19th & 20th August 2019: Bye-bye for a while

For my last day full day in Japan, I dropped my luggage off at Shinjuku station and met with EfT 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 yakniku was very yummy. After she had to come back to work I met with B. for drinks and wandering around for a while. We mostly sat at Wendy’s, talking and drinking… whatever this is…

And then she took me to Coco Ichiban Curry 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。

Advertisements

18th August 2019: 500 points at Swallowtail

I asked EfT to come with me to Swallowtail at Ikebukuro [池袋] once more because I can’t do them alone (yet). Hopefully next time. We got a very nice butler who wanted me to choose my teacup as I had already visited five times (500pts), but I always have my tea iced, so I wouldn’t be using a cup. That was a bit of a communication problem (≧▽≦).

I had a great salmon and salad set (though I pushed the pepper away, because… no thank you), and analysed the butler types. There was one so tall that the poor thing had to get backpain all the time from pushing the carts. There were the kawaii bouncy ones, broad manly ones, and one wearing lipstick. I guess catering to every trope out there.

Afterwards we sang some karaoke and then went back home until it was time for dinner. It was a quiet, unwinding day.

Walked distance: 12979 steps / 9.28 km.

17th August 2019: OBURI in Ebisu

I spent the day at Ebisu [恵比寿], where I got to say hi and meet a lot of new new people today. First, I was meeting with E**chan for a late lunch, which unfortunately was a later-lunch as her train had an accident (not with her in it, thankfully) and she had to drive to another line station to get from her village outside Tokyo to Ebisu. I spent the time wandering the malls and the Ebisu Sky Walk, which is basically a long corridor without anything to see. In the end she arrived and albeit late, we managed to find some super-nice place in the Ebisu Atre building, and we were starving so it was amazing!! We both had katsudon [カツ丼] because we just saw the picture on the menu and fell in love.

Afterwards we went to the Oblivion Dust concert at Liquidroom. The report is up on SemiRandomJB, as all should be ☆⌒(ゝ。∂)

After the concert I got to greet lots of friends and we had some izakaya food (damn, that was yummy but expensive).

Walked distance: No idea, I forgot the watch. But most of what I walked was on the Ebisu Sky Walk as I was bored waiting for E**chan since I was early but her train was super-delayed due to the accident (≧▽≦).

16th August 2019: SAITAMA Summer Rock Festival 2019

After developing an unhealthy obsession for discovering fesFE[M] when they opened for JUPITER in Madrid in May 2019 I was very happy to be able to catch their act again in Saitama [さいたま市]. I also learnt a lot about the v-kei scene and how it works.

The event was the first day of SAITAMA Summer Rock Festival 2019 ~Shikokku no Symphony~ pump up!! [SAITAMA Summer Rock Festival 2019 ~漆黒のシンフォニー~ pump up!!] and it was held at Saitama Hall [埼玉会館ホール].

Although fesFE[M] act was not scheduled until 19:45, I headed off to Saitama early because I needed a same-day ticket, so I was there around 12:15. I did not have any issues getting in, as it was a weekday in the morning. I had originally thought that I would just get the ticket and then snoop around Saitama city, but the event was held far away from most interesting stuff, so I decided to stay and see it all. It was, as I mentioned, an interesting experience.

Stuff I learnt:

  • I should have taken earplugs as seven hours in a small hall echoes hard
  • First rows are exchangeable according to which your favourite band is. Nobody bats an eye and people will make room for each other
  • The bands will sell their own merch to make new fans and even chat to you. They will be very surprised if they get two foreigners in their queue and they don’t know each other
  • Some of the bands are really good, some of them are really bad

After each show, the “leader” of the band would come out for a small interview. Some of them had to do stuff like playing with beach balls and stuff, but mostly it was promotion for upcoming band activities and stuff.

Here’s a curated version of notes I took after each act for the ones I attended:

{mid:night}: They are not bad but the vocalist (although tall) needs more stage presence.

ロクダマカルタ: Was not convinced, but the guitar is dressed as a schoolgirl and the furutsuke is fun.

[Ad]: Female vocalist. She’s good, but there’s something that does not completely click. They stayed the longest for selling their stuff and promoting.

マゼラン: They are really, really good, both music- and stage-presence- wise. I’m so glad I had not realised at this point that they would be outside selling stuff because I might’ve bought all the things.

機械人形歌劇団カラクリ: Didn’t like them

エンヴィル: They are the Kanjani 8 of v-kei. They troll each other really hard and they are fun, with passable music. They wear yukata and each has a different footwear. They also watched like half of the other bands from the back row and cheered like standard fangirls.

DARRELL: Not bad, but too yelly for my tastes

GLARD: They were fun. I got to talk to the vocalist and buy one of their CDs. As I was talking to him, another foreigner decided to talk through me, and translate the price for me? No idea, I think she was just trying to get his attention. The poor guy was very surprised when we did not know each other.

ºCellsius: I like them too, they are really fun (and they are wearing… tartans?).

Avilis: They are cute and bouncy

グレン: They look like a band put together for an anime that would later sing the OP

ROMIO: The male vocalist is very pretty, but I managed not to fall into the trap of his prettiness.

Finally it was fesFE[M]’s turn at 19:15. I moved to the second row (not the first because no idea what the furutsuke are) and I enjoyed the show. It was almost the same they did in Spain when supporting for JUPITER, including Doll in Blueberry Jam. I really loved the vocalist Lion (again) how the keyboardist Jun plays the dollmaster cutting all the ropes and bringing the dolls back together. Also, wow Rensa (drummer) for being able to twirl the baton in his hand for three minutes straight without moving any other muscle.

After the show, Lion came out for his interview and he explained that he would be there on Saturday with his “other” band. I felt tempted to come back, but I had plans for that day already.

Then I went outside to buy some merch, including some polaroids, but unfortunately the band did not come out (ó_ò). I would have loved to see them, but at least I got to tweet at them and some saw the tweet ヽ(^◇^*)/. I talked to some other fans who looked at trading the polaroids, but I did not have any Tohru (bass, aka “the blonde”) and he’s popular. I missed the last band while I was waiting, but it was all right. I decided to head back because I still had about an hour’s worth of train ride.

Walked distance (which no. This is 80% furutsuke): 15324 steps / 10.9 km

15th August 2019: Downpour Shinjuku

Once more in Shinjuku [新宿], I stepped out at Tochomae station to go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building [東京都庁]. To my surprise, there was a line for the observatory! Apparently they have closed the North Observatory for renovations (possibly 2020 preparation). When I got to the observatory there was a piano, and at that time, visitors were allowed to play it. I thought “Wouldn’t it be cool if someone did X Japan?”. And then two guys do 紅with three hands. I was very impressed.

I hoped I would be able to walk around Shinjukucho Garden [新宿区立新宿中央公園] before it started raining.

As I was in Shinjukujunisha Kumano Jinja [新宿十二社 熊野神社], where I got a shuuin, it started pouring.

Thus, I went back to the covered station underpasses as fast as I could and then tried to get my way round the inner passages… with dubious success. I did find the Shinjuku tourist office, because they had Coke packs there, but I could not find one that had sakura and Tokyo bottle in it (ó_ò).

Then I went to Tower Records to see INORAN’s guitar, which was on display prior to his tour.

And then I headed off to Roppongi [六本木]. And you know what I found in the first random vending machine I came across? The freaking Tokyo Coke bottle, which turned out not to be only in Shinjuku!

Afterwards, I met EfT and Ms-san for a nice shabu-shabu dinner.

Walked distance: 10978 steps / 7.85 km.

14th August 2019: The other side of Harajuku

After a sweep around the V-kei shops in Shinjuku [新宿], I dropped by Shibuya [渋谷区] (finally) to go to the big Tsutaya there, along with the Mandarake and Tokyu Hands. And there, in the most random vending machine in a backstreet, I managed to find the Shibuya coke bottle (which I drank with glee as I had approached the vending machine as I was thirsty). Then I walked towards Harajuku [原宿], but instead of Takeshita Doori, this time I turned towards the other side. I wanted to see the LemonEd flagship shop, as the Nagoya one did not convince me (LemonEd is yet another of those things that will eventually have their own entry over at SemiRandomJB).

I went on a little and arrived at Tōgō Shrine [東郷神社], which I really liked. I got a shuuin there too, and almost lost my shuuincho there because the miko would not call my number to give it back (;¬_¬).

I walked from Harajuku back to Shinjuku via Yoyogi, and I pretty much went around the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building from all angles (and weather backgrounds).

When I arrived at Shinjuku Station [新宿駅] though, I came across… the Salamander God in a Takashiyama Window… I’m not kidding you.

Once I was in Shinjuku I tried to find the Tokyo Coke bottle in another random vending machine… It did not work, but I found the Kabukichō Benzaiten [歌舞伎町弁財天], which I had seen in passing, and wanted to snoop around.

After kuchikatsu dinner, we called it a day.

Walked distance: 19234 steps / 13.7 km.

13th August 2019: Steamy steamy Tokyo

Following recommendations from some Japanese acquaintances, I headed off to the Shinagawa [品川区] area to visit Hebikubo Jinja / Kamishinmeitenso Jinja [蛇窪神社 / 上神明天祖神社], a pretty shrine where I got a pretty shuuin (aaaand discovered another stamp rally).

Among rain, sun and drizzle it was exhaustingly hot. I continued on to find Kimyozan Yogyokuin Nyorai [帰命山養玉院如来寺], a temple with amazing guardians.

And then I found an obviously very dangerous and aggressive tiny pond, I mean, look at those meshes (yes, I know that it’s probably for children safety, but I shall still make jokes about it). It was the Hara no Suijin-ike [原の水神池].

Checking how to come back I came across Ōmori Shell Mound Ruins Garden [大森貝塚遺跡庭園] and Statue of Ōmori Shell Mound [大森貝墟の碑]. The Ōmori Shell Mound was apparently the first archaeological excavation in Japan. They dig out a seaside village from the Jomon period (14,000 to 300 BC).

Opposite I found Naritasan Ennoji [成田山圓能寺].

And before I left I noticed the ground decoration on the pavement – life evolution and… telephone greetings. Because Japan, I guess…

Then I looked at Tokyo Tower from Roppongi [六本木], as I checked the Don Quijote for Tokyo Coke bottles, without success.

I also came across tiny Asahi Jinja [朝日神社].

Then dinner was supermarket sushi, which was very, very yummy.

Walked distance: 14009 steps / 10.0 km