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A WEEK IN JAPAN (part 3)

Last part!  Here we go.


My travelling companion vanished on me again this day, so I headed to Kami-Igusa - to see this!  A BRONZE GUNDAM!  I heard about it at the big Gundam.

Not quite as impressive as the large Gundam of course, but I liked the war memorial sort of theme!

Anyhow, Kami-Igusa was a sleepy sort of suburb, but for some reason, appeared to totally belong to Gundam.

Impressive, but perplexing.  I wandered around a bit, looking for more cool Gundam-related sights.  Was briefly harrassed by an eccentric old Japanese woman complaining about the crows, who didn't seem to care the least that I only understood about half of what she was saying.  I agreed amiably with her ranting, then made my escape.  On my flight, I made a fantastic discovery!  SUNRISE HEADQUARTERS! 

A rather unassuming building, considering the magic which occurs inside.  This explained the Gundam obsession nicely.

Kami-Igusa didn't appear to have much more to offer, so I headed back towards Shinjuku... or tried to.  Somewhere along the line - and I still don't know how - I stuffed up a transfer, and somehow wound up exploring most of the Seibu line.  So that was kind of an adventure, especially since they were all local trains and thus were lacking in english maps.  I eventually extricated myself from its vice-like grip and wound up back at Shinjuku, then it was off to Akihabara to visit some stores I'd missed on the Sunday.  Found a reprint collection of KiKi FFVII doujinshi!  I love KiKi's artwork, it was totally worth it.  Was tempted by some Persona and Gundam00 doujinshi as well, but since I was unfamiliar with the artists, wasn't willing to take the plunge.

Then Book Off!  Even more than K-Books, Book-Off is a bargain.  Scored about ten soundtracks, all between 250-950yen each.  Peanuts.  Love that store.

Checked out the 'Tokyo Anime Centre' in Akiba Square, but it's pretty unspectacular for its name, and not very Akiba.  Just some screens, some cardboard stands, and a smattering of merchandise from the most popular animes of the moment.  (i.e. Ghibli, Naruto, Evangelion, Pokemon, and a few other Shonen Jump titles.)

On my way back to the train station, I passed an area outside Yodobashi Camera where they'd cordoned off a section of the footpath for people to play Dragon Quest IX multiplayer.  No, seriously.  It was a street DS LAN party.

Yeah, DQ is HUGE.

Headed to Shinjuku next.  Hadn't really explored the Kabuki-cho side of Shinjuku before, so spent a while walking around there, admiring all the stores and sights.  Bought some delicious pastries! 

How do you eat a choco-coronet?  (Yay Lucky Star references!)  Also tried some 'Shiso' Pepsi, which is a kind of plant.  It was not quite so delicious.  Sort of tasted like a mixture of beans, grass, and medicine.  The initial sip was rather refreshing, but then it was as though a flower bloomed in your mouth... and promptly turned to ash.

After a bit of shopping, I went to check out the new Naruto movie!

They gave me a free Naruto keychain (quite a nice one), just for seeing the movie, I guess.  Actually, people were giving me freebies wherever I went.  Tower Records gave me a face towel just for walking through the door.

Anyhow, it was exactly what you expect from a Naruto movie.  As in, the animation and fight scenes were spectacular, but the story was terrifically bad and canon-breaking.  Lots of Kakashi and Shikamaru, which is a plus, but also completely illogical Hokages, going to war for no discernible reason other than to build tension.  (Oh sure, they had some logic, but it was flimsier than tissue paper).  More important than the Naruto movie, IS THE TRAILERS!  SPECIFICALLY, FOR THIS MOVIE:

HACHIKOOOOOOOOO!  They've completely Americanised it, but for once I don't mind so much, since if there's one thing Hollywood can be counted on, it's sad dog movies.  GUYS, EVEN THE TRAILER MADE ME CRY.  I think I'll be inconsolable for days after after watching this.  Unluckily, it was releasing the day after I left Japan (appropriately, on the 8/8).  IMDB suggests a September release for this in Australia, fingers crossed that date holds.  (I mean, considering we still haven't seen UP in our theatres yet, and Coraline only just got released last week).

After the movie, I played a bunch of skilltesters in a nearby arcade, managed to win some prizes!  Takes a while to adapt to those crazy Japanese UFO catchers.  Then back to hotel, to recharge for another day.  Can you believe I didn't eat a crepe this day?


Once again lost my travelling companion.  

For some reason I kept winding up in Ikebukuro.  Instead of calling this a Tokyo trip, I should have called it a 'Ikebukuro and other places' trip.  I browsed a few of the goth shops this time, then went to this awesome dessert place, called Milky Way. 

All of the parfaits were named after constellations! Naturally, I ordered the Sagittarius, and GUYS, IT WAS THE MOST AMAZING PARFAIT EVER!  LOOK AT IT!

This parfait was a journey of discovery.  Chocolate sticks, then biscuits, then whipped cream, then chocolate ice-cream.  Then cake.  The chocolate mousse.  Then vanilla ice-cream.  Then fruit!  Oh, and let's not forget the dry ice (you don't eat that, it's just for effect, and presumably to keep your parfait from melting while you eat it.)  I kept discovering new delights, the deeper I dove!

Buoyed by a sugar high for the next three hours, it was on to Shibuya!  I will not share the iconic photos of that, as I shared those last year.  Browsed a few more shops, but country cute appeared to be the fashion of the moment and I didn't really care for it.  Spent a good chunk of time in my second-favourite store of the world, Tower Records, for my new release soundtracks and CDs.  Among my prizes was the Summer Wars soundtrack!  \o/

Also repeated my Akihbara Book Off adventure with the Shibuya branch.  Cannot resist the cheap.  Browsed a few more stores, then headed to Shiodome.

There were some live performances outside one of the skyscrapers there, which entertained me for a short time, then I took some happy snaps of some of the buildings.  Check out this one:

Why are all the buildings so epic?

Anyhow, Shiodome was mostly just a stop on my way back to Odaiba.  Back in Odaiba, I finally ate sushi!  So many days in Japan without eating proper sushi!  Chose a really swank place, where the chef would take your order and make it for you fresh, instead of the train variety.  Unfortunately, I was not fluent or confident enough to attempt to banter with the chef, though managed to sort the orders part okay.  Expensive, but delicious.  Although I did notice the quality of my sushi markedly improved after I complimented the chef on one.  ^__^

Stuffed with raw fish and rice, I found myself with two hours to kill, so went to see Summer Wars again!  Shut up, it was good, and I actually managed to pick up the rest of the details of this story the second time (though the finer details of Wabisuke's history continued to elude me).

Afterwards, wandered around Odaiba, mostly admiring the lit-up ferris wheel and other lights.  Tokyo really shines at night.  Rainbow Bridge!  (With bonus Tokyo Tower in the background!)

Then, my purpose for returning to Odaiba - TO SEE THE GIANT GUNDAM AT NIGHT!  \o/

It was just as epic, if not more so.  I am glad for spending the time on returning, even though I realistically probably could have gone somewhere new.  

Kind of late by that point, so began the long journey back to the hotel.  Only one last day remained.  :(


Last day is always kind of a bummer.  You can't wander too far afield, as you have plans to get to the airport lurking in the back of your brain.  We started out in Harajuku, since it was the last of the must-go places we had yet to visit.

Ate a delicious crepe.  I had to make the most of it!  Crepes were soon to be out of my reach again!

There was a mobile phone technology sort of exhibition building we checked out as well.  I didn't get a whole lot from it, except they had this one neat display where a camera would take your photo, and it would used facial recognition technology to predict what sort of job you performed.  It registered my friend as a stylist, which I thought kind of hilarious.  Then I tried it... and also registered as a stylist.  EPIC FAIL.

Did a little bit more shopping, but we were both sort of broke at that point, so decided to spent the rest of our precious time in... yes, another cat cafe.  A different one, with different cats!

This place was a little more expensive, but much roomier.  Also, they had free internet, shelves of manga to read (I availed myself Saint Young Men and D.Gray Man), and lots of comfy couches!  It was very relaxing. 


We must have spent at least two hours here, before it was time to head back to Shinjuku and catch the Narita Express to the airport.  :(

 Narita Express has an obscene amount of legroom, on a side note.

At the airport, we had tempura for dinner, and the menu was filled with kanji.  I found it kind of amazing that after having absolutely no trouble ordering food anywhere else in Japan, it was a restaurant at the international airport which gave me the most grief.  Afterwards, last minute souvenier shopping (mochi for everyone, mwa ha ha!), and it was back on the plane.  The dream was over, until next time.

So there's yet another tale of a trip to Japan.  :)  Hope you enjoyed reading.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
yes, we all had fun reading! for sure! ♥

you know what i find extra charming?
your sweet tooth ♥
a kindred soul, which has an extra stomach for desserts, that's what you are! ^__^

now, i'll just comment on part 2+3 together (as i missed 2 yesterday):

hehe. butler cafe... i don't know, i find men in suits, ties and gloves kinda...sexy
but chatty butler? no sire! one step beside you, soundless and spotless service, that's a butler! XD

...the cats in part 2. is it just me or are they rather...plump? ^^;;

hehe. ♥

ooohhh! yes, the ffx intro...aaaahhh....
it's so beautiful! i find it even better than that love song, where they swim around in the lake.

(do you know the intro of ffx-2 as well? if i'm in the right (or wrong) mood, i get teary eyed and a lump in my throat just listening to it ^^;;)

OH! behold! night gundam! fear the squish squish! XD
yes, it will only be there for that time, so it's great you extra went back for that view ^-*

hmmm... i noticed that there's not much stuff around for the shoujo fandom?
too girly? (and embarrassing to make something pink and sparkly in the middle of the city?) ^^;;

oh well.
i'd really love to go there once in my lifetime.

well, the flight will be more costly for sure? germany to japan = no small distance
and, isn't stuff quite expensive in japan/toyko? (if not on sale)

aaaaaaaaaaaaah......saving up, saving up........

and then...finding someone to paint the town red (or green! or orange! or PURPLE!) with!

yes, one of my lifetime destinations...

um. 'k. now...lookie at the icon! i made a naughty version to the fluffy one i sent you earlier ^____^

yup, thx for your encourage, i shall fear not and post them in the next couple of days! *nods*
Aug. 11th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
Heee, yes, my enormous sweet tooth will rot all my other teeth at this rate! :P

Indeed, butlers are quite sexy! But I think they were going for most the host thing, than the butler thing. Interesting, but I wouldn't go back, unless I was with a larger group, or fluent.


There's a lot of shoujo stuff in Japan too, I just didn't talk about that as much! Otome road had heaps of shoujo promotions, and tucked away here and there in Akiba you could find shoujo-related stores. Billboards with pink backdrops and good looking people and sparkles! Heaps of examples. Women drive the economy, after all. ^__^

I have no idea what the flights from Japan to Germany would be, but at least you're in the same hemisphere? Probably quite a bit more expensive than Australia to Japan, but if you're determined~!

Looking forward to your inaugural post, four years late! ^__^
Aug. 11th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
LUCKY STAR! (So which side did you eat it from? >:D)


I think you did succeed in your mission to make me jealous of your pastry intake. The crepes! *__* BUT OH MY, I WANT TO TRY THE COMPLETE MILKY WAY. I LOVE THAT YOU CAN CONSUME YOUR OWN STAR SIGN.

Oh, told a friend about the WIN of Dissidia potion in pharmacy. He completely cracked up. ♥

The night Gumdam looks like it's about to take off. >:O

Every time I look at the cats, I get sucked into the cuteness.

Aug. 12th, 2009 08:59 am (UTC)
From the fat side! \o/ (I wonder if anyone eats it horizontally.)

Mwa ha ha. And so the dessert wars continue.


Sep. 13th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
Holy crap HOLY CRAP. GUNDAM AND NIGHT. I _missed_ this. asldjf;asldkjf

It looks fantastic. *envies*
Sep. 13th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
...I was so hysterical. It's 'at' not 'and'...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )