Best Japanese Drugstore Beauty Products

Hey, all!

As I mentioned several times in this blog, although now I live in Indonesia, I once lived in Japan for 3 years from 2013-2016. During that time, I, of course, used Japanese drugstore beauty products a lot. And by doing so, I found several gems that I keep re-purchasing even though now I’ve returned to my country.

So I thought today I want to share with you my own Japanese drugstore beauty products recommendations in case you are traveling to Japan but not sure what to get. Or maybe you are just moved to Japan and not sure where to start since Japanese drugstores are quite huge and potentially overwhelming since everything is written in Japanese!

So if you are interested in, just keep on reading!

Skin Care

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence

I can safely say that this is the best drugstore sunscreen I’ve ever tried in my whole life (and believe me when I say it, I tried quite a lot!). It’s super affordable, non-greasy, and quickly melt into the skin the second it’s applied. It does have fresh scent but not too overpowering. And I even feel like it adds adherence to my skin so that my makeup sticks better onto my skin when I’m using this sunscreen.

I don’t have any plan to try a new sunscreen anytime soon since I haven’t heard anything that’s close match to this one. If you could get your hands on this, I highly recommend you to try it out. And since Biore is a quite globally known brand, I’m pretty sure you can get this not only in Japan but maybe also in your country, too (it’s sold in select Indonesian drugstores, by the way).

Cure Natural Aqua Gel

Natural Aqua Gel Cure is a remarkable skin care product. Cure is a fragrance-free, color free and preservative free product made from activated hydrogen water that prevents oxidation. General chemical peeling uses strong acids (approx. pH1.3) to dissolve protein. Cure, on the other hand, gently catches dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and removes it.

citated from https://cureaquagel.com/

This one is I think maybe one of the most unique products Japanese drugstore has. It’s not a cleanser, not a facial wash, not a scrub, it’s an exfoliator in a form of gel. The texture it’s like gel but more liquid-y or watery, not as thick as man’s hair gel, for example. I’ve also mentioned it briefly on my post about my skin care routine.

It’s meant to be used only twice a week because it’s an exfoliator. I use it after I double-cleanse my skin or basically after I make sure there’s no makeup left on my face. To use it, you just have to take 1 pump of it on your palm, and then massage it all over your face like when you use your scrub. While doing that, just like its claim, you will find it catches your dead skin cells and removes it. I feel my skin is very soft and clear after using it.

Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder

suisai Beauty Clear Powder face wash is catching the eye of the worldwide audience with an enzyme-activated formula that whisks away impurities and unclogs pores as it protects the skin’s natural moisture. A popular choice for tourists who desire the Japanese secret to even, finely textured skin.

citated from https://www.kanebo.com/brands/suisai/

If you can’t already guess what this is, this is a facial wash in the form of powder. One small jar contains the powder is for one single usage. To use it, you just mix it with water. Adjust the amount of water according to how scrubby you want it to be. The more water you add, the less scrubby it is, and vice versa.

After using it, my skin feels so clean as if all the dirt has been taken off without making my face feels tight. It’s not very expensive, but here in Indonesia, it’s not sold in drugstores, but only in online shop run by personal shoppers so the price becomes quite expensive. So I can only buy it by asking my friends who are still living in Japan to help me buy it when they will have a short vacation to Indonesia. Since it happens only maybe once or twice a year, I use this fairly rarely.

If you can find it with reasonable price, I highly recommend you to incorporate this in your daily skin care routine!

Purequa Face Wipes

Actually, Japanese drugstores offer wide variety of face wipes, but I really love this particular one. It’s really soft on the skin so you won’t feel you rub your skin too hard. It’s really effective in removing our makeup as the first step of our skin care routine. According to my experience, it can also removes my waterproof eyeliner and mascara!

Makeup

Mote Liner

This one is really hyped up by many Asian beauty bloggers/ vloggers and after trying it, I agree with the hype. The tip is not a felt tip but it’s a very fine little brush that can bend. I personally like this type of tip because it makes applying liners so much easier. I’m in no way expert in applying liner, so I think this one is also very beginner-friendly!

Please note that the one that I have here is actually a limited-edition navy blue. They have other options too such as brown (also limited-edition) and of course black (permanent line)! Even though this one is navy blue, if you look it not too close up on my face, it doesn’t really look like I’m wearing a blue eye liner because it’s pretty dark. I enjoy wearing it so much lately!

Canmake Cream Cheeks

First of all, I found that many Japanese drugstore makeup products are too sheer for my skin tone or even my liking. Be it blushes, contours/ bronzers, lip products, etc. That’s because the nature of Japanese daily makeup style itself is usually a no-makeup makeup look. BUT! These particular blushes are exception! They are available in many different shades and formula so you will have some options there. Besides that, Canmake as a brand in general has other interesting products and it’s one of the most affordable in Japanese drugstore! I highly recommend you to check their other products also!

Miscellaneous

Megrythm Steam Eye Mask

I never knew this was a thing before I found it in Japanese drugstore. It’s an eye mask that releases steam that’s supposed to help us relaxing our eyes after a tiring busy day. Try to wear it before bed after a nice warm shower or bath!

‘Ashirira Sheet’ Detox Foot Patch

‘Ashirira’ is an acronym of ‘ashi’ which means ‘foot’ in Japanese and ‘rira’ which was taken from English word ‘relax’ that is read as ‘rirakusu’ in Japanese. This product is a pair of patches or sheets that you stick onto your soles before you go to bed and leave it until you wake up. The next day when you take it off, it’s supposed to absorb all toxic from your body. There are actually some debates surrounding this product. Some says it’s gimmicky and not doing what it claims. Some says it works. I think if we want to proof whether it works or not, we have to scientifically test it in a lab. I personally like wearing it but don’t feel significant changes just by using it daily (which I don’t). But I still think it’s nice to have and recommend you to try it out!

Honorable Mention

Shiseido Senka Perfect Whip

image courtesy: sociolla.com

I actually don’t have this with me right now but I used to use it when I lived in Japan. It’s a very light-weight and gentle facial wash. It cleans but doesn’t feel tight on the skin. It’s available here in Indonesia but I didn’t repurchase it because I’m currently enjoying my Cetaphil facial wash. If you live in Japan and need one that I recommend, it’s this one! It’s one of the most affordable also!

Lululun Sheet Masks

I think I only used it once but I remember liking it, and I know many peple are hyping this sheet masks so much. They have several options such as: hydrating, brightening, and balancing. I also didn’t repurchase it by now because to be honest, I like my Etude House sheet masks more because I feel the Etude House ones fit my face’s size better!

image courtesy: allabout-japan.com

That’s all my Japanese drugstore beauty products recommendation! I hope it helps you in sorting out your list to buy while you’re in Japan. Ah..writing this brings back all good memories and makes me miss Japan even more! I wish I could go back someday even just for several days!

What are products that most intriguing to you? Do you find your wish list here? And do you like if I write more about Japan’s related recommendation? Like for example unusual traveling spots recommendation? Or supermarket recommendation? Please tell me on comment section below!

See you on my next post!

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Super Easy Way to Make A Sushi Roll

Hey, everyone!

First of all, no, you are not opening a wrong blog. This is still me, Unpretty Vanity, and this time I want to share with you something a little bit different than what I usually write. But of course, this blog ain’t gonna change to a recipe blog. This blog will still be a beauty & lifestyle blog. And since Japan-related lifestyle is also part of me, I think it’s not out-of-nowhere that I write this kind of post once in a while!

Actually, I haven’t really told you about myself and maybe some of you who followed me just recently was a little bit confuse why Japan is related to me. If you’re Indonesians or understand Indonesian, you can read my previous posts about my life in Japan on the menu ‘Japan’ and ‘Monbusho’ on this blog. But if you’re neither, I’ll make sure to write more detail about my life in Japan later, of course if you are interested to know a little bit more about myself! For now, let’s diggin’ into this post!

If you happened to come across this post hoping for some fancy sushi roll recipes, I’m sorry that this post might disappoint you. Here I’ll mainly give you a SUPER EASY STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO MAKE A SUSHI ROLL WITH INGREDIENTS YOU PROBABLY HAVE AT YOUR HOME. If it’s your cup of tea, then just keep on reading!

Sushi roll is probably the easiest kind of sushi we can make by ourselves at home. You can literally fill it with any veggies or meats you like.

A couple days ago, me and my husband wanted to have fun a little bit at home, so we decided to make a simple sushi roll. Our son is only two and a half years old so we also wanted him to learn making food and we thought sushi roll is not dangerous to be made by toddler. Here were all the ingredients and tools that we used.

Ingredients: rice, fried chicken nuggets, fried chikuwa (a kind of fish sausage), furikake (food sprinkle) in any flavor (this time we used nori-flavor), and some sheets of nori (seaweed). You can find these ingredients in your local Asian market. You can of course change the filling with some healthier ingredients such as cucumber or carrot.

Tools: knife (to cut the ingredients), cutting board, and sushi roller. This sushi roller we have we bought in Daiso in Japan. I’m sure you can find it in Daiso or any Japanese dollar store in your area.

First, mix the furikake with the rice evenly. It makes the rice looks pretty and very Japanese. Also cut the ingredients (in our case: nuggets and chikuwa) into long and slim shape so it will fit inside our rice roll without making the diameter of the roll too big.

Next, spread one sheet of nori on the roller, and put rice as much as one third of the nori, and then put the ingredients on the center part of the rice. If my words don’t make sense, just see the picture below XD

Next, roll up the roller until in covers all first components that have been added above, give it some pressure until it feels tight. And then, add one third of rice again without opening the roller, just like the picture below:

Yes, we were using our son’s table to make this dish and don’t worry even though there were knives there, our son was completely safe from them XD

After that, open the roller, but immediately roll it again until it covers the second component of rice that has been added just now. And then, add a little bit of rice to make the rest of the nori part sticky, and lastly, roll it again until the roller completely cover the sushi roll. Give it some pressure again until the roll tight and firm like on the picture below:

Now, just cut the roll into some bite-sized pieces!

So it’s basically done! Super easy, right! It was also super fun to make with kids at home to make bonding time without having to go outside 🙂

That’s all for today’s post. I’m sorry that it’s very short, but I hope you enjoyed and got some inspiration for when you don’t want to cook complicated meals!

What do you think about this kind of post once in a while? If you like it, I’d more than happy to make this kind of post again in the future. Please tell me what easy Japanese recipes you want to read next on this blog!

Still want to read some more from this blog? Here are some of my popular posts:

Halal in-flight meals review (in Indonesian)

MEXT scholarship selection process (in Indonesian)

Life as a blogger (in English)

Tips for shopping on Colourpop website (in English)

Thank you for reading today’s post! Until then!

Day 13: Thing I am Excited About

Sebenernya saya agak bingung, apa ya bedanya “thing I am excited about” dengan “things that make me really happy”. Toh keduanya sama-sama membuat senang atau bersemangat 😀 Karena buat saya yg membuat saya senang itu ya otomatis membuat saya semangat, begitupun sebaliknya 😀

Mungkin temen2 di sini yg sudah ngikutin 30 day writing challenge ini dari awal, sudah cukup hapal dengan beberapa hobi saya, yaitu traveling dan making itinerary. Basically, hal-hal inilah yg selalu membuat saya bersemangat dalam menyongsong hari-hari saya #eeaa. Ketika saya tahu saya akan berlibur ke suatu tempat, maka mulai dari persiapannya hingga hari demi hari menuju the D-Day itu benar-benar penuh dengan penantian yg menggembirakan.

Namun, rasa-rasanya saya sudah cukup sering dan banyak mengupas tentang hobi jalan-jalan ini, sehingga sepertinya sudah tidak ada yg bisa dituliskan lagi (untuk saat ini). Akhirnya, setelah berpikir keraass, saya menemukan juga hal yg membuat saya bersemangat namun tidak otomatis membuat saya senang. He he. Karena hal yg membuat bersemangat ini terkadang juga penuh dengan aral lintangan serta cobaan berliku. Eeaa.

So without further a do, here it is…

Baru-baru ini saya menemukan hobi baru mencoba membangkitkan kembali hobi lama saya yaitu berjualan. Awalnya saya kira berjualan itu mudah ya kayak gitu aja, cari supplier, posting foto-foto yg bagus, membuat kata-kata yg mengundang, terkadang memberi diskon pada event-event tertentu, menjadi contact person yg ramah bagi pembeli. Sudah. Setelah saya mempraktikkannya selama beberapa waktu, ternyata berjualan is not easy AT ALL! Not even close ><

Saya jadi ketemu berbagai tipe customer dan jadi belajar bagaimana cara menghandle-nya (psst, tidak semua customer menganggap penjual itu juga manusia yg punya rasa punya hati loh >< ). Saya jadi tahu cara promosi toko itu tidak hanya melalui cara-cara yg gratis, terkadang ada sedikit yg harus kita korbankan demi hasil yg lebih besar lagi. Dan masih banyak lagi.

Herannya, mempelajari trik-trik berjualan ini membuat saya bersemangat, walaupun sebenarnya jatuh-bangun juga, sering bapernya, dan saya jadi pernah merasakan ditusuk dari belakang oleh teman sendiri. Oh yes, life is hard, kawan T_T

Dengan berjualan, saya jadi lebih bisa merasakan bahwa “rejeki itu tidak akan tertukar”. Udah titik. Tapiii bukan berarti kita diam saja menunggu rejeki yg memang sudah ditakdirkan untuk kita itu. Kita harus berusaha semaksimal mungkin meraihnya dengan cara-cara yg kita bisa dan tentunya juga harus halal caranya 🙂

Selain itu, sebisa mungkin apa yg kita jual harus dapat bermanfaat bagi sekitar. Atau minimal hasil dari penjualan kita, kita sisihkan juga bagi yg membutuhkan. Memberi dulu, baru menerima 🙂

Rasa-rasanya sejak benar-benar men-seriusi jualan, saya jadi merasa makin keciilll banget di hadapan Allah. Berbeda dengan ketika saya dulu mendapat “rejeki” yg rutin per bulan dengan jumlah yg sama, saya dulu rasa-rasanya menjalani hidup dengan monoton dan kurang bersemangat. Karena ada perasaan toh tiap bulan saya juga pasti akan dapat segitu (ini sih sayanya aja ya yg cetek imannya, insya Allah temen2 nggak kayak gitu ya 🙂 ). Tapi sejak merasakan tertatih-tatihnya jualan, saya jadi merasa setiap hari saya harus melakukan sesuatu jika ingin dapur terus ngebul toko saya bisa terus buka dan terus memberikan manfaat untuk sekitar.

Mohon doanya ya kawan, semoga saya bisa selalu istiqomah, dan juga bisa lebih bermanfaat lagi bagi orang lain dengan hal yg saya bisa 🙂

Baiklah, sekian dulu untuk hari ini, sampai ketemu lagi di postingan selanjutnya ^_^

*****

PS: Untuk yg bertanya-tanya, apa sih yg saya jual, he he, karena postingan ini ceritanya bukan untuk mempromosikan toko saya, saya nggak ingin mencantumkan link menuju toko saya. But since you were asking (emangnya ada gitu yg nanya? 😛 ), saya sekarang punya dua toko online. Yang satu menjual jilbab dengan berbagai ukuran dan banyaakk warna yg insya Allah menutup dada, bisa dicek di http://www.instagram.com/nadsbeautyhouse . Yang satunya lagi menjual snack impor Jepang yg halal dan juga barang2 lucu unik dari Jepang, bisa dicek di http://www.instagram.com/michikogoodies 🙂

Please kindly check my online store that sells hijab at http://www.instagram.com/nadsbeautyhouse and sells Japanese halal snacks and unique goodies at http://www.instagram.com/michikogoodies 🙂

meiji-matcha

One of Michiko Goodies’ product 🙂

 

Shibazakura Festival at Mount Fuji Hill : Tips and Experience (May 2015)

Kembali lagi dengan cerita jalan-jalan di Jepang 🙂

Bagi para wisatawan yang ke Jepang, dapat melihat, berfoto bersama, atau mendaki Gunung Fuji mungkin merupakan salah satu point penting di cek list perjalanan kita yang tak boleh terlewatkan.Tidak harus wisatawan aja sih, kami yang sedang tinggal di Jepang pun tak setiap hari dapat menikmati indahnya Gunung Fuji, dan berfoto bersamanya pun hanya dapat -dilakukan di tempat-tempat tertentu saja. Sudah banyak website yang membahas spot-spot di mana kita dapat melihat Gunung Fuji dengan jelas. Salah satunya ada di website ini.

Saya sendiri selama dua tahun lebih tinggal di sini, sudah melakukan banyak attempt untuk dapat foto-foto bersama si gunung yang terkenal ini 😀 Dua kali saya ke Hakone, Gunung Fujinya tertutup kabut, padahal cuaca relatif cerah. Ketiga kalinya, alhamdulillah saya bisa melihat Gunung Fuji dengan jelas melalui jendela shinkansen waktu perjalanan dari Tokyo ke Kyoto 🙂 Dan keempat kalinya adalah saat saya ke Shibazakura Festival ini 🙂

Shibazakura Festival adalah festival melihat bunga shibazakura, atau pink moss dalam bahasa Inggris. Di Jepang sendiri sebenarnya banyak spot festival shibazakura, seperti dua tahun lalu saat Golden Week 2013, alhamdulillah saya berkesempatan ke festival shibazakura di Chichibu.

Shibazakura Festival, Chichibu, Mei 2013

Shibazakura Festival, Chichibu, Mei 2013

Salah satu festival Shibazakura yang recommended tentu saja yang di kaki Gunung Fuji ini, karena tidak hanya dapat melihat indahnya bunga pink moss, kita juga dapat menikmati hamparan bunga pink moss ini berdampingan dengan Gunung Fuji nya sendiri. Dobel deh untungnya 🙂

Shibazakura Festival tahun 2015 ini diadakan mulai tanggal 18 April sampai 31 Mei 2015. Biasanya tiap tahun tidak berubah terlalu jauh jadwalnya, a.k.a. sekitar pertangahan April sampai akhir Mei. Berdasarkan riset yang telah saya lakukan sebelum berangkat, waktu terbaik untuk mengunjungi festival ini adalah 3 minggu pertama bulan Mei, dan tidak saat weekend 😀

Access/ How to get there

Terdapat beberapa pilihan transportasi menuju Shibazakura, ada yang menggunakan kereta, bus, atau mobil. Karena kami tidak punya mobil, pilihan transportasi kami yaitu antara kereta dan bus, dan tentu saja naik bus lebih murah 🙂 Karena itu saya hanya akan menjelaskan cara ke sana dengan naik bus.

Sebenarnya banyak sekali jalur bus yang menuju Shibazakura ini. Informasi lebih lengkapnya bisa diperoleh di sini. Namun karena alasan kepraktisan dari tempat tinggal kami, kami memilih menaiki Highway Bus dari Shinjuku. Tiket bus menuju Shibazakura ini dapat dibeli secara online di website ini. Sebenarnya bisa juga kita beli langsung di counternya saat hari H. Namun mengingat festival ini yang diadakan hanya di waktu yang terbatas, kita tidak dapat memastikan bisa dapat seat di bus kalau baru beli saat hari H. Jadi saya merekomendasikan untuk beli tiket jauh-jauh hari sebelumnya, dan berangkat sepagi mungkin supaya bisa menikmati festivalnya lebih lama 🙂

Nah kembali ke cara memesan tiket secara online di website yang sudah saya sebutkan di atas. Seperti yang sudah disebutkan dengan jelas di website tersebut, untuk menuju Shibazakura, kita harus menaiki bus yang menuju Kawaguchiko Station. Baru dari situ kita sambung naik bus Shibazakura liner yang tiketnya hanya dapat dibeli di Kawaguchiko Station bus terminal no 7 (dapat berubah sewaktu-waktu, karena ini hanya berdasarkan pengalaman saya kemarin). Perlu diingat bahwa Shibazakura liner ini hanya ada setiap 30 menit sekali, dan perjalanan dari Kawaguchiko Station ke spot Shibazakuranya sendiri juga memakan waktu 30 menit. Karena itu sangat penting untuk datang sepagi mungkin karena jika terlewat beberapa detik saja bus sebelumnya, kita harus menunggu 30 menit untuk bus selanjutnya ditambah 30 menit lagi perjalanan menuju Shibazakura 😦

Untuk ringkasnya, berikut ini ringkasan perjalanan menuju Shibazakura:

  1. Beli tiket online, pilih jalur Shinjuku ke Kawaguchiko Station, 1750 yen per orang sekali jalan. Sebaiknya beli langsung tiket round trip saja.
  2. Dari Shinjuku Station, keluar di West Exit, menuju terminal Highway Bus. Jika kita memesan online, akan ada peta letak terminal bus yang dikirim ke email kita. Jika ingin membeli langsung, counter bus ini terletak dekat dengan Yodobashi.
  3. Perjalanan dari Shinjuku ke Kawaguchiko Station, kurang lebih 1,5 sampai 2 jam jika lalu lintas lancar.
  4. Sampai Kawaguchiko Station, menuju terminal bus Shibazakura Liner, beli tiket bus, 1900 round trip, sudah termasuk tiket masuk spot Shibazakura.
  5. Sekitar 1 jam sampai 45 menit sebelum waktu bus pulang dari Kawaguchiko Station ke Shinjuku, sudah menuju terminal bus Shibazakura Liner menuju Kawaguchiko Station. Ingat, perjalanan dari Shibazakura ke Kawaguchiko Station memakan waktu 30 menit, nggak mau dong ketinggalan bus pulang ke Shinjuku gara-gara mepet-mepet pulang dari Shibazakuranya 🙂

Our Experience

Seperti yang sudah saya ceritakan di atas, waktu terbaik mengunjungi festival ini adalah 3 minggu pertama bulan Mei. Minggu pertama bulan Mei adalah Golden Week, jadi sudah dapat dipastikan jalanan akan macet (yes, di Jepang juga bisa macet kok) dan di mana-mana penuh sama wisatawan lokal, maka kami pun menghindari minggu pertama. Minggu kedua, kebetulan ada acara festival internasional di Tsukuba. Karena kami jadi panitia, maka kami pun tidak dapat pergi pada minggu kedua. Kesempatan terakhir kami adalah sepanjang minggu ketiga Mei.

Setelah mengecek ramalan cuaca, pada akhir minggu ketiga bulan Mei diperkirakan hujan. Karena ini (mungkin) akan menjadi tahun terkhir saya di Jepang, saya bertekad untuk datang ke festival ini di saat terbaiknya >< Beruntungnya lab saya adalah tipe lab yang tidak harus ke lab setiap hari. Maka kami pun memutuskan pergi di hari Rabu minggu ketiga Mei 🙂

Kami baru memesan tiket online hari Seninnya, alhasil kami dapat bus yang jam 10.40 dari Shinjuku. Cukup siang, tapi alhamdulillah masih dapat tiket bus, karena beberapa detik setelah kami memesan tiket bus ini, yang jam 10.40 sudah penuh juga. Ketat sekali persaingan, sodara sodaraahh…

Hari Rabu, kami berangkat naik bus dari Tsukuba pukul 07.45, sampai di Tokyo Station jam 09.30. Disambung naik kereta dari Tokyo ke Shinjuku sekitar 20 menit, alhamdulillah kami sampai di Shinjuku Station pukul 10.00. Masih ada waktu istirahat sebelum menuju terminal bus.

Highway Bus menuju Kawaguchiko Station

Highway Bus menuju Kawaguchiko Station

Pukul 10.40 bus berangkat sesuai rencana, dan sesampainya kami di Kawaguchiko station, sekitar jam 12.30 lebih sedikit, bus Shibazakura Liner yang jam 12.20 baru saja berangkat T_T karena itu kami harus menunggu bus yang jam 12.50. Sambil menunggu bus, dari terminal bus ternyata Gunung Fujinya sudah terlihat bergitu dekat 🙂

Kawaguchiko Station berlatar belakang Gunung Fuji

Kawaguchiko Station berlatar belakang Gunung Fuji

Pukul 12.50 kami naik bus, sampai di Shibazakura sekitar pukul 13.30. Alhamdulillah cuaca cerah namun angin cukup sejuk. Kami pun berfoto-foto dengan bantuan tongsis dan para pengunjung lain yang berbaik hati memfotokan kami 🙂

Shibazakura dan Gunung Fuji

Shibazakura dan Gunung Fuji

Karena selalu jalan-jalan cuma berdua saja, sekarang kami sudah tahu bagaimana cara meminta bantuan wisatawan lain untuk memfotokan kami. Pertama, salah satu di antara kami berdiri di spot yang diinginkan, kemudian yang satunya mengatur kamera agar menangkap angle yang paling bagus. Kemudian cari wisatawan yang jalan-jalan berdua juga, karena biasanya mereka lebih ramah dalam membantu pasangan lainnya (senasib gitu lho 😀 ). Lalu meminta wisatawan tersebut untuk memfotokan dengan menunjukkan angle yang sudah diatur sebelumnya. Berikut salah satu hasil foto terbaik yang kami dapatkan 😀

IMG_2430Ga ketinggalan foto-foto pake tongsis juga 😀

20150513_140116Di spot festival ini juga ada beberapa stand makanan. Kami sendiri sebenarnya sudah menyiapkan bekal dari rumah karena khawatir tidak ada yang bisa dimakan di sini. Tapi ternyata ada yang jual taiyaki dan pancake udang. Kami pun mencoba pancake udangnya yang alhamdulillah lumayan enak dan nambah-nambahin variasi bekal makan siang kami.

Bus yang akan membawa kami dari Kawaguchiko Station ke Shinjuku dijadwalkan pukul 17.10, maka pukul 15.30 kami sudah menuju terminal bus Shibazakura, dan berhasil naik bus yang pukul 16.00. Sampai lagi di Kawaguchiko Station pukul 16.30, kami sempat istirahat ke toilet dan membeli souvenir sebelum menaiki bus pulang.

*****

Alhamdulillah, perjalanan hari ini bisa dikategorikan sebagai sukses dan lancar. Lalu lintas tidak macet, cuaca cerah, Gunung Fuji tidak tertutup kabut, dan berhasil mendapatkan beberapa foto yang bagus dan bisa menjadi kenang-kenangan di masa tua 🙂 Sampai jumpa di cerita jalan-jalan berikutnya!

New Halal Restaurants in Japan – Review

Alhamdulillah, in only this month (February 2015), I had the opportunity to visit three new halal restaurants in Japan, due to accompany some of my guests who were on vacation here. I am really glad that the growth of Islam in Japan shows promising direction, despite some not-so-good news about Islam that are still airing sometimes in national television stations here. I’m also very grateful that public services in Japan always treat foreigners indiscriminately. However, I know that in some places out there, there are still some difficulties for us to do our religious obligations, but I myself couldn’t thank Allah more that I never be in such condition, and hopefully won’t ever be. Amen.

So far, actually, there were already a lot of halal restaurant in Japan. However, most of them are Indian, Pakistan, or Turkish Restaurants. There are also some Indonesian and Malaysian restaurants of course, but fortunately, recently, many more kinds of halal restaurants open, such as Italian, Chinese, and even Japanese. The more the merrier, right? 🙂

Ok, without further ado, here are my reviews about those restaurants.

Ippin

Japanese food – 15 minutes walk from Ebisu station, west exit

Fifteen minutes walk for me is not so close, and we also have to pass some small hills to reach this restaurant.

Nama Ippin sendiri berasal dari Upin-Ipin dengan mencari kanji yang bisa terbaca mirip dengan "ipin" :)

Name “Ippin” came from “Upin-Ipin” by finding Chinese character (kanji) that can be read similar to “Ipin” 🙂

Some of the menu. There are some more but I forgot to take the picture of them.

This is the menu that I ordered that time. It is called Japanese Genovese style chicken shiso flavor, price 900 yen. It includes the chicken, a small bowl of rice, salad, and miso soup.

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Menu I ordered

The meal was actually delicious and has that authentic Japanese flavor. So for you who want to taste the real Japanese food and halal, this menu is recommended. However, the portion was a bit small, so I didn’t feel full enough after eating it.

There are also some wagyu meet menus and they were amazingly delicious. My friend ordered that, the price was over 1000 yen and the size was the same as the rice bowl of the picture above >_< I tried a teeny tiny small bite of the meat, and it did melt inside my mouth (drooling-red).

My other friend ordered a chicken ramen and fortunately this time, the portion was big!

The chicken ramen

The chicken ramen

I tasted it also and it was very tasty and authentic. So if you are very hungry at the time you come to this restaurant, I recommend you to try the ramen. Where else we could find halal ramen, right?

Good: the service is good, the waiters are nice, the foods are delicious, and the place is cozy.

Not-so-good: because the location is not so close from the station, and the portions are not so big, all of us already felt hungry again after we were back to the station 😛 Even some of my friends planned to eat again at another restaurant!

Tokyo Chinese Muslim Restaurant

Chinese food – 2 minutes walk from Kinshicho station, south exit

In front of the entrance

In front of the entrance

They have sooooo many variations of food you could imagine and most of them are under 1000 yen. I came here with my husband and we took so long to choose the meals. We finally decided to order a kind of chicken menu, a kind of vegetable menu (we chose stir-fried eggplant with their special sauce), a beef skewer, a lamb skewer, and aone portion of their famous vegetable dumpling.

Our orders before the dumplings came

Our orders before the dumplings came

The vegetable dumplings

The vegetable dumplings

You can spot the different of their rice portion and Ippin’s rice portion, can’t you? And for all of these, we only have to pay 3000 something yen!

We just love them too much

We just love them too much

Good: Very near to the station, the portion of the foods are big, taste yummy and satisfying, have many kinds of variations you can choose, and they even have a small praying space. This restaurant is absolutely my favorite and I want to go back since there are still so many foods I haven’t tried yet 🙂

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Praying space for one people

Not-so-good: While we were there, there were only two other guests beside us, and after they finished cooking our orders, the cooks slept on one empty table (when I said slept here means literally laying their body down on the chairs), and the waitress ate on another empty table. I understand that they must be really tired, but I think this was not a very good attitude in front of customers. This is forgivable but I hope they won’t do the same things in the future.

Sekai Cafe

International food – Asakusa station, 50 meters walk from Kaminarimon

This cafe was just open on November 11th, 2014 ago. It is very easy to reach and exactly inside the crowd of Asakusa and Sensoji Temple. Just as its name, (sekai means world in Japanese), this cafe provides not very specific kind of food, so let’s say it provides international foods.

Since its location is inside the main attraction of Asakusa, adding the fact that it provides halal foods, it is understandable that the price is rather expensive for just a cafe. And unfortunately, they don’t have many variations of menu.

I went here with my husband and one of his friend. So when we were contemplating thinking which menu we should choose (among those not so many options), we thought that because the price of yakisoba and grilled lamb is the same (1000 yen), the yakisoba must be in a giant portion, and there might be some chops of chicken or meat inside it. But, when it came, not only the portion is so-so, the taste was not exceptionally delicious, and there were only noodles, salt, and paprika inside it. I just wasted my 1000 yen for 250 yen raw noodles I could buy at the supermarket and I could cook by myself!! 😦 T_T

My husband and his friend ordered the grilled lamb with focaccia bread (1000 yen also). I can say that the price is acceptable since the meat portion is quite big and it didn’t smell bad as usual lamb. But acceptable here doesn’t mean that we want to order the same thing in the future (maybe).

We also ordered two kinds of smoothies, strawberry and apple pie, 500 yen each, inside 200 ml glass bottle. I still feel they were pricey for that size, but I did accept it since the smoothies tasted yummy and refreshing. But again, I might don’t want to order it for the second time.

Left: Apple pie smoothies, right: strawberry smoothies

Left: Apple pie smoothies, right: strawberry smoothies

Our orders

Our orders

Good: the location is easy to find, the place is cozy and youthful, the service is good, and we thought we met the owner at that time, and the owner was very nice, and he even informed us another halal restaurant around Asakusa. Another good thing is, when we were there, there was a Muslim waitress (she wore hijab). I guessed she’s from Malaysia, and I was right when I talked to her. On her apron, there was a sign with “Sorry, I can’t touch beer” written on it! I really appreciate this detail and I do hope other Halal restaurants will do the same thing from now on 🙂

Not-so-good:

Still about the waitress, at the first time I talked to her, I tried to speak in Malay language, since I felt we are neighbor, no need to talk in other languages. But she couldn’t reply with Malay, too. Maybe she was surprised or nervous, she looked confuse and in the end only answering with one or two words and very soft voice. On the second attempt, I tried to ask her in Japanese, because I think she must be good in Japanese since she’s working there, right? I was only asking what inside their pizza menu is, but she couldn’t explain in Japanese, too. In the end she answered with English. When she brought our dishes to our table, she looked very confuse where to put the plate, fork, and knife. I can see that she must be a trainee, and I accept her nervousness. I just want to say good luck for her and don’t be afraid of costumer’s questions 🙂

Another not-so-good point of this cafe, there is no detail explanation of what’s inside every menu, and not all menu have picture of them. When I was there, there was a sign of “today’s special pizza”, and “vegetable pizza”, but when I asked the waitress what’s inside the “today’s special pizza”, she said that they only have one kind of pizza. So I find that pizza sign is confusing and they’d better not to write two kinds of pizza if they only have one kind.

However, I want to give my sincere appreciation to this cafe, since they respect the fact that Muslim not only can’t drink beer, but we also can’t touch it. I hope they can improve their services, add some more menu, and add the specialty or their signature to every menu so that even if we have to pay a bit more expensive, we will still feel very satisfy after eating them. I do hope the best for Sekai Cafe in the future! 🙂

*****

So that’s gonna be all for this review. I hope you find this helpful to know more options of halal restaurants in Japan, and I somehow hope the management of the restaurants I mentioned here read this review by accident, so that they can improve their services to the customers 🙂

#DIY: The Power of Kepepet

Judulnya mainstream yah. Hehe. Tapi semoga isinya ga mainstream dan bisa menginspirasi teman-teman yang sedang dalam keadaan kepepet seperti saya hari ini.

Jadi ceritanya hari ini saya bawa bento untuk makan malam di lab. Ternyata oh ternyata, saya lupa bawa sendok, guys.

Sebenarnya di dekat gedung lab saya ada kantin yang jual sup yang bisa saya makan. Dan jika beli sup itu, saya akan mendapatkan sendok plastik yang bisa saya pakai untuk makan bento saya. Namun sejujurnya saya lagi pengen ngirit dan malas turun ke bawah (lab saya ada di lantai 3-red) untuk menuju kantin itu.

Seperti banyak orang bilang, kemampuan manusia bisa tak terduga saat dalam keadaan kepepet. Dengan berbekal bekas bungkus cemilan Happy Tan, lakban yang kebetulan ada di lab, dan penggaris

Bahan yang diperlukan (plus gunting untuk memotong lakban, lupa difoto)

Bahan yang diperlukan (plus gunting untuk memotong lakban, lupa difoto)

Jadilah sendok dadakan seperti berikut ini

Selamat makan!!

Selamat makan!!

Demikian update singkat hari ini. Semoga bermanfaat, paling nggak, bisa bikin senyum yang baca lah ya 🙂

Disclaimer: Saya biasanya ga bawa bento semengenaskan ini kok. Cuma kebetulan hari ini aja >_<

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Review and Tips

Unlike my other posts in this blog, I’m using English for this post especially for all Harry Potter fans out there who want to really enjoy their visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I know that some of you might want to read a review or tips before your visit, because I would do the same if I were you. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that I will do a review on this post is the one in Universal Studio Osaka, Japan.

This autumn I finally went all the way to Osaka from Tsukuba (the place where I live now) just to reminisce my childhood memories, the story that never really leave us *I know you all feel the same way :”), the place where the magic happened, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Just after I got off at the nearest station from the Universal Studio, Universal City Station, I was welcomed by Harry Potter posters every where. It is understandable since this Harry Potter theme is rather new (it was opened for public on July 15th, 2014). And just after we entered the main road towards the main gate of Universal Studio, Harry Potter soundtrack can be heard. At that time I thought I could cry of happiness and excitement T_T

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Main entrance of USJ

Well, I don’t want to spoil too many things, because I’m sure it would feel different when you enjoy it the first time without knowing anything about it 😀

So what are my review and tips for a day out at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

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Main entrance of WWHP

1. Come as early as possible

As we know in any theme park in the world, there are some regions related to a certain theme that we can enjoy in one theme park. In case of Universal Studio Japan (USJ), they have Hollywood, New York, Jurassic Park, Amity Village, Waterworld, Wonderland, and also our main highlight, The Wizarding Word of Harry Potter (WWHP). The system to enter WWHP is a bit different. Unlike other regions, you can’t just enter WWHP after you get your ticket from the main entrance. First, you have to take an entrance ticket to WWHP which you can get freely from a machine located exactly at the center of USJ (you can see the location from the map the staff will give you at the main entrance).

Why do you have to come earlier, because the line to take this entrance ticket is just like crazy. The machine will distribute a ticket with the time you can enter WWHP written on it. In my case, I came to the ticket machine at 9.15, and I got entrance time 11.20-12.20, which means I can enter WWHP during that time. But after we enter WWHP, actually we can enjoy it as long as we want. So the earlier you take the entrance ticket, the earlier you can enter WWHP, the more time you can enjoy it.

Note that they also have visitors limitation everyday. If the number of visitors reach that limit, the machine won’t distribute the ticket anymore. You don’t want to go home empty handed, right?

Actually you can also guarantee your entry to WWHP by buying special ticket at the main entrance. That ticket costs around 2000 yen. So if you want to buy it, you have to pay the ticket to enter USJ itself (6980 yen) plus special entry ticket (2000 something yen). If you have this ticket, you don’t have to line up for the ticket machine, and you can go in and out WWHP as you wish. You can find detail information about it from this website: http://www.usj.co.jp/e/attraction/att_detail/the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter.html

2. After you enter WWHP, go straight to the main rides

WWHP consists of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Castle. In Hogsmeade, you can find all those fancy shops that sell authentic and iconic souvenirs from the Harry Potter series, for example Zonko, Honeydukes, Owl Post and Owlery, Dervish and Banges, and so on.

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In Hogwarts Castle, there are two main rides, “Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey” and “Flight of The Hippogriff”. Trust me when I say it, the line of these rides are insane. Therefore, after you enter WWHP, don’t take pictures yet, don’t shop nor wandering around, you will have plenty of time to do it later. Just go straight to the rides so you can shorten your waiting time. FYI, when I first came to the ride, the waiting time was already 3 hours. When I was about to leave WWHP area, the waiting time became 4 hours! Gosh!

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3. Try Hogwarts Castle Walk

If you don’t have too many time in WWHP area because you also want to enjoy other areas, or you don’t want to line up for more than 2 hours for a ride, you can try Hogwarts Castle Walk. While visitors lining up to enter “Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey” ride, they will enter Hogwarts Castle so that they can wait while enjoying the castle’s interior. The interior was absolutely beautiful, and consists of some important iconic props from the movie, for example the talking paintings, the house points counter, Dumbledore’s office, The Defense Against The Dark Arts classroom, and so on (again, I don’t want to spoil too much!).

So in Hogwarts Castle Walk, you can enter different line to be able to enter the castle, without having to line up for the “Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey” ride. Good alternative, eh? Trust me, you don’t want to miss wandering around the castle.

4. Enjoy the street performances

There are two street performances, Frog Choir and Triwizard Spirit Rally. The performances were very beautiful. I enjoyed the choir so much, they sang some soundtracks from the movie with acapella style. And the Beauxbatons students wore the same uniforms they wore on the movie. Very pretty!

5. Flight of The Hippogriff

This ride is basically a usual typical roller coaster you can find anywhere. There is nothing special from this roller coaster, but if you want to stay only at WWHP area, it is worth a try. But if you will go to other areas, I recommend you to try roller coaster from Hollywood area because they are more challenging. And, if you have limited time in WWHP and it is not possible for you to ride both rides, you’d better choose The Forbidden Journey.

6. Take pictures of every detail

I thanked USJ management for making WWHP as detail as I could imagine. The buildings, interior decoration, some iconic properties (I don’t want to mention any of them here because I felt really surprise to find some stuffs that I didn’t expect to be there, and I want you to feel the same excitement as me 😀 ). So make sure to take pictures of all of them as they could be a lifetime souvenirs, too 🙂

7. Try the Butterbeer

Butterbeer is only sold at 3 places in the world, and USJ is one of them. It is sold in some stalls around the WWHP area so the line is not that long. You can buy it together with the mug souvenir, or only the Butterbeer with plastic cup. It is non-alcoholic, and the taste is like a soda drink (maybe root beer, I’m not sure) with float on top of it.

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Butterbeer with mug souvenir

8. Don’t mind other regions and stay until night

If you are a truly Harry Potter fans (just like me), I want to say that, don’t mind other areas, but just spend your time in WWHP until the USJ is closed. In my opinion, the rides at other areas are not that challenging nor exciting. I don’t know why, but maybe because I’ve been to Disneyland, Disneysea, and Fujikyu Highland, the rides in USJ are just typical. Especially Fujikyu Highland has more challenging rides, and Disney Resort offers more rides that you and your family (if you travel with kids) can choose.

And what so special about WWHP?

  • Obviously this is the only one WWHP in Asia, so if you live in Asia, this is the nearest WWHP you can choose.
  • Since WWHP area is new, there are so many people also visit it, and the line for the rides, restaurant, shops’ cashiers, and even toilet are horrible, so I’m sure most of our time here will be spent queuing. Therefore we need a whole day to explore every detail in WWHP area. We even will need a lot of time to choose what souvenirs we want to buy because all of them are very iconic and authentic ’till I wish I could buy all of them >_<
  • At night, there will be light up around Hogwarts Castle, so the castle will look even prettier than during the day. I didn’t stay until night in WWHP so I didn’t have any picture of it, but when I search #wizardingworldofharrypotter on Instagram, there are some people posts the picture of Hogwarts Castle at night, and it is so beautiful. I regret that I didn’t stay until late, so now I’m even planning to go there again for the second time before I leave Japan for goods 😀

See you again, Hogwarts!

See you again, Hogwarts!