Kara no Kyoukai 5, Tokyo Tower at night, and Akiba….again
After a weary day and night of driving, normally you’d think it would be a day of resting up. Well not for me. There’s still a few things to do that was on the list, although the next few days were more random in planning. Anyway hit the jump to read about going to the movies, visiting Tokyo Tower at night, and a trip to Akiba…again.
Having returned the car that morning, I headed back to the hotel to wake up my other friends who were still asleep. At this point of the trip it’s become a habit for me to wake them up. Anyway the plan for the day was a trip to Akiba as it was post-Comiket shopping time. Although at this point of the trip I didn’t really want to head into Akiba as I was getting sick of the place (and I think it’s my 7th trip there?), but it also gave me the chance to look for items that a few friends had requested.
Having been in Japan for a while, there are quite a few amusing things you see whilst walking the streets. Such as the picture above, which is a manhole cover. I’m pretty sure if you had something like this anywhere else in the world it would have been graffitied on. Anyway I arrived at Akiba just before midday but had quite a limited time to do shopping as I had to get across to Shibuya later that afternoon. The first place we went to was Toranoana and upto the doujinshi sections.
Places like Toranoana, K-Books, and Mandarake are only a few places to goto to do post-Comiket shopping. When I talk about post-Comiket shopping, all these stores have doujinshis for sale from the recent events, such as Comiket. It’s pretty much for those who don’t get the chance to head to Comiket at all and know they can buy their favourites for only a slightly higher price. But it’s also a good chance for me to pick up any doujins that I missed out on due to me either missing out due to it being sold out, I didn’t walk through certain areas, or I totally forgot about it. The amount of people there that day wasn’t too packed, but I have been warned by veterans that going to Akiba the day after Comiket is not such a good idea if you don’t want to swim through the crowds.
Whilst browsing, I also got a call from Windbell who wanted to meet up. He was bored that day and wanted to know what I was upto, he also wanted to buy himself a keyboard from Yodobashi Camera so we went and wasted some time in there as well. Also had Pepper Lunch for lunch as well. After a few more hours I ended up finishing my shopping and got a few items for friends. Frankly I was surprised there wasn’t much post-Comiket shopping I had to do, though this is probably because I got 87% of the items I wanted on my list. Anyway it was time for me to head across to Shibuya to meet up with the guys from seiyuu3.
Arriving just at 3pm at Shibuya station it was as busy as it usually is, though just outside Starbucks there was a musician setup performing and selling her CDs. Heading into Starbucks I finally meet up with seiyuu3. Reason I was meeting up with them was to collect my groups ticket for Animelo 2008. However it was prettypacked in Starbucks so we headed out to find a place to sit and chat, but with this being Shibuya, most cafe places were pretty full, thus we opted for the next best thing, McDonalds.
Meeting the guys of seiyuu3 was delightful as meeting Danny Choo as I learnt that they were also working in Japan and from hearing their own experiences I’m even more enlightened about the Japanese working society. Actually the most surprising thing I found out about the guys of seiyuu3 is that they are both Australians as well and that one of the is a good friend of a friend of mine. It really is such a small world. We probably spent 3-4 hours sitting there chatting away about various things and I have a better insight to various things, but I’m sworn to secrecy about some of the things they’ve talked to me about.
Afterwards we each went our separate ways with Windbell and myself wondering around Shibuya a bit. We went to the soccer field at the top of Tokyu Department Store, Tokyu Hands, and Mandarake. I once again saw the Suiseiseki Super Dollfie and seeing it makes me want to buy it. Perhaps in my next trip I’ll buy it. It was starting to get pretty late and since I didn’t have my DSLR with me to take photos, we headed our separate ways and I headed back to the hotel for some rest, some dinner as well, and more drinking with my friends.
One of the things to do in Japan that was on the list was to watch a movie. It didn’t matter what the movie was, I just wanted to watch a movie, well specifically an anime movie. Luckily for me the Kara no Kyoukai 5th movie was released on the Comiket weekend, and once I told Roobar about it, it was in concrete that we would go watch it. But we faced one little problem: we didn’t know which cinemas was airing Kara no Kyoukai. Tokyo certainly wasn’t short on cinemas, but with only very limited knowledge of where cinemas were andlooking at some of their websites we were lost. But thankfully one of Roobar’s friends from Raspberry Heaven joined us and he knew exactly where to go: Shinjuku.
From what he told me, the cinema at Shinjuku was the only one showing Kara no Kyoukai that day, thus we headed there from the hotel and arrived around midday. This is the first time I’ve been in Shinjuku this trip so it was rather nostalgic to see that it has changed much in the two years that I was last there. The place that we were heading to was called Takashimaya Times Square, which is pretty close to the station on the New South exit.
Heading through the department store was actually pretty amazing. From the outside the building looked pretty modern and not too flashy, but once inside it was a different story. The place felt very grand and elegant with everything looking very posh. It’d certainly makes Australian department stores look tacky. Anyway we arrived at the cinemas and with Roobar’s friend knowing Japanese helped us acquire tickets.
However I must say that the price for a movie ticket in Japan is expensive. ¥1,800 for a single adult. Still I counted on the fact that the movie would be awesome and that it would make me forget about the price. After buying our tickets, I also took the opportunity to eat some breakfast and I was in the mood for pancakes. Funnily enough right outside the cinema was a restaurant that sold pancakes. By the time I finished, it was roughly 1:00pm and we had 3 hours to kill before the movie started. I decided that I would walk around Shinjuku whilst my other friends wanted to hit up more UFO catchers.
Heading over to the West side of the station I read in my guidebook about the Pentax Forum and that there was a Yodobashi Camera here. I happen to also find Shinjuku’s branch of Toranoana, which I went in to find more items for friends and other items for myself. Moving along I did find Yodobashi Camera and I was simply amazed at all the camera equipment available. Although the prices are something that disappointed me as they were similar to prices in Australia, even with duty free. So this entire trip I didn’t buy any camera equipment.
Soon enough though I realised that I wasted a lot more time in Toranoana and Yodobashi Camera that the three hours had gone by pretty quick and it was time to head back to the cinema. It also started to rain very lightly and as I walked back to Takashimaya Times Square, I spotted a Krispy Kremes with a bunch of people lining up outside. Oh Krispy Kremes, I’ve been there too many times in Sydney thanks to various car club meetups in the carpark. Still, Japanese sure like to line up for even the simpliest of things. Anyway I got back to the department store a little earlier than expected so I wasted some time walking around Tokyu Hands before meeting up with my friends once again.
One of the things different about Japanese cinemas is that you can buy merchandise at the Candy Bar. I bought myself a clearfile before the movie started, but seeing how Roobar bought the booklet and having a flick through it, I bought one myself after the movie. My Japanese skills are pretty crap in terms of having proper conversations or reading and translating, but when it comes to watching raws, I can gather about 75% of the dialog. So sitting there watching a movie raw wasn’t all that difficult and I got the jist of the storyline. As for the movie itself, I know that the Western world has seen only the first 3 movies, but the 5th is fucking EPIC. I personally thought the 3rd movie took it to a new level, but the 5th goes elsewhere. Can’t wait to see the other movies.
We headed back to the hotel and it was time for dinner. The place we chose for the night was another one that we had our eye on for a while: an unagi restaurant. We walked in just as it started to rain and were greeted by the owner and his cat. It’s actually the first time I’ve seen a domestic pet in all of Japan, and it was certainly well behaved. Though I’m sure it was living a life of luxury eating a lot of seafood everyday. As we sat down, the owner instantly realised we were foreigners and we told him we wanted to eat unagi, so we let him decided for us.
The place looked a little run down but it has that nice homely feeling that you get in a lot of small restaurants like this. After dinner I met up with Windbell once again as we decided to head up Tokyo Tower for some night time photography. Although it has been raining and I wasn’t too sure on how clear it would be when up in Tokyo Tower, but we went on ahead. However I did the most newbie thing ever, and that was forget the tripod. Well actually I was too lazy to carry it around with me.
Once up on the Main Observatory, we found that it wasn’t too badly clouded from the rain and so we went ahead and took photos. One of the things I was hoping to do more often on this trip was do night time photography. This is probably the most I’ve ever done due to simplistic laziness to carry my DSLR around. Tokyo is a different place at night time so even seeing the city light up at night on a rainy day was still majestic in a way. I’m sure it would be more vivid on a clearer day.
A few more snaps before we decided to leave. We didn’t goto the Special Observatory as it would have been more cloudy higher up. Fortunately the rain had let up as we left since Windbell’s umbrella also broke at that point. Directing him back to the station, we went our separate ways and I headed back to the hotel for a night’s rest. A much needed relaxing start to the weekend was just what I needed after all the driving from the past two days.
Keep an eye for future posts as I’ll also be showing the MOST expensive meal of the trip!