Tuesday, August 01, 2006

ショーン&メバルの東京大冒険!!

We're finally back home in Singapore after spending 5 days and 4 nights in Tokyo. And as promised, here is the major update, along with some of the pics we've taken over at the Land of the rising sun. Although we've failed to reach the target of 500 photos, we've manged to get nearly 400 photos which I must say are of a higher quality than last's year's, which consisted of many snapshots at toilet bowls, posters, etc. And without further ado, I bring to you..... Sean & Mabel's Adventures in Tokyo!

Day 1
We left home for the airport at around 3am in the morning. Went for a short coffee break and linked up with the rest from the Ultraman Lah forum, namely Tony and Veron, Chis and Wendy, and the "Feels great to be single" guys Chris (Beth) and Alex, as well as Dennis and his family. The rest of the guys, Derek, Adryan, and Ryan would be coming later in a few days time.

We then took the Skyliner line to Nippongi, where we then transited to the JR Line to Ikebukuro. It was still quite a walk to the ryokkan (traditional Japanese inn), especially with Mabel giving me a work out by putting 2 large mineral water bottles in the luggage. Imagine my shock when I realised these where the reason the luggauge was friggin' heavy. Anyway, the inn was rather cosy, and although we shared a common bathroom on each floor, it was pretty convenient and really very clean. For it's price, it was a very good deal and most of the other tenants there were also either from Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Singapore as the landlandy was from Taiwan. We were also introduced to Tony's taiwanese friends, Ah Xing and Ah Fang. They were really friendly, and we clicked instantly due to our common hobbies and interest.

We checked in around 4pm and the guys were in a hurry as the ULFES Special Night concert starts admission at 5pm. We didn't even have enough time for a shower, and made our way to Sunshine City. It was so rushed we were practically running, though we still made some time to take a few pictures at the giant Mebius figure standing guard in front of the Plaza.

The event was great. We got to see many of the classic Ultraman actors, though I was a littly sad there wasn't much interaction between them and the audience. And as the whole interview was in Japanese, we had to make out what they were saying through signs and the occasional video in between. Too bad there weren't any Mebius actors/actresses there. Sigh. But the live stage show was awesome.

Had dinner at Wendy's, a fast food restaurant. Good service and extremely polite customer service impressed us a lot, and although we had to clear our own tray and rubbish unlike in Singapore where we can make the place as dirty as we can and wait for the cleaner, the Japanese make it their own responsibility to clear up their own mess after every meal. Ii desu ne?

I didn't have much luck with the UFO catcher when I was trying to get Kon, a character from the popular anime series Bleach. The game went for 100 yen per try, and after some tries I gave up. An onlooking Mabel then took over despite my pleas telling her not to waste money. And to my shock she got 2 Kons on her first try! What luck! I couldn't believe it, but some times this girl amazes me.

With newly found pride and feeling like a milliion bucks, she went on the next amusement centre. For me, I felt diminished and wanting to bring back something too, I changed around 2500yen worth of coins..... Sadly all my attempts were futile and what pissed me off was that Mabel got another one! This time she spent a few more attempts, but still she managed to snatch a furry Stich soft toy from another machine. Argh..... don't waste money liao lah.

Day 2

We kicked off day 2 with a hearty breakfast at Matsuya, before we headed off to Ultraman Festival. We were dressed in our special Ultraman Lah red tees, which were specially printed for this trip. Mabel was intially reluctant to put it on, till she gave in to pressure from me and wore it over her top (so she can take it off at the earliest possible chance). There were a lot of people at the entrance, and the queue was so long it stretched all the way to the side stairs! We even took a photo with the staff at the end of the queue:


Escalator along Sunshine City

We've taken so many photos with Ultramen and other Ultra related stuff I'm stuck for choice as to what to upload for this blog. Simply too many to be posted up, so I'm gonna go for some which I think are more interesting. Will upload more to my flikr online photo albums, so you can head there for more!

In front of the promotional poster for the upcoming movie

Making poses in front of Ultraman Max, Ultraman Nexus & Ultraman Legend

Joining into the family with Father of Ultra, Ultraman Taro, & Mother of Ultra

Taking a picture with Ultra 7, my fave when I was still a kid!

Us with current fave Ultra: Ultraman Nexus!

There are still a lot of pictures, and I think I've taken with all the Ultras which were there. Too bad I only managed to take pictures with Ultra 7 and Ultraman Nexus . The items on display at the festival were mostly retro and classic stuff, and many of them brought back old memories. Good stuff, and I certainly hope to revisit ULFES again to take more pics with the Ultras.

Next stop: Bandai Museum at Mitsudo!

Me playing scissors-paper-stone with Alien Baltan.... and didn't win! Argh~

Mabel striking a pose with Kamen Rider Faiz and Kamen Rider Kaixa

Imitating Tendou from Kamen Rider Kabuto

Mabel with the 1st ever sentai team: Himitsu Sentai GoRanger

Me with Mazinger Z and a 1:1 Gundam!

Here you see my overall haul from both Ulfes and Bandai Museum. Not too much once you compare to the rest of the guys whom are going to send their stuff back. I've got for myself various Ultra related merchandise for my upcoming flat as well, such as the blue Ultraman dustbin you see on the right. But don't be tricked by the pictures, as most of them are free posters/fliers and not books or magazines. I've took loads of these free fliers back and even bought a plastic file just so I can prevent Mabel from damaging them.


Day 3

We spent the entire day 3 in the many shopping centres in Odaiba. There were countless shopping malls around that area, and although many of them are expensive designer labels, we still managed to take pictures of many interesting stuff there and even visited one of the TV studios there. And by this point in time, our legs were already aching from all that walking.... Well, it's not often we get to see Miss Liberty in Japan, so can't waste time complaining!

Taking a picture with one of the TV Station anime characters

Hosts for a kid's show on Japanese TV!

Took pictures with Astroboy and Totoro inside one of the retro districts

Our next car? Dream on.....

We also took this opportunity to board the highest ferris wheel in the world. The night scenery was fabulous, and it was a pity we couldn't capture any nice pics with our camera due to the lightning. We could even see the fireworks over at Asakusa temple (it was a hanabi festival there), the rainbow bridge, and even Tokyo Tower. Great atmosphere and although it was a pricey ride, we definately enjoyed the magnificent bird's eye view of Tokyo.

We had another go at the UFO machines over at Odaiba. My eye caught a Kamen Rider The Bee Banpresto figure which I've wanted for some time. I tried over 2000 yen worth and every time I missed it by just a tiny bit. It was frustrating to say the least. Damn Japanese are so smart to suck away our precious money...... Then Mabel came along again, and got for herself a pirate Stich on her first try for 100 yen! That's around $1.30 SGD! Arghhhhhhh!!! I had her go for a couple of times more to get for me my Rider but I suspect she missed on purpose..... She also tried exchanging it for a one-eyed pirate version with the staff but was rejected. Somehow she flipped the black hat around and turned it into a hard gay version, which she was pretty pleased with.

Day 4

This was the busiest day of the trip in Tokyo. We went to 4 places: Studio Ghibli museum in Mitaka in the morning, Akihabara in the noon time, and then Asakusa temple in the evening, and lastly back to Sunshine City in the night for our dinner, as well as for some last minute shopping. We were dressed in traditional yukata clothing for this day, and it was pretty weird walking around town in this gear. We were joined by Chris and Wendy who also joined in the fun in wearing yukatas. It was hillarious watching the girls realise in horror they had put on the yukata wrongly. It was supposed to be worn right over left and instead they had done it the opposite way. They realised people were noticing them and thus headed straight to the toilet at Mitaka to correct their mistake. Pure comedy gold. Haha~ Any obachan even pulled Mabel from behind her and straightened her yukata for her. Luckily I explained were from abroad, and that she was pretty friendly.
Studio Ghibi is the animation company responsible for iconic animation movies such as My Neighbour Totoro, Hotaru no hoka, and of course the recent releases which gained recognition in the US, such as Spirited Away and Howl's moving castle. The museum is situated in the more rural part of the city where lush greenary is abound every where and a beautiful park is within sight.

The only sad thing about visiting the Ghibli museum is that absolutely no photography is allowed within its building. The pics you see here are taken outside. So, only this character from Laputa, and a giant Totoro outside the ticket booth are available for people who want to take photos as mementos. Disappointing, as many of the exhibits in the museum were breath taking, especially for fans of the many movies that Studio Ghibli has produced.


Next destination: Akihabara! I've always wanted to visit Akiba after I've watched the popular drama series Densha Otoko. And really, there were lots of Otakus walking around there, taking pictures of cute cute cute girls on the roads who were doing advertising. There were many girls doing cosplays and even maid cafe promoters handing our fliers and vouchers too. Unfortunately we didn't have time to visit a maid cafe (it was pretty expensive as well), as most of the time were spent looking for cheap bargains. I bought quite a bit of toys here, including the new PSP Ultraman Fighting Evolution game, which I hope to write a faq for soon.

We then proceeded on to Asakusa temple, where we got our lucky charms from last year. But unfortunately the temple was under renovation work, so we only managed to make our prayers there and didn't get any charms back. Well, I tried making my prayer in Japanese so hopefully I got my wishes understood. The street was as packed as usual, but this time we didn't have a time limit to meet and thus took our own sweet time to get more gifts back. Problem on hand: Too many friends/relatives/colleagues to get presents for, too little time/money.

I was mistaken as a Japanese halfway walking on the pavement, when 2 korean girls grabbed me by the arms and said they wanted to take photographs with me. I was pretty much shocked and Mabel too was surprised by my sudden popularity. I slowly explained to the 4 girls that I wasn't Japanese. They went "Singaporean?" but we went ahead with the photo taking session anyway. Luckily Mabel was invited to join in if not I would have needed a few stiches on the head and even the gods there couldn't save me.

Last stop for the day: Back to Sunshine City. We headed back to the ryokkan first to dump all our bags and changed to a more comfortable set of clothes. I wore my Hibiki shirt while Mabel wore back her lucky Stitch coloured jacket. Ate dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant with Chris and Wendy. Too bad it was already pretty late and most of the departmental stores were already closed by 9pm.

By chance of luck, we saw Sonic the hedgehog standing outside along the streets. And as usual, we grabbed him and took a picture before he could dash away.

Here are the rest of the items I've got from either Akihabara or Ghibli museum. Not much, but definately not as expensive if I can even find them in Singapore. Too bad we didn't have enough space to bring back more stuff, and that we spent too little time over in Akihabara. I also tried asking a maid cafe girl to take pictures with me but she said it was against their policy. Haiii..... well there's always the next time.

Day 5

We finally had a chance to take a group photo together on our last day before we return to Singapore. We were the first couple to leave, as the rest of them will be there for at least 2 more days. The picture with everybody is with the others, while my camera only took 2 separate ones, with all the guys and the other one with all the girls.

We didn't get to do much on the last day due to the fatigue that was build up the previous few days. We also had a good talk cock session in Chris and Alex's room the last night, and chatted till late in the night. We woke up pretty late, hence the blur expression and the uncombed hair. Well, it was time to leave soon.

Our last meal before heading to Narita Airport was at Mos Burger. There we stole 2 coasters, and had a big meal consisting of 2 burgers, fries, and nuggets. It was much better tasting that the ones in Singapore, in my opinion.

Alright! That's it for my Tokyo trip update! It's taken a fair bit of my time to edit and upload the pics here, so I hope you've enjoyed reading about our trip. We've had a lot of fun this time round, so any of you who wants to know more about going to Japan on a free and easy trip can just call or contact me. We've got quite a few lessons learnt which we can share. In the meantime, do leave a message or comment, and do visit my blog soon for another update coming up really soon! Take care and cya!

2 comments:

Betty said...

Looks like you guys had a terrific trip in Japan! Thanks for taking the time to share with us your photos, really enjoyed reading your post :)

Sean said...

Glad you enjoyed it! : )