Saturday, December 5, 2009

KL Tour With The Japanese

Short note: This entry was written several months ago but as usual, there were too many pending posts and I finally get to post this up now. Get set for quite a lengthy entry; or if you like, you can go get some chips and make a cup of Milo first.
For the second consecutive year, I joined a few of my Malaysian mates as volunteers to guide the lecturers and students from Nagaoka National College of Technology around KL during their school trip to Malaysia last September. It is an annual event, and the trip is partially funded by the college. Each year, they will have three groups, making trips to Malaysia, China and Vietnam. This year however, there is only one trip - to Malaysia, probably due to the bad economy situation lately.
One of the reasons I join them is because some I personally haven't been to some of the places we visited. So, as we become their tour guide, we could also take the trip as a holiday at the same time. Besides, there will be always funny and interesting encounter throughout the trip, especially when the Japanese experience some cultural shock when they are here in Malaysia.
The nervy experience of buying train tickets haha.
Another ticket buying session at KL Sentral.
The very first thing on the first day is telling them how to buy train tickets at the counter. They stayed in Federal KL Hotel along Jalan Bukit Bintang and the nearest station would be the Imbi monorial station. So, we had to point at the destination we were going and tell them how much it cost, and repeat the name of the destination several times. Some of them were kinda like competing among themselves, seeing if they managed to pronounce the next station name correctly to the ticket person haha.
"See, I only told him once!" said one of the students to his friend.
I think he must be very proud of himself lol. Everytime we have to buy tickets, we would took like more than fifteen minutes although it could be done much faster than that. But well, we just got to tell them properly which station to get to and the amount needed. Otherwise if they got down at the wrong station, we will be the ones to have difficulties locating them. But I told them beforehand already, just in case they are lost, just report themselves at any police stations haha.
The second challenges that they got to face was crossing the busy roads of KL. You know what, they were just on their first day in Malaysia and we already made them facing so many challenges until it sound like they were racing in the Amazing Race haha. They were quite surprised when we told them we gonna cross the road without the zebra-crossing area.
"You sure you gonna cross here??!"
Japanese stuck in the middle of the road.
We just smiled and nodded to them. I bet they must be praying that they will still remain in one piece after they get to the opposite side of the road haha. Of so many roads, they got to cross at the junction near Pasar Seni LRT Station, where it is always busy with buses and motorbikes. They took some time initially but after a few days, they managed to master the skills of crossing busy roads without getting knocked down haha.
The first destination of the day was Merdeka Square and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.
On the way to the first destination of the day, walking along the Klang River.
Maruyama Sensei describing the place to the students.
Our group picture with the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in the background.
Good thing that one of the lecturers had a pamphlet in Japanese describing that place, so he just read everything to the Japanese students. Sometimes, it is hard to explain a particular place to them because there are certain words which we are unsure ourselves what are they called in Japanese. Besides, we sometimes are not very sure of the facts and it is during time like this we realised that we know very little about our own country.
A simple test would be, can you state the exact height of Mount Kinabalu? Almost every Japanese know how high Mount Fuji is.
Another group picture in front of the clock tower.
A historical spot for our country.
"What's up next?"
The weather was kind to us, because it wasn't too hot or raining. The bright blue sky and sunny day was just perfect for us to go around places in the city. We continued our walk to the next destination, Masjid Jamek which is just a stone's throw from Merdeka Square.
Just some quick facts about this mosque, Masjid Jamek is one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak River and was designed by Arthur Benison Hubback. The Sultan of Selangor officially opened the mosque in 1909, two years after construction was completed. The mosque was built on the first Malay burial ground in the city. Before the national mosque, Masjid Negara, was opened in 1965, Masjid Jamek served as Kuala Lumpur's main mosque (taken from Wikipedia).
The mosque has a Moorish architecture.

The non-Muslims who wore short pants and didn't cover their head were given a pair of jubah and scarf to be worn while they were inside the compound of the mosque. I was one of them as I forgot that we would be visiting mosque on that day. I tried looking for the biggest jubah and it was still a bit shorter than it should be. I asked the pak cik at the entrance if that is okay, and he just said it's alright.
So, here are the group who had to wear the jubah and scarf.
With a mortar board, we would look like graduates at some university's convocation haha.
We got a local to take us around the mosque.
A lady brought us around the mosque, while explaining some basic facts about the mosque.
This was the time the local students' help is needed - to translate them into Japanese. I could only remember one fact - the walking path outside the main building could accomodate about 2,000 people at one time. The mosque was undergoing some expansion work on both sides of the main building at that time.
Furnishing work done by the workers.
They were later taken to the section where people take their air wuduk.
Those Japanese tried to learned the whole process and something funny happened. The lady told Maruyama Sensei to wash his chin, but he misheard it and took off his hat, and wash his whole hair haha! Everyone there was laughing like crazy and he was sporting enough to smile back at us haha.
First we wash our hands.
But Maru-chan washed his whole head lol!
From Masjid Jamek, we took the Putra LRT to KLCC.
We first had our lunch at the food court and later, we brought them outside to KLCC Park to have some pictures with the Twin Towers in the background. Hopefully, after they have seen the two towers, they will never think that Malaysians live on trees anymore haha. We wanted to take them up to the Skybridge but too bad it was a Monday and it was closed.
Lunch at KLCC's Food Court.
My aunt, who works in one of the towers was just sitting next to our table during our lunch haha.
Camwhoring at KLCC Park.

Some stopped at Rotiboy to grab some refreshments after a hot day.
The big group broke into smaller ones as different people wanted to go to different places. Some went to Aquaria KLCC, while the rest chose to hang around and window shop inside KLCC. After more than three hours there, we gathered and headed to Central Market.
Central Market has been given a new lease of life since a few years ago. I could still remember how the place was in a mess and how a tourist spot was not managed propely just several years ago. But thanks to the change of management, it is now one of the must-visit place for tourist to KL.
We let them go around the place and at times, help them bargain when they are buying souvenirs. I was at one shop with a Japanese junior and I had a short chat with the shopkeeper, who is a Pakistanese. He was here for only two years and he can actually speak some Malay. There was one point when he asked me back, "Are you a Malaysian?"
Do I look like an African, eh?
Shopping for clothes.
Kuih raya too.
There was another time when I was walking with the group of students and the lady was trying to promote her keychains.
"Keychains, keychains, one for five ringgit. 一個十リンギット (One for ten ringgit)".
See, when they are selling stuff to the foreigners, especially the Japanese, the price can just become double.
Fish spa at Central Market.
Some of them went to try the fish spa and from their facial expressions, you could tell that it was a ticklish experience haha. They were laughing the whole time when they put their legs into the pool which is full of some species of fish, which obviously, I'm unsure of.
After they were done shopping for souvenirs there, we walked to Petaling Street to let them experience our version of Chinatown. We were almost halfway inside when one of them asked me, "How long do we need to walk some more before we reach Chinatown?" I was like "Huh, you're inside Chinatown already lor!" Haha!
The electronic display board put up at the entrance.
They were surprised because their image of a Chinatown is that it is supposed to be flooded with restaurants and food stalls. But in our Chinatown at Petaling Street, the number of fake goods could outnumber the number of visitors easily haha.
We later took taxi back to the hotel to keep their stuff before heading to Jalan Alor, a street behind Jalan Bukit Bintang to have our dinner. This place recently became a headline because the city council tried to change its name to Jalan Kejora, much to the opposition of the local traders. There are various kind of local food, from satay to fried koey teow, cendol to coconut water, along this road although they could be slightly pricey than other places.
The whole group, waiting for the food to be served.

Here comes the food.
They were actually at the same restaurant on the night they just arrived at KL but too bad I wasn't together with them. So, they looked worried when I told them we would go to the same place again. I guess the problem lies at their inability to choose the right food because by the way they told me, I know the food didn't suit their taste bud at all. But after their dinner with me, they said the difference was like sky and earth.
They love the food a lot and even said they gonna go there again for their dinner on other nights haha.
A group picture during the dinner.
During their time in KL, they stayed at Federal KL.
I didn't join them at the hotel, as I crashed at my relative's place in USJ. But there was one night where I went out too late and I had no choice but to secretly sneak into their rooms to overnight there. I did that without the knowledge of the two lecturers haha. However, I had no idea what were their rooms number, so I went to the hotel reception counter and told one of the lady that I had some discussion to do with the Nagaoka Kosen group people. She asked me to give their names and fortunately, I remember one of the students' full name. The next thing I know, she handed me a complete list of their names and rooms' number; including the two lecturers' room haha!
I bet this will never happen in Japan.
The students' room, messy as expected.
The view of KL from the window.
That sums up the first day with the Japanese. Stay tuned for more.


CLF said...

wow interesting adventure u had there in KL!
maybe in few years time it would be my turn to bring the Japs around lol.

masti said...

take them to eat nasi lemak la

fufu said...

that's not chinatown >< at least i dont think so!! as far as i know it's Petaling street....

Anonymous said...


~Live Life~ said...

I finally finished reading your post after several breaks...

Anyway, nice experience! I fully agree with you about how lil we know about our country...

About the height of Gunung Kinabalu, my initial guess was 4000m which was pretty close to the exact figure: 4095m...haha! Thanks to my geography knowledge back in secondary!

calvin said...

@ clf:
yeah, it was my second time and we had a great time!
make sure you don't bring them to the wrong place =P

calvin said...

@ masti:
i don't think their taste bud is able to take the spiciness of nasi lemak >.<

calvin said...

@ fufu:
that's the closest resemblance of chinatown that you can find in kl, i guess?

calvin said...

@ ~live life~:
*give a pat on your back* :D

i guess it was a really lengthy entry, wasn't it? xD

but at least you managed to give a close, though not exact answer, which to me is something you can be proud of yourself.

i guess we should equip ourselves with more info about our motherland, especially when we are living abroad to avoid any embarrassing moments when we are asked simple questions about her.

Kae Vin said...

i know how high is mount KK.

Coz I was there! At the peak ;)


calvin said...

@ kae vin:
khai sheng said it's 4095m, but it is one meter higher according to you. maybe mount kinabalu has grown taller haha!

~Live Life~ said...

Maybe KaeVin was up he was like more than a metre that totaled up to 4096m?? lol!

calvin said...

@ ~live life~:
does that mean mount kinabalu will be 4097m if i'm up there? haha xD

Abby said...

ive been reading your blog for awhile and it sounds like you have quite the adventures!
im looking forward to hear more from you!
ps. come to the states! :)

calvin said...

@ abby:
hi abby! nice to see you here :)
i'd love to visit the states one day!

Ken said...

I cant stop laughing that Maru-chan washed his head! Lol...

Did u ask them to try on durian? Or dodol? Haha... Wondering how would they react like.

calvin said...

@ ken:
haha, yea-lah. that sensei damn random and funny one lol!

this time, i didn't because nobody dares to try it. i let the group who came to malaysia last year to try the durians, but a group of more than ten people couldn't finish it, even though it was only one durian. in the end, i tapao-ed it haha!

here is the link:

ohh yea, some of them got some dodol at central market this time. i asked them if they like it, but they told me they bought it not because they plan to eat it, but they wanna use the dodol in 罰ゲーム (batsu gemu) or punishment/penalty game =.=