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Summer 2015!

Hello everyone,

Very long time no see! So, right now the summer is almost over here, it’s getting colder everyday so I will make a post about how my second Summer in Japan’s going!

I experienced many things in this second summer, including the heat and heat exhaustion lol. Maybe the only thing that i did not do is going to the beach. It’s okay, still have 4 summers more.

So here are some highlights of my summer!

HYDRANGEAS VIEWING

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What? Hydrangea is the flower that starts blooming in the beginning of rainy season. Once the rainy season has gone, voila.. you have the real summer and the real heat and everything! This flower is really beautiful and colorful (some said the difference of the color is due to the soil’s pH difference)

When? Late May to early June, so basically the weather is still pleasant!

Where? There are a lot of choices but we decided to go to Hase Dera (Hase Temple) in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture. Hase Temple has a trail for hydrangea viewing. They will give you number tags to allow you get in to the trail in particular time, this is to avoid congestion inside the trail and be aware, the trail is a bit steep! But it has a good downhill view and in some other part of the temple you can have the mesmerizing view of the sea!

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How to get there? Take Enoshima Electric Railway (Enoden, for short) from JR Fujisawa Station (Tokaido Line) or JR Kamakura Station (Yokosuka Line), hop off at Hase Station and take a few minutes walk to the temple.

FAMILY VISIT AND TRIP TO KANSAI

Although i could not go home this summer, my family visit me and we spent wonderful time in Kansai plus celebrating the Eid Al Fitr together! 🙂 We stayed in Kobe so that we can shuttle back and forth between Osaka and Kyoto!

As an aquarium lover family, finally we went full team to the Osaka Aquarium, Kaiyukan (i have posted about Kaiyukan here before). We explored a bit more in Kyoto by going to the Fushimi Inari temple and exploring Gion District.

Fushimi Inari Temple

What? This is one of the most beautiful and famous temple with its gazillions of Red Gate in Kyoto. It is located on the hillside and the red gate will continue up to the top of the hill. There is no admission fee for this temple.

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How to get there? Take JR Nara Line from JR Kyoto Station and hop off at Inari Station, the temple is just outside the station. Using Kyoto city bus is a bit more complicated and crowded too.

Gion District and its Yukata Experience

What? Gion District is one of the preserved Geisha district in Kyoto. Besides enjoying the sudden appearance of geisha or maiko on the street you can also enjoy the wooden merchant houses architecture. The streets are also filled with shops, tea houses, souvenir shop, and ice cream shops. I will write about recommended ice cream shops in Gion in the next post. One of the interesting part is the yukata experience. Gion is filled with yukata-renting shop, so you can walk around with yukata along the traditional wooden houses! The renting price differs among the venue, if you are lucky you can get a one day yukata rent around 3.000 yen for whole day! 🙂

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How to get there? There are variety of Kyoto city bus going to Gion (number 7, 205, or Kyoto Loop Bus) and stop at Shijokawaramachi stop. From Kyoto Station, train requires transfer.

FIREWORKS 

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What? The true Japanese Summer experience will not be completed it you haven’t watched fireworks or hanabi yet! Hanabi (花火、literally means flower and fire) in Japan are held throughout summer’s weekend (July-August) in various places, usually along the river side or beach. It is really beautiful and special in my opinion. I think Japan really has the latest technology for the fireworks that make it really beautiful. The experience is further fulfilled with attending it using yukata with your friends and chatting plus sort of doing picnic while waiting for the fireworks!

And take purikura (Japanese cute-styled photo box) after it while wearing yukata! The memory will last ❤

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Where? This year i visit Tokyo Bay Fireworks and watched it from Odaiba Beach. The magnificent view as you can see, is the graceful rainbow bridge with the beautiful fireworks!

What to expect? CROWDS!! There will be people everywhere, loads of it. But as long as you stay alert, and follow instructions from the officer it will be okay I guess. If you want to get a good spot, you can come to the watching place the night before, put a tarpaulin cloth and stick your name on it. Since Japanese are polite, they will not disturb your place and you can just come around 2 hours before the fireworks start.

N.B : But be careful if you use bus to the watching place, sometimes the road is closed if it’s already nearing the launch time! So I still advice you to come in advance.

SUNFLOWER FIELD

What? Last thing to make your summer complete? Sunflower viewing! Japan has plentiful of vast sunflower garden and the sunflowers are really tall and beautiful!

Where? This year, i pick a near viewing spot from my home, Zama Sunflower Matsuri (Matsuri means festival) in Zama, Kanagawa-ken. Along with the sunflower garden, they also have small festival containing food stalls. The festival was held only several days from late July to Early August.

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How to get there? This sunflower festival provides free shuttle bus from Odakyu Soubudaimae Station.

What to expect? Heat of course, wear adequate UV protection, bring umbrella or hat and water to prevent dehydration. Uneven terrain, of course. It is a field, so the terrain will be uneven, wear comfortable shoes! Full cellphone or camera battery, believe me the view will be breathtaking, both for serious photo hunter or selfie hunter like me :3

So, these are all my experience for this Summer! Let’s fight for the new semester!

Welcome, Autumn :*

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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Universal Resorts Orlando!

Hello all, お元気ですか?

I hope that you’re all doing well. I’m doing quite well, trying to juggle with my departure preparations, teaching, japanese lesson, and music jobs, quite busy but happy 🙂 So today I will try to continue my writing about my USA trip although i know it’s really late 😀 This will be my last post about USA and I will write about Universal Orlando Resorts.

Universal Orlando!

Universal Orlando Resorts!

So, if you’re visiting Orlando, beside visiting Disneyland you also have to visit Universal Studios Orlando!

This Universal Orlando Resorts is huge, unlike the Singapore and Osaka park. It has two separate parks, Universal Studios Florida and Island of Adventure. In Universal Studios Florida you will find more Universal Studio-themed ride like Shrek, Despicable Me, Man in Black, and many more. However, in Island of Adventure you will get much more unique experience with more interesting rides!

Island of Adventure

Get your pre-booked ticket ready, have your finger scanned and off you go to this spectacular Island of Adventure! This park consists of 6 area, from Seuss Landing, The Lost Continent, Jurassic Park, Marvel Superhero Island, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But this park is especially famous for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area! I could recall that when finally the park gate was opened, everyone was racing through this area, everyone wanted to visit this area first before it got too crowded! If you are a big fan of Harry Potter, you MUST visit this area! This area is like a recreation of Harry Potter movie, everything is so similar to the movie! (with real size Hogwarts School and Hogsmeade plus all the shops like Honeydukes, Ollivander and you can even dine at Three Broom Sticks). Take a peek on some of my pictures!

hello there, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy!

hello there, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy!

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Hogsmeade!!

Hogsmeade!!

Hogwarts Express!

Hogwarts Express!

I love Honeydukes! You can buy Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Bean here!

I love Honeydukes! You can buy Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean here!

Ollivanders!

Ollivanders!

Good meal with Butter beer in Three Broom Sticks!

Good meal with Butter beer in Three Broom Sticks!

For the ride, the legendary ride here is the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! To take the ride you have to pass and wander inside Hogwarts first (which was really really amazing). The ride itself is about Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s broom ride, it was quite thrilling and scary for a coward like me (it involves a lot of tilting, jolting, and acceleration). But good news is, you can only stroll around Hogwarts and leave the queue for not taking the ride 😀 But although it was quite scary for me, I think the ride was really spectacular!

In the Lost Continent, the famous ride was of course Jurassic Park River Adventure, but beware, you will get wet on this ride! The area is much larger than Universal Studios Singapore Area, thus enabling us to see more kind of dinosaur. This ride also has the same feature like USS, when we’re nearly caught by Tyrannosaurus Rex and goes into a terrifying plunge. The plunge was 26 m in height and really terrifying (again, for me).

Welcome to Jurassic Park!

Welcome to Jurassic Park!

We did not really explore on The Lost Continent (which features Poseidon Furry) and Toon Lagoon. We did stroll on Seuss Landing, because i am really fond of Cat in The Hat, everything in that area is so colorful and cheery!

Welcome to Seuss Landing!

Welcome to Seuss Landing!

Whoops!

Whoops!

The last area was Marvel Super Hero Island, it has its legendary Hulk Coaster, but of course we did not ride that. We tried the Spiderman Adventure, such a fun 3D adventure!

Universal Studios Florida

We spent half day in Island of Adventure and moved to Universal Studios Florida. Before you got inside don’t forget to take a picture with the legendary Universal Studios enermous globe! Ok, the heat was really scorching that moment so we did not visit so many attractions in this park.

Hello, Florida!

Hello, Florida!

The newest attraction in this park is Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, this ride is such a hilarious 4D ride (because i really love Minion, i think) and the ride smells like… banana! 😀

it's fun to be Minion...

it’s fun to be a Minion…

This park has all Universal Studios classic attraction like Shrek 4D (no matter how many times you watch this, i guess you will never get bored!), Transformers 3D, and the famous Revenge of the Mummy indoor coaster (which i will never want to ride again). You can also stroll on the New York area, taking pictures with Hollywood Star like Marilyn Monroe and have a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to quencher your thirst!

Marilyn Monroe :D

Marilyn Monroe 😀

Ben & Jerry's Shop, really fancy!

Ben & Jerry’s Shop, really fancy!

We eventually rode the Men In Black, Allien Attack ride, we pretend to be a Man in Black trainee and we have to fight aliens. But please be careful if you have motion sickness, this ride has vigorous rotations, hard enough to make you sick 😀

So that was my story in Universal Resorts Orlando. What can i tell? As a theme park, this park gives a different kind of sensation from Walt Disney World. It is not as ‘magical’ as Disney World but i can really tell that the decoration and landscaping was made rally really detail! So guys, i recommend you to visit both this place and Disney World when you visit Orlando. It’s such an interesting experience that you will never forget!

Love

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

Interesting part of