1st (and 2nd) August 2017: Running out of time! {Japan, summer 2017}

This was my last day and I had to make the most of it! First I went to Shibakoen [芝公園] and Tokyo Tower [東京タワー], because that always keeps the sadness at bay. I went up the tower and I finally gave in and bought the stamp rally booklet. I should have done it before. The Tower was being visited by a primary school class. Ho boy.

Then I went to Iidabashi [飯田橋] using the Shibakoen subway station. The day before I had hired a private lesson to have a teacher explain Japanese conditionals to me. That was very productive. Finally I was off to Shinjuku [新宿] for yakitori and karaoke with B**** and D****e to say goodbye for now.

Finally, I half-packed because I apparently forgot half of my stuff atover there, and went to bed. At 2:02 in the morning there was the only noticeable quake of the trip, quite a big one. In the morning, I headed off to Narita Airport, checked-in my luggage, and once again, it was time to go back to reality.

31st July 2017: Little Korea and Tsukishima {Japan, summer 2017}

I met up with B**** in Shin Okubo [新大久保] to walk around Korean Town make-up shops. Afterwards we headed off to Iidabashi [飯田橋] because I needed to drop by the school I had been at the previous year and B**** was nice enough to come with me. we took the chance to have a great sushi lunch at a bit of a more refined sushi place than our usual sushi lines. It was so very amazing!

Then I wanted to go to Ikebukuro [池袋] again because I had not found something I wanted in the Shibuya [渋谷] Tokyu Hands on Saturday, and we found ourselves a nice place to sit down and have something to drink (aka, Starbucks) because it was our chance to try whatever lemon beverage they were selling at the moment.

Then I headed off to Tsukishima [月島] to have okonomiyaki and monja with Ms-san and D****e. And then there was a parfait / icecream / whatever.

27th July 2016: I could not miss an aquarium {Japan, summer 2016}

I mean, visiting aquariums is like a second nature to me when I’m in Japan. It seems that each has something that I really love but had not realised it before.

In this case I headed off to Tokyo Sea Life Park – Kasairinkai Suizokukan [葛西臨海水族館] in the namesake park, Kasairinkai Koen [葛西臨海公園], in Edogawa [江戸川], especially famous for keeping a tank of yellowfin tuna (all of which died unexpectedly last year and had been replaced though) <・ )))><<.

The aquarium is mostly an underground complex, accessible through the main dome in the middle of the park. During my visit it was full of parents with young children. For some reason, Japanese people believe that children must love fish? I don’t really understand… ~(・・?))

Before class I went to Tokyo Daijingu [東京大神宮] in Iidabashi [飯田橋], which is surprisingly quite small, and I think it has something to do with finding love?

At night I met with my new friend M. to try to find a cat café we were interested in and somehow did not manage to find, but we turned that into dinner and karaoke – Joysound, to watch the VAMPS special message v(^_^v)♪.

21st July 2016: Shopping spree (II) {Japan, summer 2016}

This was the last planned big shopping spree and honestly I felt quite pleased after that. I started off in Nakano Broadway [中野ブロードウェイ] and then made my way to Shinjuku. Nakano aka Mandarake Land has reorganised itself to have topic-oriented shops. I had not been able to find the one that interested me – male singers – just yet. Actually I had found it but they had been moving things around and nothing was to be found there. Fortunately this one time I found interesting stuff at very good prices \(^o^)/ (I saw the same item I got for twice the price later in TRIO). After the Mandarake I moved onto the JRock TRIO and fell in love with a Gackt’s Ghost pendant so I got myself that, along with a VAMPS postcard and a Galileo special from Fukuyama Masaharu’s fanclub Magazine (((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))

Happy with my items, I headed off to Shinjuku [新宿] to find the Closet Child CD shop. The previous day I had been in the punk goth one and gotten myself a ring, but this time I wanted the CD one. And when I found it, it was so worth it ♥

After class, I headed off to have dinner with a friend, totally ignoring that I had an exam the next day. Oh and when I got home I did laundry. Cause I’m cool like that ψ(`∇´)ψ

19th July 2016: Oopsies {Japan, summer 2016}

After doing some studying in the morning, I was to meet B**** for dinner. I went to Iidabahi [飯田橋] early and bought some meat buns (nikuman) for lunch – the most delicious nikkuman I’ve ever eaten are sold in a small Chinese shop there.

Unfortunately B**** and my carefully-laid out plans were forced to change because she had a gas inspection in her new apartment also known as the apatosaurus. However, we were able to go for some okonomiyaki and monjayaki .

After lunch, we headed off to karaoke. All in all it was fun and plans were remade.

14th July 2016: Liar, liar, pants on fire (and Komagome II) {Japan, summer 2016}

The weather report had been announcing clouds all day. It lied. A lot. Seriously, both the JMA and whatever data an iPhone uses, they were way out of the way. See, I used these reports to plan an outdoors day visiting some parks, temples and shrines close to my area. This meant walking for a couple of hours, but there I went.

The first problem was that the weather decided that clouds were overrated. I did not think much of it at first, but it would be relevant later. The second was that GoogleMaps decided to join forces with the weather report and troll me.

But let’s start form the beginning, and the beginning was the Kyu Furukawa Teien [旧古河庭園], a garden apparently famous for their rose festivals. No roses in July, but a very neat Japanese garden. I’ve never been much of an English Garden fan unless there are flowers, so I did not pay much attention to that part.

After the gardens I headed off towards the Oji [王子] area, checking out Hiratsuka Jinja, Takinogawa Park and Nanasha Shrine until I made it to the park called Asukayama Koen [飛鳥山公園], where for the first time this year I heard the cicadas singing like crazy. It’s officially summer in Japan, bugs dixit! It’s not a matter of the heat, the rain, or anything like that. In the end, the cicadas mark the time.

The park holds a few museums and In one of the corners Oji Jinja [王子神社] can be found. If Google agrees that it even exists. But alas, success in the end.

After an odyssey to find the Shrine and once again fight Google regarding yes, the Oji Inari Jinja [王子稲荷神社] exists, I managed to find the latter. Close to one of the crossroads I had been to before. Twice. Thanks, Google (-_-;)

Then I decided to head off to where my academy is, Iidabashi [飯田橋]. My destination there was Zenkoku-ji [善國寺], which was surrounded for some reason by no less than four Spanish restaurants. I am not brave enough to try those but there was a nikuman shop that did catch my attention. I also made a short stop at the local Book Off in order to check it out and get OFF THE SUN for a few minutes. At this point I had just realise that I had been indeed walking around in the sun for three and a half hours and I was… Burnt. Quite so. Damn it.

But it did not end there. Nooo, why would it end there? Then it RAINED 雨雨雨. When I had to do my laundry and get it dry, of course, because the next day I was over to Nagoya and wanted to make sure I had clothes to wear. And I studied because I had an exam the next day, and the previous one had been disastrous.

13th July 2016: Here we go again! {Japan, summer 2016}

I am a creature of habits and I won’t deny that. I will however wonder how come my phone thinks about autocorrecting ‘gabits’ to Gackt, which is interesting to say the least. Anyway. On July 12th I realised that my 朱印帳 (しゅいんちょう) or seal book was lacking one of my favourite Temples in the World! So off I went to Zojo-ji [増上寺] with my newly-activated JRPass. I gotta make the most out of it because it was expensive, mkay? ( ̄^ ̄)ゞ

Anyway, off I went to Hamamatsucho and I had a very beautiful flashback to the first time I saw Tokyo Tower [東京タワー], coming from that station. A lot of things have changed since then. I wandered around Zojo-ji temple, Shiba Koen [芝公園] and the base of Tokyo Tower for a while.

Later, I headed off to Ueno because the previous day I had not eaten Ichiran Ramen and I wanted Ichiran Ramen. I went with time to be able to wait out the queue. Once again I freaked some poor kid out. This was staring to get tiresome.

Ichiran is a restaurant designed for people who eat alone, and you have a little ‘booth’ to do your thing. Some people find it outrageous/controversial but as a lone traveler I love it. And if you are not alone you just take down one of the booth walls and you’re free to talk to whomever you came with. And the ramen is quite nice. And hot. But the restaurant is cold even with the hot ramen and always being packed so I guess it is fair enough.

After lunch I went back to Ueno station to make my reservations for the trip I was planning along the weekend and I decided to go to Ikebukuro again to get a CD I had not bought the day before as I was not sure it was the one I wanted – and the Internet was not cooperating. Once again I had to brave Ikebukuro station and this time I kind of gotten things sorted out! Let’s see how long I manage to remember what to do. Then I headed off to class.

After class I walked over with T. to Yasukuni Jinja [靖國神社] to check the about-to-open Mitama Matsuri (festival), but we did not stay longer than the necessary to get some yakitori and be on our merry way.

7th July 2016: Not fishy smelling at all {Japan, summer 2016}

Well this was a new experience, but it made a lot of things gain sense. The famous Tsukiji Market, Tsukiji Shijō [築地市場] is closing down this Autumn and relocating. One of the reasons cited is health issues, cut I can understand why they think that tourists are an extra issue. Even when trying to stay out of the way you are in someone’s way.

Something that keeps fascinating me about Japan is the amount of people working on tourist services that have problems with foreigners and wrinkle their noses when they see you approach. This does not go of course to the fishmongers who were doing their jobs but the lady in the info service when we asked for a map in English. After a while we found s coin locker for T**y’s backpack and I shamelessly threw my books in (≧∇≦)

The Tsukiji Outer Market, Tsukiji Jōgai Shijō [築地場外市場] is packed with little shops mostly oriented to people getting their daily fish, and a lot of kitchen appliances, especially knives. It was bustling with tourists in the way of everybody, and little Japanese ladies examining every post for what they wanted to cook that day. After a while we found our way to the wholesale market.

There was a shrine in the way. Of course it required a visit. The Namiyoke Inari Jinja [波除稲荷神社] is located in the corner between the two markets.

The Tsukiji Wholesale Market, Tsukiji Oroshiuri Shijō [築地卸売市場], was full of… everything ≧(゚ ゚)≦. Fishmongers seemed to have learnt to work their ways around the tourists because they did not even lose their half smirk when they avoided running you to your death with their lil machines. I guess that getting someone killed would screw the day’s sales, as it would be unsanitary. The most impressive thing were the tuna <・ )))><< cutting dealers, with their long knives. Tuna has to be cut in one go, else it ruins the piece. And in case you haven’t seen an actual tuna, we’re easily talking about a two-metre long fish, and fishmongers dealing with one-metre long loin piece. Very cool.

After snooping around for a while we headed off for kaizen sushi with super fresh fish. I felt a little guilty about drinking cola with it, but damn it was hot. Very hot.

From Tsukiji we dropped by Akihabara [秋葉原] and well, there is a Book Off there… Finally we headed off to Iidabashi [飯田橋], where aside from my school, stands Yasukuni Jinja [靖國神社], quite a controversial shrine which enshrines the souls of the fallen in the WWII, which unfortunately involves some of the people considered war criminals.

But as it was Tanabata, they were preparing for a matsuri, and I incorporated that into my plans. I got the shrine seal and a sunburn for my troubles, then I headed towards the school for air-con, I mean some hard work (≧∇≦) there was a test the next day after all and I needed to prepare for that.

One of the good things about my area was that I was on the Yamanote line on one hand, and I had a direct line to my school, so commute was good. After school I went back to the apartment to study because I had a test the next day – don’t ask how it went (≧∇≦;).