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Japan Adventures Part 1

(Guys, I took 991 photos according to the camera.  I'm only going to try and post the most interesting and relevant ones.)
13th July, 11am
Finally on my way! Got seated in the upstairs section of the plane! I didn’t actually get upgraded – the entire flight was economy class. You still get served first and it’s slightly quieter in the top section though, as it’s sort of like being in business class anyway, just with smaller seats. Since it’s a JAL airlines plane, every seat has a mini-tv in the back of it. The radio stations are full of J-POP (it’s very weird to hear the xXxholic opening and ending themes on the radio), a pretty good selection of movies, and there’s even games! THERE’S GO! This is my chance to practice heaps and perhaps remove a few handicap stones against my brother upon my return.
Just finished watching a movie called After School. Japanese, but it had English subtitles. *spoilers removed* Interesting! The ending felt like a bit of a letdown almost, but it was a cool twist. Sort of a detective story, only no bullets were fired. Bit arthouse, even.
I take back any previous comments made about airline food. They served chicken curry, and it was delicious. Chocolate mousse for dessert! Also, it is very strange to have metal cutlery for everything except the knife. Paranoia is amusing. (Couldn’t you just fashion a pretty large knife out of bone?)
Safely made it from Narita to my hotel in Tokyo. It has a high-tech toilet, yay! The bus ride here went super-fast, since I was just transfixed by the scenery. It was all very, very green. I think perhaps that I have become so used to living in a dustbowl where everything is dead and brown or halfway there that the sight of lush green landscape and thick forests has stupefied me. It was beautiful. I shall make a point of venturing out of Tokyo into the countryside.
It’s very warm, but it is Summer here. A bit of a shock, especially since I forgot to take off my jacket while getting off the plane.
Code Geass was on TV when I got in, score! I only caught the second half of the episode, but ye gads, that series, so awesome. Seeing it live on TV made me giddy. (Even if the subbers invariably have it out the next day).
I think that I shall now go enjoy a luxuriously deep bath before getting some shut-eye. Seriously. The bath is deep enough to swim in. Or maybe drown in.
P.S. Free new showercap, GET.
14th July, 9pm

Went to Akihabara today. So tired.
It was pretty neat! Wandered into waaaay too many adult stores by accident, though, oops. Akihabara is unexpectedly sleazy in parts.


Code Geass billboard!  And Lucky Star parodying The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
Wow, did I find some cool stuff though. There was a store that had seven floors of just trading figures! One store had a whole floor dedicated just to Gundam! There was a place with a giant Sailor Mars statue, too, so nostalgic. And the gashapon and arcades and skill testers!

It was actually pretty hard to find much Prince of Tennis merchandise in Akihabara, though. Perhaps I did not look in the right places – there were so many places to look.  Found a few bits a pieces in hideaways, though.  Must keep eyes open.
My gaijin powers protected me from excessive leaflet handouts… but not from the maids. I guess they’ve already got nerves of steel.

I ate a melon bread! They are indeed as delicious as they look.
Hurt all over now, though. One thing about Akihabara (and Japan in general), is that you should be prepared to climb a large amount of stairs. Nothing of interest is on the ground floor – it’s either in the basement or higher levels. Found a cosplay store on the sixth floor of one place, and a store that sold nothing but trading cards on the fourth of another. Kotobukiya on ground level had a nice range of stuff, but is totally a tourist trap.
Perhaps the most awesome thing was seeing ads for Code Geass in the department store. And that all of the shops selling computers were playing Caramelldansen clips on the screens. Mind-blowing.
Speed Racer reruns are on TV at the moment. It’s terrible. How on earth the Wachowski brothers made such an excellent film out of it boggles the mind.
I could live quite comfortably off convenience store food here. It’s really cheap! And they’ll even warm your bentou for you in the microwave!


15th July, 2pm
I’m at Tokyo Tower! I got super-lost and had to walk ages, but found something pretty interesting sights along the way so that didn’t matter. Went on a river cruise from Hinode Pier to Asakusa, which was nothing particularly special, though you did get a good look at a heap of vaguely cool bridges and a chance to rest your feet. It is distressingly difficult to find seats and rubbish bins in Tokyo.

People sleeping on the ferry.  People will sleep just about anywhere in Tokyo.
Between the hotel and Hinode Pier this morning I turned on Mingle Mode in The World Ends With You, and scored eight connections and a heap of Mingle PP. I think this will have to become a regular thing.
Asakusa was totally a tourist trap, but that was pretty cool in itself. Big open air street markets full of kitschy tourist goods that I would have bought in a heartbeat if I had anywhere to put them.

Also, temples!  SO MASSIVE.  I love ye olde Japanese architecture, though.

Anyhow, the Tokyo Tower main observatory, in addition to offering some lovely views, is rather tranquil. Some lovely peaceful music is playing, and I am eating ice-cream. I’m also listening to the couple next to me talk about me. They’re assuming I’m American. They are not the first to do so in my short time here. I think that everyone in Japan assumes that any Caucasian they come across is American. They’d probably think that even if you were speaking French right in front of them. Luckily, they also assume I can’t speak a whit of Japanese. While this feels true when you’re hit with a machine-gun barrage of super-fast Keigo from store clerks, I can usually follow a regular conversation and about half of what’s on the news and television pretty closely. Though all the news talks about at the moment is some a 14-year-old who jacked a bus with a knife. There was also a current-affairs style story about students taking drink and food offerings from the memorial in Akihabara (which explained what that big white table with all the flowers and drinks on it was). Is it wrong that I was privately admiring the enterprising nature of the students? Most of them at least clapped their hands and bowed before taking the offerings, after all.
Oh well, I will get practice by listening and reading, if not speaking so much.  Look, pretty view!  The large building in the centre reminds me of a shoe.

Some people might not realise that there are two floors in the Tower’s main observatory. The lower one is much cooler as there’s a restaurant, it’s less crowded, and there’s windows in the floor so that you can look directly down. Very cool. My love of high places perseveres.
Keep expecting it get blown up or ravaged by Godzilla, though.

I’m currently spoilering myself for DGrayMan. IT’S AWESOME. I really have to catch up when I get home. 
Okay, ad break. So I got totally lost again after Tokyo Tower. Went to the creepy abandoned rooftop carnival...

...then the wax museum on one of the lower floors. It was a bit of a rip off, as I knew it would be, and the labeling was a bit off (I couldn’t see the Brad Pitt they were talking about, for example), but one point of interest was that Lady Diana’s figure had some sort of Perspex face shield bolted to her head. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the Japanese eventually became just as sick of looking at her face from the endless post-humus stories and scandals as the rest of us.
After the Tower, I went a nearby park for a while – it was so beautiful and peaceful and green. Upon sitting down, five pigeons immediately flew over, and then the largest one tried to bully the others away. I almost felt bad for disappointing them.
After that, tried to find my way back to Hamamatsucho Station, and wound up walking all the way to Tamachi Station (which is the next stop along). I asked one person for directions, who enthusiastically wanted to practice their English. I obliged, but their English wasn’t so great, so I headed in the direction I assumed they were trying to point me, before eventually stopping someone else, but it turned out that by the time I asked there was a sign (for the wrong station, but a station none the less thank god) in sight. Which was just as well, because she had no idea. I’m reminded of all the times people ask me for directions.


Doesn't this look like it would be more fun with giant beads?
At least I found some cool things in wanderings, like the shoe-shaped building! It was hard to take good photos because it was so massive, but there were some other cool places that were nice and quiet with great atmosphere. And seats and bins! I’ve become obsessed with finding seats and bins.
I’m starting to think that all Takeshi Kitano does now is appear on game shows. I’ve seen him on two different ones so far, and an ad for one that he apparently hosts. Get back to making movies, man!
Wandered around Shinagawa a little after dinner. The Japanese really like playing music in public places. The walkway to the aquarium was playing a soothing piano tune. The train station plays a little ditty so you know how long you have to board the train (and it even seems to be different for each line). And I nearly spasmed with happiness when I heard that notorious crosswalk tune for the first time earlier. I’m such a nerd.
16th July, 10:20am

I’m in Odaiba! It's a big artificial island filled with so many weird and awesome buildings.  I saw it yesterday from Tokyo Tower, and took the Yurikamome monorail here. It went across Rainbow Bridge, which was all sorts of spectacular. 
Unfortunately, Odaiba appears to be sleeping. I like Tokyo. It operates on my sort of hours – most things don’t open until 10 or 11 and close around the same time at night. Truly a vampire-friendly city!
Right now, I’m drinking a Pepsi Twist. It tastes pretty much exactly like what you would get if you mixed Pepsi and Lemonade. I actually haven’t seen a regular Pepsi in a vending machine yet.


Oh god, where do I start.  I know!  I FOUND A SHONEN JUMP STORE.

I pretty much had a heart attack when I saw this.  It's a limited thing to celebrate the 40th anniversary, so lucky timing!

There was also a giant ferris wheel that I took for a ride.  Very cool.

Wandered around a massive arcade afterwards, watched some Tekken 6 - nice graphics and music - and played some Drum Mania, Taiko no Tatsujin, and Arcade Tetris. 


Walked over Dream Bridge, and found the Tokyo Big Sight convention centre.  Pretty awesome.  But it was too far to walk back to the station at the point, so I went to find the next one.

I’m not buying return tickets anymore. I tend to walk so far that I can’t use them.
Naruto reruns on TV, sweet! I’m exhausted after walking around Odaiba all day, so it’s just the thing.
OMG, PRINCE OF TENNIS RERUNS ON TV!! Looks like the Fudomine arc. Ha ha, I forgot about the part where Ryoma was taunting Kaidoh before his match, and Kaidoh got annoyed, then Tezuka intervened on Ryoma’s behalf. <3

…Kaidoh was much more badass in the first season.
My long-standing fear of still escalators moving when I step on them has come to life. Looks like they were set up to auto-start to save money, like automatic doors or taps. How high-tec!

Wow, that was a lot.  I will post more tomorrow.


( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2008 10:17 am (UTC)
Your nerdy adventures are so cool. I'd love to do that - I'll have to practice my Japanese a bit more and lose my couch potato of a boyfriend first. I don't see that happening any time soon. :(

I can't wait for the next part of your adventures! How long were you in Japan?
Jul. 27th, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)
About twelve days. As I grew more used to walking, I stopped for fewer breaks, though, so less writing. ;)

Pretty much all of my adventures wound up being nerdy one or another. Honestly, though, if you're only hanging around Tokyo, you don't need that much Japanese. It's pretty english-friendly, and most of the important signs are in the english as well. You should definitely do it. Take the couch potato of a boyfriend along, and make him climb some stairs. ;)
Jul. 27th, 2008 10:56 am (UTC)
How long were you in Japan, exactly? You seem like you've been to quite a lot of places. You should visit Kyoto next time. Absolutely exquisite, I tellz ye. Absolutely. I guarantee it.
Jul. 27th, 2008 11:05 am (UTC)
Twelve days-ish. Oh god, wanted to visit Kyoto and Hokkaido and lots of other places too, but honestly, twelve days was not enough even for just the Kanto region. Next time, though, definitely.
Jul. 27th, 2008 11:09 am (UTC)

You need at least a month for Japan. Preferably more. Did you pay for the entire trip, though? Man, that's expensive.
Jul. 27th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC)
Well, yes, who else would pay for it? :)

Wasn't that expensive, really. The priciest thing was the accommodation. Food was pretty cheap, and since I walked so much transport was pretty cheap too.

INDEED, YOUR SUGGESTIONS ARE EXCELLENT. But yeah, a month WOULD have been expensive. Sapporo! Wow, you went all over! When was this?
Jul. 27th, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
Well, you never know. *shrug* In my case, the first time was my parent's pay. Well, technically. Yeah.

I have a place I can stay at in Japan (relative's house), but then I only stayed there the first time. I didn't want to impose too much, and being there kind of limited my freedom too. So the next time I got a hotel, and then after that I got a short-time rent flat (I was there for one month and three weeks, I think).

I've been going back and forth for a while now, the first time was Tokyo, then my relatives took me to Kyoto. I stopped over at Yokohama and Okinawa once too, but just for a couple of days. Sapporo was just a two-day stop by. You know, by train. Cuz trains are cheaper than lugging your own car.
Jul. 27th, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, you're a real veteran! *____* That all sounds so awesome.
Jul. 27th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
"Veteran" makes it sound like I'm going into war or something. *snicker* Well, it IS war when I'm there. Self-control vs. shop-til-I-drop, that is.
Jul. 27th, 2008 12:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, and since you're here now, I wanted to ask your opinion for a Beauty and the Beast fic, PoT style. Dou? Would Keigo be fit for the Beast?
Jul. 27th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
Ha ha, well, he is a stuck-up Prince... :D

Awesome. Who would the beauty be?
Jul. 27th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
Guess who~. >D
Jul. 27th, 2008 11:02 am (UTC)
i love reading your journey to japan :D it sounds cool but tiring :P
Jul. 27th, 2008 11:26 am (UTC)
aslkjdhfkjsd Yagyuu
and I are sitting here looking at all these shiny pics and wondering why everyone but us is in Japan this summer LOL Aaaah, nerdy adventures are the best! *jealous* XD Why didn't you take me with you, Renji? I thought we were friends [/emotional blackmail]
Jul. 27th, 2008 11:30 am (UTC)
If I had the funds available, I would have certainly brought the entire team. <3 Consider this merely a scouting trip for gathering information for future outings. I'll be sure to share the rest of my report with you soon.

It is the popular thing to do at the moment, ne?
Jul. 27th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC)
*flails* Ho, shite!! Tis the Tokyo Tower that I've always wanted to see after watching Episode 14 on Eyeshield 21!! :D ...and the creepy abandoned rooftop carnival...<<;;; I wonder if Hiruma went to visit that! XD

You really had one hell of an adventure! Love all the pics and the description you gave. I hope to one day visit Japan...or move there would be better! D: *needs to learn more Japanese*
Jul. 27th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
Yes! However, I was not insane enough to climb the stairs. :P
Jul. 27th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)

Code Geass everywhere, melon bread, grape Fanta, traditional Japanese architecture, ZEPP TOKYO GOMG, high-tech everything *________________*

Oh man, I am so going to Japan ...Soon ...er than later.

But Sinn~ Japan is too awesome for my brain.
Jul. 29th, 2008 10:35 am (UTC)
(How come you are the only person who was excited about Zepp Tokyo as I was? XD)
Jul. 29th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
(You have filled my head with the question as well. xD Yay TeniMyu)
Jul. 27th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
Stupid Enter button, I'm trying to type here.

That temple, tourist trap. Spent too much on little keychains and things.

XDD No wonder I could never find any anime on TV, I always got back to the hotel too late.

And Akihabara was strange. (THOUGH I DID SEE THE GIANT CODE GEASS BILLBOARD. XDD) Not high schooler friendly, that's for sure.

Jul. 28th, 2008 09:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, it took me a while to get the hang of Akihabara, too, but it had a real charm. Ikebukuro for your anime needs though, definitely, did you try there? Much cleaner, better laid out, and overall less seedy.


Drunk many weird beverages, actually, but that one was the best. <3

Anime appeared to be on most frequently from about 4-6ish in the afternoon. This worked out pretty well for me, as I would spend most of the day walking around, return to the hotel around then for a few hours to rest up, then wander out again into the night.
Jul. 28th, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
xD Sounds awesome!
Jul. 28th, 2008 09:31 am (UTC)
Sounds SUPER AWESOME!!! I wanna go too! Next time pack me in your luggage, please! I promise to try not to crumple any of you clothes! XD

I want Grape Fanta too! Pepsi Twist was quite popular in my country a few years back. You can hardly find them here now...Miss it too!
Jul. 28th, 2008 12:44 pm (UTC)


It sounds so very fun :O!
Jul. 28th, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)

PHOTOS. *squeeeeee* I &hearts JAPAN.


BUT- I am muchly amused by these two sentences.

…Kaidoh was much more badass in the first season.

Doesn't this look like it would be more fun with giant beads? Which is SO true because I look at it and think beads, my mind keeps channeling primary school and little kids amused by colourful round things.

...Was there any part of travelling in the land of the rising sun that was difficult?
Jul. 29th, 2008 10:34 am (UTC)
Hee. Yes, anime paradise. I came back with at least another three series I want to check out. *___* In addition to, you know, the already massive pile of unwatched. THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH HOURS IN THE DAY. (yay for Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Wish Reel Anime came around more often, huh?)

I had a bit of trouble comprehending the shopkeepers who spoke really fast in polite Japanese, but other than that, no worries. Oh, I got lost lots too, but that's par for the course and was mostly enjoyable for the most part. ;)

Honestly, the only really struggle was refraining from buying too much cool stuff! XD
Jul. 29th, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
YES THERE IS ENOUGH TIME TO WATCH ALL THOSE ANIMES. BE LIKE THE JAPANESE AND HAVE 26 HOURS IN A DAY. =D Hee~ yep, yep. I watched it at Reel Anime in a little dingy cinema with smelt like yummy popcorn. I didn't know it came from the Eastern states! Can't wait for it to come back.

*nods* Yea, I was a bit worried about language, but cool! Um.. Did I tell you I was going next year? Well, do you reckon it's too ambitious to head from Tokyo to Kyoto and maybe Hiroshima in three weeks? ... Friends also want to go skiing/snowboarding so I'm not too sure about everything. Or should we just stay in one place?
Jul. 30th, 2008 11:33 am (UTC)
Next year?! Lucky! Nah, three weeks is enough for that - I could have done a lot more in two weeks if I didn't get lost so much, probably, and it's really fun to see some different scenery. :P Go see as much as you can!
Jul. 28th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
-shakes fist in envy-

羨ましい! 私は東京へもどたいんです! でも、シンどのが楽しかったですね? ^ 。^
Jul. 29th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
当り前だ。迚も楽しかった! :D

まあまあ、きっと直ぐに貴方も東京が行けるでしょう。 ;)
Jul. 29th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
OMG lucky you for the great timing! Shonen Jump! Oooh! Sounds fuuuun! Waaaaah I really wanna go and see that huuuuge COde Geass Promo ad in the mall! Oh and wow, carameldansen in the stores selling comps? now why can't the comp shops in our country do that too! XDXDXD
Aug. 3rd, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
...those are called melon bread? I thought it was pineapple. D; thoughmaybethat'smebeingbadatcanto
Aug. 5th, 2008 01:08 pm (UTC)
Definitely melon! It says melon, tastes like melon, looks like melon andohgodimissthepastriessobad. T____T
Aug. 7th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
I envy you so much... It's almost impossible for me to go to Japan... but I still have to hope.. maybe I get this scholarship for a schoolyear in Japan... And even if I don't get it... someday... SOMEDAY I will be able to go to all those amazing places you were... *cry*
I'm much to obsessed... *g*
Aug. 8th, 2008 09:46 am (UTC)
Yes! Believe! For years and years I was in your exact position, but just waited and waited and saved and finally IT WAS MY TURN, YAY!

YES! ZEPP TOKYO! When you do go, be sure to plan around the musicals! I was so upset to have missed out by only a fortnight! XD
Aug. 8th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
By only a fortnight? man... that's annoying! But when I go I will plan with the Musicals AND WATCH ONE!!! I JUST HAVE TO BELIEVE IN IT^^
Aug. 10th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC)
so cool!!!! I want to go to Japan!!!:| waaaahhh!! so jealous!!:p by the way I love your story: A Traditional Ninja Romance! so wonderful!:)

P.S. I added you as my friend^-^ it's your choice if you add me as your friend too.:) I'll surely be glad:D
( 38 comments — Leave a comment )

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