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Monday, 1 August 2016

BLOG -- My Trip to Japan V.2 -- ADVENTURE PART 4 (Roppongi, Harajuku, Saitama, Tokyo)

This entry will cover the new areas I visited. Outside of trying to get to my desired places, though, I didn't explore too much. This was often due to no time or I was carrying wayy too much stuff to really move about freely.


ROPPONGI

DAYS SPENT: 1.5

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Unfortunately, I don't have much to say here. I visited Roppongi to check out Luida's Bar (to be covered in a future blog) and the Sailor Moon Exhibition. I observed that museum buildings had lots of space around them, but buildings were more tightly packed in the area around Luida's Bar. 

Another place I was thinking about checking out in Roppongi was the Snoopy Museum. I'm not a huge Peanuts fan, but I thought it would be interesting to see. When I looked up online how to access the place, though, I read a notice that those who reserve their ticket (when you reserve a ticket, you reserve for a specific time slot) could still end up waiting about an hour or more to get inside. It had opened recently so I wasn't too surprised.

PLACES VISITED:

Mori Arts Center (Sailor Moon Exhibition)

I thought I was smart when I decided to check out the Sailor Moon Exhibition on the last day of Golden Week. I thought, Everybody's on their way back home -- nobody would have the time to check this out today. I was very, very wrong, lol. When I bought my ticket and went up to the 52nd floor, there was a long, long line at the entrance. I was in that line for about 45 minutes.

Through the entrance, you had a choice to line up for the Sailor Moon-themed cafe or check out the exhibition. I checked out the exhibition first.

Overall, the Sailor Moon Exhibition was really cool. There were so many different things on display, from tons of old merchandise, to item / weapon replicas, to figures, to preliminary manga sketchwork, storyboards, scripts. They also had a screen playing through all the Sailor Moon opening and closing themes (that was really fun to watch). Certain areas like the sketchwork were photo-restricted so I couldn't take pics of everything.

The line to enter the merchandise shop was also long, lol. I probably waited for about 45 minutes. Outside there was a board of all the merchandise and they were marked with either X or O to indicate availability. Many of the merchandise had X's on them, meaning they were sold out. Once inside... wow, was it crowded. I spent a lot of time in there, looking at each item and deciding what to get. 

Besides all the lining up (I also had a long line to the cafe, lol...), the Sailor Moon Exhibition was cool. I was really glad to check it out while it was around. On the way out I was given a can of Chocola BB Joma energy drink. I guess Sailor Moon is endorsing the drink, lol.

It's too bad that it's over now. :(

What I saw when I first entered the exhibit.

This as well.

The title screen to a Street Fighter-like game with 
Sailor Moon skins. I don't know if this is official or fanmade.

A screenshot of the game.

video
Here's a clip of the game in action (no game music). They both seem to jump 
like Chun Li, though Mercury seems to have more of Chun Li's kick attacks.

A shot of various merchandise through the years.

More merchandise!

Nice-looking cups.

This looks really beautiful.

Serenity and Endymion.

Spiral Heart Moon Rod. I actually didn't know 
what it was and had to read the exhibit card, lol.

I believe these two are transformation pendants. 
If I'm wrong, somebody please correct me.

The Holy Grail.

Weapon replicas from Neptune, Uranus, Pluto, and Saturn.

The line for the Sailor Moon-themed cafe, lol... this would 
be about a 2-hour wait if you were the last person in the line.

OTHER PHOTOS:

Scary creature! There is supposedly a story for that figure, but I don't know it.

A huge ad for Deadpool.

A shot of the outside from the Mori Center (I was on the 52nd floor after all, lol).


HARAJUKU

DAYS SPENT: 0.5

OVERALL THOUGHTS: So I mainly checked out Harajuku because it is supposedly a fashion area for young people. It also supposedly has many clothing thrift shops. When I went to Japan, I intentionally packed not enough clothing, figuring that I would at some point stumble upon a shop I liked and buy stuff to wear. That didn't happen so I was getting a bit desperate, lol. More than needing a top, I really needed a skirt. Nobody needed to see me walking around in just my leggings. 

Personally I do not like Harajuku very much, because of... the cigarette smoke! I don't know why -- but out of all the areas I visited in Japan, Harajuku was the only place where cigarette smell was so strong.


My last clean clothes. That "skirt" is actually just my top 
pulled as far down as possible.

PLACES VISITED:

Kiddy Land

Kiddy Land is a very huge toy store. I didn't get to explore much of it, since I didn't have much time plus I was still very close to my declaration limit. There are several floors with various themes so it is worth checking out.

Chicago Thrift Store


This is a thrift store. Supposedly this is a good place to get kimonos and yukata at decent prices. I did see a nice selection of those, but I was there to buy a skirt, lol. Unfortunately, none of the skirts were speaking to me, lol.

OTHER PHOTOS:

I like the architecture of that building's entrance.

I stopped by this shop to buy some candy. I saw a clip of how 
the candy was made on TV and it fascinated me. You can check out 
a Youtube clip of it here.


SAITAMA

DAYS SPENT: 2

OVERALL THOUGHTS: So... I only visited this place for one reason: the Capcom Cafe! Not to be confused with the Capcom Bar that is located in Shinjuku, the Capcom Cafe is a cafe where the theme of its food, decor, and merchandise changes every few months. When it first opened, it was Monster Hunter-themed (and I missed it, nooooooo! T____T). While I was in Japan, it was Resident Evil-themed. At the time of this writing, it is Sengoku Basara-themed.

Originally I was on the fence about checking out the Capcom Cafe because it seemed like such an out-of-the-way place to get to. But when a friend asked if I could try picking up the T-virus perfume that was only available there for a limited time (and then my boss asked me to pick one up as well), I did the hour-long commute and landed myself in what I would describe as the middle of nowhere... save for three large interconnected malls.

PLACES VISITED:

Aeon Malls

So the Aeon Malls in Saitama are split into three: The LakeTown outlet, LakeTown Kaze, and LakeTown Mori. Supposedly the three are distinct, and I did get that sense. The outlet was an outdoor mall. Kaze seemed more for practical shopping. Mori seemed more for relaxing and playing. There were so many food places in Mori. 

My only issue is that since it carried many different clothing brands, I... couldn't tell sometimes which brand was Japanese, lol. My logic is: I'm in Japan. I should get some Japanese products. So if I wasn't sure about a brand (which were many), I didn't check its store.

If I had the chance, I would go back to the mall, though more for Capcom Cafe than anything else.

Some kind of promotion to promote One Piece's upcoming movie. I think the 
promotion was a scavenger hunt around the mall.

A shot of the Capcom Cafe merchandise area.

Something that was on sale.

Another thing that was on sale... and for so much! 
You can actually wear it if your head fit.

The first day I went, this J-pop group GALETTe did a short appearance. They 
performed a few songs. I think they were promoting their latest CD. 
The songs sounded okay, but the sound was way too loud so I couldn't 
stick around the area for long. It was interesting to see audience members 
clapping to the beat and waving their arms in support.

Ramune! I didn't know this, but ramune is a seasonal drink. They really only 
start popping up frequently around Summer time, so in off-season times 
they are very hard to find. I was on a mission to find wasabi-flavoured ramune 
for a friend, but failed. I checked out many, many places but couldn't find it. :(

Some water structure in the mall. Looking at it is soothing, lol.

Koi!

Some prizes from the crane games in Aeon Mall. I don't know about you, 
but they kinda look like knockoffs to me, lol...

WEGO! Lol... my "saving grace". I found some clothes I liked there and 
bought a few skirts and a couple tops. I was a bit self-conscious since 
the shoppers at that store were pretty young, but... whatever, lol.


TOKYO

DAYS SPENT: 1

OVERALL THOUGHTS: It's a bit funny how I went all around Tokyo last time, but never actually visited Tokyo, the capital. I didn't explore very much here, though. I came here for one thing and that was to check out the Tokyo One Piece Tower.

PLACES VISITED:

Tokyo Tower

Since there was a combo admission price for Tokyo Tower and Tokyo One Piece Tower, I decided to get it. For whatever reason, admission was also slightly discounted so I paid 3900 yen instead of 4100 yen. 

Going up to Tokyo Tower was... well... okay. It was neat seeing all the buildings, but... I don't know. I guess views like that don't do much for me, unless the sky was a nice colour or the sun was just rising / setting. Next time I don't think I would pay for the Tokyo Tower admission, unless I was with a friend and they really wanted to check it out.

Random shot from Tokyo Tower. 

You can look down from here. 

 Ahh, scary!


Tokyo One Piece Tower


So this place... (and I will refer to it as One Piece Tower from now on)... once I was inside I didn't want to leave... lol.

For One Piece fans, this is the place to check out. There is a themed attraction for each of the Straw Hat Pirates, a couple exhibits, and a live action show that is so, so awesome. 

When you first enter there are a bunch of large manga panels showing very memorable moments. The neat thing is there is a hand symbol on the wall or feet symbol on the floor, and when you touch the hand symbol or you stand on the feet symbol, the manga panel will go "into action". Either something significant gets highlighted on the panel, the dialogue will be heard or whatever else. It was really cool.

Of the attractions, I tried them all except for Franky's since it was more for really young kids. His attraction also had a Cola bar, but I didn't want to walk around with a drink or food. Attractions that I really enjoyed were Luffy's Endless Adventure, Robin's Finding Ponegliff, Usopp's Road to Sogeking, and Zoro's Soul of Edge. Brook's Horror House was amusing for one reason... which I will say later.

Luffy's Endless Adventure
This was like a mini funhouse. After seeing some scenes, you end up in a maze of mirrors. Ahhh... I felt so lost and scared, lol. All at once all those scary instances involving fun house mirrors from TV shows and movies were flooding into my head... ahhh... 

I won't say anything more about this attraction but it was cool.

Robin's Finding Ponegliff
I personally thought this was the most fun and hands-on of the character attractions. There are ponegliffs littered around One Piece Tower and your job is to find and record as many as you can in 30 minutes. You are given a replica den den mushi (transponder snail), and you place the den den mushi over the ponegliff to record it.

I should have taken a pic of the den den mushi. It looked so cool. I thought I did a good job combing all over the place, but when time was up, I returned the den den mushi and I got a low score. Darn it, lol.

Usopp's Road to Sogeking
This is similar to those games where you knock down targets with a ball in a given time, but with this you use the provided slingshot. You are given around five bullets which you can use over and over depending on how fast you can retrieve them.

It sounds very simple and easy, but really it's very hard, lol. First there are five marines to shoot down. Once those are shot down, the final target will show itself. During my whole time at One Piece Tower, nobody has beaten this attraction.

Zoro's Soul of Edge
The first half of this attraction was an exhibit of various sword replicas from the series. The second half was a virtual reality room where you are given a sword and you are trying to slice bad guys at the right time. At the end you are given an overall score plus accuracy. I didn't do too well, lol.

Brook's Horror House
As I've mentioned multiple times in earlier blogs, I am a scaredy cat when it comes to horror. When I went inside, there were a couple girls already there walking ahead of me. Immediately I thought, Phew! Somebody else will be experiencing the scares before me. I could tell from their tone of voice and body language that they were also very scared.

The girls yelped at the first scare (I don't remember what it was). Then one of them noticed me. Then she started talking to me in Japanese and making hand gestures to go in front of them. Immediately I thought, Ahhhh... darn it. I have to be brave now, lol.

It wasn't really that scary in the end. I just found those moments amusing, where the girls were asking me to be the brave one when they have each other and I'm all by myself, lol.

Live Action Show (Live Attraction 2)
The live action show was so awesome. I was tempted to watch it again, but I'd have to pay a 500 yen fee if I wanted to re-watch on the same day. To watch you first have to get a ticket. Go to the ticket machine for the live action show. I don't remember this 100%, but place your admission ticket on the machine's sensor and a show ticket for the next available time will spit out. 

I loved how expressive the performers were in the live action show. I especially loved how the person playing Luffy made sure to keep their eyes really huge and open when angry -- just like in the anime!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time. There is no doubt in my mind -- I will totally go back to One Piece Tower again <3

Wanted posters of the Straw Hat Pirates. Poor Sanji, lol. 

One of the interactive manga panels. 

video
A short clip of one of the manga panels "in action". Those who have 
read / watched far enough will understand the significance.

Usopp, Robin, Luffy, Nami, Franky. 

Sanji and Zoro are at it again, lol. 

Nami's "room". I get chills looking at this -- it feels so closed in. 

Enies Lobby. 

Trafalgar Law. 

People trying Usopp's game. It's so hard... or maybe I just suck, lol.

Nami's Casino House. It's a multiple choice chance game. You choose answers 
to three games and just hope it goes in your favour. My gut choices 
would have won me the highest prize... but I second-guessed the 
last one and I ended up with the 2nd prize.

The prize from Nami's Casino House. 

The back of the card. If anybody can read it, what does it say? Lol.

Sword replicas!

Mihawk's sword!

Sanji at the buffet restaurant. I did not check out the buffet, but next time... for sure.

One Piece Live! Woot, they look so cool <3 <3 <3

Luffy showing his rubber skills. 

Another shot. Too bad Sanji is blocked, lol. 

I think this was shown at the Exit. 

OTHER PHOTOS:

A vending machine for newspapers.

Carp flags! I guess they were being left out for the week, 
since Children's Day was a couple days ago.

Tokyo Tower from a distance. Walking there was a bit rough, since it is up a hill.


That's it for Part 4, and that's it for the Adventure portions for Japan. Next will be 2-3 blogs on the foods I ate and all the stuff I bought. x3

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments about any of these places I visited, feel free to say something in the comments box! :)

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