101 images, lots of rambling, list swearing, fangirling. Worksafe.
My mom retired from teaching in June of 2014. For years we had planned to go to Japan after she retired because she's always wanted to see Kyoto, and a good opportunity came up in October 2014. We planned to spend 11(12?) days together, then she would join up with a Kyoto garden tour group and I'd go back to Tokyo then back to California on my own (she'd come back about a week later).
This'll probably be the longest entry, I'm estimating the others to be about half this length. These first days were so full of taking my mom to all sorts of places I had been before (and therefore did not take many pictures of), I thought they worked well together.
At the BART station, waiting for our train to the airport! We brought Cubby, King of Bread and Donuts. He's the wolf stuffed animal my mom is holding. He's a very important member of the family. We got him a collar and tag with my email address on it just in case he got lost. I made him a passport (complete with his photo and personal info) so his traveling to other countries would be completely legal. Didn't want this king to cause any international incidents!
Saw this at the airport. It caught my eye because it refers to a city riiiiight next to where I live. And it's probably heavily photoshopped, but the picture on the right is VERY MUCH the high school that's maybe half a mile from my apartment. There's a trail right behind those stands that I bike on all the time, and that's very much what it looks like. Sure, that's kinda the point of the ad, but it's still a little freaky!
There was no one in the seat next to me, so Cubby got his own seat! Lucky wolf.
The flight was fine. I was a little worried because there wasn't any seat-back screens, just a few main cabin ones, and there was only one meal listed on a 10+ hour flight, but everything was perfectly fine. I was interested in the first movie they showed (Maleficent) and a one of the reality shows (one on making aquariums???). I had bought lots of snacks for the flight so we wouldn't get hungry with our one in-flight meal, but they actually gave us two meals and a "snack." Their "snack" was a turkey sandwich and ice cream. Quite the snack!! I was snooping on a guy a row over… he was reading some Young Jump manga, then playing Persona Q. I wanted to talk to him, but I figured he was probably Japanese (since Persona Q wasn't out in the US yet) and I wasn't in the mood for the possible having to converse in my broken Japanese.
We had a bit of a scare before the flight when my mom couldn't find her iPad and we thought she left it at home, but it turned out she put it in her purse instead of her bag. Phew!
Cubby wanted to get his passport stamped at Immigration, but the officer there just looked at it, looked at Cubby, and nodded him through. Hahaha
While waiting for our bags at Narita Airport, I met three friendly people from Arizona; Lisa, Corey, and Daniel! They were really nice. It was their first time in Japan and they were a little nervous about finding their way to their hotel, but it turned out they were going to take the same train (Skyliner) into Tokyo, so I was able to at least get them going in the right direction. We rode the train together and chatted a bit. Lisa later emailed me and told me Corey had proposed to her in Odaiba! How lovely!
After getting to Ueno, we checked into the hotel, dropped off our stuff, and went walking in Ueno Park. This is near the Benten Shrine. If you look real close there's actually a black kitten hidden in this picture!
I took mommy to all my favorite spots in the park and had to convince her to stop posting everything to Instagram. XD;; I was worried she'd eat up all her international data in the first day! I tried to take her to the little noodle shop Nur and I like, but she was repulsed by the plastic food in the windows. We got dinner at a convenience store instead, lol.
View from my bed! It was a bunk bed room, which I was really excited about. I love bunk beds! And yeaaaaah, baseball on tv!
Monster Hunter drink. They had different versions, so I took pictures of each one I got. They were tasty, but I'm not sure what they tasted like. =T
My beloved Andersen Bakery in Ueno Station was closed for remodeling the entire time we were in Japan! There were plenty of other bakeries and breakfast was easy to obtain, but… ANDERSEN!!!!! We got breakfast the next morning at a place right next to one of the park entrances. I got a lightly sweetened apple bread, my mom got curry bread, and we both got Hokkaido milk. Delicious!
Then we walked over to Akihabara. This was a cool place we passed by.
My mom is a coffee fiend and needed her fix. We stopped at a Tully's so she could fuel up. I took the time to help her go over katakana and hiragana. I would find simple signs and have her translate them. I had given her study sheets a few months before we left and she had brought them. I'm not sure if it was helpful but she was a lot faster at our translation game the further we got into the trip!
Took mommy to Kanda Myojin, a gorgeous shrine near Akiba.
It was pretty empty. Nice and peaceful!
I saw this poster near the shrine and it made me laugh SO HARD. These ladies are so mildly interested. It's practically the definition of mildly interested.
Just a block or so away from Kanda Myojin is Yushima Seidou, a Buddhist Temple. There's a great dolphi—
THE DOLPHIN!!! IT'S GONE!!! NOOOOOOoooooo
This temple has Baku!
And dragons! And tigers!
This shop had cool things.
Roppongi was our next stop! And of course, that means seeing Maman!
Tokyo Tower doesn't look that far off!
There was a special Margret exhibition at the Mori Art Center(?).
Those are all basically the same with different colors, lol. I wanted to go after I returned to Tokyo, but I got too busy buying doujin. >_>;;
Last ad for the exhibit, I swear!!
Cool fountain. They used to have fish they took to space in here.
I found a dead cicada. While checking it out, this little spider ran out of a crack and started pumping it's chelicerae (maybe? it was the white parts) at me in a seemingly threatening way. I'm arachnophobic, but somehow it was just really cute?
This picture doesn't capture the shininess of the cicada's wings. It was a big sucker!
A trip to Roppongi means a quick stop at the robot park!
My favorite of the robots, the (sorta)Heroman-colored one!
We walked towards Tokyo Tower and my mom kept complaining about being hungry, so we kept our eyes open for a place to get lunch. It was early though, and a lot of places weren't open yet, I wanted to go to a family restaurant but was too… embarrassed, I guess to vocalize my desire. During this walk I was able to find the only copy of the latest issue of Shonen Jump I saw that week. It had a World Trigger cover and color pages. I NEEDED IT.
Good choice of One Piece flag, Mr. Trucker.
The forbidden love between a boy and a policewoman...
Speaking of police, these guys would hang out two at a time in their little fort. Not sure why, but I enjoyed
Here's my mom at that one cult temple that's near Tokyo Tower. It's a Buddhist sect that focus on ancestor worship, if I recall correctly.
We finally got some lunch at a chain place that had good curry.
My mom doesn't like heights much. We didn't go up the tower. Headed to Zojo-ji Temple instead. It's a huge temple nearby.
"Hey guys, how I need a picture of a talisman/amulet!" How about this 300 pixels x 300 pixels version?" "Perfect! I'll just blow it up to three feet by three feet!"
Last time I was at this temple, I was able to go into through this gate with these cool dragon doors that led to a neat area whose importance I was in the dark about.
Other dragon door!
Welllllll, before coming here, I had learned that these doors protect the graves of 15 Tokugawa shoguns. It was just dumb luck that the graves were open to the public last time I was there (I think it was a religiously important day).
Zojo-ji bell. It's held up by two dragon heads!
I love Japanese crows! They're so big! This one kept watching me as I tried to get pictures of it.
My mom and I walked a bit to a theater maybe a half mile away so I could get a ticket for a performance of The Lion King when I got back to Tokyo. I was really excited to see it.
Great safety poster in the subway.
Went to Shinjuku! I wanted to take my mom up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It's pretty tall and I thought it's be a good view and a little less frightening than going up in a tower.
Of course, all I could think of was Terror in Resonance.
We were able to barely make out Mt. Fuji from the observatory, which I was really hoping to show my mom. Going to the observatory is free, so if you're in the area you should do it~
A rake in the lobby of the building, to rake in good fortune.
Cool tree (roots?) outside a nice restaurant.
Found this on our way to Tokyu Hands. Didn't get any donuts. Cubby was upset when we told him.
My mom loved Tokyu Hands and we both bought pens and pencils. <3
Jump Store in Tokyo Station! Technically, it's under Tokyo Station I suppose… I wanted to go here because the World Trigger doujin event Borderline 2 was in a couple days and I wanted to pimp out my bag, hahahaha…
There was a Yokai Watch game area that I REALLY wanted play in, but there was a huge line and I think it was only for little kids. BOOOOOOO
We were exhausted and hungry again and began to look around for food shops. Mommy declared she wanted ramen. Conveniently, Tokyo Station's Ramen Street was right next to us and we wandered down it. My mom didn't find any place she wanted. Turns out, she just wanted to noodles in broth. She complained that all the ramen we say "had random stuff in it." I told her that's how ramen was, it usually has that stuff in it, but she wasn't interested. (Later she had real ramen, I think really what she wanted this day was soba.) Instead of getting dinner, we went to a bar. My mom enjoyed her beer, but I just felt awkward because I don't drink. I had a very tiny, very expensive soda and then just twiddled my thumbs. I eventually ushered my mom out of the bar a little sooner than she wanted because they were getting ready for the rush hour crowd and I did not want to be stuck in it.
Pretty sunset at Ueno Station.
We got dinner at that noodle shop she wouldn't go to the previous day because of the plastic food. It changed her mind about places with plastic food, HUZZAH!
After dinner I started prepping bags to giveaway at Borderline2. =3
I slept poorly and woke up very early. Fell back asleep and then woke up again at 6am. I wanted to watch Log Horizon S2 at 5:30! Grrr!
Kaitou Kid? In my local station? Yes please!!
We headed over to Harajuku and got breakfast at the Andersen there. I had been whining about the temporary loss of the Ueno Andersen and my mom kept saying, "oh come now, it's just a bakery." BUT THEN SHE ATE THE DELICIOUSNESS AND LOVED IT. She went back there the next day too, bwahahah~<3
Free! Truck! What is it for? Is it just an ad? I will never know.
Cool store front.
This whole entrance is covered in mirrors. You can see me taking the picture in a couple of them!
At the top of the building with the mirrored entrance there is a cafe and a Starbucks, along with this outdoor area. They were having a "Hallo Wind" promotion(?) with wind chimes and pinwheels in Halloween colors everywhere.
All the steps were hexagons. Very cool.
I tried to go to the Eva store that was in Harajuku, but it was a… Maji Prince store…? I think it's changed to a Haikyuu store now? Maybe it'll just rotate through fandom stuff. (No, please stay a Haikyuu store until I get to visit please please PLEASE!)
Harajuku station, which is gorgeous and I've passed by a few times but never actually looked at.
Goddamn I love trains.
Sake offerings at the Meiji Shrine.
Wine offerings too!
These were up around the shrine's interior. Maybe because a wedding was taking place? The wedding party, priests, and mikos walked through the shrine as we watched. That's something I never though I'd see!
Cool architecture at the shrine.
Roofs! And a guy's head.
Yoyogi Park was real close and I thought it'd be cool to show my mom, but it was all locked up! I later learned that there was a dengue fever outbreak in it. =O
We saw a bunch of people walking with purpose nearby and decided to see what they were up to. They led us to the…
Road of Hokkai-Foods! It was a street fair celebrating Hokkaido foods!
Mmmm, spiny crab~
There was so much delicious-looking food, but I got the most unimpressive-looking thing. It WAS delicious though, and just what I wanted. It was some sort of fish stew. The broth was hot and the fish was very cold. The difference in temperatures was neat.
My mom got this beauty. O_O And she let me try some of it!
I wandered around while she finished eating and came across some sort of basketball tournament.
Back at the food fair, I took great joy in photographing some of the mascots they had. Here's Cute Clam with Cape.
Mountain Tummy Pine Tree, Rishirin.
And my personal favorite…
COUNT NAUTILUS. Look at how amazing he is. What he was representing or who he actually was, I do not know. But I do know that he is AWESOME.
Stalls! Stalls everywhere! My mom tried to get some ice cream but couldn't find any. She bought a yogurt drink that blew her mind instead.
This is one of the 1964 Olympic buildings.
Cool shop front we saw on the way to Shibuya.
Awesome Halloween display.
Some sort of Namco… detective… cafe? I wanted to go, but I didn't want to go badly enough to actually find out about it, whoooops.
I heard there was a noitaminA store in the Shibuya Parco and needed a new bag to carry the gifts I was bringing to Borderline2, so off we went.
But there is no long at noitaminA store in the Shibuya Parco.
There is a One Piece store though! SHAAAAAAANKKKKKSSS!!!!!! ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
(yes, the sign says do not touch, but it's a photo spot and you're allowed to put your head in the hat)
Hell, I'm not even a big One Piece fan, but this place was SO COOL. I was able to get a nice Thousand Sunny tote bag with a flat bottom there.
Natsume Ono art at Village Vanguard!
I like this mural lots, but I dunno what it is for/from.
Wrapple's logo is lovely.
Shibuya scramble crossing.
Necessary Hachiko picture.
Nube ad! My poor mom kindly waited for me to take photos of so many fandom things…
Another fantastic safety poster in the subway.
More Tokyo Station! We were heading to the East Imperial Gardens. Unfortunately, we got there at 3:30 and it closed at 4:30. @_@ I felt bad rushing my mom through. I thought it'd close at 5 at the very earliest!
I adore these lamps!
We finished our super fast tour of the gardens and headed over to the Imperial Grounds… well, as much as we could see.
Perfectly groomed grass.
We watched the guards on the bridge change and slowly made our way to the subway. I told my mom about nearby Hibiya Park and she was interested, but I was more interested in heading to the hotel to catch the first episode of Magic Kaito (I'd been to the park before). We decided to split up. I gave her directions on how to get back (Hibiya Station has a subway line that goes directly back to Ueno) and rushed to the hotel for delicious KID-sama.
One more excellent subway safety poster.
My mom got back halfway through the episode and was definitely NOT into it. She doesn't understand my fangirling, alas, alas.
I took her to the delicious tsukemen place nearby and we both devoured our dinners.
Got back, finished prepping my Borderline2 gifts, and headed to bed.
Next update: Borderline2 and J-World with shiroro!!