I forgot it’s the last week of spring break here, it explains why the trains are so full when they shouldn’t be… and it’s a pain. How do you even time a trip in the spring if you want to avoid Japanese school holidays, Easter holidays for all the tourists, AND Golden Week (annual Japanese holidays, first week of May)? I’ll go in February next time I think.
By the way, starting next week the touristy stuff begins, since I’ll be showing my mom around, and visiting places I never saw before (Kanazawa and Kurashiki, mostly). The picture I used on top of the post this time is also from 2010.
In this post, I’ll do what I wanted to avoid, and come out of the closet as a crazed fangirl for a specific anime, because there is no way I can write a post when the day was all about it in the first place. *shrugs*
I will leave this here to help you guys know where I am:
This is the JR train map of Tokyo (add the metro lines on top if you want to panic, but it’s actually easy to find your way, unlike in other places (looking at you, Seoul)). My hotel is on the light blue line, three stops south of Shinagawa. Yesterday I headed to Akihabara, which is in the middle. It took about 30 minutes because I caught a local train which stopped at every station. The green line is the most famous, the one tourists rarely stray from as it stops at every major spot. It’s also the busiest. Today, I went to Ikebukuro, which doesn’t offer much to tourists, but has a lot of restaurants and is pretty sweet for anime/manga fans. It became my favourite place a few years ago when I always came back home with tons of manga and merch.
As a side note, after the shitty bus strike in Ireland last weekend, it’s so incredibly nice to have trains coming every 2 minutes. I missed it, and I’ll miss it even more after the trip.
I met up with Ally to go to Sunshine City, a skyscraper that has a few floors filled with shops, but we weren’t there for shopping, we were there for fangirling. Inside the building, there is a small “theme park”, Namja Town. We had no idea what it was about – and we are still a bit confused – but it has numerous tiny food stalls (tons of different gyoza and ice cream), a haunted house (we went through it without knowing what it was, it just looked creepy, and had a very scary mannequin that I dubbed Dedushka Yaga (instead of Baba Yaga)), and some games. A very weird place. Our only reason for going, is that our favourite anime partnered with them, and the food stalls each offer one dish related to a specific character or scene, with a postcard.
We first tried the katsudon piroshki (fried pork cutlet with rice and eggs inside a piroshki, an unlikely mix of Japanese and Russian food). For some reason it was slightly sweet. It didn’t taste like katsudon, and it didn’t taste like piroshki, I don’t know what I expected. It wasn’t bad at all though.
(I stole Ally’s pictures, shame on me!)
Since we were struggling to decide between all the desserts, we took two and shared them. A strawberry shortcake, and a fondant that was not exactly a fondant but was so heavy we couldn’t finish it.
There were a few games to win merch but we didn’t stay for long. Still won a few things.
Animate, a giant manga/anime/merch store, was our next stop, and it changed locations since my last visit. It used to be just in front of the Sunshine building, now it’s closer to the station in some back street. There were so many people in there. A satisfying loot later, we tried to go to a café that was also partnering with the anime, because that one served drinks. We just stumbled upon it without researching it so we unfortunately found out a reservation was needed, and as they are only there for a limited time it was already full. We went to the Milky Way cafe instead.
We also got frustrated with UFO catchers and did the thing we just had to do, purikura! (very… glittery and girly or silly photobooths, you can then add all kinds of weird stuff to the pictures before printing them)
Both of us were exhausted at that point so we parted ways. I wanted to avoid the crowd in the train so I took the Yamanote line (green) to go in the other direction than the one I was supposed to take, and I switched to the Keihin Tohoku (light blue) a few stations later. It takes longer to do it that way, but weeks of taking the Keihin Tohoku 10 years ago for school taught me how to be smart if I want a seat. I also did not want to be on the Yamanote when it goes through the major, hellish stations of Shinjuku and Shibuya, which would have happened if I took the right direction.
I had ramen before going back to the hotel and I’m ready to sleep. Which I will not do. Because it’s 6pm.