Friday, April 21, 2017

Getting a Haircut in Japan

It was an adventure like no other.

I've wanted to get a haircut in Japan since my cousin cut her beautiful long hair. It looked really good on her (my cousin though is a model). My aunt (her Mom) has also kept her hair short and has lived in Japan for two decades already so I figured it must be good to get a haircut in Japan. It's been two years since my cousin cut her hair short and I was just always too chicken to set time to get a haircut whenever I was in Tokyo.

The universe conspired early this week. I managed to get off work just before six and hubby was lost somewhere in Nakano. I took the chance and marched into Kakimoto Arms in Ropponggi to check if there was an available hairstylist. I've been eyeing the salon for more than a year now. It's probably the most expensive haircut I would have in my entire life, but I figured that the hairstylist would hopefully not butcher my hair. I was very nervous.

The salon was very interesting. They had lockers where you could keep your things. They offered a case to keep my eyeglasses in. And they gave me a tiny ziplock bag for my earrings. Never had any of these in my home country. They also had beverage available in case you got thirsty.

The hairstylist sat me down in front of a mirror to interview me first on what I wanted to do with my hair. I told him I just wanted it short. A new look I said since I've had my hair long for about 15 years now. He didn't want to cut it short at first, but he took heed when I said I'm bored with my look.

I then moved to get my hair shampooed. The staff was very nice and made sure I was comfortable.

When Kamohara-san started to cut my hair I whispered to him that I wanted to get bangs. He wasn't convinced I should have bangs and just said, "I'll think about it." As he finished cutting the back area he asked me if I was sure I wanted bangs. I said, "Yes I want to try". He probably thought I'd hate it so cut sample bangs first and then when I said it's fine and proceeded to finish it.

I've always been wary about going to the salon. My long-time hairstylist retired a few years ago and I have not found the "right one" since he left so my hair has been subjected to a wide array of heavy-handed hairstylists. I just go whenever my hair is already too long and need a haircut. I even do home hair spa just to spare me from going to the salon. Kamohara-san though has the gentlest, expert hands and I think I may have found the right hair sylist for me. So I have to think about how to make this manageable for me (and my pocket).

I honestly wasn't sure if I did the right thing since it took long to finalize and blow-dry my hair. Midway I snapped a photo and sent it to my friend Chelle to get an affirmation I was doing the right thing. She said it looked good and that I shouldn't worry. Eventually Kazuro-san finished and I went back to the hotel to wait for the hubby.

I did not tell hubby that I was getting a hair cut. I wanted to surprise him. He was really surprised to see my new look and has been very fond of my bangs (haha). It's been a few days since I had my haircut and I finally figured out how to properly blow-dry it (had a punk look the first time I blow dried it haha).

Getting a haircut in Japan was a big, risky adventure for me. I'm glad I took the risk since my family loves my new look and friends have been raving how my hair suits me.

Kakimoto Arms - Roppongi Hills
Kazuro Kamohara, executive stylist
*off days: Tuesday and Saturday
Telephone: 03-5786-9810
Email: kamohara@kakimoto-arms.co.jp


Friday, March 10, 2017

How to Commute from Caticlan to Boracay





Booking your transfer from Caticlan to Boracay through a hotel or airline can be very expensive. For my trips to the beautiful island I usually just commute. Here's how you can get from the Caticlan airport to your Boracay hotel.

Step 1. From the airport take a tricycle to the jettyport. Cost: PhP50

Step 2. When you arrive at the airport go to the windows on the left side of the door and pay for the following per person:

Pump boat fee - PhP25
Environmental fee - PhP60
Terminal fee - PhP100



Step 3. Fill out the manifest form (available at the window where you purchase the pump boat fee).



Step 4. Go inside the jettyport.

Step 5. After the security check you will be asked to fill out another form on the tourism desk.

Step 6. Head to the departure area. Make sure you have your tickets and manifest ready because security will check this.

Step 7. Hop on the next available pump boat.



Step 8. After about 15 minutes you will reach the Boracay jettyport. The tricycles inside the compound are more expensive. Just outside the gate is where other tricycles line up. Hop on one and they'll bring you to your hotel. Depending on the location the ride will cost between PhP100-120.


The process is the same heading back although there would be no need to pay the environmental fee anymore. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Batam Beach Getaway

It's been awhile since we traveled and my itchy lakwatsera feet needed a quick getaway. We also had not gone to the beach yet this year so we decided to finally visit Batam.

Batam is an island just 35-minutes away from Singapore. I could actually see the island from my desk at work on clear days. After doing some research I found out that there are several areas in Batam you can go to. We chose to visit Nongsapura because it had more options for beach-front resorts and we really didn't want to go shopping.

Booked "Turi Beach Resort" based on ratings from Expedia and it was affordable (it was cheaper to book via Expedia rather than directly). I also booked our ferry ride through the Batam Fast website. We could have gone via Harbourfront Center though, but the trip would have been longer so we just went via the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal trip to Nongsapura.



As from our Bintan beach experience we decided to stay put in the resort and not go out. We plan to explore the rest of Batam when Kuya June is available for a day trip. Our trip theme was, "Chill and eat". Here's what we did --

Day 1 Late Afternoon: walk around the resort






Day 1 Evening: dinner and use the internet at the lobby




Day 2 Morning: breakfast, get stranded in a hut waiting for the rain to finish, swim at the beach and the pool





Day 2 Late Afternoon to Evening: movie marathon and dinner




Day 3 Morning: attempt to swim at the beach (low tide), move to green swimming pool; eat breakfast, chill then head home





A few things to know:

1. Internet - there's no roaming charges if you use a Singapore sim, BUT I ended up connecting to telcos in Malaysia since I couldn't connect to Indosat. No roaming charges too. Resort internet is very expensive at $20/day
2. Resort usually provides free shuttle service, they also offer free shuttle services to the mall.
3. Taxis are available.
4. You can bring food to the resort, but they don't allow cooking. Try to bring your own water if you are picky.
5. Seats aren't assigned in the ferry, if you don't want to sit in the open area make sure you get in the ferry early.
6. No need to get local currency if you don't plan to buy anything. We just ended up using our cash for tips, buying water and ice cream.

Costs:
Hotel - SG$50-SG$1,000 (our beach front room was $216/night and had to pay for extra person for his breakfast, extra bed and other services)
Ferry - for three it cost us $138 (already includes terminal fees)
Food - resort resto meal for three average of SG$80-100