[Filming Location] Moonlight Drawn by Clouds

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten so attracted to any drama. I got hooked after the first episode and six episodes later, I started noticing that some scenes in the drama looked a little familiar. After doing a bit of research.. gosh I’ve actually visited some of these places before! Since I’m the hardworking one being overly enthusiastic over finding drama filming spots, I guess I just have to write this article!

This will be an on-going article and I will update whenever I find newer information about the filming locations for this drama. If there’s anything I missed out, feel free to comment! Apart from recognizing hangul characters, my korean language ability is limited to the accuracy of google translate. Oh wells, but I’ve been doing this so often that my guesstimate should be somewhat correct!

I’ve done up a map to mark out the various locations and gosh they’ve spend a lot of effort traveling for their set! Apart from Jeonju and Suwon, I’ve not visited the rest so feel free to share with me your experiences if you’ve been there.

moonlightdrawnbyclouds-filminglocation-map

The locations are grouped according to the “-dos” (aka province) in South Korea.

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Simple Plan – Live in Singapore 2016

I still can’t believe that I went for my second concert in 3 days (Jay Chou was on 3rd Sep) and it’s my first time seeing and hearing them “Live” since the first time I saw Pierre (the lead singer) in their I’m Just a Kid MV on MTV channel 14 years ago (2002).

Sorry for diluting the content in my blog away from travels but sometimes there will be memories that I would love to archive for future references.

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“I’m just a kid” was a song that I could identify with at that young age as I was truly a kid. I am not familiar with the music genre but Simple Plan is regarded as Pop Punk music which is like a combination between rock and pop. There were other bands of the similar genre back then but only Simple Plan caught my attention and I loved every single song from their first album “No Pads, No Helmets. Just Balls..” Back then, the album title sounded ridiculous to me (still do now), but the songs were all that matter. It was refreshing to hear them perform 3 songs from their first ever album; the album’s first song “I’d do anything”, their first debut single “I’m just a kid” and the album’s last song “Perfect”, which was also their finale song for the concert. I can’t help but reminisce the days where I struggled so hard to find more information about them. Those were the days that we visit CD-Rama or other CD shops to just look for their albums, take it out and stare at the front cover and scrutinize the song titles on the back cover and put it back again because we couldn’t afford it.

I guess the kids/teenagers today will never know the anticipation of tuning into the radio everyday just to hope the DJ plays your favourite song.

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Escape to hidden paradise – the southern islands

Feel like having a short getaway but don’t want to go too far? You can consider a day trip out to the less-known Southern Islands of Singapore.

Presently, Singapore has approximately 60 islands (according to Wiki) and the popular ones are Sentosa, Pulau Tekong, Jurong Island and Pulau Ubin. Recently, Coney Island (Pulau Serangoon) is becoming more popular after it reopened in October 2015. I have yet to visit it but hopefully soon. Anyway, to make the “island experience” more authentic, you got to take a boat out to sea and the Southern Islands seem to be a perfect choice. (Pulau Ubin should be next on my list since my last visit was more than 14 years ago..)

Well.. when we said we were going “island-hopping” in Singapore, my friend’s brother said something like isn’t Singapore an island? Are you gonna hop in Singapore? *roll-eyes*

There’s a simple graphic of my adventure that Saturday morning:
southern island hopping singapore

I’ve summarized my experience in SEVEN simple pointers.

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[Filming Locations] At Cafe 6 – Taiwan Movie – 六弄咖啡館

Following the success of “You are the Apple of my Eye”, “Cafe Waiting Love” and “Our Times”, “At Cafe 6” is the next taiwanese high school love story to hit the big screens after being a very successful novel. If you haven’t watched the movie, and cannot stand spoilers, please do not continue reading as I might be divulging some secrets in the movie along the way.

This movie did not receive skyhigh ratings, unlike 2015’s Our Times which was an instant hit. Over time, the popular endings for dramas/movies are always happy endings because if it wasn’t a happy ending, people will write in to scold the scriptwriters and director for their decision. For this case, the ending was pretty realistic, but far too shocking for the audience to accept. I was pretty upset at the end of the movie, wondering why the author had to choose such an ending. Another unsettling feeling you get while watching the movie would definitely be the accent of the lead actor and actress. I’m not sure if I was being too sensitive but the accent was distinctly not taiwanese. Well, if the lead was introduced as a foreign student or transfer student, I could have accepted the accent more but the lead in the show was acting as an ordinary Taiwanese high schoolboy. The female lead too, had a few lapses (lesser than the male lead) which made us wondered if there’s a possibility that she was not Taiwanese too. Anyway, it turns out that the male lead is from China and the female lead is from Hong Kong. It is nothing terribly wrong but it definitely made the atmosphere of the movie weird when the distinctive accent surfaced =/

Anyway, I shall move on to share with you the filming locations of this movie as case movie buffs or boliao people like myself would like to know.

The Cafe which was featured at the start and end of the movie (which represents like present day)

1. Mooya Cafe 沐鴉咖啡 (known as 六弄咖啡館 in the movie)

Address
No. 8, Lane 19, Yitong St, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104
台北市中山區伊通街19巷8號

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Hakone Ryokan – Shinanoki Ichinoyu

Deciding on which ryokan to stay in Hakone was not easy. We had too many considerations in mind:

  • Max $400/room ($200/pax) with Half Board Option (Dinner + Breakfast provided)
  • Private onsen
  • Location must be convenient enough for us to proceed to Kawaguchiko the next morning
  • Mt Fuji View

After scanning through almost all the accommodations (above 7.5 ratings) available in Hakone, we finally settled for Shinanoki Ichinoyu.

If you are interested, the other shortlisted ones I had in my list were:

*Do note that prices are in SGD, accurate as at May 2016 and may not include taxes and service charge

  • Hotel Green Plaza Hakone (Mt Fuji View but no Private Onsen) @ $337
  • Hotel Musashiya (no Mt Fuji View, no Private Onsen, walking distance to Hakone Shrine) @ $398
  • Hakone Suimeisou (no Mt Fuji View, no cheap private onsen option, walking distance to Hakoneyumoto Station) @ $417

I first found this accommodation on booking.com and hotels.com (hotels.com no longer list this property) and the price was about $417. On these booking websites, the description of the rooms were quite vague as we were unsure whether there was a private bathroom or toilet. We ended up searching for the ryokan’s actual website and we found out that this ryokan belongs to the ichinoyu chain which owns a couple of other ryokans within the vicinity.

Anyway, the conclusion was that if you book via the actual website, the price is likely to be cheaper!

*However, with rebates website like shopback (booking.com, agoda, hotels.com) where you can earn a rebate off your purchases, you might want to do a bit more research to drill down the exact cents to see which is the better deal. I know hotels.com have a 10 nights free 1 night benefit.

The same room cost us 28,080Y ($351.94 credit card exchange rate as at May 2016) and you even get a free side dish at dinner! You will have to pay a bath tax of 150Y per pax when you arrive at the hotel.

Since we were booking from the direct website, we can see more details about the room and what it looks like:


Open-air bath (circle method plain hot-spring), shower, toilet,
two double-sized low beds(mattresses), Japanese tatami space,
TV, Refrigerator, Safe, Electric pot
*Self service Futon (Japanese sleeping mat)making
*FREE Wi-Fi
Plan :   【Online only】 ≪2meals:extra dish at dinner, Annex≫ Type-B Room
2person(s) Room with Dinner & Breakfast 1room(s)
Room Type : Type-B  room with Living space (Annex)(FREE Wi-Fi)
Adult @14,040 yen x 2person(s)

Anyway, to read more reviews, check out its listing on tripadvisor.

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Aokigahara Suicide Forest – Kawaguchiko Mt Fuji

I’ve been contemplating on whether to write a blog post about my visit to aokigahara (aka suicide forest) when there are already so many blogs and videos about it but I kind of need to pen down my experiences in order to get them out of my head. Even as I type (2 months on), I can still recall the feeling of “deafening silence” and my anxiety level as I walked the simplest 20 minutes walking path (which in all honesty, was far from what most braver people have otherwise done). Well, each and every person’s experience is different and I’m here to share my somewhat scaredy-cat experience.

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I kind of knew that such a place called Suicide Forest exists somewhere in Japan near Mt Fuji but my interest in Aokigahara was sparked off after watching this youtube video by Vice Japan. Then, I realised that I actually had a friend who made a visit to the forest alone and said that beyond all the creepiness that you read online, it is a beautiful and mysterious place.

Just to share a bit more about my personality and fear level so you can understand more of my thoughts during my experience. I am not a thrill-seeker – In daily life, if I had a choice, I will not watch horror and ghost movies as I do not like scaring myself. As much as I think that I am adventurous, I have yet to explore any known haunted places before. The scariest thing that I have ever done (as far as my memory takes) was a confidence walk without lights at Matrichie in my younger days. It was part of a camp activity and I didn’t exactly have a choice. The next scariest was my visit to the Haunted House in Universal Studios Hollywood. That place scared the hell out of me with all that creepy sound effects. Would I dare to enter Aokigahara alone or at night with friends? Nope, I don’t think so.

So.. with my somewhat weak fear factor, why will I want to put myself into the situation of entering a forest well-known for suicides? To be honest, I don’t really know but I grew curious about this forest overtime. I started reading blogs about people’s adventure and watching videos of those who made it out alive (duh) and it kind of over-sensationalized my curiosity and there I was.. visiting Aokigahara on a random Sunday afternoon. The next amazing that that happened was that my traveling friend was willing to make the adventure with me. I kind of convinced her that it was gonna be an interesting nature hike. Well, I think she was pretty scared too (wouldn’t have done it without me). To be honest, it is not easy to find a friend who is willing to explore such places with you. After I returned from the trip and shared my experience about the forest, more than half of my friends/colleagues said I was crazy or “there are better things to do in Japan” and that they would not have accompanied me. Oh wells, I was lucky this trip.

Here we go.

By the way, I followed the walking course from here.

We boarded the Retro bus Green Line (30 mins frequency) from Kawaguchiko Station.

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Alight at Saiko Bat Cave after a 36 minute bus ride. There’s a huge carpark area and since it was a Sunday, the carpark was half-filled.

I went over to the information counter to ask whether there were tours but the message couldn’t get across to the counter staff. We ended up telling him that we want to visit the forest (didn’t bat an eyelid; maybe I wasn’t alone) and he gave us a map and directed us to walk to the end of the carpark. Right. As we were reaching the end of the carpark, we spotted a group of Japanese with a supposed guide at the entrance. We thought that the group would be joining us in the forest after they were done with the explanation but nope – they didn’t enter the forest (or at least we didn’t hear them).

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Fuji Hakone Odakyu Pass – booking, itinerary and experience

Although the Fuji-Hakone route is widely explored by travelers, I had a huge struggle in planning this leg of the journey. The information provided online is either incomplete or in bits and pieces and I simply could not find any blog or forum which puts them all together. The Fuji Hakone Odakyu Free Pass had been modified on 1st April 2016 to a price of 8000Y (previously 7200Y), with an increased coverage of buses and trains.

A lot of time & effort was spent in preparing this entry and I hope that it will be of good help!

Note: this post will only be talking about the planning, purchase and transport coordination. Reviews of each individual attraction/accommodation will be reviewed in a later post.

Here’s a summary of my itinerary, in order of the sequence I visited.

fuji hakone odakyu guide

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Magical Disneysea on a Rainy Day

I visited Disneysea on a 100% forecast rainy day; thinking that the rainwater would make the Disneysea experience more authentic. yea right. Well, the truth was that we couldn’t change any of the planned itinerary; but on a hindsight, every cloud has a silver lining!

Advantages of a Rainy Day

  • The queues are shorter for rides
  • The queues are shorter for the cafes/restaurants
  • You can take really cool photos with an umbrella (just kidding)

The weather forecast in Japan is scarily accurate. It was predicted to rain from like 5am till 4pm as according to the weather app on my iPhone. And the weird thing was that it was the only rainy day in our entire trip. The day before, the day after and the other days of the week – there was no rain. I guess my visit to disneysea had to be that special. It’s like that there’s this one single huge rain cloud hovering Tokyo on that one day, raining for close to 12 hours.

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So.. if the weather forecast was gonna be that terrible, we were hoping that there would be lesser visitors to Disneysea that morning.

Just to describe the rain situation that morning – the rain was light (showers) but it was non-stop with strong winds.

Rain attire (May 2016)

  • Timberland Boots + Leggings + Shorts + Shirt + Jacket + Umbrella

Although we bought raincoats the night before, I eventually relied on my umbrella as it was simply too troublesome to wear and take off the raincoats whenever you reach the sheltered locations. Umbrella on the other hand was a lot simpler to open and close. In fact, majority of the Japanese (maybe 70%) preferred used long umbrellas. Even if they had their raincoats on, they still carried an umbrella to shelter their had as the strong winds can force the rainhoods off your head.

You will be surprise – some rides even had a space or slot for you to fit your umbrella with you in your seat!

How to get to Disneysea

It was about an hour journey from our Shinjuku airbnb to Maihama Station (390Y), followed by a 260Y train ticket to Disneysea Station. Alternatively, you can save 260Y and take the free Disney Resort Cruiser (bus) which will bring you to Disneysea too.

There was no queue at the ticketing area when we arrived at 8:40am. I guess it was because of the rain and that we were late for its 8:00am opening.

After buying the tickets, there’s a simple bag check which we got through despite packing food. I guess they are not too strict on bringing outside food and drinks into theme parks.

How to strategize and plan your rides at Disneysea

Alright I did a little map below which showed my itinerary for that day. The one with numbers are the rides/attractions I went while the rest without numbers are things that you should visit if there’s sufficient time.

Another thing to note is that the majority of the rides are actually indoor & sheltered. Apart from Raging Spirits (outdoor roller coaster) and maybe the Venetian Gondolas, I don’t think any of the rides will be canceled due to bad weather.

disneysea itinerary

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Totoro Cream Puff Cafe – Tolo Coffee & Bakery and Fortune Cat Shrine Gohtokuji

The themed-cafe/restaurant scene in Japan is definitely a vibrant one. There’s just something for everyone.

  • Animal cafes (dogs, cats, reptiles, owls and even hedgehogs)
  • Butlers & Maid Cafes
  • Ninja, Robot Restaurant
  • Cartoon Cafes (Hello Kitty, Pom Pom Purin, Rilakkuma)

Well the list goes on and in my trip, I managed to squeeze in a visit to the cafe which sells adorable Totoro Cream Puff.

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The cafe is situated westwards of Tokyo City. It might look a little way off from all the attractions but it is actually not too far away from Shinjuku & Shibuya. The train ride was less than 20 minutes from Shinjuku Station if you’re traveling on the Odakyu Line.

Not many might know but Shimokitazawa area is also known for being a Hipster part of Tokyo. We didn’t have time to explore the area as we were running on a very tight schedule that morning.

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SHINee Tokyo Dome 2016

I was really thankful to have the chance to attend a Tokyo Dome concert again (in the span 2 years). Having visited the same Dome last year, I was a lot less panicky and excited as I kind of knew what to expect. There were several surprises and disappointments which I will share in the points below and I hope to be as objective as possible (I’ll try). I don’t have much photos of this concert as I know I can depend on the DVDs and fancams so if you’re planning to read this, be prepared that it is gonna be like 90% text.

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1.Buying Tickets to Tokyo Dome Concerts

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Tsukiji Market – Hello, Goodbye & See You Again

Since last year, I’ve heard many people talking about the closure shifting of Tsukiji Market. Before I did my research, I thought that the entire Tsukiji was going to close and I was somewhat bidding farewell to Tsukiji during my trip. I was feeling pretty sian as I thought that all my favourite food will be gone (or relocated to a distant place) by next year.

However, I am glad to announce (in case you don’t already know) that only the inner Tsukiji Market (not the outer market) will be affected by the relocation.

The tuna auction, famed Sushi Dai & Sushi Daiwa will be affected by this relocation but my favourite 100Y Tamago shop, the 1000Y seafood bowl & the restaurant were I ate my Omakase Meal will not be affected. As much as I love sushi, spending 4 to 6 hours in a  queue line is too much effort and I guess I’ll have to catch the Tuna auction in Osaka instead.

Anyway, here are my must-eats for Tsukiji Outer Market

100Y Tamago Shop

Rough Address: 〒104-0045 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Tsukiji, 4 Chome−10−10 築地センタービル, Japan

How to identify it?

  • It is a corner shop
  • It usually has a super long queue
  • There are queue poles at the shop
  • It has a yellow banner

There are other tamago (egg) shops within this area but there’s only one with a queue. Haven’t tried the other ones to give a fair comparison but.. just queue for this one. the wait ain’t too long and it is definitely worth it!

 

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My first Omakase Meal – Shutoku at Tsukiji 秀徳 2号店

Believe it or not – this was my first Omakase Menu that I’ve eaten my whole life.

Usually, I would prefer to choose my own food as I have favourites but this Omakase meal happened by chance. Can’t recall how and why I got to know about this restaurant but it has been “Starred” in my Google Maps.

秀徳 2号店 (Shutoku)

This shop is located in Tsukiji Outer Market and it will not be affected by the move in Nov 2016 which only affects the Tsukiji Inner Market (which contains the infamously 4-hour-long-queue Sushi Dai).

Edomae-style sushi: traditional style preparation (in Edo-period where there was no refrigeration) or something along that line. Tried to read up about it but it is too complicated for me to summarise.

Tabelog link (Japanese)

Official Website (Japanese)

Opening hours: Daily, 11:00 ~ 15:00 & 17:00 ~ 23:00

Lunch prices from 4000Y (There is a 2700Y option in their website but I don’t think it is available)
Dinner prices from 5000Y.

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As we ate some snacks (including the delicious 100Y egg) along the way, we were not particularly hungry when we walked past this shop. However, when we walked past, we saw 1 middle-aged Japanese man standing outside the shop. Feeling confused, I knocked and opened the door and asked if they were open. Despite the limited english, I could understand that they were opening at 11am. We decide to join the queue since it was only gonna be a 15-minutes wait. While we were queuing, there were many other passer-bys (mainly tourists) who stopped and hesitated if they want to join the queue.

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