narita & hooka

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hi everyone!
OMG... has it been 3 weeks already??
I know I've been away for some time, but its really becoz I've placed the laptop away from my bed & sometimes I procrasinate about switching it on.
Sorry! :p

And I have a ton of pictures from work trips,- just thinking about re-sizing, consolidating, collaging etc etc.. makes me wanna sleep!
I salute camwhore queens.. how do they take all those pictures?!

I rather go for tea, thank you very much.
But what to do.. what to do.. its going to be absolutely lovely once I sort it all out!
The pictures did no justice whatsoever to wonderful Narita Village, Tokyo where I went sometime ago.
It was more breathtaking in person, I wanted to live there!
Just to breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the cool breeze and go to bathhouses all day long.

Narita (成田市, Narita-shi) is a city located in Chiba, Japan. It is the site of Narita International Airport, the main international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area.

My humble abode for the two nights I was there.



Central Narita (locally known as 町中 machinaka) is roughly defined as the area between Narita Station, Keisei Narita Station and the Narita-san Temple. The main road in central Narita is Omotesandō (表参道), which is lined with about 150 small shops and has been extensively renovated in recent years; it is widely regarded as one of the best "traditional" city streets in Japan.

We took buses everywhere becoz taxis are too costly in Japan.
Sometimes the hotels offer shuttle buses for free, but the timings are so precise, you have to be at least 5 mins early to queue to get a seat.
Late queens need not apply, coz the drivers are so professional there, they dun wait!



Shuttle buses brought us to the shopping mall.
We spent awhole day in the mall buying things & eating!
I usually cut my hair when I come here becoz there's a Japanese stylist here who speaks English so she usually does my hair whenever I go to the salon.

And so I have a fringe now.
:)
And it makes me look acouple of years younger!

Im slightly amused becoz everyone doesnt recognise me now, and the boss of my regular manicure place told me that she could her my voice when I went to do my nails, but she couldnt find me!
Haha! That was pretty hilarious.



Unlike the city of Tokyo, Narita is a suburb where the people mostly drive or take buses that cost about 200 yen ($3.40) per trip to get around.

Tokyo is mostly made up of big shopping centres like Takashimaya etc, whereas in Narita, they usually have a shopping mall in one area, -made up of many shops under one roof.
They sell various items like clothes, cosmetics, household items and they house a supermarket in the same mall.



Rows & rows of makeup there, enough to drive any girl wild!
I love the Daiso 100 yen shop there too, I always walk in empty-handed only to emerge with bags of stuff I can never fathom myself buying when lucid.



We spent the whole day shopping & eating, I think I gained about two pounds from the very first day! And I just decided to lose weight weight this year! Some other day, perhaps. Heehe.
So the next day, we decided to go somewhere different.

The Narita Village.



We took a shuttle bus to the village & started exploring the place.
It was filled with rows of shops, lined both ways along a tiny two-way road.
The cars travelled at a slow speed, the shopkeepers routinely shouted, "I-ras-shai-ma-se!" (which means Welcome) to attrach customers.



But before all the touring, we need to eat!
So we walked to this very popular shop which sells Unagi donburi. (Eel rice.)
The special thing about this shop is that its chef is sits right outside the entrance, and without batting an eyelid,- he takes an eel out of a pail and slices it so deftly with his knife, simply blink n u might miss it!

Poor eel, but with all due respect.. u tasted great!
I felt guilty but all was gone the moment I stepped in the restaurant. Freshly BBQ-ed eel with sauce and rice smelt so heavenly.. we couldnt help but to order a set each.



After a sumptious lunch, we headed off to our main destination, The Temple!
We heard so much about, about how grand and beautiful it is.
Some tourists who transit in narita would actually make a trip to the temple to pray for good luck n we were all quite curious about it.

Narita-san (成田山 lit: Narita mountain) is a Shingon Buddhist temple located in central Narita city, Chiba prefecture, Japan.

This temple is one of the most well known in the Kantō region of Japan and is only surpassed in visitors during the O-shogatsu period (lit: New year period) by the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. The temple grounds are composed of a main gate, a steep stairwell and the main buildings (including a couple five-story pagodas), and a garden area with large pond. A very small zoo is also within the temple grounds.

The mail hall is a buddhist worship area. The interior is based on Indian buddhist design but has a distinct Japanese impression. Throughout the day visitors come to sit and to pray aloud.




It was beautiful all right, extremely breathtaking even from afar.
Being a Friday, there were many tourists & locals at the temple but the whole place had an amazing sense of serenity & peace even though the shops at the temple were bustling with activity & people.





We took a leisure walk around the temple ground, the skies were a lovely shade of blue and the breeze was gentle. We took so many pictures becoz it was simply too hard to resist.

Colours of the flowers at the temple.



After some time at the temple, we prayed for good luck & I wished for happiness to all!
And of coz, a pink Chanel too.
:)



Walking out of the temple and taking a bus to a traditional bathhouse.
It was a cold day and we decided that the best way to beat the cold is to take a hot bath. :D
So exciting!

Entrance of a Bathhouse



Sentō (銭湯?) is a type of Japanese communal bath house where customers pay for entrance. Traditionally these bath houses have been quite utilitarian, with one large room separating the sexes by a tall barrier, and on both sides, usually a minimum of lined up faucets and a single large bath for the already washed bathers to sit in among others. Since the second half of the 20th century, these communal bath houses have been decreasing in numbers as more and more Japanese residences now have baths. Some Japanese find social importance in going to public baths, out of the theory that physical proximity/intimacy brings emotional intimacy, which is termed skinship in Japanese. Others go to a sentō because they live in a small housing facility without a private bath or to enjoy bathing in a spacious room and to relax in saunas or jet baths that often accompany new or renovated sentōs.

It was divided neatly, one male & one female area where once u walk in,- naked people aplenty.

For the uninitiated, you cant wear clothes in bath areas. Once paying for the entrance, u either buy a towel or bring one yourself.
Then u put ur clothes in a locker and proceed to take a bath. In full view of everyone there.

For obvious reasons, I didnt take any pictures inside but here's an idea of how bathhouses came about & how it looks like.

In olden days.



Present.



There are various firm but polite signs in the bathhouse about conduct & attire.
The bathhouses in Japan has a no-tattoo rule, mainly becoz they are unable to outrightly decline 'Yakuzas' which means triad members in Japan. Thus, the no-tattoo rule.

U would have to take a public shower first before stepping in the pool, and u can see women leisurely washing body parts with the soap & shampoo provided.
Then u would have to wash off all soap before u can go in the water.

There are flat screens TVs around, a hot sauna, a hot pool, and an outside jacuzzi where many women simply hang around and spend time talking.

When u are done in the pool, u could either take a quick shower, or like many Japanese women, they proceed for another round of soaping & shampoo-ing.

It took about an hour and then u can go out (with clothes of coz!) into the common area where masssage chairs can be found, and even an area for sleeping!
There are some elderly people, obviously retirees who spend a whole afternoon there, catching up with friends, having a massage or simply taking a nap.

The bathhouses sell food too, and for the thirsty, there are a huge array of vending machines selling various kinds of beer & soft drinks, juices etc.

It was a very relaxing atmosphere and a great way to spend some time chatting to friends.
(If u can get over the naked part!)

Alright guys, I hope u enjoyed the pictures. :)
It took me such a long time to write this post & change my blogskin at once!

Off to take a shower now, Jungle Boy bringing me go kai-kai.
Maybe I shall have Korean food today... hmm.

Then its a last minute trip to Taipei tomorrow!
Yippeeeee yipeeee yay yay.. its been awhile since I've gone to night-markets, KTVs & eating smelly beancurd!

I love y'all.
God bless.

xoxo
elaine

Im sorry, but tags will be replied asap!
This post took too long & Im running late... :(

Trying out new beauty products too!
I heart clean, clear skin so I enjoy trying new items.
Bye everyone! Love love.

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Hello there, Pixie! Feel free to leave a comment, thanks! xo

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