12th August 2018: SSGW (Shinjuku Samurai Godzilla Walk)

This Saturday afternoon I headed off to Shinjuku [新宿] again. This time I went to the Samurai Museum in Kabuki-cho [歌舞伎町]. It is located roughly ten minutes away from the station’s Kabuki-cho exit, though I had to do some extra walking because I got a bit disoriented from my metro exit to the actual area. I get lost in Shinjuku station a lot, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.

The Samurai Museum has two floors. As you come in, you have the shop to one side and the counter to the other. I was strongly encouraged to take the English-speaking tour that started in 10 minutes, although I did see people on their own without taking the tour – my impression was that they prefer foreigners in tours, but I went with it.

The museum claims that all its pieces are original. It has two floors, the first one has a few armours, one of them with a bullet dent. The second floor, where you have to take yours shoes off, you have several rooms with memorabilia such as helmets, stirrups, saddles and so. There is also one room for sword exhibitions – which take place once an hour in the afternoons – and the chance for you to try on.

After the museum I grabbed something to eat from a conbini (because I am not known for keeping regular meal times in Japan anyway) and then took a stroll down Shinjuku and Kabuki-cho, ending up at the Peace Memorial.

Afterwards I went to the Toho cinema / hotel Gracery Shinjuku [ホテルグレイスリー新宿] to see the Godzilla head. I have been there a few times, and I always try to go to the balcony to get close to the head. In theory, access is restricted to customers from the hotel or the bar, but I had heard that sometimes they open it in general. I am not sure if this was the case, but this time the terrace was open, there were people outside so I applied the old trick of ‘walking into it as if you belonged’. So I finally got up close with Godzilla! It was about time, too.

(Sidenote: The above Godzilla pic is a composite of two I took with different lightings. I’m quite proud of how it turned up.)

Then I met up with EfficientTimes at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building [東京都庁] to watch sunset (ish. Again. Japan weather in summer).

Afterwards went off for a drink and towards Shibuya to snoop around the Tower Records and the Book Off, only to discover that the latter was gone 。゚(゚´Д`゚)゚。. From Shibuya [渋谷], as the evening was nice, we walked down first to Harajuku and later to Yoyogi [代々木] to catch the underground. We saw the illuminated clocktower and I took about a gazillion pictures.

And at some point I guess we had dinner. Probably.

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13 August 2014: Samurai vs. Kaiju

We started the day in Asakusa, 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,

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I also wanted to check out the smaller protective Shinto Shrines on the side, like Asakusa Shrine.

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The second temple of the day was Senkakuji, close to Shinagawa. 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.

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After having lunch in Shinagawa (in a… Mexican… kind of place called “El Caliente”) we headed off to Roppongi to see Godzilla. Not the movie, but the sculpture that has been planted there. As a matter of fact, it was a very Godzilla summer in Tokyo. The Godzilla visit was done in two parts, one before sunset and one after it had gotten dark.

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The two visits to Godzilla were separated by horrible horrible American food (I shall never set a foot on a “Wendy’s” again) and going to the cinema to watch Rurouni Kenshin – Kyoto Inferno”.

Oh, and before we got back to Godzilla, we saw a gazillion and a half of Doraemon, and pictures were taken with them. But you only get the Doraemon-tachi alone.

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And here Godzilla tries to eat stuff:

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