30th August 2018: Loud Head {Japan, summer 2018}

I took the train to Shinjuku [新宿] and I walked from there to Shibuya [渋谷] to have a thought or two at life. In my walk I crossed Yoyogi Kōen [代々木公園] and visited Meiji Jingu [明治神宮].

Then I strolled down Harajuku [原宿] – I had recently found out that the station is going to be torn down, so I had to say goodbye before heading over to the shops.

I finally made it to Shibuya [渋谷]. I had some Starbucks chocolate drink with around ten million kilocalories (≧∇≦). I went into Tower Records, Mandarake, and then Tsutaya.

Ironically, I finally took a train back to Shinjuku [新宿] to meet D****e for dinner (guess what?! In the Shinjuku MyLord!), and we saw the lights on the Tōkyō Tochō [東京都庁] (Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building).

4th July 2016: Scary, scary… aaaaaah {Japan, summer 2016}

After hitting for Gackt’s concert, I figured out that I would ballot for the insanely impossible birthday party – GACKT’s 43rd Birthday Party in ANA InterContinental Tokyo, located in Akasaka [赤坂]. And somehow – somehow – I hit. I might have been a little in histerics about the whole thing for a while, especially with how strict the dress code seemed to be.

Before that I organised a swift visit to Harajuku [原宿] and Meiji Jingu [明治神宮]. For starters, I wanted to catch Godzilla in Shinjuku [新宿], which I did not do last year – I had stolen a glimpse of him when I had picked my keys up.

Godzilla, a giant mutant iguana, peers throughout the building roofs, roaring

Then I headed over to Harajuku [原宿] and I had a stroll down Takeshita-dōri [竹下通り] (天気がいいから、さんぽしましょう、and so XD) and into Yoyogi Kōen [代々木公園] to show Meiji Jingu [明治神宮] to T**y. Then I headed back home to get ready because PANIC!(◎_◎;) I was ridiculously nervous about the event. Fortunately, it worked out almost perfectly.

The event itself consisted on a formal dinner, and a later appearance of the birthday boy himself and the band to… basically have a drinking game, a card game, and a talk show on stage. It was a lot of money to be honest, and I don’t think I’ll ever feel the need to do something like it again, but I am glad that I was crazy to do it at least once. I unfortunately had to leave before it finished in order to make it to the last train, so I missed the songs *sigh*. Nothing is perfect I guess.

Pictures I snuck at the party - flowers, the screen with the logo, my invitation, then the food - sausage entree, soup, salmon, fillet, and chocolate cake, along witht the shot glass we got as souvenir

1st September 2015: Downpour Shibuya {Japan, summer 2015}

D****e and I headed off to Harajuku [原宿] to check out the idol shops, but I wanted a quick visit to Meiji Jingu [明治神宮] to get the calligraphy from there. I had never been able to find out where they did it, and it was good to have some Japanese-speaking person around. We were surprised to walk into some kind of religious parade I still have got to research.

Afterwards, through a downpour, we had a look at Takeshita Doori shops. When it was almost noon we headed off towards Hachiko in Shibuya [渋谷] as we had agreed to meet a friend for lunch – shabu shabu in Shibuya’s Nabezo and then headed off to Cosmo Planetarium Shibuya [コスモプラネタリウム渋谷], which is a really neat place with very comfy chairs that lean back… yep, you guessed it, I zonked out. In my defence, I shall say that… all Japanese and a talk about gravity and I was getting dizzy with the 3D screen…

After a quick visit to Tower Records for a magazine I was looking for (and in the end got a wrong one, but oh well…) we had yet more karaoke (in a huge room) and eventually headed off home to have some CocoCurry.

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.

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:

6th July 2012: 東京の雨(傘) {Japan, summer 2012}

On Friday I walked a lot but saw fewer things. I started with Yasukuni Jinja [靖国神社], which was preparing for a matsuri (festival), as you can see with all the lanterns. The lanterns had names in them and I have the chilling feeling that there’s one for each Japanese soldier who died in WWII – Yasukuni Shrine is dedicated to the fallen in that war.

A wall of yellow paper lamps being hung outdoors

A torii gate and a shrine behind it. The shrine is hanging the imperial banner. The building is made out of dark wood with golden decoration, and the roof is green-grey

The shrine visit was followed by a 30-minute stroll toward the Diet Building [国会, Kokkai] , which is something like the Parliament. Surprisingly enough, I got there without much trouble. I checked points with this because a) is cultural building b) is a barrier in X Clamp and c) is where the Shinigami in Yami no Matsuei are based. Risky picture in the middle of a crossing too! (pedestrian light was green, so not that impressive, to be honest.)

A severe looking building, closed off by fences and guarded by the police

As I was walking towards the Diet I found the National Theatre by chance. It was not in the plan, but i decided to check it out:

A shoebox-like building, in brown, with some reddish paper lanterns at the entrance

It started to rain and I was heading to Yoyogi Kōen [代々木公園], where I took a series of fun pictures through my (D****e’s) umbrella. It did not work as well as I hoped for though XD. Originally Yoyogi Park was conceived as a sacred forest around the Meiji Temple.

Trees through a transparent plastic umbrella

Thus, Meiji Jingu [明治神宮] was erected in the middle of the sacred forest of Yoyogi to honour the Meiji emperor and his wife. It is a very impressive complex, to be honest, and not even the bunch if tourists manage to break the spell of the place.

The entrance to Meiji Jingu, with a torii, and a small fountain to the left, and a lantern to the right

The main building of Meiji Jingu, in dark wood with a grey roof. A few people are approaching the building, all of them are carrying umbrellas

Finally I took a walk down Harajuku [原宿], where I, fortunately, did not buy anything. I swear, this country eats money way too fast…

A shopping street. The entrance is decorated with balloons strung together to look like a heart

Stay tuned for the tale if our trip to Nikko on Saturday and how we did not go to see the waterfall… the waterfall came to us. It was not the deluge… but almost. 大雨.

Title translation: Tokyo no Ame(gasa), it’s a pun on Tokyo’s rain and Tokyo’s umbrella. The Japnese word for rain is “ame”, and the word for umbrella is “amegasa”