Zojoji Temple, Tokyo Tower, and meeting Danny Choo
After 3 days of Comiket, I was pretty worn out by the end of it. The next few days would be simply resting up as the next event that I’ll be attending is a long way away so from this point till then is just other random adventures. However I still believe spending a whole day inside the hotel a waste of time. So hit the jump to check out Zojoji Temple, Tokyo Tower at daytime, and my meeting with Danny Choo.
The day started with me waking up pretty late. I forget how late but I think it was 10:30am. That’s actually really late for my regular sleeping patterns. With Comiket over, and with the amount that I bought, my room was getting quite full and trying to fathom what I had bought just seemed impossible. Thus it was time to send off another package. The one thing I dreaded about sending the Comiket items was simply the weight. I know from previous experience of sending packages, Comiket items are never cheap to ship back. So the first thing to do was head down to the local post office and buy some boxes. After dropping the boxes back in the hotel room we then headed out for breakfast.
One of the problems about staying in the one place for so long is that you’ve been to most of the restaurants in the area (well visible when walking down the main street). At this point we really didn’t want to goto any places that we’ve already been to so we headed into a Doutor cafe. I ordered myself a ham or pork sandwich as well as a hazelnut latte. I probably haven’t had a proper breakfast like this for a while. By this time it was around midday and not wanting to head back to the hotel so soon, we headed to the Pokemon Centre which is right across from the JR Hamamatsucho station. Everytime we took the train we would go by and see the Pokemon Centre and wondered what was there.
Just to note I forgot my camera since I originally thought we were going out for only breakfast, so no photos of the inside of the Pokemon Centre. Personally I haven’t played Pokemon since Red and Blue versions, but it was pretty awesome going through there. With the swarm of kids and parents walking around, I also felt like a little kid just going through there and seeing all the awesome things that you would bug your parents to buy. My friends were the same, or perhaps even more excited about being in there than myself. I guess deep down we’re all kids inside. Of course being here meant I had to buy something, despite my wallet having taken a beaten over the last three days. I ended up buying a random pokeball and a Squirtle plush.
Heading back to the hotel I began assembling the box and sorting through my Comiket items to send back home.Most of the items I packed into the box were the industry items as I didn’t want the box to be too heavy. However by the time I finished packing it was reasonably heavy. 12.85 kgs to be exact, my heaviest box to date. Having dropped off the box at the post office, and a few thousand yens lighter, we headed off to Zojoji temple.
Zojoji temple is literally a 5 minute walk from the hotel I’m staying at and is one of the places I wanted to visit earlier due to Obon Festival. However most of the festivities happened on the same time as Comiket. Though before Comiket I always saw plenty of cute girls walking from the direction of the temple but alas other things happened preventing us from going. Still it’s not such a bad thing visiting during the day as it was really peaceful. The most unfortunate thing about the temple was the construction/refurbishment work that was going on at the time. So seeing the huge blue tarp covering the buildings slightly ruined it.
Tokyo Tower is also right behind the temple grounds, but we’ll be visiting that another day. The temple itself was clean and beautiful. Rather amazing considering that hundreds of people walk through the temple grounds everyday. But I’m sure many people also don’t want to incur the wraiths of the gods and are well behaved.
Just like every other shrine or temple, I make it a thing to buy a charm. One can never have enough good luck charms, plus they make great souvenirs for family back home. One of the greatest things about the temple grounds was seeing all the status lined up and each having a paper windmill. I don’t recall what they represent but it was definitely a wondrous thing to see. Also amongst the grounds was another small shrine with a white torii gate. My two friends that were with me dreaded the sight of a torii gate and didn’t step inside. Well neither did I. The grounds look so clean and with a white torii gate, white walls with red writing on it, I got the feeling I would probably be cursed if I stepped inside, lol. It’s an exaggeration but I still didn’t step inside.
On the way back to the hotel I spotted this on one of the local community boards. I wasn’t quite sure what it was but I think it was an advertisement for some traffic safety program. Also just outside the hotel, there is a shoe shop that we always walk past and has always perked my interest. So we headed in to have a look and I pretty much walked out with a new pair of shoes, for ¥4400.I bought new shoes since the runners I bought were more emergency shoes to stop my feet from dying, where these ones are ones I like and are quite comfy.
The rest of the afternoon was simply relaxing and sift through my Comiket purchases, well what had remained before I shipped half of it off. The plans for dinner that night was meeting up with my friend’s cousin who was working here in Japan, thus we headed out to Takadanobaba. One thing that Roobar and I noticed last time was that this station played the Astro Boy theme when the train has stopped at the station. Also when exiting the station, across the road you see this:
It’s a commemorative collection of all of Osamu Tezuka’s works. A shame that I didn’t bring the DSLR, but seeing this would bring a tear to any anime fan as you can feel history of anime just from looking at that. So after waiting around for a bit we eventually met my friend’s cousin and she took us to a restaurant that was down a seedy looking alley and going down some seedy looking stairs. It’s strange how the seedy looking places in Japan could be the best places to goto. The place was again one of those places for you to eat snacks and drink, which wasn’t so bad. Just a few examples of the food that we ate (note these photos weren’t taken by me as I was too lazy, lol):
One of the items (which is the 2nd photo above) was actually horse sashimi. Taste wise I can’t really describe it. Definitely something different, but not something I would crave for again. Also having cheese wrapped in bacon is definitely one thing I would never eat again.Sure enough it tasted good and with all that cholesterol, but I felt a bit sick after having just one. We also had a few drinks, and unfortunately one of my drinks started to feel pretty sick, even though he had only one drink with alcohol. And you couldn’t even taste the alcohol in it. Thus with our stomachs full, and one feeling quite sick, we parted ways and headed back to the hotel for a nights rest.
This day was another relaxing day, yet also plenty of things to do. All of us really didn’t want to go out too far as some are still feeling the burn from Comiket (well it wasn’t me just to let you know) thus we decided to head out to Tokyo Tower. It was probably around 10:30am when we headed out, and feeling rather peckish, we wanted to eat something before exploring Tokyo Tower. The one problem with Japan is most places aren’t open that early for lunch and most places open at that time were cafes or fast food outlets. Luckily for us we found a Korean place for us to eat near Tokyo Tower.
The funniest thing about this place was that they gave us bibs to wear whilst eating. It was strange, but once you start eating, you’ll understand why you need a bid. The stuff would spill over you if you weren’t careful. Plus I’m not a fan of Korean food, or to be exact spicy food in general. I asked for mild but it was still spicy to an extent. Once breakfast was finished, time to head over to Tokyo Tower!
Now I have been here on my last trip as well as Roobar, but my other two friends haven’t. But the thing for me this time was to take better photos. This time I took my DSLR with 10-22mm wide-angle lens so all the photos you see here are taken with that lens with the exception of 2 or 3 photos. And you’ll see why I bought myself such a lens. Visiting Tokyo Tower is such a fun thing to do as you get to be high up and just see how packed a city like Tokyo really is.
Don’t mind the spots on some of the photos as that is simply spots on the glass outside. One thing that couldn’t be avoided in taking photos and I’m much too lazy to edit them. The photos above are taken at 150m high, which is the main observatory. Plenty of tourists about, which also meant I had to help a few people take their photos since they asked so kindly. It’s also funny when some people can pick me out as a foreigner. Being at 150m above the ground is pretty awesome and from that height I could even see the expressways. I was really excited about seeing those and how they link up to the Rainbow Bridge, which is going to be an awesome part of another adventure.
However that isn’t the end. In fact you can actually go higher for a few hundred yen and that will take you to 250m above the ground, which is the special observatory. Although you’d think that the view would be no different from 150m and 250m. From the naked eye it all looks the same, but from a world through lenses, it looks really different.
After marveling at the view and taking photos, we headed back down to the main observatory and I checked out some of the look-down views:
Those are also my new shoes. Also checked out the souvenir store but bought nothing as I knew there would be more on the ground floor.
Just outside is a small amusement park, but due to the heat not many kids are out and about riding the rides or playing games. I’m pretty sure they would pass out from the heat. The ticket that we bought also gave us passes to some of the other attractions in Tokyo Tower like the Trick Art Gallery, Wax Museum, and the Space Wax where we watched Yatterman 3D. Each was really awesome and if it’s your first time to Tokyo Tower, I would recommend going to them as a package. Some photos from the Trick Art Gallery and Yoda in the Wax Museum:
Later on we checked out the souvenirs stores on the 1st floor where I bought a few things for myself and family. Afterwards we made our way back to the hotel to rest up as we had dinner with a person I’ve been wanting to meet since planning to come to Japan, Danny Choo.
For me this was such a great honour but also a great learning experience for me as I got to discuss various things with a person who is well established in his line of work as I myself work in web development. In the company that I work for I have practically no one to converse with about web development as my boss is always busy, and the other guys have no prior experience compared to myself. It was a enjoyable night where we discussed various other things like our lifestyles (though I’m sure we didn’t give a good impression of Australia, lol), our otaku passion and I have certainly learned a lot from meeting someone such as Danny. He even hinted to us about a certain site launch in the midst of discussion.
So after finishing dinner it was time to go our separate ways. Definitely a meeting to remember and there were certainly a lot of things to think about in regards to my future after hearing from Danny himself of how he got to where he is. Hopefully I’ll get to meet him again as well as Windbell and dice in the future sometime. In the meantime, there is still plenty of days left in the Japan trip so stay tuned for the next epic adventure.