Warnings: 39 images, some swearing, a bit of fangirling.
Did Takama-ga-hara corrections before leaving for breakfast.
HMMMMM. Something is wrong with this image.
Hey look, ads for the live action Kenshin movie. That came out at some point, huh? I wonder if it was playing while we were there… I didn't really think about that until just now.
Nur and I headed to Shibuya to try to go to the noitaminA store, but it was still early and nothing was open. And I felt like crap. Weird vertigo stuff. I figured maybe it's because I was terrible about eating fruits and veggies or something. Whatever it was, I was craving grapefruit juice, so we found a vending machine and got some grapefruit juice. Ahhhh, bless Japan and their infinite vending machines with awesome yumminess!!
With a few hours to burn, we decided to walk a bit to Yoyogi Park.
Yoyogi Park is pretty flipping huge and seems so…out of place nestled as it is in Tokyo. We walked by some of the old Olympic stadiums on our way. I learned about them in one of my History of Architecture classes, so it was neat to see them in person, even if it was just from a distance.
Okay, a lot of these pictures are just of trees and stuff. But so many! Such lovely greenery!
And a nice variety of trees!
Unfortunately, what you can't tell by these pictures is HOW GODDAMN HUMID IT WAS. Hey Japan, it's SEPTEMBER. The cold bite of autumn should be starting to inch its way over! I shouldn't be able to drink glasses of water by BREATHING.
I should have figured it would be humid beyond belief because we were basically in a forest with some very large fountains, but… I wasn't that bright. It was super hot that day too.
Nur and I walked a long ways down this one path to something the maps we had seen called the "first flight monument." That sounds cool, right? It seems to be this statue of this poor hawk sliding down a roof. I love hawks, but… this isn't exactly what we thought it was going to be.
We continued down the same path because it looped around and the further we went, the more wild it got. VERY cool.
Eventually, we came to a settlement alongside the path.
I think it's a homeless camp? There were some crappy shacks, but some of them look niiiiiiiiice.
We got close to our starting point and came across a murder of crows. Giant. Japanese. Crows.
Giant. Freaking. Crows. Who all look badass. ♥ I love crows!
Nur found this on a vending machine.
The Meiji Shrine is right next to Yoyogi Park, and it would have been a shame if we didn't check it out. This is where the spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken are enshrined.
"Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Emperor Meiji's Death!!!!" …...That's… an interesting thing to celebrate...?
There was a little bridge going over a little stream.
And the other side, because… why not?
The pathways to the shrine are pretty long and very wide.
Lots of sake. There is a sign next to all of these that says:
"…These sake barrels are offered every year to the enshrined dieties by members of the Meiji Jingu Zenkoku Shuzo Keishinkai (Meiji Jingu Nationwide Sake Brewers Association) including the Kotokai, which has made offerings of sake for generations, as well as other sake brewers around Japan wishing to show their deep respect for the souls of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken."
Across the way from the sake are lots of barrels of wine. Emperor Meiji was a figurehead with adopting Western culture and enjoyed wine. The sign next to these said:
"…The barrels of wine to be consecrated at Meiji Jingu have been offered by the celebrated wineries of Bourgogne in France on the initiative of Mr. Yasuhiko Sata, Representative, House of Burgundy in Tokyo, Honorary Citizen of Bourgogne and owner of the Chateau de Chailly Hotel-Golf. Profound gratitude is due to the winemakers who have so generously contributed to this precious gift to be consecrated here to the spirit of world peace and amity, with the earnest prayer that France and Japan will enjoy many more fruitful years of friendship."
Ah, now we're at the actual shrine itself.
A side of one of the torii. It's so thick, and it looks so cool to see where different trunks were used.
The general grounds of the Meiji Shrine are very wild (except on the paths), but once you get into the interior shrine grounds, they're beautifully manicured. It's neat to see the wild right next to the tamed.
A beautiful gate.
I find the little bits of white on the beams to be so… fetching. And the carving on the door is lovely too.
I love the metalwork on the end of these beams.
The new growth on the bottom branches of the tree almost seem out of place.
The rope shows this is a sacred area, and the box is for donations (I think), but I don't know what this area is. There's not really a sacred object there, the main um… shrine area is forward and to the right. So this area is…?
Being adventurous souls, Nur and I decided to take a different path to get back to the shrine entrance! When we got near the end of the path, we found a sign telling us pedestrians were not allowed on that path (it was actually a road for cars). Whoops.
We saw this tree with neat bark patterns on the forbidden road.
Satisfied with our excursion and ready for some noitaminA action, we left the area and headed back to downtown Shibuya. We found the Parco the noitaminA shop was in, happily rode the escalators up and… it was closed. The whole floor was closed off. Nur tried to decipher a nearby sign and figured out that they were remodeling or something, so the shops were going to be closed until after we left Japan. BUT… BUT!!!!!! TSURITAMA! I WAS GOING TO BUY ALL SORTS OF TSURITAMA GOODS THERE!!!! WHY? WHY, NOITAMINA STORE?
To drown our sorrows, we found a huge Book-Off and I bought about thirty pounds of books. It made the hurt a little less. Then we hit up a game center, then spent a while in the Shibuya Mandarake. We got lunch at a First Kitchen and headed back to the subway.
This is still one of the greatest ads ever. Tommy Lee Jones and Otousan? GOLD.
We made our way back to the hotel. I wasn't feeling very good, so I just stayed in while Nur went to Akiba to play some crane games and check out doujin. I gave him some cash to try to win cool things for me. =D
The swag from the day! On the top are a couple plush I had gotten on a previous day, but then some little Merarou and Pugee plush (from Monster Hunter) and a Nyanko-Sensei kleenex box holder that Nur won at a game center. I was able to snag the Kanji issue of the Persona magazine at Mandarake along with some clear files for Minna. Then manga. Lots of manga. Of note: the sequel to 99 Gods Live in Shizume, the last volume of Tribal 12 and all of The End (HHNNNGHHH KENICHI MURAEDA IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARTISTS EVER~!!) The End are books from Hero Cross Line, a group of manga series that all tie in with each other. I hope to have all of them some day! There are something like 21 different titles and I have maybe… seven? I have a long way to go. The bestest best books in this lineup are the two Robo and Usakichi volumes because Robo and Usakichi is the best series ever. EVER-EVER. EVER.
For some reason, I don't have it in this picture, but I also bought a Kamen Rider W cup. It says "Welcome To Futo City" … "Futo City Tourism Association" and has the Futo city skyline and the city's mascot, Futo-kun. Nur found it in a pile of random figures and boxed hand towels.
The next day we went to Ikebukuro. I knew this would be dangerous for me. Ikebukuro is home to Otome Road, a section of street where all nearly the stores specialize in doujinshi and goods aimed at girls. Heaven for the soul, torture for the wallet.
Neko Panchi(punch?) magazine ad! Stay adorable, Neko Panchi!
As was usual, we got there before things opened up, so we wandered a while. I took a couple pictures of some buildings I thought looked pretty cool.
Does this hotel have a Wii? Huh, neat.
Hahahaha, it says "prego," hahahahaha… And it has an… Eva-themed entrance?
HEY LOOK! THE TIGER AND BUNNY MOVIE IS COMING OUT!!! …A few days after you foreign suckers leave. HA-HAAAAH!
Okay, I GET IT! Screw you guys, we'll go see it when it runs in San Francisco! Ha-rumph!! (And we did!)
We found a game center with Mother Harlot figures and I was like, "NUR NUR NUR NURRRRR WIN ME A MOTHER HARLOT" and shoved money into his hands until he did. A lady working there seemed to be really amused with how happy I was to get that figure. I just… love Mother Harlot. And then I won a Nyanko-Sensei chopstick set! And Nur won a second! I never win at crane games, so this was a fine accomplishment. (Nur's actually pretty damn good at them, so usually I just play the part of "wallet" and he plays the part of "skill.") We went to another game center and he won a bunch of Rascal (the raccoon) keychains.
Then we went to Toranoana and spent a bunch of money.
Wooo yeah, Blue Exorcist movie!
We made our way to Otome Road and I ended up taking out more money and spent nearly all of it on dozens of doujin. DAMN MYSELF. UWARRRGHHHHH. OTL
Nur was a really good sport about me taking my time going through shelves and shelves of man-porn. We checked out Lashinbang for the first time. It's got some doujin but also a lot of crane game prizes and lottery prizes at well. Gooooooood stuff. =D
Non-doujin swag! I guess I didn't take a picture of the doujin I bought that day, but it was a lot. Way, WAY more than I thought I would. Some P4 (finally found one Kanji x MC doujin!), a handful of Accelerator ones, a healthy amount of Tsuritama, and some random stuff.
But this picture! At the top center is my lovely Mother Harlot! Then… some stuff for others, the last pin set I needed to complete my Blue Exorcist lotto pin collection, the Nyanko-Sensei chopsticks, the Rascals Nur won, and I guess he won a Black Nyanko-sensei during the day too? On the left side is the Kuro towel from the Blue Exorcist lotto I really really wanted, and below it is the Kuro plush from the same lotto. I named the plush Mukuro (Or Mu-chan, or Mu-Mu) since I already had a Kuro. And with that I had everything I REALLY wanted from the Blue Exorcist lotto. I was tempted to get the two other towels because they were only like ¥200 each, but with Nur's assistance I was strong and resisted. I mean, I had to resist on SOMETHING that day.
And ta-ta-ta-taaaaaah, that's all for this update. Next time! Pictures of the outsides of animation studios! And maybe the East Gardens at the Imperial Palace!