Day 1: いらっしゃいませ~

I was initially going to work on this post earlier, but I ended up falling asleep instead. So I guess even though this is a bit late, I’m just going to fudge it and still call it today.

So while I spent most of my time yesterday sitting being asleep on a plane, instead, I spent most of today walking around. I’m about to try to explain what happened today what happened in as much detail as possible.

The slightly issue with this, however, is that most of it comes from my perspective, and I tend to dismiss many things as relatively uninteresting, even when they may not necessarily be to other people. I guess that means this post is a first test run of actually describing my life, isn’t it?

My parents woke me up this morning to hand me breakfast somewhere around 8, because as it turns out, everyone else in my family woke up hours beforehand. So much for jet lag on my part. My parents were commenting on the possibility of buying some sort of noodles from a vending machine, even though I wasn’t really all that surprised about it. After all, I’ve managed to invest hundreds of hours into anime/reading about Japan at this point.

At some point in time (no idea when), we met up with our guide for the next ??? days at the hotel lobby, before setting out to walk for somewhere close to 8 hours today (minus about an hour for random stops/lunch). For today, we managed to visit a lot of places, though we didn’t do much in particular at all.

First stop: A shrine. I’m using google maps to find and name these places as best as I can, but not much luck in finding the name of this. Our guide showed as standard Shinto practices, including a water thing which I haven’t seen before. Watching the rest of my family attempting to do offerings was incredibly painful for me, but still really funny nonetheless (Failure to ring the bell, failure to bow twice, failure to clap twice, failure to bow one more time, and then only bowing normally for the last thing. Basically, all possible parts were messed up). By the time it got to my turn, we ran out of coins. Oops.


Next up: Tsukiji Market. Basically a giant flea market, with a roof over it. And hundreds of stalls selling fish. Just fish. Fish everywhere. From small fish to shrimp to giant tuna that stretched across an entire stall. Just, fish. You could smell the fish from almost 4 minutes away, even before we reached the shrine mentioned above. (Could be placebo effect at work though, since we knew it was a fish market.) This also begins the bombarding of the phrase いらっしゃいませ, or Welcome! (to our business) in Japanese. Every stall that had someone attending to it would have that person say that phrase while you walked by. Every. Single. Stall. (Almost)

After we escaped from that, we went on to visit the Hamarikyu Gardens (apparently some sort of old fortress turned garden) Other than the fact that there were lots of trees, and that all the water there was sea water, there wasn’t all that much to say about that place, other than it looked really nice? Also it started raining again.


Then we went along the Sumida River  by boat to…some…other…place. About here is where I have truly no idea where we are, and google maps stops being useful too, as subway rides are confusing. Like, holy crap this subway network is ridiculous. Not to mention how trains stop every 3-5 minutes, rather than the 15 minutes that it takes BART to run 1 train.

On the boat, I began to watch my family try to fumble around with a vending machine dispensing some drinks. What was amazing is that you had the option of buying more than 1 drink if you put in a high enough denomination in (such as a 1000 yen bill), instead of having to feed it money again. This confused the heck out of my parents though, as they were expecting a drink and money to start flooding out, which obviously didn’t happen.

Next stop: Buddhist temple. These are significantly rarer than shrines here, but are still super important here anyways. According to our guide, all the stalls you see here sell ridiculously overpriced goods, and after looking at it, I am inclined to agree as well.


At the end, we ran into another shrine again, and then we ate lunch and whatnot. Next up on the list was apparently a shopping street full of kitchen utensils (what). There were stores dedicated to selling glasses, utensils, knives, and fake food. Expensive fake food. Whatever, amusing enough.

There was a lot more aimless meandering across stores (and another fish market), but I don’t remember too much of it, since that was overshadowed by a surprise early visit to…

Akihabara. (No, I didn’t buy anything today, I’ll deal with this stuff at the end of the trip. Also I forgot to take pictures here. Also since I’m coming back here, this section is kinda vague and whatnot) This is the only place I’ve seen so far that has entire buildings covered with advertisements, as well as massive billboards. Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to recognize nearly as many characters as I expected, since it seems like visual novels are a lot more popular than I initially imagined.

But holy crap, Love Live is eeeeeeverywhere. Literally everywhere. More than Touhou and KanColle and all anime I’ve watched to date combined (though not much more, considering the amount of anime I watch). Slightly sad I couldn’t find any Touhou-specific stores yet though.

I also made my first arcade visit of the trip here. As it turns out, the spacing on the buttons in SDVX is huge, at least relative to my insanely small hands. From my 1 play of the game (only 100 yen! (gives 3 songs, but only allowed 1 track crash before 3rd song)), I estimate that my skill is situated somewhere between 09-10 right now. Hopefully I can pass Skill Analyzer 8 or something before the end of this trip.

This was also the only instance of us not being able to find a vending machine now that we were actually thirsty again. Even though they tend to be situated within a fairly close range of each other all the time, we just happened to be in a dead spot for vending machines at that time.

At this point I was pretty tired, so after another hour of walking (visited some sort of department candy store), we ate dinner at a place somewhat close to our hotel. There was an arcade next door, though I couldn’t find SDVX there (or Project Diva as they advertised right outside…) Slightly sad that I couldn’t get a few more plays in today, I went to the hotel, and promptly fell asleep. zzz.

I tried taking a picture outside the window at night (it’s really pretty), but my phone camera is being bad. I’ll try to get someone else’s picture before we leave here.

Slight changes to the counter yesterday, and some additions:

Number of ramen noodle shops visited: 3 (1 soba/udon, 2 ramen)
Number of shrines visited/seen: 2 (+1 temple)
Number of SDVX plays: 1 (no e-Amusement yet) (who cares about Maimai and whatnot, SDVX is best game)


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