Star Wars, Comiket and all the things

Comiket at Tokyo Big Sight today, along with some other stops along the way. Warning: if you don’t like manga, or drawings of scantily-clad women, skip this maybe? Also this is hilariously long and full of images/video. Too bad. A’s running the schedule today so we are going to the Star Wars Identities exhibition on Tennozu Isle, Shinagawa, before going to Comiket. This exhibition showcases pre-production and production items from all the movies, with a storyline of how identity is developed for people and the characters alike. [Read More]

Akihabara and Kitchen Street

Today’s goal was to explore what Akihabara has to offer a couple of anime/computer/japanese pop culture loving geeks. On the way to the train station we came across the Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Centre, a collaboration between local traditional craftspeople and the municipality of Taito. Upon entering we were given a very informative introduction by one of the staff, then discussed the facility and its meaning a little more. The craftspeople of Taito don’t have skills or time to market themselves so the municipality puts this place together to show their wares in an increasingly competitive market. [Read More]

Imperial Palace tour and Manga Hunt

Today was the day we’d booked in an Imperial Palace Gardens tour through TripAdvisor. For an hour’s guided tour with a licensed guide, 2500¥ was really cheap in my opinion. Our guide was a lovely retiree lady called Eriko from Yokohama. She used to be an elementary school teacher, now does one tour a week of the Imperial Gardens. We met at the Otemon gate, the main entrance gate of the Edo Castle during the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867). [Read More]

xmas in Tokyo

Today’s Christmas, which means… basically nothing in Japan. A great reason to ignore it for the most part and enjoy the sights. Today’s goals: see the Meiji Jingu Shrine visit the National Gallery and see Ueno Park pick up our KFC dinner see the light show at Tokyo station Back to our local, the Asakusa station to catch the train to Ueno to see the park and the museum. [Read More]

Asakusa Yakinuku

Dinner was pretty great tonight. A classic Yakinuku place with limited menu, accepting staff and delicious sauce. It was from Gyu-nabe Yoneku. No bullshit, old style place, good food, great staff. [Read More]

Studio Ghibli Museum

If you haven’t seen any movies from Studio Ghibli, stop now. Go watch a few. They’re amazing. The art, stories and storytelling are glorious. Having said that, I know I haven’t watched as many as I’d like, more through the cost of local copies and lack of availability in general. A visit to the Ghibli Museum was one of the “must do” parts of this trip. It was always on the “top things to do” lists while researching, and I love the worlds that Hayao Miazaki brings to life on and off the screen. [Read More]

Shibuya and Shinjuku

The plan for today was to cruise around the Shibuya and Shinjuku areas, both known for pop culture and shopping. On the way, since it was fine out, we went to visit the Senso-Ji temple and its surrounds. A and I collected our fortunes, paying our 100¥ and shaking the tin. Mine was 五十五 (55), which turned out to be a “regular” fortune. A was not fortunate today so he tied his to the rail as is the custom, leaving bad fortune behind. [Read More]

Asakusa in the rain

As we arrived in Tokyo today it started a very light spitting rain. Once we were booked into the hotel it started a gentle, but constant rain which I knew wouldn’t get any worse, but which was making my travelling companion want to grab instant ramen and just chill in the hotel. No, say I! If we’re going out, we’re going out for good food! A side benefit of being out on a Sunday night in the rain was the opportunity for some nice moody rainy photos, free of other tourists. [Read More]

Osaka to Tokyo

When I was in school, dad collected and exhibited stamps. Being the son of a philatelist I was unable to escape my fate; I built a collection relating to transport and exhibited them a few times. I did it well enough to get me entry in to the youth philately trip to Germany in the late 90’s. Yeah, I’m a nerd. While learning about all the ways people use mechanical contrivances to move themselves and their belongings around, I learnt about trains. [Read More]

Saturday night in Osaka

The best laid plans of mice and men and all that. Turns out, if you’re trying to fish for your dinner on a Saturday night in Osaka you’re either booking in at a restaurant or doing it in the river… we probably should have prebooked 😂 No worry however, my usual trick of “open TripAdvisor and eat” worked out spectacularly well. We were already in the Dotonbori district, so I found us Chibo, a Teppanyaki Okonomiyaki restaurant. [Read More]