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Thursday, May 24, 2018
FIRST CABIN in FUKUOKA JAPAN: A Capsule Experience

 One of the first thing one should do when traveling is to look for a place to stay at. During my time at Fukuoka, I actually moved 3x. Yes, I went to 3 different places. One was an airbnb, another a capusle hotel, and the last was a decent 3 star hotel.
 I didn't really know what to expect but I went ahead and booked FIRST CABIN. It's a chain of capsule hotels that treat their "bunks" like you're in an airplane.
 I chose this place because it was quite near the different restaurants I wanted to visit. The fact that the building it's in is located quite near the train station and has a 24 hour DON QUIJOTE made it a no brainer.
 Even if it's not really my first time trying a Hostel like environment, it was my definite first in a capsule hotel. FIRST CABIN is located on the 8th floor and there are pretty much signs outside to note if they have vacancies or not. It's better to prebook online rather than heading over there with no plan as they usually get full.
 This is pretty ideal for solo travelers. The female section is different from the male one. So if you're looking for a place to spend with a friend of a different sex, I suggest you look for a hotel room instead. 
Since this is Japan, you're pretty much assured of the safety and also of the cleanliness of the place. 
They have a couple of room designations.One is the economy or the small version. This is perfect if you weren't able to catch that last train and needed a place to stay just for the night. They'll prepare towels and pajamas for you as well.
On the other hand, I went for the bigger room. Somewhat of a business class, this one has space for your luggage to put in. Plus, you have a table, and a bigger television.
Since this is all communal, you'll have access to their washroom as well. Everything was quite clean and well up to Japanese standards.
Of course, you'll have the whole toilet experience with their electronic throne.
Now in terms of showering, it may be a little embarrassing at first but you'll learn to just go with the flow. Usually, you'll sit at a small chair and soap and take a bath while seating down. Afterwards, you could go into the "pool" / onsen to relax. Yes, you will be butt naked. Remember to put the small towel only on your head and not in the water. If this is a bit weird for you, they have a couple of stalls for showering but it's not really covered. So just to give you a picture, once you enter the wash area, there would be places to put your stuff in. In the door, there's the sit down baths on the left. On the right would be the standing shower stalls. At the back of the room would be a pool for you to relax after a long day.
 It was quite an experience to go and have a communal bath. It's not really for me I guess but at least I tried it out. If you really want a bit of privacy go at an odd hour. Just outside the wash/shower area, there's also a single stall toilet on your left.
FIRST CABIN was quite an experience. I hope you'll be able to give them a go.

8th floor
Japan, 〒810-0801 Fukuoka Prefecture, 
Fukuoka, Hakata Ward, Nakasu, 3 Chome−7−24 gate's
+81 92-260-1852

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018
CHIKAE FUKUOKA: A Great Start To Eating in Fukuoka Japan

When in Japan, one of the best tips that I have ever learned would be to eat out during lunch. During this time, restaurants often offer set meals. Meaning to say, these are the more affordable versions of their offerings. It's a nice way to try out different dishes that are usually pricey in during dinner time.
When in Fukuoka, Japan, one restaurant that is a perfect example to visit would be CHIKAE FUKUOKA. This place can best introduce you to set meals. Be warned though, there would be lines. It's a bit of a walk from the train station too but it's worth it.
A good rule is to be at the restaurant at least 30 minutes before just to escape the crowd. If you arrive at opening, there's usually quite a number of guests waiting for their turn.
When I visited, I was quite lucky as my place of stay was quite near. More or less, it was a 20 minute leisure walk. I was really happy with the weather during that day so it was perfectly fine. I arrived around 10:30 and was lucky to be 3rd in line.
Once they opened, they usually ask you if you how many are you in your party. If you arrived at the right time, you'll be able to sit at the IKESU with fish cages right infront of you.
For lunch sets, there are a couple to choose from. Both are priced at only 1,500 yen so it's pretty decent. One has sashimi while the other has noodles.
Since I'm a rice lover, I went for the fresh seafood tray.
It had a number of components to complete the meal. First off would be the tempura. Deep fried and coated with perfection, it was good.
It also had a sweet fish dish that is quite similar to tanigue.
The miso soup was elevated to a different level because of the crabs.
Don't forget, FUKUOKA is known for their mentaiko. The orange-red condiment you see is basically that. People would usually mix it with pasta or even rice. I suggest you make good use of it since it's free.
It was quite an experience. The sushi plus the rice and the tempura made everything come together.

By the time I got out, there was still a long line to get in. I guess that's why it's pretty popular.
Unfortunately, as of February 25, CHIKAE FUKUOKA has stopped doing special lunches. Tatami Rooms are open only through reservation Monday-Sundays 11:30-22:00. The Counter would be open 11:30-22:00 on Saturday, Sundays, and Holidays. For weekdays, it would be open 17:00-22:00.

2-2-17, Daimyo, Chuo-ku Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka, Japan

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

If there was one Japanese food that everyone should try, it should be tempura. Breaded meat, vegetable, or seafood is deep fried to perfection. That is how they do it in TEMPURA NO HIRAO TENJIN in Fukuoka, Japan.
One afternoon, I found myself walking around the Tenjin area looking for one magical place. I have researched that it's worth the walk around and getting lost. I read that this place serves delicious tempura at very affordable prices. 
Once I found the TOHO cinema building, I went in and on the ground floor, I saw a line forming up. There's a ticket machine outside to order and pay for your desired items. The meals comes with rice already so sometimes people would extra order rice. Don't worry as they see this, they would offer to refund the ticket. In my case, it was deliberate because more rice is needed when it comes to tempura.
After deciding and buying the tempura set that you prefer, you line up outside. Once seat is available inside, you are seated in a right to left. You could get your own water and tea at the back.
It may take sometime to get your food but it is so worth the wait. I went there twice and I think going on an off hour is definitely better as you get to a seat faster and you're more comfortable. You could also hang your bags under the counter because they have hooks. Furthermore, all the seats are in the counter. If you're a big group, it will definitely take awhile.
Once seated, look at what the locals do. There's an unlimited serving of side dishes. It could be bean sprouts, octopus, and even some radish.
Once everything is set, you get a chance to watch the masters at work. With incredible techniques, they cook each piece of meat with precision. It's quite nice too that you won't smell that rancid oil. Unlike other restaurants, here, they make sure it's fresh and not over used.
Once all of my tempura was cooked, I take a quick picture and forever remember it.
Aside from the usual liquid dipping sauce, they also offer some salt based once. Traditionally, tempura is partnered with sea salt or other flavored variants.
After one bite, I was tremendously happy. I really needed the extra cup of rice as it was definitely needed.
Believe me when I say, that you would definitely use this vendo machine inside to order for seconds.
TEMPURA NO HIRAO TENJIN is currently closed because of building renovation. A different branch will open up in the same area soon. There are other branches in the Fukuoka area as well.

2-6-27 Tenjin, Chuo-ku | Tenjin Toho
 Bldg.1F, Fukuoka 812-0853, Fukuoka Prefecture

Here's the menu to guide you when you visit.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Glorious ramen. This hot noodle dish is such a welcome treat when it's raining or when it's cold outside. When I visited Fukuoka, Japan, I was quite lucky as I stayed a stone throw away from this well-known restaurant. SHIN SHIN is the place to try out when in Fukuoka as it's a different take on how noodles are done.
SHIN SHIN is located in a street just off Tenjin underground mall. Northern side, it's quite easy to find as long as you have google map. Plus, you can't miss it as there is usually a line outside.
Since I was just alone, I was seated at the bar. The place isn't big and could only accommodate a few but the turn over is pretty fast. So, you won't need to worry about waiting too long.
I had an order of grilled chicken stick and it was pretty normal. I think this was just on the menu as it's a great partner to beer. People go here for the ramen, so I guess that's the must order.
As you could see, here's the result. The noodles were not too big nor are they soggy. They're pretty good that you'll be pressed to order kae-dama or an extra order of noodles. The soup is pretty good. Not too thick and oily, it sure is amazing.
When visiting Fukuoka, SHIN SHIN is a must. Granted that this is the birth place of Ichiran and Ippudo, this shin shin is best known as a local's favorite.
Of course, one of the must things to do when in Japan is to visit a Konbini or convenience store. Their food is way better than your ordinary neighborhood store.

3-2-19 Tenjin, Chuo-ku,  
Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture

From TENJIN STATION. Just walk north.
Better to pass by the underground mall as there is a lot of shops there.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A little bit of pampering could go a long way. After a solid work week, a much needed break is in order. I guess going on a staycation works for everyone. Sometimes, it's best to just relax and treat yourself to something a cut above the rest. At RAFFLES HOTEL in MAKATI, they think about the different things that you would need and would make everything work for you.
Aside from the glamorous hotel lobby, RAFFLES HOTEL shouts exclusivity and privacy. They have their own pool and a special walk way that could only be accessed by its guests. In addition to having everything at arm's length, patrons of RAFFLES HOTEL is definitely spoiled. Each suite has its own dedicated butler. Even if I wasn't able to really experience this service during my stay, I did liked their turn down service that replenished all the things that I used. From toiletries to soiled linens and even a little treat before going to bed. Everything was prepared in anticipation of my needs. Although, I didn't get it why they had a birthday cake for me even if it was months ago, I did appreciate the gesture.
In their lowest room category, you are greeted by an anteroom that has its own sofa and table with chairs. Here, there's even a tv and a coffee maker for your use. Entering the main room, the bed is prepared to your specifications. A short hallway that has a couple of cabinets, would lead to the huge bathroom.
The washroom is somewhat double a size of a normal one. There's a separate bathtub and a his and hers sink. The tub would be the perfect place to read a book or even just soak up all the sun from the outside.
Visited the Presidential Suite of Raffles Hotel.
Even if I didn't experience in-room check-in that some guests rave about, I was able to appreciate the small details. I realized how RAFFLES is different from all the rest.

1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue,
Makati City, 1224 , Philippines.

Disclaimer: Stay was courtesy of Raffles Hotel. Wrote this based on my experience and opinion.
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