24th August 2018: Friends! {Japan, summer 2018}

In the morning, I went to the Shōbō hakubutsukan [消防博物館] or Fire Museum, in Yotsuya [四谷]. I blame my last binge on Chicago Fire for the curiosity bug to bite on that one. It was strangely interesting, but the helicopter was closed due to wind and rain – also the problem with kid friendly museums is… kids overrunning you and parents cheering for them…

Then I met B**** in Shibuya [渋谷] for sushi, and that was awesome, until we were done. Then we saw the shrimp and fish being beheaded alive in front of us. That was a shock (O_O)! After that we went for ice cream, window shopping, karaoke and dinner in Shinjuku [新宿], in MyLord building next to the station, which was really convenient and surprisingly good (and well-timed on our part). Okonomiyaki! This was my masterpiece!

(Added a lot of katsuomi to it afterwards (≧∇≦) )

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.

7th January 2017: Hiroshima and Oblivion Dust {Japan, winter 16/17}

I caught up the 8 am ferry and was downtown in Hiroshima [廣島] round 9.10. my first stop was the quite-impressive and down-brining A-dome. This is the building above which the atomic bomb went off, and it is very, very sobering. What impressed me the most was the bottles of water still being offered to those who had been killed by the bomb.

I strolled around the Peace Memorial park, Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Kōen [廣島平和記念公園] for a while, but I could not stomach the museum, to be honest. So after a while I decided to be on my way. Just imagining the amount of destruction and victimisation was spine-chilling.

My next stop was the old Hiroshima castle grounds. The first thing I saw there was Hiroshima Gokoku Jinja [廣島護國神社], which was full of people doing Hatsumode (I think this was kind of a pattern all through this first week of the year. Oh, the surprise (*≧▽≦)).

After that, I continued towards the castle, Hiroshima-jo [広島城], which holds a little antique museum, and was doing a demonstration on katana-making. However, I did not get to see the blades, they were just working on the guards, which is… I mean, don’t get me wrong. Not as cool? The castle was destroyed when the bomb went off, so it has been reconstructed since then. Part of the museum was dedicated to the reconstruction of the area. On the top floor there are a resting room and an observatory.

After the castle, I decided to head off to have some food and afterwards I went to Club Quattro, which was hosting an Oblivion Dust concert. Not that I am a hardcore (or much of a) fan – as a matter of fact I had never listened to any of their songs – but the guitarist is one of the VAMPS members, K.A.Z, and I kind of wanted to check them out.

I stayed over with Ms-san (who had helped me get the ticket) and some other acquaintances to see the band come in – and we got a half-assed wave from K.A.Z – and then I stayed to buy some merchandise. Then I realised that I had a… tiny problem. I had no transport to get to my hotel after the concert \(〇_o)/ because my last bus to the airport was at 7 pm, and I had a hotel very close to that!!! Well, I could have taken a taxi, but that was mover expensive than getting another hotel and losing the reservation for the previous one. It was a stressy hour until I could get there, check in, get some food and come back, but it all turned out nicely in the end.

The concert, part of Oblivion Dust’s 20 anniversary “I Hate Rock n’ Roll Tour 2016-17”, was really fun. Even if I had not heard any of the songs before, it felt familiar, as I could relate K.A.Z’s music style to what I knew from VAMPS and the long-gone Hide with Spread Beaver to some of thee songs I was listening to. The ‘average setlist’ for the tour was the following, so it is possible that this was what I listened to:

  1. In Motion
  2. Under My Skin
  3. Radio Song
  4. Red Light Green Light
  5. Come Alive
  6. Evidence
  7. Erase
  8. Easier Then
  9. Designer Fetus
  10. Elvis
  11. Sail Away
  12. Crawl
  13. Never Ending
  14. Lolita
  15. 24 Hour Buzz ’99
  16. Death Surf
  17. Nightcrawler
  18. Sink the God

K.A.Z was quite serious and concentrated most of the concert, and he only smiled a couple of times when he was exchanging glances with Arly, who is the support drummer for both Oblivion Dust and VAMPS. Most of the time I don’t even check on Arly that much, because I’m following Hyde around with my eyes, and that is a challenge, so I think this was the first time I was ever aware of how much fun Arly has at his job.

The bass player, Rikiji, was pretty fun. Ken, the singer, has a very different style from Hyde, but I could really see some parallelisms in the way he jerked around stage and jumped up and down. At one point, the guy climbed on the stage scaffolding-like thingy, hooked his knees, let himself and sang upside-down for a while. Now, that was quite impressive.

Surprising as it might, considering that in VAMPS he has to share the spotlight with something like Hyde, K.A.Z was quite… I’m not sure how to describe it… he did not have so much of that spotlight. No much guitar twirling, not that much jumping up and down either. At one point he went all zen in the back of stage where he could barely be seen. Seriously.

After the concert I went to eat with Ms-san and one of her friends and we had a few local specialities, such as Hiroshima okonomiyaki and roasted oysters. After that we all headed back to our respective hotels.

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.

17th August 2014: Meiji, more Odaiba, Rainbow Bridge {Japan, summer 2014}

I started the day heading off towards Yoyogi Kōen [代々木公園], the park where Meiji Jingu [明治神宮] stands. I got my fortune in the shrine, and apparently, it shall be excellent from now on (and wouldn’t that be awesome). I got an English fortune and it came with a tiny Manekineko (lucky cat) and told me that my life was going to get better. I am going to cling to the thought. (Plus: I did not get dengue fever from my visit to Yoyogi Park).

After that I took a stroll down to Shiba Kōen [芝公園] and Zojo-ji [増上寺] in Minato [港], just because I could, but I had to move on before long. I did have the time to say hi to the mizuko, though, before I had to leave.

I met my friends for ComiKet [コミケット] in the convention centre Tokyo Big Sight, in Odaiba [お台場]. Comiket is reportedly the largest amateur comic convention in the world.

ComiKet was disappointing, mostly because it was insanely crowded, and we decided to make up for it walking back to the main Tokyo area crossing the Rainbow Bridge [レインボーブリッジ], which was an amazing experience. Not only the views, but the whole walking on it… well, within it might be more appropriate… was great, and I am very glad I got to do it.

The day ended in Ikebukuro [池袋] eating okonomiyaki and monjayaki (with some sides because huuuuungry), which was quite yummy, although I have decided that I prefer okonomiyaki.

18th July 2012: Weeping Wallet {Japan, summer 2012}

The 18th was my last day and I was lucky I was able to spending it completely with D****e. I tagged along for her doing some immigration bureaucracy or another, which showed me that red tape sucks the same no matter the country. After she was done, we went to eat an okonomiyaki lunch with pretty waiter to make things nicer.

After that, we went to burn down our wallets, also know as shopping the idol shops in Harajuku [原宿]. This included Johnny’s Entertainment shop, which turned out to be a bit on the disappointing side. I kinda expected something more… grand. Thankfully other shops had enough to make up for it, especially considering my Nakano Broadway spree and the previous day Book Off day.

Leaving Harajuku with lots of Idol stuff and *some* money left. Wohoo:

The day ended with yet another visit to Shinjuku [新宿].

As a final activity we visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Tōkyō Tochō [東京都庁] for viewing Tokyo Tower lit up.

Shinjuku Skyscraper District. I discovered how to activate my camera’s slow shutter mode XD

And then it was over, and the following day I would be heading back home. But fear not because Jbinnacle is not done! There’ll be more. Monotheme posts! Reviews! Fangirling galore! To-do-the-next-time lists! Stay tuned!!