Japan 2016 – Day 2

Waaaah. Massively delayed blog posts on my Japan trip from the end of February 2016.

Start with Day 2 because I arrived in the evening of Day 1 (after flying in on business class. :D Yay for a lucky bid on my MAS flights this time). It was really cold and I didn’t feel one bit like walking around in the cold night. So I enjoyed my hotel room, Japanese TV channels, and some bento and convenience store snacks.

On Day 2, I met up with my friend, S! First, brunch at a kaiten-zushi (conveyer belt sushi) place in Ginza:

The wifi password was “sushilove”. This amused us.

I learnt that Ginza was a mere 10-minute walk from Tokyo Station. Probably less than 10 minutes if you’re familiar with the route.

Ginza on a cloudy day:

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Japan 2015: Day 8 – Tokyo One Piece Tower

My favourite manga is the epic pirate fantasy, One Piece, and it so happened that the One Piece “theme park” at Tokyo Tower opened on the Friday of my visit. Friend S was keen to check it out too so we hurried there after the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum.

Entry tickets come with various One Piece characters printed on them. I didn’t get my favourite character. Darn. But I could have gotten one with characters I dislike so getting one with a character I’m ok with is fine. haha S got a ticket featuring all the characters of the main pirate crew (including the one on my ticket) – that was pretty cool.

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Japan 2015: Day 3 (2) – Hanatouro

After a short stroll around Kawaramachi, I hopped on a bus and headed to Gojo-zaka to see the Hanatouro. The Hanatouro (which I only found out about in January this year) is a small festival where they line some of the Kyoto streets with lanterns.

I could have walked there (from Shijo-dori) but… it was too cold and I had the bus pass to use anyway. I hopped off the city bus at the appropriate stop and strolled up Gojo-zaka. It wasn’t lit up at the beginning of the road, which made me doubt my directions somewhat but it seemed to be correct. There were a few people walking up the same road ahead of me so I just trailed them until I saw little lanterns lining the street and then I was completely reassured.

jp15_3-17Kiyomizudera at the end of the road. (I think I overexposed the image but I had no tripod and my fingers were just about frozen from the cold so I consider this a decent picture.)

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Japan 2015: Day 1

I arrived in Tokyo early in the morning on 9 March and was greeting by 6-degree weather. Going from about 30°C to 6°C is rather a shock to the system. I like cool weather, but below 10 is a bit too cold.

I found myself feeling rather ill, partly because I hadn’t managed to sleep well on the plane. (I begin to wonder how I slept as well as I did on the flight the very first time I went to Japan…) My hotel room wasn’t ready when I got there (understandably) so I tried to nap in the hotel lobby for a while because I simply didn’t feel up to walking around in a half-asleep and unwell state. Eventually got myself up and out… and napped again on the 20-minute train ride to Shibuya. I think I actually slept better on the train because I felt a bit too self-conscious in the hotel lobby, whereas people sleeping on the train is utterly normal.

Walked around Shibuya for a bit – mainly went there to check out the Shibuya Hikarie, which is a mall known for having washrooms with different themes on each floor. Those toilets really are quite pretty, but I couldn’t really take pics because there were just so many people in the washrooms and queuing up to use them. It was Sunday, after all, and Shibuya was busy, busy, busy. You can see some pics here though.

I shopped a bit in Uniqlo then went back to the hotel, where my room was finally ready and I proceeded to sleep for several hours.

Woke up at nearly 8pm and eventually decided to go check out Tokyo’s lindy hop scene at a new monthly social called Noches Lindigos, run by one of Tokyo’s two main swing dance groups. Made a wrong choice in my trains and it ended up taking me 40+ minutes to get there (but only 20 minutes to get back! grrrr).

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Like Father, Like Son

Like Father, Like Son (そして父になる) was  a film I’d heard about earlier as it picked up a bunch of awards at various film festivals last year.

It tells of how the Nonomiyas discover that their son, Keita, was actually switched at birth with the son of the Saiki family. The Nonomiyas are, at least on the surface, the picture of the perfect modern family with a father who’s successful at his job, a caring mother, and a well-behaved and nice son who’s about to enter a good school. Nonomiya Ryota (Fukuyama Masaharu) and Midori (Ono Machiko) are the  understandably troubled when the hospital breaks the news to them, but Ryota is doubly disturbed when he sees that his real son is living with a family that’s nearly a complete opposite from theirs – Saiki Yudai (Lily Franky) and Yukari (Maki Yoko) run a small electrical store outside of the big city and their family (which includes two other children) is noisy and exuberant where the Nonomiyas are quiet and calm. Yudai in particular annoys Ryota with his procrastination and his inclination to bleed the hospital of as much money as possible. The decision is made to return the two boys – Keita (Ninomiya Keita) and Ryusei (Hwang Shogen) – to their “true” families…

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