19th & 20th August 2019: Bye-bye for a while, Japan {Japan, summer 2019}

For my last day full day in Japan, I dropped my luggage off at Shinjuku station and met with D****e for lunch to say goodbye for now. I also got to say goodbye to Tokyo Tower [東京タワー] from Roppongi Hills [六本木ヒルズ].

Lunch was a bit sad, but the yakiniku was very yummy. After she had to come back to work I met with B**** for drinks and wandering around for a while in Shinjuku [新宿]. We mostly sat at Wendy’s, talking and drinking… whatever this is…

And then she took me to CocoCurry for goodbye-curry.

Then she came with me to Nippori station to help me carry my luggage to the train. I was so mentally exhausted that I did not even stop for a stamp at Narita Terminal 1. I had booked myself a hotel for the night at the airport because I felt that was the best thing for my mental health at that time, and I am glad I did. It was very handy and the transport to the terminal was very smooth.

I had been worried about my Fuji-climbing stick, but I had been told I could check it in. I bought a suit-cover which I sewed, and had no problems with it – I mean, I saw people checking-in kayaks, for fuck’s sake. My stick was tiny in comparison to that! The flight back was a-okay, unremarkable, mostly.

Walked distance: 19th: 11099 steps / 7.94 km. 20th: 5045 steps / 3.60 km. The displacement was a bit longer though… something around the 11000 km (≧▽≦)

The 2019 trip was a long one, full of awesome experiences that I won’t forget any time soon. I hope to gather experience from what went wrong, but not cling onto the bad feelings. I chose not to write about that, and look for the best in every day. Also, I did not really feel it, but a bunch of Japanese friends told me that my language skills had improved, so that made me happy. Now it’s time to go back to the real world and do adulty things, and start dreaming about the next adventure. また今度ね。

4th August 2019: Gastronomy Day {Japan, summer 2019}

I took an early shinkansen back from Nagoya to Tokyo [東京] because I was out early the day before and thus up at an insane hour. I was on the train before 9AM for sure (≧▽≦). I have witnesses!

And in Tokyo… basically I had lunch with D****e, curry soup, in Nakano [中野]:

We said hi to the Doraemon [ドラえもん] in Roppongi [六本木].

Then we went for lamb shabu-shabu for dinner…

And that was it. There went my diet.

Walked distance: 17978 steps / 12.8 km… somehow. From the hotel to Nagoya station, and then from Nakano Station to D****e’s house (oh, wait, I got lost on the way, that explains a lot). Then back to Nakano Station area for lunch, and once more to D****e’s house, and then to the station? Yes? Okay (≧▽≦).)

13th August 2018: Pretty Lights, Strike 2 {Japan, summer 2018}

I had quite a boring morning filing all the insurance and company flights hoping to get the money I had spent on clothes during the time my luggage was lost. Then a storm broke so I took the subway to Nakano Broadway [中野ブロードウェイ] to canvass the shops for a while. After shopping (mostly for my friend C*****, actually) I headed home to drop off the purchases of the day because my back was hurting and I did not want to run around carrying weight.

I had arranged to meet D****e in Roppongi [六本木] when she was done with work for two things – one was taking pictures with the dozens of Doraemon [ドラえもん] that were once again colonising Roppongi Hills [六本木ヒルズ].

Then we went to Tokyo Midtown [東京ミッドタウン] building, also in Roppongi. We saw Tokyo Tower [東京タワー] on the way.

We had Chinese for dinner and then we walked into the gardens for the event called Midtown Loves Summer which was a show of lights and music, which was the second goal of the evening. Pretty!

10th July 2017: Smooth arrival {Japan, summer 2017}

And that was a first. We were on time even if we had taken off slightly late and I was downtown Tokyo at noon. Japan is ‘trying’ to make arrival more friendly and now your fingertips are taken by someone who is not security, but it’s still the same process – you arrive, they take your fingerprints, take a photo of you (without glasses) and then you go through immigration. Then you pick up the luggage and go through customs, where they may or may not open your suitcase. This time, I did not get mine open, even if I had a perfect answer for why I was there.

I had lunch with D****e, then went to her place to have a shower and change clothes and then met up with B**** for ice cream, because I was back in Japan in melting hot weather. And then I met up with D****e as I had borrowed her keys, went back home, had some dinner and crashed.

26th December 2016: Japan can be cold! {Japan, winter 16/17}

This was a discovery. Yes, I knew for a fact that Japan could be a cold country. I’ve seen he pictures and the snow, but it was the first time ever I was in winter Japan.

First of all, regarding the flight, Iberia is now flying Madrid Tokyo in a direct route, which is amazing. However, they charge you about 30 bucks for choosing a seat and the personnel is not the most helpful ever (^_^)”

After arriving in Narita, the first goal was setting the Internet on the phone. I was using Free Wifi at Narita and several stations among my route to meet D. for lunch and to get the keys to her apartment, because I keep forgetting that you have to go onto your browser and “register”.

Anyway, I met with D****e first for yakiniku in Roppongi [六本木], and I got the keys to her apartment as I was crashing with her. I was hungry and forgot to take pictures, so have a look at the ベリベリ (“very berry”) smoothy I got in Harajuku [原宿] with B****. later on (*^◇^)_旦. And after that we went to a place called “Cookie Time” which was amazing.

We also got to look at the winter illuminations between Harajuku and Shibuya [渋谷].

Finally, we went to eat sushi (*・∀・)_Ω. It is a common misconception that there can not be too much sushi, but it is actually a mistake. There is such a thing as too much sushi, but you won’t realise that until it is too late (*゚ー゚)ゞ.

13th August 2014: Samurai vs. Kaiju {Japan, summer 2014}

We started the day in Asakusa [浅草], which would be one of my favourite places in Tokyo if it was not so crowded all the time. This time not only I wanted to visit the main Sensōji [浅草寺].

The Sensoji temple in Asakusa, whose most prominent feature is the huge red paper lanterns

I also wanted to check out the smaller protective Shinto Shrines on the side, like Asakusa Jinja [浅草神社].

Small shrine with two stone torii, two stone lanterns and two fox statues flanking them

The second temple of the day was Sengakuji [泉岳寺], close to Shinagawa [品川]. The name does not really ring a bell by itself, but Senkakuji is also known as the Temple of the Forty-Seven Rōnin, as here is where all of them are buried. The Buddhist temple itself is nothing special. It has the graveyard where the samurai are buried, and a small museum attached where you can see a replica of the drum used in the attack, along with pieces of armour and one copy of the declarative letter that they wrote. Another part of the museum holds wooden statues for all of them.

A Buddhist temple, and a row of gravestones with the names of some of the 47 Ronin

After having lunch in Shinagawa (in a… Mexican… kind of place called “El Caliente”) we headed off to Roppongi [六本木] to see Godzilla. Not the movie, but the sculpture that has been planted in Tokyo Midtown [東京ミッドタウン]. As a matter of fact, it was a very Godzilla [ゴジラ] summer in Tokyo. The Godzilla visit was done in two parts, one before sunset and one after it had gotten dark.

Godzilla coming from the ground, roaring

The two visits to Godzilla were separated by horrible horrible American food (I shall never willingly set a foot on a “Wendy’s” again) and going to the cinema to watch “Rurouni Kenshin – Kyoto Inferno”, the second instalment of a movie trilogy based on the manga of the same name.

Poster of the movie. It shows a man dressed in red traditional clothes, with an X-shaped scar on his cheek. Behind him, minor characters and the antagonist, covered in bandages.

Oh, and before we got back to Godzilla, we saw a gazillion and a half of Doraemon [ドラえもん] underneath Roppongi Hills [六本木ヒルズ], and pictures were taken with them.

A lot of people-sized Doaemon in different poses. Doraemon is a cartoonish ear-less blue and white cat

And here Godzilla tries to eat stuff (there are many good restaurants underneath Tokyo Midtown anyway):

A close-up of the Godzilla statue at night, lit purple and blue, and looming on a skyscraper

1st July 2013: Wandering on a Monday {Japan, summer 2013}

Many national places like museums are closed in Japan on Mondays, so I thought I would visit the Imperial Palace East Gardens, Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen [皇居東御苑], which are considered a public park and should therefore be open, right? Wrong. Closed too. Thus I got a few pictures of… the moat and wall XD

I decided to head down to Yoyogi Kōen [代々木公園] and Meiji Jingu [明治神宮], as it was a place I enjoyed a lot last year and was closer than most my other options – and bound to be open. I took a few pictures I could not because it was raining in 2012, among them one of the daitorii up.

I met with a friend in the Minato-ku area, as Tokyo Tower [東京タワー] is a good meeting point and I still had to see Zojoji open. It was finally a success and I got an awesome omamori that turns bad luck into good luck (summer special, too!). What, you thought I had gotten over my omamori liking? You thought wrong XD

Finally I headed back to Roppongi [六本木] to meet with D****e and try the Roppongi Hills [六本木ヒルズ] observatory again, which was a success this time:

24th June 2013: Less-known Tokyo Shrines {Japan, summer 2013}

Most of Monday was spent wandering around Tokyo [東京] trying to find my way between shrines, since as you might have suspected, I like those. Akasaka [赤坂] was the first stop of the day to visit Nogi Jinja [乃木神社], which I managed to find even if I had missed all the landmarks that should have led me there.

As I headed towards Roppongi [六本木] for my next stop something went wrong. The station I was supposed to find was wrongly marked on Google maps, or another exit was marked or… I am not sure (looking back, probably a signal disruptor). My route ended up being a bit meandering. I crossed Tokyo Midtown [東京ミッドタウン]’s Hinokicho Kōen [檜町公園].

Once in Roppongi I took another detour (this time it was my own fault though XD) to Hikawa Jinja [氷川神社], which is one of the most creepy places on this earth. I liked it, but it did give off one hell of an eerie feeling.

After this I headed down the Minato Ward where the Tokyo Tower can be found. There I was to explore around for a few things, including Atago Jinja [愛宕神社], which was having a matsuri and thus crowded.

On my to-find list was, among other things, this mini-Inari shrine:

Then I headed down to Shiba Koen [芝大公園], Zojo-ji [増上寺] and the Tokyo Tower [東京タワー], just because I could.

I was to meet D****e back at Roppongi [六本木] to go up to the observatory in Roppongi Hills [六本木ヒルズ], but it did not pan out due to weird closing hours. However, we did manage a cool shoot or two of the Tokyo Tower lit up and the supermoon next to it.

We walked to Shibuya [渋谷], where we made a stop at Book Off. Money was spent XD