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A WEEK IN JAPAN (part 1)

So, haven't posted for a while, because, as most of you already know, I've been having adventures in Tokyo.  Back now, obviously, once again thoroughly depressed by our lack of weird beverages, crepes, anime merchandise and giant robots.  TIME FOR PIC-SPAM AND STORIES!

I’ll skip everything from the first day, since most of that was spent on a plane and a good chunk of the evening was used up hanging around Narita airport for a variety of reasons. Let’s just head into the story of the most awesome day of my life.



First order of business was Odaiba - the big artifical island with the ferris wheel and Zepp Tokyo and all around popular social location.  The reason?  THE 1:1 SCALE MODEL OF A GUNDAM THERE.  BEHOLD ITS GLORY:

It's for the 30th anniversary, and supposedly only up for two months, but given the sheer amount of foot traffic going through (the ground, once grass, had turned to mud underneath the shoes of the endless hordes) they're surely going to have to extend that.  It was kind of awe-inspiring - the photos really don't do it justice.  And every hour on the hour, it would light up and play music and sound effects and move the head and emit steam and it's just the COOLEST THING EVER GUYS I GEEKED OUT SO BAD.  And took many many many photos.  Here's one from the back:

I liked that one because it's easy to pretend it's about to head out on a mission.  Now we only need to get the Japanese to make one that walks, and we'll be in business.  You know, this is a rather golden photo opportunity for cosplayers.  I was kind of surprised not to see any, though there was some fantastic posing going on.

After that, we checked out Fuji TV station - or rather, the summer event it was holding outside of the building.  Most of the attractions were related to Japanese talk and quiz shows I'd never heard of, but there was a neat little Dragon Quest exhibit set up!  Except I'm not that crazy about Dragon Quest, but it is Square Enix, and the exhibit itself was kind of cool.  I might give DQIX a spin once it's localised in oh, ten years.

Aqua City shopping mall was next, and to my surprise, the JUMP shop made a reappearance!  It must be an annual Summer thing. 

They had some neat Reborn and Gintama merchandise, but the rest of it was kind of ordinary, unless you're into collecting pins, as there was a whole wall of those which must have had a pin for just about every shonen jump character ever.  The shop itself is a spectacle to behold, though. 

Next to the shop, they also had a Naruto exhibit!  10th anniversary!  Has Naruto been around for ten years?!  Suddenly I feel old.

Mostly posters, bios, some original sketches and artwork, character charts... kind of like walking through a commemorative magazine.  Neat little surprise diversion. 

Since we were there, we checked out Sega Joypolis.  It's an entirely indoor theme park.  We didn't go on many rides, except for this one hang-gliding simulator which had the worst CG ever, but was still incredibly fun.  The direction of the wind blowing in your face changed according to how you tilted your glider.  Played some arcade games (Typing of the Dead and House of the Dead EX mostly).  I ate a delicious banana and chocolate crepe from Crepe Ojisan.  The guy would make the crepe right in front of you, and it was all very serious business.  I realised quickly that I was not being served by a cook, but by an artist.  And truly, the crepe was divine.  The pastry as thin as tissue paper, practically translucent.

On our way back on the Yurikamome monorail, I saw some cool things in Shimbashi, so we got out and wandered around.  And found a clock designed by Hayao Miyazaki!  No, seriously.

At certain times of it day on the hour, it would go spastic - playing music from various Ghibli movies (Laputa appeared to be the most prominent theme), all the various parts would creak and groan and whirr to life, then the hands would spin crazily and after three minutes it would finally settle on the time again.  It was magical.  One must wonder what the world would be like if Hayao Miyazaki designed things like phones and bins and trains outside of just animation.

Also, there was this cute thing:

Japan apparently didn't learn anything from the whole 'Pikachu is a girl!' revelation.  XD  Which reminds me!  Apparently Care Bears is experiencing a resurgence of popularity over there?  About every third skill tester had Care Bear merchandise in it!  Care Bears are actually kind of creepy.  Has anyone tried watching the cartoon again as an adult?  Disturbing.

In the same area, 20TH CENTURY BOYS PROMOTION!

I so desperately want to see the new movie, but alas, it is not being released until the end of the month, even though the hype train in Japan was running full-swing for it.  It occurs to me that I've never professed my love for Urusawa's work on this journal before.  I really need to start reading Pluto, but should probably finish Monster first.

We stopped in a cafe to eat precarious cakes.

Look!  It's a tower of cake!  I proceeded to make highly disasteful jokes about skyscraper disasters.  Hopefully not too many people in the cafe could understand english.

Then, powered up by a sugar high, on to the main event: TENIMYU.  Final Match Rikkai the First, featuring Shitenhouji.

On the way there, we passed the venue for Dream Live 6:

By the time we reached the venue, I was an uncontrollable bundle of anticipatory glee.  Behold!  The Japan Youth Center.  An unassuming sort of building, and yet, magic occurred inside.

Obviously, they don't let you take photos inside or during the performance, but just... wow.  It was so amazing.  Watching on DVD just doesn't compare to seeing it live.  My seats were on the second floor, but in the very first row so I had an excellent view, could see the whole stage clearly, though the girl sitting next to me brought opera glasses, which was both kind of funny and kind of genius.  They had all the DVDs and CDs and photosets in the foyer (the line for the photosets was horrendous), and the place was entirely filled with girls.  To the point where they'd just pasted a women's symbol over the men's toilet sign.  I have no idea where the staff or five guys there with their girlfriends went to the bathroom.

As for the musical itself, one word:  EPIC.

The Sanada and Tezuka match was brilliant.  There must have been four songs for that match alone!  Tezuka Phantom (I think that's what the song was called, I was kind of too busy fangirling to take everything in) was a particularly wonderful piece.  And Atobe and Oshitari made an appearance on video in the helicopter!  Oshitari and Momo's reaction shots were priceless.  aslkfjsalkfjslakfjslkfj.

The new cast is going to do just fine I think.  Collectively, they may be the strongest set of singers we've had so far, even if none of them individually are quite up to Shirota Yuu or Kazuki Kato's brilliance yet.  Dancing overall was pretty good too, although Sanada had this one wavy move that was kind of spastic and hilarious.  XD

AND AKAYA IN DEVIL MODE!  His insane laughter, his jerky movements, the lights, the song, aslkfjsalkfjs I LOVED IT ALL, almost as much as the epic Sanada-Tezuka match.  In this case, I think the musical did it better than both the manga and the anime.  Also, Inui in bandages was WIN!  Particularly his dream sequence and when he woke up in the hospital.  I may have died laughing.  Zombie Sin is writing this.

The trickery of the illusion in Niou and Fuji's match was neat as well!  I think they had a Tezuka doppelganger sitting on the sidelines, partially hidden by the other regulars clustering around while the lights dimmed and real Tezuka would take stage in Niou's place occasionally (they handled Shiraishi by just not having Shitenhouji in their spectactor seats for that part of the match I think, it was all handled very fluidly). 

AND THEN - THE GOLDEN PAIR!  YOU ACTUALLY GET TO SEE THEIR MATCH PROPERLY!  Unfortunately, this does mean you don't see Ryoma's - they've broken the finals into two parts, I'm assuming the second Final Match Rikkai will spend the first half on recap, and the second half solely on Ryoma's match.  This unfortunately meant very little of Ryoma in this one (aside from an opening solo), but it must be said that amnesiac!Ryoma was terribly, terribly cute.  You really truly felt sorry for him when Momo was serving balls at him and he was getting scared and ducking and hiding.  And all the attempts to trigger his memories:  "Become the pillar of Seigaku!"  "That's impossible, I'm human!"  XDDDDD  But it ended on a cliffhanger!  D:  Well, not really, because we do know how it ends, but if you didn't...!

The actors came into the audience again too!  Unfortunately, since I was on the second floor, we didn't get any during the encore, but at the start of the second half, Chitose made an appearance on our floor!  That was very cool, so I can't understand how the people down in the stalls didn't have spontaneous hearts attacks from the overwhelming awesome of having the actors suddenly appear not two metres away from you.

Speaking of encore, they did 'On My Way'!  \o/  Happiness.  That describes the entire experience.  PURE HAPPINESS.  Also, in the group curtain call, Tezuka did some kind of weird twisty bow, and wound up half under Ryoma, though I don't think even he knew where he was supposed to be going with that.  *___*  And during the encore, Sanada, Niou, and some of the Shitenhouji guys started doing this completely hilarious dance that looked like it maybe belonged in a rap video.  That was about it for adlibs and flubs.

I floated away from venue on a cloud of pure joy, face in pain from the non-stop grinning.  It's a good one, guys, right up there with the Hyotei matches.  And thus concluded the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.

On that note, I'll end Part One here.  Tenimyu and Giant Gundam deserve a post of their own.  I'll post more later!


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 8th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
zjklkjhgfdsfghjkl;lkjhf....~!!!!!!!!!! omg that sounds like awesome awesome fun *jealous*
Aug. 8th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
Tenimyu and Giant Gundam deserve a post of their own.

Indeed they do!

(by any chance do you know doingfirst ? it's just that you're both from aussie and went around the same weekend... and i'm just being random XD)
Aug. 9th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
Interesting! No, I don't, I went to the show on the 31st, and having a squiz at her journal, looks like she headed to Japan just before I left it. She's taking advantage of cheap Jetstar deals too? :D
Aug. 8th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
asdhgfsjg THE GUNDAM. I AM SO JEALOUS. THE GUNDAMMM *_____* I can't believe there weren't any cosplayers taking advantage of the situation, SHAMEFUL.

also, oh god, Tenimyu, I'd forgotten you were going to see that, but asdhf, if I had to list every reason why I am absolutely jealous of you right now I would go over the character limit. ashdgfdjasgdgf. Also I am relieved to hear that the new Atobe isn't that bad, although really, there can never be anyone as amazing as Kato Kazuki, ugh. KATOBEEE ;_;

you have to tell me all about this in detail later ♥
Aug. 9th, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
New Atobe, what? They used old Atobe for the video, no singing, just hilarity.

What, more detail than the 750 words already written? XD

I know, right?! There must be some cosplayers who've used it, there must be! Maybe they all turned up in the first couple of days, and the times I went just didn't have any running around. Photo op of a LIFETIME, hello!
Aug. 8th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Agh! So much fun! I want to go back! ;~;

Wait hold on now what?! A giant Gundam?! It must have not been up whilst my group was there otherwise surely we would have been taken to see it. Oh well.

Yay for musicals? I'm glad you went since I never got the chance. :Db Gackt is very happy for you.
Aug. 9th, 2009 03:28 am (UTC)
Maybe not. Although it's already been up for a couple of weeks already. Maybe they just didn't know about it yet?

Musicals! I can't wait for the KuroMyu musical DVD to come out! (>___<)
Aug. 8th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
OOooooooohhhhh !!! ♥

Sounds likes so much FUN, YUM and WOW!

Wish I was there as well ♥ Wish I'd be able to understand Japenese ♥ Wish to pet the big Gundam ♥♥♥

Me looking forward to Part 2 (。◕‿◕。)
Aug. 9th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
Well, you can make one of those three wishes come true... :D

Also, you totally could pet the giant Gundam! On the hour every hour, after the lights and steam display, you could walk under it and touch the feet! Which felt kind of silly, actually, but walking around the feet of a Gundam was kind of epic! Kept imagining it going squish squish.
Aug. 8th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you had a wonderful time. XD
Aug. 8th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
I'm aching with the want NEED! to visit Japan... and have one of my LJ friends with me. Only they would understand! XDDD

Sounds like you had an epic trip and OMG Gundam!!!

And OMG, we're already on the final arc with Tenimyu? Where has the time gone? ;___;

Thank you so much for shaing it with us, made me live the experience a bit! XD

Aug. 9th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
Pharre! ♥

I know! What are they going to do after the final Match Rikkai? WILL THAT BE THE END OF TENIMYU? Say it isn't so! I mean, we'll surely get a Dream Live 7th, and I can't imagine they'd get a whole new cast just for two shows... ;___; I want to see the last one!

I tried to include as much detail as possible, for all those who couldn't be there. ♥ You definitely need to visit Japan! I imagine it's not too hard to convince a like-minded LJ friend. :D
Aug. 8th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC)
XD Everything sounds so awesome, I don't know where to start. I mean, the Atobecopter is in this musical? WINWINWIN. And it has Inuimummy too? sdfgh. jkl!
Aug. 9th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
It even had big blue letters 'ATOBE' on the side. XD I want an Atobecopter. There's a piece of merchandise they haven't cottoned on to yet.
Aug. 9th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
Aug. 9th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)





And I still want to hear about the problems in Narita! >:| Nothing must be held back in this account of storytelling!

Aug. 9th, 2009 11:38 am (UTC)
Aha, nothing special. My travelling companion wanted to rent a cellphone, and it wound up taking something like an hour and half, which meant we missed the Narita express and had to take the next one.

Aug. 9th, 2009 06:25 am (UTC)
adslakjs;dfkajsdf omg!!! I wish I could have gone with you. It sounds so awesome!
Aug. 9th, 2009 11:39 am (UTC)
So many people have said so, the LJ community almost needs to plan a group Japan trip! XD
Aug. 9th, 2009 08:02 am (UTC)
fhasghasgh;w;lhsha gaaahhh
most AWESOME trip ever!!! i am SO jealous it's not funny...aahhh a miyazaki clock!! hmm your picture of it reminds me of howl's mobing castle. i feel like they should play that instead of Laputo <3
SOOOO jealous!!! although, i do have one piece of comfort! 20th Century Boys is making its US screen debut in my city, San Francisco! So I get to see it and you get to see...the POT musical...

ok so fine i still lose but at least i got a consolation prize ;)
Aug. 9th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)

lol i was so excited i didn't read over for typos haha
Aug. 9th, 2009 11:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, it did very much have more a Howl's Moving theme, didn't it? Especially with how clanky and disjointed it was when it turned over on the hour.

20th Century Boys is getting released in English?! \o/ Excellent news! I've already seen the first movie, but it will be so awesome to see it in a theatre! A fine consolation prize indeed!
Aug. 10th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
lol well actually i saw the trailer viz put up and it wasn't in english...so i know it's debuting in here but i don't know if i'll actually be able to understand it! hahaha we'll see...

but bleach diamond dust rebellion WILL be in english so that's exciting. i saw it already but me and hitsugaya = <3<3<3 so im down with seeing my beloved on the big screen ;)
Aug. 9th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
Sep. 13th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)

Heee, the Gundam pics and mentions of general Odaiba-ness make me giddy, since I was there this summer, too! :D
Sep. 14th, 2009 09:20 am (UTC)
Oh my goodness! Had I known we could have met up or something! :O Crazy awesome coincidence.

*___* WASN'T THE GUNDAM EPIC? They're deconstructing it now apparently. So glad I got the chance to see it in person. The pictures can't even come close to capturing the feeling of looking upon it with the naked eye.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 15th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
I understand that they're putting it back up somewhere! Near the Gundam model factory, I think, I can't remember which station it's at. SO THERE'S STILL A CHANCE. \o/
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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