It’s Japan time again and once more it’s mostly about getting those 2-shots with AKS’ merry band of idols like this guy:
— Nihongogo.com (@Nihongogo) April 27, 2015
My actual departure date is May 27, 2015, 12:45 PM. But as far as I’m concerned as of noon mountain time today, trip #5 is alive.
June 4, 2015
I”m back in Canada re-living June 4 again. Just 12 hours ago I was on the Keisei Skyliner bound for Narita Airport. Now I”m at home, lying in bed typing this out. I’m so tired.
This trip was a lot of fun. I met some cool peeps from the Nihongogo forum and of course the regular crew of peeps I travel with in Japan. Props to everyone I hung out with, it was a blast. Hopefully we meet up again later this year for the AKB48 10th anniversary celebrations, whatever they may be.
I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t been said while I was documenting the action out there. Every year out in Japan is worth every single penny spent. And I think those of you who have not made the pilgrimage should really consider doing so. Stop spending your money on useless idol goods and put that cash towards a trip to the source where you can buy useless idol goods directly.
That’s it. I’m hoping to do this again in 6 months.
June 4, 2015
On that Skyliner heading for the airport. It’s a comfortable ride so far but I am expecting that the other asshole Asians behind me will make a bum rush for the exit to grab their bags once the train stops. Before heading to the airport I spent some time in Akihabara & made the visit to Gogo Curry. Then a quick visit to the AKB cafe shop, back to the hotel & now present time.
June 4, 2015
Yesterday was an experience. I started the day by dropping off my box of swag to ship to Canada. I filled out my shipping form as requested and for some reason the post office staff were not satisfied with what I wrote down. Apparently I’m supposed to know the exact weight of the items in the box or something. Like I have access to a scale.
So I was asked to open the box and we proceeded to inventory the items and weigh them. I got a few no goods from the post office staff that puzzled me. For some reason I could not mail AKB48 photo cards or the 2015 Sousenkyo guide book. I asked why and the staff phoned their supervisor and all I got in response was “ダメ”
Also on the no shipping list were all the PASSPO DVDs, and the BABYMETAL Live in London Blu-Ray. Strangely the Bish EP I bought also on the list because it had a cartoon depiction of poo on it. So I guess cartoon poo is considered too offensive to put into a box.
So what should have taken 10 minutes ended up taking an hour and a half. I don’t quite understand why this had to be so difficult since last year I shipped the same kinds of items and there were no problems at all. I’m guessing I got the staff who were sticklers to the rules or they just liked fucking with the gaijin. Or it just was a bad day to mail stuff out to Canada. I dont’ really know. Anyway, I have a shipping receipt and all that so hopefully the box arrives next week.
After the ordeal of the post office it was off to the 2015 AKB48 Sousnkyo Musuem in Akihabara. Having just missed out on this last year I was happy that I got to go to opening day this year. I got to see the giant ugly paintings up close and yes, I can confirm that Yuko, Acchan and Sasshi were uglied up significantly. But as you can see, Watanabe Mayu somehow escaped the wrath of the portrait painter and came out looking like a relative million bucks
I also got to see some of the stage costumes up close as well. I did not know the Kokoro no Placard dresses were made of bubble wrap. I made sure I took a lot of pictures, so many that my camera was starting to heat up from the workout I was giving it. I drained the battery hard during this particular session.
After that more curry at CoCo Curry and a quick stop at Yodobashi Camera to pick up a binder to hold the 12 election posters I bought. Some which were for my peeps back home and others as contest prizes. Maybe now your might want to enter the Election Contest?
After resting up it was back to the museum to get the photo ops I missed in the initial rush. There were some members on site but I had no idea who they were since I could not see past the crowd of screaming wota. I also took a picture on the throne again for good measure.
Then the last supper at Mos Burger before a leisurely walk through Akihabara to my hotel to attempt to modify my packing to fit all the extra stuff I did not account for. I got everything to fit although now I have to check in two bags.
And that leads to today. Since I’m mostly packed up I don’t have a huge rush to actually organize things. I just have to grab my bags and go once I shut down shop here and pack the laptop away. Anyway, time to get ready, next update will probably be from the airport this afternoon.
June 3, 2015
Final full day in Tokyo. The morning news here is talking about Bruce Jenner revealing himself as a woman on the cover of Vanity Fair as Caitlyn Jenner. I guess it’s that big of a deal huh? So last night I did end up going out again to Akihabara where I ate some hot dogs and played some Tekken 7.
I managed to hold my own against Japanese players even without knowing some of the new game mechanics in this latest version of Tekken. I played the character I’m most familiar with, Heihachi but also tried one of the new characters Katarina. From the brief time I played her, she looked like she had an attack range and move set similar to Lee. I can see her being a button mashers best friend.
After that a walk back through the streets of Akihabara to the hotel.
As for today’s plans? Well there’s this whole AKB48 Sousenkyo Museum thing that I just missed out on last year. I’m happy that I get to to it this year. After that? Uh… Dunno.
June 2, 2015
It’s after 7 PM in Tokyo. I’m back in my hotel room watching cartoons. Spiderman is teaming up with the Guardians of The Galaxy and S.H.I.E.L.D. in Japanese to take on some bad guy with a giant ship. Or something like that. I recorded a bit of video of it just for the hell of it.
Anyway I started out in Akihabara today. I went to Yodobashi Camera in search of some Japanese made guitar effects pedals for my brother. I had no luck there since they seem to sell only brands that are sold in Canada. But I did manage to find the AKB48 2015 Sousenkyo guide book. So scratch that off the list. After that it was breakfast on the 8th floor of Yodobashi Camera. I didn’t even know they had food places up there until I looked at the floor map.
I actually had Japanese food for breakfast, believe it or not. Tonkatsu to be more precise. It’s a hell of all more appetizing than the crappy Subway I usually eat for breakfast when I’m at home. I don’t know if it’s necessarily healthier, but it’s much better tasting. After that a quick stop at M’s. I had to get a DVD that was released just yesterday.
Yeah, the AV debut of former SKE48 member Kito Momona on the Muteki label. Of course she has an AV name, and it is Mikami Yua. The video is described as a 3-hour film where Yua performs various sexual acts culminating in a threesome. If you didn’t think I was going to seek this out you have not been reading this site long enough.
After dropping off my first lot of goods I headed to the post office to take out some money and to find out how much it might cost to ship my small box of swag back to Canada. I’m looking at probably at over one hundred dollars. So similar to last year’s shipment. I asked if I could pay by credit card for shipping, cash only. I guess I have to transfer some money to my checking account later tonight or tomorrow morning.
Then, off to Roppongi Hills. I have not been in Roppongi since my first trip to Japan in 2007. There was an observatory there I wanted to check out. Luckily I packed my zoom lens with me for the trip there. Unknown to me there was a Star Wars exhibition on the observatory floor. There was a lot of cool stuff to look at and unfortunately no one could take pics of any of it. If you even thought of lifting your phone or getting your camera a staff member was on you.
I did manage to sneak in the pictures above though. Although when the other tourists are doing the same thing it’s hard to not join in. But all the other cool exhibition stuff. No go. Sadness.
Once I was done with the exhibition I immediately went to Ochanomizu to finish my quest for this guitar pedal I have been chasing. I was told Ochanomizu is like the mecca of Guitar/Musician stuff and all the shops are right next to each other.
Well yeah, that’s pretty damn accurate. The first shop I went into I ended up talking to a staff member in English. And he helped me find the item I was looking for. I seriously hope that it’s the right item because I don’t think I’ll have time to go back and return it.
Anyway, that’s it for what I did today. I don’t know if I’m gonna head back out again. I do want to get to Shibuya and try to get the one photo op that has eluded me. That is an overhead shot of the crossing. If I can’t do that, then I guess I’ll go to Akihabara and get my ass kicked in video games.
June 2, 2015
It’s 8 AM in Tokyo and what am I doing? Waiting for my laundry to finish. Apparently it is better to do your laundry in the morning since everyone is out and about doing their thing or sleeping. I haven’t decided what to do today. I do have some last minute shopping for folks back home to complete but that shouldn’t take took long I guess.
Maybe I’ll stop by Roppongi Hills for some picture taking. Dunno.
June 1, 2015
It’s past 11 PM Monday night here in Tokyo and I”m back from a couple of excursions in Nakano and Shibuya. I already talked about the lacklustre experience in Nakano. After that I headed to Shibuya for my annual tradition of getting my ass kicked in Street Fighter by a salary man playing with one hand and smoking.
At first I was getting destroyed handily but once I got used to playing against humans again I found a groove and managed to get in some competitive matches. And I actually won one. Yes! My 3 year losing streak is over. Praise Jebus!
After that I met up with the crew in front of Sbibuya Station and we proceeded to eat at IWA. Yes, Yakiniku again. It’s either I’m eating Japanese knock offs of American food or burning meat. There seems to be no middle ground as of yet.
But it was another good meal with the peeps. With many of my touristy things kind of covered I have to find something to do tomorrow until the AKB48 Sousenkyo Musuem opens on Wednesday. I guess I’ll get around to maybe playing that AKB Zombie game that came out last year. I dunno. Now it’s just winging stuff to see what sticks.
June 1, 2015
Nakano Broadway was interesting. A lot of what as in it were various stores squeezed. between multiple levels of Trio’s & Mandarake’s. Their various shops sold everything nerdy or collectible one can think of. I was looking for idol goods & not much interested me at any of the Trios.
I can see why this particular building may be revered by collectors. There’s a lot of different goods that I never though anyone would actually want to collect such as old cards of AV stars or Michael Jackson. But for me the place was fairly meh at the end once I realized that there wan’t anything that I really wanted.
June 1, 2015
My entire morning was spent at Tokyo Skytree/Sumida Aquarium. I seem to be able to cross off Japan bucket list items on this trip.
The aquarium had a very long line considering it was a Monday and I assumed that most folks would be working. But nope, there were plenty of families in line to look at fish. There were also many school kids as well & the odd gaijin like me.
During this visit I finally got to use my 55-210mm lens. It really did come in handy even though it looked hella silly on the NEX body. I did have to adjust a little bit to get a grasp on the focus range of the lens. Once I had that it was all gravy.
I got a lot of shots of the various sea life on display. Whether any of them are good is another question entirely. After that I did a bit of shopping for stuff to give away for our AKB 2015 Election contest (which you should enter by the way) & returned to my hotel to plan the next course of action.
June 1, 2015
I was planning to go to Yokohama today but then I realized an important thing. It’s fucking hot here and I don’t want to go wandering around Yokohama Chinatown in this heat. So instead, I’m staying near air conditioning and will go to the closest toursity thingy to my hotel, Sumida Aquarium at Tokyo Sky Tree.
After that? Well I have no idea what else to do. I’ll figure something out from my list I guess.
May 31, 2015
Back in my hotel room after a long day in Tokyo. After the PASSPO concert I dumped all my goods and proceeded to fall asleep. When I woke up around 6 I could feel my feet again and made my way to Shibuya to try to fulfill a request from home.
I walked from one side of Shibuya station and that back to the other side to two different music shops. One of the shops called Nico Nico Guitar was so inconspicuous that an old man had to tell me where to find it.
Unfortunately the item I was sent to find was discontinued. Crap. So I walked back to Shibuya station and met up with my peeps for dinner in Akihabara. There were a bunch of people camped out in front of the AKB48 Cafe for some reason. They were there when we arrived and there were more of them when we left to go back home. The cafe was closed and these fools were still camped outside of it. I don’t get it.
May 31, 2015
That PASSPO concert was great. So much energy or hype as the youngins would say. They sang a lot of songs from their new album that I did not listen to before coming to Japan. So a lot of the songs were all first time listens for me.
The overall experience was a lot of fun. PASSPO’s fans are nuts. Some of them were hopping on each other’s shoulders & doing wotagei. During this afternoon show a new PASSPO group was introduced, Puchi Passpo. All of them lolis for those of you who are into that. Yes, we can claim a #FIRST finally.
After attending this concert I do want to review the album when I get back to Canada. I happened to buy a copy along with whatever concert DVDs they had available. Now I have to lug this stuff back to my hotel.
May 31, 2015
It’s a hot Sunday in Tokyo. I’m on the train bound for Akasaka station. It is PASSPO concert day. I’m going to their afternoon show at Akasaka Blitz. I can consider this a bit of redemption for missing out on them during an earlier Japan trip. I have been told they are pretty good live.
I can only base my opinion on concert DVDs I have watched. I guess I’ll find out soon.
May 31, 2015
Awake hella early again and watching the morning news. There was an earthquake last night that could be felt throughout the Kanto region. For some reason I did not feel it. I was on a train at the time the earthquake hit and nothing woke me from my slumber other than an alert to get off at Akihabara station.
When I arrived at Akihabara station there were people holding on to the metal bars attached to the columns at the station. There were also security staff checking to make sure people were okay. After watching interviews on the local news and checking out English news sites this one seemed pretty nasty and intense.
Perhaps I should consider myself lucky that I have not felt a quake during my visit to Japan. There was another one the day after I arrived that was also intense. I happened to be walking out in the street at the time that one hit. So yeah, lucky me so far.
I was told before I left for Japan that in the event of an earthquake find a column to hold on to or stay in an open space. I guess hiding under a table is more likely to get you killed or trapped rather than protect you? I hope to not test that theory out for the rest of my stay here.
Anyway, I’m slightly recovered from the wrath that was the AKB48 2-shot day. Once I got to my hotel room last night I got on the bed & I was done. I did wake up a few times in the morning because the TV was still on, but I shut the damn thing off and went back to bed.
I don’t necessarily plan to do a lot of things until I have to leave for Akasaka Blitz for PASSPO. After that I have no clue what’s going to happen today.
May 30, 2015
Holy shit I’m tired. After lunch I proceeded to line up for Kitagawa Ryoha. I did the same pose as last year with her, cat. Then Shibuya Nagisa. That girl is so pretty & I was rendered speechless. When she asked me what pose to do I got tongue tied. Thankfully there were props on her table & I picked up a lollipop & posed with it. Thank God for props.
Then off to Yokoyama Yui. I had nothing planned for her so the standard peace sign. After her Takahashi Juri. As is customary I snuck in a wrestling pose. I explained John Cena’s word life pose to her and she looked confused. But she did it anyway so props Juri for joining C-nation. Hustle, Loyalty, Respect.
Moving on, next was Tashima Meru. This girl is all about moving numbers. She’s ready to go before you even sit down. And even after I moved on to Togunaga Mio I could still see her churning them out since their lanes were next to each other.
For Mio I asked her to wave to the camera. It’s an inside joke that only 1 person would get.
After an hour break where I got to sit down again I ended my night with 2 NMB girls. The oh so sexay Jonishi Kei & Kinoshita Haruna. I was not expecting that much hotness in a row but it was a nice way to end the event.
I’m still a bit peeved about losing the Matsui Jurina 2-shot thanks to the aggresive stupidity of others. The others were repeats from last year so I’m not as upset about losing out on them. But J? Man. That will be as bad as burning my Oshima Yuko handshake.
That’s about it. I did post the set of pictures on our Instagram account. And no I didn’t blur my face out or cover it with clip art of LINE characters. I personally think that’s kind of a bitch move. But to each their own.
And if you’re too lazy to check our Instagram then I’ll do you a solid and post the pics in grouped form here as well.
Anyway. I’m on a train heading back to from whence I came in Tokyo. I’m going to assume I’m doing this again in 6 months.
May 30, 2015
After the debacle of the ticket check-in was over I pre-lined for Yamamoto Sayaka. Again, check-in was not barbaric & crimes against humanity. You put your bag in a basket, put phone in camera mode & hand off your ticket.
Sayanee is hella tiny & we did her sousenkyo poster pose. During the handshake she got up and commented on my Steve Urkel Thug Life shirt & called it cute. I thanked her as the usher gently pulled me away as she waved & said “See you” in English
After her was Watanabe Miyuki. Her line was long & she had a whole set piece in her booth. She seemed kinda all meh between pictures while I was watching her. Like she might be bored?
Anyway my 2-Shot was quick & dirty & when it was done I was instructed to walk up to her & shake her hand. She’s definitely a different experience from Sayanee. Luckily I didn’t get tackled out of her booth this year.
Before the lunch break for me I had Kitahara Rie. Yes the DSL’s are real and they look spectacular. I wanted to congratulate her on the NGT captaincy but forgot. Instead a thank you and the escort out of the booth.
May 30, 2015
So I made it to Tokyo Big Site. No big deal in regards to train ride. However once inside things went sideways.
The fabled security check at AKB events is painless & completely non-intrusive. It is NOT like the American TSA as some online have claimed. Far from it. It actually was a pleasant experience.The check-in for tickets was not. I hate to call out certain fans these days but the Chinese contingent here were rude, pushy & stage diving over each other to get their tickets verified.
In my short time attending these events I have never seen the staff run ragged like that. I had to flag someone down with my ghetto Japanese so I could get my passport & tickets back. By then an hour & some had gone by & my 2-shots with Matsui Jurina, Ishida Anna & Aigasa Moe went up in smoke.
May 30, 2015
It’s just before 8 AM & I am riding a train out of Akihabara bound for Tokyo Big Site. Today is Tables, Idols & Chairs with AKB48.
To say I am less than prepared for this event is an understatement. But to overthink what poses to do is also overkill. There is only so much one can do with furniture in the way.
As long as I don’t miss my pics & remember to hit the table of shame to get my tickets stanped I am golden. I would say keep an eye on our social media for 2-shots but nope. That action all staying on my personal account.
Maybe I’ll take pics of the lineup or something while I’m there.
May 29, 2015
After eating an abundance of meat at a Yakiniku place it was off to karaoke. Fun times regardless. Props to all the peeps from the Nihongogo forum.
May 29, 2015
Second round of shopping was less successful. I found 1 out of 3 items left on my easy buy list. Again, my ghetto Japanese gets me by without pointing at stuff. Yay edumacation.
I did end up getting myself 4 of the election singles and the blu-ray of BABYMETAL Live in London. Also, an umbrella because it’s pissing rain here.
That kind of ruined my Shibuya photo taking since I can’t hold an umbrella & take a decent picture with my mirrorless at the same time. Hopefully later in the trip I can go back & get some better pics.
Now I’m back at my hotel chilling & relaxing my aching feets.
May 29, 2015
My first full morning in Japan was spent shopping for the various folks back home. I also took the opportunity to take pictures along the way.
I spent my time in Akihabara & thankfully my Japanese was decent enough to help me ask for some of the more difficult items on my shopping list.
Now it’s off to Shibuya for more searching for things for other people.
May 29, 2015
It’s around 6 AM here in Tokyo. I’m up at my usual work related time to get ready for the day and all that. Last night I was pretty jet lagged so I crashed early after dinner. All I remember was taking a shower and then plopping down on the bed. After that, lights out.
Anyway, I just wanna briefly go over the flight and stuff. That little premium I paid was worth it as I had a nice front row seat where I could stretch out my legs and stand up without bothering anyone. I also had an entire row to myself. So great right? Well no. First, I was also around an area with screaming babies. Thankfully that was rectified when those folks were moved to the back of the plane.
But then my in-flight entertainment system had a bum headphone jack so I couldn’t watch any of the movies and such. Thankfully I loaded my iPad with entertainment but it did suck to not have the option to watch a movie I would otherwise not pay for myself.
Other than that it was uneventful. I did manage to really get a good few hours of sleep on the plane which probably screwed up my system a little once I landed in Narita. I’m usually wide awake the entire flight & wired for the rest of the day after that.
The trip to the hotel was another interesting series of mishaps. I was delayed at immigration because of lazy foreigners who did not fill out their customs declarations and other forms on the plane. Instead they did the shit in line. Come on people, you had how many hours to fill out a form and you decided to do it in line? Again a line separate line needs to be made for people who know what they’re doing.
This year I did not end up taking the Keisei local line and instead at in comfort on the actual Skyliner. So yay for not fucking that up again. Everything for the most part was great until I tried to get off at my stop of Asakusabshi Station. People need to put their damn phones down and watch if someone is asking to get out. I had to bully my way out of the train and unfortunately when I got out I stepped on some poor mans feet as I charged out with my bag. Sorry dude, but blame the bitch who couldn’t stop her text convo for a few seconds to get out of the way.
So eventually I did end up at Mystays Asakusabshi where I dumped my luggage and headed to Akihabara to start my first evening in Tokyo this year and to get some eats which were seen in an earlier update in this article.
May 28, 2015
May 28, 2015
Landed at Narita at 14:30 Japan time. It’s kinda hot out here. Currently on Skyliner bound for Tokyo. Will recap shenanigans of flight later. I gotta get to my hotel & take a shower.
May 28, 2015
I sit in a comfy leather seat near my gate at YYC watching planes go in and out. I assume the large one that is out of frame of the picture above is the one I will be boarding shortly. I still have about 40 minutes to go until people start getting herded on to the plane.
I have come to realize that the more I do these trips the more I get annoyed at various things involved in flying. The first thing that came to mind was when I was checking my bag. Some Filipino family and their stock pile of boxes cut the line causing a bit of a back log. Especially since they were arguing that their massive bags were not over the 10 kilo limit and they could carry them on the plane. Really people? Just check your massive bags in.
The other thing that irked me was at the security check-in. There really needs to be a separate line for those who know what the hell they’re doing so we don’ t have to put up with the fools who have no idea how it all works. Over the years I have become efficient at having all my stuff in proper trays and all appropriate documentation ready. Apparently that seems to be a difficult task for people.
It may sound like I’m being a jerk but I get put in a seriously foul mood when people are unable to follow simple instructions. Anyway, this is my last update from Calgary. I got a good 10 hours of sitting in a tin can to look forward to. See you all in the future.
On the way to YYC. Traffic is light so I should be at airport on time to line up behind the noobs who can’t figure out security procedures
May 28, 2015
It’s hella early considering I don’t have to be at the airport until 10. I sense that I will be awake for a very long time starting from now so it will be interesting to see what kind of condition I will be in when I land at Narita. I hear it’s hot out there, but I also read that it will rain eventually. Having been caught in a torrential downpour previously I guess a better jacket is needed just in case. Not that I will really need it, but just in case.
I’m all packed up and ready to leave for the most part. The essential devices (phone, watch) are still charging. I’ll probably do another bag check for items I may have missed before leaving. I’m pretty sure I have everything but better to be safe than sorry 5000 km away.
May 27, 2015
I am watching the recent AKB48 sports festival while I finalize my preparations and go over my packing checklist for what seems the billionth time. Never having watched an AKB only sports festival I can only assume it’s similar to the ones that Hello! Project held back in their glory days.
Oh well, it’s something to pass the time while I make sure I haven’t missed anything of importance that I will most likely need to survive out in the streets of Tokyo. (and maybe other parts of Japan if I’m lucky)
My iPad is loaded up with various things to watch in case the in-flight entertainment system is full of crap movies. Based on what I looked up on Air Canada’s web site I may finally be able to see the final instalment of the Hobbit trilogy assuming I don’t get a bum entertainment system.
Otherwise I’m probably watching AKB48’s Request Hour 2015 series and whatever leftover anime and idol TV shows I haven’t watched yet. Or I can attempt to sleep, which never seems to actually work on long-haul flights for me. How other people can sleep is beyond me.
If I do get to sleep I’ll at least have what Air Canada calls a “preferred seat” that one has to pay a slight premium for. I would hope that means there isn’t a crying kid kicking my seat or some asshole reclining their chair all the way back leaving me no room to breathe. Or at least that is my hope.
What the reality actually will be is a mystery since I’ve never really upgraded my seat on an international long-haul flight before. (Only on short flights within North America) I guess I’ll find out in a few hours what that extra hit to my credit card got me. For now, an attempt to get any kind of sleep.