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Kyoto 2016 : Maiko Dress-up Experience

Hello! Really long time no see :3

I was really busy with my research lately, but this week I have a “legal spare time, lol. I will attend a the annual meeting of Chemical Society of Japan in Kyoto, and since I have morning presentation I can go the day before. Since conference has not started yet today, so I have the opportunity to stroll around!

 

Because i have visited most of the notable temples in Kyoto.

This time I will only want to treat myself with a… Maiko Dress-up Experience! ❤

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*that was me, really

 

In case you want to try the same experience with me, I will give you explanation in detail!

 

What is Maiko and Why?

Maiko is a women that perform dance, sings and traditional instrument for visitors during feast. Maiko is the apprentice geiko and usually aged 15-20 years.

Their appearance is always very beautiful to me, all white make-up with a detail of red and pink. Beautiful hair style with enchanting hairpiece and of course the kimono! ❤

Right now in Kyoto, there are many shops that offer Maiko Dressing-up Experience for tourists. So that is why, right now it is very common for normal people to have one day experience dress-up as a Maiko.

 

Okay, so how do you select the right shop?

The shop that i chose is Maica. in Gion, Kyoto Basically I just typed “Maiko dress-up in Kyoto” using google and found this shop. The website has quite good English explanation and prices are also reasonable. They have variety of package so that you can choose which one suits your budget the most.

The package that i chose is “Okigaru” Plan, right now on sale for 6500 JPY (excluding tax). This package cover make-up, hair, kimono rental, wig rental (you can only choose whole wig), hair accessories rental, one studio photograph (printed in B5 size), and one hour of free photo time inside the house.

If you want to do longer, they also have package including walking outside (Gion area) or even guided tour to farther temple, but it also comes with higher price.

 

 

Sequences?

It is actually described well here, but I will just retell you my own version.

Upon arrival we will have to fill a short form (it has English, don’t worry, generally all staffs can speak English quite well!). We will be given plastic bag for our shoes and we are escorted to the third floor. Photography is forbidden at third floor and during make-up and dressing-up process 😦

First thing is kimono selection, although Okigaru plan has limited kimono selection, it is still all very beautiful for me. After that, we have to pay (please note purchase under 10.000 JPY has to be paid in cash). We will then be escorted to the second floor where we have to put all of our camera-related thing in a safety deposit box. After that we will go to the locker room to store our other belongings and change to kimono inner wear and room socks. *we have to pay 200 JPY for the locker

Then… make-up time (which was fast, they just paint our face white with little pink and red detail). Honestly it was really thrilling because they don’t put MIRROR in the make-up room! After make-up then wig placement, which was… heavy, really heavy. And finally, kimono!! There were so many layers, so so so so many and they just keep tightening it more and more 😦

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Tada! Suddenly I transformed into Maiko!

And after that, photo time! One studio photograph was taken and if you come alone (like me) the staffs will help us to take picture (Up to 5 pictures). Other than that we can just explore the house by ourselves and selfie stick is allowed. Although it is small, almost every parts of the house are beautiful with classic Japanese decoration.

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Full body picture with the help of the staff

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Beautiful neck detail

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Tea ceremony, one of my most favorite picture!

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The studio photograph 🙂

Oh, i forget to mention that you can wear contact-lenses for the make up and also don’t worry about the make-up, it is actually light. You can remove it without ease using any kind of makeup remover you bring, they will also help you to remove the neck makeup.

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I was really satisfied with my experience in Maica! I mean, who doesn’t want to look like a beautiful Maiko? <3<3 Staffs are friendly and helpful (and they keep praising me for my Japanese speaking, lol). I discovered that actually being Maiko is really tough. It was tough with all of those tight kimono (it was even hard to kneel down and get up again) and that heavy wig? Honestly, i feel tortured, yes maybe beauty is pain ^^

 

 

That’s all for today’s post!

I hope that i will have successful presentation tomorrow! ❤ enjoy Spring break, everyone!

 

Love,

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

 

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Sanrio Puroland!

Hello everyone and happy golden week! 🙂

So yesterday I went to Sanrio Puroland with my bestfriend Hilda. And since we are sort-of a Sanrio-addict we were really-really excited! We even managed time to get the same dress for this particular occasion.

Before I told you about our adventure there, let me give you a general information for this park.

So, what’s Sanrio Puroland?

Outer Look of Sanrio Puroland!

Inner look of Sanrio Puroland!

Definitely from the name it is an all Sanrio-character theme park located at Tama City, Tokyo. It is located just a short walk from the South Exit of Odakyu Tama Center Station (Odakyu-Tama Line). You can basically meet any Sanrio character there from the famous Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Little Twin Stars, to the little known ones like Monkichi (or it’s just me that don’t know Monkichi?).

In my opinion this park is really popular for Japanese (but we spotted some foreigner, though) and popular for toddlers and children (though we also spotted other grown up women, mainly come in pair with twin dress, just like me and Hilda). It was Golden Week so the park was kinda fully packed with people, but it’s indoor and the queuing is nothing like Disneyland, so don’t worry!

What’s the main event currently held there?

When we came, Sanrio Puroland also celebrates My Melody 40th Anniversary (geez, she’s that old). So they made special shop for her and the theme is just all for her! Good for me as a huge Melody fans!

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What’s the main attraction there in Sanrio Puroland?

Character Boat Ride

The boat ride is the first thing you will see at the entrance. During the first half of the ride you will get an overall introduction of all Sanrio Characters. During the second half of the ride you will see them all inside Hello Kitty’s Party! The decoration and character are so cute, you can even smell cinnamon when you see the cinnamon roll!

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Lady Kitty House

Next thing up is Lady Kitty House. But please note that Lady Kitty is not Hello Kitty (Kitty White), Lady Kitty is actually Rose White, Hello Kitty’s Grandmother. How can you see the difference? Rose White wears rose instead of red ribbon!

But the house itself is super cute and magnificent! You can go inside the house, look around all the cute stuffs, take picture, and in the end take picture with Lady Kitty :3 (but you will have to pay 1600 Yen more to get your photo printed). You will be greeted by Lady Kitty’s baby grand piano upon arrival and after that you can see Lady Kitty’s huge teddybear, her make-up, her dress collection, her bed, and everything!

It’s definitely a perfect place to take pictures!

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And this is me and my twinnie official picture with Lady Kitty Rose ❤

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Kiki & Lala – Twinkling Tour

This adorable twin is also my favorite and they also have attraction related to Kiki and Lala! Inside the Twinkling Tour you will watched a video about their born and also why did they descend to earth 😀 You will also learn about Kiki and Lala’s magical power and about a cloud machine that can grant anything that you wish for!

After we’ve finished watching the video, we will walk inside Kiki and Lala’s cloud house, it’s very cute!

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And of course, a photo with Kiki and Lala 🙂

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My Melody and Kuromi – My Meroad Drive

My Meroad Drive is another attraction hosted by My Melody and Kuromi. You can ride a very cute melody vehicle and the attraction mainly tell you about My Melody’s birth. The ride itself is only about 3 minutes but we have to wait for 1 hour for that, however, it is still worth it.

Any Musical, Parade or Character Greeting?

Yes, they are. But we did miss the parade and character greeting, though. Due to golden week, they did not have character greeting for main character (Hello Kitty, Melody, etc.) but only for some minor unknown character. But the musical, Hello Kitty in Wonderland is really excellent! Kitty is helping Kyle to search for Heart Queen’s lost heart (which was stolen by Joker, but Jack was the culprit).

You can watch it in youtube just search for ‘Hello Kitty in Wonderland (Sanrio Puroland)’ (but I think the feeling will be different than watching it directly)

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What i love the most of the musical is the song with very touching lyrics : 君にがいる大好きな家族、どんなに喧嘩しても、愛してる :’) (You have your loving family and no matter how hard you fight or have quarrel with each other, you will still love each other :’)

How about the shopping experience?

It is definitely a shopping paradise for Sanrio lover! :3 They have so many stores, like store special for Hello Kitty, My Melody, and Little Twin Stars. But we explored the biggest one located near the main entrance, it had the combination of all characters! They basically sold everything related to Sanrio. From common things like doll, accessories, until shoes, bag, and even trunk!

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I ended up buying three Melody-related things. One stuffed toy (but not the LLL size probably only the L size), one melody-shaped tupperware, and one Melody transparent bag 🙂

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So, in overall?

I rated it 10 out of 10 (because i’m a Sanrio maniac, lol) 😀 I really want to come again later when it’s not Golden week, so we can get more photos with the main character!

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See you sooner or later, Sanrio Puroland! ❤

Love,

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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Summer Vacation 夏休み2013

Hello all! 🙂

Finally a little spare time in this Sunday evening and finally I can write about my summer vacation. I spent my summer vacation on Japan with my family (mom, dad, and little brother). Actually they came there to picked me up but we still managed to had some vacation as well 😀

We spent a week around Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara. Well, actually we went mostly to places where I had been before, so i will only tell you some of memorable moments with my family 😀

Family Shinkansen Ride

This was super fun! 😀 For my brother, it was his first ride of Shinkansen! And he was so happy!

my little brother and the Shinkansen that we rode

my little brother and the Shinkansen

before departing! :)

before departing! 🙂

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Mom and Dad 😀 Dad is very proud with his 東工大 T-shirt! 😀

But this ride was also memorable because there was an earthquake when we rode the Shinkansen. Although i did not feel the quake but the power supply suddenly went off because they cut off the electricity, the train immediately slowed down to a complete stop for 10 minutes >.<

Anyway, on the way back to Tokyo we got N700 Shinkansen 😀 so my brother was happier 😀

Shinkansen Series N700, the best line up of JR West Shinkansen!

N700, the king up of JR West Shinkansen!

cute bento :3

cute bento :3

Osaka Museum of Housing and Living 

Remember this museum? Where we are able to wear yukata and walk around in an Edo Period settings? Although i’ve been here together with my sister but this time was more special because there were 4 of us.

Yukata! ^0^

Yukata! ^0^

me and my little brother :D

me and my little brother 😀

my beautiful Mom and handsome Dad :)

my beautiful Mom and handsome Dad 🙂

I hope someday, the whole family can go here together and all wear yukata together! 😀

Osaka Aquarium (海遊館)

Going to Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyuukan) was a very good choice! Because it was really-really nice. The building consist of eight floors and it’s located near the sea. In front of the aquarium there is a very big ferris wheel 😀

The huge aquarium building :)

The huge aquarium building 🙂

gigantic ferris wheel :)

gigantic ferris wheel 🙂

At first we went up to the top and we saw the exhibits while going down. The theme of all of the exhibits was about animals (marine animal mostly), generally ecosystems around the Ring of Fire (Circum Pacific).

At first you’d be greeted by wonderful rainforest! Going down you would meet many animals from the pole, from seal until penguins.

rainforest

rainforest

^0^

^0^

Mr. Penguins!

Mr. Penguins!

But the most magnificent part for me was three-storied sharks aquarium! 9 meters deep and 5400 tons of water inside  >.< they had two whale shark, very cute 🙂 they also had troops of hammer head shark, tiger shark, and any shark, you name it 🙂 They also had the ugly sun fish (like what i’ve saw in Yokohama Aquarium.

cute whale shark!

cute whale shark!

The japanese crabs was also astonishing, they were enormous! And there was also a very good collections of jelly fishes 🙂

spider crab!

spider crab!

magnificent jelly fish!

magnificent jelly fish!

if you are interested of going to Osaka Aquarium please visit this page

Traditional Osaka Okonomiyaki Eating Experiences!

Osaka is famous for its Okonomiyaki, and we had the opportunities to taste one of its finest! Luckily it’s located just behind our hotel at Umeda Sky Building (our hotel was the Westin Osaka, near Osaka Station)

Kiji

Kiji

The place was really comfortable and homey and it was really delicious. Although we had to queue for about 1 hour, the taste of the food plus the atmosphere really paid that all off! In this restaurant the owner cooked by himself for us. The place was small but homey; the wall is covered with photographs from customer all over the world and the smell of sizzling okonomiyaki was really irresistible!

inner interior of Kiji :)

inner interior of Kiji 🙂

putting my own name card :D

putting my own name card 😀

We ordered okonomiyaki and yakisoba. You can decide by yourself what to put inside, from seafood until chicken, beef, and pork 🙂

hurry eat it while its hot!

hurry eat it while its hot!

いただきます!

いただきます!

Nara

Second time to Nara, I was happy with all of the deers however we met one crazy deers that ate my plastic bags (and maybe if i did not react fast enough, my hand).

Dad, Mom and Daibutsu..

Dad, Mom and Daibutsu..

Deers! (but not the crazy one)

Deers! (but not the crazy one)

:)

🙂

Kyoto, Kiyomizudera

Because we only had half day in Kyoto, we decided to visit Kiyomizudera. It was still as charming as my first visit 5 years ago 🙂

Kyoto Bus!

Kyoto Bus!

Red :)

Red 🙂

Mommy Daddy!

Mommy Daddy!

overlooking the city of Kyoto!

overlooking the city of Kyoto!

tranquil :)

tranquil 🙂

Ok, maybe that’s all for now, and i will post later for our experience at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disneysea!

See you guys! (and i’m missing Japan like crazy >.<)

Love

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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Summer Short Trip : Kobe and Nara with Dad Part 1

Hello all! Happy sunday!

 

Another late post, let’s write! So, 2 weeks ago my Dad came to Japan for business. But he had some day off, and we decided to go to Kobe and Nara, we arrived at Osaka, stay at Kobe and go to Nara. Actually it was a mistake because Osaka is located between Kobe and Nara, so we should actually stay in Osaka that’s located in the middle. But whatever~ As long as we have fun! 🙂

So at first we went to Osaka by night bus, still using Willer Express, but this time i have made sure that the bus will not be as disastrous as my last experience. We got bus with toilet, and reclining sit, and it was really a  willer express bus (the pink bus with a big willer express logo on it).

This time i chose Shinagawa Station as the alighting point. And i really recommend this alighting point because it’s much easier to find than the Shinjuku part. It was at Bus Stop Number 5 on Konan Exit.

the bus the real bus :D

the bus the real bus 😀

And, the seat was also really comfortable, especially comparing to the last bus that i’ve took. this one had more reclining angle, had pillow, had blanket, and some kind of a hood that can be used to hide your face. And best of all, it was all pink! 🙂

quite comfortable :)

quite comfortable 🙂

And finally we arrived at Osaka Station, Shibashi Exit, earlier than the schedule. After buying JR West Pass for my Dad and buying some breakfast (it was easy though, the staff can speak english, but don’t forget to have your passport and visa ready!^^) we went directly to Kobe.

Our hotel was Kobe Bay Sheraton, and it was located inside a man made island called Rokko Island, so actually it was quite far from the mainland and the city center. However, it was not inconvenient because they have a commuter line that connects all the place in Rokko Island with mainland Kobe named Rokko Liner.

For Rokko Liner, PASMO cannot be used. So we could buy ticket everytime or if your hotel is at Rokko Island probably buying pass for several rides at once will be more convenient.

Since we arrived at only 9.30 AM, the room was not ready yet. But fortunately we could have some breakfast on the hotel’s gorgeous 19th floor lounge. The view was wonderful and i ended up eating onigiri from konbini 😀

ulala here we go! Kobe Bay Sheraton :)

ulala here we go! Kobe Bay Sheraton 🙂

nice view from 19th floor lounge :)

nice view from 19th floor lounge 🙂

fusion of lounge and konbini, worth trying!

fusion of lounge and konbini, worth trying!

And the room was ready at around 10.45 AM and what fascinated me was the toiletries provided. they even gave a yuzu lipbalm!

relaxing :)

relaxing 🙂

excellent toiletries :D

excellent toiletries 😀

First destination was Nara! This hotel location was really convenient it was just outside the Rokko Liner Island Center Station. Then we went to Nara from that Station. I recommend to take the JR Lines instead of Hanshin Main Line especially when you had JR West Pass. Basically you  just have to go to Osaka and from Osaka find any JR train that go to Nara Station, it was longer but it reduce the complication, a lot!

Hanshin Main Line was less preferable because the route is complicated, not well equipped with English or even information in hiragana~ and well, Hanshin is a different company from JR, so remember your JR West Pass, will not be eligible to be used!

Island Center Rokko Liner Station

Island Center Rokko Liner Station

view from the first car of Rokko Liner

view from the first car of Rokko Liner

Dad inside the Rokko Liner

Dad inside the Rokko Liner

on our way to Nara :)

on our way to Nara 🙂

Arriving at Nara, first we ate lunch. We chose to eat a set menu named Mayou in one of restaurant near the station. Mayou main highlight is probably the grilled beef in butter it was really delicious. And it cost only 2000 Yen, unbelievable.

Mayou DIsh!

Mayou DIsh!

Beef and butter :)

Beef and butter 🙂

Melon Ice Cream that looks like a Watermelon :p

Melon Ice Cream that looks like a Watermelon :p

After the lunch, we went around Nara Park. Basically all of the famous tourist attraction in Nara is located inside the park. It took almost 3 hours to take a look of everything by walking. But, like the most famous one the Daibutsu from Todai-ji Temple is only about 20 minutes walking from Kintetsu Nara Station.

Along the way you could just play with deers! They were actually quite tame and quiet but when you got the deer food they will be a bit aggressive. So maybe taking photos with them is already enough rather than ended up being caught by the deer if you try to feed them 😀

Deers!

Deers!

tame and nice and quiet (if you don't bring food)

tame and nice and quiet (if you don’t bring food)

After that, we saw the Daibutsu, the entrance ticket was 500 Yen for Adult. This Daibutsu height was 15 meter and it was inside a massive huge building. It was really breathtaking. My Dad said the building was really designed to contain something highly respectable, like this Buddha, as their God. If we look carefully, the height of the pillar on the left and right side of the building were increasing until it reach the point that’s just next to the main building, so you can feel that the building is being ‘lift-up to heaven’.

front gate of Todaiji Temple

front gate of Todaiji Temple

'lift-up-to-the-sky' building

‘lift-up-to-the-sky’ building

Dad :)

Dad 🙂

15 M Daibutsu

15 M Daibutsu

Daibutsu and another statue almost as big as the Daibutsu

Daibutsu and another statue almost as big as the Daibutsu

Dad and Daibutsu :)

Dad and Daibutsu 🙂

 

Around the Daibutsu there were so many souvenir shops, you can shop for omiyage there. They have everything, from deer doll, books related to Daibutsu, sweets, snacks, just everything 🙂

 

And anyway maybe that’s all from now, please wait for the second part of my trip to Kobe and Nara! This includes the wonderful experience of Kobe Beef Dining!~

 

Catch you guys, later 🙂

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

 

 

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Spring trip with my Girls!

Hello all!

Tokyo and Yokohama has been quite hot lately, so i guess spring is almost over now! So that’s why now i want to write about one of my memorable spring moments!

So at May 10th, i went to a flower viewing tour with my dear girls from YSEP program, Apichaya, Shuyin, and Jew. The tour was organized by クラブツーリズマ. It was a very exciting trip, we followed a one day tour to go to some flower viewing spots. We were being picked up at Mizonokuchi Station at 7.30 AM and directly go to the place with a bus. At that time we were a bit surprise because almost all of the other tour member that day was… elderly :p

For this trip we had to pay 7000 Yen each person, but i think it was okay because we got the transportation, ticket, lunch box plus some sample food (omiyage) from the place that we would go to. So, during that day we did not only go to the flower viewing spot but we also went to another tourist attraction place 😀

On the way we stopped at the rest area, but it was so cool (the rest room was so huge) and from the parking lot we could see the sea! 😀

me and Apichaya, like sister? :D

me and Apichaya, like sister? 😀

 

First stop was Shibazakura Matsuri(芝桜祭り)at Kawaguchiko.

After about 2 hours journey from Mizonokuchi Station we arrived at this place. Please don’t confuse Zakura with Sakura here, because it’s a different kind of flower. This particular flower is small and so beautiful, if you are interested to go, this festival is open from 13th of April to 2nd of June 2013 (so chances is still there!) 🙂

So, it was such a vast area covered with petite flower in the color of pink, purple, and white. And the best part was it is located near to the Mount Fuji. So we can see Mount Fuji altogether with those beautiful flowers!! There are fifth particular kind of flower there (i will write those that i can read in katakana) スカーレット フレーム、マックダニエル クッシヨン、 オートムローズ、リトルドット、and another flower which is written in japanese and I cannot read LOL (and for the katakana please just guess what’s the english word because frankly i am also quite unsure :p)

小さい 花

小さい 花

かわいい

かわいい

リトルドット

リトルドット

They also had a viewing deck where you could see the whole park! So beautiful, let’s just see the pictures!

Finally 富士山!

Finally 富士山!

the girls and fuji san :D

the girls and fuji san 😀

view from the viewing deck :D

view from the viewing deck 😀

perfect!

perfect!

After that we went back to the bus and eat our lunch at the bus.

 

Our second stop was Wasabi House (わさび の 故郷)

Basically it just sell everything, every food with wasabi as its main ingredients. One of my biggest mistake was to try eating wasabi soft ice cream. Actually the ice cream itself not that bad, but then they give some wasabi salt sprinkle on top of it and it was just… so.. からい… >>.<<

wasabi plant :D

wasabi plant 😀

here it is.. wasabi soft cream!

here it is.. wasabi soft cream!

 

Third stop is つつじ。しゃくなげフェア (Tsutsuji) located at Hotel de Yama right beside Hakone Lake (Ashinoko Lake)

Actually we came to this place in not a very good timing. Because the weather was still a bit cold, so the flower hadn’t bloomed fully yet 😦 But the characteristic of this place was the (kind-of) round shape tree with colorful flowers blossoming on it. So cute! 😀

not fully bloomed yet :(

not fully bloomed yet 😦

Ashinoko lake from faraway!

Ashinoko lake from faraway!

Pink pink pink!

Pink pink pink!

Hiding between the bushes :D

Hiding between the bushes 😀

The flower and the lake :)

The flower and the lake 🙂

But the best part was also the Ashinoko Lake! The wind was strong but it was so beautiful and huge! 🙂 Let’s see some pictures 😀

yahooo! ^^

yahooo! ^^

Hey!

Hey!

Beside the lake :3

Beside the lake :3

 

Last stop was Suzuhiro Kamaboko Village, the place that i’ve visited for the SJCI tour also (please see here for more information) 😀

Fishes for Kamaboko:3

Fishes for Kamaboko:3

Kiss the fish!

Kiss the fish!

Suzuhiro Kamaboko Village ;)

Suzuhiro Kamaboko Village 😉

And the one day tour ended, we arrived around 5 PM at Mizonokuchi Station. We were so happy and satisfied with the tour! What a great short escape from the laboratory! 😀 Should do this again sometime with the girls :* Thank you so much, Apichaya, Shuyin, and Jew *hugs*

 

See you in next post! :3

 

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema