At a Train Station

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I always travel light. The only times I carry luggage is when I need winter clothes, or if the trip takes more than one week. Otherwise, it’s just a backpack and a smaller bag for going around.

So this is me at a train station in Hong Kong, the Airport Express station in Kowloon, to be exact. I consider this a self-portrait of sorts, a mirror of myself quite literally and figuratively.

A Symphony of Lights

Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor has probably one of the most iconic skylines in the world.  It becomes even more vibrant come 8 pm every night, as buildings light up for A Symphony of Lights.  Launched in 2004, the light and sound show is named the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by the Guinness Book of World Records.

The show lasts for over 10 minutes and according to the Hong Kong Tourism board site, it can be seen from three vantage points:

  • Tsim Sha Tsui promenade outside Hong Kong cultural center (MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit L6)
  • Golden Bauhinia Square (MTR Wan Chai Station, Exit A5); and
  • from the Harbor cruise

There’s music and live narration accompanying the light show.  The narration part is alternately done in English (MWF) Mandarin (TThSa) and Cantonese (Sun).

I caught the show from Tsim Sha Tsui promenade during my 2014 trip, and here are some choice shots:

A Look Back: L’Arc-en-Ciel Tour 2008 L7 Trans Asia via Paris

Exactly eight years ago today, I was at Hong Kong Asia World Expo pumped up and awed at seeing L’Arc~en~Ciel perform.  It was a first time for many things for me–first J Rock concert I saw, first time I ever rode a plane, first time I went out of the country.

This is a blog entry I wrote in my now-defunct Multiply account.  Reading this still makes me smile every time 🙂

L’7 TRANS ASIA VIA PARIS – HONG KONG

May 27, ’08 2:36 PM for everyone

 Can I just rave away already about how awesome laruku is and has actually always been? Oh yeah, this is why I made this post in the first place… sort of…

 I feel kinda stupid for attempting to write without properly remembering their repertoire in the proper order; I’m still freaking incoherent that I still can’t write in proper English…

 Lame excuses of disclaimers aside, seeing them on stage was just surreal. The show lasted for a little over two hours, no front act, and their little breaks just took a few short minutes. The only glitch was the feedback on Hyde’s mic once; but the rest was just perfect.

 The garb:  Hyde was just facial hair, turban and dreadlocks short of being jack sparrow.  Tetsu wore hotpink leggings, black frilly skirt and white long-sleeved top with a black vest. Yukki wore gray tracksuit. Ken wore white pants and suit and a printed button down shirt.

The songs: I was happy over-all with the list, but I wish they included songs from older albums [Dune – Heavenly]. They opened up with “Get out from the Shell” followed by “Driver’s High.” A surprise was Eien. Don’t like Revelation that much either, but thankfully they skipped Finale and didn’t pull a Sadako like they did in the 2006 l’anniversary :O

 The goods: fell in love with what the tour shirt, and regretted not having enough money to buy the whole set of stuff, but fought it off anyway to have a shirt.  I hate myself for not bringing enough money. And I’m very sorry for those I promised I’d buy stuff for T_T My heart sank upon learning that the line of fans buying stuff was cut off hours before the opening.  Thankfully, we were given another shot after the show.  I’m glad and quite proud to have heeded the signal of Anata being their signature finale, and hurriedly ran down the stairs to take my place on the queue. 

The fans: I’m very happy for the Chinese-speaking crowd because the band had practically spoken in Chinese throughout the show. The only Japanese words Hyde uttered were “doumo arigatou” and that’s at the end of the show. That said, I’m now part of the Filipino fandom who truly and terribly wishes for them to do a show here in the Philippines *_*

 Here’s the set list:

  1. Get Out from the Shell
  2. Driver’s High
  3. Killing Me
  4. DRINK IT DOWN
  5. Daybreak’s Bell
  6. winter fall
  7. 永遠
  8. forbidden lover
  9. MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM
  10. Caress of Venus
  11. REVELATION
  12. SEVENTH HEAVEN
  13. pretty girl
  14. STAY AWAY
  15. READY STEADY GO
  16. 叙情詩
  17. HONEY
  18. Link
  19. あなた

This gig also happened to be laruku’s first in Hong Kong.  They had spiels in between songs and if I remember correctly, they showed a pic of one of their meals where one of the dishes is a large fish head.

I still wish for them to include the Philippines to their next world tour.  (25th L’Anniversary, please!) ONE OK ROCK already came here; it should be Laruku’s turn next!!!

A Look Back: LUNA SEA 20th Anniversary

Luna Sea is the first J-Rock band I liked that I didn’t know through anime.  I discovered them in 2000, months before they disbanded, so I was really happy when they got back together for a world tour to celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2010.

So how happy was I?  I flew to Hong Kong on the day of the concert to see them and then went back home right after!

They played 16 songs, 2 intermissions and 3 more songs during the encore.  No new material then but a lot of my favorite songs made it to their list, so I was one giddy fangirl!

Now, the set list:

  1. Loveless
  2. Déjàvu
  3. G
  4. End of Sorrow
  5. True Blue
  6. Face to Face
  7. Gravity
  8. RA-SE-N
  9. Providence
  10. Genesis of Mind
  11. -drum solo-
  12. -rhythm session-
  13. Fate
  14. Storm
  15. Desire
  16. Time is Dead
  17. Rosier
  18. Tonight

ENCORE

  1. I for You
  2. Believe
  3. Wish

 

On the Grid

When I first traveled way back in 2008, I spent about PhP 2000 in three days just for my roaming plan.  I’ll call my mom and my friends, and after just about 5 mins, my 300 peso load would run out.

That was pre-Facebook era, and hotspots were just an obscure idea. Now, it’s much easier (and cheaper!) to stay on the grid away from home:

1. Free Wifi – this option is almost a given and may be too obvious to state, but for one, I’m talking about the you-don’t-have-to-pay to connect wifi, not the no-password wifi; and if it’s free, reliable and safe, might as well make the most of it!

At the Terminals – airports in Hong Kong, Singapore, Cambodia and KL’s Budget Terminal Airport offer free and fast connection.  Changi‘s, Kansai and Incheon airports also have internet stations and kiosks that you can use for free

In other Public SpacesHong Kong offers extensive free wifi connection in tourist attracti12939693_1289383197743518_394218352_n.jpgons and even in MTR stations, although by experience, I did have trouble connecting to them. I got the most of free wifi there at 7-11 establishments.

Certain locations in Osaka and Kyoto offer free wifi, but I wasn’t really able to use them.

Free wifi is extensive in Singapore as well via Singtel, but you need to be a subscriber first (or at least have a prepaid SIM card) before being able to use it.  You need to register as well.

A lot of restaurants in Phnom Penh offer free wifi too, just ask for the password from the staff.

2. Renting Pocket Wifi – I found several travel blogs recommending the rental of pocket wifi when in Japan.  It’s convenient; you can pick it up from the airport or have it delivered to your hotel; up to at least 5 people can connect at a time; Japanese companies promises you can stay connected anywhere in Japan; and you can just drop it off a post office mailbox to return it. Rental roughly costs JPY 800 – 1800 per day.

3.  Local Prepaid SIM Cards – If you’re traveling solo and/ or still need to make phone calls during your trip, get yourself a local prepaid SIM card.  Hong Kong‘s and Singapore‘s tourist SIM cards offer reasonable bundles for data, local and international calls.

What I got CAM02852for my Kansai trip was a SIM card only for data, but I found that it was a reasonable bargain (JPY 1500 good for 7 days, 1.4 GB worth of data).

One other plus of getting SIM cards is they make nice souvenirs too 😉

So that wraps up a few basics on staying connected while on the go.  It got me roaming without my phone bill back home ballooning 🙂