Once again it is time to take pictures with the 48 family of idols and a table. Yup. It’s Tables, Idols & Chairs II on March 12 and 13 at Makuhari Messe. I am hoping it won’t be a torrential downpour like the last time I visited Messe. I would hate to be all soaking wet in my pictures.
For those too lazy to look up my 2-shot list for this year, here you go:
松井珠理奈 (Matsui Jurina) [Team S]
渋谷凪咲 (Shibuya Nagisa) [Team B2/4]
島崎遥香 (Shimazaki Haruka) [Team A]
佐藤すみれ (Sato Sumire) [Team E]
横山由依 (Yokoyama Yui) [Team A]
松井珠理奈 (Matsui Jurina) [Team S]
田中菜津美 (Tanaka Natsumi) [Team H]
向井地美音 (Mukaichi Mion) [Team K]
兒玉遥 (Kodama Haruka) [Team H/K]
石田安奈 (Ishida Anna) [Team S]
Of course it just isn’t all I’m going to be doing out in the land of the rising sun. Nope. I will also be attending the following events:
- Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro
- Pro Wrestling NOAH’s GREAT VOYAGE 2016 in KORAKUEN on March 19th
- Spring training baseball between the Yomiuri Giants and Seibu Lions at the Tokyo Dome March 20th
- STARDOM Joshi Puroresu’s show at Korakuen Hall on March 21st (if tickets are still available at the door)
Then there is also the random touristy stuff that some of you may find boring.
As always, I will be attempting to document my time there as best I can through this here live blog type thing. I got a lot of time to kill on various train rides to places so it’s not like I have anything better to do right? The journey begins March 8th.
March 24, 2016
I’m on the airport shuttle bus bound for Narita. It’s very empty as there are only me & an older white dude on board. So yay for a quiet ride.
As I write this I look back on the past however many days I’ve been in this country and I have the desire to stay longer. The few of you who have kept up with this journey may have noticed a significant lack of idol or music related content.
Part of that is just because as it is every year, all the cool shit happens after I leave, part of it is scheduling & the rest is simply being burned out on idols. So yeah, this was more like the average tourist sees Japanese culture type of trip. And I’m perfectly fine with that. It can’t be idols 24/7. Not with me anyway.
Still, I don’t necessarily feel ready to go back. I would have liked to attend some lives. My wallet says otherwise & is telling me to go home & replenish the funds.
So after having the traditional last rites at Gogo Curry I spent my remaining hours in this country playing video games & doing some very last minute shopping at Yodobashi Camera.
I really have no complaints about this year’s trip. I checked off just about everything I had listed to do & some things that I didn’t have planned.
Honestly the only complaint I’ve heard constantly around me is this:
Fucking mainland Chinese tourists!
Just trust me on that. The complaint is well earned.
Anyway. Props to the peeps both new and old I met up with in Japan. Big ups to the staff of Tokyo Girls Update for being so accomodating & of course thank you Japan. It was once again, a pleasure to be in you.
The airport awaits, then the long journey home. Thank you to all of you who followed this year’s trip. Hopefully you gained something useful to use in your own Japan experience.
I leave this country with an almost empty wallet (I got rid of my coins!) & many more memories.
March 24, 2016
My final full day in Tokyo was spent just bumming around the city one more time. I started in Ebisu where I visited Yebisu Garden Place. It’s not that exciting of a place if you don’t drink beer, but it does have some interesting architecture due to a bit of a Victorian feel to the buildings. Surprisingly it also has a plentiful number of places where one can sit. A strange anomaly in Tokyo for sure.
Then off to Shibuya to pick up a couple of concert DVDs and to try a place called Uobei Sushi. This place is apparently popular among foreigners because their menu is in English and it’s incredibly affordable. (a.k.a. hella cheap)
I stacked up on a few plates until I started getting full and then walked off the meal by heading back to Shibuya station. After returning to my hotel I started packing and when done I headed out to Shinjuku to visit the Metropolitan Government Office observatory to get some night shots of Tokyo.
Unfortunately the place was a little too lit up and it was difficult to get any decent shots without the glare reflecting off the windows. Since I was in a bit of a time crunch I wasn’t going to invest too much time in getting the perfect picture & since this was free admission, it wasn’t like I lost anything but time.
As I exited the government building I heard music coming from across the street. Apparently this was a free live of some sort. I stuck around for a few minutes listening and then did the short trip to Shin Okubo for the last dinner in Japan, Korean BBQ.
Today, I check out of my hotel, have my final meal and head off to the airport for the long wait for the flight home.
March 23, 2016
Yesterday I played tour guide and an audible had to be called in regards to where we were going. The day was spent partly in Akihabara and then in nearby Ueno. I attempted to impart some of what I have learned over my trips here during our time together. Whether any of what I said that sticks or not is another question.
After that it was back to my hotel where I promptly passed out, exhausted.
As for today? It’s my last full day in Japan. I seriously don’t know where I am going to be today or what I’m doing. I”ll just wing it I guess. Since I have to catch the limo bus back to the airport tomorrow I guess I can buy my ticket and stuff ahead of time. That probably means no late night for me today depending on when the bus leaves.
March 22, 2016
Up very early today to prepare for the rush to Shibuya for shoes then Akihabara and back to Shibuya again as part of my tour guide duties. Well that’s the plan anyway. There may be an audible called depending on how the first part of this whole thing goes.
Sorry, but there isn’t going to be anything of particular interest or excitement to write about today. That’s usually the way it is at the tail end of these trips. I pretty much wrapped up everything I had on my to do list on Sunday and I’ve been coasting on fumes ever since. I guess I could take pictures of the small amount of swag I’m taking home or something but I’m too lazy to unpack all that stuff since I made it all fit in my bag so nicely last night.
How I’m going to fit another pair of shoes will be a game of packing Tetris I guess.
March 21, 2016
So I’m in my hotel room at the earliest time during this trip. Normally I get back here just before 1 AM. But now I’m in here typing this out since I have an early day tomorrow. Earlier in the evening I thought I had fulfilled all requests from home by hitting atmos in Shibuya for certain pairs of shoes. But now I have to go back there and get another pair first thing in the morning. Yes, it’s that point in the trip where all that last minute shopping gets done.
I dread going back to Shibuya simply because it’s so damn busy and there’s a ton of bunching going on around the Hachiko exit. It was particularly bad today simply because it was a national holiday, but not significantly different from any normal night. Still, it sucked to be caught up in all that madness with a big ass bag of shoes.
Looking the atmos site up, it appears the Shibuya location opens at noon. So I guess I have to be around that area right before they open and hopefully they have the pair of shoes I’m looking for. Tomorrow also is the day I play tour guide for a bit for a co-worker coming to Japan for the first time with his family. I kind of suck at directions in general, so getting other people lost in Tokyo should be fun.
Anyway, tonight’s food was at a restaurant I visited 2 years ago in Suidobashi. I got a big combo plate of hamburg, steak and chicken. It was a set that came with soup and a salad. Good stuff.
March 21, 2016
So what did I do yesterday? Well not much. It was baseball and eating at the AKB48 Cafe and an izakaya after. Exciting stuff as the time here winds down huh?
Today I got my final 2-shot at Pacifico Yokohama. A redemption for the member being sick the week before when she was originally scheduled. So yay, I got a picture with The boss, Tanaka Natsumi.
March 20, 2016
It’s just before 1:30 AM on the 20th of March in Tokyo. I spent the morning of the 19th in Akihabara killing time before my wrestling event. I visited Club Sega to partake in my tradition of testing my lack of skills in Street Fighter against Japanese players. Suffice it to say, I succeeded in sucking once more.
After that, trying the 48 nugget bucket at McDonald’s and then hanging out in the Donki building looking for Sakura Pepsi and random nothings to kill time as seen in the update from yesterday. And of course the wrestling and then dinner at Coco’s.
Anyway, now that this trip is winding down some words of advice for those of you who are planning to make an excursion out here eventually either with or without other people. If the trip is not set as a group event right from the start then be selfish and plan for yourself as a solo traveler. Expect to be by yourself most of the time to make your way around Japan on your own merits. That may sound daunting, but with proper research and planning you will find that once you get here it’s not as hard it looks on paper.
March 19, 2016
Went to see Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Great Journey in Korakuen Hall event. It was a great show. I drained one battery and filled 1 64 GB memory card during this show. I had to reload mid-match. Thankfully I didn’t miss much.
March 19, 2016
March 19, 2016
I didn’t do much yesterday. In fact the only thing I really did was go all the way out to Hase to see the Great Buddha statue. The area around Hase station is a far cry from civilization with its narrow sidewalks and sleepy small town kind of feel. It’s also crowded with tourists and worshippers (who happen to be a large number of the elderly) which makes the journey to see any of the temples or shrines a little slow going. That means it’s not a journey for the impatient.
After coming back from Hase it was dinner at IWA, dessert at Denny’s and a then back to the hotel to rest up.
So what’s on the plate for today? I’m free in the morning. The evening is the Pro Wrestling NOAH PPV.
March 18, 2016
It’s morning in Tokyo and I returned from the Kansai area earlier yesterday afternoon. Before I get to that a quick recap of March 16th. That day was spent in Kyoto. It was my first trip to that particular area of Japan and I had some simple objectives to achieve.
The first was to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine to see the red tori gates and to look around the area in general. The traffic by the train station by this gate have to wait for the tons of pedestrians to cross before they can proceed. I can imagine driving near the shrine has to be a giant pain in the ass.
As expected, the place was filled with tourists of all kinds and many young women in kimono wandering around with selfie sticks. Charms could be purchased for good fortune, to make a wish or just as a souvenir. Going further you could also make a small prayer or even get blessings from shrine staff.
I spent a good couple of hours wandering around the grounds and then headed back to Kyoto station to take a look around for some food. I found a tonkatsu place on the 11th floor of the CUBE complex. After resting up for a bit it was off to Gion to check out a bit of old school Kyoto.
Gion has an interesting mix of old world and new world Japan. Wandering off into the side streets is where you will get that blast from the past. One of those places contains a place called Gion Corner where you can go to get some education on some traditional Japanese culture. Now given that this is a foreigner friendly type environment pictures are allowed. Now this is very much a double edged sword.
On one hand, it’s great that photos are allowed but… Then you end up with all the jerks who keep their cell phones in the air the entire time recording or taking pictures. Now I went to the very back of the room to take pics. I was only shooting with my 35mm prime so all the people with their arms in their kept ruining my shots. Thankfully I have the ability to crop stuff out in Lightroom for post processing.
After the show at Gion Center ended we could hear an angry (most likely) American tourist bitching in the background outside using may expletives about how people had their phones up the entire time, how his cultural experience was ruined and how he wanted his dad to go on Trip Advisor and whine about it.
Again, this is a place that allowed pictures. So if a few tourists get trigger happy with their phones & SLR’s well that’s too bad for you buddy. If you want actual uninterrupted cultural experience without the dirty tourists, it’s probably best to find one of the other programs that perhaps locals would know of instead. Much like everything else in life, you have to take the good with the bad.
Last on the list was the Hanatouro in the Higashiyama area. This is an annual festival held in Spring and Winter in Kyoto. It was pretty cool to see all the temples and such lit up with the soft lighting of lanterns. Once we got our fill of photos it was a long train ride back to Osaka for dinner and then to pack up for the trip back in to Tokyo the next day.
And that brings me to March 17th. Saint Patrick’s day for me was a day of travel. I left my hotel in Osaka just before 11 AM and proceeded to Shin-Osaka station to catch the Hikari back to Tokyo. 3 hours later I arrived back in Suidobashi where I got to unpack my bags and clean up a bit before heading to my next destination which is somewhat related to this site.
Before coming to Japan I had arranged to visit the office of Tokyo Girls Update on behalf of Nihongogo to get some pictures of their office for an upcoming article Gogo is running on them. It also gave me the opportunity to gain an understanding of their operations a bit by observing and just hanging out. They are some cool peeps and I look forward to working with them more in the future.
After that a little more hanging out outside of the office with dinner in Akihabara before heading back to Suidobashi.
March 16, 2016
Yesterday was a half day at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.
The goals today were to go on the Evangelion 4D ride, The Attack on Titan 4D ride and to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The bonus prize would be the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu ride if time allowed. The first thing we tried to see was the Harry Potter place but when we lined up we found out it was a timed entry. So we had to walk back to a ticketing machine to get our place in line.
Instead it was off to the Evangelion 4D ride which had about an hour long wait. Yup, more standing line. But this time no pictures with cute girls. The line appeared to be long but moved rather briskly every 15 – 20 minutes. During the wait I took some pictures of the massive crowd forming and discovered I could stream the WWE network on my phone in Japan to help pass the time. Yay.
Once we got into the lobby there was a short introductory video and we were allowed into the theatre. The show started shortly after with the curtain raising over a NERV logo. The ride is pretty intense as you are taken on a journey into battle starting from the POV of EVA-04. 4D is something the theatres back at home are not equipped with so this was a completely new experience for me.
When the EVA moved the chairs shook and moved up and down. When it got hit from an attack you felt it and when the blood starting flowing, you felt it as it splashed across the screen. It’s a very immersive experience.
By the time the EVA ride was over we could enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. That place was very crowded with lines for rides extending to the entrance of this area of the park. We looked around the various shops where I got the infamous random flavour jelly beans and I got a taste of hot Butter Beer. (Which tastes like sweetened butterscotch) When that was all done, a meal at the Three Broomsticks before heading back to try for another 4D experience.
Sadly, the Attack on Titan 4D ride and the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu ride had closed for the day. So much sadness, but it’s all good. I got some night shots of the park before we headed back to for a meal of gyoza before calling it a night.
Today will be a side trip to Kyoto.
March 15, 2016
Yesterday was basically a travel day and like a one or two touristy thing day. I arrived in Osaka at just after 4:30 PM and proceeded to make my way to the Namba area where my hotel is located. After unpacking and resting up for a bit I headed out into the wilds of Osaka. There were a ton of tourists out by the Glico Man and the only languages I heard were either Mandarin or Cantonese.
After some attempts to capture the madness I went to my next destination in Umeda, the Umeda Sky Building. To get there isn’t as straightforward as other places I have visited. From whatever Umeda station exit you take you have to walk until you find a dead end with a ramp and stairs that appear to lead to nowhere. You go down either one and then enter a tunnel that has the smell of fresh wota funk and old ass. You walk through this tunnel until you get to the other end where the Umeda Sky Building awaits.
The floating garden observatory in this building is supposedly a popular place for couples and tourists alike. I noticed that right away as the place was filled with both. On the lower observatory deck there is seating all the way around the windows. Which were of course occupied. So basically you’re kind of screwed out of a good photo view for a good long while. The better alternative is go upstairs to the rooftop and take some relatively unobstructed pictures there.
After that dinner at Chibo Okonomiyaki and a very late return to the hotel to pass out.
March 14, 2016
I’m on the Shinkansen bound for Shin-Osaka Station. I managed to make it to & through Tokyo Station without getting lost so the fact that I am sitting on this train is a success.
As of the writing of this part of the post I am just past Nagoya. Probably another 40 minutes or so until I reach my destination.
March 14, 2016
A late start to Monday after the 2-shot madness of Sunday. Okay, it wasn’t as mad as Saturday and it was actually a more relaxing experience overall. I only had 4 2-shots for the day. It would have been five but Tanaka Natsumi has the flu and will be off from work for a week.
That meant I had a rather large gap in time between my Matsuri Jurina picture and my Mukaichi Mion one. Oh well, more time to sit down, which is something I didn’t do a lot of during the Saturday event. This set of pics went well overall and I only made one boo boo. At Jurina’s booth I did not notice her camera person was shooting from a higher angle. So the pose is all messed up a bit, but given its context it makes complete and total sense. Outside of that context, I look like a fool. =p
That’s okay though since I had that weird experience of an idol recalling who I was with her. So another thing to check off my idol bucket list. I’m not going to make it sound like it’s some epic life changing shit. It was just strange to me given that these girls see more people in a day than I can count. So yeah, weird.
My last batch of members were all of the uber cute kind so I didn’t want to go too crazy with the theme of the poses I was doing up to that point. So I stuck with simpler things that were easy to explain in under 5 seconds.
Just a couple of quick notes here. Mukaichi Mion is KAWAII!!! I’d have a picture of our dri-fit senpai doing his “Kawaii” face from 2012 to emphasize the kawaii-ness but I’m too lazy to find the image file. Kodama Haruka is very fan service friendly. She does get up to see you out and you get a bit of a sly wink from her. As for which parts of her are supposedly plastic? I dunno, never paid that much attention to that kind of stuff.
I ended my day with the oh so fine Ishida Anna. Given that her lane is not, uh.. What’s the nice way of saying it? Uh.. Overflowing. I had plenty of time to just chill for a bit before seeing her. Once I did, I got more time than usual simply because no one else was there. Bonus.
Why she gets no love is beyond me. But hey, more time for greedy me when I do show up to these things. And that ended my 2-shot experience at Makuhari Messe. I have the option of redeeming my Tanaka Natsumi ticket next week if I choose. The goal is to not have any burned tickets so I may just quickly get that done to keep the no wasted tickets streak alive.
After the event it was off a place in Akihabara where the staff make rice balls for you while you chat with them. This small cafe is called girls OMUSUBI and is on the 7th floor of a rather nondescript building. The basic idea of this place is you choose what kind of set you want and either choose the girl you want or play roulette and randomly see who you get. Then you sit at the bar and chat with the girl while they make your meal or you partake in your drink.
Simple as that. Of course it was a real test of whether I have actually learned any useful Japanese at all that didn’t require 10 seconds or less for a time limit. I ended up playing roulette for and ended up a staff member named Kaho Shirai.
Through our conversation I found out she has been studying English so it was a benefit for both of us to do a bit of language exchange when we got stuck on what to say. Apparently I have learned enough to get by in a convo for more than 10 seconds. Yay me. Keep in mind we were keeping our topics real simple but still it’s good to know I retained something from my lessons.
Anyway, it was a fun experience with her and when she was done making the onigiri I received the following:
When the other dudes got their cafe pictures from the staff we headed off to Denny’s for more food. Then back to our respective hotels.
And that brings me to today. Which is Monday in Japan. I have to pack up for the side trip to Osaka/Kyoto and figure out this whole Shinkansen thing on my own since last time I did this it was under the guidance of my regular travel peeps. This should be an experience.
March 13, 2016
It’s 5:30 AM Sunday morning in Tokyo and I have awoken from a well deserved slumber after yesterday’s 2-shot madness. I have forgotten how physically taxing it is to be at these events. Why you may ask? Well it’s a lot of time spent one’s feet. And depending on how you have set up your time slots, you could be on your feet the entire day moving from one line to another.
That means very little time for sitting and resting one’s weary bones. Especially within the venue where sitting space is at a premium and if you do attempt to sit anywhere against a wall it’s a considered to on a similar level as a war crime. Seriously, there are staff who tell anyone sitting or doing the Yakuza squat to stand up. And they do these rounds continuously.
Add the increased humidity generated from the body heat of all the people in the venue and you have a recipe for a bit of physical stress if you are not accustomed to such things from past events.
Anyway, Makuhari Messe is one of the nicer venues I have visited for an AKB48 fan event. It’s definitely more spacious than say Yokohama Pacifico or Tokyo Big Site. It does take a long ass time to get to the actual building though. Similar to the walk from DECKS Odaiba to Palette Town I would say.
Enough about all that though. All you care about is the 2-shots themselves right? Well here’s the thing, for this event I had about zero poses prepared. I actually ran out of poses a long time ago and have defaulted to peace as my go to thing if I don’t have anything I can think of quickly.
It dawned on me that I should probably just do pro wrestling poses and see what sticks. I stuck with NJPW since their roster has some relatively simple ones to explain to idols. Whether they do the pose right is another question but honestly I don’t necessarily think it matters. Much of this is a game to me at this point and I’m pulling this stuff out of my ass for my own personal entertainment as well.
I’m not going to bore you with the details of each 2-shot. I’m just going to go straight to the one that stood out the most. That is Shimazaki Haruka. Experiences with her have become legend and she definitely lives up to billing. When you enter her booth she gives you a blank stare. For me, her handlers then took over and just placed me in the right spot, said pose and then ushered me out. No handshake, no response if you say anything to her, just a blank stare.
That shit is the soul crushing I came to Japan for and now I can check “Felt the salt from Paruru” from my AKB48 bucket list.
I only had 5 2-shots yesterday, significantly less than last year but it’s okay. I’m one of the few who got the last standing two shots (meaning no tables and chairs) and I pretty much went through my wish list over the past years photo ops. This is just adding variety to my 2-shot library.
Once my 2-shots were over it was dinner at the Shake Shack. I never had anything from this chain before, and all my peeps rave about it. I liked the meal, their burgers and floats are great. Their cheese fries kinda suck. But overall a good experience.
After that a return to my hotel where I promptly passed out. That leads to today. Another round of 2-shots. The list is Matsui Jurina, Mukaichi Mion, Kodama Haruka and Ishida Anna. I had Tanaka Natsumi but she has the flu and will not be at this event. That means I will have a total of 9 shots for this trip.
March 12, 2016
March 12, 2016
2-shot day. No poses set. Gotta make shit up again. Oh well.
March 11, 2016
I had planned on an outdoor thing today but nature had other plans as it was yet again raining in Tokyo. So an audible had to be called for something indoors. I had Odaiba listed for the end of my trip, so I bumped it up to today given the weather.
Unlike the last time I visited the Odaiba area I took the less scenic route through the entire journey and stayed on the subway system. It only took 35 minutes to get to Odaiba compared to the hour or so from before. Once I arrived it was another visit to Madame Tussaud’s at DECKS Odaiba. Many of the same wax figures were there but there were also a few new ones I did not see before such as Michael Jackson (he was being repaired during my first visit), Beat Takeshi and Becky.
I also took the customary pictures with the wax versions of Oshima Yuko, Watanabe Mayu, Maeda Atsuko and I added Matsuko Deluxe to the list as well just for shits and giggles.
When I got my fill of Madame Tussaud’s I got some lunch and headed towards Palette Town all the way on the other side of Odaiba. It’s quite a long walk through the bridge system to get from DECKS to Palette town. Once there I followed a group of Chinese tourists into MEGA WEB which is basically a giant Toyota Showcase for all their technology and vehicles.
For the evening activity I decided to do what I was supposed to on the first night I got to Japan and that is hit up Sky Tree for some night shots. I did however, make a quick stop in Akihabara to buy some stuff for my camera first. And thanks to me being a stupid foreigner with a VISA I got my items tax free. Yay!
Anyway, going to Sky tree at night is very much worth it as the view is spectacular. The only thing that really sucks is that the glare from the lighting in the building reflects on to the windows. So getting a perfect shot without any of that interference is a challenge, but easily worked around.
Then back to the hotel to rest up for Tables, Idols and Chairs.
March 10, 2016
I took a short rest at my hotel & when I woke up I proceeded to Yokohama to check out their Chinatown. By the time I got there it was dark so yay for getting some decent night shot material in early in the trip.
I’ll be honest, this didn’t seem any different from other Chinatowns with the exception of the dominance of food in the area. It was like every other business was a restaurant & they all had someone outside pushing fliers and/or chatting up potential customers.
I spent an hour walking around taking pictures and some video and eventually stopped at a food stand to try some cute buns with Panda expressions. Mine was a sad Panda. Such sad Panda. Sad because it was about to get devoured.
After Yokohama Chinatown I tried to go to Landmark Tower to visit the Sky Observatory but it was too close to closing time to make any sense in going with just under an hour to do anything worth while. Instead I took some pictures around the Dock Area near Landmark Plaza.
Having given up on the observatory I decided to just make the long train ride back to Tokyo. I saw what I wanted in Chinatown anyway.
March 10, 2016
My first full day in Japan started at 5 AM. I received approval to publish our interview with Morning Musume ’16 & spent a lot of time co-ordinating with the staff who worked on the interview for the go live of 9 AM Japan time.
Since that time my phone and watch have been buzzing with notifications of likes, favorites, retweets and the like. That article is getting close to breaking the hit count set by visits during Hangry & Angry’s Sakura-con appearance.
After letting that beast loose upon the world I made the yearly pilgremage to Denny’s for breakfast. Why fly all the way to Japan for Denny’s? Why not?
After that I did a quick search for Korakuen Hall. It’s certainly not the epic wrestling building I thought it was. It’s actually located on the 5th floor of the Korakuen building. I took a quick trip up the elevator to check it out. Sadly the venue was closed but I’m guessing behind the steel garage doors is the legendary hall.
I then made a visit to the Tokyo Dome and wandered around Tokyo Dome City before going to the MLB Cafe for lunch. The restaurant is fairly big and they have major league games playing on 2 giant screens.
I was guided by one of the female staff to a balcony booth. The tables have baseball memorabilia embedded in them & the booths are decorated with various baseball themes and the logos of all the MLB teams.
The walls are also decorated with baseball memorabilia, so if this is your game you should check this place out. As for the food? Well it came in American size portions, so it’s different from the typical tiny Japanese servings.
Another bonus is the view is quite nice. Interpret that as you will. =)
After I finished lunch I asked if I could get a few pictures of the things on the wall. Luckily it was ok.
I finished my Korakauen tour by visiting the Koshikawa Korakuen Garden & walked off that MLB Cafe Meal.
March 9, 2016
It’s raining quite a bit tonight. Guess I’ll need to call an audible on my plans. Oh well. Shit happens.
March 9, 2016
My flight arrived at Narita just after 3 PM. An hour over my intended arrival time. I breezed through immigration without any issues. Baggage claim took forever so that ate up a bit of time. I cleared customs easily & proceeded to pick up my sim card on the departure floor.
There were a lot of students going on what appeared to be a class trip somewhere. God bless the school girl uniform.
Once I got my sim installed & tested on my phone I went to the basement level to activate my rail pass for next week. Why not get it done while I’m still at the airport right?
Now I sit in the airport lobby waiting for my limo bus (it not as fancy as sounds) to take me into Tokyo. It’s cold & pissing rain at the moment. I’ll see if that messes with my plans for tonight.
March 8, 2016
Going dark people. See y’all in 11 hours
March 8, 2016
The departure area is filling up with those on my flight. It looks like a giant Japanese seniors home is on their way back to their mother land.
March 8, 2016
Going through customs was a breeze. I was in and out to my gate in about 10 minutes. It was a long trek to where I am waiting. Thank God I left a bit early to get here on time.
On my way to my gate I saw the Frozen plane on the runway. I can only make one assumption as to what the in-flight entertainment might be. =)
Now I wait for about an hour before boarding.
March 8, 2016
It’s an early morning in Calgary. I’m on the way to the airport for yet another journey to Japan. This marks trip #6 for me.
This year’s trip will be an interesting one since I will be attempting to keep my idol related activities to a minimum outside of the whole 2-shot deal. Instead, I hope to give my camera a hefty workout taking pictures of many non-idol things such as temples, shrines and all those stationary type objects thousands of years old.
March 7, 2016
I sit at work watching the clock as the seconds slowly tick by. Thankfully for a Monday it isn’t that busy so I have time to do some last minute research and look up directions to places on Google Maps. Yup, making use of the downtime at work since I pretty much closed off whatever I had outstanding when I got in this morning.
My final packing check was done yesterday. I was up until 2 AM making sure I had everything on my check list marked off. It’s not like I have a lot of stuff on my list. I’ve managed to fit all my crap into a duffle bag again so it’s a good sign that I’ve learned to pack light(er) than in previous trips. Since my mandate is to buy as little useless stuff as possible, I don’t expect that I will need to make the pilgrimage to the post office to mail stuff home this year.
Not much else to report otherwise. There are many more hours of work to drag my ass through until the vacation officially begins.
March 4, 2016
Picked up a small stack of yen earlier in the week to start out trip with. Given that I don’t have plans that involve the proverbial “making it rain” I believe that I should be able to survive on the minimal amount I will be carrying. I still have my credit card and bank card should the need for increased funding arise. I don’t think it will come down to that but shit happens out there. We’ll see how this reduced spending idea plays out.