The Wanderess: New Year Visit in Asakusa

Happy 2016 everyone!

          I am really sorry for being on hiatus for the past weeks, it has been a busy holidays for me and my family, because it was our first! Yes, it was our first Christmas and New Year together. Will be sharing our family stories in the coming weeks. ♥

          For now, let me share you my first wander of the year…


          Spending New Year in Japan can be a little unusual from other countries, since most of them are spending their holidays visiting their first Shinto shrine of the year, which they call hatsumōde (初詣 ). This was my first New Year outside of Philippines and since we live in the Greater Tokyo Area, we chose to revisit Tokyo’s famous entertainment district, Asakusa.

Sensoji

          Most people in Japan are off from work and school starting December 30 until January 3. It is the time of the year when people are cleaning their houses, paying all their debts, buying new charms or omamori, visiting relatives and exchanging gifts.

          Upon getting off the train station via Ginza Line, we were surprised that some roads were closed and there were hundreds or maybe thousands of people on the road. Discipline was observed despite the busy event – policemen and road officers were stationed in every corner.

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As we walk outside the train station, we were able to take a glimpse of Tokyo’s Skytree Tower and Asahi Beer Tower.
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Tokyo Skytree at 634 meters or 2,080 feet.

Here’s a link for the complete address using Google Maps.

       Japan can be considered as one of the modernized country of this generation, however despite the dynamic growth of technology, they still preserve remaining pieces of their past. They value their own history that much and making it consistently sure to pass it on to their next generation.

          Take a look at the Kaminarimon Gate or “Thunder Gate” (雷門) strikingly painted in red with giant lantern and two statues of guardian gods – Raijin (left, god of thunder) and Fūjin (right, god of wind).

          * This structure was built more than once due to war and fire, take note that the current one was built in 1960 under Edo Period. (Oh yes, Asian History, love it. ^^, )

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This will serve as the first gate to the main temple, Kaminarimon Gate.

          TIP If you are planning to visit the shrine during the holidays, you really have to be patient. I mean it, because you have to walk with hundreds of residents and tourists while following their rules

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Giant Red Lantern of Kaminarimon Gate

          Their history, vivid as it may seem, signifies their practices and lifestyle. You will never question its visibility all over Japan. Someday, I am going to wear Japan’s national costume while roaming around the city! Yay! #AddedToMyOwnBucketlist

          After entering the gate, look what surprise we found… 👣

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Nakamise Shopping Street

          Before reaching the temple grounds, you will be welcomed by more than 50 Japanese Souvenir shops. This is one of the perfect spot to get your authentic gifts/memorabilia like magnets, chopsticks, green tea, biscuits, Japanese dolls, small figurines and the like. PS. This street was only 250 meters long but it took us 20 minutes to reach Sensoji Temple due to the massive crowd.

Kaminarimon

         The second entrance gate is called Hozōmon or “Treasure-House Gate” (宝蔵門) which will lead you to the main hall of Sensō-ji. It features three large lanterns and the most prominent lantern is a red chōchin that hangs at the center.

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         On the left, you will see the five story pagoda or Gojūnotō (五重塔) that contains some ashes of the Buddha. I am totally amazed with the temple’s characteristics and ornament, impressively designed thousand years ago.

As I share more photos, I was reminded that patience is actually a great talent and it will go a loooooong way… 👌👣

Welcome to

Tokyo’s Largest Buddhist Temple

Sensōji

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One of the best things during our visit was the cold winter breeze that touches our face. It might sound worst if this happen during scorching summer. (July – September) 

Shrine 4

          It was not in the photo, but at the side of this hall, you will see stalls selling Japanese omamori’ or amulets, incense and ‘omikuji’ fortunes.

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As I said, discipline was observed most of the time and you won’t see them running or rushing into each other.
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Massive Crowd last January 2, 2016.

          As we enter the Sensōji Temple or also known as Asakusa Kannon (浅草寺), we only spent few minutes to make our wish and prayers, so we can give way to other attendees. Please be reminded that the temple is quite dark and the air is covered with thick incense.

          * I am not sure if they allow it or not, but whenever I visit temples, I don’t take pictures inside, to simply pay respect to their beliefs and sacred places.

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Intricate details of the temple are mostly painted in red with gold emblems.
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Good weather doing something great in the city.
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What was your wish?

Since Asakusa has a lot to see, let’s look around…


FOOD         

          If you get tired or you prefer to take a break, Asakusa has a lot of food to offer – from fried snacks like chicken, long potato fries, takoyaki, mochi and noodles. (Price Ranges from ¥200-800)

          However, I found something fancy…

Banana
Banana in Pink, Chocolate and Aqua.

For ¥200, you will enjoy this healthy coated banana with candy sprinkles and it is too cute to eat, right?

Cheers to JP for having cool and cute stuff! 😂


SOUVENIR

I got my ref magnet for ¥380.

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MUST TRY!

          You should also try getting your O-mikuji (おみくじ) or paper fortune available at the sides of the hall.

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Focus on the left side of this photo, where everyone was almost patiently falling in line to get their first paper fortune of the year.

How to do it?

  1. Drop ¥100 at the tip box.
  2. Shake a box full of sticks.
  3. The stick you draw shows the number of your omikuji.
  4. Take a paper from the drawer with the corresponding number and see if you are 吉 lucky.

Of course, I tried it too…

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Senso-ji’s omikuji offer Japanese and English advice.

          My first omikuji for this year was a bit heartbreaking!!! I received a bad fortune which says the following:

“Thunder hit and sound is breaking the sky, it is really dark and terrible. A man of good sense of humor stay within a house closing the gate and doors. All looks really lonesome. There maybe some mistake and misunderstanding in writing a mail to others. Though you do your best with utmost care, troubles may be always your way.”

* Your request will not be granted. Patient will get well. The lost article is hard to find. The person you wait for will not come. Stop building a new house. Stop starting a trip. Marriage and employment are both bad. *

* WARNING *

Do not let this piece of paper decide for your choices in the future.

My simple wish may not come true but no one can stop me from taking wonderful trips and meeting the person I am waiting for. Honestly, there’s no wedding plans on the table. Haha! ♣

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          If you received a positive omikuji, you can keep it. In my case, since it is not a good one, I folded and tied it to the tree where bad lucks were collected


 ♦ PERSONAL NOTE ♦

      We had the whole afternoon walking and checking some shops for authentic Japanese goods and it felt good to know traditional practices of this country. It wasn’t so bad to be accustomed to a new environment. More likely a breath of fresh air coming from the ancient times with modern clothes. Lels.

          So if you’re looking for an authentic Japanese thing to do – do not forget to include Asakusa’s Sensōji Temple in your Tokyo itinerary! 🎌


HOW TO GET THERE?

          Asakusa is served by different railway lines such as Asakusa Subway Line, Ginza Subway Line, Tobu Railways and Tsukuba Express.

         I wouldn’t miss the chance of sharing tips on how to travel Japan cheaply.

         Tourists may come from different cities, so I would recommend you to try Hyperdia, smartphone app that has routes and timetable for railway and aviation in Japan. 👌

          For Tokyo Subway Pass, please click here.

HOURS AND FEES

Main Hall is open from

6:00 am to 5:00 pm (April – September)
6:30 am to 5:00 pm (October – March)

Temple Grounds are always open.

*** Admission to the Temple is amazingly FREE.


See you on my next adventure, またね!!!

xoxo,
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Dear 2015

December 31, 2015

Saitama City, Japan

         That was amazingly fast.

        Before I begin my musing over the last 365 days of 2015, I would like to thank everyone who played a great part in my life. It wouldn’t be remarkable and crazy without YOU in it, and honestly it would be extraordinary if you will still join me on my next chapter…

Let’s continue to be a part of each other’s lives.

MT MANALMON

Thank You…

for continually sharing the ‘gift of life’

for all the joy and laughter you brought into my life

for all the precious time I shared with my loved ones regardless of hectic schedule

for all the surprises You showed me

for all the resources we’ve got to survive every single day

for all the friends I gained despite the storm

for all the chances I had to make things better

for all the strength to carry on

for all the determination to continue my passion

for all the pain I had to go thru to be who I am today

for all the tears I released to ease the agony

for everything

        I am not in control of everything that has been happening in my life, but I am grateful on how my choices in life turned out. I had to deal with tons of constant and consecutive changes but nothing beats the joy of living with my own family.

       Looking back to the first six months of 2015, I was merely enjoying going to different places in the Philippines, while attending few training related to nursing. I was trying to go back to my first love with no rush. It brought so much pain and confusion when you already know what you like to do but the odds seems to be unlikely. It was always a tough battle going back to where I was but I kept on moving. Little did I know, I am already changing path. I guess I was enjoying too much to notice the shift in my world.

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January – June of 2015 (Philippines)

        However, life keeps on challenging me. I was myself before I sleep but I woke up broken and tormented. My thoughts were eating me up and my eyes were drowning. I cried for help but no one heard me, I am not even sure if my voice came out. Just like other relationships, mine was not perfect and we had a lot of misunderstanding. People didn’t have to know everything about us. Whenever life check on me, I pray  and forgive.

“It sounds foolish to others, but I still believe that a person can change and that a person can be renewed.”

         Life can be ironic but still it can be kind and I am back with my family since July 1st of 2015. I can’t imagine how it all happened so quickly, from changing homes to adjusting in a new environment.

        I woke up no longer in my room but beside the person who carried me in her womb for nine months – my Mother. I am safe here, I always thought. As I stayed longer, I am getting used to new faces, fresh vicinity, changing seasons and in a country where language is totally different.

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      Not everyone knew that I had to risk all comfort in my first home – Philippines. I lived there for the past twenty three years of my life – since birth, to attending schools from kinder to college, building lifetime friendships, experiencing my first love and numerous heartbreaks and countless mishaps along the road.

        It’s where I started my everything but I am partly wrong… I am missing the chance of being with the important people in my life… I have accepted the changes wholeheartedly for it is my personal choice – to be with my own constants thru the good and the bad, under one roof. 

        They say I am lucky to be here, but I would rather say blessed. I am not here just to wander around.  Just like other adult, I have to work my ass off and do the things I am supposed to be doing at this age. I am honestly too lax about the life I have, or maybe I am too contented with what is already in front of me. And yes, I believe that everything too much is not good in the long run.

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July – December of 2015 (Japan)

        Everyday I tell myself that I wanted to DO MORE and BE MORE. I am very close to being certain that I am not born to do little so I engage in a lot of activities. I exhaust skills I can improve and I woke up every single day to learn something new and fun. I like to spend my twenty four hours doing the things that matter to me, the things I love. 

        Have you ask yourself, what do you really want?

      Well for me, I love sleeping or watching movies/series, crawled up in bed while munching Cheetos and drinking soda. I really do and I can actually cancel a date for this but it is not the life I wanted for the next twenty or thirty years of my life. It might be worth it for a short period of time, but “being more” is what  keeps me going so I resorted to start doing productive activities that nourishes me as an individual (aside from paying job) – I write what I want. I write what interests me. I write bits and pieces of my journey. I write my own story.

        One word, One sentence, One phrase will go a long way… So I kept my pen and paper ready most of the time to take every chance to TRY and TRY again.

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Birth of my newest ‘Baby’

        For I know that someday I will have my own family and I want my kids and grandchildren to know how life can be wonderful and tricky at the same time. Our old memories doesn’t need to be perfect, but we can start making it remarkable. 

        Just like everyone in this world, I made mistakes and I had my struggles too but my perspective is always brighter just like the sun, shinier in the dark like the stars…

         Our environment is already a world full of whiners, check the social media and it is pretty obvious. Instead of focusing your energy on the things that annoys you; focus on the things that matters to you. Start doing the things you wanted without compromising your career and relationships.

        I learned not to get tired of making myself better…so should you.

xoxo,

831521baadd09be864adc7921b59843b5d0bb840c56320a4b1dca90afa9e9a13

My FREE Camper Planner

Happy Holidays!

It has been an overwhelming holiday season for me and my family (it was our first), and honestly I was not able to stick to my posting schedule! It was purely quality time with lots of stories and laughters! Will share it soon! =)

Last week I wrote about perfect planners for 2016 that will suit your need and personality. Today, I will share how I got my free planner from Filed.

Related Article: Perfect Planners for 2016

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If you will recall my October Blog Series, I joined Filed’s Wonder A Day Challenge by posting  Art Journals everyday, from October 1 until the 31st via Instagram. They gave us 31 prompts to interpret using drawing and calligraphy. Yay!

Let me show you my 31 entries, forgive some of my artworks that lacks creativity, some prompts were not so easy for me. Haha!

Every day of October, I spent an hour or two finishing my entry.

PS. My good friend, Angeli Velasco, invited me to join this wonderful activity! Honestly, this activity helped me to build an everyday routine to create more art journals. ♥

We were able to post daily (no late entries) and for our reward, we are given FREE Filed Planner (Scribble, Doodle, Camper) of our choice. I felt good about getting a planner from hard work plus I was able to save Php 545.

“I am not really good at it,

but I don’t want to miss the chance of TRYING”.

Let me show you how my 2016 planner looks like…


FREE CAMPER PLANNER


It was my personal choice and I really love it! It perfectly fits to people who are always up for adventures. 👣✈️🌏

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Aside from the free planner, it comes with a personalized tag.
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Where are we going?
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List the places you want to see in 2016!
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Along with adventure photos, you can also add your own travel photos and write down your travel musings.
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Make it ‘remarkable 2016’.

 

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You’re Philippines Adventure Map! Mark it.
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Just to keep you reminded whenever you go places…
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Dateless Monthly View
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Spacious Weekly View (Doodle it your way!)
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Manage your money while on the road!

 

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Doodle your favorite quote or your own words on this colored pages.
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+ Travel Musings +
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It is small and handy, that you can bring the next time you hit the road.
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My 2016 Planner

Aside from my travel journal, this Camper Planner will keep me company for the next 365 days of my life! Make sure to visit my Instagram account, Life and Misadventures of Aki, to see how I use and design my own planner.

Again, many thanks to Filed for this wonderful planner! It was my first time to join an online challenge and it’s totally worth it. More power to you guys! 👌

I wish all of your plans will come true in His guidance. Just keep making wonderful memories with your loved ones! ♥

xoxo,

831521baadd09be864adc7921b59843b5d0bb840c56320a4b1dca90afa9e9a13

 

Perfect Planners for 2016

Do you have the 2016 Planner yet?

Crafty Wednesdays presents wonderful choices of good planners for 2016.

No worries, you still have 8 days left to choose which planner suits your taste for the upcoming new year! People are going gaga which one to use because they are widely available one after another.

Let me give you some ideas of the best planners in the market…

1. Belle de Jour Planner (IT Girl)

Can you not love their girly cover? You will also enjoy writing on it, since it has weekly & monthly schedules, goals list, dream board, inspiring dividers and budget tracker – for as low as Php 570.

Best Part: Inclusive of #PerksOfABella coupon booklet.

BDJ has 5 different planners for 2016. Don’t forget to check their site and get a chance to win exclusive prizes when you join their #‎My2016BDJDreamboard contest!

Photo Courtesy of BDJ

2. The Giving Journal 2016 from CBTL (Coffee Lover)

According to Chef Jay, you need to purchase 8 drinks of your choice, 1 original ice blended, 1 holiday feature beverage, 1 tea late, and 1 espresso coffee based beverage to get a FREE Planner. (It will cost you around Php 1500-2000)

After collecting 12 stamps, you can have one of these cool planners that you can enjoy for new year while helping future scholars of Real Life Foundation.

Photo Courtesy of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

In this planner, you can write and doodle your daily activities while enjoying a cup of  CBTL’s coffee. Just perfect.

3. The Daykeeper 2016 from The Narrow Road Co. (Wanderlust)

This planner will inspire you to travel, make a change and live life gratefully. It has inspiring quotes and colorful images that will definitely brighten up your day!

Photo Courtesy of Daykeeper

Price: Php 1,090.00

4. Starbucks x Moleskine 2016 Journal (Coffee Lover)

The most awaited planner of the year! People are committed in collecting 18 stickers in order to get a hold of their yearly traditional planner.

Believe it or not, some of them has Starbucks planner since 2005.

Photo Courtesy of Starbucks
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Just to give you a heads up.

Stickers may be obtained from November 2, 2015 to January 7, 2016. While redemption is until March 7, 2016.

5. WTN Travel Planner (Wanderlust)

For Php 580,  you can have this travel junkie planner that contains 13 dateless months, collage art-ventures, travel bucket list, Instagram tips, monthly challenges, vacation leave list, Philippine Map, adult coloring pages, budget table, trip highlights & games for the road. 

How awesome is that? 👌

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Photo Courtesy of WTN

6. 2016 Doodle Planner from Filed (Artsy)

Let your creativity shine while doodling on this spacious planner. It also comes with restaurants to try, leisure lists and financial tracker. 

PS. It comes with doodler kit that you can use to give extra colors on your planner cover. =)

Photo Courtesy of Filed

Price: Php 595

7. Papemelroti Pocket Planners (On The Go)

If you’re not into spending extravagantly on your planner, this would be one of the good ones in the market. Small, Handy & Useful.

Just exactly what you needed.

Photo Courtesy of Papemelroti

   Price: Php 20

8. Scribble Planner from Filed (Artsy)

Enjoy doodling on its unruled spacious pages! PS. It also comes with doodler kit, jot down notes in your preferred style.

Scribble planner, P595. Photo courtesy of FILED
Photo Courtesy of Filed

Price: Php 595

9. Tita Witty’s The Papayat Ka Rin at Dudurugin Sila Planner 2016

This planner is one of the coolest and funniest I saw online! It will totally put a smile on your face while reading the messages inside. 😂

Very timely & witty!

Photo Courtesy of Tita Witty’s Facebook

Php 520 + Free Shipping

10. Camper Planner from Filed (Wanderlust)

If you love traveling & writing, this is totally perf! It has spacious dateless months that you can doodle on! Photos inside are very inviting, that may lead you to pack your bag & go somewhere else!

PS. Travel tips & Philippine map (vector) included! 👣

Camper planner, P545. Photo courtesy of FILED
Photo Courtesy of Filed

Price: Php 545

This planner landed on the 10th spot for a special reason. On a separate post, I will tell you how I got this for FREE. My personal choice of planner for 2016 and totally worth it!

Thanks Filed!


PERSONAL NOTES ♦

I know that there are numerous available planners out there and as of this writing, these are the best picks I have. They are not just perfect for every personality but these planners are definitely useful in so many ways – to keep you reminded, inspired and involve.

Choose what fits you and your needs, don’t splurge on a planner that you really don’t like. You’re wasting money and will end up regretful.

I just wish you didn’t buy a planner for the sake of having one. Use it the way you want to doodle, write, draw creative pieces, attach receipts/tickets/passes, insert notes, try typography, add small pictures, etc.

Don’t miss the chance to create something remarkable! Don’t hesitate to TRY new things, it might be one of the best experience or the highlight of your journey.

Cheers to the next 365 days ahead!

xoxo,

831521baadd09be864adc7921b59843b5d0bb840c56320a4b1dca90afa9e9a13

10 Things I Discover About Go Pro

Konnichiwa! こんにち!

As I share my third gadget review this month, I am also celebrating my first anniversary with my favorite travel buddy, Go Pro Hero 4 Silver Edition.

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Read our story here 👉 Celebrating 1 Year with Go Pro!

It’s been a year since I bought this camera from Gadget for Less. They actually have the cheapest price for a brand new Hero 4 Silver back in December of 2014. The transaction was very smooth & fast, we set a meet up in TriNoMa with no additional charge and I also got wonderful freebies from them. I was never wrong to believe in Chito Miranda‘s recommendation via Instagram. 

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Another commendation from Chito, this time on my re-posted photo…

Kinilig ako, kaya ayan may screenshot! 😂

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Gopring just turned 1 year old last December 19, 2015.

As of today, I can still witness that not all people know Go Pro. I won’t blame them if they are already contented with their smartphones or digital cameras that can also capture precious moments. However, as I continue to explore the beauty of our planet, I needed more…

Let me share you what I discover about Go Pro HERO 4 Silver on a beginner’s take.

1. Basically, it is small and can actually fit in your palm.

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It’s only 41mm in height, 59mm in width and 29.6mm in depth.

2. Not all Go Pro are expensive, they also have the pared down HERO for entry level.

(For as low as Php 6,000)

Entry Level 199 dollars w wifi wo 129

3. Surprisingly, this handy camera produces 12 megapixels shots at an astonishing 30 frames per second! Wow.

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Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, Philippines (January, 2015)

4. Since this is Wi-Fi enabled, you can easily control & transfer your photos immediately thru their FREE Go Pro App!

For better connectivity,  you just have to use the fastest memory card which is Class 10.

For Apple users, click here.

For Android users, click here.

Smart Remote
You also have the option to purchase your smart remote that can control distances of up to 180 meters.

5. You can creatively edit your own videos and photos using their FREE Go Pro Studio on laptop/desktop,

6. It has fixed, wide-angle perspective. (140-170 degrees!)

Your picture doesn’t only showcases yourself but the best view of your surroundings! If you are keen on it, you can remove the fish eye effect on Go Pro Studio.

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7. Since I have the Hero 4 Silver Edition – it is WiFi ready & has LCD touch screen.

You can also conveniently playback your photos and trim your videos!

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8. It is an ACTION CAMERA.

Using Go Pro is not just about taking the best selfie, it is also a high definition camera that you can take almost everywhere while enjoying different activities via land, water and air.

It can also capture 1080p60 and 720p120 videos with utmost clarity that offers ‘ultra high-resolution, cinema-quality capture’. So don’t forget to bring yours when trying extreme sports!

9. Mount it everywhere.

Mount it during skiing, cycling, surfing, diving! Pair it with drone! How about harnessing it to your pet? All of these sounds exciting, right?

So much things to try on your Go Pro, don’t hesitate to use it because it is ‘small, light, aero/hydro-dynamic, and tough’. – Gizmodo

10. Best part, it is WATERPROOF up to 131 feet.

Now, imagine yourself indulging under the sea with school of fish or even dolphins, captured at its finest quality.


♦ HERO 4 SILVER or HERO 4 BLACK?

Hero 4 Silver has the best value for money. Why? You can save extra $100 while enjoying your 1.7 inch touchscreen  which the Hero 4 Black lacks. In that sense, I can conclude that Hero 4 Silver is easier to use. PS. The only thing you give up is a 4K/UHD video.


♦ PERSONAL NOTES

There’s a lot more to learn about Go Pro, you just have to search online, read reviews and watch tutorial videos. If you’re experiencing something unusual, try to research about it first and if you still need assistance, you may ask fellow users via Go Pro Users Philippines. 

You can also buy cheap accessories at Go Pro Philippines Items for Sale. If you are hesitant, you can post in GPUP forum and they can vouch for the seller.

I haven’t tried contacting their Go Pro Support Team, but I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback that they are really helpful and generous.

* Request FREE Go Pro Stickers (not waterproof), here.

As a I go to different places, I am grateful enough that this camera is well worth the price for the usabilityquality and availability of great accessories. It’s a bit tricky and confusing on my first use and I just keep on trying until I get a hold of it. One of the best way to capture great images in just one snap!

I hope you learned something great about this worthy action camera! Simply take a snap, share and love it. 📷👌

PS. I’ll make sure to update this post as necessary. I might include editing apps and some troubleshooting.☺️

xoxo,

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Celebrating 1 Year with Go Pro!

Konnichiwa!

Can you imagine how time flies so fast? It was only last December of 2014 when my generous mother gave me one of the best Christmas present, a Go Pro Her 4 Silver Edition. Perfectly, it suits my personality because I love to travel and photographed the places I’ve been to! 📷

Let’s take a glimpse on where we have been for the past twelve months!

DECEMBER of ’14

We decided to spend our year-end climb at Mount Maculot, weather was not friendly then but we still push through with our exchange gift at the campsite.

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We are really a small family, relatives are mostly living abroad, but we always make sure to have a Merry Christmas for His birthday!

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Case Verde served as our last ‘mondate’ for 2015.

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JANUARY

New Year Salubong with High school, Loves!

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Quick day-hike at Mount Pico w/ my best frenemy, John Placer.

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I also started the year by not missing the chance to see Pope during his Papal Visit 2015. Thanks for making this possible Kuya Lawrence!

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First Anniversary w/ RK at Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

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Sun, Beach & Sand

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Chasing Sunsets at Kapurpurawan Rock Formation ☀️

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FEBRUARY

Follow me to Laoag, Ilocos Norte

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Follow me to Vigan, Ilocos Sur

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19th Hot Air Balloon in Subic w/ my ‘kinder-elementary-high school classmate’, Gemo Ian

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MARCH

I didn’t visit any places this month, we had to prioritize some family needs so I just focused starting on my DIY Room Renovation – I personally painted my walls from pink to white, installed wall shelves (w/ Lolo’s help) and bought a new bed & mattress.

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(Completed in June)

APRIL

Bataan Getaway w/ P4

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“Siblings that God forgot to give.”

MAY

Mount Batulao w/ RK (Our first hike.)

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Quick Escape to Bag of Beans, Tagaytay

Tagaytay

Bag of Beans

Overnight in Laguna w/ my best friend, Pia

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Night Market in Divisoria – perfect time to buy school uniform and school supplies for my cousins.

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JUNE

Unexpected Mysteries at Mount Manalmon w/ Daph

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Overnight at Zulaybar w/ P4, My cousin’s send off party.

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I’m still working on my night shots, this photos was from one of the videos we took that night. If I can only attach their video so you can hear their screams! Haha!

Davao w/ Jmelou & RK

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Davao’s Wild Water Rafting
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Traveling Besties  w/ Marri Jmelou =)
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Davao’s Pearl Farm Beach Resort
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Snorkeling in Samal Island

Surigao del Sur w/ Jmelou & RK

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Tinuy-an Falls, Niagara Falls of the Philippines

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Prayer Mountain in Calinan, Davao City

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Quick dip at Daranak Falls

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Tanay Church

Tanay Church

Mount Maculot “Tamaraws Unite”, My last PH mountain for 2015.

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JULY

On July 1st we landed at Narita Airport, Japan.

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w/ Mama & my Sister-in-Law

Strollin’ at Akihabara

Akihabara

Tokyo Bay

Tokyo Bay

Odaiba

Odaiba
Sibling & Cousins Love

Odaiba Night

Kamakura City

Kamakura

AUGUST

This was the month I decided to “stay” in JP, for good.

Ōmiya

Omiya
I used to pick up my Mama here, right after her work.

SEPTEMBER

My 24th Birthday at Mount Fuji

FUJI 2015

Post Celebration at Fuji Safari Park

Safari

OCTOBER

Solo Backpacking in Osaka City

Glico
Taking pictures made easy by my beloved travel buddy, Go Pro.

One Day in Kyoto City

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Fushimi Inari Shrine

NOVEMBER

Solo Backpacking in Osaka City

Selca OC2

Mount Haruna in Gunma

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DECEMBER of ’15

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

Shibuya

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Roponggi

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Two more weeks before we end the year and I still have new places to go, will surely update this post SOON! =)


I just tried to choose one to two photos per city/gathering just to give you a highlight of where I was this Year of the Sheep! As you notice, I was in the Philippines for the first half of 2015, it will always be my home. On its second half, I decided to be with my family. Everyone close to me knows that I made my own choices between these two countries. I had so much changes and adjustments, but everything is possible with Him.

It was a ‘happy yet nerve-racking adventure’ kind of 2015 for me and my family. We survived family challenges and I think my Lola would be happy seeing us together. I’m still thinking of Lolo back in the Philippines, but he will be less troubled now that his two sons and grandchildren are with him. We are very grateful, millions thanks to the man above. ☝️

Despite of the events in our family, I am still able to go places and enjoy life (Thanks Ma, I love you!). I am still smiling regardless of my personal issues. I think that’s how life is supposed to be, to keep your world rolling even if it’s heavy, even if it’s hard.

2 countries, 25 cities.

Numbers above is just a recall, I am not rushing into booking airfares because I still prefer a trip with plans without going broke (that sounds painful, right?). I believe in right timing, if it feels good on the inside, then you may take an action to pursue it.

Think about the pros and cons. 👌

On the brighter side, I just renewed my passport for the third time, and I am preparing something special and memorable for 2016. I’ll surely make it happen with His provision. 👣🌏✈️

See you on my next adventure!

xoxo,

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My Scrapbook Buddy

Konnichiwa!

This year has been amazing and I am committed in capturing and saving all of my treasured moments in this borrowed journey. As I mentioned on my previous posts, I would like to keep my photos printed and kept in the traditional way, which is SCRAPBOOKING.

It might sound time consuming but with right items to start with, you will surely enjoy making one for yourself, for your kids, for your family, for your friends and the lists goes on!

Honestly, I can totally attest to the statement that if you love what you are doing, you won’t get tired of doing so. My creative juices are overflowing when designing my craft. Just keeping it simple and clean (my forever theme).

To make this hobby a bit easier and less time consuming, I am using Fujifilm’s INSTAX SHARE PRINTER.

Related Article: Instant Photo Frenzy with Fujifilm’s Instax Mini8 in Pink.

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My new scrapbook buddy at three months old. (September, 2015)

As we live in the world with so much use of technology, almost everything is made easy for the convenience of people. If you will think about it, I can simply save my photos in my computer or save it in a CD and label it accordingly. However, I am not this kind of person. I love printed photos taped on my notebook or posted in one of the corners of my room. I wanted to add personal touch on my captured photos and design it the way I like it.

Sounds exciting, right?

HOW TO USE THE INSTAX SP-1?

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Press the Power Button for 1-2 seconds.

Upon turning it on, if the film is loaded, Film Indicator will turn green according to the number of films available.

Battery Indicator will turn green to show battery capacity.

Turned On

Prescribed batteries are two CR2/DL CR2 lithium batteries which can print 80-100 photos.

AC Power Adapter AC-5VX
AC – 5VX

To save some bucks from batteries, you can also use an AC power adapter (sold separately).

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You can only use the prescribed films from Fujifilm which holds 10 prints per pack. (Image Size at 62mm x 46mm)

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One of the best part is that you can REPRINT your photos and share it to your loved ones! However, if you reprint a photo, the image will be stored even if you turned off the printer. Simply hold the button for 5 seconds, LED flashes for a second and it will be deleted.

ADVANTAGES OF INSTAX SHARE PRINTER

(1) It is very compact and handy; weighing at 253 grams with a dimension of 101.6mm x 42mm x 122.5mm

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My personal set up when making scrapbooks / journals.

(2) Download their free app, instax SHARE, from the App Store to print photos straight from your smartphone / Fujifilm camera!

Instax Share

Instax Share App features the following:

* Print real time photos.

* Print photos from your Camera Roll.

* Print photos from your Facebook and Instagram accounts!

* Different Photo Templates available. (Real Time, Limited Edition, SNS Template (Facebook, Instagram), Square Photo and Seasonal Templates)

* It also has Filter which includes “Fujifilm Intelligence Filter,” “Black & White,” and “Sepia.”

(3) You can print your instant photos in 16 seconds! No need to use Adobe/Photoshop to customize the size of your pictures to look like an instax print.

(4) Supported Image Format JPEG.

(5) Upload your photo after printing! (Facebook, Instagram)

(6) Compatible Fujifilm Camera Units [· FUJIFILM X-T10 · FUJIFILM X-T1 · FUJIFILM X100T · FUJIFILM X30· FUJIFILM X-M1 · FUJIFILM X-A2 · FUJIFILM X-A1 · FUJIFILM XQ2· FUJIFILM XQ1 ]

DISADVANTAGES OF INSTAX SHARE PRINTER

This printer costs ¥18,000 / P6,980 / $148.

It was a birthday present from my Aunt and some people may react that the item is a bit pricey, it would be unfair to say so if you don’t even have the product to try.


If you love pictures like I do, this printer is totally for you! 📷 I will be honest on this matter, if you are wishing to have your photos on an instax film, I will definitely choose this printer rather than the instant cameras. Why? Films are more likely to be wasted when you use the instant camera, most specially if you are not properly guided by the flash settings.

On the other hand, Instax Share SP-1 Printer will allow you to print photos in better quality (not as glorious as HDR shots) than the prints you took manually. You can also customize your prints by adding templates and texts on your photo, just simply use their free smartphone application!  👌

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Look at some of my current projects… ♥

Scrapbook #2

Related Articles: Hiking

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Travel Journal

You can maximize the use of this printer with fun and creative ideas such as memory keeping, room decoration and as a gift (personal touch!).

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Due to its fun-size, you can actually bring it on special occasions and print real time photos and share it with your loved ones. A special souvenir of your gathering.

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I hope you had fun on my second gadget review for December and please stay tuned for my last gadget review for 2015! 📷

xoxo,

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How to travel JAPAN on a light budget

Konnichiwa!

This year has been so good since I was able to start my own blog to share my endless stories. Lately, I’ve been receiving tons of inquiry on how to travel around Japan and this December I will share you tips on how to do it! This post might be too long but surely it will be helpful on your trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.  🎌✈️

I listed all topics that are frequently asked and I ended up with 15 points for you to know before going to Japan, JaFUN! 😂 I promise to update this post as necessary. 👍

1. Travel off peak and you’ll save a lot. Plan your trip by starting to choose from the four seasons in Japan.

PEAK SEASON

(1) New Year Holidays (end of December to January)

(2) “Golden Week” Holidays (End of April til first week of May & adjacent weekends)

(3) “Bon” Festival Season (weeks centering on August 15)

Winter (December – February)

Prepare to layer clothes during this season because the temperature can drop below zero degrees. It’s time to enjoy winter sports and hit the hot springs. Don’t forget to bring your overcoats, sweater, scarves and gloves.

Spring (March – May)

It also known as the “Sakura/Cherry Blossom Season”. A good sign that spring is just around the corner and most of the places are covered in pink. People enjoyed eating at park and drinking their local beers under the full bloom trees. Bring your lightweight jackets, sweaters, turtle necks.

Summer (June – August)

Summer in Japan is seriously hot and humid wherein temperature can be 40° C. People are visiting the beach and attending festivities from different cities. It is also the perfect season to climb up some mountains including Japan’s tallest, Mount Fuji.

Related Article: My Birthday Climb on Mount Fuji (2015)

Visitors from tropical country can wear their usual clothes such as pants, shorts, sleeveless tops and shirts. Please expect rainy days most specially during the beginning of the season.

By the way, summer in Sapporo and Sendai is around 20° – 23°. 😊

Autumn (September – November)

After the scorching hot season, autumn will embrace you with light breeze and invigorating temperature. Most of the mountains are colored with autumn colors (orange, light yellow, red orange).

Autumn5
Full bloom Autumn in Gunma (November, 2015)

Related Article: Serenity in Mount Haruna (Gunma, 2015)

It’s also the ideal weather to walk at the parks and shrines, visit exhibits and watch sports tournaments. Simply bring your light jackets, sweaters, just like the clothes listed for Spring.

2. Visa

If you are already decided which month to visit Japan, let’s now talk about how to get a visa. Yes, Japan still requires VISA apart from the other 67 countries. 

“Japan has agreements with 67 countries that exempt these citizens from having to apply for a visa to enter Japan. Nationals of all other countries require a visa.” (JNTO)

 67 Countries for Visa Exemptions (as of December, 2014)

Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Canada, USA, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Suriname, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Turkey, Lesotho, Mauritius, Tunisia, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

For more information about exemption of visa, please click here.

For other nationalities not stated above, check these websites of Japanese Embassies, Consulates and Permanent Missions, click here.

Since I am writing this for my Filipino friends, no need to visit the embassy because it is a MUST to apply your tourist visa thru accredited agencies.

For List of Accredited Agencies, click here.

For more important details about visa application, click here.

As of April 2015, here is the updated list of Consular Fees:

Single Entry Visa                  1,200 pesos (may vary in other agency)

– period of stay must not exceed 15 days

Multiple Entry Visa              2,450 pesos

– considered as temporary visitor that can stay in Japan for 15 – 30 days; validity is up to 5 years.

Transit Visa                                300 pesos

– a visa allowing its holder to pass through a country only, not applicable for long stay

For more details on the condition for issuance of these visas, please click here.

For complete list of consular fees, click here.

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Immigration stamps can be the BEST SOUVENIR of your trip.

3. Entry and Exit

Japan has numerous airports that you can choose from as your entry and/or exit points. In this way you can save time from going back and forth to the same city.

(1) Haneda Airport busiest airport in Japan that handles most domestic flights and less international flights. It is also closer to the city than Narita Airport.

(2) Tokyo’s Narita Airport mostly handles majority of international flights. It is located in Chiba, 60 kilometers outside of Tokyo.

(3) Osaka’s Kansai International Airport is one of Japan’s most important airports. Just like Narita, they have huge hubs that can serve domestic and international flights.

(4) Nagoya’s Central Japan Airport is Japan’s fourth most important airport that handles domestic and international flights form the former Nagoya’s Komaki Airport.

(5) Fukuoka Airport handles domestic flights but they also have few international flights such as Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore.

(6) New Chitose Airport is the main airport of Sapporo and considered as one of the busiest. Mainly domestic flights and few international routes.

(7) Kobe Airport offers domestic flights only. The nearest international airport is Osaka’s Kansai Airport.

(8) Okinawa’s Naha Airport served as an international airport that caters to 11 cities (Hong Kong, Korea, China, Taiwan).

Listed above are the main airports in Japan, so you can plan where to begin and end your trip, or simply visit one city at a time.

For example, you can book a flight to Osaka then exit via Tokyo or vice versa. In that case, you don’t need to go back to Osaka for your return flight. ✈️

I would love to share budget airlines within Japan, however I am still researching about it and how it works for tourists. I’ll update this post as necessary. ✈️

 

Airport Map
Main Hubs in Japan (Photo from JNTO)

4. Airline Ticket

In some cases, this will be the most expensive part of the trip. Personally, I haven’t tried budget airlines going to Japan because of ‘trust issues‘. I know it’s cheaper but I am more comfortable on big planes and usually I have check in baggages. Plus, it is my mother’s sole decision when it comes to this part of traveling.

Since traveling is a booming activity for the present generation, it is very economical to search for the cheapest airfare so you can put most of your money allocation in enjoying the country’s sightseeings.

List of Budget Airlines that has flights to Japan:

Cebu Pacific

Jetstar Japan

Simply wait for promos that is usually held every holidays and/or payday. They sell it for as low as 3,000 pesos ($65 per way).

Best Tip I can suggest is to BOOK EARLY.

Some tourists, book their own tickets as early as 6 months prior their trip to save bucks. And mind you, it is helpful!

Keep in mind…

To apply for the visa a month before the trip because single entry visa is only valid within 3 months from the date of approval.

5. Japan Rail Pass

As I said, traveling around Japan is not expensive as you think due to the release of Japan Rail Pass. 

JR
This is the logo of Japan Railway Group

This is the sign that you can see at the train stations all over Japan. A group of privately owned companies that provide railway service to mass consumers in Japan. I am telling you that they are timely and efficient. If you will avail this pass, you can travel around Japan using shinkansen bullet train, non bullet trains and buses.

“JAPAN RAIL PASS

is a special fare ticket that is available only to travelers/tourist visiting Japan for sightseeing.”

* Please be reminded that Japan Rail Pass cannot be purchased in Japan.

You have to buy it from an authorized sales agent/office before going to Japan.

Eligibility Requirements

(a) A foreign tourist/visitor under the entry status of “Temporary Visitor” as seen on your passport. Upon entry in Japan, presenting your stamp will allow you to use the rail pass.

(b) If you are a Japanese National living outside of Japan who meets the following conditions:

a. who has permanent residence in that country

Person meeting this condition must provide written proof of the following:

・ Right of permanent residence
・ That they are living in a country other than Japan

b. who is married to a non-Japanese residing in a country other than Japan

Persons meeting this condition must provide written proof of the following:

・ That they are married to a foreign national
・ That they are living in a country other than Japan
・ That their spouse (a foreign national) is living outside Japan

If applicant failed to provide these papers, issuance of pass maybe denied.

Two Types of JAPAN RAIL PASS

(a) Green (for superior-class Green cars)

(b) Ordinary

Each of these types is available at a 7-day, 14-day, or 21-day Pass.

JR Pass Fees

(As of September 2015)

Green Pass

            Adult                                Child

7 Days                 ¥38,880 / P15,080 / $320        ¥19,440 / P7,540 / $160

14 Days               ¥62,950 / P24,415 / $517         ¥31,470 / P12,205 / $258

21 Days               ¥81,870 / P31,750 / $670         ¥59,350 / P23,078 / $489

Ordinary Pass

      Adult                                Child

7 Days                 ¥29,110 / P11,320 / $240         ¥14,550 / P5,657 / $120

14 Days               ¥46,390 / P18,038 / $380        ¥23,190 / P9,017 / $190

21 Days               ¥59,350 / P23,070 / $488        ¥29,670 / P11,537 / $244

The actual cost in local currency is calculated based on the Banker’s Selling Rate (BSR), etc.at the time the Exchange Order is issued. Please note that the purchase exchange rate may differ from the exchange rate in effect when you actually visit Japan.

 * Children who are age 6 through 11 as of the date on which the exchange order is issued are eligible for child PASS prices.

* Prices are subject to change. The applicable price is the price valid on the date when an Exchange Order is issued.

Validity Period

The validity period of a Japan Rail Pass is the consecutive 7, 14, or 21 days period, beginning on the date of its first used.

Once a starting date has been assigned to the pass, it cannot be changed.

 For scope, terms and conditions of Japan Rail Pass, please click here.

For steps in buying pass, turning exchange order and making reservation, please click here.

These information are also available at http://www.japanrailpass.net.com, I just saved you from clicking another link. I also converted prices into US Dollars and Philippine Peso. You just have to check the rates again since it varies every day. 😊

6. Transportation around Japan

Aside from traveling around Japan using the JR Pass, you can also take advantage of their major highway buses like Willer Express. Book your tickets early and one thing is for sure, it’s CHEAPER as low as ¥1,700 – ¥2,000.

WILLER
Full bloom Autumn in Gunma (November, 2015)

Related Article: Going Around Japan via Willer Express

For more details about Willer Express, click here.

If you are not availing the Japan Rail Pass:

(a) Look for one day or two day subway passes (check their package offers too)

Related Article: Solo Backpacking in Osaka

Related Article: One Day in Kyoto

* List of Train/Bus Pass *

Tokyo Metro Pass       Click Here

Osaka Subway Pass (Available at the Major Stations in Osaka)

¥800 / weekdays        ¥600 / weekends

Kyoto Subway Pass (Available at the Major Stations in Kyoto)

Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass  ¥500

Kyoto Sightseeing (City buses, Subways and most buses run by the Kyoto Bus company )

One-day pass: ¥1,200 (Children ¥600)
Two-day pass: ¥2,000 (Children ¥1,000)

Kyoto City Subway One-Day Pass  Adult¥600 / Children ¥300

One/Two Day Passes are Highly Recommended ★ if you are only staying in one or two nearby cities.

(b) Get a re-loadable Suica Card

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Using the trains in Japan can be a little confusing and I would recommend you to get train station maps at the major train stations so you can figure out how to get around the city stations.

They also have the JR East Info smartphone application in English! (mostly includes Tokyo train timetable)

For more details, please click here.

Download the app here.

You can also use HyperDia App in checking timetable of the railway and the aviation of Japan.

For more details, please click here. (Highly Recommended! )

I did not recommend any use of cab/taxi because it is EXPENSIVE.

7. Accommodation

Aside from the airfare ticket, accommodation in Japan can be a little painful. If you are traveling with family and group of friends, hotels can be the best option without compromising your safety and comfort. However, there are options available wherein you can save money and stay on a limited space.

Cheap Hotels (These sites has budget/package deals for Japan)

Capsule Hotels

When I visited Osaka last October, I tried using airbnb for the first time and it was way cheaper than hotels. I got an entire loft for three days for ¥8000 / P3,120 / $66. I can’t have room service or housekeeper during my stay but I can definitely manage my expenditures during the trip. I can also cook my own food and do my laundry!

You can choose from whole apartment, shared room or private room.

To look for airbnb hosts, click here. (Highly Recommended! )

8. Wi-Fi

Will you still travel without Wi-Fi? Nah, it’s everyone’s way of communicating and sharing photos online is something we look forward to in every trips. It is also necessary when we get lost unintentionally.

Please be reminded that you don’t need to buy a new phone compatible in Japan because free WiFi is just around the corner. Mainly at the train stations.

Tokyo Free WiFi, please click here.

Osaka Free WiFi, please click here.

Kyoto Free WiFi, please click here.

Hokkaido Free WiFi, please click here.

Some cities has data limit but I think it’s better than nothing. 😄📶

9. Itinerary/Activities

Most overwhelming part of the trip is planning your itinerary. There’s so much you wanted to do but you have limited time and money. Let’s prioritize what we really want to experience in Japan without hurting our wallet/savings.

What are the activities can you try in Japan?

Winter

  1. Open air bath (hot spring)
  2. Yakiniku Festival in Hokkaido (February)
  3. Illumination in Tokyo
  4. Sapporo Snow Festival
  5. Winter Sports (skiing, ice skating and sledding)

* List of ski and snowboards resorts in Japan, click here.

Spring

  1. Celebrate tons of festivals (Hina Matsuri), White Day, Saint Patrick’s Day and Children’s Day
  2. Strawberry Season means strawberry picking!
  3. Spring Matsuri / Spring Festival
  4. Watch Kabuki Performance
  5. Visit flower parks to see sakura and ume

* List of Cherry Blossom Spots, click here.

Summer

  1. Attend tons of Matsuri and wear yukata (cotton kimono)
  2. Beer Gardens
  3. Bargain Finds for Winter
  4. Best view at the observatory deck of Tokyo Tower & Sky Tree
  5. Best and only season to climb Mount Fuji

Related Article: My Birthday Climb on Mount Fuji (2015)

Autumn

  1. Witness autumn foliage in Tokyo / Gunma / Kyoto
  2. Harvest and eat chestnuts “kuri”
  3. Go camping
  4. Visit Mount Takao (mountain near Tokyo)
  5. Taste their warm sweet potato!
  6. Visit museums, read at the park (weather is definitely cool)
  7. Shopping (Summer clothes are marked down!)

10. List of Japan’s Theme Parks

Prices of these theme parks might be pricey but it’s all worth it! You can spend the whole day here with your family or friends, and be like a kid again!

TOKYO

(a) Sanrio Puroland (Site Here)

Weekdays   Adult ¥3,300       Child ¥2,500

Holidays     Adult ¥3,800       Child ¥2,700

* Kids under 2 years old are free of entrance.

(b) Tokyo Disney Land (Site Here)

1 Day Passport

Adult ¥6,900 / P2,650 / $57

Child ¥4,500 / P1,745 / $37

Tip: Tickets are cheaper at NIGHT!

(c) Tokyo Disney Sea

Ticket prices are the same for Tokyo Disneyland Park and Tokyo Disney Sea Park. 😄

(d) Fuji-Q (Site Here)

It is actually near Mount Fuji. 🗻

Entrance / Admission Only  Adult ¥1,400 Child ¥800

Entrance & Free Pass Ticket (1Day)

Adult ¥5,200/ P2,040 / $43

Students ¥4,700 / P1,843 / $39

Child ¥3,800 / P1,491 / $32

OSAKA

Universal Studios Japan (Site Here)

1 Day Pass (w/ tax)

Adult (12 and up)      ¥7,200 / P2,796 / $60

Child (4-11)                 ¥4,980 / P1,934 / $41

Seniors (65 and up)  ¥6,470 / P2,513 / $54

They also have cheaper tickets varying from 7, 5 and 3 must see attractions. Tickets for limited number of attractions is called Universal Express Pass.

There are numerous theme parks in Japan and I am still trying to explore some of their attractions. One at a time, maybe. 😊 For now, these are the famous theme parks that people, even Japanese residents, go to every season. 

Warning: Always jam-packed.

11. FREE Things To Do (according to cities that I’ve been to)

Again, traveling around Japan is not as expensive as you think. You can add these activities in your list because these places are definitely for FREE! Plus it will give you the real Japanese vibe. As you can see, you can experience Japan’s culture at no cost. 👌

Balance your itinerary with these free places. 📝

Tokyo

  1. Meiji Shrine
  2. Harajuku Lane (Takeshita Street)
  3. Sensō-ji (famous Buddhist temple)
  4. Shibuya Scramble
  5. Pay a visit to the most loyal dog, Hachiko
    Hachiko
    Met Hachiko in Shibuya [October, 2014]
  6. Imperial Palace in Tokyo
  7. Visit Parks (Yoyogi, Shinjuku)
  8. Odaiba (Largest Gundam, Rainbow Bridge)
  9. Otaku Haven in Akihabara
  10. Attend a Matsuri Festival
  11. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
  12. Tsukiji Fish Market (You have to fall in line as early as 5 AM because they will only allow 120 tourists/day. (PS. It is closed to tourists since December 1, 2015 until January 17, 2016 – BUSIEST Time of the Year.)

Osaka

  1. Namba District (Shopping)
  2. Stroll at Dōtonbori
  3. Take a picture w/ Glico Man
  4. Asahi Beer Factory (free beer you just have to book your tour)
  5. Sumiyoshi Taisha (oldest shrine in Japan)
  6. Tenmangu Shrine
  7. Tenjin Festival (July)
  8. Osaka Castle Park (going inside the castle requires admission fee)

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Kyoto

  1. Explore the elegance of Kyoto Station
  2. Fushimi Inari
  3. Higashiyama District
  4. Yasaka Pagoda
  5. Arashiyama’s Bamboo Forest
  6. Gion District
  7. See a real Geisha
  8. Kyoto Imperial Palace

12. Food and Drinks

It’s not Japan without trying their famous cuisine! To experience the Japanese dining culture, try to eat at their specialized restaurants like Izakaya (pubs) and yatai (food stalls). Most of the restaurants in Japan specialized just one type of food. 🍴

Itadakimasu!

(a) Ramen (varies from different cities) ¥400-800 per bowl

(b) Gyōza (dumplings) ¥300 – ¥500 / 5-6 pieces

Shiinhan

(c) Fresh Sushi ¥120 per plate / 2 pieces

For a unique experience, try Kappa-Sushi.

(1)TMT - Sushi

 (d) Yakiniku (grill it the way you want it) ¥500 – ¥2,500

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(e) Takoyaki ¥300 – ¥700 (6-8 pieces)

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Osaka has the yummiest Takoyaki!

(f) Meal Set ¥600 – ¥1000

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Karaage Lunch Set
Tonkatsu
Tonkatsu Dinner Set

(g) Mochi ¥100 – ¥150

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(h) Drinks ¥80 – ¥160

Vending machines are almost available in every corner! It’s a little bit pricey tho, price ranges from ¥110 – ¥160. But if you are eager to save, I suggest you to visit big grocery stores like Yaoko, Homes’, Aeon, Maruetsu and Seiyu. Drinks are sold as low as ¥70 – ¥150 (500ml – 1L).

Vendo
This is the cheapest vending machine I saw in my entire stay in Japan. Drinks for as low as 50 – 100 yen. (Osaka Bay)

Almost every week, we visit the grocery stores to buy our food so definitely I can share you an updated price of products.

Drinks

  • Mineral Water ¥90-180 (500ml, 1L)
  • Coffee (to go / can) ¥130-180 (300ml)
  • Milk ¥150-180 (300ml, 1L)
  • Beer ¥90-200 (300ml, 500ml)
  • Sports Drink ¥100-250 (300ml, 500ml, 1L)
  • Sodas ¥80-160 (300ml, 500ml, 1L)
  • Fruit Juice ¥80-200 (250ml, 500ml, 1L)

Snacks

  • Biscuits ¥80-300
  • Bread ¥70-180
  • Chips ¥70-180
  • Chocolates (bars) ¥60-300
  • Chocolates (packs of 12) ¥150-300

Bento (Meal Set)     ¥200-600

Best Tip Grocery items are mark down at NIGHT! Grab some bread and drinks for your breakfast/snack. 🙂

13. Convenient Stores

If I will define Japan’s convenient store in one word it would be A-W-E-S-O-M-E. It’s like a mini grocery store that has everything you need. Open 24 hours to make people’s lives convenient. They have variety of drinks including beer & wine, bento meals, fresh salad, rice balls, fried snacks, doughnuts, fruits, ice cream, chocolates, cookies, chips, supplies, books, magazines, make up, chargers, prepaid gaming cards, prepaid credit cards, toiletries and some stores has MUJI apparels. They also have ATM, fax machines, photocopying machine and clean restrooms.

What are the convenient stores “konbini” in Japan?

  • 7 Eleven
  • Family Mart
  • Sunkus
  • Lawson
  • Mini Stop
  • New Days

14. Souvenirs

Almost every touristy place has souvenir shops, you just have to check the prices carefully. Save when you can! 👌

Let me give you some suggestions.

(1) Don Quijote houses a lot of products from chocolates, clothing, gadgets, bags, apparels, shoes, appliances, make up, and many more. Prices are always marked down. They also give discounts for tourists by simply presenting your passport and visa. Some stores are also open for 24 hours so you can do something even at night! As of June 2015, they already have 260 shops throughout the country.

Donki

(2) Hyaku En Shoppu / Daiso has everything for only ¥100 plus tax. You can find dining wares, toys, craft items, school supplies, Hello Kitty stuffs and a lot more!  

100 Shop

(3) Tokyo KitKat Chocolatory offers unique Kit Kat flavors that is only available in Japan! Some famous cities has their own specialty flavor too! 

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(4) Starbucks Tumblers & Mugs are available everywhere but if you are looking for the collectible items marked with the name of the city, Starbucks at the airport has it. It is also available in their respective cities.

Kyoto Souvenirs
Kyoto tumbler from Kyoto City plus their specialty flavored Kit Kat!

* Each tumbler costs around ¥1,400 including tax.

(5) Buy & Send Postcards! They sell 10 cards for ¥350-500.

15. Lastly, you should be aware that tipping is not allowed in Japan without compromising the service.


I know it’s quite long and may looks boring with all  the information, but hey this post is for everyone who would love to go to Japan someday. I also included useful links that you can read later on. For you to travel on a light budget, you should learn how to plan and prioritize.

Personally, I’m not recommending a travel full of things to do on a limited time.

WHY???

It’s not fun at all and you will end up exhausted.

It might work for those who only want good pictures, but I will suggest you to go for the GOOD EXPERIENCE. Something that you will treasure in your wonderful journey in seeing the world because one day you will pick up a photograph and remember the story behind it. I wish it’s a remarkable story. Would you like to remember how tired you were on the entire trip? Tired in a sense that you forgot to enjoy while spending your hard earned money?

Think about it. 

There are people who don’t need these and they are the spontaneous travelers. They like to be surprise of the things they will encounter. Such a provoking idea, however there are still people who are quite hesitant to travel around Japan because of the language. I also get worried at times when I travel around the city, but I would like you to know that people who works at the airport, train stations & famous tourist spots know how to speak business English. Just give it a try and they will try to help you the best way they can.

I therefore conclude that with thorough planning and preparation, you can surely save bucks in the Land of the Rising Sun. 👌 💰

Cheers to more adventures! 👣✈️🌏

PS. I don’t advertise any of these. I’m plainly sharing facts with you. 🙂

xoxo,

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Famous Lines and Thoughts: A Second Chance Movie

Magandang Buhay!

After 8 years, from ‘One More Chance’ to ‘A Second Chance’, we are still here supporting the famous couple, Popoy and Basha. We are still the same person who longed to see forever on the big screen. We are still here, believing in the idea of true and unconditional love. Hoping that someday, one day, it will be ‘ours’. Do you agree that they certainly bring hope to every relationship that’s going thru a rough road?

A Second Chance

Let me share my insights about this much awaited film of the year(in the Philippines)…

Honestly, watching Popoy and Basha brings a lot of memory, most of the feelings I had, seems to be just like yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I am with a different person already but the scenarios executed on the said film was relatably applicable to our millennial relationships. The movie tackled a lot of real life scenarios that you can see in a relationship, specifically those who are married. No need for recommendations, this film is a MUST SEE!

Upon watching the film, I have my notepad beside me so I can personally write their famous lines that struck me, 100%. 

Let’s take a peek on their happy-kilig-hugot lines! ♥

A Second Chance31.

Popoy: “I am best at loving you, Ikaw ang pangarap ko, Bash.”

A Second Chance4

2.

Basha: “Happy first day-sary!”

3.

Popoy: “I have always dreamed of building homes with you Bash at sisiguraduhin natin na ung mga bahay na itatayo nating dalawa, hindi masisira ng bagyo, hindi matitibag ng lindol, hindi guguho, it will never fall down, it will never break apart.”

Basha: “Parang Tayo.

4.

Popoy: “Lahat ng mahal worth it, tulad mo.

5.

Basha: “Ang gwapo naman nito, crush ko ‘to.”

6.

Popoy: Ang hilig mo kasing bigyan ng ibig sabihin lahat ng bagay eh!

7.

JP & Rai: “Basta true love, lahat kakayanin. Forever and ever!”

8.
Bash: “Kung gaganitohin mo lang din ako eh di sana hindi nalang tayo nagbalikan.”
Popoy: Baka nga dapat di na lang tayo nagkabalikan!
10.
Basha: “Poy you made me feel like I’m your life’s biggest mistake. Tanong ako ng tanong sa’yo kung ano ang problema. Inisip ko pa kung ako yung may diperensya. Para kong gago, tanong ako ng tanong, Ako ba? Ako ba ang problema? Tangina, Ikaw pala ikaw yung problema!

11.

Basha: “You want me to trust you, but you don’t even trust me. Because if you do Poy, you could have been honest with me. Hindi mo sana sinarili, di mo sana tinago. Poy, di mo lang buhay ‘to. Buhay natin ‘to. Asawa mo ‘ko, baka nakakalimutan mo lang.

12.

Krissy: “Kung nahihirapan kang pagkatiwalaan siya, pagkatiwalaan mo muna ang pagmamahal mo sa kanya.”

13.

Basha: “2 years, Poy. Now it all make sense. Kahit may nararamdaman akong mali, I chose to look away, I chose to keep quiet. Kasi ang sabi ko, ang nagmamahal, naniniwala, nagtitiwala.”

14.

Basha: “I have the right to know the truth no matter how ugly, no matter how painful because I am your wife.”

15.

Basha:Gusto na kitang iwan ngayon Poy. Gustong gusto ko na. Pero hindi ko gagawin, kasi nangako ako na kahit ang hirap mong mahalin, mamahalin kita. Kahit na nasasaktan ako, susubukan ko pa. Kasi nangako ako. I promised to love you even if it hurts and love you more when it hurts.”

16.

Popoy: “E di sige ikaw na lang uli. Ikaw nang magaling, Ikaw nang tama. Ikaw nalang lahat, at ako wala. Wala lang sa’yo! Tae lang naman ako sayo eh!”

17.

Popoy: “What if I made a different choice and a different life? I want to stop wondering what if, I want to know what is.”

18.

Popoy: “Why is it so easy for you to assume the worst in me?”

Basha: “Why do you make it so hard for me to see the best in you?”

19.

Basha: “Your love story is what you make it.

20.

Popoy: “Bash, wala na ang dating Popoy na pinakasalan mo. This is me at my worst. Kaya mo paba akong mahalin ng ganito?”

21.

Popoy: “I’m so sorry, Bash.”

Basha: “You are my what was, what is and what will be.”

22.

Popoy: “Magkulang man tayo sa isat-isa, mahirapan man tayong makita yung maganda sa isat-isa… Basha iyo ako, I promise.

23.

Popoy: “It’s brave to ask ‘what if’, but it’s braver to embrace ‘what is’. You, and only you, are my ‘what is’.”

24.

Popoy: “Our marriage is everything we never hoped for. Oo, masaya siya, pero minsan malungkot, minsan masakit, minsan ang pangit. Pero yun siya. That’s marriage.”


♦ My Thoughts ♦

LOVE/RELATIONSHIP

The said film runs for 2 hours and 12 minutes, but it felt like I’ve known them in real life. So much feels for this movie and I honestly saw myself as Basha over and over again. I was able to hold my tears but I was hit in the heart during the last part, the part wherein they decided to stay together and work things out. The part wherein they mean their mistakes and apologizes for all the pain and suffering they have caused each other. The part wherein they proved to everyone that no matter how tough and messy their marriage can be, they still chose love and forgiveness.

Would you do the same?

Would you forgive someone because he/she broke your trust?

Would you choose to fall in love with a person with tons of failures?

Would you believe in love after all the pain?

Would you continue to be your best when everything seems confusing?

Would you be ready to sacrifice for the person who matters to you?

Would you love him/her at their best and worst state?

The truth is, I am a fan of second chances. Iniisip kong kaya namin magbago for our relationship, that no matter how hard things can be, kami parin para sa isa’t isa. Kagaya ng relasyon nila Popoy at Basha, there’s no perfect relationship. We all have our ups and downs. Kailangan matapang ka to face the battles of love and life. I also came into a point that everybody were tired of understanding my ‘Popoy’, pinaglaban ko kahit masakit, inunawa ko yung sitwasyon kahit mahirap. It’s not being stupid, it’s learning how to love unconditionally.

The film was very realistic. I just wish that everyone who watched it will learn from it. For some men, saying sorry is a real struggle. Have you seen Popoy, genuinely apologizing to the person he love the most? It’s heartbreaking and remarkable at the same time. Huwag kang matakot humingi ng tawad sa taong mahal mo. Huwag mong hintaying mawala siya bago ka mag-sorry. Huwag mo hintaying may ibang mag-mahal sa kanya bago ka umamin.  Have the courage to admit your mistakes and talk about it. I do not promote break up/divorce and I am one of those people who believe that forever does exist. Ang ampalaya, kinakain, Hindi inuugali. 

Let me remind you the role of alcohol in the said film. Poy has a lot of things going on with his work and he ended up drinking so he can avoid discussions at home. Does drinking resolve the issue? No. It hinder them from talking. It hinder their relationship to communicate and grow. Ngayon kasi pag mayroong problema, alak agad ang takbuhan ng nakararami (hindi naman lahat). Mahilig tayong ipagpalipaban yung mga bagay na dapat pinag-uusapan. Aminin natin, mahirap ang komprontasyon. But we have to be honest, without reservations. Ganern yun. 

A movie can be great and brilliant without infidelity, right? 👍

FRIENDSHIP

Favorite part!!! The ‘barkada’ that they have 8 years ago was still part of the film. From Krissy (supportive friend), Kenneth (blind husband of Krissy), Chinno (funny guy), Anj (pessimist), JP (another supportive friend) and Rai (JP’s soon to be wife). When life ain’t easy, run to your best circle of friends, they will surely make things lighter and better. They might have different reactions and opinion, but definitely they will lead to doing something ‘right’. Avoid running into your exes for comfort, it will bring nothing but chaos.

FAMILY

The family part was not too mainstream on the film, but there was a time when Bash can no longer handle the pain, he ran into her mother’s house. That’s what I do too, talked to my parents when all of me was already drowning. Keeping my faith that everything will be okay in His perfect time.


I don’t intend to spoil stuffs about the film but it’s almost two weeks on the big screen 😂. Don’t forget to hit the nearest cinema and cry your hearts out! Lol.

PS. Photos are from Star Cinema 🌟

xoxo,

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Me & My Instax Mini8: Instant Photos Frenzy!  

Konnichiwa!

Today, I am sharing facts and tips on how to maximize your Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 8. One of the best item I have whenever I travel because photos are printed immediately and I can even share it to my loved ones as a perfect souvenir! You can also start keeping memorabilia’s the traditional way!

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I have this camera for years now and I still love it! (Photo was taken last May of 2013 as posted in Facebook & Instagram!)

I bought mine during my first salary back in May of 2013, back then its cost was around P3,900. I had trial and error with this product because of too much or less light exposure. Films are a bit pricey too! As of this writing, it is still working pretty fine. ♥️

Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 8 is a manual camera (non-digital) that uses films to take pictures (business card size). I chose pink because it’s my favorite color and I know that you want or you already have one in your favorite color too! According to some reviews, the color faded too fast when they displayed it inside their room.

Mini 8

PS. My camera’s color didn’t fade because I always keep it inside the box. (Photo above was set a little brighter.) ☺️

These are the colors available:

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Here in Japan, they released an updated version with new set of colors such as Mint, Strawberry, Cocoa, Vanilla and Honey. They simply added a Self Shot Mirror.

New Colors

SPECIFICATIONS

Age
Good job, Fujifilm!
  • Weight: 307g (10.8 oz)
  • Lens: f=60mm 1:12.7
  • Focus/shooting range: 0.6m-infinity
  • Shutter speed: 1/60 sec
  • Automatic power off: 5 minutes
  • Power: AA batteries x 2
  • Box Includes: hand strap, batteries, manual
  • Film sold separately

HOW TO USE INSTAX MINI 8?

Steps on how to use this camera is pretty basic and easy so you don’t have to worry. Let me share facts and more photos… 📷

Mini 8 (2)
Press the button beside the lens to turn it on.

How To

Lens will come out as soon as you press the button beside it.

Shutter Button – as long as your lens is close, no photos will be taken. No films will be wasted.

Flash Settings or Brightness Adjustment Dial for Instax Mini 8 will automatically determines the appropriate brightness for taking a picture and will inform you for the suitable setting by lighting the corresponding lamp. Turn the dial and change it accordingly as suggested.

Flash

High Performance Flash is always ON when you take pictures. There’s no way you can turn it off.

Set Up

Finder is available to see your subject if they fit in the frame.

Film Counter lets you know how many films are available to use.

Film

Insert films (pack of 10) properly and please be advised that you can only use the prescribed films from Fujifilm.

Battery

It uses two AA Batteries. I honestly don’t know when was the last time I changed the batteries. 😂 If you will not use your camera for a long period of time, remove the batteries to avoid battery leaks that can damage your electronics.

Fast Print
Take a shot and have your picture in 1-2 minutes.
Films
Always check the date because expired films comes out white. No photo will be captured.

Films are very expensive that cost around 360 pesos ($7-8) for a pack of 10 plain sheets. It would be cheaper to buy the 20’s worth 680 pesos ($15).  There are also patterned films that hold 10 sheets for a higher price than the plain ones. If you don’t want to spend more on films, just design it with films skins (stickers). It’s cheaper than the printed films.

You will reach a time that taking photos will be hard because you were not able to achieve the right angle, right exposure and all. It’s very frustrating but along the way, you will get used to it. Trial and Error it is! So if you’re not willing to try and maximize its potential as a camera, then this is not for you.

Tips:

(a) Keep your camera away from extreme temperatures (keep it inside the bag/box) because it will affect the color of your photos and will cause pinkish edges on your films.

(b) No x-ray exposure. If you are bringing films abroad or bought some films abroad, keep it on your carry on luggage and insists that your camera has films in it. This will be the hardest part when bringing it during travels. If they don’t believe you, show them the box of films and point out “Protect from x-ray” (at the side of the box). If you don’t like being questioned at the airports during security check, just leave the camera at home.

ACCESSORIES

MINI8Pink.png

You can buy bag, waterproof case, close up lens, films stickers and album to keep your photos and please keep in mind that these items are sold by a third vendor. Don’t miss the chance to show the creative side of you! 🙂

WHERE CAN I BUY THIS CAMERA?

If you are still after saving money, try to compare mall prices vs online prices.

* Online prices are way cheaper tho.

US (online)

Amazon $69 w/ twin pack + free shipping

Ebay $89.95 w/ twin pack + free shipping

Walmart $89.95 + free pickup at the store

Philippines (online)

 Price Price P3,200

Lazada P3,400 – P5,000

★ You can also visit Fujifilm’s physical store at Lower Ground, Building A, SM Megamall.


After sharing important details of this cute camera, let me share my own way of keeping my photos. ♥

Scrapbook #1 for my grandchildren.

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Art Journal Inserts

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Aside from giving photos to my friends as a souvenir of our gathering, I also make time in creatively keeping my printed films on my scrapbook / journal / planner. Aside from being a travel story teller, photos has thousand stories to tell as well.

I am also thinking of sticking films in one of the corners of my room, in a heart or globe shape. What do you think?

I hope you had fun on my first gadget review, expect two more reviews this month of December! ♥

Social
Snap & Share. Will you?

 

xoxo,

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