April 3, 2009
I woke up pretty early with the mission to revisit Akihabara and get a more relaxed look at all the stuff they have to offer. Sadly the Japanese stores only open at around 11 am so I went to Shibuya’s Starbucks again. I sat at the window again and after a few minutes I spilled my goddamn drink all over the place. That felt so embarrassing that I left immediately :(. Poor person who had to clean up after me.
It was still way too early to go to Akihabara so I just walked around Shibuya. I have no idea where I headed to but it took me a long time to find a train station. I’m glad I did that though because I came into rush hour without even wanting to and if you don’t know Japanese rush hour then let me tell you: it’s crazy.
I skipped the first train because it looked too full, the next one was even fuller but I got in first so I didn’t have to press against others. Rather others pressed me in. Lucky for me, I was pressed against a rather good looking girl so I didn’t really mind.
Early afternoon we headed for Sunshine City which is a little underground “town”. Lots of shops and other stuff.
Way to Sunshine City
Sunshine City was okay, we had some terrible food but delicious ice cream and checked out the planetory. The planetory was great, it’s a cupola where a movie is projected on to. If you’ve ever been to Madam Tussaud’s in London then you know what I’m talking about.
They showed our star system and played some very beautiful Japanese songs while explaining all kind of stuff in Japanese – it was so beautiful and relaxing that I fell asleep several times, several times because I was forcing myself to stay up and enjoy that amazing view – but I didn’t manage too well.
After that we went to Roppongi to get some Hard Rock Cafe merchandise and have some drinks in their café. The waitresses in there spoke English and everything felt too western. Not very interessting if you ask me.
Hard Rock Cafe Tokyo
Trains on our way back to Shinjuku were full again – here’s a funny picture. I didn’t even notice the girl posing for it but it makes me smile :).
April 3, 2009
I didn’t really feel much like blogging the past days so here comes the late update.
The day before yesterday we went to Akihabara which is the electric/anime place in Tokyo. Tons of sounds and voices coming from everywhere and little girls dressed as maids advertising for their maiden café. It didn’t take me long to realise that this is my place here.
Stop drooling over the maids! Is what I should’ve done, instead I kept annoying the others about it, sorry guys :P.
If you are into anime then Akihabara feels like heaven, there are several 7 story shops devoted to anime and manga and all the merchandises around that. One especially outstanding store is Comic Toranoana, they have two buildings next to eachother. One is for just manga/anime – and in 5 of those 7 floors you have to be over 18 to enter 😉 – and the other one is for figures and other collectable stuff.
Oh and on 2nd floor there’s also Witchcat – or With Cat. However you want to see it. It’s a maiden café where the girls are dressed as a mix of witches/catgirls. Needless to say that we went in and I drooled all over the place. Our waitress was very good looking and had one of those mean tsundere looks on but was actually very nice and polite.
Sadly we weren’t allowed to take any pictures, or touch… so here’s just a picture of their outfit.
We also went to Yodobashi-Akiba wich is one huge ass eletronic store. It’s pretty sick how much stuff they have over here.
Here’s my bounty after one day of Akihabara hunting.
April 1, 2009
Yesterday I started my day by getting some hot chocolate at Shibuya’s famous Starbucks. Quite expensive, yep, but I managed to get a seat at the window to observe the crossing. I don’t know about you but I could sit there all day long and watch people, lots of people cross there. I got a very calm feeling, beside my burning tounge (hot chocolate is hot) everything felt great.
Take a look, it was rather calm that morning at around 9 am.
The building where Starbucks is in is a huge store for entertainment, I’ve spent about an hour in there going through all the JPop, Animes and other Soundtracks until I realized that those are only for rental. I ended up buying a Toradora and a Haruhi soundtrack which were about 1200 Yen each.
Sorry about the flipped pictures, I don’t know why WordPress flips them around. When I watch them on my harddisk they’re normal flipped.
Late afternoon we went to Ginza which is compareable to 5th Avenue in NYC. And that’s in fact the very first feeling I had once I arrived there. Everything was super clean and everything looked super expensive.
5th Avenue lookalike
We’ve spotted a pachinko place and went in to check some of the pros, I don’t know how they manage to be in the building for longer than 5 minutes because it’s louder than in a disco. Some have tons of little balls behind them so they’re probably in there all night long.
Since we couldn’t afford much in Ginza and the sun already set we decided to check out the Tokyo Tower which was close by. It’s the Japanese Eiffel tower, in fact it’s ever bigger than the original one but not quite as impressive in my opinion.
Up there I managed to get some girls taking a picture of me, infact they offered it after I took two pictures for them 🙂 they were kinda cute tihihi. There are alot of good looking girls in Tokyo, I’ll miss that view alot.
Full train is full
Tomorrow will be Akihabara time, you know what that means! Maiden cafés!
March 31, 2009
Ahhh Japan, land of the rising sun and air conditioners. It’s about 10 am local time and I just woke up after a 5 hour sleep. Yesterday has been pretty tough. We’ve been spending our time in Shinjuku and later on in Kabuki-Cho which is supposed to be the red-light-district over here. But don’t get too excited as nothing really happened.
Shinjuku is great, it’s home of quite a few skyscrapers and is the cleanest place I’ve seen from all the world metropols I’ve been to. It also houses Tokyo’s government building which is probably the largest building in this area. Alot of tourists go up to 45th floor and are welcomed with a very beautiful all-around view of Shinjuku and when the weather’s playing along you can even see Mt. Fujisan.
Tokyo Government Building
Both towers are open and I recommend seeing both as you can see differnt parts of the city alot clearer and if you happen to be there on a monday that’s the 2nd or 4th monday that month, you can even check out the Northtower at night until 23.00. There’s a very comfy café in Northtower if you want to rest your eyes for a bit :).
Park Hyatt (left), view from Tokyo Government Building
View from Tokyo Government Building
I’m kinda getting lazy and unpatient here, Shibuya’s Starbucks is waiting for me! So please excuse me for the abrupt cut off. Anyways, we’ve been three (normal) bars in the red-light-district and had a few drinks. It’s very expensive and I didn’t think it was worth it but we did it anyway.
The last bar was pretty nice, a small old-rock joint which lets you decide what to play. Very nice but not many people.
My new mobile phone strapband 🙂
March 30, 2009
Good news everyone!
I’ll spare you the boring “on my way to Nippon” stories and instead fast forward to our arrival at Narita Airport. Right, first thing first. Before going through arrival procedure here’s a nice picture of the Boeing 777 we spent 11 hours on.
Welcome to Nippon
Some nice and warming welcome words – unlike in the US you can actually take a picture of that without being scolded by security. The arrival procedure was fairly simple and everyone was very kind. I’m really impressed with how polite these japanese people are – we were able to book our rides to Kyoto and Kobe without any problems.
After that we bought some reserved seats for the NEX (Narita Express, train towards Tokyo) which was unecessary because the whole train was kinda empty. It took us about an hour to arrive at Shinjuku Station which you can see in the picture below. Amazed by the beautiful view we were lost for a few minutes before taking a very good guess which direction to take towards our hotel at Shinjuku Higashi. The hotel looked just like on Google Maps so it was rather easy to spot.
I have to say I’m very impressed with Tokyo so far. The air actually smells good and the streets are very clean – at least those that I’ve seen so far. If you’re an avid anime watcher then it’s rather easy to imagine how Tokyo and its small side streets looks like – pretty much exactly like pictures in those. Here’s a little example.
Eventhough Tokyo is filled with countless people we managed to see the same girl three times already – well she is a foreigner too so it isn’t hard to spot her. Here’s a picture taken on a random street. Nothing compared to the very famous crossing in Shibuya which you can see below.
Lots of people
Bad picture of Shibuya Crossing
First day was pretty tiring, we’ve been to Yoyogi Park near Harajuku Station and checked out a small part of Shibuya before hitting the bed. I promise better pictures of Shibuya and the crossing the coming days. Here’s a video of a bird playing with some foreign kids in Yoyogi Park which I think is very cute.
March 26, 2009
Why hello thar!
Isn’t today just perfect? As you might know I’m on my way to Japan, two more days until my departure from VIE and today everything worked out as desired. Best-case scenario hit. Not only did I manage to get some real good sleep last night, nope also my new bank card came today so I’ll be able to use the Japanese ATMs over there. I was really worried about that because – the lazy bum I am – I ordered the new card only a week ago. Way too late to arrive in time usually. So before hitting the statistics course I went to pick up the new card and its pincode which – lucky me again – is very easy to memorize.
Afterwards I went to the bank again to get some Yen for my trip, poor lady there had to count alot as you can see in the picture below.
I’m glad time flew by this quickly because I was looking forward to this trip ever since we had the idea of doing it. It’s very convenient that our hotel rooms in Tokyo have internet access so I’ll try to update this blog on a daily basis. (I really hope it’s a 100Mbit line because my jaw will drop so hard :)).
Before I close this opening post, here’s a picture of our JRail Pass cover. That’s an expensive train ticket that is valid for a week and allows you to travel by using JRail.