We take to the mountains for Shiga Kogen Ski Resort15 July, 2014 by Chad
Woke up to our first morning at Yudanaka Onsen with a filling breakfast that had been prepared for us which we enjoyed thoroughly. After, we’d get ready and head out to the station to book tickets for a mountain bus up towards the ski slopes at the nearby Shiga Kogen. We’ll be spending the rest of the day at one of the many ski resorts here, which were previously used to hold the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Our first authentic ryokan experience in Japan's snow capped alps05 July, 2014 by Chad
We were finally headed over to Nagano today. Since the cities cease to operate during the New Year, the lot of us would be spending the holidays over at a traditional resort in the northern snow covered Japanese alps. On our 3 day itinerary was a nice onsen ryokan stay, skiing, and a visit to wtiness the famous hot spring monkeys.
Affordable marine theme park island is one of Japan's favorite escapes from the city30 June, 2014 by Chad
Today we’d visit Hakkeijima Sea Paradise for the first time. Been wanting to visit here for years, but its out of the way location at the south east corner of Yokohama meant that I’ve never found the chance. Hakkeijima is an entire theme park island which combines ride attractions with a number of aquariums, restaurants and shops.
What makes Hakkeijima unique is that its completely free to enter, though you will have to purchase passes if you wish to make use of the various attractions. Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is highly popular with local families looking for an affordable place to spend the weekend, making it one of the most visited theme parks in the world despite being relatively unknown overseas.
Braving the suburbs for idols21 June, 2014 by Chad
While many of our readers tend to have concerts already in mind when visiting Japan, for different reasons each year, we often have to leave it up to fate for events to clash on the days we happen to be there. This year, we weren’t so fortunate with concerts or theater ballots and the only event which we’d make was at the eastern suburbs of Tokyo, where Avex’s flagship idol project SUPER☆GiRLS were having a free mini-live event.
The yearly visit to Tokyo's futuristic island city11 June, 2014 by Chad
Having spent the past two days out of the city, we’d take a break from the scenic sites today with a trip to Odaiba. Despite being theoretically part of Tokyo however Odaiba feels nothing like that. The huge reclaimed island in Tokyo Bay is easily one of my favorite spots in Japan’s capital for its unique atmosphere, leisurely shopping and manmade wonders.
Tama Zoo, Ueno's larger sibling03 June, 2014 by Chad
Though it took more than halfway into the trip, it seems that we were finally kicking into the holiday spirit, being able to finally visit some new sights. This morning we’d wake up relatively early and head out to the western edges of outer Tokyo to visit Tama Zoo before retiring to Akihabara in the evening for dinner and to settle some shopping requests.
This blue island in the middle of the ocean is one of the best getaways from Tokyo21 May, 2014 by Chad
After much anticipation we would be heading over to Enoshima today. It was over to Shinjuku once again, picking up a 1 day Enoshima Passport from the tourist counter there. For 1,970 yen, the “enopass” includes a return trip from Shinjuku to Enoshima, entry to the main attractions on the island, as well as use of the island escalators. It’s a much better deal than the combined Kamakura-Enoshima pass that we got previously since its hardly possible to cover both in one day. Would definitely recommend it to those looking for a convenient getaway from the city.
Christmas in 17th Century Japan03 May, 2014 by Chad
Hoping to spend this Christmas day at the beautiful island of Enoshima, we’d head over to Shinjuku Station in the early morning. There we’d be joined by Allan, and were to meet up with Chisaki again later in the day. Arriving far too early for any shops to be open, we’d look around for breakfast and eventually settled for some at a nearby Segafredo.
A rather unconventional Christmas Eve15 April, 2014 by Chad
Christmas is a particularly big deal in Japan, thought not exactly for the right reasons. In past trips, we’d often barely miss the Christmas season. This time round however we had planned specifically to spend Christmas in Japan since the last visit. Randy and I were keen to experience Christmas here and I was looking forward to their famous illuminations.
Onward to Tokyo07 April, 2014 by Chad
After checking out of the hotel this morning, it was time to head over to Nagasaki Airport for our flight over to Tokyo. As our luck would have it, there was actually a Rev. from DVL live over in Nagasaki this afternoon which we would have to miss. It would had been nice to see what all the hype was about.
The Nagasaki Peace Park25 March, 2014 by Chad
It was our last full day in Nagasaki, but despite this, we had already covered most of the main sights in the small town yesterday, save for Clover Garden, churches and the Peace Park. We weren’t that interested in the first two however, since we’ve already done quite a bit of historical sightseeing, but the last was still a must visit. So once again, leaving early, we caught a tram from in front of the hotel a few streets north to the Nagasaki Peace Park which commemorates the atomic bombing of the city.
A town with an ocean view, we visit Nagasaki's port and the famous Mount Inasa16 March, 2014 by Chad
Today we would be exploring some of the popular destinations at Nagasaki, including Dejima and Mount Inasa. The day started with some light rains again, but according to the weather report, would let up later in the day. But before that, we had to return to the train terminal to see if we could recover the towel Gage left on the train yesterday.
Nagasaki's Champon, a surprise in every bite27 February, 2014 by Chad
Checked out from our hotel in the morning, but we’d stay in Fukuoka for the afternoon. Hadn’t had time to plan ahead for the trip, so when we did book our hotels, there weren’t any affordable rooms available for the weekend in Hakata. To get around this, we’d spend the rest of the week at Nagasaki, but after researching at this last minute, we found out that there really wasn’t enough to fill up 3 full days at Nagasaki, thus the decision to spend the day in Hakata.
The ocean, fishes and sweets22 February, 2014 by Chad
We woke up to an another slight drizzle on our second morning in Hakata. The first course of action was to thus head over to the nearby Canal City to grab a new, preferably waterproof pair of shoes. At the same time, we’d take the opportunity to visit the HKT48 Shop that we missed yesterday.
A one day tour of touristy Hakata18 February, 2014 by Chad
We’d wake up fresh from last night’s rest on our first morning in Japan. Bristling with energy, we’d leave the hotel early and would cover quite a bit of ground today. All this despite the showers that had carried on through last night and which would come and go periodically throughout the rest of the day.
First time in Fukuoka14 February, 2014 by Chad
It’s been quite a while since an update hasn’t. Between work and attending university part time, there hasn’t been anything of interest recently to update this site with. Eventually things start to get to you though. With such a busy schedule, 2013 was the single longest span of having to be away from Japan in years. At the end of the year, I gave in and found an opportunity between semesters and projects at work to squeeze in a trip back to that wondrous place.
Still going strong11 February, 2014 by Chad
Today marks the 4th year since this site’s founding. Yes, the site is still alive. In fact, it’s doing quite well considering the lack of updates. It would seem that the decision to shift away from timely media and news updates toward more evergreen articles two years ago had payed off.
With the rest of the authors now moving on to other things and having to balance both work and school on my end, it has been hard finding time to update this site, or even any new content to. That’s not to say that Supermerlion is dead. On the contrary, site traffic has remain unchanged despite the lack of updates. In some cases viewership has actually increased in lieu of Google’s new updates that favour original content.
2014 will most likely be another interim year for the site, so while I can’t foresee any expansion in the year ahead, Supermerlion will continue doing what it has done successfully, in making useful cultural information available to the public and by supporting other local projects. On the front end, the site will be seeing some updates finally, in the form of some new travel journals in the weeks to come, so do look forward to that. Hopefully, there can be some new guides after.
Finally, a big thanks to everyone who has supported us thus far and a happy new year ahead.
Singapore's biggest toys and comics convention draws in the crowds03 September, 2013 by Chad
Last weekend we returned to the Marina Bay Sands Convention and Exhibition Center for the Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention. This year marks the second since Singapore’s largest toys and comics convention has shifted to the more prestigious location. With its wide range of offerings ranging from the mainstream to niched sub-cultures, STGCC is something we look forward to annually.