Tag Archive | Asia Travel

How to ride the subway in Tokyo

tokyo_metro   Hi all!  Well, I am back.  I had to deal with many issues and it took a while for me to post a new blog. Well, here I am now.

Today, I want to talk a little about how to take a subway in Tokyo. If you know how to take a subway, most likely, you can go almost anywhere in Tokyo.

I was born in Tokyo, I so I do not have much anxiety taking subways, but even Japanese people who are from outside of Tokyo always tell me taking a subway in Tokyo is too complied.

Well,  it must be very complicated because Tokyo is such a big city, and there are 13 different subway lines running through the city of Tokyo.

Each subway line has its own “hub” stations which are connected with other subway lines, as well as to many different trains on the grounds which is owned by many private train companies, such as JR East, Tobu Railway Company, and Tokyu Railway. The entire map looks like this!


a8751e3db1a23b715150b23775309b7b   Shocking right? Well do not worry,  I will tell you how to take a subway step by step.     GET A SUBWAY MAP! Since subway system in Tokyo is too complicated, I recommend you to download subway map or obtain subway map at train station nearby you.

You can download subway map HERE!


You buy ticket at the ticket vending machine at at the airport.  It is usually situated next to ticket gates.  It usually look like this.


Ok, do you notice that you see the map above the machines?  The map will tell you the fare to your destination.

In Tokyo, subway are varies depend on the destination.  You need to buy the right fare to ride subways in Japan?

Do you think you can fake it?  NO I will tell you later why you can’t.

So how can you choose the right fare of the ticket.

Here is the screen of the vending machine.


The machine will give you a choice to display in English or Japanese.  You choose English, and the rest follow the instruction of the screen,  Then you are good to go.


In order for you to get to the subway station, you need to get through ticket gates.  You insert the ticket yo purchased in the machine, and if there is not anything wrong, they will let you in.

The thing is you need to get through the gate at your destination to get out from the subway station.  I you did not pay the right fare, you are going to be stopped by the machine, and will be asked to pay the right are by the staff at the station, whose office is locate right next to the ticket gates on the way out.

The gate looks like this.


 I guess you see the pink booth.  They are the customer service, as well as, where you will fix your are, if your are is short.

So now you are about to take a subway.  You may lost or wander in the subway platform, because it is so large.  I recommend you to follow the direction boards.  It look like this.


Or like this… CA250188


You will get where you need to get to.   GETTING ON THE SUBWAY CAR Ok, you get to the platform, which look like this…



SUBWAYS IN JAPAN IS SUPER PUNCTUAL If you know the timetable of the subway, you cal always get to your destination on time.  All the trans including subways, trains on the grounds and Bullet Trains are all punctual. You can also see how soon your train will come by checking the display above you.




You do not have to worry about running late, because 99% of all time time.




You NEED to stand on line to wait for you to board on the train.  The line looks like this

(courtesy of Omiya Express)

As you saw on the Youtube video,  people will be on line while waiting.  When the trains comes, you will let the passenger out first, then you get in later.  This rule applies all the time, and as you saw on  Youtube, the rules are strictly  enforced.


BE AWARE OF “LADIES ONLY”  CARDS. There are some “Ladies only” cards among all the cars connected.


flower line WomensCar_KeioLine


For prevent women from groper, in Japan, Ladies only cares are available during the rush hours in subways of Tokyo. Gus, do not get in there, you will be in trouble.




Lastly, it is strictly  prohibited to use cell phone either in the car or in the platform of subways in Japan.  This rule is extended to most of the public transportation, maybe except taxis.





In all the public transportation system, it is important to mind others privacy and secure peach.  Tuen off your music in the train car please.




Groping is a serious offense under the criminal law of Japan.





OK, You got it? Now you can ride Tokyo subways like a pro.

I hope you will enjoy the ride with world’s safest, cleanest and most convenient subway.

I hope you have a good day, and Bon Voyage!








How To Be a IKI or Good Customer at Sushi Bar in Japan


Sushi Chefs in Japan


When you go to Sushi bars in Japan, you may feel little different, rather confused, because there seems to be many rules and manners you should keep at Sushi bars in Japan.

Overall, in Japanese culture, people live within may unspoken agreements and rules.  So naturally, there are some unspoken agreement between customers and sushi chef s when you visit sushi bar in Japan.


For example, at sushi bar in Metropolitan Tokyo area, where Edomae  (meaning Tokyo style) Sushi or what we call “sushi” in America (Maki and Nigiri) originated from,  it is important for the people to keep their “cool,” or so called IKI.  Tokyo natives need to be IKI all the times, and that rule applies to the chefs and customers in sushi bars, as well.



Kyo-Zushi from Kyoto


“Kaisen” or sea food Chirashi Sushi of Kishi Sushi, Kyoto

In IKI spirit, people have to be generous and trustworthy.  Therefore, if you go to an established sushi bar, they do not have menu.  The chef provides the best he has for the day and the customer enjoy the best of all, and if customer is satisfied, they will pay.

Sometimes the bill is higher than you thought. But you need to pay up without asking, The logic of this is that you went to eat at the restaurant because you trust the quality and service of the restaurant.  And the chef is not supposed to rip you off.


Do not worry, many sushi restaurants in Japan welcomes foreign customers, and if you have some tips, you can be a IKI customer in sushi bar in Japan.



obama and abe

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at legend sushi restaurant  Sukiyabashi-Jiro (April 2014)


Here are some tips you may wanna know TO BE A IKI CUSTOMER:


1. Portions?

If you go to sushi bar during the lunch time, it may be easier for you to order lunch menu. For dinner, I would recommend you to order 10 PAIRS OF SUSHI.  (Remember, in Japan, sushi always comes with a pair, not a piece!)  You can also ask sushi chef to give you a small portion of rice balls.

Say “Shari Chisame De!”  It means I’d like my sushi rice portion smaller.

10 pairs should look something like this.



2. What toppings of sushi should I start with and end with?

In IKI culture of Tokyo, it is recommended to order sushi by “Omakase.”  Omakae means menu of the day or a course assorted by chef.  People say, if you are IKI customer always  starts with EGG CAKE.  I sort of agree with them  because, taste of egg determines the skill of the chef.  I you feel funny with the taste, you can always leave the restaurant, and if you are IKI customer, you should do so to let the chef know that he/she is doing something wrong.

egg cake

Sushi with Egg Cake

Then, you wanna go on with WHITE MEAT, RED MEAT, RICH, and lastly, MAKI, to be a IKI customer.

For example, you can stat with Egg. Then go to Flatfish, Fatty Tuna, Eel, then lastly, dried gourd strips.



3. Ask the price of toppings

Even as an IKI customer, you can still ask chef approximate prices of the toppings, especially if the toppings are seasonable and you do not have any idea how much they are.

It is ok to ask!   Especially if you are not familiar with the toppings, you can always ask the chef for an idea. Communication with chef is a key to be a IKI customer.



Communicatioin between chef and customers is a key at sushi bar in Japan. At one of the most well know sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Ginza Kyubey .

4.  Eat quickly!

IKI customers eat sushi as soon as it is served.  Freshness is important for sushi.  Also IKI customers do not stay at the restaurant for a long time.  IKI sushi customers usually spend 20-3o minutes at sushi restaurant and go.  Staying at sushi bar too long for nothing is totally against the law of IKI culture.


5. Eat with hand or with chop sticks?

Both of them are ok.


Dipping sushi with fingers



6. Dip the topping side of sushi in soy sauce!

It may sound silly but there is a recommended ways for IKI customer to pursue when eating sushi.

Dip only the toppings in soy sauce, and put the topping side of sushi on your tongue.

Also, SO NOT EVER PUT TOO MUCH SOY SAUCE ON SUSHI!  This is a no-no for sushi master, and it really damages the sensitive taste of the sushi.

if you keep this rule, not only you are a IKI customerm but also you can enjoy the best out of your sushi order.


How to dip sushi in soy sauce. Look at the amount of the sauce. Only little bit is always appropriate in eating Japanese food.


7. Refrain from smoking!

IKI sushi customer does not smoke in the restaurant because it bothers other IKI customers and it actually damages the taste of sushi.


8. Do not drink too much!

IKI customer go to sushi bar to enjoy the taste of sushi and communication with sushi chef.  Getting drunk is another no-no for IKI customer of sushi restaurant.  IKI customer will never get drunk and mess up other customers time and money at sushi restaurant.


9.  Do not wear too much perfume!

Again, combination of sensitive taste, smell of the food and the looks of the food is the three major elements of Japanese food on whole.  Wearing too much perfumes damages all those three elements.  IKI sushi customers will not dare to do so.


Got it?  Try these rules on your next trip to Japan, and I guarantee that you will be the coolest IKI sushi Customer in Japan!

Until next time, Bon Voyage!












Nasi Lemak: One of the Most Loved Local Food in Malaysia and Singaore


If you are planning to visit MALAYSIA and SINGAPORE, you should try their local food.

As a matter of fact, just like other cities in South East Asia, Malaysia and Singapore are food heaven.

Everywhere you go, in Malaysia or in Singapore, you can find kedai kopi (coffeehouse) or rumah makan (restaurant), where they sell bunch of local food, and you will never be bored.

Among the local food in Malaysia and Singapore, I would recommend that you to try NASI LEMAK.

NASI LEMAK is a Malaysian traditional dish served in one plate, or traditionally served wrapped in banana leaves.

Photo 3

Nasi Lemak being sold in banana leaves

NASI lEMAK usually consists of a scoop of rice cooked with coconut milk or, in Malay, “santan”,  and topped with topping such as, boiled egg, cooked peanuts, small fish, chicken curry, fried fish and fried chicken.  And NASHI LEMAK has to be served with Sambal or Malaysian cooked chili sauce.


I love NASI LEMAK for always for several reasons.

First, NASI LEMAK simply tastes good.  The combination of rice cooked with coconuts rice and sambal really enhances the rest of toppings in the mouth, and the combination of all the ingredients together in the mouth is exquisite.

Also, in many occasions, you can choose what you want to put on the rice, so there would be many combinations of the topping, and the process of choosing the topping is really fun.

Nasi Lemak is one of the most famous national food of Malaysia and Singapore.  Even it is traditionally food for Malay people, NASI LEMAK is loved by all the people in Malaysia and Singapore.

As a matter of fact, several years ago, talented Malaysian actor and director, Woo Meng Chee, who is a Chinese of Hainanese decent person, made a movie called NASI LEMAK 2.0.  This is a good example to how Malaysians love NASI LEMAK.



Usually, when you order NASI LEMAK in commercial restaurant, chain restaurant or restaurant which does not really specialized in NASI LEMAK,  the restaurant have already decide what to put on the rice.

But if you go to a restaurant whose specialty is NASI LEMAK, most of all the time, you may be able to chose your toppings.

The toppings are usually displayed at the entrance of the restaurant.  They usually put they rice on the plate for you , and you point out the toppings you want. They the staff will put the toppings on your rice.  And your NASI LEMAK is ready!


Nasi Lemak food vendor in Singapore


Nasi Lemak toppings displayed


Choice for Nasi Lemak


People in Malaysia and Singapore usually understand English, so you should not have any problem ordering NASI LEMAK.

But just in they do not understand English, HERE ARE SOME MALAY LESSON for you!


Minta Nasi Lemak=May I have Nasi Lemak.

Minta yang ini=May I have that one (please point the food when you say this)

Terima Kasih=Thank you


I guess if you know these sentences, you will get by to but yourself a NASI LEMAK.


NASI LEMAK is so popular in Malaysia and Singapore, that you can eat NASI LEMAK everywhere.  For example, Airasia, which, I would say, is the most successful low cost airlines in Asia,  they serve NASI LEMAK in the air, too.  And it looks like this.



May I introduce you some NASI LEMAK restaurants I recommend in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and last but not least, in NYC.





Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak

I always love the taste of NASI LEMAK of Boon Lay Power.  The restaurant is located in Boon Lay Place Market & Food Center in Jurong. Singapore. The food is basic, but very nice.  The taste of curry is sweet and spicy, rather mild. and the good aroma of curry will stay in your mouth for a while.

I do recommend this restaurant.









Nasi Lemak from Warong Sinarnor

Worung Senarnor restaurant offers traditional style of NASI LEMAK.  All the NASI LEMAK served here are good.  But the most significant about this restaurant is their Sambel or Malaysian Chili Paste.  I do know the recipe, but their Samble is good in your moth.  It is pretty spicy, but it does not burn your mouth at all.  I feel like I can eat many bowls of white rice only with their Sambel.

Their NASI LEMAK also can be served with Pegedil, which is Malay style potate cake.  I love their Pegedil with their NASI LEMAK.  It is such a good combo.

This restaurant is little far from Kuala Lumpur City Center, and it takes about 15 minutes or more by Taxi.  But I am telling you, it is worth a while trying Worung Sinarnor‘s NASI LEMAK.





Entrance of Sanur Restaurant


I just went there and I wrote a review  about Sanur Restaurant in Chinatown, NYC.


When I feel like I can’t wait till I visit Malaysia or Singapore next time, this is the place I go and fulfill my need for NASI LEMAK in NYC.  Please go and try their food.  I am telling you, not only NASI LEMAK, but the rest the food is wonderful there.


nasi lemak

Nasi Lemak I took out today from Sanur Restaurant


Ok guys, again, if you visit Malaysia or Singapore, try NASI LEMAK.  I know you gonna like it, and see why all the local people of Malaysia and Singapore love NASI LEMAK.

Ok guys, have a good day, and Bon Voyage!