Japan Trip over the Summer

December 3, 2010 § 8 Comments

This summer, I took a 1 month trip to Japan. It’s a bit of a long post, but I hope you’ll enjoy it.

It’s my second time visiting, though I treat it as my first since the last time was 5 years ago, and I think I was a little too young to enjoy the place.

For the first few days I stayed in a hotel, but for the remainder of the month we rented an apartment.

Many places can be found online where they specifically rent to foreigners for short periods starting from about a month.

I highly recommend doing this because it will save you a lot as opposed to living in hotels.

The first night when we arrived, we were staying in Ikebukuro. It was quite rainy as you can see.

Japan is quite hot during this period of the year, so even though it was rainy it was quite warm.

That’s why the rain felt very cool and relaxing, although you would get soaked pretty fast.

Dinner on the first night in Tokyo. We went to what I would assume to be like any other Japanese Restaurant.

Food was delicious, and truly miles above what many sushi places offer in Canada.

This was breakfast one morning. It was underground and just outside would get you to the subway station.

Was really tasty and seemed healthy. Why don’t I ever see places like this in my own area?

Afternoon in Ikebukuro.

This should be near Sunshine City, and it looks like the weather is playing the part.

I’m sure nobody needs an explanation for what this is.

The day I saw this happened to be the day when the new Pokemon Movie was out in theaters.

So as we walked by on the streets, there were many parents with their children lined up waiting to get in.

Here’s a quick look at the train station. Many of the stations in Tokyo will look like this.

Few tips for those traveling to Japan. First, do not get the JR Rail Pass. I purchased a 3 week pass of this in the hopes that it would be the best deal.

However, it’s not the case seeing as the pass is only valid for JR Rail Lines. There are several other lines that operate in Tokyo.

Furthermore, we found that the prices were not too bad. Considering you won’t be traveling on the Subway like crazy every day, paying per fare ended up costing less than the JR Rail Pass.

I do recommend the Pass however, if you intend to take the Shinkansen. Since the JR Rail Pass includes travel on them, it does save considerable amounts by buying a pass.

Perhaps it would be best to buy a JR Rail Pass for the week where you will be using the Shinkansen (which in retrospect, I think I should have done)

Here’s what it looks like inside. Trains in Tokyo are fairly quiet, and clean. The JR Lines particularly have nicer trains.

Etiquette is quite the thing in Japan I think. I don’t think during my entire trip did I encounter the “loud-mouth on the phone”.

Everyone is polite about following certain rules in public.

Here is something that foreigners probably don’t see much.

I know I haven’t ever seen anything like this.

Basically, you park your car inside that garage there, exit and an attendant controlling the machines will send your car off to who knows where.

When you’re back to drive home, they will retrieve your car, and you just drive out.

This is the Gundam Cafe located in Akihabara.

Those who have watched Oreimo may recognize it from one of the recent episodes.

Personally I’ve entered their little gift shop on the side but I didn’t make the trip inside the cafe for nom nom; It was a bit too crowded.

Blazblue on the VIEWLIX Cabinets at TAITO Station, Akihabara. Any of you fans of the game?

Here’s a peek inside Animate. It has around several floors, each having different things (such as DVDs, CDs, Books, Magazines)

This I found interesting, a poster on the side of Tora-No-Ana, signed too.

The poster was just put up on the wall, no glass protecting it or anything. Something tells me that if anybody placed a giant poster like this up anywhere else in the world, it would likely get vandalized.

Mos Burger. Seriously, I love their food.

The burgers taste great, and feel fairly healthy in comparison to North American fast food joints.

Harajuku is very lively on Sundays, especially on this day. Many were headed to see AKB48.

Here is the “shopping street” of Harajuku, if you will. This street is almost always packed and goes on for quite a ways.

Along the sides you’ll find many many fashion stores.

10 patty burger from Lotteria. I sort of regret not trying this, even though it looks dangerous ;__;

Here I was waiting for a friend while they went to the washroom, and I noticed The Brilliant Green playing on the screen ;3

Here we’re on the way to the Scramble Crossing in Shibuya.

Here are the obligatory shots of the Crossing and its surroundings of course.

Having played The World Ends with You, I felt like I had a generic map of Shibuya in my mind.

Shibuya is incredibly lively on certain days, as you can see here. There are many very fashionable people walking around in Shibuya and Harajuku all the time.

Akihabara is filled with Anime, even in the train station.

You might be wondering what this is. It’s a bench. They’re actually fairly comfortable, and it runs for quite a ways down the road.

Here in Japan I noticed all the buzz about the new Project DIVA Arcade game.

Of course I was obligated to try it, being a fan of music games. The time I’ve spent playing this game has surely warmed me up to the Vocaloid voices.

I’ve been a fan of many Vocaloid songs, often the covers done my Nico Singers rather than the Vocaloids themselves, but this experience made me come to appreciate the Vocaloid voices too.

LaForet in Harajuku. An interesting in Tokyo was that they did these things called Time Sales in the mall.

Basically, for a short period of time many shops would have people yelling out deals for a period of time.

It was captivating to see all the shops so lively, and as a result the customers were too.

Summers in Tokyo and other countries such as Hong Kong are really a bit too hot for me sometimes.

I think my vacation has made me more tolerant of the higher temperatures though.

Tokyo especially, with access to my favourite drinks such such as Calpis and Kirin Afternoon Tea.

This dessert cost around 900 yen I think, but it was well worth it. Very very tasty.

Hachiko is a well known place for meeting up. It’s another place well featured in The World Ends with You.

Heading to Tokyo Big Sight here. It’s where Comiket is held, but at this time I’m attending the Tokyo Toy Show.

It’s always interesting to see trucks with advertisements such as these. I went onto the middle of the street just to take this picture ^__^.

Do you ever see this sight in your neck of the woods? Probably not when there isn’t some special event happening.

This was just a regular Sunday in Harajuku. He was a jolly fellow, even asking me to take a picture with him ^__^;;

Tuna Tataki with Calpis on the side. Sometimes when ordering in restaurants it can be kind of tough with all Japanese menus.

I know some Japanese but I still had to make educated guesses at times.

Here is a lunch set that I had frequently during my one month stay. It was about 1000 yen and was incredibly filling.

Restaurant was in Sugamo, and had a very nice atmosphere.

Attending WonFest meant seeing many new figures. I was sure I’ve seen Sora somewhere prior to hearing about the Anime and all, but I wasn’t sure where.

Here’s photographic proof of where I guess ^__^.

Love is War Miku at the GSC booth. I’m incredibly afraid of this figure because it looks stunning.

It’s fairly large also, and would probably cause massive dents in my wallet if it were to be released.

There were many dealers at Wonfest, some displaying their daughters like here.

Gift Plushies galore!

They also make giant plushies that cost around $300 USD. They’re really really big though.

Out and about in Shibuya at night. Street performers are frequent in Shibuya, and it’s always interesting to stop by and listen.

Nights in Tokyo were fairly cool, despite the afternoons being blazing hot. This is one thing I enjoyed about the climate compared to places like Hong Kong.

Between the halls at WonFest, Cosplayers gathered and so did photographers.

For those of you attending future events, be sure to follow etiquettes.

I learned (the hard way), that Cosplayers do 1 on 1 photo-shoots with photographers.

Therefore, don’t waltz in and whip out your camera taking pictures like you would at a North American convention.

The experience was great for me, because I was able to see many skilled Cosplayers.

In particular I was able to see Kipi in person; Have always been a fan of her Cosplays ^__^;;

No pictures however, because the line for taking pictures of her was closed ;___;

Tsutaya in Shibuya had many CDs. I was surprised to find that Vocaloid songs were available for listening.

When you’re in Tokyo, you really realize how big Vocaloids are, in contrast to other countries.

Forgot the name of this sandwich from McDonalds, but it was really tasty.

I think it was some Lemon Chicken Sandwich. Japan exclusive product I think. I’ll miss it.

Also, the fries seem to taste different in Japan. They seem less oily to me.

During my trip I was also able to go check out the 1/1 Scale RX-78 Gundam.

It’s hard to get a good shot of the Gundam though.

Street performer in Harajuku. I often wonder how people muster up the courage to play solo in public like this.

Also visited the shrine in Harajuku. The weather that day was moderately cool, so it was really relaxing to be there.

The Shrine is quite a ways from the streets, so it was good to get away from all the city noise.

There were plenty of cicadas in the background.

Pepper Lunch! I’ll really miss their food.

Back in Shibuya on my last night in Tokyo. Had a Caramel Frappucino here, and was surprised to find that they only served grande size.

Starbucks in Tokyo have sizes that are 1 tier smaller than North America. Tokyo Venti size looks like Grande in North America.

Overall the trip was an amazing experience, leaving me with a thirst for more.

Japan is an incredibly engaging and interesting country. I can’t wait to be back.

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§ 8 Responses to Japan Trip over the Summer

  • tabetaiii says:

    ah you got to stay in Japan for a month, lucky you>< did you go with friends?

    I made good use with my JR pass, travelled to Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo^^" but was kind of rushed since I had only two weeks to spend there.

    thanks for the post~

    • Choco says:

      I went with one friend, and mainly stayed in Tokyo. We spent 4 days in Osaka.
      A month is a good length because you’re able to relax, and enjoy the city more like a local, rather than a rushed tourist ;3

  • Haven’t traveled to Japan, but I did spend a month in Europe and a week in Cuba. I’d take a month, or more, in travel because a week goes by in a flash >.>

    Thanks for the tips and thanks for posting! Love the pictures as well!

    • Choco says:

      Yeah I agree. 1 or 2 weeks never do justice I think.
      If possible I would always do a month minimum.

      Europe is one of the places that I think I have to go to one day.
      There are many older buildings that look beautiful there right?

      Japan is a really relaxing place for me; Would surely go again.

  • chun says:

    Japan is such an addictive place, I can never get enough of it! 🙂

  • hakusora says:

    Looks like you enjoyed your visit to Japan to it’s fulles 😉 Nice picture coverage!
    I loled at that geezer in sailor-fuku cosplay^^;

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