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Old 2010-05-08, 12:39   Link #841
Guardian Enzo
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Kagurazaka, Tokyo
Don't worry - as my trip posts from last year show, the hard part is getting me to shut up.
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Old 2010-05-08, 12:43   Link #842
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
@WanderingKnight: Yes the island is Miyajima and it was a typo. Thanks also for the comment on Osaka's train system. Can you elaborate a bit on how it is so bad?
It's got like 7 lines and there's a circular section shared by them all (similar to the Yamanote line in Tokyo), but not all the lines stop in every station there. Also, sometimes a train would stop all of a sudden and you'd have to wait for the next one to continue. I didn't really ask why it was like that since I was there for just one day, but it certainly seemed a bit messy.
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Old 2010-05-09, 16:07   Link #843
martino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
It's got like 7 lines and there's a circular section shared by them all (similar to the Yamanote line in Tokyo), but not all the lines stop in every station there. Also, sometimes a train would stop all of a sudden and you'd have to wait for the next one to continue. I didn't really ask why it was like that since I was there for just one day, but it certainly seemed a bit messy.
It seems messy, but it's not that bad getting used to it. I actually got to like it after a few days, but then I always just needed to use the loop line and a couple more lines that went outside of Osaka. Just carefully study the map, and if unsure just ask the locals for help.

(I still found Tokyo's system to be more complicated -- way too many lines)
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Old 2010-05-09, 19:15   Link #844
Yozuru
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Personally I never went to any major cities. I live in the countryside, pretty peaceful and slow paced. My kind of thing. Did I mention that I live about 30 minutes away from a beach? It's great.
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Old 2010-05-10, 20:33   Link #845
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You are rather lucky, Yozuru. I always wanted to go to either Osaka or Okinawa BECAUSE of the beaches. On the other hand, I'd like to go anywhere in Japan.

In particular, I'd like to go to one of the annual festivals. Your country is something I admire, Yozuru. Hardwork and effort means a lot in my eyes.
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Old 2010-05-11, 21:14   Link #846
Yozuru
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Originally Posted by Arbitres View Post
You are rather lucky, Yozuru. I always wanted to go to either Osaka or Okinawa BECAUSE of the beaches. On the other hand, I'd like to go anywhere in Japan.

In particular, I'd like to go to one of the annual festivals. Your country is something I admire, Yozuru. Hardwork and effort means a lot in my eyes.
I guess I take it for granted, I pretty much go there every chance I could get. You would love our festivals, if you do have the time to go to japan i'll be forward to see you here.

Haha I don't work harder than my peers, I just try to get the best grades I can to stay out of trouble. We work hard but not to the brim.
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Old 2010-05-12, 00:39   Link #847
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I'm already planning my next visit to Japan--my plan is to do the Tokaido route from Tokyo to Kyoto on bicycle with a tent or something in case I can't find any lodging on the way. Central Honshu was the part I liked the most so it's a good chance to see more of its countryside. I could also pack the 53 paintings of the Tokaido and try to take pictures that match each one or something, heh.
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Old 2010-05-13, 06:57   Link #848
Guardian Enzo
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Arrived today. As happened the first time, while I was knackered from the 10-hour flight, as soon as was on the Narex speeding into Tokyo I had a huge grin on my face at the sheer absurdity of being here. Flight from SFO pulled up on time to the minute - at the gate, mind you - and customs/immigration took all of 15 minutes. I was on the 3:45 train - this is an amazingly efficient country.

Damn, it felt good to get back on the Yamanote - those masses of people, the wonderful station jingles... Checked in to my hotel in Bukuro and went slack-jawed at all the familiar landmarks I wouldn't have recognized before Durarara. Started my quest of eating my way through every ramen joint in Bukuro at Komen. Tonkotsu broth was superb, but the highlight may have been the strange custard with some kind of maple dipping sauce. Damn, it was tasty. Tomorrow, Sanja Matsuri and other things...
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Old 2010-05-14, 08:53   Link #849
Guardian Enzo
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First full day. Have I mentioned I love this place? Started at Tsukiji Market, figuring its one of those places I was going to have to hit sooner or later - and I was right. It's a different look at Tokyo, at least. Followed that with a walk to Ginza, which I also missed the first trip. Finally got to experience the shockingly ritualistic opening of a "Depatto" (Miyokichi). That place has an amazing food bazaar, even by the standards here.

Highlight of day 2 (or 1, really) was Asakusa and Sanja Matsuri. There wasn't much happening at first, and I was wondering if I'd somehow managed to lose the biggest party in Tokyo. Finally, the major Friday event - the procession of the small shrines - began all the way back out near the JR station. I watched a couple of them go by, got some amazing footage, and slipped into the procession and followed them all the way to Asakusa Shrine with a tight-packed crowd of locals. One of the coolest experiences I've had.

After a quick side trip to check out the Arakawa Tram (didn't go under any bridges that I saw) - the last true "ding-ding" streetcar in Edo - ended up back in Ikebukuro. Still no headless riders, but checked out Otome Street (not much to it, really) and Sunshine City before continuing ramen pilgrimage at Santouka. I've had their famous shio with special pork at their San Jose branch, where they claim to fly the broth into the US in giant frozen blocks, so I had to compare. And you know, I believe it - the soup in California is almost as good. Finally, saw my first film at a Japanese cinema - Bungaku Shojo (starring our very own Kitamura Kou, Miyu-Miyu). It's I.G., and they're not capable of anything less than gorgeous animation, but as I only know the source material from the Wiki I confess I was somewhat less than able to follow the story beyond the basics. I get about 1 of 4 words, but I got the point - and while it isn't one of I.G.'s major achievements, it's good. Also saw the preview for "Welcome to the Space Show", which looks excellent.

Off to bed - more tomorrow...

Last edited by Guardian Enzo; 2010-05-14 at 09:16.
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Old 2010-05-18, 08:27   Link #850
Guardian Enzo
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Yesterday I touched my first Japanese snow… But we’ll get back to that.

Spoiler for Long!:

Last edited by Guardian Enzo; 2010-05-18 at 16:56.
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Old 2010-05-18, 09:29   Link #851
Qikz
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Your trip sounds fantastic, really can't wait to go next year. <3
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Old 2010-05-18, 16:57   Link #852
Guardian Enzo
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I love this country so much, I tell you. I even love the stuff that drives you nuts about it!
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Old 2010-05-18, 18:36   Link #853
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
the last true "ding-ding" streetcar in Edo
You know, I burst out laughing really bad when I was talking about Nagasaki with a guy from that city but who was visiting Sapporo, and I mentioned the trams in pseudo-English (since I didn't know what the name was, I just said "street car" in my best Engrish) and he called them "chin-chin densha". He then explained to me why it was like that and I understood it, but still... the first thing that came to my mind was a huge penis riding on rails...

Congrats for being there! Not a month has passed since I've returned from there but I'm fucking jealous, damn.
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Old 2010-05-19, 06:33   Link #854
Guardian Enzo
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Rainy, rainy day in Kanazawa. It's a shame, but my first one of the trip so I won't complain. It would have been nice to have the sun peek out and shine off the roof tiles for a few minutes, but c'est la vie. It's a beautiful city, even in the rain. No life-changing moments, but a couple more firsts for me. I saw my first working geisha (well, she seemed in a hurry) and - a bigger thrill for me - my first miko. There she was, in white and vermilion, sweeping the shrine... I about fainted on the spot. I have a major thing for shrine maidens.

One more note - Shizuo and Izaya are officially a couple. Doujinshi writers sure work fast, but there was several in the Kanazawa Animate shop.
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Old 2010-05-19, 19:06   Link #855
Qikz
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Quote:
There she was, in white and vermilion, sweeping the shrine... I about fainted on the spot. I have a major thing for shrine maidens.
Why do I have this strange vision of you now camping outside by the shrine waiting to catch another glimpse?

Sounds like you're have a really good time. I should be going for a month if all goes to plan, I should hopefully get alot of stuff done in a month atleast anyway. ^_^
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Old 2010-05-22, 03:13   Link #856
Guardian Enzo
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Originally Posted by Qikz View Post
Why do I have this strange vision of you now camping outside by the shrine waiting to catch another glimpse?

Sounds like you're have a really good time. I should be going for a month if all goes to plan, I should hopefully get alot of stuff done in a month atleast anyway. ^_^
Greetings from Ekoin Temple in Koya-san, where they have internet and the priest takes visa. Short post - I have a long Kyoto recap coming tomorrow when I get back to Tokyo and can surf on my laptop. I have shyojin-ryori served in 20 minutes and the monks get upset if you`re not in the room on time.

I glimpsed several more miko in Kyoto (swoon) but they were selling charms behind a window. Not quite the same...
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Old 2010-05-22, 05:51   Link #857
Arbitres
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I have to clear my doubts. Enzo... Do all the monks have red dots on their foreheads, and are they all bald/shaved head?

Also... Do well to greet the miko and geisha appropriately. You never know what happens in Japan~

... ... Sorry for the stereotypes but it's been something I've been wondering. The best way to rid yourself of a stereotype is by asking someone that is experiencing/experienced differently.

...Have you gone to a doujinshi store yet?... Just curious. No reason.
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Old 2010-05-22, 07:27   Link #858
Guardian Enzo
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Many monks have shaved heads, but I haven`t seen any red dots. Are you thinking of Hindus with the third eye? I`ve been to several doujin shops, and plan to hit a few more when I`m back in Tokyo.

Tonight, finished the evening in Koyasan with a walk to visit Kobo Daishi, along with a monk from the temple. Okonouin after dark, with those lanterns... Wow. 200K graves or more, including Oda Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Very spooky and beautiful amongst all the 800 year-old cedars, jizu statues and moss-covered gravesites. Sort of the Buddhist equivalent of Fushimi Inari - it`s hard not to feel something when you`re there, though quite different from a shrine.

Let me just say, as well, that the kaiseki at the temple is fantastic. I was skeptical, frankly, with no meat, onion or garlic - but delicious.
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Old 2010-05-23, 07:24   Link #859
Guardian Enzo
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So, Kyoto, typed two days ago.

Spoiler for Long, again:
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Old 2010-05-24, 09:09   Link #860
Guardian Enzo
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Nearing the end - tomorrow the last full day. What a drag its going to be, going back to a job and boss that I hate. I think I love this place so much because being here is really like being a kid again. If you're old enough to have high school well in the rear-view mirror you know what I mean - the cynicism, the predictability of everyday life. Here, everything that happens is a surprise, and that's a rare and exciting thing - Japan feels like the adult world did when I was a kid. Exciting, weird, a little scary, always just beyond understanding. I'd love to move here and have a chance to discover it over time.

Today was a fun day. Started out frustrated and depressed - just about every tourist attraction is closed on Monday in this town. Finally settled on something I'd stumbled upon during a web search - Jindaiji. It's out in Chofu, a bedroom suburb 10 miles or so West of downtown on the Keio Line (a first for me on that line). A superb temple - second oldest in Tokyo, with gorgeous landscapes and well-preserved buildings. Had lunch at a fantastically atmospheric soba place just outside the walls which looked like it had been there as long as the temple. Soba was delicious - turns out its a local specialty, which I hadn't even known. After that, went to the local onsen, hidden away on a residential street. Hell, there's a great-looking botanic garden that would have been a fine stop too, any other day of the week. And none of this was in any, and I do mean any, guide book I found. That's why I love Tokyo.

I did make a return visit to Akiba tonight, and picked up a Nyanko-sensei plushie. Turns out they also have Nyanko-sensei socks, though I passed, and a bunch of other Natsume stuff. Glad to see that. I also stumbled upon a little cache of Oofuri at Animate - Nishiura HS socks (socks are big, I guess), etc. They also had several Baka-Test shirts, including my favorite, "Question 1 - Gender" with that pic of Hideyoshi about to drop trou. Rather witty, that one. Very tempted by the high-quality Simon Gurren-Lagann logo jacket at Cospa, but 10000 yen is too much. I never even knew to check Radio Kaiten or White Canvas, so I guess I have to go back tomorrow...
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