[KANSAI 2012] DAY 1 & DAY 2: Universal Studios Japan

Our journey began with an AirAsia X flight. I've been wanting to go to Japan for God knows how long. I became obsessed with Sailormoon earlier on in my childhood (I was 12, and making comics based on Sailormoon characters - if that doesn't tell you things about me, honestly I don't know what would), and I devoured any other manga I could get my hands on. I remember series like Dragonball, Slam Dunk, GS Mikami, and of course the ever-popular Doraemon in my manga collection. (Ahhh the good old days where manga volumes were RM3.50, which is like an equivalent of USD1.00 back in the day.) When I was 15, I became obsessed with anime, and soon after my love for Japan took over. Ask me to sing my favourite song from a anime series or favourite Japanese singers and I will not hesitate to perform a karaoke number for you in fact I'm singing out loud right now.

Point is: obsessed with going to Japan since 2006, FINALLY getting to go like 6 years later. Which, considering, not bad eh.

So when AirAsia X first opened with a flight to Osaka, my friends and I didn't hesitate to book our tickets. It was considered cheap at RM700, and I was counting the days to our arrival in Osaka.

DAY 1 - 29 Jan 2012 (Rinku Premium Outlet, Universal City)
- Arrive at Kansai International Airport (KIX)
- Took subway to Rinku Premium Outlet - check in to Universal Port Hotel and sleep.

I think we touched down in Osaka sometime around 3pm, but by the time we were out it was close to nighttime (as it was still winter, it was becoming darker much faster). I remembered queuing up in the very long line through immigration (there were hundreds of people!) and making conversation with another girl behind us who was travelling alone - she was heading directly to Tokyo from Osaka and would only stay in Osaka for a few days I think before returning on the same date as us.

The long queue didn't dampen our mood. After we made our way to our luggages and started searching for means of transportation, we were suddenly stopped by a female airport officer. She wore something like a police uniform if I recall correctly - probably police attached to airport security. She was asking us a number of questions on our planned stay and that was when my adventure in speaking Japanese begun. I think we understood each other like 50% of the time, enough that the police was seemingly satisfied and politely thanked us for answering her questions. I should probably point out that she also took down our passports' information and it didn't occur to me to question this at the time.

Only much later in the trip did one of my friends point out to me that that was probably not normal procedure - we probably got stopped because I was wearing a headscarf, i.e. I was Muslim.

And I just thought: well, that's mildly unpleasant, but coming from Japan (which has such a homogeneous population) I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. It still left a bitter taste in my mouth when my friend pointed it out to me.

Well, moving on.

From there onwards, we made our way to the subway station, took a shuttle bus straight to Rinku Premium Outlet for some shopping. I didn't do much shopping, just walked around some of the stores, had dinner (takoyaki! in Japan!), had my first encounter with the Japanese toilets (boy you guys weren't kidding when you said the buttons were confusing), and proceeded straight to our hotel afterwards.

Braving the cold weather for camwhoring even when we got lost

Bought our Suica cards at one of the train stations, and off we go to Hotel Universal Port (Universal City station). The hotel was within walking distance from Universal City station, and we only had to walk straight on for less than 5 minutes when we reached the entrance. Thank God for that because it was cold, and it was only 0 degrees. I don't know how y'all can withstand negative degrees.

The hotel itself was pretty nice - small, as per the Japanese's normal hotel room. Somehow they managed to squeeze 4 beds into a room, but we were satisfied with it since we were only planning on sleeping there anyway. Breakfast has the usual buffet fare, but as most of it wasn't halal, we stuck to safe food, e.g. bread, potatoes, vegetables. 

DAY 2 - 30 Jan 2012 (Universal City)
- Universal Studio Japan (5800 / 6200 yen)

After breakfast, off we go to Universal Studio! It was within walking distance from our hotel, and along the way there were many shops and restaurants before we reached the entrance.

One Piece!!! So apparently One Piece was everywhere in Osaka/Japan

Afterwards we shopped around the area (there was a Hard Rock cafe there for people who likes to collect the memorabilia from every country's Hard Rock chain), and we ate our first Mos Burger and takoyaki.

Mos Burger is my jam, man. I must've had it like 3 times at 3 different places every time we moved around.

And thus ended our first full day in Japan.