Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

Tokyo Revisited Day 17

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Oh Japan

My final full day of 2014 in Tokyo began with a walk down the street to the bank to exchange a final hundred dollars. Along the way I snapped daytime photos of two of the restaurants that I’d eaten eat during the previous week. Then I stopped in at the Somo Somo 100 Yen store primarily to pick up some hard plastic re-sealable boxes that I could use to transport home delicate collectables within my suitcase. Once again, even though this was a small 100 yen store, I was impressed by its selection and some of the odd, unexpected items it stocked.
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Tokyo Revisited Day 16

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Tempura restaurant

With the conclusion of my stay in Tokyo approaching its end, I considered how much money I had remaining and how much I’d need, and decided to walk down the street to the bank to exchange $250. The bank was somewhat less crowded on its ground floor this time around; the small third floor lobby was one again deserted. I filled out the form and took a seat. Ten minutes later I received 24,800 yen. On the way out I politely refused a bank employee that encouraged me to register for a Mitsubishi Bank credit card.

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Tokyo Revisited Day 15

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Gundam & me

A variety of subtle and minor cultural differences between Japan and American occur to me as navigate Tokyo. During my two weeks here, I’ve seen about a half-dozen women wearing traditional Japanese kimono or similar attire on the street, but to a person the women have been elderly ladies. I wonder to myself if these women are individuals who have spent a lifetime wearing traditional Japanese clothing, if they’ve only adopted the grace of tradition with maturity, or if they represent a contrast with the contemporary, younger generations of Japanese citizens who aren’t interested in the formality of traditional Japanese attire.

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Tokyo Revisited Day 14

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

In the name of the moon, I"ll discount you!

I woke somewhat excited about the prospects of some sort of interesting publicity event surrounding the debut of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal being held in conjunction with a sale at the Shibuya 109 department store. But I also tempered my expectations, knowing the that publicity even could turn out to be nothing more than a bunch of posters and banners. Around mid-day, Jon and I took the trains to Shibuya, exiting the station at the Hachiko exit into a mild rain. As soon as we crossed the intersection, we could see the giant Sailor Moon banners attached to the 109 building.

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600 Yen Gamera

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Because a photo was requested: foot-stamped “Bandai 1991″

Bandai_1991

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Tokyo Revisited Day 13

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Tokyo_Character_Street

For otaku in Tokyo, Akihabara and Nakano Broadway are the primary satisfying destinations and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Ikebukuro’s Otome Road is increasing in prominence and awareness, but the Otome Road otaku district at present remains small – a mere two blocks – and near exclusively devoted to female consumers and collectors. The hidden gem of Tokyo’s anime otaku destinations is the relatively little known Tokyo Character Street, which is actually not literally a street at all. A basement section at the north Yaesu exit of the Tokyo railway station houses a strip of roughly 20 consecutive gift shops collectively known as “Tokyo Character Street.”

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Tokyo Revisited Day 12

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Nakano_Broadway_shop

I’ve mentioned before that my fascination with anime culture and collectables is so intense that I’m entirely happy to just surround myself with fictional alternate rainbow-colored worlds and smiling cartoon girls. Not everyone – in fact – most people probably wouldn’t empathize with my obsession for more than a day or two, and certainly not two weeks. But my vacation is for my own amusement, and if visiting anime shops brings me the most pleasure, then that’s what I’ll do during my vacation. Because my temporary room-mate had to go to work for the day, and I knew that I wanted to pick up some goods for a friend back in Florida, I returned to Nakano Broadway.
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Tokyo Revisited Day 11

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Tokyo_Tower_Panorama

The venerable Tokyo Tower straddles a three-story building that houses a visitor’s center, numerous pop restaurants, and even a small aquarium. I’ve visited the historic structure twice before but never gone up to its observation decks. Although Tokyo Tower is now no longer Tokyo’s tallest structure – that designation now belongs to the more recent Tokyo Sky Tree – Tokyo Tower remains an iconic symbol of Tokyo, and I decided that since I had time and opportunity to see its peak, I should do so before a giant monster lays waste to the structure.

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Tokyo Revisited Day 10

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Toei_Animation

The primary point of coming to Tokyo for slightly over two weeks is to allow time for a variety of activities and sightseeing. Given the intensity of my collecting obsession, I could happily spend my entire trip exploring only Nakano Broadway & Akihabara. In fact, every time I go to either place, I seem to discover new anime shops that I haven’t visited before. But I also want to expand my experience (and conserve some money), so I decided to visit the free Toei Animation Gallery.

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Tokyo Revisited Day 9

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Chuo-Dori

Yoshinoya may be the native Japanese equivalent to McDonalds – cheap, blue-collar, omnipresent – but I happen to highly enjoy the taste of the standard, no-frills Yoshinoya gyudon: thin sliced simmered beef and onions served over white rice. Throughout many of my previous solo visits to Japan, I’ve subsided near exclusively on Yoshinoya beef bowls. So although I’m eating better on this trip than usual, I can’t make an extended visit to Tokyo without at least once getting a Yoshinoya beef bowl.

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Tokyo Revisited Day 8

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Nakano
Although I spent a day packing prior to coming to Tokyo, almost as soon as I arrived I realized that I’d forgotten to bring a coin purse. A pocket-sized change purse is essential while visiting Japan because the country’s smallest denomination paper bill is the 1,000 yen note, the equivalent of a $10 bill. So especially visiting otaku that aim to do a lot of purchasing quickly end up with a pocket full of change. While I practically never pay for purchases with exact change back home in the US, I try to do so as frequently as I can here in Tokyo, just to reduce the number and weight of coins that I have to carry around.

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Tokyo Revisited Day 7

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

View from Jon's apartment

Jon is an investor in a fairly new, promising Tokyo restaurant named Devil Craft. He’d mentioned that the restaurant would be celebrating its premiere of a new craft brew beginning at 3pm, so I assumed that he intended to go over to the place for a late lunch at three. So after performing my morning routine then watching the latest episodes of Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei and Haikyuu, Jon surprised me by asking about my plans for lunch. Since I hadn’t bothered to deliberately ask, I hadn’t realized that Jon didn’t actually intend to visit Devil Craft until the evening. So we agreed to get lunch before going separate ways for a short time.

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Tokyo Revisited Day 6

Friday, June 27th, 2014

John_at_IG

I decided to make Thursday a relatively light activity, or rather light shopping day. Per the schedule I’ve adopted so far, I woke early and spent the morning typing up a record of the previous day’s activity to post online. Then Jon & I decided that we’d attempt to locate Campus Musashino and possibly the Evangelion Store and Square Enix Store.

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Tokyo Revisited Day 5

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Akiba

Following a calm and slow morning, I invited Jon to visit Akihabara with me. Our first stop was the Starbucks in the Yotsuya station’s Atre shopping center to try out my confirmed free Starbucks wifi account. For reasons unknown, the Starbucks mobile site repeated rejected every variation of my log-in as incorrect. So still no mobile wifi. I’m never ever going to purchase an Apple product for myself.

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Tokyo Revisited Day 4

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Jojo_coffee

The fact that I’m on vacation in Tokyo attests to my enthusiasm for things Japanese, but after numerous trips during a span of nearly 15 years, I don’t have quite the same irrepressible excitement nor the same physical conditioning that I once did. Since I have plenty of time and limited money, I decided to take a day off from my vacation. While the day turned out to be largely stress-free on my physical condition, the day, sadly, taxed my mental fortitude far more than I’d anticipated it would.

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