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Lord Ace of the Fictional Lands
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Japan Trip 2014: Tokyo C and Nagano A: DID YOU SAY TRAINS?, 10/06/14-10/07/14

WHERE AM I WHAT'S GOING ON OH HEY LET'S POST MORE JAPAN TRIP STUFF


Warning: 46 images, work safe, ranting, trains, more ranting


So uh, yeah, where was I? Last time I fangirled extensively about World Trigger and LIFE WAS GREAT and yeah.

Let's pick up the morning after. You may recall that a typhoon was blowing through. My mom had bought little fancy sandwiches to eat in our hotel room so we wouldn't have to brave the storm. They were tasty, but we both wanted a bit more. We braved our way to Precious Coffee so my mom could get her caffeine fix. It was only a few hundred meters away and we didn't get too wet in our mad dash over there. There was tons of wind and rain, but it wasn't quite as violent as I thought it'd be. We were able to scurry back to our room and huddle away until the storm passed.

My mom was really impressed by the Japanese weather teams on TV, they all said that the typhoon would be out of Tokyo by noon, and it was out of Tokyo (Ueno at least) exactly at noon.


You can see the edge of the storm leaving! It didn't seem to cause too much damage to the immediate area, thank goodness! (It sounds like it was AWFUL in other areas though.) However, as we were climbing some stairs we found a large smear of blood going down them. There was a lot of blood, it was freaky. We didn't see anyone injured in the area, so hopefully it was mostly the rain water making it look like there was more blood than there actually was!


We got lunch at Yoshinoya. My mom was looking at fancy-ish places to eat and I was like, "…how about cheap terrible-for-you fast food?" I couldn't believe she agreed. I got a delicious curry cheese beef bowl which made me SO SICK but it was SO GOOD I would order it again. THE TASTE IS WORTH THE SUFFERING.

My mom had tried to go to Nippori the previous day but most places were closed. She suggested we go together and I was hesitant but agreed.


Devilman!! Man with a Mission!! Every time I see this I think "Database, Database, just living in the Database…"



I don't know what's going on in that second-storey room, but DINO SKULL!! I think everything up there was fossil-related. Probably replicas, but still very cool.

NIPPORI.

FREAKING NIPPORI.

My mom's big shopping goal of the who trip was to get some nice indigo-dyed fabric. Nippori is like… "fabric town" so it was a good place to look. I was perfectly happy to just assist her search. But no. NO. THIS TERRIBLE PLACE. WHY DID I GO THERE? Even with holding back, I found myself with like four yards of fabric I really have no use for. I just really liked them T_T;; I got some Detective Conan fabric (IT HAD KID-SAMA ON IT, CAN YOU BLAME ME?), some cool brush paint-esque dragon fabric, and some with this little pup on it… I think it might be an adorable Fu Dog. My mom was pleased. I don't remember her ever being so pleased about me buying stuff before. She picked up a lot of cool stuff herself. It was a good afternoon. If I was a cosplayer living in the area, Nippori would be heaven. I kept seeing stuff and going, "oh, this would be PERFECT for my _____ cosplay!"




Cute Halloween decorations in Ueno Station.

My mom had looked up places to eat and found a collection of restaurants on the second floor of Ueno Station. I had never been up there. We split an ebitempura curry udon and a tempura banana. The tempura was PERFECT. So delicious!



Looking from the second floor to the first, including the escalators that take you to the subway lines.

I really wanted to get two specific Yokai Watch plush (one for me, one for Nur). There was a toy store nearby and I decided to check there. No luck, but I was able to get a tiny Yakul plush! I've always wanted a Yakul!


I tried just about every ginger drink I could. This one was okay, but not very gingery.




Cubby and Yakul!!

I packed a little and watched a drama before going to bed.

Woke up the next morning and the script for World Trigger ch78 was up early so I was able to finish it before heading to a bakery (Hokou?) to grab bread and then to Precious to get coffee.



Cute Godiva packaging in Ueno Station.




Cute boys on an ad in the station. (I fully admit to being incredibly embarrassing when I saw this, even though I had been able to fangirl a couple days earlier, Osamu just fills me with such happiness!!)

We checked out of the hotel and headed to Kappabashi. The hotel kindly watched our bags for us.



Kappabashi is kitchen town! My mom had a great time looking at all the different tools. We spent a long time in a knife shop, picking out knives for my brother and dad.



You can easily see Sky Tree from Kappabashi! It's only a couple miles away.




Kappa!

We didn't have a whole lot of time to explore and soon I was encouraging my mom to wrap it up and begin our hike back to the hotel.

I was a little disingenuous about having to hurry, because I always wanted to stop by Shitaya Shrine on the way back.

Shitaya Shrine is pretty small, but I like it. It's nestled away and quiet.


They raise a few chickens there too! This kitty was just… making sure they were okay.



My favorite part of the shrine area is the small Inari Shrine (of course!).



Peeking in on the Fu Dogs for the main building.



There's an Inari Shrine and opposite it is a large collection of kitsune statues!



Unfortunately many are damaged, but they're still so lovely!



And cute!!




We arrived back at the hotel and we were about to leave when a worker came up to me and asked if I wanted to leave some bags there. They knew I was coming back in about a week and suggested leaving things I didn't need during that time. YES PLEASE I WOULD LOVE TO LEAVE STUFF. I left all my WT doujin and my fabric there. It was SO helpful! You can see the cute One Piece bag I got for shopping at the One Piece store (a special "2th" anniversary bag, perhaps?). You can also get a glance at the fabrics I bought.

Our Shinkansen to Nagano left from Ueno Station (convenient! All the others I've been on left/arrived at Tokyo Station!) and it took us a little while to find the Shinkanse area, but we arrived with plenty of time to relax and find some ekiben! We had so much time to wait, I should have let my mom explore more of Kappabashi!


NOW WHO IS READY FOR SOME TRAAAAAINNNSSSS?



The cool thing about being on the platform well before your train is supposed to arrive is being able to see all the other trains coming through.



An E2 Series train.




What is that…?



Oh! It's an E5!



A better picture of the E5's front.



An E2 coupled with a… 400 series, maybe? I'm no expert on these, I just love trains. I have a cheat sheet I'm looking at for the names, so I may mess up a few!



Zooming towards us is…



An E4!



Train break! Here's my mom with Cubby! I think she wasn't that interested in the trains at first but she started getting excited when different types of Shinkansen would pull in.



E4, I think.



An E6! This is one of the newest models.



A lovely lineup.



An E7!! This is the current newest Shinkansen style. We rode one of these to Nagano.



My picture isn't very good, but I think this may be an E1.

Our train arrived, we got comfy, and broke out the ekiben! I was very excited about getting ekiben and tried to pick the more interesting-sounding ones.


Here's one…



…and here's the other. They were both pretty good!




Cubby wanted some ekiben too, but we told him he'd get his paws dirty.




Saw these mountains (off in the background) from the train. I don't know if I've seen mountains shaped quite like that before.



After a few hours of travel, Terra Formars work, and going through places I know about only because of anime/manga, we arrived in Nagano! A little underwhelming.

I would say that Tokyo was "my" part of the trip with my mom and Nagano and Kyoto were "her" parts of the trip. As such, I sort of expected her to know where we were going and be the one to take charge. I didn't expect her to be the one trying to talk to people, but I figured she'd at least make sure we had maps to our hotels. NOOOOOPE. I was hoping my mom would be prepared, but just in case I had printed pictures of the front of our Nagano hotel and a couple maps. The maps didn't have enough detail and I wasn't sure which station exit to use. My mom suggested I talk to a station master, but I was pretty burned out about being the only one that did anything to try to get us where we needed to be, I was whined a bit. BUT WELL, she doesn't speak ANY Japanese and even my awful skills were better than no skills. So I talked to a station master and he showed me the proper exit and told me how to get there. His instructions were simple and clear and I was very thankful. I told me mom I knew where to go and instead of going, "yay! let's go!" like I had hoped, it was something like, "what did he tell you?" When I told her, she then asked for what he had said in Japanese, then she doubted my translation of it? It was odd. LUCKILY I had discovered on my near-useless maps that our ryokan was pretty close to Zenkoji Temple. You had to take the same street to get to the temple, so as long as we kept following the signs and didn't actually get to the temple, we'd be fine. I knew the distance from the station to the ryokan and the distance from the station to the temple, so I could estimate our distance from the ryokan every time I saw a temple sign. Excellent!



Looks like the city animal is the red panda? Cute!! You can see the VERY useful signs for Zenkoji Temple; one street sign, one on the sidewalk.



I had forgotten the Nagano Police mascots were super hot. ♥ I wanted to get sexy police mascot merch, but I never got around to trying to find a police station and asking about it.



OH MY POOPS THIS CALLED OUT TO ME, I NEEDED TO SEE IT.




This was one of the special sites during the 1998 Winter Olympics, but I don't remember the importance of it.

It was about at this point that my mom started freaking out. She feared we were lost and although I kept telling her that we were on the right track and we still had about 10 minutes to go, she kept suggesting we ask someone for help. "Please trust me, I'm sure we're going the right way" didn't help much. We found a Moss Burger and my mom said, "I'll do my best to watch the bags." Which is a weird thing to say, yeah? I was a little upset that I had to do the direction asking again (although, like I said earlier, I SHOULD be the one doing it), but I put down my bags and started walking towards the door. She called out, say SHE was going to ask and that's what she had just said, but yeah, no, she hadn't (probably just a slip of the tongue), so I gently waved her off and asked. The poor girls (they were probably only high schoolers) looked a big shell shocked, but took my map, ran to the back room, printed out a bigger version, and pointed me the right way.

…it was exactly the direction we had been going.

We made it safely to the ryokan and the extremely kind couple that ran it helped us take our bags to our room and showed us the facilities. It took a little doing to explain to my mom why we weren't supposed to walk on tatami mats with outdoor shoes on or why we are supposed to do this or that. Most of my final answers to her "but WHY?" became "because that's how it is," which is terrible but she accepted it and tried hard to be a good guest.

We checked our email and the such. We'd been getting updates over the last few days about ANOTHER typhoon coming and my mom promptly freaked out when she got the latest update. It was supposed to be a biiiiig one and it was supposed to hit after I had left her to go back to Tokyo. I told her it'd be fine, but she was still freaked out about it. I was told all sorts of things, don't go down alleys (b/c you'll get raped), don't go out at night (b/c you'll get murdered), don't go out during the typhoon (b/c YOU GONNA DIE). Gwah.


In order to thank the ladies at Moss Burger for their help, we ate there for dinner, lol. I love me some Moss Burger, so I was very pleased.

Afterwards, we walked to a couple bookstores we had passed on our trek from the station to the ryokan and I looked for a couple books. I ended up getting a couple volumes of manga for nighttime reading.



This was at the front of an Okinawaan restaurant.



And this the restaurant's front. Cute!

We got back to the ryokan and I showered as fast as humanly possible (I wanted to avoid anyone else in the shared bath, I'm just not comfortable with bathing with others). I looked up the manga exhibition, and it turned out that the museum was maybe a half mile from where we were staying. JACKPOT!!! I told my mom pointblank that I didn't have an interest in the museum we had come to Nagano for (she knew I wasn't that excited about it beforehand), and that I knew she didn't have an interest in this exhibit, so maybe we should just go to our own museums and then meet up later? She took it further and suggested spending that whole day apart. Sounds great! We'd go to Matsumoto the next day, then have a day apart before going to Kyoto. As you can tell from this ranting post, my mom was starting to really get on my nerves.
Tags: japan, manga, photos, rant
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