WARNINGS: 73 images, some rambling, some foul language, lots of fangirling.
Nur took the coolest pictures, as usual.
The night of Comitia, I passed out at 7:30pm. I don't know why I was so tired, but I slept really well that night and woke up at a reasonable hour. Incredible! After breakfast, we headed to Yushima Tenmangu.
Yushima Tenmangu enshrines a scholar and is really close to Tokyo University, so it's popular with university students praying for luck with their studies and with high schoolers praying for luck with their entrance exams. Some of the shrine animals are cattle!! This is one of the two they have.
This is where you purify yourself before praying. All of these that I've paid attention to have such amazing carvings on them!
The other one of the cattle pair.
This cutie was near the main shrine building. Those heavy brows and hunched back just make this protector really endearing. At least to me.
Main shrine building. I love the bridge connecting it to another building.
I love the wooden screens that have been lifted from the shrine walls to make "windows" or whatever they are. It just seems… so cool.
There was this little garden in the shrine. It only took up a small area, but it seemed so big! I really wanted to go on the moss-covered bridge, but the area was roped off.
I don't know what this says or what it is for, but it was very tall and really impressive.
The little garden even had a waterfall!
More cattle for the shrine on one of the shrine gates.
Said gate. There was another, completely different cattle carving on the other door.
Next to the gate there was this tree stump. It almost seemed… petrified? I'm not sure, but at the very least it was very old.
Next to that gate, tiny door!
Yushima Tenmangu just happened to be on our way to the real prize of the day, Takuzosu-Inari Shrine! We walked and walked and walked. It was fun to see the different neighborhoods.
This is some sort of restaurant, I don't know exactly what type. BUT IT HAS A TORPEDO OVER THE DOOR!!
We found a small temple with an old wooden gate. The place looked like it could use a little care, but it gave off this really need worn-down but warm feeling.
I love this carving at the base of a lantern. A koma-inu in a storm? I'm not sure quite what it is depicting.
The bricks of the outside shrine wall all had names engraved on them.
Up the road a bit we found a crow chilling with some koma-inu.
I went to say hello to the koma-inu and they seemed pretty happy to have a visitor. Unfortunately, the area was blocked off and I couldn't pay my respects at the shrines.
A short way further up the road, we finally came upon Takuzoku-Inari Shrine! And Inari shrines mean… KITSUNE!!!
The main area isn't very big, but you can already see there a few kitsune in this photo alone. There are even two carved above the donation box!
Another area to purify yourself with an AMAZING carving.
Collecting the rainwater, I guess? ALSO BREEDING MOSQUITOES.
But it sure does look cool.
At about this time Nur, who had gone to another part of the shrine, yelled out, "be careful! There are lots of mosquitoes here!"
"Oh, yeah, whatever," I thought to myself. I focused back on my camera to continue my goal to photograph everything possible at the shrine and saw… two big ol' mosquitoes happily gulping down my blood. The rest of the time at the shrine was spent quickly taking photos and wiggling my arms like a crazy person to try to keep the blood suckers off.
The main shrine area was the most obvious area, but to the right was a torii-lined path…
Another right turn before the torii-lined path showed me a plethora of small Inari shrines with lots of kitsune to make me positively giddy! This poor kitsune lost its face. =(
That poor Buddha(?) lost most of its body! And the kitsune at the bottom has been cemented to another, completely different kitsune, giving it six legs!!
I turned around and went down the torii path.
Kitsune! KITSUNE EVERYWHERE!!! ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
This poor chap has seen better days.
The previous kitsune probably once looked a bit like this one, if you can believe it! This poor guy has seen better days too though…
On the wall outside the shrine there were some carvings. This one was lovely, with a mother and her kits.
Alas, it was time to leave Takuzosu-Inari Shrine, or as it could be known, "Kitsune Tokyo Paradise." But it was good to get away from the mosquito swarms.
On our way towards Tokyo Dome, our next destination, we found a small temple and decided to peek in. This was a neat incense burner.
Rocks covered in salt. Either salt or fake snow. Why are they covered like this? I do not know.
Up this tiny path is the Pan Pacific Temple Bell. Best I can tell, the bell has moved around a bit throughout the Pacific... it was in Japan from 1690-1937, then in Saipan 1937-1965, then Odessa(?), Texas 1965-1974, then Oakland, California from 1974-???. Obviously, it came back to Japan sometime after 1974.
The tiny temple. I love the striking black and red donation box (is there a proper name for that?). The koma-inu were very neat too (but I think pretty much all koma-inu are, so…).
We got back on the road and arrived at Tokyo Dome! We wanted to buy baseball tickets, but there was still a good hour or so before the ticket office opened. We decided to just walk around to pass time.
OH HEY THERE. They were having an Eva-themed Real Escape Game at Tokyo Dome City. We had just participated in an Eva-themed Real Escape Game in San Francisco a week before!
Obligatory "hey look there's a rollercoaster on Tokyo Dome City" shot.
Tokyo Dome looks cool, but I am very much not a fan of the Giants. (GO HANSHIN TIGERS!!!)
Tried to find the Jump Store, but it was not in the spot we had seen it in before. There was great sadness until we turned the corner and found its new location. I tried my best to not buy a billion things, but they had a lot of little things I couldn't resist. I got two Shanks cloths, a Blue Exorcist cloth, and some pins from various (in my opinion) under-loved series. I also decided to try to Blue Exorcist lotto. It was reaching the end of the campaign, and I could see what prizes remained. I really wanted one of the long towels. I won a clear file and postcard set instead. Throwing caution to the wind, I tried once more… and won the second highest prize! It's a pretty cool Yukio figure. The lady working was SO excited for me! She was jumping up and down and happily got out a HUGE Jump Store bag to put it in. Because she was so happy, I was so happy. …Though I wanted the towel more! XD;; When Nur saw me with the huge bag, he was like, "…seriously?" Whoops.
In Japan, they don't use those hanging box things to clean windows much. Instead, they RAPPEL DOWN THE SIDE OF THE BUILDING.
Across the way, there was a store that had a bunch of Evangelion stuff in it, and outside was an Eva Stamp Rally location! We had started the four-country Evangelion stamp rally at the J-Pop Summit in San Francisco and we had had our stamp rally sheets with us, so GO STAMP, GO!
Nearby was a game center, and I wanted to see if they had the My Pokémon Collection crane game plush I wanted so badly. Terrakion was in the August batch of plush for the collection, and I wanted one. BAD. And what do you know, they had them! I got a bunch of change and dumped it all on Nur in hopes of getting my cute Muskedeer. After a try or two, a worker came by and asked which one I wanted. I told her, and she put one on top, in a VERY easy location. With a couple more tries, HE WAS MINE! I eeeee'd and squee'd and the worker was cheering and kept shouting "Omedetou! Omedetou!" while hitting her tambourine. I know you probably do that for everyone who wins something, nice lady who works there, but it sure made me feel special and I didn't even do anything but provide the money. So, thanks for that. Nur wanted to play a bit more, so we checked out the other games. He played a bit on a Monster Hunter crane game and one a couple plush, a starry-eyes Airou and some sort of green plant character.
We then went to the now-open ticket office and bought our baseball tickets. Then we started the typical game of "where do you want to go?" "I dunno, where do YOU want to go?" We decided to check out the nearby Uniqlo before deciding our next move. There were soooo many Eva Real Escape Game banners… and then it hit us! DUH, Evangelion!!
We could complete our stamp rally sheets and turn them in at a chance to get a prize! We hadn't been to all four countries or anything, but one of the rules said that if we had the J-Pop Summit stamp and one stamp from Japan, we could win a different prize!! IT WAS GENIUS. We needed three more stamps… one from Shinjuku, one from a place we had trouble translating, and one from the Evangelion Store in Harajuku. After a lot of kanji compiling, we figured out that the unknown place was at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, which was in a part of Tokyo we had never been to. We hopped on the subway.
Lucky for us, these scarecrows led the way!
The er… conventional scarecrows soon made way for some fancier ones, like this unicorn…
…and this beautiful Jesus fresco one.
It was very warm and extremely humid, but we made it! And to our extreme surprise...
It was the museum that was hosting the tokusatsu exhibit!!!!
…and it was closed. Dangit.
I think it was a Monday, and most museums are closed on Mondays. We just hadn't quite thought it through. We made quick plans to visit the next day because HHNNGHHH TOKUSATSU EXHIBIT. It's a shame we couldn't go that day though… I was appropriately dressed for the exhibit with my Kamen Rider Joker shirt. =D
Instead, we headed to Shinjuku to get the stamp from there. Our only clue where the stamp was in the ward was "Wald 9." We had no idea what this was. We wandered around a bit, making notes of all the Uniqlo and Book-Off stores to visit on our way back, but could not find "Wald 9." We got lunch at Moss Burger and then wandered some more. I suggested we ask at a police box or as a subway station master, but Nur wanted to find it himself. Finally, after passing the same group of ladies handing out gum samples (they were tasty, I kept taking them as we passed by), I angrily took charge and went into the first subway station I saw. "Wald 9" is a movie theater. The station master gave us a map and drew the route we should take. Phew. I don't mind trying to find places by ourselves, but I get fed up with being lost pretty damn quickly.
Got to the theater, got our Eva stamp (and got both a Kamen Rider Fourze/GoBusters movie stamp and a Pokémon stamp at the same time!!), and I drooled over the Cyborg 002 they had hanging in the lobby. Thank-you sirs and madams, I will have some of that~! I'm still a bit upset that he doesn't have his hawk beak nose or his crazy waxed back hair, but he is looking pretty dang hot. =9
Stopped at a couple different Uniqlo stores, a Book-Off, and a Tora no Ana before
Things I bought during the day! A bunch of manga from Book-Off… a volume of Gau Gau Waata, two volumes of Tetsuzin (I didn't even know there were more volumes of it!), volume 4 of 7 Shakespeares, and a bunch of London Ominous Town by JET, whose art is just SO lovely. I've had a few volumes of London Ominous Town for a while, but had never seen any more and HAD to pick it up when I saw it. Thennn… some Chopper boxers that are really cute (I tried to get Nur to get some One Piece boxers too), Basch (my new Terrakion), a Nyanko-Sensei plush that I don't remember where we got, Airu the Airou, my Yukio figure from the Blue Exorcist lottery, the clearfile set from the lottery, the Shanks and Blue Exorcist cloths (at the bottom), and four pins. The four pins are Kuro (Blue Exorcist), Uke and Mike (Izumo's familiars from Blue Exorcist OMG THEY MADE A PIN FOR THEM OMG), Murasaki (Kurenai, so sad I couldn't find a Shinkurou one though) and Ageha (Psyren).
Next day, I woke up and found some lovely new additions to my body... mosquito bites!! They were ALL OVER my arms. Thankfully, I was wearing pants so my legs were saved, but my arms were filled with big red welts. I covered the biggest ones with bandaids to prevent me from scratching them because I wanted them gone for our trip to Enoshima (I didn't want them in my photoshoot pictures). That didn't do anything to help, in fact it left weird red marks on my arms from the adhesive for the next several days.
BUT ANYWAY!!! We headed back to the museum to see the tokusatsu exhibit! We saw this awesome scarecrow on the way. At some point, these stop being scarecrows and are just gorgeous works of art. =\
As we walked by, this guy brought out two cute scarecrows to set up. This flute player…
And this cute kitty!
We made it to the museum and thankfully it was open this time! The exhibit was A. MA. ZING. They didn't allow photography, but it was rooms and rooms of old miniatures of all sorts! There were vehicles, buildings, secret bases… oh, it was SO COOL. They had some costumes too, from both Ultraman series and Godzilla movies. There were lots of little signs with notes from Hideaki Anno, because the exhibit was his baby(?). And towards the end, they had a destroyed Tokyo Tower miniature with glowing lava and HHNNNGHHH I WANTED IT SO BADLY. We watched a movie that had been created specially for the exhibit with all the old school techniques that was about the God Warriors from Nausicaa attacking Tokyo. FREAKING. AWESOME. They even had a movie after that showing how they did a lot of the special effects. Guys, this was pretty much the coolest museum exhibit EVER. It's at least tied with the Tezuka exhibit from a few years back.
But then, after we saw the "making of" movie, we stepped outside and saw…
Is… is that a tank?
Huh… where did it go?
Hm, something is strange here…
Did something run into this crane?
WHOA, WHOA, what a second, THAT is NOT NORMAL.
Shit… What the hell happened?
Seriously, what the hell?
M-more tanks? This is not looking good…
At least it looks like this subway station is okay, hopefully we can get out…
…of this miniature display. =)
Sorry, I know, it was OBVIOUSLY not real. My pictures weren't very convincing. BUT LOOK HOW COOL THIS IS! They had a whole town of miniatures set up that you could take pictures of. The amount of detail was MIND-BOGGLING. *_* All the little signs, stains on the streets, even trash in areas. There was a lot of love put into this display, and it really shows.
AND THEN I DESTROYED IT ALL. RWARRRRR MONSTER ACE ATTACKS TOKYO!
I'M NOT AFRAID OF YOU, GOD WARRIOR!! I COULD EAT YOU FOR BREAKFAST!!
Nur wasn't afraid either, but he was a bit disgusted by the creature's breath.
There are some pictures from the rest of the exhibit and more background here. Photographs of tons of amazing stuff at that link. I got one of the one-coin figures shown at the end, the one of the God Warrior standing in the melty and broken city.
It was pretty late when we left the exhibit, but we were filled with glee and on a mission, so we headed over to Harajuku to get our last stamp and turn in our sheets for a chance to win a prize!
The Evangelion Store is sort of hidden down an alley that's off of an alley. The building is pretty neat! The stairs leading to the second story are lit really neat, like warning lights from the show. The walls along the stairs were painted to match the theme too! We got our last stamp and tried to turn in our papers… the guy at the counter looked over our stamps and had to talk to another employee in hushed voices. We had gotten all the stamps in Japan except for one, which had closed up less than a week before we made it to Japan. I guess the other employee figured it was fine, so we got the "get all the Japan stamps" prize: a sticker sheet. Nur gave his sheet after mine, and it was only then that the guy noticed our stamps from San Francisco. He got excited and showed the other employee. They said they had never seen the San Francisco stamp!! …but that we couldn't be entered in the prize that was supposed to be for anyone with the SF stamp and a stamp from Japan, because the actual rules were that we needed that ONE stamp we were missing, the one that had closed up a few days before we got there, was the ONLY Japanese stamp that counted for it. Nur and I both mentally called BS on that (the rules said "SF stamp and A Japanese stamp, not THIS ONE Japan stamp"), but it would be silly to argue. Besides, their English was shoddy and our Japanese was much shoddier, so there was little point to it. We still got the sticker sheets, so that was nice of them.
We were upset about the stamps. I mean, REALLY? They had NEVER seen the SF stamp before. We could have had a good chance of winning the prize! And you pretty much HAD to live in Japan in order to just be ENTERED to win it. Because there were only two days to get the SF stamp, and the special Japanese stamp's "run" ended on the last day the SF stamp was available. So you couldn't get the SF stamp and then go to Japan to get the other, you had to be in Japan, get that stamp, go to San Francisco, then go back to Japan to turn it in. UHHHHH kinda crazy. You couldn't have someone else get the stamp for you either, because they had a note that said they will check your passport when you turned it in. Still upset about it, CAN YOU TELL? XD;;
But the store was cool.
Hey Kaji, nice garden. Whatcha growin' there?
Big ol' store sign.
To work off our sadness, we took the best course of action… retail therapy. And then we gave the store a bajillion dollars because we were so mad about the stamp stuff.
I really wanted to go to the Tintin store (we tried and failed last time), so we hunted it down! I wish the statues there weren't so expensive, I wanted so many of them!! T^T Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped at Kiddy Land, a multi-story toy store. I found a Kamen Rider W DX Belt and YOU CAN BET YOUR BACON I BOUGHT THE CRAP OUT OF IT. The Fourze belt was there too, but each belt was like ¥7400 and I had already spent a TON on the trip. I also got a Pokémon spoon. When I brought my items to the register, the people were like, "Oh, a present, should I wrap it?" I stared them down and said, "NO. NO THANK-YOU, THIS IS FOR ME." And they were like =T
Got back to the hotel, dropped off our stuff and headed to Yoshinoya (a fast food beef bowl place) for dinner. Yum yum~! Got ice cream at a convenience store, relaxed, and watched a Tigers-Giants baseball game on TV.
This is what we saw when we got back to the room. It's like they're tucked in! D'AWWW!
Purchases for the day! On the top is my spoon and W belt, under is is the Ame to Yuki program, then a few Eva clear files, a bunch of Tintin postcards, a Snowy (or Milou if you prefer) washcloth, an Eva bento box (it is "2-tired" to be used), an Eva spoon and chopstick set, some Eva charms, and the God Warrior figure from the exhibit.
Uwah, and it's finally over! Thanks for reading to the end of this beastly post!
The next post will be…???? I have no idea. It'll be the one about Enoshima, and I took a million pictures and will post Tsuritama screencaps to show the different locations we went to, so it'll probably be a while before I post it. Hopefully no more than a week, but… probably more like 2. I dunno.