Warnings: 67 images, rambling, etc.
We headed out to Mitaka for the morning because weirdly enough there are a number of animation studios out there.
This is Brain's Base. I think they own/rent the whole building.
Brain's Base was supposed to have another location nearby, but once we found the address, we couldn't tell which building it was supposed to be… if any of them! The address we had seemed to say it was either this one…
Or maybe this one?
After a good hike, we found Gainax! Or at least… some Gainax offices. They might have another location as well, we weren't too clear on it. (EDIT: These are NOT the main Gainax offices! Thank-you, pacificpikachu!!)
This is the building (at least some of) Gainax is in.
Miyazaki-designed(?) logo for Mitaka City on the street poles! And it's Miyazaki-designed at least partially because...
The Ghibli Museum is here! We didn't visit it on this trip, we just walked by it on our anime studio tour. Neat!
Cute sign for the museum.
This building just looked cool, so I took a bunch of pictures of it.
Same building as the previous picture. I like the logo with the horse too.
Some Naruto in a window… and Shirokuma!!
We crossed the train tracks to get to… Production I.G.! These are the head offices, if you couldn't read the sign… that's right there.
They had a Lagrange Nissan in front. I really like how it looks.
Next to I.G.'s head offices is their Studio!! Neat!
We relocated via train to the Nakano area and walked by the ufotable Café! I hear their studios are above the café, but don't quote me on that! We'll come back to you later, ufotable!
We walked to Nakano Broadway and I got myself a Tsuritama poster! It's an ad for the first BluRay/DVD using the first volume's cover. It's GORGEOUS because NNGHHH TSURITAMA and it's YUKI and NNNGH. I ended up mailing the poster home because I was so worried I would crush it. I spent like… ¥800 on the poster, then something like ¥2000 sending it home, hahahahahah! It's still in the poster tube too… I need to get a frame for it. I also was able to get some of the Heat Guy J books from Kazuki Akane that I had passed up last trip.
Took this shot in a train station for Cubby, the King of Bread and Doughnuts. We found some AMAZING ginger ale there… it's "Wilkinson's" Ginger Ale and it's very ginger-y and spicy. I have yet to find a ginger ale better, which is a shame because I can't get Wilkinson's in the states. =(
We went back to Ueno, I picked up a couple Tsuritama books from a Manga no Mori near our hotel, then dropped our stuff off at in room and headed out to Akiba.
Cool building in Akiba.
Tiger & Bunny ad at the train station! And… some other series I don't know.
Nichijou ads on the opposite track!
Stuff I bought that day, minus the poster. That manga is by Kenichi Muraeda, one of my favorite manga artists.
The next day we headed over to the Imperial Palace. We… can't get in there or anything, but you can go into the East Gardens. I wanted to check them out.
Tokyo Station is under construction (we've never been there when it ISN'T under construction), so I understand tarps and walls being up… but this was INSIDE the station! A full (albeit small) building inside another! Crazy!
Tokyo Station is such a pretty building. And it always makes me think of Otogi Zoshi.
It's really a shame the second half of Otogi Zoshi felt so weak compared to the first. Oh! Yeah! The station is really nice.
Construction still! I hear it'a fixed up now and all the barriers are gone. I hope so!
I don't know what this building is, but it looked neat.
I don't know what this building is either, but I really like the fountain on the right and the ramps on the left. They feel like they really work well with the shape of building.
We saw this madness in the moat around the Imperial Palace grounds. That turtle in the feed box must be living the good life. I have video of these koi (and another turtle) trying to get at this box, if any one wants to see. Just let me know and I'll upload it. =)
We crossed over the moat and headed into the gardens. It's free entrance, but you get a tag that you have to bring back before you leave.
Big gate leading in.
This is one of the roof-topper… thingies.
Don't stay here.
I believe this was a guard house. It was pretty skinny and incredibly long… I'd say probably at least a hundred meters. Looked like a long hallway separated from a huge house.
They've done a lot of restoration work to the area and have discovered all sorts of neat information through their work.
More on the restoration.
These blocks just look… really neat.
More!! I love how some of them have very natural faces while others are obviously given flat faces. I wonder if it's because maybe some were taken from other buildings?
The gardens are pretty large and they have many different sections. In this area, some of the royal family planted different type of different fruits. Like, there was a pear section, a citrus section, etc. Nur wasn't too sure about these areas, because there was only one type of each species. He makes a good point… I wonder how well they do. Do they cross breed and create cool new species?
Blueprint for the original layout of buildings in the gardens… before they were gardens.
A stone cellar.
Bug-eaten leaves. =)
Okay, let's get a little history out of the way. The East Gardens were original the main defense areas for Edo Castle. The are was lived in from 1603 until Emperor Meiji moved into the newly-built Imperial Palace (which is basically next door) in 1888. Almost all the buildings are gone now, but there are a few gates and guard towers still around. And a lot of walls.
Like the previous picture of the blueprint, this little map on the sign shows the different buildings before things were moved to the Imperial Palace. It looks like it was REALLY crowded compared to the big open areas there are today.
But hey, let's look at one of the existing structures. Well, sorta existing. It's the remains of the castle tower! This is the base of the main castle building. The innermost castle buildings would be in this. This was constructed in 1638, but then burned down in 1657 and have not been rebuilt since. The foundation is still here. It's a bit of steep hike to the top!
This is the Tōkagakudō, a music hall.
This was at the base of the tower. Maybe it was originally for some sort of plumbing? I wonder…
Nur on the back of the tower's foundation. Pretty tall foundation.
Some building with interesting balconies. I've heard that a lot of the Imperial business is done here, not over at the palace, but I don't really know.
Old stairway that leads to…?
A single straight branch.
There are still lots of walls all over the gardens. We were at the "top" of the gardens before, now we are down at somewhat ground level.
More reconstruction and renovation information.
Just like above. They found some interesting stones when they dug things up!
We found an inner moat!
As the sign says, this a grove of symbolic prefectural trees. I guess like states in the USA have their state tree, the prefectures have the same.
Oh, a palm tree! This must be for like… Okinawa, right? Wait, MIYAZAKI PREFECTURE? But that's like… really mountainous, right? I guess it's pretty far south but… it's really Miyazaki Prefecture's tree? That just seems… weird.
Close to the trees there was a "traditional" Japanese garden.
Seasonal garden, for native plants to be sort of wild, I believe.
Look at this badass lamp. LOOK AT IT. It is FLIPPING AMAZING. I want it. I want it badly. I want to see it lit up!
I love the little notches cut out and filled in on these stones.
We left the gardens, but not before passing a dojo where two people were practicing kendo and making an awful(ly cool) ruckus. As we stepped outside, we found ourselves in the midst of all sorts of runners! Some had racing tags on, most didn't.
These are the ground in front of the Imperial Palace. Such manicured grass!
This was maybe the finish line for the runners? There were lots of people there, and it sort of looked like they might be in teams so… relay?
There were also a lot of bikers that seemed to all be going on the same… course. Triathlon? What's going on??
I should have made this picture bigger, but this is part of the wall next to the outer moat, and a number of these stones have family crests on them. It's neat!
I love this badass.
He had at least one nest in his helmet and one in his horse's tail.
We headed to Akiba (always to Akibaaaa!) and wandered around. I wasn't going to buy anything, but I ended up grabbing a few things before starting to feel really out of sorts and heading back to the hotel to rest. I ended up doing a bit of stretching and watched a lot of Discovery Channel. Daytime commercials in Japan are just as weird as they are in the states… but at least they weren't constantly telling me to go to college!
Day's purchases. Absolutely useless Flame of Recca laserdiscs. What can they be used for? I don't know! But… FoR! Laserdiscs! SO COOL! They can be.. hung on the wall or something. The top ones are for my beloved friend Amanda (SURPRISE IF YOU'RE READING THIS, I JUST HAVEN'T SEEN YOU IN FOREVER!), the bottom one is for me (Tokiya was my first bishounen crush! ♥). Then there's the Giniro no Kami no Akito OST which I adore and it was sooooo cheap. And finally, socks from Uniqlo because walking all day with too-thick socks was making my feet hurt. The new socks ended up really helping!
Next time… Asakusa, Odaiba, and OH WOW SURPRISE more Akiba! Yes indeed, this was the most geeky shopping trip I have ever been on and will probably ever go on.