokyo

The worse part of travel preparations is booking a hotel. Even with reviews, I’m never sure how a room would turn out.

Luckily, Hotel Maruchu in Tokyo turned out to be alright.

When I extended my business trip in September, I had to look for a place to stay. I found Hotel Maruchu online and thought that its location right next to Minami-Senjuu is great.

As a miser budget traveller, the 3,500 yen (US$44.5) price was what clinched the deal. In comparison, the price of a dorm bed at Sakura Hostel is 2,940 yen (US$$37.3).

The hotel was not too difficult to find. It’s just across the tracks of Tokyo Metro’s Minami-Senjuu station, and a bit more walking if you come from the JR station. There’s an overhead bridge with slopes to roll your suitcase around.

When I reached, the concierge was really enthusiastic and spoke a bit of English. I should have been ashamed of myself for not speaking more in Japanese. (Sorry mom!)

I chose the Japanese-style single room (which is also a two-person room according to the sign outside). The room is really tiny but I guess that’s what you get in space-constraint Japan.

Hotel Maruchu's 3 tatami big room
Hotel Maruchu’s 3 tatami big room

Amenities

There’s a Chinese saying, “A sparrow might be small, but it has all five internal organs.” The saying is a lot more poetic in Chinese, I assure you.

Well, Maruchu’s room is definitely has a sparrow’s innards. My room had a futon mattress, pillow, blanket fridge, TV, bathrobe, towel, a box of tissue, a table and a cushions. It also has free Wi-Fi, take that Marriott!

Hotel Maruchu's bathrobe and towel
Hotel Maruchu’s bathrobe and towel
Room of Hotel Maruchu
Room of Hotel Maruchu

Bonus! A clip of me rambling on about the room.


(I never managed to visit the cemetery because I got lost.)

Shared facilities

Outside the room, there’s the shared toilet and pantry.

The toilet has men’s urinals (though it will be really awkward walking in on a man peeing) and the cool modern Japanese toilets.

Hotel Maruchu's shared washroom
Hotel Maruchu’s shared washroom
Hotel Maruchu's modern Japanese toilet
Hotel Maruchu’s modern Japanese toilet
Hotel Maruchu's shared pantry and "makeup area"
Hotel Maruchu’s shared pantry and “makeup area”

Not included in the my photos is the public bath. For me, this was actually the main attraction.

Hotel Maruchu bath
From http://www.hotelmaruchu.com/pc-j/building.html

In a public bath, you take a shower and bath with other people. Some people might feel uncomfortable about this but I actually like the Japanese’s nonchalance of other people’s naked bodies. As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans.

Do note that the bath is open to women at a shorter timing than men.

Misc

There’s a nice Japanese restaurant outside of the JR station which is within walking distance of the hotel. A 7-11 is a short walk away too. The streets were quite deserted at night when I walked to the convenience store, although I don’t think it’s dangerous for a woman to walk alone.

Minami-Senjuu is near Ueno Park but it’s actually a lot further to the city center. I didn’t like the travelling.

In a nutshell
Stayed at Hotel Maruchu, Tokyo
Pros: Enthusiastic concierge, cheap cheap price, cool Japanese room
Cons: Train station is far from the city center, people who are shy about being naked with strangers might not like the public bath, small Japanese room

Top 5 localized GANGNAM STYLE covers

Youtube charts

I have a confession. I have very bad taste in music: I love viral music.

Back when Rebecca Black’s Friday and Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe were popular, I listened to them repeatedly on Youtube not ironically but with full appreciation of the catchy lyrics and head bobbing tunes.

Currently on my Youtube loop (because I cannot buy it from the Singapore iTunes) is GANGNAM STYLE from PSY.

Youtube charts
Youtube charts

I thought about sharing the deep meaning of the song which parodies the dirt rich in Korea but I thought it would make you click the X button. Instead, I have compiled a list of Top 5 (in no particular order) covers of PSY’s song. (And leave the heavy reading to WSJ.)

From Malaysia:


ORANG SABAH STYLE (OPPA GANGNAM STYLE PARODY)
A Hakka version of Gangnam Style featuring my hometown (or homestate) Sabah. Lots of locations taken at places I am familiar with. The ending even has Bruno Mars.
Best line: Come to Sabah, wanna try the seafood. Go to island, Hey!


GANGNAM (SUPER KAMPUNG) STYLE
This is a version made by a Malaysian radio station. I think it’s really cool that the employees are sporting enough to do the invisible horse riding dance everywhere in KL.
Best line: “But in your kampung, you can wear sarong. Anywhere you go oh. Everybody knows oh.”

From Taiwan:


這群人 – 學尬乾那塞 (GANGNAM STYLE Cover/Skit/台語版)
“Studied like Shit”
A Mandarin + Taiwanese Hokkien version with a sexy dressed as a teacher/librarian. Sex sells, of course. Best line (translated): You… don’t study. Learn! Learn! Learn! Learn! Studied like shit

From Singapore:

Singaporean Style (Gangnam Style Parody)


Best part: Instead of the invisible horse riding dance, they have a shake your fist up and down dance.
Best line: “Ehhhhhh give me Tau Huay”

From Korea:


PSY (ft. HYUNA) 오빤 딱 내 스타일
“‘Oppa Is Just My Style”
OK, I’m cheating with this video. It’s actually a follow up to the original song, sung from the girl’s point of view.

UPDATE: Oppa KL Style

From KL, again.

The original video

PSY – GANGNAM STYLE (강남스타일) M/V

Have you found any interesting covers of GANGNAM STYLE?

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