All right… Here we go again. One year past so quick! Memories of our Euro Trip last year are still fresh in my mind, it was quite a long and exhausting trip, but another bucket-list must be ticked this year!
So.. This year we are traveling to explore North America. …You are right, America is HUGE! With the limited amount of time we wont explore all of them. But we tried to explore as many place as possible without rush it so the trip is still enjoyable. It was a 42 days trip, with coverage of this city: Uptown LA, San Francisco, North Lake Tahoe, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington DC, Las Vegas, and ended in Downtown LA.
I wont share any preparation tips here since we covered that on our previous post, you can see HERE. But, I would like to share my experience with my new toys. Yes, toys! Well… that’s what my friend say about it. But for me, it’s a joy of photography equipment. The new Fujifilm X-Series camera. Its compact, light, and produce a sharp and great quality of images as my DSLR camera; Oh… On our previous trip, I carried all my big and chunky DSLR gear on my bag, and it was too heavy! With smaller equipment, not only save your bag’s space, but also add your flexibility & convenience for shooting street photography.
Why? First, it’s not look professional, so people won’t aware of it. Second, the electronic shutter is silent, no one can notice if you take a photos. Third, it has wifi connection, so you can transfer, edit and upload your photos right the way from your mobile phone to keep you update on your social media.
There are range of lens available for Fuji X-System, and my preferred lens are the 35mm f/1.4 & 18mm f/2.0. It’s not the best & sharpest lens on fuji’s collection, but the size are perfect for my needs. So let see what this toy can produce…
Before we arrived in United States, we also had chances to explore Tokyo Japan, for 10 hours due to our connecting flight. From sedate, centuries-old gardens to boisterous robot cabarets, here’s the vital knowledge you’ll need before hitting Japan’s sprawling capital.
1. Walk right — on the left
With 35 million people, greater Tokyo is one of the most densely populated urban centers in the world. Yet crowds are orderly. Everyone waits until the light changes to cross the street. Pedestrians on wide sidewalks follow the unspoken rule of staying to the left almost as strictly as cars (also on the left) do. Exception: On Tokyo escalators, stand on the left and walk on the right. (Around Osaka, escalator etiquette is reversed.)
2. Drink outside, smoke inside
The more enclosed a space is, the more likely you’ll be allowed to smoke there. The smaller and homier a bar or restaurant, the more likely it is to be smoker-friendly. Many bullet trains still have smoking cars. On the other hand, smoking is prohibited on many sidewalks (look for signs stenciled on the sidewalk), except around public ashtrays. Street patrols stop people who engage in aruki-tabako, or “walking-smoking.” Cracking open a beer or can of fruity, boozy chu-hai on the walk or train home, however, is a cherished tradition.
3. One card is good for all trains and buses
The Tokyo train system is actually a network of three train companies. Originally, each system required its own tickets. Now rechargeable Suica and Pasmo cards let riders seamlessly touch their way in and out of all lines. As of March 2013, paying fares got even easier — a single card became usable for trains and buses throughout the country. You can get one as soon as you arrive in Tokyo from almost any ticket machine. The ¥500 deposit (a little over $5) for the card is refundable. The time you save not calculating ticket costs makes it worthwhile even if you keep the card as a souvenir.
4. Free WiFi is rare
While the number of places that have free and simple WiFi in Japan is increasing, access isn’t something you can count on. Signs everywhere announce free WiFi — if you already have a contract with the provider. Even places like Starbucks that have relatively accessible free WiFi require you to create an account in advance. Instead of renting a SIM card, many travelers find that renting a pocket WiFi at the airport to use with their own smartphones is the best way to get online.
5. Best food to keep your stomach full & warm is RAMEN!
Ichiran Ramen 一蘭 is known as one of the best ramen in Japan, if not the best – mass market wise. Not exaggerating, but my friends would get the urge to fly to Tokyo just have a bowl of this rich Tonkotsu soup based noodles. For those who have never bought ramen from a vending machine before, the experience can be quite stressful, especially when there is a long queue behind you.
We spend the 10 hours in Tokyo and prepare for our next flight to Los Angeles, another 10 hours flight through pacific ocean.