Tokyo Day 6 – Ghibli Museum in Mitaka

It looks like it’ll be another cool and cloudy day in Tokyo today. There wasn’t any sign of rain when I woke up this morning, so hopefully it’ll be a dry day for our excursion into Saitama.

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Breakfast this morning consisted of a choco coronet that I bought yesterday in Nakano along with some coffee in a can from the vending machine. Jiji decided to join me as well this morning and he enjoyed looking out the window at the commuters going to and from the train station.

Speaking of Jiji, he decided to come home with me after I saw him at the gift shop at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. It was a bit of a journey to get out there, but it was well worth it.

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Tokyo Day 5 – More Shopping

After a few days of nice weather, the skies in Tokyo clouded up and gave us a little rain to contend with. It’s currently sprinkling a bit right now and the locals are out with umbrellas.

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It’s days like this that it’s nice to sit inside and enjoy some delicious taiyaki…

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Tokyo day 4 – Tokyo Tower and shopping in Akihabara

In a slight departure from normal, this will be a light update. Not as much photography this year, although there may be a Photosynth coming in a couple days. We got a relatively early start this morning (left around 10am) to go see Tokyo Tower. Since it is scheduled to be replaced in a few years, we decided now was as good as time as any go up and visit it.IMG_5686 After seeing it blown up in so many different anime, it was nice to finally visit this landmark and see it in person. There was a bit of a haze today so visibility was limited.

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Tokyo day 3 – Harajuku and Shibuya

It’s another beautiful day in Tokyo! After yesterday’s entry, I went out for a walk to take some photos around the hotel. What resulted is a beautiful 314 photo Photosynth set of the plaza outside of Shinjuku station…

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It was off to have a quick lunch at the station and then off to the Harajuku area. It’s known as one of the trendier districts in Tokyo and is full of boutiques, clothing shops, and some of the most interesting fashion I’ve ever seen. Sundays are typically the day when the younger folk get dressed up and go hang out in the streets. Cosplayers are no exception here, and they typically hang out on the bridge next to the station…

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Tokyo day 2 – Tokyo Game Show

Good morning from Shinjuku! I’m happy to report that the jet lag is slowly going away, and I slept most of the way through 6am this morning after going to bed around 10pm. After a quick run to the convenience store for some breakfast items (I had no idea what I bought, to be honest), I’m ready to do a quick rundown of yesterday’s events!

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Yes, that is Saber Lily, more on her later. ^.^

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Traveling to Tokyo

It’s now the start of my first full day in Tokyo. The jet lag is a bit hard to deal with (13 hour time difference between here and Charlotte), though I did try to force the adjustment by staying up for most of the 26ish hours it took to fly to Japan, get to the hotel, and have some dinner. Still, after going to be around midnight JST, I managed to get about 5 hours of sleep.

The passing time on the flight from Minneapolis to Narita was much easier since I chose to fly first class. Any seasoned traveler will know that First Class means super comfortable seats, in-seat entertainment systems, decent food, and all the drinks I want. That last item in particular made the flight very enjoyable. 🙂

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Yes, I know… I’m a drunk 🙂

The flight in wasn’t actually too bad despite it being long. The flight landed in Narita around 17:20 JST. Following landing, I breezed through the quarantine checkpoint (didn’t appear to be active), passport control, baggage claim, and then customs.

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After meeting up with Eric, it was time to convert some money over and take the bus into central Tokyo. The ride itself took over an hour due to large amount of traffic in the city. By the time we hit the hotel, we were pretty tired and hungry. This meant going out and finding something to eat…

Our hotel is right across from a Tokyu Hands department store, which has a huge selection of restaurants. We settled on a tempura restaurant, which had some pretty good food.

IMAG0120After dinner, I was pretty much ready to pass out. I’d been up for most of the last 26 hours and was in desperate need of sleep. A quick shower was in order and then some channel surfing on the hotel TV. We stumbled upon what appeared to be the Bandai channel, which was showing all sorts of ads and reairing some older anime (including Mai-HiME).

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I managed to snap some pictures in the wee hours of the morning after I woke up at 5am JST. This jetlag is going to stay with me for at least another day, I suspect. I’ll need to struggle through the later parts of today and try to get myself on a good schedule. Fortunately, today is all about Tokyo Game Show, so I’ll probably be pretty wired.

More pictures and updates to come later on in the week!

Counting down to Japan

With a little over a week left until I leave for Japan, everything is falling in place. I got an email a few days ago from my travel companion with the following picture attached:

TGS tickets!

Thanks to his friend in Tokyo, we have our tickets for Tokyo Game Show 2009, which opens to the public on Saturday! I’m a bit sad that I won’t be able to make it there for the industry keynotes, but the public exhibition should still be awesome with all sorts of interesting characters showing up. I wonder if I can sneak myself into the Microsoft booth using my badge… ^.^;;

Our itinerary for the week has pretty much been nailed down as well, with only a few loose ends to work on. Here’s a rough outline:

  • Thursday – Depart United States, land Friday late afternoon JST. Go to hotel and crash.
  • Saturday – Tokyo Game Show
  • Sunday – Harajuku
  • Monday – Lunch with some Microsoft Japan folks, exploring Tokyo
  • Tuesday – Akihabara
  • Wednesday – Saitama for Washinomiya Shrine, Do As Infinity concert (hopefully)
  • Thursday – Ghibli Museum
  • Friday – Train to Kyoto in AM, do sightseeing
  • Saturday – More sightseeing in Kyoto
  • Sunday – Train to Narita and return to US
  • Monday – Taking day off from work to recover

It’s going to be a very packed trip, I think, and I’m getting pretty psyched about it. With our hotels booked and itinerary made, all that’s really left for me to do is pack and get on the plane next week!

Planning a trip to Japan – Part 2

Just as a quick update to my last entry about Japan, I now have confirmed dates and have booked my plane tickets! I’ll be leaving Charlotte on September 24 (arriving on the 25) and leaving October 4. Now that my airfare has been booked, it’s really going to happen! All that is left is to find a hotel, plan an itinerary, and pack.

…now, which camera equipment should I take, and should I bring a Figma along…

Planning a trip to Japan

Guide books!

After a couple years of saying that I was going to go to Japan, it looks like I’m finally going to do it this year! I’m still working on finalizing dates and details, but it looks like I’ll finally be able to go next month. I’m very excited about this and picked up a couple of guide books to help plan my itinerary…

At this point, there are a few things that I’m looking forward to seeing. For now, the trip coincides with the dates for Tokyo Game Show, so I’m going to be hitting up the show floor at least one of the two days. Also on the agenda is a trip into Harajuku on Sunday, a possible side trip into Kyoto for sightseeing, and Saitama to visit the Washinomiya Shrine. Of course, no trip for any otaku would be complete without at least one trip to Akihabara!

Lastly, I found out this week that Do As Infinity will be releasing their first new album in three years while I’m there. After a little searching, I found out that the NHK is hosting an outdoor live event to help promote the new album, so I’m going to try to get tickets to the show!

I’m extremely excited about this trip, though I’m probably going to wind up completely broke when the dust settles…